Monthly Archives: April 2011

He’s Alive!

The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin’ through
To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call
I hurried to the window
Looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches
And the sound of soldiers’ feet

But there was no one there but Mary
So I went down to let her in
John stood there beside me
As she told me where she’d been
She said they might have moved Him in the night
And none of us knows where
The stone’s been rolled away
And now His body isn’t there

We both ran toward the garden
Then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they’d taken Him
Was more than I could tell

Oh something strange had happened there
Just what I did not know
John believed a miracle
But I just turned to go
Circumstance and speculation
Couldn’t lift me very high
‘Cause I’d seen them crucify him
Then I saw him die

Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I’d promised Him
Just added to my shame
When at last it came to choices
I denied I knew His name
And even if He was alive
It wouldn’t be the same

But suddenly the air was filled
With a strange and sweet perfume
Light that came from everywhere
Drove the shadows from the room
And Jesus stood before me
With his arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And I just clung to Him and cried

Then He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into His eyes
The love was shining out from Him
Like sunlight from the skies
Guilt in my confusion
Dissappeared in sweet release
And every fear I’d ever had
Just melted into peace

He’s alive yes He’s alive
Yes He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide
He’s alive yes He’s alive
Oh He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide
He’s alive yes He’s alive
Hallelujah He’s alive
He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide
He’s alive He’s alive He’s alive
I believe it He’s alive
Sweet Jesus

by Don Francisco


The Problem With Testing….

Most teachers are amazing at their jobs. Simple fact. I know it’s hard to believe in the face of all the “bad teachers are ruining our country” politicking out there, but it’s true.
The thing is most teachers are teaching to a test right now. Not because we want to but because we’ve been told we have no choice.
I’m not against a test. I think it’s a good idea to have a checks and balances at the end of the year to see how kids are doing. I think it’s a good idea to have a set of standards your supposed to cover. The problem is politicians have embraced the idea that the test holds all the answers.
The test was supposed to “fix” public education. Unfortunately, that’s like going to the doctor because you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and having the doctor pull out the stethoscope and saying “all better now.”
The test is a diagnostic at best.
It’s not a cure.
REAL education reform is hard. It’s messy. And it takes a lot of time and planning and hours of teacher input.
Real education reform isn’t a test.
Real education reform is measured in multiple ways.
Real education reform needs to be developed and implemented by teachers and championed by politicians.
But for now, education reform is eduspeak for a new, more expensive set of tests that will continue us down the path to mediocrity.


Both journalism kids at Regions qualified for State. One won 2nd, the other 6th. Our 6th place is an alternate. It was exciting for both of them, I think! I know it was exciting for me.
The day started with me sleeping in. My alarm didn’t sound because I went to sleep with my audible app open, so the alarm app didn’t work.
The UIL coordinator called me when I was supposed to be on the bus! I NEVER do that, so it was quite the shock.
Unfortunately, I left my makeup bag at the school. I lost my facial cleaner and moisturizer (ACK!) foundation, powder, blush, mascara, the BEST eyelash curler, and my tweezers. So today I’m taking a trip to Ulta. BUMMER.
Fortunately, my straightener was in the suitcase!

Had a great meeting today with Crave ministry (ages 18-26). We talked about biblical conflict resolution. Tough stuff. But such a good lesson. Such an important lesson.

Got a rejection last week on Letting Go. It’s going to a new publisher Monday. 🙂
While it’s making rounds, I’ll be working on the YA on my excerpt page.

My speeches tonight

This was the first time I’ve done anything like this on the public speaking realm. It was an amazing experience and I hope everyone takes the words to heart and continues pressuring the State to Save Texas Public Schools!!
I was inspired to get involved, and I hope others will be, too.

What I said:
Thank you for being here! We’re here today to support teachers, administrators, secretaries and assistants, tech support, cafeteria workers and maintenance employees, janitors and school nurses, counselors and school social workers, parents and grandparents and most of all, we’re here to say our students matter, our public schools matter.

We matter and we vote.

A week and a half ago Peggy Rogers was in my room after principals across the district delivered the heart breaking news about wfisd layoffs. We decided then we couldn’t stay silent. Those layoffs weren’t a surprise. In January we realized the comptrollers 2006 warning of massive budget shortfalls for this biennium were true. For three months our administration sounded the alarm. Across the state teachers, principals, superintendents, parents, students, and others begged the state leaders to listen while those same leaders passed the buck and blamed us for the problems.
Once HB 1 passed it was apparent. There’s a political movement afoot with an agenda. That agenda: destroy an institution that is a foundation of American democracy.
Look at the public school and you see a mirror of society today: the affluent student sits next to the child in foster care who sits next to the student who’s moved with her military parents multiple times who sits next to the boy whose family escaped a Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.
Public schools educate those students equally.
Texas prides itself on the availability of a quality public education. But that promise is in danger and we can no longer stay silent in the classrooms of this state working to make our students the best they can be while ignoring outside political decisions. We must make our voices heard.
We are speaking now, and we hope those in Austin can hear us: quality public schools are the backbone of our society.
I’ll close with the words of Brittany Norman, one of my former students now at MSU who sat in on a Senate Finance Committee meeting in February: Instead of investing in the future, our legislators are choosing to think short-term only and focus on dollars and cents rather than the human impact of their decisions.
She’s right!
I hope those legislators hear us now. We won’t be silent, because to be silent is to give up on our students and our schools, and that is not an option.
We’re here tonight to say SAVE TEXAS SCHOOLS.

This is not the end. Today, when we leave here fired up after hearing these wonderful words from our guests, we must not let our energy fade. I don’t know if we can change the outcome of the next few votes, but I do know we can change the outcome of those in the future.
Find out how you can get involved in grass roots organizations like Save Texas Schools. You can check them out online. Call your legislators. e-mail them. Stay up-to-date on current education news. Follow the example of the WFISD FOCUS videos and talk about the realities of pubic education.
We are not part time employees, we pay for our insurance and retirement, we aren’t top-heavy in administration and our teacher’s organizations are not responsible for this financial crisis.The politicians are flat out wrong there and it’s our responsibility to make sure the public knows. Above all don’t give up hope. Teachers and administrators, this isn’t about us, really, is it? It’s about our kids and our schools and We Will Not Fail Them.


Almost two years ago our minister challenged us to “get out of the stands” at church. DH and I had already decided we were going to pay it forward, volunteer to help out with the college ministry at our church after DD made strong bonds with a mentor family in Huntsville where she was attending school.
When we started helping with college ministry, we never dreamed what it would come to mean to us. It’s truly changed out lives.
Tonight’s at our small group, we talked about service and how important it is to a strong walk with God. It’s funny because a handful of weeks ago, the topic was front and center in the Crave ministry.
When I was a young 20-something, I volunteered to help out with 3-yr-old children’s choir. Not because I felt led by God to do so, not because I had any special talent for working with toddlers, but because I knew service was important to being part of the church.
Two weeks in and the 3-yr-old kids and I were miserable. I dreaded Wednesday nights. I hated the box sitting in my living room filled with torture instruments also known as sticks (some sadistic person thought it was a good idea to have pairs of colored sticks for kids to knock together to make “music”), tapes of hymns and coloring pages.
Still, I pasted a smile on my face showed up for nine months of Wednesdays, sat in the floor with the heathen children and served my church and God.
At the end of that duty, when they asked me if I wanted to come back the next year, I couldn’t get rid of that box fast enough.
I have the utmost respect for people who work with little kids, but I have no business in the same room with more than three of them. They smell my fear, and they turn into little monsters.
There are lots of ways to practice service in the church, but the first thing you should do is figure out what your gifts are and serve there.
The service we talked about today crossed over into another service that should be easier, but often isn’t.
Those times when you have the opportunity to help people around you. Often, it’s easier to just ignore those needs.
DH is totally gifted in this area. On the spiritual gift inventory, I score a 0 here. To show Christ to the unchurched this service is absolutely essential. It’s outside of my comfort zone, but I need to work on practicing service toward others. I know in the long run doing so will help me grow as a Christian and hopefully share God’s love.

Sunday DH and I are leading Crave (Colonial College-Aged Ministry). The lesson is on conflict and how to solve it biblically. I think I’ll be learning a lot!

Save Texas Schools Rally Agenda

STS Program

A Single Voice

…Can’t do much. But if everyone who supports public education speaks up, we can make a difference.
I have to believe that because every bit of research shows that education is the way out of poverty. It was for me.
The move from poverty to middle class and even to upper class is what makes the United States different. It’s what makes us special. It’s why people spent weeks on ships in horrible conditions and lived in squalor holding fast to the dream that they too could be anything they wanted if they were willing to work hard.
Kill the public school, and you kill that dream.
This budget crisis isn’t going anywhere if the people in Austin don’t change the way they do business. They’ve created this problem. They need to fix it.
Today, they’re passing the buck. That can’t continue.
But it will if we don’t speak up.

Don’t forget the Save Texas Public Schools rally!
To show support for Texas public schools, teachers and WFISD, a non-partisan Pro-Public Education Rally will be held THURSDAY, April 14 from 8-9 in the Memorial Stadium parking lot. Please bring a flashlight or cell phone with light.
If you would like to speak at the event contact Mary Beth Lee:
Who’s invited? Everyone who believes in a quality Texas Public School System, public school faculty and staff members, parents and students.
Feel free to bring signs showing support for public education.
For more information, feel free to contact me


Save Texas Public Schools Rally
Memorial Stadium
Thursday April 14 8-9(ish)

A good friend asked me why we were rallying, what we hoped to accomplish. I thought I’d share my answer here:
What we hope to accomplish: to give people the chance to show they support public education, and to do so before the Senate votes.
What will the outcome be: I don’t know. I was in Austin March 12 with over 11000 others marching. We were there to make our voices heard. If we don’t try, we won’t ever know.
But I do know public education is essential to the United States. It leads to the American Dream. Without it, there is no escape from poverty.
I know teachers usually don’t rally. (We gripe to each other, but we don’t say enough is enough.) Right now I’m hearing a lot of complaints in the community. People believe Rick Perry when he says public schools are the problem, especially when we don’t speak up to say he’s wrong.
Public education is at risk here. It’s real and it’s ugly and if we don’t speak up, we’ll be able to watch it die without ever even attempting to fight.
I can’t sit back and do nothing.

Dear DD

How’d that happen?
It seems like only yesterday you were a baby blowing bubbles in the car seat while we drove back to Burk or jumping on your bed trying to reach the Dalmatian stickers on your wall. It seems like I was typing away on that Romeo and Juliet paper yesterday! You know the one, I heard a noise, pushed open your door and found you in the vaporizer with your Barbies. You said you were swimming. You were three, but you’d figured out that you needed to push your blanket against the door so I couldn’t see your light.
It was last week that you were skating or playing putt putt or getting Kim to cut the crusts off your sandwich.
Wasn’t it last month that we were signing up for your first schedule at Rider and you were telling me something about wanting to take photos for the yearbook?
How is it possible that you are the beautiful, composed young woman who turned 21 today?
I love you. Don’t ever forget.

Save Texas Public Schools Rally!

To show support for Texas public schools, teachers and WFISD, a non-partisan Pro-Public Education Rally will be held THURSDAY, April 14 from 8-9 in the Memorial Stadium parking lot. Please bring a flashlight or cell phone with light.
If you would like to speak at the event contact Mary Beth Lee:
Who’s invited? Everyone who believes in a quality Texas Public School System, public school faculty and staff members, parents and students.
Feel free to bring signs showing support for public education.
For more information, feel free to contact me