The Conference

Two weeks ago, I taught a mini lesson to some first grade writers…

“Today I want to teach you that writer’s don’t just tell readers their opinion right away. Writers say “hello” to the reader first. Writers can say “hello” by asking a question or using sound words.”

Earlier this week, I was back coaching writing conferences in the same room.

The teacher, the writer and I are gathered around the table. The teacher has her conferring notebook, the student has her book with just her title-My School- and I have my iPad.

“Tell me about your writing, ” asks the teacher.

“I’m writing about my school,” she whispers back, eyes downcast.

“What kind of book are you making? Will this be an opinion book where you tell us how you feel about a topic, an informational book where you teach us about a topic, or a narrative book where you tell us about a time? asked the teacher.

“An opinion.”

“Let’s work together to make a plan for your book. Here’s your first page. What will you put on this page?” the teacher asks as she turns to the first page in the book.

“My opinion.”

“What is your opinion?”

“I like school.”

“That sounds like a strong opinion. Is that all you will put on this page?” asked the teacher.

“I could say, “hello” she offers, her head turning slightly toward me. A smile peeks out at me.

“How will you choose to say, “hello”? asked the teacher.

She peeks over to me again. This time a bit braver, showing more of her face. “I could use sound words.” The smile is a bit bigger this time.

“What sound words could you use?”

“Yay, yay, yay!” she supplies with a full on look at me. Her eyes sparkle. She knows she has just made my day!





Jesus lover

Loved to tease her brother while he played basketball

Smile that dazzled








Used by God in a mighty way




Now dancing with Jesus.


I want to be brave like Lizzy!



No Wifi

“Please pardon our progress as we update our WiFi.”

When I read the sign attached to the hotel room door, I didn’t realize that meant NO WiFi.

I guess a web break is on the agenda for tonight. More book time for me🤗


I have a thing for paper towels. I come by it honestly. I inherited it from my father. He ALWAYS has a paper towel nearby. I don’t like drying my hands on a dishtowel. It feels dirty. I use paper towels for everything! And, truth be told, I am a paper towel snob. I only like certain brands and certain looks. I want my paper towel to be soft, thick, and plain white. No designs for me!

This morning I used the last ones on the roll before I was ready to leave. I went out to the garage to grab some more off the freezer. As I was coming back inside, I remembered I had also used the last tissue, so I pivoted back toward the door in my socks and stepped. Something happened in that moment. I guess my foot slipped, but all of a sudden I missed the stairs to the garage and ended up on the concrete floor instead, just missing the hood of my car and the tool bench.  Graceful I am not!

I am now sporting several dark purple bruises and am a bit tender in places. The last time I fell I was running. After falling, I decided running was too dangerous and gave it up. (Honestly, I was looking for an excuse and it seemed like a sound one.)  I don’t think paper towels and tissues are dangerous, but I will need to be more careful in the future–or at least get more sleep at night so I can walk in the morning without falling. Ha!



Annie the Therapy Dog

Annie is a therapy dog who comes to school with a teacher I work with. Today was the first day I met Annie. I was in her owner’s room coaching writing workshop when I felt a nose against my leg. Annie had left her crate to give me a thorough checking over. Then, she laid down on the floor next to me.

At 11:00, I went to another classroom to coach. The teacher mentioned today was the day the therapy dog came in. While I was coaching, I felt a nose nudging my leg gently. I bent down and gave Annie’s head a scratch. Annie wandered the classroom and I lost track of her as I watched the teacher confer.

I stretched my legs out underneath the table, and my foot hit something. Annie. Curled up at my feet sleeping. I guess she figured I needed more therapy today than the kids. 😊

To-Do List

Today was one of those days where my to-do list was longer than the hours in the day.

  • plan menus
  • go to Hy-Vee
  • pick up prescriptions
  • get gas
  • go to work
  • do laundry
  • fix dinner
  • plan 3 lessons for modeling
  • help Sam with Google Slides
  • help Max with senior stuff
  • bake snack for small group tomorrow night
  • clean kitchen floor
  • write blog post
  • set up the dog fence
  • do expenses
  • answer emails from Friday
  • write monthly reports from last week

I enjoy being able to check things off the list. Checking things off motivates me to keep going. That’s why I put EVERYTHING on my to-do list. Thankfully it snowed so I couldn’t do the dog fence. One less thing. Hubby did laundry. He is my hero! But the lessons. I’m a perfectionist. If I am going to model, I like to know where the class has been and prepare my thinking and the lesson. This takes time. Time I don’t have tonight. I need to make a choice: continue plugging away until it is perfect or call it good and let it go allowing myself thirty minutes of my nose in a book before bed?

What would you choose?