Karen's Blog

Let's take a walk through a brand new day.

Creativity At Its Best!

I recently shared a story about a teacher, Sabrina Bennett, and the work she does in teaching her ESOL students.  She gives her heart, creativity, and knowledge every day as she spends hours beyond the classroom making sure that her students’ needs are met and that she’s giving them the best opportunity to succeed. She tries to give them “real’ experiences since they are not only learning the English language but also the culture of a new country.

She used the story of Copper and Blast in Northbounders, to give her students an American experience while learning vocabulary and language skills. After reading the book, the students wanted to experience what it is like to hike the Appalachian Trail. Mrs. Bennett set her goals high and aimed for a field trip to Springer Mountain where the A.T. begins in Georgia.  When that didn’t work, she brought the A.T. to them. (more…)

I Can’t Even Imagine…

This weekend, I had the pleasure of spending the day with my Aunt, Uncle, and a whole slew of cousins as one of the 2nd cousins prepared for her senior prom.  We were all there watching as her hair was being swept into an “updo” and as the makeup artist applied the prom makeup.  We then took hundreds of pictures, fluffed her magical dress into perfection, took more pictures, oohed and aahed over her gorgeous bouquet of flowers, took more pictures, and then gave her lots of hugs and kisses as we sent her off into the night to enjoy her senior prom.  It was a true family affair! (more…)

Update On Angry Girl and Friends: Let Them Eat Cake!

When we last left the Madison County High School ESOL (ELL) classroom where students were using Northbounders: 2,186 Miles of Friendship as their novel study, Copper and Blast were hiking their way through New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail. I’m happy to report that the students, Copper 🐕 and Blast have made it safely to Mt. Katahdin in Maine, the end of the A.T. and celebrated their success with… (more…)

Giggles, Pac Man, Jabber Box, Lady Bug, and NASCAR Live In Harmony.

Sabrina Bennett, an ESOL or ELL teacher at Madison County High School is quite the jewel! As an ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) or ELL (English Language Learners) teacher, it is her job to teach a standards-based curriculum emphasizing academic and social language development. She believes in a well-rounded education for ALL students, no matter the nationality and no matter the limited language. She’s a true southern belle born and raised in Georgia who loves all things about the South…including NASCAR.  While visiting her classroom this past week, it was no surprise to find the Learning Target, the Performance Standard, and an update on NASCAR racing listed sided by side!  She’s always been an “88 girl” and she’s passed that love for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to her students.



I’ve laughed a lot today and laughing is good for the soul.

This year, I decided to have a little fun when choosing a gift for my husband. He enjoys a clean house and has always done more than his fair share in keeping it that way. In honor of his devotion to cleanliness, (more…)

Meowzerz, Sly Fox, Sanic, Wolfy, Anima, Speedy and MORE!

Anyone who knows me will tell you that children have my heart.  They are the soul, future, fire, and heart of a nation.  Conversations with children are the best!  Children tend to be sincere with their questions, staunch in their beliefs, and eager wide-eyed learners. Today, I had a great conversation with about fifteen 5th graders at Arthur Edwards Elementary in Havelock, NC. (more…)

Lollygagging, Dilly Dallying and other Muses

I’m ready for spring! This winter took its toll on my family and friends. Influenza, pneumonia, cancer treatments, transplants, and even deaths encompassed the past few months. There were some really sad days for people who I love. But, as I heard about each of these unfortunate life events, I found that out of every sadness came joy and happiness. Funerals brought families together, cancer treatments reunited old friends, and severe cases of the flu had communities banding together in support of neighbors. Life is like that, isn’t it? Just as you think you can’t take one more dreary winter day, out pops a daffodil. What joy that simple little eruption from the earth can bring. A single yellow flower with green leaves can bring smiles, hope, and belief in happy days ahead.

This week, I attended a memorial service of a beloved football coach and teacher. Fittingly, the celebration of life was held in the high school gym of the school where he had spent 27 years of his career. The service was well attended by former players, coaches, teachers, friends, and family. He was such a positive person who never wavered from his beliefs and his love of young people. As friends and former players and coaches spoke in celebration of his life, I found myself jotting down some of the quotes and quips he used throughout his career and life.

Here’s one: “Excuses are the nails that built the house of failure” (more…)

Family, cow patties, silver spoons, and misplaced memories

The holidays are behind us and the memories of family and friends in our homes are slowly beginning to fade.  Hopefully, the stressful memories are gone and the good ones are lingering.  For me, family memories are many and almost always happy.  We have a HUGE extended family and are blessed to have remained close. My dad was one of 17 brothers and sisters. My mom was one of nine.  When all of these relatives began having children and their children had children and their children’s children had children, the family logistics became very confusing.  I’m still confused about what to call my relatives.  I can’t remember whether they are my second cousins, or third cousins, or first cousin once removed, or twice removed!  One of my relatives just calls everybody “cousin”.  I’m cousin Karen and then there’s cousin Gail and cousin Chris, and cousin Cody, and cousin Gary and cousin Linda and so on. We know we’re related and we can even tell you how. “That’s Ray’s daughter’s son’s cousin’ on her mama’s side.”  Let’s just say it gets complicated.  There are hundreds and hundreds in the Lord family!  My dad told me that if I ever ran into someone who had the last name Lord, I should assume that I was kin to them. So, I do. (more…)

Raising a Joyful Reader: Top Ten Tips

Consider giving books for gifts this holiday season. A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.

As a child in rural Georgia, I knew the exact day and time when the mobile library or Bookmobile was scheduled to arrive in my hometown.  New books, just waiting to be read, lined the shelves on the walls of that vehicle. There was a limit to the number of books available for checkout and I maxed out the limit every time.  Now, it’s hard to imagine that two-week wait. With electronic devices, a new book is just a click away.

Not everyone shares my love of reading. One of my friends is quick to remind me of that fact.  I’ll start a sentence with, “Have you read… and she quickly gives me the evil eye.  I never even get to finish my sentence.  Her response on many occasions has made me wonder and ponder why some people love reading and others hate it.  It’s an age-old question and I don’t have the answer. But, I do have some thoughts on how to help children enjoy reading from a young age.

Here are my top ten tips for engaging children in reading.


Ready or Not, Here They Come! 20 Tips for Helping Holiday Guests Feel at Home.

Perry Como first sang the tune, Home for the Holidays, back in 1954. Since that time, recording artists including The Carpenters, Garth Brooks, Barry Manilow, Cyndi Lauper and Norah Jones have serenaded us as we await loved ones returning home for the holidays.  Television celebrates reunions by showing wreath decorated doors opening to loved ones in snow-covered scenes with guests bearing gifts for all. Friends gather around the holiday table for a feast befitting a king. A beautifully decorated Christmas tree completes the scene of the most magical holiday season.

What television doesn’t show us is all the preparation, stress, and worry involved in creating those perfect holiday scenes. Yes, its a labor of love…but it’s still labor. Making those guests feel comfortable and at home can be challenging. Here are 20 tips to ensure that overnight guests feel comfortable and welcome in your home. (more…)