Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Hometown Family Will Grow!

During the SOLC in March, I wrote of the possibility of my son and daughter-in-law moving to our city. They have been doing research and teaching hundreds of miles from our home for quite a few years. My husband and I are very proud of their many accomplishments and support their decisions. It was rarely verbalized but yet there has always been a wistful hope of them some day finding a match with their career goals and the University in our city.

During the last several months they have researched, visited and interviewed at universities in many cities around the country. It’s funny how one opportunity that would bring them “only 11 driving hours away” was an exciting possibility! 

They were offered several positions. Deep breath…one was here! After weighing the options, they recently have chosen to accept the positions offered HERE! They won’t be moving for over a year but already my head spins with the excitement of this move.

I have never written a series of haiku but thought I’d give it a try, inspired by their journey. I know the SOL writing community is always so supportive of everyone’s posts. I am however a little shy about the possibility of my son reading this post as he told me he is following my blog! Anyway, here goes.

gathering knowledge
first in the east then the west
midwest became home

hard to be so far
visits treasured, memories
made just twice a year

new campuses to research
possibly to move

inhaling fresh hope
university in town
could it be a fit?

jubilation soars
yes! they will be moving home
wishes do come true

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Day With Katie Wood Ray

I was so fortunate to attend a workshop today where Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland were the presenters! I approached the day with the anticipation of Christmas and was not disappointed. The day's focus was Establishing a Writing Workshop for Beginning Writers. As the ending time for the day approached, I found myself wishing I could continue to be immersed in their writing world. The day affirmed many tenets I hold for writing in the classroom. In addition, they showed kids involved in writing workshop, an extensive list of mentor texts that I can use and share with co-workers was shared and they provided me with many thoughts to internalize and put into action.

In preparation for the summary that I have to do for school after attending the workshop, I decided to make a list of 10 of my reflections combined with quotes from today's presenters. As I listened and processed, I kept thinking not only of the application for students but for me as a writer for the  SOLC last month!

Take a reader on a journey of thought.
I hope to someday be able to do that more easily!

"You need a vision to do a revision."

A story v. a list of events
I hadn't given that much thought before. I hope to go back to my slices and do a tally of my stories v. lists of events slices.

The creative process (even with kids!) is ongoing.
Now to remind them as well as myself!

"I'm not afraid of my words." Katie's context was with the kids' spelling as it evolves. I was thinking of this in terms of posting daily slices and the risks everyone took.

Children learn about writing as a process by writing regularly!
I need to remind myself to do this as the challenge of March is over!

Share regularly.
Thank you Stacey and Ruth for providing that vehicle. Without it, I would never have "published".

Use writing mentors.
Picture books, picture books, picture books for students. I found that fellow slicers' posts became my mentor texts.

Build stamina for creative kinds of work.
I'm still trying to build stamina! What a head start Kindergarteners will have if they embrace this lesson at a young age.

Katie also talked about slice of life stories.
I was smiling, feeling that indeed I had found slices for 31 days. Now I hope I can continue to be a part of this community on Tuesdays.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The SOLC Connection

SOLC Day 31!

We all tally points by completing this writing journey. The stories connected our lives and hearts creating memories and friendships. The month provided a platform where there was an intersection of similar experiences, cyber reaches of support and shared ideas which planted ideas to help us reach and grow. 

 I am now experiencing life in terms of the integral slices each day brings. My thoughts are scribing these stories as I go along. How can such a challenge change how one thinks in such a relatively short period of time?

Thank you to all for the companionship along the way.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Found Some Words

SOLC Day 30 of 31

So close to the end of the challenge, the finish line is in sight. Despite that, I was almost convinced that the words in my head just wouldn't shake out onto the paper tonight. Thank you to diana1litcoach for introducing me to the site www.tagxedo.com with her clever posts. I played a little at that site (and will revisit it soon!). As I thought of which words to add, I realized that what was in my head was family, the visit we will have tomorrow and the decisions that will be shared. Those were at the forefront of my well-used mind on a Friday evening. As lingering thoughts of my day at school started to evaporate back into the work week and my focus became family and the visit we will have, I found some words!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Treasure is in the Friendship

SOLC Day 29 of 31

Early on in the challenge I blogged about the special friendship that two friends and I have shared for many years. At that time I told how one of the friends had very recently passed away.  It is still hard not to think that I will again walk into a room and she will be there or dial her number and hear her voice.

Tonight her husband invited my friend and I and our husbands over for dinner.  He said he wanted my friend and I to go through his wife's jewelry and see if there was anything we would like. His two daughter in laws had already taken remembrances and he wanted us to have some pieces that we might enjoy. We had shared a love for jewelry and had often shared the stories if the gifts of jewelry  that we had  received for special occasions through the years.

After dinner, our husbands went into the living room while we were offered bags to go through in the kitchen.  We soon realized the value in the jewelry was the memories they held. With heavy hearts we opened little box after little box. We  sighed as we shared stories of a a piece that she had worn to her son's wedding, another that she had bought when we were all on vacation, and others that we could recall when she had received them and the outfits she wore them with.

I feel I have come home with little pieces of her life that I can wear and treasure...someday. Now it is bittersweet and wearing them will make me sad. I will reflect back to them often until one day I  can smile when I put them on. It is not the monetary value of these items that is valuable but the friendship and memories that they represent.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stress Washed Away

SOLC Day 28 of 31
It was one of those days. I realized it even more when I got home and could feel the knotted ropes on either side of my neck and fatigue weighting me to the floor. When I left for school this morning, I had the resolve that I would go to my aquafit class this evening. But now I was not as sure. My husband was not coming home for dinner and though I had a dozen things on my mental to do list, there really was not a concrete reason not to go.

I like this fitness class but I just had to get there.  An external force pushed and pulled at me to get on my bathing suit, grab my gym bag and get out the door and into the car. I drove to the gym. As I stepped into the pool the warm water welcomed me with a soothing “ah”.  The class goes at a brisk pace with the instructor pushing encouragingly. I found energy that I didn’t know I still had. I worked hard and the knots loosened. Some of the stresses of the day washed off and were left behind. I found some renewal. I’m tired but soothed. It was a good choice I made with the force that pushed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Wedding and a Ferret

SOLC Day 27 of 31
I have been the wedding coordinator at my church for many years. My job is to meet with a bride and herhusband-to-be or maybe her mother. I meet with them several months ahead of their wedding to go over the logistics to be considered in terms of the church. I give them thoughts about where the flowers should go, we discuss the order the bridesmaids and groomsmen would enter the church, and where various family members might sit. Among other things! At one meeting with a bride and her mother, the bride interjected, as she threw her mother a glance, “I have a question to ask Sue.  Mom, I already know what you think.” She proceeded to tell me that she had this pet, this very special pet, that she would like to be in her wedding. In the pause that was probably two seconds, my mind conjured the thought that it was probably a dog and was pondering whether we could stretch the rules and make that happen. I snapped back to when she announced, “It’s my ferret.” I’m not sure, but I’ve often reflected that my eyebrows probably hit my hairline in surprise. She quickly added, “Oh, but it’s a very special pet and I’ve already bought him a tux.”  Spontaneously, but I’m not sure from where, I responded, “I bet your ferret won’t know that it is your special day. Why don’t you have your photographer come to your house ahead of time and take pictures of you and your ferret in his tux?” She told me she thought that was a good idea. I heard the exhale of relief come from her mother.

Through the years I have collected, (though unfortunately did not write down),
many funny wedding stories. This is among the best. I still chuckle at the visual of a ferret walking down the center aisle of a 175 year old church with the bride!