Monthly Archives: August 2014

Rocking On


“Mrs. Rackley, why do you have that T around your neck?” asks an inquisitive, sparkling child.

“It’s a cross,” I answer as my ‘whoa, be careful, not supposed to talk about religion in school’ meter goes off.

“What for?  Did somebody die?”

“No…it’s just my cross.  My son gave it to me,” I have to say and then no more.

These conversations pop up out of the blue and always stop me in my tracks. We’re going, going, going, filling every minute of the day with stations and RTI and reading, and then boom, a little child pulls me back into the real world. I’m usually in deep teacher mode when these moments happen, and it’s almost like a little smack when they ask me real-life questions. Makes me wonder what would happen if I had more time to listen to their thoughts and stories and musings.

The playground is usually a good place to hear the unusual, the off-topic and sometimes, trivial.  I actually enjoy going out for recess, unless we’re having a rash of tattling that day.  Only outside can you hear the following (which are actual quotes I put into my phone as soon as I heard them):

“I ain’t scared of a ladybug.  They’re nice.  They might poop on your finger but they’re nice.”

“This rain’s got good flavor!”


So school is rocking on.  We’re 18 days into the year, and in the last few days I’ve felt us slowly round the curve.  The children are learning routines, finding their way into first grade slowly and steadily (well, I may have pushed them a bit…).  We’re trying to find our footing, and I do believe we will.  I got my first two ‘I love you’s’ this week…a few kisses on the arm from one loving fellow…and hugs from a few girls I worried might not open up to me at all.  All these things are glimpses of bonding…me bonding with them, the children bonding with me.  But bonding is more than skills and numbers on a page…these children remind me of that often.  I have to listen to their inquiries and tales, and I have to let them hug and love.  That’s how they become mine and I try to become theirs.




It’s been over a week since Robin Williams died and with all the media coverage, I’ve found my mind often on him and his situation. I was one of those kids who grew up in the 70’s watching Happy Days and then Mork and Mindy. I followed him into the 80’s and 90’s with Popeye and Mrs. Doubtfire.  Just like so many, he’s been in my media life all my life.

Since he died, I have seen nothing but one memorial or blog after another. Everyone seems to have an opinion about his life and death.  The most disturbing reads have been the judgmental suicide columns.  They’re heavy and doom-filled, and all I can do after I read them is sigh and wonder when we were given the right to judge another.

I am certainly no expert on the Bible, and I’m certainly no expert on suicide, but none of us have been given the special honor of being the ultimate judge over others.  Best I recall, we are not to judge others at all.

Depression is an ugly, vile thing.  I saw it devour my mother at times, and nothing about it was easy or clean.  When she was deep in the midst of the dark, she tried her best to think of others but she was waging a battle that she could barely survive on her own.  As a child, I witnessed her chemical imbalance, shock treatments, psychiatrists, institutions.  Trust me, none of it is as simple as just snap out of it… or… if you’d think about your kids, you’d be fine.

I can only reason that people who judge others actions may have never been in their shoes before. (And it’s a good thing we all don’t have to experience every single bad thing in this world.)  Still, before you condemn another, realize you may have never felt their pain or experienced their darkness.

I’ve knocked on depression’s door, caught glimpses of the dark, but never have I been unable to pull through.  I’m lucky in that aspect, my mother wasn’t.  The God I knew during those times never condemned me, never turned from me.  I’ve actually never known more love than in those weakest moments.  So instead of judging Robin Williams and the decisions he made, I’m praying that his suffering is over, that he’s felt God’s love, that people will try to love others as God loves us, and that we’ll all leave the judging to Him.


Back to School


Back to school, back to school, oh how I adore you!

Not really – it’s just too stinking hard to adore, but still there’s nothing, not anything in the world like it.  It’s exciting, hard, terrifying, exhausting, fulfilling, energetic and fresh.  Unique to this time of year, it can only be explained and comprehended by people who have lived through the experience.  And somehow, not sure how, I’ve made it through the first week of another back to school.

You parents know, other kids may remember, but the little ones are t-e-r-r-i-f-i-e-d on the first day.  For example…my sister was in the car line on the first day readying to drop her daughter off.  As they pulled to a stop in front of the school, she noticed that a teacher had to pry a child out of his mom’s car as he screamed and cried.  My sis could hear him yelling, “I don’t want to go to school.  I don’t want to go in that Mrs. Rackley’s room!”  (And yes, that’s me and I’m not mean, I promise.)

Bless him – whomever he may be.  Luckily, no one was wailing in fear by the time they made it down the hall to the dreaded Mrs. Rackley.

It’s a little early to tell the personality of my class.  Will they be spunky or inquisitive?  Bright or sweet?  So far, all I’ve gathered is that we have promise.  Lots of it.  This group of children came in my door reading…like really reading.  They can track print, know gobs of sight words and can keep up when others are reading like nobody’s business.  I listened to them read this past week and all I could do was grin and do double high-fives.  Yes!  Oh the places we’ll go!  And you Kindergarten teachers, let me just tell you…you rock!!  Every day I’m thankful for all the hard work you put into your job.

I’m thankful to work in a building with teachers who aren’t afraid to work their tails off.  We push and love and never give up.  The older I get, the more I realize it’s a true gift to be surrounded by dedicated people.  So here’s to another back to school, another school year.  God…grant us peace of mind, a whopping dose of patience and more than anything, an abundance of love.









Walk and Talks


Can you see the webs glistening in the grass?

Several mornings a week, I get up early and walk.  The world is different early in the day.  Cool air whispers against your skin, faint mists float through the trees, the dew still sits heavily on the earth.  The dew was thick this morning, outlining web after web.  It was almost magical seeing hundreds of webs throughout the field and yard.

This is what I’ll miss most about school starting back tomorrow – my walk and talks.  During these early morning walks, with the beauty of the earth surrounding me, I feel closer to God than any other time during the day.  His magestic beauty does something to my soul.  For that thirty minutes, I pour out my gratitude, my sorrows, my worries, and for that thirty minutes, I feel Him right there with me saying I’ve got you.