Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Did It For Me

Today I gave myself a raise. Since the Oklahoma Legislature couldn't seem to do it, I did it.

But was it actually raise? I just paid off my car, five years of having $250 going back to my credit union, that monthly expense is no longer a part of my life. I just have that money to save and go to paying off other things.

I'm going to say this without being sassy, salty, or shady. Oklahoma House of Representatives leadership, Senate leadership, and Governor Fallin are you really that stupid?

Okay, I lied, I'm going to be sassy, salty, and shady.

I should not have to depend on paying off debt, which is wonderful and people should do it, second jobs, or living on a prayer. You made it clear who you represent this past week. In your mind, you represent oil and gas companies, not the average hard working Oklahoman. Because the average citizen paying 4% tax increase on a car is okay but not asking an industry that can easily pay that 4% is just terrible will lead to our downfall.

You had four months to get a budget together and to raise revenue. Instead, you wait until the last minute, rushed through legislation with large disregard for the Constitution.

I'm done even pretending that you might have my best interests, my friends best interests, my former students, and future students interest at heart. I know that are many members of the legislature that have fought for my friends and students and for me. Thank you for all you do and for your service.

For the rest of you, I'm going to fight for me and do it for me. Considering I can't depend on you to do it for me.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Teach Them How To Say Goodbye

Six years.

For six years, I have been the choir teacher at Sequoyah Middle School in Broken Arrow, OK. That journey and chapter of my life ended today. 

In this place, that has been my home, I laughed, I cried, I made music, I found joy, I found anger, I found frustration, but more importantly I had the chance to have an impact on over 500 young lives that came through my Vocal Music classroom.

As much as I want to talk about the impact that I might have had on their lives, but they had an impact on mine. Telling them, I wasn't going to be returning was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. They will forever hold a place in my heart. Every student that sang in my choir got to be a part of a bigger story, one that they may not have even known they were a part of. They are forever a part of my story. My journey as an educator and as a musician.

I love the Broadway musical Hamilton, it is an obsession. My favorite song, One Last Time, President Washington has Alexander Hamilton pen his farewell address. Hamilton wanting Washington to stay begged him not to go, what words get me every time?

If I say goodbye, the nation moves on, it outlives me when I'm gone.

I was the fifth choir teacher in five years when I walked through the doors as a young 22-year-old, I took something that dead and gave it some life. But it is time for to outlive me when I'm gone. I made my mark, I built "my nation, " and now it is someone else's turn. I said goodbye to my students, their families, my staff, and my friends. I taught them how to say goodbye, and now I'm off to my next adventure.

To the staff at Sequoyah Middle School, you are world changers. You keep loving and leading. You are exactly what those kids need. You have loved me, encouraged me, and challenged me to be better. I will never forget the lessons that you taught me. 

To my beautifully talented students, you are world changers. Don't ever believe that you are less than just that! You sing, and you keep singing. The world is a mess, and it needs and craves your voices. Don't ever stop to singing. When you are happy. Sing. When you are sad. Sing. When you fall and you have no way out. Sing. We talk about this before our final concert this, you always have a reason to sing. It might be painful, it might take every ounce of emotional and spiritual energy to sing, but just sing. I tell you all the day, you have a song to sing, and the world deserves to hear that song. 

This chapter is done, and I'm thankful for the ink on the page. The next chapter, Meghan Loyd, Vocal Music Director, Midwest City High School. 


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Work Work Work Work

It has been a hot minute since I wrote about the Oklahoma Legislature...

It is a Saturday, and I worked today, which is not uncommon for most teachers, but it is uncommon for the many people that work in our state house. Will guess what? They are working on a Saturday. Maybe if they didn't check out every Thursday at noon, we would have a budget. Or maybe if they didn't spend time working on stupid stuff, and worked on important matters from the beginning, like a budget, they wouldn't be scrambling in the end.

So yes, it is May 20th, and we still don't have a budget.

FOR THE LOVE JUST RAISE THE EVER LOVING GROSS PRODUCTION TAX!!!

The 7% increase as proposed by Democrats in their Restore Oklahoma. Make the largest industry in Oklahoma pay their fair share of the tax burden. The compromised

I have been told this by many in the Oil and Gas industry. You drill where the product is, not where is the tax rate is cheap. So thus began the months and months of educators, parents, and people that just truly love Oklahoma and want it to be healthy and stable for years to come began to lobby for the raise in the GPT.

Meanwhile back at the ranch....some people got their star-spangled panties in a wad. TV ads begging people to call their legislatures and ask that the GPT be kept at the level it is, and some real big time O&G, paid big bucks to send people to the state house to protest. Yet when teachers do it, we are terrible, lazy, union thugs looking for a day off.

So let's recap......

No Budget
No Better Plan
Wackadoodles are running amock.
And in some crazy twist of fate, Nathan Dahm is running for US Congress. God Bless America. Start your prayer circles now.

I know, I know, not every legislature is a terrible human being, and many have been working really hard for people like me, you know someone who is not a millionaire. So to those that are fighting and have been fighting. Thank you for the bottom of my jaded heart. To those of you that are not willing to compromise, get your star-spangled panties out the wad they are in, remove the log from your eye, and do the right thing. I might bring you a donut.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Survive and Thrive

Burnout. At some point, every person in every career is going to struggle with burnout. I personally think those involved in education in some form tend to burnout more than other professions.

I personally have experienced the pain and sorrow of burnout. When you just feel like you are going through the motions and don't know if you will ever find the love you had for your profession again.

Burnout sucks. I think right now we are all feeling it. End of the year, the legislature has yet to produce a budget, I don't know if I can do this any more burnout. If you are an educator and you haven't experienced some form of burnout, may I ask what your secret is? Seriously I want to know, I haven't met a teacher in my years of teaching that didn't struggle with burnout.

When a teacher is burned out, you can bet that their students are feeling it too! So if you are ready to dive into this topic join educators and me all over Oklahoma on a Sunday night #oklaed chat. Chat starts at 8:00 pm CST. Below are some of the questions! These are just three of the ones I will be asking, I will be releasing all the questions on Saturday...maybe I can't make any promises. I hope you can join us!!!

What healthy boundaries have you created to help keep work at work?



How do you find joy in an educational climate that sometimes is anything but joyful?

How does teacher burnout affect student learning?


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Brothers

October 3rd, 1991 and January 6th, 1993 are two paramount days in my life. Because in those days I became a bossy older sister and then a bossy older sister again. I role I was destined to play. Telling them what to do was the highlight of my childhood. It might still be the highlight of my adulthood.

Me, Philip, and Taylor. Pictures are hard.
My brother Taylor entered into this world and would not stop crying. At one point a very sleep deprived and grumpy Meghan proclaimed "take him back and get a new one." I hated/loved the kid at the same time. My mom would have me sit on the floor and lay him across my lap, and when my mom wasn't looking I would move my legs, and he would fall to the ground. I had some issues as a three old. Taylor has always marched to his own drum and managed to stand out in our family against his loud mouth extroverted sister, and that hated/loved his infant's guts. He wore his underwear backward so he could see the Power Rangers in the front, and took his Kindergarten yearbook pictures with a busted nose, black eyes, and busted lips because he tripped on the playground and landed face first on a railroad tie. That accident led to the discovery that he has Von Willebrand's Disease. Basically, homeboy's blood doesn't clot. He has handled a life full of hour-long nosebleeds and bruising with humor and grace. My little Tay Turd has grown into a fine young man. He is the best kind of nerd. He still stands out against his extroverted sister, and does so in all of his introverted glory. He works hard and wants the best life possible. It might not be the direction or the plan that he had, but he is dedicated to his career in the trucking industry. For every truck driver on the highway, there is a dedicated group of men and women that tell that drivers where to go, when they can stop, and when they have traveled too much. His leadership over his drivers keeps those on the roads with his drivers safe, and it keeps his drivers safe. I still boss him around and let him know that I'm the boss, which is comical because he is a foot taller than me. I glad my parents didn't listen to an overly dramatic three-year-old me, I'm kind of happy we kept him.

Then there is Philip...

Philip came into this world only two weeks after the death of my grandfather. He was what my family needed at the right time. I handled his birth a little bit differently than Taylor's, I mean didn't fling him to the floor while I was holding him. Philip, P Man, or Phoppy depending on who is talking to him, has a pretty unique story. In first grade, it became very apparent that he struggled with reading. I mean struggled with reading. He was later tested, and we found out that had multiple learning disabilities. My parents were told that he would never read at grade level, would never graduate high school, would never go to college, and would struggle with learning and reading his whole life. Let me tell what this kid, my parents, and a dedicated team of teachers made happen. He started to read beyond grade level, he made the Arkansas All-State Choir three years in a row, he graduated with honors and as a member of the National Honor Society, he got accepted into college, he passed his national boards exams to be an athletic trainer, and on Friday he graduates college with the Cum Laude distinction. Not too bad for a kid that was never supposed to read. If I could take one moment and be an education advocate, if Philip had to do what our third graders in Oklahoma are asked to do with their state reading test, Philp wouldn't have made it this far. Our Phoppy has come a long way from the kid that used to wear and play in his "thinking costume" aka his bathrobe, that ran out of my grandma's house naked to greet a group of firefighters that were passing out candy canes, and that broke every ceiling fan globe in our house playing swords. He is loving and kind, and he still gets worked up when I tease him. He still gets me things when I demand them from him, and he only does so with minor amounts of complaining.

So to Tay Turd and Phoppy, I'm so proud of you. I'm thankful for our childhood, but I'm more grateful for our adult friendships. Now remember I might be a foot shorter than both of you, but I'm still the boss and in charge. Because bossy older sister is a role I was meant to play! Now for the love, will one of you please go get me some Kleenex for the crying I just did.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Not Enoughs

A little over two years ago I started out on this blogging journey. This blog was never meant to be just about education and education policy. However that is what it turned into, and I don't regret it at all. But for my two blogger birthday, I wanted to get back to the roots of the For the Love, why I started in the first place. To share the love that I have for the all the things around me, and all the things that make up my life.

For those that are only here for commentary on education or for some education policy, bare with me. You won't get that in this post, but maybe you will get my heart or the heart of for the love.

I'm a hot mess. Y'all, such a big giant huge hot mess. I mean did leave my underwear on the floor of the QuikTrip gas station. I have had strawberries on my ceiling from blender with no lid moment, and I have more than once started to make coffee with my Keurig and not have a coffee cup in place.

I have embraced all of these qualities about myself. All the quirky and oddball things about things. I have embraced them and loved them. I have prayed over it, and Jesus has blessed it. I'm sure He even laughs at me when I leave my undies on the floor of a QT or have coffee spilling all over my counter.

But there are parts of my life I haven't embraced. Parts that I struggle with, parts that I look in the mirror and I see a broken, and incomplete woman.

I am not enough. 

I am not effective enough.
I am not smart enough. 
I am not talented enough. 
I am not blogger superhero enough.

I am not enough. 

I have always struggled with these things. This is nothing new for me. I have had these struggles for years. FOR YEARS.

I have allowed these "not enoughs" in my life to affect every part of my life. Every relationship, every encounter, every job, and every fiber of my soul. These "not enoughs" have held me back and I have kept me from becoming the woman God I want to be, the daughter I want to be, the sister I want to be, the friend I want to be, the writer I want to be, and the teacher I want to be. I believed the lies I told myself.

Then others started to say I wasn't enough. Their deep cutting words, cut into the already bleeding wounds of the "not enoughs" that I had already built up in my head. Here is the thing about how we think about ourselves. We eventually start to believe and live out the lies that our mind tells us every day. I want to fight back against my "not enoughs" and embrace them like I have embraced my hot mess. But here is the thing, and lean in close. My "not enoughs" and your "not enoughs" are meant to be overcome, not embraced.

Yesterday my senior pastor, Craig Groeschel, preached on those not enough moments in our lives, and I loved how he stated it perfectly.
God Loves You Deeply.
Good Values You Highly.
God Provides For You Fully.
God Planned You Carefully.

Those "not enoughs" they can take a backseat. They don't get to be embraced like my hot messes, oh no, those soul crushing things; they get taken out. They do not get to control me or my thoughts any longer.

I am effective enough.
I am smart enough.
I am talented enough.
I am blogger superhero enough.

My life is messy, but it is my embraceable messy. Those "not enoughs" they don't get to be a part of them. They don't get to speak power over my life anymore, and those that keep the lies going don't get to be a part of my life either.

What mess do you have that needs to be embraced? What "not enoughs" do you need to let go of? Be every ounce of your beautiful messy you! Let's sit in the mess together; there might be donuts.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pick Joy

I'm just so tired. 
So on Monday I lamented about how my sweet, thoughtful, loving, funny, and semi-adorable Middle School Choir students had lost their ever loving minds! Y'all the struggle was so very real. So real I don't think that even the most mentally strong human beings on the planet could handle. 

Then came Tuesday. It was the same. I was like having two Mondays in a row, I'm not about that life. 

Then came Wednesday. Glorious, beautiful Wednesday. Everything just fell into place and my sweet little angels were back. I mean they are still Middle Schoolers, but you get the picture. 

My planner as a little box for some daily inspiration, the quote that day was super profound and awesome. Okay so actually this quote was really on the Thursday page, but it applied more to my Wednesday.

"Today, whatever may annoy, The word for me is Joy, just simple Joy." John Kendrick Bangs.

Y'all (please read this blog in my sweet Arkansas accent) this quote is the bomb! That perfectly describes our life as educators here in the crazy world of Middle School. 

Today, whatever may annoy.....spinners, slime, the dab, JuJu On That Beat, farting, body odor, being "roasted," and all that other crazy crap that Middle Schoolers do...I will pick Joy! 

I will pick Joy when my Men's Choir can't stand still while singing a beautiful ballad and my "basses" sound like lawnmowers because the refuse to sing up. 

I will pick Joy when my Seventh and Eight Grade Women's Choir love each other then hate each other then love each other again. 

I will pick Joy when my Sixth Grade Girl's Choir slides down to their pitches on "fruited plain" in America the Beautiful even though have literally gone over that darn phrase 75,000 times. 

I will pick Joy when my Show Choir's facials and energy level match that of the box of fish sticks I have in the freezer. 

Because I only have just a few more days with these kids. Some of them have been a part of my life for the past three years. I can't think an age group that I love more. Yes, their brains fall out, and they go a little nutty in the month of April. However these kids, my kids, they are my joy in a world full of annoyances.