Teacher-funded classrooms.


This Giveaway Has Ended!

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Please read my Saturday, October 3rd entry here: https://lonestarlifer.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/1000-officemax-giveaway/.
OfficeMax is sponsoring a giveaway of $1000 of essential classroom supplies. I’ve nominated Joe but it sure couldn’t hurt to have more nominations for him. Go here¬†http://momitforward.com/giveaway-1000-in-officemax-clasroom-supplies to read the instructions of how to nominate. Nominations end Sunday, October 4th at midnight ET.

superstars

Check out my blog about teacher Joe: http://wp.me/pyCBa-uB. Then go to http://bit.ly/1337uy to nominate him for a $1000.00 OfficeMax gift card. BE SURE TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT HOW A TEACHER IS NOMINATED.

And if you have time….all these blogs are running the same OfficeMax gift card contest.¬† Joe can be nominated on all of them, though he can only win once.¬† I’ve nominated him on all of the blogs.

This Week’s Max Moms’ Giveaways

A Cowboy’s Wife from Lori of @acowboyswife

Crafty Mama of 4 from Kim of @craftymamaof4

Detroit Mommies from Courtney of @TheAppleofMyEye

Elementary Spirits from Barb of @chaotic_barb

Extraordinary Mommy from Danielle of @extraordmommy

High Impact Mom from Amanda of @highimpactmom

Mom E Centric from Jerri Ann of @The_Jerri_Ann

Mom Spark from Amy of @momspark

Multi Minding Mom from Leighann of @leighannMMM

June Cleaver Nirvana from Holly of @texasholly

No Time for Flashcards from Allie of @noflashcards

Oh! Amanda! from Amanda of @oohamanda

Savor the Thyme from Jen of @savorthethyme

Skip to My Lou from Cindy of @cindyhopper

Tip Junkie from Laurie of @tipjunkie

Twofer Mom from Janine of @twincident

All writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Real Superstars.


Updated October 5

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The following blog entry was written for a contest. The contest is now closed, but if you are still interested in helping Joe and his Superstars, please contact me. I am gathering materials and donations that will be sent to him and would love to include your help.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Iiiiiinnnnnntrooooooduuuuuuccccinnnnnnnnggggggg,

4th grade teacher, Joe Hays.

joe1

 And these are his lucky students.  He calls them his Superstars.

superstars

Joe teaches in a high poverty, inner-city St. Louis, MO elementary school.¬† This past summer he went through teacher training with Teach for America.¬† TFA “recruits hard-working, passionate people who want to make a difference in public education and then trains them how to be effective classroom teachers.”¬†¬†TFA¬†hit the jackpot when Joe signed on.¬† If I were asked to describe Joe in one word, that word would be passionate.¬†¬† Passionate about his family, his God, his friends, his life.¬† He¬†believes in people and¬†¬†their possibilities.¬† Hey, in a past life he was a minister¬†and that is the¬†ultimate in believing in folks and their possibilities.

Joe learned in his training that:

  • By the time they‚Äôre in fourth grade, children growing up in low-income communities are already three grade levels behind their peers in high-income communities.
  • About 50 percent of students in low-income communities will not graduate from high school by the time they‚Äôre 18 years old.
  • Those who do graduate will perform on average at an eighth-grade level.
  • Of the 13 million children growing up in poverty, only 1 in 10 will graduate from college.

Joe has set goals for his Superstars. 

biggoals2 & 80.

80% mastery on math tests,
and raising reading levels by 2 levels. goaltrackers

He has specific rules and class organization.     consequence classrules

He’s put together a cool little reading area.

classlibrary

¬†He’s gathering books for
his Superstars to enjoy.

He is in the process of¬†plastering his classroom walls with college and university t-shirts, sweatshirts, and pennants.¬† Joe wants his Superstars to dream big and envision themselves going to college.¬† Here are his words: “This is just one way my students are going to start imagining their post high school options. Everyday they‚Äôll look up on the walls of their classroom and be surrounded by university gear. At some point, they will be required to pick one of the colleges and write a report about it. They‚Äôll then share that report with the class.” He doesn’t want shirts that advertise a college sports program, he wants to encourage them to think college + education.¬† What a novel idea!!!

Now get this: Joe has to supply his room.¬† He even buys his own copy paper.¬†¬† Can you imagine walking into your office and your boss saying, “The office will no longer be supplying copy paper.¬† Please bring your own.”¬† Without going into Joe’s personal life too much, just let me tell you he has a precious wife and three children; two girls, one born this past summer, and¬†a boy who has special medical needs.¬† He should be able to spend his very-hard-earned money on his family, not on his classroom.

When I found out that Joe has to supply his room and his copy paper, I wrote OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples to see if I could get some paper donated to his classroom.¬† The¬†SAME DAY¬†I mailed the letters, I got an email from a blog I regularly read (and have plans to write about one of these days),¬† A Cowboy’s Wife.¬† Lori is a MaxMom and was announcing a giveaway in conjunction with OfficeMax and their “A Day Made Better.”¬† Lori is giving away a $100 OfficeMax gift card to a deserving teacher, and I am hereby nominating Joe for the gift card.¬†¬†¬† I know there are teachers all over the country who would qualify for this gift, but I, personally, ¬†know of no one better than Joe to receive and use this card.¬† And think how his Superstars would feel, to know that there are folks in this world who DO care about their future and their lives.

superstars1

Are you interested in supporting Joe and his Superstars?  Me, too.  Here are some ways to help:

(1) Go to A Cowboy’s Wife blog and nominate Joe Hays in the comments. Nominations close midnight October 4.¬† There are other ways to nominate Joe; read Lori’s post to find out how.

(2) Wouldn’t it be fun for Joe to open an envelope full of gift cards?¬† A ream of paper runs around $5-$7 dollars.¬† A paperback book from Amazon, Borders or Barnes and Noble can be found for $5-$10.¬† Some school supplies from Target¬† costs $5-$10.¬† I have a Paypal account and would be happy to buy those gift cards in your name.¬† I would send you a receipt for the gift card I buy for the amount you want to donate. Or you could buy a gift card and mail it to me.¬†

(3) Joe submitted a proposal to Donorschoose.org and it was accepted.  He is asking for an LCD projector which projects the screen of his computer so that the entire class can see and learn.  You can donate to the Donorschoose.org website and when the money is collected, Joe receives his LCD projector.
EDIT: This is DONE! He has enough donations and will be getting his LCD projector!

(4) You can send a college/university shirt for Joe’s wall to encourage the Superstars to great things.

(5) Forward this request to your friends, and post an entry on your blog about Joe.¬† Would your company, or Sunday School class want to adopt Joe’s Superstars? Are you in touch with some sort of foundation that could donate to the cause?¬† If you sometimes think that you are only one person and can’t do much to change the lives of others, THIS is the opportunity to directly impact someone’s future.

Lori, thanks for the opportunity to talk about Joe.¬† I’m so proud of him and look forward to hearing how his SuperStars are doing.

Email me at lonestarlifer (at) gmail (dot) com if you can be a Superstar supporter.

 EDITED: Here are all the MaxMom sites that are carrying this giveaway.  Joe can be nominated on all the sites, but he can only win once (darn it!)

This Week’s Max Moms’ Giveaways

A Cowboy’s Wife from Lori of @acowboyswife

Crafty Mama of 4 from Kim of @craftymamaof4

Detroit Mommies from Courtney of @TheAppleofMyEye

Elementary Spirits from Barb of @chaotic_barb

Extraordinary Mommy from Danielle of @extraordmommy

High Impact Mom from Amanda of @highimpactmom

Mom E Centric from Jerri Ann of @The_Jerri_Ann

Mom Spark from Amy of @momspark

Multi Minding Mom from Leighann of @leighannMMM

June Cleaver Nirvana from Holly of @texasholly

No Time for Flashcards from Allie of @noflashcards

Oh! Amanda! from Amanda of @oohamanda

Savor the Thyme from Jen of @savorthethyme

Skip to My Lou from Cindy of @cindyhopper

Tip Junkie from Laurie of @tipjunkie

Twofer Mom from Janine of @twincident

All writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Moody Monday.


blue4

Ladybug, Ladybug
Fly away home.

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Joseph and me. Part 2.


evt6991_joseph

So we were discussing Joseph and his life in my last post.  He was living in Egypt, second only to Pharoah.  His brothers came to ask for food during a famine, not realizing that they are talking to the brother they sold into slavery.  They bowed before him, just as his dream had predicted many years before.

Dress Rehearsal.  One of my Egyptian dancing buddies.

Dress Rehearsal. One of my Egyptian dancing buddies.

Joseph was ready to have a reconciliation with his brothers, but wanted to have youngest brother Benjamin join the group.  He accused the brothers of being spies and said if they were truthful men, they would go home and bring back Benjamin.  He kept Simeon with him while the brothers went home.  Father Jacob was not pleased for Benjamin to go with them as he was afraid he would be lost as Joseph was.  The famine finally got bad enough that he relented and the brothers came back with Benjamin.
IMG_0495.CR2

Dress Rehearsal. A brother of Joseph.

There was more family drama, but long story short, Joseph and his family were reconciled.  When the brothers realized who Joseph was, they were scared as they remembered what they had done to Joseph in the past.  He sent them back for Jacob so the entire family could be together.  They were given good land upon which to live and the family had many good years together.

Years later, Jacob died and the brothers were worried.¬† They wondered if Joseph was still angry with them and now that Jacob was dead, if he would punish them.¬† The brothers bowed before him and said, “We are your slaves.”

And here’s my favorite section of the story (Gen. 50): Joseph said to his brothers, “Don’t be afraid! I have no right to change what God has decided. 20You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing. 21Don’t be afraid! I will take care of you and your children.” After Joseph said this, his brothers felt much better.

You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best……

This is the mantra by which I try to live my life.  This scripture is taped to my computer.

You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best……

I’m borrowing this next little bit of discussion from a friend who taught a class about¬†Joseph many years ago and it has always stayed with me.

Josephs’s life looked like this:
josephlife3

Look familiar?¬† I’m sure I’m the only person whose life looks like this. Right? ¬† Highs and lows and mundane and lower lows and regular life and lows and high highs.¬†¬†For years, Joseph has inspired me.¬† He reminds me that a person’s life will have all manner of good, bad, hurt, joy, smiles, tears, love, loneliness, celebration, hope.¬† And through it all,¬†Joseph’s ¬†faith in God stayed intact, and he kept the big picture in mind.¬† There are things in life that can throw¬†me for a loop and hey, ¬†I’m human.¬† I worry, I laugh, I stress, I love, I get frustrated, I grow, I live….and hopefully, I¬†do it all¬†with the attitude that God¬†keeps my best interest in His heart and what I see right in front of me is not all there is.¬†¬† Joseph kept putting one foot in front of the other and walked into better things.

Dress Rehearsal.  Transforming into an Egyptian lady.

Dress Rehearsal. Transforming into an Egyptian lady.

Joseph also models forgiveness for me.¬† He sure was done wrong, but he was able to not only forgive his family, but see that the things¬†happening in his life were stepping stones for better things.¬† I¬†pray to¬†keep an open heart and mind to hear, to see, to figure out what God is trying to teach me.¬† I often fall short of the goal, but when I do have those moments where I can plainly see God’s hand in the workings of my life, it is overwhelming.

If you are interested in reading the entire story of Joseph, check out Genesis chapters 37-50.¬† There are other lessons to be learned.¬† Doing right no matter what.¬† Not letting unfairness turn you into a bitter, angry person.¬† Showing courage in hard moments.¬† Allowing God to work through you so others can see his greatness.¬† Joseph’s story can speak to you in any season of life.¬† Check him out!

If you are in the Houston area, come see the show.  Remember, we are all ordinary folks who have day jobs, but we do a pretty good job of sharing fab music and a relevant story for your life today.  Leave a comment or email me if you want more information.

You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best……

You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best……

You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best……

Dress Rehearsal.  I'm putting the finishing touches on Mrs. Potiphar.

Dress Rehearsal. I'm putting the finishing touches on Mrs. Potiphar.

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Joseph and me.


I’ve been absent from this space lately.¬† Burning the candle at all¬†points possible.

That’s because I’m in rehearsals.

Doesn’t that sound official?

My church is presenting Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat soon.
evt6991_joseph
Sat & Sun Sept 26-27 and Sat and Sun Oct 3-4.

I am an Egyptian dancing lady. That in itself is worth the price of admission.  joseph2

With full-time work and a family to watch after, being in this production has certainly filled my sleep free time.

But that’s ok, because I’m happy to share the story of Joseph.¬† His story is my favorite story in the Bible.¬† Well, besides the story of Jesus.¬† But my favorite Bible story about mortal humans.

Do you know the story of Joseph?¬† He was the favorite son, one of 12 sons, of Jacob.¬† His mom was Rachel, who was Jacob’s true love.¬† Jacob showed favoritism towards Joseph,¬†gifting him¬†a beautifully colored coat to show his favor.

Our fab Joseph and his fab coat.    Picture courtesy of Charles Foster.

Our fab Joseph and his fab coat. Picture courtesy of Charles Foster.

Joseph also had a dream that he and the brothers were gathering wheat.¬†¬†Joseph’s bundle of wheat grew taller and the brothers’ bundles bowed to his, ¬†interpreted to say that¬†one day¬†the brothers would bow to Joseph.¬† That was more than the brothers could take, and when Jacob sent Joseph out to check on the brothers, they made a plan to kill him.¬† Reuben talked the other brothers into throwing him into a pit instead, and planned to come and rescue him later.¬† But while Reuben was away, Ishmaelites came by and the brothers sold Joseph to them as a slave.¬† The brothers took the colored coat they had ripped off of Joseph, dipped it in animal blood so that it looked as if Joseph had been killed by an animal and presented it to Jacob.¬† Jacob was devastated, saying he would never get over losing Joseph.

Dress Rehearsal. The Ismaelite who bought Joseph for a slave.

Dress Rehearsal. The Ismaelite who bought Joseph for a slave.

Meanwhile, Joseph ends up in Egypt working for Potiphar, who managed Pharoah’s household.¬† Joseph was an excellent worker and Potiphar soon came to prize him.¬† He recognized something special in Joseph.¬† Joseph was made Potiphar’s personal aide and managed his personal affairs.¬† Potiphar’s household ran smoothly and things were good.¬† Genesis 39 says God was with Joseph and blessed the house.

Then here comes trouble with a capital T.¬† Potiphar’s wife.¬† Joseph was a very handsome guy and Mrs. Potiphar crooked her finger and said, “Come here.”¬† Joseph turned her down, saying that Potiphar trusted him and he couldn’t sin against God.¬† She kept pestering him and one day he literally ran out of his coat getting away from her. ¬†Mrs. Potiphar cried out that Joseph had tried to force himself on her and she scared him away by yelling.

Joseph was thrown into prison, and Genesis 39 says God was still with him.¬† The head jailer liked Joseph and put him in charge of the prisoners; he ended up running the whole operation.¬† In time, the king’s baker and cupbearer are thrown in prison.¬† (Genesis 40) They¬†both had dreams the same night, and Joseph was around to interpret them.¬† He gave the cupbearer the good news that he would be getting out of prison soon.¬†¬† Joseph asked him to please¬†remember him and tell Pharoah about how he didn’t deserve to be in prison, that he’d been wrongly accused and wrongly sold into slavery.¬† The baker hoped to also have good news about his dream, but no, he was destined for a sad end.¬† When the cupbearer went back to work for Pharoah, he forgot all about Joseph and two more years passed.

Dress Rehearsal.  Jacob and some of his sons.

Dress Rehearsal. Jacob and some of his sons.

(Genesis 41) Pharoah had a troubling dream and didn’t have anyone to interpret it.¬† The cupbearer said, “Oh, I forgot.¬† There is this guy I met in prison who correctly interpreted dreams that the baker and I had.”¬† Pharoah called for Joseph immediately and asked if he could interpret for him.¬† Joseph said, “Not me, but God can.”¬† Joseph told the king that Egypt was in for 7 years of bountiful harvest, then¬†7 years of famine.¬† Because Pharoah saw that God was with Joseph, he appointed Joseph to get Egypt ready for the bounty and the famine.¬† Joseph was second-in-command and had the chariot to prove it.¬† Pharaoh told Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but no one in Egypt will make a single move without your stamp of approval.”¬† Now THAT is some power!

Want to know what Joseph did?  Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Joseph and me.

PS – Have you ever considered how you would react if you were presented this opportunity to face those who hurt you….and you had the power?¬† Or have you had this experience?¬† Were you proud of the way you acted?¬† Read Part 2 of Joseph and Me right here.

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

I Continue to Heart Coupons.


coupon2In an earlier post, I introduced my love of couponing and said I would be sharing some great websites that help with my money-saving shopping trips.

One of the sites from which I get daily, sometimes multiple daily, emails alerting me to great savings is

Deal Seeking Mom.

Deal_Seeking_Mom_Badge

Deal Saving Mom’s tagline is Real Deals for Real Moms.¬† If you’re a fake mom or a real dad, or just are interested in saving money, I’m sure she’s fine with you coming by her site also.

Tara, aka, Deal Seeking Mom (DSM), has great tips on coupons for restaurants, grocery shopping, online shopping, clothing and household shopping; just about anything on which you want to save money.¬† Each week she publishes deals at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, etc., and shows you how to match up manufacturer, store and¬†internet coupons with the store deals to get the biggest bang for your buck.¬† Here is an example of¬† Walgreens’ deals that Tara recently posted on her website.

DSM at times offers great magazine deals.  I was able to purchase two years of All You Magazine for a crazy price.ay_2rf2388bmcc0609_allyou_cover 
She’ll let you know when Amazon or other websites are having good deals on magazines.¬† I like to order directly from her if possible.¬† I’d rather give my money to¬†a stay-at-home mom who’s figured out how to use her blog for fun and profit than to Amazon.¬†

Forums are another feature on Mom’s website.¬† You can exchange couponing information, ask questions, find out how others handle their shopping trips by combining coupons and sales, etc.¬† If you are into giveaways, there are many, many, many websites that have giveaways each week; you can try to win everything from gift cards to kitchen gadgets and appliances to books to services.¬† Each week DSM has the Giveaway Gathering.¬† Bloggers post their giveaways¬†for the week, then you click on the links that sound interesting to you and enter.¬† Usually entering the giveaway consists of leaving a comment on the bloggers site, perhaps subscribing to the bloggers updates, twittering about the giveaway, etc.

¬†Tara is one of Walmarts 11 Moms.¬† Walmart has partnered with “mom blogs”, money-saving blogs, green mom blogs, etc., to see how Walmart can serve those blogging communities and their readers, how to get Walmart’s message out using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.¬† Who better to consult than the women who day-in and day-out interact with people all over America and have up-to-the-minute info of The Latest goings-on inside the internet.

One last cool feature.  A coupon database.  Coupons are listed with their value, expiration date, source of coupon.  You can sort the lists to help you search for particular coupons and what insert they were in, or see if printable coupons are available.  coupon3

All right, that’s my discussion on couponing for today.¬† If you have favorite coupon/money saving sites, share with us in the comment section.

Happy Money Saving!

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Moody Monday.


A different skyline.

A different skyline.

This is late, but I was remembering 9/11 this past Friday.¬† So¬†today’s Moody Monday is ¬†in remembrance of those who perished.¬† Those who rushed into the Towers to help others and never came out.¬† Those who went down fighting.¬† Those who kissed their spouse goodbye as they left for work, not knowing it was the last time.¬† Those of us who lost a little innocence that day.¬†

Picture 1434

This was on the wall of a fire station near our hotel in NYC.

In memory of firefighters lost on 9/11.  Near our hotel in NYC.

The station near our NYC hotel lost several firefighters.

 

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.