When Doors Open…..

18 months ago, I made preparations to start a blog, but let’s face it, life happens and our plans sometimes get put on the back burner.

IMG_0828Fast forward….. 18 months later, I find myself humbled and in awe of the doors the Lord has opened for me.  A lot has happened, so sit down, buckle up and let me give you the run down!

Back in February, I had fully engrossed myself in a normal work day, we had a very mild winter, so we were busy plowing through the curriculum without the interruption of snow days.  Morning announcements started the day as usual.  Our principal gave us that dreaded news that all teachers cringe at the thought of: a meeting during your planning :-/.

12:15 finally rolled around and it was my planning period.  I remember walking into our guidance counselor’s office for the meeting and being greeted by KET Educational Consultant Cynthia Warner.  “So you are the Ashley Judd everyone has told me about?”  Now as we all know, from that point on, this conversation could have went one of two ways, one way much more favorable than the other.  With a chuckle, I replied “that depends on what you’ve heard.” We both laughed.  From that point on, Cynthia and I instantly hit it off, discussing the great resources available through PBS Learning Media and KET Education.  It was one of those rare professional developments that was so useful and engaging that the 45 minute planning period melted away faster than Olaf in summer!

Right before we parted ways, Cynthia shared with me something that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would rock my world! “Have you ever heard of the PBS Digital Innovator Program?”  Cynthia began to describe the program and told me, based on the technology and multimedia I was implementing in my classroom, it was really something I should consider pursuing.  Unfortunately, there was only a week and a half before the Digital Innovator deadline on February 13th.  I told her that I would definitely check it out and keep it in mind, and with that I headed back to my classroom to salvage the remaining few minutes of planning.

I sat down at my desk, with about 5 minutes to spare before my little energizer bunnies returned from PE.  I pulled up the PBS Digital Innovator website and began to learn more about it, with every intention of putting it on my to-do list for next year.  My anticipation and excitement grew as I read what it meant to be a Digital Innovator.  Those 5 minutes flew by!  I remember standing up at my desk to go pick up my class from PE and in that very instant the Lord spoke to me more clearly than he ever has before. I felt him telling me to do it, don’t wait until next year, but do it now.  Of course, my first thought was “Lord, I’ve only got 10 days to put together a video and to write a bio and essay, is that even possible?!”  Well let me tell you friend, when the Lord bids you to move, then it is absolutely possible!  That same day, after school, I got a tripod, my iPad, and like any good mother would do, bribed my 4-year-old to be silent while I recorded the segments needed for my video.  By chance, or by divine intervention, my class was submersed in morphing their own original class fiction story, “Trouble in Volcano Valley”, into a stop-motion animation movie at the time (you can see that amazing finished product here).  IMG_0820

This was an optimal opportunity to get some great footage of my students producing a great multimedia product for my video! I worked diligently to get everything together.  I submitted my completed application a mere 12 hours before the deadline!

The winter-that-never-was came and went and ushered in an early, spring-like March.  It was a Wednesday morning, March 15th to be exact.  I entered my classroom, like any other day, turned on my computer and waited to check my email.  I nonchalantly waited for Outlook to update.  I can recall my morning-bound eyes catching a glimpse of the word “CONGRATULATIONS”.  If you want to shake the chains of a sleepy, lackadaisical morning, the word “congratulations” will do it every time.  There it was, right before my eyes, a single email that would begin the adventure of a lifetime for me!  I had been given the great honor to represent Kentucky as a PBS Digital Innovator!  Have you ever got a gentle “I told you so” from God?  Well I did!  And it was in an email!

The adventure that ensued after that is another post for another day.  You will definitely want to check back in for that!  IMG_6595

So here I am now, a 2017 PBS Digital Innovator.  Now let me be painfully honest, I am far from special.  I have no amazing talents, I’m no rocket scientist, and I’m most definitely not “Super Ninja Teacher” ridding the education world of the ghastly Novice monsters.  I am simply a teacher that is not afraid to fail.  I am that teacher that is crazy enough to try anything once.  If it’s a success, then you’re a RoCk StAr!  If it crashes and burns, then hide the evidence and figure out how you’re going to achieve RoCk StAr status next time!  Big risks yield big rewards!

I am completely humbled by the wealth of opportunities that have been opened up to me through this journey.

 “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”    

Rev. 3:8

You may be pushing your way through life, hypnotized by the lack-luster repetition of your everyday obligations, but don’t be burdened down by the mundane, for when you least expect it, you may look up and find yourself, unexpectedly, face to face with a door, opened by the hand of God just for you!  Be Blessed!

To Everything There is a Season…

As I type this post, I am nestled warm in my house, surrounded outside by the aftermath of a blizzard.  Over the past two days, Kentucky was pounded with a snow storm of epic proportions.  In my font yard, I currently have a whopping 18 inches of snow.  You heard me right, 18 INCHES!  Just to think, my teacher friends and I were stalking meteorologist Chris Bailey’s blog a week ago, desperately yearning for a SNOW DAY!  What a difference a week makes!  Here we are in a state of emergency and school isn’t even on the radar!  This may be a snow month instead of a snow day! Come to think of it, did I save the receipt for those valentines my boys bought for school??

snow fort

Yesterday I stared out the window, watching the snow gently fall to the ground.  It wasn’t just plain snow, it was the giant flakes that wistfully took their time getting to the ground.  For a minute, I felt like I was in a Christmas snow globe!  As the snow peppered down, I thought about how I love Kentucky.  True, Kentucky weather can sometimes be very menopausal (it was almost 60 degrees on Christmas Day), but it suits me to a T.  If you were to ask me my favorite season I honestly don’t think I could give you an answer.  I’m a very high maintenance person when it comes to my weather… I like it all for a certain period of time!

I love winter, I love snow, and I love that my job and where I live allows me to be a stay at home mom during certain seasons.  There is something about memories made in the winter.  When I was a kid, we were lucky to get one good sleigh riding snow per year, 5-6 inches at best.  I love the opportunities this winter has brought for me to make memories with my kids.  When we get snow, we make the most of it, no matter how deep!  What do you do when the snow is waist deep on your kids and they can’t move?  This momma goes outside and shovels out a snow fort!! (If Daddy hadn’t been called into work, he would have probably designed a full blown igloo.)  The squeals, laughter, and memories were priceless and amazing!  The tears Kinley shed when she fell face first in the snow were also a memory… of a different sort (I’m thinking Sadness and Anger from Inside Out had to fight over that memory).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving all the fun and family time, but by the time this 18 inches melts (Let’s get real, it may actually BE spring before 18 inches of snow melts!!) I will be more than ready for spring and 70 degrees!  I’m seasonally high maintenance, remember?

I love the wonder snow brings and the magic in my children’s eyes.  I love the new life that comes with Spring.  I love the adventure that arrives hand in hand with summer.  I love the coloring book of fall, in all it’s splendor.  When God created his masterpiece, I think he knew we would have a never ending array of needs, so he created a season for them all.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

No matter where we find ourselves in life, there is a purpose for our season.  Every year, my husband plants acres on acres of corn to feed our many animals.(I’m a part time farmer too, did I mention that?) The corn is beautiful in the late spring and summer.  It’s lush, green, and full of life.  However, fall came and went, and the green slowly faded.  December arrived and it’s beauty had came and went.  It looked dilapidated, and, well, dead actually.  Visually, in it’s worst state, it was then we harvested it.  After it weathered storms and colder weather, it was then it was able to yield a harvest for us.  While it was beautiful, it was of no benefit to us, but in its weakness, it was the most fruitful.  You may feel like you’ve stood through the storm and everything you had to offer has been taken.  But that’s the thing!  YOU STOOD!   Rest assure, though you may be weary, it is after the storm you can yield your greatest fruit.  Brighter days are ahead!  If today you are broken, rest assure, springtime is coming, and we serve a God that can make old things new again.  Be Blessed!