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The wonder planted

as she looks at the first bud,

real cultivation.


She’s imbued with a

curiosity too deep

for shovels to dig.


Hands dirty, eyes glued,

thoughts forming, bouncing, streaming

towards new clues.


Growing ideas of

her own as she pours water

on thirsty soil.


School Outside


Clouds occupy the air as students
would the halls in a perfect school,
waiting patiently to file into the classroom –
singly of course.

Not one head turned, faces beaming,
hands at their sides, bubbles in their mouths.
Yet these have an unknown destination,
traveling where no man can see,
converging just beyond our eyes’ reach.

Who taught them how to stand in such a straight line?
I know it couldn’t have been my students.
But maybe today we’ll have school outside, I think
they could learn something from these obedient clouds.
Then we’ll return inside, only to have
their creativity break free once again.



Down in the Valley


Last Friday, I went with a good friend to a concert at Stubb’s to see The Head and the Heart.  They are riveting and vivaciously spirited live; if you have a chance to see them, I would highly recommend it. Here’s a taste of their style.  As an added bonus – you can download two songs for free on their website right now..



they’re forever lost in the sound of the air

i try to grasp them, to bind them, to tie them

to a page, but they’re never the same

as when they first left my mouth.


i would run too, if i was a word.

who lets themself be taken captive?

at least put up a fight for your well-deserved liberty.


and anyway, it’s much better to be free,

to be left up to faint wisps of memories

and vague rememberences of interpretations.


i can see them now, scattering

just out of reach and tangled enough to disguise

their true form from the eye

of the one whose mind follows them

around every winding corner.


so for now, i’ll just let them be,

ever-reaching lines never destined to be bound

and gagged by writing implements,

running with their descriptive arms raised high….

naked. uninhibited. wild.

oh, Christmas… Let’s be friends.


Christmas and I normally don’t get along.

I don’t enjoy a two-week change in a perfectly good schedule, miles of driving, and singing songs about an overweight grandpa that watches me ALL THE TIME.  I especially don’t enjoy songs* that sugar-coat the birth of our Rescuer into something clean, quiet, and calm.  Don’t get me wrong, I teach first grade, songs with talking animals and little boys playing instruments are great – but when fiction and fact are constantly mixed, its a little tiring to say the least.

But, through all of this, I’ll fight to be her friend.  Because it’s inevitable that we’ll meet face to face, year after year, whether or not I’m ready for her.

So Christmas, here’s to you.

Right now, you’re just two days away.  You’re the day we, as Christians, have set aside each year to remember and remind each other of the moment in history where the mystery was revealed to earth – where it met heaven, met the truth, met its Rescuer.  The one life that changes how all life views itself in the prescence of God.  Because now, by faith, we can have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because now, each time we mess up and act in ways that are so incredibly offensive to God, when we deserve nothing but death, He exchanges life.  Real life.  Abundant life.  Real abundant life that is eternal – that begins exactly where we are now, on earth, but lasts forever.  Let us rejoice that He changes things – people, realtionships, situations – He doesn’t let them stay broken and dead.  Let us rejoice that our bridegroom was born.  He was born among the poor, the hurting, the dirty, into the roughest of situations – that He could redeem it all.  Every entrenched area was uprooted by his hands and words.  And it still is.  We have hope.  We have hope because our Rescuer came and did not rest until death was killed.  Hallelujah.

Let us remember our warrior-bridegroom.  Let us rejoice that He’s coming back very soon.

So thank you, Christmas, for existing.  Thank you for meeting me each year.  Thank you for setting aside this time.  Let’s be friends.  Real ones.


* Now, here’s the thing, music deeply affects me.  Concepts that can’t be expressed any other way are able to make sense when people communicate them with strings and drums and various metals.  So, where I’m going with this may not strike you in the same way, and that’s fine.  This is my blog, not yours.  You don’t have to agree with what I say, and there’s beauty in that as well.

the daily indelible adventures of first grade


dear first grader,

thank you so much for bringing three fuzzy caterpillars into my classroom without my knowledge, only to have them escape. i’m sure the one that ended up in the music room enjoyed your sweet singing, and the one in our class thoroughly enjoyed the drawing center…  but i just must feel bad for the poor creature that found a different fate in the hallway.  students swerving at the sight of his marred body; the red fuzzy figure pancaked atop the linoleum floor.

the event of the day for sure.
i will see you tomorrow,

miss ratterree

the goodness of the Lord [exorbitantly evinced in teaching]


The Lord has been good.  Well, he’s always good but lately my soul has been made to rest long enough to see it.  My flesh attests to it each morning.  Approbation abounds from my lips to my King each day.   The Lord has placed me in a city where resting is easy for me – and, ironically enough, as a first-grade teacher.  Those two phrases probably aren’t seen in conjunction all that often, yet they’ve collided this year in my life.  Rest and teaching.  Teaching and rest.  I thank my God each day for filling me with His Spirit, for inspiring me to teach abundant life and Kingdom ways to young children.  All abilities and skills are poured out by Him.  All wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.

Now don’t misunderstand me, teaching does take up much time. It is hard work that takes patience, energy, diligence, love, patience, creativity, preparations, and much more patience. And usually in the past pattern of life – because of my brokenness – patience was a struggle. Oh, but how much grace He has shown me this year! Everyday I am utterly astounded with how much patience has been produced through His Spirit in me. Words elude me to better describe these graces. And because our God continually teaches me sweetly of his ways, I trust (and know) that He has brought me here not only for my good, but also for His glory – so disciples of Jesus can be formed from these 6 and 7 year-olds.

Joy gushes forth from my spirit each day when I see my student’s faces, behold their blithe spirits, and hear their hilariously innocent words. They make me laugh so hard. I thought it best to share some with you.

  • “Today my friend’s coming to sleepover.  Except she’s younger.  I’m six-and-a-quarter-and-a-half and she’s only six.”
  • “Dear God thank you for this day.  Please help Satan not to turn us over to the evil side.  Amen.”
  • “I wish I could live in a body… I mean, I wish I could live inside someone else’s body… like a giant.  I’ve never seen inside someone’s body before!”
  • “You mean God loves us even more than all our other daddies?”
  • [During Math] Me: “You have 4 pillows on your bed and your brother comes and takes 1 pillow away.  What do we do first?”  Student:  “Ask him to give it back…?”
  • “How do you spell TV?”
  • “Miss Ratterree, this number right here is how old my mom is!”
  • “Glue smells good… mmm…”


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