Choice…a word
full of potential,

Choice…a doorway
to creativity,

WHY are some
so afraid to allow
teachers… and students
to have it?

Posted in reflections, school | 2 Comments

My Cat

I’m always saying, “Oh, you silly cat!”
But I wonder, where’s the truth in that?

My cat is smart, not silly at all-
Happy chasing a spot of light on the wall,

Completely content basking in the sun
Or in full motion on a tearing run.

My cat can be so independent, but
When he wants attention, he’s insistent.

It may be silly how he sometimes acts,
But he gets my love when he curls on my lap.

That cat worked his way into my heart-
What do you think? Isn’t that smart?

Written in response to Teachers Write Mini-Lesson by Liz Garton Scanlon, author of All the World, Noodle and Lou (picture books) and The Great Good Summer (middle grades novel).
Here’s her encouraging comment:
Dr. Seuss didn’t do too badly with silly little rhymes about a silly little cat :) Thanks so much for sharing!

Posted in animals, poems, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A Day of Waiting

A friend, now living several states away, was scheduled to have surgery July 23 for a cancer that has come back for a second battle. Surgery to include a cutting-edge, proving to be highly effective, new treatment. Her condition took a turn for the worse, and she ended up in the hospital for several days. With no improvement happening, her doctor decided it was time Saturday to go ahead with surgery. Just surgery, no special treatment.

Another friend and I had taken a little road trip to visit her last month. Now we were chatting back and forth by text (she was on her family vacation!)- so glad we had gone, so worried about the turn of events. I started contacting more friends, called our pastor, and we all were praying and waiting. Our friend’s husband promised to call after the surgery. We sent him a few messages to encourage him during the waiting. He was there alone- or as he said, “Just B, God, and me.” We all had the comfort of our faith.

The wait for news seemed long. Finally, we got some news, late afternoon. The doctor reported the surgery went very well. A tumor was removed, and no other cancer was visible. He is optimistic that with conventional chemotherapy after recovery from the surgery, there will be another remission. The recovery will be tough, at least six weeks. The chemo will be tough, too. But it still seems like good news to replace some of the worry. We will keep praying, and the first of those prayers is thanksgiving.

Faith and friendship. These help us through our days of waiting. Faith and friendship. These inspire words of encouragement and acts of love and kindness that get us through.

Posted in faith, reflections, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Quick Write From Teachers Write

See the Thursday Quick Write with author Tracey Baptiste at Kate Messner’s blog.

Exercise 1

She flipped on every light as she walked through the house. She stands in the doorway and reaches in to turn on the bedroom light. her hair is mussed up and hangs around her face. She is wearing her favorite bell bottom hip-huggers, the yellow and lavender plaid with a yellow bodysuit. Her coolest outfit. Grass stains on the knees.

She sees the familiar dresser, the contents of her dad’s pockets scattered across the top, Her dad’s work clothes are wadded in the laundry basket. Her mom’s pink chenille robe hangs on the bedpost.

Her parents are sleeping peacefully, her dad’s arm stretched protectively across her mom. “Mom,” she says softly. The sleeping form stirs slightly. “Mom,” she says again, a little louder, voice trembling. Her mother’s eyes flutter open, slowly registering the light and her daughter standing there in the doorframe. Suddenly she sits upright, reaching one hand toward her daughter, frantically shaking her husband awake with the other.

Exercise 2

I love God most. Family next. That might sound ordinary and boring, but it is true. I hate being afraid. But there are a lot of things I am afraid of. I try not to be jealous, but I do get jealous of the ones who get the awards I wish I could get. I mean, most of the time, I am pretty good at things- good grades, etc. But I never seem to be the best. If I could do anything, I just wish I could make my mom happy. I have never told anyone my biggest secret, and I never will.

Exercise 3 (flip the character in 2)

I don’t know if I believe in God like all the people who say they love Him. I can’t stand my family. Why wasn’t I born in a different family?! I don’t belong in my stupid family. Who am I jealous of? There are too many to name. If I could do anything, I would go to Hollywood and be a rich and famous actress.

Exercise 4

Girl: (whispering) Mom? (louder) M-m-mom?
Mother: W-what happened?
Girl: (Shaking head, walking to mother)
Mother: It’s OK, it’s OK.
Girl: (crying)
Father: What is wrong?
Mother: I’m not sure. Check the other kids.

Posted in Uncategorized, writing | Leave a comment

Teachers in a Summer Workshop

This is based on the quick-write at Teachers Write today… to find a fresh place to write and observe people. I was scheduled for an all day workshop today, so I wrote descriptions of a few participants. Will some of their traits be used to create a story character someday?

Thin and fit, ever-present smile. She pulls a zip-lock sandwich bag out of her macramé purse and munches on little bunches of cilantro, carrying on a spirited conversation, oblivious to the specks of green on her teeth.

She wore a knitted cap with a bill- red, green and yellow. Black pride on her head and in the way she walked into the room.

Short, breezy hairstyle. Trendy, fashionable, yet casual clothes. Slight touch of sunburn. She chats about being at the World Cup final. The enthusiastic crowd. The unity and patriotism cheering for the USA. The display of athleticism. Being tired after delayed flight and arriving home after 3 a.m.

The topic of the workshop was co-teaching, which is the new emphasis for the elementary ESL program in our district. It was well-presented. We have a great district team. Every PD is always interactive and the information is presented using strategies that we can use in the classroom. We also received an excellent resource book, Collaboration an Co-Teaching: Strategies for English Learners by Andrea Honigsfeld and Maria G. Dove. I will admit to getting drowsy in the afternoon (give me a break, I had a Greek pita with tzatziki sauce for lunch, and it was a rainy day!), but I can truly say that our ESL staff offers the best professional development that I’ve ever attended. Keeping it local makes a difference!

Posted in school, writing | 4 Comments

This is a Story

This is a story about a girl
born during the Great Depression
the 11th child of
a worn-out mother and
dirt-farmer father
She had red flannel
diapers and
dark curly hair
She was afraid of
horses and snakes
She was a
little snoop-
she found out everybody’s business
She had a niece who was
only a few months older
She would go into town with
her dad to sell farm goods, going door to door
She knew before all the others
that her mom was sick but
nobody believed her
She was sneaky and kept some thingsd secret
from her mom
When she was little she didn’t know
they were poor

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A Moment of Serenity

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Place yourself in the chair. Imprint the image on your mind’s eye and imagine the sound of the creek flowing by, feel the soft touch of the breeze on your face . Close your eyes for a moment and feel yourself there. Now that you feel so calm, find your writer’s notebook and your favorite pen. Place yourself in any chair. Start writing.

Last week (when I didn’t get my slice written and posted) I was visiting friends in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and we went to their cabin in the Laurel Ridge Highlands. Tubmill Creek crosses their land. I sat in that very chair, for much longer than a moment, and soaked in all the serenity I could. I took a short video so I can recapture the feeling as needed… I tried to insert the video here, but alas, WordPress sends me the message “this filetype not supported.” Perhaps your imagination is better, anyway. Maybe your imagination can also bring to life the spotted fawn that dashed out of and back into the trees on the other side of the creek. I didn’t have my camera at the ready when it did… but I can still see it in my mind.

Posted in memories, Uncategorized, writing | 8 Comments