Monthly Archives: May 2014

Adventure Awaits

A new adventure awaits me.  There’s nothing God can’t do… But when I take a leap of faith, God will see me through.

It is an absolutely beautiful Sunday here in West Virginia!  Time sure has flown by since my last post.  It’s an extremely busy time of year at school as we try to wind everything up and fit everything in.  The last day for students is only seven days away and so that means that the end of my teaching career is officially over in nine days.  I have been struggling with this idea of retirement, of late.  Feelings of sadness and insecurity have been seeping into my soul. Sadness because I really do love teaching children and for 32 years being a teacher has been my identity.  Insecurity because I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE!!!!  I know how silly all this sounds but I figured you should know how wacky I really am!  I continue to remind myself that I am blessed beyond measure to be at a place where I can retire and that it IS time for me to move on. During my quiet time this morning it became clear to me that this is an opportunity to trust and have faith.  Trust that I am on the right path and faith that God has a new plan for my life.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish there was a magic wand that I could wave and suddenly I’d have all the faith and confidence I will ever need.  Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.  I am learning that it is a process….the proverbial two steps forward, one step back.  It drives me crazy!  As a person who is a perfectionist- people pleaser, this process isn’t easy. I want to get it right and and get it right now!  Thank goodness God and the people in my life are patient and don’t give up on me!

imageWalt Disney said, “Without change, there would be no butterflies”.  I am trying to take this to heart and embrace what the future holds for me.  Will I move through it perfectly?  No.  Will my faith never waiver?  No.  But, I am going to step onto this new path trusting that I won’t be traveling alone and that an exciting adventure awaits!  I hope you will come along with me as I begin this new journey, but I warn you, it may take some patience!

Hands

imageOur month with the Poetry Box was quickly coming to an end and I needed one more actvity for the last Friday.  My co-teacher Leslie handed me that idea and it was a fun one!  We created Watercolor Poems.  The students chose a color and brainstormed ideas about what that color looked, smelled, sounded, tasted, and felt like.  They then put their ideas together and created a poem.  Once in the cafeteria on brightly clothed tables the poets/artists went to work.  They wrote their poem on watercolor paper, drew pictures around the outside of the paper to illustrate their poem, and finally painted their pictures in their chosen color.  The room was filled with quiet chatter and the sound of brushes being swirled in cups of water.  It was beautiful!  My favorite part of these Friday get-togethers has been hearing the words, “Miss Cindy, come read my poem!”  Music to this teacher’s ears and joy for my soul!

I love how the picture above turned out.  When I sat down to go through my photos I realized I had taken several of just the children’s hands.  They resonated with me and once I put them together I knew it was the way it was supposed to be.  These are pictures of hands gently creating beauty, hands unsure at first, gaining more confidence, and hands helping and guiding other hands.  A moment captured in time with my camera that expresses what our lives should express.   When we reach out and give encouragement, support, comfort, and love with a touch of our hand, we are giving a priceless gift to those who receive it.  I’ve found though, that it is a gift that returns to the giver as well.  Using our hands to create a beautiful connection with someone, to reassure another who lacks confidence, or to gently guide a person who is feeling lost and alone toward the bright color of friendship, is when we are truly doing God’s work.  Bill Withers said it best in his song, “Lean on Me”. He sang, “You just call on me brother, when you need a hand, we all need somebody to lean on.”  Whether in the school cafeteria, our workplace, out in the community, or inside our home we have the ability to reach out and touch someone in a way no one else can.  When we do lend a hand, we create a moment where pain, sorrow, and problems are made lighter.    Is there someone who needs to lean on you today? Just reach out your hand, “tell them you understand and help them carry on,”  because lending a hand adds color where there is dark, melody where there is quiet, and verse to this poem called life.

An Apple a Day

Whew! It has been a busy time at school and at home so I am behind in my posts! Sorry!  For each of the three Fridays we had in school in April I planned a school-wide poetry activity as part of the Poetry Box Project.  The first Friday was the unveiling of the box and I had the kids try their hand at writing a “Never Poem” using alliteration.  Like:  “I would never wear big, borrowed, blue and burgandy bloomers!” They were great fun and the students wrote some hilarious poems!image

On the second Friday, I based the activity around Kenn Nesbitt’s poem “I Bought a Pet Banana”.  While searching for activity ideas, I happened across Kenn’s website; www.poetry4kids.com . (be sure and check it out)  He suggested to have kids write their own poems about having a pet apple.  I loved the idea AND Kenn has a poem beginning in the Poetry Box,  so it seemed perfect to do a Pet Apple Activity.  The students were each given an apple and crafting supplies and the magic began!  We soon had a cafeteria full of unique “pet apples”.  The children then were challenged to write their own Pet Apple Poems and write they did!  It is amazing what they can come up with!  I decided to try my hand at it as well, and this is what resulted:

I Bought A Pet Apple

I bought a small pet apple

He was round and red,

I tried to sit him on my lap

But he rolled off instead.

He wobbled and he rolled

Across the wooden floor,

And then my small pet apple

Went right out the back door.

I tried to lasso him

To make him come to a stop,

But he fell into the pool

With a flip, a flap, a flop.

I’m taking my small pet apple

Back to the pet store

The water made him mushy

All the way to his apple core.

~Cindy Wilkins

It’s funny how we lose ourselves in “adult life”.  I had journals full of poems I wrote in my teens and twenties and then between family, work, and other committments that part of me disappeared, until now that is!  Who would have thought that an apple could inspire my poet’s soul to reappear?  All too often I think, we believe that we don’t deserve or have time to pursue the things we love.  Maybe we yearn to paint, take photographs, carve wood, run a marathon, or write poetry but we tell ourselves that everyone and everything else needs to come first.  Before we know it, our passions have been pushed so far aside that they seem out of reach.  This experience of being a Poetry Box Ambassador has prompted me to look at things differently and what I now see is that we are all created with our own unique set of passions.  Passions that are designed to define and fulfill us. While we may travel through life completing all the required tasks set before us, we are missing out on the best part of the trip.   Think back to when you were younger.  What did you love to do and think about?  What inspired you?  I think it is vital that we rediscover that part of us to truly live a long, happy, healthy life.  You know what they say….”An apple a day keeps the doctor away” or in my case….an apple poem. I plan to continue to get reaquainted with the poet in me.  I hope you too, will take the time for yourself to rediscover the you that YOU are truly meant to be.