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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

St. Mary Falls, Glacier Park

 

Montana mountains
marvel me with rugged peaks
water blue as topaz.

 

 

Bear Grass wildflower
Glacier Park, Montana

 

Bear grass blossoms
a mountain spray of stars
invite travelers in.

 

 

Kayaker on St. Mary Lake, Glacier Park, Montana.

Lone kayak streams
rock mosaic reflection
private piece of heaven

 

I understand why Basho turned to haiku to capture moments in nature.  They are just too big to write big about.  Last week, my husband and I spent July 4th with my friend Dani and her husband, Randy, hiking in Glacier Park.  A note about Dani: We meet through a Voxer group and Twitter chats with #G2Great.  It means so much to me to have a close friend so far away.  What a joy to get our guys together and spend time in a magnificent wonderland! These pictures say it all, beauty and majesty, and all that is good.

 

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

Living near nature puts you in touch with the sanctity of all life. I am spending Memorial Day weekend at my parents’ home on a lake in Mississippi. They watch the birds that come and go like they are their own family. Mom called me a few months ago to tell me the goslings had hatched. And now those babies have grown and still come by every afternoon. When years ago the Canada geese were invasive and leaving behind a stinky mess, now they are part of the nature of things that live with my parents. They cry out, “The babies are here!” My father says he has new respect for the species because the father stays with the mother and goslings.

Two Canada Geese families

Around Easter, I noticed a new contraption in my neighbor’s front oak tree. I couldn’t tell what it was, but there was a metal ladder, a wooden platform with a small umbrella set above it. What could this project be?

We saw our neighbors at the Boy Scout banquet last week and Svitlana shared with me her story. She had rescued a baby owlet and the mother owl. They had both been injured in a storm. Ric made a platform for her to place a basket on. She cared for the mother and child for about 6 weeks. She fed the mother who then fed her baby. I was enthralled by her story. She sent some pictures to me.

Svitlana rescues an owlet.

Mother barred owl in basket.

In her poetry, Mary Oliver reminds me to pay attention. We are all part of the family of things. Nature can guide us to ourselves and to God. I want to live in this knowledge and appreciate the sanctity of nature.

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

 

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Ruth Ayres hosts a round-up on her blog each week of Celebration posts.  Again, I haven’t been participating each week, but the fact that she’s there is a gentle reminder to celebrate even the little things.

My #Teachwrite colleagues Leigh Anne and Michelle recently wrote slices about things that they prefer.  Leigh Anne titled her post “I’d rather”.  Michelle’s post was Early Mornings. I’m in the early morning camp.

Today, I celebrate the things I love

I love…an early morning walk.

I love… the sound of birds echoing through the trees.

I love... Charlie bouncing near me, his tags tinkling like bells.

I love...the scents of wisteria, sweet olive, satsuma blossoms filling the morning air.

I love…cut flowers in a vase on the kitchen table.

I love…frothed milk with coffee, Starbucks French Roast.

I love…writing in the morning.

I love…the quiet of students writing.

I love…the noise of student engagement.

I love…a glass of wine at the end of the day.

Spring on the bayou

 

 

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone at Check it Out.

A week off to enjoy family, friends, and food.  I’m sharing my week in verse.

Throw me somethin’ Mister!

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2018

Mardi Gras after the rain
Parades roll, beads fly,
Hands waving high.

Open doors,
chicken fingers,
Chili Fritos,

Costumes, blue hair,
hugs
and happy laughs,

Marching bands,
King cake,
Vodka and La Croix.

Come on in,
stay right here,
Bacchus is rolling soon.

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2018

Houston in the rain
heavy trucks spray
hold on tight.

Find a friend.
Sit a while
comfort in just being.

Glasses of wine,
flat bread pizza,
gather around the table.

Ukulele playing,
out of tune singing,
cuddles with the dog.

There is love here,
not over the rainbow yet,
but healing will come.

My friend Sarah is fighting the battle for her life.

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Ashes to ashes,
we are but dust,
miserable wormness,

Yet now is the time
to reach out
to reach in.

Be alone with God
to realize you are
never alone.

Spread the fruit
of your solitude.
Translate cynicism to Joy!

I am but dust.
Life is a gift.
Existence is grace.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Japanese magnolia blooms
along my walking route,
sending pink fragrance into fog.

My mind wanders as I walk,
thoughts of children
whose lives were shot short.

My voice speaks to neighbors.
Can I trust my words
to be kind?

We are all wandering
on this lonely path
questioning God’s grace.

Find meaning in a moment,
Joy in a conversation,
Light in a dew drop.

 

 

 

 

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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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