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:

Monday, September 13, 2010

News Alert! 42 Year Old in Line for New Halo

Well, the fifth part of the Halo saga video game is released tonight at midnight. And my 42 year old husband will be in line with a friend at the local GameStop to get the game he's had on reserve for nearly three weeks. And what's amazing is that guys in their 40s are one of the biggest demographics for video games like Halo!

I guess I can't make fun of him too much -- I was the one standing in line when the second Halo came out since Rick had to work that night . . .

Good times.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Confessions of a Tourettic Mind

When I think about my friend Brian, I think about my early college years hanging out at the Baptist Student Union, double dating to see Journey in concert in Shreveport, spur of the moment camping, and laughing with someone who is wonderfully down to earth. In the pictures you see here, Brian is the one with red hair, a beard and a huge smile. One of the pictures is from that spur of the moment camping trip; the other is from a cookout at my parents' house in Louisiana before the big State Fair LA Tech vs. NLU game.

What doesn't come to mind when I think of Brian is Tourette's Syndrome. Because the group I hung out with never thought of Brian in terms of Tourette's, I naively assumed others didn't either. Unfortunately, Brian has encountered many, many folks throughout his life who have defined him and others by tics and shouts rather than by what's in their hearts.

Brian has begun a blog to express some of the frustrations he has experienced over the years dealing with others' reactions to his Tourette's. The blog is truthful, brutal, and eye-opening. If you have experienced Tourette's yourself or through a friend or family member, read Brian's blog.

(Click on the title of this post or on the link to the right under "Favorite blogs.")

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Midnight Movie at 43?

I've been going to midnight movie premieres for a very long time. But, I tell you what, once I hit 40 years old, I started rethinking that whole idea! For some reason, I continue to push myself to be one of the first to see the latest movies. I just HAD to see the latest in the Twilight Saga last night. Of course, now I'm smarter with age -- I've learned to at least take the next day off from work.

The pictures here are Erin, Matt, Rick, and me at the 12:41 a.m. showing of "Eclipse" at Tinseltown in Louisville. There were at least a few more folks our age at this one than at the midnight showings of the first two Twilight movies, but the majority of attenders were still teenage girls.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Super Hero Librarians!

Laura Younkin and I donned super hero capes to share a presentation with school librarians from Jefferson County Public Schools. With the "Wonder Woman" TV theme playing in the background, of course.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Karla and I (and several other friends from work) got to talk about education and health care and retirement with Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo last week. He's running for U.S. Senate this year, so we were definitely interested in all of his comments. He seemed interested in what we had to say, too!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day, Bessie!

Today is the 12 year anniversary of Bessie Mae's adoption. I sure do love this smart, stubborn, loving puppy dog!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Frankfort Flood

This picture shows the waterfront park area near my office building. I usually walk down the steps to the right and along a walking path. The watered covered area on the side of the trees closest to the front of the picture is normally a park area with picnic benches and a parking lot -- all completely submerged. If you look closely you can see the tip top of a park sign almost completely covered with flood waters.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

New iPads!

-- Post From My iPad

Location:Kentucky 1747,Jefferson Northeast,United States

Customer Service?

Customer Service: _____ Publishers. Can I help you?

Me: Hi, my name is Kathy Mansfield, and I’m the textbook coordinator for the state of Kentucky. I noticed that our contact person from your company has retired, and I’d like to find out her replacement.

Customer Service: Which county?

Me: I’m the coordinator for the whole state, so I need to know the person who is the contact for your company for the whole state of Kentucky.

Customer Service: We don’t do things that way. What county?

Me: Well, we have lots of counties in Kentucky. I need to know the name of the person who handles the state contracts and bids so that I can get some information to him or her.

Customer Service: Ma’m, as I’ve said before, we don’t operate that way. You have to give me the name of a county. We have representatives for each county.

Me: I am the state textbook coordinator for Kentucky and represent all the counties in Kentucky.

Customer Service: Which county?

Me: The name of the previous person was ___________. Can you tell me who replaced her?

Customer Service: We do not have state representatives. We have reps for each county. Which county?

Me: Ummm, well, let’s see, I guess Jefferson County.

Customer Service: Elementary, middle, or high school?

Me: All grades. I am the state coordinator for all the textbooks for all the grades in the state of Kentucky.

Customer Service: We don’t operate that way. Elementary, middle, or high school?

Me: Ummm, I guess, high school?

Customer Service: The high school representative for Jefferson County is _____.

Me: Will he be able to give me the information I need for the state contracts and bids?

Customer Service: The high school representative for Jefferson County is _____.

Me: Okay, then.

Customer Service: Have a nice day.

Me: (heavy sigh)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Long Winter

“The fiddle moaned a deep, rushing undertone and wild notes flickered high above it, rising until they thinned away in nothingness, only to come wailing back, the same notes but not quite the same, as if they had been changed while out of hearing.” (pp. 119-120) The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I love the imagery from this sentence. A fierce blizzard has arrived, and Pa knows the magnitude of their situation as they brace themselves for the rest of a long winter. The description of Pa’s fiddle playing conveys the mood of the setting – the deep, rushing winds and wild snow bursts that bring uneasiness to the family.

We’ve had a snowier than usual winter here in Simpsonville, Kentucky. A fellow school librarian today mentioned that his school has missed 30 days already this year due to inclement weather. Even with the cold, snow, and ice we’ve experienced this winter, it pales in comparison to what the Ingalls family and their fellow settlers experienced out on the prairie. How did they manage in such dire situations? As I read this book for the first time, I am reminded of how grateful I am to have a strong, warm house, hot and cold running water, and all the other wonderful amenities of modern life.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Louisiana Cookin'

Rick has an article in the February/March 2010 issue of Louisiana Cookin' magazine. He wrote about smothered cooking in Louisiana. The article includes five recipes, including an original creation of Rick's.

More Snow!

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Loving Laughter

This picture reminds me of how much fun my friends are and how important laughter is. Thank you to all my wonderful friends and family who keep me laughing!

Countdown to Elianna!