Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Daily Gratitude

1. My husband for making sure I'll be okay alone this weekend.
2. My graduate class Writing for Teachers because now I am forced to do the type of writing I've been saying I want to do. Now I HAVE to, and I'm loving every minute of it.
3. Taking the time to write each night.
4. Those quiet moments in the morning when Matt is still asleep.
5. I appreciate the students who donated books to my classroom library.
6. Choosing the appropriate attitude - POSITIVE THOUGHTS

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mail Bag

Letter writing is soon becoming a lost art form. E-mails and text messages are in and handwritten letters are out. I will not be one of these people. I love to write letters. I love buying stationary and cards to send out. In the past, I've even attempted at making handmade cards. There is something personal about writing a letter; a card says you've taken time to think about that person, time to find the perfect stationary or card, time to write, time to send. It is a tradition I stand to continue - even with the increasing price of a stamp. Also, it is not just about me. When I grab the mail each day, I love to find mail that is not a bill. I feel blessed to be able to put a smile on someone else's face so that for that one day they have something else in the mailbox other than bills. Matt thinks I'm crazy about this letter writing. He laughed when I said I wanted stationary for Christmas. He doesn't understand why I send so many Christmas cards, and why I need to send thank you cards. I send letters and cards because it is the write thing to do. I have nothing against e-mails (I do use this feature) or text messages (not fond of these), but personal letters are just that - personal. They carry a meaning a computer screen can not. I'm a pack rat, so I have saved many a letter, but even if I wasn't I look at the movies and in books and on tv of family members who have found letters from their grandparents or letters written to children or bundles of love letters. Our kids are never going to be able to find bundles of letters because people are not writing letters. They won't be able to read our e-mails because e-mail is disposable (hello trash bin) and because everything is password protected. When was the last time you gave out your password to anyone? It warms my heart to think of the people who have been able to connect with loved ones lost through the letters they found. Their lives continue through the letters. Maybe I'm too much of a romantic or old-fashioned, but what are we leaving our grandkids by embracing technology and forgetting the past. I realize not everyone saves everything they receive, but there are people who treasure the heartfult letters. I remember rummaging through my grandparents dresser at my Aunt Mary Jo's house a few summers ago. I found a letter my dad had written to my aunt in 1982. The letter was all about me and how I had taken my first steps. I fell in love with that letter. Here was a piece of my history in a letter. Are our kids going to be able to find letters about their history in a dresser somewhere? Technology is a good thing, but we shouldn't completely throw out everything else. Future generations need to know how to write a thank-you note and they need to leave their mark for their grandkids. Leave a legacy. With letter writing on a decline, we are slowly erasing a history. What's your legacy? Will anyone remember it?

*The above was simply a freewrite (no proofreading done) about letter writing. It's been on my mind lately.

Rain Down

During my 15 minutes of writing last night I focused on writing a rough draft of a poem. Here it is.

Rain Down

Rain down, rain down
cleanse me from my sins
wash away the pain and hurt
and break the chains I'm grasping
free me to forgive.

Rain down, rain down
soothe my soul and heal my heart
open me heart to find forgiveness
for a friend, a cousin
who caused me pain
it's time to nourish the family tree.

Rain down, rain down
Renew my spirit
I long for the innocence childhood brings
where puddle jumping in green galoshes
brings joy after the spring rain

Rain down, rain down
on me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Finding Time

Where do I spend my time during the day? I've decided to take a look at a typical day and decide where my time goes. I have an idea that I do have the time, but I make excuses. Go figure! Excuses, Excuses. I'm sick of making excuses. There are no excuses, just fear. Here is what happened today.
6:30 a.m. - get up, shower, dress
6:50 a.m. - 7:15 a.m. - make lunches, eat breakfast, Lent reflection
7:15 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. - drive to work
7:30 a.m. - 8:20 a.m. - grade papers, make copies, school stuff
8:20 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. - SCHOOL
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Mondays & Wednesdays Coach Debate/Tuesday & Thursday Tutor
4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Make copies
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - Cook and Eat Dinner
6:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. - Read Newspaper and start blogging (does this count as writing)
I'm going to assume that from now until I go to sleep I will be watching t.v., reading, writing.

Okay, Okay, Okay. I definitely have time to write. I'm logging off now and going to write. I feel like such a schmuck.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

No Disclaimers

Somebody has to make it, why not me?

In the past I've always said reading was my thing. In my classroom, I would rather be reading than writing. My partition, my block from writing, was this excuse. I'd rather be reading. Really? Looking back, I see evidence that writing was just as important. I envied Stacy who wrote endlessly for hours. She filled notebook after notebook with her writing. I remember secretly wanting to go into her closet just to read a bit of what she wrote. I wonder if she is still writing that much today? In Battle Creek, I checked out a book from the library that had to do with writing. I can't remember the title; I think it was something like Your Creative Soul. Anyway, I remember after reading the book, I started getting up early just to write. The writing was three pages of freewrites and it usually was garbage, but the book said that getting the garbage and all of our whining out led to the good stuff. Why did I stop? Well, apparently, I'd rather be reading. The first time I read Pen on Fire, I actually read each chapter and in the beginning completed the 15 minute timer writings; then, I stopped writing, but kept reading. I guess I'd rather be reading.

I have come to realize that I need to write just like I need to read. There is no separation, and I need to stop making excuses to write. Procrastination creeps in and for some reason the writing does not get done. I want to write, and I want to be published. Maybe I don't write because of a fear of not getting published and having no one to read my writing. Take this blog for example. I have the privacy set so NO ONE can read it. It is not that I don't want people to read it - I do, but I do not want my students or anyone associated with school to read it. Privacy and security are a must. I need to feel appreciated, and I feel this with my writing as well. I want people to read my things, but I value some people's ideas and criticism more than others. Why? I don't know.

I need to take down the partition. I need to make time in my day to write and not let any excuse seep in and get in my way blocking me from writing.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


My list of what I am thankful for today:
1. Getting a good night sleep before the crashing thunder and lightning that woke me up this morning.
2. Blogs that reenergize me and make me want to start writing.
3. My love of cooking/baking - fresh blueberry banana bread is currently baking in the oven. I love the way my kitchen smells after something comes out of the oven. I am particularly thankful for this love of mine because of Matt's allergy to gluten. Just about everything we eat must be homemade.
4. The sound of rain hitting the skylights.
5. Using coupons and saving money.
6. Great books
7. Weekends
8. The time each morning after the lunches are made when I sit down to read from booklet I received at church for Lent.
9. Netflix
10. Snuggling up in a giant comforter on the couch and falling asleep at 7:30 p.m. on a school night.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Windy City

Looking outside, I am first taken in not by what I see, but what I hear. Out front, the neighbor's broken shutter bangs and claps against the brick. I wonder if it will be able to continue to hold or will it admit defeat and fall to the ground. Out back there are numerous sounds. Wind chimes creating a musical arrangment, pine cones hitting the siding, and my little green table scratchingb against the concrete as it inches its way out from the corner. The wind is most visible by watching the giant pine tree that reaches over into our yard from the neighbor's. It is a giant of a tree, but with the wind gusts, it looks like a sapling just taking root. The branches move in all directions with an immense force. The sunlight that streams in highlights the multiple colors with each passing sway. The yellow green is particualry beautiful today. I'm sure by the night's end, I'll have to scrounge up the grill cover.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


What am I going to give up for Lent? Growing up, I always thought I had to give up something, but then during one homily, I remember Father Joe talking about Lent. He said Lent is not only about giving something up, but rather gaining something as well. We should be using this time before Easter to grow closer with Christ. Since then I have used Lent to grow with Christ. This Lent I want to focus on the positive aspects of my students. I need to weed out all the negative, and not only focus on the positive, but in some cases, find the positive aspects. Secondly, I am going to read the Bible. I go on spurts, but hopefully this time I'll continue and find some Spricture that speaks to me.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Two summers ago, I attended the Tidewater Writing Project. This is a branch of the National Writing Project. During the summer, I experienced first hand the benefits of the writing to learn philosophy. I was hooked from the first moment I put my pen to the paper. Two a year, the Tidewater group gets together for a continuity meeting. I look forward to these meetings. They are are renewal I need, and they seem to come at just the right moment. The summer institute is intensive, but then we go back to our regular lives. I need these continuity meetings to remember exactly how I felt during the institute. I need it for renewal and more ideas. Thank goodness I went last night. I received a wonderful idea for research writing. Sometimes all we need in our life is the TIME to remember what our goals were, where we want to go, and simply reflect and begin anew.