Full-Circle Photo

Some photographs represent full-circle moments in life. I received one of those this week from my daughter.

Graduations are a big deal at our house. Times for celebrating with family and friends. Eating cake and opening presents. Looking back and ahead at the same time.

All three of our children graduated from Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Union knows how to celebrate its graduates. The name of each senior is displayed on placards on the school lawn. Balloon drops and confetti cover the sea of red gowns as caps are tossed in the air!

My husband, Gart, was one of the high school principals for our first two. He handed all three kids their diplomas as they walked across the stage. We have a wall of pictures in our living room to remind us of these momentous occasions.

I have not given a lot of thought to other Union graduations since our family’s celebrations. Until this year…

When I began my teaching career at Union, I taught special education. My five years in this field were challenging and life-changing. That was twelve years ago.

My daughter, Rachel, is finishing her second year as a special education teacher at Union. She spent her high school years as a peer tutor in the very same classrooms. The picture from my daughter was taken during graduation practice. She was standing in the middle of her very first group of graduating seniors. Three of whom were in my class in elementary school.

This full-circle photo was a powerful reminder. As an elementary school teacher, I need to picture my students walking across that stage. And as a parent, I need to celebrate the impact my own children make on this old world. ❤

Each Single Spark

Wood neatly stacked
Chilly night air
The lighting
Of the fire
Perfection
First warms
My hands
Then turns
Into a game
Stand with
My backside
As close
As possible
To the flames
As long
As possible
Before running
Back to my seat
Feel the warmth
Spreading thru
My entire body
As I quickly
Sit down-
Content
Gazing
At the flames
A single spark
Catches my eye
I watch until
It disappears
Into the night sky
When sleep comes
I think about
The brevity
Of this life-
Each single spark
Glowing until
It disappears

Mingling

Gentle breeze
Across my face
Carries hope
For a new day
Some days
My mind is stormy
Unable to focus
Thoughts
Jumping
From one
To the other
Lightning bolts
On the horizon
And yet, the storms
Pass with your
Witty words
Our laughter
Mingling with
The breeze
Kissing away
My fears

Twenty-eight years. Sounds like a long time. As far as anniversaries go, I am hoping for twenty-eight more. Through moves, job changes, raising children, illness, even deaths, there has always been laughter mingled with it all. Hardly a day goes by without it. I’m not sure if that’s our secret, but I don’t ever want to take it for granted.

I always say you rescued me. I suppose it worked both ways. All I know is that I’m glad you didn’t let my putting a hand in your face deter you from trying again. 😘

Happy Anniversary! ❤

Unfinished

Surely by now
I should be
Finished growing
I’m certainly tired
And somehow, tired
Leads right to selfish
Question after question
How much longer?
When can I do
Whatever
I want to do?
Seeing the words
On paper
Saying them
Out loud
Makes me want
To erase them
Suck them back in
And yet, they remain
Telling me I still
Have lots to learn
And in turn
Lots to teach-
I saw it in their faces today
Thru smiles and frowns
Unfinished lessons
Unfinished me

This is the point in the school year where I find myself thinking, “Do I have the energy to do this another year?” I am tired and ready for summer. But interactions with students this week confirmed that I am not yet finished. And a time of rest will provide the energy needed to start another school year.

Today I had an arm wrestling challenge with four third-grade boys. Can you say end of the school year? One more week…

Book Release!

I am excited to share the release date for my first published poetry collection!

The eBook is available now for pre-order. http://mybook.to/madeofglass

It has been a pleasure working with River Dixon of https://thestoriesinbetween.com/ and https://pottersgrovepress.com/.

River is professional and easy to work with, but also creative, insightful, and encouraging.

I am grateful for all of his assistance in making this dream a reality.

Whatever your goal in writing, don’t give up. Keep working and searching for outlets to share your words. Anything is possible! ❤

Caution, Kids at Play

There have been many discussions in recent days concerning play in education. I don’t want to discuss the how’s and why’s of whether or not play is crucial to a child’s development. As a teacher and parent, I have witnessed its benefits.

The opportunity to pretend and create and have fun is vital to a child’s happiness and success. And today, with only seven days left in this crazy school year, I was reminded of this truth most surprisingly.

The end of a school year is challenging. Teachers are tired, students are stressed. Emotions run high. Particularly for students making transitions for next year. Oh yes, fifth graders. The last few weeks of school with these friends can be particularly challenging.

With that in mind, I tried to keep things simple. Give up some control. We have played rhythm games, bounced balls, hula hoops. There have even been a few rounds of hot potato and musical chairs. Sometimes things went well, other times…well, let’s just say no one was injured.

Today was a little more laid back. Students love to color, so there were music-themed coloring pages. Almost everyone in the class grabbed a paper. They quickly circled up around the basket of crayons and markers. That in itself caught my attention. They were laughing, talking, and sharing. They were playing.

It gets better. A few of the boys didn’t want to color. One asked if he could read a book. The other three were quietly talking. I noticed one of them lay down with his head underneath a chair. He said, “I’ll fix it.” Strange, I didn’t know it was broken.

Suddenly, all three boys were on the floor, heads under the chairs. I called my reading friend over and asked what they were doing. “Oh, they’re fixing cars,” he said. I watched more closely. One was “on the phone” with a customer. They were talking back and forth, mentioning specific types of cars.

Then it hit me. These boys are playing pretend! Fifth-grade boys are pretending to run an auto shop in the back of the music room. Wow! They needed time to play. And I needed to be reminded that they are still kids.

Noticing

How could
I have missed
Such variety
In its shades?
I suppose
When I was
Younger
Other things
Received
My attention
Easily distracted
Time spent
Looking down
Running ahead
But seldom
Looking around
Taking it all in
Is it possible
The comings
And goings of life
Moment to moment
Day to day
Year to year
Are actually
Slowing
Down
Enough
For me
To feel
All
The
Greens
Of Spring

Bald Cypress, Two Rivers Park
Little Rock, Arkansas

Morning Thoughts

Leaving for work
This morning
Car packed for
A weekend
Road trip
Thoughts already
At the end of today
Think I’ll send
A text to Mom
See you tonight!

Little cardinal
Crosses my path
His brightness
Could not
Be ignored
His fluffy
Red feathers
Taking off
From the ground
Made me smile
Slow down as
I drove out of
The neighborhood
Rachel says every time
She sees a cardinal
It reminds her
Of her Papa

Mingling

Gentle breeze
Across my face
Carries hope
For a new day
Lately my mind
Has been stormy
Unable to focus
Thoughts jumping
From one to
The other like
Lightning bolts
On the horizon-And yet,
The storm passed
With a quiet word
A gentle embrace-
Reassurance from
Your presence
Mingling with
The breeze-
Kissing away my fears

Perfect Frame

Head Back
Looking up
Patches of blue
Splashes of white
Visible thru the
Rectangular grid
A work of art
Ever-changing
As the wind
Rustles leaves
In my periphery
Then gently
Cools my face
Music flows
From speakers
Perfectly placed
Behind my head
I listen-looking
Again, at the grid
Then close my eyes
A negative of the
Image remains
Imprinted on
The insides of
My eyelids
Smiling, my foot
Quietly taps along
With the beat
Chair rocks
Back and forth
Every muscle relaxes
Underneath this
Perfect frame
I open my eyes
Once again to
The changing view