Monthly Archives: April 2013

Changing of the Seasons

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The older I get, the more I dislike winter.  I’m a lover of seasons…truly.  Each is so unique and breathtaking in its own special way.  Living in the south, we are blessed with four very distinct seasons.  Some years, summer strangles us with thick humidity, some springs are wet and muddy, most falls are crisp and dry, but winter was never-ending this year.  It hung on and hung on and hung on….

Even though I adore a roaring fire and a warm blanket on cold nights, I know winter can zap me.  Snow rarely occurs in our nook of the world so I stay inside watching the cold, gray scenery.  I read profusely.  I write when I can.  Still, it’s blah…it’s winter.  The winter blues come to visit and tend to stay way too long.

But…the world has blossomed again.  Thick, robust green covers the ground and fills out the trees.  Spring has saved me!

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Spring reminds me that everything is new again.  What has withered away, returns.  What seems so out of reach during the drab of winter, is once again at my fingertips.

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I found the ivy cross below growing on the side of an out-building.  With absolutely no training from me, it’s growing in this shape.  The first time I saw it, it took my breath away.

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Which season do you savor?  Which season causes you to smile at the mention of its name?

Tests

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I’m preparing my room at school for achievement tests.  Keep in mind I teach first grade so we’re talking about six and seven-year olds here.  Everything must be covered in the room, the alphabet, numbers, the days of the week.  All that I get.  It’s not even the rigid rules and structure that bother me.  What kills me about all of this is that the moment the test begins, our children are expected to turn into little robotic machines.  No longer are they allowed to ask questions, to think aloud, to ask for guidance if they lose their place on the test.  In an instant, they are expected to act older, be older, seem older.  That bothers me.  I guess as a mother and a teacher, I’ll never love the idea of standardized tests.  I’ll never be able to accept a test that inhibits what I’ve taught them all year-long to do – ask, question, explore, search, think aloud, share.  Again, they’re only six and seven.  Phew…

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Perhaps my anxiety comes from the fact that I was never a good test taker.  I was one of those kids…you know, one of the average kids who always wished they could do just a little bit better.  It wasn’t until college that all the puzzle pieces that make me who I am, came together, snapping into place.  Like a switch, my grades shot up, my confidence grew, my brain expanded.  I don’t believe any achievement test I ever took had anything to do with it.

Apparently there are great minds (hmm) working together somewhere – where classroom teachers aren’t allowed – deciding what should be done to children.  And testing is one of those things.  It’s been around for decades and most surely will continue.  All any teacher can do is hold their head up high, knowing they’ve taught all they can in nine months.  Whether the students can regurgitate it or not…well, I guess that one is up to the cosmic…and whether or not they need to pee in that moment, or had breakfast that day, or witnessed their parents fighting the night before, or how their kittens are doing at home, or any other countless thing that fills the mind of children.

Bless the little children and their sweet hearts.  Bless the people with hearts big enough to guide and love them every day.

The Carpet

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Just read the best book – Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman.  I know, I know…it’s been out for a few years but I’m just now getting to it.  The written word in this book is awesome.  The detail, the flawless blending of thoughts, the punch of emotion…loved it.  My partner in crime from work (and life) read it and told me that there were parts in the beginning that reminded her of my relationship with my mother.  My relationship with momma was never that severe but my answer to her was simple – I had my sister.  When life was crazy around us, we always had each other.  Somehow, we were two ‘normal’ girls surviving in a sometimes wacky world.  My sister is my rock, my foundation, and I love her dearly.  Life is very unpredictable and things are going to happen…they just do…but having someone in your life (and if you’re lucky maybe several someones) to pull you through is an undescribable gift.  My sister is one of those people, and I am blessed.

Happy birthday (tomorrow), sissy!!

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My sister and I – early 70’s

When life has been crazy, I write.  When I’m sad or lonely, I write.  When I’m happy and feeling fine, I write.  I have lots of little snippets in my computer that really don’t connect to anything else.  They’re just parts of my mind I transfer to paper.  Here’s a small one I found recently.

  Her life spun around her, a kaleidoscope of colors, all interwoven like an exquisite oriental rug.  The colors were breathtaking, the pattern intricate.  Vivid splashes of red, showing the love in her life, followed closely by variations of emeralds and sunset yellows.  Deep ocean blue, scarlet, and subtle tawny browns mixed in to contrast each area of her life.  Each pattern symbolized her friends, her job, her richly hued life; a life that stretched before her, endless and unbreakable.  The cords were woven too tightly for anything to damage their strength, and with no one there to stand in the way, the future seemed stable and rich.

     Until the moment came.  The moment no one expected, no one ever dared dream would happen.  And then as sudden as an explosion, her stable carpet was destroyed.  In an instant, the fibers were shattered, ripped to shreds, and each part of her life became a muddle of mixed, dark colors with frayed edges.  There was no longer a distinct hue left to be found.  All that remained were smeared splotches of indistinct patterns.  A thin, thread-bare piece of material that threatened to simply give way at any moment.

     Her life as she’d known it was shattered and forever gone.

 

More Than A Feeling

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I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away 

It’s more than a feeling 
(More than a feeling) 
When I hear that old song they used to play 
(More than a feeling) 
I begin dreaming 
(More than a feeling) 
‘Til I see Marianne walk away 
 I see my Marianne walkin’ away 

So many people have come and gone 
Their faces fade as the years go by 
 Yet I still recall as I wander on 
As clear as the sun in the summer sky 

It’s more than a feeling 
(More than a feeling) …

When I’m tired and thinking cold 
I hide in my music, forget the day 
And dream of a girl I used to know 
I closed my eyes and she slipped away 
She slipped away 

Here are some of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs. No matter how many times I hear it, I still feel the urge to turn it up and sing at the top of my lungs. Something about the words and melody make my eyes brim with tears; something about the guitar riffs makes me want to shake my head like a girl from an 80’s big hair video. The song is such a mixture of the melancholy ache of growing older and lost love – the lyrics take you there, but the music…the music picks you up and sends you soaring. Pull out your old Boston cassette, find More Than A Feeling, and turn it up really loud. I dare you not to sing along!

God’s Fingerprints

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God’s fingerprints are all around.  Have you ever stopped to notice?

A dark, cloud covered ocean is an entirely different being than a blue, sun sparked body of water.  Gray weighs down the water only to be brushed by the whitecaps of waves.  It’s a chilling experience, almost somber, but still it carries its own beauty.  Raw and natural and heavy…it’s exquisite.

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Aqua and teal appear once the sun comes out, sending its light into the depths of the water.  The experience is the opposite of gray…the opposite of somber.  A sunny ocean beckons, it calls you in to play.  It’s cheery, it sparkles, it whispers your name.

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But no matter the time, the place, the color…it all is a glimpse of God’s fingerprints.  Such beauty could only come from an exquisite artist…his touch is everywhere you look.