Tuesday, June 25, 2013


My Tuesday quck-write for Teachers Write:)  Here's a link to the orginal post if you want to see: http://www.katemessner.com/blog/.

Sometimes.. in those quiet moments,
my heart nearly pounds out of my chest
with love for my daughter.
When playtime is done for the day,
and she smells like lavender baby soap,
and all she wants to do is snuggle.

My heart melts as she gives me her award-winning, toothy grin,
as she says, "I love you, Mommy!"
We snuggle deep in the comfortable recliner,
covering ourselves with a soft, warm blanket.
As she settles in, she whispers,
"Sing me a song. Sing me my song, please."
And she falls asleep to "Amazing Grace."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Why is writing important?

I have had a whirlwind semester, and, sadly, have not made the time to sit down and write on here since January.  I'm hoping to fix that this summer:)  I'm once again do the Teachers Write workshop with author Kate Messner.  Although it is late, I'm finally getting a chance to do my Monday "morning" warmup.  To see the warmup, you can visit Jo Knowles's blog at http://jbknowles.livejournal.com/

So.. why is writing important? Ironically, I love writing for more reasons than I could probably ever write down:)  One of the biggest reasons is that I've always found that I express myself better when I write than when I speak.  This is especially true if I'm emotionally invested in the topic.  It helps to be able to pause and think, to organize my thoughts, to add words at my own pace, and to DELETE.  Isn't it nice to be able to instantly take back words and thoughts before someone else can read them?  We can't do that when we're talking.  No matter how many times the judge tells the jury to disregard something, once something is spoken, it can never truly be taken back.  So, yes, I do enjoy that delete button.  My dramatic side especially loves that button.  

Another of my favorite reasons for writing is true both for myself as an individual and for myself as a teacher.  Writing helps us LEARN:D  I once had a professor that often used the quote, "How do I know what I know until I see what I have to say."  He often argued that we often knew much more than we realized.  He thought writing helped with this realization and both as a student and teacher, I wholeheartedly agree.  Writing helps organize thoughts and requires us to really think about an answer.  This helps us realize everything we know about a topic.  The past few years, I have been teaching a class for struggling readers.  Because the subject is difficult for them, many students have a hard time speaking up in class.  Others really take their time about answering.  So... in my efforts to fix this problem, I started having them write their answers before answering aloud.  I require them to write all of our key answers in their books before I will let anyone even raise their hand.  At first they were frustrated by this.  However, guess what happened?  Classroom participation went up exponentially!  When given the time to think about their answer, possibly even look back to the text, these students not only knew what they were talking about, but they were often eager to share that information.  Confidence and smiles grew:) 

Finally, I will end with the fact that writing helps humans to heal.  Every time I have gone through something rough in my life, I have turned to writing.  It helps get emotions out in a safe way.  There's no one to judge.  No one to comment.  The blank page (or blank screen as the case may be) is the ultimate impartial listener.  Sometimes it's nice to be able to put my entire heart out onto a page without having to put on my "brave face" or try and make my listener comfortable.  Sometimes I need to write without apologies.  Sometimes I need to be vulnerable and afraid.  I need to let everything out.  This is my way of moving past bad things.  Consequently, I have a stack of notebooks on-hand at school at all times.  Every year, I always have one or two students at least come talk to me about something big they are going through.  I give them a notebook and share my own coping mechanism:) 

Writing is an extension of the soul :D

From Momma to Momma

My latest article for the guest columnist spot in the Telegraph:)

'‘Everything becomes a little clearer. I realize what life is all about. It’s hanging on when your heart has had enough. It’s giving more when you feel like giving up. I’ve seen the light. It’s in my daughter’s eyes.”—Martina McBride
“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” However silly it might sound, this quote by Tenneva Jordan sums up motherhood perfectly. As a child, this was my momma exactly. No matter what, my mom would always eat the broken cookie, the slightly burnt piece of chicken, or give up her serving of green beans because her two daughters wanted more. Unfortunately, I don’t think I really appreciated how important these seemingly small sacrifices were until I grew up and matured a little. Now I realize that this was just one of the many, many ways that my mom showed her love for her family, one of the countless circumstances in which she put her daughters before herself. Now that I am the mother of a spirited little girl myself, I often look to my mom for support, guidance, a shoulder to cry on, or simply a person to share the joy of every new experience with my own daughter. I can’t think of anyone from whom I have learned more from than my momma—Anne Mottaz.
For those who don’t know me, I have a tendency to be quite dramatic and worry about concerns far too much. Before I was a parent, I often stressed that these characteristics would show up in my parenting skills as well. I listened to friends who talked about how hard being a parent was. However, while I can’t say I am never frustrated, being a mom is one of the most rewarding and “easy” things I’ve ever done. My daughter is my “happy place” and my calm in the storm of life. I know this attitude is a result of the excellent guidance I receive from my own mom. Anyone who meets my mom can tell how happy her daughters make her and how thankful she is to be a parent. My mom’s attitude on parenthood helps me find peace through everyday hectic situations that so often arise while being a mom. While I certainly get stressed when my two-year-old is acting like a two-year-old, I have also learned from my mom to pick my battles and find great joy in all the little moments with my daughter. Whenever my daughter, Grace, does something aggravating, I hear my mom’s voice in my head and I stop and ask myself why I’m irritated. Then, if the situation isn’t truly a big deal, I find the patience to laugh it off. If it is something she needs disciplined for, I find the patience to calmly discipline her without screaming my head off (which any parent knows, can easily happen!).
I feel that this special relationship with my mom started when my little sister, Rebecca, was born. While pregnant with Rebecca, my mom ruptured a disc in her back. My sister had already had a scary birth, one in which my mom had to have a caesarean section and they had problems getting her out (She is still a stubborn girl!). Shortly after this complicated birth, my mom had to be put under anesthesia and go right back into the operating room for her back. Because of this, she wasn’t able to hold Rebecca much right after she was born. I remember having to help my mom quite a bit at home because she couldn’t lift anything—not even her new baby girl! Although my mom looks on this memory with sadness, I don’t see it as a bad situation at all. I know my mom was in a lot of pain, which makes me sad, but I think this made my family extremely close. Despite the fact that I was only five, I had to step up and help my mom. Our family had to learn to be a team. Even at such a young age, I recognized the strength that my mom has always possessed. As easy as it would have been to give up or to hide in bed, my mom spent every day of her recovery (and always!) playing with my sister and me as best as she could, teaching and loving us. My sister and I deserved a mom who would be there for us no matter what she was personally going through, and my mom delivered on that beyond all expectations. It is this strength that I have often remembered when I was sick. My mom taught me to be a good mom no matter how I felt physically.

My momma has taught me so many different lessons about life, love, challenges, and friendship. However, I am most thankful for her excellent example of how to be a good parent. My daughter means more to me than anything, and, if I can be even half the mom my own momma has been, my daughter will be one lucky girl. My mom is so much more than a mother. She is best friend, mentor, counselor, partner-in-crime, and teacher. I strive every day to be like her.