A Girl Can Dream


It’s like a fairy tale, only better,

Our life sappier than a love letter.

Like a knight you appeared one day,

Sword in hand melting years of pain away.

You rescued me with love,

You are my greatest gift from above.

Your spirit shines as bright as your smile

Your faith so deep, your heart beguiles.

You’re humble and kind beyond all measure,

Your passion and drive a true treasure.

Within you my soul is at peace,

A safe haven I’ll always seek.

With you my life found new meaning

Those boys and their dad leave me beaming.

The life we’ve built was once just a dream,

It’s now an example of what love really means.

Blessings abound when our lives combined

As God saw our hearts should be entwined,

Forever I’m yours,

Always you’re mine.

~for Stephen….Happy Valentine’s Day my love! 02.14.20

Dear Dad…


It’s always awkward when people ask about you

After all, what’s the proper way to say I have no clue.

I normally just fumble with my words and smile 

Until I get around to, he hasn’t spoken to me in a while.

It’s silly I know, but I wonder if I cross your mind

Or if on my birthday I take a minute of your time.

Do you remember when we use to throw

Where on earth did that commonality go.

You once were a giant among men

Today I don’t know you…will I ever again?

Truth be told, I’ve tried, what else is there to prove

A Father’s love should never be removed. 

Written May 13, 2017 by JC Hamlin

Thankful Tigger

Thankful Tigger

I think teachers inherently feel as though there’s never enough time in the day. If my generalization is true, this year seems exponentially worse.

My morning is spent teaching 3 classes back to back with a 30 minute break for lunch (which like most teachers, I work through) followed by an hour & a half of my 4th class of the day. After which I must attend LCP meetings and then if I’m not scheduled into another meeting during my conference period, I must try to get one of my many softball and/or athletic coordinator responsibilities accomplished before I have to run out the door for 7th period athletics. Shhheeewwww!

In general, I think of myself as someone who can stay positive, get it all done & push through anything that comes my way. I probably feel this way in large part due to my stubbornness but I think it’s also because I simply refuse to give up/in to the idea that the impossible isn’t possible. I love that I’m a silver lining kind of thinker/doer and that I’m relentless in my pursuit of…well, everything. On the other hand, I detest the idea that my day to day reality impedes such things. After all, I NEED to get it all done NOW. There is no tomorrow, it can’t wait. I owe it to my kids, my coaches, etc. Or at least that’s what we’re lead to believe/convince ourselves of…or maybe that’s just me. Either way, I awake each day with the same fearless Tigger mentality and at some point during the day find myself face to face with Eeyore, caught in a battle of wills that ultimately leaves me a bit worse for the wear.

So what’s the takeaway from all of this gibberish…I don’t have all the time I need to do the jobs I have and I might transform into Eeyore by the end of the day but this Tigger must really love to teach because through it all, I’m thankful I arise each day rejuvenated and ready to look the day straight in the eyes and say, “I dare you!”  

Thank You for Your Service


I never knew all you went through
But for your service I thank you

Through firestorms and land mines you stormed
In the name of peace your lines of defense formed

To you and your family I’m in debt
It’s y’all’s sacrifice we must not forget

Fireworks and parades once a year
Aren’t nearly enough to thank you dear

The red, white, and blue fly high
Because you stood beside her side

I thrive and walk around freely
Because of your selfless duty

Too often, we brag about the USA
Yet neglect to honor the brave

Blessed are we because of thee
Thank you, thank you from all who are free

-Jennifer C. Hamlin
August 18, 2015


Unwanted Guest

Today we met again
Only this wasn’t the plan
You weren’t expected
But you couldn’t be rejected

Busting down doors, no baggage in tow
Disheveling reality wherever you go
Intruding on lives as you see fit
Demanding attention you crack a whip

With each threshold crossed
Lives turn to chaos
And worlds on end
All because of you my friend

You’ve come too often
Yet your stay never softens
We can’t take much more
Please never knock again on that door

You’ve stolen so many
It’s left us so angry
Humbled and depressed
Among other feelings we suppress

Oblivious to the havoc you bestow
Into another home you’ll tiptoe
Torturing them as you have us
Insisting others make a big fuss

Don’t you get it, can’t you see
From you we all frantically flee
You’re an unwanted guest
Regardless of the souls you put to “rest”

-Jennifer C. Hamlin (Friday, January 9, 2015)

Unwanted Guest


Somewhere between the now and then,
Two worlds collide, two hearts transcend.
The hopeful illusion of life
Ever after, beacon of light.

A patient soul he finds in thee,
A fortress of strength, he for she.
In each they see what might have been
Had life’s intervention been a friend.

Timing has sat them here today
Next to each other along the way.
Their worlds collide, their hearts transcend,
Somewhere between now and then

Jennifer C. Hamlin
October 13, 2014


What’s Worth Fighting For


Every battle won has been lost.  Every healed wound has been ripped open.  Every villain eventually becomes a hero.  In the end, love and happiness are always worth fighting for.

It’s crazy to think that the echo of one decision can be heard decades after it’s made, but that is exactly what happens.  The resounding boom of January 6, 2008 is more powerful today than it was then.  For today will forever be defined as a celebration of life.  A life that would not have been possible had two people not been bold enough to go into battle united by the resolve to stand firm on whatever unsteady ground lay ahead.  A blessing birthed from love and happiness that will no doubt bring with it countless hours of worry as well as endless moments of indescribable joy.  We will commemorate this day with parties and gatherings for the remainder of our days honoring the fruits of that fight, my nephew, Knox Graham Spencer. The beauty of this blessed event is not lost, but the words of Des’ree seem to be on repeat, “You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger.”  Perhaps that line continually maintains its steady rhythm to protect the heart that dutifully listens, or maybe it’s just a subtle reminder that the battle for love and happiness that was lost in January 2008 wasn’t in vein.  Rather it is/was a victory of epic proportion being realized now, six years down the road.

Divorce is a four letter word to Catholics and widely considered a loss, but not to all.  For some it puts another tick into the “w” column.  It marks the beginning or a continuance of the pursuit of love and happiness.  It proclaims that settling or putting up with the life that lies ahead is not what we are sentenced to but what we choose.  Moreover, it demonstrates the courage to fight for all that’s held dear.  Just as Des’ree advises repeatedly in “You Gotta Be” love and happiness are worth fighting for regardless of the battles encountered along the way.  Des’ree clearly knows life is tough and challenges abound, but she also insistently commands the reader to create their own world rather than remain captive by the one that exists because as in her words, “love will save the day.”  Knox’s birth is proof of that.  Proof that standing up for love and against an unhappy union will lead to greater adventures ahead.

Heroes are born into seemingly normal lives, thrust into extraordinary situations where they must decide to accept their destiny or defy the odds in order to secure victory (i.e. love and happiness) and then ultimately demonstrate enough courage to venture into the unknown. Therefore, when faced with adversity people can become the lost, wounded villain facing the world with a chip on their shoulder or choose to win, heal and become the hero defending and celebrating love and happiness for centuries to come.

A Word If You Please


There’s something that happens when words hit a page
Transforming, caressing, unlatching a cage.
They speak to our minds while nourishing our soul
Confessing our secrets for all to behold.
The power these markings of black on white give
Armed and ready to strike down all who live.
Retreating to them for comfort when we feel lost
Retreating from them for fear of what they may cost.
These complex symbols wildly whisked about in the wind
Translate messages we don’t even know we send.

Jennifer C. Hamlin ~ 08.31.2014

Going beyond grades: Why we HAVE to do better.

Going beyond grades: Why we HAVE to do better.

What do you think is the lowest G.P.A. I need in order to get into a good retirement home — one of those fancy ones with never-ending soft serve ice cream and Jeopardy tournaments in the common area?  How many gold stars do you think I need in order say, “I’m happy”?  Oooh, most importantly, do you think if I re-take my ACT and get 2 points higher I can finally say I have purpose in the world?

Surely, these are the questions that keep teenagers angsty. There can be no other explanation.

We live in an educational climate that focuses primarily — some would say obsessively — on numbers and letters, rankings and standings.  We say it’s for results. And it’s true. One can see results through numbers. But it’s time to argue for different results. It’s time to argue for a system that puts the value and benefit…

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What Students Really Need to Hear

What Students Really Need to Hear

I love trashing my lesson “plans” for something applicable that will grab my students attention.

Don’t worry, I’m not trashing them completely. I’m just making our transition from S(elf)SR lit circles/Socratic seminars to S(hared)SR a little more seamless. You see, my Socratic’s went very well yesterday, but I need a few more speaking opportunities for some, so I’d already planned to carry them over into today. i originally thought we’d just continue from where we left off, but then I read this post and that’s all changed. I didn’t write them, but I definitely live each stroke of these words every single day. Sooooo, now my plan is this…
1) share my heart with my students today (nothing new, just said so much better than I ever have); and
2) get them to share theirs (i.e. Socratic Day 2) using @BobProbst Dialogue with a Text booklets we worked with yesterday.

What’s that you say, scaffolding…..DUH!!! We may take baby steps, but I make sure we ALL take steps…myself included!!!

So grateful this was shared with me…thanks again for passing this along Ashley!!

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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