Celebrate Green!

celebrate new

Shades of green

Shades of green

Stop! Look! Have you noticed all the shades of green that surround you? Look at the greens I discovered in my backyard. Can you see the silver-blue, yellow, black, forest , emerald, variegated, soft green? Green has exploded in my yard. I celebrate all the wondrous shades of green that the rains of this past week have brought.

Side note: Green happens to be my favorite color. 🙂

Walls of green create a haven to savor and celebrate.

Walls of green create a haven to savor and celebrate.

Celebrate Now

celebrate newLast summer, my husband and I seized the opportunity to take a river cruise through the Netherlands and Belgium with my father-in-law and his girlfriend. Visions of windmills, tulips, and other spring blossoms danced in our minds for eight long months. Finally the day arrived and we were off on an adventure.

For the last two weeks, we have been discovering the beauty of the Netherlands and Belgium in the springtime. Our timing was perfect! The tulips in the fields were blooming to create swaths of color. These flowers are only allowed to bloom for four days. Then the heads are cut so the bulb receives all the nutrients.

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This type of adventure is what I dreamed of in my retirement. I celebrate the point in my life where I am able to sample what the world has to offer in all seasons. For thirty-two years my vacations were dictated by the school calendar. Now, I am free to explore new lands in seasons beyond summer. I wonder what’s next.

Celebrate Learning

celebrate newThis week, the gusting winds pushed me every time I stepped outside. I watched the trees in the yard shake, bend, but yet remain intact, no broken limbs. The howling winds and gray skies make me want to hibernate just a bit longer, even though I am surrounded by the pop of color blooming. The cold I caught two weeks ago, still hung on zapping my energy level. I’m ready to shake it off (as Taylor Swift says). If only the winds could blow it away! But this is not the day for wallowing in misery, this is the day to reflect on the week to find the blatant or hidden celebrations.

I celebrate the school I’ve been working with for the last two years. This week we had our final meeting days. Last year our focus was on reading. We spent this year developing writer’s workshop in the K-4 classrooms. A few weeks ago, I was able to observe every class for the entire writing workshop period. The teachers work at developing writer’s workshop, and they are noticing changes in their students. Is it perfect in every class? Not yet, but their willingness to try is something to celebrate.

This school promotes learning. Several grades are having a change in their staff. The new teachers were invited to our final meeting to get a glimpse of the work we have been doing. I was able to give the teachers some professional books to read over the summer. They want to know and learn best practices. Their quest for information is something to celebrate.

Since these were my last days in a school, I declare I am starting my summer break. 🙂 (This is the joy of retirement.) I do have a few professional development days popping up. I am so looking forward to Ruth coming to work with me and my fellow trainers in my town. Then of course, there is the All Write conference in June, too. I celebrate the anticipation of those days of learning.

My First Celebration of April

celebrate newSpring brings celebration of life to our world. Sunny days are easy to celebrate, but the rainy days are to be celebrated too. Plants celebrate every drop that nurtures them. New life surrounds me outside.

I celebrate a month of writing. Every single day, I shared a slice of my world. When I look back, I find that I brought readers into my eating world. Food showed up a lot. I do enjoy good food. I’ve been told I’m a food snob, I prefer to think I have standards for whatever I eat. 🙂

I didn’t stray too far from home, but when I did, I took the reader along. We went to a conference at Lake of the Ozarks, to Kansas City for an auto show, and to the Botanical Gardens of St. Louis for an orchid show. But most of the slices gave the reader a peek at the everyday moments of life at home. Writing every day is a challenge.

I also celebrate the cold that invaded my body is on its way out. I rarely get sick. This week of lethargy makes me celebrate the good health that I have most of the time.

Finally, a poem to celebrate spring!IMG_2022

Celebration of Spring!
The sun shines brighter,
Birds chirp a happy tune,
Breezes caress, 
Winter’s slumber ends
As plants awake.
Welcome back Spring!

 

 

Bits of Celebration

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

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

What do taxes, writing workshop, words on classroom walls, and Allie (my daughter-in-law) have in common? They are bits of celebrations I noticed this week.

Taxes seem like an odd celebration, and for many years it was a time of pulling hair and gnashing of teeth. That is no longer true.  Mine are finished and sent away, but I did not have to labor over the language of the tax code. I know Turbo Tax says it’s simple, but they always asked me for something I don’t understand. I celebrate that someone took my data and turned it into a refund. One day, I will have a surprise increase in my bank statement. I love those kinds of surprises.

The past two weeks I’ve been visiting classes to observe writing workshop. It is so lovely to see workshop happening. Students happily, eagerly engaged in writing. Teachers teaching writing and loving it.

Several of these classrooms have some sayings on their walls I want to remember. One classroom announces “Mistakes are proof you are trying.” So when I make a mistake, I will remind myself, that at least I’m trying.  “You can never have too much happy” is written on the radiator under the windows. Saturday celebrations are proof that there is always room for happy.

My final celebration is that my daughter-in-law, Allie sends me photos and videos of my granddaughter, Clara. Living 1,500 miles away from them makes us miss a lot of milestones in the granddaughters’ lives. Fortunately, Allie sends me bits, whether it’s a photo or video, of their everyday lives. This week they discovered a new natural park. Apparently Clara loves digging in the mud and exploring the earth. She does have genes of a geologist. One of the most recent videos shows off Clara’s swimming skills, when wearing massive water wings. One evening she began spinning like a top until she was so dizzy she fell down. What a joy these photos and videos bring me!Image (11)

Think about your week. Look for the celebrations that might go unnoticed and take a few seconds to savor in the joy.

Something to Celebrate

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Monday my mom calls, “Can you take me to the doctor this week?”

“I’m working Wednesday and Thursday,” I replied. “What’s the matter?” She had not complained of any ailments the last time I talked to her, so I am puzzled about needing to go to the doctor.

“I fell at church. I don’t know what happened. I didn’t trip or slip. I just went down. Jackie (a neighbor) thinks maybe it has to do with an inner ear thing,” she responds.

She calls the doctor and gets an appointment for Tuesday. We go to the appointment. She brings a cane for extra support. The doctor listens. I listen and learn this fall did not happen on Sunday, but on the previous Thursday. What?! Why didn’t you tell me before today? The doctor instructs her to perform a variety of actions. He is not concerned, she has passed the neural systems test. Perhaps she has a bit of  vertigo. Perhaps it could be some fluid in her inner ear. We will monitor her and see if there is improvement within ten days.

This photo was taken on her 85th birthday in February.

This photo was taken on her 85th birthday in February.

I celebrate how quickly she was able to get into her doctor. I celebrate that the doctor is not very concerned. I celebrate that I was able to take my mom to the doctor. I celebrate that I still have my mom and she is only twelve minutes away.

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

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

Celebrate a Day

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A day arrives where nothing is required. No chores to complete. No meals to prepare. Freedom to meander as one pleases. These days are rare, but Friday was such a day.

Destination of the day St. Louis. We did have an agenda of places to visit, but there was no rush to get to any single place. The pace was leisurely.

First on our list was the botanical gardens. An orchid show was the draw, but the mild temperatures took us on a stroll through the gardens first. Although it’s not quite blooming season, we were not disappointed.

Crocuses have popped through the grass.

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A few early blooming trees had bees buzzing in and out of the blossoms.

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Bare tree branches intrigue me with their complicated network of limbs.

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A few more glimpses of nature’s beauty on a lovely March day. The top two are a Star Magnolia. The bud of the Star Magnolia is fuzzy like a pussy willow. The second row has an early crab apple, a contorted Filburt, and Hellebore. Final row: Only a few daffodils were open, more will be blooming in a few weeks. The spiky yellow bloom is Witch Hazel.IMG_1925

After strolling around the outside gardens, we returned inside to view the orchids (that post will come tomorrow).

The next portion of our day involved shopping. I know that does not sound appealing to some, but the stores we visited are not in our city, so we take advantage every time we come to St. Louis. Costco was first on our list. They had several items on sale we needed. Of course we had to try a few of the samples offered. Chocolate gummy bears have never appealed to me, and they still don’t. Jelly bellys left an unpleasant taste which was removed by trying a giant green olive. Surprisingly, we walked out with only the items from our list. Trader Joe’s was next to be visited. Only a few items needed there too.

Finally, it was time for dinner. We had a gift card for a new-to-us restaurant. We had a delightful waiter, who shared his favorites from the menu. Fortunately we were early enough to take part in the price break from happy hour on a glass of wine and an appetizer. Every bite was delicious! I meant to take pictures, but I forgot until the food was mostly consumed. Sorry!

A fantastic Friday filled with flowers, food, and finds doesn’t come along every day, so I celebrate my good fortune on this day.

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

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

 

Celebrating Passion

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As I am driving home from the Write to Learn conference, thoughts ricochet through my brain like a pinball on speed. I’ve just spent the last three days listening to speakers who are passionate literacy learners. Jennifer Richards Jacobson spent an entire day sharing her passion for writing workshop. What can I say about Taylor Mali’s passion? For an hour I listened as he read and recited poetry that speaks to the heart, particularly the heart of a teacher. A standing ovation completed his sharing. Inferring and metacognition were points of passion from Tanny McGregor. John Schumacher (Mr. Schu) exuded passion for books, libraries, apps/websites, but most of all for Kate DiCamillo, I hope every person who attended one of his three sessions, walked away with fire in their hearts for books. If they didn’t, they should not be allowed in schools near children.

Ron Clark was the keynote Saturday morning. Passion does not aptly describe, perhaps fervor or zeal fit this educator. As he moved about the ballroom, jumping on chairs, stepping onto table tops. he relayed his stories of the good, bad, ugly, but also joy of being a teacher. One story told, led to another story, then another until two hours passed. Passion for teaching has taken this man on a journey from North Carolina to Harlem in New York to developing his own academy in Atlanta, Georgia. His life is an example of what can happen when you live your passion.

One of my last sessions sent my brain into overdrive. Six word stories have always intrigued me. This took it to another level. Don Goble presented Six-Word Story, Six Unique Shots: Enhancing Writing Through Multimedia. He has created a free book that can be downloaded on iTunes. High school students created 18-30 second videos for their six word stories. Here is a link to several. Let me recommend you viewing Told one lie, trust was broken. Be prepared to be in awe. I was. But this isn’t just for high school. Click here to find a six word story video from a student from Kristin Ziemke’s first grade class. Scroll down until you see PT 6 word story: This Is School. If you have watched these videos, you will know why my brain was on fire as I drove home. I want to try creating this six word story, but I don’t have the video skill knowledge, yet. (Bonnie, I need you!) Stay tuned one day there may be a six word video celebration.

Passion drives us to heights we can’t even imagine. I celebrate passion for learning!

 

Simple Celebrations

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How awesome is it to have days in February that are sunny and warm! I celebrate the temperature from the past few days. We have reached the seventies! Unfortunately, there were also 40-50 mph winds to accompany the warmth. Those fierce winds made me appreciate my haircut on Monday. There was less hair to blow. 🙂

The mornings were frosty, but not unbearable. The backyard sparkled in the sunshine. What a joy to step out but not be chilled to the bone! The hurricane lantern on the picnic table was quickly losing its frosted appearance in the rays. As I moved from one plant to another, a new sound made me scan the yard for the source. High up in the maple tree, I spied a red-headed woodpecker. Pecking on the tree was not the mission, it simply wanted to sing the song of a bird’s eye view of the glistening landscape. Immediately other birds joined in and began a dance of flight. What a sight!

Frosty morning beauty

Frosty morning beauty

When I went to download the backyard photos, I discovered more photos from our January trip to California. What?! I had forgotten the photos on the camera from our last night there. Each one put a smile on my face.

jGranddaughters on the last night of a visit

Granddaughters on the last night of a visit

This week I celebrate photos, frost, and not freezing in February. I hope your week brought you simple celebrations too.

Birthday Celebrations Abound!

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It’s been a week of birthday celebrations!

On Wednesday, my mother celebrated her 85th birthday! But she was not the only one celebrating. One year ago, my great-nephew, sweet Asher, came into the world to share his special day with his great-grandmother. They were able to celebrate their shared

Two birthdays on one day. Happy 85th mom and 1st Asher!

Two birthdays on one day. Happy 85th mom and 1st Asher!

birthday at my brother’s home, but today I get to celebrate with them at Chuck E Cheese. I can’t say I celebrate the location, but I know I will enjoy the company. Celebrating two birthdays of special people on one day!

My friend, Tiffany,  had a birthday in January, but circumstances prevented the annual girlfriend celebration of her birthday until this week. The stars aligned and we were able to meet up for a delicious burger and shake dinner in a new restaurant.

I arrived first (after spending fifteen minutes looking for a parking place 😦 ). I could barely get in the door, it was so packed. This did not bode well for our plans. Forty-five minutes to an hour was the wait time. The girl at the desk asked if that was all right. She was surprised by my answer, I told her no that wasn’t all right (I was hungry!). I spied three seats at the counter bar, could I take those? Yes, they were available. My friends arrived and we began the celebration.

This restaurant serves interesting burgers. My burger was called Jamaican Me Crazy (jerk seasoning, ghost pepper jack cheese, jalapeno date mayo). Tiffany went with Hippie Jen (spinach lemon quinoa patties as buns, filled with cucumber, avocado, onion, basil, and hummus). Janet opted for the Ugly Cheeseburger (a typical burger with white cheddar cheese). Not only are they known for the burgers, but shakes also. These shakes are made with frozen custard from a local stand. Yum, yum, and more yum! Several times during our meal the bartender would plop down a sample of the the shakes he was making. Wise choice is seating! This will be a birthday celebration to savor!

One final celebration (although not birthday related) .  . . I finally got to see Wicked! I loved the show!

What a week filled with celebrations! I hope your week was filled with celebrations too.