Saturday, January 19, 2019

Strength-I Need It!

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For 2018, my "One Little Word" was "Focus".  I thought Focus fit me at the start of 2018.  I had new things to Focus on:

  • my mom (since my dad passed in August 2017)
  • my family (kids and hubby have needs to)
  • my personal life (getting fit)
  • and my career (Instructional Coach)
All of them tugged at me.  At times, I thought my core was breaking with all the ways the tugging pulled me.

New things happened:
  • my mom's health issues + dementia caused even more decline (hospital stays and surgery)
  • my kids growing up a freshman and a second grader
  • my fitness goals got going
  • my career path accelerated as I jumped into the role of Instructional Coach at The I Promise School
I felt more challenged than ever.  Life, although focused, drove me nearly insane with stress, worry, and nervousness.

  • Could I handle all the things my mom needed?
  • Would I be the best wife and mom while trying to be the best daughter too?
  • Should I be exercising more?
  • Could I be 100% in career work with all of this other need pulling on me too?
As 2018 neared to the end, I reflected.  And then, the way the last day of the year began, no one could have expected.  I got a phone call...

December 31, at 8:36, from Mulberry, "Hello Amy.  This is Dawn.  I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this (a voice inside of me was already screaming NOOO!) but your mom has passed."

"OH NO!" I cried out in disbelief.

"Sometime between 530am and 8am she passed in her sleep." 
I just started sobbing hysterically.  I felt grateful that her struggle had ended but crushed that her being here with us stopped.  My heart hurt so bad.  The last time I felt this pain happened on the day my dad passed too.  The moment his heart stopped and the monitor flat-lined.  I felt such agony and anger.  I felt dizzy with despair.  I leaned into my husband for a huge hug.  I wondered how I'd get through telling my family, my brothers, cousins, friends and co-workers.

None of it was easy.  I plowed through with moments of tears and exhaustion...

After a week or so had passed, I reflected more.

I thought about what I need to make my life better for 2019 and that's how I found my #OLW2019, STRENGTH.  I need it.  I need it to help fill in the gaping hole left in caring for my mom and adjusting and prioritizing what I need, family needs and my co-workers need.

STRENGTH is what I need for 2019.

  1.        the quality or state of being physically strong.

    "cycling can help you build up your strength"

      synonyms:powerbrawn, brawniness, muscle, muscularity, burliness,
    sturdiness, robustnesstoughnesshardiness

                  (Google Dictionary)

I am working every day to live strong spiritually, mentally and physically.  I believe that with the focus on strength, I will get through this tough time and be stronger on the other side.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Touched by the Spirit!

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Weekly Slice of Life

Touched by the Spirit!

A story's backstory...

Rick owns a business.  He directs plumbers to make repairs and rehab projects where water isn't working.

Amy enjoys the teaching life.  She loves Spring Break-even though she is staying in town this year having to take care of things that aren't working.

These two souls met yesterday, over a plumbing problem!

Rick visits a nursing home to preach the word of the Lord every Sunday.

Amy visited the same nursing home when her dad rehabbed from respiratory failure.

Rick connects with people who have no one else-except the Lord-no family, no friends-but they have Rick.

Amy connects with Rick's mission to visit the lonely in the nursing homes.  His mom suffered from dementia-Amy's mom does too.  Amy asks how Rick dealt with the daily challenges dementia can bring.

Rick gives wonderful advice-deal with it one day at a time and ask the Lord for help.

Amy accepts this sound advice.  She prays for help daily...

Rick's visit touches the heart of someone struggling.  It's work from the Spirit of God.

Amy feels moved by the spirit during their brief meeting over a plumbing problem.

You never know when the words of the wiser will touch your heart, but when they do, celebrate and honor them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April Fools Dusting

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Tuesday Slice of Life
Slice 1

One of my favorite poems is this one:

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay. 

The poem ran through my mind as I looked out the window to see the yard around us coated with a blanket of fresh snow.  It looked as though someone had shaken powdered sugar from a giant sifter and covered everything with just the perfect amount of sweetness.  So I wanted to copy-change the words to one of my favs in honor of National Poetry Month.

Not Wanting White to Stay

Mother Nature’s April Fool is white?
She did this just for spite!
Her late evening sprinkle, a joke-
Giving the side-ribbing poke!
Then trees shake off, no leaf...
And torture of snow scene brief.
As the sun comes out to play-
white sprinkle melts...away!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Day 31 Journey-Don’t Stop Slicing

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

I was thinking journey-
and then it came to me-
a parody of the song “Don’t Stop Believing”!
I called it “Dont Stop Slicing”!
Enjoy!  We.  finished.  the.  challenge.

Cue the piano...fog machine...lights-

Just a bloggin’ girl
Dreamin’ in a busy world
She writes by midnight light
Slicing every day...
Just a dreamin’ girl 
Wants to be an author someday
She writes by daytime too 
Authors anywhere

A writer in the family room
The smell of wine and flowers in bloom
For a comment writers share the night
It goes on and on, and on, and on

Strangers writing
Up and down the comment list
Their cursor blinking
In the night
Desk lamp people
Livin' to express emotion
Thinkin' by their laptop in the night!

Workin' hard to meet the fill
We know slicers get a thrill
Thinkin’ anything to write the slice 
Just one more time!

All will win-
None will lose
Some were born just to write the blues
Oh, the slicing  never ends
It goes on and on, and on, and on

Slicers, writing 
Meeting in the blogging world
Their fingers typing 
In the night
Slicing, dreaming
Livin' just to post the slices
Writing somewhere in the night

[Instrumental interlude]

Don't stop slicin’
Hold on to that feelin'

Writing people
Don't stop believin'

Hold on
Commenting people
Don't stop connecting’
Hold on to that feelin'
Slicing Challenge 

Day 30 In Thirty Poem

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

In thirty
Thirty slices written
Thirty topics
Thirty deadlines met
One just barely
Most timed fairly
Thirty themes
One melting pot-me
Thirty things
To meet
Know and grow
Keeping the flames of learning
Brightly burning
Looks like we almost made it

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Day 29 Stuffed Pepper Casserole Cooks

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

Nattie and Dad were hungry. They chopped peppers and onions because they wanted to make delicious stuffed pepper casserole.  They put the meat in the pan first and then the onions.  They fried it up!  The house began to smell tasty.  

After the meat browned up, they then added the beef broth, tomatoes and green chili’s along with the rice and cooked them for five minutes more.  They placed the cheese atop the meat and rice and then baked it at 350 degrees for 20 more minutes.

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

When the oven chime alerted to the end of baking, everyone jumped up to fill their bowls.  Spoon after spoon loaded the delectable delight into each person’s bowl.  Now only about an eighth of what was once a loaded casserole dish left to eat.  The fam loved this dish.  Glad to satisfy their hunger.  Nice that someone else cleaned up tonight too!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Day 28 Literacy Spine Poem

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

As I prepare for presentations this week, I busily dug in surrounded by many of my favorite professional development titles.  And while many of them didn't make the spine poem, I just want to share how blessed I feel to have so many talented authors writing to help make teachers better at what we do.  So here it is:

From my literacy cookbook
strategies that work:
Common Formative Assessments
Data Analysis
Growing Independent Learners
who:  Notice and Note
Teaching Reading in Small Groups
and the Next Steps in Guided Reading
Teaching Students to Read like Detectives

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Day 27 A Voice that has Me on Edge

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

My mom lives in a memory care facility.  She still knows how to use her cell phone and occasionally calls to chat.  I’m always on edge when she calls because I know these conversations won’t be easy...

The calls usually contain gibberish about mixed up times, places, and people-
cycle rinse repeat
cycle rinse repeat
cycle rinse repeat

Some days she remembers Dad passed
Some days she doesn’t

Some days she’s angry (i don’t like these days)
Some days she’s happy and laughing (like the mom I grew up with)

Most days she wants to come home (i feel sad when i hear this)
Because she can’t -it wouldn’t be safe!

Yesterday was no exception-she asked if i “sold The House?”
i can’t answer,
a tear comes to my eye,
i look up and there’s a hawk in the sky,
circling just like the conversation...
ready to attack!

i say, “oh my goodness look at that hawk!
Girls, do you see the hawk?”
(Nat and her friend played out in the backyard yesterday)
They watched it too-

Mom says, “oh, a hawk?”
i say, “oh yes, it’s very big!”
(feeling guilty for distracting away from talk of The House)

i can’t tell her, just can’t-
She won’t remember anyway...
why does it even matter?
i wonder...reflect
Days of sadness and tears...

Alzheimer’s Association reminds in her sandbox.  Wherever she is, you are too.  Some days I don’t want to play in her sandbox-i distract her toward mine-but she always wins-ALWAYS. i go back to hers.

I know someday, I’ll miss her voice.
I’ll want to hear her again just like Dad...
But-she has me on edge
On edge

Monday, March 26, 2018

Day 26 Mind in Two Places

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

I worked long on getting ready for presentations this week.  I brainstormed a little poem to capture the senses of my surroundings, growing sleepier by the minute but wanting to get the slice written...

Professional not Personal 
Mind in Two Places

The light is beaming...
the cursor blinks
I look around at professional links

My laptop is working...
the keys slightly clicking
I hear the sound of a coach who's picking

The brain is spinning...
the thoughts are drifting
I think and reflect on the importance of sifting

My heart is beating...
it's in two different spaces
I wonder if I can be effective in places?

The body is wearing down from the day
the signals are showing
I feel the yawns growing...

Mind in one place

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Day 25 List Mania and My Brain

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

On my brain list...during yesterday’s visit to my mom’s memory care facility, they played the game List Mania.  The caller gives you the topic from the card and the participants list as many things related to it as possible.  Examples were farm animals, famous people's names starting with R, and types of transportation.  So for my slice today I imagined my card would say, “On Amy’s Brain”.

School Work
PLC Minutes-grade 3, Grade 5
Palm Sunday
Holy Week
Kids’ Spring Break
Instructional Improvement Day (aka IID)
Brewing coffee
SWOT Analysis
The teenage mind
Easter Bunny
Easter Dinner
Missing Dad
Spring break camp
Stock transfer
Coffee-need coffee

And there it is...on a Sunday morning, “On Amy’s Brain”.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Day 24 By Request

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

On family drives in the car, there are no rules about whose music will be played on the radio or who gets to choose.  We are usually in go with the flow mode.  

Occasionally, the children choose what they would like to hear.  Today the scenario felt just right for celebrating a slice of music put on by request.

Natalie and I hopped into the car after swimming lessons to head home.  We headed on our usual route but an unusual request was made...

“Mom, could we listen to the Beatles?” (coming from a seven year old).

Surprised to hear The Beatles by request, I quickly responded with a “Sure! We can do that!”

The song “Let it Be” played and I connected my thinking of this song with praying.  It was perfect for our drive-by request.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Day 23 Praise be!

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers

“[The Lord] guides the humble inwhat
Is right and teaches them his way.”

God is too good to me.  Today he’s watching over me and answering my prayers.  My slice is short because I have so much going on but I wanted to praise the Lord.  He guides me in his ways.  Praise be.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Day 22 My Birthday Slice

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

Dear Birthday Girl,
To be Seussical-today is your day you’re off and away.  A day to celebrate your age on a page.  

You’ve got brains in your head and feet in those shoes and you really can go in the direction you choose.  

You’re another year older, another year bolder, another year wiser you’re a working early riser.  

So here’s advice, on this open road- slow down, smell the roses in slow motion mode.  Take the time to do this now or life will pass you by somehow.

Happy Birthday Girl.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Day 21 Dairy Queen Trip

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

We heard the announcement, we read the announcement, we cheered the announcement:
"Free ice cream cones at Dairy Queen on March 20-in honor of the first day of Spring!"

We piled into the new car and chit-chatted all the way to the Dairy Queen.

"Look at the line!"  declared Kam.

Indeed, the line inside the local DQ was quite long.  However, the drive thru was just right.  So, we inched into the drive thru line.  When we arrived at the order screen, Kevin proclaimed, "We'd like 4 vanilla cones..."

"Do you have four people in the car?" asked the lady.

"uh, yes."  Kevin uttered in a gingerly yet surprised sort of way.

"Ok, pull around."

As we pulled up to the window, they handed us four vanilla ice cream cones...

We drove away smiling and enjoying our frosty dairy queen cones!  All of us in conversation about the new shopping plaza, the snow day calculator and friends at school.  Such fun together as a family of four.  Happy with the fan food too.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Day 20 On Painting

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

On painting

What?  No purple?
No blue?
Green-I can use green.

Let's see...



(washes out brush-water slooshing)

Let's see



more slooshing

heavy sigh

yellow?  Nope.


White?  No!

walks over to paint easel

comes back and paints

more slooshing


picks up another brush

more slooshing

sloosh, sloosh, slooshing

walking over to give it to me...MOM!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Day 19 Skating for Paws

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

Skating for Paws!
Yesterday our local girl scouts held a roller skating event.  Now, I can't remember when was the last time I skated.  My fear of a broken bone holding me back from getting the skates on...I reflected on how my disposition changed over the course of two hours.

Oh, it looked so dangerous
So many skaters falling
on the doopah
on the knees 
So many skaters falling

Out come the skate mates!
Oh, so many skaters need them
only 8
only 2 times around
Oh, so many skaters need them

Skaters building confidence
Not so many skaters falling
moving a little faster
doing the chicken dance
Not so many skaters falling

Oh, it looked so exciting
So many skaters flying by
whizzing around the rink
maybe I'll try
So many skaters flying by

Putting on skates
such a short time left
made it around without falling
holding hands with my girl
such a short time left

The skating party ends
raffle tickets drawn
gift baskets donated for a cause
calling all the winners, no luck
Skating party ends.

The skating party for a cause ended up raising $500 for the Paws and Prayers Animal Shelter.  Such cute dogs looking for homes.  I'm glad we could help with their need.

Day 18 Cookie Moments

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

During the month of March, the Girl Scouts are out and about selling Girl Scout Cookies.  Yesterday, Nat's troop took their turn at a Walmart.  

The girls worked the cookie booth and were able to sell about 160 boxes of cookies in two hours.  That means in 120 minutes they sold more than a box a minute.  In those 120 minutes there were some special moments that I consider highlights of the sales-"Cookie Moments".

At one point a gentleman came out of the Walmart.
"Hello there girls."
"Would you like to buy some cookies?"

"Yes! I would thank you.  Which ones are your favorites?"

Nat jumped to pick up the box of Do Si Dos and show him.  "Here's my favorite!"

Olivia held up the Trefoils.

He gently explained, "Here you go (handing us $8). Now you and you go and enjoy those cookies."  

The girls thanked him as he walked away.  So sweet.

Another lady come up to our table.  She handed our leader a twenty dollar bill and said, "I'd like to make a donation."  Wow-so generous.  

A couple came up to make a purchase and the boyfriend said it was "Molly's" birthday.  So we sang happy birthday to her.  She smiled from ear to ear.  They decided to purchase three boxes of cookies.  LOL!

These are the times that made our booth time lots of fun.  

Have you experienced Cookie Moments?  Please share below!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day 17 The Roller Coast Memories

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

Growing up in Ohio, meant summer trips to Cedar Point (well known for coasters).  During a get together with my brothers tonight, we all reminded about our favorite coasters at “the roller coast”.  

Steve remembered riding Gemini with my cousin John.  “Let’s rude in the front cars red vs, blue !”  He shared how they high-fived and cheered for their favorite colors.   We all agreed Gemini ruled when it first came out at CP.

I agreed and shared a memory about riding Gemini 16 times in a row.  Easy to do when the lines diminish.  The Gemini’s wooden ness and competing colors made it so fun to ride with groups of friends.

Mike shared how he loved the Iron Dragon.  A coaster unique to its time too as it allowed for dangling feet and swing as you round curves and drop on hills. 

We all shared how as we’ve aged, our bodies are less tolerant to hills, dips, and curves. 

My hubby and Mike’s girl friend talked of heights fear...the older we get the less we can take...still loving those memories and wishing to do experience it like we did when we were teens.  Missing the roller coast of days gone by.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Day 16 Almost Lost

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

Almost lost
Acting like Hare
All day waiting there
Falling asleep
In a happy little heap
Waking up to a clap
“Mom! I set the trap!”

Thanks for waking this sleepy hare
I almost lost
The slice of life there!

It’s true.  I fell asleep!  Exhausted from such a busy week.  Nat woke me up clapping that she’d set the trap to catch the Leprechaun-thank goodness she did it I would have missed out on submitting my daily slice by 11:59pm.  What a busy day, week, month.  We are over the half mark!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Day 15 Quiet NOT!

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

In our house, there’s usually no quiet unless it’s the wee hours of the morning... I wake up early after crashing hard from a long day on Wednesday-a busy yet peaceful day.

I revel in the level zero.  I hear the peaceful snoring of the one who’s been sick with a cold.  I hear an alarm in the distance...reminding us to rise and start our day.

I glory in the warmth of the morning and snuggle down with my cozy blankie hearing the heat kick on.  I’m grateful for the warm floor to greet my toasty toes-avoiding the cold shock that sometimes jolts me from slumber in a midnight call for water.

I yawn and stretch like a cat-making me wake and get today’s agenda in my head:  PLCs, principal coach meeting, curriculum team meeting, and finally best of all-a haircut...

I hear water gurgling into the mouth of the coffee pot.  My warm coffee soon to to help me wake and get going on my day’s work.

-the silence has broken away-smashed by the clank of a spoon hitting a bowl-ending  the slow, slothy more quiet here today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Day 14 Walkout

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

National School Walk-out took place today.  The kids at our school organized a walk-out for grades 2-5.  They did an amazing job of owning their learning.  They reasearched the Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963 and compared it with the walkout planned today in support of the students whose lives were lost in the Parkland, Florida School shooting.  

The students organized the plan (their plan).  They developed at petition to have a walkout to honor students who fell at the hand of a peer.  They dug in, asked questions sought answer and asked more questions.  The kids had names of the students who passed on their signs.  They asked for school safety.  They released one balloon for each student/staff who lost a life in Parkland. 

The children learned life lessons.  They realized media can spin things (gun control). They realized words can be twisted and used in the wrong way and lead people to make judgements that aren’t true.  Their teachers beamed with pride at the effort and choice they put toward today’s peaceful walkout.  

Monday, March 12, 2018

Day 13 Facing the Fear of the Flush

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life

Facing fear...things we hear...

A long time ago-I think my daughter, Nattie, developed a fear of toilets after this incident occurred.  Ever since she potty-trained she's always had the "fear of the flush" and today was no exception.  

She's been sick with a cold the past few nights so we've been sleeping on the couches downstairs so the coughing, sneezing and nose-blowing don't wake the whole house.  Of course, I don't mind being woke up-it's a signal that she's ok.  It's so hard to see your children sick...

After last night's midnight rendezvous with the tissue box and some ibuprofen, I fell back to sleep pretty hard until about 2:30 when she woke up to go potty.

When she finished, she shook me by my foot to wake me up and scared the daylights out of me.  

"Why did you wake me up?" I asked panting and shaking.

"Because I had to flush," she declared with honesty.


"Mama, I had to flush and I didn't want to wake you up.  But I was scared."

"Scared, Nattie?"

"Yes, a girl's got fears you know.  I have fears and I have to face them even though I'm seven."

"Oh, so you wanted to face them with me and decided not to flush until I was awake?"  

"Yes, mama."



"Goodnight mom."

Now she's gone back to sleep.  I'm awake!  Writing, slicing, reading and commenting...a win win...

Thank goodness I could stay home from work today.

Day 12 A Slice of Girl Scout

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers
for hosting the Slice of Life


Today, March 12, commemorates the day in 1912 when Juliette Gordon Low officially registered the organization's first 18 girl members in Savannah, Georgia. Source 

Thank goodness Juliette dared to be different and get this party started.  You could read more about her in an awesome, kid-friendly book called, Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey and Illustrated by Hadley Cooper.

I’m excited for this day now that I have a daughter in Daisies!  She’s been working all year to learn and earn badges.  This means more to me now than it did when I was a scout.  I appreciate how her leaders have done meaningful yet fun activities for the girls all year.

I felt especially connected to learning more about Girl Scouts because of a recent trip to Savannah, Georgia-the Home of the Girl Scouts and Juliette Gordon Low. While on a carriage tour of the city, we clopped by the Low residence and I was able to snap a pic!  Our carriage driver told us stories about the funny things Girl Scouts do while they are in town visiting.  We also ran into two scouts who were out selling cookies.

On the Girl Scout website they invite girls to participate in Girl Scout Week this week with inspiring messages and be a G.I.R.L. every day! Thank you to Juliette Gordon Low for her dedication and inspiration.  You've moved countless numbers of girls with your initial ideas.  

Here's more information about the proposal to name the Savannah Bridge after her-the original GIRL!
There will be news conference at 1pm on March 12 in Atlanta.  Girls are being called to take action and write letters of support for re-naming the bridge. 

So exciting!  Go girls go!  Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!