Acceptance

Even though this past week was spent preparing for the first day of school, I was in denial. Yes, it was a good week. I was glad to be back with colleagues, to have focused time for planning. Yet, in the back of my mind, I thought something different would happen.

I believed there would be a change in our plans before the first day. Somehow, there would be an announcement that we were transitioning to distance learning.

But that did not happen, and tomorrow is the day.

So, now it is time for acceptance. I will welcome our students with a smile, doing my best to ease their concerns. Hopefully, music will help us all adjust. It will not be school as usual, but we will find our new normal.

I will do my best to view the day through their eyes. And just maybe, they will help ease my concerns. 🙂 ❤

To laugh and play
On the swings
Pumping feet
Back and forth
Flying so high
Until a brave
Jump launches
Toward the sky

To show love
Skipping across
The playground
Hand in hand
With a friend
Spinning around
Falling down
On the ground

To speak truth
I love you
Immediately
Followed by
Your hair looks funny
Honest words
Unfiltered and
From the heart

To seek security
In the comfort
Of a father’s lap
Curled up in
Perfect rest
Breaths in sync
Every ounce of
Tension fading

To press rewind
Erasing today’s
Apprehensions
Long enough to
See our world
Thru the open
Eyes of wonder-
Like a child

Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles~Kelley Morris, piano

Significant

Last night was our annual “Meet the Teacher” event. It looked quite different from years past. More controlled, a limited number of parents and children attending at one time. Everyone wearing masks, maintaining distance.

While assisting a family in finding their classroom, I spotted one of my students from last year. He is a sweet boy, such a good student. He smiled behind that mask and said hello.

On my way back downstairs, I saw him again. This time, sitting with his mom. “Just enjoying the view,” he said. Mom shared that he would be doing school virtually this year. Little sister has a heart issue. They need to be careful. He is understanding, but obviously disappointed.

I wish I could accurately describe his eyes. So honest, so sincere. And his words, “Mrs. Morris, I really wish I could just give you a hug.” I responded, “Me, too, Sweetie. Me, too.”

And then I quickly walked away so he would not see me cry.

This small interaction, only a few minutes, was the most significant event of my entire day.

Small

The days seem long
And yet, they’re not
When viewing them
Thru a wider lens

Getting caught up
In what’s next
On the calendar
Is the expected

At least, that was
The case until
Our days were so
Abruptly changed

Life events often
Taken for granted
Now indefinitely
Placed on hold

And so, the small
Takes precedent
A kind word
An honest smile

A vantage point
Revealing that perhaps
The truly significant
Is actually quite small

Guidelines

Today was day 3 of our teacher back-to-school workweek. We are preparing to welcome students back in a few short days. We often joke about how teacher tired is real this first week back. Well, this school year teacher tired is multiplied by at least 1,000.

First, we have been physically absent from our buildings longer than usual. Second, it is hard to focus on what we do best-connect with students. We are spending a portion of our time strengthening our teaching skills. However, the impact of the COVID pandemic is also fighting for our attention-new procedures/changes in routine/guidelines.

Both areas of focus are necessary, but the combination is exhausting and overwhelming.

While being back with colleagues is encouraging, it is also challenging. I see the looks in teachers’ eyes. Excitement mixed with uncertainty. A hesitation that is difficult to label.

On Monday, I saw one of my favorite fourth-grade teachers entering the gym. I have not seen her since March. I know she has been busy advocating for students and families in our school community. I also know she must be exhausted.

My first instinct was to wrap her up in a big hug. One of those hugs that say, “I see you. It’s going to be ok.” However, I could not do that. I stopped myself.

The internal conflict was immediate and stifling. That is only one experience with one colleague on the very first day back. What will it feel like when it is hundreds of students? Students that are nervous, anxious, excited, scared… greeted only with a smile from my eyes and a kind word. Will that be enough?

I am not sure I will be able to follow those guidelines.

Family Dinner

I love the times when our family gets together. I wrote a poem some weeks ago about that very subject, and this evening brought it to mind.

Today was the first day for teachers to report back to school. A long day for me and my daughter, Rachel. A long day for my husband in his role with school technology.

The first day back is always tiring. The alarm goes off so early. And add to that our current health concerns with Covid-19, the stress levels are high.

Enter my brother-in-law, Martin. He is in town for a few days, doing some work around my mother-in-law’s house. And he offered to make dinner for the whole family.

Dinner on this first day of reporting back to school. And not just any dinner-ribeye steaks, asparagus, salad, and grilled peaches. What a treat!

We sat around the table laughing, enjoying the company. We felt loved. Refilled so that we can pass on that love. What a special place to be. ❤

At the Table

Family and friends
On either side
Faces lighting up the room
Enjoying a favorite meal
A warm cup of coffee
Creating new memories
While recalling old ones
What about a stranger?
A favorite meal
Not yet known
No memories to share
Only ones to create
Taking a chance
Caring enough to ask
About a favorite meal
Offer a warm cup of coffee
A timeless lesson-
The people at the table
Matter more than
What is being served-
And before anything else,
Love must be given
A seat at the table

Hummingbirds & Hope

We recently experienced some cooler summer temperatures, rare for Oklahoma in August. Beautiful mornings, perfect for sitting outside with a cup of coffee.  

One of those mornings, I did just that-reading, listening to the birds, enjoying a few relaxing moments. And then it happened-a sweet little hummingbird flew up to our empty feeder.

Our other bird feeders have attracted a lot of visitors. I hear them chirping and see them fluttering in the yard multiple times during the day. But our hummingbird feeder? There were no visitors all summer long. The sweet nectar served mostly as food for the ants and liquid for the sun to evaporate.

Since there had been no visitors, it had not been refilled. Sadly, I watched the hummingbird quickly flit away. Needless to say, I quickly refilled the feeder. Was it too late? I didn’t know, but I certainly hoped.

Several days later, I noticed several hummingbirds coming to the feeder! I was so excited! They perched in our trees, and one even landed on a string of outside lights.  

Not only were they fun to watch, but their strength also provided a reminder when the storms came a few days later. ❤

Holding On

Flashes of lightning
Crashing thunder
And howling winds
Disrupted any
Possibility for sleep
Morning remained dark
As the rain poured
Down from clouds-
Sunshine began to
Light the day
While silent
Remnants of
The evening’s
Storm hid
In the breeze –
Hummingbirds flitted
Stopping briefly for
Sips of nectar-
One perched in
A nearby tree
Its tiny feet gripping
A skinny branch
As the leaf-covered
Limbs swayed
Back and forth-
This little miracle
Held firm and steady
While my tired heart
Watched in wonder
Listening to its message-
When the winds
Are tossing you
Back and forth
Just remember-
Keep holding on



Destination

Denial is not
A particularly
Great state
To visit
And yet,
The plane
Has landed
Travel plans
Included a much
More desirable
Destination-
But here I am
Disembarking
Taking the ramp
Toward an unknown
Assistance required…
Needed…wanted…

Unsure which
Way to turn,
I keep looking
For the one
Holding a sign
With my name
Believing he will
Soon appear-
A guide thru
The unfamiliar-
Helping me reach
The intended destination

Carried Away

These are difficult days.  So many questions, so much confusion, so many tears.  Yesterday’s rain reminded me that we have hope.  And though there are more hard days ahead, we cannot give up. We must come together, lift each other up, and continue on…one step and a time. ❤

Raindrops teased
All morning long
Falling a few
At a time
With quiet
Drip-drops
Barely enough
To dampen my hair
By late afternoon
The sky grew dark-
No longer playing
Their little game,
The frightened raindrops
Huddled together
Creating steady streams
Flowing down from
Cloud to ground-
Proving there is
Strength in numbers,
The brave raindrops
Transformed themselves
Into a wall of water
Like a transparent curtain
Hanging from the sky-
Suddenly, the curtain fell
No longer flowing
From cloud to sky
Now a blanket of water
Flowing downward
Across the landscape
Carrying away
All the sorrows
Of the day-
And the sun began to shine.

“Have You Ever Seen the Rain”             Kelley Morris, piano


Someone told me long ago
There’s a calm before the storm
I know, it’s been comin’ for some time
When it’s over, so they say
It’ll rain another day
I know, shinin’ down like water
 
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
Comin’ down on a sunny day
 
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Chosen With Care

If only I could
Hear my words
Before sending
Them out into
The atmosphere-
If only I could
Let them hang
In the air for
A few moments
Before anyone hears-
If only the vowels
And consonants
Exclamation points
And question marks
Returned to my ears-
An opportunity
For restoration
As I suck them back in
Through my lungs
And into my heart-
Filtering out any
Selfish thoughts
Removing any
Hateful words-
Allowing them to
Be transformed
Into words of
Hope and love
Before their escape-
If only I could
Hear my words,
Would they
Be chosen
With care?

I’m Fine

I keep saying
I’m fine
But, I’m not-
Not really
 
What am I, then?
Sad and anxious
Angry and confused
Wrapped up in one bundle
 
The flow of opinions
Remains constant-
To feel empowered?
To overpower?
 
I don’t understand-
Absent from
Truth and love
They are meaningless
 
And yet, continually
Thrown like stones
Aimed at an
Invisible target
 
Except-the target
Is not invisible
It is flesh and blood
Feelings and emotions
 
And each stone
Adds another rip
Another cut in
The already worn fabric
 
So no, I’m not fine
But I am learning
To keep my opinions
To myself
 
I am learning
What’s important
Roots of truth and love
Holding me steady
 

“And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Lasting Legacy

The sun is setting
Out of sight
Out of mind
A cool breeze
Touches my face
As a stroll down
An empty sidewalk
Eases tensions
Allowing a few
Moments of peace
Turning the corner
A stifling reminder
The air no longer cool
Power left behind
By a forgotten sun
Western facing
Redbrick walls
Radiating heat
Received earlier
In the day
Stored for later use
A lasting legacy-
Remarkable strength
Revealed in
What is left behind