Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Vacation in a Word

Ready for our first hike!

Last Tuesday, to the backdrop of a summer storm slapping sheets of water against the windows in rhythmic gusts, the faculty and staff joined together one last time for a year-end breakfast meeting.   Being somewhat of a tornado survivor, I kept a watchful eye on the color of the sky.  If it turned green, I planned on literally chilling out with my colleagues in the kitchen's walk-in refrigerators. If it just stayed grey, I could sit and enjoy the surprising culinary talents of Mr. Beun who was busy serving up tender pancakes swimming in his homemade syrup.

Fortunately,  overcast grey remained the predominant color, so I stayed seated to learn about my colleagues' summers.  Mrs. Roberts challenged each of us to condense our vacation intentions into a single word to share with everyone.  Around the room I heard words like: "family," "relax," "read," "Europe," "Israel," "mission trip,"  "clean," "garden," and "wedding."  Mr. Rittenour's word, "chaos," made me laugh out loud.

 I have many summer plans;  however,  the one that tops everything was also voiced by numbers of other teachers: "Grandchildren."  Oh, the list of things I want to do like paint, garden, read, organize stuff and bake my brains out will fill my days.  But, the overarching joy of this vacation will be spending blue sky summertime with sweetness in a nappy named "Wesley."

Happy trails to you.  Signing off until summer's end.  Mrs. B.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hellos and Goodbyes

To: Mrs. Jensen   From:  Mrs. Brott
At two o’clock tomorrow, the last locker will slam, and goodbyes will echo down the hallway.  I paint a picture in my head of summer pressing it’s face against my window screen, and can almost catch the smell of fresh cut grass.  The breeze whispers hello warm weather, unstructured days, Colorado vacations, and painting.  It breathes goodbye to grading projects, writing lesson plans and to-do lists that never end.   Yet,  between all the hellos and goodbyes, I’ll still be grateful for the nine months of students, colleagues and classes that enrich my life in so many ways.  So while hellos are the easiest to do, goodbyes rustle in a sense of closure and change that challenges.  
This week I said goodbye to my friend and colleague, Jacquie Jensen, who leaves for the mission field of Africa in the fall. Mrs. Jensen superbly handled 1st through 5th grade art for eleven years at Lake Center Christian School. Sharing an art room with three different art teachers is a dance for space, and Mrs. Jensen is one of the most organized and gracious people I know.  Since our class times would abut each other’s, I was often setting up for class while she was finishing hers. I couldn’t help but observe the respect and love her students showed her, as well as the pride they had in the quality of work they made.   Her bulletin board by the desk often sported scribbled notes and pictures in crayon from students expressing their appreciation for art as well as herself.  If I could add this note to the stacks of theirs, it would say: 
Dear Jacquie,  I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughtful and kind colleague. You have a way of looking at the right side of things and for the best in people that inspires me.  Godspeed on your journey to Africa, my friend.  While I’ll miss you, I know He has great things in store for you as you walk by faith! 
Now there will be two art teachers holding down the fort at LCCS.  Miss Reichenberger, currently our 6 - 8th grade art teacher, will take over Mrs. Jensen’s responsibilities.  I look forward to the promise of another year and a new dance.