It was May 2012, I was in southern California, and I knew a new blogger from the March challenge was somewhere near. I thought about contacting her. I had her email because she had commented on my blog. Do I reach out or do I return home wondering what would have happened if I contacted her? The first week went by, I did not contact her.

During the second week, I clicked send and an email was sent into cyberspace. My heart thumped in my chest when I saw a response in my inbox. Did she want to meet? Yes! She did want to meet me!

We met for lunch, but it wasn’t long enough. We talked for several hours, but still it wasn’t enough. However, it had to do for that first meeting.

The next year we met again. This time we spent the day together. Still it wasn’t enough time.

Then I hatched a plan for her to come back to the Midwest and we could have a road trip to the All Write conference. That might give us enough time together. 🙂

Monday was a waiting game. Waiting for Kim (from Learning Tour Writing Stop) to arrive. She wasn’t due to land until 8:40 p.m., but her flight was early. I was still ten minutes away from the airport when she called to tell me she was here. That was great because we have so much to do. It was a late night of talking, but today our adventure begins.

If you are reading this in the morning, we are on our way to St. Louis for a quick tour. If you are reading this later in the day, we may be on our way to the top of the Arch. Or we could be at the Botanical Gardens. But if you are reading this after dinner, we have eaten an Italian meal on The Hill (click here for info).

Wednesday morning we will head for Warsaw. The next two days will fly by with lots of learning and meeting friends from the slicing world. Before we start back to Missouri we hope to visit the Amish area north of Warsaw. Rumor has it there are garden quilts to view.

The next few days will be fun, fun, fun!



Mail and Email to Celebrate

A quote on Linda Baie’s blog, Teacher Dance, really spoke to me today. “There are exactly as many celebration in life as we choose to celebrate.” Robert Brault. I think Ruth understands this and lives this daily. She allows us to live it too. Thank you Ruth, celebrations are joyful.

This week email had me doing a happy dance. The first came from my office. It announced that I will have the opportunity to learn from Laura Robb for two days this summer. Ten of us will be working with her from her book, Unlocking Complex Text (which comes out June 2) and another book related to vocabulary that won’t be out in time for our meeting. The publisher is sending us galley proofs to use during the training, then we will get it when it is published. How cool is that?

The other email was from Kim, of Learning Tour Writing Stop. She has made reservations to fly into Springfield so we can have a road trip to Warsaw, Indiana for the All Write conference. She will then get to spend a few days hanging out with me after the conference before flying back to California. I don’t want to wish my life away, but I can’t wait until she comes and we get to hang out/learn in Indiana.

Then the snail mail brought me two packages this week. Through the March Slice of Life writing challenge, I won a book of my choice from both Stenhouse and Heinemann. This week they both arrived. I now have several professional books to read during this summer.

Life is sweet*, but reflecting on the celebrations each week just brings it home.

*my one little word for this year

All Right! All Write!

Last year I jumped into the pool of the All Write conference. It was better than I’d ever hoped. The sessions were great, but that wasn’t the real reason I wanted to go.

I’d been sitting on the sidelines dangling my feet into the water by reading the posts of those who attended, in years past. I thought, someday I want to go. So many slicers are there, I love meeting the person behind the words.

At first I’d discussed with my husband that perhaps we could go and then travel on to bike the trails of Michigan. That sounded okay to him, until I started talking about all the people I’d get to meet. He knew that I’d be torn, spending time with him vs. slicers. The decision was made, no biking (we’ll do that another time), go and be with the slicers.

I dived right into that water, even though it meant, 587 miles by myself in the car. I checked out a few audio books, had some music ready, and snacks to munch. The GPS guided me every mile. In no time I was in Warsaw and meeting the people who write the words I love to read.

It was the best of times and one I wanted to repeat this year. Several weeks ago I got an email from the conference saying registration was open. Could I? Should I? Would I? Absolutely! I’m ready to dive back into the water and splash about.

Sunday, I called and made my reservations at the hotel. Quickly followed by the on-line registration, and writing the check to put in the mail. Only one thing left to do, convince another slicer that she wants to go too.

I sent my email outlining possible travel plans. I got a response back saying I’ll think about it. Soon my email announced:  *****News Flash!***** I’m in, who do I make the check out to? Woohoo! My email begging her to come east worked. I am not spending time alone in the car this year. Kim of the Learning Tour Writing Stop will be joining me.

For the last two years we have met up in California, this year we will meet up in the midwest. I am so excited to have her coming with me!

Have you thought about attending? If not, what’s stopping you? Come on join the fun! Here’s a link to the flyer that you can download. Let’s make this a year to remember!

Meeting Slicers

Attending the All Write conference allowed me to learn from professionals I have admired, but that’s not the highlight of those conference days. When I think back on what I remember the most, it has to be meeting those I think of as my friends who write.

I left early Wednesday morning from my father-in-laws home which is just west of St. Louis. I figured it would take me about seven hours. As I drove, my heart would begin to pound from the sheer anticipation of the next two days when I thought about who I would be meeting. The miles flew by and before I knew it I was in Warsaw.

Just after I had checked in, I was hauling my luggage to the room when I noticed someone appeared to be having difficulty with the key in the lock. A hotel staff member helped her out just as I reached the door. She turned, looked at me, and said, “I know you.” Then she disappeared down the hall. My mind raced, I decided that had to be Nanc from Two Years and Finishing Strong. I deposited my stuff in the room then went wandering down the hall to see if I could find her. I didn’t, so I returned to my room for a few minutes. The next time I stepped into the hall, she was there and it was Nanc. We hugged, chatted, and planned to meet to check in at the conference together.

We were about to leave the registration when Nanc spotted Ruth. What an exciting moment for me! Plus Mary Helen (Book Savors) and Deb G. (Delivering Reading Passion) were also there. More hugs all around! This was just the beginning of a perpetual smile on my face.

Mary Helen chauffeured us to the restaurant where the Slicers and Tweeps were gathering. Here is where I need to confess, I am not a particularly outgoing personality. In new situations or with new people, I will sit back and observe, deciding whether or not this is something I want to participate in. I didn’t have to do that last week. I already knew so much about the people that surrounded me. I wanted to know more, so questions were asked and answered. There was no awkward pausing, we were friends getting together for a meal. So much happy chatter surrounded us. At times the noise level reached a school cafeteria din. I kept expecting a reprimand. Fortunately none came. I sat across from Betsy and Robin and discovered they were teammates. Hopefully their friend, Tina will be convinced to join in the slicing world. Ramona was beside me with Nanc next to her. Cathy was at the other end. That was just our table. There were more tables filled with friends from cyberspace.

I tried to relax, I knew I would have two more days with Linda, Christy, Bonnie, Mary Helen, and Ruth. I didn’t know this was my only opportunity to visit with Tam. I am so sad that we only shared a hug with a few words. Next year (I hope there will be a next year) we must talk.

I feel blessed to have had this opportunity to spend time with so many fellow Slicers. I cannot thank Ruth and Mary Helen enough for hanging out with us out-of-towners. This experience was a highlight in my life. I’m sure the people back home are sick of me talking about my new (but really you are not new) friends.

Here are a few group shots. Is that really me with Slicing friends? Yes! Wow! I never would have believed it.


friends 2


Tomorrow I will continue to meet Slicers. Judy and Michelle are meeting me in Branson. I can’t wait!