You must think I’m being a total “fluff off” this quarter or something because I’ve now received a couple of posted inquiries and a few emails wondering how things are going this term; therefore, this update! (And if you ignore the time and the fact that I cannot sleep, you’ll believe all is going well!) Seriously, it is! I’m blessed beyond belief! (PIC: Break time with Christi's cats, Buckeye and Buttercup!)
While I took the “dissertation delay” from my committee back in September pretty hard, I’ve come to realize that was the very best decision. Expanding this study has been great! I really do love the researching, reading and writing. It took a couple of weeks to get the anger and disappointment out and to get my head around what they wanted me to do to improve my study, but it was truly the best decision. I actually emailed my advisor a “thank you” yesterday. My work is going incredibly well. Slow, very, very slow, but really well. (It seems like I work for hours just to write a paragraph at times.) I’m so excited; I can’t wait to actually get to the research part with the teachers.
Nearly every night and every weekend I’ve been replanning the study and rewriting my chapter three – methodology. I’ll be incorporating technology in ways I never imagined and actually Eric (Christi’s “Webby”) who now works in computers has been incredibly helpful, teaching me to do some internet-based conferencing and recording. Not being able to travel to conduct my nation-wide research (due to finances and having a full and a part time job) I needed a way to do this that would be acceptable as a research methodology and I think I’m going to be fine – and hopefully teach my committee a few new things.
I’ve also added a pre-pilot study to my timeline which will hopefully help me work out any bugs before I actually get to the real work. Sweet Olivia has been assisting me with my proofreading and it’s great to have someone outside of the field of education reading and asking good questions. (When I go to defend my dissertation, in addition to my committee of four, there will be someone from a different college at Ohio State - not Education – and that individual will help make the decision of whether I pass, or not.) My goal is to have the revisions to my committee by the end of Thanksgiving weekend, but that’s probably a lofty goal considering how long each little section is taking me to re-do. I know they weren’t asking for all that I am doing, but I really want to “blow them out of the water” with my revisions and plans. (They’ll be begging to join ME on my next research endeavor – ha ha ha! NOT!)
It’s quite odd paying full time tuition and yet not driving to campus as I’ve done continually since January 2004 (four quarters per year) but I must admit I love working on my own! Additionally, I’ve spent so much time with Shayla it’s been a dream not to have to depend on others to help get her to her many activities and to provide after school care. I am richly blessed!
One thing I am doing that I did not take time for before was exercising, always two afternoons a week but almost every week three times. I jog or use the precor. I’d like to add some light weights, but my exercise time is only the hour while Shayla is at dance. (She has dance three nights a week.) Shayne recently asked if I noticed any differences since I’ve been doing this since September and I haven’t. I’m just surprised that I can now jog for thirty minutes straight versus when I first started walking this summer and I couldn’t go very far without being out of breath. My muscles don’t ache any more and I’m not enjoying it, but knowing it’s good for me keeps me going. I still hope to do that 5K and now I’m confident I can do that as I’m running about three miles each time I exercise. I just want to wait until the weather warms up as I’m not a cold weather friend.
(PIC: Christi in 2nd grade) School has been going extremely well. There’s not a spare moment, but I do really enjoy teaching more than one could imagine. I knew this year would be incredibly challenging emotionally (due to teaching all of Christi’s classmates and not Christi) but that has gotten easier with time. Also, for the past five years that I’ve taught middle school, I’ve always had two preps. Well, this year due to being assigned to teach three gifted language arts classes, now required by the state, I have FIVE preps and six classes that I teach every day. I was hesitant to be teaching a sixth grade class for the very first time, but it’s actually one of my favorites. It has been absolutely overwhelming various weeks, and I do question how I am doing this, but on the other hand, I really enjoy it and time is flying. This week I received two sweet “pats on the back” from parents (Ironically, both who have two kids who both have me). One telling me how much her children enjoy my class and that I’m really challenging them and getting them ready for college. The other also telling me how much their kids like my class and that they appreciate my organization and getting right to work and taking things to new levels because of how I create my lessons and do my teaching. Those aren’t typically the emails teachers receive from parents, so they were very heartwarming to receive and exactly the “keep on marching” orders I needed (wink)!
This semester has been my eighth to teach at Heidelberg College. There are currently 21 students in the graduate level class I’m teaching and I just can’t believe how fortunate I am to have this amazing opportunity, teaching at my alma mater and sharing my love for kids and teaching with others as they pursue their Masters Degrees. It is so different from my “real job”. These students are docile (smile), turn their assignments in on time (big smile) and want thought provoking material. I love the discussions that are able to be held because of the real-life experiences they bring to each class. It warms my heart each week to have this wonderful part-time job! I am soooooo lucky!
Shayla likes that I am gone one night a week because she calls that her “Daddy Night”! Oh, she loves her amazing dad. When we pull in the garage and his vehicle isn’t here she often asks, “When will dad be home?” When he goes to the Y to work out, “When will dad be back?” I get a kick out of her and she’ll never know the joy she brings us.
She too has had an amazing year. Her first quarter grade card was all As, except for a “B” in science. She loves school and it’s very easy for her. Her fourth grade teacher, Caroline, was also Shayne’s 4th grade teacher and Christi’s too! She’s been a family friend for years and I always know she’s in great hands with Caroline and all of our elementary teachers. Shayla likes to help me before school by preparing materials for the day and after school she takes off with the other “TKs” (teachers’ kids) playing while I finish my work.
(PIC: Oct. 2003, Christi six. Shelby, Christi & Shayla were pretending to be cats at my mom and Joe's home. Now I wouldn't recommend eating "off of the floor" at most homes, but at my mom's no problem! Her house is always spotless!)
Each day I thank God for giving us this sweet, compassionate and thoughtful child blessed with great health. I’ll never take that for granted because if you have good health it’s like being granted the greatest gift one could ever receive. She takes dance three nights a week, horseback riding and ice skating lessons one night a week too. Despite the fact my mother is not happy that she’s “taking off” from her weekly religion classes to do skating lessons this winter, I really appreciate my mom voicing her opinion about that – because that’s not her style. Go, Mom!
Shayne continues to love his work, being a manager at the quarry. He works so hard at it, puts in countless hours, but enjoys his work like never before. And quite frankly, he looks “hot” each day going to work in jeans instead of those suits he had to wear for the bank for 15 years. Due to his new job, we’ll have some incredibly exciting things coming up over the next weeks and months. With so many suffering through hard times due to job loss and the economic slow down, we do know how fortunate we are to be working three jobs between the two of us.
(Toledo Zoo Lights Visit with Santa. Shayla left, Christi right, Frightened of Santa!)We know the upcoming holidays will be terribly hard, but how could they not when one of your treasured family members is not with you. Our holiday season will start off with my birthday this week, followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Shayla’s birthday.
(March 2000 Christi gives beautiful Miyuki a birthday present. She was an exchange student from Japan staying with us at that time. We miss you, sweet Miyuki!!)
How I wish Christi was here to celebrate each and every one of those special times with us. I could only imagine the gifts she’d want to make for us all. The past two Saturdays, as we’ve gone to the cemetery, the weather has been nasty. Not enjoying that myself, I just hope she’s playing in the clouds and is nice and warm in Heaven. I pray God is taking the very best care of her until I can get there myself. Until then, I pledge to live my life in a way that will indeed get me there because that’s where I want to be, in Heaven with Christi and our Father!
So how about that for “How are things going this term?” I’m willing to bet if anyone actually read to the end of this post, they will never again ask me, “How are things going this term?” because I might actually answer them! (hee hee). Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed Sunday! Have a great week!
(Our birthdays, 2001. Mom and I share the same date - November 19th. The was the last one before Christi was diagnosed with cancer. Everything changed after that! PIC: Shayla, left, Christi, right.)