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Showing posts from 2020

{a gift} #sos

  I read this new book: Grit for Girls and Young Women: Why the Most Difficult Challenges are So Important -- a gift from a dear friend to my daughters. She had no idea what those words did to me. Tears filled my eyes, succumbed to all the emotions of this spring and summer and the year of 2020. Especially, a summer of the not-so-relaxing, let-it-all-go, think-about-nothing kind of summer. But a summer of hearing data, growing concerns, and waiting. waiting. waiting. to hear plans for returning to school this fall. I guess I didn't realize how much I was holding in.  My ten year old daughter, Madison, walked into the room. "This book from Karen is awesome. I can't wait to read it with you. They are full of words that you need to hear, but I guess I did too --"    I caught my breath and asked, "Can I get a hug?" "Why? What's wrong, Mommy?" She pleaded as I walked over to her and we sat together embraced on the couch. I kissed the top of her hea

{olw: peace} #sos

PEACE More than two-thirds through this year (thank God!) ... And as I was walking the other day, I started reflecting on my one little word for the year:  PEACE. We were vacationing in the beautiful state of New Hampshire as the new year began. I was enjoying some precious alone time riding up to the top of the green run at Crotched Mountain. (All the others were aiming for higher elevations.) Through the repeated quiet rides up, enjoying the crisp winter beauty, PEACE called to me. I wanted PEACE this year. I needed, required, desperately craved PEACE -- to slow my pace of life and enjoy some quiet, down time. And then take time to treasure these moments. Image Credit: @PositivelyPresent Well. Did God ever provide me with the biggest opportunity of PEACE , or what?!? Yes, there were many moments of chaos and stress, but I still held tightly to PEACE in my heart and in my home. The gift that we were given to be together for over two months as a family of four. To focus on PEACE o

{time away} #sos

This summer, as with anything in 2020, has been anything but usual. Days at the pool non-existent. Playdates with friends on hold. Camps delayed. One vacation delayed a year. Another vacation postponed until deemed safer.  But, thankfully, we did get away as a family for a week.  We are so blessed to have a family cabin in the woods in the middle of Wisconsin. We packed the mini-van FULL with AnythingAndEverything we may need (or want). Here there seems like there is nothing to do. Here we just get to be in the slow moment of time... We stayed up late and slept in until we stretched out of bed.  I stole moments to sit in the quiet and read.  We noticed the beautiful Monarch butterflies fluttering in the breeze.  I was in awe of the bright blue sky and puffy white clouds.  We hung out in bright pink flamingo tubes cooling off in the lake.  I enjoyed lots of walks with the dog on a new dirt road.  We bounced around in a UTV on the trails splashing in mud puddles when they presented thems

{tangled} #sos

Tangled i stare and wonder a tangled mess of cords and light bulbs where do i begin unraveling the twisted confusion i stare and ponder how this messy web resembles the heap of resources articles, blog posts, webinars, books suggestions overloading my brain from clarity i stare  and flounder not knowing where  to start unraveling this confinement knowing i just need to start doing the work i stare and consider starting at one end slowing weaving in and out taking my time carefully making knowledgeable decisions i stare  and admire the organization of streamlining of ideas as the lightbulbs are shedding light on new understanding

{the pile waited}

Image from Unsplash: Photo Credit Kimberly Farmer March 13th Before the world closed the doors indefinitely I made a quick stop at our library grabbed stacks (and stacks) of books and a few movies to entertain the family during the unknown months ahead. The pile waited -- I imagined enjoying my time at home, spending hours upon hours just reading with my feet up, living in a new book a day. But, for me, I couldn't focus. Fall into a book. Feel lost in another world. All my attention online had my brain dinging like a pinball machine. The pile waited -- The extended lease is up on all the library materials in 5 days. Now I am frantically trying to read and read and read in an attempt to move my to-be-read books to the finished, completed,  happily read and ready to return to the library pile. The pile patiently waited.  Some books will be pleasantly devoured. Some books will be a quick read.  Others will be returned with  a desperate plea to be checked out again. June 30th

Maybe Year 10 Needs to be Different: #cyberPD in 2020

#cyberPD Book Selections For a decade, #cyberPD has been an anticipated summer event to connect educators near and far in collaborative professional conversation. Through blogs, Twitter, and various digital media, participants share thinking around a common professional title featured for discussion. Though the main event is in July of each year, the conversations and connections carry across the year. Since #cyberPD's first event, we've grown from a group of less than 15 to a community of over 150 educators.   We have found this community to be powerful and the conversations have helped us grow in our journey as educators. These conversations have pushed us, made us uncomfortable, and allowed us the chance to see things from different perspectives. It’s amazing to think that #cyberPD was a pioneer for online book clubs and this community made it possible!   Yet, here we are today. When we got ready to “share our bookstacks,” COVID was in full swing and teachers were juggling

{should have}

Image from Unsplash: Photo Credit Jordan McQueen Right now, we {should have} been ... Enjoying the Hawaiian Islands A trip of a lifetime with family Celebrating 50 years of marriage and family Soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches Sight seeing and observing island life Relaxing, laughing, sipping something good Flipping through the tourist books Balancing the busy hustle and the resting calm Making memories and taking lots of photos All this will happen. Just not this year. Not right now.  But Summer 2021. Watch out. We are coming for you. For right now, we are home. Dreaming about what {should have} been.

{write now} #sos

Right now ... I am at a loss for words. My fingers are empty. The white page taunts me and I return the blank stare. And then I was reminded to just write. Just write. Just write. Write now ... The sun radiates the bright blue sky without a cloud in sight. The warm breeze sending leaves dancing and cotton puffs floating. The house is peacefully quiet, except the tick-tock tick-tock of the clock, a lawn mower in the far distance cutting healthy green blades of grass, And the girls voices traveling down the hall from their upstairs bathroom together creating special art with their hair.

{staying silent to listen} #sos

The world is flipped upside down. Trying to wrap my brain around it. Staying silent to listen To hear the cries. Hard to focus and concentrate Or think about anything else. Staying silent to listen To hear the power of words. Reading, sorting, gathering Resources, videos, book titles, blog posts. Staying silent to listen To hear the stories. To really, really l.i.s.t.e.n. Trying to hear all sides of a  very complicated issue and timeline. Staying silent to listen To open my eyes. Wanting to teach my daughters What is true and right and just. Staying silent to listen To hear what I can do. Capturing the essence of what I need to do in my classroom. Staying silent to listen To hear and deeply understand. Trying to wrap my brain around  this world that is flipped upside down.

It's Year 10!! #cyperPD

It's been a loooong last few months of school this year. I'm looking forward to saying goodbye. Closing this short chapter and moving forward. Hello Summer! Time to just be in the moment and to read what I want without so many distractions of having to be online. I know there is so much more going on in the world right now. But we need to stay strong together. To learn and grow. To help our country move forward. To change. To be the change. Books can help us on that journey ... Our #cyberPD group is back yet again for a summer of reading and learning together. The book selected is always one of my favorite PD books that opens the door to conversations to help me grow as a person and educator. Here are the books we have read together over the last nine years: Join us for Year 10 of #cyberPD! Step 1: Share a photo or a virtual book stack of what you hope to read this summer. Share on Twitter (adding #cyberPD) or in our #cyberPD MeWe community. Step 2: Be sure to join our #cyberP

{saying goodbye}

Saying goodbye  This week has been full of many kinds of goodbyes ... I've been trying to remind myself:  It's not goodbye forever -- it's until we meet again.           To staff and colleagues waving through a computer screen                To my students through snail-mail in a postcard           To fifth graders moving on to junior high                To trusted teachers and staff at my daughters' school           To the last two months of doing school online                To a school year full of joy and hope ... and strife and stress           To the last day of school today Saying goodbye is always hard. But closure is necessary to move on. So goodbye until we meet again. And hello summer.

{run happy}

Run happy I'm not a runner. Well, that's what I tell myself anyway. My girls were signed up to participate in Girls on the Run (GOTR) through their school. It is a wonderful program that promotes girl empowerment by teaching life skills through lessons and running. The goal is to run a 5K and celebrate their accomplishments. Both the girls' dad and I agreed to be their running buddies. So we all had some work to do to be ready. Then the world stopped. We decided to train at home during this stay-at-home order. We had the time. We had places to run. The fresh air was good. No excuses. Maybe a few grumbles. As a family, we ran. Sometimes a mile. Sometimes a mile and a half. Sometimes two. It wasn't ever easy. Or fun. What mattered was that we did it together and the running made a difference (more for us than them). We ran in the morning, sometimes lunchtime, or after all our school work was done. We ran in the cold, the rain, and the sun all through the e

{quiet time}

Quiet time These days quiet times are few and far between. Quarantined. Together. Always. 24/7. Don't get me wrong. I love this gift of family. Being together. All. The. Time. But ... I'm also that type of person Who loves some alone time. In the past, my schedule allowed me Time alone in the car driving or walking the dog. Time to think. To wonder. To reflect. To pray. To just be. Without someone calling my name. Over and over. And over and over. Today I was gifted twenty minutes. Alone walking the dog. Harley doesn't repeatedly call my name. She just gives me the puppy dog eyes. What a gift. To celebrate my one little word. Peace. And quiet time.


Tomorrow. May first. They turn ten years old. Ten years ago, my twin baby girls came into this world. God blessed us with so much when He gifted them to us. When I found out we were having twins, it was a big surprise. One is never really ready for a newborn, let alone two!! They have changed my life. Made me who I am today. Created me into the mother I didn't know I could be -- it is a scary, unknown role. But, every day, they make me a better person. Not perfect. But always reflecting and progressing. Lots of hugs ... and plenty of apologies. These two, though, bring us so much joy. They are similar, but yet so different. Sweet, stubborn, silly, kind, sassy, loving, funny, creative, special, determined, thoughtful, smart, beautiful inside and out. These girls are growing up before my eyes. In a blink. Ten years. A decade. Double digits. 10. I'm extra thankful for this time together now -- to savor every moment of every day. Before another ten


Walks I've always enjoyed my extra daily walks ever since adopting our Harley dog two years ago. Quiet, alone time to think and pray walks. Or listen to a podcast, a book, or music kind-of-walks. But THEN it was always a chore to check off the to-do list. Quick. Let's go. C'mon. I've got to get back and ... {fill in the blank with any number of chores.} But TODAY the three-times-a-day walks happen as a family. Our walks together provide us with opportunities to talk, notice, wonder, surprise, question, wait-and-watch in awe, share memories, make memories, and take more pictures. Each walk brings something new -- A group of little yellow birds A family of ducks with five newly hatched ducklings All the trees sprouting buds and flowers and little green leaves A big white bird diving into the pond for a fishy snack A bunch of spring flowers blossoming The sun and clouds or bright clear blue sky, depending on the day Walks get us outside, away from the


Time. It seems with this pause in life, I should have all the time in the world. Time to relax. And lay on the couch. Time to pick up a hobby. Or just start writing again. Time to get bored. And be okay with it. Time to just be. In the moment and notice. Yet, my time has been filled in many other ways. Space to slow-down our hurried life. More quiet time with God. Daily simple moments captured in photos. Home-cooked meals shared around the table. Blessed for this time to all be home, safe together. Dog walks throughout our neighborhood. Running together as a family mile after mile. Reading books, watching TV, playing games, creating and crafting. Times when we need to {not} be together ... It seems with this pause in life, I do have all the time in the world. {Sigh.} It just depends on how I want to see it. Time.


Nine years ago. She nudged me. She invited me to share my stories ... that I didn't even know were waiting. Nine years ago. I started a little blog for me. I crafted and created and wrote stories ... that mattered to me and a small community. Four days ago. She nudged me. Again. She invited me to share my stories ... that I didn't even know were waiting. Again. Today. She nudged me. Gently with a text. I have been thinking about her invitation ... wondering if I have more stories to share. Tonight. I opened up my notebook. I stared at the blank page ... the pen easily moved across the lines. Tonight. I'm ready to write. Again. Thank you, Ruth, for the nudge ... to write in a new space during this pause. To share in the power of story. ___________________________ {An invitation goes out to my Mom to join me. Again.  Are you ready to jump back in and share your stories?}