Monday, December 5, 2016

Light #haikuforhealing

When I pulled into the driveway tonight, the lights from the Christmas tree brought a sense of peace.  (However, if you walked into my house, you'd notice that this serene scene is a bit misleading as the rest of the house looks like a tornado ran through.)

Thank you Mary Lee Hahn for the #haikuforhealing challenge.


I am linking  a day late to Margaret Simon's DigiLit Sunday and Mary Lee Hahn's #haikuforhealing. Michelle is curating the haikus.   Funny thing, I created the Haiku Deck last night with the intention of embedding it into my blog after we got our girl to bed.  Well, as often happens to best laid plans, she couldn't go to sleep, so I laid down with her and we listened to two rounds of my sleep meditation app.  Guess who fell asleep first?

As I mentioned in earlier posts, our family makeup changed in October.  The days have been stressful as we deal with issues we've not dealt with before, but they've also been full of joy.  When talking to a friend, I likened our new situation to Glennon Doyle's "brutiful," both brutal and beautiful.

There is so much to be grateful for during this time.  We have two girls who are thriving.  It's so rewarding to watch them settle in, relax, and feel safe.  Our grown children, extended family and friends are willing to help us out whenever we need them.  "It takes a village," has never been truer and I am so appreciative.  With the Christmas season upon us, it's very fun to have young children in the house again. Their presence invites us to slow down and relish the joy.

And yes, that sweet little girl pictured below is the same one who couldn't sleep last night.  :)

Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Healing our Hearts

Ruth Ayres invites us to celebrate even the littlest things.  I am joining the Celebration Link Up as well as Mary Lee Hahn's #haikuforhealing.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, my mother-in-law passed away earlier this week, and we celebrated her life at her memorial service yesterday.  I want to celebrate the love and support we've received this past week.  Phone calls, texts, cards, Voxers, friends driving four hours to attend the service all meant the world to us.  We're spent and emotionally exhausted, but so grateful for everyone who reached out to comfort us during this difficult time.

Cousins who don't get to see each other very often

kindness soothes sadness
soft words, tender hugs, warm smiles
help heal our hurting hearts

Friday, December 2, 2016

Legacy #haikuforhealing

I am joining Mary Lee Hahn's December haiku-a-day challenge.  I am also linking to Poetry Friday with Bridget at wee words for wee ones (for the very first time).

Today we said our final good-byes to my mother-in-law.  Family and friends gathered at the Ashtabula United Methodist Church for her memorial service.  It was a beautiful service, the highlight being the time that people from the congregation stood and shared stories.  While I didn't stand up and share a story, my heart was filled with gratitude for the beauty of her life and the legacy she left behind.  I couldn't help but smile when we went down to lunch prepared by the ladies of the church and saw "Shirley's Cake." Shirley always volunteered to help prepare food and serve for funeral lunches.  She always made the same thing and it lovingly became known as "Shirley's Cake." One of the ladies had gotten my mother-in-law's recipe.  It only felt right that I should take a piece today.


You touched so many
Loving, Graceful, Compassionate
Your legacy lives on

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hope #haikuforhealing

I don't usually participate in poetry posts. Today, though, I was reminded of Mary Lee Hahn's post when I read Margaret Simon's December Haiku post. The last two months have been a struggle and I've reacted by closing into my shell and silencing my writing. I know better. Writing is healing for me. I decided to take a leap and join the December Haiku Writing challenge. Credit for the photo goes to my 7 year old foster daughter who enjoys taking pictures with my phone. #haikuforhealing  

Searching for solace
                                                            Hope tentatively  blossoms 
                                                            Within my being 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Finding Comfort

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life Tuesday.  You can read others' stories on their blog.  Please stop by and visit.

Comfort comes in many ways..warm hugs, tissues handed over to wipe away tears, offers to care for children, a kind word and smile as you pass by each other.

Sometimes life gives us hard things to handle.

We put up a strong front, but

silent tears betray our stoic words.

For the last eight weeks, I've watched two young sisters struggle as they adjust to living in our home again. Their stories are hard.  I feel helpless as I grasp for anything to ease the pain.  A huge sense of responsibility bears down on me to keep them safe and help them heal while they are in our care.

The story is a familiar one in our family.  It begins like this:

"Can we get a dog?"
"Not right now. Maybe in the spring."

And then on the day I sit across from her and watch her face, tears streaming down her cheeks, and listen to her words, "I don't need anyone,"

I know.

She needs.

She needs that dog she's been begging for.

And so continues the story...

My daughter was visiting that night.  Two conspirators, she and I began the hunt.  We searched, marking our favorites.    Polly was our number one choice.  She's a chocolate lab mix from the Powell Animal Welfare Society.

My husband walked in as we were searching and I asked him, "Hey, don't you have a friend who fosters dogs?"

After a few texts with his friend he looked up, "Yep.  He fosters for Powell Animal Welfare Society."

"Hey that's where Polly is from. Does he know her?"

Another text.  "You aren't going to believe this.  He is fostering her this weekend."

My daughter and I looked at each other and said at the same time, "It's a sign."

 My heart began to hope.  Might she be the answer we've been seeking?

We learned Polly's story.  She was found on the side of the road in rural Kentucky.  She was in need of her own humans to love her.  Our initial meeting was successful to say the least.  It seemed that she was just what our family needed and we were what she needed too.

Polly came to live with us last night.  In keeping with our To Kill a Mockingbird theme for our kids' dogs' names (Scout, Jem, Harper, and Caroline), Polly is now called Callie after Calpurnia, the Finch's housekeeper.

We are in love with her already.  She brings a sense of comfort that only a dog can bring.  The future feels promising.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hey, That Gives Me An Idea

I am cross posting with Ruth Ayres Celebration Link-up and Margaret Simon's DigiLit Sunday being hosted by Julianne Harmatz this week.  I invite you to check in with each of these blogs to read how others are celebrating and conferring with students.

There is nothing better than being invited to teach beside another teacher in writing workshop.  This last week, I've been privileged to work alongside three different third grade teachers.  In two of the classes, we are learning about blogging and preparing for their first blogs.  In another class we are working together to discover where writers get ideas and created heart maps.  In all three classes, I was able to confer with students.

In his latest podcast, Ralph Fletcher reminds us that as we get writing workshop up and running, teachers should act as hosts.  We want our students to feel welcome and successful.  This philosophy goes right along with that of the National Writing Project.  One of the greatest lessons I learned from my summer institute was the answer was always, "Yes!"  It didn't matter what teachers wanted to write about, the answer was, "yes." Teachers are given ownership of their writing and that's exactly what I want to do for the students I work with.

On Friday morning, I sat on the carpet with a handful of students who were having a difficult time thinking about what they wanted to write about in their blog post.  The rest of the room buzzed with focused talk about a variety of topics as students bent over their writing pieces.  As we sat on the floor together, I could see glints of anxiety in their eight year-old eyes.  Oh, I've been there...not knowing what to write about while everyone else was scribbling or typing away.  It's not a good feeling.

I began with about 8 kids sitting around me.  I prompted with  simple questions, "What are you interested in?  What do you like to do when you aren't at school?"  With each answer, I worked to expand some ideas...

Football? Could you write about an exciting game you played?  Could you write about a favorite football player?  Could you write about what you need to do to prepare to play football?

Artist?  Could you write a post about how to create something?  Could you write about one of  your favorite projects?  Could you write about how you learned to do a certain kind of art.

One by one, ideas were sparked and I heard, "Hey, that gives me an idea!" more than once.

Eventually, there were three students left. We decided that we would all help each other so that no one was left sitting on the carpet by herself.  It was here that I decided to step back and let the girls take over asking the questions.  They easily modeled the type of questions I had asked previously, and before we knew it, all three students were ready to write.

As the teachers and I circulated around the room, we bent down to check in with kids, encouraging them, and showing our excitement over their writing.  We were the hosts welcoming new writers into the workshop, making them feel appreciated and excited about the work they were doing.