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Ornaments

I walked out of the office and remembered I had not yet selected ornaments from the Advent Giving Trees.  As I walked around the trees with their tags identifying Christmas wishes for boys and girls, and moms and dads, I carefully selected two that I thought my girls might enjoy purchasing.  It was hard to select only two with so many items to choose from, but I did.  Then I walked around the trees one last time and a third ornament caught my eye. It was shaped like an angel ... Read More »

The Tree in My Backyard

There is a tree in our backyard. Under the tree is a large mulched area where my kids play. This mulched area includes a swing set and a small plastic log cabin. There is also a row of large pavers running through the mulch, providing a trail for my kids. My kids play under this tree for hours each day. The branches and leaves on the tree hang low enough that when they are playing under the tree, I’m sure they feel like they are in their own little hideout, ... Read More »

How to be a Good Parent

It occurred to me the other day, “Do my kids have any idea how clueless I feel in my role as their parent?” I mean, I pretty much have the basics down in terms of keeping them fed, clothed and bathed (well, pretty much we do have our days), but there is so much more to parenting than just Maslow’s lowest physiological level of needs. Do my kids know that their father and I are basically just making this stuff up as we go along? Do they realize that when ... Read More »

Noticing the Gold

“The people who live in a golden age usually go around complaining how yellow everything looks.” – poet Randall Jarrell Working as a nanny over the past year, I have heard the 13-year-old and seven-year-old who I watch say some crazy things. Just the other day, the 13-year-old and her friend were discussing Instagram on our drive to cheer practice. “Ugh, the most likes I’ve even gotten for a post is 80. That’s so sad.” “Oh yeah. The most I’ve gotten is like 165.” “How many do my posts have?!” ... Read More »

Confessions From a Former Bully

My son starts first grade this week; he is excited. He has about 1,000 friends, and I’m not a very good social coordinator so school is really his best chance to socialize and be with everyone. Much to the dismay of his teachers, no matter who you put my son next to in class, he will find a way to strike up a conversation with this person. He loves to talk, and he loves people, so everyone is his friend. Everyone has a chance with him. I love this about ... Read More »

Twenty-Six Names

I graduated from Virginia Tech on May 18, and moved to Jacksonville, Florida three weeks later to start my contract with Teach for America, a program that enlists professionals to teach for at least two years in low-income communities throughout the U.S. in an effort to eliminate educational inequity. I have never been to Florida and do not know anyone who lives there. I have never had a full time job and have never taught independently. I was anxious, but collaborating with people who were as passionate about education as ... Read More »

Camp Hutchison: A Game Changer

Camp Hutchison is a game changer. As Jake McGlothin, Floris UMC’s director of serve ministries, has taught us this summer, game changers are the moments in our lives that radically shift our perspectives and the way we live. Camp Hutchison changes the hearts and lives of every person involved; students, volunteers, interns and planning team. It is a local mission experience. The program requires upwards of 100+ volunteers to run smoothly, months of meticulous planning, a partnership with Hutchison Elementary School and total reliance on the Hutchison office, janitorial, and ... Read More »

Teaching at Camp Hutchison

I couldn’t shake the butterflies in my stomach the evening before my first day of teaching 1st grade math for Camp Hutchison. I was so excited and nervous, which is only funny because I’d taught little ones before, but it had been awhile since I’d been in a classroom and all the insecurities that come with teaching, i.e., Will I be able to help? Will the kiddos have fun? Will I say the right things?, came flooding back to me. We, the instructional staff, interns and Jake McGlothin, the Director of ... Read More »

Amazing Kids at Camp Hutchison

This is my first time volunteering at Camp Hutchison and it has been an incredible experience. We are in our second week of camp and we’re having tons of fun. I am a counselor in charge of a group of 7 first graders called the Squirrels. On the first day of camp, the kids were very shy and hesitant to participate in activities and discussions. Now, these kids are extremely energetic, to say the least, but very eager to learn. It has been really fun getting to know each of them ... Read More »

Today I Saw God

When was the last time you saw God? I’m not talking about burning-bush-type-God sightings; I’m talking about those moments in life that cause you to pause and take a second breath because they are so beautiful that you cannot help but think that God is behind them. I see God the most in my kids. When I’ve got them lying on their backs, feet up in the air, laughing so hard as I tickle their bellies. With smiles so big and laughter so loud that I look into their faces ... Read More »

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