You Are Seen

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The year is flying by, but the weeks are still long, and this time of the school year is tough. Spring fever is settling in along with Covid fatigue which makes each day just a little more challenging. If there is one thing that living through a global pandemic has taught me is this – there are far too many people in my life I take for granted.

Today’s post is an ode to teachers. Teaching is a nurturing profession, yet most teachers don’t take time to nurture themselves. This year especially has been a test of our courage and strength, our creativity and passion, and our self-confidence and endurance. I see you my friends, colleagues, and online teaching communities. You are seen.

You may not feel it,
but I see you.

I see you
Working – coming in early,
staying late,
working through lunch periods

I see you
Checking – on your colleagues –
on your students –
Tracking down assignments

I see you
Straining – under the weight
of demands being
placed upon you.

You may not feel it,
but I see you.

I see you
Struggling – exhausted
before the day begins
crying when you think
no one knows.

I see you
Worrying – about the sad ones –
the ones who are acting out –
the ones who try to be invisible.

I see you
Smiling – putting on a happy face
while your spirit
is breaking.

You may not feel it,
but I see you.

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What are you going to do to nurture yourself tonight? Turn off the email and put away the school bag. Do what makes you happy, what lightens your heart, what fills your soul. You deserve it!

Making the Most of Each Day

It is better to add life to your days than days to your life.

Rita Levi-Montalcini

On the board ledge next to my desk at school sits a perpetual calendar. Each day I flip the page and read the quote and look at the accompanying picture. Each day I try to find something to relate to either in the quote or in the picture, something to help get me through my day. The above quote was today’s offering; it gave me pause.

I believe that we all have a finite number of days here on Earth as outlined in the plan set forth for each of us by our creator. As I get older, I sometimes (not too often) think about how many days I may have in front of me. I know for sure the number is less than the days behind me, but today’s quote reminded me that the number of days is insignificant. It is what you do with your days that counts.

These past 13 months have been a huge wake-up call. Having so many people and things taken away from me threw me into an eternal case of the doldrums. I went to work, came home, ate dinner, and crashed. Every day was the same, and finding joy was difficult. Lately, I have been making a concerted effort to “add life to my days.”

Here is how it is going –

  • I have made time to read and have finished two books.
  • I weeded the front flower beds and helped my husband spread mulch (well, I supervised).
  • I had an overnight visit with my granddaughters. We made crafts, read stories, wrote stories, played “school,” played Candyland and Greedy Granny. It was exhausting and the best weekend I have had in a LONG time.
  • I am watching the Phillies games after dinner (not always pleasant though).
  • I am driving with the car windows open.
  • I am starting to plan for a couple of get-aways.
  • I am meeting friends for outdoor visits after school.
  • I ordered a new outfit for my sister’s wedding in June.

While everyone’s idea of “adding life” is different, and mine may seem mundane, these are little steps to regaining the joy that I let the pandemic steal from me. What should I do next week? Schedule a take-out night? Have a lunch date with my husband?

What are you doing to add life to your days? What suggestions do you have for me?

Cut Yourself a Break

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During the month of March, I successfully completed the Slice of Life Story Challenge. At the end of the month my writing life was feeling energized, and I committed myself to the Poem a Day challenge where as the title indicates, I would write a poem each day for the month of April. I made it eight days!

In the interest of my love of poetry writing, I had to stop. To me, poetry is like a fine meal; it takes time to prepare and time to enjoy. My poems were becoming more like fast food than fine dining. If this were an episode of Chopped, I would be the first chef going home.

Sometimes goals have to be re-evaluated, and plans need to be changed. That’s OK. I had to repeating this to myself, because I felt like I was letting someone down by not continuing to write a poem every day. Who was I letting down? My millions of followers? Myself? I write almost every day even when I do not publish a blog post. I don’t know why that isn’t enough. Why am I feeling like I failed?

Over the weekend I spoke with my daughter and was telling her my tale of woe. She suggested that I might be putting to much on my “to do” list and that my expectations were too ambitious. She really got me thinking.

Goals should be realistic and attainable or else you are setting yourself up for failure. While wanting to write a poem a day and admiring my circle of writing friends who do, is a nice thought, I know that realistically I can’t do it for a couple of reasons. First, this school year is just so demanding, and some days I don’t get to write until way past the time of coherent thinking. Secondly, poems don’t come quiet as freely to me as prose. I need to spend more time on a poem before I feel ready to share.

So I decided that I am going to feel satisfied that I wrote a poem for the first eight days of April and let it go at that. Hopefully I will write a post a few more before the end of the month, but if not; that’s ok too.

How about you? Are you being kind, patient, generous, and accepting of yourself? Are you cutting yourself a break? If not, you should. It is refreshing!

The Hugs

Big Hug Quotes (Page 1) - Line.17QQ.com

Sunday was the day! On Sunday, we gathered at my son’s house to celebrate Easter. All of the kids and grandkids were there, and my husband had the day off. The weather was perfect fo the egg hunt, and the grandkids loved it.

Sunday was the day! Three of six adults are completely vaccinated while the other three get shot two this week. It had been over a year since we all were in the same room together. Even though we still were wearing masks and the visit wasn’t long with the entire family, it was wonderful! There were hugs for the first time in over a year!

Sunday was the day! I cannot even describe the feeling I had as I hugged my children and grandchildren. I wouldn’t say we were an overly affectionate family, but there are definitely kisses and hugs when we enter and leave each others’ company.

Sunday was the day! I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time.

Retreat

10 Beautiful Quotes to Help You Slow Down and Relax - Literally Simple

Today was the first day of my Easter break. It was scheduled to be our faculty retreat day, but because of continued COVID protocols, we did not have an in person retreat. Instead we were given a link to watch Rev. Stephen DeLacy, the Vocation Director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We could view it whenever we wanted on an honor system. Fr. DeLacy had some good food for thought, and I think I will watch it again and take notes. While I missed physically retreating to a place for quiet contemplation, I appreciated Fr. DeLacy’s words that touched on so many things I have been experiencing during the pandemic.

When some people hear the word ‘retreat’ they immediately think of a religious experience, but the word ‘retreat’ means the act of moving back or withdrawing – something we don’t do enough of. When was the last time you went on ‘retreat’?

The Slice of Life Story Challenge is a sort of retreat for me. Not the rest and relax type, but a retreat nonetheless. Participating in this challenge with this community of writers is something I look forward to each March. Grant it, some days I am scrambling to get an idea to write about or get a post written before the midnight deadline, but it is still a retreat. I retreat from whatever normally fills those minutes and allow myself to write without feeling that I should be doing something else. It recharges my creativity in so many ways beyond writing.

When was the last time you took a retreat? I have found that I can retreat without leaving my home. Why not try retreating to something that will allow your body, mind, and heart time to heal? What is it for you – reading, listening to music. taking a walk or a drive? Whatever it is, I hope you take the time to retreat from the challenges of this crazy world and to something that helps you renew, refresh, and recharge.

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I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March. I will be posting every day this month. It is sponsored by twowritingteachers.org. #SOL21

Flowers

Before I left school today for the start of the Easter break, I flipped my calendar to April and was met with this quote. I decided to put in my writer’s notebook. What evolved from that quote is today’s slice.

Day lily

I have been blessed over the course of my life with good friends. Some of my friends are perennials. They have been with me a long time, and I can count on them to be with me year after year after year. Even when I don’t see them, I know they will return like the spring flowers follow winter.

Dahlia

Then I have my friends who are the annuals. They may change from year to year but they bring their own unique beauty to the garden. Each of these friends has added to my happiness as they moved in and out of my life.

Forget-me-not

Some are more like biennials. We may not see each other every year, but when we finally do talk or meet , it is a sweet reunion

I am not a gardener; plants stay alive in my house thanks to the care my husband gives them. Yet, I love flowers! Cultivating friendships is like cultivating flowers; you need to pay attention and treat them with care. I like to think that I am more attentive to my friends.

Thank you to all of the friends in my beautiful garden of happiness. Each of you, in your own special way, have helped me blossom. You are bouquets of blessings!

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I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March. I will be posting every day this month. It is sponsored by twowritingteachers.org. #SOL21

Weathering the Storm

Heartbreak is a storm of the heart. Stand strong in the winds of change. |  Roots quotes, Storm, Wind of change

Last night the strong winds were loud and the windswept rain beat on the vinyl siding. I had touble falling asleep, so I got out my trusty bluetooth headband and cued up a Calm sleep meditation to mute the constant pounding. I was starting to feel more relaxed and it wasn’t long before I was sound asleep.

That was short-lived. Around one AM, I was awakened by another round of driving rain and hammering winds. This time I put on some soothing guitar music and turned up the volume. I snuggled farther down under my covers and thought how glad I was that we don’t have any big trees near our house and that my phone was fully charged. I usually would enjoy listening to the rain lull me to sleep, but last night Mother Nature sounded angry.

This morning I was greeted by colder weather and a full moon that seemed to follow me to school. The winds were still in action (I should have used more hairspray). but the day felt calm.

I feel like we have been in one long angry storm for the last year, and now the winds are dying down, and calmness may soon be at hand. We are coming out of the storm with deeper roots. We have learned just how strong we can be. We are better equiped for the next storm.





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I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March. I will be posting every day this month. It is sponsored by twowritingteachers.org. #SOL21

Pain

Funny Body Pain Quotes. QuotesGram

Today was rough. A plethora of ailments keeps me in pain much of the time, but today everything was barking at once. I think if was mostly because of the changing weather patterns. It is cold/cool in the mornings and then warms up as the day progresses; couple that with rain, and I turn into a human barometer. I’m not going to lie; there were even a few self-pity tears.

I couldn’t decide if my knees and hips, the headache upsetting my stomach, or the lower back pain was trying hardest to get my attention, but they all acting like petulant children screaming, “Mom! Mom! Mom!”

I am not being too hard on myself today for my little pity party, because it is the weekend. I spend all week in my classroom plugging along, gathering inspiration from my students, and hiding my pain the best I can. I can figure out a way to keep moving, or I can let the pain win. Losing is not an option!

Time for a cup of tea and an early bedtime. Tomorrow will be better.

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I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March. I will be posting every day this month. It is sponsored by twowritingteachers.org. #SOL21

Passion

20 Awesome Quotes for Finding Your Passion In Work | by Shane Snow |  Mission.org | Medium

Man or woman, if you can get up in the morning and do what you love to do you are where you are supposed to be. Many times in my career as a teacher I had to explain or justify to others who kept telling me to apply to a public school district why I chose to teach in a Catholic school. Each time I was getting ‘advice’ from someone, they reminded me that I could be earning so much more money in public school, but I knew where I was supposed to be, and that was in Catholic Education.

Don’t get me wrong, earning more money would have make life a lot easier, and my family had to sacrifice a great deal because of my decision to remain in Catholic Education, yet I would not have changed a thing. When I look back over my 35 year (so far) career, I am certain I was in the right place – right where I was supposed to be.

I have great respect for public school teachers; they do such wonderful work and often encounter situations that are very challenging. I don’t envy their salaries because they work very very hard for that paycheck; and are the backbone of the communities they serve. My son is a public school music teacher who goes above and beyond to provide his students with experiences they will remember for a lifetime.

When my kids were trying to settle on college majors, I told them to do what they love because as adults we work a long time. If you don’t love what you do your job becomes work and nothing more. My daughter, who works in community mental health, once asked me jokingly, “Why did you tell us to do something we love instead of something that earned a lot of money?” She knew the reason, and she told her brother the same thing early in his career.

I am so thankful that I got to follow several of my passions – teaching – music – writing. Who knows what passions I may explore in the years to come. My wish for you is that you are living your passion, and if you are not – remember it is never too late!

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I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March. I will be posting every day this month. It is sponsored by twowritingteachers.org. #SOL21

Women

Empowering Women Empowering Women Quotes Women Supporting | Etsy

With Women’s History Month coming to an end, I have been thinking about all the women who have inspired and supported me over my lifetime. Although each of these women each be the subject of their own blog post, I will work on that in the future.

My family – No one has inspired and supported me more than my mom. She was an gentle yet strong woman who could be counted on for a shoulder to cry on or an incredible laugh. I am thankful every day for my sister and sister’s-in-law. Each of them has contributed to who I am today. My grandmothers were both immigrants who came to the United States and worked hard and raised families – one only had one child – the other had nine. I continue to be amazed by my strong and beautiful daughter and daughter-in-law who are building loving families of their own.

My friends – There are women who were girls when we first met, and we shared many experiences that shaped us. We may not be in touch that much, but the memories still remain. There are women I met as a young mother. We supported each other like only young mothers can.

My now – The women who are in my life now besides my steadfast family have carried me thought ups and downs. They are my closest girlfriends who I know I can trust with anything, my writing group friends – those at PAWLP and those online I feel like I know even though we have never met, and my colleagues who help me in so many different ways. Then there are the Chapter Chicks, my book club ‘sisters’ who collectively have been through almost everything – flood and fire, births and weddings, sickness and death – and through it all we have been there to support each other for almost 20 years. I could ask for a better support system.

I could write so much about each of these women and groups of women, but today I remember them each with a smile and a grateful heart.

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I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge for the month of March. I will be posting every day this month. It is sponsored by twowritingteachers.org. #SOL21