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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

 

Over the summer I connected with JoAnne Duncan through Voxer.  JoAnne is an assistant principal in Washington. Connecting with other educators across the globe is exciting to me.  Little did I know how much this new friendship would grow and sprout new growth.

On Friday afternoon after a difficult day, I checked Facebook to find a video message for me (and others) from JoAnne.  She was challenging us to join a kindness project, #welearnkindness.  This project stems from the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  JoAnne’s school is reading the book and raising awareness of bullying in new and innovative ways.  One way is asking others to join the kindness challenge by taking 3 action steps in 24 hours.

The idea is to tag others on Facebook or Twitter to take on the challenge themselves.  This is how phenomenons are started.  Remember the ice bucket challenge?

On Monday, I did my three acts of kindness, but the planning started on Sunday. My husband added Swiss Rolls to his Walmart list so that I could treat one of my students for his birthday.  I grabbed a bouquet of flowers on my grocery run, and I located a gift I had bought during the summer to give to a colleague.

When I arrived at my first school, I caught the assistant principal in the hallway and asked if I could take her breakfast duty.  She was grateful and rushed to do whatever it is assistant principals have to do.  (I’m sure her list was long.) While in the cafeteria, I talked with our French teacher whom I know little about and learned he is from Niger, Africa.  We had a great conversation.

At school number 2, I handed my colleague her belated birthday gift.  I had tagged her in the kindness challenge, and she brought me cookies.  She also challenged other teachers in our school.  I saw one carrying around candy treats to give to kids caught being kind.  This kindness thing is spreading quickly.

At school number 3 where I am new this year, I brought fall flowers to a teacher across the hall who is helping me navigate this new-to-me place.  She was more than thrilled.  I think I made her cry.  She will talk to me about those flowers every day this week, I’m sure.

But I am not writing about these acts of kindness to tell you how wonderful I am at being kind.  I’m writing this post because of the way I felt all day on Monday.

Kindness buoyed me through my day.

Kindness lightened my heart and made me smile.

Kindness spreads like wildflowers on a spring wind.

Try it.  I think you’ll find that being kind makes you a happier person all the way around.

Pledge to Choose Kind!

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Recently I have connected with Jennifer Laffin of Teach Write.  She invited me to be a part of a team encouraging teachers to write.  Our monthly Twitter chats occur on the first Monday at 7:30 PM EST with the hashtag #TeachWrite. (Our next chat is Oct. 2, 2017.) I subscribed to her personal blog as well as her professional one at Sweet Writing Life.  She wanted to commit herself to a more disciplined daily writing routine, so she started a daily word prompt.  She tweets the word at #DWHabit.  This was today’s tweet:

 

I am not sure I will have the time to respond every day, but today, I took the word explain for a walk.  My students teach me over and over again that sometimes I need to stop, take a breath, and backtrack before moving on.  Sometimes more words just muddy the waters. This is a first draft poem.

Explanation

I don’t want to explain again
and again.  Words hit the air,
make waves that dissipate,
fall
before your ears
catch them.

I’d rather you look
into my eyes
to understand,
feel in your heart
a knowing.

My breath is tired
of moving
so fast, so I stop.
Pause.
Fingers to my lips
forbid me to move on.

When I hit the reset button,
I can hear your confusion.
I am the one
who needs to retrace my steps,
start over,

and listen.

Thanks for this prompt, Jennifer.

If you choose to join Jennifer and me practicing our daily writing muscles, tune in to #DWHabit or follow Jennifer on Facebook.

 

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Poetry Friday posts are with Kathryn Apel all the way from Australia.

 

Most of my week was spent inside my house watching the weather channel and wondering what Hurricane Harvey had in mind.  He was a destructive force in South Texas.  But here in Acadiana, we got some rain, some wind, and three days off of school.  I am happy we didn’t have to endure the suffering of flooding and wind damage, but there’s a part of me that feels guilty about that.

I’m in charge of this month’s #10foundwords article for Laura Shovan’s Facebook poetry project.  I chose an article that Tabatha Yeatts posted about how we can help Houston: Ways to Help People During Hurricane Harvey.

The ten words I found are: storm, contribute, massive, functioning, need, home, shelter, giving, dramatic, midst.

While the storm was heading north to dissipate, a few bands of wind gusts passed our way.  I love the way the cypress trees bend and wave with the wind.  They are designed to withstand hurricanes and tropical storms.  I went outside to video the trees. When the wind passes through the trees, it sounds like waves on the seaside.

I realized that the video could enhance my poem, so I worked on an iMovie.  If I had been teaching, I never would have had time for this kind of creative play.  The grace of this storm was time to create. The grace of poetry is words to express my deepest empathy.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

 

Grace takes a breath.

Grace assumes positive intent. Grace gives us permission to fail or forget or forge ahead. Grace helps us to try again, to keep going, to work the tasks, one manageable piece at a time.

Lee Ann Spillane

For my one little word in 2017, I chose Cherish.  There was purpose in this as I knew the special moments with my children would be fewer.  I wanted to be sure to cherish every family event.  And I did.  We had a beautiful wedding in March, and I cherished visiting time with family this summer.

 

Things change.  Fast forward to August, 2017 when the thing I need most is grace.  The kind of grace that Lee Ann Spillane is asking for.  The grace that lets me be imperfect and unorganized, stressed out and overwhelmed.

This grace comes in the questions from my yoga instructor on Saturday:

How will you enter into this day?
Will you try to fit through the needle?
What is the shape of a cloud?

Metaphorical me wants to have grace like a cloud, not the stormy ones that have threatened the Gulf coast this week, but those white fluffy ones.  The ones that cover the sun allowing crepuscular rays to escape.  I find hope in those clouds. I can be any shape I want to be.

I received grace in the storm.

Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston. For that, I am deeply saddened and continually praying.  Around here in South Louisiana, we’ve had rain, rain, rain.  School was cancelled due to street flooding, but so far no home damage.

My grace came in the shape of a storm.  Time to resettle myself.  Time to regroup, reorganize, and get a grip.  Time to cherish my good fortune and blessings.

Help Houston:

Kate Messner has set up an auction KitLit Cares.  Please consider a bid to benefit yourself and your students and ultimately help our friends in Houston.

This storm just won’t quit.  My friend, author Caroline Sibbald Leech, posted this link for places to donate and ways to help.

 

Be sure to set aside time on Labor Day evening to join the #TeachWrite Twitter chat as we discuss finding time to write.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

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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