30 Things I Love Right Now

About two and a half years ago I wrote a post about the 30 things I love right now.  I sat down to write a new list, then compared the two.

This is my current list:

  1. Avett Brothers
  2. my soft, warm blanket with he cardinals on it
  3. husband of just about 39 years
  4. my 4+ children, scattered across three states
  5. muscle relaxers… ahh, relief
  6. my church family
  7. Alexa when she actually knows something
  8. reading and my Kindred Spirits Book Club
  9. wearing boots
  10. notes/drawings by my grandkids
  11. planning our trip to CA
  12. poetry and fellow poets
  13. Netflix
  14. La Croix
  15. foster care
  16. my Escape
  17. hiking
  18. subbing
  19. Pita chips
  20. hashtag games on twitter
  21. new rugs
  22. seasons for real
  23. memories
  24. reading
  25. photography
  26. Alex when she actually knows something
  27. Amazon
  28. being off work for a few weeks
  29. relearning how to sew
  30. scarves

Here is my other list:

1.Back porch mornings
2.BFF Cathy – we have known each other for over 40 years
3.Blogging
4.BOGO school supplies
5.Bulletproof Coffee
6.Discovering B’ham
7.Freshly painted bathrooms
8.Hiking at Red Mountain
9.Husband of 36 years
10.Loretta, my black lab
11.Making my own schedule
12.Melatonin
13.Microwaved pepperoni dipped in hummus (just ask me)
14.Mom – my example and support
15.My grandkids – I love both of them so much my heart aches
16.My kids – four plus my DIL
17.PackPoint app
18.Pepper Place Market
19.Photography
20.Prepping for Montana
21.Reading
22.Rug from World Market
23.Salami
24.Spotify
25.Steak from the backyard grill
26.The soft wind
27.Toss pillows
28.Tweeting
29.Writing letters
30.Zumba videos

 

Some things from the original list couldn’t be placed on my current list, but some could have been repeated, such as salami, Pepper Place and steak from the backyard grill.

From my first list:

 

From my current list:

 

 

 

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Adventures in Subbing #4

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He could steady a one-hundred-and-eighty pound man by himself, fold up and carry a wheelchair one-handed, but that didn’t count on the basketball court or in grammar or much of anywhere. – from Stand Tall by Joan Bauer 

There are skills that are sometimes taught, sometimes caught, that often go unnoticed. I saw this last year in a fourth grade classroom. I was standing in the back of a room while another teacher was reading a story about Rosa Parks to the students. A chubby, red faced boy in the back was kind of sniffling and putting his head down. I wasn’t sure if he was ill or sad or if I should approach him. Before I could decide, a student just acted on his instinct. I watched a sharply dressed young black student walk all the way across the room, put his hand on the blubbering boy’s shoulder, and speak kindly to him. I was so touched. I thought how proud Rosa Parks would have been to see that moment.  I finished up reading  to the class for the other teacher. I read about Mrs. Parks, and her struggles and we had a wonderful discussion.

A short while later, I saw the boy smiling broadly who had before been so sad. Seems he thought he’d lost a watch and was going to get in a lot of trouble, but he found it way back in his desk.

I didn’t get a chance to speak to the kind boy, but I wish I had. I wish I had told him I noticed.

(edited/reposted)

 

 

Adventures in Subbing #3

 

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On the other hand he tried to point out her that she shouldn’t give money to the beggars in the street, as they’d only buy schnapps with it. But she kept doing it.

“They can do what they like with the money,” she said.

When Ove protested she just smiled and took his big hands in hers and kissed them, explaining that when a person gives to another person it’s not just the receiver who’s blessed. It’s the giver. – from A Man Called Ove  

Earlier this year I gave a writing prompt to some fourth graders. They had been focused that day on the character trait of “caring”, so I told them to pretend I’d given them $100. But, the catch was they had to give it to someone in need or a charity. Some of the students shared what they had written, and one young boy reminded me of Ove, and of myself in days past. He told of giving to the homeless, but also went on to say some of them would not use the money for food like they should. I remember grappling with this same issue years ago. I now believe that if I give money, it’s between them and the Lord what they do with it. I am not to be the judge.

A few other responses touched my heart from those students. Like the girl who said she would give it to her mother so they could move out of her grandma’s house and get their own home.

The past few years I have learned to give anonymously. Though I long to see the joy on a child’s face on Christmas, I am happy knowing I made it possible for someone. And when I don’t know someone well enough to seek them out for a hug in times of grief or crisis, I can ask God to bless the little I can give, and to send comfort along with it.

(edited/reposted)

 

Adventures in Subbing #1

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pixabay

I am in my fourth year of substitute teaching here in Alabama and I’ve come to look at it as more than just a job. When  I was a full-time teacher, I had so much on my plate and so much on my mind that many days I was too exhausted to think much past the next set of papers I had to grade. Now I’m looking at things from a little different perspective.

Some days I just sit and don’t do much more than take roll and pass out an assignment. Other days might be jammed packed with instruction and discipline. The variety is usually enjoyable. I have learned to be an observer and I try to make connections with students when I can.

From time to time I’ll be sharing my thoughts, observances, and tidbits from the classroom.

“A circle was ugly without you.” -from Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty

 

Being on the outside of a circle, looking in, is a lonely place to be. I’ve felt that way over the years, but fortunately not too often. It hurts, no matter how old you are. But, the middle school years are the hardest. If you aren’t in a circle, your outsideness really shows.

One day I saw a pretty young girl sitting all alone in a room full of kids who were talking to each other and laughing while they sat together. I didn’t know her or her story, but I wondered. Did she choose to sit alone? Did she just not have a friend in this particular class, but when the bell rang would she meet up with her BFF as she headed for her next class? I sure hoped so. That’s what I wished for. I wish everyone had a BFF waiting somewhere for them. A person who was interested, a person who cared. But, I know that isn’t always the case. So, all the more reason to be kind. And to remember how ugly that circle can be when you are on the outside.

(edited/reprinted from April, 2016)

Monday Music #6

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I have a playlist on Amazon that I call Sweet Homes. Not all the songs are about Alabama, though, because I’ve had other homes. And I’m attached to some places that are or have been homes for my loved ones. This one’s for everybody…

 

Feels Like Home

Something in your eyes
Makes me want to lose myself
Makes me want to lose myself
In your heart

Something in your voice
Makes my heart beat fast
Hope this feeling will last
The rest of my life

If you knew
How lonely my life has been
And how low I’ve felt for so long
If you knew
I wanted someone to come along
And change my world
The way you’ve done
It feels like home

Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way back
Where I come from
Feels like home
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way back
Where I’m from

With your embrace
Down a long dark street
And a sigh of wind in the night
It’s alright
Cause I have you here with me
And I can almost see
The dark feels light

If you knew
How much this moment means to me
And how long I’ve waited for your touch
If you knew
I wanted someone to come along
I never thought I’d love anyone
So much

Feels like home
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way to where I come from
Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way back to where I belong
Feels like I’m on my way back to where I belong

Written by Randy Newman • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

Kinder Than You Feel

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Today began after a rough night. We finally were approved as foster parents and had our first respite care experience this weekend.  Though we had indicated we wanted 5-12 year olds, this was a four-year old little girl, and I felt my age on numerous occasions over the course of the days she was with us. Last night, a knock at the door woke me at 12am., and I spent the rest of the night being assailed by arms and legs and an occasional head. Not to mention the snoring, and yes a four year old with allergies can snore.

I took a peek at Instagram as I was waiting for my coffee and saw these words from another foster mom:

Always be kinder than you feel.

When I got in my car to head to work, I heard about the shooting in Las Vegas. Then later I heard about Tom Petty. After I got home I saw this charge from  fellow Tweeter Joe Pug: “If you’re a songwriter, the best way to honor Tom Petty’s beautiful life and work is to write a song tonight. Start to finish.” Well, I can’t write the music but I did attempt the words. Thinking about foster care, Las Vegas, and Tom Petty, here are my lyrics waiting for a tune.

 

Kinder Than You Feel

 

Woke up this pre-dawn morning glory

Tired from life, I heard the story

Tired from living

Tired from giving

Always be kinder than you feel

 

Woke up to gray sky before the sun

Tired from living but not undone

Time for forgiving

Time for thanksgiving

Always be kinder than you feel

 

Early morning, it doesn’t make sense

What’s past still feels like present sense

Working my way through

Working past that blue

Always be kinder than you feel

 

Chorus:

Always be kinder than you feel

Kindness is what it takes to heal

Kindness is that one true ideal

You can’t borrow, you can’t steal

 

Thoughts on Grace – Humility

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Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. Duguid is the wife of a Presbyterian pastor in Pennsylvania and the mother of six. The quotes in this series come from her book.
“The baby Christian and the maturing believer know that they ought to be humble… the grown-up in Christ, however, IS truly humble. He habitually looks back on the way God has faithfully led him and can see the innumerable times that God has given him good in return for his evil.”
I think I fall somewhere in between the maturing and grown-up Christian. I am still learning a lot of lessons in being humble. Hard lessons sometimes. I found I thought too much of myself, my credentials, my experience. It is all for nothing without Christ.

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility. Proverbs 15:33