Monday, November 22, 2010


Some of the things that my students have to deal with break my heart.  I have a few times each year when I hear about something going on with one of the students that makes me feel sorry for them, but the two stories I heard today really did break my heart.

The first is a student who had dropped out for a year and then decided to come back to finish high school.  He's eighteen, lives on his own, and is having the week from hell.  He's having some fairly major health issues, but he doesn't have insurance so he can't afford to go anywhere to get checked out.  He doesn't have enough money to pay for his heat so he doesn't have it on.  And his cat died.  He came in today and sat down with three separate staff members to talk about what's going on with him.  This is a kid who is really independent and doesn't show his emotions, but he was literally holding back tears during one of my classes today.  I asked what I could do to help and he said "There's nothing anyone can do.  I have to take care of this."  And then he looked at me with such a sad expression in his eyes and said, "But thanks for asking."  I haven't been able to get the look of sadness and desperation that he gave me out of my mind.  I've been thinking and praying about him and his situation all night.  If you could pray for him as well I'd really appreciate it.

The second is a student who is a fifth year senior.  He has one more class to finish before he graduates, which he's been working on in an independent study with me because he's working full time to support the child that he has with his fiance, who graduated last year.  Today I found out that his fiance has been cheating on him for several months.  She told him about it and then moved out taking their child with her.  He called one of the staff members and cried on the phone while he told him about the situation.

It's students like these, who are working their hardest to graduate and still seem to be struggling at every turn, that break my heart.  I can't fix the things they have to deal with.  The only thing I can do is offer them my support and encouragement and let them know that they are not alone, but that they have a school full of staff and students who care about them and want what's best for them.  This is why I teach at Options because I know that the people there care about each other and because I know that I'm making a difference in these students' lives, no matter how small that difference may seem sometimes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Well not quite yet, but it's getting closer.  And because of that, I've been thinking about the anticipation of Christmas.  I think it's important to remember that Thanksgiving is an important holiday that should not be overlooked in anticipation of Christmas.

We actually had a rule in our family growing up that we weren't allowed to play Christmas music before Thanksgiving because we would play it all year long.  (My dad's the one that made the rule.  He likes Christmas as much as the rest of us, but apparently only after Thanksgiving.)  I do break the rule sometimes, but usually only by a week or so.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas.  It's my favorite holiday and my favorite time of year.  (And not just because I get a break from school!)  The past few years I've been making more of an effort to establish traditions to go with Thanksgiving as well as Christmas, because that's one of my favorite things about the holidays.  So this year for Thanksgiving we will be:

Image from here.
  • Participating in the Drumstick Dash, which we've done two other times.  It's a 5K that takes place in Broad Ripple and supports Wheeler Mission.
  • Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • Eating turkey, stuffing, and all of the other fabulous foods you only get on Thanksgiving.  Unless you're my sister and I who insist on trying to have a turkey and stuffing for every possible holiday...

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints' Day

I have always loved the idea of the "cloud of witnesses" that have come before us as Christians.  It comes from Hebrews 12:1, which reads "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  I love the idea of being surrounded by the people that we have loved and lost.  It makes me feel that they have not just gone before me, but that they are always with me.  I think I first became aware of the phrase "cloud of witnesses" when I heard the Mark Schultz song with the same name, so I always think of it when I hear the phrase.

So on All Saints' Day, I remember all of the witnesses that are surrounding me with their love even though they are no longer with me.

Just for the record

We had 55 trick or treaters.  The cutest had to be the toddler from next door who was dressed as a cow.  So cute!