Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Precious Precocious Children

I had a wonderful conversation with my 7-year old granddaughter last week:

Grandma, when a boy and a girl gets married, it's the girl that takes the boys name, isn't it?

Usually, but not always.

When I get married, do I have to take the boys name?

No, you may decide to keep your own name and remain a Huerta your entire life.

Is that what you did?

No, when I got married, I didn't even realize I could do that. I changed later and went back to my other name, but I hyphenated it, so I'm sort of using both names.

My mom didn't want to do that.


No, she didn't want to keep her other name. Do I have to get married?

No, baby doll, you do not have to get married. You may remain single your entire life if you chose to do that.

Grandma, if I get married, do I have to kiss the boy at the wedding?

I don't suppose you'd have to. But I think if you're not ready to kiss him, you're not ready to get married. Maybe you'd just better wait awhile.

Okay, Grandma.

I shall someday remind her of this converation!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thank God It's Friday

I've been doing this job for a long time. It's rare that a student can really throw me off my game, but I have one this year who's very good at it! For just a moment I thought I might crumble, but I kept a stiff upper lip and dealt with the situation. I absolutely hate it when I have to send a student, or students, to the office with a referral. It gives me this taste of failure. I'm there to inspire, motivate and teach. If I can't even get decent behavior and a modicum of cooperation, I haven't done my job.

So I had another one of those soul-searching, "Am I right for this job?" "Am I too old?" "Do I know what I'm doing?" moments. After consulting with colleagues, administration and the social worker (I need counseling at that moment), I decided I could go on. I also developed a new plan. I think by being out of school all year last year (we are a 2-year middle school, 7th and 8th grade only), none of the students know me or anything about me. To them, I'm a total stranger. They are making judgments based on faulty assumptions. I'm approaching them assuming that the majority at least know me by reputation -- my rep is that I'm tough, but fair. Someone who will come through for you if you need help. I think the year off has lost me that advantage.

I guess next week I'll just have to down, and get real!!

Pray for me. This is a tough group.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Quote for the day

"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."

Gibran's words from The Prophet:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Life Goes On

I'm at school today, but off for a meeting tomorrow. At first I was scheduled for an additional seminar on Thursday and Friday. Thank God that one was full and they are re-scheduling our school for another date. Three consecutive seminar days are about two too many for me!! I did get progress reports in on time and am making progress with the tests from yesterday and today!

M continues to heal. She has the cast on now, but will need intensive physical therapy after the cast comes off in order to restore full mobility to the joint. The break is very close to the joint and could interfere with movement. We'll continue to pray for the little one. Thanks for your prayers. (I'm on my lunch hour at school -- not pictures here!) Pics later.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Daddy and M1 just waitin' around for the surgeon

Mommy and M1 share a moment

Just lying around waiting for the surgeon to be ready! She couldn't stand just lying there and got up to walk around. Finally when it was time for surgery, she walked into to the OR. The clinic was sooo kid friendly, they let her sit up and breathe the oxygen until she was ready to lie down.

That's me with M1. She was eating a graham cracker and insisted somebody hold it so it wouldn't show in the picture. All much better now! We were in a really nice pediatrics room for recovery. The grandparents and parents were with her. She's perked up here and happy to be eating crackers and drinking Sprite.

She woke up talkative, and according to her, "Bored and hungry."
So we played "I spy" at her request.

M1, out of surgery into recovery. She so little and vulnerable, still out after surgery.

Two grandmas and a mommy with M1. She's waking, but not fully awake yet.

What's the story?? 8:30 a.m. M1 fell off the monkey bars (Jungle gym) at school. She was swinging between bars and "jumped" for the third bar. She made it the first time, but did a turn around and missed it the second time. She said, "My gymnastics teacher said not to try to catch ourselves with our arms, and I tried not to!" She really didn't reach out with her hands though. She did a good job, just got her elbow under her body as she landed. So the elbow was broken. We were hoping for a simple break, but it separated. The Dr. didn't do an incision, but inserted two wired to pin it together. She gets a full cast then on Monday. For now, she has a plastic casing holding the arm in a 90 degree angle, with bandages for the surgical insertion.

Surgery was scheduled for 2:30 at the Ambulatory Surgical Clinic. The doctor was delayed on his previous patient and Tea's surgery was about 3:00. She was out of surgery by 4:00 and with us in the recovery room.

The place was fantastic. They let all of us wait in the pediatrics recovery area (she was the only peds that day) to wait for her. They brought us pop and coffee and offered coffee cake, cookies or crackers. They had said Grandparents might have to leave when she came out of surgery, but in the end we stayed for awhile with her too.

She's home tonight. Resting. Thank God it was only an elbow and not spine or neck!! But I am really tired.

A couple of wonderful teacher friends took my 8th and 9th period classes today so I could get there in time to see her before surgery. I am also thankful for that!

Tired, but thankful.


Thursday, September 20, 2007


Finally, my classes are beginning to settle down. Today felt successful again. I've had very few of those days this year. But today our core (150-ish students) had their fall reading test to check progress since last spring and give us a baseline for this year's progress. When my Challenge (advance placement) students returned later to my room, they were excited because "Mrs. Huerta, what you've been teaching us was on the test!" They went on to explain that the names of poetic devices like assonance, synecdoche, and allusion were part of the questions. Further, they were delighted that we had just read "The Highwayman" and some excerpts from that poem were on the test, too. And the clincher? "Mrs. Huerta, the test even asked us about Shakespeare and sonnets!" They had been complaining about how hard the work (leading up to reading The Merchant of Venice) has been, but at least now they see a purpose. Several of them reported great gains in reading scores. They're happy; I'm happy!

And even my regular classes (including the difficult one in which I have them right after me, there's nothing like trying to get a group of 30 13-year-olds to actually focus 5 minutes after they've come off a sport field, are sweating like pigs, thirsty as camels, and too tired to bother thinking.) were better today. I've had to do some creative adjusting with seating arrangements and utilizing the resources I have. (Prayer helps too!) Yesterday, I was seriously praying that I could learn to not DISlike some of them....but God always comes through. Within an hour of that prayer, I read a poem that little boy had written and realize that so many of them carry burdens beyond their years. There really is an explanation for what seems like irrational, rude and obstinate behaviors.
What's the "mile in his sandals" Native American proverb?

And...writing with the student doing limericks (trying to get rhythm leading up to Iambic Pentameter and Elizabethan Sonnets), I wrote a limerick too.

There once was a teacher named Phylis,
Who taught language and English at Ellis.
She was tough and quite strict,
and sometimes would kick
Our hinds, but never would kill us!

And with that 8th grade humor, I shall close.

Have a lovely evening! Tomorrow is a new day!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A few of the kids after class was over and I finally remembered to take pics.

A New Season

Last night our fall mid-week sessions began. There's a BIble study at the church for adults, and I agreed to co-teach the children's sessions. It was a lot of work, but fun. Going home from six and a half hours teaching thirteen year olds, to an hour and a half of a mixed elementary group was enjoyable work.
Jenny made the airplane backdrop and the penguins. I totally forgot to take pictures. Dr. Quirky (the mad scientist) was there and I didn't even get his photo. After we were cleaning up, I remembered the camera! Duh! A few of the kids were left to pose for me....That's me in the Captain's hat.

We took an airline tour of Antarctica, complete with passports, boarding passes and video take-off and landing scenes. Such fun!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Where has the week gone?

It will be Saturday and the girls' soccer again tomorrow...and I have hardly blogged at all!!! With this job, I hardly have a life...but I'm grateful for the Job...and the strength to work again. More later when I'm less exhausted. I stayed until 8:30 p.m. again last night to try to get caught up!! Some day!!


Sunday, September 09, 2007


Both girls are playing soccer again this fall. I spent Saturday morning at the soccer field. That will be my Saturday morning for the next couple of months. The weather was perfect, warm but not terribly hot. I actually got a bit of sun again. I was getting quite pale!

M1 is rarin' to go.
May I play now, please?

Getting in place to receive the throw in.
(M1 has the red shirt with pink shorts and pink socks)

Here she comes ready to challenge and win back that ball.

Getting good use out of those long legs -- headin' out for the offensive.

Look out Blue team, here comes our girl. She wins the challenge for the ball!

M1 follows up the kick. Oops, the goalie has it!

(Switch games here -- M2 in Blue shirt with black shorts)

Here I come for that goal!

Almost. Good catch, goalie!


"Take it away, !Little M"

Nice Kick, baby girl.
(you can bare see the ponytails in front of the boy with the red shirt!)

M2 connects for the goal "Goooooooool!"
(Duh!!! Where'd this picture go???)

That's M2 in the blue shirt: "Chariots of Fire" meets "Victory"

(After all that work most of M2's pics just disappeared! I'll try again tomorrow!!)

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Room 308

Mid-August, this was my classroom with the boxes everywhere.

And tonight, that same scene







The Open House presentation went well, I thought. We were a tad pressed for time, more so since I had to translate everything in Spanish for those non-English-speaking parents. But all-in-all, it went well. I added up the years of experience of the teachers on our team. It's plain scary. Among the 5 of us, we have 93 years of experience, add the special education teacher's 12 years and that puts us at 105 years of experience on the team, ranging from the math teacher's 35 years to the reading teacher's 4 years teaching experience. Hmmmm.

Praying for a good year!!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How do you spell exhaustion?

I left the house at 7:30 this morning and just walked in the door at 8:30 tonight! I think that's a long day. I did have 40 minutes off for lunch . . . I took every minute . . . and an hour for dinner. I met Bob and Bismarck at Puesta Del Sol for chile rellenos. Yum! The high point of my day.

My room is looking up!!! I'll put in pics tomorrow. I didn't take any today, but I will tomorrow. Parents come for the Open House tomorrow night -- our core meets in my room. So all those 38 boxes of books must not only be on the shelves, but also looking decently organized. Not to mention the mounds of papers I have collected from my little darlings that must be marked and filed. I'm well on my way.

It'll be another 12 hour day tomorrow though. Open House starts at lets out at 3:30. I'll stay until 5. Go meet Bob somewhere for dinner again, then back to school for the presentation. We won't get out until after 8 PM.

Speaking of presentations, the PowerPoint for tomorrow night isn't finished . . . It's on my computer here -- so my work day isn't over yet. I'm tired, but it's an honest tired, not a sick one. I'm not faint, or nauseous, or any of those other nasty things that would have happened just a few short weeks ago. I'm getting close to normal!! (Isn't that terrible?? Normal means working 12 hour days??!!)

Ta-ta. Off to do the PowerPoint!


Monday, September 03, 2007

An afternoon at the park

What a lovely way to end a three-day weekend. The girls were able to spend the afternoon with me. We ate a late lunch, played Webkinz (for the uninitiated, that's the internet craze for the primary school child!), did some marker painting, climbed about in the park for as long as the mosquitoes would allow, spent some time on homework, had an ice cream and then called it a day.

Saturday was a bust for me. The anesthesia wore off my stitches and I was in a great deal of pain. I made the Saturday night Hispanic service, but did no pastoral duties. I was just there! Sunday was better. I woke up feeling refreshed and not much pain. I actually hurt more today than yesterday, but then I was more active with the girls too. It wasn't intolerable, just a nuisance. But the good thing is -- it's over. I keep wanting to sing a song with that title!! Mattea did make up a song today for her memorization. It worked well. She was happy practicing!

So ta-ta for now. It's back to the weekly grind tomorrow. NO! I mustn't approach a new week with that attitude. I shall be back to inspiring youngsters to greater heights tomorrow! How's that for a positive attitude??



Saturday, September 01, 2007

Family Secrets

Several situations lately have started me thinking in the direction of family secrets again. I had studied the topic several years ago, taught some lessons, and acquired a level of healing. Recent events have pointed me in that direction again.

I re-read parts of John Bradshaw's Family Secrets: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You. He expounds on the three laws of a disfunctional family (with secrets): Don't Talk; Don't Trust; Don't Feel.

Children raised in abusive or alcoholic families, families with hidden crimes or addictions, just to name a few of the potential "secrets," grow up believing there is something wrong with themselves. They have feelings that are allowed no expression, or outlet. Adults in the family are unreliable, not trustworthy, yet nothing is ever said or done about it. The situation is not even discussed. This kind of secrecy is toxic. (There are healthy secrets as well: children should not be pulled into marriage discord or adult sexual issues.)

One particular case study involved the young father of a family who had lost his job but didn't want to let his wife or children know. He kept his regular routine and left for work every morning, but his family began to fall apart. Even though his wife and children were unaware of the specific problem, they were reacting to their sense that something was very wrong.

Recently at a family reunion, some younger members of the family had the courage to speak about a family secret, in this case alcoholism, and the generational reaction and subsequent isolation. As a result of breaking the silence, new connections with family and a support system is evolving. But the story is far from over. Alcoholism doesn't evolve in a vacuum, and deeper secrets may need to be revealed. It's much like the peeling of an onion. But understanding and empathy are gained by following the trail and discovering generations of hurting humans who reacted in the only way they could tolerate.

Around me, some family systems are deteriorating in inexplicable ways. Could it be that a family secret is at the center of the crumbling foundation of human relationships? Family secrets leave wounded souls, broken hearts, may lead to a skewed power base, disrupted relationships, and unhealthy decision-making.

Yet, the answer is not the ever-popular reveal-all talk shows in which participants drop these bombs like B-52's coming in for the kill. There is a time, a place and a manner in which to address such issues.

In an interview with Randy Peyser, John Bradshaw, who is one of the foremost authors and recognized experts
particularly in the fields of family systems, co-dependency, and addictions and recovery, talks about the process of discovering the roots of family disfunctions. "Suddenly, all these problems that you think are your own are seen in this larger light. It's hard to blame anybody for it. You see that your mother had it and your grandmother had it and then, god knows, how many generations before that had it. It makes us realize that we're up against something very profound."

If you want to read more, try these resources:



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