If today was a summer peach, I would pick it and preserve it in a jar to enjoy on a cold, gloomy day in January when I am tired of winter. Of course, if this winter is anything like last year’s I won’t have to complain about gloomy. With no rain, we have no fog.
The light has certainly shifted, telling me summer is on its way out. This was my breakfast scene this morning:
After breakfast I moved into the living room to dust the furniture (hated chore) and found Calico Cat enjoying the morning light:
The days are much shorter with the sun now rising after me. I’m turning on the lamps before bedtime. I will miss the long days filled with sunshine, but not the heat. Today is so cool that I still have the windows open at 11 am. Amazing.
When I met with all of the chaplains on Thursday I received my school assignment, Columbia Elementary. The school is in an old part of downtown Fresno, west of the State Highway 99. The student population is 75 percent Hispanic, 14 percent African American, and seven percent Asian. There are five first grade classes with whom I will be working. One fortunate aspect of the assignment is that I have previously worked with the principal. She was a home ec teacher at the school where I did my first student teaching assignment. Although not my master teacher, she was next door to the teacher with whom I worked and a good friend to her. She left the classroom to become an administrator and came to the high school where I taught as the federal and state program’s manager. In other words, she handled the various grants at the school.
Many of you have been curious as to how the Fresno Police Chaplaincy school resource chaplains work in the schools. Over the next few months as I become more involved with my work, I will share what I learn so as to help others understand the program. First of all, we are fostering resiliency in the children, beginning with the first grade. To do that, the chaplain goes into first grade classrooms once a week to read a story and then through questions and discussion focus on certain aspects such as impulse control, optimism, emotional regulation, empathy, risk-taking, and determining how to make wise decisions for effective solutions to problems. The chaplain is also available during lunch and recess to students and staff. At no time is the chaplain proselytizing.
For the month of September I will be observing current chaplains who are starting their second or third year at the school they are assigned. In October the newbies will begin at their assignments.
It’s been a week of early mornings. Which I really don’t mind, too much. I would prefer my usual wake-up time at 6 or so, but I can handle a few days of 5 am.
Terry had presentations to make a couple of mornings so I got up with him to be able to head out the door to do some shopping one morning (I really like to be there when the stores open) and another morning to attend a Bible study at the church I’ve been attending this summer. I thought I would dip my foot a little further into the pond to see if I liked it. I did. Really super people and a good study, too. My brain doesn’t function well after 4 pm. so I cannot attend small groups and Bible studies that are held in the evenings. I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue going to the morning class, though, because I will have another early morning assignment soon and it may be the same day.
When I pulled out of the garage at 6:30 am. yesterday it felt like those mornings when I was heading out early for a department chair’s meeting. This time it was for a breakfast meeting for the school chaplaincy program. I got to meet all of the other chaplains and really clicked with one particular lady. She’s 80 years old and working in a tough, inner-city school. This will be her second year there, and last year her students got the highest score on the post test that was given in May to see what they had learned. I am already scheduled to observe her.
I now have my school assignment, a school in the very heart of downtown Fresno, one of the oldest elementary schools in the city. There are five (FIVE!) first grade classes with whom I will do a half hour lesson each week, reading a book and asking questions. With that many classes, I may have to schedule two days a week to get it all in and do it well. Tuesdays are already taken with my Good News Club work.
After the early morning chaplain’s breakfast I zipped through traffic to a rally to kick off the new school year for Good News Club. There were about 150 us cheering for one another and another successful year. One of my team members isn’t returning as she has a new job so another lady’s husband is going to fill in for awhile. We are praying for more workers. Same thing for the chaplaincy program. Although more schools are requesting chaplains, there aren’t enough people offering to sign up.
This morning, Friday, we are up at 5 am. again. We had promised ourselves to sleep in, but Terry has jury duty and he is finally required, after calling each day this week, to show up at the courthouse on FRIDAY. I got up to do laundry and then get go out to order my chaplain’s shirt at a store downtown that supplies the police department with their uniforms. The store opens at 9. I’m having lunch later with a good friend, so another busy day. Maybe tomorrow we’ll sleep in until 6.
I received the results to that health assessment Terry and I did last week, you know, the one where I got held back so they could tell me I needed to lose weight and exercise more. And Terry got dismissed quickly as his body mass index was so amazingly low that he impressed the whole staff. Hah!
The report comes in colors: green, yellow, red. Sort of like a traffic light. I received, wait for it….GREEN! The report said:
Good work! This color indicates that you are in the highest category for health and health behaviors. However, we all know we are not perfect, and you likely have personal goals for your health and wellness. Work with your individual consultant to identify those areas of improvements and bask in the glory of knowing that you are on your way to a very healthy lifestyle!
This came about due to the blood work which measures cholesterol, blood sugar, and something called Apo, all of which were good numbers. My bad areas are LPA, again which I don’t know what that is but the report says it can affect my heart and is inherited, and my body mass index which is 30 percent over what it should be. Again, diet and exercise.
I was walking every day back in June but when my heel started hurting, I quit and have not restarted. It has been really hot, too, so I’ve also used that as my excuse. One good thing I do is to park far away from the store and walk. I also take the stairs when they are available.
Oh, and Terry’s assessment: YELLOW!
Yesterday’s Ladies Who Lunch date turned out to be a surprise birthday party for me. Although my birthday was weeks ago, this was our August lunch, as well as our first-day-of-school celebration. Lots of good stuff to celebrate, the best being good friends with whom to enjoy life.
This card sure sums it up nicely:
I just finished this book about three brothers and their restaurant businesses:
Yesterday I started reading this:
These two books are certainly giving me a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant business. I’ve always known it is hard work, and also quite stressful. Definitely not something I desire to do.
All the cooking I’ve done this week has made for a full refrigerator. We’ve got roast beef, beerocks, rigatoni, beef and noodles, broccoli from the csa box, coleslaw, and today I used the tomatoes, chiles, and onions we got in this week’s csa box and made salsa. Finding a place for a bowl of salsa among all the containers was not easy. I sure don’t have to do much cooking the next few days. Oh, there are also ‘doggie’ boxes with Chinese food. We ate out last night even though we had all that food stacked up in the fridge, and the meals were so delicious we decided to take home the leftovers.
The first chaplaincy meeting went well. There are five of us newbies. We are all about the same age, and we have some connections. One lady went to high school with Terry; another is the daughter of a man with whom I’ve attended church for almost 40 years. Two of the fellas went to the same high school. There will be a breakfast meeting next week where we will meet all of the returning chaplains, 15 of them, and learn more about what we will be doing. We do not have our school assignments yet and will spend September visiting and observing the veteran chaplains. One of the returning chaplains is 86 years old. Gives me great hope that I may be able to continue this for a few years.
I was concerned about the time commitment for the chaplaincy work as I have my other organizations, too, for whom I plan to keep working. Depending on the school and the number of first grade classrooms, I can work one or two days. I will be reading a story to each first grade class once a week and working on building resiliency in the first graders. There is a very detailed curriculum to do this. Most of the chaplains do cafeteria duty and playground duty afterwards just to be with the kids more. They are also encouraged to attend school carnivals, open house, and other programs.
Although there will be 20 schools onboard this year, there are more who would like to have a chaplain on campus. The problem is finding the volunteers to do this. The application process is very lengthy and involved. There are at least two face-to-face interviews, a 29-page application to fill out that asks all sorts of questions about one’s history, an intense background check, along with credit report, dmv record, and school transcript check. Many people cannot pass the background check. I really hadn’t thought about how squeaky clean my past was until I did this.