fortygirl

FortyGirl…that’s me! This blog is about a Christian wife, mother and educator who is working on being a better person. This is my very own personal self-improvement journey! I will share my successes, situations (so much better than saying challenges), and any other funny or serious issues that will come up along the way. I am an educator who absolutely believes we MUST be life-long learners…that is what keeps us young! So, the journey begins…here we go….

Patriotism…My Thoughts

Where do I start? I was born on an Air Force base, and was reared proudly as an Air Force Brat. I guess you could say my patriotism was instilled in me at birth. I have great respect for our country, our flag, our freedoms, in other words, all things patriotic. I am proud to be an American! What does that mean exactly?

What is scary is that there seems to be quite a bit of complacency in our country, especially among our youth. We seem to be used to the freedoms that we have, that we have just come to expect that they will never be taken away. Well, turn on the television, radio, open the newspaper, check-out Twitter, the Internet or any social media forum and you will see what is going on in the world today. Frankly, it is downright scary! Now, I do not want to live my life in fear, or teach my son to live his life in fear, but I do believe we cannot live with blinders on, refusing to take a look at what is going on around the world.

That being said, let’s come back to patriotism. I am amazed at the different events I have gone to and people don’t quit talking, texting, simply remain silent during our National Anthem.  What about voting? Voter turnout is not what it used to be, yes, they, whoever they really is, say it has improved somewhat, but let’s face it…we need more than somewhat. We are a democracy, and we must get involved, vote, let our voice be heard on all issues American. I have told people over and over again who gripe about a political figure or any issue that was voted on, if you did not vote you do not have a right to gripe.

Our country is under attack, and we are too busy battling with each other in our own country to realize that is exactly what the enemy attacking our country wants us to do…fight with each other, continue to spiral under substance abuse, family breakdowns, reality television, basically, stay absorbed with ourselves. That way we are too busy to see what is going on around us.

I truly believe that patriotism is heartfelt. It is about believing in your country, fighting for your country, and not necessarily in the Armed Forces, but that is certainly patriotism. How about supporting our veterans and their families, making responsible decisions, maintaining strong family values, supporting a strong education system, showing respect to the symbols of our country, and the list goes on and on.

I appreciate all of the organizations out to help our veterans and their families. It is wonderful that we have such organizations; however, why are they even needed? Our veterans should be taken care of if they have served during wartime, in a war zone. If those men and women are injured they should not have to worry about how they are going to be taken care of. They deserve the absolute best care. The same kind of care our congress members receive and expect!

Patriotism can be demonstrated by flying a flag in your yard, wearing a patriotic t-shirt, but it takes more than that. Patriotism is a belief and behavior exhibited. Our Founding Fathers were flawed as people, who isn’t? But they were strong, and had a clear vision as to what our country, and those that call our country home, should be and the behaviors expected. Yes, our world has changed since their time, and I would say in so many ways for the better; however, the principles remain the same. It is because of those principles our country is still the best country in the world!  If you truly believe that, like I do, then make sure to show your respect to our country, for our country, and all that entails. Make sure to take the blinders off, and look around, not everyone wants us to remain the greatest country…we can not remain complacent anymore.

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Is There a Test for That?

Education is about the whole child, and testing should be more than to evaluate a teacher. If we test we should be obtaining accurate information that truly has an impact on what we teach, not just because we want something to tie to teacher evaluations.

Help4Teacher

I love being an educator! There is no other job quite as important as being an educator. It is our responsibility as educators to educate our students to be thinkers in a globalized world. Now that is a tough job to tackle! We have new standards…Common Core, and quite frankly I am thrilled to have standards that are common around the country. As a mobile student growing up, I have gaps in my education because the standards were not common from state to state. Now, onto testing…we know we need standardized testing, and let’s face it we have always had standardized testing. A lot of great information can come from reviewing testing data, and great teachers analyze their data and make decisions about their teaching based upon their findings.

Accountability is needed. We need to know if teachers are performing adequately in the classroom. We need to know if a…

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Angels Among Us

Goodness! It has been a long time since I have written as FortyGirl. Well, with the new year I have done some reflecting…as I am sure you have been as well. It is funny how a change of the year can cause deep reflection, and at the same time motivates us to set goals.

Well, my new year started out in a way that has given me an even deeper perspective and cause for reflection, even a change of attitude. My goal this year is to look at humanity through a more positive lens. Now, I know this won’t be easy, simply because as humans we tend to focus on the negative…just watch the news. However, after my New Years Eve and New Year’s Day, I think seeing the positive just may be a lot easier. By now, you are probably wondering…what happened? Well, here we go…

On New Year’s Eve we always get together with my mom and dad. My husband, son, myself and my parents usually start the evening with dinner, then we like to go listen to the music at a local town square. The town square we visit is located in a rather large retirement community known as The Villages. No, my husband and I are not retired, but the nice thing about The Villages is the music is nice and the atmosphere is a friendly environment in which we feel comfortable taking our son. Probably more information than you needed about our choice of location, but anyway…

As we were walking up to the square, my son was being a typical 6 year old…bobbing and weaving while walking down the sidewalk, as he was very excited about New Year’s Eve. My dad and mom were walking behind him. My dad tripped on my son’s foot and began to fall, and fall he did. Now, I have not ever seen my dad look vulnerable…not ever. But when he fell, he fell on his face. His face was covered in blood. At this point, we had no idea how bad he was injured. Here is where I know there are angels among us…two complete strangers fell to their knees, one on each side, and began to comfort my dad…and us. As my husband called for an ambulance, they made sure my dad stayed awake, they continued to talk with him, held his hands, etc. These two individuals, who were out to enjoy New Year’s Eve, took care of a complete stranger and his family. They were amazing. I only know the name of one of the individuals, a wonderful man named Jerry, and the other individual was a fabulous lady who is a retired PE teacher from Wisconsin. I do not know her name but I am forever grateful to both individuals. They stayed with us until my dad was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital. They are truly angels! As we arrived at the hospital, we did not know what to expect. I am happy to say…my dad does not have any broken bones, no concussions…simply some bad abrasions and a sprained wrist…Thank God!

That was my New Year’s Eve, now for my New Year’s Day…as I am shopping for items for a bridal shower I am throwing in February, I apparently left my wallet sitting on a counter in the store. I realized I had lost my wallet at another store during check-out. I hit the panic button! As I went back through my steps, I contacted the previous store, and someone, another angel, had turned in my wallet-all contents in tact! I am so thankful to that unknown person as well.

So, in less than 24 hours I was touched by the work of angels. Now, believe me or not..your choice, but as a Christian I have always known there are angels, but I can honestly say I have witnessed the work of angels, and have experienced their works first hand. Who knows…You just may be someone’s angel. You may have had an impact on someone who has moved you into the angel ranks….God always has a plan! Many times we do not have any idea what is plan is, but know this…there ARE angels among us! Thank God for that!

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Love it or Leave it

Love it or Leave it.

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Saying Good-bye is never easy to do…

Monday was one of the hardest days of my life. It was one of the hardest days for our family. We had to say good-bye to our family member and companion of 13 years, Cookie. She was 15 years old. My husband and I adopted Cookie when she was two years old. She has been a part of our family ever since. She was a sheltie mix, and she was wonderful. Believe it or not, she even smiled, yes, smiled. She would raise her gums and show us her teeth when she was excited about something. She was our “baby girl”. We added a male sheltie, Max, to our family 3 years later and then our son, Alexander, was born 3 years after that.

Cookie was a part of our family through many changes, and she was loyal and loving. We have had the hardest time getting through this week without her.  We knew the time was drawing near, as her age began to be more and more obvious. She was sleeping more, and just showing signs of aging. On Monday, we knew we needed to take her to the veterinarian to have her checked and as I sat in the waiting room with her head on my lap, crying, I just knew. I cried the entire time as we waited. As the vet checked her out and then told us that he believed she had cancer and it was “time”…I can simply say I, we, were devastated. 

We knew that letting her go was the right thing to do. We did not want to see her suffer, but letting her go was also the hardest thing to do. Coming home to her bed, toys, and of course, Max our other dog, who is still trying to figure our where she is…we were, and are, completely heartbroken.

Our son has drawn pictures, and says “Cookie is peeing on pansies in Heaven”, something his grandparents told him, and a phrase that did bring a smile to our faces through the tears. As a Christian, I believe in a loving and gracious God, and I know that I will see our Cookie again someday. In the meantime, I will remember the precious times with our “baby girl”. So many people have told us what a good life we gave her, but the fact of the matter is she made our lives better.  She made us better people. 

Our Max is now getting all of the attention and is not quite sure how to take that, but is enjoying it all the same. He brings a smile to our face each and everyday as well, and we are thankful for him. Our son, Alexander, told me just a day ago that he misses Cookie, and my only response was “me too”. 

Pets bring so much joy to our lives, in our case our dogs, and saying good-bye has been one of hardest things we have ever had to do. I just want the hole inside of me to close, and I know it will get smaller as time passes. In the meantime, I just cry when it hits me and miss her and remember her.

We love you, Cookie…so very much…we are heartbroken without you.

We said good-bye on July 28th.image

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A favorite quote…

A favorite quote….

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A favorite quote…

“Before you judge me, make sure you are perfect”…oh, I just love this quote. It is so simple and if we all followed by its words the world would be a better place…don’t you think? Simple words, and yet very hard to follow. If you really think about it, as humans we are so quick to make a judgment on very little information, or by how someone or something looks. So, my personal challenge is to remember this very quote when I feel the urge to make a judgment call. Are you up to the challenge?

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Freedom means to me…

As the Fourth of July quickly approaches I begin to reflect on what freedom really means…As a Christian it means I have the ability and power to worship openly without concern of being persecuted. I had the ability to pick the career that I wanted, to decide who I wanted to marry, and I am free to have an opinion and express it, and the list goes on and on.
That being said, I also know what freedom is not…freedom is not being inconsiderate to those around you, being able to say whatever you want without consequence, and expecting everyone to have the same opinion as you. Unfortunately, many people feel that playing their music so loud it disrupts everyone around them is their right. There are those that think being disrespectful to the folks in a movie theater, who are simply trying to watch a movie in quiet, is their right as well, and let us not forget the person who carries on a phone conversation in a public place with no concern for anyone around. Let’s be clear those are not freedoms.
Freedom means respecting one another, valuing varying opinions, appreciating differences, and remembering that we have the right to choose. We live in the most amazing country. Yes, we have issues and challenges as a country, but that just means that we must each play our part in protecting the freedoms that our country was founded on. So, take a moment and reflect on what freedom means to you, and when you see a veteran or a soldier tell them “thank you” for protecting those freedoms that you reflected on. Happy Fourth of July!

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The Impact we make.

The Impact we make..

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The Impact we make.

I read a quote today…”If your presence doesn’t make an impact, then your absence won’t make a difference”. I thought about that quote and then really thought about it. How powerful is that statement?  As a wife, mother and educator that statement is very profound….It is so important for us to make an impact on the people we come in contact with, and more specifically a POSITIVE one.   As a Christian, I want people to “see” that I am Christian by my actions. I know I fall short every single day, but the goal is to try, try again. Over the past couple of days, I have tried to pay compliments to people from telling one woman, ” I really like your dress”, to a man in the elevator,”don’t take this the wrong way, but you smell very good”. They were genuine compliments, genuine be the key word. Her dress really was beautiful…kind of a peacock print, and he really did smell great. 

I know these examples are simple and not real high on the profound list, but I think it is the simple acts and interactions that make a difference. 

As an educator, I must make a positive impact on my students. I am a school Principal and every single student that walks through the doors of my school deserve to be impacted in ways that make them feel valued, respected, important, and the list goes on and on. Schools should be safe havens for all children…places where they are going to be met with success because the adults in the building are willing to do anything to make sure they are successful…to make an impact. I don’t think educators are aware of the power they have, how they affect the students they come in contact with, but we cannot forget. I can only remember two educators that had a positive impact on my life, truly a positive impact. Now, that is sad. What is even more sad is I have heard that story more often than not. So…my goal and purpose is to make an impact on people’s lives as much as possible, and to make sure that the students I encounter every day feel valued.  I want to make a positive impact on my family, my school, the world. 

How about you? What impact are you making? Are you going to make?

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