Well folks, life is pretty challenging. Like I've said in other posts, life is still not quite the way I'd like it to be. I better get used to it, huh?! I'm having my perceptions of things challenged and molded, while still receiving just incredible blessings. I'm sharing all of these, not to say "look at me," but rather to say, "look at what God is doing for me." There is a HUGE difference. I'm also sharing because I hope they help you with your faith, and in all honesty, sharing them helps reinforce my own too.
As I was driving to the Wisconsin Math Conference, I listened to a Joel Olsteen sermon about peace, and letting go of my "gods" of problems and wanting to control too many things. When I get into certain moods, nothing is good enough and I want, want, want my way. It may not come across outwardly, but internally there is a huge struggle sometimes. Anybody else feel that way?!
Well, listening to that sermon helped tremendously as I let go of my emotional desires and some of the mind games I play with myself. I'm hoping these new habits help me see the world in a whole new, abundant and loving way. I'm praying for that and trusting God to help me with that. I'm hoping you are seeing abundance too.
Here are a few blessings to share:
1. I spent the afternoon with my sister, driving to Madison to see my god-daughter's art exhibit. What a great afternoon.
2. A former student, who now goes to UW-Madison, wrote to me and several other teachers, to thank us for guiding her and helping her be the successful woman she has become. Keep it up Taylor!
3. I got the chance to speak at the Wisconsin Math Conference on Thursday and had three really cool things happen. My talk went so-so, as the crowd was somewhat small, didn't ask a lot of questions and my delivery didn't match my standards. I wasn't totally "on," and thought the topic of boxes, and my enthusiasm would carry the day. Well, things could have gone better, but I did receive some feedback that will help me in the future (even that was a blessing).
a.) A few minutes before I spoke, a woman approached me to say she had been in my workshop last year, and went back to her school the following week to do "Boxes" with her sixth graders. She made a point to track me down and show me photos on her ipad! Now, THAT was cool and it's why I present. See the photo below.
b.) A man sitting in the back of my presentation raised his hand and said. "I may be sitting here with an odd look on my face, but it's because I am so impressed. I am not a teacher, but own a business, and with the amount of problem-solving your students are learning with this project, I would hire all of them for my company. I've been hiring adults who can't problem-solve like they are doing." On his feedback form, he wrote, "There should be 100 people sitting in on this workshop!" Thank you, sir.
c.) Before leaving the conference area, I walked to the lake to sit and reflect for a few minutes. As I was sitting there, six women were sitting at a picnic table about fifty feet away. All of a sudden I heard the words "Peter" and "Jennings," so of course my ears perked up and I turned to see what else they were saying. I couldn't quite tell, so I turned toward the lake, very curious, wondering if maybe one of them had been in my workshop and had seen this website. Ever been in a situation where you want to do something kind of odd, or out of your comfort zone? That's where I was as I sat on the park bench, going back and forth in my mind about whether I should go interrupt them to find out what they were talking about. Finally, I said, "screw it, I'm going over there." I asked to talk to them all and they were very courteous about it. I asked, "Did you guys just say Peter and Jennings about five minutes ago?" They had, and I explained my name and how funny it was to hear. We all had a good laugh and talked for just a bit. I also gave each of them my card, so maybe some of them will even read this posting. It was all very fun! But if I wouldn't have approached them, I would have missed this fun, short-lived interaction.
4. When I got back to my school yesterday afternoon about 4:30, I went to my classroom to see how things looked and get ready for the upcoming spring concert. The photo below shows what I saw when I opened my classroom door. That young man got a big hug when I saw him at the concert, and when I see his parents, I'll express to them just how special that was. Thank you!
All of these are in addition to the messages and gifts I received as part of Teacher Appreciation Week. I'm very grateful. Each day these blessings, and even challenges, are transforming my faith and perspective on life. I hope they help you too.