All posts by Maureen

Mother’s day poems

Mother’s Day ABC’s for my kids
Amazed since you looked up at me for the first time;
Breathless since your first moment of awareness;
Cheering since your first step;
Delighted since your first word;
Empathetic since your first cry;
Family fun is still and thing;
Grateful to call you sons;
Happy to play with you;
Ignited by your curiosity and creativity;
Joyful because of you;
Kinder because of you;
Love you each so much and forever;
Mindful of your uniqueness;
Noise from your play was my music;
Overcoming my fears to be the mom I need to be;
Playing with you never grows old;
Questions from you challenged my thinking;
Reading to you made me so happy;
Summers were the best;
Thankful every day I get to be your mom;
Understanding so much more because of you;
Value each of you beyond measure;
Welcome every visit and call now;
X stands for Christ who I see in each of you;
You all make my day;
&
Zip it if you are going to make fun of this poem.

Since I’m a sensible mom

There are times I don’t understand you
Sometimes none of you make sense
If your six shoes would fit my feet
I’d walk in your footprints.
I accept you hear a drumbeat
That might be way out of my range
I love the you that you are now
I’m not asking you to change.
Besides, life from my point of view
Might not make much sense to you.

Just freakin’ call me

Fear burrows in my stomach
Fear has me on all fours
I need information
I want to know the score
I want to have an answer
That call I’m waiting for

Fear ignites my imagination
I can’t let it go
Fear lights up my neural circuits
Worse case scenarios

I worry that the worse has happened
What would that worse be?
What can I do about it?
A worse that I can’t see

I want to let it go
I want to sleep in peace
I want a little comfort
Text an “I’m ok” at least?

April was National Poetry month so I wrote a bunch of poems

The Observer Effect
Even good things come with complications
Even simple things come with implications
Even light things leave indentions
Even facts invite inventions
The observer effect applies
To all that crosses ears and eyes

Light matter
The cold, dense core of my self
Collapses under the weight of my own gravity
And little protostars of love
Tiny little free-floating chunks of affection for random strangers
Ignited with the energy of Love’s grace
Form young stars that go flaming out into the dark
It seems light years ago that I spun there alone and dark and cold

Not enough wine
Is there enough wine in the house
to teach an octogenarian
how to use an iphone?

Eleven
I was just lying there in the grass with the radio on.
The sun made little floating red spots through my closed lids
or on the insides of them
or behind my eyeballs in my head.

I was just lying there in the grass being eleven
listening to Freda Payne sing Band of Gold,
between the house I lived in
and the swing set I still used.

I was just lying there in the grass by my house.
I didn’t know it was the last time I would lie there
and call that white house home
and call that swing set mine.

I was just lying there in the green
hearing gold, watching red, feeling blue, losing white
Not knowing then what I know now
and not knowing how to love what I was losing.

Impaired vision through a half empty darkened glass
I wish I was stupid. I wish I was simple.
I wish I was satisfied with a life with no “buts.”
But
I find the ‘buts’ in every argument and see every possible way a plan can fail
I see the water evaporating out of the half empty glass.
I remember the humiliation of failure and the pain of consequences.
I swim like I know the glass is there because I’ve hit it so many times.

Reflection on the line in Linklater’s “Boyhood” that made me cry
It is inevitable that lives made of summer breezes and surprise
Would slip off on their own trajectories so soon.

Those few delightful years squandered
By assumptions that there would be more time.

And now the voices that clamored for my ears
Have become the deafening silence of absence

And the lives that so briefly were mine to direct
Are beyond my influence and out of my sight.

Olivia spoke my heart when she said,
“I thought there would be more.”

I regret that I wasn’t as present when I was there then
Because it would probably seem like more now.

Pessimist’s dilemma
The certainty of sadness or the worry of wondering
This is the pessimist’s dilemma.
What disaster might the ringing telephone announce?
What unknown grief might the silent phone delay?
What disturbing truth might digging through the facts reveal?
What preventable problem might ignorance exacerbate?
What failure might be risk’s reward?
What lethargy might be fear’s inevitable fruit?

Is knowing or not more depressing-
Is every problem worth addressing-
Is every issue worth assessing-
When possibilities are so distressing?

Impotent Empathy
When my heart’s
not
breaking
for you
It’s breaking
because
of you.
And
There
Is
Nothing
I would not do for you
But
There
Is
Nothing
I can do for you.
I don’t know
What
To say.
I say nothing
Or everything
Or the wrong thing
And all of them
Are
Wrong.

On not wanting to get sucked into an argument
I care enough to care
But not enough to argue.
I just want to sit here in peace.
I want to close my eyes and feel cool breezes
And pull the quilt around me
And pull the night around me
And sit in peace and silence.

Poet poem
Robert wrote of boundaries and how we need them.
Emily never left the house again
Sylvia never left the stove again.
Cathy drives into the garage and closes the door before getting out.
She keep the blinds shut.
She speaks when spoken to.
She keeps the door closed and the stove off.
Stupid electric range.
Burns everything and kills nothing.

Prison Break
I found you hiding under ordinary circumstances
Peeking out beneath the norm
You said I should go away
To come again another day
You slid back into that gray
But I stay, I stay

Ankle deep in all your hurt
I dig my toes into your dirt
And I stay, I stay

Tired of the trap, tired of the tired
Tired of trying to try
Come with me and dream
Come with me and fly.
No more reasons No more whys
Time to fly

I’ve got a tank full of starlight and a red dot on the map
Let’s roll out of town on a dream
Leave behind this ashen night
And roll on out of sight
We may never see daylight
But we might,
we might, we might

I don’t know if this is fight or flight
Don’t know if we’ve got this right
Let’s take the chance we might,
we might, we might.

A rap song by an old white chick It’s all about the beat…beat…beat. It’s all about the flow…flow…flow. Inane words insane beats. Repeat repeat repeat. Insert pop culture reference. Somethin bout yo fence. Something bout a ho. Somethin  bout blow. Somthin bout the butt of some ho you know. about that flow…flow…flow It’s all about that beat…beat..beat. All about that flow flow flow. Spit bout scrilla. How you a killa. Name you wanna tap. Rage against the trap. Somewhere in the hook reference a literary book. Back to the verse. Curse. Curse. Curse. Obligatory topics. Music gets a little tropic. Get a little sing-song. Size of yo ding dong. Size of yo big bong. Size of a bitch ass. Compare and contrast. Enunciate to every beat. Language of the street. It’s all about the beat…beat…beat. All about that flow flow flow.

Signs on the road not taken
The road not taken
may only be optional in Robert’s head.
Most of the forks in the road
have warning signs of dangers ahead.
.
A road not taken
is blocked off by sawhorses and the word “Detour”
unlike those other lemmings he ignores the sign
and follow rebellion’s allure.

A road not taken
has a tasteful sign that says “private property”
I can guarantee that I have never been the “private”
in private property

A road not taken
plainly informs of a “dead end”
This time she bravely forges ahead.
Damaged and wounded, she comes backing out again.

A road not taken
screams “Danger;” “Do not enter;” “Stop”
too late they come to a screeching halt
and paranoid, look for cops.

A road not taken
stretches out like a racetrack, smooth and fast,
We obediently turn with the white line
that follows the road most taken, beaten at last.

Open letter to my annoyed neighbor

Dear neighbor,

I got the anonymous note you left on my door about my annoying dog barking. I am sorry you were disturbed by her. I understand that she barks and I want you to know that we’ve taken steps to alleviate your suffering.

While I understand that you may feel uncomfortable about knocking on my door and having a conversation with me about my dog, this will never feel like a neighborhood if we live in fear and suspicion of one another. We’ve lived here a year and a half.  I’ve gotten to know some of my neighbors and feel that I am on speaking terms with all that I’ve met. I hope that we have not made ourselves seem so unapproachable that you could not knock on our door and chat with us about our dog.

There is something vaguely threatening about an anonymous note. As you probably know our next-door-neighbor was brutally murdered soon after we moved in. Our kind neighbors reassured us that this wasn’t the sort of thing that happens regularly in our neighborhood and we shared their grief at losing a lovely neighbor and friend.

In March after we moved in we got Greta. For the past year we’ve worked on training her not to bark by squirting her and reprimanding her when we are home, but she’s only turned a year old in January and is still very exuberant and puppy-like.

We’ve ordered a device that will emit a noise only dogs can hear within fifty feet of barking. We will put this in the yard. It has good ratings on Amazon so hopefully it will work. It should get here on Friday. We also commit to close her dog door at 10:30.

I love my dog and want to keep her. I don’t want anything to happen to her. I don’t know who you are or how you will respond if you are disturbed again after leaving the note. The anonymity  means I can’t hear your story or tell you mine so I’m left wondering:

Will this person wait until Friday to see if this device works or will they call animal control tomorrow?

The anonymity leaves you with options you wouldn’t have if I knew your identify so I’m left wondering:

Would one of my neighbors be capable of harming my dog?

According to the noise ordinance “An owner or handler may not keep an animal that makes frequent or long, continued noise that is disturbing to a person of normal sensibilities.” I’ve checked with two of my neighbors who seem of normal sensibilities who tell me they haven’t been disturbed or noticed long periods of barking. I am monitoring and recording when and how long she barks in case you choose to involve authorities.

 

Again, I do get that it’s risky to knock on a door. It’s risky to confront a neighbor about something you don’t like. But I will always seem like a suspicious stranger if you refuse to knock. We care that our dog disturbs you and are working with our dog to reduce her barking. I just wanted you to know that and I wish that I could tell you in person.

Your choice to remain anonymous, neighbor,  has the potential to create a suspicion and distance between me and my other neighbors, but I refuse to allow this note to do that. I can’t be forever wondering whether the person I’m chatting with is the person who wrote the note. I’m just going to ask and hopefully we can work this out in a neighborly way. Please just come and talk to us.

Thanks,

Maureen

 

January – Try a new food every day.

I love the Ted Talk by Matt Cutts – Try Something New for a Month. I’ve done this for several years but not every day and not every month. I skipped several months last year but I missed doing it so January is try a new food every day. I really want to try some veggies I’ve never tasted before but I’m not making hard and fast rules on this. As long it’s something I’ve never tried or something prepared in a way I’ve never tried I’m considering it a new food. I haven’t been to the grocery store in 2016 yet so I challenged myself a bit by choosing this one for January. I used what was in the fridge and pantry to cover Jan 1 and 2.

1.  I made a chicken salad using a combination of ingredients I’d never tried together before. I chopped up leftover lemon spiced chicken and pecans and mixed them with some sour cream, some plain yogurt, and olive oil mayo.  Basically i’m trying to eat up leftovers from Christmas and other gatherings and this was in the fridge along with some pears that were dangerously close to overripe.  I ate the chicken salad on slices of pear instead of bread or crackers. The combination tasted really fresh and delicious. I think if I do this again I’ll try adding some celery, shredded carrots, and grapes to the chicken salad.  I hate going to the grocery store so I tend to get creative to avoid it. This time was a win.

2.  I tried Honey Roasted Mixed nuts. I tend to just eat plain nuts but I accidentally bought these for Ted (my husband, not the talk) thinking they were the Honey Roasted Peanuts he likes. Anyway, I gave them a try and they were really sweet. They tasted good but I’m not sure I’d have them again because the sugary coating defeats the purpose of mixed nuts. I actually prefer tasting the various nut flavors but the coating made them all taste pretty much the same.

This is the talk.

That first grandmother moment

Nick and AveryI look through the glass at my baby leaning over his baby, holding her little hand, comforting her while the nurses process her through the newborn clean up and immunization routine.

Our side of the glass is crowded with both sets of grandparents, three of her uncles, two of her great grandmothers, great-aunts, second cousins, and some dear friends who are all there to welcome Avery Elizabeth into our lives. At the same moment my husband Ted’s mother is a couple of floors up in the same hospital. Due to health risks she won’t get to see Avery but she does see pictures just hours later.

We take turns at the window taking pictures with our phones to capture the first moment we saw her. As I snap a picture and step away from the glass I am dazzled by the unconditional, unqualified love I feel for this baby who I haven’t even met face to face yet.

Almost every relationship develops over time. Connections strengthen because we have common bonds. And I can hardly wait to discover who Avery is, to see her personality, to listen to her thoughts, to share experiences with her,  to appreciate and support her interests and talents, and to be part of her life. But none of that has to happen for me to feel the way I do about her now. No matter what, forever and ever, she’s my Avery and I’m her Lady. (That’s my grandmother name unless she decides to change it).

This immediate connection to someone is rare and different. I remember feeling this way before. Three times. In 1986, in 1988, and in 1993 when each of our sons were born. I was privileged to share that unique moment with my sister-in law and brother-in law when my niece was born. And now I see it in my son’s eyes when he looks at his daughter.

That moment felt like eternity was dancing in circles.

Summer Vacay 2015 Pt. 2 Canyons

SedonaChurchHeading north from Phoenix, our first detour off Hwy 89 was Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona. We’d spend this half of our trip looking at God’s art and creativity. Much like Taliesin West, this little sanctuary is an example of human artistry inspired by and set in God’s creative endeavor. We didn’t have time to take in all Sedona had to offer but enjoyed the breathtaking drive up through Sedona’s red rocks up to the chapel.

Vermillion cliffsOn the way to Flagstaff, which sits at 7000 feet, the terrain changed from rocky red cliffs to mountains and evergreens.  Some friends from Ted’s Austin Symphony days live there now so we met for dinner and they drove us around a bit.  Our friends told us Flagstaff is a big ski destination in the winter. Ski Arizona? Who knew?

Grand Canyon driveFrom Flagstaff we headed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The drive took us into the Kaibab Forest, over the Colorado River, and past alpine meadows.

We stayed at the Grand Canyon Lodge which is run by the National Parks system. I guess we should have expected rustic conditions but there was no AC. Fine at night but it was a little warm in the daytime since there was only one window and no breeze through. I’d recommend a cabin over a lodge room if you’re thinking of going in the summer. It’s not like we were staying inside anyway though.

Grand Canyon Angel PtI hiked two of the less demanding trails, Bright Angel Point and Transept, both of which begin at the Lodge. Neither is particularly long, but Bright Angel is a little steep. The altitude is over 8000 ft. which will take a toll on the lungs.

GrandCanyon7The Grand Canyon is vast, awe-inspiring, beautiful, teeming with life, full of story, full of breaths taken from a million awed mouths silenced by its splendor. Words are paltry tools to describe the experience of standing there on its rim.

We left the Grand Canyon and headed for Antelope Canyon, a slot Antelope peepholecanyon on Navajo land just south of the Utah border near Page, Arizona. To get in requires going through one of the Navajo tours, we chose Ken’s Lower Canyon Tour. The upper canyon is jeep ride and walk in (and more expensive), but the more adventurous lower tour requires climbing down ladders and squeezing through some tight spots. From the surface, parts of the lower canyon looks like a large crack in the ground. Ken is a photographer so our guide was trained to help us with our camera settings inside the sometimes dark and cave-like canyon. In many place only indirect shafts of light come through. The colors created by the light on sandstone are unusual and other-worldly. I’ve always wanted to visit this place and I wasn’t disappointed.

From Antelope Canyon we drove into Utah to Bryce Canyon. The BryceCanyonBottomterrain here is unique as well, filled with spherical spires called hoodoos, that look like big chess pieces randomly placed around the rocky terrain. I hiked  from Sunset Point on the Navajo Trail. Going down the steep switchback trail lived up to the trail’s “moderate” designation, but going back up was more than moderate for me. At 7500-8000 ft the uphill climb took its toll on my lungs but, this 50-something, out-of-shape woman made it back up even if I had to lean against the canyon wall gasping every 50 or so feet of the 550 foot climb.  Something about doing that built my confidence about tackling some metaphorical mountains I’ve put off climbing.
SaguaroThe variety in geography was most evident on our one-day drive back to Phoenix as we made our way back down the Grand Staircase of the Colorado Plateau, past the Vermillion Cliffs, and descended to an elevation where Sagauro Cactus took over the view. The Sonoran Desert’s 100 degree temperatures welcomed us back to Phoenix. We experienced so many amazing, unique, inspiring things on this vacation. Arizona

 

 

 

Summer Vacay 2015 Pt. 1 Phoenix

PhoenixHotThree things about our time in Phoenix. One. It’s hot in the summer. Hot. Every day we were there was over 110. Two. Everything is at least half an hour away from everything else. Three. Picking up old friendships is just like riding a bike. You never forget.

We spent a hot week  in Phoenix catching up with dear friends. Don and June. Their daughter Casie and our son Eric have nearly the same birthday so we’d shared parties and done life together when they lived in Austin (Yikes, twenty years ago!!). Though our visit hit at a rough time for them, June’s mom died two weeks before we arrived and they were closing on a new house, they graciously put us up and let us do life with them again for a week.

Barnes Dbacks gameSaturday we took in a Diamondbacks game at Chase Field with Don and June. Sunday we visited Open Door Fellowship Church in Phoenix. The pastors are authors of one of our favorite Bible study books, The Cure.

After that we met up with at restaurant and brew pub in Tempe to celebrate Father’s Day together Barnes and Herringsand finally meet their son-in-law Kyle and 9-month-old grandson Carter after following them through Facebook. Later in the week we cooked out at Kyle and Casie’s and took in a sunset parting with hopes they’ll all come to Austin sometime soon.

Taliesin West
Taliesin West

Since everywhere in Phoenix is a drive we narrowed down our touristy stuff to three excursions: Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home in Scottsdale, The Musical Instruments Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum.

We started on Monday at Taliesin West which turned out to be so much more than the Wright’s winter home. It was home to the Taliesin Fellowship, a place for young architects to come apprentice with Frank Lloyd Wright. Much of the building was built by the apprentices who learned by doing. TaliesinWsculpture

Wright believed that creativity breeds creativity so he included music and dance as part of the training in order to teach architects about movement. Heloise Crista was an artist who came to sculpting through dance because of the encouragement, influence and mentoring of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship.

TaliesinWestApprenticeWhile the building itself demonstrates Wright’s usual attention to setting and detail in its design, the most inspiring thing about touring Taliesin West for me was the attention to the creative process that it represents, both in Wright’s personal philosophical vision as an artist and as a mentor. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture continues at Taliesin West.

BiltmoreAZAfter Taliesin West we headed over to the Arizona Biltmore for lunch. Frank Lloyd Wright collaborated with former student Albert Chase McArthur in the design of the hotel which opened in 1929.

Tuesday Ted played TPC Sawgrass in Scottsdale with Don and Kyle. While the guys played golf I helped June go through a big bag of her mom’s costume jewelry. Of course I came away with some cool earrings.

On Wednesday we visited The Musical Instruments Museum, or The IMG_0829MIM, another monument to creativity. The desire to create music is so strong that all over the world for centuries people have taken available materials and fashioned them into musical instruments. I got a bang out of the gong. Only one per customer.

MIMUd15,000 instruments from nearly 200 countries are on display at the MIM. Visitors walk through geographically arranged displays wearing headphones to look at instruments while hearing them played. Among those instruments I’d never seen before but loved were the Ud, a Middle Eastern stringed instrument.

MIMSteinwayThere is also a musical history section which includes Johnny Cash’s black suit and guitar, John Lennon’s Imagine piano, and the first Steinway piano, made in Steinway’s kitchen.

 

MIMTedCasalsThen Ted saw Pablo Casals’ cello and the visit went to a whole ‘nother level. As a young music student Casals was one of Ted’s heroes. Ted’s teacher studied with  a colleague of Casals. Amazingly there was no glass or anything around the cello. We stood close enough to touch it as Casals music played through the headphones.

 

ArtMusJapMedRmThursday  we visited the Phoenix Art Museum. I’ve never toured a museum with a docent before. Our small group were treated to explanations about paint, techniques, style, history, etc. in a selection of works. She explained negative space using the pieces and their placement in this Japanese meditation space.
ArtMusGerome Our docent pointed out Jean-Leon Gerome’s Pollice Verso. Gerome did extensive research for his historical paintings, so much so that filmmakers came to museum to study this painting as a reference for creating scenes in the movie Gladiator.

The docent not only made the individual works more meaningful, but added to my sense of appreciation and wonder toward all the art I saw on my own that day, including the special exhibit on American Modernism.  I love finding a new artists I hadn’t noticed before. Now I really want to see more by Phoenix surrealist Philip C. Curtis whose works were featured at the museum.   Yayoi Kusama’s You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies is a walk through light installation in a mirrored room. It was awesome. Creativity seems to be a theme on this trip.

After a week in Phoenix we loaded up our rental car on Friday and headed north to Sodona, Flagstaff, canyons and cooler weather.

Do Not Disturb

It’s the first day of my summer vacation and the first day is always pajama day.  My friends and family know the drill. There is a big “Do Not Disturb” sign on me. I do not take off my pajamas. I stay home. I sleep in then eat breakfast for lunch and dinner. I watch TV. I read. I might answer a text but I don’t want to talk on the phone. I don’t want to talk at all.

Introverts are people who recharge alone. I’m one of those. At the end of each school year I feel tapped out. I interacted with a lot of people over a long period of time – I was delighted and privileged to do so – but now I’m drained. Exhausted. Kaput.

I need a day. By myself. A day with no demands, no responsibilities, no conversations, no concerns. I love you but on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 you need to leave a message. I will get back to you Thursday.

My favorite art and me

KandinskyComp8Kandinsky’s Composition 8 might look like a randomly arranged collection of geometrical patterns and colors but to me, it’s as if I’m looking at my own brain. Organized yet divergent and unruly. Kandinsky painted abstract art in order to create an object-free canvas for transcendent response that would connect the viewer with universal, human emotions; so I guess when I look at his work I’m supposed to think “me and everybody else.” Maybe I that’s it.

SchlossKamerKlimt_068 I love how the trees in Klimt’s Avenue of Schloss Kamer dominate. They are wild and colorful and almost rebellious, as if unwilling to tolerate being lined up in rows and put in a civilized setting. Unexpected purples and blues highlight the gnarled twisting limbs like streaks dyed in hair born brown. Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting there in my assigned row with thoughts as out of the park as Klimt’s trees.

starry-nightIt feels cliche to include Van Gogh’s Starry Night, but I would be dishonest if I didn’t include it. I love its movement and color. It captures the kind of revelatory  moment that utterly disturbs the universe yet carries inexplicable peace. Even with flame-like cypress tree looming in the foreground, the way problems seem vie for prominence in life, cannot dispel the awesome, swirling brightness in the heavens above. When I see Starry Night I have to stop what I’m doing a just look.

San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk MonetI’m a fan to sunsets. I like the way buildings and landscapes look like etchings against sunset skies. Monet gets this and in San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk he throws in reflections in the water for bonus points. Monets remind me of what my world looks like with uncorrected vision. Light and contrast really do become more important when you can’t see the details. Sort like stripping reality down to truth.

salvador-dali-persistence-of-memory-clocks-meaningI like Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory mostly for its droopy clocks. I read somewhere that Dali’s collapsed clocks were supposed to symbolize the passage of time in dreams and that the passage of time is kind of meaningless in dreams. Some say it’s about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity melting time as a stable force. Either I’m dreaming or approach an event horizon because time definitely is accelerating. At least Dali’s are face clocks. With those I can see all of time. With digital I can only see the minute I’m in. Maybe that’s my problem. The rest of my time needs to collapse into the minute I’m in.

head-of-a-young-womanI love Leonardo da Vinci’s unfinished piece simply called La Scapigliata or Head of a Woman. I like Leonardo’s drawing more than his painting and I find this piece personal and intimate. The shadowing on her face is so perfect but then her hair is all messy and not even all drawn on. Sometimes the drawing is referred to as Head of a Woman with Tousled Hair. My favorite photos are candid. I find people in casual attire easier to approach than people who are meticulously dressed and coiffed. Entertaining stresses me out because something is inevitably going to get left out (the dirty socks on the bathroom floor, Mexican food with no salsa, or me with mascara on only one eye).  I expect the life I leave behind when I exit this world will be an unfinished piece.

jeremiahs-lamentation-chagallMy husband and sons bought a lithograph of Marc Chagall’s Jeremiah’s Lamentations for me for Mother’s Day. I’m a fan of Chagall and love his restrained use of color in this one.  I’ve always felt really sorry for Jeremiah.  I think Chagall does a good job capturing Jeremiah’s dependence on God and his grief about what was going on in his world, showing him curled up, clutching that scroll. Nobody likes to be the one saying things people don’t want to hear. Personally I avoid that.  I would hate for my writing assignment to be Lamentations but in the Bible Jeremiah mans up and writes it.

Picasso guitarPicasso did a whole series of paintings of guitars. This one is my favorite.  I like the shapes and colors Picasso uses. The way the painting’s got organized lines and blocks but then the guitar is deconstructed reflects the sort of music I like. I want music to have some edge and surprise to it but I also want to hear hooks and melody.

 

 

 

Love Chapter for my first day of my 30th year of teaching

I am beginning my 30th year in schools. I’ve been at my current school 20 years but this is only my third year in my current position so the new hasn’t worn off yet. I still love what I do. I made the change because I stopped loving what I was doing before.  I still love my students. That hasn’t changed in 30 years. If it does I will quit.

Here is my version of the Love Chapter (I Cor. 13) for the first day of school:

If I become an expert in my field of study, but don’t love my students and communicate love for the subjects I teach I am a blabbering interruption or persistent annoyance.

If I develop discipline strategies that result in complete compliance to the rules,

If my brilliant curriculum, pedagogy, and communication skills result in all my students attaining perfect scores on their college entrance exams,

If my work and professionalism are exemplary, but I don’t love my students and communicate love for the subjects I teach, I am nothing.

If I sacrifice any semblance of a life because I am always at school,  and if I get an award at the end of the year because of my dedication, but don’t love my students and communicate love for the subjects I teach, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, critical, proud, or rude. Love does not demand it’s own way but adapts to the way each student learns.

Love is not irritable and keeps no record of being wronged, even when the wrong feels kind of personal.

Love does not rejoice in injustice or vengeance, but rejoices when the truth wins out, even when the student or parent turns out to be right. Love never gives up on a student. Love never loses faith in a student.

Love is always hopeful that something will ignite a student’s desire to learn. Love keeps offering new information and experiences to help the most resistant, rebellious student connect with the subject.

Textbooks, grades, rules, and even the College Board will become obsolete in eternity, but love will last forever. Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete but then we will understand with perfect clarity.

We now see information like preschoolers compared with the amazing synthesis of knowledge we will enjoy. When we perceive the subjects we teach the way that God perceives them, the “self-actualization” peak on Maslow’s hierarchy will blow like a volcano.

When school is over students will be forever impacted by teachers who had faith in them, who hoped they would be engaged and excited about learning and life, and who loved them. Love has greater eternal consequence for students than anything else.