Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘school’

Meaningful Memories


Welcome to Day #13
of my A-Z series,

How to
Add Greater Meaning
and Find More Purpose
in Life

Today’s letter is “M”
The topic: Meaningful Memories


My Memories Haiku

All have memories
Some more vivid than others
We’d like some to fade

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

But, not really…
Even painful memories serve a purpose.
As we reflect on them years later, we uncover truths –
Truths about ourselves we may not have realized at the time.
That’s what makes them meaningful!

As a writer who loves to write poetry, and someone who is exploring the significance of memories for adding meaning to our lives, I was fascinated by this

Interview with Poet kjmunro

by Frank J. Tassone

Question #3 was, “Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?”

Poet Kjmunro responded, “Sometimes I wish that I could be more comfortable in a crowd – but that may have more to do with being an introvert than being a poet. Writing poetry helps me to make sense of my life & my experiences, & because of it I have pushed my boundaries, accepted challenges, & pursued opportunities that have enriched my life… I can’t imagine my life without it.”

(You can click on the interview title above and see more of this meaningful post.)

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Photo by JJ Jordan on Pexels.com

 

Likewise, I cannot imagine my life without the gift of writing – both poetry and prose. I enjoy writing poetry. I love reading it. I treasure the opportunity to share it.  Writing is a way to keep memories alive. It is a way to make sense of my life and my experiences. It is a way to express gratitude, to plan ahead, and to reflect. It is a way to push boundaries and accept challenges.

Yesterday in our Writers’ Group, the writing prompt was, “Tell Us About Someone You Used to Love.” The prompt brought to mind some very vivid, meaningful memories. Let me share my story with you:

Someone I Used to Love

I need to get up and face the student body on this October Spring Rally Day. But, I don’t want to.

I have made it as far as the front steps of the historic, brick Turlock Union High School before sitting down and letting the tears fall.

The sun is bright. Because it’s school spirit day, I have on one blue and one gold sock. My black and white saddle shoes are tucked beneath my poodle skirt with layers of crinoline fluffing around me. The blue and gold pom-poms lie motionless beside me. I look for the usual friends. No one approaches. They must all be inside already. Loneliness rings as the bell sounds the warning: first period will begin in ten minutes

What is it that has created such reluctance and dread in my soul?

About a week ago, my tall, athletic ex-boyfriend approached me in the hallway. “You know you don’t have any friends. The only reason people say Hi to you is because you say Hi to them first. If you didn’t, no one would talk to you.”

Oh my! Could it be true? Why was Richard telling me this? I used to love him. We used to have great fun together. Mutt and Jeff, they called us. Just because I broke up with him and am now dating soeone my own size, does that mean this 6’4″ basketball star should suddenly start bullying me?

Back in the 50’s I don’t think I knew the term “bullying.” I didn’t realize that’s what Richard was doing. His words cut deeply.

I decided to test out his hypothesis. I stopped cheerfully greeting everyone I saw with a “Hi!” Instead, I looked at them, waiting to hear their greeting first.

Richard was right! Most kids just looked quizically in my direction and walked past – or worse yet – they didn’t look at me at all. I felt like I must have forgotten my deodorant that day!

Now I’m feeling alone and abandoned on the front steps. I have ten minutes to get to class. With a deep sigh, I get up, take a deep breath, pick up my pom-poms, and head inside. My buddy, Phil, voted “Best Dressed Guy” in the senior class, walked up to me when I entered the building. I glance in his direction.

“What’s wrong with you lately?” he asked. “You’re being so stuck up!”

I told him what Richard had said.

“Oh, for cryin’ out loud,” he reprimanded, taking me by the shoulders.

I looked up into his caring blue eyes with tears in mine. “But Richard…” I sobbed, “he said…” I couldn’t go on.

Phil wrapped me tightly in his arms right there in the middle of Turlock High’s crowded hallway. Backing up a bit, he put his hands on my shoulders again. He leaned down and whispered, “He’s just jealous – and hurt. A big basketball star can’t stand it that his girl left him for a 5’3″ Stumper. He’s just trying to hurt you back. You just be the girl you always were. Don’t let anyone take away your perkiness.”

I used to love Richard. Now I just feel sorry for him. I saw him coming toward me as I headed for class.

“Hi!” I perked in his direction and walked on – shoulders squared – head held high.

***

Reliving these vivid memories more than sixty years later, I realize how impactful Richard’s words and Phil’s encouragement were. It was an important growing up experience. I haven’t let anyone take away my perkiness since then.

Meaningful memories stay with us – and change us – forever.
Thank you, Phil, and Richard!

***

Do you have a meaningful memory?
One that helps you make sense of your life and experiences?

Who is My Neighbor?


Book Review

Who is My Neighbor?

I just received a new book to share with our darling Sunday School class tomorrow. We have read the Bible story of the Good Samaritan – and acted it out. Now it’s time to give it a new, colorful twist!

Who Is My Neighbor? is a creative story that’s sure to prompt rich conversations, encouraging new ways of seeing our neighbors and ourselves. It’s ideal for our 3-to7-year-olds.

Blues and Yellows don’t mix, and that’s how it’s always been. No one remembers why. But then comes the day Midnight Blue takes a tumble along the road. His friends Navy Blue and Powder Blue don’t even stop to help. It’s only when Yellow comes along that everything changes – forever.

We will share the book with our kiddoes tomorrow and do a little art project mixing blue and yellow to see the result of our “Green Growth.”

The Foreword of the book reads,

“Love your neighbor as yourself,

and love the stranger,

because you know what it was like

to be a stranger.”

Available from http://www.TheThoughtfulChristian.com  –  or call 800-554-4694

Praying for Others


Do you have a friend or loved one, a child or grandchild
who is part of your daily prayers?

I do!

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Do you remember, Chris,  my “Montana Mountain Man”?
He’s my youngest grandson,
who was born and raised by our daughter
and her husband in Switzerland.

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He came to Montana to live with us last year
for a month or so. He needed to get a new lease on life,
and look afresh at his life’s options.

After some exploration (remember he is a US citizen),
he decided to join the Job Corps in Anaconda, MT.
Chris got a new look and began his new venture.

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This week he started his real training.
Up to now, Chris has spent six weeks in orientation.
He has washed dishes until he was ready to scream!
He has cleaned floors and learned rules, rules, rules.
It is important to learn that rules are necessary
if you intend to live peacefully with one another.

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Photo by Miguel Constantin Montes on Pexels.com

If we had no rules,
we would be in even worse shape
as a people,
as a nation,
as a world –
than we are now!

black and green desk globe

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

So, Chris learned the rules.
He paid his “dues” as a new inductee,
and he made new friends.
Now he is starting his chosen training:
Heavy Equipment Mechanic.

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When Chris finishes this training,
he will be set to get a job in an area
that has been deemed to have  great need in our USA.

I pray to God that even if he chooses not to go into this field,
the experiences he is having and the skills he is gaining
will prepare him for a more productive and fulfilling life.

My prayer is for
his health,
his success,
his happiness,
and his continued growth
and maturity as a Christian.

belief bible book business

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Why am I sharing this with you,
my blogging friends?
Because I am convinced that prayer matters.
I am convinced that our prayers
are heard by God,
and His desire is to give us
positive answers to the prayers
we bring to him from the bottom of our hearts.

So, I encourage you to think about the loved ones,
the friends and family who need God’s intervention in their lives.
Bring your petitions to the Lord in prayer.
Ask for God’s will to be done in their lives.

 

I believe God hears.
God cares.
God responds,
and our prayers matter.

Do you believe that, too?

 

Change is Challenging


Change is inevitable
Change is challenging
Resist or embrace?

May as well embrace
To resist change is futile
Change is inevitable

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This is my grandson, Chris. I told you I would write more about him. He has been the center of life for Bob and our family since he arrived in the USA from Switzerland last Thanksgiving. When you first met him (if you have been following my blog), this is what he looked like:

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See the change?

And when you first met that pup he has under the blanket in his lap up there, this is what TazE looked like:

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Well, he is so covered up in that first picture up there, you can’t really see the gray in his face and the change in his body, can you? But, trust me… now at age 8 1/2, he has changed from that frisky guy you see there. Here’s a current one that shows you what I’m talking about:

TazE in bed

Yes, change is inevitable! And it can be scary. And it can be very exciting. But it does not do any good to resist it. Much of change is healthy and invigorating. It’ll happen whether you bid it or not. May as well plan for it!

When our grandson came last year, he knew he was in for a year of changes. He had the courage to fly into a new life here – with new opportunities – different in countless ways from his life in Sierre, Switzerland.

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Today we are driving in Montana snow (really came down yesterday… and more is expected today) from Ennis to Anaconda. It’s about a two hour drive. We will stay overnight there, hoping to find a place that will allow pets. TazE will go with us.

We are taking Chris to the Job Corps in Anaconda. He will check in at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning. He has qualified (US citizen between the age of 16-24 with a clean record who is interested in training in one of 7 manual labor areas that are deemed understaffed by the Federal Government) and has been accepted into the program.

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We took a tour there in December and we were wonderfully impressed with the site, the program, the facilities, the instructors, the equipment, the ambience, and the students. About 200 young people are there. More than 75% of them are from out-of-state. Chris will be the first who was born and raised in another country. (Our daughter is his mom… and as such, Chris has dual USA-Swiss citizenship).

There are 4 dorms, 3 for men and 1 for women (that’s the ratio of the students). Not surprising since the trades they are learning include:

  • Heavy equipment Operating
  • Heavy equipment Mechanics
  • Welding
  • Painting (buildings inside and out – not oils, acrylics, watercolor, etc.)
  • Carpentry
  • Culinary Arts
  • Brick-laying

Chris will have a month to explore the various options and then he will select the one he wishes to concentrate on. Each student is self-paced. The training could take as little as three months and as much as a year, depending on prior experience, work ethic, skill, etc.

Stay tuned. I am sure our grandson is in for changes he cannot even imagine at this time.

We are excited for him.

Aren’t you glad to know our Federal Government is supporting this kind of internship/apprenticeship program for young people?

 

What’s Your Image of Afghanistan?


Last night Bob & I attended a documentary at the Emerson Theater in Bozeman, MT. The topic: “Angels Are Made of Light.”

What is your perception of the people of Afghanistan?

police army commando special task force

Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com

Before the documentary, our response to that question was, “War-torn, depressed, aggressive, beaten-down, varied, down-trodden and fearful.”

 

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After seeing the documentary, our response is, “Resourceful, hopeful in the midst of what might look hopeless, tenacious, clean, basically healthy looking, and respectful of their elders.”

The newspaper review that prompted us to attend was glowing. We met Jason, the reviewer last night. Sorry I didn’t catch his last name. The newspaper page we have doesn’t list it. I’ll edit this and include it when I find out, because I will quote him:

“It is not a complete and objective telling of the country’s history, but rather a series of powerful semblances from those who lived through it. The imagery is vivid, and the contrast between the historic images of the city (Kabul), in times of greater prosperity, and those of the present day are stark reminders of how much the country has changed.”

Jason’s review hooked us in when he wrote, “The cinematography is simply exceptional. Langley is a true craftsman, and he works brilliantly with natural light.”

We were intrigued by the opportunity to  “linger up close with the film’s subjects for long moments… ”  The concentration of subjects was on the school children – – – especially a group of Afghani boys of about 10 -14 years of age. We wanted to “feel their breathing, see them thinking, working, watching the world go by.” And we did!

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“Over the course of the film,” Jason, the reviewer promised we would “accompany the students through lessons in history, poetry, social studies, and math.” And we did!

He wrote, “In the end, the film itself is a lesson in humanity, found right there, on the streets, in broad daylight.” And it was!

The documentary promised to “narrow the gap in our minds between us and them.” And it did!

It was indeed eye-opening.

We all are God’s children. Let’s do whatever we can to:

JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

It begins with trying to understand one another. Set aside those prior perceptions, and get the real picture! I’m grateful for “Angels Are Made of Light” and the Bozeman Doc Series for bringing documentaries such as this one to our community.

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Photo by Sandy Negative on Pexels.com

The BEST Christmas Gift


The BEST Christmas gift doesn’t come in a box. It isn’t hidden in your Christmas stocking. It needs no wrapping paper or bows and it won’t cost you a thing except a little time.  It’s an act of kindness that can come only from you.

I received the BEST Christmas present yesterday. Christmas is a couple of weeks away, but this gift will last until then – in fact, it will live in my heart forever!! You can give this kind of gift to someone today.  It was a note from a former student. Eva was my first grader in 1980. I have moved 1,200 miles from her, but she cared enough and took the time to find me. Paraphrased, her note said, “I found my calling. I love teaching. In addition to teaching first graders, I am teaching Spanish two nights a week at the local college, and I am working as a mentor for beginning teachers. Thank you for being so instrumental in helping me find my calling…”

Eva was a bright and promising first grader who came to school as an English as a Second Language student. She spoke Spanish at home and in her neighborhood. She was making such great progress when at Christmas time her parents wanted to pull her out for a couple of months.  Seasonal workers, they returned to Mexico each year to spend the holiday season (plus some) with Eva’s grandparents.  I offered to have Eva live with me rather than missing so much learning during this crucial time in her developmental stage. Her parents, seeing my concern, recognizing the truth of my fears that she’d slide backward academically if she missed that much school, decided to cut their intended stay. They returned in early January. I was able to take my wonderful first graders on to second grade and by the end of the next year, Eva was an A student. It was a winning duet: supportive parents, and a bright and eager mind. It’s a caring, concerned teacher’s dream. I stayed in touch with Eva through her continued schooling and joyfully attended her college graduation. What a privilege!

But, the frosting on the cake was the BEST Christmas present ever –  thirty-two years later. She took the time to contact me. My heart is so warmed by Eva’s acknowledgement and her success. Thank you, Eva! May God continue to bless you as you are a blessing to others!

You can send The Best Christmas Gift  today! A note, a phone call, a text message, “Thank you for making a difference.” Isn’t that what life is all about?  Give someone a lift. It won’t cost you anything more than a moment of your time. Merry Christmas, friends! Be a blessing!!

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