My favorite dream


It is an odd coincidence…maybe correlation? – that in all of my favorite stories, most common dreams, and every plan I’ve ever made for the future, I picture dirt roads, red brick buildings broken with age but standing sturdy against the elements, warm fires built within. Old Victorian ranch houses with wrap around screened in porches, and always a cool breeze. A rocking chair creaking on old white washed wood. A well-used swing swaying from a long established tree – well loved and not forgotten. I picture long dry wheat grass and grazing animals in twilight paintings of the horizon. My stories, dreams, and plans are always centered on what seems to be an idyllic past – not my own, of course, but one which took place long before I was born, or possibly never happened at all. Perhaps based on the stories I’ve read, stories of someone else’s idyllic place – well loved and not forgotten.

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In this world of stories written about post-apocalyptic futures I find myself wondering how to build a sturdy structure for my own dreams. I begin with a sturdy structure for green beans, and research how to harvest carrots and lettuce before they are eaten by voracious slugs and skunks. My scythe put to use in a fallow land with plans for future harvests to feed my family a sword made to prepare the present rather than protect against a poverty stricken, putrifyingly fantastical end. I worry less about the end of the world and instead about the sustaining of such an already pillaged place. Distracted by the noise – the electric waves of information connecting each person to the next – the gas and electric cars carrying people to destinations determined by necessity – work for the sake of artificial wealth which only requires continued labor. A difficult and painful labor whose hours draw out so as to mimic life itself – a life-labor – a painful pushing forward to complete each unwanted task in order to obtain what? In an individually focused society, for what greater good does this work contribute? For what flourishing do we sacrifice these moments? A sacrifice so enmeshed in small struggles that the daily liturgy of life is blurred – the desires blended with labor put forth as necessity without any explanation of purpose, of end goal. Endeavors might never be achieved if the goal is a moving target – a never ending tower of glass ceilings to break and grand aspirations to be achieved. What does contentment look like?

I look beyond my small plot and I wonder where the fawns are hiding in the forests; and I close my eyes and hear the fluttering fairy wings as the pixies play in the twilight – never seen, never known – always expected. My post-apocalyptic future looks a bit like Narnia, with some shades of Hogwarts and Rivendale thrown in – Zombies be damned, I will prance with the pixies in a Neverland re-made – in which the old are old, the young, young and our lives lived fully to the flourishing of all – Pirates long lost amongst the stars in their search for grandeur, they found grace and joined the jolly jamboree – all debts and sins forgiven – in a country I call home.img_6097

 

 

Days and Days

Twilight approaches
The clouds seem close in the muggy air, but the warmth of the day confuses my sense of the weather. Will the rain fall or will the clouds tease us once again? -this eternal drought continuing into another week – internalizing.

The geese are honking far off, and the lone lawn mower has kept up his constant  growl nearly non-stop today – sun up and now it seems beyond sun down.

A day to remember the dead, followed near by a day to remember and honor the living and the dead of a certain vocation – and in between a nation in self-proclaimed turmoil or celebration, depending on to whom you speak.

Tirelessly beating, each of us, our own drum – an off-beat cacophony creating a familiar song, a dance we are still learning to step; a march we cling to in order to complete a journey we have no words to hope for

– a lifetime of effort – a lifetime of struggle –

The drum beats quicken, heart beats – joy buried so deep we forget to breathe in and out of it – an inspiration necessary to life – An inhalation we feel impossible –

and the sun will rise in the morning- Grace in the morning dew, a clearness in the foggy gray light  – a restless season – an acedia strewn story, longing to be untold – longing instead to wait and watch and gather close to the Grace in the morning dew.

Imperceptible unevenness

The black top shines against the gray and cloudy backdrop.

Misty rain falling softly, kissing cold cheeks and unprotected heads.

Puddles form slow and steady – revealing the otherwise imperceptible unevenness of the basketball court

Flooding the ground, making paths for splashing feet.

Puddles highlight the flaws which sunshine and heat hide so perfectly.

Smiling faces enjoy the clouds caress and call out across the space.

The laughter of childhood momentarily covering the discomfort that comes at cold night.

The scraping reality of exposure to the elements during damp and sleepless nights;

A damp which does not dry.

Sunshine comforts cold realities

Like a calm before a dreary, depressing storm,

Discomfort and fear are  currently covered by the imperceptible unevenness of their smiles.

Thoughts and Psalms

I’ve been thinking about creating a separate blog lately – about the fact that my blog tends to traverse three easily separated realms of my life:  school, family, religion – but the thing is – I want to live with these as things that are all part of me as a whole person. These aspects of my life overlap and grow together – informing my understanding of the world, my place in it, and my ability to sustain this life – and so I sort of rail against the idea of separating these things into different blogs.

I want and intend to write in a space that reflects my life experiences – not in any certain realm, but as a sum total of how I am becoming who I am.  Hopefully it is a place where my words might inspire conversations and not imply that I am unwilling to discuss my thoughts – So, my fair warning is this:  Please don’t interpret my words as fully me – but parts of the whole of my current thought processes and feel free to (I would love for you to) engage in the discussion and thoughts.

So, without further ado….from my Sunday sermon inspired ramblings.  Psalm 1 – Sept. 4, 2016

Wind blown,

Waves of grain.

The harvest upon us

Solstice wanes.

Magnetically, we-

Are pulled closer.

The equinox upon us,

Drawn.

Our faces burned

By the souls blowing

In the breeze-

A fiery baptism.

Our tears a sacrifice

His life – death – unrecognized.

Our fingers claw

Attempting to carry the chaff;

Collect the wandering grain –

But it’s godlessness alludes our grasp,

And our tears

Though sacrificial

Reflect our selfish nature –

And hopeless hopes bear fruit.

Forgotten love, lived

Fully – overflows

And out of the chaff, blown

Wide to foreign lands –

The barren lands  –

New life begins

And brings with it’s fresh

Young growth

The waters of Grace

Once again

Poured freely

Reviving the cracked earth.

Classroom Reveal – Year 2

This summer just zoomed right past and I haven’t had much time to post, but I thought I would take a moment to document my new classroom.  I moved after last year to the portables at my school, which to some people may seem like a downgrade, but I was so excited! (Still am)  I moved into a hallways of all ELA/ELD classrooms so that we teachers can walk across the hallway and find new and fun resources to steal – so awesome.

Continuing to venture toward my same teaching goals which are to provide to my students an education which encourages empathy and understanding,  I have designed my classroom space to be more like a comfortable living room.  I want my students to have compassion and creativity and I want to model that in my classroom and with my teaching – and honestly, I just to communicate to my students that they are human beings whose individual thoughts and ideas matter; I decided to create a classroom space which encourages students to be comfortable and choose seating and locations which feel appropriate to each of their learning style preferences (longest sentence ever and it’s probably not even punctuated correctly – It’s Friday is my only excuse).

There are studies I can link and there are classrooms (found on pinterest) that I

can reference, but because if I start, I may never post I am choosing to just provide the photographic diary of this years classroom.  Enjoy!

Front of the room:

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Close up of far front corner – pictures are student work from last year’s “Favorite Part of Me” Haiku project
IMG_0591View from behind my desk:
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View of the back corner of the room:

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Growing classroom Library:

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Looking from the Library back toward the entrance:

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Looking toward the door from my desk area:

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Side wall where desk/printer/storage (piano) are – students have the option to sit in the rocking chair:

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Floor seating toward front of the classroom (pillows and laptop desks):

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Middle of the room floor seating and low table seats:

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Back wall – middle table is regular chair height but this table has only stool seating – there are two other tables with regular chairs on a side wall – the two outside back tables are bar stool/standing height.

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In any case, thanks for checking out my classroom.  It’s been a fantastic first week and the students have been amazingly responsile about their seating choices thus far.  We shall see how this goes!

Sweet Summer Sound 

The buzz of cicadas blends
With the electricity in the pool house.
A breeze blows slowly-
The summer heat making even the air lethargic.
The stage is set.
The concert begins with a steady beat:
A patient parent persists
In a lap lane
Steadily smacking the water:

splash-splash-breathe

splash-splash-breathe

A whole rest as he reaches the wall,
Flip-turn,
Repeat.

The monotonously dissonant chorus
Of children’s voices becomes louder.
Engaged in their seasonal call and response,
Accented only by the shrill cry of the child almost caught.
“Marco”
“Polo”
“Marco”
“Polo”
No rest,

Repeat.

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Economics of Creativity

“The art and curtains may have been out of necessity, but I remember it being beautiful.”

– Brene’ Brown The Gifts of Imperfection.

Brown writes about art and curtains as a memory retained from childhood, but it makes me question my current decisions – my lifestyle changes within the past few years. – ‘necessity is the mother of invention’; yes – and creativity – and it shows externally the beautiful creativity that each of us carries.

9 years ago, I made curtains – they were roughly sewn by my untrained self from fabric purchased at a flea market with no particular goal in mind.  They were rusty orange and beautiful because they incorporated my favorite color and creativity in which I felt not quite confident.  They  served the duel purpose of defending us from the sunshine while being thick enough to add an extra layer of protection from the cold when the weather swung that way.

Two houses ago (and only 3 years), when our destructive cats decided to shred the screens as a last ditch effort to escape the house, I up-cycled old lace into screen fabric, reused the screen cord and I loved them.  They were beautiful and I was proud of them.  Could I have purchased screen material to replace the broken screens? No, not at that point in my life.  The necessity of window screens and curtains inspired me to be creative and to cover the windows with what I had and what I loved.  The creativity reflected my own personality and style….

At one house, I painted the entire kitchen so that it would feel more like home – and it did.

Now – I find myself buying finished items because I have the resources to do so and lack the time necessary to create the things needed.  I honestly feel guilty creating things because it feels like I’m wasting time that I should be studying/grading papers/planning….

My kids have caught the creative bug this summer and I have had to do some serious self-talk to make myself willing to help them with it – willing to not tell them that it’s not worth it, or to complain that we should be doing something else.  I WANT them to be creative.  I WANT them to learn to make things and enjoy doing so – what is wrong with me?!

Last week, the girls (after watching what feels like hours of DIY videos), decided they wanted to make lip balm and lotion bars.  In the past, this would have thrilled me to no end – I would have researched what were the best oils and ingredients – which herbs could I add to make the lotions and lip balms most effective.  My first reaction, however, was “Ugh, this is something they want to do, that in the end I am just going to end up doing, because they will lose interest or not be able to complete the activity without me….”  Then I had to catch myself and reassess.  Do I like to make things?  Yes.  Do I want my children to be creative?  Yes.  Would it be easier to do this myself? Yes, but then they will never learn and never feel capable.  Man, parenting is tiring.  Parenting my own actions and then parenting my kids.

After a bit of research and some tracking own of ingredients, the girls (yes, mostly them) successfully made lip balm – In the microwave of all things, and they were thrilled.

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We followed this recipe, in case you’re interested: http://www.theseasonedmom.com/5-minute-diy-lip-balm/

One batch of peppermint, one of vanilla, and one with a piece of lipstick cut up and melted so that it has some tint (remember all of those diy videos I mentioned?)

The lotion ended up more of a mom-made job, but you know what?  I enjoyed it, the girls were still thrilled, and now we have plenty of lotion bars to last the summer at least, and to act as last minute gifts🙂

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For these, we used this recipe: http://homemadeforelle.com/homemade-lotion-bar-recipe/

 

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We made a half batch of the lotion bars because we did not have Vitamin E to act as a natural preservative, and because I didn’t have a mason jar big enough for 3 cups of oily things.

I know this must seem like a giant tangent, and perhaps proof that I’m still creative (which may be more for my benefit than yours), but I needed to write down some thoughts so that I could continue to struggle with them on my own time.  The idea of being creative only when necessary honestly makes me sad, and I am attempting to overcome this part of myself currently that reacts to creativity in a negatively associative way.  I want to enjoy creating for myself again  – for our house and family, for our kiddos needs, wants and benefit – and I want it to be something that doesn’t create guilt for lack of productivity.  So here I am.  I feel like I’ve come a little full circle – from creative necessity for physical needs, to creative necessity for emotional, physical and mental needs – can that be a thing?

Happy Tuesday Friends.