The Sun is Coming Out

This week has been gorgeous! Sunny, warm days (40’s and 50’s) with no wind. We typically get 30 or more mph winds in my town in Wyoming and so it seems quiet and still when compared to the winter storms and freezing temperatures of recent days.

First, it seemed that winter would never end and then suddenly the sun is out.

Yesterday in my small math group reminded me of the sun coming out for one of my students. It’s 4th grade and we’re dealing with some difficult concepts with fractions and finding common denominators, LCM etc. It’s all very overwhelming. These are tasks that I wasn’t introduced to until 6th grade. But I digress, back to yesterday.

“This doesn’t make sense,” he said as we’re finding least common multiples, equivalent fractions and finally adding them and simplify. “Whew”

“Okay,” I say, “Let’s back up the bus.” We get out the fraction bars and we talk about the why….. why are we doing this and what’s the purpose.

“OH,” he says, “I get it.”

I love it when the sun comes out.

Wigs, scarves, hats

Wigs, scarves and hats

Getting so tired of that

What will the children say?

……I’m a little bit afraid

Cute earrings and a smile

Some blush and red lips

Shrugs.. not so bad…

I can do this,

just take a deep breath

And at school the crazy comments I get

” Mrs. Worrell, I like your haircut” brings a smile to my face

I want to laugh and cry in the very same space

Ta Dah!
Thank you twowritingteachers

Highlights Foundation

I’m so excited for whoever wins the opportunity to go to Highlights Foundation this year. I was the very lucky recipient of this challenge last year and I attended the Non-fiction Writing workshop last summer. It’s no exaggeration when Melanie says that it is…. life changing.

During that workshop, I met writers from New York, Florida and all over the country attending this workshop to improve their craft. I was worried that I chose a workshop that was much too advanced for me. It really was! But I grew leaps and bounds in the week and quickly felt at ease as I realized that everyone starts somewhere.

For this workshop, we had to turn in samples of our work and subsequently, assigned a mentor author. I had time each day for individual mentoring and advice on my project. The mentors were also our presenters and… let me just say….I felt so privileged to be surrounded by and brushing shoulders with these great authors. It was a bounty of diversity and I absorbed as much as my spirit, body and mind could handle.

Among the presenters were Carol Weatherford, Sandra Neil and Rich Wallace and Larry Dane Brimmer. These authors were patient in answering questions and sharing their failures as well as their successes. We shared meals with them in a most intimate setting with some jaw dropping conversations. It’s an experience that I cherish forever and never forget.

I’ve included a picture of one of the writers that I met and was attending the workshop that same week, Rob Sanders. He has since published and won awards for his nonfiction picture books. It was such a treat to meet him and be immersed with writers, nature and writing.

If you win the challenge or just go on your own, I want to hear all about it!

Rob Sanders with his book about Harvey Milk
(twitter @randomhousekids)

Writing Wild

Edness Kimball State Park in Casper, Wyoming 4-8-17

A gaggle of geese sit across the river. I imagine them deciding – swim or fly? The river current is strong this morning and seems wider, taller this spring. It’s a sign of a very wet winter melting off the mountain top and feeding the Platte River.

No wind, a soft breeze and the water forming a V as it moves to this side of the river, divided by an island.

In the meantime the geese across the river decide to fly and form a V formation of their own.

A glimpse into my nature journal
This book has inspired my nature writing and I love how it combines writing with nature.

Quiet of a Sunday Morning

It’s very dark and still at 5:27 am. Waking up as if it’s a weekday and suddenly remembering with a contented sigh. Ahh.. Sunday. Turning to my other side my body wants to go back to sleep, but not my mind.

Twenty minutes later, giving up and padding to the bathroom, then living room. Still quiet, but with a small stained glass lamp next to the couch now softly glowing.

Mornings speak to my soul.

Thinking back to my mother, up for some time before the three of us,

before breakfast and the hustle and bustle.

Remembering walking in on her in the kitchen, in her robe, with her coffee and the newspaper laid out before her. Sunlight streaming into the kitchen and reflecting off the shiny black kitchen table.

Feeling so content just knowing she was there.

To Do List

To do list for a snowy Saturday in no particular order.

  • Finish reading Ruth Ware’s “The Lying Game”
  • Shower… long and hot, then put on cleaning clothes
  • Focus on the kitchen – clean under the sink (funky smell is coming from under there)
  • Go through and throw out old spices (I’ve run out of room in the spice cabinet)
  • Laundry (pay particular attention to washing underwear)
  • Drink – hot cider, hot cocoa, hot tea etc.
  • Nap – or other preferred activity for me
  • Write IEP for Tuesday meeting (this could wait until Sunday)
  • Buy shredder (good job for grandkids when they come over)
  • Take a moment, watch the snow

Yesterday

Yesterday I was walking around with that irritated feeling all day. It lay just under the surface. It affected my relationships because people bugged me. Everyone. It affected my work because nothing made sense, nothing would work and nobody’s ideas were any good. It affected my sleep because I was too restless and anxious to sleep. It affected my weight because I ate about half a bag of Hershey’s chocolate Easter Eggs. It affected me. It was just under the surface all day.

Today is calmer, brighter. Whatever it was is gone.

My First Special Education Classroom

Walking down the hallway side by side with my principal, I was excited to see my new classroom. It was a new assignment and I was filled with anticipation and looking forward to the challenge. It was a self contained classroom, special education, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade for students with low cognitive abilities. The year…. was 1982. The place….. Utah.

As we walked along, it seemed we were moving farther and farther way from the classrooms. “Hmmmm,” I thought, “Maybe there’s a nice roomy classroom on this side of the building that I haven’t seen before.”

“Here it is!” my principal gestured with his arm and smiled at me.

I looked back at him confused. The “room” in which he was expecting me to teach a classroom of students with the highest needs in the building, was actually a hallway with a coatroom and nothing else.

No chalkboard, no desks, no texts or curriculum…. no….. nothing.

It was a space at the end of the hall. The rust colored carpet went halfway up the wall and there were hooks in the closet where students could put their coats and backpacks.

I was young, in my early 20’s and I can’t believe I didn’t speak up for myself and my students. I was outraged, but said nothing and kept it all inside.

I don’t remember and am not sure how I made it through that year except that I remember the students. The beautiful, happy, creative and sweet children that blessed my life that year. Those children stand out in my memory and that first day when the principal showed me…. my new classroom.

Change

Two Writing Teachers March Writing Challenge!

Day changes to night, winter to spring, and puppies to old, wise and loyal companions. Grandchildren are crawling one day and silly, sassy teenagers the next.

The things that used to seem SO so important, no longer matter. What’s important changes and evolves with perspective.

Lately, I keep hearing “I’m so ready for spring” or “Is it spring yet? I’m so sick of winter.” It started me thinking about change and transitions.

Typically, I don’t like change. I’m a homebody that feels comfort in routines. However, it’s pretty much impossible to escape it’s clutches. My sweet 30 year old niece that lives in Chicago posted a picture of herself with frozen hair and the quote “If you can’t change it, embrace!” Yes! I think about that attitude a lot lately.

I’m getting older. Embrace it. I have more time to write, travel and help others family and friends.

It’s cold and snowy. Embrace it. What can I do inside? Organize, read, bake an amazing apple pie. Plan your next vacation.

I’m beginning to have a better relationship with change.

Do you have “that” Friend?

I am lucky enough to have several of those friends.  You know the kind I’m talking about?  The one that offers that support that you didn’t even know you needed?  The one that doesn’t buy you things, although that is very thoughtful and kind, but it’s the gift of time that I’m talking about. That friend that just calls or texts and says, “How are you doing? How about coffee sometime this week?”  It makes you wonder, how did they know?

And then…. when you get together, you talk and laugh or sometimes cry.   You share… really share your thoughts, concerns and joys without fear of judgement or recrimination.   Then, it’s been a solid two hours before you realize what time it is and that you must get home to your families.  You leave each other with more confidence, more to think about, a burden lifted simply by sharing with a trusted friend.  Sometimes it’s just a pedicure where you get pampered while catching up on what’s going on in each other’s lives and sometimes it’s a crisis that you need help with processing. When talking to family is just too close.

My life is so busyslice-of-life_individual.  I’ve been sick lately and admittedly self-involved so that I don’t feel I’ve been taking time to notice and take care of my relationships, friends and family.  I want to fix that.

This coming year, I want to be “that” friend.

I do feel lucky and filled with gratitude as I think about these friends and reflect about the difference they have made in my life and it makes me smile.