Thursday, June 23, 2011


Do you hear what I hear?
"You need to prepare yourself. This is serious."
"You can't listen to them. Don't believe everything you hear."

Do you see what I see?
A man standing six feet tall
fit and trim
riding bikes with his grandchildren

Can you believe what I read?
Stage 4
lung cancer
Chemo and radiation on Wednesday

"No, you're not driving," his wife reprimands him.
The son chimes in-
"I'll go with him. He'll be fine."
"Do you want me to go?" the daughter asks.
"No!" they respond in unison.
The groceries would wait
There was enough salad for another day anyway

Six months of chemo
5 days a week radiation
How can it be?
Where will it lead?

There's nothing to get about this
Like the day the twin towers crumbled
Life will not be the same again
Thank God for monotony
Thank God for survivors
Thank God for my dad

Welcome to a new normal

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drink Up

I rose bright and early this morning. In fact, it was before six. I didn't need the aroma of fresh coffee or the radio blaring. It was field day. Rather, it was SUPPOSED to be field day. All of our students would be outside running relay races, flaring a parachute, hula hooping and bouncing upon hippity hops. It was to be a day of fun in the sun. All until I stepped outside with my jean capri's on and red and white school t-shirt. Very slowly came the drops, sprinkling upon me and everything else.

I grumbled all the way to school thinking of the fun we would now miss and the looks of disppointment emanating from students' faces. Sprinkles quickly turned to pouring down rain. I thought of my student Christiane. This was to be her very first field day here in America. She came to our school as a new student in September. Yesterday morning she was making her wishes known as she told everyone, "I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. I can't wait for field day!"

I entered the office to see Coach Ralphie sitting behind the desk. "I was all dressed and as soon as I stepped outside it started to rain," I complained.

"Tell me about it," he commiserated.

"What a bummer! I don't ever remember it raining before," I continued.

"This is the second time in twenty years. Don't worry. We'll get it in tomorrow," he reassured me. Still I was bummed and no doubt the students would be also.

Nine o'clock Christiane and Alicia trudged into my room and each one plopped on to a chair. They both sat pouting. "I'm so mad! I can't believe it rained!" Christiane lamented. Alicia was silent.

"I know. It's a bummer. I don't like it either, but we will have it tomorrow," I explained.

"I don't feel like doing anything," Christiane whined.

Not before long, I found myself presenting them with a choice. A choice I perhaps needed the prompting to realize myself. "I was mad, too. We can sit here and stay mad or we can do something else fun. Being mad isn't going to change the rain," I explained.

Christiane didn't need anytime to think that one over. Immediately she responded with, "Do something else fun."

By 9:05 a.m. the girls were sitting on the mats and we began reading, "Going on a Whale Watch". Five minutes later three other students joined the fun. For the next half an hour they were whales breaching,spouting, and flippering through deep ocean waters.

As I reflect upon this, I know there are tons of circumstances in my own life as well as the world to be utterly discontented with. However, there is also a choice. Each one of us can sit and stew over missed opportunities and fun or we can make some good old fashioned lemonade by adding the sweetness of creativity and optimism.

I must admit, over the past few months I have chosen the lemons without the sugar, but today was different. Today, I can proudly say, we, not just I, but my students also, were able to quickly divert our attention towards warmer waters and make some of that deliciously fresh squeezed lemonade. How about it? Would you like some?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Child's Friendship

Will you play with me?
Visualize and listen close?
Can you hear them?
dragons roaring
damselles in distress
a baby crying
hurricane waves crashing
all in chaos, yet none lost

community forms
it takes a shape
the world of actors set upon life's stage
a table, a chair, some sand and water
perhaps a bean bag, too.
working, living, laughing, living, trusting
knowing there is a purpose for each one
not long before a hero steps in

enter the world
the world of community
step up or step in
there's a friendship and connection waiting to be made
an invitation extended
it stands open
a child asking,"Will you?"
"Will you enter my creation and take part?
I can always use a little help from some friends"