06 September 2010

The Joy of Children (episode 2)

Continuing my celebration of my children, and the sheer joy of learning how they think, and the depths to which their thoughts carry them, I have to share some of Ahern's recent work. I love it when they come home and tell me about a project, especially with passion and excitement for me to see or hear their work. Last week, he came home relatively excited by something he called Six Word Memoirs. The way he explained it, each student needed to think up a six word memoirs that summed up their life to this point.

Here's the sad part of the story. Ahern clearly wanted to share his, but I only half listened as I was in the middle of lesson planning. When I did look up from my computer, he didn't want to share anymore. Lesson learned. When my son, or one of my daughters approaches me with that kind of excitement and pride, or with any request for my attention for that matter, I need to give it without hesitation. I will find my place again, and nothing I am working on deserves a higher priority status than my children. Period.

This sat heavily with me, and I waited for an opportunity to express interest. It never came, so on Thursday morning I asked him to please email me his final copy. Wow! We've all heard the saying 'Words cannot express...' I don't recommend saying that to Ahern. In each of the three different Six Word Memoirs he wrote, my 12 year old son managed to express mountains of emotions and amazing depths of understanding. Take a look for yourself:

Pretty amazing stuff, and so revealing of what drives my son. The photos he picked to accompany his memoirs support the six words he chose on so many levels. The first series of four are of an inspirational / motivational speaker who visits middle and high schools all over the world. Youtube carries the videos, and I remember Ahern showing them to me a few months ago. It says so much about how he is dealing with the challenges of middle school and changing friendships. The second picture is so striking in light of his goal to make the 2016 Olympics in swimming. A lot of work faces anyone wanting to achieve such a thing, and Ahern's already faced doubt from people whose job is to support him regardless. Even so, he believes in his ability, and has the determination and willingness to work hard to get there. Just look at the six word memoirs accompanying that picture now that you know what he hopes and intends to attain!

05 September 2010

The Joy of Children

Some days, more than others, I am struck full force by the sheer joy our children bring us. Today, Nikaela simply rocked my world with laughter, joy, and awe at the way her mind thinks. Sometime this last week, in her spare time, she wrote out a life plan for herself. Check out the fruits of her labors:

How cool is that? I certainly never did that, though it might have helped if I had!! ;) You just have to love how her mind works. For instance, the car is a must have, she's quite aware that it rains a lot in London, and she may indeed acquire an accent. Something tells me she's fine with that. The idea of me living with her in London, probably not so much!

04 September 2010


I sit here sipping my coffee, feeling particularly quiet and reflective this morning, aware that I am constantly in the presence of Greatness - of unyielding, unconditional love, strength, and inspiration. Two people in my life, ladies who I admire deeply, share their ongoing struggle with breast cancer; one newly diagnosed, and one facing a recurrence that is inoperable. Both women choose to embrace life, seek the positive, and share their journeys with us, revealing a strength I can only hope to attain. Their words, imbued with love of family, friends, and the gift of our lives, remind me to recognize and feel gratitude for all that I have.

It is so easy to get caught up in the small things, to focus on the momentary negative, but I am reminded that the negative is but fleeting when we choose to acknowledge and embrace all that is positive and enduring in our lives. A long time ago, I remember that small internal voice saying 'I choose life,' still in that quiet, sometimes hard to hear manner, but with such force and conviction it rocked my bones and coursed through my veins, altering how I perceived my life at that moment. I never, ever regretted the decisions and events that small moment brought into being. In fact, I have the most amazingly beautiful, vibrant and unique daughter who brings wonder to my heart as a result. I realized, however, that in the course of life and the challenges we face, I forgot to hold on to the meaning of that choice - the past that came before does not, cannot matter. I picked that past back up, returned to viewing the negatives, the wrongs, and in doing so have allowed them to shape and define my life and my outlook once again.

I simply forgot that focusing on the negative freezes us in time, makes it that which is enduring. Through the grace and strength of these two friends, I am reminded that I am in charge of my outlook, of how I perceive the challenges before me. I am reminded of the strength and monumental force behind those three quiet words, I choose Life Reconnecting with that feeling, that moment, results in a dizzying shifting of focus and attitude. People, places, and events shine through a different light, one that highlights the hope and blessings gained through experience, and through the love and support of family and friends. Yes, today I feel quiet, reflective; blessed by the people who choose to be part of my existence. Today, I look deep within and hear much more loudly my own internal self, and I Choose Life with all the love and happiness that brings.

24 April 2010

Long Overdue Update

I'd love to sit and update about, well just about everything, but it would be of epic length and proportions. No one would willingly sift through that much text, though truthfully no one really reads this blog anyway. It's more of a think on screen exercise to unclutter my brain since I don't have a fancy Penseive like Dumbledore did. Rats.

I last posted in October, shortly after starting my first teaching position. Luckily I landed in a 5th grade classroom. Unluckily, I had one day to set up my room, no teacher manuals for about a week, and landed in a different district with all new curriculum. Wow, welcome to teaching!! Six months later I've learned a ton, hopefully grown as much, adore my students, and know that I really do LOVE teaching. I've also received my non-renewal notice thanks to all the budget cuts. At least it's a non-renewal for a reduction in force, and I'll be walking away with a few really good recommendations. I entered this profession believing I'd be unwilling to teach in a district other than the one my children attend, and know better now. I love the district I teach for, and sometimes wish I could transfer my children there.

My kids are growing like weeds, mentally and physically. I regret the lost time with them this year and last, and crave the summer months that, even with a full time grad course schedule, promises more time with them than these last 9 months had to offer. The silent ticking of the countdown in my head grows audibly louder each day. My youngest angel now 10, and only 8 years and counting left to go with a house full of children and their noise. We think we detest the sibling rivalry, bickering, pre-hormonal drama, but the truth is that the alternative absence of noise and uncomfortable silence looms far too close. I intend to enjoy these next 8 or 9 years, hormones and drama aside.

As I approach my 42nd, the feeling of impending birthday is oddly lacking. I'm actually looking forward to this one, and feel a profound sense of gratitude for all I have in my life. Sure, I'm still a complete social misfit and feel awkwardly uncomfortable in a crowd, but I'm able to once again open up and talk to just about anyone these days - to the kids' utter horror. Even though I haven't forged many true new friendships (there are a couple, I trust you know who you are and that you're loved,) I feel like I'm on my way and getting to know people while simultaneously let them into my oddly constructed world. There's just something internal, silent, but prevailing and constant in presence that beats out the quiet drumming in my heart: I'm on the right path; finally, on the right path. Frankly, nothing is better than that!