Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009


(PIC: Christi's last Memorial Day Weekend, May 2006 - after not being able to fly home for the last day of 4th grade, Christi was so sad, so I booked a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in PA. Shayne and Shayla driving in really lifted her spirits. She had just been put through a very grueling treatment and it was great to see her smile and play with Shayla.)

CELEBRATE: I have now completed all 33 interviews and 100% of my data collection for my doctoral dissertation! Praise be to God! I'm now in the midst of data analysis, which actually has been on-going since the beginning of data collection, Feb. 1st. Although I will soon be meeting with my advisor to see if all six of us on my dissertation committee will be able to be in agreement with this, I'm currently scheduled to write chapters 4 & 5 in June and July (The first 16 pages of Chapter 4 are complete and approved, I've been working hard, about 100 pages yet to go) and to defend at the end of August. Although a ton of constant work is ahead of me, I think it's possible. I don't believe I can make the OSU August graduation date; therefore, I will most likely graduate in December. Although I wanted all the excitement and hoopla of the big June outside graduation "in the shoe", I'm fine with December instead. I just want to be done! This was exactly the timeline I shared with BGSU during my interviews and they are fine with that. (I just have to have my Ph.D. by May of 2010 for BG. My advisor said, "No problem!" But.......she's not the one with all of the analysis and writing to do - that would be me. smile.)

June 2006, age 9. I have been asked to do some "consultant work" for BGSU this summer as they're aligning some graduate level items National Board standards so I have a couple of dates set up to do that and I'm extremely excited about getting to campus and helping out. I've also been invited to a faculty planning session in June even though I don't officially start until mid-August. I can't wait to get up there - and to get the boxes into my office and out of my garage - hee hee! (Sorry dear family and thank you for putting up with this transition I'm in the midst of.)

Summer 2006: Swimming with her friends from Dance Unlimited I wish I could say Shayla was loving her new school, like she loves her dance school, but she's not - not at all. I have reminded myself that she had a tough time when we moved to our brand new school last year too. (And of course she didn't want to go to preschool in NYC when she was four either. Like my mom reminded me, she's never liked change much less big ones like this.) While I was feeling horrible at one point, I reminded myself that she doesn't like anything new. Shayne reminded me, like new shoes or new jeans. And when he got his new truck last December, she hated that too. So true, so true! Thankfully, she's made friends and I believe it is a great school with a super staff and she's doing well. (They don't have an on-line grading system like we do so it's hard to really know, but her papers look fine and she doesn't seem to be struggling with anything anymore or at least she's not complaining about that.) They have all really bent over backwards to make her feel welcome. It's hard to believe it's her 4th week already. I just wish she liked it there. I also think, perhaps, many people built up the school so much that possibly she thought it would be like a big book store, or a circus, or an arts festival when really, it's still a school with homework and math - just one everyone seems to really love. I'm so glad she made this transition now as that should make the fall less stressful and the summer less worrisome. She continues to be at the top of my nightly pray list because this has been so hard for her.

I've had some wonderful news. In December, I submitted a proposal to present a session at the National Middle School Association's annual conference. This fall's conference is within driving distance so I knew it wouldn't be too expensive for me to go. After I hit "submit", I said a prayer that if my proposal was good enough to be selected for the national conference that I'd actually get to go. (I imagined myself crawling into my Superintendent's office begging him to somehow let me go even though I would have to pay for all expenses on my own. I've often said my school's biggest weakness is that we do not provide or promote high quality professional development experiences for our teachers. I know it's often the first thing to go with budget cuts, but it's so important - and does it ever come back as it should?! Hmmmmmmmm. Not in my mind.)

While interviewing at BGSU, someone asked me about my membership in the NMSA. While speaking, I shared that I had submitted a proposal and was hopeful that I'd be selected to present a session on "Adolescent Literacy Strategies". They wished me well and told me that is exactly what they encourage their faculty to do, to get out making professional presentations and representing BGSU and that there is professional development monies to do so. (I was shocked as I knew, if I got the professor position, it would be in stark contrast to what I'd previously experienced in my own school district.) Much to my delight, I recently received word that my proposal was selected and I will indeed be presenting at the national conference! I forwarded the email to my new boss who congratulated me and reminded me that funding would take care of the costs involved. It was also suggested that I encourage my college students to join that professional organization and to attend the conference if they can afford to do so. It will be years before it is again within driving distance. Praise be to God! Sweet!


At 21/5/09 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many awesome things going on for you Angela! Congratulations on all fronts!

I'm sorry Shayla is having such a tough transition. I will add her to my prayer list!

I don't believe I've seen that picture of Christi at Great Wolf before- it's so great and expresses her awesome personality so well thanks for sharing.

Lots of love,

At 22/5/09 6:10 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

You are amazing, Angela. I am so happy for you! I have no doubt this new job and all of these experiences will be wonderful ones and you will continue to make your mark in the education field.

Many, many hugs!

At 3/6/09 2:28 PM, Blogger snekcip said...

Angela, I'm so happy for you. I just love when GOD just moves mountains!!! You are gonna be awesome...I just know it!!!


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