"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Friday’s Five

It’s rather nice to be writing a few words of gratitude on the last day of November…the month we associate with thankfulness…although, dear readers, every day of every month is waiting for us to do the same…

First on the list is a healing finger…I have a new appreciation for all ten digits as well as how fast plans of a life can get adjusted to accommodate clinic waits, medications, bandages…

Next, but probably more important
(now that I know my finger isn’t going to fall off!), is the news that Sara has accepted an internship at the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C.
starting in January…

Samuel is on the hunt for a teaching job and has some leads.There are lucky students waiting…

My work friends make the effort to celebrate my year long countdown to 50…I’m almost four months out, so today there were four balloons, four kinds of candy, a gift of four writing and coffee presents…

And, fifth, a surprise poinsettia in gold wrapping from an old friend…a nice way to welcome in the month I wait for all year…

Happiness, dear readers. Love your life.


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Writing with Kids: Giftedness

It’s almost December.

My bulletin board is bare, but not for long.

Today, in the midst of another lecture about bullying, an idea materialized.
The kids love it when that happens. They want good every bit as much as I do.

So, we are going to start over in the morning. We are going to make paper presents to represent ourselves.

We will leave the center blank and wait.

Throughout the days to come, we will write positive comments on each other’s papers…true things that are positive and uplifting…words that represent what we add to the world by being here.

Because we know…even in the midst of bad decisions and some words that shouldn’t be said, there’s plenty of good, too.

We are set to find and record it until our presents are positively popping with preciousness.

It’s almost December, after all…

That bulletin board will be a reminder to all who pass by that we have many good gifts. I bet there will be a lot of reading going on at that board, too.

Hoping for happy reading and writing…

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Teaching Tip: Take Care of You

Well, we are in the countdown time at school…those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

They are weeks of expectation, of special programs, of paper chains, and of semester grades.

Lots to do. Lots to teach.

It is easy to get overwhelmed. It is also easy to get complacent…it’s the holidays, after all. Neither is a good idea.

These weeks are critical teaching time. We need every moment.

We also need to be at our best.

Lately, one colleague after another seems to have a health issue.
It is time to back up, slow down, and breathe.

Make a little space that says, “This is Christmas.” Maybe it’s an old holiday photo, a quotation, a card from last year perched on your desk.

Maybe it’s the cd you keep playing in the background, the perky poinsettia on the bookshelf, the jingle bells on the doorknob.

Take little moments to reflect. It’s good for you.

Take time to breathe, and give your students the same chance.

Breathe in, refocus, and settle in to reading/writing/math/poetry. Celebrate what you know and what you hope to learn.

Bring out the holiday poetry, the beautiful picture books.

Find a strand of lights and plug them in.

Set goals for yourself and help your students do the same.

Celebrate the gift of yourself by treating yourself well.

Bring healthy snacks.

Clear off your desk so you can focus when you get back there at the end of the day.

Throw away or give away five things every day.

Take at least a five minute walk during lunch.

Leave on time.


Remember that people matter, but most of the stress you might feel comes from paper, not people. Get rid of more.

Take care of you. Our days are limited. Your work is important, but you are more important. Take care of you.


Monday’s Music

I heard the faintest sound of Christmas music playing in my friend’s classroom today…my CDs were still in my bag, but that was a nice reminder today, to hear someone else’s need for the peace of soft holiday music in the background.

Later, my friend Angela stopped by with a jingling package for my birthday countdown. Another friend whisked it away…saving it until at least Friday…they know I cannot be trusted with festive packages.

I heard the package jingle…sweet holiday music…and smiled at her remembering that jingle bells are special to me.

So, it’s been a musical Monday…nice way to start the week. And, I’m more inspired than ever to purchase yet another holiday CD…soon.

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Sunday’s Song: Preparation

Starting a different kind of Sunday post today…want to start focusing on my life goals for awhile… Sunday seems like a good day to start.

The “song” in the title is meant to convey the mood of the day…today it carries happiness and joy. I am determined to find the good in this life, even in the midst of challenges and trials. We all have them, don’t we?


They do not have us.

These days of being off from work have shown me once again what matters.

My family. Time to make things for others. Visits with friends. Laughter. Cooking. Long walks. Rest. Prayer.

Now, there was a second trip to the clinic in there…seems I’ve picked up a stubborn infection in my finger. So, it has been drained and I’m on yet another antibiotic. Hoping for healing soon…

And, my friend Paula’s husband has lost his job with Hostess. He’s driven a truck for 38 years…now, nothing.
When they called him to come back to the store, he told them he would finish his route first. And he did.

That says something to me.

But, even in the unexpected challenges, I find blessings.

I find the need to depend on someone outside of myself. I find my prayer time is necessary.

So, for many reasons, I’m starting yet another journey. This one is in preparation for my favorite season: Christmas.

We are one month away, dear readers.
Just one month.

I want this to be a joyful month, a creative one, a month I look back on and say, “Yes, I prepared a place for you, dear Lord.”

So. My preparation today includes setting aside a “holiday hour.” For each day between now and Christmas, I plan to spend at least one hour daily writing a reflection or reading a scripture or quotation, then working on some task that says holiday to me: wrapping, sewing, baking, cutting greenery, clearing out “stuff”, listening to music, decorating…whatever it may be that brings a little bit of Christmas to me as well as those I care about.

This is necessary for me. It is time to slow down and savor the moments. It is time to know the month can come and go without much meaning unless I dedicate time to pay attention.

Today, I’ve written the goal. Day by day, I hope to see the results of this decision.

Merry Christmas time…today’s preparation: starting a jolly red notebook for notes, ideas, and receipts.
A jingle bell is present to remind me…stay joyful.