2013 Stats That Matter Most {to me}

Happy New Year, Friends!

As I write this, the Christmas tree is still fully decorated, and glowing brightly in the next room. I’m not quite ready to pack it all away just yet. The snow is falling quickly outside, making me feel cozy and content on my brown couch. These quiet moments make me feel as though I can slow down time, just a bit, before plunging ahead into a new year. I love the time between New Year’s and the start of school…a few days to savor the quiet and shift into forward motion.

It’s also the time of year when WordPress sends me a lovely, animated email to summarize my blogging statistics from the past year. It’s quite helpful, as it tells me which subjects that appeal to you, my dear readers, and how you find your way to my cozy little cyber-space. Finally, it allows me to celebrate the posts that resonated most, and consider topics for the coming year. Lots of bloggers like to share these kinds of stats as they transition to the year ahead.

I’m going to share statistics with you…but not those. Below are the 2013 statistics that matter most…to me

23 Years of Marriage to my very best friend, (and the most handsome, wise and kind gentleman I know!)
13tomkatie

19 Years with Annie, our college sophomore whose wisdom and intuition inspire me. She is going to be a great teacher.

annietom13

17 years with Bill, our high school junior, who  has displayed sound judgment and strong leadership (and has entertained us greatly, on stage and off…)

(photo cred: Lydea Swit)

(photo cred: Lydea Swit)

4 Days in New York City during the summer…making great memories, seeing two shows, touring museums, and eating HUGE portions of chocolate cake.
nycplane

5 States visited to teach church leaders about how to reach families affected by disabilities. (Furthest: NEBRASKA!!) As always, l learned more than I taught, and I met the most wonderful, funny, talented people…and laughed until my sides hurt.
accesscf13

1 publishing contract…which means 1 step closer to accomplishing a lifelong goal of writing a book. (Special thanks to my mom, who always believed I could do it, and to Mrs. Manley, my fourth grade teacher who gave me extra time for creative writing.)

bookcontract

3 generations in my living room during Thanksgiving break.
13thanksgivingpapagrammie

1 Completely Awesome Day when THIS happened…
13katierebeccaplane

12 years with Mitzie. Seriously. The best dog in the universe.
mitzietigerprep

1 Great God…from whom all blessings flow.

joytree

Wishing you JOY, my friends, and a new year FILLED with statistics worth remembering.

Love,

Katie

Keeping Peace on Earth: Coping with special needs this season

RadioToday, I’ll be spending time with my friend, Vangie Rodenbeck on the Shaping Special Hearts radio show. (noon EST) We’ll be talking about some solutions for managing the stress and unpredictability that often accompanies Christmastime. I hope it will be helpful!

I’ll be referencing some of the ideas that have been posted here in the past. I’ve compiled those below for your convenience…

Accommodating Special Needs
Prep for the Pageant
Dealing with Relatives and Visitors
Creating Hands-on Opportunities for Kids

Neighborhood Outreach: Birthday Party for Jesus
Invitations
Activities for the Party
Crafts
Stories, Service Projects, Sweets

Resources and Ideas
Sensory-Friendly Christmas Carol
“Why Do We Call It Christmas” DVD
Free Download: Holiday Treasure Hunt
Christmas M&M Story

Encouragement
Peace: Wholly Holy
Peace in the Ordinary Days
Great Gifts: He Was Here
Preparing our Hearts

Do you have a question, or an idea to share? Call in during the show: (424) 258-9286. We’d love to chat with you.
Katie

My Peanut Butter and Mustard Theory: Student-Teacher Relationships

Peanut Butter is great on a sandwich.

ifoodtv.com

ifoodtv.com

Mustard is also great on a sandwich.

pennlive.com

pennlive.com

But on the same sandwich?

vimeo.com

vimeo.com

Ick.

Not a good combination.

In my years as a teacher, consultant, and mother, I’ve discovered that teacher-student relationships are very much like sandwiches…

Sometimes, we have peanut butter and jelly years…The student’s personality fits well with the teacher’s temperament. They complement one another. The student thrives, and the teacher shines. Meaningful learning  takes place.

amazon.com

amazon.com

And sometimes, we have peanut butter and mustard years…The student and the teacher, both fine, worthy people, each with unique talents and interests, just don’t make a great pairing. Learning still happens, but it’s not as palatable or pleasant.

blog.smithsonianmag.com

blog.smithsonianmag.com

Those peanut butter and mustard years can be really hard…especially when some people you know are talking about how fabulous the teacher is, and what a great year their kids are having.

It’s also difficult when someone says, “OH…your child has Mrs. Jelly? That’s too bad. We had the WORST year with her…”

And then it’s a delightful surprise when Mrs. Jelly is just exactly what your little peanut needs…and you have a fabulous year.

Of course, there are those rare times when a combination can be toxic, and the sandwich needs to be quickly remade to prevent illness. Those times call for wisdom, discernment and proactive communication.

nydailynews.com

nydailynews.com

Usually, though, we can tolerate a peanut butter and mustard year, by focusing on what is good and fortifying, and just learning to swallow (or throw out) the rest.

It’s important to remember  that nothing is bad about either peanut butter OR mustard…It’s just that together, they’re  not a great combination. Peanut Butter and Mustard are both unique creations…valuable and versatile and worthy.

Wishing you lots of peanut butter and jelly years, along with the ability to swallow–and grow from–a bite of peanut butter and mustard now and then.

~Katie

emergencyfoodshelf.com

emergencyfoodshelf.com