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

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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.


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

Celebrate Green!

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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.