SOLC: Just Like When She Was Little

March 18, 2015

My blog was silent last night. Not on purpose though. I had good intentions of writing. Words played in my mind throughout the day. Blogs were read and comments were given.

Eliz.selfieThe afternoon began with Wesley debuting his first start as a pitcher. He normally plays the role of reliever on his college team, so Wesley was definitely excited. Tim had basketball awards night in shirt and tie, shined shoes and black pants. Home again and shared stories with my hubby. I finally settled, ready to write and Elizabeth came home after leading her girls’ group. One story led to another. “You won’t guess who came in to the Dairy Queen last night?” and she proceeded to share about “the boys” who came in unexpectedly.

One idea led to another. Time ticked by. I noticed the clock, but tried to forget it. When it comes to my teenagers and their initiative to talk, I forcefully stop thinking and listen . Elizabeth kept talking and talking and talking. Story. Story. Story. I felt like the insurance commercial as a memory of a little girl prolonging her bed time popped into my head. It never failed; her stories charmed me then and now.

Honestly, I’m glad I missed posting. I wouldn’t have traded her talk for anything. Priceless.

My Assistant {SOL}

July 1, 2014
Listening in to Kay as she reads to Tim.

Listening in to Kay as she reads to Tim.

For the past three summers, my youngest son has been my assistant during summer school. Tim doesn’t have any extra training; he’s just a young man who is willing to help. His first year of helping, I modeled how to catch the kids acting appropriately. I remember hearing him stop mid-sentence, “Tom, stop ta…. I notice how Sam is standing quietly with his voice off. I notice Sally with her eyes on me.” After class that day, Tim said, “Hey, catching them being good really works.”

I finished teaching kindergarten two weeks ago and wouldn’t have survived without Tim. My hat is off to kindergarten teachers. These kids are inquisitive, attention-seeking, and energetic. During a read a loud, the kids would be captivated, participated, and definitely cheered for more. We had fun.

The kids loved having Tim's full attention.

The kids loved having Tim’s full attention.

During small group instruction, Tim would circulate among the students who were reading independently from their book bags. He doesn’t know any specific strategy except for listening. Tim would ask them questions and encourage each on a job well done. He also helped keep the kids focused. I loved capturing him one morning listening in. I wish I had Tim during the school year, to be a live audience and respond positively to the efforts each kid makes. Does he plan to be a teacher some day? Maybe not the professional kind, but he’s definitely learning the life lesson of assisting others.

Playing with Words

June 24, 2014

During the AllWrite!!! Summer Institute, I presented a session on looking at craft in books. I ended the session nudging the audience to write: “It is through the act of writing, the act of playing with words that deepens your understanding of writerly craft.”

Yesterday, I practiced. I sat and wrote and sat and wrote. I was focused. I sat and wrote some more.

I played with words. I worked on varying sentences, alliteration, and the power of three. Words were refined, substituted and switched.

Revision definitely takes longer than drafting. And I am so thankful to my writing group and key people for reading my piece, offering suggestions, and being there for moral support.

BIC – it definitely works!

Did I mention…? {SOL}

February 18, 2014

Did I mention my children to you lately?
Did I mention how my thoughts are on them so much these days?
Did I mention that the years, months, days now seem like hours left to share?

Did I mention how I do Wesley’s laundry so I can see a glimpse of him each week?
Did I mention he is a junior in college according to credits, is playing baseball, mastered the 6 minute mile at 5:48, is learning to throw a new pitch and looks promising to be on the varsity lineup?
Did I mention I text him just to say I am thinking and praying for him to receive a delightful, meaningful response in thanks?

Did I mention Tim is playing basketball and is a team vocal leader?
Did I mention his timid personality is changing into a confident, quiet young man, who is trusting the words of his parents and Lord?
Did I mention he loves helping the little kids during the mid-week youth activities and is learning to be responsible, trying to be gentle through play and gracious with words?

Did I mention Elizabeth loves helping people?
Did I mention she likes volunteering at the blood drive, loving on her preschool mid-week kids, teaching and admonishing them?
Did I mention the wrestling coach relies on her to take charge of the stats, equipment, and even his keys (which he continually seems to misplace)?

Did I mention my kids decide to talk to me in the middle of an activity and how I am listening?
Did I mention how time has passed too quickly for this mother of teenagers?
Did I mention how I love my children, grab hold of the moments, and tuck them into my memory?

Did I mention … these fleeting thoughts on a cold, snowy morning are just a glimpse into my heart?

Downsizing {SOL}

January 28, 2014

Let me introduce you to the work I have been doing the past several days.

I have been downsizing. Yep, I have been reviewing binders, folders, lessons so neatly tucked away in file cabinets and shelves. Why? You ask. Besides the fact that I have collected lessons and articles and notes for the past twenty years. Besides the fact that my job description has changed the past few years. The fact is I have to! You see our current school building is old and has been renovated and repaired many times. It is now time for a new building. (Rejoice! Yippee! :)) That’s how I felt – excited about a new place, a more modern atmosphere, updates all around. That’s how I felt … Until I learned that my teaching space would be reduced greatly in the new building. Without boring you with details, I will say that I am found peace in my anticipated new school. I will find places for my books AND the Title I resources. I just have to make adjustments.


I am making space by downsizing materials. I actually have been enjoying going through lessons, pulling double sets of handouts or duplicate lessons. I have learned to rely on my computer files and don’t have to have a paper copy. And transparencies- please, so ancient (I can’t believe I having just verbalized my thinking). By downsizing, I am being proactive (my one little word for the year). I am freeing up space for the important things – my books!!!


Thank you, snow, for the extra time off. I have been working diligently, downsizing. 🙂

Grandma Kessler {Slice of Life}

December 17, 2013

The conversation began through a picture memory my cousin posted on Facebook of her mom, who passed away a year ago. Cousins across the country began commenting, missing her smile, love, and joy she shared.


Thoughts turned to our yearly gathering at Grandma Kessler’s house for Christmas. This holiday was about Love, belonging, and sharing stories.Grandma had ten children and with grandpa passing early in life, she held the family together. We lived the farthest away and being an only child, I was thrilled belonging to a large, lively family. I was home there at Grandma’s, spending a month in the summer with her, visiting the uncles and aunts at the farms.


The comments began and my cousin Brett brought in the laughter to our comments. You see by the time I married, we had close to 100 people in Grandma’s house. We laughed. We were loud. We shared. Then, we opened presents. The secret name we drew back in September, known only by Grandma. We started with the youngest and circled around the room finding the next person. We would open the present, announce the gift, thank the gifter and then the gift from Grandma.

I am thankful for family and memories and connections today. We have a legacy passed on to us that we pass on to our family and others around us.


SOL: Sleep is Good!

November 19, 2013

Monday morning arrived like normal. Same routine. Same kids. Same checklist of things to do.
I begin my days working one on one with a kindergartener on letters, sounds, and sight words. He’s always bright and cheery when I enter his class, ready to learn and share.

“What did you do this weekend?” I inquired, expecting to hear about a video game or playing with his friend.
“Sleep. I didn’t have to get up and my mom said I wouldn’t get up for anything,” Howie replied. “Yep. She said I slept and slept and there was nothing gettin’ me up. Uh- uh,” he added shaking his head. “Me and my bed. We like each other.”

I smiled. Sleep is good. Glad he tanked up on his sleep and was refreshed for the new day.