I don't usually mind giving talks at church. I usually spend a lot of time preparing. Sometimes I fast. I don't usually get too nervous in front of large crowds.
Maybe that's why it was so bad today.
Today, for whatever reason, was a train wreck. I had prepared a little. I had thought a lot about Resurrection, the Atonement. I had planned to talk about my grandma's death. I had planned to talk about the sorrow that comes in life. I had planned to talk about the hope that Christ's resurrection brings. I had planned to reference Elder Holland and Wirthlin and President Monson.
Instead, I stood up, rambled and blabbered for approximately 5 minutes, and sat down.
I don't know whether I want another chance at speaking, or whether I want to hide under a rock and refuse to ever speak or hold a calling again.
It was that bad.
If you are in my ward, I apologize profusely. If you are not... I'm glad I can still count a few people who don't consider me a complete moron.
The positive news is... Easter did happen. Christ did rise from the dead. The tomb is empty. And that glorious thing is true anyway. Hopefully people remember that. Maybe once I stop cringing over my idiocy I can remember that too.
Wes is an awesome travel buddy. I strapped him around me with my Moby, and we strolled the airports passing grumpy, delayed travelers. He's too much for the determined grump. The kid could charm the socks off Oscar the Grouch. Strangers of all types cooed, grinned, and chuckled. I met amazing people with my giggling, bouncing conversation starter.
It probably helped that he didn't make a fuss in any of our four flights spread over 3 and a half hours.
My favorite line from Disney's Pollyanna is the pastor's thundering cry: "Death comes... unexpectedly!!"
I suppose it's one of life's few nearly universal truths. Even when you're inviting death, it may come later than you want. My grandma had been on dialysis for some time when she decided it was time to quit. She lay at home in her bed, waiting for her departure time, waking up occasionally from her semi-coma to announce, "I'm still here."
She awoke the second morning of my visit to say in mild frustration, "It's hard to die!"
This afternoon, though, at 12:20 local time, it came. I was so glad to have been able to visit and talk with her at a time when she could talk back. I'm glad to have held her hand and told her how grateful I am to her. I'm glad that she patted my hand when I got all teary and made me feel like it was going to be okay.
I'm grateful she met Weston. He saw her and grinned. She was tickled at his interaction with her and often commented, "he's not afraid of me!" He wasn't. Not even a little. He sat on her lap and smiled and cooed and chewed on her bed rails.
The first day we chatted. I told her stories of my kids. She visited with friends and neighbors. She mentioned her funeral preferences. She told me how much she wanted me to sing with my dad. She seemed lively and eager.
The second morning she requested only family be in her room. She was more tired. She listened while everyone in her room talked around her. She took some anti-nausea medication and slept for ten straight hours. We thought she might not wake up. To everyone's surprise (especially her own), she did, awaking at 1am with a chipper, "Good morning!"
On Sunday morning my uncles gave her a blessing. She had another dose of anti-nausea medicine. She gave Wes a little chuckle and a coo. And then she went to sleep and Wes and I flew home.
I don't usually post videos. I feel like they're too personal for a blog.
I know. I'll tell you all about birthing a baby, but no videos. My thoughts on privacy are maybe a little demented.
But. Today (and probably for a while after that) I'm throwing that out the window. I have a very ill Grandma (hi, GG!) who has never seen Weston. And she reads my blog. So. If you're bored by video posts, you can just tune out for this one.
I should note that there is nothing exciting about these videos. Absolutely nothing whatsoever. Just smiling children. Seriously.
The night before Weston's surgery. The kid is a grinner, I tell you.
I have opinions. I'm just not that thrilled about them. Politics, to me, is a messy world. It's filled with lies, manipulation, special interests, uncertainty... I just can't seem to navigate to the truth sometimes. And when I don't see a really awesome solution, it's hard for me to get excited.
I am surrounded by people who are practically pundits. They can talk for hours about politics, candidates and bills. They get passionate. Red-faced. Loud.
That is how I get. About education. It is my soapbox issue. Don't bring it up at parties. I can't stop talking about it. I will probably talk home school. About how I think a parent's greatest responsibility is the education of her children. About how a caring, well-informed, middle-income parent can provide an academically challenging education for her children that will prepare them for college and a successful career.
I will talk about charter schools. I will talk about my state's drop out rates. I will talk about teen pregnancy, and the importance of the family valuing education.
And I will bring up this man. He is my education hero. The man is making miracles.
I first met him here. I have since read and heard about him in magazines, NPR, and most recently on the documentary .
If you have not yet seen this film, you should. Public education is a huge problem. It is getting worse. But. Unlike most of the big problems in our country--health care costs, welfare, debt, illegal immigration--there is a solution that we know works. Schools like Harlem Success Academy and Kipp Schools across the nation are churning university-ready kids out of the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods in America. It. Works.
And. Yet. We are still using our same old system.
This film made me wonder if home schooling my children wasn't enough. If maybe I have a responsibility to my community. Maybe starting a charter is the way to go. Maybe if charter schools outnumber public schools, the government will finally get the message.
In order to change public school results, the documentary explored a wide variety of options. Some of these include: Incentive-based pay for teachers Elimination of or reduced power for teacher unions Discontinuing the practice of tenure. Lengthening the school day
What do you think of these suggested measures? What are your thoughts on education? What do my teacher friends have to add to these issues on their perspective? And while we're on the subject, any strong thoughts about homeschooling? Education reform ideas?