If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Pause and Think

When I saw this post, it stopped me in my tracks.  It made me start to wonder.  It made me think about the legacy we leave behind.

Lately, I've stumbled across a few reminders of places where a little piece of me - my legacy - has been left.

The other day I was reading a trade newspaper and saw a photo of one of a student who was in my last class of eighth-graders before I left the classroom to become an instructional technology coach.  She was identified as a college student who had won an award in a discussion meet.  I thought about her in class and how at first she seemed frustrated with the expectations I set for my students and later how she blossomed as a writer with a purposeful voice and strong opinions.  Congratulations on your latest accomplishment Samantha!

This past summer, I watched online as two of my former students joined their lives in marriage.  The young man was a part of my first class of seventh-graders at Community School.  He had such a vivaciousness and energy for life and he brought that to the classroom.  His writing showed an inner soul that was at-one with nature and his voice was that of rural-down-home flavor.  His bride was a member of the first class of seventh-graders at Eagleville School.  She was a quiet student whose inner deep-thinking was showcased in her writing.  I will always think of her as a daisy with a fresh, cheerful countenance because of a writer's notebook entry she shared.  It was interesting for me to see the two of my former teaching worlds collide with the joining of this young couple.  Best wishes for a long and happy life together Michael and Ashton!

I see my legacy as a teaching coach when I visit classrooms and notice that teachers are incorporating resources I suggested or implementing practices I model in professional development workshops.  My hope is that their students are growing and developing as a result and will make our world a better place because of the educational experience they have in these classrooms.  Oh, there is the immediate feedback of a re-Tweet or a +1 but I certainly hope these quick clicks result in a much deeper impact down the road.

Recently, my husband shared a statement that Bridgette had made in regard to my reaction to an encounter at a family function.  I think her perspective is one that sees me as having mellowed over the years.  I know she has seen me pick my battles at times and her recent statement makes it clear that she understands how we all evolve.  I think she saw me in that situation as taking on the attitude of 'just-let-the-rain-roll-off-my-my-back-like-a-duck.'  After all, not reacting to adversity squelches the satisfaction of those who tend to stir the pot.

So, that post really made me stop and reflect.  I wonder...

...will my children or grandchildren think of kindness and sense of humor when I come to mind?

...will they recognize my love of family and home and how I value them above all else?

...will they have an attitude of celebration at the intangibles they've inherited from me?

...will they see my life as a model of service?

...what are they learning from my story?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Being

I've been working ten, twelve, fourteen hour days for the past month and

I

am

tired.

This morning I had the wonderful luxury of sleeping late and I did! I slept till eight o'clock!

Then, I took a cup of coffee out onto the back porch and sat and sipped and enjoyed the breeze.

When the sun popped out and made things a bit toasty, I stepped back inside and perused the blog posts I've been pushing down in my inbox and slurped some coffee.  It has been a quiet morning with nothing requiring my energy and it has been beyond delightful!

I think I've been too tired to be inspired to do anything and that has added to the sapping of my strength and energy.

One of the clicks this morning took me to this blog post where even the title was calling out to my lack of energy. Do you know anybody who doesn't need to slow down and live in the moment?

I visited the #LetGo link and embraced the concept of having a Hush Hour.

I loved so many of the blog posts that I cannot even begin to list them.

I don't know if the facts and figures are research-based and I really don't care.  I know that I am one of the forty percent.

And I see my daughters (Bridgette, Jessica, and Bonnie) scurrying and trying to do

it all. 

So, I consistently encourage them to pause and just BE.  I hope they will take some time to let go and stop trying to be the perfect ... fill in the blank.

I realized that I might have begun to take steps in this direction even before this morning.  I created my 'to-don't-do-list' earlier in the week when a dear friend asked me to join her and work colleagues for some snacks and drinks on Friday afternoon.  While I love these girls and I truly enjoy spending time with them and feed off their youth and energy, for some reason, I was at a place where such an invitation sort of felt like one-more-thing-to-do.

So, I said no.

I came home, crashed on the couch, and had a Hush Hour, instead.  As I saw that image on the #LetGo page, it was frustrating for me to realize that a photo of my feet would be dramatically different because I haven't made time for a pedicure - not even one by myself - because I have been pushing so hard at getting things done and my feet - my whole body - show that.

Let me issue a challenge to you to be kinder to yourself.  Be kinder to others.  Indulge in those things that really are most important.  Spend more time being, not doing!


Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Picking Your Battles

Last week I noticed that Mike had left his shaving cream can on the bathroom counter.

I didn't say anything about him cluttering up the counter.  I didn't fuss or complain because he got it out but didn't put it away.  I didn't even touch it.  I decided that I would just give him the chance to put it back in the drawer the next time he used it.

The next day...

The shaving cream can still sat there.

So, again, I left it.  I said nothing.  I did nothing.  I just left it awaiting his attention.

The third day...

I sighed, shook my head, and put the can back in the drawer.  I decided that I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it.

Then...

...that night at the dinner table, Mike asked me this question...

"Why did you put that empty shaving cream can back in the drawer?  I left it out so you would know to buy more the next time you went to the store."

What do you think was my response?

Yep, I just laughed!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Random Tuesday

Yesterday was a random day.  I spent the day catching up on tasks that had been allowed to slide for a while.  It was a productive day.  My uncle and aunt came over and completed some random updates and repairs.  His second career has been in carpentry and he is a master and a perfectionist.  They installed a new door at the basement entrance.  They also added a wood piece at the laundry room door entrance.  Plus, they re-attached the back deck flooring to the corner support post.  It was a lot of randomness that turned out wonderfully.  Guess who my favorite aunt and uncle are today?

In other randomness...

Have you noticed any of these new fall flavors? 31 of them that you need to get your hands on!

I think I'm going to have to try out this recipe for dessert sometime.  I might top it with ice cream, though.

I also want to try out these ideas for pie that are not really pies.  I might top that with ice cream, too.

I am wishing that a Trader Joe's would move into our small town - not because I am a big shopper there.  I think this article explains exactly why.

I would sign up for this paint-along class if I thought my efforts would turn out to look like the example.

Finally, I think I need to share these 22 things with my Mama...and maybe I should take her some ice cream, too.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Style

Years and years ago...

...when I was a single mother of two who was trying to make her way in the world as a classroom teacher...

...one of my students tried to play matchmaker for me - the professional woman with a Master's degree and professional high-heels and teacher-attire.

He invited me to a major local event where his father had box seats.  His little seventh-grade self offered up all of the niceties for the evening.  He mentioned that we could enjoy fine dining from the country ham sandwich booth and the fresh home-made donut booth and could cheer for every entrant right at ringside of the horse show.  He was a bit disappointed when I declined the delightful invitation.

Later in the year, his little basketball-playing self informed my cheerleader coach self, as we were riding the team bus to the middle school basketball game, that his father was coming to the game and I should be on the lookout for him.  He was so proud of himself because he had already let his dad know what I was wearing and that I would be seated near the cheerleaders during the game.  I'm sure my face had that frozen look of, "Oh.  My.  Goodness!"  when I reminded him that I was still officially on duty as a school employee and didn't really think it would be a good idea for me to socialize.  Again, he seemed a bit disappointed but still optimistic.

Near the end of that ball season, I was sitting in the stands one evening - grading papers and half-watching the game as I always did.  It was play-off time and I was more than ready for the season to end so that I could get home to my sofa for grading papers and not be driving home after the last person was picked up at the school following a long bus ride.  Engrossed in reading an essay, I didn't notice the first couple of times when this fellow sitting beside me cleared his voice.  However, I almost jumped out of my skin when I heard him say my name with a question mark at the end.

I looked up to see this fellow wearing a golden yellow do-rag on his head.  (For those of you who don't know what that is, a do-rag is a bandana tied around a person's head in a sort of pirate fashion.)  The fellow introduced himself - my little seventh-grade student's father - and asked me if I would care to join him at the end of the quarter for a cigarette and a soft drink.  I'm sure there are few words which could describe the look on my face.  I'm sure I have never stammered quite so much as I politely declined his invitation.  However, he simply smiled and told me he would be back and would like to chat.  So, I watched him leave in his shirt with the sleeves cut out and jeans with a bulldog wearing a studded collar embroidered on the pocket of his baggy jeans.

During that quarter break, I certainly couldn't concentrate on my essay grading.  I also didn't concentrate on my cheerleaders' center-court performance.  All I could think of was to ask myself if I projected myself as someone who would consort with a student's father and with a father who was certainly of a different style than myself.

All that came rushing back to me the other day when I came out of the doctor's office and climbed up into the truck with the man of my dreams - my beloved, sophisticated husband.  Hmmm...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"It has your name on it."

Last winter when I was visiting one of the schools I support, a friend who was the assistant administrator there told me that she had a table for me.

I'm sure I looked a bit confused.

She went on to say, "It has your name on it."  I'm sure I looked even more confused.  Then, we went on our merry way because we were in the hallway during a class change and students were buzzing by us.

On my next visit, she told me the same thing.  So, I paused and asked her what she meant by that.

She explained that they were cleaning out an old computer lab and were shipping some of the old typing tables to the surplus warehouse to be sold or putting broken ones out at the dumpster.  In the shift, the pull-out writing ledge slid out onto the floor and she saw that it had lots of graffiti on it.  Part of the graffiti was my name.  So, she quickly said she needed an extra table in her office and to just take that one there instead of out to the dumpster.

It had been in her office for several years and she thought no more about it.  Then, one day, she was cleaning things out because she was preparing to retire.  That writing ledge slid out when she was moving the table around and she decided that I probably needed it.

I just chuckled and told her that she probably was mistaken because I wouldn't write on a desk.  If my mother found out, she would have killed me!

Just the other day, this friend called.  She just dialed me up out of the blue.  Well, not really.  She was letting me know about a surprise party for another friend who was retiring from the classroom.  She also asked me when I was going to come and get my table.

I asked her what she was talking about and she said, "When are you going to come get this little old table...the one that has your name on it?"

So, a week or so later, I pulled into her driveway.  We went out to her garage and she pulled out the little writing ledge.  There in my own hand-writing, the largest piece of graffiti on the whole piece was my maiden name.
No denying it, there it was - in my school-girl handwriting.  The table did have my name on it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Great Cover Up

My daughter, Bridgette, recently painted her back door.  Looks great, doesn't it?

She thought it was due for a paint-job but hadn't really planned to paint it this past week.  She really thought she would let the family get into the swing of back to school first.  However, Somebody nudged her to go ahead and get it done last week before they hosted Luci's first birthday party.

She said she had been painting earlier in the week and asked Lydia to bring her the paint brush she had been using outside where she was hanging things to dry.  Like a good girl, Lydia did.  Bridgette finished her work and went into the house.  A few days later, after going somewhere and returning home, Bridgette noticed this:

Maybe you need a closer look.  I did.

So, remembering who she sent to retrieve her paint brush, Bridgette asked Lydia, "What happened to the back door? I noticed a navy blue blip on it."

To which Lydia's huge, brown, guilty, brown eyes responded, "Well...we had this robber come and do that."

So, Bridgette asked when this robber came.  She said, "Must've been while we were sleeping."

So, Bridgette asked, "So, they just painted that blip and didn't try to get into the house or take anything outside?"

"Nope.  Just painted that spot."

So, then, Bridgette asked, "Is this robber coming to paint the rest of the door?"

"Probably not."

Bridgette asked me, "Mom, where doe she come up with that stuff?"

I responded, "She is just like her mother used to be."

Bridgette let me know that Lydia didn't get a spanking and didn't even get a fussing-at.  She said, "Lydia knows I know she did it but I love the story she concocted trying to avoid trouble!"

Sometimes creativity is rewarded - even when it is a bit of a cover-up!