Gratitude

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sunday mornings
paying the bills
doing the laundry
watching the cat
watch the birds
such mundane things
were never part
of my dreams
full of sparkly flash
beyond my means
it’s when time
moves faster
than you imagined
and takes more
than you want to give
that quiet mornings
and cups of coffee
fill the void with
grateful thoughts

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free-verse, c.b.w. 2018

2014 Blog Recap

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Thank you so much for making this year rock in the blogosphere! When I started this blog I had no idea it would connect me to so many wonderful readers and writers. As my journey as a writer continues, I count myself lucky to have all of you along for the ride!

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 45,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Favorite Thing Friday: Gratitude

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After stuffing myself with Thanksgiving turkey and spending time with family, I can’t forget to take a moment to be thankful for all the little blessings in my life. Every year, I like to sit down and make a list of 22 Moments of Gratitude and this year is no different.

1. My husband. It’s been 15 years and I still find myself falling in love with him.

2. Moments when Grandpa tells a great joke.

3. Time with my mother, to write or to talk.

4 Fridays with my sister. I love how we laugh.

5. Both of my furkids are still wagging their tails. At 11 and 14 years old, I treasure every moment I have with them.

6. While I am still heartbroken at the loss of a dear friend, I am grateful for the memories that remind to smile.

7. Yarn on my knitting needles and a new stitch to learn.

8. Books that give my imagination a place to play.

9. My overactive muse, who never lets me sit still for very long.

11. Poetry in it’s many forms enlivens my senses.

12. The Cafe Mocha that soothes my soul and kickstarts my muse.

13. Refusing to become someone I’m not, no matter how much a situation tries to break me.

14. My editor. She helped me make my novel something I can be really proud of.

15. A small paycheck that always stretches out to be enough.

16. A crockpot that makes it easy to cook.

17. My readers, who fill my world with encouragement.

18. The natural world still moves me. I see the sun rise every morning and it always stuns me.

19. Laughing is still my favorite thing.

20. Finding empowerment in the choice to be happy, instead of relying on something or someone to make it happen.

21. The call to go somewhere new and consider a new start.

22. No matter what, I can always find my joy.

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Previous Moments of Gratitude:

22 Moments of Gratitude

22 More Moments of Gratitude

Yet Another 22 Moments of Gratitude

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Teacher Appreciation

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Towards the end of the school year, my school has a tradition of having students write letters of appreciation to their favorite teachers. Every year, I get a couple in my mailbox and they always make me smile. A little thank you goes a long way.

After a school year that’s had its fair share of challenges, I was beyond surprised to find so many letters in my mailbox both this week and last week.  Instead of the usual one or two, thirteen letters found their way to me. And they were amazing. Several came from students I thought couldn’t stand me or have never said as much as three words in class. To hear their voice and understand the positive impact I’ve made in their lives was an incredibly moving experience. They wrote about the little things I do – like making the classroom comfortable, decorating for holidays, the fact that I smile all the time and say good morning every day – that I never thought they noticed. It turns out those little things mean the world to them.

Some of the letters I received from students this year.

The biggest surprise, however, came through my e-mail. In the school’s weekly newsletter, my name was listed among teachers nominated to receive the “above and beyond” award by the United Parent Council of my district. At first, I felt like an idiot because I had never heard of this particular award, but after asking a few questions I found out it’s a pretty big deal. The award is only given when a parent or student writes a letter to the council explaining why a particular teacher deserves the honor. Of course, that made me really curious: Who nominated me?

A few days later, an envelope showed up in my mailbox. Inside, I found a nomination letter that was written by one of my students. She wrote the equivalent of a five paragraph essay detailing all the reasons why I was her favorite teacher. I sat at my desk and broke down in tears – everything she said meant so much to me. Her words made all the hard work, the stress, and sleepless nights totally worth it. Not only is this a student I never would have guessed felt that way about me or my class, but she is a student in my AP Art History class. Teaching this class was a huge undertaking that tested every professional skill I possess. To know I did something right, is immensely gratifying an deeply rewarding.

Last night, I was publicly recognized by my district’s superintendent and governing board. While the professional recognition is nice, I treasure the letters written by my students more. They are the reason I go to work early every day and give so much to the job I love.

As the school year begins to wind down, please encourage your children to let their teachers know how much they appreciate them. It means everything to us and encourages us to keep trying as challenges continue to grow. I keep every letter I’ve ever received in a box and I read them whenever I have a bad day. This year’s batch is sure to raise my spirits for years to come. Aside from learning, this is the best gift a student can give a teacher.

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c.b.w. 2014

At Day’s End

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As dusk descends, I sip ice tea and sway back and forth on my porch swing. The cicadas buzz, while the heat of the day hangs onto every bit of remaining light. Another day ends and it’s one I’m glad to send into the past. Filled broken things and people who don’t care, my island becomes smaller as my lifeboat sails further out to sea.

A deep breath is all I need.

A fews moments of peace is what I crave.

The moon is the only one that understands.  Every evening it rises with an ethereal glow that calmly asks the world to stop, rest, and sleep. For with the night everything slows down and the struggles of the day fade into black. For this I am grateful as I close my eyes and find my dreams.

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Little Gibson Lake, Northern Wisconsin
Photo by: c.b.w. 2005

 

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c.b.w. 2014