Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NAEYC 2016 Conference

I attended the NAEYC 2016 Conference this month,
and what an amazing experience it proved to be!
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

For those of you unable to attend the conference, here are some highlights as promised...

Sensory Explorations
Gelatin Wobble Blocks
Our brains are wired to sit still or pay attention
(not BOTH simultaneously)

Engage the senses... engage the child... engage the learning!

Raffle Winner... was me!
Paint created so that children with visual impairments
such as blindness and/or color blindness can distinguish
which color they are using based on texture of paint alone

Sew Me a Story

Simple sewing activities that connect to popular children's literature

Loose Parts

"Loose parts" provide children with open-ended play experiences
and encourages the development of their imaginations

The key to successful loose parts play is to...

Keep it minimally structured
and use what you have in your classroom

Keep it outdoor rich
and use what you find in nature

Loose parts
promote receptive and expressive language
and increase vocabulary

so remember to always connect it back to popular children's literature...

See a theme here?

Other sessions I attended:

Boundless Play
Literature and Mathematical Problem Solving
Actualizing an Anti-Bias Approach
Make Room for Boys
The Lens of Documentation
Writing for Meaning Instead of Meaningless Writing

and a "jam session" with Eric Litwin
(author of the original Pete the Cat series)

And did I mention? The food was also amazing!

Next year's conference... Atlanta, GA!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Peaceful Surrender

Do you want to be "right"?


Do you want to be happy?

Because quite often
those are two very different things

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Lesson in Thanksgiving

These are my students...

or my teachers
(depending on how you look at it)

because the truth of the matter is

I have probably learned just as much from these children
as they have learned from me

In fact, a few years ago I began documenting the lessons and turned them into a book

and in


a new part of me has been awakened 

as I realize that God has been very patient with me


the truth of the matter is that most often when I look up to glean one of God's lessons
I find that it is one of these children He is using!

some of my favorites include...

And then there was that night the kids had their cousins over for a sleepover at our house

and as we prepared for bed
and said our prayers

I learned another lesson as

The little ones began to give thanks...

first for their parents
then their older cousins

and then for me

"Thank you for Tondra"

and Tondra's home
and Tondra's birthday
and Tondra's cake
and Tondra's candles
and Tondra's gifts...

(and although they were only 2 and 4 at the time)

It made me wonder if I'd ever given thanks for my gifts? 
My talents? 

Have I ever given thanks for the things that make me...

uniquely me?

The things that make me...

or embarrassed at times?

Have I ever given thanks for...

my candles?
my cake?
my birthday?
my home?

Have I ever just given thanks for me? 

I mean just me?  Without adding anything extra at the end?

and the thought of that seemed a bit cavalier at first,
but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made

Because after all, without me, I couldn't enjoy Him!

(which thought had never occurred to me until the teachers arrived
and offered this lesson in thanksgiving)

So, Thank you Lord...

for my family and friends
my church
my Pastor
my home
your love
your Spirit
your sacrifice
my song
and every gift

Oh, and Lord...

"Thank you for me"

(original post 11/13/12)

Click here to read... The First Lesson of the New Year

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Enjoy and Just Be

I've run out of words for this week

and since I only have five minutes
I've decided to just let my photos do the talking instead

Because if I've learned nothing else this year,

I've learned how to...

"Enjoy and Just Be"

Find more words here...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Crunching Leaves (My Thanksgiving Repost)

We held hands
shared apple pie
and crunched leaves in the hospital courtyard

I believe that it was his way of letting me know it was ok


keep moving
keep living
keep enjoying the moments of life

even though we had to leave her there... again

Doctors were giving up
but 31 32 33 34 years later, and yet she lives

She lives
I live
we live...

all because He lives

This time of year always reminds me that just like those leaves
we are still here for

a reason...
a season...

And as they start 

turning beautiful colors
falling off of trees
and blowing in the wind

they float to a soft landing where they wait for

that final crunch
that final "surrender"
that final "thank you"

Life is like that...

we grow
we mature
we change

and just as we are starting to get the hang of it
it is time for us to let go and sail away with the wind

That's what life and crunching leaves is all about...

understanding and acknowledging

the surrender
the process of dying out to bad habits and old ideas
the letting go of one's self and becoming selfless...

in preparation for that final crunch

We are always reminded of that during this time of year

And as life keeps changing

leaves keep


I am reminded that I am still here for a reason, a season

and so as they surrender,
so do I


I am grateful for...

another day
another chance
another opportunity to

hold hands
share apple pie
and crunch leaves

I'm So Thankful

 (originally posted on 11/15/13)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Facing A Mountain... Where Do You Stand?

The sun was shining brightly and I could see the face of the mountain

I had passed that way many times before,
but never recall seeing it quite like that

and I wondered...
then I realized...


every object has

a face
a shadow
a silhouette

same object
different view

But each of these views have at least one thing in common...

the sun is shining!


a face
is seen when we are facing an object and the sun is behind us

a shadow
is cast when both the object and the sun are behind us

a silhouette
is when the sun is behind the object that we are facing

and since life presents so many unwanted


we must remember that

what we see
how we see

the mountain
the obstacle
the situation

we are facing

depends not only on...

our position
(as it relates to the object)

but more importantly...

our position
(as it relates to the sun/the Son)

because with each view we can still clearly see that

the Son is shining!