Gathering Graces 2/19/2018

*Paul and I had today off from work, because of President’s Day.  In case you didn’t know,  Presidents' Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington's Birthday” by the federal government.  
*The temperature dropped a bit lower today.  But no more snow fell.  Paul and I started the morning finishing our Trivial Pursuit 80’s Edition game.  We both ended up getting our final pie, but Paul ended up the winner in the end. 
*It was time to box up all the snowmen, so the snowmen in the living room were put to rest for another year.  Paul then rearranged the living room so our little robot vacuum cleaner can work more effectively.  I love his arrangement.  I then brought out some items to make it look more “spring like” in the living room.
*The main bathroom received a little brightening up with a new shower curtain.  Christy had one she was getting rid of, and so I put it up today.  I looks really great!
*I changed the bed and put on new sheets.  One of my little simple pleasures is sleeping on sheets right after the bed has been changed,  They just feel so nice!! 
*I worked on laundry throughout the day, and did the dishes.  I read off and on throughout the day, and watched some TV, too.  It was relaxing, but I also accomplished a lot as well.  A really nice day.  And I especially enjoyed it because Paul was around to share the day with me.


Gathering Graces 2/18/2018

*As our world here in Kellogg was covered in a blanket of white snow, and the snow was blowing and coming down more and more, the decision was made to cancel our church service so members of our congregation would not venture out into the snow.  Paul drove over to the church around 8:30 a.m., and he said the roads were awful, and the visibility on the highway was very low.

*We had a nice, relaxing morning watching the snow come down.

*At one point I heard a bird chirping outside, and saw this little bird in one of the bushes by the patio.  I think he was complaining about all the snow.  Not me.  I love the white stuff!

  *In the afternoon Christina came for a visit and to spend time with her dog Archie.b  She had been at her daughter’s house in Hauser Lake that morning, and said the roads and weather was fine until right before Kingston, and that is when the winter storm hit.  When Archie saw Tina, it was really cute.  Archie knew exactly who she was and even quit playing ball outside with Paul so he could come inside and spend time with Tina.  And then when she left, he whined and cried for about an hour, because he missed her.

*It was family dinner night, and we all gathered at Bill and Debbie’s house.  It was nice to have Debbie back in town after her visit to Eugene.  She reported she had a wonderful, low key, relaxing time on her trip.  Bill cooked a delicious beef stew with dumplings, and Debbie made a salad.  It was a perfect dish as the temperatures started to drop, and the air turned colder.  It was a wonderful evening to all be together, visiting and sharing about what has been happening in our lives.

*When Paul and I got home, we started a fire, and decided to play the 80’s version of Trivial Pursuit.  As we headed off to bed, we were tied, with each of us needing one more pie.  I need to get a yellow pie, which is “In the News”, and Paul needs a blue pie, which is “Personalities”.  We will see who the winner is in the morning.
*Saturday afternoon I went down to the basement to work on, what I thought was going to be a poem about snow.  But my thoughts turned toward discussions I had been in the day before regarding students, and those who have experienced trauma, and how we as school employees can help them.  My fourth 52 Cups of Poems poem is loosely based on a real story I heard from a student last week, and you can find the poem here.  You can read Christy’s fourth poem about my starting my book here.

52 Cups of Poems: Cup Four: Any Takers?

Saturday afternoon I went down to the basement to work on, what I thought was going to be a poem about snow.  But my thoughts turned toward discussions I had been in the day before regarding students, and those who have experienced trauma, and how we as school employees can help them.  This poem is loosely based on a real story I heard from a student last week.

Any Takers?

Teacher, why do you hate me?
Why do you tell me I'm stupid?
Why can't you tell me I did something good for once?
Other kids get smiles.  I get scowls. 
All I need is one kind word.

Teacher, how was your night last night?
You probably drove home to your warm, safe house, and cooked a healthy meal for your husband...
and you relaxed and maybe had a glass of wine to ease the tension of your day.

Teacher, do you want to know about my night?
When I got home, it was cold.
We don't have a furnace, so I had to chop some wood to get the woodstove going.
I come home to no one.  Which is nice, at times.
Because often when I do come home, when people are here, the house is filled with the sound of yelling and hitting and there is no place to relax.

Teacher, there is no healthy food at my house.
Food is usually a low priority, when there is beer, cigarettes and weed to buy.
I haven't found a way to easy my tension at the end of the day.  I get no relief.

Teacher, I wish I trusted someone to tell them my story.
Can't there be just one person out there who cares?
All I really need is a smile, a kind word, and maybe a hug.

Any Takers?


Gathering Graces 2/17/2018

*The morning began with a drive to Coeur d’Alene to meet at Calypso Coffee Shop to do a read through of the script for the final scenes in the Clockworld movie Paul and I have been working on the last few summers.  Filming should be wrapped up this spring and summer, and then it will all be made into a feature film.

Some of the cast at the script read-through.

*It was not easy going driving to and from Coeur d’Alene.  I am so thankful Paul drove, and is a good driver in the snow.  I played Solitaire on my Tablet the whole way, only occasionally looking up if we were slowing down.  On the way home, we were behind snow plows for a while, which helped a bit.  When we were about halfway down the Fourth of July pass, we saw two semis stuck side by side (I believe the reason was no chains), and the row of cars starting to pile up behind them was growing steadily.  I was glad Paul and I made it home safe and sound.
*It was a nice relaxing afternoon.  I went down to the basement for a change of scenery, turned on some classical music, and worked on writing my poem that I will post this week.  My intention was writing a poem about winter, but instead it came from ideas swirling in my head from the professional development presentation on students who deal with trauma.
*A little after 5:30 p.m., Paul and I got in the car and went over an picked up Christy and Everett and we drove uptown to the Kellogg Elks to enjoy our first ever All-You-Can-Eat-Crab -Feed.  It was really fun and really good!!  We were sitting at the first row of tables, and so we got to say hello to all the people who were there who were in line to get their food.  That was fun!!  It was also fun seeing some of our KHS JROTC students doing a wonderful job helping with serving and other things throughout the night.  Bill and Debbie were also at the crab feed, but they were with a group of friends who were sitting at tables in the basement.  I think Christy, Everett, Paul and I decided this was really fun, and would like to do it again next year!!  And we learned a few new tricks to be even more prepared in order to make it a success (like bringing your own napkins or wipes....things get a little messy!!)

Christy and Everett enjoying their first bites of crab.

We are excited to have all the crab we want!!
*Eating crab is exhausting work!!  We left the Elks around between 8:30 and 9 p.m. and dropped Christy and Everett off, then came home and read a little bit, and got ready for bed.


Gathering Graces 2/16/2018

*As Paul and I participated in the Professional Development Day for the Kellogg School District, the snow continued to fall all day long.  When he arrived home, he could take the snow blower Christy and Everett gave us out on a maiden voyage.  Boy does it work great.
*For lunch today, 16 different people made soup and we had a soup competition at lunch.  If you liked one of the soups, you were given “soup bucks” to put in an envelope at the table.  Soup makers with the most bucks received prizes.  Well, my rendition of Grandma Naydeen Taylor’s Cheese Soup won fourth prize, and $25!  I was so excited.
*After lunch I was in charge of two sessions.  I talked about students who have had trauma in their life learn differently and behave differently, because their brain actually changes.  We watched a movie, Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope, that addresses this very issue.  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are a way  to indicate what trauma people have experienced in their lives.  Despite the fact that is was a snowy Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., my second session had a really great discussion about how we could implement some of the strategies addressed in the movie in our own school district.  And both session participants agreed that the majority of the students we work with in the Kellogg School District have experience many different types of trauma, and they are now the majority.  And there needs to be a shift on how we are dealing with these students.  It was a very exciting afternoon.  I am fortunate to work with some really wonderful educators in this school district, who really care and want what is best for the kids.
*After Paul took  care of the snow on the sidewalks and driveway, we had some dinner and watched a couple episodes of The Crown.  I was particularly intrigued with the episode when John and Jackie Kennedy visited Buckingham Palace. 


Gathering Graces 2/15/2018

*Happy Thursday!!  And Happy Birthday to my son-in-law Travis!!
*It was nice to talk to Zoe on the phone this evening.  She had a few questions to ask me.  As we talked on the phone, she was making Travis a birthday cake.  All three girls are gathering together, along with Travis, Jason and Jimmy, for this long weekend to spend it together.  I don’t know why, but it just thrills me that they want to spend a weekend together.  I can’t wait to hear about all their adventures!  Part of the time will be in Meridian, seeing and visiting family and friends, and part will be in a cabin in Donnelly, Idaho.
*I spent some time this evening preparing for my presentation at our school district’s Professional Development Day.  I will be showing a movie titled Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope.  I have two different sessions in the afternoon.  I am looking foward to sharing this information with other educators in our district. 
*We are also having a Soup Contest at lunch, which I will be a competitor.  I decided a few weeks ago I wanted to make a cheese soup recipe I had received from Paul’s Grandma Naydeen Taylor years ago.  But I couldn’t remember where to locate the recipe.  I looked it up on Pinterest, and found a similar one, but it wasn’t quite right.  I looked through a file of recipes on my cookbook bookshelf, but it wasn’t in that file.  I remembered I had a box in the basement with recipes in it, and, after only taking a few recipes out of the box I found Grandma Naydeen’s recipe. If I remember correctly, back in 1989, she gave each of us a soup recipe at Christmas that year. Some got the Cheese Soup recipe, and some received a Taco Soup recipe.  So Cheese Soup is what I am making for my soup competition entry. 
*I knitted a coaster tonight using a different pattern.  This one has stripes.  I am enjoying learning how to create new patterns.  I look forward to sharing all my projects I have completed with Debbie Diedrich when she returns home this weekend.  And I have some questions to ask her about some other aspects of knitting that I have been struggling with as I try new yarns.


Gathering Graces 2/14/2018

*What a beautiful, snowy Valentine’s Day today.  I am a fan of the snow, so I love watching the snow fall, and cover the world in a blanket of white.
*When I arrived at work today, I realized I had not eaten breakfast.  I used to be a horrible breakfast eater.  Then I discovered this amazing steel cut oats and flaxseed instant oatmeal from Safeway, and now I have a bowl of it almost every morning, with a little pink Himalayan salt and real maple syrup on top.  And a cup of coffee with frothed milk on top.  But that did not happen this morning.  It could have been because my morning routine changed a bit this morning.  Since lent began today, Paul and I started a lenten devotional this morning, based on the book of Matthew, and that may have been part of the deal. 
*Despite the fact I didn’t have breakfast, it was a really great day today, and two students brought me Valentines.  Logan brought me a box of chocolates and a nice card, and Rylee brought me a little Valentine cake and a white rose.  I am sure going to miss these two next year!!

*Paul and I enjoyed Chinese food take out from Wah Hing tonight, and watched a couple episodes of The Crown.  It is so interesting learning about a person’s life who has been a part of my life ever since I was born.  There has always been Queen Elizabeth.  Paul also sang love songs to me at various times throughout the day when he would pop into my office.
*I got a very appropriate fortune from my cookie after dinner. I am working on making it come true this year.
*But it wasn’t all flowers, and hearts and chocolates today.  There was another school shooting today.  And, according to news reports, this is the eighth school shooting so far in the first seven weeks of 2018. What can I do?  What I do every day with the kids I work with at KHS.  Give them a smile.  Let them know they matter.  Let them know they have a purpose.  This is sharing God’s love with them.  I want them to know someone cares.
*As I reflect on the “day of love”, this is what love really means to me....
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.                  
I Corinthians 13: 4-13


Gathering Graces 2/13/2018

Kellogg Sunrise

*When I returned home from walking this morning, it was light out, and the sun was starting to rise.  When I was driving home, a was fortunate to catch a photo of the beautiful sunset filling the sky with orange colored clouds.  Beauty in the sky at the beginning and the end of today.

Kellogg Sunset
*I didn’t work today, because I will be working on Friday during a Professional Development Day.  So I started off the day getting my hair cut, colored and highlighted.  It it always fun to get a new look for spring!
*Later in the morning I drove to Wallace and met with Susan P. Halley, who is the director of the Sierra Silver Mine Tour.  This popular tourist attraction in Wallace has relocated to a new building on Cedar Street, and I got a sneak peek at what it is going to look like inside, and it is going to be fabulous!!!  I have worked at the SSMT for the past eight summers or so, and plan to return this summer again. 
*For about six months or so I have not been able to download books to my Kindle Fire from the “Cloud”.  I would always get a error message telling me it would not download, and to call Amazon Customer Service.  I finally called Amazon Customer Service today, and spoke to a very nice lady who helped me troubleshoot the problem, and, by the end of our conversation, I had success.  I can now download books to my Kindle and read them.  I was particularly glad about one book I just purchased, it is a Lent Devotional that Paul and I want to start tomorrow, and I was hoping we could read it from the Kindle on Wednesday morning.  It looks like we can.
*I headed out to Pinehurst Elementary to meet with my amazing drama kids.  We had a great time singing, and one girl brought out her recorder, and we played around with that for a while, and we did our final videoing of the students today singing “Do Re Mi”.  It is such a fun time working with these students.
*After sharing my comment about learning the sign language alphabet in fourth grade, I had a few fellow Sunnyside Elementary students comment on remembering they learned the sign language alphabet as well.  It was fun to read their comments.