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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

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I, like many of you, have been sad, mad, and disgusted by the recent happenings right here in our own country. In our own nation where freedom has been a song sung for generations, white supremacists have stained the honor of that freedom with hypocrisy, hatred, and violence. And, like many of you, I don’t know what to do with my feelings.

On Sunday evening, I answered a Facebook call to a vigil, a simple gathering of diverse people who held candles, sang songs, read poems, quoted speeches, and together held each other up in prayer. We celebrated our freedom to do this on public ground without fear.

I don’t believe that attending a vigil will change much, but it was someplace to go and be with my community in support of the community of Charlottesville. Charlottesville never asked for their town to be the marketplace for hatred. They never wanted angry men carrying tikki torches to make a spectacle of their freedom. How did this happen? I have no answers.

On Monday morning, I spotted this brief rainbow. To me, this is always a sign of God’s promise. We all need to let go of discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance. We are better than this.

My friend Nettie attended Sunday’s vigil. She read aloud the poem, Stonewall Nation. She read it with conviction and passion.

I hope these dark days will pass, and all of us will join together in being a better people and a better nation.

Come on brothers, march along.
We’re all gonna sing our song.
Right now, right now.
Sisters Take me by the hand,
We’re gonna build our promise land,
Right now, right now.

And the Stonewall Nation’s,
Gonna have its liberation.
Wait and see, just wait and see.
You can take your tolerance and stow it,
We’re gonna be ourselves and show it.
The Stonewall Nation is gonna be free.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

My birthday was yesterday and while birthdays can be a big deal, this one made me celebrate the little things.

Like a poem from a student:

So much depends upon the teacher,
clad in happiness
sharing with her students
the secrets to life’s success.

–Lynzee, 3rd grade

Lynzee also brought a birthday banner to hang on my desk for the day.

 

Erin brought me a mug for tea that was a funny play on words: “Go with the Flow” and “Manatee” tea infuser.

 

One of our favorite bands (Nouveau String Band) was playing at one of our favorite places in Breaux Bridge (Joie de Vivre).  Many of our dancing friends came to my “birthday party” and even brought birthday cards.  May Louise’s card was so sweet.  On the front was a cute hair clip that I put in my hair.  The message on the card: “Some people were born to stand out. Happy birthday to one of them…”

Daughter Maggie points to the hair clip in this selfie.

I certainly did stand out at Joie de Vivre last night.  The band played a waltz in my honor and sang Happy Birthday to me.  We’ve grown to be a family of friends.  I’m not usually the center of attention, but for my birthday, why not?  I soaked up all the good energy, good wishes, and love.

A show off turn in the waltz.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

I need to celebrate today.  I think the days when it is hardest are the days when celebration is needed the most.  Today I am celebrating in pictures from my phone storage.

I saw this scene as I was driving home.  I stopped, got out of my car, walked across the street to the bridge to capture the sunset.  I celebrate that every day there is beauty in the world.

This bulletin board is outside my room at one of my three schools.  This school has a Disney theme this year.  I celebrate the students who helped me create this board and I celebrate that the letters are running over the edge of the border and I’m OK with it. I had to “Let it go!” (That’s from another Disney movie, isn’t it?)

This sign was stuck to the mirror at another school.  I celebrate the positive messages I’ve received this week from colleagues and friends.  They are my rainbows.  I received this text on the first day of school: “Just thinking about you and wishing you a very good year at school.  I hope your travels to three school goes smoothly.”

Sunsets. Mermaids. Rainbows.  Positive, magical messages that make me happy.

What are some of the positive messages you’ve received this week?

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

I wasn’t going to write today.  I woke up to freezing temperatures and a yard of wilting plants.   But then I checked my phone and found love in the Twitter feed.

I melted into tears.  I’ve know Leigh Anne virtually for years.  We’ve visited each other’s blogs.  We’ve exchanged teaching ideas.  One summer I did a Google Hang-out with a summer writing class she was teaching.  But we’ve never met in person.  To think that my words could be so inspiring to someone I’ve never met face to face just boggles my mind.

My friend, Julieanne, wrote today about her cyber-bubble, those people we hang out with virtually through Twitter and Facebook, Voxer and Blogger.  In this world, I’ve met some of the most precious people on earth.  I have come to call them friends.

In this daily struggle to understand what the hell we are doing here, my online community holds me together, grounds me, helps me to see what is truly important.

My OLW this year is Cherish.  Leigh Anne coined the term Cherishment.  I cherish all of you who click over to this space and read and comment and otherwise spread the love.  Please take a minute to go to Leigh Anne’s blog today.  She made a poem from comments on my blog.  I plan to print the poem and keep it close.

On Wednesday this week, my body revolted.  I had a violent and mean stomach virus.  Along with cherishing others this year, I want to cherish my own body.  I hated it with a passion on Wednesday, but a miracle shot from my trusted physician made it all better.

Today, I was encouraged by a friend to attend a yoga class.  I haven’t done yoga in a while and was worried about how my body would work.  The instructor calmed me throughout and by the end of the session, I was weeping.  Cherish seems to lead me to tears.  I was overwhelmed by the feeling of peace and the comfort.  This feeling calls for a  healing haiku.

pranayama-haiku

#haikuforhealing #haikuforhope #commonplacemarvels #cherishment

 

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

 

Gratitude takes many forms.  Gratitude for my online community means writing a haiku-a-day in December.  Mary Lee posted the challenge, and Michelle is curating all the bloggers participating. We are all using #haikuforhealing.

haiku-clouds

 

I also feel gratitude for poetry and for authors who promote poetry in the classroom.

Poetry has the power to transform a classroom environment.  On Friday I went off the lesson plan path and shared a new book that I received at NCTE16 from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, the partnership behind Poetry Friday anthologies.  Just You Wait is their latest anthology.  I love the new way this one is designed with a poem from an outside poet, a response poem from Janet, and a poem writing activity from Sylvia.  The subtitle reads  “A Poetry Friday Power Book”, and it certainly packed a good punch in my classroom.

After showing my students a picture of Margarita Engle (by looking at her picture, we knew she was of a different race, but which one?), I read her poem “Who am I?”.  This poem speaks of the half Cuban she is and how there is no bubble on the form for being half.  I have bi-racial students, so we talked honestly about what this means.

We also discussed the mentor text poem and how the end is like a punch line that makes you think.  So my students and I wrote together using the form “Today I am someone who…” I could not have predicted the impact this exercise would have on my students.  They wrote from their hearts.  So much so that some do not want to share with the public, but they did feel safe enough to share with me and their classmates.  We were all moved.  And through connections and writing, we became closer, a stronger community of writers.

Some posted their poems on our kidblog site for the public.  You can read them here. I emailed Sylvia and Janet, and they both graciously left comments. I can’t wait to share these on Monday. #Gratitude for digital spaces that allow this immediate and authentic feedback.

Erin handed me her poem and asked that I publish it on my blog.  She is bi-racial.  Her mother is from the Philippines.  She is determined to fight the stereotypes.

Poetry Friday: Stereotypes

by Erin

Today
I am
not just another stereotypical Asian
I’m someone who doesn’t want to be a doctor
I’m someone who isn’t just a goody-two-shoes
I’m not someone who thinks studying is more important than friends
I’m someone who doesn’t always make good grades
I’m someone who will never be just another Asian
I’m someone who will crush these stereotypes and others like it

I write alongside my students.  When I wrote this last line, little did I know how true it was.  My students find poems and express their hearts.

Today
I am
someone who welcomes toe tickles from my dog, Charlie
someone who froths milk for coffee every day
someone who looks at nature for inspiration
someone who finds poems hiding in her junk drawer
someone who finds poems in the hearts of children

— Margaret Simon

 

Please join the conversation today with your link.

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digilit-gratitude

This image was the Twitter image I made for this week’s DigiLit link-up but never posted.  As many of you, I’ve been enjoying time with my family this holiday weekend.  I will extend this topic to next week, so think about joining the round up next week on Sunday, Dec. 4th.

I would like you to think about what DigiLit Sunday means to you.  I was asked to explain it last weekend at NCTE, and I realized the description has changed from my original intent.  I wanted a space to showcase my students’ digital work as well as a place to have conversations around digital literacy.  The purpose has turned to one that more deeply defines my teaching practice.

My posts and those of others who link up seem to gravitate to the theory around the topic and how that plays out in the classroom.  Is it time for a new name?  Any ideas?

I want to keep #DigiLitSunday going.  I am grateful for everyone who links up week after week.  How can we build a stronger future?  What need does this platform serve?

I am full of questions this week as the kitchen has quieted down, and I prepare for the ending of 2016.  Let me know in the comments or by email if you have any ideas you would like to share.  Thanks for being here.

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Gorgeous fall flowers for the table.

Gorgeous fall flowers for the table.

 

Time changes things.  For practically every Thanksgiving in my adult life, I’ve traveled home to Mississippi for Thanksgiving.  This year, with our growing family, I felt it was time to stay home.  I missed being with my family of origin but loved being with my daughters and their significant others (one husband, one fiancé, and one boyfriend).

This Thanksgiving became cooking by committee.  At one point I looked around my kitchen, and there were only guys cooking.  Each couple contributed something to the meal.  But also, these grown children worked together in every way.  Such a fun thing to watch and be a part of.  As the meal was almost ready to be served, I cried out, “Salad!”  There is always something we’ve forgotten.  Usually it’s cranberry sauce or bread, but this year it was the salad.  As I scrambled to get the salad ready, others stopped and chopped.  Our small community came together to make everything just right.

Friday, the committee started up again with the traditional turkey and sausage gumbo.  I know nothin’ ’bout cookin’ a gumbo, being a Mississippi girl and all.  But there is something so comforting about the scent of a dark roux.

As this holiday comes to a close, I celebrate change.  I celebrate a growing family. I celebrate the new generation.

My married daughter, Katherine, has two dogs, so we took daily walks in the neighborhood.

My married daughter, Katherine, has two dogs, so we took daily walks in the neighborhood.

 

A satsuma candle made by Paul using a satsuma peel and a touch of olive oil.

A satsuma candle made by Paul using a satsuma peel and a touch of olive oil.

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