Finding

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I hear Ruth calling me on Saturdays to come and celebrate. My friend, Ruth whose book, life and words about celebrating are etching deep into my being. My whole concept of what that means, to celebrate, is being reconstructed and redefined. Check her website to see what others are discovering.

Today…

Finding
Joy
in the aisles of early morning grocery shopping
As one toddlers babbles happily
and loudly
I hear him
first at the blueberries,
I get a glimpse of him
in the frozen food,
giggling into a cell phone
where someone who delights him
whispers back
He carries on
as I grab condiments
But his talk
vanishes
as I approach the dairy case
winding around to the yogurt
I hear more
but to my surprise
heading my way
is a different basket bound young fellow
engaged in equally cheerful chatter
Just fun
in the aisles of early morning grocery shopping

Unexpected

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Two Sundays ago
impulsively
I decide to drive my knock around town car
from an around town errand
over the hill
13 miles away
to a more distant Starbucks
because it was such a lovely day
and I was nostalgic for my childhood days of Sunday drives

Fortunately
I arrive at my Starbucks destination drive through and get a refreshing iced coffee

Unfortunately
As I leave the line I heard clunk, clunk, clunky clunk

Fortunately
I was still in the parking lot and could pull over to a parking spot to investigate and am not stuck on the freeway

Unfortunately
I left my cell phone at home

Fortunately
It is just a flat tire and there is a Walmart nearby
I decide to walk there and get a can of inflate a tire

Unfortunately
When I insert the hose from the inflate a tire can into the flat tire toxic smelling green foamy stuff spews all over

Fortunately
A helpful man approaches me from afar and asks if I need help

Unfortunately
We both get toxic smelling green foamy stuff over us before we discover the tire stem is broken and he asks if I have Triple A roadside assistance

Fortunately
I have Triple A roadside assistance

Unfortunately
I have no way to call them and the helpful man does not have a cell phone on him either

Fortunately
The helpful man says he can get a cell phone and promises to return

Unfortunately
While he is gone I remember I have not renewed my Triple A roadside assistance membership yet and checking my card find it has elapsed 3 days earlier

Fortunately
After a bit of a delay the helpful man returns with a cell phone, explaining he was getting the toxic smelling green foamy stuff off his hands, and waits somewhat patiently as I do extended business with Triple A roadside assistance because in addition to trying to explain my exact location I have to renew my membership
Finally I bid him a heartfelt thankful adieu as he rather rapidly departs on his merry way

Unfortunately
It is afternoon summer HOT while I wait

Fortunately
My original around town errand was to the library and I have many interesting books to look through plus the refreshing ice coffee to sip while I wait
The Triple A roadside assistance authorized tow truck arrives within the promised time frame

Unfortunately
My spare tire is not able to be used so I will have to be towed home

Fortunately
Even though it is the last day of my summer vacation I have no pressing plans and I send up a prayer of thankfulness to God for providing the help I need
I am in a good mood

Unfortunately
After the car is loaded on to the tow truck the tow truck driver discovers he does not have a form that even in this electronic age he does not dare move without filling out so we have to wait an extra half an hour until the form is delivered by another driver

Fortunately
I find humor in this and have plenty of opportunity to practice good cheer and patience while waiting
Finally I arrive back home really none the worse for wear and the car is deposited safely in my driveway to be dealt with later

Fortunately
I have another car to drive to school the next morning
It is a teacher work day
I am excited to be starting another school year

Fortunately
My family man neighbor runs into me a week later as we are both leaving our houses
We have a friendly wave kind of relationship but haven’t really chatted much

Fortunately
He saw my car as it was being towed and inquired about it
I explained it was just a flat tire

Fortunately
He is a handy man
He is a kind man
He is another helpful man

Fortunately
He has tools
He has a friend who runs a tire shop
He offers to fix my tire for no charge

Fortunately
I have connected with my neighbor
whose thoughtfulness has touched my heart

Fortunately
embracing this somewhat troublesome event brought unexpected blessings
Which I am grateful to celebrate today

She Used to be His Darling

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When seeing the world with my writer’s eyes, I go grocery shopping and leave with food and a poem!

There he was
In the produce department
Backside perched precariously by
the seedless mini watermelons
(sale priced)
Irritation
(showing)
on his furrowed brow
Cell phone
tugged unceremoniously from his pocket
This middle aging man
must have spotted her
at that exact moment
(by the bananas)
because he
snapped his fingers
dismissively in that direction
as the florescent light
danced off his wedding ring
as if to declare
(unlike now)
there used to be a time
when he
cherished her
as his darling

Flummoxed

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Flummoxed
Bewildered
Baffled
Confused
Amazed
at
the
turn
of that conversation
beyond
Flabbergasted
Astounded
Thinking
we were engaged
in
light hearted
skimming the surface
chit chat
when something I said
triggered
an explosion
in your depths
that
torpedoed towards me
Oh woe
next
time
I believe
(I must)
remembering
this experience
battened down the hatches
before
conversing
with
you
to prepare
for the possibility
of
another
incoming
attack
ALAS

Value added

It is Saturday, time to celebrate with Ruth and friends!

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Two weeks ago I closed the door on the 2014/2015 school year, tucked the memories of that unique group of first graders into my heart, and in some ways was able to set aside the many struggles in all aspects of my life that year brought. The year where hope in God’s provision never faded but where often it took great effort to persevere and just take the next step. It was hard work.

In the short time since my days have been filled with so much JOY and so much to celebrate. I wish I could slip you a recording so you could watch and appreciate the contrast. It is a study, lessons on the value of continuing because eventually things can change and become better.

These past days connection has been the key to celebration. It is through the act of opening up and sharing our stories that we learn to appreciate those who listen. This particular adventure started many days ago with this, typing some words here on my ipad in California and pushing publish. Then reading and writing, writing and reading started linking some of us together. Our words matter and it revealed that we matter, too.

Warsaw, Indiana seems an unlikely place to me for what has become a yearly milestone event. The AllWrite conference is fabulous. It is not that big but it attracts the professional people we admire, whose books we read and whose words nurture us as teachers. It is personal and accessible. I get ideas that refresh me and spur me to better teaching. That alone would make it worthy of a trip. It is the reunion, sometimes with people I had not previously met in person, that make it significant.

My trip started in Missouri, meeting up with elsie. Some of you may know her through her writing, some may have had the pleasure of her company in person but I get the delight of spending many hours of quality time with her. She is generous in so many ways. She puts up with me for starters!

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She practices another form of creativity with her bead work. This year she crafted these tree of life necklaces and bestowed them to her blogger friends. Each one is unique and she gave me first choice!

I want to give you small glimpses into her many acts of friendship. She picked me up at the Saint Louis airport BEFORE 6am when I arrived on the red eye. She and I have fun, fun, fun on our road trip to and from Warsaw. She shares her history. She makes me many meals and plans special treats. She opens her home. Her husband, Mike graciously accepts my invasion for a few days. They make me feel like family.

Here elsie(with Mike) notices and captures a picture. It was great to see her in action! This is how many of her stories start.

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Here are the friends, along with elsie, that I got to spend the most time with at the AllWrite conference.

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Ruth, our Ruth Ayres, this captures her. She encourages us to write and to celebrate even when life is messy. I am truly blessed to know her and to have met her family.

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Christy is so full of fun and depth. Who else would actually encourage elsie and I to send her selfies? Her unexpected presentation at AllWrite spoke to my teacher’s soul. Knowing she is in the world brightens any day.

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Mary Helen is laughter and stories well told.

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I like this unguarded moment with Ramona, Lori and Linda. We all like the way our electronic devices have joined us together.

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Becca takes everything in and her quiet presence enriches our gatherings. She writes a bit and she is amazing at it. I look forward to the day her stories gently persuade her to tell them!

These few days are like diving into a treasure chest and grabbing handfuls of riches. Each precious, valuable and sustaining. I feel overwhelmed by the generosity of these gifts so lavishly given.

Value is added to the quality of my life because of knowing them!

There Are Some Things

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Yesterday my school year ended. Summer is about ready to bloom with many exciting plans. Today though I am looking back at a really tough year and celebrating the reality of a living faith with God through Jesus. That deep relationship sustained me. It is an unmerited gift!

There are some things
that my tender heart
CAN
NOT
even bear the thought of
My mind
refuses
to entertain
even their notion
There are some things
an imagining of
the mere hint of
triggers a flee response
NO
NO space in my mind for you
I will not allow it
HALT

There are some things
that living life
brings
that my tender heart
is forced to bear
that only
through
God’s mercy
is it possible to
endure
and say
YES
YES
to the miracle
of faith
of hope
of love
and
in those
ABIDE

Jumbo Fireflies

Flying
is how it seems
in the dark
surrounded by
a vast, mostly empty space
my car travels
down the mighty
Interstate 10
West
towards
Palm Springs
it is very quiet
it not so late
9
10
o’clock
light traffic
before midnight truckers dominate
nearing the end of their coast to coast runs
something blinks red
to the left
on
off
on
off
jumbo fireflies
across a swath of sky
on
off
on
off
repeatedly patterned
in a non-insect rhythm
Warning lights
on windmills whose spinning
generates electricity
I acknowledge
BUT
jumbo fireflies
is how I remember