#SOLC18 30/31: Moments in Time

Recently I have been watching documentaries on 9/11. That day, along with many others in my lifetime are etched in my memory forever. Some are more deeply seeded in my mind, while others are events that may not have been life-impacting, but carried enough significance to remain in my memory.

The day Elvis Presley died I was in grade school.

The day Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington, blowing enough ash into Montana that school was cancelled for a week. I was 12 years-old.

The day John Lennon was shot. This was the first assassination of a public figure I experienced.

The day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just after take-off. This was quite vivid, as I was living away from home for the first time in Washington, DC. I remember everyone was driving with their lights on in remembrance of the team who died.

The day of the Oklahoma City bombing. Little did I know this would not be the last such horrific bombing of a public building I would witness in my lifetime.

The day of the mass shooting at Columbine High School. This sort of horrific event was incomprehensible to me. Like the Oklahoma City bombing, I don’t think any of us could imagine this would not be the last of its kind.

The day Princess Diana died. So, so sad.

There were of course more historical events after this, many that carry great sadness. However, I can say that in my own life, the years after these tragic events occurred were filled with many of my happiest moments. Marriage, the birth of children, and all of life’s comings and goings while raising a family.

There is much to be celebrated in life, and much to be mourned. That is the balance of the life we live.

 

 

#SOLC18 12/31: I Want To Be F-A-T

I recently came across an article about the Reverend Billy Graham’s funeral. Specifically, it shared what each of his children shared about their father at his funeral.

His son, Nelson Graham simply stated this: “My father was F-A-T. He was Faithful, Available, & Teachable. May we all be that way.”

For a man so well-known and deeply respected truly throughout the world, I was struck by the simplicity, yet the profound immensity of what these words said about Billy Graham as a father. Moreover, I was challenged to consider my own role as a parent to the four beautiful daughters my husband and I have.

In the most hectic of moments, the most challenging of circumstances, and the most heart-breaking experiences life brings to me, I want to exude faithfulness, availability, and teachability to my children. I want them to know they can count on me no matter the situation. I will listen to them. learn from them, and love them unconditionally through everything that comes their way.

Poetry Friday: Nearly Grown Up

As someone new to writing poetry, I have found myself steeped in this genre as of late. This is my 5th Poetry Friday post (third in a row for the past 3 Fridays), and just today I began a month long journey of attempting to write a poem a day with a Facebook group. Yikes! Nothing like jumping in with both feet.

I must say that the more I put myself out there, and make what feel like feeble attempts at writing in verse, the less intimidating, less daunting, and less nerve wracking it is. It goes without saying that warm & welcoming communities like Poetry Friday are the best place for someone like me to share what I am trying.

Today I am sharing a poem I wrote for our first day of the month long poetry writing challenge. During the month we are writing ekphrasis poems, which are poems written in response to and/or inspired by a piece of art. Today’s image was credited to Jay Shovan, a high school senior, and is an unfinished self portrait. Take a look:

As I studied the portrait and considered the artist, I began to wonder what he might have been like as a very young boy. In my kindergarten class I have a few very busy little guys who at times are a challenge for this mother of 4 daughters. It took me years in my early teaching career to get the “boy thing.” I continue to struggle at times with understanding the behaviors, rough play, and those boy noises so many of them seem to need to make!

When I look at the face in this portrait, I see a mature 18 year old young man. I wonder if he was a rambunctious kindergartner. Did he struggle to sit still? Did his teacher feel like she had to constantly remind him to stay focused and keep his listening ears on?

If he did, it doesn’t show now. Clearly the passage of time that added years to his young life saw those characteristics slowly fade away. The silliness and perhaps uncontrollable exuberance of his boyhood are distant memories. He now appears to stand in a place of looking ahead at his future, in a place of great decision making, perhaps even at a crossroads as he considers what he will do.

This encourages me as I spend my days corralling  my little guys with all of their rough and tumble play. I sometimes find myself imagining them walking into my classroom a decade or more in the future, and seeing tall young men, calm and confident, who I hope remember they days of their youth and recognize the transformation they made from childhood to adulthood.

Today’s #PoetryFriday is hosted by Donna @ Mainely Write

 

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: #OneWord2018

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copy

Another trip around the sun has brought many of us to a place of reflection on the past year, with an opportunity to consider the possibilities of what lies ahead on our next 365 day journey. While I have had some successful New Year’s resolutions in the past, I willingly admit there have been many more that didn’t make it into February.

This is my first year to choose One Little Word. I have considered choosing one since first hearing about this movement in 2016, but never quite found myself motivated to actually commit until now. I have been mulling the idea around in my head for a few weeks, trying hard to encapsulate all that I want to improve about myself and narrow it down into a single word.

Then I came across the following quote, and found my word.

quote

Intentional: Planned or intended. Something that is intentional is done deliberately. It is something done by choice.

When it comes to considering the vision I have for bettering myself in 2018, being truly intentional in everything I do is a challenging aspiration. I know the weaknesses in my character, and the habits that creep into my day-to-day life that often don’t align with this word.

But that is the challenge in committing to One Little Word, isn’t it?

Change means looking honestly and deeply at what isn’t working. As a professional plate-spinner, I habitually gather too many superfluous materials, schedule too many commitments, and take on too many projects. In so doing, what I find is that in the flurry of my spinning plates, much of what I am trying to accomplish is done simply with the goal of completion. Focus is blurred. Joy is lost. Recipients of my attention are robbed of a meaningful exchange.

My hope with this One Little Word is for fewer plates. Being intentional is going to mean that I trim the margin in many areas of my life in order to leave room for deliberate choices that can receive all of my focus. Out of this I hope to experience deeper growth in my professional life, more meaningful relationships, and a renewed appreciation for intentionally choosing the things that matter most.

Intentional

Thank you to my friend, Margaret Simon, for hosting this week’s link-up, and for gently nudging me to join in.