Rockstars

Kindergarten teachers have my heart. Imagine spending your entire day with twenty-something little bodies. Helping them learn how to get along, be part of a group, understand expectations. It is not for the faint of heart.

This school year brings additional challenges. The many levels of stress due to the pandemic affects both students and teachers. Not to mention the trauma many of our students have faced and continue to face.

All that said, these teachers are still smiling at the end of most days. And still finding ways to encourage others. I would say, kindergarten teachers, are rockstars! ❤

Today’s Lesson

Carefully folded
Pieces of paper
Some covered
With drawings
Of hearts
Music notes
Happy faces
Sad faces
Neatly stacked
On my desk-
Drawn by hands
So small, hands
Still learning
How to write
How to get along-
Simple messages
Meant to cheer
While saying
I’m sorry
Signatures
So sweet…
A humbling
Experience
For this grown-up
Teacher who has
Hard days right
Along with the kids
As we navigate this big old world-
Our lesson for today?
We can make
Tomorrow
A better day-
Big or small
Young or old

Being Alive

Finding our way
Thru the maze 
Of today
Responsibilities
Routines
Each of us 
Carrying our own
Deep down insides-
What to reveal?
What to keep hidden?
Crossing the
Finish line
Feels like a win
Even if crawling-
Kind words 
Meet me on 
The other side
I’m so happy for you!
You are so…
Sounds fade as
Meaning reaches
Way-down deep
Drawing out
A bucket 
Full of tears
Unknowingly
Hidden in the well-
My heart sloshes
With the joy 
Of being alive


Once again, I am reminded of the importance of encouraging words.  I have been on the receiving end many times in recent days, and for that, I am thankful. 

One thought, in particular, stood out this week-celebrate yourself!  It made me think about how great it is to be alive.  And the importance of not taking our time for granted. ❤


MRI Day

We have days dedicated to celebrating almost everything.  Days for donuts, coffee, moms, dads, cats, and dogs-and the list goes on and on.  Today was MRI day.  At least, that is what I decided to proclaim.  Especially now that my doctor insists I have one in addition to my mammogram every year. 

They are not particularly fun.  Imagine lying face down on a narrow table.  White towels lining the hole where your face rests.  Your arms straight out in front-think Superman pose.  No, wait-Wonder Woman. 😉

Once in position, you must be perfectly still for thirty minutes.  Perfectly still while the tube you are in makes random, intermittent noises, as if preparing for take-off.  Actually, it is just a really loud camera.

I know this probably does not sound like something to celebrate.  But this year, I choose to view it differently.  I am celebrating deep breaths that helped me to relax.  I am celebrating old hymns and classic James Taylor singing inside my head. I am celebrating medical science that says early detection is key.

Even though physically uncomfortable, the above reasons eased my anxiety. And I was reminded that I can do hard things. So, get your mammograms! And if your doctor says the word MRI, you can do it! Until next year! 💕

Cleansing Rain

Cold and heavy
The rain falls
No end in sight
A constant hum
Forcing quiet
Contemplation
The sound of
Troubles being
Washed away
Cleansing the
Cluttered
Landscape
Revealing
The true nature
Of our hearts
Reminding us
Even though
Living under
The same sky
Standing on the
Same earth, our
Needs vary from
Place to place
From one day
To the next
Whether this
Day found you
Weary
Parched
Hollow
May it leave you
Refreshed
Quenched
Overflowing

Teacher Heart

Confession time. This teacher’s heart, mind, and body are struggling. Each day brings physical and emotional exhaustion. This is not about complaining or seeking validation. I am acknowledging that we are in a difficult season.

Life is full of difficult seasons. This is not the first and will most certainly not be the last. Such is the world in which we live. It is just that I am having a difficult time dealing with this one.

One day can feel like a rollercoaster. One hour, I have a great class, kids engaged, lightbulbs going off. The next, I allow something small to wash away the positive. A problem with technology (shh…do not tell my husband.) 😉 My attitude, maybe a student’s attitude-it doesn’t matter which. I’m suddenly trying not to cry, counting the minutes until I can hide in the bathroom between classes and regain my composure.

My thoughts quickly move towards an “I don’t think I can do this” attitude. And every time this happens, encouragement follows.

An encouraging word from my husband. “You are stronger than you think you are.”

An encouraging comment from a colleague. “You inspire me.”

An encouraging email from another colleague. “M and T told me all about strong and weak beats…that music lesson stuck with them!”

All I see is that one word…encouraging. And these are only a few examples from the last several days. The individuals who shared their thoughts may not have realized the power held in their words, but I felt it in my teacher-heart. Their messages brought smiles to brighten my day and tears to wash away my doubts…renewal.

Renewal…the next focus word. Something we all must learn to practice. I am practicing it right now. Today, it looks like taking a personal day and a long drive. A time away, visiting my own parents. A time to rest and be loved as a daughter.

Other days, the renewal will look different. An evening walk with my husband. Taking time to play the piano. Talking to a friend. Writing, painting, something creative to ease my anxious mind. All things to help renew my heart, soul, and body so I can continue doing what I’m called to do for however long I’m called. ❤

Running Late

This morning I left for work about 10-15 minutes later than usual. Not terribly late, just enough to take away that buffer between arrival and car duty.

As I merged onto the highway, I began to notice pinks and reds on the horizon. The colors created a glowing outline behind the clouds. As my car crossed the bridge over the Arkansas River, a big, beautiful sun appeared. Those pinks and reds were now perfectly blended into one giant sphere.

If I had left at my usual time, I most likely would have missed this view!

The experience made me think about how tiny moments can generate enormous power.

This first week back to school has been challenging. Teaching during a pandemic brings more questions than answers-more uncertainties than assurances. Yesterday, I allowed an onslaught of negative thoughts to weigh me down, unable to focus on anything positive.

Witnessing that stunning sunrise was the first step toward a much-needed attitude adjustment. And if my attitude today reflected even one tiny pink drop of those rays, just maybe I was able to encourage someone else.

I guess when you look at it that way; I really was not running late after all. I was actually right on time.

Just What I Needed

“When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.”

Words from a hymn I’ve known since childhood. Words I’ve heard twice this week in a newer version of the song. The rhythms and melodies were new, but the words remained the same. A combination that evoked a much-needed sense of peace and rest.

The first hearing brought back memories. The second hearing brought the realization of just how much I needed to remember.

Yesterday, I received my second steroid spinal injection. I’m happy to report no fainting this time. Whew! However, it left me feeling anxious and restless. And though extremely tired, unable to sleep.

My evening became a cycle of panic, no sleep, and tears. The thought of my 5:30 A.M. alarm loomed. Followed closely by the thought of teaching school after only three-four hours of sleep. All I could think was, extra coffee!

My morning classes were surprisingly successful! Time with students and teacher friends seemed to help my energy increase. Even my fifth-grade class after lunch was acceptable. 😉

But then, my energy began to fade. I could feel myself hitting a wall. How in the world would I make it through physical therapy after school? For a few seconds, I considered canceling. After all, I just had that injection yesterday. Surely they would understand.

But when I got in my car, there was that hymn again. I smiled and began to sing along. On this second hearing, a new phrase stood out; “Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love.”

So I headed to physical therapy, my energy starting to return. A bottle of water and a protein snack pack may have helped a little. It helped my body anyway. But it was the music that lifted my spirit.

Therapy left me with a feeling of restored purpose. And though I walked away tired, it was a good tired. A tired that reminded me of the importance of taking care of my physical body.

All of this from the simple words of a new/old hymn. A hymn I heard twice in one week. Reminders of love, strength, and grace. Old words combined with new music to provide just what I needed.

On Second Thought…

This week I was reminded of my “word of the year” choice-strong. Hmmm…maybe I should rethink that choice.

The event responsible for my remembering? A steroid shot in my neck. I’ve been dealing with arm pain and weakness for several months. Doctors discovered a herniated disc and this was the first step in treatment.

Though I was anxious for relief, I was also anxious about the procedure. I was not quite sure what to expect. Communication from the doctor’s office indicated that iv sedation was standard. And I was fine with that.

Upon arrival, I was informed that sedation was an option but not necessary. It was, after all, only a ten-minute procedure.

I wish I could say my choice was easy, instant, and made with confidence. That was not the case.

Anxiety began to creep in. I knew I would function better in the long run without the sedation. But it was still a difficult decision. There may have even been some tears involved.

Thankfully, my husband, Gart, was there to encourage me. He reminded me of past experiences. Told me I was strong (there’s that word again). And told me I could do it!

I’m happy to report, I did it! However, right when the doctor said, “Ok. We’re all done,” I passed out. Pretty sure I had been holding my breath.

The nurses were kind, reassuring me that this was a common reaction. I felt much better once lying on my back with a cool cloth on my forehead. Still, I was a tad embarrassed. But at the same time, proud. And maybe even a little bit strong.

On second thought…maybe I will hold on to my word. After all, it represents a needed area of focus. And in this instance, it reminds me I don’t have to be strong all by myself.

One Simple Conversation

I recently ran into our youngest son’s fourth-grade teacher. I walked over to say hi and gave her a big hug. Immediately, I was overcome with emotion. Tears began to flow.

Talk about embarrassing. I could barely carry on a conversation. Somehow I squeaked out, “I want you to know how much I appreciated you as a fourth-grade teacher.”

She was gracious. And of course, asked about Ryan and what he was doing. I was happy to report on his success. 🙂

This was the teacher who offered such reassurance. Yes, he fidgets. Yes, sometimes it appears he isn’t paying attention. He’s a boy. But he doesn’t miss a thing.

Here we are nine years later. Ryan is nineteen and a freshman in college. He is studying 3D art and animation and is excited about internship possibilities. He has goals for the future but lives in the moment.

Seeing his former teacher reminded me of the power of encouraging words. Positive words from a teacher to a parent. Words from one simple conversation, over nine years ago.

Glimmers

Yesterday brought some much-needed sunshine. And I almost missed it. Of course, the person who brought it to my attention was a kindergarten student.

Part of my extra school duty includes assisting kindergarten from recess to lunch. The moment I stepped outside, I heard, “Mrs. Morris! Mrs. Morris!” I turned to see who it was, expecting one of those “so and so did such and such” stories.

Instead, I saw a huge smile. This little boy was running towards me. “Mrs. Morris! The sun is shining!” “Why, yes, it is!” I smiled. What a sweet reminder.

Isn’t that how it is with hope? It often comes in tiny glimmers. Sun rays shining through the clouds. An encouraging word from a friend. The sweet smile of a child.

Each glimmer, just like the sun’s rays, may not make the clouds disappear. But they do provide moments of relief. And once interwoven, the darkness begins to fade.

This week, those glimmers were enough.

“Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 11:7