Posts Tagged ‘OLW’

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My One Little Word for 2018 is Explore! I’ve decided to thoroughly embrace this word this summer.  I am currently on an exploratory adventure at the beach.  My daughter is an account executive for an advertising agency, so she had some meetings here and invited me to tag along.  What a treat!  Our first day we ventured out to an inlet lake that is surrounded by sand dunes.  We did stand up paddleboarding.  The day was hot and sunny, but we did it.  I felt a sense of pride that I was actually able to make the paddleboard move in a somewhat straight line.  On Wednesday, I’m going to try paddleboard yoga.

This morning while she was in meetings, I ventured out to Grayton Beach State Park. Even in the rain, this was a beautiful area.  I was alone on the trail of crystal sand dunes, of bending sand live oaks, and of tall pines that look like tall umbrellas. The dunes set off a lake (Western Lake where we went paddleboarding.) that is a unique salt water/ fresh water ecosystem.  The dunes themselves are preserved. Here are a few of my pictures.

Grayton Beach sand dunes


Sand live oaks grow in sculpted shapes.

The sky itself looks like an ocean.


Hanging out with women in the advertising business has taught me some new terms to add to my lexicon:

  1. cranking: This is another word for getting on the computer and getting work done.  Best done when it’s raining and you can’t go “content gathering.”
  2. content gathering: This is a term for going out and taking pictures so that you can post them on social media to show others how fun it is to be here.
  3. content: a picture that could be used to promote a place.  One of my pictures was used on Instagram as “content.” Follow @Southwalton

And the best way to have a team meeting is when everyone is in PJs and passing around a bottle of wine.  (I think I may have gotten into the wrong profession.)  In addition to being a relaxing trip to the beach, I have enjoyed time alone with daughter number 2 and learning about the work she does everyday.  It’s not always at the beach, though.


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Find the round up of Spiritual Journey posts at Donna’s site, Mainly Write

Today our spiritual Thursday bloggers are writing about Donna’s one little word, Reach.  This was my word in 2015.  I chose it that year as I was finishing a manuscript that I wanted to publish.  That book is still not a book, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the word Reach.

When I searched my blog for Reach, I found this quote above.  Sometimes wisdom comes to me.  Today I needed to see this again.  I needed to remember that all we can do at any one time is to be present to it.

I switched my classroom Wonder calendar to May and found this quote waiting for me.

Personal Courage Month

Many of us have big things we’d like to do, but we’re too nervous or shy to try them. Try doing one thing this month that will get you closer to the big thing you’d like to do–tell someone about it, ask for help, read a book about it.

I have an idea that I will be sharing with an upper administrator today.  Fingers crossed he gets it, understands my goals, and pushes me forward to meet them.

I have an idea for a poetry book.  I’m reading, researching, experiencing, and playing with words.  It’s about process, practice, practice, and process.

I will revise my works in progress again and again until they are ready for the wider world.  Confidence, patience, persistence.

Reaching is hard work.

Reaching is stretching till it hurts.  Hold.  Then stretch more.

Reaching is shooting for the moon and landing among the stars.  I’m OK with the stars.  I have friends there.


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Finding spiritual journey fellows on the internet is such a wonderful gift. We are gathering each month on the first Thursday to blog together. Today, you may link up and read more posts at Leigh Anne Eck’s site Turn.

The theme of our posts today is Leigh Anne’s One Little Word, Rise. I love this word. Simple, one syllable, and yet full of hope and love and light. I immediately think of a spiritual I would sing with kids “Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory, Glory.”

This week I presented my students with the Maya Angelou poem, “Still I Rise.” What did they think of this old African American woman laughing out loud on the video and saying she dances like she has diamonds on her thighs? When you place her words in the context of her life and the Civil RIghts Movement, they resonate.
“You may trod me in the very dirt.
But still, like dust, I rise.”

Maya Angelou speaks of the human spirit, the spirit that is guided by and held in the hands of God. I wonder if I have that kind of spirit. Preparing to teach about another Civil Rights hero, Fannie Lou Hammer, I read poem after poem about her being trod in the dirt, over and over, and still she rose. She didn’t give up. I am humbled by her resilience.


Looking to these heroes who turned against adversity and prejudice and pain, and led their friends to Rise, I feel an obligation, a resolve to be strong and resilient. I cannot do that without being willing to be humble and kind and to turn my heart to the love of God.


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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.


#haikuforhealing #haikuforhope #commonplacemarvels #cherishment


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

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


I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus Christ lately.   In the past two weeks, I saw “Jesus Christ Superstar” at a local performance theater twice.  Even though I continually had to tell myself that the man on stage was really Billy (I’ve known him since he was in elementary school), I couldn’t help but feel the presence of Jesus.  Not Jesus a savior, but Jesus as a man.  A person who had very complicated feelings.  A person who had a calling to do something that was out of the ordinary.

Today, for Spiritual Thursday, we are writing about Linda Kulp’s OLW, Simplify.  I look to this image of Jesus as a man.  I look at the flowers blooming in my yard.  Nothing is simple.  God’s call is simply “Love.”  Yet there is nothing simple about it.

The bridal wreath is so beautiful, white and simple, yet close-up you can see the complicated pattern of tiny blossoms in a cluster.  Even nature isn’t simple.


Bridal wreath flowers

Bridal wreath flowers

What can I do to Simplify?

I can let go of senseless worry.  I can look for ways to show love every day.  I can pray “Abba” with my breath.

I can also realize that beauty and love are not always simple.  I can accept that answering God’s call isn’t an easy task, and I can look to Jesus to show me how.


Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

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

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

Sun beams through clouds

I try to take a photo of the sun coming through the clouds. My photo can’t capture the beauty. It can’t capture the moment. So I will try these words. Maybe they can tell you what I see and why it is magnificent.

The sun is a bright yellow-white light shining through a bluish-grey sea of clouds. Beams of light reach from the sun to the ground below, spotlighting the golden fields fallow now in winter. The clouds are white-capped waves dancing on the surface of the sea.

When the sun does this, no matter my mood or what I am worried about, my breath calms and sighs. Because of the magnanimity of it. How can I stay moody, anxious, or worried? Like when the geese fly with Mary Oliver and “announce my place in the family of things.”

I am driving to school. My car slows. Another driver passes me, honks the horn, zooms the engine, but still I slow down. I should slow down, enter my day like this sun plays on the sky’s monkey bars.

A dedicated science teacher I knew had a bumper sticker that read, “I stop for road kill.” My bumper sticker should be “I slow down for sun beams.” How else are we to be present in this world? How else can we say “thank you” to our creator? Recalls to mind a church camp song, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Glad! That’s it. Be glad.

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Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.


For Spiritual Thursday, we are writing about our little words.  Today is dedicated to Justin’s word for 2016, Faith. This winter I’ve had a few physical trials that have been frustrating to say the least, but not life threatening. I know I will heal. Sometimes faith is hard. Sometimes faith forsakes. Faith challenges.

Bayou reflection, January.  by Margaret Simon

Bayou reflection, January.
by Margaret Simon

Only in winter
with a certain slant of light
a forest reflection
mirrors a standing of trees.

My eye draws a straight line
up from earth
down to water, this perfect line
dissolves as the sun rises higher.

Yet, I am still standing.
I plant my feet into the earth,
walk a muddy path
holding bare arms out
to catch the wind.

I want to feel your breath
on my skin, Lord. Know you are
with me in all things.
Take hold of my hand.
Whisper all will be well.
All will be well.

–Margaret Simon

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Spirit Tree

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Holly invites us to write about each other’s one little word. This week we are writing about my word, Present. Click on the icon above to go to other blogs to see what they are saying about Presence.

On Sunday, one of the readings was from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. He writes about spiritual gifts. Thinking of the word presents as a synonym for gifts, I decided to re-write the verse into a more modern version.

A rewriting of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 12:1-11

Now concerning spiritual gifts, there are many.
The Spirit is generous when you agree to it.
Manifested for peace and goodness,
our hearts must play along.

You may have the gift of speaking
with confidence and knowledge.
Like our friend, Martin, with his dream,
you should speak up.

You may be the one we can all count on,
you show up and bring food. You give us hugs
and tell us how pretty we look today.

You may be the one who comforts, you know
about essential oils and whole foods. Your touch
on our chakras can produce heat and healing.

You may understand fully the phases of the moon.
You know the best time to plant trees. You feed the birds.
You have an herb garden.
And free range chickens. One is named Harvey.

You may be a collector of words,
Uplifting our days on Facebook
with a quote of the day.
Always clever, ever kind.

Whatever your gift of the Spirit is,
use it. Flaunt it. Show it off.
You never know who’s watching,
learning, growing, needing
the very thing you have to give.

Don’t question the Spirit. It knows
what it knows and chooses whom it chooses.
Embrace His Presence. Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine!

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Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.



Paper Whites, Margaret Simon

For the next few weeks, blogger-friends and I will be posting about the spiritual aspects of our chosen words for 2016.  This week we are writing about Carol Varsalona’s word, Believe.

I took this picture of paper whites blooming in my front yard this week.  When I see flowers blooming, I believe deeper in the true magic of life.  I didn’t plant these flowers, and yet, every year they pop up and show their little white star-like faces. They shine.  Wake me up. Make me Believe.

I encouraged my students to create an acrostic with their words.  An acrostic is when you use the letters of the word as the beginning letter for each line of the poem.  Sounds easy enough, so I decided to write one with the word Believe.   In my notebook I wrote about 3 half-possibilities.  Each one kept sounding sappy.

But Believe is not a sappy word.

Believe is a strong word,
a word that holds on for dear life,
never letting you completely fall,
Believe buoys you up,
especially when troubles want to push you down.

Believe is a word you can count on,
holding its own weight.
Trusting in you to show up
when the sun is rising,
be ready for this new day.

Believe is a certain word,
proud yet humble,
a handkerchief that your grandmother stitched
calmly drying your tears,
then showing you the stars.
Believe believes in you.

–Margaret Simon





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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

In an attempt to get more participation in DigiLit Sunday, I tweeted out a topic this week, One Little Word. My students worked on their OLW projects the first few days of our return from break. I think this helped them focus and get excited about a new year.

As usual, I offered choices for their project. But for their blog posts, I had three requirements: an image, commentary, and poem. Many chose to write acrostic poems. Most of them chose to use Canva after I showed them how it worked.

Canva is a platform where you can create posters. We did not print the posters, but I uploaded them into their blog posts. Using thesaurus.com, they found synonyms for their words and in some cases, changed their word to one found in the search.

I have been thinking a lot about digital literacies, in particular visual literacies. How does the image convey meaning? I was careful to ask my students, “When you think of your word, what is the image you see?” For Jacob, his word Believe meant blue ocean water. For Madison, her word Effort was communicated by a rocket. Vannisa found a word that connected her interest in sleep (her passion project topic) and her zodiac sign (Pisces) by choosing Dream. She worked with the shape tools of Canva to create a cloud behind her word.

Kielan supported her choice of a star image (her word is Sparkle) with this piece of writing: “There are over a billion stars in the sky. Out of all those stars, there is one particular star that stands out from the rest. All those stars are one color, but this star is all colors. Blue, Red, Green, Purple, you name it. I want to be just like that star. I want to be bold, stand out, sparkle, and be like no other.”

Believe by Jacob

Believe by Jacob

Dream by Vannisa

Dream by Vannisa

Effort by Madison

Effort by Madison

Link up your DigiLit Sunday posts. Topic for next week: Balance (of digital and nondigital)

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