Little Gifts, Big Heart

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This Christmas was the first I’ve ever spent without my Grandma, but in keeping my promise to her, I celebrated with a lot of love and laughter. It was a beautiful Christmas filled with family, friends, and wonderful gifts.

One of my favorite things about my family is how we all put so much thought into the gifts we give one another. I don’t recall ever receiving a gift I felt was haphazardly chosen or thoughtlessly wrapped. No matter how small, they all mean something and are personal, which makes them that much more special.

My husband in particular puts an incredible amount of thought into the gifts he gives. Not only does he always find the perfect thing, but he is also creative in how he presents his gifts. I never know what to expect and this year was no different.

For a few years now, I’ve been an avid fan of Simon’s Cat. I’ve posted videos here on my blog and shared links on Facebook for this adorable cartoon cat. He cracks me up and I think he’s just the cutest thing! Little did I know, he’s even cuter in person. When I came home from a little Christmas Eve get-together, this is what I saw when I turned on the lights:

Meow! Is there food in here?

Meow! Is there food in here?

Hee hee! Simon’s Cat was on my table and causing mischief in my stocking! Now I know why my husband had to run back into the house before we left for the party. He set the whole thing up because he knew it would make me laugh. The gift itself was wonderful ( I really wanted a plush Simon’s Cat!), but the fact that he went to all the trouble to make it funny means the world to me.

Simon’s Cat is already getting into trouble. By Christmas evening, he found my knitting. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with this little guy!

Bad Kitty!

Bad Kitty!

If you’ve never “met” Simon’s Cat, here is one of my favorite videos:

Humor aside, my husband also thought to give me something very meaningful. I once wrote about a compass necklace I wear every day (See Finding True North) as it is something that holds some deep significance to me as a traveler, explorer, artist, and human being. In addition, the pendant now has further meaning as it now holds a special memory of my Grandma that was made shortly before she passed away.

After more than a year of daily wear, the chain has weakened and the finish is quite worn. I still love everything about it, but I’ve become increasingly worried about losing it due to snapped chain or jump ring. It was definitely time for a new one and apparently my husband agreed.

During the week leading up to Christmas, he joked that the present I was shaking was something that “sometimes knots together,” so I walked around thinking it was yarn (Ha! I really have knitting on the brain!). When I opened it, I realized he was referring to a chain just like the one he’s had to untangle countless times. My new compass necklace is very similar to the original, but also very different.

A new compass for a new year.

A new compass for a new year.

As I embark on a new year and a new phase of my life, I leave the old compass behind and embrace the new. A thoughtful gift, indeed.

My heartfelt thanks to a man who knows me better than anyone and never ceases to amaze me. I love you.

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c.b.w. 2012

Listening to the Wall: Part 3

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Listening to the Wall is a series dedicated to showcasing pieces of student art that helped create an incarnate of the Lennon Wall  in my classroom.

For further information, please visit these links:

Reconstructing the Lennon Wall

Listening to the Wall: Part 1

Listening to the Wall: Part 2

The mad rush of quotes on this piece has always made it stand out.  This student graduated this year and I have not doubt she is going take the real world by storm.  Watch out, she’s full of energy and she’s not afraid to show it!

My favorite part about this piece is the statement this young lady makes at the bottom: And never have doubt in me, I’m capable of more than you think. She had unbelievable determination and I often wonder how far its taken her.

The “coexist” portion of this piece gave me proof that my students actually do pay attention when I’m teaching.  I showed a picture of the real Lennon Wall from a few years back (to give them a sense of how it changes) that had the “coexist” image.  This student mimicked it and added a slew of thoughts.

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The writing is small on these pieces, but you can click on the images to view them at full size.

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c.b.w. 2012

Wreck This Journal: David Foster Wallace

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This week’s Wreck This Journal is a little bit different from the rest.   Instead of destroying, ripping, or bending with my own independent spirit, I found myself paying homage to a writer who I greatly admire. I’ve written about David Foster Wallace before, but I don’t think I can ever properly convey how much he means to me as a wordsmith and a source of inspiration.  His essays, novels, and short stories capture the truth of humanity  with an unparalleled sense of humor, compassion, and honesty.

Shortly after his untimely death, a speech he gave at Kenyon College in 2005 was published as a small book called This Is Water.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve either read or listened to Wallace’s words concerning life, awareness, and the power of choice.  His philosophy is one I consider on an almost daily basis as it reminds me to see everything with relentless curiosity and wonder.

So, when Wreck This Journal gave instructions to doodle on the inside covers of my journal, I couldn’t help but scribble some of my favorite lines from “This Is Water”.  This entire process has been about making a choice to let go and see things from a new perspective, which is a main point in just about everything Wallace writes.  My journal just wouldn’t be complete without him.

Click on each image for a full-size view, (it makes it much easier to read!).

  

Words to live by as far as I’m concerned.

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For previous Wreck This Journal posts please visit my sidebar and tag cloud.

c.b. 2011