Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday's Letters [08.31]

Happy Friday, folks!


Dear first week of school, You have been exhausting, but fulfilling. I am so excited to see what this school year and the students will bring!

Dear NC State, Tonight is the night. The big game all of us fans have been waiting eight months for. Please do not disappoint! The hubby and I are sad to miss seeing the game live, but there is no way we would make it to Atlanta in time for kick-off. We'll be cheering y'all on from the comfort of our couch. GO PACK!

Dear readers, I apologize for my horrible attention to this blog this past week. Things have been absolutely cray-cray in the Mobley house. I promise to do a much better job starting now! Oh, and be on the lookout for a giveaway coming soon:-)

Dear family and friends, Thank you so much for all the birthday love! It's hard to stop smiling when every time I turn around someone else is wishing me a happy birthday. Talked about being blessed! Thank you again for all the love.

Dear fall, Okay, I'm ready for you now. I fought long and hard to keep summer around but with the start of school I realized it was a lost cause. Bring on the cooler temps and pumpkin-flavored everything!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back To School. . .

Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school.
-Billy Madison

Back to school time, folks! I apologize now as my posts will likely be few and far between for the next week as I adjust to the school schedule again. Best of luck to all my fellow teachers on their first few days back and all the parents as they said their kiddos off!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Zucchini Spice Bread

I was very excited a few weeks ago when we had the opportunity to knock something off of my 30 Before 30 List by visiting the local farmer's market and creating a meal from our purchases. One of the items we picked up was zucchini. We'd eaten it a million different ways a million different times, but had never before tried it as a bread. Cue the need for a sweeter item to round out our menu. Here is the recipe I tried and tailored. It tasted especially yummy warmed up with vanilla ice cream. Mm mm mm!

1/2  cup  applesauce
1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1  teaspoon cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon ground ginger
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
1/4  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
1/2  cup  light brown sugar
1/4  cup  granulated sugar
2 eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 1 medium)

Heat oven to 350.
Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 in loaf pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, light brown and granulated sugars, eggs, and vanilla.
 Mix in the zucchini.
Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined (be careful not to over mix).
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday's Letters [08.24]

Happy Friday, folks!


Dear First Day, You are a mere 72 hours away-eek! Please be kind to me and my out-of-it body. It's going to take some time for me to get back in the swing of things and I would really appreciate it if you could ease that transition.

Dear Real Marriage, I am so grateful for the eye-opening conversations you are prompting within our marriage. Even though we've only been married two years, it is still crazy to see how much we've grown. Thank you for continuing to challenge us for growth.

Dear Daisy, My deepest apologies for the jolt to your spoiled schedule. I know hanging out in your two bedroom condo (aka, the crate) is not the most exciting thing in the world, but if you can figure out a way not to destroy every pillow we own maybe you can stay out. Just think, all this extra time to sleep allows for lots more stellar puppy dreams!

Dear readers, Thank you so much for your support of yesterday's post. It was not easy to write, but the overwhelming love and kindness you showed me made it worth it:-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Story From the Heart

This post has been on my heart for a very long time, but is not something I felt quite ready to write. It took some time to get here, but with the recent relapse of my minimal change disease and the steps we are taking I thought it was time to start talking.

I had an eating disorder in high school.

Nothing was ever officially diagnosed, but when one 5'8 tall girl drops to 110 and looks a bit like a skeletor you can figure it out. It didn't come on overnight and I didn't just one day decide never to eat again. It was a gradual transition. Let me back up.

My high school years were tumultuous to say the least. I think many of us can look back on high school and say the same. I don't feel like I deserve a parade of sympathy for it. What made my years a little different were the craziness of my sister's diagnosis of liver failure (don't ask me the fancy name, I can never remember it) and the chaos that ensued. Poor Manda spent a lot of this time in and out of hospitals. From tests and procedures to new medications, she became a bit of a lab rat. It wasn't until they were able to finally pinpoint some things and get her to a doctor in Cincinnati, OH that things started to get better. Praise God. So, she and The Momma started hitting the road to Cincinnati on a fairly regular basis while the other four Wardlets stayed home with the Pops.

As the oldest a lot of stuff fell to me. I really didn't mind it. I've also loved helping others and doing what I can when I can. But the added responsibilities coupled with the stresses of high school, and more importantly the years to follow, threw my life in a bit of a tail-spin. Things started to get a bit out of control, and for this control freak that was too much. How did I cope? I began controlling the only thing I knew that I could my exercise and diet plan. 

I can't pinpoint the exact time but I want to say it was the summer before my junior year of high school that things started to get out of hand. I never starved myself, or even counted calories really, I just ate the minimal amount I could to keep my body going on the crazy exercise plans I was following. This continued for about two years. During this time Manda and Momma continued traveling back and forth to Cincinnati and Manda was put on the transplant list for a new liver.

I want to make it clear that I do not blame any one but myself for this. This was not my sister's fault for being sick, or my parent's or friends' faults for not "intervening" (I wouldn't have allowed them to any way). This was my dysfunctional way of trying to control a situation I could not. At this time my faith was all over the place. I still believed in God, but wasn't sure where He was in my life. What I should have done was trust Him to see us all through this period, but instead I tried to take things into my own hands. Another great example of my failure and His unending patience and grace with our faults.

What happened? Well, I went to college. I got any way from a lot of the stresses that I had failed miserably at controlling and was able to actually be a kid. I stopped trying to perfect everything I did and I stopped trying to manage every little component of my life. I started eating healthy portions (eating healthy food wasn't the problem) and stopped obsessing about working out. I stopped comparing myself to those around me and actually took a look at who I was. God also reintroduced himself to me in a big way. A little over a year after I entered college, Manda received a new liver.

So, what does all that have to do with my kidneys and now? Anyone who puts their body through the hell I put mine through is going to have some lasting effects. And while they tell me the minimal change disease isn't related, part of me worries that it is. Could I have prevented this by living a healthier life? Maybe, but what's done is done and worrying about it isn't going to solve any good. 

I'm going to see a nutritionist in a few weeks to talk about an eating plan that will keep my kidneys happy. It may not make a huge difference, but every little bit helps. This appointment is years overdue. David and I maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercising regularly, but not overboard. We try to eat as fresh as we can in healthy portion sizes. We do enjoy dessert every so often (have you seen my foodie page or pinterest boards?!) but we try not to overdue it. I'm excited to officially see what we can do to banish the eating disorder beast from our lives forever.

Sorry for the total brain/heart/word dump. I needed to get it out there. Thanks for reading:-)

Monday, August 20, 2012

30 Before 30: Farmer's Market Feast!

David and I have always preferred buying local to not. If it comes to going to the corner coffee shop or Starbucks, we choose our local place. When it comes to produce, we always try and buy what we can from the farmer's in our area. About a year ago we started getting a box of fresh produce from a local farm. Each week we stop by and they give us a great selection of what's in season. So when I created my 30 Before 30 List I knew I wanted one of the items to reflect this passion of ours. So I chose to attend a local farmer's market and create a meal from the things we pick out. All that happened this past weekend!

We headed over to the local market armed with cash and a cooler for our goodies (we were running errands afterwards). Neither of us were in the mood for anything in particular for supper, it was only 9:30am after all and we had just gorged ourselves on breakfast. So we started perusing to see if anything caught our eyes. After a loop around (we wanted to get an idea of what was out there) we ended up with the following items:

spaghetti squash
sweet potatoes
green beans

There were lots of other items to choose from, but since our weekly CSA box included a bunch of items this week I knew we didn't want to go overboard. Anywho, what in heaven's name could we make with the above items?? We decide on eggplant parmesan with spaghetti squash and sauteed mushrooms with a bonus dessert of zucchini bread! I don't have the recipes organized quite yet but will be sharing them all in the coming weeks. Until then just know that our supper was absolutely awesome made even better by the fact that it was provided to us by the little old farmers behind all the stands.

What's your favorite thing to get at a local market??

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Happy Birthday House!

It has officially been one year since we closed on our house, and my has time flown. A year in the apartment and I was chomping at the bit to get out. A year in the house and I feel like we are still settling in. It is definitely home to us, but parts of it are still new. There is a great balance that was never there in the apartment. It may have something to do with the fact that it is ours to play with, or maybe it's the fact that we now have a place to invite others. Whatever the reason, we are very thankful. So today we will be celebrating by lounging around and preparing for the many years we have to continue to make this house home.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
-Joshua 24:15

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Broccoli Salad

What's a girl to do with a whole bunch of frozen vegetables but not much else? Scan the pantry for extra ingredients and mix it all together is what! I had been wanting to try a broccoli salad recipe for a while, but didn't have what all the others called for, so instead I just mixed and matched and came up with the recipe below. It got two thumbs up from the hubby and a request to be made again!

2 tablespoons honey  
3 tablespoons mayonnaise  
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt  
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar  
2 bags steam-in-bag broccoli (I used Steamfresh)  
1/2 cup raisins 
1/4 cup almonds, chopped 

  Place the honey, mayonnaise, salt, and vinegar in a large bowl and combine.
 Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to coat with dressing. 

Yep, that's it. It really was that easy.
Let me know what ya think:-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday's Letters [08.17]

It's another edition of Friday Letters with Adventures of Newlyweds!


Dear Harris Teeter manager, Thank you for sharing more couponing secrets from the other side.

Dear summer vacation, It was nice while it lasted. I'm sorry to see you go, but know that your return will be that much sweeter following your absence. Keep up the great work when it comes to relaxing people.

Dear crockpot, How could I have forgotten about all your magical qualities?? You have reintroduced a whole new level of quality to our week's meals. Be prepared to get kicked back into high gear when our schedules pick up in the coming weeks!

Dear robot checkers on websites, I promise I am not a robot so please let me buy my product or add my comment. It's not my fault you scramble things up so beyond anything readable that I cannot decipher your code.

Dear years of swim practice, I am pleased to report that the thousands of hours I spent in the pool as a kid were not a total waste. The other day that hubby and I went up to the pool to swim a few laps and it all came right on back to me. In fact I actually got a little nostalgic and maybe even missed the green hair and smell of chlorine constantly emanating from me. Maybe.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


refreshed: (v) Give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.

I feel very refreshed these days. Is it the extra 30 minutes of sleep I get each night? Is it the uninterrupted time with my love? Or is it the knowledge that I don't have to check off every item on my to-do list today because it can wait until tomorrow?

I don't know, but whatever the reason I am feeling refreshed.

I am very fortunate to have a career that allows me to "start over" on a regular basis. If things look rough for a few months, it's okay because if I wait a bit longer I will get a new batch of students and challenges to face. This is a double-edged sword, though. Sometimes you have such an amazing group of kiddos that you're convinced the next group won't be nearly as fun and you don't want to let them go. But of course we must. Is this how it feels to be a parent saying goodbye to stages as their kids reach new milestones? 

I love my job. I love the challenges it brings and the every day changes that no one could possibly predict. It's not always easy, but I really do enjoy it. It can be draining, though, and by June I am often counting the minutes until I have a bit of freedom. I think people in many careers face that feeling, I'm just lucky enough to get that bit of respite. I've now gotten the rest I needed and am feeling back up to par.

I am ready to conquer the new school year, the new kiddos, the new curriculum, and the new challenges. There is no doubt in my mind that it will take some adjusting, but I am confident that I can do it.

 I am refreshed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Bit of a Problem

My name is Lauren and I am addicted to ice cream. Whew, it feels good to let that one out. Y'all have probably figured out that I have a wee bit of a sweet tooth. I mean just take a gander at my foodie page, a good 50% of the list is comprised of sweet treats! If we want to get down to the root of it, the truth is I love ice cream and when I can't have ice cream I fill the void with other sweets. I told you it was a problem! I mean, look at our freezer:

 In my defense, our local Lowe's Foods was closing and was practically giving it all away. I couldn't just say no, I might hurt their feelings. As you can see there are no real favorites, we eat just about any flavor in this family. I do enjoy a good bowl of mint chocolate chip every now and then while the mister could kill a container of chocolate chip cookie dough in a sitting.

So, now you know my weakness. Want me to be your friend? Offer an ice cream date. Want me to commit a crime? Just place a big bowl of ice cream in my hands and I'll be willing to do anything. Pathetic? Yep. Am I ashamed? Nope.

Please tell me I'm not alone in my crazy. What's your favorite flavor?!?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monogram Mania

Like any other good Southern girl, I love anything and everything monogrammed. After all, I am the girl who had a "monograms and margaritas" wedding shower to celebrate my impending nuptials. What greater way to celebrate my new name than to plaster it over all sorts of new home goodies?! I've always said, "if it can fit a monogram, I will find a way to put one on there".  So when the fabulous ladies of Marley Lilly asked if I would review a few of their products, I jumped at the chance!

Never heard of Marley Lilly? Well, be prepared to fall in love! This brilliant company has taken some of our favorite things in life and made them that much better by providing them to us in fun colors with beautiful fonts. Their website is organized in such a way that you can find the perfect gift to shower a friend or family member in a matter of moments. The hardest part? Deciding what color to make the monogram. Are you interested in promoting your sorority, school, organization, or club? These stellar ladies also offer group packages to showcase your allegiances!

I was so excited to receive the following products and can't wait to use them out and about:

What better way to keep my favorite drink chilled?

I'll never have to worry about my sunglasses disappearing again!

Be sure to stop by their facebook and Twitter pages to let them know you love their products as much as I do. Also stop on by their blog, The Monogrammed Life, for fun ways mix and match their products!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cake Cookie Bars

What's one to do when they have a box of cake mix but want to do something different than a boring 'ol cake? Get creative that's what! This sweet treat is a compilation of a few recipes I stumbled upon and turned into my own. Let me know what you think!

1 box white cake mix
2 large eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 stick butter, cut into small pieces

Heat oven to 350. 
Grease a 13x9 baking dish.
 Beat cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl until blended.
Press 2/3 of the batter in pan.
Microwave condensed milk, chocolate and butter in a bowl for 1 minute. 
Stir until smooth. 
Pour mixture over crust. 
Top with teaspoonfuls of reserved cake mixture.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. 
Cool; cut into bars. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday's Letters [08.10]

It's a fantastical Friday to link up with Adventures of Newlyweds!


Dear coffee, What would I do without you? You are the boost that gets me going in the morning, and the little oompf I need again by afternoon. If it were not for your awesome sauceness I would probably only make sense 5% of the time. Thanks for all that you do and keep on rocking it.

Dear house fixer upper people, I totally get that y'all have a long list of places to visit and people to please, but a four hour window? Really? With the few precious days I have left before school kicks back into gear there are 34229843 things on my to-do list, all of which seem to need to happen away from the house. What are the chances y'all could coordinate and come on the same day? Or, even better, actually come at a reasonable time?

Dear Cori H., Congrats, you are the winner of a copy of Mission Possible! Be on the lookout for an email with shipping details:-)

Dear readers, Over a hundred followers?! Wow. I am honored that y'all care enough about my incessant rambling to want to read more. I am touched. Be on the lookout for another giveaway to recognize all of your awesomeness in the coming weeks!

Dear Davido, Thank you for not only understanding, but for also getting my crazy. I know I am not always the easiest person to live with, what with my need to always have ten projects going at once and my total inability to ever sit still. I really appreciate you and your way of reminding me to chillax.

Dear leopard shoes, How did I possibly forget your existence? You are super cute and comfy, a rarity in shoes. I apologize for my negligence. Get ready to rock this world.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday-Holy is the Lord

 Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
The earth is filled with His glory
-Chris Tomlin

Here are a few things I am thankful for today. . . 

early diagnosis
As much as the whole relapse thing stinks, I am grateful for the early diagnosis. When I remember how bad things were before, I am even more thankful for the early catch of it and aggressive treatment.

I am so grateful for the passion for Christ from those around us. David and I are blessed to know some awesome people whose hearts are in a stellar place. I am thankful for their passion, drive, and motivation to spread His word.

readily accessible healthcare
I often take for granted the fact that I can just call up the doctor and get an appointment, or at the very least some guidance with my issue. So many others don't have that. I am so thankful for the care I am fortunate enough to receive when I need it most.

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen allusions to a big presentation I had earlier this week. Not going to lie, I was absolutely terrified to present to a room of roughly 30 of my colleagues. I am pleased to report that not only did I survive, but people even told me I did well! Whew! I am very thankful for the open, gracious hearts of my peers:-)

I am super thankful for the patience of my husband. The steroids mess with my brain and make me very loopy to the point of you may have to tell me the same thing three times before I really get it. My husband has been so patient with me even though I keep making silly little (and super annoying!) mistakes when it comes to scheduling house fixes. I am one blessed lady.

summer storms
Does it get much better than a big blowout storm that brings 15 degree temperature drops? Nope. 
What are you thankful for this week??

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shabby Apple Love

I love just about any opportunity to put on a pretty dress and get all gussied up for a date night. Now, don't get me wrong, I love bumming it around the house in my "cozy clothes" just as much as the next person, but there is just something about getting dolled up and heading out. My new favorite place to find those "make me feel just lovely outfits"? Shabby Apple!

Dresses from Shabby Apple

Never heard of it? You are missing out, my dear! They have so many gorgeous outfits and options I literally don't know where to begin sharing. Everything from their classic dresses that make you feel like quite the lady:

found here

To their functional swimwear that won't keep you feeling self-conscious on the sand:

 found here

To their fitness gear that will give you just the boost of confidence you need to rock that run:

 found here

Are you in as much love as I am right now?! I hope so! Be sure to click the link in my sidebar for more gorgeous outfits and options!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sweet Tea Paperie Guest

Today you can find me over at Sweet Tea Paperie's precious blog posting about thank you notes and occasions to send them. Never been over there?! Well I highly suggest you pop on over and say hello to Amanda and check out all the fabulous things she has to offer in her shop!

Have a superb Tuesday:-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Unwelcome Return

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen this elusive tweet earlier this week:

You probably wondered what was going on. So did I. Before I fill y'all in on all the details I'm going to back it up a bit and go from the beginning of this chapter. . .

About two months I officially finished the round of prednisone (a steroid prescribed to regulate my kidney function) and was overjoyed at that. It meant more hair would stay on my head than on my brush. It meant the end of middle school breakouts. It meant my bones would be as brittle and could finally rebuild themselves. I was stoked and remained stoked for the next few weeks. I went to my general physician for blood work in between visits with my nephrologist and got the go ahead to proceed with life as normal.

This past Monday I visited the nephrologist and everything looked good. There was no visible swelling, my previous labs showed normal kidney function, and I was feeling great. She told me not to come back for 6 months and I practically danced out of the door with elation. On Wednesday I started noticing I was a little short of breath. Nothing major, but still annoying. I also noticed myself blacking out a bit when I stood up, but I figured it was the heat and I just needed to stand up slower. Then when David and I tried to go on a walk that evening, I made it to the end of the street before I thought I was going to pass out. It felt much like the times I actually did pass out when I was first diagnosed. I ran through the symptoms with The Momma (and my personal RN, everyone should have one;-) ) who suggested I take it easy and keep an eye on things. By Thursday morning the symptoms had worsened and *TMI ALERT* my urine looked like beer foam (lovely, right?), a key sign of minimal change disease. Oof.

I quickly called Momma and scheduled labs. Forty minutes, a lab stick, and a urine sample later we had our answer. My kidneys were excreting protein again. It was around a level 100 this time whereas last time when we caught it the level was upwards of 300. The good news is the protein levels in my blood were stable. It seems like we caught it before it could wreck havoc on my body and cause another 25lb weight gain-Thank God! The bad news is it was back.

The general physician contacted my nephrologist who called me with instructions for treatment. Apparently the chance of relapse is 50%. She was hoping I would be in the other 50% since I was young, healthy (at least I was prior to this mess), and had responded well to the steroids the first time around. Unfortunately I was part of the other 50% that seems to relapse. She placed me back on the prednisone with a starting dose of 60mg a day for four weeks with plans to reevaluate after that.

Blah. That's how I feel about this right now. I'm very grateful to have caught it early this time around, but super bummed it came back. While the prednisone helps my kidneys it wears on my body in so many other ways part of me wonders if it does more harm than good. I keep trying to remind myself of the good things that the steroids can bring like more energy and faster hair growth, and try to forget the bad.

If you're the praying type, we would really appreciate your prayers. What can you pray for? Prayers for continued healing, prayers to use this diagnosis as a tool of ministries by reaching other sick individuals, and prayers for patience with and trust in God's plan would all be greatly appreciated. I shall keep y'all posted as I learn more, but until then I'll be the girl eating pounds of bacon in between benching my triple my weight. A girl's gotta take advantage of things when she can;-)

(New to the blog and totally lost as to what I am talking about?? Here are a few posts to fill you in:  here, here, here, here, and here)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

An Unconventional Welcome

I had some time the other day and I was on the hunt for a new craft. Give me a few hours at home and a short to-do list and I'm bound to find some new way to occupy my time. With school quickly approaching and major sales on school supplies, I knew what I was in the market for, so when this little gem popped up on my radar I knew I wanted to give it a try!

Step One: Procur 60 or so pencils and a cork piece.
I found the pencils for .74 a 10-pack and the cork piece was .30 at IKEA!

 Step Two: Select four pencils and glue in a cross formation from the center of the cork circle.
I was able to do this easily with a hot glue gun though I'm sure a craft glue would work.

Step Three: Continue gluing the pencils any way your heart desires.
I attempted a pattern at the beginning, but as I added more pencils the pattern got more out of whack.

 Step Four: Attach hanger.
I used some old burlap from another craft, but you can use whatever you have around the house that would be sturdy enough to hold it.

 Step Five: Add note and hang!
This will be welcoming my new little babies in a few weeks!

It was super easy and a great way to get me back in the mood for school:-)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lemon, Thyme, & Garlic Drumsticks

How I never realized the deliciousness and super easy qualities of chicken drumsticks is beyond me. Up to this point we'd only been cooking with chicken breasts. Boy, were we missing out! Here is a yummy way to prepare chicken drumsticks in your very own kitchen with very few ingredients.

6 chicken drumsticks rinsed
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the first five ingredients in a large bowl or ziplock bag.
Mix well so that the chicken is thoroughly coated.  
 Cover/seal and refrigerate to marinate for 1-12 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  
Remove drumsticks from marinade bowl/bag and place in a greased baking dish
Season with salt and pepper.  
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the juices run clear.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday's Letters [08.03]

Happy Friday, folks! It's a superb day to link up with Adventures of Newlyweds.


Dear Olympic Athletes, Thank you for providing me with around-the-clock entertainment this past week, and coming week. Y'all are really rocking it, but China is rocking it a bit more. Any chance you could take them out? Sorry the competitive spirit in me just can't fathom losing. . .

Dear readers, Have you signed up for my giveaway yet??

Dear kidneys, What did I ever do to you?? It seems like as soon as I get a clean bill of health (this past Monday) you start acting up again (Wednesday). ARGH. Please, please, please start being awesome again and keep filtering the protein correctly. Please?

Dear tax-free weekend, My, oh, my you sure are tempting. Too bad I am WAY over my "fun money" budget. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mission Possible

A little over a month ago I was selected to read and offer opinions on the book, Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School. Since I am still new to my profession, I jumped on the opportunity to learn more about the phenomenon behind the Success Academy Charter Schools that are seeing such drastic results from a body of students that many have given up on.

Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia joined forces a few years ago to challenge the traditional way of thinking when it comes to schools. Since 2006, they have been working diligently to bring students of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds a fast-paced, rigorous education that leaves no “scholar” behind. Based on a lottery system, that thousands apply to for only hundreds of spots, students are chosen at random to attend a school that takes the focus off of them and puts it on the adults. “Huh? Why would you do that?”. My question exactly. It was after reading that I learned the belief behind the Success Academies is one that places teachers, principals, other school leaders, and even parents at the center. They hope that by equipping the adults in such a solid way, the children will reap the benefits.

I’m sure many of you are wondering why they would waste time training the adults when it is the students who are the ones we should be equipping for success. I was right there with you until I read this book. Think about it though, who was your child’s favorite teacher? The one who made learning exciting! Students love to soak up the lesson of one who is passionate about their craft. If a teacher has “checked out” then it can be guaranteed that the students are gone as well. A school with a stellar principal leading even more stellar teachers is a school that has success. Add supportive parents to the mix and you have a recipe for success. How do you make that happen?

Stagnation, being unable to accomplish one’s job at a high level, is one of the greatest sources of low teacher morale.  Why do you think this country treats teaching so differently than it does other professions?  

We need to support our teachers! I know this sounds redundant, especially coming from a teacher, but how else do you propose getting teachers excited about doing their jobs again. Let’s pretend you are a top-level businessperson who begins to lose support at work. Your clients send you hateful emails claiming that you are horrible at your job and your ideas are miserable. Ouch. Talk about a punch in the gut. Next you are told you need to work more for the aforementioned client, with no additional pay. This extra time will without a doubt take you away from time with your family and friends. Then, it gets worse when your workload triples as a big presentation, that you are expected to trump every other company in, nears. To top it off many around you don’t think your job is worthy of theirs. How can you be expected to do fantastic when all of these things are piled on you at once? That’s how many teachers feel. No wonder teacher morale is low in the United States!

So how do we fix it? Ah, the million dollar question. Many teachers are fighters who do not give up when the going gets tough. We should be thankful for that. I personally LOVE my job. I love the school I work in. I love the students I work with. I love the challenge behind it. I love that every day is different from the next. I love that look of joy on a child’s face when they finally “get it”. I love the emails of support from parents, bosses, coworkers, etc. I love that my field is constantly changing, therefore preventing the spaz in me from ever getting bored. What I don’t love is that many outside of my profession devalue the significance of what I, and many others, do.

I’m not here to whine for more money. I’m not here to force you to say, “ugh, another teacher complaining”. I’m not here looking for sympathy. I’m here asking you to support your teachers and the work they are doing in an often thankless job, something the Success Academies are doing in a big way.

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I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.