Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings! I hope that, in the midst of this busy season, you are finding time to savor softly falling snow, rosy-cheeked children and glowing Christmas lights.

Once again, I've let a lot of news elapse between posts without reporting it. I will give a brief summary here.

At the end of September, I decided to try substitute teaching in Mesa County District 51 (Grand Junction and the surrounding area). My Uncle John and Aunt Madelyn generously offered me a place to stay in their beautiful home while I tried out the Grand Junction job market. I immediately got a two week position subbing for an ESL teacher in a Clifton elementary school. Mid-way through the second week, the principal from Orchard Avenue Elementary called asking me to interview for a fourth grade position that had opened up at their school. I interviewed, was offered the position and accepted all within a couple of days. Life hasn't been the same since!

Orchard Avenue Elementary is a wonderful learning and teaching community. I feel blessed to have such a great opportunity to grow professionally and work with such a supportive staff. I also sometimes feel overwhelmed by all that I have to learn and do to serve my learners well. Coming in mid school year and teaching fourth grade are new to me, and just getting back into the rigors of teaching in general is demanding. We have twenty-five learners in our class, sixteen boys and nine girls. We have a wonderful spectrum of personalities and talents. They teach me a lot.

In mid-October, I signed a lease on an apartment in downtown Grand Junction. It is the front part of an old house that has been divided into three units. The kitchen, living room and bathroom are on the first floor. There are two bedrooms upstairs. The house has character, and I enjoy living in downtown, and not far from the school. My brother, Chris, and my nephews Eric and Evan, made the trek over the mountains with me to pick up (most of) my stuff from storage in Lyons. My parents spent much of the following two days assembling furniture and unpacking my things while I worked at school. In times like these, I am especially grateful for my marvelous family.

For Thanksgivng, Chris and Melissa's family and I all gathered at our parents' house in Cedaredge. The posted photo was taken then. It was good to be together. For Christmas, we plan to all be together at my cousin Brian's house here in Grand Junction.

A few weeks ago, one of my bright-eyed, smiling, pigtailed fourth graders brought in something to share with the class. It was clipped from the previous day's Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: a photograph of a giant, glowing sliver of a crescent moon rising over the Grand Mesa. The caption began : "God's Thumbnail". After sharing time, we taped it to the white board, and it still hangs there in our classroom. It helps me remember that this world of heartbreak and confusion, isn't just spinning out of control. Someone's holding it.

Merry Christmas,