breathe.

I sit
cross-legged at my
regular post
on the living room floor.

Computers glow
in front of me
while the
television
keeps me company.

I pray
heart wide open from my
usual state of mind
on the cusp of something new.

Dawn breaks
ahead
while
God’s love
surrounds me.

Surprise Snack

This is reposted from my school blog where I am participating in a month-long blogging challenge to write a small, slice-of-life story each day throughout the month of March.  This is the fourth time I’ve taken on the challenge, though last year I struggle to keep up.

When March rolled around, I thought about writing from this blog, but decided to keep it consistent and use the one I’ve used for all past challenges.  But, I might, from time to time, repost something here.  Because more often than not, I find myself writing about my family, I’m sure much to the chagrin of my students.

Perhaps, when I return to the classroom in the fall, I will try to structure it differently – professional and personal, school blog and personal blog.  But then again, perhaps not.  Because writing is writing and we are all inspired by so many different things.  So, for now…here’s a little slice from yesterday…

*                         *                          *

Today, we’re resting and recovering in hopes of returning to full health for the week ahead. I realize how rarely these days tend to come around, and how we might fare better if we took these days more often while healthy, instead of only after days of sickness.  Soft blankets surround snuggled bodies on comfortable couches.  Laughter and light fill the living room where we have played, talked, watched, and read throughout the morning.

With our encouragement, the kids headed upstairs to play in Seneca’s room.  We could hear them playing and were suspicious of the enthusiasm with which they bounded down the stairs, and their warnings to stay out of the kitchen.  A few minutes later and the whispered clanking we’d heard all made sense.

Excitedly, they presented me with the snack they’d prepared – Chicken in a Biskit crackers with Nutella, and cold coffee with creamer.

snack

If you’d have told me ten years ago that such a snack could have warmed my heart, I might have agreed to be polite.  But I realize now that it’s not about the snack at all, but the motivation of kindness that brings joy to my soul.

I believe…

Not since 2004, in the glow of newly-wedded bliss, do I ever remember 3 consecutive snow days. Back then, my young spouse and I passed the time with long treks through the piles of snow, delicious meals with his folks – who weathered the storm in our small apartment for 2 of the 3 days!

Here we are, a decade later, and we are on our second run of 3 straight snow days.  In fact, the first stretch, was actually 4 days in a row with a two-week holiday break in there too!  And the craziest thing – it’s. only. January.

Here we are, having made homemade pretzels, chocolate fondue, pies, crock-pot dinners, Valentine’s decorations, we’ve rearranged and clean most of the house, done laundry, exercised a bit, read a handful of books, and watched far too many movies.  So, what’s left?  Purging old computer files and finding a few keepers, like this one from May 2011.

I believe each day is a chance for a fresh start, a moment to erase past failures and reach new goals. I believe that despite my best efforts, I always start a school year stronger than I tend to finish one. I believe my seemingly endless revisions to lesson plans and classroom goals will eventually pay off. I believe teaching is hard work and sharing that work with intelligent, compassionate, strong colleagues will make me a better person. I believe my students have as much to teach me as I have to teach them. I believe in consistency and struggle to maintain it. I believe in taking time each and every day to let go of standards, to-do lists and be fully present in our lives.

Reading this both takes me back and makes me think of what lies ahead as I come to the half-way mark of my year leave of absence from teaching.  It’s a decision and a test of faith that I have not, and never will regret ~ this, I believe.

It’s happening…

Slowly, but surely and with a few well-timed trips to the library, a few well-chosen independent reading books, and several read-alouds that we’ve plowed through some in just a couple of days.  He’s being bitten by the reading bug.  

Tonight, we stopped by the library and his first question was if we could have just a “hang out” kind of time at the library.  The past few trips were quick in-and-out just to get something specific.  Hanging our coats, and settling in to peruse the new releases before making our way to the puppet show and plastic grill, I felt thankful for the chance to settle in and have such an afternoon.  I watched as they performed a sweet show for me, and ate all manner of plastic hot dogs, felt pizza, and burgers that were balanced, dropped, returned, and balanced again on small spatulas, all the while adoring the chef’s hat and apron my son proudly wore.  

We left with a good 7 or 8 books (and a printed list of all we have checked out!), and both kids read the entire way home.  Upon arriving home, Seneca and I headed inside so she could read to Daddy, while Calder hung back in the van for a few minutes – still buckled, side door open, winter-booted leg crossed one over the other.  He came in to say he’d finished a second book!!

He glanced through the stack I’d placed on the kitchen cabinet and found Book One of the 39 Clues series.  Intrigued, he looked it over and headed upstairs to the hall shelf, where we had the exact same book already!  I knew we had something, but I didn’t realize it was the same one!  Thankfully, it added to his intrigue!

After dinner, Garth started the book with him, while Seneca and I added a few more rows to the cross stitch project we started recently.  We read devotions together and headed to respective bedrooms.  “Can we read just one more chapter, please Mom?” Calder begged.  

“How about…5 pages?” I countered.

“Sure, sounds good!”

Pages read, I climb off the dinosaur bedspread and scoop up the limp body of a sleeping puppy – the perfect reading companion!  Heading upstairs, I left him to read a few more pages on his own while I went up to snuggle with Sis.  

Twenty-minutes, and nearing the end of another chapter, I peek in and see him beaming, and exhausted, and unable, to put the book down.  “Mom, do we have another lamp?” A few minutes later, his old reading lamp is returned to it’s spot on the shelf above his bed, shining down on his toothless grin where he sleepily giggles, “This is so fun!  It’s like I’m in my own little bubble.”  

I kiss his head, and head out giving him 5 more minutes.

Image

As he snaps off his light, I share with him my love of waking up in the morning, finding my book and reading in the morning light.  Leaving his room, I can barely keep my breath calm, as I think of all the adventures that await my sweet reader.  

Gratitude ~ Day 30

Has it really been a full month already?  Even with the Christmas lights twinkling from the decorated tree in the living room, and cards ordered and on their way, it doesn’t seem possible that the holidays are already upon us.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed making a more concentrated effort to capture the moments that seem to pass so quickly and often go unnoticed.  It’s for those small moments – stolen kisses in the kitchen, afternoon hikes on a brisk, but sunny, fall day – that I am especially grateful.

And now, as we approach the holidays, I’m so thankful for the chance to celebrate the birth of our Savior and to share the joy of the season with my family.  Today, while decorating the tree, the kids asked me to play a song and hearing their little voices sing “The First Noel” or “Silent Night” or the “Glo-o-o-o-o-o-ria” of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” – there’s no sweeter sound!

I’m thankful to any and all of you who happened to read these few words here and there.  I look forward to writing more in the days and months to come, and I’m thankful for the chance to get back into the habit, and reflect on all the blessings in my life, through this exercise of gratitude.

GratitudeButton300x300