Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: The Year of Letting Go

If I had to name this year, I would call it "The Year of Letting Go."
Letting go of 37 years of survival mode.
Letting go of the need to care for others as a definition of my self worth.
Letting go of unwanted, extra duties that tipped me over the cliff of burn out.
Letting go of any semblance of order in the chaos.
Letting go of old patterns, dysfunctionally discomforting.
Letting go of living for the future.
Letting go of the past that didn't work.
Letting go of 'have to's"
Letting go of the young adulthood of my daughter to discover the adult beautiful butterfly she is.
Letting go of long time friends, unexpectedly and unconditionally.
Letting go of anxiety, stress and depression.
Letting go of things that never were.
Letting go.

Penny L Soutar copyright 31 Dec, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Every day I am keenly aware that our nation, my nation, has those to thank who were willing to lay down the plow and take up the sword to fight and keep us free. Not only in this nation, but in my ancestor's nations of Scotland, Ireland, England, France and Germany. We are where we are in history because of those who put themselves, their trades, professions and families aside to answer the call of liberty. 

Today I am in reverent awe of those who have and continue to serve in our nation's military organizations. Every citizen contributes to our nation, but we ARE A NATION because of those to serve. Thank you. THANK you. THANK YOU.

Penny Lee Soutar copyright November 11, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Myriad Math Memes Make Me Mad


I am SO FRICKING FED UP with all these posts, memes and videos about common core math sucking, "if they taught us math this way we would have liked it" and "we learned it "THIS WAY”, I COULD SCREAM. There I just did it.

In my experience, every meme, video and post I have seen has shown math skills that WERE TAUGHT. These posters may not remember or have grasped the concepts. Most of these complaints involve mental math, number sense and geometric sense.

As a math instructor and lover of mathematics, what most people don't understand is the BEAUTY OF MATHEMATICS. They don’t use much higher mathematics in their everyday lives. They don't see the patterns, values and relationships. But they are blaming teachers, school districts and now common core because they didn't understand it and spread these destructive memes that discredit today’s educational endeavors.

Can you honestly say that you remember EVERY SINGLE math lesson you were ever taught? No—and I don't either. I am still learning with every math lesson I teach: a new insight, understanding and relationship with the world of logic, patterns, symbols, algorithms and values. We are all on a different plane of understanding in each area of our lives, INCLUDING MATH.

Mathematics is beautiful, entertaining, the language of the universe. Don't blame the teachers, standards and school boards because you don't remember it the way it is being taught today. Because students learn and understand in so many different ways, different approaches to instruction (including instruction in multiple algorithms for solving mathematics problems) are ESSENTIAL to education in today's world of ever increasing speed of knowledge acquisition, use and transference. This is what you DEMAND from teachers and DESIRE for your students: individualized education in today’s currently overflowing public school classrooms. The only way to do that is to teach MULTIPLE methods of problem solving, enhancing students’ opportunities for understanding and encouraging them to discover their own strengths and weaknesses. Can we do any less to properly prepare our students for their future in the workplace and society? NO. We owe it to them. They deserve it.

So go ahead, post your memes and complain about standards, but remember that as you propagate information that you perhaps do not understand yourself, you poison others who have the most influence on the students of today and the future—their parents.

See: http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/myths-vs-facts/

Copyright Aug 16, 2015  Penny Lee Soutar

Monday, July 27, 2015

As I just spent about 3 weeks driving around some western states, I have gained great appreciation for those who settled the desert areas of the west. They came in wagons and on foot and cleared the sage brush and rocks by hand. Plowed with horses or men pulling their primitive but effective equipment. Driving in the deserts, it's amazing to see scrub and cacti on one side of the road and thriving fields of cotton, potatoes, alfalfa and corn on the other. 
America was built by 'blue collar workers' and 'rednecks'. Those of us who live now, or who have not had to struggle so physically to make our lives happen really owe our existence, lifestyles and whole nation to those who broke their backs surviving and making the desert bloom.
They, the builders of the nation,
Blazing trails along the way;
Stepping-stones for generations
Were their deeds of ev’ry day.
Building new and firm foundations,
Pushing on the wild frontier,
Forging onward, ever onward,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!
Ida R. Alldredge, 1892-1943. (c) 1948 IRI
Penny L Soutar, Copyright 2105 (27 July)

Colorado River, Moab, Utah

Sunday, March 15, 2015

God is good.
I awoke on Friday morning, March 13 after visiting with my older brother in my dreams. He passed away 11 years ago. He was young and beautiful, more handsome than he had been in life.
In the dream, he was teasing me and we were laughing. I said to him, "What do you care, you're DEAD anyway."
He replied, "I certainly am DEAD." 
"Are you happy?" I asked.
"Happier than I have every been," he replied. Then we hugged, a great engulfing hug that was much more loving than any hug we shared in life.
I awoke and have been feeling joy and peace ever since. But today, I got smart and looked on Family Search to see if his temple work had by chance been done, since I requested it last month. It had not been done, BUT, his baptism request had been PRINTED yesterday, March 14 and he will soon have that ordinance done. 
God is good. Very, very good.
Copyright 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014: The Year of Friends

Looking back over the year 2014, I would name it "The Year of Friends."
Friends who comforted me when I needed comfort.
Friends who talked sense into me when I was nonsensical.
Friends who did not judge me when I so harshly judged myself.
Friends who fed me, clothed me and blessed me.
Friends who loved me.
Friends who helped me find myself when lost.
Friends who were slow to anger at my insensitivity.
Friends who confided in me.
Friends who trusted me when I did not trust myself.
Friends who saw my true worth as a daughter of God when I was not sure of it myself.
Friends who reminded me that the Savior, Jesus Christ, had descended below all and would understand me when I did not understand myself.
Friends who continued to teach me that Heavenly Father is the father of all, knows all and gathers all within his arms.

Penny Lee Soutar 
Copyright 2015