Friday, May 20, 2016

I Celebrate Story

Tonight...I celebrate story...and yours.

Some time ago, I asked God to use His scalpel and scrape away the ugly gunk covering my most inner heart. I had no idea it would be such a painful process.

Throughout this ordeal, I have learned that each of us has a story to tell...

That my students have their own stories...

That the opposite of love is not hate...but fear...

So...When students seem to hate, I can ask myself, What are they fearing? What is causing alarm and anxiety and the reaction I see?

As we slow down to hear each other's stories, we build community, we build acceptance,  and we build classrooms where students feel valued and loved.

This week, I celebrate learning more about myself and my own story so that I have a more attentive ear to the stories that surround me each and every day...

After all, if you don't tell your story, who will?

If you don't listen to students' stories, who will?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Where I'm From"

I am from the gravel pit,
From slimy frogs and muddy clothes.
I am from the tall trees,
beckoning to me, to come climb.
I am from the railroad tracks,
white, smooth sand left behind
in which we'd play.

I'm from Christmas cookies
and feasts during the holidays,
Warm, sweet/salty ham, dinner
rolls, and baked potatoes.

I'm from Mom playing the piano,
earning candy bars from
verses memorized at church, and
prayer before meals.
I'm from the father who prayed without ceasing,
from Ronda, Steve, Mark, Shelley, and Chris.

I'm from Ron and Jackie's branch,
weekends spent helping grandparents in Marion.
Traveling through the stone walls in Wabash en route.

I'm from the father
who lost his eye to the arrow,
his finger to the hatchet,
both compliments of the same brother.

I'm from family together times,
family loss times,
family triumphant times.

Mounds of memories
cherished in my heart.
Together, they make me who I am today.

Modeled after George Ella Lyon's "Where I'm From" poem...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Time Flies

This weekend, I celebrate 15 years of life with my oldest daughter--and 19 years of marriage.

I look at my beautiful, healthy, smart, athletic girl and wonder where the years have gone. It seems just yesterday that she was a baby, crying every time we rode in the car, and I didn't hold her hand. Some days, I wish we could go back to those close times.

19 years of marriage changes a person. I celebrate a husband who was present for the births of all four of our children, a husband who has been around for all of the ups and downs of raising kids, growing up, and growing older. I know he will always have my back. I celebrate his faithfulness!

I celebrate life--waking up each morning with air in my lungs and a body that works.

I celebrate one more day with this family I love.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Words are not Enough

Yesterday I sat beside you on your bed
Knowing it might be my last time to say
I love you.

I manage those words but nothing more.
Why is it so hard to speak my heart
to this man I love?

Memories flood my mind as I sit,
wishing I had the right words.

How does one voice appreciation to a man
who sacrificed everything
for those he loves?

A man who worked tirelessly
to take care of those entrusted to him...

A man who spoke truth,
even when it was sure
to cause division...

I celebrate you, Dad,
for your laughter,
your kind words,
The strength you showed outwardly,
even if unsure inside.

I celebrate you for your model
of sacrifice and commitment.

True love in its purest form.

Kisses in My Pocket

I told Reana 5 years ago I'd write a book called Kisses in My Pocket-- after her sweet habit of always filling my pockets with her kisses when we parted. After attending All Write!!! this week, I've been inspired to work on the project. Rather than wite a book, though, I composed a poem on the way home from Roz's Michigan baseball game tonight.  It's just a rough draft and needs lots of work... It's just a START!

There are kisses in my pocket

One saved for each day I've been away from you

Some--those monstrous kisses that come from special events
Others those sent in passing, when one thing leads into another
As things so often do...

One from the first day of kindergarten
One from the first overnight stay
One from the tough times we went through
One meant just to say Are you okay?

One from that first lost tooth
the last first for this family
One for the 

Others have come and gone

Too numerous to count
If I could gather them together
What an astronomical amount!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Ballad: My Dear Children

My students are writing poetry.  I have two of my classes writing ballads and sonnets.  I decided I HAVE to try to write one of each or else I'm a lousy teacher! ;)

I've written a great deal of free verse poetry, Haikus, limericks, etc.--BUT NEVER a ballad or sonnet.  Oh, I'm sure during my high school and/or college days, I had to write them for an assignment, but never as an adult!  That's almost embarrassing to admit! goes!  I know that the rules can vary a bit, but this is what I'm trying for...

--Arranged in quatrains (4-line stanzas); every-other syllable is accented.  Syllables for each line follow:
--Rhyme scheme ABCB within each stanza (again, this can vary, but this is the rhyme scheme I've chosen for this attempt!).

             My Dear Children

I love these kids who are so fun!
They make my life complete.
From morn to night and night to morn
They argue and compete.

They scuffle and they whine a bit
They roughhouse and they kick.
Sometimes they spit down from a branch
Oh what a rotten trick.

But by the end of each long day
They are my favorite kids.
They have a way with this, my heart
No others would I wish.

 I wasn't sure if the last line makes complete sense.  I would like, "For no others would I wish," but I can't have the extra syllable...
---or "to trade them God forbids." :)      (I thought of this for my last line; it made Gary and me laugh; however, Gary says he likes the line I have within the stanza better...  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oh, What a Crazy but-- OH SO FUN-- Day!!!

Why is it that spring break week feels so much busier than a "normal" week?  Take today, for instance...

I took 6 girls rollerskating.  I was going to take a picture of the Roller Derby Cuties and include it in my post, but I forgot my camera!  :(   My youngest and her friend were decked out in fluorescent striped tights; one girl had black and neon orange stripes; the other had black and neon yellow.  Both girls then donned shorts, t-shirts, and tall slipper boots.  The orange-tighted Roller Derby Cutey had bright green boots, while the yellow-tighted cutey had bright orange, tall boots.  We went to the store, too...I wonder what people thought!  ;)  The girls said they were hippies...

After three hours of roller skating and no broken bones, we went to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  Grandpa's hospital bed was delivered to his den/living room yesterday by Hospice.  We had to check it out...As we talked, Grandma noted that their coffee table was too big now, with the hospital bed in the room, so they needed something a bit smaller.  We agreed to look for one.

After visiting a bit, my son texted and said he hadn't been picked up from baseball practice.  Since we couldn't reach his dad, we packed up hurriedly and began our journey to get him...knowing he'd probably have to wait almost an hour from the time he got out of practice.  Ugh!  As we waited for the train en route, we finally were able to reach abandoned boy by phone, and he informed us that his dad had, indeed, retrieved him from practice.  Whew!  Now we could rest easy...or so we thought...

That was UNTIL we sighted a small coffee table out front of what I'm sure was a drug dealer's home--for sale--in the front yard.  Back to the bank we go...get some cash to get Gram that table...Back to home boy's house for the table, only to find no one home to pay. What to do?  I didn't have change...ATM's are not accommodating with the change the gas station-- down, across the road.  The nice cashier gave us change. Back to the scary house.  

Rap! Rap! Rap!

Rap! Rap! Rap!

Rap! Rap! Raaaaap!!!!!!

Since nobody would answer the door, we wrapped the money in a paper and left a note, sticking the wad in the door, hoping the right person found the looked like two renters occupied the home.

We loaded up the table and exited down the alley, only to find a recently-arrived old brown pickup truck in the drive.  That hadn't been there before!  There was a man in back, so we asked if the garage sale stuff was his.  Yep! Or so he says, I thought to myself!

I tried to explain that we left his money in the door, but he wanted me to go with him to show him...Ugh!  "My kids are in the van," I explained, "so I have to hurry."  Maybe that will prevent him from abducting me, I thought to myself!  No one would abduct a mom whose kids are waiting there for her, in the van, right???!!!

After showing the money to the kind man who asked my name and scared me just a little, I hurried back to the van, to head back to Grandma's with the table.  The girls sighed with relief...Mom was NOT abducted!!!   They informed me that they'd put the windows down so they could hear if I screamed, and they'd made a plan to take off in the van if so...Hmmmm....At least they were thinking of me!  What kind, smart, thoughtful girls!

Back to Gram's...

I insisted on "sanitizing" the table on her front porch.  I scrubbed with soap and water.  I'm not sure, but I think some of the scrubbed-off bits could have been old boogers...Oh my...What love I must have for these parents of mine!  :)

After it was scrubbed clean and then polished, we traded out big table for small one, moved the biggie to the big living room, and left the small one in its place.  The nice man laying carpet in the hall is probably aggravated with me, I thought, as I tiptoed around him, carrying the too-big table. 

Finally...we sighed and headed down the road...only to get a block away and remember we forgot to leave Grandma the cookies we'd baked for her...

I think I need a vacation...   :)