It is Saturday, time to celebrate with Ruth and friends!
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!
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.
Here are the friends, along with elsie, that I got to spend the most time with at the AllWrite conference.
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.
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.
Mary Helen is laughter and stories well told.
I like this unguarded moment with Ramona, Lori and Linda. We all like the way our electronic devices have joined us together.
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!