Walking in Freedom

Miscellaneous musings along the way

Just another week in room 715 January 20, 2012

Three day weekends are nice… the fact that they are followed by 4 day weeks is pretty great too! 🙂

After a refreshing weekend which included a visit to a new coffee shop in town, I managed to get a pretty nasty cold.  But, not enough to keep me home- just enough to make me sneeze and cough on my students a lot and push my bedtime up a couple hours because I was so tired!!

Thought I’d just share some random happenings from the week:

  • Two senior (as in 17 or 18 year old) guys happily helped me grade some quizzes in exchange for some glittery Disney princess stickers.  One was planning to give them to his girlfriend…


  • In one of my classes, several students who I had 1st semester only (they were making up a credit) have stopped by to visit this week since it’s the first week of the 2nd semester.  Guess they’re just going through withdrawal!  haha!


  • In that same class, some of the girls wanted to know how I folded my scarf a particular way.  I showed them a couple weeks ago but someone wanted to see again, so I jumped at the opportunity to demonstrate.  Since it’s a Geometry class, I explained how “you find the midpoint and fold it in half so you have two congruent segments.  Then… etc. etc.”  After my animated explanation, I quickly racked my brain- ‘how can I transition to diagonals of a parallelogram??’  Then I had it… “So, just like the midpoint divides the scarf into 2 congruent segments, the diagonals of a parallelogram bisect each other- forming two congruent segments.”  Good times…

  • I’ll finish with one more: I have a student, I’ll call him Eric, in one of my classes and he somehow got this idea that he wants to have me as his math teacher again next year.  Well, there’s been a lot of talk with scheduling for next year already and he was asking me what math class he could take so that he could have me again.  He wanted to know if he’d be able to take the senior math class I currently teach.  Time will tell what I end of teaching (there will be lots of changes in the department next year), but it does make you feel like you’re doing something right when a student is trying to have you 2 years in a row.

More stories for another day… 🙂


Sweet summer jobs July 25, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 10:29 pm
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Wow!  A whole week went by without a post… part of that has to do with the fact that I have been working!  I probably have the sweetest summer job(s) ever!  I have the opportunity to tutor a couple of motivated students in Algebra 2 and pre-algebra.  It’s so fun to work with students who want to get it and are willing to put forth the effort.  Also, the whole no disruptions thing is nice.  Basically I get paid to chill at Panera and do math with a student- good stuff!  I’m thankful to God for providing the opportunity to tutor this summer- I would much rather tutor than teacher summer school!


My other sweet job is with the park district.  The variety is great and it’s nice to actually have co-workers (unlike teaching where you only see adults at lunch).  So far, I’ve worked as a server at two high school reunions, a wedding and a wine tasting.  Last week, I was trained to drive the beer cart and Friday drove around the golf course for about 5 hours selling drinks!


When I was looking for summer jobs, I knew I wanted to do something that would be a change from teaching and my job with the parks definitely meets that criteria.  Again, I’m thankful for God’s provision.  It has been such a blessing to have a productive way to spend my time- doing my tasks at work and getting to know my co-workers and customers.  After all, life is all about relationships.  I’ve enjoyed little conversations here and there as I learn what makes my co-workers tick.  For example, one of my co-workers, a high school student, is all about money.  He was asking me last week about how much “extra” money you have when you’re working and on your own.  This reminded me of a previous conversation we had about the drive to get more money and I asked him when he would know he had enough.  The exact details of the conversations aren’t important.  I just think it’s neat that I have an opportunity to invest in the lives of people who don’t share the same motivations as me.  It remind me of Paul’s words in Acts 17:26-28–> From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’  This also reminds me of a sweet song by Flame.  Check it out as you finish reading this post. 🙂

Yum! 2 steaks, salad, mixed veggies, vegetarian alfredo pasta and a rye roll!

The free food I get isn’t bad either!  If any of you have ever worked food service, you know that any food that was out has to be thrown away… even if there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  Well, if we have leftovers from the buffet, we fix up some nice to-go meals like the one in the picture (after eating our dinner during our shift).  And just this last week, I got BBQ ribs… yum!  So, not only am I getting paid (albeit close to minimum wage), I’m saving on groceries… and having a good time at work!


I’m reminded of James 1:17 which says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ”  Thank you to The One who is giving me these summer jobs as gifts!  May my actions as I work bring glory to my steadfast God.





Applesauce and Cottage Cheese July 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 3:10 pm

I had my first follow up visit yesterday.  Everything is going well.  I now wear rubber bands that aren’t as restricting and can take them out when I eat.  So, now I can eat mushy foods (like applesauce and cottage cheese).  Basically I can eat anything a baby without teeth can eat- sounds bad, but after just liquids, this will be a nice change.  But, after 4 weeks of it, I’m sure I’ll be ready to start eating other stuff.


Now that I have these new rubber bands in, I can move my jaw a little bit more now which makes talking a little easier (definitely not back to normal… and it won’t be until I get my “splint,” aka plastic thingy, off my top teeth in a month).  The swelling is still going down- slowly.  I pretty much haven’t been able to smile because of it, which might be worse than the not talking! 🙂  I’m so thankful the school where I’ll be teaching starts later than most and it looks like I’ll be totally recovered when it’s time to start.


Not really sure what else to comment on… I haven’t been doing a whole lot since I’ve been recovering.  Perhaps a non-recovery related post is in order. 🙂


Recovery July 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 1:48 pm

On July 6, I had jaw surgery… Overall, everything went very well.  I had to wait awhile before I went into the OR.  Once I got there and moved over to the operating table as the doctors hovered around making preparations, I remember thinking “I am way too awake right now.”  And, that’s the last thing I remember.


I stayed overnight and left around noon on Wednesday (getting home in time to watch Spain beat Germany in the World Cup).  The first few days my face swelled a TON!!  When I looked in the mirror, it didn’t even look like me!  Also, my nose was really stopped up, but started getting better a few days out (won’t go into detail- you’re welcome 🙂 ).  About a week after surgery, I was finally able to taste my food.  Before then, I could just distinuguish between sweet (chocolate milkshake), sour (cranberry juice), salty (V8 juice), bitter (crushed up sudafed pill semi-dissolved in water- yum!  haha!).


My top and bottom jaw are rubber banded together so I essentially can’t move them at all.  Consequently I’m not answering my phone and I’m on an all liquid diet.  I average probably 2.7 milkshakes per day and have discovered vanilla protein powder (not bad stuff!).  I’m amazed what can be liquified in a blender- I’ve had pork burrito (minus the tortilla), teriyaki chicken and mac and cheese.  The first couple days I was eating out of a large syringe with rubber tubing attached at the end, because I had a lot of numbness.  That made eating take WAY too long, so now I’m just drinking everything from a glass.  Thankfully I have no numbness in my bottom lip because they only moved my top jaw.  Most (if not all) of the numbness will go away with time- my upper lip and part of my nose and cheeks are still completely numb.  Also, I was told 80% of the swelling will go away in the first month.


Can you tell I haven’t been able to talk and just needed an outlet to “say” something?  I’ll try to keep periodic updates coming.  Thanks for all your prayers. 🙂


Baby birds! June 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 10:49 pm

A few weeks ago, I noticed a bird’s nest on the windowsill just outside my bedroom window.  The past week or so, there has been a bird sitting on the nest- all day and all night.  When I open my blinds in the morning, there it is.  And then at night, it’s still sitting there.  Sometimes the wasps that live in the crack between the shutter and the brick would swarm around the bird and irritated, she would peck at the ever elusive wasps.

Today my assumption that there were eggs underneath the ever present bird was shown to be true, as two baby birds sat in the nest!  I watched as the dad sat on the nest until the mom got there.  Then the dad flew away and the mom proceeded to feed the baby birds.  At first I was perplexed by the way the mom pinched the baby’s beak in her own, bending the baby’s neck in what appeared to be an awkward position; but then I realized they were feeding.  A little later, both birds were feeding at the same time (seen in the photo).



Earlier this evening, the two baby birds were left in the nest by themselves.  Later, as it started to get dark, one of the adult birds sat on the nest all puffed up to cover the two babies and keep them warm- you couldn’t even see the babies  (see photo).

The timing of all this is kind of cool because I was just studying Genesis 1-2. 🙂  God is still in the business of creating and making all things new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)


Math Brink June 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 8:31 pm

I’ve always liked math.  I can’t narrow it down to one reason, but I think a big part of it is that it makes sense to me.  Well, until I reached the math brink.  (From dictionary.com, brink means “a crucial or critical point, esp. of a situation or state beyond which success or catastrophe occurs”- in this case, catastrophe)  Everyone’s math brink is different, but everyone has one.

I remember starting at problems for my 400 level math classes having no idea what I was supposed to be proving, much less where to start.  Hours of staring at various textbooks strained my eyes but did little to increase my understanding.  And then in class- frantically writing down everything (not understanding any of it) and hoping that it might all of a sudden make sense later that day.  That pretty much never happened.

Tutoring has given me some insight about other people’s math brink.  Just when you start to get comfortable manipulating numbers and solving problems, these “x”s start creeping in.  No big deal, x means multiplication… no?  Now x is a number?  You must be mistaken, I’m positive x is the 24th letter of the alphabet?  Don’t even get me started on positive and negative- my first grade teacher said you can only subtract two numbers when a number is subtracted from a larger number!  So she lied to me?!

And what’s with that “b”?  That wasn’t there two steps ago.  Sometimes it seems like mathematicians are more like magicians- making things disappear and appear at will!  Where did that letter come from?  How did they know that was the next step in the proof?  Did they just decide it looked good?  And what happened to that 14; it just disappeared.  There it is in this step… and the line below, it’s gone.  Where did it go?!

(Emphatic sigh) I just don’t like math!  (more to come…)


Quit yo whinin’ June 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 5:57 pm
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It bothers me when professional athletes whine about every single call (or lack of call).  Oh, and I’m not a fan when they flop, flailing their arms the whole way down… which can be pretty far for some NBA players (such as Pau Gasol- not that he would ever flop :-P).  If you’re talented, that’s great- entertain me with a display of your skill and athleticism.  Because even if you whine after every play, you’re never going to convince me that the ref is wrong every time; sorry, it’s just not gonna happen.  Granted, sometimes sports officials make mistakes, as Detroit Tigers’ Galarraga learned the hard way this week.  But that sour face after every play gets old really quickly.

But then again, a little bit of acting can make the game more exciting to watch.  I’m sure it’ll make for some humorous moments in the World Cup when players dramatically collide with the grass (whether someone touched them or not).  So, as long as they don’t draw fouls that weren’t even committed, I guess I’m ok with that.  But Pau, even if you are the best big man in the league, it’s ok to not get worked up after every call- just play.