Friday, March 23, 2018

Time for Cuddles

I'm babysitting today. I arrived early so I could see everyone before they went off to start their day. My grandson and granddaughter were busy getting ready for school when I arrived. My daughter was getting ready to drop the kids off at school and head over to a doctor appointment. Much business and chatter filled the house.

"Get your shoes on."
"Did you finish your breakfast."
"Do you have your lunch?"
"Change your jacket. It's a little chilly today."
"Put your shoes on."
"Hurry. It's time to go!"

"See my new gym shoes."
"It's our last day of school before spring break!"
"We're going to our other grandma and grandpa's today!"

As my daughter, grandson and granddaughter stepped out the door, a quiet filled the house. I looked around and there was my third grandchild. Sitting near the corner of the couch, he balanced an Ipad on his lap and was playing some game that consumed him.

I rinsed the breakfast dishes, put the cereal boxes back in the cupboard, and made a cup of coffee. Now it was time for him to put the Ipad away and cuddle. Time with my youngest grandson is precious. He's growing so fast. They all are. But the cuddles must go on! Cuddles are the best!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Another Small Treasure

When I posted "In Search of Small Treasures" on 3/20, I received a response from Clare at Teachers for Teachers. She had read my post and suggested I go back to the second-hand store and purchase a little china dish that I had looked at but returned to the shelf. It was a thoughtful suggestion that would connect me with my trip to the store when I was startled for a moment by a breach of reality.

So I returned to the store today. And, of course, the little china dish was gone. I went down each aisle searching for the little dish with delicate flowers painted on it. Then, I went down each aisle again looking carefully from the top shelf to the bottom and behind larger objects, thinking I may have missed it the first time. And yes, I went down each aisle one more time thinking that someone might have picked it up and placed it on another shelf. But it was gone. My heart sank. 

I continued to look around the store hoping to find another small treasure that would remind me of second-hand store shopping I used to do with my mom. I would regret for some time not purchasing that little china dish. But I knew another day would come when I would find a treasure that my mom and I would have both loved. 

And then, I saw it. There on the top shelf was a little vintage ring box. I picked it up and turned it around to see the pretty pattern around the sides. I looked at the lid covered in dainty blue flowers. I unlatched it and lifted the lid. Oh, yes, this was a piece I would take home. I needed it. 

I know there will be many trips to second-hand stores in the future. It's just something I do that reminds me of the trips I took with my mom. We would bring home our treasures, carefully wrapped and bagged. We would take our small treasures out, one at a time, and admire them. We would find a special place for them in our home. Small treasures - today it was a vintage ring box that was now mine. I love it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Poem

The long blue piece of yarn
is the beginning.

Stitch after stitch
it will grow.

It represents the start
of a new life.

A tiny precious baby will be wrapped
in this woven bundle of yarn.

Wrapped in hopes and dreams
and love - so much love.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In Search of Small Treasures

Yesterday, I stopped at a thrift store on the way home from the gym. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular. Sometimes, I just like to stop by and look for second-hand treasures.

I was walking through the aisles and stopping occasionally to take a closer look at some items. I saw a flowered china dish - small and delicate, but I placed it back on the shelf (I didn't really need it). I stopped to look at a tote bag (teachers never have enough bags), but I put it back. I glanced at some books hoping to find a book to add to my next read stack, but lost the patience for standing there since nothing jumped out at me. 

I decided to head home and started walking toward the exit. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw someone familiar. I could see the top of her head moving down the aisle. She was short enough to only see the top of her head over the racks of clothing.

I moved toward her and peeked around the corner as if to make sure she was who I thought she was. As I turned the corner to see more of her, I caught my breath. There she was pushing a cart and checking out some clothing on hangers. She was a tiny, elderly woman with grey wavy hair cut short rounding the corner at the end of an aisle. I froze in my tracks. 

A quick moment later, I snapped back to reality. It was NOT my mom, but for one heart warming moment I was shopping with my mom again. She passed away several years ago. She loved to go to second-hand stores looking for treasures.

I moved toward the exit and walked to my car. It was a moment that warmed my heart but brought me sadness as well. I miss my mom. I miss our adventures in search of small treasures.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Our Bottle Tree

She knew that there could be a spell put in trees, and she was familiar from the time she was born with the way bottle trees kept evil spirits from coming into the house — by luring them inside the colored bottles, where they cannot get out again.
Livvie, by Eudora Welty

This is our bottle tree. The picture was taken after a snowfall this last January. While we are aware of the legend that the bottle tree traps evil spirits, we just like the added color to our garden. Some people hang bottles of all colors, but we liked the blue bottles, especially when we see them in the snow and reflecting under a winter moon.

The bottles are hung upside down on the tree branches with the neck of the bottles facing the trunk. The legend says that at night the evil spirits enter the bottles and become trapped. When the morning comes, the spirits are destroyed by the heat of the sun.

I have read that the practice of setting up bottle trees to ward off evil spirits was brought to America during the slave trade. Bottle trees have been very prevalent in the southern states for hundreds of years.

For my husband and I, the bottle tree brings us beautiful color to our garden. We enjoy the way it sparkles in the moonlight and shines in the sun.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

What I Learned from the Redwoods

What I Learned 
from the Redwoods.

On a 10-day trip along the West Coast, we visited the Redwoods in California. The trees were amazing. They taught me lessons I remember when I see these pictures we took on our trip.

                                                          Stand tall.

                                                            Reach high.

                                                Connect with others.

                                                                       Put down roots.

                                                    Be patient. Endure.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Objectives not Obstacles

I was reading a book recently and came across a line that made me think.
When describing a character who was bravely facing serious struggles in her life, the author said: 

"She sees everything as an objective not an obstacle."

I started wondering how I approached struggles in my own life.
When do I see an obstacle?
When do I work toward an objective with confidence and persistence.
Do I choose to tackle more objectives or give in to the obstacles?

Then, I thought about the learners in our classrooms. 

I have known students who rarely felt like they could overcome something difficult - who felt like what they needed to do seemed to be a huge obstacle - one so huge that it wasn't even worth trying.

I have also known students who felt they could make progress if they just worked toward difficult learning one step at a time with the confidence they needed.

As teachers, it's one more behavior we need to observe as we work with students. Who sees learning as an objective? Who sees learning as an obstacle? And what can we do to encourage all our students to see learning challenges as objectives not obstacles?