Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reflecting on Our Words

Beginning in January, four blog friends and I followed Caroline's lead at The Zen in You and chose a word or two to focus on throughout the year. Each month we've shared our reflections with each other and posted them on our sites.

I incorporated this month's collaborative post into this scrapblog. For a larger view, just click on the Scrapblog logo. Then click "view full screen." Tabs to move through the pages will be at the bottom of the scrapblog.

My fellow bloggers include:
Annemarie at "So I Was Just Thinking..."
Peggy at "Middle Age Ramblings..."
Octamom, and
AVT Coach at "The Abundant Life..."

Did you choose to focus on a word this year ? If so, I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Surfing U.S.A.

The girls decided to rent surf boards today before they checked the condition of the water. They had frolicked in crystal clear waters all week, with only a tiny bit of seaweed puff-balls floating around. Once they got out there today, however, they realized all kinds of odd looking creatures had joined in on the fun. There were more clear jelly-fish type things (minus tentacles), jelly-fish with their tentacles, more than the usual share of seaweed floating around, what looked like pine needles (although I haven't seen any pine trees nearby), and other creatures that looked like baby eels.... ewww.

The girls did venture into the ocean though.... I have video to prove it. But after getting a sting on her leg and seeing the swimming baby eel-type creatures scurrying off their surf boards, the girls had enjoyed it all they could.

Here they are contemplating what lies beneath....

And how you shouldn't wait until the last day of vacation to do something extra fun....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seaside Escape

What do you get when you mix two girls with sun, sand, and shops?

You guessed it! Shopping at the beach!

With days of sun and sand behind us, we decided to designate Wednesday as our official shopping day. We drove up the coast to a quaint little outdoor market that's located literally steps off the beach. We enjoyed looking at the clothes and jewelry and the hats and trinkets all artfully arranged in the spaces.

Hannah and her bff even tried on a few outfits...

Although most of our day was spent exploring more than buying, we did end up with a few things. My daughter bought a nice pair of jeans and a new top. Her bff found a cool t-shirt. And I came away with a cute pair of sandals.

I'll have to show them to you later!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Day at the Beach

My battery was running low, so I didn't get much video yesterday. But here's a quick look at the girls playing in the surf. They were out in the waves for hours!

This was my first attempt at using MovieMaker. I majored in broadcast communications in college and even dabbled in video production after I graduated.... but, um, from the looks of my editing ability, I'm back at level 1!

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Can You Guess Where I Am?

Don't you just love sun-filled days at the beach?

I think I've finally convinced my daughter that the best time to be on the beach is late in the afternoon. Shadows begin to stretch out a bit and a nice breeze blows in off the ocean.

I prefer sitting under an umbrella reading a book.... But I keep pulling out my camera to take another picture again and again and again...

and my absolute favorite time to be on the beach... is when the sky bursts with color. When the pinks and oranges splash across the sky and cast a golden glow on everything below.

Although the days don't match up exactly, this is kind of a special time for me. I began my blog last year at the beach and created my first scrapblog then, too. So, unofficially, this is my one-year blogoversary! How cool is that?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Freebie That Can Save A Life!

I'll never forget the last time I saw her. She was leaving an Atlanta restaurant as I was going in. My cousin was in her early 20s then. A little pony tail flounced around whimsically on top of her head. She was dressed in a cute little skirt and leather jacket. I've never lived in Atlanta, so this was purely a chance meeting... and our last.

I missed an opportunity years ago that may have saved my precious cousin's life. I'm trying to save someone else's now, and you can, too, by registering to become a bone marrow donor.

From now until June 22, a non-profit foundation called Be The Match is conducting a Marrowthon to increase the number of available donors on the national registry. During this time (or until their funds run out), they will cover the cost of having your tissue typed and placed on the registry.

It's really simple. Just go to the Be The Match Web site and complete a short questionnaire. If you meet the basic registry guidelines, a pop-up window will guide you through an online form and the order form for the registration kit. When the kit arrives, you'll follow instructions to collect a swab of cells from inside your cheek and return the kit. Soon, you'll be added to the official registry.

According to the foundation's Web site, seventy percent of people don't have a suitable donor in their family and depend on the National Marrow Donor Program to find a match to save their lives. I was never tested for my cousin. In spite of the odds, however, I often wonder whether or not I would have been a perfect match.

To learn more about the process and what it means to be a bone marrow donor, click on this Be The Match link.

You can also click here for FAQs about becoming a donor.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Teaching and Learning Our Way Through Life

Funny how we go through life teaching and learning.

I went on a long walk this morning and noticed a dad and his son in their front yard. A lawn mower was idling nearby; the dad was pointing something out to the son as they stood near flowers planted beneath the mailbox. It looked like a mini-lesson in progress. Perhaps the dad was reminding the son not to get too close to the flora. Or maybe he was showing him how to weed that area once he was finished mowing the grass.

As I got closer, I realized the son was one of my students this year. Small world, isn't it?

But it got me thinking. That young man is learning how to take care of his own lawn one day. The dad didn't just say, "go cut the grass, son." He was out there with him teaching him how to cut the grass and take care of the yard.

Growing up, I wasn't taught very much when it came to taking care of a home. I figured out how to clean by watching my mom on Saturdays. She swept, she mopped, she vacuumed. I was given the job of polishing furniture, and I still enjoy doing that today.
But when I moved into my own apartment at age 18, I had no idea how to cook. Not even how much water to put in a pan when heating it to make iced tea. Or how much water I would need to boil potatoes. I had never been invited into the kitchen to help with the cooking; my job was always to set the table.

As a mom, I'm even guilty of giving instructions without actually modeling the activity for my daughter. As a teacher, I should know better! I'll tell my daughter to clean up her room but not tell her exactly what to do. She'll be in her room for hours, music playing or television on. Finally, I peek my head into her room....

"What have you been doing?" I ask as I look around the still slightly-cluttered room.

"Cleaning my room!" she says proudly.

I look around. Yes, the clothes are off the floor. But did they make it to the washing machine or were they tossed into the ever-growing dirty-clothes hamper? The knick-knacks and other memorabilia may be artfully arranged, but did she move them and dust the furniture? The obstacle course may be removed from the floor, but did she vacuum?

Sometimes, we need to give explicit instructions about what we expect. Dust, vacuum, put everything in its place, even if it means a trip downstairs to the laundry room!

When I saw my student and his dad this morning, it reminded me that we're either teaching or learning throughout our life, and it's our responsibility as parents to make sure our children get the lessons they need.

As I dropped my daughter off at a slumber party later, I called out for her to have fun and "behave." Hmmm. I wonder if a teen's definition of "behave" is the same as mine?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Here's the contract writer side of me... (You know, when I'm not teaching, or blogging, or taking photographs, or hanging out with my daughter...)

Mercer University physicians and students are making a difference in the lives of others. Read "Mercer Medical Students Serve and Learn" in the latest edition of The Mercerian.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sharing Moments

I had settled into a chair to wait while a new battery was being installed in my car. A new book was on my lap... one on teaching adolescent writers. I scanned the table of contents then turned to the introduction and began to read.

"You must be back in school," said an older lady sitting near me.

"No. I actually just got out of school. I'm a teacher," I said, momentarily stopping and turning to her.

"Oh. My daughter's a teacher," she replied. She told me her daughter's name hoping I knew her. Then shared the names of other people who live in the town where I teach. No bells rang. No name was familiar to me.

I hesitated for a moment. Just a moment. Then I slowly closed the book that I had been looking forward to reading, and I turned to my neighbor.

Her white hair was disheveled. Her glasses perched a little crooked on her nose. The bifocals not disguised. Her face weathered with a criss-cross of wrinkles that had created a road map of her life.

She told me about her daughter's long teaching career. Her moves from an English classroom to social studies and science. She told me how her daughter has changed over the years, probably from worry, she said. Worrying about a daughter who, after undergoing surgery for seizures when she was 11, has been partially paralyzed ever since. Talking and walking aren't easy for her. Now 31, this granddaughter volunteers with young children despite her challenges.

She told me about her other daughter who lives further down the road in another town. Who doesn't get by to see her very much because she's helping her husband run their business.

She told me about the work she used to do while raising her family. Mostly office work and once for the recreation department. She told me about another daughter who actually has a degree in recreation and works for the city scheduling ballgames and other recreational events.

She told me about her husband who died 11 years ago. How she still misses him.

She told me about the wreck she had, and we both looked out at her car, its front bumper damaged and patched. It was the first wreck she had ever had. She told me about the other driver who had hurt his ribs in the accident. She wondered why it's taken so long for the man to settle with her insurance company if he just had bruised or broken ribs. She'd had them before and the doctor had told her there's nothing you can do about them but let them heal on their own.

Then my car was ready. I tucked my book back into my bag and stood up to leave.

It was a little hard saying good-bye to my new friend. I didn't get her name. I didn't take her picture. But my chance meeting with this sweet lady will remain with me. A reminder of the future, maybe. Of how life can be. Lonely for someone to talk to. Willing to chat with anyone who will spend a minute or two listening.

A wealth of stories and advice. A guidepost to my future.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Telephoto Tuesday

After days of rain, I spotted this awesome blossom on our deck!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Artfully Said

No one makes a journey alone, and that is certainly clear as I share the collages my friends and I have created to illustrate our words of the year. While each of us are focusing on a different word (or two), our monthly collaboration is a reminder that we are all on a similar journey... one that enriches our lives by helping us live joyfully as we balance our quests for abundance, discipline, and excellence... all while keeping the faith that we can make positive changes in our lives.

I don't believe I would have focused on my words of the year as steadily as I have if my friends and I had not decided to collaborate on a joint post each month. I can't wait to share our journey with you through the following collages and other artistic renderings that showcase our words of the year.

Annemarie (Discipline)...

Roban (Faith and Joy)...

Peggy (Balance)...

AVT Coach (Abundance)...

Octamom (Excellence)...

Share your journey with us by posting a comment or link to your site!