#26 The "cool" teacher....... Mr. Christian Miller...........

Today I was reading a facebook status from one of our local leaders............MR MILLER.............. I see him around Powhatan all of the time....... he is a teacher, a leader and a friend to so many.  

There is a current contest to nominate VA teachers for an award..........DETAILS HERE;  I think he should win........ 

If you live in Ptown and are any way connected to the "high school" there is no way you can miss this guy.  You usually cannot miss me either, i am "always getting in your way, or asking you for something , high fiving the athletes or posing you a certain way on a certain day.  You all know I don't print everything I take or repeat what I hear...... and I love the work I do and the people I shoot............ MR MILLER IS ONE OF THEM....... he is always "there" and he is interacting and inspiring everyone alround him "always"

I am at the school a lot........I see from a "different point of view" than teacher or student ....I see from a lense that sometimes is macro..........this guy is good ......today's facebook post is just 1 of many of his examples he teaches something other than just "spanish".....

He is one of them that is always teaching, never lecturing........ and most of all showing everyone , kids and parents alike that there is a bridge that can be crossed ........genders, nationaliites, beliefs, backgrounds and what ever else that is gaping in our world.  

I don't "focus" on everything, everyone does and says and I'm sure I don't catch "it all" but I see beauty all around me in PHS ...........and I share it on my webpage...the kids
love him and respect him........ 

today's post is just one small example of what he is teaching our next generation........I don't care where you live you gotta luv it.........and if you can share........ :)

Christian Miller 1/25/2012............ his most recent post that I got permission to quote btw........without his knowledge of the other stuff I wrote above....... they are unedited, unprompted and liked by a lot of your children, just in case you don't do facebook.....

in his words only: 

Please tell me how heated arguments help anyone?

Do people really think using the F-word in an argument actually helps get their point across? What in the world is wrong with talking about differences in opinions WITHOUT getting angry. I always say I hate politics, but that's not what I meant. It's people devaluing others simply because of a label that they probably don't even fully understand. AH! Today, I just had a CIVILIZED conversation after school where there were big differences of opinion BUT it was beautiful. We didn't yell. We listened. In almost every argument, if you are courageous and wise enough, there is value to be had from BOTH SIDES of the scenario. If we LISTEN, an ACTUAL SOLUTION may come about. I pray to God someone feels me on this."

I sent mr. miller a little "inside joke" , something I found amusing that fit what he was trying to say......in a bit of a different wall, something I had on my own wall that was a sarcastic version of his heart felt plea............... not as much "grace" as mr. millers version but it worked for me......... 
I think we are speaking the same language, just each to a different audience, mine a little more already "jaded" than our next generation is at the time............maybe? if we had more like him we could quit talking about how bad the world has become FINALLY I have heard it all my life about my generation , the next generation and the next........I personally see it thru a totally different lens...... as usual........ my own drum..........I hope I can share 1/2  as much with you as Mr. Miller can........


#25 Vicki and Cows and Moons and such..........

Little do people know but the cow really "flew" not jumped over the moon"
Some countries view the cow as a sacred animal.  I don't know exactly why they call them sacred but my friend , the one dressed as a cow...when I found her..... is sacred to me.

My beautiful friend Vicki.

You see I met her back in the olden days ........the days in which couponers and rebaters united through magazines and not the internet! I found the refunding magazine on a grocery store bulletin board, I subscribed to it......  the over priced newsprint magazine and then I waited impatiently for my refund magazine every month.  "Refund Express"   I loved it.  I would grab my hi-lighter and my magic marker and get to work the minute it would arrive.   Section by section I would read every word.  i would circle the ads , the forms, the people and the ideas I was interested in.  Mostly I was interested in SMP (specially marked package sightings) and "New Forms" to look for. People actually sent in copies of the forms that they would find and get credit for them in the magazine earning extra issues if they were first.   The editor really made out on this deal because she was the editor, she got at least one copy of every imaginable form PLUS the money for the subscriptions, and the ads.  She was definitely on to something. She used the cheapest paper available and mostly printed in black and white.  The kind of print that got on your hands when you read it.  I would end up with some of it on my face, everytime......  I don't remember when they went to color but when they did the cover was the first thing to be printed that way.  If you were featured on the cover or inside through writing a story of some sort you also earned extra entries.  

Me, being the writer and photographer I have always been submitted articles with photos often following all of the rules and was featured inside the magazine frequently.  I never tried to be a "cover girl" at the time... but this girl, I am writing about now, Vicki, well that was right up her alley!

It was Mardi-Gras time in New Orleans, my home town....I was homesick....very homesick...... and I got my magazine in the mail. Vicki and her fiance, Sam were on the cover.  They were dressed in full cow costumes walking around the quarter picking out "kodak" proofs of purchase symbols from the trash cans on bourbon street!   I was also collecting the proofs at the time to acquire the stuffed animals

SIDENOTE:   the kolorkins (there is a set of 7 and I wanted them for my kids.  I wish I still had them today , for me!)
  • Shutter
  • Snap
  • Flash
  • Rewind
  • Zoom
  • Focus
  • Click
I wouldn't have to have them all but I would love a few of them! :) 

Not only were they picking the proofs I wanted they also lived in the town that I loved and missed so much, the town I graduated high school in, the town I lived in as a teen ager, NEW ORLEANS.  I couldn't contact her fast enough!  She was going by her maiden name then and was marrying the wonderful man she is still with today, Sam.  I wrote her a letter.....

Dear Vicki........... would you be my penpal? Like the girls in the movie Beaches......... a friendship blossomed and grew through the mail over time, growing up, falling down and everything in between......

LOL........ well yep not only did she answer right away she did so with a zeal...... and the friendship began......

We wrote letters, shared deals, concocted ways to score bigger and better deals than we could alone, shared secrets..... and formed a sisterhood between us.... We talked as often as we could on the phone (thank God she had an 800 # at work) and grew up 1000 miles apart together.

Over time... Vicki and I have visited in person several times.  She and her husband have visited me in VA ....... traveling so far to meet me "the axe murderer" that I could have been but most often I see them on my trips "home."

I love to get mail from Vicki to this day,  I can spot her handwriting on the envelopes that sometimes contain coupons, newspaper articles, cards with sweet notes or maybe a list of some good contests I should enter.

We are kindred spirits in all kinds of ways.  I even taught her how to be a mystery shopper and merchandiser over the telephone!  She doesn't do anything "kind of" she does it ALL THE WAY........ and does it well....... thats why she rose to the top in her district and now is the supervisor/trainer for others and not doing "grunt" work anymore.  

I so look up to Vicki....... she is a real go getter.... someone who doesn't settle ...someone who gets the job done.......EVERYTIME.   She can do the impossible , taking care of herself, her husband, her family and friends and still finding time to work full time, enter contests and oh yea coupon too..... even her BOX MEN are spoiled.

We have won, lost, given and received together.  We have watched each other from afar and been each others counselor, sounding board and shoulders through thick and thin.
We have made new friends together and cheered each other on through lifes challenges and triumphs....... I have her picture on my desktop that reads........ "a smile is the closest distance between two hearts" ....... 

My heart is bigger and more full because of her love thats for sure.

I can't tell you how many times I have thanked God for having Vicki and her husband Sam in my life.  I look at my wrist as I type this and look at the wing on my leather band and I hear Sam's voice saying "you wear this and you will always have an angel watching over you." 

I love that sentiment but I smiled and secretly thought of the cow....with wings.........flying over the moon........I wear it almost everyday and think about how they show me through actions and words how to make the impossible incarnate.