Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SOLS: Comments Matter

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Yesterday, Ruth asked a very important question: What fuels writers?

Feedback is important in the writing process.  Someone to open your eyes.  Someone to challenge your thinking.  Someone to question.  Someone to help you change and rearrange your words to let them flow.  Someone to encourage you to try something new.  Someone to help open your heart and mind to grow in the writing process.  Comments matter. 

In my busy life, I don't have the opportunity to read all the Slice of Life posts, but I do try and read as many as I can . . . especially those writers that I know and love to read each week.  As I read a Slice of Life Story, I try and connect with the author, learn a little bit more, listen a little bit deeper, understand why the writer wanted to share the slice of life.  And so, from there, I leave a comment . . . most of the time.  Comments matter. 

There are many that comment. Readers that provide such insights and provoke my thinking as a writer.  Readers that see things that I didn't intentionally try to do in my writing.  Readers that show that they care and understand and listen.  Why do we write for the world to see and read? Comments are the breath of life in blogging.  Comments matter. 

There are also many that don't comment and that's okay. I've been there before, sitting with my fingers tapping the keys wondering what to say, wondering how my words can make a difference.  Every voice matters.  We are all just little kids inside looking for reassurance. Hoping that we've written a story worth sharing.  Wishing to gain more insight and clarity in our writing.  Praying that somebody liked it!  Comments matter. 

To help fuel my fellow writers, my goal is to always leave a comment, even if it is as simple as: Thanks for sharing!  Feedback fuels writers.  To do more, to try more, to write more. Comments matter. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SOLS: To Live is to Laugh

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Over the weekend, I took my two girls to Costco.  It's one of those wholesale warehouse stores with huge carts with room for two up front - perfect for a mom with twins!  We arrived as it opened, before the Saturday crowd scurried in to fill up the aisles.  I plopped the girls in the cart and we were ready to shop.

"Uh oh," P said as she showed me half of the buckle.  Somehow we picked a cart that did not have two functioning buckles. I didn't think they would notice.

I easily forgot that they are my husband's daughters.  We must follow the rules and obey all safety procedures.  How do they know this at 18 months?

"It's okay. It's broken. I'll be right here. You'll be fine."

"Uh oh," P repeated, knowing this response wasn't good enough.

"Oh, look at the lights!" I said, doing my best to distract her.

We first browsed the Christmas trees and decorations, looking at the lights, the garland, the wrapping paper.  I was talking to M and P about the excitement of their second Christmas.

"Pri-ttee," P stated as she pointed to the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree on display. "Pri-ttee."

"Oh, so pretty," I replied with growing excitement of the season to come.

We turned down the next aisle and the girls managed to spot . . .

"Elmo!! Elmo!!" They shrieked.  It does not matter where we are, they have a serious radar for this red, furry friend.  Funny thing is they have never seen Elmo on TV. Only in the books.  But they sure do love him.  We stopped to play with the Elmo on display and the girls just giggled with joy and delight.

"Say thank you and bye-bye."  My secret little trick to keep us moving on when we need to get going. Works like a charm whenever we have to leave the swings at the park.

"Tank choo," M said waving goodbye to Elmo.

"Buh-bye. Buh-bye," P added.

We strolled down the next aisle, but saw nothing that created the same buzz of excitement as Elmo.  We cruised to the end.  Around the corner, I carefully drove the cart narrowly missing the end cap of the sock display.

From out of nowhere, in unison, the girls shouted, "HIIIII-YYYY!!!"

Now, kids go through many stages.  We had the stage of stranger anxiety, but now they love to say "hi" to anyone they see.

I heard a chuckle from an older gentleman who then looked to his wife.

This fueled my two darlings.  M flipped her head back, closed her eyes and let out a big, bellowing (albeit fake) laugh.  Another stage.  When M and P hear laughter, they join in the fun.

"Ha ha ha ha." M looked for a response.

P followed suit. "Ha ha ha."

Again, the man and woman laughed in amusement a little louder.

As do my girls.

As do I.  Shaking my head, chuckling in delight.

This little moment.  I want to hold on to.  Forever.

Thank you for this slice of life.  To laugh.  To love.  To live in this moment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SOLS: Threads of Life

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Threads of life
but pull one thread
like a string on a sweater
and watch me unravel. 
I'm incomplete.

              precious time with
              my beautiful, silly 18 month old girls,
              my adoringly sensitive husband,
              and my other full time job with
              27 students and numerous colleagues asking thoughtful questions
              searching for answers, possibilities, opportunities

              that I can create harmony in my life fulfilling all those needs,
              including my own.
               all the latest and greatest picture books my library has in stock,
               the YA that I missed out on years ago
               including "reading" audio books in the car,
               professional reading, journals, articles, books,
               Twitter, Google Reader, blogs, blogs, more blogs,
               Goodreads updates, email, and my frivolous indulgence: US Weekly 
               my love of reading with my children and my students
               to show them what lives in pictures and words.

               all that my brain can absorb
               to improve as a mom, a wife, an educator
               to be the best me
               at home and in my classroom
               making a difference every day by
               thinking, reflecting, changing, and achieving

               to be the one to make a difference.
               In your life, and your life, and your life.

Threads of life
but pull one thread
like a string on a sweater
and watch me unravel. 
I'm incomplete.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SOLS: One Reason To Read This Book

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Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One reason to read this book: It was a great "listen"! Every time I got in my car, I listened. I made trips around town longer to listen. I sat in the school parking lot an additional 15 minutes to listen to the end this morning!  I had to listen.

First of all, I love how this book was written and how Jay Asher thought of the idea -- brilliant!

An issue like suicide is never simple or easy to understand. So many unanswered questions. So many unknowns. Reaching out for help. Subtle clues that can be missed because life is too busy. Everyone has a story to tell. And Hannah told her story. Just listen to the tapes.

This week I received this email and thought it was worth sharing. A simple, yet powerful example of how delicate we all are, especially our children:

A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, but do not rip it.

Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said... they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it.

That is what happens when a child bully's another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SOLS: Do You Ever Get the Feeling?

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Do you ever get the feeling
of being pulled this way and that?
t     h    i     n
in all directions?
Trying your best to please them all?
Agreeing to help out whenever you can?
Giving 110% while trying to
Balance this delicate life
of home and school?

But everyone needs you

I need me now. 
 I need me time. 
I need me back.

I need