/> Raising Angels: April 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stay Tuned

I have lots of pictures and posts to work out. The problem is that my computer has not been cooperating lately. It took me 3 frustrating days to get that last post finished. Hopefully, we'll get the kinks out soon and I'll be back up to speed! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And So the (Running) Story Goes...

The morning of the Glory Run our house was abuzz with anticipation. We were all up before dawn ready to go.

Mackenzie and I were the first to leave as our race started a good hour before the others. She was feeling good. We talked about her goal and with a group prayer and a gun shot we were off.

Like many racers, she took off much faster than she normally runs. I let her know this early, but she wasn’t having any of that slowing down stuff…especially in the sights of the big crowd that had gathered to cheer us on. I love this picture because it’s at the beginning when she was excited and feeling good. Somebody caught us right as we caught sight of Max.

Needless to say, we did the first mile in great time. The last 2.2 were an entirely different story. The cramps kicked in and she just couldn’t keep the pace. I knew at the halfway point that there was no way we were going to reach her goal of beating last year’s time.

We didn’t talk about that. She bravely kept moving and never complained. Upon seeing the finish line she even kicked it up to a run and finished strong.

The end result was a second place medal. Mackenzie, I am so proud of you for sticking it out. Five kilometers of hilly terrain is tough and you did it well. Great work girl!

Aiden’s one mile race was next and he was the surprise of the day. I only took him on a few training runs because he complained so much I decided it wasn’t worth it. I totally expected him to pitter out midrace.

When he ran past me in the beginning, he was running his heart out. He was in the front pack of runners and had already left Nelson in the dust. I really thought he might pass out when he hit the first hill.

When I saw him coming towards the finish line and looked up to see a race clock that still read 9 minutes I was shocked! When I asked Aiden how he managed to pull of that magnificent of a race, he informed me that he just didn't want to waste all his Glory Run energy on training. Great job buddy!

Dawson enjoyed his last go at the Tot Trot. He had a great start and finished 4th. I never got to see him after the gun went off, he was so fast. He is probably going to be the best runner of us all. We'll see what happens next year when the brothers race each other in their race. I am proud of you Dawson!

And Maximilian, well, I went against every grain of common sense I have and signed him up for the Tot Trot as well. I just knew the pain of being the only one not participating would be far more damaging than him coming in last. I also hoped that being in there among all those other runners might encourage him to get moving a little faster.

He took off with the pack and, like most two-year-olds, was not aware at all that everyone else had passed him. He moved those little legs as fast as I've ever seen and had a great time doing it. That is until he got about half way through his quarter mile jaunt and realized what a long distance this was. He looked up at me and made a brief whimper so I reached out and grabbed his hand.

That little support alone was all he needed to finish that race. The best part about being last is that the whole crowd focused their cheers on little Max. As he approached the line, the chant began (even over the loud speaker!), "Max! Max! Max!"

It was hard for me to do anything but absolutely beam at this little bundle of perseverance and joy holding my hand. What a wonderful place we live in where people don't see Max for what he can't do, but rather what he is accomplishing every single day. Max, you are amazing!
Never, ever…in a million years, did I picture myself running…in races…with my family. I have my brother Brian to thank for making this happen. I still to this day don’t know why I said yes to giving running a try, but I’m sure glad I did.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Glory Run

We did it. Every last one of us. It was fun, emotional, hard and memorable. More stories and pictures will follow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I Teach

This morning my class was discussing Jack Kerouac. Because of his love for the solitude of nature, I decided to move class to the courtyard.

As I began the discussion, one student interrupted. "Mrs. Parris? This is a short one; do you think you can read it out loud?"

The rest of the class wholeheartedly agreed so, I obliged. As I read the selection, I stopped occasionally to get their reactions and thoughts. I was amazed to see their faces staring back at me with interest. They were engaged and I was excited.

It was the picture of a perfect literature class - drinking in thoughtful descriptions, revealing personal fears, laughing over our faults, hearing the voice of the author speaking to us.

Teaching is often a thankless, underappreciated, time-consuming endeavor. There have been many times this year that I have bemoaned the fact that I love a profession that is so over-worked and underpaid. It does nothing to help the budget. In moments (and I'm happy to say they are few and far between) like this, going to work is hard.

However, lots of times there are moments like the one we had today that remind me why I do what I do. Moments when you know you have the hearts and minds of the next generation in the palm of your hand. Moments when you see the light go off in their eyes and you know they get it. Moments when you make a memory, an impression that you hope they will remember for years to come.

I didn't choose to be a teacher because of the financial opportunities. I chose to be a teacher because I love learning, adore kids, and enjoy having the stage for a few moments every day. I chose to teach because I wanted to change the world. I wanted to touch someone's soul. I wanted to make a difference.

Lofty goals like this don't often feel as if they are being achieved in the throws of vocabulary tests, research writing and assigned reading. But today, in a little courtyard, reading Kerouac, it did.

Being a teacher is not what I do, it's who I am. And today it felt really, really good.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Where does the time go? Not the years, or the months, or even the days. It's the minutes lately. One thing leads to another and the thing you start gets done an hour or two after you set out to do it. In the meantime other things come up that take twice as long as you thought because you weren't thinking about them in first place.

How do you balance? How do you get things done and take time for yourself? How do you choose? When do you give in and go to sleep? When do you push through?

Seriously...how do you?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Running Time

I took Mackenzie out for a run tonight. I got the moan when I called her to get ready to go. As we approached our starting point, I let her know that today we were going to try to run 15 minutes without stopping (up to this point we've only done 10). She let me know that there was no way she could possibly do that and off we went.

By the end of those 15 minutes, she had run over a mile without stopping for the first time in her life. She was hurting but amazed at what she had just accomplished.

We took a 5 minute walk break. We ended that at the bottom of the biggest hill of the race. She was certain we had only been walking for 3 minutes so I told her she could walk to the top of the hill and then we'd run again. To my surprise, she wanted to run up it. And she kept running and kept running and kept running.

Twenty-two minutes later, she was running across the finish line. She ran that whole route and only stopped once. I was cheering for her as we raced towards the finish. I was incredibly proud of her. She was elated.

I've come to love our little runs together. It's nice to be the encourager for once instead of the one everyone is waiting for at the finish. It's been beautiful weather here lately and being able to be out exercising in it is a gift. Most of all, I get a chunk of undivided conversation time with my only daughter. I get to push her a little and encourage her a lot. I get to hear about her friends and activities. I get to be with her.

On our way home we stopped in to pick up something from a friend who just had her first daughter. It reminded me of when Mackenzie was born and how I just couldn't get enough of her. I actually remember crying once because I was afraid I might miss something while I was in the shower (What can I say? Hormones are crazy things.). I wanted to drink her in.

Tonight as we raced back to the house, I realized that even though she's a lot bigger, I still feel the same way.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Brief Update

Things around here are hitting full speed. So much to do, so little time, not enough sleep or words. More later...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Sometimes there are so many things to write about that there aren't enough words. There are moments in life when you stand at a crossroads that can lead in a hundred different directions and because the choices are so overwhelmingly numerous you don't choose any. Other times you prepare for the journey, you're ready to go and your flight gets delayed.

So here I am. Sitting in the airport waiting for a plane to I don't know where. Whatever happens, maybe my ticket gets changed, maybe the plane never comes, maybe...who knows...,it will be right. It will be what's best. It will be an adventure.

That's just how God works.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ancient History

"Mom how long has the Masters been around?"

"A really long time."

"Was it around before I was born?"

"Yes, son, before you were born."

"What about Mackenzie? Has it been around that long?"


"Was it around before you were born?"

"Yes, before I was born."


Saturday, April 10, 2010

See What I Mean?

Look at the first three people on the left. In the blue shirt is my dad, the cute kid in the plaid shorts and hat is Mackenzie and Nelson's dad standing to the right of her. I wasn't kidding about the royal treatment, or the front row options, or the amazing day with two grandpas.

Someone one found this picture for us on the Sydney Morning Herald's website and the credit for the photo goes to Shaun Best/Reuters.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Masters

Today Mackenzie got to do something people around the world would pay infinite amounts of money to do. She spent the day at the Augusta National watching the first round of the Masters.

Now if you're anything like me before I moved to Augusta and have no idea what I'm talking about, just follow any sports reporting over the next few days and you'll get a small idea of what it's all about. Here in Augusta, the whole year is spent preparing for this one all important week. And it's done with class and charm only seen in the south.

Mackenzie got in as a part of their Junior Pass Program and they treated her like royalty. Every gallery guard that caught sight of her ushered her right up to the ropes so she could see. She took in the golf, the beautiful scenery and a turkey sandwich and chips for $2. That's right folks-an import, 16 oz beer at the National is only $3.50!

She was thrilled. The sweetest part of it all was that she was accompanied by both of her grandfathers. Can you picture it? A day spent with two of her favorite people in the world. Yes, it is a gift to have access to tournament tickets through Nelson's folks. Yes, the Junior Pass Program is wonderful. Yes, the food and beer out there are great deals in the world of sporting event fare.

But a day learning about golf at arguably one of the most beautiful courses in the world with her Papa and Dampa...folks, that is priceless.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Egg Hunt

This was the most fun and enlightening part of the egg hunt on Easter. I hid the eggs and then set the kids to find them. They ran every which way and scooped them up quickly. At the end there was one I could see that they hadn't found yet. See it there?
Don't feel bad if you don't...they didn't either. I thought it was sticking out like a sore thumb. See it now? That soccer ball egg where the hose attaches to the faucet.
After the three of them looked around a solid minute or two with helpful hints, one of them finally discovered it.

It gave me a lot of insight into how so many things around here get "lost".

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Few Easter Photos

Monday, April 05, 2010

Monday, Monday

There are loads of pictures and sweet little memories from Easter to share but tonight I am too tired. I'm actually sitting down for the first time in three days and I don’t feel like getting up to get the camera.

I'm wondering who was in charge when our school made the decision not to take today off. I'm finally ready to vacate and we had to go back to the grind.

Happily I did discover that we only have 8 weeks left, not 9 like I thought. I can do this for 8 more weeks. And then, oh then, it will be summer!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Holy Thursday

Tonight we braved the hour and 40 min. Holy Thursday service at our parish. Yes, it's long, but boy, oh boy it's beautiful. It’s actually Nelson's favorite service of the year and I can understand why.

Of course, there was no nursery tonight so we took all four into the church to try our luck. God blessed us with a relatively peaceful experience. I'm sure I missed a lot of it saying, "Shh," "Sit still," "Look forward, "Please pay attention." In fact, the thought occurred to me that taking kids to mass, any mass let alone this one, is really a lot of hard work.

However, there was a moment, when our pastor was washing the feet of parishioners, that I was suddenly transfixed. I was taken back to the Last Supper. I was there, with Jesus as He humbled himself to teach the disciples what it means to be a servant. I was there at the very first Eucharistic celebration. I was there.

I was moved. In the midst of cheerios, children's books and a bit of noise, Jesus took me on his journey. And that's what it's all about. It reminded me how much He loves me, how great His sacrifice was, and how I will eternally benefit from His actions. It was a short moment, probably not longer than a minute, but it was there.

I tried to get back to that moment at the end of the mass when the priest was exposing the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration. I closed my eyes for a second and wished I could stay there for hours. I was promptly brought back to reality when Max finally spoke up in the silence of the church and announced, "I'm ready to go now! Let's go!"

And so, we did.