More Than a Tree

The plans were made once again for the seven cousins to meet at 9 o’clock on Sunday morning at their great-grandparents family tree farm. The little cousins, their parents, and grandparents all met for coffee and endless donut holes in the warmth of the house before heading out to the fields to find that just right tree. We were there early enough to have the farm to ourselves so the youngest could enjoy hide and seek among the evergreens without worry. 

Amidst the counting and squeals of “here I come,” I paused to take in the moment. I looked around to see the rows of trees, planted and groomed by my father-in-law, with the help of all of us at one time or another. I recalled the wet soggy days in May where we knelt in the damp soil to plant seedlings, making sure each one was standing straight and tall.  We covered ourselves with sunscreen to avoid poison ivy on the bare wrists, where the gloves and long-sleeved shirts meet. Our day ended with a delicious hot lunch made and served by mother-in-law, who was always grateful for the assistance setting out 500 or more trees.  Transplanting those saplings was hard yet satisfying work.  We labored knowing that each little stem placed in the ground would yield joy to a family some ten years later. 

I see you! 

I was brought back to reality with the joyful voices and surrounded by the rows of our labor.  I admired the view, the laughter, and the memories made, and still yet to be made.  We continued along the grounds looking for that one tree that spoke to us, that one tree that was lovingly groomed and tended by the family patriarch. We walked as a family sharing more than a moment, rather we were sharing a life of family love and tradition. 

It truly is more than a tree.

My father-in-law helping me carry my chosen tree

 

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It’s Tuesday and I’m sharing my slice of life story with the writing community over at Two Writing Teachers. Take a peek and consider joining in!

 

Gray Day

It’s Slice of Life Tuesday and I’m joining the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers.  Join in!

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Gray Day

Gray day.

Snuggled under a blanket, eating soup and listening to the tick of the clock.

Gray day.

Warm and cozy inside, gazing across the lake and watching the white caps form.

Gray day.

Book in hand, noticing the darkness and spying the fog consume the view.

Gray day.

Settle in deeper, embracing the peace of my home and realizing my blessings.

Gray day.

 

 

Annual One Sided Conversation

It’s Slice of Life Tuesday and I’m joining the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Won’t you consider joining in?

Annual One-Sided Conversation

Stand right here.

Lean forward.

A little more.

Right hand down by your side.

Left hand hold into the handle.

I hope my hands aren’t too cold.

A little bit of pressure.

Are you ok?

Don’t breathe.

Step back.

A little closer now.

Lean straight in.

Turn your head towards me.

Bend the knees a little.

Another light squeeze.

Great – now don’t move.

Hold your breath and stay still.

Perfect.

Two more and we’re done!

Turn sideways.

Left arm in the air.

Right arm here.

Twist your torso.

Last one.

Lean in again.

Further please.

Just one more.

Get a little closer now.

Turn this way.

You ok?

Perfect.

All set!

Now you can cross your mammogram off your to do list!

See you next year!

My One Little Word: Purpose

It’s Tuesday and I’m joining the fabulous authors over at Two Writing Teachers writing a slice of a story. Check it out!
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One Little Word: Purpose

It’s April 2nd and I only had one day to attempt to synthesize all the wonderful things that happened as a result of the March Slice of Life Challenge.  My first post of the month outlined the purpose of joining in the challenge.  Today I thought I’d add to my initial post by reflecting on my growth in writing (noted in blue) due to the challenge.   (Please note that I was inspired to write this format from fellow slicer Jennifer Floyd with this post.  Thank you Jennifer!)

For me it’s all about learning. As a literacy leader I need to be first and foremost a learner, open to new insights and ideas. When I write each and every day I discover my voice, my struggles, my tucked away feelings.  Through writing I unearth of the power of the written word and the importance of communication in general.  This is why I write in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge.

After the challenge I am amazed at all I have learned.  I discovered that feelings are easy to write, but it is not always easy to push the publish button and put my ideas and deep feelings out in the public. My ideas came easily this year as I judged I was on the look out for small moments.  I found them in the grocery store, on my front porch, and right outside my window.  I have begun a great habit in writing daily. I would like to be better at capturing these little moments as they happen.  This is what I learned thanks to the March challenge.

I also write to connect to my learners.  I empathize with those that have a lack of an idea.  I can speak first hand about the strategies to use when trying to craft a unique beginning or wrap up with a tidy ending. I blog because I believe a teacher that writes has a much better understanding of her writers. This is why I write in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge.

After the challenge I have an even greater empathy for those students that struggle with writing a clear ending. I found that ending with a humorous tag line or punch line is one technique, but I overall I have to dig deep to get the ending right! I also discovered that writing is heart work and when I don’t care about my writing it shows. In order to write we need to care about our writing! This is what I discovered during the March challenge.

Finally I chose to participate in the March challenge because of the wonderful community of writers who support me along the way.  I have shared tears with this network of writers, been “liked” by relative strangers,  and encouraged by people from across the globe. This is why I write in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge.

After the challenge I am even more inspired by this community of teacher writers.  The positive comments, the encouraging words to keep on writing and sharing, and the inspirations in other writer’s posts has been invaluable.  I have so many new slicing friends, people that I wouldn’t hesitate to call on for a writing tip or two.  I am so very grateful for this community and I am even more committed to living this writing way of life now more than ever. I don’t think I’d be the writer I am today without the March challenge.

The 31 days of the slice of life story challenge stand before me.  My purpose is crystal clear. This is why I write in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge.

The 31 days of the slice of life story challenge is now behind me.  I have reaped the benefits far greater than I originally planned.  And as for my one little word: Purpose.  What was the purpose?  Why did I write for 31 days straight?  I believe with every inch of my being that I wrote, and will continue to write, because it completes me. Thank you to all those fabulous authors at Two Writing Teachers who gave of their time to make the challenge happen!

Three Years Old #SOL19 Day 31/31

Today is the last day of the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March.  This is the fourth year I have joined the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers in taking up this challenge of writing for 31 consecutive days. It was hard work AND the growth was immeasurable. Thank you for following along!

Three Years Old

She turned three on Friday

And celebrated on Saturday

Nine toddlers

Decorating donuts

Homemade of course

Pizza

Salad

Cake

Balloons

And presents too!

Excitement

Family

Tears

Joys

Birthdays are exhausting!

At 3

Or at 60!

Time to make the donuts – pre-party fun with my granddaughter!

Grandma’s Mints #SOL19 Day 29/31

I am once again participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March.  This is the fourth year I have joined the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers in taking up this challenge of writing for 31 consecutive days.  I know it will be hard work but the growth will be immeasurable. Follow along!

Grandma’s Mints

It was grandma’s birthday and we were all gathered in the backyard to celebrate the occasion.  The presents were splayed out on the ground while the children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren played in the yard on the hot July day.  Everyone was enjoying the rare gathering of generations, some chatting with their grandma, while others participated in a rousing game of kickball.

Grandma didn’t like anyone to make a fuss over her so the presents sat at her feet in the sun. Finally my sister quickly handed grandma her beautifully wrapped box. “You better open this now before it gets even warmer out here!”  Grandma carefully slipped the tape off the end of the present so as not to rip the paper. (She might reuse it on another day of course!)  She slid the box through the sleeve of wrap and looked down at a box of chocolate mint patties.  “My favorite!” she exclaimed.  “I must eat one right now!”

She gingerly opened the box to quite a surprise: a melted mess of chocolate mint soup.  She didn’t miss a beat, grabbed a nearby spoon, and dug right into the soupy mess of the peppermint chocolate liquid that sat in the little cardboard box.  “Yummmmmy!”

Work Before Play? #SOL19 Day 27/31

I am once again participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March.  This is the fourth year I have joined the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers in taking up this challenge of writing for 31 consecutive days. I know it will be hard work but the growth will be immeasurable. Follow along!

Work Before Play?

What do you do when you have a meeting that gets cancelled?  Do you jump for joy? Use it as an opportunity to catch up on some work?  Go home and play with your grandson?

I found myself in that situation yesterday when I rushed across town for an after school appointment and upon arrival I was told the meeting was unexpectedly cancelled.  As I stood in the office with my backpack weighing heavily on my shoulder, my mind whirred with all the things I could accomplish… the report that needed tweaking, the data that required crunching, the thank you notes that begged to be written.  It was then that I decided to head home, make myself a cup of tea, and tackle those very tasks in the comforts of my living room.

As I get into my car the phone rings.  It’s my daughter.

“Hey mom! How are you?

I’m fine and you?

I’m OK, but I’m in a jam.  S. and I just came back from the doctors.  Can you watch him for 10 minutes while I take a quick work phone call?  We are at your house anyway letting Bill sleep so he can go to work tonight.

YES!  Of course I’ll play with my grandson!  I have nothing better to do!

My mantra is usually work before play…

unless there are grandchildren in need of some playtime!  

My unexpected visitor. I know I am biased but wouldn’t you stop and play with him too?

 

Golden Hour #SOL19 Day 26/31

I am once again participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March.  This is the fourth year I have joined the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers in taking up this challenge of writing for 31 consecutive days.  I know it will be hard work but the growth will be immeasurable. Follow along!

Golden Hour

It is golden hour.

Bright

Glowing

Brilliant

Shiny

Reflective

Peaceful

Awe-inspiring

Afire

Golden hour it is.

Over the weekend I was inspired to write a slice about the silvery scene outside my window with the grey sky and sun shining down on the newly fallen snow. The picture inspired a haiku called Silver Hour, a spin off on what’s known as golden hour here at the lake. I received a few comments curious about my lakefront golden hour and lo and behold on Sunday night I witnessed a perfect golden one as captured here. By the way, to me, golden hour is that time when the sun is just about to set and the reflection across the lake casts a glow that makes everything golden. I thought I’d try a skinny poem to capture that magic time.

Sunglasses Don’t Float: Revisited #SOL19 Day 25/31

I am once again participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March.  This is the fourth year I have joined the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers in taking up this challenge of writing for 31 consecutive days.  I know it will be hard work but the growth will be immeasurable. Follow along!

Sunglasses Don’t Float: Revisited

My sunglasses were lost last summer. Gone to the bottom of the lake after falling off the paddle boat.  Lost forever. Or so I thought… (Read part 1 here)

And there I was once again finishing up the raking of the lake bottom thinking about my glasses. I was shin deep in the muck pulling back the leaves and making little piles to pick up later. I had pretty much told myself I’d never find my glasses, almost laughing out loud at the absurdity of the idea of ever finding them. Yet, I told myself one more dip in the water to pull back the muck. I was after all in the right spot where I fell. I drew the rake through the brown liquid and across the sandy bottom. Looking down I saw them, shining brown, yet dirty.

I screeched “My glasses! I found my glasses!” Yes indeed. There they were, and found just as I was about to give up. Sitting right where they fell off one year ago. Unbelievable!

Now I wonder how I’ll get that swampy smell out!

Sunglasses Don’t Float #SOL19 Day 23/31

I am once again participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March.  This is the fourth year I have joined the community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers in taking up this challenge of writing for 31 consecutive days.  I know it will be hard work but the growth will be immeasurable. Follow along!

Sunglasses Don’t Float

I wonder if I’ll uncover my sunglasses after all this time?

I was thinking back to last summer and the first day on my paddle board, while I was raking the leaves off of the exposed lake bottom.

It was a beautiful Friday in late spring and the weather had finally turned warm enough to try out the two paddle boards I had just bought. I was thrilled to finally get on so I quickly changed into my bathing suit and ran down to the waters edge. I thought about grabbing my sunglasses band, but quickly told myself I wouldn’t need it. Being the first swimming day of the year there were several of us hanging around enjoying the sunshine and eager to get on the boards and paddle around. I tooled around in a sitting position for a while to get used to the paddle and the temperature of the water.  I was starting to feel comfortable so I decided to try standing up.  Slowly I moved into position and wobbled slightly.  The crowd jeered and laughed. I steadied myself quickly and then splash, I fell into the water.  I lifted my head from the water only to be greeted with chuckles and screams: “Grab your glasses! Quick, they are right there!”  I turned around and saw them sinking into the water I had just stirred up, now murky from my fall, gone and out of sight.  Several missions with goggles ensued, but we were never successful in recovering those glasses.

A year later I stood there at the sandy bottom of the lake with rake in hand and still chuckling over that first fall. And still hoping Id uncover them. But no luck. Oh well, at least now I learned my lesson to always wear a band for your glasses because sunglasses don’t float.