Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: April 2011 (page 1 of 3)

open the doors, see all the people

Next week marks a big week for several school districts in my path of life. My curiosity is piqued as to how the levys will turn out for Ridgemont, Arlington and Olentangy. Big-O because if it fails, the chances of husband getting that job go from slim to nil; Ridgemont because, well, I have hometown allegiance. And Arlington because I drive through there on a regular basis and their signage had me baffled. There seems to be equal numbers of pro and nay-saying signs on Main Street, so it could be quite a run. I’m a sucker for a good competition. 

The Courier did a piece on the A-town feud, which I skimmed in my curiosity (the vote no signs really had me wondering what was behind the opposition – there were at least 3 bullet points on a single sign). Because I have zero ties to Arlington, other than a mutual sharing of St. Rt. 68 about once every other week, I’m not overly concerned with the outcome. But the article really got me thinking about the role and the importance of the building structure in education. (I told you! I’m on a streak). 
One argument of the opponents is that the new building campaign “isn’t education, it’s real estate.” It rang familiar to the conversation that I frequently heard in the church world concerning building campaigns. Honestly, I’ve never thought about buildings in the educational context before, but when you reframe the question, it made me think. 
On the one hand, if I lived in R’mont district, I’d vote for it. When I was in college, a wise older man I worked with told me “I’ve never voted against education” and I thought at was admirable. I try to live by the same philosophy – that though it may cost money, a solid education for the kids in my community (not just “my” kids, but those I share streets and stores and economy and newspaper routes with) is important. **Full disclosure: I did vote against the LB levy right after we moved here. They JUST built a new school. While I want to support education to the utmost extent, I also want some fiscal conservatism by my board. I won’t write a blank check every time they ask… but I voted for the follow up, non-building renewal levy. Tit-tat. 
Now, I know nothing about the condition of the Arlington school. So any further comments aren’t personal in any sense… but I’m starting to think that there are a few deeper fundamental questions that should be asked regarding building campaigns. 
Right now it seems the cool thing to do in the educational world. The article even cited that all the surrounding districts are in the midst of building campaigns. I just don’t think schools should be focused on keeping up with the Jones’. Husband claims that schools need to do this to try to draw kids from other districts, to “remain competitive” (ah, such the republican). But in the church world we call this Sheep Stealing. Why are we concerned with kids who are already getting what they need at a different place? Shouldn’t we turn our sights onto the kids within our own system and providing them what they need to learn and grow and develop? Perhaps that might be a safer structure with greater capacity for evolving technology. Or perhaps it’s more teachers to lower the classroom ratio. Or books. But getting the kids from down the road simply shouldn’t be an aim. If we’re that concerned with the kids across the county, perhaps we should give that district what they need in order to provide for the kids. Missionary schooling. Now that’s an original thought. 
Then there’s the impact of environment on learning. Can we learn the same in a pole barn as in a state-of-the-art facility? I just mentioned that I’m not one to notice nature, and that statement could probably be expanded to say I generally don’t notice much about my surroundings at all in terms of quality. But I do recognize size. I absolutely hate exceptionally large spaces for small groups of people. I feel naked. A packed house is much preferred – the energy builds, synergy forms, something just happens. Or maybe I’m just a touchy-feely person who likes to “get a little closer.” 
But enough about me, back to the question. What is really required to learn? I just read about how kids in some other nordic country (this post is running waaaaaay too long, I’m not going to look up the Time article now, you can do it yourself) spend most of their time outdoors with their coursework, doing geometry with sticks and stones. And they’re nearly as smart as China. 
So, what I’m really asking is: is a new building the answer? Are we asking the right questions about what a district needs vs what would be nice to brag about? Is it simply the next step? Proof of a growing, thriving, successful organization? Again, I’m hearing echos of a familiar conversation in the church world of building campaigns equating to “doing something right.” (**Not all building campaigns are wrong or bad; I just can’t say that all of them are as necessary as we might believe).  But rather than doing it in the name of God, we do it in the name of our children’s future. But is it always about either (both) of those things? Couldn’t there be just a little bit of Tower of Babel in there somewhere? Look what we can build
Again, I don’t know anything about Arlington’s district or need. I don’t know how voters should lean (fortunately the chances of someone in the district reading this are extraordinarily low). But never before had I broadened my opinions of building campaigns and what they mean to the people who want them, or why. 
Just something new for me to think about at 3am. 
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she’s here, she’s here

Yes, it’s springtime and in all ways we’re seeing new life. First, up from the grave he arose (He arose!)… and then we look around in nature, and what was said to the rose make it unfold (was said to me here in my chest so be quiet now, and rest). And finally, welcome to the planet, welcome to existence – everyone’s here... the finale of appearances by sweet, new baby girls – the firstborn for each of 3 of my friends. 

I seriously might suffocate in the joy of it all. 
I’ve never been much of a nature-lover. I still prefer a good book to a walk in the woods, but at least I’m more inclined to read the book in the warmth of the sun. But there’s just something about a hard, cold winter season followed by a spring that is simply shooting out new life left and right. It’s such a reminder of the final word. 
And for so many of them – of us – this new life is exactly what we needed. The hardness and difficulty of life can sometimes be overwhelming. You look around and see nothing but white and emptiness. But then you wake one morning to the sounds of birds returning home, you see the grass give a green hue and a baby breathes her first. 
Life is full of light and shadow 
O the joy and O the sorrow 
O the sorrow 

And yet will He bring 
Dark to light 
And yet will He bring 
Day from night 

When shadows fall on us 
We will not fear 
We will remember 

When darkness falls on us 
We will not fear 
We will remember 

When all seems lost 
When we’re thrown and we’re tossed 
We remember the cost 
We rest in Him 
Shadow of the cross
(Shadows – David Crowder Band, Church Music)
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what you missed out on during Lent

Several people took a self-imposed hiatus from Facebook over Lent, which I can respect. I know the addictive quality of The Book and have taken a leave of absence myself at times once. But in defense of all things good and holy in the world of social media, allow me to compose a list of the wonderful ways in which my life has been enriched by this free, consuming and addictive product/tool in recent times. 

1. Beautified my hair. A simple post to other curly-haired friends and I found a few new suggestions on how to tame this mess of frizz. I like to do a seasonal switch out from gel to mousse, depending on the equinox, but the transitions are tough. Not to mention the indecisiveness of pregnant hair. 
2. Fixed my computer. Twice. First was a screen shot paste issue involving outlook express. The second was a new iphone syncing issue (which isn’t necessarily resolved, but at least I have a hunch as to it’s root cause). 
3. Got a half-priced massage. Goooo me! (And Journey Salon and Day Spa – way to capitalize on free marketing!)
4. Served dinner. I have the makings for a good pasta dish, and now thanks to the suggestions of friends, I have a method to the madness of cooking it. 
5. Learned those quirks of the kitchen that didn’t seem to get passed down. Such as, how to deal with a large, hard ball of brown sugar and make it usable again. Key: bread in the airtight container. 
6. Had multiple conversations concerning labor and delivery using words that would make most men squirm. Fortunately for said men, the conversations happened via messages, not out in the open. Come on, I have a little taste. 
7. Made my friends crazy-jealous of the cuteness level of my kids by posting our preview shot by our photog friend, Jennie Good (you simply must check her out. www.jenniegoodphotography.com). 
8. Shared a mutual affection for David Crowder with a variety of friends on multiple occasions. 
9. Was ensured that I was safe in the night while a storm passed. There were no sirens. 
10. Learned that OU added even more street fests as the years have gone by. My, oh my, can those kids party. 
11. Was convinced to buy an iphone. 
12. Found out that Dianne married Victor, much to Jack’s dismay. Oh, you slimy old man, you are a people-user. 
13. Created a list of must-have craft items for the kids’ basket. 
Seriously, where would I be without my virtual friends? And now that Lent is over, I anticipate a large rush of status updates and bigger variety in my feed. Welcome back Bob, Jill, Paul, Mark and the many others! We’ve missed you! 
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