Thursday, December 30, 2010

Plowing Through...

I suppose there is something very magical about this time of year.  The end of the year.  The end of a decade!  It's especially magic-like when we get snow! 
 (we have never had a white Christmas before.) 
 It can also be a little depressing. 

I have been desperately trying to find time to write lately!  But every time I find a moment something else catches my attention.    I finally sit here, uninterrupted, and ready to roll.

The last couple of weeks have been up and down.  That is pretty normal around her during the winter holidays.  Kid's excitement, family issues, shopping to do, meals to plan, ornaments to make, presents to wrap, photo shoots to finish, cards to mail...the list goes on.  All of that excitement usually spirals out of control...and then...finally explodes!  By a day or so after Christmas, all is quiet, sad, and warzone-ish.  I used to HATE the day after Christmas when I was a child. 
Dead CALM  = Painful  and BORING

As an adult, however, I really kind of like it!  I feel a sympathetic sadness for the kids but MAN what a relief for us grown folk.  (I can hear the Halleluah Chorus right now!)  It's taken me 41 years but I finally get why the adults are so boring after the holidays. 
 A vacation this time of year would be AWESOME.  I'm going to add that to my bucket list...Go on magical vacation day after xmas and return Jan 1st.  Or 2nd.  Or 3rd.  Whenever.

So anyway, now that I am older and have lost the ability to be bored, I have been thinking about this past year and the new year to come.  Last year, I chose a word to help guide me through the year.  My word was BELIEVE.  And you know what?? It WORKED.  I swear it did.   Belief makes things real.  2010 was the year I figured that out.  I didn't write about it as often as I promised, and I didn't think about it each and every week...or even every month.  But I truly believe it shaped my year in a positive way! (so it has to be true. because i believe it's true)

My new dilema is my new WORD for 2011.  Now that I have discovered the secret power of the chosen word, I feel the need to chose carefully, respectfully, and thoughtfully.  What word is calling out to me?  
I think that this year needs to be about ACTION.  I have done TONS of reflecting, waiting, watching, and listening.  (listening is the hardest for me..for sure.)  What word will keep me motivated and charged to accomplish all that I want to accomplish this year??

HERE are some of the things I hope to do:

1.  Turn this photo hobby into a real business...License and all.
2.  Get married.
3.  Work harder, better...make a difference.  My school kids don't need someone who half-asses it. 
      (lots of people at my school half ass it.  i don't wanna be one.)
4.   Cook dinner most nights of the week and be happy about it.  
5.   Stay creative...even through the yucky stuff.
6.   Be a good leader/role model.  (i want my kids to be proud of their mommy.)
7.   Go on a family vacation to the beach this summer.  ( and maybe one in the winter.    somewhere snowy.)
8.   Enjoy family time when we can get it. Make the time we do get to spend together memorable. (schedules are insane in the spring and fall)

I am sure there are other things too.  But this is all I can come up with for NOW. 

What will my new word be??  WHO KNOWS.  Stay tuned.  I have to figure it out by Jan 1st!

I hope  you are all enjoying your winter holidays!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Love Notes from don Miguel Ruiz

This was the first email I read this morning and I thought I should share it!

Love coming out of you makes you happy. The Whole world can love you, but that love will not make you happy. What will make you happy is to share all the love you have inside you. That is the love that will make a difference.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mortality Issues

I am having a hard time right now.  It's no real suprise because I lost a sweet friend on Sunday.  She is the mother of two of my students.  

When I first came to CCS, I was re-entering the teaching world after being a stay-at-home mom for about 6 years.  Ms. T was my first real support system.  She was the first parent to volunteer in my class that year.  She was a board member who wanted to see our little charter school succeed.  She was the first to give me the run down of how things seemed to be at this new school of mine.  She brought in snacks and supplies and she even did science experiments with the children about once a month.  She questioned my philosophy respectfully and shared her thoughts and concerns peacefully.  I grew to love her pretty quickly and depended on her  a lot.  That first year was a tough one for me, both professionally and personally.  I had a hard time leaving my kids and I had a hard time getting back into the academic flow.  I have often said I may not have survived that year without her support. 

My 2nd year was much better.  I still had her son in my class (I taught a 1-2 Multi Age class) and I still got to see her a lot.  But that was the year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  As soon as she was diagnosed, her chemo started and we saw a little less of her.  She still sent emails of support and gratitude.  She never complained about her cancer and she never once let me know that it was more serious than some cases of cancer.   She took her chemo and wore her wig and volunteered whenever she had the strength.

My 3rd year, last year, I got to teacher her daughter!  Little A was in Kindergarten last year.  She'd visited my class so much with her Mama that she transitioned beautifully into Kindergarten.  Ms. T came in a lot at the beginning of the year but she had been given some bad news.  There was a spot in her neck now.  She said her faith was strong and she soon began her 2nd round of chemo.  We saw her less and less.  She was getting weaker and weaker.  At the end of the year, her son and daughter performed in the talent show.  She showed up with her whole family (her mom and dad too).  And I cried.  She barely had the energy to walk but she made it.  On the last day of school she hugged me and said, "Well, I made it another year!"  This was the first time she ever indicated that not making it was even possible.

As summer started I thought about her a lot.  In late July I woke up in the middle of the night one night and sat straight up in bed and thought, "Ms. T is going to die.  I can feel it."  I spoke with her before school started and she said in her ever positive voice, "It was a rough summer but I'm feeling better."

She missed the beginning of the year picnics and open houses this year.  So unlike her.  I know she hated missing all of that.  When I saw her husband and asked about her his response was, "Just pray Ms. Suzy.  Please just pray."  So I did.  A lot.

She held on for a long time but eventually her body and soul were too tired to keep it up.  She passed away Sunday morning at around 3am.  The children were both at school on Monday.  I managed to keep myself together while I worked with each of them.  I can't imagine losing my Mama.  And I'm 41.   

I will continue to work with her precious children every day that I can.  And I know that wherever she is....she's as happy about that as I am.  I loved her.  She was a great mom and a wonderful person. 

(I love you Ms. T!  I will miss you soo much.  And I have a favor to ask...while you're up there, will you check in on a little tiny baby boy for me?)

Now I am left with all kinds of fears.  I keep waking up in the middle of the night and checking on my kids.  I keep feeling anxious, like something isn't quite right and I can't figure out what it is. But what I have come to realize is that I feel a little guilty or something.  Because I am about as happy as I've ever been.  I have everything I need.  I feel soo fortunate, blessed, content.   And while I have been feeling so good about life, others are suffering out there.  And now, I'm feeling an overwhelming urge to help people who need it.  Where do I begin??

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Fever

WE are THHIISSSSS excited about Christmas this year!!

Tree is up.  Lights are on.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!!! 

 I have had a hard time trying to decide what to write about lately.  There are so many topics rolling around in my head.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to attach any really great words to any of these ideas of mine.  In the mean time, I will continue to illustrate little bits of our lives through photos! 

 I have been on some kind of wild roller coaster ride throughout the fall, and things are starting to settle again.  A little.  I think.

In a nutshell, here are some of the things that have happened in the last couple of months:

1)  got my first huge photo job (school photos.  arpx 160 kids) and survived!
2)  stella turned 4 and finn turned 9!
3)  maddy made her junior high basketball team!!  we think she's starting point guard!!
4)  told my stepfather all the reasons i've been mad at him for the last couple of years. 
    *yeah.  big one.  still haven't recovered completely*
5)  just lost a great friend (and parent to 2 of my students) to breast cancer.  she fought long and hard.
      it was her time.  and it sucks.  bad.
6)  i've had 4 photo shoots in the last 2 weeks.  very happy about that.
7)  got engaged.  officially.  :)

That's the big stuff.