Last week I wrote about the words ‘snow day’.  It was odd to write about snow because while the country has been blanketed in white, the first breaths of Spring are all around me in the blossoms on the trees and the green shoots peeking up from my bed of Cannas.

I’ve yet to have an official ‘Snow Day’ in my teaching career.  This year it’s snowed twice, once in the first few minutes of 2011, when my New Year’s kiss was still fresh on my lips.  The second batch of snow arrived as I drove to work, flurries splattering on my windshield and dusting the sidewalk.  I took my little ones out on the patio attached to my classroom and we caught snowflakes on our tongues and blinked off crystals clinging to our eyelashes.

For many of my little ones, it was their first time seeing snow fall.  Sure, they’ve seen it on the ground on skiing trips to Mt. Shasta and they’ve seen snow falling on tv, but most of them had never seen feathers of snow floating from the sky.  They stood letting the snow kiss their cheeks, squealing with delight.

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One timid little one stood under the awning, eventually sticking her hand out and watching the flakes melt in her palm.  She cried when they melted and I could only put my arm around her and nod with understanding at the beautiful brevity of snow.

We stood outside as long as we could and then we tromped back into the classroom to read Snowflake Bentley.  Still the snow continued to fall.  So we zipped ourselves back into our jackets again and slipped outside to catch a little more magic.

Snow twice in a year is a rare gift for us.  We can wait for snow for months, sometimes even years.  While I wait, I remember the taste of snow on my tongue.  And I remember the smiles on the faces of my little ones on the day white winter fell from the sky and covered us in wonder.

Thankful Thursday #15

This week I’m thankful for…

  • days when the rain holds off until after recess
  • a darling former student who bought me a dragonfly windchime with her own money.  I can only imagine how many chores she had to do to earn enough money to buy it.  I was so touched.
  • the kid who came to school with the Batman symbol shaved in his head, proving that everything old becomes new again.
  • getting my report cards done ahead of time instead of scrambling at the last minute
  • Girl Scout cookies
  • my new little one who asked the class to pray that his family would find a house
  • The Fat Cyclist for making this photo of my brother and I his new blog header.  Go, Team Fatty!

How to Be Sick

I was sick this past weekend.  I’m talking raging fever, clogged head, hurts to move kind of sick.  And yet I had a good weekend.


No, really, I had a good weekend because I know how to be sick.  I know getting sick is my body’s way of telling me to take a serious time out.  Here’s what I did this weekend, a how to of sorts on being sick.  (This only applies if you are childless or better yet if your children are old enough to wait on you hand and foot.)

  1. Get comfy.  Slip out of your work clothes and into your pajamas and slippers.  This was especially easy for me as Friday was Pajama Day so I was already properly attired before I even walked through the front door.
  2. Gather supplies.  For me this included a good book, the Bible study I’m in the middle of, the remote control, tissue, a garbage bag, a bottle of ibuprofen, my laptop and the biggest glass of water I could find.  I placed everything within arm’s reach and hunkered down so that in between bouts of sleep I wrote, read, and caught up on tv.
  3. Sleep.  I set up camp on the couch in the living room and I turned to page 1 of my book, noticed that the words were a little swimmy, and promptly fell asleep for several hours.  When I woke from bizarre fevered dreams about cat acrobats, cheese, and former students, I actually felt a smidge better.  In fact, when I reached for my book, the words were all back in the right place on the page.
  4. Say yes.  This is no time to be Independent Spice.  Say yes when your hubby, child, trained dog, or other loved one offers to:

a)get you food, including your favorite candy

b) do the laundry

c) empty the dishwasher

d) rent a movie

e) change the sheets

f) grocery shop

g) get you umpteen glasses of water

h) all of the above

My hubby is an ‘all of the above’ kind of guy, which brings me to point number five.

5.  Thank your hubby or other loved one profusely for taking such good care of your burning inferno, mucus-filled carcass.  Even thank him for renting that really bad movie, which was just as confusing and strange as your fever induced dreams.

6. Say no.  Say no to checking your work e-mail or worse yet, working on report cards.  Say no hanging out with friends, even if they are going to your favorite burger joint.  Say no to anything that requires you moving from your horizontal position for more than 10 minutes.  The exception to this rule is showering.

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7. Shower.  Shower long.  Shower often.  Stay in the shower until you fingers are pruny and the steam has loosened every aching muscle.  Later when your fever spikes and you start seeing acrocats performing a circus in your living room, hop back in the shower and crank the water on cold until your brain stops boiling inside your skull.

8. Drink water.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat until this beastly illness has no choice but to be flushed out.  Literally.

9.  Ignore.  Ignore your hubby when he says romantic things like “You sound like death.”  Frankly, it’s probably true and there is no need to exact revenge by breathing your horrid germs all over his pillow.  Revisit steps #4 and #5.

10.  Repeat steps 1-9 as needed until your are finally able to join the land of the living again.

P.S. One of my favorite books comes out on paperback today.  So if you’re sick on the couch and in need of a good read or, better yet, completely healthy check it out.

Letter #8: Do Over

Dear Gramma,

It’s been a year since you were diagnosed with cancer and almost a year since you died.  Today I was talking to my mom about how time is so elastic.  It feels like you’ve been gone such a long time, but in the next breath it feels like we talked yesterday.

Do you remember when I called you just after you found out it was cancer?  I asked you how you were feeling and you told me you were scared.  It was the only time you said that to me, maybe the only time you said it at all.  I told you I was scared, too, that cancer was an okay thing to be frightened by.

This week in Bible study, we’ve been talking about facing our fears, about how there are things in this world that are worthy of a shake in our shoes.  And I couldn’t help but remember the time in my own life when I was most afraid.  I visited you and you reminded me of the faithfulness of God, reminded me that He did not give me a spirit of fear.  And when I worked up the courage to tell you my most deep seeded fear, the one that was breaking me into pieces of myself, you hugged me and told me that you prayed for me every morning.

I still remember your short arms wrapped around me.  I remember the way your head rested in the crook of my shoulder, the pendant of your necklace pressing into my stomach.  I stood there, all six feet of me pressed into all five feet of you.  I kissed your head.  You told me I’d be okay and you said it with such conviction that I believed you.

A year has passed since you told me you were afraid and all this time later I have the luxury of hindsight.  So I’m telling you now what I wish I had known then.

It’s okay to be afraid.  But God is bigger than the cancer in your body.  You don’t have to be afraid of chemo or radiation or losing your hair or being in pain.  You will leave before any of that is even a possibility.  You will leave your body and you will go home to be with your Lord.  And until that day, you’ll be taken care of by the best doctors and nurses.  You won’t be in pain.  You won’t be alone.  You’ll be surrounded by family and friends who will love you every second of the rest of your life here on Earth.  Gramma, I will love you every second of the rest of my life, both here and beyond.

I learned this week that the word courage comes from the latin word cor, or heart.  If I had it to do all over again, I would tell you it’s okay to be afraid, but that you can also take heart in knowing that God has his arms wrapped around all five feet of you.  I’d tell you to rest your head in the crook of His shoulder.

Even though you’re gone, I feel you every day.  When I eat ice cream I think of that time on our trip when I caught you eating ice cream without me and you tried to tell me it was someone else’s dish.  The ice cream on your mouth gave you away and I promised not to show anyone the picture I took as proof.  When I watch The Amazing Race, my hand reaches for the phone to call you so we can watch it together.  When I read a good book, I write it down and think of your book list.  And when my mom laughs, it’s you who I hear.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop missing you.  You were the most courageous person I know.  Sometimes that dark fear of mine creeps up and threatens to drown me.  I’m learning to face it, to recognize that God is bigger than my most ferocious of fears.  And I’m taking heart in knowing that someday I will see you again.   You’ll wrap your short arms around me and I’ll kiss your head.  And we’ll be better than okay.



Thankful Thursday #14

This week I’m thankful for…

  • my blogger friend, Hippie, who bestowed the Stylish Blogger award on Pedals and Pencils.  I’ve been called a lot of things, but never stylish.  So thanks, Hippie.  And hello, friends of Le Cahier.  Kick off your shoes and stay awhile.
  • writing Haikus with my little ones
  • dresses with tights and tall boots
  • the rainbow that streaked the sky after a day of unrelenting rain
  • the rare pleasure of sleeping through the night
  • my little one who wrote “Yippee ki yay, Mommy’s home!” in his notebook the day after his mom returned from Kuwait.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.
  • dancing with my favorite five-year-old.  It doesn’t matter that I have no rhythm because all he wanted to do was spin.  Works for me.
  • my hubby’s prickly stubble against my cheek
  • the woman sitting next to me in church during worship who couldn’t begin to carry a tune-and didn’t care one bit
  • days when exercise takes the form of walking by the river with a friend
  • the two little girls who were swinging on the playground after school.  It was sprinkling and they were swinging and singing at the top of their lungs having a grand time.