A Little Inspiration For All of the Tired English Teachers Out There!

Teachers: Have you discovered this resource? I came across this today and couldn’t help but think of all of you! I know from my own experience that I was always looking for new,cinteresting, and easier ways to engage students and to improve my practice. I did a little exploring on the site this morning, and it appears to be a useful tool. I know that your time is valuable and that you get spread thin at this time of year. I offer it to you as a way to lighten your load and supplement your material. If you don’t know about it already, you might want to have a look! I discovered lessons on many of the texts that I taught when I was in the classroom. The site has them organized by grade, theme, and genre making it easy to search.

At any rate, holiday time off is right around the corner; Merry Christmas and enjoy the much needed break! 🙂

https://www.commonlit.org

Ode To Dakota


I had to let go of one of my strongest, most loyal supporters the other day. He was my constant companion; his absence has left me feeling lonely, hollow, and adrift. Ever kind and gentle with feedback and forgiveness, and consistently honest and loyal with commitment and acceptance, he was a demonstration of living in the moment and of staying calm. With contagious courage, he served as a beacon of hope by demonstrating strength, persistence, and stability in the face of uncertainty and physical pain. He was an enduring giver of gifts, I a privileged recipient. In gratitude, I remember the experience of having another living creature love, adore, trust, and accept me unconditionally (perhaps for the first time in my life). Stuck in the quicksand of fear, I wonder if I’ll ever see his likes again. Today, I look for him in his familiar spots in the house or making his “rounds” outside, or I hear his footsteps on the wooden floor as he would often come looking to check on me. Disappointed and saddened, I remember he is gone. I miss him. Letting go has never been my strong suit. Perhaps, he is teaching me still. ❤

Thoughts on Growth and Change

Reflection on Growth and Change

“Insight is cheap” — Ursula Childress

Do I have faith in my ability to grow and change? Unequivocally, the answer is YES! I took out a worn copy of the very first meditation book that I ever used. In fact, I didn’t call it a meditation book; it was just a book that I read with quotes and reflections… An offering from a caring spirit further along in her journey…the year 1987; I picked it up every day because I was drawn to it. Well, that’s not quite accurate. I wasn’t so drawn at first. Overtime, it spoke to me, and I began to turn to it more and more. It is well worn now. I’ve written in it; the pages are worn; some are falling out. In the revisit this morning, I appreciate how much I’ve grown. My purpose in life is to be conscience and openhearted. When I am present enough, I notice destructive beliefs and replace them with healthy patterns of behavior. One old belief that I held was that I was helpless. When I write that now, I can smile. I am a powerful person and not in an aggressive or manipulative way. My power to impact my life and the lives of others lies in my ability to be authentic and vulnerable. I have not made any of these adjustments alone. Along the way, I have created a vibrant community of like-minded, supportive spirits who join me in their own way. I am so grateful. Do you have faith in your ability to grow and change?

Anger Un-Management

“Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That’s what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It’s real, though – the fury, even when it isn’t. It can change you… turn you… mold you and shape you into something you’re not. The only upside to anger, then… is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they’re not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm. Then again, what do I know? I’m only a child.”– Lavender “Popeye” Wolfmeyer from The Upside of Anger.

I remember a time in my life when I was an angry woman. Looking back, it did swallow and smother me. Anger is real, even if it is an event that I am imagining, inflating, fueling, clutching, repressing, controlling, erasing, or any one of a thousand ways that I’ve invented to cope with its power. I recall being frightened by its gnarly teeth and repulsive expression. Little did I realize that in some strange way it was my ally all along. As a result of my outlandish demonstrations, I am transformed. I am more accountable and present. I am not so afraid or as anxious. I am soft and gentle in places where once I was inflexible and difficult. I can feel my heart beating in a precious and essential way. Not just in the physical sense, but in a sacred and valuable fashion. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am still a “wild woman” in some ways, but the stormy and fierce woman that shows up today is passionate, adoring, and loving both of herself and others. I am mindful of my power and try to use it in a responsible manner. I am grateful for those painful times that provoked confusion and tension, for they produced this woman whom I love today.

❤ Donna

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene.

Today, the shades are pulled down; this window doesn’t seem to have much of a view. I just returned from spending time with my mother who is very ill. She has Parkinson’s Disease. She was diagnosed in 2010 and has slowly declined to a weakened condition. I am her power of attorney, the responsible party, the person that looks in on her several times a week. She currently resides in an assisted living facility and has the additional help of caregiver twelve hours a day. In many ways, I think we are all blessed, and then we experience a day like today. Some PD patients experience hallucinations and delusions along with the physical decline that accompanies the progression of the disease. Today was a particularly difficult one in that she thought others were trying to kill her. Nothing I could say or do would calm her down. I can deal with the cats, snakes, people, bands that aren’t there, but this level of psychosis has triggered something in me. At this moment, I am sad and heartbroken. I feel my heart pounding in my chest. And that being said…I love to dance. Perhaps, I can learn to dance in this rain. ❤ Donna

“It is the journey that matters in the end.” — Ursula LeGuin

Becoming a mother completely changed my life. For many years, I wanted a family, and, when I finally became a mother, I wasn’t prepared for the life that role would produce. Can anyone ever prepare themselves for an experience that is so transformational? I only knew what I saw through  friends, family, the media, and  my own imagination of what motherhood would be. I imagined something perfect and put-together. What I lived was something entirely different. It was messy, out of control, exhausting, fun, creative, and transformational. As a result of the process of “mothering,” I grew to become a more loving, conscious human being. I was moved along my path to learn about acceptance, peace, and vulnerability. I came to realize the essence of Harry Truman’s desk sign, “The buck stops here.” Today, my daughters are grown, forging lives and families of their own. I catch myself wanting to take responsibility for them, and, sometimes do, only to be reminded by them or some other circumstance that it isn’t my place any more. Perhaps for me, this “letting go” is a process. I am ever-grateful to my daughters for coming into my life and serving as two of my greatest teachers. My heart knew all along what it needed, and it found the perfect people in the end.  

 

Seven Come Eleven

I just read an essay entitled, ” Ten Signs That Deceased Loved ones Give to Let Us Know They Are Around.” It declares that loved ones who have “crossed over”  are anxious to communicate with us and will often give us signs to let us know they are still with us. I do not believe in ghosts, and I consider myself to be a fairly “grounded” individual. Still, something in me was touched when I read that idea. Something drove me to continue to read. When I read “they” can show us numbers repeatedly, I could feel myself tearing up. I frequently see the numbers 7-11. Has that ever happened to you? In fact, many times I have looked at the clock at 7:11. I have known for some time now that these two numbers don’t keep showing up by accident. I have wondered: Are they my “lucky” numbers? Is this the time of day that I’m going to die or the day that I’m going to die? What is the significance of these two numbers? It has just been a curiosity with me. My father’s birthday is July 12th; one day off of the 7-11 number scheme, and, when I read the article, I couldn’t help but think in my heart that this is a sign from him that he is here in spirit. Even though it isn’t perfect…. he/I have never been perfect. So, they must be the perfect sign from him in the end. ❤ Donna