Friday, March 31, 2017

Slice of Life, March 31st--"Writing and Communityr"

Fair Warning: Overly thoughtful, reflective post ahead. 
On the last day of #sol17, I just couldn't help myself.

Tonight I worked at our school fundraiser. Surrounded by hundreds of people swirling around me, I was far from lonely. Students, children, parents, and colleagues were everywhere. To say I spoke with only a fraction of them would almost be an overstatement! I interacted with those that came by my booths and waved to friends and students, but mostly, we were just all in the same place at the same time.

But, it was a community. My community.

I can't help but find the parallels on the last night of writing. I haven't gotten to comment and read as much this year as I have in the past. Sometimes my writing felt silent, although I knew people were reading and many left comments. The crowd, like tonight's crowd, was a just too big to feel like I'd made dent in the blogs.

And yet, like tonight, the community was there. The feeling that I'm not alone in wanting to write, to share, and to reflect on life. Our lives.

After 4 years, the Slice of Life community feels like home to me. I'm not self-conscious anymore sharing my thoughts and feelings with people I've never met. I've said it a million times before, but I think this year I must continue. Slicing grounds me in a way that nothing else does. It makes me a better writer, observer, and teacher.

I'm so appreciative of the group of people that have gathered here for so many years and for the beautiful writing group you've created. If you don't mind, I think I'll join you this year. :)

Until Tuesday!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Slice of Life, March 30th--"Currently I'm..."

I found this post format here from a fellow SOLC blogger and she linked to this page for most ideas. I love this format and can't wait to try it!

Currently I'm...

PROUD: I love the end of March because every year my students surprise, amaze, and pass any expectations I had for the Slice of Life in my classroom. They are such hard workers, and I'm so proud of how so many of them have stuck with their goals and are going to reach them!

DETERMINED: The end of the year can be hard for students and teachers to stay focused. I'm determined to finish strong and have a wonderful ending to this semester!

COOKING: Super healthy. -sigh- I'm on an elimination diet that is helping with inflammation in my body. I haven't had dairy, gluten, processed foods, nuts, eggs, nightshade veggies, or added sugar for 3 months. I've seen a decrease in pain and some other positive effects. I'm just starting the reintroduction phase to see what I'm sensitive to, so I can eat in ways that help my body in the future. (Background: I had brain surgery last year for a disease {primary generalized dystonia} that caused a ton of damage to my body for 7 years. I'm so much better {I can walk again!} but need help reducing inflammation. This is giving me hope!)

ANTICIPATING: I am heading to Indiana in a few weeks to speak at a State Ladies Conference about how to endure illness with faith.  I'm not sure I'm the best person to speak about that particular subject, but I have had experience with illness and definitely wouldn't have made it without Jesus! ;)

INSPIRED: We lost our school custodian on Sunday to a sudden illness. It was unexpected and overwhelmingly sad for the whole school community. Even though it's been only 5 days, reflecting on his life and the legacy of positivity and love that he left has inspired me. It's amazing how much one person can affect a community. I hope to be half the person he was.

ORGANIZING: Okay, let's be real. When am I not organizing? I'm a messy person by nature,  so it's a constant battle for me. I like things to be neat and clean and perfect, but I don't have the everyday patience to maintain it. I'm working at home and at school to get it together! Again.

HOPEFUL: I am excited to see what the future brings, near and far! I believe that life is a beautiful gift, and I want to be grateful for it everyday, which I believe fosters hope.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Slice of Life, March 29th--"Thoughts on Slicing"

This is my 4th year to slice with the community at the Two Writing Teachers. I enjoy reflection (like most teachers!), so as I thought about how much I've changed over those years, and more importantly, how my writing has changed, I wanted to record my thoughts. I wonder if others have experienced the same changes as I have?

-I've loosened up at bit. I don't seek perfection in my writing or in my ideas. I do labor over words and think about creative ways to say things like all writers. I try to pursue excellence, but I don't put the pressure on myself that I did the first few years to make it all a piece of art (not that it ever was, but I did try...).

-In my lack of perfection, I think I've become a better writer. It's counterintuitive, but something I say to my students all the time: "It doesn't have to be perfect to be good writing! That's why we have erasers!" I've become more fluent, less reticent, and just have more fun!

-I don't look far for my ideas. I remember spending an hour just in the brainstorming stage of a slice during my first year. My ideas were good, and I'm glad I recorded the stories. However, I like my day-by-day style better now. I write in the moment and try to find my ideas hidden in the messiness of my everyday, rather than retelling a gem of a story from the past.

-I like writing more now. It is becoming more effortless and I love that. Like my students, as I write more, it become easier.

-I don't struggle to see myself as an author anymore. Somewhere along the way I began to believe my own words that, "Everyone is an author!" (Usually said during the first week of school with enthusiasm!) I write, and therefore I am an author. It took 4 years, but I got there.

I know all to well that feeling of loss tinged with relief that I will feel on April 1st. It's always welcome--extra time in my evening, etc. But, I always wish I had the perseverance to join the Tuesday Slicers that go all year!

Maybe this year is the year!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slice of Life, March 28th--"My Day in Numbers"

I saw another blogger do this kind of post. I'm sort of changing it around, but here goes!

2 Golden Retrievers trying to distract me from my blog, putting their paws on my chair and their noses onto my computer

100 students through my classroom today and 100 smiles

1 hamburger eaten for dinner, wrapped in lettuce with avocado

37 bars on the music volume this morning while heading to work

5 teachers gathered at the end of the day trying to figure out how to make a schedule for an unusual day coming up

4 o'clock was the time I left work, headed to the grocery store again

8 little, tiny pieces of smoked salmon, roasted in the oven, and tried for the first time (I might like it. I haven't decided yet!)

5 little pieces of salmon put back in the fridge in a baggie to try again tomorrow

12 hours until my kids come back to school tomorrow ready for another day!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Slice of Life, March 27, 2017--"A No-Words Monday"

The sweet custodian at our school passed away unexpectedly yesterday. Words can't express how our school was affected today as we grappled with the loss of our family member. 

It was a no-words Monday

As some kids had their first brush with death

And many others brushed against it again,

Familiar with the feelings,

But still helpless against the flood of emotions

It was a no-words Monday

As staff members embraced

Remembering our last memories with our friend

Choking back tears

As we comforted those in our charge and they comforted us.

It was a no-words Monday

As we mourned together as a family

Overwhelmed by the impact of one person

The reach of a true role model

Into the lives of so many, young and old

As tears ran down our faces,

My mind came back to one thought over and over:

How much he would want us to smile, to dry our tears

To remember the good times and laugh---but today was hard.

It was a no-words Monday.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Slice of Life, March 26th--"Observations on the Last Day of Spring Break"

Tonight is our last night of Spring Break here, and I'm just noticing and recording some things that I see and feel tonight as I sit on the back deck and type.

--A dear friend died, and I am so sad. I'm reminded of how much one person can affect the lives of so many. He was a special man and many will grieve the loss of his life this week and beyond.

--It seems like Spring Break ushered in the green this week. Suddenly, the yard has bright patches and flowers are blooming.

--This week passed as quickly as all of them do, it seems. Sometimes I feel like life is speeding up. I know the last 8 weeks will be the same blur that 3rd quarter was.

--I'm not dreading going back to school tomorrow. Sure, I'd like to wake up to no alarm and sip coffee instead of gulp it, but I'm okay with it. This break was long enough to recharge, get some rest, and be ready to finish strong.

--My Golden Retriever, Yadi, is turning 3 this week. He is soooo much more grown up than he used to be, but then I catch him digging a whole in the yard (like 3 seconds ago) and am reminded how much of a puppy-at-heart he is!

--A storm is rolling in here in Missouri. It's nearly here and the thunder is in the distance. I love storms, but hate the damage they can bring this time of year. I'm hoping for a storm that brings good rain, but nothing else!

And those are my thoughts this Sunday night before the start of 4th quarter...wishing you well!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Slice of Life, March 25th--"A House of Kids!"

After a long travel day last night, I got in late and woke up early...for a good reason! The house was bustling with the sounds of my sister's kiddos, a 5 year old and 15 month old. Their voices and thumps through the house roused me out of my sleep-coma and reminded me that times like this are few and far between.

Even though a few more hours of sleep sounded good, spring break only comes once, and out of bed I jumped to spend a few hours with them today.

We played peek-a-boo, snuck up to (fake) surprise people, and just were silly. My arms are tired from carrying the little one around, even though it was a short amount of time. 

One of my favorite images is my dog, Yadi, laying under the high chair waiting for a little something to make it's way over! Sometimes, it's an accident, and sometimes Cal just throws over part of his meal to share with his best friend, "Yaya." 

They are all off back to their place, and the house is quiet tonight. I'll admit, as my eyes grow heavy, I'm okay with a relaxed evening, but they sure brightened the day!