Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Too Late?

Living so far from home
At first does not seem bad –
Enjoying all the freedom,
Away from Mom and Dad.

But when years turn to decades
That speed so quickly by,
I think about my family
And heave a great big sigh.

That sigh conveys so much
Of what I’ve missed these years:
Births and graduations,
And happiness and tears.

That sigh also represents
The friendships that have waned
And the Louisiana life
That once was so ingrained.

But can I move back home?
Have the changes been too great?
Can I readjust my life?
Or is it simply just too late?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Just Another Sunday

It's just another Sunday:
Go to church, take a nap,
Except reminders everywhere
That a child's not in my lap.

"Stand up, all you Moms!
Here's a rose for all you mothers!"
While I sit here in my pew --
Just a Sunday like all others.

Don't forget me sitting here --
a longing in my heart --
It's not like other Sundays;
Today I'm not a part.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Caught Between Two Worlds

I've lived nearly half of my life a 12-hour drive from home. Rick and I moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1991. I was 24 years old, and we had been married just over a year. At the time, we thought we would be away from home for only a few years -- long enough to finish graduate school. Somehow, we settled into church life, work life, and community life, and nearly 23 years later, we're still there. I say "there" instead of "here" because we're home this week (North Louisiana -- our first home) to celebrate Christmas with our family.

Me at 4 years old
This morning as I got ready for church, I contemplated spending half of my life so far away from our parents and our childhood and college friends. I realized that I live in two different worlds. The inhabitants of one world know the me who was once a little girl. They know that I always liked to sit on the front row in class because I loved school so much. They know that I like to ride my bike and I love cheese pizza. They know that I'm not very good at sports, I'm not fond of alcohol, and I took piano lessons for 10 years. They've eaten at my Mom's house, shared dorm rooms and apartments with me, and held my hand at family funerals.

The inhabitants of the other world have never known me before I was married; they know me as one half of "Rick and Kathy." They know a woman who loves working in the field of education, who likes to hang out at coffee shops, and who enjoys super hero movies.  They have seen me
Me at 46 years old
perform in dinner theaters and skits at church (or performed with me). Most have never met my family, and certainly haven't met my high school and college friends. North Louisiana is a far away place to them, and the only images they have of that world are from "Duck Dynasty" and "Billy the Exterminator."

I feel as if the folks in each of those different worlds know me only half way. They either know the person who grew to 23 years old and got married, or they know the 24+ year old (now 46!) who has been a school librarian for 23 years in Kentucky. I am so grateful for the adventures Rick and I have had in Kentucky and the wonderful opportunities I've had in my career there. I love my Kentucky friends dearly, and will remain their friends for life. Yet, I envy those friends back in Louisiana who have stayed in our hometown and watched their own kids go to Greenacres Middle School and Airline High School, and then on to Louisiana Tech -- all my alma maters! I envy the time they've spent with their families and the positive influences they've been in our hometown. They've seen changes that I only get a glimpse of a few days a year when we visit.

I know I'm not that same little girl who grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana. I've grown and changed and become someone that I hope my family and friends are proud of. But who I am now is a combination of those first 24 years spent in Louisiana and the last 22+ years spent in Kentucky. And I often wish that at least one person could have walked that journey with me from little girl to the woman I am now.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Big Blue Commotion

I am not a sports fan. I don't know much about any particular sport, and I simply do not keep up with any current events surrounding sports. This has never been an issue for me, other than the occasional awkwardness in a group conversation when I just don't have anything to contribute. My friends and family and co-workers know this unique aspect of my personality and accommodate me by not going on and on about sports topics or by poking occasional fun at me when I am clueless about whether March Madness is about football or basketball.

This weekend, my sports cluelessness became an issue.

I arrived at the annual Kentucky Reading Association Conference Friday morning. I registered, checked into my hotel room, and planned which conference sessions to attend. When I stopped by my hotel room later in the day, I noticed that a sheet of paper had been slid under my door suggesting that I allow an extra thirty minutes for checkout the next day due to potentially high volumes of guest traffic. "That's interesting, I thought. We must have really great attendance at the Reading Conference this year."

I proceeded to respond to emails and to look over the next day's conference sessions until time to leave for the evening to attend an event with a friend. I grabbed what I needed and headed to the hotel lobby to make my way to the parking lot across the street. As the elevator doors opened to the lobby, I realized something had changed since I first arrived at the hotel that morning. The entire lobby was filled with people, elbow to elbow, dressed in blue and white. "Well, that's interesting," I thought. As I turned sideways to inch my way to the hotel front door, I heard a band playing outside. Three TV station trucks were parked along the front of the building connected to the hotel. I noticed the name of the building was Rupp Arena. I remembered something about Rupp Arena having to do with sporting events, but I still was unclear about what was happening. Where did all these people come from? How in the world would I get to my car?

After a fifteen minute wait, a policeman motioned me to cross the street to the parking lot. Meanwhile, what seemed like hundreds of others crossed the same street heading in the opposite direction towards Rupp Arena. I felt like I was swimming against a rolling tide and would surely drown!

As I hurried to my car, a colleague hollered my name and caught up with me. I said, "What in the world is going on? Where did all these people come from, and what are they doing here?" She stared at me in disbelief. "Really?" she asked. "Yeah. Is there some sporting event going on? I'm not really a sports person," I replied.

She tried to contain her amazement at my ignorance and explained that the annual "Big Blue Madness" was in full swing, and by the way, "You won't get to where you're going on time, and you probably won't find a parking place when you return."

Boy, was she right! I sat in traffic nearly 45 minutes just trying to get out of the downtown Lexington area. And I was definitely late to meet my friend.

Trying to get back to the hotel was even worse! I hit the downtown area right as Big Blue Madness ended. Swarms of blue-clad fans emptied into the streets. I was amazed at not only the number of people crowding the sidewalks and streets but also at how polite they were. Fans were all smiles as they walked towards their vehicles, autographed posters swinging at their sides. I saw lots of families with cheerleading-clad little girls and blue-shirted future basketball players. I thought, "This world of sports that I've been oblivious to is a really big deal to these Kentucky families."

Suddenly, the irritating blue traffic jam became less of an annoyance and more of an awe-inspiring spectacle that stirred pride in me for being a part of Big Blue Madness, even as a spectator sitting in a car trying to go in the opposite direction of every other Kentucky citizen.

So, now I have a sports story to share in conversations with friends, colleagues, and strangers. "Why, yes. I have been to Big Blue Madness. And it was awesome!"

Monday, July 01, 2013

Thank you, "Wheel of Fortune"!

Just got back from the 8-day trip to Panama for two that I won on "Wheel of Fortune!" It was the BEST vacation I've every had.  Rick and I were able to go on our 23rd wedding anniversary. I'm so grateful for the experience of being on "Wheel of Fortune" and the experience of spending 8 days in beautiful Panama!

Click the links below to read about my experience on the "Wheel of Fortune" episode that was aired November 23, 2012.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Celebrate National Poetry Month

Purchase a copy of  . . . And a Poem to celebrate National Poetry Month! Visit www.andapoem.com for sample poems (some from this book, some from . . . And a Poem, Too).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Remembering Clark (1952-2012)

At Christmastime each year,
My brother handed out large bags
Filled with odds and ends—
All labeled with one tag.

Clark didn’t wrap the gifts—
He piled them all together,
And stretched the limits of the bags
All tied with ribbon tethers.

But every item in those bags
Was chosen with much care.
Each gift connected to the one
Who reached in to see its wares.

Sometimes the gifts were odd,
Sometimes they brought a tear,
Sometimes they were just right
And brought grins from ear to ear.

Like Santa with his sack of toys,
Clark brought joy with bags of gifts,
And this Christmastime without him
He’ll be loved and dearly missed.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

I Won!

I won on Wheel of Fortune! What an incredible experience to meet Pat Sajak and Vanna White and fellow contestants from around the country. My final prize totals included a trip to Panama, a $1000 gift card for Omaha Steaks, and $16,000 cash! 

Read blog posts on the Wheel of Fortune website about my adventure. 

Blog Post #1
Blog Post #2

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wheel of Fortune Week!

Friday, November 23 is the day! The episode of Wheel of Fortune that I'm on will be aired that night. Take a look at my blog post on the Wheel of Fortune website. Click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The New Book Look of Mormon

Whether Mitt Romney wins the 2012 Presidential election or not, Mormonism certainly wins as it pushes its way into the mainstream culture of the United States. This acceptance of Mormonism as a mainline Christian faith waters down the message of the Gospel—that there’s only one true way to salvation: Jesus Christ. Mormonism teaches a much different gospel. Mormons believe that Jesus is the eldest of the Mormon god’s spirit children, our brother, and also the brother of Satan, who came up with a better plan of salvation than his brother Satan, who now hates him. Mormon salvation is not based on "grace through faith and not of works" as the Bible teaches (Ephesians 2:8-9); but rather, they teach that people are saved by grace only "after we do all that we can do" (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23).

Over the past several years Mormonism has inched its way into mainstream America through the entertainment industry with the television series Big Love (a depiction of fundamentalist Mormonism) and the 2011 Broadway hit, The Book of Mormon, as well as with television personalities such as Glenn Beck. Although The Book of Mormon musical parodies the Mormon belief system, the fact that the production exists and is successful shows the acceptance of Mormonism in our society. You know you’re popular when you are parodied!

The rise of Mitt Romney through the political ranks serves to further the reaches of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). The willingness of so many Christians to embrace a Mormon as a fellow Christian is surprising to me. Surely, these folks are unaware of the basic tenets of Mormonism, which include a belief in three levels of afterlife, baptism of the dead, and denial of the Trinity. According to Romney's viewpoint the Mormon god was once a human on another planet who, through following Mormon practices, exalted himself to godhood and received a planet of his own to populate with multiple wives who remain "spiritually" pregnant for all eternity, giving birth to spirit children (i.e. you and me) who are born onto this planet (earth).

I’m certainly not opposed to a Presidential candidate who is not a Christian, nor a President who is not a Christian. I am opposed to groups and individuals rallying around a non-Christian and claiming he’s a Christian despite the fact that he is not, and in fact is a member of a group that completely denies the Gospel message presented in scripture.

Voters shouldn’t follow a candidate blindly, attaching labels where they don’t exist. Whether attacking President Obama by labeling him a Muslim (when he has declared he is not) or by supporting Governor Romney by labeling him a Christian (when he belongs to a religious organization that opposes Christian doctrine), voters should know the facts. Vote for the person you think will run the country well. Don’t place a vote based on religious fervor that can easily be swayed by untruths.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Wheel of Fortune Adventure!

I was selected through an audition process to be a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune!" The show taped September 6, but it won't air until November 23. I can't tell any details about the episode, but I do hope folks will tune in to their local TV station to see Simpsonville, Kentucky represented on "Wheel of Fortune."

I had such a fun and exciting time, and I met fabulous people -- Sony Studios staff, as well as fellow contestants. If you have an opportunity to try out, definitely do it! This was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

. . . And a Poem

Read Bible poems about passages from both the Old and New Testaments in my book, . . . And a Poem.

Get the Kindle edition for $.99 here.

Get the Nook edition for $.99 here.

Get the paperback edition for $6.99 here.

Read samples of poems from . . . And a Poem at the following blog: http://andapoem.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Grandpa's Apron - UPDATE

Grandpa’s Apron

Once as white as snow
Now stained with blood and sweat,
Butcher’s string for ties,
The hemline frayed like net.

Butcher’s hat crisply starched
High above his brow;
A proud workingman--
I can see him even now.

Grandpa was a butcher. I remember him coming home from work with his white butcher's hat. I'm sure he usually left his work apron at work, but he had a few at home that Grandma would sometimes wear when she cooked. I didn't realize until last Christmas that Mom had one of his aprons. Here's a picture of me modeling it.

Grandpa died when I was 9 years old, so I only have snapshots of memories of him -- the smell of chewing tobacco, the image of him sitting in his chair on Grandma's front porch, the gruff sound of his voice (never mean, just deep and kind of gravelly).

Mom doesn't collect or display lots of family mementos like that apron, so I was pleasantly surprised to see she had it. I was glad to have the opportunity to place that piece of family history over my neck and pose for posterity.

Next step: Find a picture of Grandpa in that apron . . .

UPDATE: Mom sent a picture! My Grandpa is on the far right in the white cap.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Gold Compact

The dainty gold compact
So intricately designed
Holds memories of a romance
From another day and time.

He gave it to her early
In their young courtship days
A promise for a future—
A symbol for his praise.

The years flew by too quickly,
And death came much too soon,
But the memory of their love
In this trinket had been hewn.

She laid the much-loved object
In her only daughter’s hands—
With the hope that love’s legacy
Would continue in God’s plans.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Rich Man and Lazarus

The pastor's sermon today was from Luke 16:19-31 - The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Instead of writing down notes, I jotted down a poem. Sometimes that's just the way I roll.

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
Luke 16:19-31

Once there was a rich man
Who lived in luxury,
At his gate a poor man lay
With sores from head to knee.

Finally, the poor man died
And went to Abraham.
The rich man went to Hades—
The place of the damned.

The rich man shouted, “Abraham!
I’m in anguish in this heat!
Send the poor man, Lazarus,
With cool water for relief!”

But Abraham said to him,
“Remember how it was?
You had everything you wanted—
Now it’s Lazarus who does.”

“No one goes from here to there;
A chasm separates.”
So the rich man pleaded, “Tell my clan,
Lest they should share my fate.”

Abraham reminded him,
“They had Moses—prophets, too.”
The rich man pleaded, “Send the dead!
That will make them see what’s true!”

Abraham just shook his head
And said, “They still won’t listen.
They ignored the words of God
And will ignore the One who’s risen.”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Search Committee: A Review

I was intrigued by Tim Owens’ debut novel, The Search Committee, because I’ve spent the last one and a half years on my own church’s search teams for a new children’s minister and a new student minister. Coincidentally, we completed our tasks the week before I read the last chapter in The Search Committee.

Although the search team in Owens’ book is Presbyterian and is looking for a pastor, and I am Southern Baptist and was part of a student minister’s and children’s minister search, I could still relate to the frustrations, triumphs, and bonding experienced by the committee members. In the book, we are introduced to Travis, Dot, Matt, Frankie, Susie, Joyce, and Bill who each represent various archetypes of a southern protestant congregation. The story takes place in North Carolina, but the setting described by Owens is one that any southerner can easily recognize and relate to. The author is careful not to go overboard with the use of southern dialect and stereotypes, but he does portray characters in a way that non-southerners might doubt are accurate. This southern-born and -raised girl can attest to the accuracy, though!

I like the way the author introduces and fleshes out each character, giving equal time to every member of the search committee. We observe not only the interactions of the search team members with each other, but also get glimpses into each member’s past and insight into why they act and react the way they do. The group of seven travels the North Carolina countryside seeking a new pastor, but also learning about life and love alongside each other. Forgiveness, redemption, and hope are themes throughout the book and each play out not only in the individual lives of the characters, but also in the work of the search team as a whole.

I like the way the author incorporates actual sermons throughout the book. We “hear” the same sermons as the search team, and we are able to reflect on them just as the characters do. I also like the well-placed Bible verses and excerpts at the beginning of each chapter from Presbyterian catechisms and Book of Order. They tie in well with each chapter and provide an interesting look into the world of Presbyterian Church order.

Perhaps I enjoyed The Search Committee because it paralleled the work I was doing for my own church as I spent many hours, weeks, and months with an equally varied group of folks. At the very least I can attest to the accuracy of the author’s portrayal of the frustrations and joys we experienced as we searched for the right ministers to make our church whole. His team, like ours, followed God’s lead to find the right person for the right time for their church, and I’m glad to have participated in both of those journeys.

Note: Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of The Search Committee for the purpose of reviewing it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holidays Back Home

It’s holidays back home,
Where time somehow stands still,
It’s holidays back home,
Where I go back to what is real.

When we get there Mom will say "You've gained a little weight."
But, bless my soul she’ll pile her cooking high upon my plate.

Dad will ask the umpteenth time, “When ya’ll gonna have kids?”
By the time the sun goes down, he’s snoring behind closed lids.

On the roads you’re sure to see gun racks on every truck,
The daily news is filled with color pics of “first-kill bucks.”

Cotton bales are piled up high and catfish fill the ponds,
Our family spends the afternoon picking up pecans.

Screen doors slam and cowbells ring as day turns into dusk,
Mom hollers for some help -- peas to shell and corn to husk.

After supper we take a walk and slap mosquitoes from our arms.
We watch the lights go out down the road at neighbors’ farms.

No matter where life takes me, no matter the heights I climb,
Back home is where I go when I need a quieter time.

It’s holidays back home
Where time somehow stands still,
It’s holidays back home
Where I go back to what is real.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Messy Bessie

Rick came home to find that Bessie had gotten into the trash he accidentally left at the front door. I never saw any of it in real life since Rick had every bit cleaned up by the time I came home.

Bessie seems to be saying, "Who, me? This is the first I've seen of it."

Sunday, October 02, 2011


My belly's full,
My house is warm;
I am very rich.

My job's secure,
My friends are near.
I am very rich.

My husband holds
My heart and hand.
I am very rich.

My family loves
And cares for me.
I am very rich.

My God forgives
My sins and past.
I am very rich.

I don't deserve
The life I have.
Yet, I am very rich.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Let's Just Read!

Why not read a book
(And talk about it, too),
And eliminate the need
For "read-and-then-go-do."

"Read, and then go write."
"Read, then take a quiz."
"Read, and make a diaroma."
. . . Let's just read! Gee whiz.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Garden Treats

Rick and our friend Steve planted a small garden for the second year in a row. Rick and I used to not eat many vegetables, especially green ones, but somewhere along the way to middle-age, our taste buds changed. Now we look forward to treats from the garden!

Pictured in this post are some of the spoils: cabbage, cucumbers, squash, green beans, and peppers. We made fresh cabbage slaw, a squash-cabbage casserole (original recipe below), and sliced cucumbers with homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. Yum!

Cabbage and Squash Casserole

1 head of cabbage, washed and shredded
2 large yellow squash, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped (or sliced depending on preference)
2 TBS Olive oil
½ stick butter, sliced into small pieces
1 cup of water
Salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste
Breadcrumbs or Tortilla crumbs

Boil the cabbage in salted water for 20 minutes, then drain. While cabbage is boiling, grease large casserole dish with spray Pam and lay pieces of butter all around. Sauté onions in olive oil until almost caramelized. Place cooked cabbage, sliced squash, and sautéed onions on top of the butter. Add 1 cup of water, salt, and pepper. Stir mixture and spread evenly in casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

©Kathy Mansfield

Friday, June 17, 2011

Home Study Visit #4

Yesterday we had our 4th Home Study visit in our journey to adopting Elianna from China. Jamie was very kind and spent nearly two hours with us going over information, asking us questions, and answering our questions. Home study visits always make me nervous. I want the house to look neat and tidy. I want Bessie to be on her best behavior. I want the neighbors to act normal. I want the air conditioner to work. I want Rick not to say the wrong thing while attempting to be humorous (ask me sometime about his "concubine" comment with the home study office). All of the above happened last night, so that's good.

What I wasn't expecting was:
- being asked to press the button on the smoke detector to see if it beeped in order to show that it had good batteries in it (it did)
- Jamie opening the "first aid" drawer in one of our bathrooms to verify that first aid items were stored there (there were)

We still have to submit the completed home study report, along with our letters requesting extensions on our immigration paperwork and fingerprint renewals, before the first week of July. Tight turn-around since we will be out of state all next week. But, Jamie is taking good care of us, so I know we'll meet our deadline. It's simply nerve-wracking, though, until the paperwork actually arrives at the federal offices and we get our confirmations.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Live Long and Prosper!

Rick and I attended the Star Trek exhibit at the Louisville Science Center this weekend, and discovered there are people WAY more geeky than we are.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Five Years and Counting

Five years ago I felt a call
To go beyond the sea
To reach a little girl
Who was chosen just for me.

The paperwork began;
I felt certain in my call,
But soon the wheels of progress
Slowed down to just a crawl.

Why would God say, ”Go”
And then make the wait so long?
Is it Godly-discipline
For all that I’ve done wrong?

How can I have patience?
Will I persevere?
When will God deliver
What once was very clear?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mrs. Mansfield Goes to Frankfort!

KY State Capital Annex
February 22, 2011

Experiencing my first bill review at the Kentucky House of Representatives. I'm listening to discussion of bills up for consideration that relate to education. One of the bills concerns textbooks, so I'm here in case the legislators have questions about that particular bill. I'm sitting with Robin Chandler, a KDE Policy Advisor, Kevin Brown, KDE Legal Counsel and Associate Commissioner, and Rick, supportive husband extraordinaire (who is spending his time at the meeting reading his Kindle).

Listening to students share their bullying experiences in Kentucky schools -- all related to sexual orientation. A bill amendment is proposed to include consequences for bullying on school grounds even when school is not in session and at school-sponsored events.
This is only the second bill, and it has had lots of discussion. May not get to the textbook bill today.

Interesting to see legislators explain their votes before casting them. Also interesting to know that some might change their vote during full session.

I think the legislative process is the way to get your voice heard. The legislators have a lot of power, and I like the fact that even though some of the bills on the agenda won't be covered today (including my bill), the legislators have discussed at length and debated and played "devil's advocate" on the issue under consideration.

I'm glad to see current and former educators serving on the House Education Committee. They are able to provide valuable insight to the conversations.

Ten minutes left! Will the textbook bill make it to discussion before the 2:00 end time? Oh, the pressure!

We're on!

Well! The bill passed the committee even though I recommended that it not! I'm SO disappointed! And I think my nervousness showed. My colleagues and Rick said I did just fine, though.

One more new adventure afforded me by the Kentucky Department of Education!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Somehow I just have to think that justice was served when a man attending/promoting cockfights died from a wound he received from one of the birds that was armed with a blade.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My New Dr. Seuss Chucks!

I have LOTS of Chucks, but these are my first Dr. Seuss ones. Got them for Christmas.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kinect Fun!

Rick got an X-Box Kinect for his birthday this year. While people are playing the game, random pictures are taken by the built in camera.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

KY Reading Journal Article

Several Shelby County students were featured on the front and back covers of Kentucky Reading Journal’s fall issue. This professional periodical is published by the Kentucky Reading Association and highlights research and best practice in the area of literacy. The theme for the fall issue is “Creative Expression through Literacy, Literature, and Reading.” My article is the first one in the issue and highlights book clubs I facilitated at Simpsonville Elementary School between 2007 and 2009.

If you click the title of this blog post, you will see a blurb about it on the Shelby County Public Schools website.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010

"Grilled Cheesus" Episode of Glee

"Glee," an incredibly popular phenomenon, recently explored spirituality on the third episode of this season. When Glee club member/Quarterback, Finn, sees an image of Jesus in his grilled cheese sandwich, he starts praying to what he calls "Grilled Cheesus." The Glee Club members end up sharing their individual spiritual beliefs, including Christianity, Judaism, Atheism, and a few mash-ups of other belief systems, as they attempt to deal with the sudden heart attack of Kurt's father.

My first response was shock at the sacrilegious nature of the theme, but I quickly realized that the episode gave me important insight on the types of beliefs in our world today. I am surrounded each day with people who have similar beliefs to my own. How can I ever know how to engage with and respond to those whose beliefs aren't my own?

One important scene was between Finn and Emma, the school guidance counselor. She doesn't make fun of Finn's vision of Jesus in the grilled cheese. Instead, she gives sound advice about the way God communicates with us. She explains away the bizarre coincidences that Finn was inappropriately attributing to God after he prayed to the "Grilled Cheesus." As Emma says, "God works in all kinds of mysterious ways, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't spend a lot time trying to speak to us through sandwiches."

Meanwhile, Kurt (who happens to be gay) visits a church service with fellow Glee Club member Mercedes. Mercedes sings in the choir of the all black congregation. She asks the congregation to pray for Kurt's dad and for Kurt. She acknowledges that Kurt doesn't believe in God and prayer, but she says, "Life is too hard to go through alone, without something to hold on to and without something that's sacred." Kurt is noticeably moved by the love and compassion and acceptance shown to him by the members of the church. A lady sitting next to him grabs his hand and another smiles at him from across the aisle -- love and compassion Kurt often doesn't receive in the secular world he encounters each day at school.

One of the final scenes is incredibly touching. Cheerleading Coach Sue Sylvester is visiting her older sister in the assisted living home. Janie has Down Syndrome. When the girls were young, Sue would pray to God to make her older sister better. Sue turned her back on God because he didn't answer her prayers. The following dialogue takes place while they play checkers:

Sue:"Do you believe in God, Janie?"
Janie: "Do you?"
Sue: "No, I don't."
Janie: "Why not?"
Sue: "Because when we were little girls, you were perfect in my eyes (Janie grins big here), and I watched the world be cruel to you."
Janie: "God never make mistakes. That's what I believe."
(Sue becomes visibly emotional.)
Janie: "Do you want me to pray for you, Sue?"
Sue nods, "Yeah, that would be nice," and chokes up.

Kurt doesn't change his stance on God by the end of the episode, but he does acknowledge that prayer is good and that the prayers his friends have offered up are good. Even ever stubborn Sue Sylvester realizes that God may be more real than she ever thought.

I almost didn't watch this episode of Glee, but now I'm glad I did. I'm glad for the insight into the many ways that others in our society think about God and religion and prayer. I'm glad for the encouragement to reach out to those who are different than I am and to never hesitate to pray for those around me, even when they don't know I'm doing it.

For a synopsis of the episode, click on the title of this blog post.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dr. Holliday at Summer Library Conference

I'm a couple of months late in posting this, but I figured it's never too late to share important moments in the world of Kentucky school librarians. Kentucky's Commissioner of Education, Dr. Terry Holliday, spoke to school librarians from all across the state at one of our conferences in July. His encouraging words motivated us for the 2010-11 school year!

Click on the title of this post to go to TeacherTube to watch it.

And Dr. Holliday tweeted about it:

Countdown to Elianna!