The Sub

There is nothing worse for a teacher than having to take a sick day when you’re really sick. I still have to get special lesson plans done. I have to call in a sub, never knowing who I’ll get. Then…there are the notes. I’m mentioning this because, like I tell my kids, I never call in a sub unless I’m below 50% health wise.

Yep, you guessed it. I was out yesterday. The fever was over 100. I was coughing, sneezing and losing anything I ate one way or the other. I had chills from the fever and I was so dizzy I couldn’t see straight when I woke up. I was a mess!

I knew that I wouldn’t get better in an hour. I called the sub line and asked for a sub. I sure hoped that I had one – we’re so short on subs these days. I typoed some plans for the sub – hoping that the poor sub could make out the plans and emailed them to my Assistant Principal. I called her to make sure she knew not to expect me. Then, I went back to bed and slept without even worrying about whether a not a sub would be assigned.

I emerged from my death bed a couple of times to try and pour some soup down my throat; I soon realized that it wouldn’t help. My wife came home and checked on me a couple of times, but I’m not the “Oh baby come and pamper me” kind of sickie; I’m the “Go away and leave me alone!” kind of sickie. The sleep did it’s job, though, and by 8:00 that night, I realized this flu might not be terminal. By 10:00, I was able to crawl out of bed, take my night time medicines and crawl back into bed.

The next morning, the fever was gone. I was hungry! I ate a little bit and kept it down. I could make it back to school. I dreaded the note, but knew I could face it. Kids have an innate ability to know when I’m feeling bad, and for some reason they behave better on those days, so I wasn’t worried about that. It’s just how they behaved for the sub that worried me.

I pulled into the lot and was met by a couple of my students. “The sub was good, sir.” they took pains to inform me. That worried me. What did this sub let them get away with? I walked down the hall and got to the door. I breathed a quick silent prayer, and braced myself to see what the sub said as I opened the door.

I didn’t even need to read the note. I looked around the room and staggered a bit. I headed for the desk and plopped down in my chair. I couldn’t believe it. The sub had cleaned everything. My beautiful, workable mess was gone. It would take me days to recover. Two months of paper piles were now stacked neatly. No longer could I reach into a pile and pull out the papers I needed. I had a very short time to re-mess up the room to get ready for the day. I hate having to use subs….

Iscariot by Tosca Lee – a Review

FYI, after you read this review you will find contest rules at the end. If you would like to win a copy of Iscariot by Tosca Lee, please join in the fun!

How do you add suspense to one of the best known stories in the world? We all know the basics: Jesus was a teacher who went around healing people, and performing miracles, signs and wonders. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind about whether or not He was the Messiah. Well, except for the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the political leaders and perhaps some of His disciples. Then, after Jesus arrived in Jerusalem in what we know as the Triumphal Entry the crowds pretty well let people know that Jesus was the Messiah. He was then betrayed by Judas and crucified.

So how do you add suspense to that story? In the book Iscariot, Tosca Lee invites you to re-examine everything you know about Jesus and the relationship with His disciples; especially the only one that Jesus called friend – Judas. This novel is historical fiction, but you have a hard time remembering the fiction part of that as she weaves a realistic story of the life of Judas from a young boy until the time he ends up killing himself after betraying Jesus. As she writes about the life of Judas the question she asks at the beginning of the novel continues to stick with you: “Would I have betrayed Jesus? Would you have done the same thing?”

The automatic answer to that question, of course, is “Never!” Yet, as we follow the story, an unwilling sympathy for Judas arises. You can’t help but wonder if Tosca Lee has in mind a new version of the story; one where Judas doesn’t betray Jesus! In the end, the story doesn’t change. As you read, though, your outlook on Judas changes. Rather than seeing him as the evil moneygrubber that we all instinctively believe him to be, he becomes an almost sympathetic protagonist; a tragic hero in the true sense of the phrase.

I have no doubt that once you read Iscariot, that you will never be able to sit through a “typical” sermon about Judas without wanting to yell out at the preacher, “But have you thought about….” The scariest thing about this book is that as you read it, you feel the dust on your feet, you smell the unwashed bodies all around you, and you realize that as strong in your faith as you may be, you could easily have betrayed Jesus in the same set of circumstances. Then when we come back to reality, we realize that we betray Jesus daily by our thoughts and actions. You can continue in your safe little bubble if you don’t read this book or you can confront yourself as you let the words force you to examine your own relationship with Jesus Christ.

So here are the contest rules. You can be entered to win a copy of Iscariot by Tosca Lee by doing these simple tasks. 1) Follow this blog. 2) Leave a comment here. Somewhere in your comment let me know which disciple you would like to talk with and why. Your user name should have contact information in case you win. If it doesn’t, keep checking back. 3) Have a friend come by and comment saying something like, “John asked me to read this and say hello.” If they would like to win also, they need to give you credit for bringing them here.

Review of “Iscariot”

If you want a chance to win Iscariot by Tosca Lee then check out this review and blog. Michelle Sutton has written a great review of the book. Here’s an excerpt from his review:
Nobody puts skin on biblical figures and brings them to life as well as Tosca Lee. For some reason she also picks the toughest ones to portray in fiction. This novel, Iscariot, rang true to me. Her depiction of Judas Iscariot’s belief system had a convincing historical basis. And unlike the stereotyped condemned man who personified betrayal, she made him human and someone who truly did love Jesus when he became one of the disciples. Even in the end, she showed his regrets and they made sense given the story up to that point. I didn’t know how she’d pull off making him a sympathetic character, but she did it well!

Check out the blog and the book!

Another Give-Away! This Time at Fiction Addict!

Fiction Addict has all kinds of contests throughout the year. They give away some great books! So right now they have 5, that’s right FIVE copies of the book Warm Bodies to give away. Warm Bodies is in the process of being made in to a movie and you can get one of the books if you enter at Fiction Addict. What’s Warm Bodies about?

Even if you aren’t a fan of the zombie genre, this book will engage you in ways you never imagined. It’s sharp and witty with syllable counting dialogue that will stick with you long after you’ve read it. It’s revolutionary, beautiful and engaging in brilliantly imagined ways. This book has settled firmly onto my favorites of 2011 and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Do not miss this book. You’ll be glad you took the time for it. – Lori Twichell

Check out Fiction Addict and enter the contest!