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Posts Tagged ‘One Little Word’

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

What is your vision for 2019?  We really can’t know what the future holds, but we can think about what we want to do and be in the coming year.  I’ve never done a vision board before, and I can’t say that I am any kind of expert. I started when my students were working on One Little Word magazine collages.

Yesterday I made the necessary step to add more yoga into my life.  I signed up and paid for a class beginning in February.  And I put it in as a regular alert on my phone.

I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast ever since the winter break when my middle daughter visited.  She made a smoothie every morning and got me hooked.  My youngest daughter gave me a Magic Bullet blender in which the container converts to a cup with a top, so I can blend and go.  My typical recipe is quarter cup Greek yogurt, quarter cup oatmeal, half cup milk, teaspoon of flaxseed, half a banana, half an avocado (or Kale, if the avocado isn’t riper yet), and quarter cup blueberries (or strawberries). I am amazed at how full I feel after drinking it, and I’m not hungry until lunch.

My students worked this week on their one little word projects. I gave them options for creatively representing their words.  I also invited them to blog about their words.  I was moved by Madison’s post.  This 5th grader has the wisdom that I have longed for all my life.  She is comfortable in her skin.  I hope she will hold onto her values of Possibility.

This year, my word is possibility. I like this word because there is no such thing as completely impossible, they say, but I’ve added on it: but there is such thing as possible. Always try because if you don’t, if you lay down and let others control and use and block you from your goal, leave them. Always try. Never set a true goal that limits yourself- whenever you achieve one, go higher and higher, always trying. Have confidence. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The way it’s hard is what makes it a good challenge. Nothing ever comes easy, and it never should, or we’ll all be lazy and fat. Be aware of yourself, and don’t let yourself fall out of shape or routine or such just because you don’t feel like it even though it benefits you.

Because, as hard as it’ll seem…

It’s always

Possible.

(Blog post by Madison: to leave comments, click here.)

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Sylvia at Poetry for Children.

 

 

It was one of those all day rains.  One of my last days of  our holiday break, and I was bored.  I cleaned out cabinets, watched shows on Netflix, made a fire in the fireplace, and played around with magazine collage.  During the hectic days of teaching, I crave this kind of time.  Funny how our minds work.  On this day, I was restless and wishing for the rain to stop.

100 % Chance of Rain

(with a borrowed line from Robert Frost “Revelation”)

Wind blown ripples
the water,
whipped like frothed cappuccino,

Rain slants, shower bending,
branches leave the trees.
Saturated earth bleeds
muddy moisture.

Oh, the agitated heart.
The lemons hang, ripe and wet.

But I am still today,
quieted by the storm.
Listening, longing
for the sun.

(c) Margaret Simon

Art Journal collage for my 2019 One Little Word, Grace.

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Spiritual Journey is gathering today at Ruth’s blog.  We are writing about our chosen words for 2019.

Choosing a one little word is something I start thinking about weeks before the year’s end. For me it becomes a process of listening to the universe.  This year my thoughts started around Thanksgiving.  The first word I considered was Compassion. 

A compassionate life is something to aspire to. I recently read Bishop Jake Owensby’s latest book A Resurrection Shaped Life. 

“By God’s grace, a new life–what I’m calling a resurrection-shaped life–emerges from suffering and sorrow.  One way in which that new life emerges is in our unguarded engagement with the suffering of others.” (21)

Caring so deeply that we stand beside and hold hands with suffering is what Jesus calls us to; however, the more I thought about this word, the more unworthy I felt.  I don’t want to choose a word that leads me to despair, that feeling of not meeting up with my own expectations.

Another word I considered was Mindfulness.  I love practicing yoga and bringing meditation into my day.  I’ve not made time for this since school started, so perhaps if I gave myself the word mindfulness, I would get back to these spirit-filled activities.  And being in touch with my spiritual center would also lead me to compassion.

These words are still an integral part of my thinking.  I meditated the other day and heard another word, Blessed. Ah, yes.  That’s it.  I am blessed and when I feel blessed, I can bless others.  But the dictionary definition of blessed is “made holy; consecrated.”  This definition makes me feel I am proclaiming something rather than working toward a better me.

In searching for synonyms of compassion, I found a perfect word, one I can wrap my head around, one that is not a claim or full of unlimited expectation.  Simple and sincere…

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

This week as we returned from our break and began 2018, I wanted my students to choose a One Little Word for their year.  To lead them in this, I created a Google slide show.  

My students were very thoughtful about their word choices.  With three choices to creatively represent their words, students rotated from magazine collage to Canva and Animoto. For their writing element, I asked them to write the journey to their chosen word.

This exercise confirmed a belief I have about students and literacy.  A child’s story should be told, honored, and respected.  Then you can reach, teach, and move them forward.

My students worked through their struggles, their heartaches, their goals, and their dreams.

Erin’s word is Value.

Erin wrote: “I chose value because it’s unique like me. To most people it’s the worth of money. But to me, it’s the worth of myself. I could have chosen other words like confidence, determination, etc. But I couldn’t live by those words. I couldn’t try to be confident for the whole year. The first week I would fail. But I can value myself. I can live by this word, whether it’s me trying to have more value in myself, or me knowing that other people value me.”

Austin chose the word Strive.

Austin wrote: “I got my one little word from basketball. Since the beginning of Christmas break, I have been playing the game a lot. I still have been going outside, but not as much as I usually do. So when it was time to get on the court, I was not ready. I was not ready to run a lot. I was not ready to dribble the ball. I was not ready to put the ball in the basket. We lost both of our games. My mom and my dad told me that if I was not on my game the whole time, I would have been ready for this moment. That is when I decided that I needed to strive to be what I want to be (basketball player). I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing and wait until it was time to do something. I decided to limit my ps4 time. I would work more, hustle more., and especially strive more. I decided to go to the time, not wait till the time came to me.”

Faith’s One Little Word is Gratitude.

Faith wrote: “My journey to get to my one little word all starts when the hurricanes and fires and floods all started. When hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the devastation was horrible. Watching the news and all the houses and building destroyed, it made me feel thankful and grateful for everything I have.”

Trace made an Animoto video about helping.  In his post, he wrote, “My One Little Word is Helpful. The way this train of thought all started was when my Mom had told me  ‘Maw-maw has a problem where she is starting to forget so we will need to help her more often. Also she is starting to forget to eat so she really needs our help.’ So now I go there almost everyday to help. ”

 

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Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday is gathered here today. We are writing about our chosen One Little Word that will guide our year. Choosing a one little word is supposed to be easier than making resolutions.  I suppose the theory is you will break your resolution in a month or so, but a word can be revisited time and time again and bring about new meaning and purpose to your life.

Placing the weight of inspiration on one little word seems daunting, but the fun and marvelous thing about language is that words can have many meanings and purposes.  And every word’s meaning is up to interpretation.

I believe in trusting that a word will find you, and once it does, you must resist the urge to flick it away.  Like the buzz of a mosquito, it will find its way back to you anyway.

When I was at NCTE this fall, my friend Fran passed around a stack of magnets with words on them.  She didn’t hand us one; she asked us to choose.  The word that chose me was Explore. The magnet said Explore new possibilities.  I decided not to question why the word found me.  I just placed it on my fridge.

Then I received an invitation on Facebook to join a group of writers to “Explore your Natural Creativity” for the #30for30Challenge. Anastasia Suen posts a check-in every day, Did you create for 30 minutes today? 

A student gave me a new journal for Christmas.  The cover says “Do one thing every day that inspires you,” and each day there’s a different creative prompt.

Once I head back to school next week, my exploration into my own writing and creativity will be more difficult to make time for.  I also have to squeeze in ukulele practice (see this post) and exercise.  Oh, and reading, and crochet, and cooking, and walking the dog…

Years ago when I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I was enamored of the idea of an artist date.  She said you should make a date with yourself once a week to explore a museum or gallery.  She believed in feeding the artist soul.  That is where I want to take my word Explore...out into the world to see where it will take me.

 

 

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Music has always been a part of my life.  From very young listening to my mother play the piano to teenage years hearing my brother through the walls between our rooms.  The musical talent was passed on through the lefties in our family, my mother and my brother.

I took piano lessons until I entered college.  In high school and beyond even to today, I’ve sung alto in multiple choirs. So you could say music is part of me, but I’ve never felt very musical when it came to playing an instrument.

At NCTE this year, I sat in a circle of ukulele players.  Jan Burkins placed her instrument in my hands and taught me three easy chords.  She said, “You could do this!”

I asked Santa (my husband) for a ukulele for Christmas.  He loved the idea.  He researched and visited local music stores to find the just right one. I started practicing early Christmas morning. I’ve practiced every day since.

 

I cut my fingernails on my left hand.  Those fingers are sore and numb from pressing hard on the strings.  They say this gets better with time. I am determined not to give up because of a little pain.  My husband, the runner, says you have to move past the pain.

I haven’t been able to sing and play at the same time which is my end goal.  I do have an awesome teacher, though.  Her name is Cynthia Lin.  She’s patient and kind and takes it slow.

I’ve decided to take on the word EXPLORE for my One Little Word for 2018.  No better way to begin my exploration than to learn to play an instrument.  I will be exploring chords, strumming, and patience.

This photo is a bridge over the Mississippi River near New Orleans.

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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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