Rearranging stuff

My sister, creator of StoneLeaf & Co., has been rearranging stuff for a long time.  Each necessary shift has positively impacted her and her outlook. She wrote yesterday about how she has been on a journey searching for a purpose and voice for her writing.  She has accepted that her current story to tell is about our mother and the uncomfortable journey of Alzheimer’s.  I respect my sister’s strength to accept her current role.

I am therefore inspired to accept opportunities for growth as 2015 begins.  I don’t know what will need to be rearranged first, but I suspect it will be something mundane: hanging up clothes, painting the edges of the walls in my kitchen, clearing out all the bins I have collected in 12 years of teaching, finishing a book, redistributing my fat to muscle ratio, finding more time to spend with loved ones, etc.

I will probably rearrange some furniture sooner or later too.

I do know one thing.  I am not good at keeping “new year’s resolutions.”  So, this year, I am going to trust God first.  Then, I am going to set 24-hour goals and see what happens as stuff gets rearranged. I hope the result is a better me.

T-shirts folded and rearranged.

T-shirts folded and rearranged.

Monday Metaphor – Wrung out

Today, I was put through the wringer and completely wrung out.

It was one of those Mondays that takes all a teacher has not to pull out her students’ hair!  Even so, it was merely one day in all the glorious days of my life.  Trials are to be expected and met with full knowledge of God’s promise to us:

Now this is what the Lord says…  “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.  I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.  You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.  For I [am] Yaweh, your God, the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior.

Isaiah 43:1-3 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Thank you, God, for miracles on Mondays.

“Bricks” – Thursday Theme – Build a Classroom

This video, “Bricks,” is a call to help build classrooms for students in Uganda. The connection for me? I have a beautiful classroom full of students who seem to think that learning is over for the year since they’ve already taken their state assessment for my subject. My task is to “build a classroom environment” that will inspire learning. Where are my new bricks? I have to create them from the outer limits of my creative teaching ability.

Bob Goff is a fun guy. His short video posts are inspiring. So tomorrow, I am going to be a fun, inspiring teacher. My kids will be told to play games. They will say, “Miss, you are so cool! This is the most fun class ever!” True, true. But I will be the one having all the fun as they will be tricked into thinking critically and defending their responses. How ’bout them bricks?!

Monday Metaphorical Moment – Two to Tango

It takes two to tango.

I dance Argentine Tango. As you can imagine, I’ve heard tons of tango truisms.  Some of my fellow tango afficionados nearly absolutize tango and make everything in life about tango.  In short, tango is a metaphor for life.  And while there are many intriguing and valid observations about life to be seen at a milonga, I dare to say that tango is not a metaphor for all of life.  For that, I am thankful.

Tango is a great sidebar to the rest of my life, but it is not my life.  I don’t need to refer to tango to explain all the situations in my life.  Again, for that, I am thankful.

Tango rhythms are a basic 4/4, but with a syncopated rhythm that calls dancers to the dance floor.  One of my favorite tango orchestra leaders, Juan D’Arienzo, was famous for inspiring tangueros to enter the floor for a tanda.  One of my early favorite D’Arienzo recordings is “A Media Luz” (half light).  

Tonight, I will join some very good friends at Zaguan Latin Cafe for a milonga.  I am going because I enjoy dancing tango.  “It takes two to tango,” so I do hope that I find several worthy partners to share tandas of exhilarating music with me tonight.  Each tango is approximately three minutes, not a life time.  Those three minutes can uplift and transport dancers to a beautiful moment. At the end of the evening, tango is still, well, tango.  Life is much larger than tango, but having tango in my life certainly makes some of those moments more special.

Mnemonic (31 of 31)

Today is October 31, 2013.  I never had to second-guess that October is a month with 31 days.

Joey, one of my students, asked me whether every month had 31 days.  He was responding to my writing prompt for the day–How would you define Gothic?  He wanted to bring in background information about calendars.  I looked at him considering all the possible responses I could give, such as, “Look it up”, “Just do the best you can” or “Why don’t you know that???”  Instead, I remembered something my Dad taught me when I was a young kid.  So instead of telling Joey anything at all, I showed him a mnemonic which he will never forget.

Dad showed me how to make a fist and use my knuckles and dips between knuckles to recite the months in order.  The index finger is “January” and the valley between the pointer and the “dirty” finger is “February.” Continue on until the pink knuckle, which is “July,” and then tap it again for “August” and go towards the index finger again.   Joey watched in amazement as my fingers unraveled the mystery of days in months.  Then he made his fingers dance the same information.  He was elated.

Teaching this took seconds from me and passed along a tried and true legacy.  Feeling joy from that simple teaching moment with Joey, I was reminded once again why I teach:  Teaching was a gift to me and imparting knowledge, simple and grand, is my legacy to my students.