“I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe the best does.”      

The title of my post is a quote from L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables and it reflects my mindset going forward.

So much bad news lately – the Coronavirus and its heartbreaking consequences, the stock market plunge, and the day to day updates on new limitations within my community.  It can be difficult to stay focused and remain positive. In fact, some days it can be almost unbearable if I think too much about everything  – such as the impact it is having not only on a personal level, but in my community, our nation, and in our world.

How about you? Are you choosing to spend this time complaining, criticizing our authorities, or trembling in fear? Or are you allowing yourself to find gratitude, purpose and even some beauty during this trial? I am choosing the latter.

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”  – Nelson Mandela

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This past Friday M. and I walked around Gibbs Gardens. The facility has done a wonderful job with the whole social distancing and made sure things were handled with much care and caution.  M. and I went pretty early so not many people were there plus the grounds are so vast (220 acres of gardens space) we hardly saw anyone.  Look at these beautiful tulips along the path,

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the azalea’s are just starting to bloom throughout the garden, and

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one of the peaceful streams.

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I found these lovely spots, this place, to be soothing to my soul.

No matter what your are facing right now please know I am praying for you, for our country and for our world.  Pope Francis, during his address on coronavirus and Jesus calming the storm, concluded with the following:

“Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith?”  (Mk. 4:40) “Dear brothers and sisters….I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord…May God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace.  Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort to our hearts.  You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak and we are fearful.  But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm.  Tell us again: “Do not be afraid” (Mt28:5).”

 

 

 

Has it Really Been 32 Years?

There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book….” Taryn Malik

This past Monday was kind of a big day for me.

My husband sat by my side as paperwork was completed, our questions were answered, and documents were signed. My official retirement date has been set for June 1st. In all honesty, it probably won’t actually hit me until July 29th when my colleagues will return and begin to prepare for another busy school year…. and I won’t ~ the first time in 32 years.

Has it really been 32 years?

During my first year of teaching, teachers at my school still wrote on a black board with chalk and we made copies of tests and worksheets on a mimeograph. (I loved the smell of those freshly printed papers.) Things changed pretty quickly and within two years we were writing on dry erase boards and using a Xerox copier to make copies. Now we teach our lessons using Clear Touch Interactive panels  which is a huge computer and very sophisticated copy machines that print from our laptop computers and who knows what else they actually do.

Has it really been 32 years?

To help me put this in perspective I looked up what was going on in the world when I first started teaching.  The nuclear power plant at the Chernobyl plant exploded and large amounts of radioactive materials and fuel were released a few months before the school year started. Big hair, shoulder pads and high-waisted pants were in fashion. The Cosby Show, Family Ties and Cheers were popular TV shows. One of my top 10 favorite songs, “Livin’ on a Prayer” … Bon Jovi was released. The average cost of a new house was $89,430 – $92,000, a U.S. postage stamp was 24 cents and the average gallon of gasoline was 89 cents. Halley’s Comet made an appearance and Ronald Reagan was president.fullsizeoutput_2ee4Wow…Where did the time go? Where are all these kiddo’s today?  I clearly remember what a sweet bunch they were and I pray they are all living happy lives. Did I really look in the mirror that morning and like the way my hair looked? This photo was taken in the early 1990’s since I can’t locate photos from the earlier days.  But I am looking!

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The countdown is on ~ 117 days already checked off and only 63 actual school days remaining with the students ~ and yes, with a big smile I am ready to turn the page!

“Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has an Internal Monologue” (Ryan Langdon)

A friend of mine shared this article on Facebook and I was so intrigued I looked it up on the internet and thought I would share it.  “Today I learned that not everyone has an Internal Monologue and it has ruined my day.”  – Ryan Langdon

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The article talks about how some people have an internal narrative and some don’t. Some can hear their voice in their heads as if they were speaking out loud in full sentences. Others describe it as literally seeing the words in their heads or “concept maps”.  Another said if they looked at themselves in the mirror and tried to have a conversation with themselves without talking they would have to wind up talking out loud to themselves because they physically could not do it inside their minds.

I hear internal narratives in my head, yet the friend who shared this on Facebook does not.

For example, whenever I read a story I hear myself saying the words in my head and simultaneously envision the story as it is happening in my head as if I am watching it on TV.  As I type this post I hear myself saying the words, but I am not making a sound.  At any time of the day I hear myself thinking of all kinds of things such as a chore I want to complete when I get home or giving myself a pep talk if I have a rough day with some of the kiddos in my class.  Everything is visually played out as I am talking it over in my head.  I also absolutely talk out loud to myself on occasion, such as saying things like “unbelievable” when I hear something absurd on TV or when I am trying to sort something out.  But I can carry on a conversation in my head like no tomorrow.

My friend, however said, “I see things like in video clips, it is silent in my head.”  She also said that when she types she “thinks of the words she is typing and type them….not as a voice but from a concept or thought.”  As far as a grocery list she doesn’t hear the list being narrated in her head as she writes the items down ~ she “only sees the word or the actual item on the list.”  This is confusing to me and I can’t quite understand what she is trying to explain.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to have silence in my head.

If you read the article, what I am trying to explain may make more sense.

This is particularly interesting to me as a teacher.  To help teach comprehension I often suggest the children try to hear or listen to what they are saying as they read silently and even try to see the characters and the settings in their minds.  Most of them have always told me this is what they do and a very small percentage look at me like I have lost my mind.  When they tell me they don’t do this, I always try to encourage them to give this a try.  Now I am realizing maybe they just can’t?

Do you have an internal monologue?

Sunday Stills – Old things and stories

Sunday Stills – Old  – If you click on this link you will see what other bloggers have posted.  Click on this link to see the Calendar of upcoming photo challenges

After looking at some other photos bloggers submitted I decided to share a few things I own that are old and a little unique.

The first item is an old spelling book which is not in very good shape.  It has a copyright of 1883 and belonged to someone in my mom’s family.  The pages inside are yellowed with age and fragile, but you can read everything printed.  It is fascinating to see how different textbooks were back then and I am personally glad I was not a student back in those days.

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The next item is one of the first credit cards to purchase items at the former Rich’s department store in Atlanta, GA.  The store was a family owned business and operated from 1867 – 2005 when it was bought by Federated Department Stores, Inc. and was renamed Macys.  The card belonged to my grandmother.

The last item is an ordinary bow with an (I think) extraordinary story!

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My grandparents were married in 1894 and I especially love the story of how they met.  I don’t know many details, but here is what I do know.  They both attended an event in town where the young women would prepare a picnic lunch and place a bow (see above) in front of the prepared lunch. The young men would later walk around and look at all of the lunches. They would pick up the bow of the lunch they liked the best. The young men would then walk around and find the young lady with the apron that matched the bow and that is who they would eat lunch with.  So that is how my grandparents met.  She was 17 and he was 20. They were happily married for 53 years!

 

The Best Obituary I Have Ever Read

Obituaries are pretty basic and most follow the same format.  Name of deceased, date of death, names of beloved family and friends, time of welcoming visitors at the funeral home as well as information for the service and internment.  Some include a few endearing words like “loving father” “beloved Nana” and some list many impressive life achievements of the deceased loved one.

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Reading the obituaries is not something I usually do, but I was looking through the paper the other day and my eyes were drawn to an older photo of a lovely, stylish young woman in her 30’s or 40’s.  I am not sure why I started to read her obituary, but I am so glad I did!

I have never read an obituary like this and I just have to share it!  I omitted all of the personal details such as where she was born, names of family and friends and information about the celebration of life and internment. I also changed her name to protect her identity.

Betty was 76 when she died peacefully, surrounded by love…..

“Betty personified beauty, grace and glamour her whole life.  She was sassy, whip smart, and had a memory like a steel trap (seriously, the woman never forgot anything). She was also absolutely hilarious (despite never actually trying to be funny), and she was perhaps at her best when her silliness caused her to dissolve into fits of giggles and laughter. There are far too many funny Betty stories to recount here, but a favorite is her insistence that if the Disney cruise the family had booked for a week lacked either alcohol or a casino, she would be jumping overboard and swimming back to shore (and she was only maybe 10% kidding).  She adored clothing, makeup, perfume, music, chocolate covered cherries, and a good vodka tonic. She was a phenomenal cook, and she enjoyed doting on her loved ones by whipping up specially requested meals.  Her butter beans, in particular, were nearly as legendary as she was.”  

“In honor of Betty’s memory, the family asks that you enjoy a toast (preferably with vodka) and tell someone how lovely she was (which she never, ever tired of hearing).  In lieu of flowers, tributes can be made to Talbot’s, QVC, or the Home Shopping Network, all of which were grateful beneficiaries of Betty’s love of shopping for many years.”

“There will never be another like Betty.  Her family misses her very much and is fortunate to have had her.” 

At first I wasn’t sure what to think when I finished reading. Was this really an appropriate way to announce her death to everyone? It did not not take me long to come to my decision that this is one of the best tributes to someone I have ever read in an obituary.  Whoever wrote it must have loved her much and known her very well.  After reading about the type of person she was, I am sure she would have loved the way it was worded.  What do you think?

Pause and Appreciate

The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season went by all too quickly and I found myself taking a forced break from blogging.

As I look back at all the shopping, decorating, time spent in the kitchen, family get togethers, as well as attending holiday events it all seems like such a blur. So many precious moments were shared ~ yet how many did I actually pause and appreciate?

I am very guilty of taking precious minutes for granted.  Fond recollections of moments in time I will never get back again….

To pause and appreciate the smells – the smell of freshly baked bread as a pot of vegetable soup or beef stew bubbles and simmers on the stove, hamburgers sizzling on the charcoal grill on a warm summer evening, or inhaling the sweet smells of lotion and powder as I snuggle my infant child after a morning bath. How about the assorted smells provided by the wonders of nature such as a homegrown tomato just picked from the vine, the smell of rain just before it arrives, inhaling the salty air at the beach or taking deep breaths of pine scented Christmas trees.

To pause and appreciate the sounds – the shrieks of laughter coming from my teenage daughter’s bedroom, my mother’s voice, my son strumming his guitar as he hums and softly sings along composing the lyrics to a new song, or the waves pounding the shoreline as the seagulls cry.

To pause and appreciate watching the action – my son running around the bases through the dusty dirt of the little league baseball fields, the animated facial expressions of loved ones during conversations, the arms curved slightly as they push in and out of the water swiftly racing to touch the side of the pool during a swim meet, arms as they reach toward you seeking to be lifted up or embraced or how about fireflies silently flickering their lights as they dance among the bushes and trees on a muggy, moonless summer night.

To pause and appreciate participating in the action: dancing close with my spouse feeling our warm cheeks press together, hugging my dad and feeling him hug me back as I (unsuccessfully) fight back tears the first time I moved away from home, joyfully cheering along with others for the home team during a World Series game, holding small hands as we walk slowly together across the yard, or interlocking fingers with a special love.

I want to be more like my grandchildren who exude the joy, simplicity, curiosity, and innocence of life in all of its beauty.

Anything you truly want takes time and this year I want to spend the upcoming months making an effort to pause and appreciate. Next year, tomorrow, or even tonight is not a guarantee. What do you yearn to pause and appreciate this new year?

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  

Psalm 118:24

 

“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

C.S. Lewis: The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia)

“It’s a beautiful day, Don’t let it get away, It’s a beautiful day”

U2 Songwriters: Bono / Clayton Ada