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Monthly Archives: December 2012

the darndest things


I teach kindergarten through 5th grade spanish at a magnet elementary school. in a desperate effort to get to know some of the 287 kids I teach at the very beginning of the year I made a “get to know you” type survey for the older grades. I discovered a stack of the completed surveys on my shelf the other day. here are some of my favorite responses…

what is one thing you would like ms. broom to know about you?

“I am smart and kind and fun and funny and also good at singing.”

“I have food allergies.”

“I reeeeeally miss my old Spanish teacher but you seem nice.”

if you could go to any country in the world, which one would you visit?

four children responded with, “florida.”

what do you want to be when you grow up?

“a peedeeuhtrishiun. not sure if I spelled that right but I want to be a kid doctor.”

if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?


“the mall.” (dreamin’ big)….

& my personal favorite, “court.” I was a little worried about the child who wrote “court” until I looked up & saw that, for “what I want to be when I grow up” he had put “lawuhyor” (lawyer). at least he’s shooting for the right side of the bench.

what did you learn in Spanish last year?

“I learned that ‘cafe’ is a color and also coffee and also a place to eat.”

what do you want to learn in Spanish this year?

as they were taking the survey, I saw a little girl writing “nothing” in answer to this question. I stopped by her desk & asked her why she put that. she said that she didn’t want to learn anything new in Spanish. I told her that wasn’t a very good attitude to have & Spanish was going to be so fun, etc. then she said, “ms. broom I think you need to look at what I put at the top of my paper.” sure enough, at the top of the sheet she had written, “ms. broom my mom is from nicaragua and we speak Spanish at home so I already know my words in Spanish.” touche, kiddo. touche.

these kids are smart & spirited. & even though they overwhelm me, they always make my days.


life after sandy hook


I live in a neighborhood that a lot of people thought I shouldn’t move to. I don’t like to call it a ‘bad’ neighborhood–because really, what makes a neighborhood ‘bad’ or ‘good’? & even by that oh so nebulous standard it’s not a ‘bad’ neighborhood. it’s full of kids riding bikes, neighbors yelling “HEY SARAH” (even though my name is not sarah), & people walking dogs. I run outside, I eat breakfast on the porch, I stay all night by myself sometimes. life is good.

sometimes there are flashing lights, but they never really bothered me until my car got broken into. it’s kind of unsettling to know that someone was going through everything in your car (which in my case included silly string, a bunch of construction paper, and a toothbrush… score).  after that happened I got a little more nervous at night time. a couple of weeks after, david came over one day & we walked to the park at dusk to throw the frisbee. I normally never walk around alone in the neighborhood after dark, but with david, it felt ok & “safe.” we threw the frisbee (I’m really bad) & eventually walked home. it was nice to be so comfortable.

but as I thought more about it, I was reminded that, although I should be careful & wise, I shouldn’t be fearful (even without david). david is a good boyfriend who loves & protects me. god is an even better father. I love psalm 4 so much & have dwelt on verse 7 since I moved into our house: “in peace I will both lie down & sleep, for you alone, yahweh, make me dwell in safety.” that’s what I whisper at night when I hear creepy noises, when I’m nervous to go grab something out of my car. & then, after frisbee in the park & my car break in, I tacked those words (pictured above) from a prayer book on my wall.

I’ve been reminded of all of that this month as the nation deals with what happened in connecticut.  as a human being, it was gut-wrenching. as an elementary school teacher, it’s been absolutely terrifying. all day on that friday I wanted to hug every single one of my babies so tight. I was so so thankful that they were ok.  but there’s all kind of guilt & fear mixed in– why the kids in connecticut and not our kids? & what if our kids are next?  this kind of evil is awful & the questions it raises are real. they shouldn’t be folded up quickly & quietly, tucked into the drawer of easy answers. the monday after we went back I could hardly think of anything else. all day was spent fighting hard to keep my mind on anything other than what if what if what if?

but that’s the thing about fear… if we allow it to gain a foothold, it will get deep in our souls & steal our joy. whether it’s being afraid to go to work every monday or being scared to go grab something out of my trunk after dinner, fear cripples & robs us of life. & that’s not good. that’s not what God intended. so I’m trying to spend more time playing at kindergarten recess & less time crying at my desk.

draw us into your love, Christ Jesus. & deliver us from fear. please.

p.s. here are some links I found interesting & helpful regarding sandy hook…
rachel held evans, ‘God can’t be kept out
obama’s statement gets me every time
challenging statistics about violence in chicago

wednesday words


thanks to our school librarian who’s been lending them out on the side, I’ve been re-reading harry potter. there’s not really too much to say about this. if you’ve read them, you understand. if you haven’t read them, what are you waiting for? really. I’ve re-read the later ones a few times, but it’s been ages since I read the first few. it’s cool going back & seeing how rowling really sets up the plot from the very beginning, years before they come to fruition. that lady can write some story arcs like nobody’s business.

I brought chamber of secrets with me on the plane over thanksgiving break & multiple people (with big smiles) asked me excitedly if this was my first time reading them. I kinda wished I could say yes, but I’m thankful I grew up with harry. as I re-read I keep thinking… these are magic in every sense of the word. here’s to kids books & never really growing up.

p.s. speaking of kids books, I’m dying to read this one.

cyber monday

oh you know, just some brown paper packages tied up with string.

here are some christmas gifts. to you, from the world wide web.

humans of new york is probably my favorite current internet project. like it on facebook, you won’t regret it.

sometimes you just need to watch obama hug people.

26 moments that restored our faith in humanity this year.‘ I cried my way through a significant amount of this article.

a free audio book from donald miller.

what kind of book reader are you? I’m delayed onset #1 for sure.

really pretty take on one of the most awe-inspiring cities in the world… year in new york.

I’m still playing catch up on blog posts, big time. happy christmas, world.

thankful thursday


David & I went with Whitney & Kenneth to see Sufjan Stevens in oxford last week. we got to see lots of friends (courtney! parker! jake & carrie! sheely! erin! chandler & leah! etc.) at the show. & it was pretty magic. we both saw him on the age of adz tour, but I actually thought this was better (david was on the fence). there was a christmas unicorn & the wheel of christmas & come thou fount & john wayne gacy & SO MUCH fake snow. it was a pretty venue & wonderful company & a very very good way to start christmas. so today I’m thankful for sweet friends & beautiful music & bodies that bounce back even after you keep them up til four in the morning.

on booze & being kind


Jenna & I live close to an AA/NA house. they run dozens of meetings a week, so the street is usually jammed with cars on both sides. I pass it all the time– on the way to pick up that ingredient I forgot, as I’m headed to meet hannah for dinner, coming home from tutoring. lots of times I manage to walk run bike drive by as a meeting is ending & people are trickling from the doorway to their cars.

I love watching the people go in & out: people who look homeless, people in scrubs, people with fancy cars, people with no teeth, people who look like my parents & siblings. the smiley old man walking to his meeting & smoking his cigarette, the lady with careful blonde highlights & nervous eyes getting out of her clean white car. it’s strange because they don’t know me at all. & I don’t know them, but I know a tiny part of their story because I live in this neighborhood & I know what the big white house is for.

living here has taught me that addiction doesn’t always look like you might think. it makes me want to hug complete strangers, to hang up a big sign that says, “it’s going to be ok. keep on keeping on.” on any given day, it’s easy to stay in my head, to think mostly just about my life. it’s easy to think I have others figured out. but living by the AA house reminds me to be kind, to smile, to suspend judgement, to say “how are you doing?” & “thank you so much”… not just on my street, but in the world at large. because every single day–in the line at the post office, within the walls of my school–I’m blessed to hold tiny bits of the stories of people who are fighting hard battles & carrying heavy burdens. even when I never would have guessed.

new york, the district & home

manhattan might be probably the most awe-inspiring non natural thing I've ever seen. but I'm still real happy to be back in mississippi.       UntitledUntitled       Untitled

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Untitled       I love jackson. but I sure am going to miss this.

one of the big perks of teacher life is thanksgiving break. there’s no fall break, christmas break is half the length it was in college & summer is a full month shorter. but by golly, we get a full week for thanksgiving. I got to spend the first little bit of it in dc & new york… seeing old friends & making new ones. then at the end I spent several lovely days at home.

the first day was pretty surreal. I read on the plane & stayed up til 2 catching up with christine (an old friend I lived with in peru). the next morning we went to brunch & browsed a flea market. I wore jeans & tshirts & I didn’t once tie a shoe or wipe syrup off someone’s shirt. culture shock is real, guys.

the rest of the (long) weekend was full of so many wonderful things. trader joe’s, meeting zach’s girlfriend, playing settlers of catan, ice skating in central park with emily (SO FUN), walking so many city blocks, lights on fifth avenue, the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever eaten, christmas shopping, & playing on the roof of katy’s big ol apartment building. (you can read emily’s take on our weekend here.)

it was a fun few days in a city that holds so many happy memories. manhattan is magic… but so is mississippi. & the rest of the week was spent there, with family & new TFA friends. bridge running with my sister, hearing my favorite stories from my grandparents, long breakfast with my mom, the annual broom family Christmas photo, & the kind of sunsets that make your heart sing. now I’m a week back into real life… but with tests to give & christmas break on the horizon, these next two & a half weeks are going to fly by.