Monday, April 25, 2011

She Has Officially "Gone to the Dogs!"

I never thought it would truly happen, but Aunt Teresa has officially "gone to the dogs."  She wasn't real excited for me to bring the two pugs down here, but she has actually become quite attached to them, especially Diego (aka James).  

Every day she walks down the street to the mailboxes to get the mail.  A couple of days ago, she decided to take Diego with her.  Now he isn't real fond of leashes after the bad experience he had when he was a little puppy (a previous blog entry).  However, he has now figured that a leash means getting to go somewhere.  Lucy not only knows what a leash is, but even gets excited when the word is even mentioned.
So I had to hold Lucy when Teresa took Diego on the walk.  He walked very well and came back very happy.  He needs to go a bit farther on his walks as he is on a diet (sort of).  Since moving to Douglas, he has gained a few pounds!!

The next day Teresa took Lucy on her jaunt to the mailboxes.  Lucy isn't the best walker.  She tries to bite the leash and tends to run up and back.  At one time, poor Teresa was wrapped around the leash.  I can just hear the family if I had to report how she fell!!

But Diego had a FIT when he was left behind!!! He was out in the  front yard running up and down, howling and crying.  Our other dogs always seem to want to make a break to "look for a better life."  But not Diego.... he never wants to go out of the yard as he knows that he has a good life.  

That was until yesterday!  Teresa moves a bit slowly and when she opened the gate, Diego made a beeline out of the gate.  He has never tried this before.  He ran as fast as his fat little puggy feet could carry him down to the mailboxes.  He was hellbent on his mission to go to the mailboxes.  I went after him and he wasn't interested in anything other than getting to the mailboxes.  It was hysterical!!  I am not sure what exactly he thought he was going to see there when he was left behind, but he came back with me just fine.

So today, Teresa took Diego on the leash down to the mailboxes.    He was very content with his trip.  Poor Lucy---I doubt that she will get to go anymore.


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Ultimate Compliment!

So many of the events that have happened since I have moved to Douglas in my new position, are not things that I can write about on my blog.  I think that may be one of the reasons that I haven't written a whole lot over the past few months.  Living here in Douglas with Teresa and learning a new job and reconnecting with people has been quite an experience.  I haven't had a whole lot of time for other "things" in my life.

Although I know many people here, it has taken me several months to make connections and to reconnect.  I have mentioned in previous entries that it has been amazing to me how fast the trust has come for me in my new position.  I never in my wildest dreams thought that would happen so quickly.  

With education cuts happening all over the country, this is certainly a very trying time.  It seems that our country, and particularly Arizona, doesn't value the importance of public education and what it has meant to the U.S.
So the past many weeks has been spent trying to develop a budget that will have the least impact on our students and on our staff.  Our district is a large employer in the community and we have a lot of great support from the community.  The faculty and staff in our district are incredibly dedicated and I continue to be in awe of what is accomplished in this poor, border town.  Our kids are amazing, too.  It says so much about the sense of community that exists here.

Today our leadership team met with certified and classified representatives to discuss recommendations that are going to be made to the Governing Board next Tuesday.   We have been able to find a way to make cuts as painless as possible.   

I firmly believe that we have to involve all of the stakeholders in decision making.  So as I went through the good, the bad, and the ugly of what we will be proposing, one of the classified participants looked at me and said, "You are Margaret!"  This man served on the City Council and knew my mom.  He had told me one other time that I sounded like her, but when he said that today, I took it as the ultimate compliment that anyone could give to me!!  And I truly believe that is exactly how he meant it....

I have thought all evening how to put this into words.  I don't know if I can express the depth of emotion that those three words brought to me.    I can only hope that I can be half of the kind of person that Margaret Shannon was.  I have always been proud to be her daughter, but to have those words uttered today..........all I can say is WOW!!
Alice Walker says "My Mother handed down respect for possibilities--and the will to grasp them."  Those words have a powerful meaning to me.  I hope I will continue to have "the will to grasp those possibilities."  

There is not a week that goes by that someone doesn't say something to me about my mom.  It continues to happen.  I know that she would be proud that I am here now.  But more important than that, I am proud to be in this wonderful community.  Hopefully, I can give something back to this community.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be here!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Timely Message

At the Arizona School Board Association conference in December, there were two of the most inspiration speakers I have ever heard. Dr. Kent Keith was one of them. He wrote this when he was 19 years old. His words have been used by many influential people over the years. I truly believe in what he says and this has been tested recently. My last post was very timely with some events that happened this past week. I just want to share them as I believe they are very powerful. The other speaker was incredible also. She is probably "the most inspirational speaker I have ever heard!" I will post more about her later. In the meantime, these words are what I believe we all need to live by. I am keeping the wonderful song by Rascal Flatts on this post. Please listen to the words of this song!!!

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Very Important Gift

For some reason, I haven't been keeping up with my blog writing like I have in the past. I think I may have a bit of a "writer's block." However, this has even carried over into my love of reading. I haven't read for awhile until this afternoon. Although I am busy, I don't think that is the reason. Maybe the quiet afternoon today without having to go to the valley, Tucson, or any place else and the time I spent actually reading a new book, will help to unlock whatever has kept me from this blog. I hope so, because I miss reading and I miss writing.

I have actually been thinking about writing about this gift for some time now. Maybe trying to make sure that I impart what I want to say has been formulating in my mind and how I will be able to get it down into words...................

Just before Christmas, I went to lunch with our Governing Board President. He was instrumental in me being named the Superintendent of Schools down here. His term of office was up the first of January. He had been an invaluable support for my first six months on the job.

He had a gift bag to give me with some words of wisdom behind the gift. He told me that it was not an expensive gift, but it came with a lot of meaning. So I opened it and found a hunter's compass. Mr. H. is a hunter and he told me that he believes that not only does one need a compass when out in the wilderness, but also in our daily lives.

He said that he has always found that you need to know what direction you are going in and then forge ahead in that direction without deviating. He wanted me to have this gift to help me when times are tough and decisions have to be made.

I was very touched with this gift for many reasons. I know that people in a position of leadership must have a sense of what direction they need to be headed in. John Maxwell said that "A Leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way." I absolutely agree with that quote. I also believe that includes the courage to especially "go" the way.

I have thought of this gift over the last few months, but more importantly, I have thought about the words that went along with it.

There have already been many, many decisions that have had to be made--some minor, but many of them have been major. Although I have had to make decisions in my life and career in the past, none have had the potential to impact so many people like they do know.

I have also thought about his words about seeing the direction where you are headed and not deviating from that direction. While I agree with him on this, I also feel that sometimes a detour must be taken in order to get to the final destination. That detour might take me off course for a time, but I also think it provides me time to "see other sights" along the way.

I will always cherish the gift of this compass and the words that went along with the gift. I hope that I will always have the wisdom to know that I am headed in the right direction and the courage to make sure that I follow that path--even with a detour here and there!!

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference."