If only I’d known…

If only I’d known…
That I was enough.
That what he said wasn’t real.

“I told you…”
If only I’d known…
He didn’t.

“You misunderstood.”
If only I’d known…
I didn’t.

“What’s wrong with you?”
If only I’d known…
Nothing.  Nothing is wrong with me.

If only I’d known…
That I was enough.
That what he said wasn’t real.

Now I know.

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OLW 2017

This is my third year of not having a typical New Year’s Resolution.  When I made those resolutions, they lasted maybe a month.  One Little Word has been very different – life changing (as cliche as it sounds).    My words changed me, helped me grow into the person I wanted to become.  They helped me heal.  The OLW and the meaning behind it was my guide through the year.

In reality, the word never leaves me.  Two years ago my word was fierce. Last year it was open.  I still carry those words with me.    They have become part of me.

The past several years have been about surviving  – through the week, through the day, through the moment.  And now, I’ve survived, healed, and accepted myself.

I am fierce.  I am open.

And this year,

I will flourish.

lets-get

What I’m Loving Wednesday 7.13.16

♥  Not only do I love the emails I have been getting from a student all summer, but one was about poop emojis!  They are my favorite and she knows it!

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♥  Spending time with my Best Friend!

♥  My 2016-2017 Planner and Coloring Book in one!   Genius!

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♥  Museum of Science and Industry with Troy

We spent over two hours in the Lego Exhibit!  Troy was in heaven.  My favorite is always Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle.

♥  Technically, It’s Not My Fault

This is an amazing book of concrete poems.  Even the cover is a concrete poem.  They are funny, engaging, and thoughtful.  This is going to be part of my library in the fall!

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My Next 30 Years

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hThe lunchroom was filled with chatter, shrieks, and noise that only middle schoolers could produce.  As I sat at a table, waiting for a few former students to sign a book for a retiring teacher, I caught up with them.

“Ms. Bless, can you believe I’m going to be thirteen this week?!”

“Wow!  That’s scary!  I’m going to be thirty this summer.”

“That’s even scarier!”

I can always count on kids to be honest and blunt!

But, as August approaches, I keeping thinking about that Tim McGraw song “My Next Thirty Years.”  I remember hearing that song when it was released, thirty seemed so old.  And now I am almost there and I can’t help but reflect on these past thirty years and what I want out of the next thirty…

Querencia

In his book Write Like This, Kelly Gallagher shares six real world writing purposes and different ways to get kids to start writing with each in mind.  I’m going to try at least one example from each chapter.  Although this is written with high school in mind, I think most of the ideas can be adjusted for middle and intermediate elementary school.  And the real world writing purposes:51RYe58cBjL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Express and Reflect √

Inform and Explain – Trying this one today!

Evaluate and Judge

Inquire and Explore √

Analyze and Interpret

Take a Stand/Propose a Solution

There are so many great ideas for Inform and Explain.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “You Should Know”  Biographical Paper (“Find an ‘average’ person in your life with an ‘above average’ story.”)
  • How does _______work?
  • Unwritten Rules  (Inspired by The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian)
  • My Favorite Words

 …

Today I am going to try “My Favorite Words.” Christina, this one is for you, my word loving friend! The word I decided to write about isn’t in all dictionaries and I hadn’t actually heard of it until today:  querencia.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 11.42.27 AMQuerencia

noun

Definition according to www.merriam-webster.com:  “an area in the arena taken by the bull for a defensive stand in a bullfight”

Origin according to www.merriam-webster.com:  “Spanish, fondness, haunt of an animal, favorite spot, querencia, from querer to want, like, love (from Latin quaerere to seek, gain, obtain, ask) + -encia -ence (from Latin -entia)”

I’m not a huge word person, so when approaching this idea, I searched around a little on Pinterest for words.  (To clarify:  I consider myself a reader and writer.  It’s just that I’m not one to use big words when a simple one to do.  I love stories, words strung together.)  In my search I found this:

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 This word alone didn’t stand out, it is it’s definition that struck me.  “the place where you are your most authentic self”  This is a powerful word and got me to thinking about my querencia. Do I have one?

For a very long time, I don’t think that I had a querencia.  I’m not sure I do now.   At this point, my home is becoming a place I am comfortable.  Each new memory, each laugh, erases some of the damage done.  Each smile makes me feel safer.  One day, this home may become a place that I can draw strength, my querencia.

I think the place that I have always been able to be closest to my authentic self is in the presence of children.   Standing among kids, I have always been able to take chances – dance, twirl, joke, and even sing.  I have always drawn strength from my time with them and not needed courage to be myself.

I hope that my classroom can be a querencia for my students, as well.  I hope that my students feel safe, at home, and accepted each year.  I hope that my students have a querencia in their life, but if they don’t – I hope our classroom can be that place for each of them.

#btbc16

Virtual Vision Board

 

 

Troy is the most amazing child I have ever met.   I realize that I am biased, but he is special.  I need to remember that regardless of all of the mistakes I have made and will continue to make, he is a good kid.  I want to continue to encourage him to be himself: that creative, unique boy, mismatched socks and all.

A Library!  I want a library in my house!  It needs to have lots of high shelves, filled with books.  And a ladder!  A sliding ladder!  I will have one of these one day!

“I love crazy!”  Do you know where this is from? Frozen.   Toward the end of the school year my co-teacher and I were listening to Disney Pandora when I heard this line.  Immediately I said, “That is what I we need! Well…we each need separate guys that like our kind of crazy.”  (or something like that) And so, I will settle for nothing less than someone who loves my kind of crazy!

OPEN is my One Little Word for 2016.  If you don’t know about this idea, I would suggest looking into it.   It has honestly changed me much more than any resolution I have ever made.

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If you are a teacher, you know why this is part of my virtual vision board.  Standing up for what you think is best for the kids isn’t easy, but I can’t stop questioning.

“Be Someone’s Crazy Aunt!”  I think I’ve got this one covered and, coincidentally, I just got confirmation this weekend.  I was at my grandparents house and so was my sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews.  I got up to get something to drink from inside and my four year old nephew took my seat.  So, of course I made a big deal of it, sat next to the chair, and stuck my feet (my bare, stinky, dirty feet) in his face.  He looked at me and said, “You’re weird!”  SCORE!

Use Your Words:  I just finished this book yesterday and it has been so motivational and though provoking.  It is a symbol to keep writing, make time for it.  More posts about this are in progress!

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

“Keep on believing.”

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Thank you, Jenny Lawson!

I listened to the Furiously Happy audio book read by the author, Jenny Lawson.

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I laughed. I cried. I realized that I may be crazy – but I am not alone.

I laughed out loud at the absurdity of her train of thought. (In part, because it isn’t far from what happens in my head.)

I mumbled, “What the…” to myself more than a few times.

Then, all of a sudden, chapter thirty hits me. And I’m bawling in the car, driving down the expressway.

Yes.  That’s exactly it.  THAT is how I feel.  It’s not just me.

This is how it feels – this is what I have never been able to put into words – will never be able to put into words even in my head. 

I’m not sure that I ever truly understood.

And then I heard her words echo through my car.  I heard her explain to her readers what my life feels like some days.

Tears fell.

But, instead of sadness, I felt relief.

So, thank you Jenny Lawson.  Thank you!