Eulogy Postponed

And the miracle of today



Mother Neff State Park

What to share in the minutes before class?


I miss you all! It’s been raining the last few days and I LOVE the thunderstorms. This semester does not seem quite as ferocious as last semester- so much so that I’m coming home for the weekend of birthday shenanigans!!! 

Half and half party, we’re calling it. I can’t wait! Half mama’a age, half as awesome as she is, halfway finished with my MSW, half full-a knowledge!! There’s an 80:20 rule about 80 percent of the income is held by 20 percent of the population or something, right? Or 80% of the results come from 20% of the inputs. If that’s truly the case, then I can let up on 80% of the work I’m doing and spent twice as much time writing silly blog posts for y’all, right? :]

So, internship is going really well. A new Executive Director has been hired and she is outstanding! With 23 years of experience in childhood education and with HUD as Homeless Administrator for the past 6 years- she has essentially eradicated chronic homelessness (meaning there are no people literally living under the bridges- there are beds for every person in Waco every night). She retired [again] to take the job with the Cove. Now all we need is a Case Manager! We are planning for the first students to join us October 3rd. Exactly one week from this afternoon. They’ll be walking in our front door. 4:30pm next Monday. Interiorly I may be a tiny bit terrified that we are not ready. But mostly just super excited to meet all these kids!

14359082_710516972433341_8046232223384650464_nI have group supervision with the 3 interns that work with Homeless Outreach on the high school campuses, so I have heard bits and pieces of stories of these kids. Lots of crummy parents out there. Lots of broken families. Lots of strong kids.

My research project for the next year is going to focus on home for these youth. How do they find a place to stay when they don’t have stability? What do they look for when looking for tonight’s housing when there is no mom to tuck them in after dinner. What are their stories and how can we help? Right now the city of Waco is not interested in opening another shelter, so at 8pm, these kiddos must leave the Cove and we can help them find accommodation, but we cannot let them stay. The hope is that we can set up a host home program like Safe Families for Children…. But that is the hope, not the reality.

So. Since last time, I went on a hike. With signs like these out, you know Lots of beauties and beasties. More beasties, but that made it more fun!

First the beauties:

The end of the wildflower season is mediocre at best. Still lovely to get out into the woods a bit.


Two beastly looking beauties?

You know about Sasquatch? Well there’s a neatly hairy creature that lives in the Mother Neff State Park. That wasn’t the reason I went, but when I got there, the ranger warned me and I kept my eyeballs peeled as I walked. I don’t know how to upload videos and I have one that shows the creature. In full order, not just one of those shadowy clips that could be anything- you can really see it! If only I knew how to work these technology things….

And some beasties:

You can see his hairy belly there, you just can’t see him moving! Eek!

I tried to take a selfie with him, but he tickled my ear, so I ran away. Literally ran!


If this was a video….

Ok, class time is here and I’m not in class. See you guys in a week!

Oh, I also went to the Baylor football game… Which was delayed an hour and a half for lightning. So I watched the LSU game on the big tv at the stadium over an empty field [before leaving to watch the Baylor game on a little tv].


Love hugs and wish me luck on my IRB Research Proposal, Mid Term Evaluation, and Neighborhood Map Assessment due before I go.

So, in applying the 60:30, Half and Half Rule, I am working like a crazy person to get ahead on all this silly schoolwork so I can come home and drink half and half all weekend. I can envision the Lackner-style feast already. Yum!



Due in 9 months

Hard to believe I only have 9 months left in dear old Texas and then I can come home! Home to home. And be home. It’s so exciting I could die!!!

First week has been the longest week ever. It’s common knowledge that the professors assign more reading material than is humanly possible for even the most invested students to ever read word for word, so I have 5 courses with literally more work than I could ever complete to have read, digested, and applied over the next 14 weeks with presentations, projects, and papers to prove it. The first week is such an odd mix of excitement and professor pep-talks filled with amazing examples of the completed projects that other Community Concentration Social Workers have done that we are familiar with in the Waco community juxtaposed with these syllabi that seem utterly impossible. Expecting this, I prolonged my denial that I am chained to impossible tasks these next few months and went to Colorado Bend State Park this weekend past. Here are some photos:

Ok, so there are some beautiful things in Texas. The best part was when it started raining and I was out in the woods with not a car to be heard. And the humidity was tolerable because of the rain. I Loved it! Notice the rocks in the creek? That’s the trail. Not quite forging the river- my shoes did get wet enough that they are a bit stinky. It was beautiful and oh, so peaceful. The dirty water from the rain wasn’t gorgeous, although the rain was feeding those gorgeous waterfalls. Just what I had been seeking. Until I realized I was walking in Texas where rain comes with thunderstorms which come with lightning and maybe being on top of a “waterfall” was not the best location to be when I’d driven two hours to go hiking alone. At least my parent’s phone knew where I was :)

Apparently Colorado Bend is known for some of the rock formations at the falls I did not have time to hike into. And Caves! If these little guys are any example, it would definitely be worth the 2 hour drive to get there and check out some other time. No Silver Creek, but a definitely by Texas standards. Stay in Texas over Christmas break and check them out? Come home and hike Silver Creek Falls? Hmmm….


In other news, the dogs are still awesome (Judah, the hardest working Doberman you’ve ever met is still hard at work- keeping skunks away last night. I think he must’ve killed it under my window! Can you smell it from there, too? Or is that my sneakers from the hike?), the horses are still gorgeously present, the crepe mertle I planted last fall is still alive but crispy after last week, Waco is still too hot (although this year I missed the week of 100+ degree weather- Thank God!), the School of Social Work is still more amazing than imaginable (think $2000 scholarship), the other students I have in my classes are amazing and it is indescribably wonderful to sit next to people and wonder how they will be changing the world in the days and years to come, my internship is doing some of the most groundbreaking work to fight the problems faced by unaccompanied [homeless] students here in Waco, and my kombucha scabby is super happy in my less than air conditioned kitchen. All is well! Oh, I’m also working for Dr. Yancey, my favorite professor, who asked me to work on a giant project to reinvigorate an old program for the school- yes, please! Although it meant declining a job working at World Hunger Relief Farms this year. I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t do it all.

My internship is the best ever. If you’ve forgotten, I’m at The Cove. A nurturing center for unaccompanied (kids the school district labels as ‘homeless’ but it’s more complicated than that. Check out McKinney Vento if you’re interested) students after school from 4pm-8pm. Targeting students whose safety net is comprised of others living in insecurity. Because if they are well fed, have their homework done, showered, and have their laundry done they will have an easier time finding a friend to take them in. Finding a couch to sleep on is easy if that’s all you need. It is so exciting to be on the startup end of such an amazing agency.


An attempt at taking a picture of the room full of couches, aka my office, a HUD grant proposal, and my mug o’ hot tea. Because coffee doesn’t really work.

Mark your calendars! May 2, 2017 is the day we will be introducing the birth of Sarah Lackner’s MSW Research. We will be celebrating the most grueling adventure I have undertaken so far. The stress, the countless sleepless nights, rigorous doctors demanding seemingly impossible tasks, endless days of hard work and plenty of labor will result in one project to be presented to the world on the second of May….

And then I can look forward to being in my happy place again:


On a Boat

It’s the Fourth Week of Summer Camp. Oh man. These kids! Each day we ride the waves of unpredictable.

Today, the schedule has Tennis first thing in the morning, then Swimming, then back to a normal schedule when we get back. When the tennis coach did not show up in the morning and the Chess Masters showed up after lunch, we accommodated and still had a great time. There is so much going on at camp and the computers are all so bogged down with ad-ons and viruses that I have not been able to do much online- apologies all around! But my roommate is out with her boyfiend, so I will share my today.

Yesterday all the campers went on a field trip to the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a wax museum depicting significant moments in Black history that the creators, Dr. and Mrs. Martin wanted to preserve African-American history, commemorate great leaders and role models, work against concepts of race inferiority, and work with like-minded charitable organizations. They started with four wax figures in the back of their car in 1980 and today there are over 150 figures now. The tour started with ancient Africa, the Queen of Sheeba and such. Then we walked down into a slave ship and learned about slavery, the dehumanizing violence and terrible conditions those who had been kidnapped were subject to. Some of it was rather graphic with brandings, forced feedings, one woman hung from her thumbs and being beaten for attempting to run away and even a lynching exhibit. My kids were not allowed to see that, thankfully. One girl told me today that she dreamed she had been locked in the exhibit and had to sleep in the slave quarters on the ship- try to imagine!

There were many, many important people, many I had heard of, many I had not. All of them were life-sized and almost all of them were extremely realistic so some of the kids were really scared. They look like they could step forward at any instant. Hannibal on his elephant [not life sized], Bessie Coleman, Harriett Tubman, Reginald Lewis, Sojourner Truth, Jessie Owens, and Joko were my favorites of the dozens of people. I never knew about Jocko Graves before. Have you ever seen the little statues in people’s yards of a black man in a red coat? That’s Jocko! The short version of the story is that his job was to watch the horses for George Washington while he launched a surprise attack. He was 12 and told he was too young to fight, so he stood all night holding two horses and froze to death doing just that. Cool story.

Another wave was the flat tire Bus #2 had on the way home and the 2 hours with 44 kids at McDonalds, but that’s not my story to tell.

Aaaanyways. It was a lot of information for my mostly 6 year-olds to take in and I left knowing we would have to discuss it today. Really it was a blessing that Tennis was canceled. First thing we talked about what they had seen and wanted to talk about. They all remembered the violent stuff, of course. We had them all lie down on the floor and talked about being on a slave ship for 3 months after being taken from mom and dad. Stacked row upon row with every possible space filled, never being allowed to get up- not even to use the bathroom! And definitely not to get your wigglies out. They found Jim Crow hard to believe. We have a “Camp Grandma” who volunteers with us and she shared her memories. I was really impacted! Apparently so were they because one girl said she was afraid of white people. 

“Well, except for you, Miss Sarah.”

Then we talked about what “black” means? They told me that’s what they were like I was dumb or something. So we talked about “white” people. We talked about racism and how our country started through the use of slaves and how some of the things that happened 200 years ago to make our country still exist. We started losing them when we started talking about the importance of getting an education which I hope they will remember. In all reality, they only thing they are going to remember was that we did “the wave” at the very end. Because, duh, they were on a booaaaat!

Ok, so my favorite thing that happened today- when I asked who got to decide who was black and who was white and the first answers were “God”

I pray He is looking over these little campers because America can be scary, regardless of what color you were made.

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