Author Archive: franmcveigh

#SOL23: Writing Habit


It’s January. I check my email. Some days I read a specific email message before morning coffee. On other days I wait until the brown go juice has squeezed the sleep out of my brain. Then I copy the quote for the day and check for the mentor text. It’s #ASDWWrites. It’s a 30-day writing challenge. It’s response writing. (@shelfietalk and wakelets from chats at https://wakelet.com/@shelfietalk )

I don’t have the topic in advance.

I can’t store a couple of blog posts as drafts if the writing doesn’t come easy.

I’ve missed some days.

I’ve gone back and filled in the gaps because I’ve left blank pages in the notebook in my Kindle Scribe. The empty page with a day and date reminds me that I’ve missed something. Something that I committed to doing.

Daily reading and/or writing is a habit. Since the pandemic, I’ve made it a habit to start my day with reading, writing, or both. The writing may be blogs, tweets, DMs, or notes to myself. The reading also varies from saved documents, blogs, research, books, directions, and quilting tips.

Dictionary.com offered this definition of HABIT.

As I reflected on the first 20 days of this daily writing, I wondered if writing was truly a habit. In other words, if I missed a day was it still a habit? How many days could I miss and still have it be a habit?

What if I missed a day or two because I was involved in other writing work?

So it wasn’t that I didn’t write . . . but just that I didn’t write to the daily prompts because I was writing a lot “to take action” for another project?

And I did go back and write LATER.

Reading and writing are customary practices. Daily habits. Some days don’t allow for an early morning response and my schedule is discombobulated and the habit does not demand completion before I sleep. Postponing to another day helps keep some people/tech/device balance in my days. It’s not about “having to write right now” but about completing the task.

Hmmm. . .

Am I hedging my “Habit”? Does a habit have to be 30 consecutive and distinctly different days? Who decides? What does this say about agency and choice for our readers and writers in school?

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#SOL23: Heartbreaking


Today:

  1. A school shooting in Iowa’s capital city leaves two students dead (16 and 18 year old males).
  2. A vote to provide taxpayer dollars to parents for “School Choice”
  3. A rush to pass a bill without clearly defined costs, without defined parameters, without equity for all students.
  4. A community activist remains hospitalized.

It’s hard to recognize the landscape of my state. Once a leader in education now destined to be a state promoting inequity and zero accountability as private schools have zero accountability.

Heartbreaking . . .

Students losing lives.

Students losing educational opportunities.

44 out of 99 counties have no private schools so there are no choices for students in those counties. Their public schools will suffer from the lack of adequate resources. Check the allowable growth funding for recent years.

FY 2016 = 1.25%

FY 2017 = 2.25%

FY 2018 = 1.11%

FY 2019 = 1.0%

FY 2020 = 2.06%

FY 2021 = 2.3%

FY 2022 = 2.4%

. . . Never keeping up with inflation. (And FY 2022 saw a tax cut of $300,000,000.)

The reality … 81 school districts did not receive any state funding increase because of declining enrollment.

Heartbreaking . . .

Reeling . . .

So much loss for so early in 2023. What can change this tsunami of death and destruction of public schools?

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#SOL23: Advocacy


Day 2 of 30 Day Writing Challenge with Jill @ShelfieTalk


“i am running into a new year” Lucille Clifton link

#ASDWWrites How, when and where will I act?

How does one think about one’s #OneLittleWord? One approach is to think about literally putting it into action. In this quick write response I was considering a continuum for action. Is action really this simple?

How will I fill the middle section? What lies between action and no action? What will I need to do in order to be my best self?

Advocacy for Action?

How will you bring your #OLW to life? Or to ACTION?

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#SOL23: #OLW


Visuals bombard my life. I see so many images that I don’t do a very good job sourcing them. As 2022 was winding down, I spent some time in Orlando, Florida with most of my family. I spent time being “patient” as well as time being “impatient”. But I also took time to reflect on the word I had settled on about mid-December. Would it WORK? My test drive included these visuals from Facebook friends.

…Take the step.

Do it!

“…Be that one today.”

Make a difference.

Words matter.

Whether it’s the single right word or the accumulation of many words in a post, words matter!

Many folks have a rich history of choosing a word to be the focus for the year. A word that can be a part of personal reflection as time passes. “Am I meeting my expectations?” So here’s a look at my words from the past.

One Little Words (#OLW)

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful
  • 2017    Brave
  • 2018    Curious
  • 2019    Celebrate
  • 2020 Envision
  • 2021 Willing
  • 2022 Be Patient

As I tested out several words and definitions, I was very cognizant of the fact that 2023 is going to require many actions. I’m writing to legislators about school funding. I’m a part of a 30-day writing challenge. I’m ready to develop my writing muscles to increase the effectiveness of my communications. And then there was the pressure of choosing a word for my TENTH #OLW.

It’s time.

It’s time to ACT.

ACT = 2023 OLW.

What is your #OLW? How do/did you know it was “the right word” for you?

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#SOL23: Tales


“It’s a tale as old as time …”

Can you name the song? The artists? Continue singing?

Some of you may know where this is headed as you knew my holiday plans. But the arrival at the tale or slice may be a bit …

The overhead compartment would not close. One person tugged on the contents and then pushed on the outside. It didn’t latch. A coworker stopped and punched it closed. It didn’t latch. The first person moved the contents to the neighboring compartment and proceeded to …

“The hotel address isn’t right. There are two near each other but the address is wrong. Can someone …”

“Southwest says we’re missing our flight attendant, but no one is telling us anything …”

“We’re off on our adventure. This is the first of two flights today…”

“How does Lyftt work? …”

“We have to de-ice before we can take off, so …”

“What’s the plan if we can’t check in early?…”

“Food? Lunch? Where? …”

Any of the eight above could have been duplicated multiple times by the 35 travelers leaving from 4 sites yet requiring feet on the ground in seven separate states in order to congregate together. Several flights left at 6 am were scheduled to leave at 6 am. Some were non-stop. Some were just the first of two flights. And yes, some were driving. That was just to get the 35 folks all in one location. Together.

AMarekN Xmas22.

A target. A plan. Many conversations. Many details. Many spreadsheets. Many, many thoughts were shared. Discussed. Flights. Tickets. Apps. Zelle. Genie. Schedules to coordinate. A Plan. Continued Planning. Revising Plans. And then there were the travelers: veterans, some experience, and complete novices. Nervous? Anxious? Excited? A wide range of expectations and levels of readiness for adventures!

How much work is a new unit/experience? What’s the first response? Angst? Relief? What is the REAL destination? When do you measure success? Are there multiple measures?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

#SOL22: Holidays


Reminiscing … filling in memories. Laughter. Love. The joy. And then the physical gatherings wherever we find ourselves on our travel day(s).

Before the stories and the face-to-face gatherings, there was some prep work. Some planning. Some decisions. Some organization. I’ve discovered that I’m not as efficient as I’d like to be in recording my work. That fits into my planning as I consider my #OLW for 2023. But more on that during my next post.

One of my first quilting projects for 2022 was working with these squares, literally as a square of 4, a vertical line of 4, and as individual squares. It’s not a color that I would traditionally think of. Maybe that’s why it fascinated me!

And then smaller items in the form of stars in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Over 30 total ornaments!

And then with some help from a friend, I worked with some embroidered blocks. Two very different looks with the same squares that were very fun to assemble. (Although my pictures don’t do either justice)

And of course, a more traditional look for a quilt of valor.

These are just a few of the gifts from 2022 that showcase a range of thinking differently about the same items from small two inch ornaments to quilts. Still learning as I’m about to enter year three of sewing and quilting.

When do you move out of novice to comfortably achieving your goals? And how do you celebrate your growth? Do you branch out to harder, less typical projects? Do you seek out new challenges?

I’m thinking about my quilting goals for 2023. What do I want to accomplish? What will my plan look like?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

#SOL22: Feedback


As the year draws to a close, which topic challenges or intrigues me?

Winter? The impending storm? Celebrations? Family? #OLW?

The title is a “giveaway” in some respects.

A simple google search provides all sorts of choices …

three? five? seven?

and (gasp) scholarly citations as well!

In order to be effective, feedback must be:

  • Specific. Feedback must be concrete and relate to a specific, measurable performance goal. …
  • Timely. …
  • Appropriate. …
  • Focus on behavior, not personality. …
  • Proactive. …
  • Given using descriptive language. …
  • Not given using judgmental language. …
  • Based on accurate and credible information.
Google search with “effective feedback criteria” 12.20.22

But the feedback I’m thinking of today is the feedback I see on a regular basis. Those lights that show my speed as I’m traveling … often as I drive through school zones. You know those signs.

These signs do cause me to double check my speed. (A lead foot is genetic after all.) But what I’ve come to understand is that these signs with a simple green THANK YOU in the bar below the speed limit are my favorite. I really appreciate the simple message of thanks. I hate that I only see it when traveling in one direction on both signs in the same town of 902 residents. So today, I’m imagining the thank you as there was no space to pull over and take a picture when traveling in the other direction.

What feedback informs you on a regular basis? What are the qualities that you appreciate? How can you ensure that the feedback sustains you over the holidays?

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#SOL22: Two Sides


Be Patient

Hurry Up!

#OneLittleWord

So much to do!

Savor the season!

Check the lists!

Making gifts . . .

Off to the store?

Delivery to the Door?

Service the car.

Prepare to pack.

How to plan?

Travel by car and plane.

Travel alone and with family.

Use time wisely.

Keep checking the lists.

How do you handle holiday stress? Travel stress? Holiday travel stress? Do you slow down and savor every single second? Or do you speed up and enjoy as much as possible by packing every day full of events? Are there other options?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

#SOL22: Peeking into the Season for Old and New


Glimpses from years and days past

So appreciative of these views

Of treasures

That remind us of our past

Our collective thoughts

And our actions

Sharing

Caring

And above all …

Friendship across the miles!

Tablerunners …

And ornaments

What old treasures are you displaying? How are you making room for the new?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

#SOL22: Misadventure


After I flip the lock on the door, I organize. Food for the refrigerated drawer, food on the counter, keys and billfold on the counter, and then I hang my jacket on the back of the chair.

Big pause . . .

Phone. It needs to be charged!

Phone?

GRRRR!

I check my jacket . . . not in any of the four pockets. I backtrack. Following my previous steps in reverse order. Not on the counter. Not in the sack of food. Not in the drawer. I step back by the door and follow through my path once more from start to finish.

Still NO phone.

Muttered comments under my breath.

Still no phone.

I put my coat on, pick up my keys and head back to the elevator and then the parking ramp. I check the ground around the vehicle we used today. It’s not on the ground. Bummer.

Back inside again. Up the elevator and to my room.

I open my computer. It’s possible my phone is out in a vehicle in the parking ramp. But my fastest communication is out. I try email and Twitter DM waiting for a response. Not thrilled about going back outside a second time, but it will be worth it if I find it.

Finally, my email pings. I go down a floor to borrow the keys and then retrace the now familiar path out to the parking ramp. The RAM chirps and the doors unlock. I sigh – so relieved to find my phone on the floor in the back seat.

Gratefully, I leave the ramp and return the keys. As I enter my room, I check the time. Almost 30 minutes wasted on this misadventure but I have my phone and all is good!

What adventures did you have during the Thanksgiving break? How did you respond to any difficulties?

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