Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#sol14 On Hospitality...

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.

Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life on their blog.  Join us and link up too!

Sunday night.  Shorts.  A t-shirt.  Do we clean?  A little.  We prep the boys. ("Use your manners!") Li'l T sees the family pull up.  He runs to the door, and holds it open with a huge smile on his face.  High fives and handshakes all around.  We don't know each other well.  We take to the backyard, where we promptly run out of gas for the grill.  Whoops.  Everyone giggles and Mr. takes off for the gas station to refill the tank.  The kids run, we bond over soccer teams and the mundane tasks of parenting.  We eat Midwestern fare: steak from the farm, cheesy potatoes, green leafy salad.  The kids picnic on the floor.  We hear stories from afar.  We challenge, ask questions, decide this was awesome!  

Fast forward two days, I'm back in my kitchen.  With a long lost friend.  Cokes, waters, snacks.  Let the questions fly.  I'm here to help.  Feet up. (Yep, in the kitchen.) Stretchy pants on.  The family senses (Or gets a direction from me) to get out of the way.  We talk.  We question.  We make a plan.  Dinner is late for me, but who cares?  

Hospitality is defined as "the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers".  Sunday?  Practically a stranger, left a friend.  Tuesday?  Friends, even though life in general gets in the way most of the time. 
Both friends (not connected in anyway) brought up this concept of hospitality.  How it brings community together, how it doesn't have to be perfect, how it doesn't seem to "be a thing" in the wise words of my friend anymore.  It left me thinking, more people should be at my table more often.  
Do you practice hospitality?  Is it a skill?  Is it purposeful?  Does it just happen?  


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#sol14 Late Night Slicing

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.

Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life on their blog.  Join us and link up too!

It's late, I'm usually doing other things by now.  I'm basically unclogging my brain because I need to because I haven't been writing like I keep telling myself I would.  

So, I bring you, a post of random thoughts and wonders floating around in my head tonight.  

1.  Shortly before my Grandmother passed, we had an awesome moment together.  It involved me playing hymns at the piano, and no one else around.  (I nearly majored in piano for undergrad--a fun fact).  She told me I was "getting rusty" and "don't let those boys keep you from your music."  :)  Since we've returned from her funeral, I've played everyday for at least 20 minutes.  Man, I miss her. 

2.  Do you like to cook?  I mean Really like to cook?  2 hours prep time and the whole she-bang.  What do you cook for new friends coming over that you don't know well?  

3.  My firsties are the best.  Fish and all, I adore them this year.  

4.  I'm taking a tech class for grad school.  I wish the days had unlimited hours so we could do all the things!  I'm learning how to prioritize and keep it authentic.  

5.  Running.  To run the half or not run the half?  I have no idea how fast I am, but have been running all the miles without tracking my splits.  Simply glorious.  But am I now a runner who just runs but doesn't race?  Why am I struggling so much with that?

6.  I'm reading a couple of great books.  The Big Disconnect: Proteching Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age by Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD.  Also, Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews.  Loving the tech read, highly recommend.  Savannah Breeze?  Completely an escape.  

7.  Today, I heard a child announce that Jesus was from Minnesota.  No joke.  Except I couldn't stop laughing.  

8.  I love this season where baseball meets football.  It should have it's own name.  

9.  I'm still considering the idea of choice in the math workshop.  What does that really look like?  Not rotations, stations, lamination.  I mean a true choice experience.  Are my kids ready for this?

10.  I think I'm ready to get in bed and read!  

*Feel free to chime in if you have thoughts on any of these topics.  :) They were all ideas for various blog posts.  


Thursday, September 11, 2014

So This Happened Today...

You Guys...  It was one of those days where a couple of things happened that I just had to share with you.

So grab your favorite snack. Here we go:

First-a "Hooray" moment of the day!  So I'm teaching a mini lesson (that I can't take credit for, if you originated this idea let me know, I'll give you a shout out because I can't find the original lesson at this time) about reading everyday.  We are connecting it to riding a bike.  We discuss the following:

If you ride uphill all the time, that's like reading books that are too hard.  You aren't really falling in love with reading if you are working this hard everyday.  

If you fly downhill all the time, that makes me think you might be reading books you aren't interested in and you'll miss stuff.  You might end up crashing, and then you aren't falling in love with reading either.  

If you find the perfect trail, that's where the fun happens.  It's like finding the perfect book.  You might keep going for hours!  (And you might stop and get ice cream!)  

And then Blogging/Twitter Friends, this happens:  Li'l Girl pops up and says, "Hey!  When you are on a great bike ride with ice cream, it's totally like reading the perfect book and reading everyday.  You are on a journey, and sometimes it's hard, but you love it so you keep going."  

I mean--I swear to you the skies opened and Angels sang for the next 45 minutes. Friends--we don't celebrate these awesome moments enough.  I hope you had one today.  Mine lasted 30 seconds.  But it felt like a lifetime.  

And then, as we are ready to journey into our reading time; a new friend arrived in 1C:

Yep!  Today, arrived unexpectedly this beta fish.  If you know me, I love my students so much, so of course I will move Heaven and Earth to keep this Nameless Friend alive. They are over the moon for this new friend. You also know that I'm terrified of having a living creature in my classroom--because you know--fish die.  Fairly easily.  My flowers from June are still alive, so I'm taking this as a good sign.  I'm also still carrying baggage from a gerbil that I had when I was 85.6 months pregnant with my first son.  :)  Breathe deeply for me. They are so excited.  

So-How was your day?  


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Celebrate Life!

Discover. Play. Build.

I'm linking with Ruth Ayres, and her weekly link up.  Read More about that here.

Dear Mom and Dad,

In First Timothy, in the Bible, there are some pointed verses about caring for the elderly in our family.  I can only imagine that Jesus was smiling when he watched you.  And He still does.  

You could have said it was too hard.  You didn't have time.  You could have said this was your time to retire, relax, retreat.  But you didn't.  

You took in each Grandmother and cared for them.  Made your home their home.  For almost 15 years.  15 years.  

It wasn't all cheese balls and bagel bites.  I watched as you dozed off in the chair and then Grandma would need help as she finished getting ready for bed.  The exhausting and mundane work that needed to be done each day must have been lonely, frustrating and unending at times.  

When she wasn't sure what to do next, I'm sure there was this patience that you had that only came from Jesus.  She was your mom after all, it's not like you could always tell her what to do.  Respect for your elders, leadership in your home, which way do you go next?  

There was beauty in the family members that would come and just sit with her.  Drive her to church.  Drink a coffee/soda/beer and enjoy some snacks together.  (That really is a family trait isn't it?)  

In this true picture of servant hood, you've taught us so much.  Don't give up on your family.  Jesus sees when no one else does.  Love your family.  Reach out.  Be strong.  Say Enough when you need to.  Pray.  Embrace the honesty of what is happening, but see the joy/humor/funny parts as well.  

Grandma rests with Jesus now.  Oh the smiling that is taking place, and the rejoicing that there is no more pain.  

Mom and Dad, I celebrate that this journey of getting to watch you serve has rooted me in Faith even more.  I'm so proud to call you my Mom and Dad, and the Grandparents of my children.  

Joy and Love Always,

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#sol14 My Grandma

SOLSC Button

Two Writing Teachers are hosting Slice of Life.  Join us!

In the Spring of 2010-ish, I was running with my husband on a country road. 
I was carrying my husband’s cell phone.  It rang.  It was my dad.  I could tell by the way he sounded when I answered it that he really wanted to talk to my Mr. and not me.  That was because he had to tell us he thought that my Grandmother was not going to survive that Easter weekend.  (And he wanted Mr. to have to tell me, he didn’t want to do it.  Who could blame him?)

A little backstory: 
          My own parents are amazing.  For nearly 14 years now they have cared for Grandmothers in their home.  The amount of care and love they have shown these ladies has been amazing.  When one of my Grandmothers passed in 2008, they readied the space for my other Grandmother without hesitating.  There are no words for the amount of servant hood that takes place in this farm house every day. 

Fast-forward to 2014 (Yep, she proved us all wrong in 2010) and here I wait as the sun comes up with anticipation.  How did she do last night?  I’ve been remembering some times on the farm that we wouldn’t have had if it hadn’t been for this extra time. 

What I remember about this day, is we had spent the afternoon with the boys searching for “cool rocks” in the corn field.  (It’s a thing.  Trust me.)  This was right after my Grandmother had spent some time in a nursing home for rehab, and my parents brought her back to the farm to stay. 

What makes me smile about this day?  She wanted to look at and hold every rock Li'l T had. 

Also, at one point, she had wheeled herself onto this slab, and saw the boys riding trikes and bikes.  “I can do that too,” she says.  She then proceeds to lift her feet and give a “Whee!” as she rolled gently across the slab of concrete.  Then she stopped, and looked at more rocks, like nothing had happened. That was a moment that I will never forget.  In all the slices I could share with you about my Grandmother, this one is my favorite. 

It’s a story and a moment that I’ll always remember, no matter what happens. 
I’m hopeful this morning,“Whee!”