Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks....

We had our Thanksgiving dinner a day early since mom has to work at the hospital on Thanksgiving Day, and we did not want to rush through dinner before she had to leave (and I am very thankful for those people who give up their holidays so that the people in need are not alone).  Mom and Heather and I put together a marvelous feast including all our favorite foods. We gathered around a nicely decorated table, took a picture for posterity (and tradition), and my nephew said Grace.

I had seen on Pinterest (yes, I am one of those... big grin) a neat place card idea. In the original pin, a napkin ring with a clip held a card with the dining guest's name and a Thanksgiving quote. Since we sat in our normal seats, we did not need place cards, but I did create the cards with various Thanksgiving quotes and attached them to the napkin ring clips.

We each read the quote attached to our napkin before we began the meal.  We also then told one (or more) things we were thankful for.  I love quotes that make people think, and thinking about being thankful is an added bonus.  Below are the quotes that I put on the various cards.

“Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.”A.W. Tozer 
“Rest and be thankful.”William Wordsworth 
“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”Harry A. Ironside 
“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.”Thomas Goodwin 
“I'm actually muttering to myself, 'Thank you. . .thank you. . . thank you.' It's an odd way to live. But also kind of great and powerful. I've never before been so aware of the thousands of little good things, the thousands of things that go right every day.”A.J. Jacobs 
“This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”Elizabeth I Tudor 
“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.”Marcus Aurelius

We were thankful for many things...the food, family, friends, jobs, the military men and women who give up their lives and time with their families to protect us, our country that gives us the freedoms we celebrate, and many more things.

Most of all, we were thankful to be together.

And for the good food.  

But mostly for the together part.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homecoming Dance

The homecoming dance for my high school occurred this past Friday night.  The dance was a "black light and neon" format, so kids were coming in white or neon colors so that they showed up brilliantly in the black light.   I had fun checking outfits for school-appropriateness and embarrassing students when I told them they couldn't pass me until they'd proven they knew how to dance by showing me their signature dance moves.  I was doing this job as a chaperone when one of my Creative Writing students "assigned" me some homework: "Write a poem about the dance by Monday, Miss Schneider," said Aaron T.

Challenge accepted.

Since the dance had been going on for a while, and I was just standing in the doorway as the "bouncer and self-proclaimed dance-move checker" anyway, I decided to write the poem then and there.  I grabbed a notebook from my purse and the pen from the lanyard around my neck and began to compose my poem.  The principal and several students came by to check on my progress, and one even gave me the idea for the title.  Before the end of the dance, my poem was finished.  Here it is...

"A Handful of Dances"
(thanks for the title to Seth R.)

Students glowing with neon fire
Stand in groups of three or five
While beats pound unmercifully dire
Upon my ears, and, lands alive!

The smell of nerves, of dance, of sweat--
Not unlike that of an old, wet dog--
Assaults my lungs with odor, and yet,
Fills the air with a pluming fog.

Lights blaze and strobe and blind the eyes
With pink and green and orange and blue;
The black lights give us quite a surprise
When they turn all things white a ghostly hue.

The students jump and spin and whirl
Or stand like stones against the wall.
The boys dare each other to ask the girl
Whom they've only seen out in the hall.

The songs progress from slow to fast
And back again from fast to slow;
The dancers beg the DJ to make it last,
For alas, too soon, it's time to go.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Repetition is the best teaching tool....

        Repetition is the best teaching tool;  I have used this mantra with my students (always repeating it three times for the fun of it) for years.  It is an axiom that I've always believed.  If we learn a skill and practice it faithfully, it will stay with us.  Coaches use the theory when they say, "let's run that play again!"  Musicians believe in the fact that perfect practice makes perfect.  A speech teacher I know insists that "prior planning prevents poor performance" and encourages with the knowledge that it is the continued repetition of her students' work that gives them such success.  But there is something else I've learned recently about repetition: sometimes, repetition is merely redundant.  Let me explain...
       This summer I thought it might be "fun" to get a summer job.  It would also be a way to bring in a little extra money to help with bills and things, so I looked around.  I didn't think any employers would really like to hire someone who was only available for a couple of months: why would anyone go to the bother of interviewing, hiring, training, scheduling, and paying someone who was going to be leaving for her full-time job just a little while after you had her trained?  Because of this thought, I figured that I should try a temp agency.
        So I did.  The first week of June I applied at a temp agency here in town, and I was "hired on" because I passed all the computer tests to show that I could do jobs they'd find for me as a clerical temp.  Then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  June passed into July, and still I hadn't been placed anywhere.  I had begun to think I never would, and, to be honest, I enjoyed my time off.  I slept in every day, stayed up late every night, played on the computer, and took lots of naps.  I read books, tried recipes, did some crafts, hung out with friends, and generally let the stress of a hectic school year slide off my back and out of my life.
       Then I got the call: the temp agency asked if I were willing to stuff envelopes at a local mailing services center.  "Of course!" I said.  "I can do that."  Therefore, Tuesday morning I showed up at the business, not really sure what I'd be doing, but I was ready to do it.  Luckily, my life had given me the practice I'd need to do this job.  I remember sitting on the green shag area rug in the basement of our house in Spencer, Iowa helping mom fold, insert, tab, label, and sort Aglow newsletters.  I recall helping my dad at KJLY with various mailings for the radio station he worked at in Blue Earth, Minnesota.  I also helped Myrna, the school secretary (and uncontested ruler of the roost) when I was in high school, with sundry clerical duties that included mass mailings.  I am no novice when it comes to stuffing envelopes and the like.
       However, despite that preparation, nothing really prepared me for the absolute dullness of the routine.  There I sat with other ladies (who, I'm glad to say, made the monotony of the next few days bearable!), and we began stuffing inserts and letters and brochures into envelopes.  First the newsletter, then the brochure, then the labeled order sheet, then the matching labeled return envelope, and--finally!--the labeled mailing envelope all the previous inserts get stuffed into.  Over and over again.  Also, because there were three labeled parts to the insert, we had to make sure that everything was put in the right place, in the right order, and in a quick manner.  This was a large mailing, which is why they hired temps to help.  The first day we did all the outside of the US part of the mailing, and we had to physically add stamps, too. A dollar stamp, a ten cent stamp, a two-cent stamp...over and again on thousands of envelopes.
      We had a couple fifteen minute breaks and a half-hour lunch (I didn't know I was supposed to bring my lunch on that first day; I was glad I'd had a good breakfast and had some change in my purse so I could buy some snacks from the vending machine), but even with those breaks the constant routine of grabbing a tray of the labeled mailing and envelopes, matching all the inserts and stuffing them began to wear on me.  The ladies with me kept it from becoming totally boring as we talked and became acquainted while we kept our hands very busy.  We had over 27,000 envelopes to stuff, and that kept us going.
      At the end of the first day, I couldn't believe how tired I was.  Physically, not mentally.  At the end of the second day I had paper cuts on all my fingers.  At the end of the third day, I had sore shoulders from the repetitive movement, and I had no idea that sitting in a cushioned rolling chair all day could cause one's bottom to hurt.  I felt like I was just an envelope-stuffing robot.  Grab, grab, grab, grab, stuff.  Grab, grab, grab, grab, look at the clock, stuff.  Grab, grab, grab, grab, ouch! paper cut! stuff.  Repetition is redundant.
     And that's when it hit me.  I need to make the repetition in my class meaningful in order for it to be a powerful tool.  If my students only read, write, repeat with no imagination or interest coming from them, all that work will have been merely work and not something worthwhile. My content is NOT junk mail that will be fodder for trashcans.  My students need to be able to read and write, but I need to remember that repetition is redundant when I see the students in their desks doing yet another worksheet or taking yet another quiz. I need to ask myself if the worksheet or quiz is something that will help them or if it is something that will be just a time filler as they look at the clock and wait for the bell.
     So... repetition really IS the best teaching tool... it taught me that 1) I don't want to stuff paper envelopes for a living; I love teaching, even if I do need a break from it at the end of the school year; and 2) my students are the envelopes I'm putting my content into, and I need to make sure that the content is meaningful for them and their futures.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Slice of Orange...Slice of More?

The slice of orange shines in the middle of
My blue plate like a sun on a hot summer’s day.
The outer edge, the rind, surrounded, inundated
By tiny effervescent bubbles, a pot of water just
Coming to a boil, as if the aromatic essence of
The orange is bubbling up, out through the
Creamy-yellow rind and into the zest.

Flipped over, the rind of my end-piece
Of orange now looks like a harvest moon
On a cool, blue October night. Bumps and craters
Tickle my fingertips as I touch the face of
The man on this moon. Black speckles
The orange, like pepper on mashed
Sweet potatoes or nutmeg on pumpkin pie.

The light glistens on the juicy side as I flip
It back over. It is a stained-glass window
With white leading between the pie-shaped
Wedges—old fashioned glass, the wavy, bubbly,
Hand-blown kind of medieval splendor that lives in
Notre Dame and Canterbury; but this stained glass
Rests on my desktop, and I am the only worshiper.

Now my view changes, and it’s the cross
Section of a tree—except the rings on this
Tree are radii of a circle instead of concentric
Rings like a pool. Even in this small globe
We can see how life is moving ever outward,
Branching out from the Center Stem instead of
Rippling round and round with no end.

What if life is like this slice of orange? What
If it’s more than just an orange fruit that tastes,
Looks, and smells like... an orange? What if the
Slice of life--a sun, a moon, stained glass--can give us
A glimpse into who we are…more than the mere
Description that we give ourselves. What if we, too,
Surpass our own expectations and potential into... More?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Catching fireflies...

                I remember warm summer nights on my grandparents’ farm in Iowa chasing fireflies.    The dark would creep up from the pasture behind the barn and soon cloak the old outbuildings and the orchard.  The silos would disappear into twilight and the corn crib would slowly became a dark shadow.  The yard light on the no-longer active windmill would flick on and chase some of the darkness away, but the shadows under the full weeping willow stayed dark and deep.

                Until… fireflies.

                Little dappled lights would start flickering in that shadowed world under the willow tree, looking like little fey lanterns.  Soon, answering lights would appear near the flower beds filled with lilies and tulips.  The lights would wink on and off in a fascinating rhythm and pattern.  My sister's nose would press against the big glass window in the kitchen that looked out onto the gravel drive and the flower beds.  I would look out the screen door toward the numinous dark and blinking lights under the willow.  We’d count the flashing bugs and do our own pestering of the adults until they gave in. 
                Grandma would go into the landing to the basement and get an old canning jar with the screw on lid.  This jar had been used for catching fireflies for many years, so the lid was already punctured at the top to let the air in.  Whether my mother and her sisters and brother had used this same jar, I don’t know; but I know that my sister and I definitely had, for as long as I could remember.
                Heather and I would run out into the dark, unafraid, to capture the little flying lights.  We’d race, hands outstretched, around the old gray farmhouse, giggling and doing our best not to hurt the bugs as we caught them.  Around the house, between the old chicken coop and the garage, through the apple tree orchard we’d go, racing toward the dancing fairy lights. We’d play tag under the weeping willow with them, for just as we’d get close to grasping the lightning bugs in our hands they’d blink off and we’d lose them in the dim.
                When we did succeed in cupping our little hands around a flying flasher, we’d squeal with glee and giggle as we’d run to deposit our trophy in the old Mason jar.  As there were two of us, the jar would soon be filled with ten to fifteen lightning bugs, and we’d marvel at the light show captured under slightly blue glass.  I always wanted to carry our treasure up the stairs to our room.  I imagined that I’d set the fairy jar on the old trestle-type sewing machine that served as a night table between the twin beds.  That way, all night long, if we woke up, we’d see the little lights blink on and off.
    But mom and Grandma (as well as dad and Grandpa) were against that idea.  So we just watched them in their little jar as they flashed their love messages into the dark.  Eventually we’d unscrew the jar and let the fairy lights fly away, back to their world under the weeping willow and among the lilies and tulips in the flower beds.
I was reminded of all this by a post on facebook by my friend Laura.  She commented that her son loved chasing fireflies, and how he usually didn’t capture them—how instead he’d “smush” them.  Well, he’s a boy, and he probably doesn’t think of the fireflies like little fairies… but her post reminded me of a time I miss.  It was a time of the innocence of youth and the joys of a warm summer night with nothing to think about except…chasing fireflies.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

School's out for summer!

A Dayful of Happy things....

getting to use the non-word “dayful”
waking up at noon and maybe getting out of bed
watching NCIS marathons in my pjs

walking in the rain with someone to love
having an ice-cold Diet Coke available at my call
reading a book that I have put off too long

singing in the car with all the windows down
laughing about nothing with a friend until our sides hurt
seeing the full moon rising in a twilight sky

toasting marshmallows over a roaring fire
telling stories and swapping tales long into the night
going to bed whenever I want to...if at all

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Our school is collecting shoes.  One of my National Honor Society members heard about this group which takes old and used shoes that just clutter up the bottom of closets and puts them to good use that eventually causes water wells to be drilled in third world nations.  She suggested we have a shoe drive for this semester's service project, and I thought it was a great idea.  The whole process seems to be a bit of a miracle: once collected, the shoes are given a second life when this group exports the donated shoes to retailers in the developing world. The resale of shoes provides jobs and affordable footwear. Funds generated from the export of  shoes provides well drilling rigs, water purification systems, and hand pump repair businesses bringing clean, fresh water. 

So, because of this I have a pile of shoes in my classroom.  It's sort of amazing how cleaning out one's cluttered shoe closet (I DON'T have a closet just for shoes... really!) can help people I will never meet.  Seeing all these shoes, though, gets me to wondering who wore them and what stories about their owners those shoes would tell if they could (those that have tongues, at least) (and no, I couldn't have avoided that horrible pun....).  After all, our shoes do sort of tell on us--about what kind of person we are, what our goals are, and what we're up to that day (or night).  A person whose closet is filled with tennis shoes is likely very different than a person with a closet filled with strappy high-heeled sandals.  What kind of shoes we buy and wear (or buy and never wear) can reveal who we are. 

Having all these shoes in my room reminds me of that famous quote in Forest Gump: "My momma always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they go, where they've been." I've always thought Forest's mother had some great wisdom there.  We CAN tell a lot about a person by his or her shoes. That quote also reminds me of a poem I wrote around this time (Lent, Good Friday, Easter) last year, as I used part of it as the title. 

“You can tell a lot about a person..."

I’ve protected these Feet for many good years;
Holding myself together, now as I take the last few steps
I think of my journey. 

I walked up and down this country of Promise—
Dusty roads, with rocks that wore out and punished
Even sturdy leather.

I walked through barley fields and deserts,
Rested by wells in foreign countries, spent many nights
On board fishing vessels.

I supported Him through varied surfaces.
I’ve walked in rain, on water, in sand, on mountains,
In temples, on stone.

I was removed by adoring, tender hands
To honor His feet: washing, anointing them until
Even I absorbed the spill.

I enjoyed the previous walks in this garden,
Where grass and flowers perfumed the air at each step,
But now it’s not the same.

I understand anger, having kicked over tables,
But anger towards the Man I carry is unwarranted,
Unjust and quite unfair.

I remember the days from when I was new,
Toting lumber across a shop, but this beam is a weight,
A burden, never born before.

I’ve dragged on this last journey, since pain
And blood comes mingled down with his sweat;
I am slippery inside.

I stumble the last few steps, for, despite the help
He received, He is weighed down by more than wood.
It is not long now.

I am undone and stripped away from His beautiful feet—
Feet that bring Good News—thrown at the foot of the beam,
My journey finished. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Running on Empty?

Every year during the Lenten time I always feel a deeper sense of the wonder and grace of God's gift of salvation through His Son's death on the cross. I read something by CS Lewis in his Lenten readings that made me want to think even deeper.  He was talking (in an excerpt from Mere Christianity) about how so many people try to find happiness in anything other than God.

He says: "the reason it can never succeed is this.  God made us: invented us as man invents on engine.  A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else.  Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself.  He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on.  There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion.  God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there.  There is no such thing," pg 54.

I have to be honest; I've not been fueling up as regularly as I ought.  I'm afraid that sometimes I've even let myself run on "E." And then I have to ask myself why I'm willingly running on fumes when I could fill up on God?  Why do I let myself get to this state--hoping and hoping that my tank doesn't run dry before my next "experience" at the pump?  I need to remember Lewis's quote and fill up daily.  Life with God is soul-fulfilling; it's not like a diet meal, either.  It's meat and potatoes in a Slim Fast world.

Before my spiritual tank runs low, I need to take daily Sustenance.  If He is the food my spirit is to feed on, I need to dine at that sumptuous table instead of nibble on the celery and carrot equivalent.  The soul doesn't need to diet (even if I do), and God provides a feast daily.  His mercies are new every morning. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ--not death, not life, not angels, not demons, not height, not depth.  These sayings are true and good; why do I deny myself this by waiting so long that I begin to run on empty?  I think it's because I try to feed myself; even when I know that my spirit runs on Him, I try to find ways to be happy on my own.

That's why this Lent and Easter I again sit at His table and know how wide and long and high and deep is the Love of Christ.  I need to remember that I can never get too much at His table--and that it is with Christ Himself I am fulfilled.  Instead of filling myself with things that cannot satisfy, I take the Bread and sip the Wine that is His sacrifice.

I'm reminded of a story I heard once about the difference between heaven and hell.  A man went to the Pearly Gates and was given a choice.  He was shown to two rooms.  In each room there was a table filled with good drinks, sumptuous foods, and all manner of wonderful things.  In each room there were people gathered round the tables.  In each person's hand was the utensil that would allow him/her to eat of the food of the table.  The forks, however, were three feet long.  In one room, there was wailing, gnashing of teeth and starvation.  In the other room the people were happy, healthy, and fulfilled.  The difference?  In the first room each person was starving, despite the groaning table, simply because each person tried to feed him or herself.  In the second room, each person fed the person across from him or her, and each was filled.

I need to remember these things: well before I am running on empty and starving for fuel, I need to fill up on Christ. But, not only that... I need to share that Love of Christ with everyone around me so that they, too, are filled--and I need to let them be Christ's Ambassadors to me as well.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


“The footsteps of the Apollo astronauts left on the moon will never blow away, never erode; they will be there forever.”
 I heard or saw this quote somewhere; I gave it to my students, too, as a journal to think and write about.  But I couldn't stop there--I had to write about it, too.  I claim I write what I ask the students to write about so I can "model" the way to write... but in all honesty, I write what I ask the students to write because I, too, am a student...still learning and still "growing my thoughts" about my world view.  So here is my response to that quote....

Henry David Thoreau wrote about the earth being soft and how easily it is for mankind to leave its mark on it. In Walden he said, “The surface of the earth is soft and impressionable by the feet of men.” He wasn’t happy with that fact—that mankind has such an impact on the face of the earth. He also says, “It is remarkable how easily … we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves.” Years later, even, the path that he unintentionally made from his front door to Walden Pond was still visible. 
He didn’t like it; he would rather “go where there is no path and leave a trail” instead of follow in the tracks of those who walked there before him. He felt that it was the height of conformity to do as others had done. He, in his rebellion against conformity, wanted to break the mold, to do that which hadn’t been done, and to carve a new path.
But what about us? What are we to do? If, as Thoreau said, the earth’s highways and byways are worn smooth by the many feet of those who have gone before, how are we to make our marks on the world? The Apollo astronauts, in their “one small step for men, one giant leap for mankind,” have left behind prints that no wind can erase, no water can erode, nor moth and rust destroy. Is there any place that no one has ever been? Is there something that no one has ever done? How are we to leave behind us the indelible footprints that show where we’ve been?
Some people, in order to leave behind them a legacy, build monuments to themselves; others give money to charities or create scholarships in their names; still others, without the means of the first two groups, have children in order to pass on the family farm, name, or other boon. But what if we’re not supposed to look merely at the stuff one leaves behind, but the WAY one walked as one left footprints? What if ALL of our footsteps were indelible? What if when we walk, we ARE the Apollo astronauts stepping onto the moon for the first time?
Thoreau and the Apollo astronauts had the right idea—this path we take is not for the faint of heart.  We must be willing to face up to those who say we cannot do it and show them it can be done.  We must live our lives with the knowledge that we are leaving a path for mankind to follow.  Our path may not be on the soft surface of the earth or the powdery surface of the moon, but we do leave a trail.  People all around us notice our walk—our path—and that fact means we need to be careful in choosing it.
What will those who come behind us find when they follow in our steps? Will our footprints show us to be true to the path we were walking? Thoreau mentioned it—he didn’t want to take a “cabin passage” on his journey. He wanted to “ride before the mast,” but even in his doing so, he found he could not help but make a trail. 
What, then, about my path? Will those who come behind me find a path that leads to new discoveries, gracious footsteps that lead one further on and further in, faithful to the end? Or will they find that my path went wandering down rabbit trails, loitering in front of scurrilous shops, or down dark and desolate alleys?
What will my footprints say of me? I pray that those who come behind me find me faithful to my calling. I hope that my steps lead people toward the light instead of into the darkness. I want my life to leave a legacy that shows I was about the Master’s business instead of my own.  I must determine what those people who follow in my footsteps find.  I must choose the narrow way, even when that way seems hard and lonely.  I must walk the righteous path, even when I would rather find an easier way.
Will my indelible footprints on the surface of the road I walk lead others to greatness?  Will they show that I gave my best even when I was weary?  Will they show that I helped others when I could?  Will they show that even in my darkest moments I was walking toward the light, even if I couldn’t see it at the time?  Did I strive toward the goal set before me to win the prize?  If I stumbled, did I get back up again?  If I strayed, did I get back on the right path?  For if I did… then I will not have walked in vain, and I can trust that those who follow me will not be disappointed.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Building Cathedrals

    I suppose I am, in a way, a devotee of Maurice de Sully (for those who don't know, de Sully was the architect of Notre Dame Cathedral), but my reference is a little different.  "Build Cathedrals" means more than the building itself--which is a good thing because I am not an architect or a construction worker. 

    A couple of years ago I was at a teaching conference where this story was told:
    When a great cathedral was being built, workers from all around the countryside came to help in the construction, and the little children of the area could be seen watching the amazing structure rise from the formerly bare ground.  One little boy, watching three stonemasons, asked the first man what he was doing. 
    Seeing that the boy was curious, the man answered, "I'm laying bricks.  You take the bricks and lay them on the foundation; then you take the trowel and add the mortar that holds them together to all the sides that touch other bricks.  That's how you lay bricks."
    The boy moved on to the next mason, and asked him what he was doing.  The man said, "I'm building a wall.  You take the bricks and lay them on the foundation; then you take the trowel and add the mortar that holds them together to all the sides that touch other bricks.  That's how you build a wall."  The little boy nodded and moved on.
    He watched the third man, doing the exact same job as the other two--buttering bricks with mortar, laying them on top of the rows of bricks already there in the same way the others were doing.  He watched for a while, and then asked the third man what he was doing.  The third man looked at him with shining eyes.  "I'm building a cathedral."
    A second story that shaped my motto is similar to the first.  I read it in a book called Keeping a Princess Heart in a Not-So-Fairytale World the same summer I went to that conference.
    When St. Peter's in London was being built, a skilled woodworker/artisan was hired to create the ceiling joists for the building.  He could have just carved several rough beams out of the logs he was given, but he spent hours and hours on the joists--intricately carving flowers, gargoyles, images, etc. into the beams.  He was asked why he had spent so much time and effort adding all this artistic beauty and "wasting" his skill, especially since the ceiling joists were all to be covered up--no one would ever see them.  After he heard that--the part of no one ever seeing his work--he answered simply, "God will."
    The third man in the first story, although he was completing the same task as the other two men, had a greater vision than the other two.  He saw the end result of his labor, not just the labor itself.
    The artisan, although he was "simply" supposed to carve rough-hewn beams for the joists, had a greater understanding of audience than most.  He understood that he was working for God, not men.
    So I began to look at my job in light of those two epiphanies.  My job is more than just laying bricks (i.e. teaching lessons on grammar, making sure the students understand the story plotline, struggling to comprehend Shakespeare's language, etc.) and building walls (i.e. giving tests and checking mastery); I am building cathedrals (i.e. having a vision of what these kids COULD be).  My Audience notices the intricate details of my work--those things I do all the time and never get praised for, and/or those things I do to make my teaching better that no one will ever see--and is pleased.
    Some days I build cathedrals.  Some days I just lay brick.  But all the time I must remember that my vision and audience must be greater than what I can really do or see.