Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Showing Up to the Page #SOL21

I have never been a morning person.  I hit the snooze button until I can’t.  Occasionally, that can be up to four times because I always have the intention to wake up early.  My wake up time (especially during the week) crept later and later as the year progressed.  As a result, my wake up ritual and time to prepare for the kiddos to enter class dwindled, and the mornings ended up being a whirlwind.  That was definitely not a great way to start the day.

About one month ago, I made a commitment to write first thing in the morning.  I wanted to check out what other writers were calling morning pages.  I watched Julia Cameron’s video on Morning Pages and made a plan.  I decided to start during the holiday break because that would give me a good 10-day stretch to try them out without affecting my sleep schedule.  The true test would be when I returned to school because I would have to wake up 50 minutes earlier to maintain the practice.  

Somewhere along the way, my writing friend from Canada heard me talking about my goal.  She, too, wanted to write early and started hosting a Zoom meeting during the week.  I thought an accountability partner was just what I needed, but it has become much more than that.  I begin my day writing with a friend, and honestly, it is the BEST way to start a day.  I 

While I come to Zoom and my journal groggy and with heavy eyes, I leave feeling calm, clear, and ready to tackle the day.  I dump all the thoughts running through my head into my notebook, and I often have time to prepare myself for what the day has to offer.  

I have missed two mornings over the last 21 days.  It seems as though it has been longer than that and feels like a necessity.  Now, I wake up before my alarm goes off, don’t hit the snooze button, and jump out of bed to write with Karen.  This is one commitment I see sticking with me.

I am participating in Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life Weekly Challenge.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Goodbye, Sticky Notes #SOL2021

 I am the Sticky Note Queen!  They are everywhere - in my planner, on my computer, in my books, on my table, on my desk,  and in my binders.  Scribbled notes, reminders, lists, and plans clutter any space around me.  

When they get out of control, I sift through them, discard the ones I no longer need and organize the somewhat sticky papers I must keep.  Then, the tape comes out to restick them to where I think I will be able to find them.  Unfortunately, they tend to wander off, or I forget where I put them.  

This sticky system is failing me!

I decided to try something new.  Something I hope will break my obsession with the colorful little pieces of paper floating around me.

I purchased a bullet journal complete with markers, stencils, stickers, and washi tape.  I spent an evening searching Pinterest and the internet for ideas and started making a list of what I wanted to track in my journal, such as books, my OLW, habits, weight loss, etc.  Of course, I made my notes on a sticky note!

I enjoy the time I spend in my bullet journal.  I love the visual nature of tracking and listing, but it has not yet replaced the writing on sticky notes.  It seems as though one obsession has led to another, and they have not yet merged with each other.  

What to do?  What to do?  

Start with the sticky notes and let them guide the lists in the journal! Then, they can go in the trash!

As I chose my OLW for this month, I never imagined that I would commit to parting ways with sticky notes.  Goodbye, crumpled, messy sheets of paper.

I am participating in Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life Weekly Challenge.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A Trove of Treasures #SOL20

I was introduced to a trove of treasures close to home that I never knew existed.  There is a short secret garden path nestled between two neighborhoods just off of a major route in town.  It was created and is currently maintained by Bob Terkanian, also known as Chief Joseph.  Everywhere you look there is a surprise.  Beautiful statues, benches, mirrors, chimes, fairy gardens, words of wisdom, and so much more greet you from above and below.  

Even nature provides wonder.  The ice formations along the pond are stunning, and crystals pop up along the path.  The beavers even left their mark along the trail.  While they cut down trees for their dams, Chief Joseph continues to plant new trees and shrubs along the path.  A burbling stream runs through the trail, and it blocks out the traffic noises from the nearby roads.   I felt as if I had been transferred to another place.  

The path leads you right up to Chief Joseph’s house, which has a beautiful deck overlooking the area.  I imagine the joy he must feel listening to the voices of the young and old as they take in the treasures he has provided.  

My friend and I wandered in delight for an hour and a half.  I am amazed by the thought, care, and beauty this one generous soul has shared with strangers.  It is an important reminder of the generosity and love for and in our community.  I hope to visit this trail again and some of the other wonders waiting outside.

I am participating in Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life Weekly Challenge.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Love, Laughter, Lights #SOL20

The kids are older, and we can’t gather with our friends and family this year.  Baking cookies with friends - not.  Cookie swap - nope. A trip to Florida to see mom and dad for Christmas - not this year.  New Year’s Eve party - nada.  I had to put my creativity cap on to come up with some new potential traditions.

I pitched the idea to go to Lancaster Lights, and much to my surprise, everyone said yes.  My son even came home from college to go with us.  On Saturday, we loaded into the Pilot, put Christmas songs on the radio, and hit the road.

We talked of Christmas memories and our favorite holiday dishes, songs, and movies.  It was a pleasant trip down memory lane to Edaville Railroad, watching Elf, grammy’s scalloped potatoes, cookie baking, The Polar Express, and leaving carrots for Rudolph.  The car was full of laughter and warmth, all before seeing the lights.

The lights were magical.  Like children, we called out what we saw, our favorites, and the ones that surprised us.  The poop emoji was the one that had us scratching our heads.  Cam loved the plane, and I wanted to take the penguins and igloo home with me to put in my yard.  The light tunnel made us, “Ooohh and Aaahhh.”  

There is something about lights that lift the spirit and bring wonder.  While they will be different, may the holidays of 2020 remind of us its magic and help us to forge new traditions to bring forward into the future.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

The Pickity Place #joysof2020

Friend, books, and food - three of my favorite things.  

Once the COVID numbers started to decrease, my friends and I ventured out to the Pickity Place in Mason, NH.  This lovely cottage (1786) was the inspiration for Elizabeth Orton Jones's illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood (Little Golden Books, 1948).  

Today, you can dine in the restaurant, walk the gardens, and visit the gift shop.  Its menu features fresh herbs and edible flowers from their own gardens.  

What a joy it was to eat a five-course lunch tucked away in the gardens after months of isolation.  

I capture this joy in a Cinquain.  

Hues of color
Tuck us in an embrace
A feeling of freedom amidst 

This is a joy I hope to repeat again.  

Friday, December 4, 2020

Puzzles #joysof2020

 I love puzzles.  They help relax me and pull me away from work.  I am currently working on my 7th puzzle since COVID interrupted our normal lives.  However, this pastime brought me joy in another way this year.  

Many nights I would have a companion.  Someone who has not been a part of our daily lives for the last three years.  My son.  

He enjoys piecing together a scene as much as I do.  One of my greatest joys this year was sitting at the table talking, joking, and putting together a puzzle with Cam.  

I decided to write a Cinquain to reflect upon this joy.  This is also my assignment for the "The Poet's Studio:  Exploring Poetic Forms" class I am taking with Georgia Heard.  This particular puzzle is a collection of pictures from a trip with my daughter and our friends.  

Friends united
Assembled memories
Of adventures like no other

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

So Much Depends Upon #joysof2020

 This year, I discovered TeachWrite and my writing self.  This group of supportive writers has changed my life and brought me so much joy.  

Every Monday, I introduce my students to a new poem in our Meet a Poem Monday lesson, and we use that poem to inspire our own writing.  Early on, we looked at William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow."  It inspired me to write about journaling and my Time to Write friends.  They have brought me so much joy this year. 

so much depends 


a pouch of colorful


standing ready to transfer 


to an empty journal 


so much depends


a silver MacBook Air


glowing with engrossed


from all over the 


Showing Up to the Page #SOL21

I have never been a morning person.  I hit the snooze button until I can’t.  Occasionally, that can be up to four times because I always hav...