100 Things I’m Grateful For

Day 3

Today, I’m grateful for…

  1. my home
  2. my husband
  3. the joy I have when he comes home
  4. my daughters
  5. my sons-in-law
  6. the future
  7. Bahrain
  8. vaccines
  9. clean water
  10. wearing flip flops every day for a year
  11. surviving the last year
  12. gifts of the heart
  13. the healthy pizza I had for dinner
  14. Al Raja School
  15. good neighbors
  16. books to read
  17. more people forced to deal with the reality of white supremacy than the previous year
  18. being in a new civil rights chapter
  19. notebooks to jot in
  20. peace
  21. love
  22. joy
  23. patience
  24. kindness
  25. goodness
  26. gentleness
  27. faithfulness
  28. self-control
  29. and those who live in the fruit of the Spirit
  30. fancy car horns that make me smile
  31. calendars
  32. friends to drink tea with
  33. friends to write poetry with
  34. friends to blog with
  35. children’s laughter
  36. board games
  37. a cushy chair at my dining room table
  38. being able to teach part time and a variety of experiences this year
  39. retirement coming
  40. cookies
  41. ginger molasses cookies
  42. chocolate chip cookies
  43. chocolate crinkle cookies
  44. soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese icing
  45. oatmeal raisin cookies
  46. Lent and how when it’s over I’ll eat cookies again
  47. Jesus
  48. Christians who act like Jesus
  49. rainbows
  50. crocheting
  51. creating
  52. call to prayer
  53. letters in the mail
  54. a clean page
  55. new earbuds
  56. smiling
  57. the paintings  around my apartment–
  58. the tropical flower my daughter painted in high school
  59. the Bahrain map
  60. the souq
  61. Rachel Maddow
  62. Kamala Harris
  63. Joe Biden
  64. wool, cotton and linen yarn
  65. my avocado sapling
  66. all my houseplants
  67. avocados
  68. sourdough
  69. kiwi
  70. navel oranges from Egypt
  71. Fuji apples
  72. karak tea
  73. electricity
  74. clean power
  75. reducing
  76. using up leftovers
  77. students who keep learning
  78. students who bring joy to teaching (Fran McCrackin’s sweet student yesterday)
  79. wind (Kevin’s poem “That Wind of Gust and Din” reminded me how I love a good wind storm)
  80. winds that don’t do damage
  81. Trevor Noah
  82. Hagar seeing the God who sees her
  83. Bartimaeus seeing more than the people around him
  84. my sisters and brothers
  85. my pressure cooker
  86. losing 30 pounds this year
  87. someday buying new clothes
  88. someday going to a party
  89. Special Olympics
  90. spelling bees
  91. mops to clean up spills
  92. the memory foam pad on my bed
  93. hard drives to share files and not have to upload for hours at a time
  94. fast Internet when I have it
  95. hearing so many different languages when I walk in my neighborhood
  96. tissues
  97. Fitbit
  98. church that can still meet online
  99. a future and a hope
  100. my home

Spelling Bee

#SOL21 Day 2

Today is day 2 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, and I had left my computer ready to relax on the couch. I was going to sew faces on some of my bees–spelling bees, which will decorate the certificates for our students. Of course, what else is there to do on yet another evening at home?

As I sat down though, fortunately I remembered to come back and write this post.

We are conducting a virtual spelling bee for any students who want to participate. We had 52 sign up by Sunday’s deadline. Then today we had them come to a scheduled preliminary placement test on Google Forms. Just a multiple-choice spelling test that should help us determine which of three groups to put them in. Surprisingly we only had 28 of them who completed the preliminary round. Hmmm….I’m not sure why. Maybe we will hear from some tomorrow. I don’t know what we’ll do.

We will have three different levels of the final spelling competitions on Zoom, based on the student’s score on the preliminary. We will give them some time to study words now. Then we are thinking of three rounds–

  • Round 1–they each write the same word in the chat to the host (judge).
  • Round 2–we’ll say the same word and everyone will write it on a whiteboard. On the count of three, they will turn it around and show the judges.
  • Round 3 would be a traditional spelling bee where each child left in the competition gets a different word and spells it orally.

There will be double eliminations, so everyone can make one free mistake.

Sadly, we have to think of how to do this in a way that will discourage cheating.

I wonder if anyone has any ideas for pulling this off! Please feel free to offer any advice on any part of this, as obviously we are building this plane in the air.

(Oh, my goodness–as I wrote that last line I did a quick search and other people, of course, have already been building that plane.) Now, I’ll go watch some Zoom spelling bee videos, and then I’ll get back to finishing the faces on my bees.

Crocheted bees on a tray in various stages of being completed, along with some pins and needles and thread..

Right Now

March 1, 2021

Right now, I am: 

  • sitting at my dining room table “desk”
  • taking notes about ideas to write 31 posts this month
  • cataloguing Terje’s engaging ideas
  • getting inspired
  • coming to write my 1 March post
  • giving myself permission to believe I can do Slice of Life again
  • breaking for a piece of chewing gum because that hummus I just made had way too much garlic
  • smiling that I just received notification an hour early that a student joined my Zoom class
  • feeling the weight of too many one year covid-versaries this week
  • noticing my “desk” looks the same as 2020 except on opposite sides of the table
  • photographing my table
  • sending it to myself in email
  • inserting the photo into this post
  • listening to the doves and pigeons outside my windows
  • grateful I can hear, see, taste, smell and touch
  • anticipating great reading and writing this month through SOL
  • interrupting my writing to take some hummus to my neighbor
  • checking my email to see if I have a response about when to send the spelling bee information to the 53 students who signed up
  • needing clarification about something else Bee-related, so will wait on that
  • hoping for a brighter 2021
  • breathing deeply and prayerfully
  • seeing the dirty dishes from making the hummus
  • washing the dishes
  • settling back to finish this post
  • hearing the timer go off telling me it’s time to make a pot of tea for my hubby’s meeting
  • pressing “publish,” excited it’s March!

February Open Write

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

It has been a month since I wrote on this blog. That’s the longest I’ve gone without writing a post during this past Covid year. Living with this pandemic has gotten so long and difficult. People are dying and we can’t even have proper funerals. I miss my family, my friends, and my church. There is only so much cooking and Zooming one can do.

This month I started watching The Man in the High Castle, which is a sci-fi, historical fiction, dystopian World War II series on Amazon Prime. My husband stopped watching after two episodes, but I can’t stop myself. Now I’m on Season 4, and I finally understand what it means to binge watch.

Tomorrow Lent starts and I am going to fast from sweets, even karak tea, which is sweet, spicy and milky tea that I love for a treat a couple of mornings a week. Today, Fat Tuesday, I ate a brownie, a cookie, a chocolate bar, and I had a whole pot of karak. I’m trying to decide if I also want to give up The Man in the High Castle, but I’ll probably finish Season 4 instead. I need more praying and being in God’s presence than watching this, though–that’s for sure!

March is coming. I’m excited to try the Slice of Life Story Challenge again. Last year was the first year I successful wrote each day in March for the SOLSC on the Two Writing Teachers blog. Maybe you would like to join us! Sign up here if you haven’t yet.

Also, poetry month is coming, and we have a month of Verse Love over at Ethical ELA. It would be great to see new people there.

We also write five poems a month. Today is the fourth day of the monthly Open Write. Here are my poems for this month:

16 February 2021
Alternate Names (A List) with David Duer

Alternate Names for My Piles

  1. Mightier than Mount Massive
  2. Everything Under the Sun
  3. Paper Snow Drift
  4. Fly Me to the Moon Pile-it
  5. Grim Reaper Lights a Match
  6. Megaphone of Distress
  7. Kafkaesque Quivering Castle
  8. Used to Be the Dining Room Table
  9. On Top and Now Underneath
  10. Just Throw Me Away Already

16 February 2021
Steps to Being (Insert Name) with Rachel Lipp

Steps to Being Denise Krebs

One: Be named Denise, not Lisa Lorraine because of that naughty Lisa in my mom’s scout troop. Wish your name would have been Lisa instead of Denise.

Two: Come to life when rock and roll was just a toddler and trouble was stirred up mostly by people like Elvis.

Three: Learn to be cute at all costs and run fast.

Four: Wear the same pair of blue jeans every day of sixth grade in honor of the first year you didn’t have to wear a dress to school.

Five: Be so angry that you see darkness when you argue with people who don’t deserve your respect.

Six: Let go of the anger and let Grace find you.

Seven: Wait too many years to realize that you and your white ancestors failed to own racism.

Eight: Own it and be better.

Now that I’ve identified these eight steps, they bring up eight or more questions, including who is Denise Krebs anyway?

15 February 2021
Out & Back with Rex Muston

Regrets

She studied geography, a college grad
Young and optimistic, though sad

A master’s in global food security
Was her sincere hope for futurity

She strayed before getting very far
Married, didn’t follow the North Star

She set off on this orbit, adulted a smidge
Now she can’t even manage food in her fridge

14 February 2021
Let’s Meet Somewhere with David Duer

Let’s Meet Somewhere
between Paullina and Orange City
where the odor of hogs occupies every pore
ubiquitous as it is noxious
and the gravel dances behind trucks
until it goes rogue and cracks your windshield

Let’s meet for burgers and fries,
where a veggie burger means
tomatoes, onions, and lettuce on your
all-beef patty with a homemade bun
at the greasy spoon that used to be called the Dug Out
Between the gas pumps out front and the toilet out back,
the one with the cracked mirror, no toilet paper,
a cloth roll for drying your hands that long ago was spent
and didn’t get replaced
and where the calcium deposits are so thick
you could chip them off with a strong fingernail

After lunch we’ll go to the ball park
pride of Granville
home of black soil and an immaculate diamond
and watch our Catholic boys beat the ego out of
the Protestants from down the road,
which has a bigger town and a richer school,
but they don’t know baseball
We’ll eat salty sunflower seeds and spit the shells under the bleachers
We’ll drink lemonade and eat watermelon
and stay for the second game of the double header

We’ll laugh and swear,
spit and eat,
talk and enjoy each other’s company

13 February 2021
Sonnets (Don’t Run Away) with Allison Berryhill

Elizabeth the Integral
Without you, we would be
Less than the whole
Your colleagues and kids
Respect and adore you
Reliable, gentle,
Relentlessly helpful
Consistent, responsive
Instinctively attentive
Keen
Adept
Perceptive
Delightful
Industrious
Compassionate
You’re loyal and sunny
To know you is to love you
And today is your day!
So we say,
“Thank you, God, for Elizabeth!”

January Open Write

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

It’s already Wednesday, Inauguration Day. I have refrained from watching the news the last couple of days because of lots of other daytime and evening commitments. This morning I woke up thinking about this post and a poem I didn’t write yesterday. Since it’s still Tuesday in parts of the U.S., I got up writing a poem about walls.

The world is due for a big change after one more sleep for the United States. I’m praying for justice and walls to come down during the next administration.

I am also posting my “Walls” poem and others that I’ve been trying to keep up with this week on Ethical ELA.

Happy Inauguration Day, everyone!

19 January 2021
Mindful Walking with Stacey Joy

Walls

I walk mindfully
around the cemetery
and I see a wall

Separating us–
the living from the dead. Are
they also mindful?

My mind jumps across
Earth’s span to U.S.
politics and walls

Divides us from
All our neighbors to the south–
At least in spirit

Confines refugees
Hoping for a new start, but
Not life in a cage

Restricts a future
Hope that independents will
Bring some sanity

Splits up lawmakers–
MAGAs versus those who think
insurrection’s bad

Breaks up Washington
Protecting democracy
From rebels within

Fortifies the White
Supremacy legacy–
Make her great, again?

Encloses our hearts
Against the madness and fear
Will we trust again?

Crumbles under the
Weight of justice served up to
All of God’s children

18 January 2021
One Word with Stacey Joy

Gratefully
I open the letter
ever-flowing and
breathed by you

Gratitude
for love,
life,
learning

Gratefully
I sit at the seashore
and chew on the manna

Gratitude
for sustaining,
up-ending,
building

Gratefully
Gratefully
Gratefully

Welcoming the
flow of justice,
ever-flowing justice

17 January 2021
Evidence with Susie Morice
Read Susie’s poem called “Thin Ice” to take a sad journey with her (at the link above).

Buttermilk

Today’s sky was covered in buttermilk–
streaked, like the sides of a
finished glass of it.

I thought of my childhood when
three generations of relatives
sat around the table
eating beans and cornbread. Earlier
ancestors hailed from Georgia,
so we still remembered–
after dinner everyone got
a tall glass of buttermilk
so they could crumble another
piece of cornbread
in and eat it
with an iced tea spoon. Meandering
rivulets, like today’s clouds,
ran down the glasses as we finished.

Today’s buttermilk sky was
a welcome winter anomaly. I didn’t see
buttermilk white, but instead I saw passionless
smoky curdles. Gray tinged
with subtle pinks as the sun tried
to push through the foggy undertones.

Skies are small here. City buildings
take up a lot of room. Today’s
buttermilk sky was stunted,
and as I walked to school
between buildings,
trying to glimpse more of the soured sky,
I thought back to the giant skies
above Iowa’s farmland. Now there
was a place one
could get lost in the sweet sky–
Cirrus, stratus, cumulus
galore. The sky was
generous and gracious
and made room for all. Layers
and layers of clouds
fill the heights, depths,
and breadth of the expanse
in every direction, in
every shade of white
they dance across the azure sky

Thinking of buttermilk
and big skies
made me home sick today.

16 January 2021
Conversations with Susie Morice

Wisdom

The moon held me in her gaze tonight
as I walked through the city.
She asked me why I didn’t
pay closer attention to her
(sometimes I don’t notice her at all)
but here she was
on full display
even amid the screaming
glare and clutter of the city lights.
Her heart was full, and her
body was a sweet smiling sliver.

She spoke to me kindly, and
asked if I had any questions for her.

Yes, I did, and right there
in the busy street,
I poured out my questions.

Luna, you’re just a toddler today,
Do your cheeks hurt with that ear-to-ear beam?

How do you keep track of all your phases?
Which one is your favorite?

Did you have ears to hear the spoken Word
that made you ruler of the night sky?

Do you give quick comebacks for
jumping cow and green cheese jokes?

When Jesus was born, how did you feel
being subordinate to that bright star?

How powerful is it to ripple the oceans
with your constant pull on the earth?

How many wars have you seen?
How many rapes have your eyes endured?

Do you wish you had wind?
Have you ever seen an alien?

How many night skies have you lit up?
How many skinny dippers have made you blush?

Did you weep when the astronauts
left their footprint on you?

She answered me,
indulging me with her serene replies.

I continued, hoping for more wisdom…

How did we ever elect that man?
He’s made such a…

That’s enough, dear, she interrupted,
Get along now.