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Back to School 2019 Blog Post >>>> One Teacher’s Journey

By allen | August 18, 2019 | 2 Comments

The First Hour, Days and Years Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 24th year of teaching, and despite the many years that have passed, I remember well my first day as a teacher. In truth, my clearest memory is of the first hour of my first day as a teacher.   Incoming students had to locate their name and room number on lists taped to the walls around the school, and then find their way to their homeroom class. Some students arrived early and waited in the hall outside my classroom, even though the door was open. It seemed nobody wanted to be the first to enter the room, but when the first bell rang, they…

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A Brunch of Thoughts

By allen | August 14, 2019 | 3 Comments

My wife and I lead what we consider to be simple, unassuming lives. We still live in the same modest house we bought over 30 years ago when we were in our mid-20s.  That’s a time in life when many couples buy their “starter” homes. Fast forward 30 years and most starter homes in our area are far larger than the house we bought, Based on a couple of decades of conversations with young couples, I doubt the majority of them today would want to begin their lives together in a home that is a cracker box by modern standards.…

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Dark Skies, Lighter Attitude

By allen | August 10, 2019 | 2 Comments

As I am trying to go to sleep at the end of the long embarkation day, I’m struck with the thought that this whole vacation might have been a huge mistake. That thought is hardly uncommon for me. I’m hit with it at the end of the first day of every cruise and many other vacations too.   Fortunately, I’ve learned in most circumstances that my snap judgments are not very reliable, and this proves the case once again. On our first day at sea, I’m always looking forward to the opportunities the day will hold.   Today, Tuesday, we wake up early.…

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Keto Vision

By allen | September 8, 2017

I had to go to the doctor today for a follow-up on my diabetes blood work. The doctor was beaming and gave me a pat on the back for the good results. Apparently diabetes success stories for people my age are rare. A little later I passed by a church that had a sign proclaiming the text of Psalm 100:2 . I guess the lab results and doctor’s visit were on my mind because I read the sign “Serve the Lord with glucose”

Words After the Storm

By allen | September 8, 2017

I returned to school today for a couple of days of work before the students return next Monday. Even though I am in my 22nd year in the classroom, I confess that I have been wrestling with what I should say to my students when they return. Many will have suffered losses and some of them will have lost everything. Monday will not be a day to jump right back in to the study of economics, algebra, or literature. Monday will be a day to begin the process of returning to something approaching normalcy, but it won’t be normal, just…


By allen | August 7, 2017

Every year the end of summer finds me in a reflective state of mind. Of course, if you know me, then you know that’s where I live. With less than a week left  I look back on all the plans I had going into summer and lament how little came to fruition. Even in the years when Becky and I spent the summer months painting and installing floors, I always felt like I should have done more. The question that always plagues my mind is WHY? Where did I go wrong? At the beginning of June it seemed like the…

The Unexpected Joys of Shopping

By allen | August 1, 2017

At first, low carb shopping is a grim chore compared to loading a cart with goodies like fries and pies, but there are bright moments too. Kale is a superfood and it’s special power is tasting bad. — Jim Gaffigan You can’t imagine the joy that flooded my soul when I saw these were high in carbs and definitely off my diet.

Shopping as a Traitor to the Carbs

By allen | July 10, 2017

Imagine you’re attending the biggest social event of the decade, and everyone who is anyone received an invitation. Famous actors, politicians, religious leaders, business titans and a who’s who from the world of sports will be there, but unfortunately for them, so will you. Yes, you received an invitation weeks ago, but you felt yours was more akin to a subpoena. You know your attendance is mandatory even though much of the A-list crowd detests he sight of you. But It wasn’t always this way. At one time, you called these notable people friends, and they in turn, adored you,…

Carb Deprived & Thinking

By allen | July 6, 2017

I am a most careful shopper, and I must be if I want to live a material life that would otherwise be out of my financial reach.  While we hide it well, Becky and I have Williams-Sonoma tastes, but a Walmart budget. Becky and I like to travel to beautiful and fascinating places where we can, for a time, live a pampered life surrounded by people who care for our every need. For one week there are no meals to cook, beds to make or lawns to mow. For seven days we become people of leisure. I absolutely loves working…

The Challenge of Not Being Foolish

By allen | July 1, 2017

Diabetes Management I am a person who likes a good challenge. Sometimes the challenges are serious and difficult like finishing college later in life, but other times they are more trivial like trying to find something at Walmart. If it turns out that clothespins are not on the aisle with detergents and fabric softeners, my wife will want to seek out an employee for assistance.  Not me. My response to the suggestion that we ask for help in finding something is always “No, I can figure this out.” Admitting to myself that I can’t figure diabetes out is tough, but…

20 Years of Self Delusion

By allen | June 30, 2017

Last week in a post I shared a favorite quote, the gist of which is that people will only act rationally once they’ve tried all the irrational options. About a week ago I found myself having to admit that I’d been acting irrationally for many years. I was diagnosed 20 years ago as a Type 2 diabetic, and the fact that I got the disease was completely my fault. Too much weight and too little exercise eventually resulted in a substantial rise in my blood sugar caused by the inability of my body to properly use insulin. A normal healthy…

A Happy Marriage Celebrates Everything

By allen | June 25, 2017

I started this series after our 37th wedding anniversary and I began it with the best marriage advice I could offer. In part two I discussed the need to show love and respect in marriage. Yesterday, I wrote about being your spouse’s cheerleader. Which brings me to my last rule. Rule #4: Look for things to celebrate Long before MP3 downloads, CDs or even cassette tapes we bought our music on vinyl records. (This is a bit of nostalgia for many readers and a lesson in nearly ancient history for others.) Vinyl records came in 2 primary forms. They were 45s…

A Happy Marriage Cheers Each Other

By allen | June 24, 2017

Rule #3: Be Your Spouse’s Cheerleader Remember what a big deal football games were in high school? Students would decorate the hallways. There would be pep rallies and announcements to rally around the team in anticipation of a great victory. Then Friday night comes and the game proves to be an unmitigated disaster. Nothing goes right. Your opponent seems to score at will, but your team fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt as time runs out on the first half. When the gun sounds to put temporary end to the misery, the scoreboard shows your team down 31-0.…