Writing Workshop Wednesdays (28)

The other day I was talking with a friend, and we agreed we weren’t sure what we wanted to be when we grew up.  She has been a page, paralegal, marketing consultant at one of the most well-known golf courses in the country, and a dog walker.  I have been a page, pool guard, coach, and teacher.

If you could be anything, regardless of schooling or experience, what would you be when you grew up?

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Happy Birthday G.G.

We met my first year of teaching.  I was enthusiastic, motivated, and, without a doubt, wet behind the ears.  You had fifteen years of teaching under your belt, so you were seasoned, honed, and realistic.  I needed you that first year, your encouragement, advice, support, and not just in regards to teaching.  I have needed you every year since then too.

After meeting and talking and talking and talking, we realized we grew up only a hop, skip, and jump from one another, and I think this simply solidified our similarities.  Perhaps, the Midwest can do that to people.

You welcomed me into your home, allowed me to play with your kiddos, and invited me to your various house parties.  Come to think of it, I am just now truly making use of those stamps I bought years ago.

We laughed until we cried riding on a school bus with a driver who spent more time looking in his overhead mirror than looking at the road.  Grateful you were with me on the first field trip I ever hosted, you took the lead when a child’s mother ended up having diarrhea while this yellow means of transportation was in motion.  I, in the meantime, had my nose poked out the window in an attempt to put an end to my retching.  Yes, I was useless.

This same year, we fell in love with crew neck sweatshirts adorned with various patterned fabrics and sayings due to a student’s talented mother.  With overwhelming trust, you permitted me, with no beauty expertise whatsoever, to trim your hair in your classroom after school one day using a student’s borrowed scissors.

At the end of that first year after we had said our farewells  to the rest of the staff, we walked out the doors of this school together.  You would be returning the next year while I took a teaching gig in another town.  I remember panicking at the thought of having to teach without you down the hall and the idea that perhaps our friendship may grow apart with distance.  This did not happen;  if anything my heart grew fonder for you with the absence.

Fifteen years later, we have so many more tales to tell and so many more memories to create.  So, on this your birthday, I wish you great love and much bliss along with bus rides free of diarrhea.

Monday (should be Sunday) Thanks

Sunday Monday Thanks.  My children never cease to amaze me, and I am constantly learning from them.  When we asked our two daughters to make a Christmas list, my oldest daughter added, “7.  for everyone to be jolly at all times.”  If this does not put life in perspective, I do not know what does.  Not to mention, 4 of the 7 items on the list are books.  One proud English teach of a momma here. . .

jolly

A friend I have known for over twenty-five years e-mailed me this morning asking if my girls might be interested in her doll collection.  She wrote, ” . . .it’s time for me to pass them along to the next generation . . . [and] I was thinking that your girls may like them.”  The collection itself is not what touched me, but the fact she thought enough of my girls to pass on a sentimental collection.  Who knew when we were sitting on the page bench in the Illinois House of Representatives twenty-five years ago talking about boys, about which representative tipped the best, and about when we would next soak up the sun we would one day be talking about bequeathing items to others?

In the mail today I found my FREE “You Just Got Joy’d!” cards, and I was ecstatic.  I am looking forward to using these in the next few weeks in an attempt to brighten the days of others (which, in turn, brightens my day . . . can’t beat that).

The hub and I have a visitation and a funeral to attend out of town.  As we were trying to figure out the logistics of a dog, two small girls, two jobs, and volunteer coaching, my salt-of-the-earth friends stepped in without hesitation with one covering practice and the other watching my girls while my hub and I travel.  I am deeply grateful for them as is my hub.

Today is the birthday of a dear friend whom I met at church over five years ago.  A phenomenal writer, she was there for me every step of the way during my breast cancer journey with just the right words when I needed them.  Not wanting to bother my hub with the numerous appointments as I felt he had enough to deal with considering his wife was losing her breasts, she said, “You need to let him in,” and so I did.

Motivating words from a teacher and author whom I know I met for a reason my first year of teaching.  She mentors me, incites much laughter in me, and, most importantly, loves me unconditionally.

For what are you thankful this Monday?  Share below in the comments section so that others may realize how much they have in which to be thankful.

Use Your Words for the Better Good

The other day I was discussing with my longtime loyal friend the lack of filters people seem to have when they speak to others with no thought to feelings or lasting repercussions of their words.  Words, I believe, should be utilized to build people up, encourage them, and make a difference in a positive manner.  Thus, a FREE means of making a difference in the world in which all people are capable of participating. . . amazing.  So, why such a lack of membership in such a tangible fraternity?

In discussions with my class over the social media Yik Yak, they were explaining how the posts were anonymous and typically negative in nature.  My response was, “Sounds as if people have too much time on their hands,” and “This could be a phenomenal medium used to encourage and praise,” without any need for author recognition.  So, why do people, regardless of age, use their words to bully others?

Believe me, I have been a victim of verbal bullying on more than one occasion as simply a human being, but also as a volunteer leader, volunteer coach, and volunteer teacher.  While informally researching this post, I talked with my salt-of-the-earth friends who never hesitate when it comes to donating their time and talents for others.  One friend told of how she and her husband were accused by a parent of bullying their child during a summer softball season.  This is the same woman who drove 3 1/2 hours with two young girls and a newborn to surprise me on my birthday and then turn around and drive 3 1/2 hours back that same evening.  Another mentioned a complaint by a parent when she cancelled a preschool soccer practice due to rain, and she responded with a reminder, “These kids are not training for the Olympics.”  A further woman blessing whom mentored me my first year of coaching over fifteen years ago advised of closed practices as a means of eliminating parental harassment from the sidelines, and she was oh so right.  It is no wonder people look away when asked to volunteer.  Yet, one rarely sees those who complain or critique stepping forward to answer the need for volunteers.  Brian Gotta wrote a Letter from a Coach which eloquently explains this phenomena.

I have had parents suggest I plan field trips and then fail to show with their child.  I have had parents complain about their child’s playing time, but then arrive for the games with player in tow late, time and time again.

This longtime loyal friend of mine who sat for hours in the waiting room with my husband while doctors removed my breasts, who allowed me to trim her hair after school in her classroom, who demanded I participate despite a carbuncle growing on my eyelid, who has been my voice of reason for over fifteen years, who uses her words for the better good ended our conversation with, “Sometimes I see all the mean and negative ways people act and wonder how much society disappoints God.”