Sunday, February 20, 2011

Moving Forward

Mother to Son        by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now—
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
This week brought a plethora of highs and lows, and as I was experiencing each turn and 
bump, I couldn't help but think of this poem by Langston Hughes.  On Tuesday afternoon, 
we received a joyful phone call for the referral of a beautiful baby boy.  He's healthy, and he's 
smiling in his pictures.  Amidts the excitement for this referral, we know the staircase that 
we've traveled; we've experienced the "splinters" and "boards torn up" first hand.  They're 
difficult to recover from.  Hence, we move upward and onward with caution in each step.  
The documents in a referral are quite time sensitive, so I was buzzing around getting in touch 
with our international pediatrician, getting his documents assessed, notarizing signatures, 
contacting our social worker, etc.  Amidst this, I am careful to keep my emotions in check.  
It's not a sure thing until he's home in my arms.  
I asked for some people to pray for us this week at church when I got the news.  When I 
arrived at church, I was met with people with tears in their eyes for their excitement for us.  
Oh my goodness, here I am trying to keep it together, and I couldn't help but begin to feel 
some of the joy I've kept at bay this past week.  Hope exists.  I saw it in the faces of my 
brothers and sisters today that it was ok to feel, that they would be there with me, no matter 
what.  It was just I needed, and I know Jesus knew that.  I'm continually humbled by what He 
has shown me through all of this.  
On the low side, we're experiencing so much strife in our world.  I am feeling it personally in 
the world of education.  I feel for my colleagues in Wisconsin.  I understand why the 
democrats would flee from voting; they don't believe the vote should happen at all.  I get it.  
I am neither democrat nor republican, but I know what will positively and negatively affect 
our kids.  In the school district where we live, they want to cut the school day by almost two 
hours.  Whoa.  So, here we are with higher standards to achieve, and we're going to cut the 
school day and take out art, music, and gym? Frustrating.  
In the district where I work, we are suing the state because the state funding formula is so 
out of whack.  I am blessed to work in the supportive community that I do.  Our parents are 
amazing in their willingness to help our students through thick and thin.  Our superintendent 
put it best when, in a nutshell, he said that there are many wrong things happening in our 
1.  Politicians are penalizing the whole state for a few low performing schools.  (By the way, 
our colleagues in the urban settings are working their tails off; I would like to see our 
governor come in and do their job, or my job for that matter.)
2.  The standards and instruments to assess standards keep changing and getting more 
challenging, and therefore it costs us more money to meet those demands.
3.  Politicians, who aren't educators in any way, are pompous enough to think they have the 
knowledge to make decisions that are best for kids.  Sorry, you don't.  Most of these people 
no longer have school aged children or they go to private school...let's be real.  This scenario 
reminds me of the business man with no education background coming into a classroom and 
trying to do the job because they just think they can.  They usually end of up going home 
with their tails between their legs.  I invite any politician to do my job and then tell me how 
to do it better. 
4.  Politicians now want to take away our right to bargain.  Like I commented on a high school 
friend's facebook, teachers have always come to the bargaining table willing to give to make 
the ends meet, in order to do what's best for our students.  
5.  I believe the general public, including our politicians, thinks that teachers have a two 
month vacation.  First of all, I'm all for year round school; the research shows that it's best 
for student achievement.  Second of all, every educator I've spoken with says that they're for
year round school too (emphasis on EVERY).  Third of all, every teacher I know works over 
the summer reading, planning, researching, furthering their education, etc...
Governor Daniels said that teachers are fighting these bills because we're trying to make 
more money.  That makes me sick.  How out of touch and ignorant can one be?  I, along with 
my colleagues in my district, voted for a pay freeze for the past two years and a huge cut in 
our benefits.  Am I fired up?  You bet I am.  Don't insult me.  
So, here I am.  I'm going to continue to climb the stairs, love my God with all my heart, 
ask Him to help me be a better neighbor, and give it my all every day.  Keep us in your 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Geez a Louise.

"When he falls, he will not be thrown down, because the Lord holds his hand."  -Pslam 37:24

This has been an insane week.  Nope, let me take that back; it's been an insane year.  As most of us experienced this week, the ice storm definitely dragged us on our butts.  Four days off from school, being home, one tv, making it work, finding constructive things to do, etc...  I'm thankful we only lost power for about an hour and a half on Tuesday night; it could have been so much worse.  And don't get me wrong, it's a blast to get a snow day off, but four days can be wearing.  The Craig Family made it work, though, as did all of us.  We got out of the house on both Thursday and Friday to hit the gym and see a movie.
Yesterday, our beloved dog, Charlie, had surgery on her eye and her stomach.  She's doing fine today, although she looks like she's been scrapping.  We're thankful that she's doing well and not picking at her stitches (this way she doesn't have to wear that stupid cone).
Alex started vomiting last night.  She fell asleep with her head on the toilet bowl around 9:30 last night and then curled in fetal position on the cold tile floor.  We've all had those yucky stomach flus.  I finally coaxed her into bed around 10:30 after she vomited again, and then she proceeded to puke all over two sets of sheets.  Steve, who I believe is much more domestic than I, finally comes upstairs around 12 am to suggest that she just sleep on towels rather than constantly changing the sheets.  I may be a mother, but my husband is much more efficient than me.  I'm thankful he's my other half.  Consequently, our little angel woke me up around 8am to whisper/breathe in my face with her nasty breath, "Mommy, can you make me breakfast?"  I don't know how kids bounce back so resiliently.  I, on the other hand, need a flipping nap.
It started snowing this morning on top of the 4 inches of ice.  Determined and just plain over it, I and the rest of Indianapolis was not going to let a little snow slow me down.  For some reason, I decided to use Steve's car to run and get Alex some 7up and some Super Bowl goodies for tomorrow.  As I'm perusing the aisles of my favorite place in the whole wide world, I get a phone call...Steve and Alex were in a car accident.  Thankfully, they were fine, but Alex was definitely shaken up, and my beloved mini van is now totaled.
Amidst all of this, I'm thankful for a few things:
1.  My neighbor and pal, Kim, passed by the accident.  She picked up Alex and took her to her house while Steve sorted things out at the scene.
2.  Everyone is ok, even the two kids who swerved into Steve's lane coming the opposite way.
3.  They were just feet from the bridge that crosses Geist.  Could you imagine if this happened on the bridge?
4.  It was my lovely mini van and not Steve's new car.
5.  As I dumped my filled up cart into the arms of the Target lady, she was so nice.  She "hoped that everything was ok."  No questions asked, no dirty looks.
6.  A super nice lady, whose kids also attend Heritage, pulled over and stayed with Steve and Alex until the police officer arrived.  She saw the whole thing and wanted to make sure she gave the officer her information as a witness.
7.  Alex yelled out, after they hit the tree, "Mommy's gonna kill us!" How hysterical is that???

I guess I find myself pleasantly surprised when I see kindness emerge from strangers, but I can't help and look at the whole crazy week and day and see that God's hands were there all the way to help us through.  This has definitely been our theme these past few months.  Although the craziness will crash down, His hand will be there, and for us, it was in the little things that I feel blessed to see.  But I know that it's not through my eyes that I'm able to do this, but through His.
Thank You, Lord, for being there.  Thank You for holding our hands and lifting us back up.  I just want to praise You through it all because I can't imagine what it would be like if I didn't have You.  Amen.