August 27, 2007

35

I don't usually direct people to blogs just about me, but my wife just wrote a brilliant post that was... well... just about me!

It was my birthday today, and if you would like to see some embarrassing pictures of me and see how much I have changed over the years, then swing by her blog.

Click Here

August 26, 2007

The SC

I found this video on this blog and being from South Carolina and having spent some time as a teacher in the South Carolina educational system, I knew I had to share this with someone else.

Enjoy.

August 25, 2007

The Ash Tree

Under the Ash Tree
On a warm summer's day.
My children love to run there,
To laugh and to play.

They love it there,
In the ash tree's shade.
Its a wonderful place,
For their plans to be made.

Brilliant big plans
That boys like to make,
With silly games and battles
And maybe some cake.

And under the ash three,
It all comes to pass.
In bigger plans than they see,
Plans that will last.

Plans of kindness in battles,
And goodness in games,
There is love in their cake...
and ever
so gently,
They carve in their names.

So Under the Ash Tree
On this warm summer's day
I wish my children could be there
To laugh and to play.

August 24, 2007

bloody heck

I went to work last night at the church. Thursday night is office cleaning night, so I hit that first and wrapped it up pretty quickly. In one of the back rooms they where hosting a blood drive, so I was kinda waiting for that to get over so I could mop afterwards. I was on my way to work on one of the other projects on my to do list, just to pass the time, when one of the nurses invited me back to have a cookie. I can't resist a cookie invitation, so I figured I would at least go back and see what they had.

I walked back to the room they were using, and while I was browsing through the cookies I overheard the guy in charge talking about how many people hadn't shown up. They figured that they would show up before the end, but they were getting a little worried. So, being the guy that I am I volunteered right then and there to donate some of my blood.

I had toyed around with the idea a little bit in my head, but didn't really want to do it because of my dread of the needle. I absolutely fear needles, just ask my mom, but the older I get, the more I like to face my fears whenever possible. So I signed up, went through the questionnaire, then sat down in one of those fancy lawn chairs.

My nurse was really nice, and found my vein without any trouble. And even though she used an abnormally large needle, she must have been out of the regular ones, I didn't even flinch when she plunged it into the depths of my arm. I was feeling pretty good about myself as I clenched and unclenched my fist. The large quantities of blood were flowing steadily through that tube and down to the bag at the bottom. I watched that bag of blood rock back and forth, back and forth, keeping it from coagulating. Back and forth, back and forth it rocked. Wow, that looks like a lot of blood coming out of my body. I wonder how much blood a person can have taken out of their body.

I asked the nurse that, but I can't remember what she said.

I was feeling pretty good. Tired, but good as the blood kept filling my donation bag. In fact, I was feeling a little too good. The room seemed a little fuzzy and people started sounding a little like Charlie Brown's teacher. My nurse looked over at me and asked if I was OK. "Fine, good..." I tell her, then she walks away to check on one of the other donors.

A few moments later I start to feel a little light-headed. Not too much, just a little. I lay back and try to focus on the ceiling, instead of my bag of blood. There's no way that I am going to be that guy that has trouble giving blood. Just not gonna happen.

But then it starts to get worse. I started feeling a little fluttery in my chest, like I was trying to convince my heart that, "...no they are not taking too much blood. You're feeling ok. Just keep beating." My heart seemed like it was wavering a little in its trust in me. The air in the room started getting even thicker than it already was, so I finally swallowed my pride, and said, "ma'am... um... I am feeling a little light headed."

Next thing I remember, I am in the midst of the most vivid dream. I know it was vivid, but I couldn't tell you a thing that happened in that dream. What I do remember is looking up and having every nurse in the room around my bed, and for at least four seconds, I had no idea where I was and no clue why these people were staring at me. Then it came flooding back to me: church... offices... cookies... blood... oh yeah...

crap.

"Did I just pass out?"

Nurse reply: "Um, yeah. You could say that."

I guess that not only did I completely lose consciousness, I also seized up. The nurse told me later that she couldn't uncurl my arms to get the needle out. She had called everyone over just because of that. They even had to break the stuff under my nose just to wake me up. I can still remember that burning in my nose as I was exiting that vivid dream.

But the story isn't over yet. Oh no.

Right after I was revived, I started to feel a little nauseous. Thinking that I just needed something to eat I asked for some crackers. I thought that was going to help for a few moments, but then about halfway through the second cracker, I started having trouble chewing it up. The cracker was getting thicker in my mouth as every moment passed. No, no, this isn't happening. I am not going to be the guy who gets sick while donating blood!

I kept fighting it and kept fighting it, but it was getting more and more intense. The urge to hurl was almost all the way up to the back of my throat when I finally caved in and said something to my nurse. "Ma'am. I am not feeling so well."

"Your Stomach?" She says. "Good, if you get that up, you will feel much better. Let me get you a bag."

"A bag? Umm. I think I will be OK. I think it is passing already."

"Well here, why don't you hold this bag, just to make sure. It is really ok. We are all used to this happening."

hmm... "Well, I am not exactly used to puking in front of people. I don't know if I am ok with this. Do you mind if I just walk down to the bathroom real quick?"

"No. I am sorry, but we can't let you leave until your vitals get back up to normal."

Vitals!?! Did she say vitals?! "Alright, let me hold the bag. I probably won't..."

Then it happened. As discretely as possible, from my little donation bed I hurled out of the corner of my mouth. Not once, mind you, four times. Me trying to act like I hadn't just done that between each of the regurgitations. Then I had to pass the bag off and have one of the nurses say in her sweetest, most nursy voice, "You all done now? You feeling better? Here's a little wet paper towel for ya.. There now." And each of my responses was a whimpering, "mm...hmm..."

It is really hard to act tough when you just passed out, upchucked, and now a nurse is patting your head.

After all of that happened, I found out that I didn't even donate enough blood for them to keep. But they did give me two t-shirts and I got an extra cookie.

August 21, 2007

heated inelegance

It has been so hot lately. It looks like the end of the month is going to be a little cooler than the last couple of weeks. Which is a good thing because my wife has managed to make it through another summer in a van without air conditioning.

I was looking for another quote when I ran across this one. It reminded me of my wife (and some of her friends) so much, I just had to put it on my blog.




"What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."
~Jane Austen

I am telling you, my wife was born in the wrong era and in the wrong class. She and Jane would have been good friends.

Birthday Wishing

Just in case you were having trouble deciding what to do with that extra little bit of money that you have stored up, I thought that I would list just a couple of things that have struck my fancy lately.


Here is the first one, the one in the middle. Do you see that yellow ladder. I think that would look really nice in my garage. When you are doing home improvement, it always helps to have a ladder.

If you are swinging through a Wal-Mart, you might see this... think of me.


Ah. Number two idea.

I first saw one of these over at my brother-in-law's house. It was love at first sight. Some might say that I have plenty of toolboxes, but I still have more tools than tool boxes. This one is nice too because it can roll around the house.

What can I say, I was strolling around the store doing a little poor-man dreaming.




Now, this one just solidifies the poor-man title... the infamous 107 piece tool set. Most of the real men out there try to avoid these tool sets. They usually end up in some rich guy's house who has no idea how to use tools, but their kids decided that daddy needed some tools, or it is in the cabinet of a I-can-do-it-myself-without-the-help-of-some-man kind of lady.

I don't care though, this particular tool box comes in especially handy for a mover. I had one that was a little smaller than this one, but I lost it on my last day as a mover this summer. Very depressing.


This last one would come in extremely useful as I am becoming more and more known for my moving abilities. This strap set would look really nice hauling around things on the back of my Chevy Pickup Truck.






Well, just four ideas for you to consider. My birthday is coming up just around the corner (on the 27th in case you didn't know), and I was just doing some wishful thinking.

August 17, 2007

The Road

"There is no royal road to geometry."
~Euclid (A Greek Mathematician)
This quote is Euclid's response to a question that King Ptolemy asked concerning Geometry. He was asking if there were an easier or shorter way to learn this area of mathematical study. The "royal road" that Euclid was referring to, in his response, was a road that was built by the Persians that became known as the quickest and easiest road for travel. The messengers on that road made famous the motto of the U.S. Postal carriers of today. So, when King Ptolemy asked Euclid if there were an easier way to learn Geometry, Euclid's response meant that there was no quick or easy way to learn.

Geometry, as with so many subjects that are studied in school, don't have a "royal road" to travel on. Today, we have easier ways to travel, easier ways to bank, easier ways to communicate, easier ways to get food, easier ways to work... everything is getting easier and easier. So, it is only natural that a child would want the easy way out of learning. Unfortunately for us all, there are just some things that if you make them any easier, there is something that is lost.

Now, I am not just writing this to make a statement about the difficulties of the modern child, I am also writing this because in a few moments I am going to begin preparing to be a teacher again. Honestly, I would rather carry a sleeper sofa to the third floor of a house (which I have done more than once this summer) than to write lesson plans or come up with course objectives.

I enjoy being a teacher, really I do. I like being around the kids, I actually like teaching them math, and I love teaching the Bible classes, but I do not enjoy all of the preparation stuff. So, I guess in some ways, I am looking for that Royal Road as well. I want to be a good teacher, but I want the quick road to get there.

Anyway, I saw this quote and I felt like it was very fitting for the moment. Not only for my Geometry students, but also for this Geometry teacher.

August 16, 2007

they're gonna hate me

I have really strong feelings about the proper way to type.

Maybe it is because I had to learn how to type when typing was typing. We didn't have any of that backspacing going on, oh no. If you made a mistake, you had to back it up and align some correct-a-type over the letter to fix it. I am talking old-school typewriters that weighed a hundred pounds a piece.

Now-a-days kids are spoiled with their ability to make a mistake and so quickly go back and fix it. Sometimes the mistakes are even fixed automatically for you! Some of them have even become speed demons of the hunt and peck version of typing. That isn't going to fly with me! No Sir.

This is the product that was just purchased by my school for my keyboarding class. It is called a SpeedSkin Keyboarding Cover. It is a far cry from the cardboard boxes that I single-handedly constructed my first year of teaching. There is not going to be any peeking under the box to look at the fingers with these.

I feel an evil laugh coming on...

August 15, 2007

easily the most dominant

"I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history."
H.G. Wells, British author (1866-1946)
I love it when I hear quotes like this. In the world we live in, quotes like this are so quickly swept under the rug. I could talk about that for a while, in fact, there is a whole plethora of topics that could stem from a quote like this, but the question that comes to my mind is this:

Is Jesus Christ easily the most dominant figure in your life?

saturated

I just completed my commentary on Psalm 23 over at my Let Me Not Wander Blog. I know that Psalm 23 is one of the most quoted Psalms, and possibly one of the most quoted passages in the Bible, but I wanted to did deeper, and spend some time thinking about each of those verses. It was a really interesting chapter, and there was a lot more there than I anticipated.

One thing in particular that really jumped out to me, that I would like to share with you, was the end of verse 5. Most translations end that verse by saying, "... my cup overflows" which is a perfectly good translation of the word. I am no Bible scholar, that I could say otherwise, but when I study a passage, especially for this blog, I will usually go over to the Study Light site and look up the Strong's definitions of some of the key words. So, as normal I looked up the definition of the word overflows, to try to deepen my understanding of this word and this verse.

The Hebrew word that has been translated overflows, means literally saturated. You will have to read Psalm 23, starting with verse 1, to really get how this builds up to this point, but David it is almost like David is just saying, "It's too much! God you are too good! I am saturated with your goodness!"

It is very easy for us to get our eyes off of the big picture. We focus on the valley of the shadow of death, and forget that the Good Shepherd is still with us, and that not only is He leading us through this valley... He led us into this valley.

He knows what is on the other side.

Psalm 23 is a great Psalm, as evidenced by its popularity, but I would like to encourage you to sit down sometime and really read through it. (Also feel free to swing by my other blog and add some commentary of your own.) Check it out.

August 13, 2007

Moving On

I have successfully completed another stint in the world of the mover. I worked completely locally this time, which means that I didn't get to make quite as much money, but I was able to be at home every night, which was really good. What isn't so good is that I have walked away from this summer with a few more aches and pains than I have had in the past.

On my last day there I had something nice happen. Just a little bit of a complement from my boss. He pulls me in the office, grabs a piece of paper and a pen, and says, "Matt, how much could I offer you to get you to break that contract with that school?"

Now, I would never break a contract, once it was signed, and I would never try to work at a moving company year round again... I have been there, and it wasn't pretty, but it was flattering.

It was also reassuring that all of those aches and pains were worth it. You see, as I go into a new work environment, one of my goals is to be a salt and a light. And I have come to believe that salt and light doesn't come from your mouth and it most definitely doesn't come from trying to impose your morals onto those around you. Salt and light emanates from your actions and your attitudes. And going into a job being the best worker that you can be will shine as a light in this dark world. Especially in a world full of people who want to milk the clock, hide from the boss, and do just enough to get by.

But I am moving on now. I am headed back to school to be a teacher once again. The gears are having to shift in my mind because before I know it, I will be standing in front of a bunch of children. These children will also be in desperate need of salt and light, so the work will go on.

It will be a different kind of work, but the command is still the same, "...work heartily, as if you are working for Christ himself..."

August 10, 2007

9

He truly is the definition of his name, "asked of God." They told us that we would not have children, but like Hannah, we prayed for a child.

God provided this wonderful gift, more than I ever could have imagined.

August 9, 2007

Two great philosophers on the wall...

Calvin and Hobbes.

We decided to update the boys' room, and I ambitiously volunteered myself to paint a mural on the wall. (Never done it before, though once I painted a billboard for $100.)

Here are a couple of pictures of the (almost) final version. I still need to do some shading on Hobbes' nose.