A Bite of Delight

The weather report said: 5:00 a.m. stormy; 6:00 a.m. stormy; 7:00 a.m. stormy. As I closed my eyes and settled in for the night, I gave a satisfied sigh knowing I would not have to be up and out the door for my walk.

With that knowledge, I ended up sleeping forty-five minutes beyond my usual time. Imagine my surprise to see the daylight, but no precipitation. As I sipped my iced coffee, I listened to the weatherman assure me rain was coming.

Just as I thinking about changing into my walking clothes, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. Instead of walking clothes, I quickly pulled on shorts and a shirt and joined my husband in the car. We were headed to a spot downtown hoping to score an almond croissant.

A few raindrops speckled the windshield, so I grabbed the umbrella as I headed into the European Café. Ah-ha! There were four almond croissants on the counter. I claimed half of them and added two quiches (for lunch) to my order. No need to open the umbrella as I met up with my husband.

Clouds were gathering, but I thought perhaps I should walk before consuming this

Quickly I put on my walking clothes. My steps might have been a little quicker knowing the treat that waited for me. Looking ahead I saw

this threatening cloud. It looked like I might get wet, but I continued on. So glad I did because I got a glimpse of delight

waiting for a birthday girl.

The threatening cloud evaporated by the time I returned home. I cooled down, then savored every bite of the almond croissant. As I glanced out the window, I noticed the patio was wet. There was just enough rain to make everything damp. That was the extent of our “stormy” morning.

I hope there’s another bite of delight in my future.

Don’t you have a story to share?

Day 25: Celebrate Health

 

The medical field amazes me! I am astounded by the advances made in just my lifetime against diseases, specifically cancer. It is a word that strikes fear just typing it. I don’t have a lot of cancer in my family background, but just enough to make me follow through with procedures, mostly uncomfortable, but are proven to be life saving.

This week I endured the preparation for a colonoscopy. Ugh! I’m so glad not to have this looming in my life for another ten years.

Prior to the procedure, the nurse wanted to list all my medications on the computer. I told her. She looked back at me and said with an incredulous tone to her voice, “That’s it? That’s all you take?”

I assured her I only take the one medication. Her response, “That’s really unusual! You are so lucky.”

Yes, I am lucky, I have good health (most of the time). Thank you ancestors for passing on those healthy genes to this generation. I only hope the future generations will be blessed with excellent health.

Day 11: Small Celebrations

Saturday is a day to revisit the week and recall the celebrations that pop up each and every day.

My week was bookended by taking my mother to medical offices. On Monday an abscess was treated, then Friday was a long put-off appointment. The abscess is healing, but as the doctor said,”It will take a long while for the abscess to heal.” Now that doesn’t sound like much of a celebration, but the fact that I was able to be there for her is the celebration.

The in-between days were filled with coaching teachers through guided reading lessons, developing comprehension skills, and extending teachers’ thoughts about the role of talk within their literacy block.

An added bonus to the week was family from Phoenix arrived to spend a few days with us. It’s always a treat to have them visit.

Of course that means cooking needs to be ramped up a notch. Usually there is some special dessert, but this house is under a restricted dietary rule (self imposed). What to do? The answer is a healthy brownie. Healthy? How can that be? How about a brownie that does not contain eggs or flour, but it does have a can of black beans. If that sounds intriguing, check out Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog for the recipe. They are very fudgy and gooey, not cake-like. Quite tasty!

Today is a wintery mix for weather, so we will be cooking up a crock pot of chicken corn chowder. Wish you all could stop by for a bowl of soup and brownie for dessert. Happy Saturday!

Day 8: Best Moment of Monday

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

If you read my post from yesterday, you will know that Monday kicked my plans of the day to the curb. Recalculating was the word of my morning.

However, recalculating was not an option for the afternoon. Monday was the final day of a three year literacy PD journey. I have worked with the kindergarten through fourth grade teachers to develop balanced literacy practices in their building. This involves meeting with teachers, modeling in classrooms, and coaching the teachers. I have been in their building and classrooms at least twenty days each year.

So Monday was the day I would say good-bye to this group of teachers. Third grade came ready to work/learn. We had great conversations on getting the year started in writing, revisited reading notebook options, and what kinds of conversations we need to encourage in their daily instruction.

Suddenly the door opened and another teacher came in carrying a gift bag. All of a sudden the faces of the third grade teachers brightened with their ear-to-ear grins. What? As the teacher handed me the bag, she said, “This is a little something from us.”

I was at a loss for words. I stammered out a thank you. I opened the cards and each staff member had written a kind word of thanks. There was a little tin box nestled in the bottom of the bag, a gift card to a nice steak house. What a treat! But that wasn’t all . . . they included some cash too. The teacher explained, “You can spend it however you want.” Of course you know where that money will go, books!

The day had its bumps but the best moment was working with the teachers. Every teacher in this building took on the three year journey of learning and changing/developing their skill as teachers of literacy. I will miss my monthly trips to their school next year.

P.S. My mom is healing and doing fine. 🙂

 

Day 4, 6 Words 6 Images

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” by Ernest Hemingway, is the most famous six word story. The concept of telling a story in six words has intrigued me for some time. My brain has played and abandoned the challenge of creating a six word story.

Last year, I attended a session by Don Goble at a conference and he revived that spark. He had videos of six words, six shots done by students that could take your breath away. However, time passed and my spark fizzled out.

This year he did a full day on the six word, six shot concept. A friend attended and came away bubbling with enthusiasm. I knew I wanted to try, but I also knew I could not put it into a video (not that savvy in the tech department).

Finally, I had a story to share. I took six photos, I selected six words. I combined them to document my work in a school.

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Waterlogue 1.3.1 (72) Preset Style = Illustration Format = 8" (Large) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = Technical Pen Drawing Weight = Light Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

 

 

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I celebrate the choice this school made to invest in their teachers. Changing practices takes time. The teachers were given that time and support.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

Celebrating Time

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Celebration 1

  • Mom had a dental appointment on Tuesday.
  • My husband had a procedure that required a driver on Wednesday.
  • Another appointment, this time an eye exam for my mom on Friday.

I became the chauffeur for the week. It was a rare week to find myself free from working or planning for work. The week flew by as I read while I waited. I celebrate that I could fill the role of chauffeur.

Some weeks, time is short. There are too many things to accomplish with the hours available. So I will savor the time I had this week with family members as I ferried them to their respective appointments.

Celebration 2

Amaryllis bulbs take time to grow and develop. My cousin sent my mom a bulb at the beginning of December. Just look at the beauty produced after allowing time for growth.

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Remembering

celebrate newExactly ten years ago, we experienced the worst ice storm, ever. The devastation of that ice storm looked like a tornado had swept through the land. Trees were broken bodies bent by the weight of the ice. Power lines snapped and fell to the ground. We had no power for seven days. Many were without power for over two weeks. It was a struggle to get through each day without our electricity. After a few days of cooking soup on the barbecue grill in frigid temperatures, we gave up and headed to my father-in-law’s home. He had power and the roads had been cleared of the ice.

All week, the weatherman warned that we were in the path of another ice storm. People began scrambling. Generators were sold out at the hardware stores. Gallons of water disappeared from the grocery store shelves. Schools cancelled before the first drops of rain fell. Homes prepared for the worst.

The temperatures hovered around that magic thirty-two degree mark. When it dropped, ice began to encase the trees. As the temperature climbed, icicles formed from the melting. The rain continued to fall most of the day. However, this storm did not lead to devastation. Yes, some lost power, but only for hours, not days. img_1181-1

Soon this front will pass and we can breathe easier knowing that our power lines remain attached to the poles. Life will continue on until the next storm sends everyone into panic mode.

I celebrate the people who work tirelessly to keep our power lines intact.

Celebration Week

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Seven days . . . what can happen in seven days? It begins with a trip to the airport to welcome my friend, Kim, from California. Then . . .

  • we have a picnic dinner prior to enjoying a Tent Theater production of All Shook

    Here we are in the saloon at Silver Dollar City. Don't believe the poster behind us, or should you?

    Here we are in the saloon at Silver Dollar City. Don’t believe the poster behind us, or should you?

    Up.

  • we relax, chat, and shop for groceries.
  • we spend a day living in the 1800’s at Silver Dollar City.
  • we hang out at a pool, eat Frito Pie at Caspers (requested by Kim because of this post), sample popcorn, and begin our road trip to Warsaw, IN.

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    Caspers and Frito Pie

  • we study a map, plot a route, and begin the next 425 miles of our trip to Warsaw, with perhaps a few moments of “Are we on the right road?”
  • we meet up with the best people I am privileged to call friends. Friends is not even the best word for these people who have touched my heart. All year long, I anticipate the moment we are reunited. Then I relish every second I get to spend with with them.
  • we spent two days filling our minds with new ideas from incredible presenters at the All Write conference.
  • we met new friends in real life, not just through their written words. They were just as delightful in person, as we knew they would be.
  • sadly we were forced to say good-bye to all to begin the journey home, but we know that we will come back, and we will be welcomed with open arms.

Time speeds up when you are immersed in celebration and joy. What a gift friendship is.

Celebrating 39 Years!

celebrate newSome weeks I might have to dig really deep into the week to discover a moment for celebration. Some weeks even after digging deeply there I walk away from the possibility of a celebration on Saturday. This was not one of those weeks. Celebrations bubbled to the surface.This turned out to be a week with many moments to celebrate.

I could celebrate:

  • meeting friends for coffee one morning. We need to do this more often.
  • getting new phones (my last phone was over four years ago, my husband has not had a new phone for over six years).
  • spending some time reading a couple of professional books on the back patio.
  • riding my bike on the trail for the first time since fall.

Those are all worthy of celebrating, but they are not the highlight of the week.

Thirty-nine years ago the sun rose and began heating the earth in my corner of the world. The mercury in the thermometers inched it’s way to 97° with 84% humidity. It was a sweltering day, but I barely noticed because it was my wedding day. Nothing was going to ruin my special day! The wedding was at two o’clock, unfortunately the chapel’s sanctuary was not air conditioned. Fortunately the service was not too long. Soon we were happily greeting guests in the air conditioned basement for a cake and punch reception.

Later in the afternoon there was a backyard dinner reception at my parents’ home for the out of town guests. It must have cooled down a bit, because I don’t remember being miserably hot in the evening.

Most of our photos were taken before the ceremony, when we were cooler and refreshed. The bottom right was after the ceremony. Mike is about to die of the heat.

Most of our photos were taken before the ceremony, when we were cooler and refreshed. The bottom right was after the ceremony. Mike is about to die of the heat. Me, I’m just a happy girl in both. 🙂

Tonight my husband and I will visit our favorite Italian restaurant, toast each other with a glass of wine as we remember that hot day thirty-nine years ago.

Celebrate Learning with Ruth

celebrate new

The seed of this celebration began in January 2011 when someone planted an idea in my mind. “You can be a writer, come join our community.” The seed began to sprout roots as I “tried” writing. The encouraging comments pushed me to write more than I’d ever written before.

Friendships developed through telling the stories of our lives. Mostly, these friends are virtual, but some are now face-to-face friends. They have made my life richer through their stories and friendships. Ruth is one of those friendships that is no longer virtual.

So I was more than thrilled when my director asked me last August to find out if Ruth was available to work with the trainers in May. Yes, she was available. Yes, she would come and work with us.

Sunday, I picked her up at the airport. We talked and talked. We wandered the trails at our nature center. Then we talked and talked until it was time to head to bed.

Monday and Tuesday, she guided us through thinking about what needs to be in place to make writing workshop effective.

  • First, teachers need to understand how writers work.
  • Once this is in place, they need to claim time, space, and materials.
  • Now we can begin the process to develop lessons and assessment systems.

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Time passed quickly as we processed and reflected on this information. Before I was ready to let Ruth go, it was Wednesday morning and I was bringing Ruth back to the airport.

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I celebrate the connections I’ve made because I write. Each one brings joy to my life.