Tag Archives: family

#SOL17: Memories


13 years ago this weekend . . . 

“Are you driving?” Sherry asked.

What an odd question?

“No, I just pulled into Hy-Vee to get some groceries.  What’s up?”

And I knew.

“Please, don’t tell me!” 

I just wanted to hang up the phone.  

I didn’t want to hear it.  

NO, NO, NO!

And the tears streamed down my face as I learned that Dad had passed.

Peacefully

Without undue suffering

Yet

Suddenly and Unexpectedly!

To this day, I remember where I was parked at North Hy-Vee that afternoon.

It’s a section I have never parked in since.  

Not tempting fate.

The sun was shining.

It was a relatively nice day.

Done with work.

Planning to buy a few groceries before heading home.

Immediately shifting gears . . .

A dying phone battery.

Phone calls to make.

Returning to work.

Using a land line and a cell phone.

Calling.

Leaving messages.

Calling

Asking questions.

Calling

Asking, “Are you driving?” when using cell numbers.

Calling

Barely able to say the words.

Numb. Shocked. Confirmed.  

Yet short on details!

Making lists of more phone calls.

Already exhausted.

Where do I need to be?  When?  What’s next?

I’m in limbo.

Half-way between my family farm home and my family home.

Is someone with Mom?

Which direction to go?

Plans to make.  Plans A, B, and C.

Not ready?

No longer an option

A hurricane is headed for Southern Florida

So Sherry is not yet on her way.

I want to return to the childhood days,

My treasured days,

As the best gift to my dad on Father’s Day!

The easy days of childhood.




Fast Forward to the present . . .

2017:  What a year!  And it’s not over . . .

If I could turn back the hands of time?

I would definitely rewrite March and April. Those days when I wanted to huddle under the quilt and cry for all the changes in our family.  Too many losses, way too fast!

I often come back to this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Moving forward may seem to be at a turtle’s pace but forward motion is ALL that is required.  Some days it’s not necessary to measure the miniscule change.

Does it ever get easier?

Saturday I stopped by the family cemetary (after a neighbor’s funeral – age 91).  A few minutes of conversation with Joey, Grandma, brother Joe and Dad . . . and aunts, and uncles and so many more!

Was it missing the opportunity to say an Earthly “Good-bye”? 

Was it not knowing how or what to say?

Was it the shock of the “suddenness”? 

Taking comfort in our memories,

And remembering the JOY, the LOVE, and the many celebrations.

Never taking a single moment for granted.

Precious life!  Precious time!  Precious family!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

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#SOL17: First Day


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The bus turns the corner.

My last check to see that everything is in my car.

One picture down.  It’s kind of gloomy.  No sunshine for this auspicious day.

The brakes squeak as the bus pulls to a stop in the road.  I hear the stop sign pop as it is extended.  “Smile!  Just one more picture!”

He takes three steps, turns, and looks.  I snap the photo. He starts up the steps.

I’m sure it’s blurred.  Tears stream down my cheeks.

This would not be the day to take a lousy picture.

I watch as he walks down the aisle and chooses a seat.  Third row. Behind his friends.  He looks happy but he was so quiet this morning.  Only the top of his head is visible from outside the window.

The driver looks down.  Closes the door and the bus lumbers down the road.

  I hop in my car.  Five miles and I will be at school for my son’s second “First Day of School” picture.  It’s 1995.  The First Day of School. No digital pictures.

As a teacher, how do your own personal “First Days” impact your attention to detail in your classroom?

What are you planning for this year?  Why?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL17: Just Wait . . .


What sentences or words caused

Anxiety,

Fear, or

Trepidation

in your Impressionable Growing Years?

Was it the dreaded . . .

Dum, ta Dum . . .

giphy

Just wait til your dad gets home?

It was a dark and stormy night

(Sorry, Snoopy, I had to borrow that, but it’s so untrue

so that’s why the strike through was used!)

Rules

Expectations

Permissions

One memory

That persists

Decades and decades later . . .

Waiting . . .

Waiting . . .

Waiting . . .

Waiting . . .

for Dad to get home.

What had I done?

Nervous,

Anxious,

Apprehensive . . .

Running to the door.

Announcing to all,

“HE’S HOME!”

Then running to get the tools.  It was time.

The house was brand new!

It took an

“Act of Dad”

For measuring, drilling holes and pounding mollies into the wall.

Unthinkable?

It wasn’t drywall.  A nail couldn’t just be pounded in.  A different form of gypsum board.

Not really a control issue.

A forward-thinking Dad who did’t want to spend future days patching holes and matching paint.

“Just wait ’til Dad gets home to hang items on the wall!”




Where do your ideas come from?

What techniques do you use to build anticipation in your stories?  

Could this structure work for you?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

Idea Source:  A one line memory (often-used phrase)

Technique:  Like a riddle, give clues, without revealing until the end.

Graphic:   Giphy search for “waiting for dad”

#SOL17 and #DigiLitSunday: Problem Solving


In Real Life:

“Gramma, sit here.”

“H’mm. It’s a long way down to the floor.”

“Here, Gramma.”

I sit.  I can guess the activity by reading the clues in the area.

I don’t know for sure the plan but does it matter?  

Doesn’t the world revolve around my grandson?

How do I wait, without talking/leading, to see what “our play” is going to be?

In My Professional Life:

Book studies have popped up everywhere.  Which ones should I join?  Which ones are quite intriguing?  Which ones should I avoid?

My professional “shelfie” looks like this: (+Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst)

shelfie.jpg

How do I determine what groups to participate in?  

For example, I know of three different groups reading and responding to Disruptive Thinking. Do I just jump in?  It’s summer after all and I do have more “time” to spend on reading and writing.  Do I develop criteria?  What could/should that look like?

Last week’s #G2Great chat was with Patty Vitale-Reilly (@pattyvreilly) about her book, Engaging Every Learner:  Classroom Principles, Strategies, and Tools.  You can read Chapter 6 of her book from Heinemann here, check out the storify here, or even read my blog post about the chat here.

Where do I think problems with “being an engaged learner” might arise?  Where should I begin? Right now I believe I need to pay attention to actions 1, 3, 5 and 6 below as I develop my plans to participate in book studies this summer.

  1. Consider the three dimensions of engagement
  2. Cultivate engagement in the classroom
  3.  Establish routines to cultivate high engagement
  4.   Use assessments to build engagement!
  5.  Use choice to build engagement
  6. Cultivate my own engagement

My decision is to see which of the aspects of “engagement” hook me into summer book groups and provide the incentive for me to continue participating.  By planning to “problem solve” in advance, both when I get stuck when reading and when my participation wanes, I can gather additional information about both my problem solving and my engagement!

What are you going to learn / study this summer to move your literacy life forward?

When do  I want/need/crave choice and creativity and what role will that play in my decisions/actions?




 

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

Additional #DigiLitSunday:  Problem Solving posts with Margaret Simon and Reflections on the Teche.

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#CelebrateLu: Reprise


The sun is shining. The temp is in the 60’s and rising. What a fabulous weather report that takes me back to my farming roots! It’s spring and I’m thinking of home (after a writing workshop last Saturday)!

And yet . . .

Spring is a time to celebrate . . .

rebirth  as plants nudge their way through the ground cover

life as baby animals appear with their families

longer days of leaving home in the daylight and still having daylight on the return at the end of the day

end of the year activities . . . concerts, track events, music contests

And all those dreaded LASTS . . .

The last time the seniors . . .  before they graduate

The last time the juniors . . . before they move to the senior world

And so on . . .

But today I celebrate last Sunday’s reprise . . .

All seven of us who went to Rome . . .

Together . . . plus a few more!!!

“We set off on a journey to Rome, yes a religious trip, but also a trip to the heart of civilization.  This is a city of 300 churches with 200 more in the suburbs.  It’s a city of many diverse nationalities and personalities.  It was a pleasure to be in a group of seven . . .

Mom

Brother

Sister

Brother

Uncle

Aunt

within a community of 52 pilgrims from an Iowa sponsored tour (plus folks from IL, WI, MO, and FL).”   “SOL16:  Travel Trivia”

Other posts about Rome are here, here, here, here, and here with this one quick photo from O’Hare before our international departure.

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and here we were again . . .

But this time in Iowa

A band concert

Taking advantage of time together

Eight months later to gather for a celebratory meal (Leo & Shirley’s upcoming 9th anniversary)

And a high school band concert directed by a son / grandson / nephew/ husband / father   . . .

Central DeWitt:  Sunday, April 30, 2017

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band program

band zero

band one

band three

band four

And always, one of the fans in the seats!

concert

Home can be family.

Home may not be one specific physical place.

Where do you celebrate and call home?




celebratelu.jpg

Check out for celebrations at the link with Ruth!

#SOL17: My Brother


farm

There’s something about a farm and a farmer.  A sense of resiliency.  A sense of pride.  A sense of worth at the end of the day.

The end of the day for my older brother was last Tuesday.  The corn was in the ground.  He laid down to rest.

And our hearts are broken again.

He’s with dad.

He’s with our brother Joe.

He’s with nephew Joe and his wife Ashley.

He’s with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.

No doubt, encouraging them to think of his view.  His stories. His love of family.

But our hearts are broken again.

We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye out loud to him.

We didn’t get to talk one last time.

It’s been a tough year.

An aunt,

An uncle,

My godfather (also an uncle)

My nephew

My nephew’s wife

And now my brother.

And our hearts are broken again.

Thank you, my friends, for your love and support.

Thank you, my friends and co-workers for your kind words and offers of assistance.

Thank you again, dear Lynn (and Bruce), for trekking across the state (and do remember that we take TREKS seriously in the town of Riverside).

A salute to farmers everywhere.  The salt of the earth.

The Life of a Farmer

Jim

Our stories are many:

Growing up . . . In a family of six kids

Birth order, #2 in the family, BUT the oldest boy

Sharing a bedroom with 2 sisters on one side of the wall and another brother on the boys side

Chores:  milking cows, raising pigs, feeding chickens, planting potatoes, watering small foot high evergreen trees one bucket at a time  . . .

Remembering . . . About age 8, ONLY getting one half of a hamburger when Grandma Ruth took the kids to MacDonalds

In 1970 working ALL the time on the new house and then being chief worker on tearing down the old house

Being 16 when the Mareks got a color TV . . . and the weekend shows were Lawrence Welk and Ed Sullivan

Chopping up Fran’s knee instead of the cockleburrs in the bean field

Being in the Washington HS Jazz Band when it went to Switzerland

Playing chauffeur and playing Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” for his younger brother on the ride to school

Paying his sister $2.00 at least twice a year to wash and wax the outside of his car

Playing ball out by the barn with our double first cousins

Roller skating on the cement in front of the machine shed, hopping the pipe, and completing the skating circle inside

As a prankster:  “Pass the green beans” at dinner to Frank (and it was really asparagus);

Putting baby powder in the vents of Gerard’s car at his wedding.  That car always smelled like baby powder.

Shaking and bouncing up and down on the suspension bridge at the Royal Gorge; and

Complaining about his oldest sister’s “pancakes” – EVERY Saturday night  – and a bit flat!

As an uncle . . .

Making sure the kids always had NOISY toys at Christmas.

Telling 3 year old Neel Chary to eat the chocolate kiss out of the peanut butter blossom and put the rest of the cookie back on the tray at Christmas

Telling the Chary boys to pinch off the frosting on Josh and Amanda’s wedding cake because no one would miss it

Promising to give Evan a horse and then forgetting it until the next time he saw Evan (Fran says “Thanks – for real”)

Being a godparent for Jessica Marie

And our hearts are broken again . . .

 




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

#SOL17: Memories


memories

Memories

Moments in time

Preserved

Perhaps captured with a camera flash

Or the stroke of a pen.

 

Memories

Moments in time

Experiences shared

As families, as friends, as spectators, as coaches

Preserved

Perhaps a story told

Or laughter shared.

Memories

Moments in time

Voices murmuring

Beckoning here and there

Preserved

Shared out loud

Multiplying our love!


How are you storing up each moment?  

How do you capture that smile, that glance, that word, that memory?


Thank you, dear friends, for all your kinds words, support and love these past few weeks,  There.are.no.words.to.express.the.depth.of.my.appreciation.

thank you pic


Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

#SOLSC17: #OLW Brave


The past week has tested my #OLW – brave.  I really can’t write much about it YET.  But I’m here to tell you that last week had some REAL Highs countered by one humongous abysmal low!

Highs

Time with my son, daughter-in-law and 22 month old grandson

Time with my nephew, niece by marriage, great nephew and great niece

Time with my niece, great nephew and great niece

Time with my mother

Time with my sister

Time with my ex-brother-in-law

Time with my sister, brother-in-law and three short nephews

Time with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and step-niece

Time with my brother, sister-in-law and niece

Time with aunts, uncles and cousins galore

Seconds, minutes, hours, days and days!

time

Google images, retrieved 3/13/17

Talking

Eating

Laughing

Shopping

Eating

Swimming

Laughing

Playing cards

Eating

Checking math homework

Laughing

Talking with friends

Time well spent!

One of my favorite roles

aunt

 

Warning:



Lows

Last Tuesday’s news

Calling

Telling Mom

Two new angels

My godson (nephew) and his wife

No time for a last goodbye

No time for a last hug

No time for a last joke

A double funeral

Hug your loved ones

Tell them you love them

Every minute

You never know . . .

Don’t leave any “could have”, “should have”, “would have”. . .

All in! 

Family!


Folder from Funeral Service

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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early morning slicer

#SOL17: The Story


The ball swishes through the net as the buzzer sounds.  A sigh of relief as the two points are recorded on the scoreboard.  The basket was a buzzer beater.

Final score 25 to 17.

The last second score was icing on the cake.  Another two points in the book for a seventh grade athlete.  Kids who had been running up and down the court chasing and being chased by the opposing team.

Proud Great Aunt.  My great nephew’s team wins again!

A never-ending third quarter that saw each team make only one basket.  So much energy expanded.  WAIT.  Delete that.  Wrong game. Memory mix up. Wrong details supporting the 8th grade B game. Three different games now in my memory bank.  Time to focus.

Visiting with my sister, my niece, my great niece. Receiving a hand-written note from Autumn. Enjoying the ambiance of a junior high gym, whistles blowing, athletes competing, and fans cheering.

Where do I start?  What is the heart of my story?

THE PROCESS TODAY:

I ran through the events in my mind.  I collected ideas without a single keystroke or graphic organizer.  I began to sift the details with mental rehearsal.  Decision made.  The beginning point is the basket that ended the game.

And then doubt sets in . . . And the questioning . . . Do I really want to begin with the end of the game?  The final three seconds?  Then what will be next?

What is the important part of my story? 

The important part is that I write. I write at my keyboard while my coffee is brewing.  Intent on capturing the words that I rehearsed as I hit the snooze alarm.  It’s Tuesday. It’s “Slicer Day”. I need to write a story so I’m rehearsing a story.  Not across my fingers. Not across pages.  But in my head.  Cross-checking the most important facts.

BUT, what about that  note from Autumn?  She’s three.  It’s the first writing she’s given me.  Her name – carefully printed across a small piece of paper.  Written with love. Received with love.

Some days I just HAVE to write!  

The words come pouring out. The screen fills.  Then the doubt and worry arrive.  Delete, fix up, fancy up the piece.  But it all begins with the writing.

How can I teach writing without writing?

How do I understand that there isn’t one perfect prompt?  One perfect process?  One perfect story map?   . . . If I also don’t know the joy, the agony, and the freedom of writing?

Why am I writing?

I want to win the writing game.  I know it takes practice.  I know it takes time.  Writing.  Writing.  Writing. Slicing to continue to improve my narrative writing.  (But while I write I continue to think, to study and reflect on my process. I can’t turn off the teacher side.)

Today.  Flash drafting. Metacognitively reviewing my process. Recording my thinking. And yet sometimes, it’s all about “the doing” – Just writing!

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

Veterans’ Day


Veteran’s Day

(Blackout poem)

Veterans Day:

an official United States public holiday

November 11

honors military veterans –

persons who served in the United States Armed Forces –

coincides with  Armistice Day and Remembrance Day

the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918

renamed Veterans Day in 1954

Not to be confused with Memorial Day;

Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans,

while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.

On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

“We remodeled our industries,

concentrated our financial resources,

increased our agricultural output, and

assembled a great army, so

our power was a decisive factor in the victory.

Out of this victory:

new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert

war showed us the strength

of great nations

acting together for high purposes

the victory of arms

foretells the enduring conquests

which can be made in peace

when nations act justly and

in furtherance of the common interests of men”

veterans

How will YOU celebrate Veterans Day?

 

Original Article  (Source:  Wikipedia)

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.[1]

On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

“ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN The White House, November 11, 1919. A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and just set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half. – With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought. Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men. To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with – solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

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