Tuesday, November 16, 2010

EDUBlog Nominations

My Nominations for The 2010 Edublog Awards are:

Best individual blog- Spencer's Scratch Pad http://www.johntspencer.com/
I have just located this blog and it makes me think really deeply about things related to education.

Best individual tweeter- Diane Cordell @dmcordell
I call her "The Great One" because she is nice to everyone, she is willing to help ANYONE out, and is now retired and uses her knowledge to help coach and guide younger teachers.

Best class blog-Lee Kolbert's Class Blog http://weblogs.pbspaces.com/mrskolbert/

Lee's class have excellent blog posts on a wide variety of subjects. There have been many times where I have thought that the kids have a unique perspective on a subject. 

Best resource sharing blog -Free Technology for Teachers http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

Not only the sharing of resources & links, but FTT gives ideas on how the websites might be useful.

Most influential blog post- Rather Painful Reflection http://attheteachersdesk.blogspot.com/2010/11/edcampkc-rather-painful-reflection.html

Wow, this one is relatively new, but I think it resonates the feelings of many teachers. It is one that stuck with me for days!

Best teacher blog- Paul Bogush  Blogush http://blogush.edublogs.org/

Paul is a rebel of sorts because he posts great ideas and things that make me think. He also shows sort of a 'warts and all' sort of perspective in which he opens up about things that are troubling to him and that he is not perfect.

Best School Administrator blog Educational Discourse http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/

Kelly is another person who is willing to put his thoughts out there and let them fall where they do. It's honest and open and very engaging.

Best educational wiki: Vicki Davis' Westwood http://westwood.wikispaces.com/Web+2.0

Vicki is, in my opinion, the queen of the Wiki. She not only has an amazing set of resources, she also teaches people about how to effectively manage them.

Lifetime achievement- Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher

Vicki is a very dear person who shares a lot about her "Flat Classroom" project and every day teaching. Although she hasn't been 'famous' in edtech circles for years, she is so very knowledgeable and is a practicing teacher. 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Big Lesson....

A few weeks ago I had trouble with a kid in elementary music class. My new plan for the year is to email parents when there is a problem (which has had mixed results). I explain to the parent what problem had occurred and invite them to work with me in getting the child back on track.

I have had a range of responses from a willingness to partner and a lack of response. One parent responded that they would work with me, but had noticed the student and I had a 'personality conflict.' I have to admit I was completely baffled by that comment. I thought perhaps the mother had misunderstood something because I don't have any personality conflicts, I just try to have an orderly classroom.

So, because I am who I am (the overwhelming need to get to the bottom of things), I asked the kid the next time he was in class. I said, "do we have a problem?" The fifth grade looked me in the eye, then stared at the floor, "Yes.....because, you know, we don't like each other." You could have knocked me over with a feather (though cliche, true). My messages about not blurting out and allowing others to talk were transformed in that kid into dislike.

I immediately cleared that up. Although I don't like his behavior, I have nothing but good feelings toward him. I explained that I need to keep the blurting down so that everyone has a chance to learn. He went back on his way to class, and I was left with these questions......How did this happen and how can I make sure this never happens again?

Anyone who has ever talked to me for very long knows that I love teaching and I love the kids....So, I need to find a way to have an orderly classroom and let them know that I care about them (even if I have to correct their behavior). I think I do a pretty good job of that, but there is obviously room for improvement with some kids.

The amazing thing is that now that the student knows I don't hate him, his behavior is vastly improved. This whole emailing parent plan has had at least one good outcome. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Passion Driven

I was honored to be asked by Angela Maiers to contribute to a series she is doing called Passion Driven Conversations. This is my post:

" I think of passion as the human equivalent of gasoline. It is a highly combustible force that can propel you through any situation. Like gas, it’s easy to start a fire with passion when you have the right conditions. 
Passion will keep you going in the face of people who try to drain your tank. Passion-stealers can attempt to syphon some off with energy draining comments and negative energy, but if you keep moving and focused, you can avoid that. Even if you feel like you are sometimes running on fumes, you can still make it to the next station.

Being around people who fill up your tank easily refuels your passion supply. Fortunately, unlike gasoline, the supply is endless. Sometimes the passion stations have the same brand of gas you do and are passionate about the same thing. Other times, they are so passionate about their own thing, that you get refueled just being near them. It’s very important to find those people and surround yourself with them. 

Being in education, passion is a necessity. Sometimes you work with people who are disimpassioned, or worse, want to dampen your fire. Add to that, lawmakers, filmmakers, the media, and even former computer company executives who don’t understand education and what good teaching looks like, so they want to diminish you. Passion for learning and the kids that you teach plus the desire to make the world a better place will allow you to speed by those people. The future of education relies on the passion of educators who commit to creating change."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Which Are You? Transmitter or Transformer? Light or Dark?

I just returned from the Iowa Technology and Education Connection Conference in Coralville, IA (ITEC10)! I honestly have so many thoughts in my head that I am going to need a bigger head, but I wanted to share the biggest epiphany I had on the way home.

This probably started in earlier blog posts, but I feel such a strong connection to this material. While watching a keynote by Vicki Davis (of Cool Cat Teacher Blog fame), I was struck by the concept she shared from Zig Ziglar about transmitters and transformers. Transmitters are people who transmit out negative thoughts and feelings. Transformers are people who transform the negative things in life and share them positively. Wow....great thought.

Then, before I left Coralville, I glanced at Facebook and saw this message posted by someone I consider a prophet, Patti Digh, which I assumed she quoted a friend:

‎"Tonight I'll be celebrating for all of the Chilean miners and their families, and for
everyone who has had a long, dark stuck period in their life--only to
be pulled to the surface at the last minute." -Amy McCracken

So, with thoughts swirling, I started home. On the way, I snapped the above picture with my Blackberry...and I thought of all the rays of light in my life....and let me tell you, there are a lot. I have a beautiful and loving wife, PR, great students, great former students, great friends, Fable friends, just to mention a few. I have some superstar lights like Peter H. Reynolds and Peggy Healy Stearns, who literally "pulled [me] to the surface at the last minute" (in terms of educational perspective). 

Then, the thought that almost made me pull to the side of the road, "so, which are you, the dark clouds or the rays of streaming light?" The answer was a bit startling. I am both and it depends on the people I am around. . . I very much want to be the ray of light...but sometimes slip into the transmitter. To most kids, I pray I am a ray of light. My focus in life is kids, and I deeply want to be that. I want kids in my classroom to look back on our time together and realize my hope was to raise them up....to help them shine.

Here is a thought, write it down. Blog it. Do whatever it takes to get yourself on track. A funny thing happened when I started blogging. One of the things I would like to leave this earth being known for is the thought that I tried to see the KID and not just their behavior. Last year I had the absolute most trying kid I had ever had in 24 years. I wanted to run screaming from the room at times because the kids behavior was SO far out of the norm, no teacher should be expected to deal with that. Then, just as I was about to absolutely come unglued at the kid, I thought to myself, "Hey, Mr. See-the-kid-and-not-just-behavior, how hypocritical are you going to get today?" Then, I would reach down deeper and try to find MORE compassion. There was obviously something going on in that kid that I couldn't 'fix' but I KNEW yelling at him wasn't going to be a tool to aid the repair. 

Ways to be the light:
  • Surround yourself with good people who shed light
  • Find ways to deal positively with a negative situation
  • Have zero time for people who aren't looking for something positive
  • LOVE the people in your life who build you up and make you strong...and for crying out loud, tell them you love them (it shouldn't be a mystery)
  • If you are down in a dark place, tunnel out, don't just hang out down there...find people (PLN) to help you build a tunnel.
  • You have as much potential for light as you do darkness (and probably more) . . . BE the light

So, which are you..... The dark rain cloud, or the light?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wait No More, I Am Superman

I have been reading about a slickly produced documentary called, "Waiting for Superman." I have to admit I haven't seen this and frankly, I am pretty sure I don't want to. You see, in twenty-four years of teaching, I have grown very tired of the constant attacks from the media and misinformed politicians.

Here is what I know to be true, despite what you may have seen or read:

*Most teacher work exceedingly hard to help kids be successful. Yes, there are exceptions.

*Teacher unions might be protecting some bad teachers, but I guarantee they are presenting more good teachers from bad administrators (who potentially judge effectiveness on almost anything BUT what kids learn).

*Children today are different from when we are kids, because the world is different. However, some things always stay the same....like right and wrong. For example, standing atop your soapbox of amassed wealth and shouting down good teachers doing good work with all their heart is wrong. Shame on Mr. Gates and Ms. Winfrey for using their wealth and platform to show a one-sided swipe at something they know nothing about. Again, I have to admit I didn't see the debacle, partly because I was still at school working at the job that makes the world a better place.  (Mostly because I can't stand watching Oprah. I was in New Orleans three weeks before Katrina and absolutely loved every single person I met. Watching Oprah parade into the Astrodome with her arms up as if she were the messiah made me sick to my stomach.)

*I am very passionate about what I do. I wouldn't rant so much here if I weren't.

*If one more person tells me that some other country is 'beating' us at some random test, I am going to yell at them in a very loud voice. Other countries to NOT educate every child and most do not educate children to the level we do. That comparison is old and tired and borne out of fear mongering. Knock it off.

At the end of the day, I AM SUPERMAN. I may not reach every kid, and it's plain to see I haven't, I am going to go down swinging. I posted this on Facebook last night, "No more waiting, "I AM SUPERMAN". All educators who care about kids and learning are Superman(and woman). We can leap tall bureaucrats in a single bound. We are able to outrace critics who have never been anywhere near a classroom. Strong enough to keep doing the job, despite all the cheap shots from moviemakers and lawmakers."

And, Ms. Winfrey and Mr. Gates, if you want to judge me, hop down off that pile of money and come follow me around for a few days. You are not fit to carry my cape.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm Going to Be the Mayor of Minneapolis

OK, kids hang on to your hats. I am going to be the mayor of Minneapolis. No, I have never actually lived there, but I have visited for the past 20+ years and I know exactly what the problems of the city are and, though I know nothing about how to fix them, I can point out the problems in a loud and obnoxious way. TJ for Mayor!!!

I am not really running for mayor, but I needed to make a point. There are LOTS of people out in the world bullying others, especially teachers, with what they KNOW to be the way to solve the problems of the world. However, merely look at their credentials (and they are hard to miss because they are slapped on  just about everything that they put out there) and you will notice one glaring flaw....Many of the bullies of education have never been in a classroom or haven't been there for a LONG time. What does that have to do with anything, you might ask? Well, if you have to ask that question, you might as well stop reading because the rest of the post is not going to make sense to you.

Unless you have stayed up half the night worrying about a kid, or jumped up and down for joy when you FINALLY made a breakthrough in teaching a difficult topic, you just don't have the voice I need to hear. I am willing to be beaten up for a good cause, but not from people who have not walked in my shoes. Flitting through a few dozen classrooms is NOTHING like spending hours and years putting your heart and soul into a sometimes thankless job. I will NOT accept the criticism from outsiders as to what is best for my kids in my room at my school. Period.

I sometimes laugh at the big ed-tech pundits who, like their political counterparts, are busy banging away at teachers and the things they do to try to make a difference. One big trend, as an example, is to beat up the use of Interactive Whiteboards....Here is where I first started to split ways with the famous. I LOVE my board and I KNOW my kids (in my room and school) are better for having one. Am I the 'sage on the stage?' Not a chance. My kids are in front of the board and manipulating things and connecting pieces they have learned previously with some new information. Could they do it without the technology? Certainly. But, why go backwards?

Politicians are sitting in their ivory towers making decisions that will change, and typically harm, the kids in school. That is the way it is and there is nothing we really can do about that. However, it's the people who claim to be all about education that I can no longer abide. I am NOT about to name names, but I ask you to try to be a better consumer of information. Before considering someone an expert and taking their grief for something you tweeted/facebooked/blogged, consider where they come from. No one is going to let me be the mayor of Minneapolis just because I have driven through for 20 years, why should someone who knows very little about REAL life in a classroom change your teaching? My new montra.... "Those who can, do. Those who can't, beat up the people who are doing on Facebook and Twitter."

Excluded from this tirade (which started because of a mean comment someone made to a friend on Facebook), are GOOD, DECENT, KIND, WONDERFUL people who are not necessarily teachers but who are trying to bring out the BEST in kids and classrooms and not tossing stones at them. Of course my first example would be Peter H. Reynolds who is EXACTLY the kind of person that teachers and kids need. He GIVES tons of resources to teachers and challenges everyone to be the best they can be. In the spirit of full disclosure, I do lead an educator program for FableVision, Peter's company....but I do that BECAUSE of the people they are. Creating products that inspire teachers and with a mission that is about helping everyone reach their true potential. Another great example is Debbie Silver, who wrote a book called "Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers."  I remember hearing Debbie (before I even met Peter) and I was so inspired by her heart and her demeanor. She inspired me to give MORE to teaching. I also must mention my dear friend, Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns, who is a software designer. She spends countless hours make amazing software for teachers and kids so that they can attain lofty goals. These kind of people deserve our attention and our trust. They endeavor to make us the best that we can be.

So, I guess the point of this long-winded crazy rant..... a thank you to wonderful people who try to build up teachers and kids.....and to the bullies, move along, there is nothing to see here. I shall go about my business, WORKING to make life better for kids.

UPDATE: I could list tons of people that are NOT what I am talking about, Leslie Fisher comes to mind. People who add to your knowledge without judging and beating people up are what we need more of. I guess the bottom line is that if the person GIVES and LISTENS, they bring something welcome to the table. If they berate and judge, not so much.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Things I Will Never Understand

Today is the last student day for this school year. I decided to celebrate the occasion with a list of things I don't understand. School is all about learning, so these are some things I still need to learn.

1. Why did some people become teachers? If you have contempt for students you 'teach', what made you go into teaching in the first place? The first person who responds "3 reasons: June, July August" is going to get a swift kick. 

In the amazing Lisa Parisi's blog, Lisa's Lingo, she posted about Universal Design for Learning and made this statement: "Educators must believe that they are responsible for teaching every child. " I read that statement with a knowing and sad nod.... I have sat in many meetings and heard about how the students, the parents, or the system are to blame. I always think back to Bill Page when I heard him speak a few years ago, when he said, "If the doctor gives you a prescription that doesn't work, is it because you were a bad patient?"(paraphrased).

Our job is to TEACH and if the learning doesn't take, we reteach. Blame doesn't do anyone any good. Many times, in my career, I have talked to a student and tried to get to the bottom of why they are acting the way they are....if you haven't done it, you would be amazed at what a difference that can make. Failure of a student is often a direct result of failure as a teacher/parent/adult.

2. Why don't people who chose to be a parent want to parent? I am not going into how the whole parenting thing starts, but it is obviously a conscious act. 

3. When people are clearly wrong, why don't they just say they are, apologize, and move on?

4. Why is it that in a school district, we are not all on the same team?

5. How U2 became popular and how having two hits makes Bono an ambassador and a statesman 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

PR -- Graduation -- The Favorites

I feel lucky to be a teacher. Every year I am surrounded by a new group of amazing students and I get to share in one of the greatest milestones in their life, graduation. Thirteen and a half years ago, I married the most amazing teacher and now I have the privilege of knowing even more great kids.

In my twenty-five years, I have known many amazing kids. Too many to count. The amazing thing is when I sit at graduation, I always think that there will never be another group of kids like the one that are leaving. To this day, that is correct. The void left by the graduating class is filled by a unique replacement, and although they might be amazing, they aren't exactly the same. Sometimes they are much better.

I had a talk with my Intro to Computer students on Thursday about a bunch of different topics, but one of them was their digital footprint and what kind of legacy they will leave online. The topic of teachers and students being 'friends' on Facebook came up. This is always touchy subject online and off. I have a strict policy of not friending until they graduate.

The topic took a turn when a student suggested that if a teacher and student were friends online, it would make it seem as if that student was the 'favorite.' Which launched a discussion about whether teacher had favorites. All the students seemed to agree that it was a fact. I agreed with them, which astounded them. No teacher had ever admitted it. But, here is the deal, of course we have favorites. When you have an amazing student who you can depend on, who goes out of their way to be kind, or shares a common interest, it is human nature that you would gravitate toward that student.

I do have favorites, but they are held to the same behavioral standard as any other student (and, as my wife says, a higher standard). There is no grade benefit for being a favorite, and in fact, no tangible benefit at all. However, the students who stay with us, after they leave school, are a treasure.

The crazy thing about the entire thing is that every kid can be a favorite. There is no magic trick and no  secret handshake. Being a decent person and doing your best job is all it takes. It seems that some jealous kids get hung up on the 'favorite' title, sometimes tormenting the person who is thought to be a favorite. The really interesting thing about the talk I was having with the kids came after I said I had favorites (with the disclaimers above) and one student remarked "Thank you for your honesty." Which was interesting. I asked them if there were people in the class that they liked more than others? Of course that is true, then why does it get so strange?

So, what's the answer? Well, I am going to keep doing what I am doing. When I know awesome kids like PR and bunches of kids at my school, I am going to keep caring about and supporting them the best I can. . . Because, in the end, my goal is to lift them all up, I might just enjoy hanging out with some a little better.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Being a teacher

A few days ago, I posted this on Facebook,

"Teacher thought for the day..... If I grew up exactly like my student did, with the same advantages and disadvantages, the same parents, the same life, I would act the same way they do. Sure, as we get older, we can choose the person we want to be. But, until we are 'done' we are a product of our environment and experiences. So, show some extra patience and love to one who seems unlovable..."

This is a thought that I believe to my very core. It is something I have said for a long time. It seems so many times that teachers are angry at students for their behavior, and that is understandable, but because their behavior is based on the path they have been on, we need to try to find ways to invite them to a different path.

Don't get me wrong with anything I have posted on this blog, I am all too human and I slip a LOT into anger and frustration when working with kids. However, I always try to understand where the child is coming from. A few years ago, I led a group in my school called the Student Assistance Team. I met and interacted with a lot of parents and their children and the overwhelming thing I learned was that the child is too often a reflection of what they have lived with (which can be positive or negative).

So having said all that (and I do tend to go on), what difference does it make? I believe that good teachers try to reach these students where they are and try to lift them to a better place. Not by making excuses, but by seeing where they are and shifting what we do as teachers. 

One thing I say a lot in my life as a teacher is "try to see the child and not just their behavior." In fact, I would like that to be what is said about me when I retire from this profession (in a long time). I can think of no better way to describe what I have tried to do. Again, I have failed many times, but I believe kids are 'not done yet' and there is always hope.

On my computer at school, along with pictures of some of the people I love, I have this quote, "Together, we will journey beyond the darkness. The star of hope will guide the way." Gerda Weissman Klein From the final screen in the movie "Wings of Epoh".

This blog post is for you PR!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lift Me Up...

Today while walking, the song "Lift Me Up" by Christina Aguilera came on my iPod. I don't mind saying that this song gets to me every time. It was featured on the "Hope for Haiti" telethon as a way to raise money for Haiti.

Today it struck me completely differently. As a person who is the beneficiary of being lifted up a LOT recently, I started to think of ways to lift others up.....and I don't mean in a 'right a check' sort of way, which I have also done. But really, shouldn't that be my mission now, my life's work?

As I walked further, I realized that I think it has always been my number one mission in the classroom....and oh, how I have failed so many times. But there are times when I have not....and those collectively are the memories that keep me doing and loving what I do. You see I am FAR from the perfect teacher. I have never won any awards, I am never the subject of graduation speeches...but none of that matters really, I have NEVER wanted my work to be about me. Every single day, I return to the classroom and try with all my heart to build something....build someone. It is exhausting work, but work that I love.

After I got home, I really thought about this concept more. Thankfully, my Internet was temporarily down and I was unable to instantly find the clip I wanted and start bashing away on the keyboard (it's funny how those things happen). I came to this...What if ALL education made it their mission to "build them up"? I am telling you what an absolute revolution that would create. What if the Superintendent saw it as his/her job to build up the principals and the teachers? What if the principal saw it as his/her mission to build up the teachers and the students? What if every classroom teacher would carry that as their personal mission? Too much of education is about blame and treacherous behavior. Trying to catch teachers doing something bad...judging...defining a person by a test or an observation.

Dream with me! What would everyone become? I am thinking about my friend, Peter H. Reynolds and the entire FableVision Learning group (whom I 'work' for part-time leading an educator program)... What draws me to them is that as people, as humans, their goal is lifting people up. What a glorious world it is. There's just love and hope. I can't tell you the number of times that I have personally sat with tears in eyes, watching these people work absolute magic with others. Much of the truly magical things have been behind the scenes and things that no one (but me) will ever know.

So, although I know I have much work to do. So many roads to travel inside myself and outside. My number one personal mission is to build people up. I can't change school...I wouldn't even know how to start. But, I can change me.

Watch the clip....be swept away in it... Dream of what life can be if we all life each other up. Thanks to all who have had me on your shoulders lately....My heart is filled with love for you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Things Teachers Have Learned From Students Video

The completed video. Thanks to my outstanding contributors.

Thank you to Amy Krouse Rosenthal for the awesome idea!

Thank you to the amazing Tony Lechner for the music.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Things I Have Learned From Students

One of my all time Favorite authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal has been sharing fun missions. One of my favorites was "Things we've learned from kids." You might know Amy from her books like "Duck! Rabbit" or the life affirming/changing YouTube sensation, "The Beckoning of Lovely".

With Amy's permission, I would like to adapt this idea for teachers. PLEASE comment with "Things my students taught me." Funny, sad, poignant.....everything goes. You may also email me if you would like to be anonymous. Results will be posted soon.

Thanks to Amy Krouse Rosenthal for the inspiration and the permission!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Have Kids Create Templates for Stationery Studio!!! UPDATED!!

It was a snow day today...I took the time to try out something new. A while ago, I heard from an FableVision Learning Ambassador about a girl who was making a huge impact in the world. She was creating her own greeting cards and sending them to soldiers. The link to that is here. Thanks to Kevin for sharing it!!

The idea it gave me was that kids should be able to create their own borders for Stationery Studio and distribute them. The amazing Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns reminded me that it was already an option in Stationery Studio!!! It couldn't be easier!! Imagine how proud a student would be to see their own work integrated as part of a software program!! The amazing thing is that you keep all the amazing features of Stationery Studio while doing it.

Here are the directions:

Have students create a design using your favorite graphics program. I used "ArtRage Studio Pro" for the ones above. 8 1/2" by 11" and 72 dpi resolution. As is a strong concern with the designs in Stationery Studio, you need to be careful to only use the 'border' area for your design to avoid having design in the text area.

If you would like any of my creations as a Stationery Studio template, send me an email!

Select "New Stationery"

Choose any of the sets

At the bottom of the list of awesome designs
Select either horizontal or vertical border (whichever you have prepared.
Take the previously created image, open it in a program and copy it then just paste it in to the blank Stationery Studio Template!

Use the handles to stretch out the image

UPDATE: I received an email from the amazing Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns that explained the use of the  Margins Tool. It is the last option under layout and it allows you to change the size of the textbox so the words don't get in the way of the design! Thanks to Peggy for the suggestion!!!

Under the "file" menu, select "Save as Template" and you are ready.
Here is one created with a Photoshop project

Another Photoshop design
One last ArtRage example in Horizontal View:

Stationery Studio is the most amazing program. If you have read earlier blog posts, you know that it is how I found FableVision. There is a BRAND NEW set of ALL the Add-On packs available called "Stationery Studio Writing Collection" find it at: www.fablevisionlearning.com

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Examples of Stationery Studio Templates

Junior High students created the designs above. I scanned the images and copied them into Stationery Studio. The directions for how to do this are in the previous post.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Advice...Please leave some

I was driving home today and listening XM Radio on the comedy channel. An unknown comic was talking about advice he received from his father...sorry they didn't mention his name and this will be very much paraphrased.

"My dad said, 'When you fight, and you are GOING to fight, just remember this one thing...Do you want to be right or happy." Well, I have to say that I laughed out loud while driving down the road alone.

I have decided to 'crowd source' words of advice. Please leave a comment with the best piece of advice you ever received.....or the best piece of advice you have given.

I will start with some marital advice I received from the best man at my wedding, before I knew for sure I was going to need a best man. When I said that I thought she might be 'the one' he said I needed to calm down and go through an entire year of holidays and family gatherings before being sure. While I didn't wait that long before asking, it was pretty close and very good advice.

So, comment away! Give me your best advice!!! If you would rather be more private, you can email me: tjshay@gmail.com