The Stairs. The Children. The Teacher.

uneven-stairs

 Several years ago, I transferred from a two story school to a three story school. The school building was nearly 100 years old. Wow! I love historic buildings! I had been a literacy coach and I DEFINITELY wanted to go back to a teacher position. I missed the classroom so much and I was very tired of what appeared to be administrative bickering.

One of my close friends had been working at the three story school for several years and absolutely loved it. They had a third grade opening and I jumped at the chance. I had never even walked into the school until the first teacher workday before the start of school. And then I found out how older buildings were built…

I had not been introduced to the stairs! My friend did not dare tell me about the very uneven stair problem! They had ALWAYS been uneven.

 

another-school

Nice school…but what is the deal about the stairs?

 

On that first day, I walked in pulling my rolling, kind of cute, but typical teacher bag with one hand and a big box of books in the other hand. I was just trying to cut down on the trips that I would have to make from my car. I had 10 more boxes to bring into the building…maybe 15. Only one door on the front of the building was unlocked. And then I saw the first of many staircases. Straight up. Steep. Sort of dark like…well…way dark. My classroom was on the second floor which really was the main floor where the office was located. The door that I entered was the first floor. I would call it a basement. Not one person called it a basement as far as I know.

I placed my box on the floor. I just could not handle dark stairs, a heavy book box and a rolling, kind of cute teacher bag. If I had carried that box up those stairs, I could have ended up in the emergency room. One step would be very narrow and short. The next step would be deeply wide and the next step would be nearly impossible to handle. Let’s just call it a deeply and critically big step. When I got to the third step…even though I was walking upstairs…I lost control and let go of my rolling bag. It banged loudly left and right back down…breaking a few special teacher’s desk “decor” on the way. Actually, the description using the word “decor” is questionable. I suppose that I did not need that stuff anyway.

If I had not let go of the rolling bag, it would definitely have been me falling left and right back down the stairs. My head and back hurt just thinking about it.

I found the elevator. Great for me, but what would I do when I had 22 children with me? Forget the elevator.

I decided that I would just go with the flow and try to memorize where all of the uneven steps were located. I soon found out that virtually every staircase in the school building was uneven! Even the steps leading up to the front door were difficult…at least I thought so.

After memorizing the “not good” steps, I was almost fine with the stairs. I decided that I must be the only person who found them unusual and just downright dangerous.

And then it happened. A teacher on my team started yelling loudly at the top of a third floor staircase just outside of my classroom door. And then, he proceeded to fall all the way down.

 I thought that he surely had broken both legs and maybe both arms, but he jumped up like a gymnast. He raised his arms just like Olympic athletes do when they have been successful on the balance beam. Since my door was open, my class saw the entire incident or shall we say…brave performance. All 22 children stood up and gave him a standing ovation!  Those uneven stairs caught him when his mind was wandering elsewhere. Scared me to pieces.

I stayed for two years and never, ever fell down. I walked up and down each staircase in slow motion…like I was in an old silent movie that was broken. So…I transferred to a nearby school…where I also had friends.

 

girl-falling-down

 

It was a much newer building with no stairs at all! Lucky me! On the first day of school, I promptly fell down on the front sidewalk with my rolling, kind of cute teacher bag. I blamed it on an uneven sidewalk or perhaps my new and too tall wedge sandals were…shall we say…totally uneven!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/uneven/

 

 

 

 

Sunshine at a Hospital.

 

Patients and visitors at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem heard the sounds of sunshine when a student group surprised them with a uplifting and joyful song. Thirty-five students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance played a concert throughout the hospital. As part of the academy’s Community & Youth Project, over 300 students from disadvantaged areas receive the opportunity to study serious music and dance.

One of the highlights of the concert happened to be one of my favorite Beatles songs…“Here Comes the Sun”. The concert began in the lobby and moved around to other areas…violins and other instruments included. Flash Mob concerts have been featured on YouTube and also on Facebook…somehow I missed this one.

I always think about how much confidence it would take to suddenly begin to sing or begin to play an instrument in an unsuspecting setting.

And I always think about the happiness it brings to the participants and the audience. 

In the video you can see the faces of the doctors, nurses, patients and visitors as they begin to sing along with the music. Perhaps the load of a difficult day was made light by the lilting lyrics and melody. For a short while on a busy day…the sun did truly shine…all because of the joy of the mutual language of the world…the sound of music.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/shine/

 

The Year 1976 Speaks Specifically.

fullsizerender-30

 My husband and I…Christmas 2016

The year 1976 was a maze of changes for me. Changes that I wanted. Changes that I anticipated. Challenges that I looked forward to facing. Challenges that I never thought existed. Hopes that were boundless. Hopes that I wasn’t sure how to specify. I just knew that I had a multitude of high hopes. I simply did not know where to find them.

In 1976, my husband and I married…a beautiful wedding with all of our friends and relatives. We were so happy and we are still so happy.

We have weathered storms like we had never previously faced…that we were certainly not prepared to face.

We lost our son when he was only 26 as I have mentioned in several posts. I know that my readers might be a bit weary of hearing about this specific event.

An earlier storm occurred when our daughter was diagnosed with spinal meningitis when she was 18 months old. She became ill very suddenly and the pediatrician (our regular doctor was out of town) first misdiagnosed the illness. He told us that she simply had an ear infection and we went home with medicine. Within four hours, she was totally lethargic and we were rushing to the children’s hospital. She was very close to being in a coma and we did not know if she would make it through the night. With the care of outstanding physicians, she was home from the hospital after two weeks. A miracle!

We have weathered storms like we had never previously faced…that we were certainly not prepared to face.

As the years progressed, we both lost our parents. My husband’s father left us before our daughter was born and we lost my parents six weeks apart when she was only two. My husband’s mother lived until both of our children were almost grown. Still, my mother-in-law was ill for the better part of two years. We lost most of our aunts and uncles as well as other relatives. Life changed as life is supposed to do. And we specifically did our best to accept the changes.

We have weathered storms like we had never previously faced…that we were certainly not prepared to face.

As I was recently going through a box filled with papers that I wanted to save, I was thinking about the hoped for joys and inevitable hardships in life. Ironically, I found the following few paragraphs that I wrote shortly after we married and I moved with my husband to a much bigger city. I suppose that writing always made me understand and accept my feelings. Writing has always been such a catharsis for me.

The paragraphs relate to my feelings about leaving my family and friends…about making new friends…about waiting for acceptance into a community. I did make friends…I did have a good job…I was reluctant to reach out. I learned, but have faced similar feelings since I quit teaching school this year.

Reading my words from 1976 made me realize the very magnitude of facing all that life places upon us. It made me realize the inner strength that we were given early in our lives. My words may seem naive. I was 26, almost 27 and facing change for the first time.

We have weathered storms like we had not previously faced…that we were certainly not prepared to face.

dallas-skyline

Dallas

My words from 1976…

Small town people…arise and join me in saluting a vanishing species. Let us stop and remember what we were…who we were…why we were…before the big city lights caught us in their pseudo-magical spell.

Let us recall the days without traffic jams…when Central Expressway and the West Freeway at 7:45 a.m. were merely images of a faraway never-never-land. Let us recall when we lived close enough to home to drop by for a leisurely lunch…that was before we realized that tacos were gourmet fare. Let us recall clear fresh air filled with clear fresh voices of friendliness. Back then, most everyone was on a first name basis…even strangers on a downtown sidewalk would tip their hat in greeting. It’s a bet that they weren’t trying to pick your pocket or grab your purse.

Let us recall a closeness and kinship to people that somehow is a little vacant from the lives of most Big City People. To be sure, the majority of folks have their own little “groups”. But how can you possibly reach out to the multitudes when the multitudes are so scattered and so mobile?

Oh, don’t get me wrong…I love the city…I love the skyline view…I love the diversity of people living here…I love the variety of activities to join in…I love the fine restaurants…I love the educational opportunities…I even love fighting the mobs at half-price sales.

I’ve made friends here. I’ve found a suitable job with a growing company. I’ve joined a wonderful church with an admirable outreach program. I’ve even taken a tour of the Chamber of Commerce, gone to the rodeo, shopped at NorthPark, found the airport without getting lost and subscribed to a newspaper. I’m planting some new roots…I hope they grow…I honestly pray that they grow.

But, my heart remains with the classic simplicity of life in the small town. I’ll admit that I’m a bit unsophisticated. That doesn’t mean that I’m less than intelligent or that I can’t understand the pressures of a competitive market. That doesn’t mean that I don’t read Texas Monthly or that I’m not interested in the stock market. That doesn’t mean that I’m less than qualified to fill a position of need in the community.

I may be a little too down-to-earth…I may be a little too honest…I may laugh at different jokes…I may relish the quiet side of life a bit more than most of you.

But come on, you Big City you, I sort of expect you to be friends with me.

downtown-fort-worth

Fort Worth

As it turned out, the city was friends with me. As we faced the challenges of our new life, we did keep the high hopes and we figured out how to find new high hopes…how to make the most of high hopes. We learned how to accept change and we are still learning how to accept change. I know now that being uncomfortable with change is really normal. I know that our faith carried us through the trials of life and the wondrous joy of life. 

We have weathered storms like we had not previously faced…that we were certainly not prepared to face.

I know now that we were far more prepared than we knew…for we believed in something that we could not see. 

We believed in the power of prayer.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/specific/

Hot Fudge Oreo Cupcakes!!!

oreo-cupcake

Calling all chocolate lovers…no explanation needed for the title of this post…except you need to try this recipe! These “cupcakes” are delicious and I realize that they are totally off of your New Year’s diet! Just one “cupcake” will surely not knock you off of the right track…

REALLY & TRULY!!!!!

WELL MAYBE NOT!!!!!

This yummy treat would be ideal for a children’s birthday party or any type party for that matter! These “cupcakes” are not too messy for the interior of your house! They are frozen! The “cupcake” recipe includes frozen vanilla ice cream, crushed Oreo cookies, frozen whipped topping, Eagle Brand condensed milk as well as chocolate chips, etc. I keep putting quotation marks around the word “cupcakes” because these are not cakes at all…the ingredients are merely placed in paper “cupcake” liners. Just a bit deceiving!!

I first saw a variation of this recipe in the 50th Anniversary Cookbook for Weir’s Country Store in Dallas, Texas. This “cupcake” recipe is one that you just might save for your next fun party!

 

oreos

 

HOT FUDGE OREO CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

15 ounce package Oreo cookies with the cream left inside

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

1 medium container Cool Whip

1/3 cup crushed pecans (optional)

Put the Oreos in a ziploc bag and crush until the cookies are crumbs. Add crumbs to 1/4 cup melted butter. Stir. Line your muffin pan with paper “cupcake” liners. Press crumbs firmly into the bottom of each liner. You should use about 2 tablespoons per cup. Reserve at least 1 cup of the crumbs for later. Then put a scoop of ice cream into each liner cup. Use a spoon and flatten each ball of ice cream. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of reserved crumbs over the ice cream. Reserve some Oreo crumbs for the top of the “cupcake” before it is served.  Add a layer of Cool Whip and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of crushed pecans to each liner cup (over the layer of Cool Whip). Lightly cover the muffin pan with a sheet of waxed paper. Put “cupcake” muffin pan into freezer. Leave until completely frozen.

HOT FUDGE SAUCE:

1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk

1 stick butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix the “Hot Fudge Sauce” ingredients over low heat in a saucepan until melted. Stir constantly until all of the ingredients are combined. Once the hot fudge is all melted together, pour it into a gallon size ziploc bag. Let it cool in the freezer for about 10 minutes. After the hot fudge is cooled, take the cupcake pan out of the freezer. Drizzle the hot fudge over the top of the frozen ice cream. Try to not let it spill over the sides of the paper liner cups. Place the pan uncovered in the freezer for several hours. when you are ready to serve, let thaw for a few minutes, until slightly soft. Sprinkle reserved Oreo crumbs over each “cupcake”. If you have any of the Hot Fudge left, drizzle a little over each “cupcake” before serving (before or after placing on serving tray). Remove the Hot Fudge Oreo Cupcakes and their paper liners and place on a serving tray! Serve immediately!!

ENJOY!!!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/interior/