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Thursday, December 09, 2010

5: Cool Cat Teacher Birthday



Friday, December 9, 2005

At the Cape of Good Hope in October 2010.

Birthday. The birthday of a blog. This one.


Little did I know how a blog could change one's life.

The Difference A Blog Makes
Blogging has improved my life in so many ways! How could life change so much in five years?

Not only have my children grown older but I have too! Hopefully wiser.

This blog has taken me to many places and met many faces -- over 20 conferences and counting, in fact in four different continents! I've been to Qatar, India, South Africa and heading to China in February with my oldest son and some more students. This week I was up until 4 am working on a book deadline for the book that will come out with Pearson Publishing in January 2012 that I'm coauthoring with Julie Lindsay.

Two new businesses and a nonprofit and thousands of students later. What excitement.  Maybe it has even helped some of you in some way. I hope so.

The Blog That Almost Died Before Being Born

I remember coming back from GAETC in 2005 in tears. Crying because I was failing as a teacher and all this new "stuff" had happened -- blogs and wikis and I was clueless. I knew nothing and I had done nothing. I felt like a failure. So behind. So irrelevant.

Kind of like looking off the continent of Africa over the Cape of Good Hope in the picture I snapped to the left. Not seeing the beauty. Only seeing fear.

I was afraid of what I hadn't done. Afraid of doing anything.

Then, after a good week long pity party. I dove into wikis and then after that -- blogging to share what I had done with wikis.

Thus embarked a journey. In some ways perhaps my dream is for this blog to be the Blog of Good Hope! May the words upon these pages inspire people beyond my lifetime.

So, my question to you is this:

Do you abort their dreams before they happen?

My Dad, James Lee Adams,  says

"If everybody says it is a good idea, you're too late."

He's right.

We have to do some things that are half crazy and totally unheard of in order to blaze a trail.
Things worth doing well are worth doing poorly until you can do them well!

What are you doing that is new, different, and unheard of?

Good Hope.
I just have to say a quick thank you.

Kip.
Thank you to my husband, Kip for being the one who believes in me no matter what. I owe him my heart, my life and everything here you see on Cool Cat Teacher is possible because he encourages me and lets me be me. We may have lost everything we owned in the flood of 1994 when that pecan grove went under water, but we found everything in each others eyes. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Very unlike many men in the South, my husband is not one to expect his wife to be under his thumb, but rather, he has been the jetpack that has accelerated my jumps into flying torrents because he's telling me I can! (He's handsome too! ;-))

Kids.
Thank you to my precious children, who really haven't had much choice in the matter but who give up their Facebook time to let Mom do "that blogging stuff." (Even though my 15 year old told me that I had to take "Cool" out of the title of my blog because he says I'm not cool! ;-)

Kin.
I'm also thankful to my Mom, sisters, Dad, and nieces and nephews. When I travel, they all pull together. What a blessing to live right around the corner from everyone and have them as my best friends.

King.
But most of all, I have to tell you this. And it is tough sometimes to say this, but my conscience compels me.

Let me tell you why it is tough, Ewan McIntosh and I had a revealing conversation in South Africa about what causes people to "unfollow us."

Ewan is an agnostic and I am a Christian. When he shares his faith and I share mine we have both found that we lose followers. I guess people don't want to hear about what people believe. He says people push back when he talks about his kids. That is odd. I don't read Ewan because he's a newspaper but because he is a news person - his thoughts are newsworthy to me as are many others like Stephen Downes, David Warlick, Joyce Valenza, Doug Johnson, Kim Cofino, Mr. Robbo,  and more.

However, since I am thanking people and since I believe with all of my heart that God Himself called me to blog. I have to thank Him.

I cannot explain why this blog has 20 thousand something subscribers nor can I explain why my blog is blessed with hundreds of thousands of hits every month. I don't have to explain why because I know WHO.

The WHO is God and and I forever grateful to Him and His Son, my best friend, Jesus, for calling me to this AND they deserve all the credit for every honor and good thing I've ever gotten in my life. I give the honor to Him who does beyond what I could ask or imagine and fills me with joy.

As for all my faults and mistakes, those are mine to blame for and I'm so sorry for when I mess up but I am so enormously grateful to be forgiven for those mistakes and that I don't have to carry that weight any more ever again. It is not that life is easy - the only people without problems are in the graveyard - it is that life is fulfilling and abundant with joy in the midst of problem.

If that causes people to unfollow me because they think all Christians are this hateful, mean, nasty, judgmental type of person that the news media talks about then they haven't been reading this blog for very long and don't know me anyway.

Because I believe my job is to love people - made in God's image -- every single one of you -- like He does. You have a choice what to believe. I appreciate my friend Ewan and respect his desire to choose his own faith. I will not unfollow him because of his faith. I have many other friends of many other faiths. I love you, my friends, and respect your ability to choose for yourself what you believe.

If it costs me, then, it does. Because this is the five year birthday of this blog and I cannot ignore the soul and heart of who I am and Who He is. As you know, you won't get this much from me, but today, it belongs in this post.

You.
You, my friends are beautiful, wonderful people. You are so gracious, wonderful, and yes, many of you are struggling. And yet being part of this blogosphere as a reader, commenter, blogger, or just one who prints things off and shares them in the teacher's lounge -- being a part of something bigger than this blog is truly one of the greatest privileges of my life.

Julie.
I have to name one other name -- Julie Lindsay, my co-founder of Flat Classroom projects and one of my dearest friends. Thank you for bringing out the best in me and loving me when I'm at my worst (2 am when I'm exhausted!) You are brilliant and the hardest working teacher I know. You bring out the best in me and are incredibly patient.

You.
If you've ever commented. Ever generously nominated me for anything (those edublog award nominations are so incredible - thank you for putting me on the list again) or just linked -- thank you.

So, now, we've got a little family time planned tonight and actually - I'm going to go get some steaks! Been gone a lot in the past week s- too much and now I'm home to stay until PETE&C in late February and on to Beijing -- glad to be home.

Happy Birthday dear Blog-go -- Happy birthday to this blog. (And many more... we hope.)


FYI - Yes, thank you for again nominating me and my wikis for Edublog Awards. The nominations mean a lot as does anyone who takes time to vote.


This last nomination for lifetime achievement is perhaps the biggest surprise. I'm not sure that five years can be a lifetime and if one is voting on the educational spaces, perhaps that award should go to someone who has served a bit longer. However, the votes belong to the people and I believe that the process will work out who is deserving at this juncture in time.

OK, so we're eating steak tonight at my house and yes, I have enough points on weight watchers to eat it - gotta celebrate around here. Momma's blog is 5!
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