Monday, December 21, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE: There's a Party In My City

YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE: There's a Party In My City

My wife and I took our youngest girls to this show recently. What a blast for kids and parents. Some parents were even dressed in costume (no lie). The Aquabats played live as did Biz Markie. The show was at the Shrine (which is a dump) near USC and we happened to go on the Saturday of Homecoming (oops). But my girls LOVED the show, and Pam and I had a great time too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

43

Today is my 43rd birthday. Funny how 43 doesn't feel any different than 33 or even 23. Well, a little different than 23. Some of my advanced students brought me spicy Thai food and cakes for lunch. Very fun. And I've had lots of nice text messages and bulletin posts at Facebook. I am so thankful for being so blessed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heart Issues

Three weeks ago I had a bout of high blood pressure. It's down now. I got tested and everything looks fine. My cholesterol is 184. I'm not sure why my blood pressure shot up so high. I've recently lost 20 pounds and I am exercising regularly. I actually feel really, really good.

But I have a friend who is not so lucky. Not only does he suffer from Muscular Dystrophy, he is also diabetic, AND he is currently recovering from Thyroid cancer. This week he had a minor heart attack. I visited him in the hospital yesterday. He's in good spirits.

We talked about the meaning and purpose of his ailments; if there is any meaning and purpose to his ailments. He understands how God has used his ability to overcome his disabilities to help inspire others. But I have to wonder aloud; really God? Really? I pray for mercy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Losing Dad

My father passed away 10 years ago today, just 9 days past his 62nd birthday. Colon cancer. It was 10 weeks from the day that he was diagnosed to the day he died. No, he had not got checked regularly. My mother and I held his hand as he took his last breath, and then faded away, turning ashen. I like to think that my dad is in heaven, but I'm not sure. Although I felt that I knew my father well, we spent lots of time together, I don't know if he was saved or not.

I miss my dad everyday. I wish that he was here to see his three beautiful granddaughters born after his passing, and to see his older grandchildren mature. I wish I could sit down and talk to him the way we once did; that I could seek his advice and council in the many complex matters of life. I'd love to share one more martini (gin, straight up, extra dry, two olives). I'd love to smell his stinky cigar again.

Losing my dad was traumatic and tragic. However, losing my dad strengthened my faith, my marriage, and my family. Losing my dad made me take my health much more seriously (and yes, I get regular checkups and exams). But the most significant thing about losing my dad was that his passing forced me to look upward towards my Father for guidance and inspiration in my life. For that I am thankful.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Facts

Here is an article published recently in the local newspaper about my students and our class:
http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/news/ci_13430044

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

John Fisher's Evidence Art Show

Artwork by my friend and retired Redlands High School Art teacher John Fisher, video shot by students Trevor Stevens, Edited in Final Cut Pro 6 by me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wait Quietly

Lamentations 3:21-26

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

Monday, September 7, 2009

District 9

I rarely get to go out to see a movie. But I took advantage of the 3 day weekend and went out last night to see District 9 on the recommendation of some of my students. What an amazing film. The special effects are top notch, and you never doubt for a moment that the alien "prawns" are not actually on set with the human actors. The film takes on the style of a documentary and the performances are believable and very authentic. District 9 is an R rated movie for language and violent, and yes it is very violent. But the story is so much more. Through science fiction the film makers challenge the audience to take a good hard look inwardly at how we treat each other, and especially those "aliens" in our world. I felt the movie was excellent, very well made, and thought provoking. I strongly recommend seeing District 9.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Family and Conflict

My family is just as dysfunctional as the one next door. I am working with my older children to help them repair and establish positive relationships with each other and other people. I found this list over at Focus on the The Family. I gave it to them last Saturday and asked them to read it once a day each day and to pray for God to work in their hearts. Tonight we talked about it, for an hour. Did the reading and prayer help? It was a slighty smoother week. However Friday was a very difficult day. I recognize that the harder I work to lead my family, the more intense will be the attacks to destroy my family. I am grateful for a loving God, for his protection, and his will.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Teacher Mojo

This is the start of the 4th week of school if you count the day of the week that school started. So far it's been a great year. I have classes full of fun students who want to learn, work hard, and seem to enjoy the courses. And I am having a great time in the classroom. My teacher mojo is high while my writing mojo is, well, absent. Usually when things are going this well I have lots to write about, but not right now. For right now I am simply loving my job and enjoying spending time with the new students. Isnt' that cool?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lost Animals

My favorite Christian Folk/Rap artist, Josh Garrels, released a new album, Lost Animals, recently. I picked it up at his performance last week. It's a collection of songs that didn't make onto his last album, Jacaranda, and others he wrote and recorded in collaboration, or for film scores. Like all of Josh's music, Lost Animals is memorizing, and unforgettable. If you have not yet listened to Josh, give him a try. And if you choose to purchase his music, buy directly from his website here: http://www.joshgarrels.com/store.html to help support Josh and his family.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taking Notes and Dropping Out

This from the 3 Farts got me thinking:

Taking Notes and Dropping Out

And Asher at the Guru's Handbook needs to jump into the discussion.

The main focus of high school education in 2009 is still preparing students for higher education (sending them to college). Our graduation requirements are still structured around the University of California's admissions requirements and the UC and CSU systems continue to be the tail that wags the dog of public high schools in California. But if Chris is right about his assessment of the devaluation of higher ed, then I think it's time we changed course at the high school level and focused on preparing our students for the world; a world that MAY include higher education for SOME (not ALL) of our students.

It's starting in California already with the Carl Perkins program and its focus on Career Technical Education. Students will soon be required to take CTE courses as part of their graduation requirement and that is a very good thing indeed. The problem is that many California public high schools are not yet prepared to offer appropriate CTE courses as the main focus of education has been on preparing ALL students for going to college. And with the budgetary issues in California, it seems like more classes are being cut, then are being created. The Perkins funding program helps, but the rules and guidelines are stringent and time consuming enough to make some school districts decide not to participate.

As the universities are forced to charge more and more for tuition fewer and fewer students will be able to afford to go. If theses students have been insufficiently prepared for the world of work by their high school education, where diplomas seem to be an entitlement, then they, and all of us, are in real trouble. Thoughts?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Righteousness

Things are very good right now. So good that I am slightly concerned about what happens next, but let's not spoil the moment. I'm sitting in the kitchen of our new house. This is the best spot for the computer, same as the last house. I haven't written much this summer because I haven't had many moments like this to collect my thoughts. But I'm up early this morning before school, and I'm not out riding my bike, so here's what's on my mind.

God is faithful, especially when we are not. He proves himself true to the righteous over and over again. My family and I moving into this house, at this place, in this time feels very much like a reward for our patience, obedience, and an answer to our prayers. God provides and his provision in more than sufficient, if we will allow him to work in our lives, and get out of his way. My maturing adult life is not just a testimony, but actual evidence of God's grace, and a working relationship with the father, son and holy spirit.

Righteousness is rewarded. (Here is a link that explains righteousness very well.) Following Jesus means doing the best we can to be righteous, not self-righteous, in all things. Not easy to do, and without grace, impossible. I can not just tell you but also show you the rewards for righteous in my life. And I am more than thankful for a savior willing to die for my sins and give me the opportunity to experience a life in relationship with him, filled every day with the power of the holy spirit.

I've read two books focused on Islam this summer. Muslims are successful and their numbers are growing partly because they take their relationship with God very seriously, and live out their faith in obvious ways for all to see. We Christians need to live out our faith in obvious ways and not hide our lights under a bushel, LET IT SHINE!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Josh Garrels @ Packing House


Set List:
Restless Ones
Joyful Boy
Train Song
Desert Father
Words Remain
Sweet River Roll
Zion & Babylon
(message)
Freedom
Creation Song

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2009-2010 Day 1

And away they go...

Today starts my 15th year as a contract teacher (not including the subbing and student teaching years.) I am at the same time the least and most prepared for the first day of teaching ever. I spent very little time this summer prepping. However, I'm getting to that point in my teaching career where I've worked out many of the wrinkles, so really the only unknown factor is the new students, and they are fairly predictable.

My first day I usually take role REALLY slowly, share a little about me, and then review my curriculum paper. I may change that up a bit today. We'll see how I'm feeling, and what the terrain looks like. Some teachers will tell you not to smile until Thanksgiving. Right. The students absorb the teacher's enthusiasm from the moment the first bell rings. I will smile ALOT today (hey, I'm employed!!!)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Endless Summer

A few weeks ago the buyer of our home pulled out. It's funny, but I wasn't shocked, or concerned. I was confident that God was in control. Perhaps I was so panicked that I was numb, and so felt no feeling at all. But it wasn't that. I was calm because I know that God is faithful and has proven it to me time after time.

Two weeks later we got another offer on the house. This time from our neighbor up there who wants to use it as a corporate retreat. His offer is cash, but he wants a 1-year option to decided if the property will work for his company. He is willing to pay a handsome (huge) monthly payment for the year while he decides. Thank you Father.

During the same time the landlord of the rental house that we are currently living in explained that they were ready to reoccupy their home. We started shopping for a new rental and found the house in the picture above. Built in 1910, it is located in one of the local historic districts. I have always wanted to live in a house like this. We signed the lease yesterday.

In the middle of all this I went to Las Vegas with 4 high school/college friends whom I have not seen in many, many years. But what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Actually is was a very sweet experience. It's amazing how real friendships transcend time and place.

I also completed riding 300 miles on my bike in the month of July. After this morning's ride I'll have ridden 100 miles in August already. However, school starts again on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Assegai

My favorite genre to read is historical fiction, and my favorite author without a doubt is Wilbur Smith. I picked up my first Wilbur Smith novel while in Hawaii on vacation in 1996. Since then I've read most of his books, enjoying nearly every one. Assegai was released this year and is a follow up to Triumph of the Sun published a few years ago. Smith writes a few different series of novels all taking place in Africa. Last year's book, Warlock, was from the Egyptian series, and by far my least favorite of his novels. However, Assegai returns to the Courtney's of Africa and is a thrilling and fun adventure of a book. The story is filled with interesting characters, big game hunting, and events surrounding the start up to WW1 in Africa. These are "man" books where men are full of courage, determination, and usually armed with really big guns to shoot elephant, lions, or whatever gets in their way. I loved the book and would recommend anyone interested in a fun and informative read give it a try.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Maylene @ The Glass House


Another AMAZING concert by Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Here is the set list:

Waiting On My Deathbed
Memories Of The Grove
Tough as John Jacobs
Listen Close
Raised By The Tide
Step Up (I'm On It)
Darkest Of Kin
Caution: Dangerous Curves Ahead

You can check out their new video at Rolling Stone.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Looming Tower

The Looming Tower is the first book I have read about Al-Qaeda and the 9-11 attack, and it is amazing. Lawrence Wright writes in a narrative format that is extremely accessible. The names are complicated and sometimes difficult to keep up with; but the author includes a detailed guide to each principle character and extensive notes at the end of the book. I can strongly recommend this book to every thinking American who wants to better understand the world we actually live in.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Mapping Website

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Getaway

My wife and I spent last night at the Morongo Casino Resort. Awesome and very affordable. We spent yesterday afternoon by the pool, enjoyed a good dinner, and even gambled a little. Best of all we were alone together for the first time in about 5 years!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tour de France

Happy Independence Day!

The Tour de France also starts today. Keep up with the action online here: TDF

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer Rain


I woke this morning at 5:30 to the sound of summer rain. I was up at our house in the mountains that is in escrow to be sold. The moving process seems endless. My goal is to be out by the end of this month. We should close escrow by Labor Day, and then it will be done.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Bridges Ride


View Larger Map

AKA: Los Tres Escuelas
20 miles past the 3 Redlands high schools and over two bridges, 1 of which is about 100 years old (see picture below). Very cool ride.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Acoma: A Novel of Conquest

This is my first written book review. I picked up this novel, Acoma: A Novel of Conquest, by Lana M. Harrigan, at the library because I am interested in the Acoma history. I have visited there twice, and I have historical ties to the area. Plus I love historical fiction as a genre. This is the author's first novel and it shows. Her writing starts off strong, but gets lazy towards the end of the book. I am not a fan of romance novels, and this felt far more like a romance novel than historical fiction. I thought "Novel of Conquest" would mean conquest of the land; I didn't interpet the title to mean sexual conquest. However I must give Mrs. Harrigan credit for her vivid descriptions of the Acoma mesa (for the very little time she spends there.) The author must hate the catholic church because she paints a horrible and abusive profile of their presence in Nuevo Mexico. The heroine has a heart for Christianity and God, but few others "religious" characters in the book are sympathetic at all. At the end she leaves the reader feeling that all sins, while forgiven by God (maybe) will come back to haunt you, even to the point of death. Hmm. Unfortuantely I cannot recommend this novel to anyone.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Bible


Last night my mom gave me an early Father's Day gift. I had mentioned awhile back how I wish I could find a bible with a wide margin for taking notes. I write notes all over all of my books. It's a habit I started in college and have found very useful. Teachers, I know it's a sin to many but for me its a highly effective way of helping me understand and process what I am reading, whether its scripture, classwork material, or just observations in a novel I am reading for fun.

Mom found an ESV (English Standard Version) Bible for Life wide margin reference edition bible published by Crossways Bibles, a ministry of Good News publishers, from Wheaton, Illinois (978-1-58134-823-1) at our one of our local Christian book stores. Very cool. I have a Teacher's Edition Holman Christian Standard Bible that I carry with me just about everywhere I go. The new one is bigger and heavier, so it will be my daily reader, and Sunday tote to service.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

10 Mile Sunset Ride


View 10 mi Sunset in a larger map
This was the ride I did this morning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mastery?

Everyone needs to be good at something, to experience what it is to excel at anything, to understand the time, energy, and commitment required to achieve a mastery level. It doesn't matter what the thing is. It could be writing, playing an instrument, throwing free throws, or even, yes, playing video games.

No one gets "good" at anything unless they spend time (lots of time) doing that thing. There are two byproducts of their time investment. 1) they get better at the thing they are doing which makes them feel good and brings them positive attention; and 2) they learn what is necessary for mastery.

The lesson gained from learning what is necessary for mastery can be applied to anything and everything else in life. For me to learn how to make 9 out of 10 free throw shots, I must make a personal investment. The return on this investment is an experience that I can then reference when approaching other challenges in life.

Having experienced some success in the past, I know what mastery feels like and I have a pretty good idea of how to get there. Sure each challenge is different; it's not the way we overcome the challenge, but the attitude and the experience we bring to meet the challenge head-on.

How much time do you spend working towards mastery? We may never reach "master class" in what we focus on, but that's not the point. It's making the commitment, and following through; then applying those experiences to other areas of our lives that is the key to success.

Friday, June 12, 2009

4AM

Just home from graduation. What a great night. I love to watch the graduates walk up to receive their diploma (holder). The expression on their faces is priceless. Then the hugs and the tears after are always some of my most memorable moments. Congratulations Class of 2009!

I'm writing the night before (but publishing the day of) because I am getting up at 4am to drive my wife, Pamela, to the airport. She is spending the weekend with her sister in Colorado. I'll be chasing around the 5 little Bibos all weekend long, or rather, they will be chasing after me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

1

After months of planning, prep, instruction, and projects, I gave my first certification exam in Final Cut Pro yesterday. The certification exam is optional, and half of the students enrolled (10) opted to take the test. The test is taken online. There are multiple choice, select all that apply, and find this item in the diagram (screen shot) questions. Test takers are given 90 minutes to complete all 70 questions. The pass score is 80%. I had one student score above 80% (81%). The average score was 56%. Epic fail?

I predicted the student who passed would pass before I ever began to teach him the curriculum. He came in with prior knowledge and experience using the application at home. The next highest score was 76% from a student who is enrolled in two of my classes and serves as my TA in a third. However, another student who spends the same amount of time in my classroom earned the lowest score 36%.

I can reflect on these numbers in two ways. First, most students do not have access to Final Cut Pro outside of my classroom; Final Cut Pro is very expensive to purchase and requires a Macintosh computer. While I gave the students plenty of assignments to complete, and we worked through all of the projects in the text book, mastery of the application requires many additional hours invested in using it to edit.

Second, this was my first time teaching the application, using the text, and proctoring the exam. Past experience dictates that next time I will do a better job of teaching the material and insuring that the students spend even more time using the software. I now have some data to look at and use to help guide my presentation of the material to a new group of students in the fall.

Do I feel like a failure because of these scores? Of course not. Teaching is a process where perfection is the goal but rarely the outcome. The most effective teacher is the one who is at the same time leading and learning right alongside his or her students. Every student who took the course learned from their experience regardless of the percentage of questions answered correctly on the exam. My goal is to get two students above 80% next time and I am confident that they will.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Time Bomb

These are lyrics from a brand new song. Read all the way down to the bottom to find out who the author is. (You may be surprised.)
---
I'm a ticking time bomb
Waiting to blow my top
No one would ever know
Not until I blew up

No one would believe it
He was such a normal guy
Shake their heads and wonder why

If Martians fell from the sky
What would that do to god?
Would we put the weapons down
Or aim it up at the sky

No one would believe it
Except the f***ing nut jobs
They laugh and cry we told you so

Baby when I get home
I want to believe in Jesus
Hammer in the final nail
Help me pick up the pieces

When everything starts to fall
So fast that it terrifies you
When will you hit the wall?
Are you gonna learn to fly?

No one would believe it
Except for all the people
Watching as you fly away

Baby when I get home
I want to pick up the pieces
Hammer in the final nail
And lean me up against Jesus

Baby when I get home
I want to believe in Jesus
You can Hammer in the final nail
But help me pick up
the pieces

Baby when I get home
Help me pick up the pieces
You can hammer in the final nail
I wanna believe in Jesus

by
Dave Matthews
on the new Dave Matthews Band album:
Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Finally Finals?

Final exams "officially" begin today. However, since our seniors need to have grades calculated a day early, we've been on block schedule for the last two days giving final in the final block of the day. Today we go to the familiar two 2:15 long final periods with a 20 minute break in between, and release at 12:20. (Sigh of relief).

Today is also the day I buy lunch for my advanced class "Digital Dogz" seniors. I have 18 graduating this year, some of whom I have taught every single day of their high school career. It's been my tradition to buy pizza on this day following our "final" period together. I always buy really good pizza, not crappy cheap delivery. But I have to qualify that by explaining that the owner of the "gourmet" pizza shop in town also happens to be my landlord at the moment and always gives me a killer deal. I will spend about three hours with these 18 kids today, and then say goodbye.

I really hate goodbyes. I remember being with my grandmother at the airport when she said goodbye to her sister after a long visit. I saw my grandmother cry for the first and only time ever. Some of you (2) may have read the essay I wrote for The Apple that explained how I laughed at my 4th grade teacher for crying when he said goodbye to us on the last day of school. Poor judgment on my young part. I invest a major portion of my day, and my life, to these young people who then go out into the big-wide-world and I never hear from again.

Facebook helps me keep in touch, or at least monitor some of their good news. And some of my students come back to visit me often. One of my former students is even teaching two of my own children Tae Kwon Do. Two others are currently coaches on campus. Two are at USC and are going to be seniors next year. One of them is at Lucas Arts on an internship this summer. I've sent students to Standford, Yale, and a long list of other great colleges. Many end up in careers related to what I taught them in high school, so I must be doing something right.

Finals are about closure and promotion. Without them we could not justifiably pass our student up to the next rung of their latter, the next plateau of their lives, their next windmill to conquer. If we don't let the current ones move on, then we'll never get a new group to teach, because we can only teach so many at one time. Our students outgrow us and hopefully absorb all that we have to offer. My seniors this year are a hardworking and creative bunch. I will miss them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mother Bibo turns 67 today

My mother's story, and the event of her 67th birthday, is amazing. Less than a year after my dad passed away from Colon Cancer in 1999, Mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, or plasma cell cancer. When she was diagnosed her back was already in such bad shape that she required a metal rod to be implanted in order to stand upright. I was with her when the doctor (Dad's doctor) told her she had 12 to 18 months to live. Having just survived my father's cancer journey (he lived 10 weeks beyond his diagnosis), Mom was devastated, again. But instead of giving up, she gave it to God. The pastors of our church came and laid hands in prayer, she moved nearby a local, and very famous, hospital whose cancer treatments would be aggressive, and followed every instruction her Oncologist gave her. Although Mom was concerned about her future, she had the confidence of knowing that she was saved, and that the worst thing that could happen was that she got to meet Jesus face-to-face. If you did not know that my mom had a terminal illness, you wouldn't know it from seeing her on her birthday. Happy birthday Mom, I wish you many, many more.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Writing the Offer

This would be an AMAZING work of God if it happens. This house is currently owned by a good friend of mine and it is for (short) sale. We were planning on placing an offer on it next month when our house goes into "active" escrow. But we are going to write one up today because someone else has placed an offer on it and he needs to take an offer to the bank Monday for approval.

This house is next door to another very good friend, and our best family friends in town. It has 5 bedrooms, a pool, and is located in a very desirable area that I normally could never afford to live in. I have secretly thought about buying this house for many, many years, even before we moved back up to the mountains. The owners raised their family is this house, but only have one child left at home. It's a great family home and would be a fantastic blessing to my life and my family. Please pray for our success.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Something to Fall Back On?

I was just talking with a graduating student discussing her plans for the Fall. She is concerned about pursuing a course of education that does not allow here "something to fall back on." I explained that the most important thing that she can do is to pursue a course of study that she is passionate about and enjoys; the rest will fall in line.

The worst advice my father ever gave me was to have "something to fall back on." I wanted to be an actor/director. Crazy, I know, and he was right to be cautious. But by telling me to be cautious I doubted my goal and never gave it 100% of my effort. So guess what? I'm not an actor, or director. Am I sorry about that? No. I found the direction of my life, and I LOVE teaching. But there is still that feeling of unfinished business in the back of my mind, and in my heart.

We need to be very careful about how we communicate to our students and children. Proverbs 22:6 states "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." Each of us was made specifically and with a purpose. The parent or teacher does not decide the purpose and has no business doing anything but guiding the child along their path, encouraging them all the way.

Telling a young person that they need "something to fall back on" communicates a lack of confidence in the child's chosen path and purpose. Not a good thing. We, the adults, need to be supportive and respectful of the seed planted in the heart of the child and do all that we can to carefully tend to the needs of the budding inspiration within.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Brain Tumor Girl

I have taught many, many students. Some I have gotten closer to, others not so much. A few years back I had a student tell me in confidence that she was suffering a brain tumor and that she would be going directly into surgery the day after graduation. She was scared but confident that the doctors would be successful in removing the tumor.

The day after her high school graduation she went into surgery, and then spent the next 6 months in hospital rehabilitation. Actually it took the entire next school year before she was herself again. But she recovered well suffering only some hearing loss. She went to university the next year and began the process of becoming a teacher.

Then the tumor came back. The doctors were not able to get all of the mass, and it regrew. This past week she went back for a second major surgery. I just read her mom's email and the news is excellent. This time the doctors were able to not only remove the newer tumor, but cut off it's blood supply as well. They are all very positive.

The day we spoke of the impending first surgery I tried to offer wise advice, but I had none. I told her that I knew God would use this experience for his glory, and to trust Him. I'm sure that when the brain tumor girl got the news of the second tumor she was confused. Now we have to wait and see again how His glory is revealed; it will be.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

God's Glory

God created all things, including us, and then gave us dominion over them. Adam and Eve had the Garden of Eden all to themselves to enjoy while God went for a pleasant stroll. Kinda like when I take my kids to the park and tell them to go crazy. I enjoy watching them on the slides, the swings, and playing in the sand. I even get to play along. It's all good. But just as I give my children boundaries to play on any playground equipment except the stuff that is too dangerous and might hurt them if they fall, Adam and Eve were given instructions to not eat from the two forbidden trees, one of which of course they did, and fell. Sometimes my children trip at the park, skin their knees, and cry in pain. Of course I come over to comfort them, but I can't take the pain away, and I wouldn't want to. The pain from making a mistake is a reminder that can be used as knowledge of what not to do so they do not make that misstep again. My children learn, and grow from their mistakes, as did Adam and Eve, as do we all. And God watches it all in His benevolent Glory.

What gets me is the mistakes I make over and over and over again. I am so hard hard-headed and hard-hearted. Thank God for Jesus and for Grace.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Mexico Pinon Coffee


I originally found New Mexico Pinon coffee at Trader Joe's. Now I just order it online direct from the manufacturer. This coffee is amazing,far better than Starbucks or any of the other expensive brews out there. In the spring of 2008 we vacationed in New Mexico and I drove by the shop. It's a tiny little business in an industrial center.

I don't indulge myself in many things, but good coffee is worth the investment.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Founding Brothers


Book three on my summer list (and I still have 9 days of school left) is Founding Brothers, The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis. His Excellency was awesome. Ellis is so enthusiastic about the subjects he writes about that you can't helped by get sucked in. I wish I could take one of his history classes.

While I'm still not sure why I'm so curious about the founders of our country, I am impressed that they seemed to know that they were making history, and they embraced their roles. It's inspirational as I try to figure out my role as a teacher, a parent, and a husband. While I don't expect to make the impact these men made, what will my impact be?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Zion & Babylon-Josh Garrels


Oh great mammon of form and function
Careless consumerist consumption
Dangerous dysfunction
Described as expensive taste
I’m a people disgraced
By what I claim I need
And what I want to waste
I take no account for nothing
If it’s not mine
It’s a misappropriation of funds
Protect my ninety percent with my guns
Whose side am I on?
Well who’s winning?
My kingdom’s built with the blood of slaves
Orphans, widows, and homeless graves
I sold their souls just to build my private mansion
Some people say that my time is coming
Kingdom come is the justice running
Down, down, down on me
I’m a poor child, I’m a lost son
I refuse to give my love to anyone,
Fight for the truth,
Or help the weaker ones
Because I love my Babylon
I am a slave, I was never free
I betrayed you for blood money
Oh I bought the world, all is vanity
Oh my Lord I’m your enemy
Come to me, and find your life
Children sing, Zion’s in sight
I said don’t trade your name for a serial number
Priceless lives were born from under graves
Where I found you
Say, my name ain’t yours and yours is not mine
Mine is the Lord, and yours is my child
That’s how it’s always been
Time to make a change
Leave your home
Give to the poor all that you own
Lose your life, so that you could find it
First will be last when the true world comes
Livin’ like a humble fool to overcome
The upside-down wisdom
Of a dying world
Zion’s not built with hands
And in this place God will dwell with man
Sick be healed and cripples stand
Sing Allelu
My kingdom’s built with the blood of my son
Selfless sacrifice for everyone
Faith, hope, love, and harmony
I said let this world know me by your love
By your love
Oh my child, daughters and sons
I made you in love to overcome
Free as a bird, my flowers in the sun
On your way to Mount Zion
All you slaves, be set free
Come on out child and come on home to me
We will dance, we will rejoice
If you can hear me then follow my voice

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Teaching Disabilities

Its amazing how the commentary at The Onion is often so spot on. I am passing this along as I read it because a colleague brought it to my attention. I spend so much time reflecting on the serious issues surrounding teaching, it's fun to spend some not-so-serious time reflecting.
Report: Increasing Number Of Educators Found To Be Suffering From Teaching Disabilities

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sam's Birthday


Sixteen years ago today I became a father for the first of 5 times. What an amazing experience is parenting. As my oldest turns 16 today, my youngest turned 2 two weeks ago. Not everyone wants to parent children, and not everyone should. But for me, being my children's dad is the best (and most challenging) experience of my life.
(not a recent picture, but one of my "Favre"ites)

Monday, May 25, 2009

99 Days...


Is the longest I'll have to wait IF our buyer does not back out on the purchase of our home in the mountains. The waiting IS the hardest part. I'm going up today to do some maintenance. I am excited to see what God has in store for us.

This has been going on for 10 years. One of my father's last requests was for me to sell this house. It has taken that long. The house is beautiful and our family has enjoyed all of the adventures involved in living there.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

His Excellency


His Excellency: George Washington is the next book on my George Washington biography list for the summer. Its written by Joseph J. Ellis who also wrote Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation which I am planning on reading next. I'm not sure what my interest is with the founding fathers, Washington specifically, is right now. I suppose it's got something to do with wanting to study greatness in more detail. I am inspired by these men and what they did for our country, and for me.

What I like so far about this bio is the way Ellis writes sharing his passion for the subject: Washington. Ellis is excited about the stories, and it reads through in his writing. The last Washington bio I read was more of a "reader's digest" drive-by. His Excellency goes into greater detail which is good since I haven't taken an American history class in many years.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Oak Glen


I like to go for a "challenging" bicycle ride on Saturday mornings. Every few Saturdays I ride from my friends home in Yucaipa up to Oak Glen. We climb about 2500 feet in 10 miles: grueling. But the decent is a blast reaching speeds up to 40mph (on a bicycle).
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The ride was great. Before we left I found out about a friend's neighbor who crashed on a rock Wednesday night and broke his neck just like Christopher Reeve's injury. He's in the hospital now, and has already been operated on once. No one who was there know's exactly what happened since he was at the back of the pack. Cycling is suppose to be fun, but we have to be very, very careful indeed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Welcome!

Ok, so enough Cal Teacher Blog. I'm going to try actual blogging, and not just writing essays. At least for the summer that is. We'll see how long I can go before I'm still so full of teacher stuff that I have to get it down on paper to stay sane. Happy Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Digital Revolution

This is the preface to the 9th edition of my multimedia manual.

"Let's tell our young people that the best books are yet to be written; the best paintings have not yet been painted; the best governments are yet to be formed; the best is yet to be done by them."
-John Erskine

The digital revolution hit filmmaking about a decade ago allowing just about anyone to make a professional looking digital film. The digital revolution is about to hit education and change the way teachers educate, and students learn. With the world at their fingertips via the Internet, and access to inexpensive high-quality tools, students at Redlands High School have access to everything they need to communicate their thoughts, feelings, observations, and conclusions with the world.

Time Management leads to Productivity
Leadership leads to Courage
Communication leads to Community
Commitment leads to Dedication
Value Assessment leads to Accuracy
Critical Thinking leads to Creativity

The multimedia curriculum is designed to teach more than technology. While students have access to great technology, it’s what they DO with the technology that really matters. High school students need to be focused on the fundamental elements of education listed above. Learning how to use the technology is simple; learning what do with the technology is more complicated. So the focus of the multimedia courses is to pair the use of technology with real-life learning opportunities.

I am excited about teaching Final Cut Pro in the Advanced Multimedia and Video Documentary courses this year. I thank Diana Weynand who encouraged me to incorporate the instruction of FCP into the curriculum. This is the 9th version of this multimedia manual. I am happy to share it with anyone who is searching for assistance as they build their own multimedia program, or just trying to figure out how to do some of this stuff.

“I am the Eggman
They are the Eggmen
I am the Walrus, Goo goo g'joob?”
-Lennon/McCartney

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Maylene song


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Tour dates announced! I'll be at the Glass House in Pomona with my son. I'll probably be the oldest guy in the room (again) but I just love this band and their music. Dallas Taylor is gracious and on multiple occasions has take time to speak to my son and me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Founding Father


This is what I am reading right now: George Washington The Founding Father by Paul Johnson. It's part of the Eminent Lives series published by HarperCollins ISBN: 0-06-075365-X.