Monthly Archives: August 2012

Wow! I didn’t expect that! BYOD success

Today is J-1 we concluded the first of my 1s Amendment discussions. Without explaining the meaning of each of the rights, I have the kids give one of the six up. Then we split into right groups and debate and discuss. I give the kids a chance to choose a different right if they want. It’s fun. In the end, the kids always discover that the first amendment is all or nothing. THEY learn the lesson. I just facilitate the discussion. Like always that worked. THEN I lecture them on each of the rights given in the first amendment and a little of the history behind that right. This time I told the kids if they had an iPad, they could take notes on it instead. They asked if they could use their phones instead.

My initial reaction was no. This is a new class. It’s giant. I don’t know them well enough to tell the difference between texting and taking notes. They solved that problem by saying they would show their notes/audio/video files at the end of the lecture.
And so we started down this new path.

The kids were 100% attentive to my lecture. They typed in their notes, they recorded me, they continued to ask questions.

I was still reluctant. Until the end of class when they showed me their notes. HOLY COW! They had taken tons of notes, and they’d organized the information along the way. I didn’t have the kids take notes on paper before, so I don’t have anything to compare to, but the notes the kids took today were far more detailed than I usually see.

I’ll definitely try this again. 🙂

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad…Rewind. Today was AWESOME!

You know those days where you think I just need to go back to bed?

Today started with me squirting makeup all over my shirt. Changed shirt. Then I ran out of coffee, so I got less than a cup for breakfast. Then I realized the freezer was left open over night and everything in it was ruined. Then I spilled part of that less than a cup of coffee on my pants, so changed pants. I thought maybe this morning was a sign from God to go back to bed. I didn’t though. And today was AWESOME at school–other than when I got a 10-sheet of paper paper cut on my thumb AND broke a nail. My students were awesome, our discussions were amazing, life at school was great! To top it off one of my precious special needs kids said my legs looked small now. Doesn’t get much better than that! Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.

If you pray, please continue to pray for us. We’re STILL looking for a house plan that will work and meets our needs. Thanks!

Let Go, Let God; It’s a Process

Photo by Sean Loyless used via creative commons license. Link at end of blogpost.

Funny how you’re cruising along in the it’s all good zone when BAM! you get hit with the “ohhhhhh, you just THINK you’ve figured out the whole let go, let God thing.”
This week I’ve run the emotional gamut. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say things kind of stunk at times the last 48 hours. About 24 hours ago I finally remembered to take it to God. About 10 minutes ago I realized that letting go and letting God is a process. It’s not immediate and it doesn’t make the worry disappear, but it does make it easier to know He’s there and we don’t have to work through the tough stuff alone.

It’s a week of new beginnings. Even though we’ve been to yearbook camp, this week everything truly starts fresh. That’s one of the best parts of teaching. I know this is going to be a great year. The education crisis in Texas will make things emotional, I’m sure, but it won’t affect what goes on in my classroom. I’m sure I’ll be posting about education often throughout the year. I’ll make sure to tag and categorize those posts so you know ahead of time. 🙂
I’ll also post about my writing. I got a detailed request for revisions from Carina Press this week and I’m working through revisions on The Guardian Book 2. I need to write the next Triple Eight Ranch book. So my writing plate is full and I’m ready!

If you like my blog, I hope you’ll look at my books available in print everywhere and in eformat for kindle. I write YA as Elizabeth Lee (Honor and Lies, Dead Girl Walking: The Guardian Book 1) and christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go). Find out more on my Amazon author’s page. If you’re a reviewer and would like to review my books for Amazon, Good Reads or a personal blog, let me know and I’ll get you a review copy. THANKS!

Photo Link

Guest Blogging at http://www.janetkbrown.com

writing as Mary Beth Lee and Elizabeth Lee.

I’m over at Janet K Brown’s blog today talking about writing, my current release Letting Go, and self-publishing. I’d love to have some friends stop by. If you have questions about writing, self-publishing, the education world today, holding on to the dream, or pretty much anything, come on over! ###

If you like my blog, I hope you’ll look at my books available in print everywhere and in eformat for kindle. I write YA as Elizabeth Lee (Honor and Lies, Dead Girl Walking: The Guardian Book 1) and christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go). Find out more on my Amazon author’s page. If you’re a reviewer and would like to review my books for Amazon, Good Reads or a personal blog, let me know. THANKS!

 

You Gotta Have Faith

Photo by Randy Adams used via creative commons license. Link at end of post.

A few years ago one of our small group members, Sandra, talked to us about faith. She said when her husband lost his job in OKC, they had absolute faith that God would get them through the tough times. They ended up here where their children grew up in great schools with great friends. She said it wasn’t easy, but they constantly told themselves that God was in control. Thank GOD, because I’m not sure how I would’ve survived the last several years without Sandra and Gerald! Last year two of our friends said they were going on a mission trip to Panama, and they were going to raise all the money to do so. The last month they still had a ways to go, but they never lost faith. Sure enough, by the end they raised every bit of money they needed. People like Bonnie and Justin teach me so much! It’s so hard sometimes to trust God. Let Go and Let God seems easy. It’s not.  Two years ago we almost bought a house. We didn’t love the house, but we liked it all right. We went to the bank, got approved to make an offer, but when we got home 10 minutes later, we had a message from the lending officer. They’d changed their minds. The realtor suggested we go to another bank, but the whole thing struck me as odd. DH and I decided the bank’s reversal had to be a God thing. Then last year’s summer from Hades with over 100 100-degree days and the months-long drought dried up all the Lee’s Total Lawn Care business. Had we bought the house we thought we wanted then, last year would have been an incredibly tough year financially. But God’s no then wasn’t really a no. It was a wait. This year we’re looking at house plans to build during the winter. It’s scary to make that kind of investment, but when I think back over the last few years of Dave Ramsey and prayer, I have faith things will work out exactly as they’re supposed to.###

If you like my blog, I hope you’ll look at my books available in print everywhere and in eformat for kindle. I write YA as Elizabeth Lee (Honor and Lies, Dead Girl Walking: The Guardian Book 1) and christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go). Find out more on my Amazon author’s page. If you’re a reviewer and would like to review my books for Amazon, Good Reads or a personal blog, let me know. THANKS!###

Randy Adams Photo Link

 

Night Owl Retraining

Used with creative commons license. By Dave Stokes. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33909700@N02/3159761620/

It’s 1:24 a.m. and I don’t want to go to bed, but I start school in a week, so I better make myself remember NIGHTS are for sleeping. I’ve always been a night owl. I think it started when we got the Atari when I was a kid. I loved Pac Man. Mom loved Pac Man. We’d stay up all night gobbling up those little dots and trying to beat those pesky ghosts. That music is etched in my mind. My friends and I would have read-a-thons when we stayed at each other’s houses for sleepovers. Who could make themselves stay up all night to FINISH the book. Or we’d have write-a-thons. Who could write the most  chapters before crashing? When I first started writing commercial fiction, I could stay up until 2 a.m. working and function the next day no problem. That’s changed. So even though for some reason my creative brain works better after 10 p.m., it’s time to retrain. It’s going to be a great school year and great writing year. The school paper even made the local newspaper yesterday! ###

If you like my blog, I hope you’ll look at my books available in print everywhere and in eformat for kindle. I write YA as Elizabeth Lee (Honor and Lies, Dead Girl Walking: The Guardian Book 1) and christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go). Find out more on my Amazon author’s page.

Sometimes the Story’s Bigger Than the Work

Image by Clyde Robinson. Used under Creative Commons License. http://www.flickr.com/photos/crobj/2930997855/

I was horrified when I heard about the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. My prayers go out to those affected. I hope the media can figure out a way to cover the story without implying the shooting would have been understandable had the temple been a mosque. I don’t think that’s what they mean to be saying but it’s sure coming across that way. Salam Aleikum. ***

At the mid-point of today’s writing I tweeted that my new normal was stuck between thinking what I’d written was genius and horrible. I was being silly, but usually that’s somewhat true. Usually I like a lot of what I’ve got on the page and hate a bit. Not so much this go around. Working on The Guardian Book 2 (Sharlene Gallagher), started fast because of Fast Draft. If you don’t know Fast Draft, I can’t say enough good things about it. (It’s a class run by Candace Havens. Look it up!) I finished a book draft in two weeks. Notice I said draft. I know some people can write fast and have something amazing at the end of that process. I wrote fast, have a great collection of plot twists and characters and an interesting story, but the magic isn’t there. I’ve struggled for a week trying to figure out what’s wrong. I broke down scenes, took notes, found all those repeat works and worthless verbs, but the STORY was missing. I killed Sharlene’s voice. That’s what I kept saying to myself. But FINALLY at the end of last night’s revising session, I found it. And I found the conflict that’s central to the theme of the book. It was there all along, buried in the words, hinted at from scene to scene. Jennifer Crusie calls that kind of thing the Girls in the Basement. It took me 10k words to finally see those girls! Hopefully revising will be easier now. When you work and rework and still know something’s missing in the story, it really messes with the ability to keep moving forward. At least it does for me!
I meet with my editors today. I guess it’s school kick off time and time for me to figure out how I’m going to write, stay healthy and advise. I know I can do it, but it’s going to take work.
If you’re a praying person, please pray for us this week. DH and I have a plan. On Thursday that plan might come to fruition. If you’re not a praying person, please send positive thoughts. ###
If you like my blog, I hope you’ll look at my books available in print everywhere and in eformat for kindle. I write YA as Elizabeth Lee (Honor and Lies, Dead Girl Walking: The Guardian Book 1) and christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go). Find out more on my Amazon author’s page.

Emmie: Rescue Dog, Life Lessons

DD rescued Emmie. We think she was used as a puppy mill dog. She’s still scared if we make loud noises. She finally started barking this week. She’s a sweet dog, and we love her. She’s teaching me A LOT!

Potty training a dog takes consistency and patience. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve shared space with a dog. I’m a cat person. I didn’t exactly plan this interlude in potty training. But it’s here, so I’m going with it. I’ve researched and we’re working, and it’s two steps forward, one back, which is WAY better than two back, one forward. We finally got to the flip side of that equation.

Emmie’s teaching me about the power of consistency. Every day we work, she gets better about going outside. Last night she even stared at me until I figured out that was her sign. She needed to go out. YAY!!!! There’s a sign. It’s a miracle!

I’m doing revisions on the second Sharlene Gallagher Guardian book right now. I figure the revisions will be significantly easier if I’m consistent about working on them! Same thing goes for working out and weight loss. Consistency and patience. The keys to potty training a dog AND life.  (p.s. Praying for those affected by the OK fires.) ###

Writing YA as Elizabeth Lee and Christian Fiction as Mary Beth Lee. Find out more about my books on my Amazon Author Page. Currently working on revisions for Sharlene Gallagher Book 2. Book 1 Dead Girl Walking by Elizabeth Lee available in kindle and print.

 

Commitment

The Olympics inspire me. I love watching athletes who’ve devoted their lives to their sport finishing an event in victory. Way back when I was still in high school I would work out the whole time we watched the winter games at night. We had one of those little indoor trampolines and an exercise bike. I would jog on the trampoline or bike for hours watching ice skating and hockey and all the other events. When the games ended, I promised myself I’d keep up the routine, but within a month or two, I was back to my old sedentary habits.

That cycle of working out–not–working out–not followed me for life with disastrous results. Now I’m in my 40s and I’m an Atkins convert. It’s been four and a half months. I need to stay committed to this lifestyle. It’s healthy. I feel better. Sugar and flour really are my enemies.

While diet and exercise are always on my mind, these Olympics make me think about my writing as much as anything. The athletes train and train for this moment. They have a plan and they stick to it. They often have amazing family support, and they’ve all sacrificed something to get to this place in time. My friends who are best selling authors know all about training and planning and sacrifice. It’s not easy. They also know about the thrill of triumph and the agony of defeat. I commit some days, weeks or months. But I haven’t been committed 100%. I haven’t turned off the Internet, I haven’t quit streaming Netflix. Shoot, I watched two seasons of Dance Academy (great show, btw) and played a million games of Bejeweled Blitz instead of getting started on true revisions. Watching the Olympics tonight, I realize if I want it, if I really want it, I have to refocus. So here goes. Refocus starts now. ###

Writing YA as Elizabeth Lee and Christian Fiction as Mary Beth Lee. Find out more on my Amazon author’s page.