Back in January I was doing a little “computer work”, as my sister likes to call it, basically passing time, when I came upon a posting on one of the storytelling websites I follow. It was from Kevin Cordi seeking teachers who were interested in participating in a project he had developed called the “Poetry Box Project”. Twenty-five children’s authors have written the beginnings of poems that the students in the project will finish, add to the box, and send on as it travels across the country and maybe even world. He specifically asked for West Virginia teachers who might be willing to take part. Without really thinking about it, I wrote to Kevin right away to express my interest in receiving the Poetry Box for my school and the state of West Virginia. Now, I have to be honest with you, I NEVER expected to be chosen. After all, I teach in a very small, rural school and I am not an award winning, paper publishing, extraordinary teacher. Why would he choose me? Well, you can imagine my surprise when I received an email from Kevin to let me know that I HAD been chosen as an Ambassador for the Poetry Box! It is on its way from Illinois as I type and our school will have it for the month of April. Needless to say, I am still a little shocked but very excited! Blogging about this experience is part of the project and the motivation behind my starting “My Sea of Thought.”
To help begin building curiosity and anticipation for the Poetry Box I have left a message on the wall of our cafeteria for the students to find on Monday morning. It says, “NFES: We have been chosen!” This picture shows the sign hanging above a table I set up that has books on it written by the authors of the poem beginnings. I have a few more messages planned for the kids before the unveiling of the box.
I have been thinking about “being chosen” a lot lately. I don’t know about you, but there have been many times in my life when I haven’t felt good enough or qualified enough to do something. It is human nature I think, to stay in that safe spot where we know what we are doing and feel successful doing it. It is when we are asked to step outside that comfort zone (a place I do NOT like to leave) that we begin to convince ourselves we don’t have what it takes, there’s someone better for the job, and even I’m too old to learn something new. (Can you guess who has said that recently……) What I am learning though, is that when we sell ourselves short out of fear and insecurity, we miss out on opportunities and experiences that will enhance our lives. God designed each of us with special gifts and talents and He has chosen you and me to do great things! Is it always easy? NO! Is it sometimes scary? YES! But in the end, whether it be for the Poetry Box, a new job, helping someone, or you add your own, being chosen is a gift we’ve been given that will bring joys untold to our lives and those around us if we just have faith and leap (or tiptoe) onto the new paths put in front of us.
Having just finished counting the money and placing our latest classroom book order, I am dismayed to see how ordering junk has overtaken ordering books. I wish I knew the magic spell that would open my students’ and their parents’ eyes to see that books provide hours upon hours of fun, excitement, and adventures that can take them anywhere they want to go over and over again unlike those tiny trinkets that will quickly be tossed away, they so willingly spend their money on.
Ahhh, human nature. We want what we want, the shinier… bigger… brighter… tastier… the better! Money isn’t the only thing I have counted today. I am also counting my Weight Watcher points. I am just like the children with their book orders! I don’t want the good foods that will provide me health, low cholesterol, and long life! No! I want those tiny (or not so tiny) yummy…gooey….fat-filled morsels I believe I can’t live without. When will I open my eyes to see that eating healthy is not depriving myself of anything, but rather the way I was always designed to eat?
So it goes in life. We all need a magic spell to open our eyes to the choices we make each day. Will it be choosing to open our minds and imaginations to new people and places? Will it be choosing to open our mouths to foods that will improve our health? Or will it be choosing to open our hearts and recognize all the possibilities there are to help make a difference to those around us? I hope it is the last because when it is all said and done, counting on each other, is what makes this adventure called life worth reading over and over again!
It’s my birthday today and……. I am sick. Now in the scheme of things I know that being sick on my birthday is not that big a deal, but feeling rotten, in a sea of tissues, watching Hallmark movies is not the way I had my day pictured.
Isn’t is funny how in our lives, we often set high expectations for an event, idea, or a relationship. I have found that they are rarely met in the ways we had imagined or even come close and the result is often sadness or even anger. I must admit that “woe is me” slid easily off my tongue this afternoon when I should have been enjoying a slice of birthday cake with friends Instead of sitting home alone. But here’s the thing, alone or in the company of those I care about, I still turned 55, the sun was shining, and I am on Spring Break so I didn’t have to make lesson plans for a substitute. Life is good when our expectations are open to the little detours along the way, a lesson this 55 year old is still learning. It is time for me to stop singing the birthday blues and get lost in the melody of my birthday blessings. After all, anything else is just icing on the cake!
It is with unsure footsteps that I begin this journey of becoming a blogger. I have an open ended ticket with the destination unknown, but excitement for this trip is urging me on.
I have been a teacher for 32 years. Twenty-six of those years I spent as a Special Educator. I then moved on to Fourth Grade and that lead to my placement now as a Second Grade Teacher. I have discovered that Second Grade is where I’ve always belonged! The children accept me as I am (wacky), still love learning, and laugh at my jokes. I receive precious love letters, gifts of feathers, rocks, and shells, and one-of-a-kind pieces of art regularly. It doesn’t get much better than that! It has been a privilege and blessing (most days) to spend time with my students. I have come to a place though, where I am ready for a change. With much prayer and thought, I have decided that this will be my final year as a classroom teacher and I will retire in June. The thought of retirement stirs feelings of fear, excitement, sadness, and relief. There is a churning in my soul, however, that prompts me to move on to this next leg of my journey. It is my hope that I can share with you stories from my classroom and the lessons I learn on my jaunt through life. Pack your bags and hold on! Adventure awaits!