Grateful for my job and the opportunity to spend time with second graders each day. It is true that some days as a teacher are tougher than others, but I am still grateful for my job and what it provides for my family.
Home alone on a Sunday evening always causes me to spend a bit of time reflecting on life and other such things. It was a day, just like today, in October of last year when my word, BRAVE, whispered in my ear. I could not think of a good reason for that word, but it just would not be quiet. In fact, as the year drew to a close, Brave was like the constant drone of a hip-hop bass line.
So, I decided to be Brave. In 2015 Brave looked like the inside of a doctor’s office when I really did not want to hear anymore news, good or bad, I had had enough. It looked like the inside of a hospital when I was preparing to take a test that I knew was going to be very painful. It looked like the inside of a hospital when friends were dealing with medical challenges that they and I found hard to face. Brave is the smile I wear when the news is not good but my friend needs a smile and a strong shoulder to lean on. Brave keeps me searching for answers to pain that just will not subside.
Brave was also the ability to multi task when pain got in the way and I needed to finish just one more report card or my lesson plans. Brave was the opportunity I took to teach back to back workshops in cities 4 hours away from each other because I knew that I would grow from the experience.
But, while I was in Seattle this August, in a not so nice part of town, in a hotel by myself, I realized that being Brave was so much more than I was prepared for. Once home, school started, early; I was required to take a four week online class to keep my IB workshop leader certification, I was facing the need to change my diet completely as I stared diabetes in the face and the pain was ever-present.
Then the reason for my word revealed itself. The opportunity to purchase a retail business in the quilting industry. Just one more thing piled on my plate but necessary from my perspective. You see, I need to retire from teaching soon because of how the stress affects my health and, I have wanted to own a quilt shop since I experienced my first shop in 1978. That’s a long time.
Mark and I worked hard to develop a business plan taking advantage of the SBDC. We took classes that dealt with running a quilt shop like building sales, creating momentum, “open to buy” inventory management, appropriate POS systems, inspiring creativity and supporting newbies to the craft. We attended workshops and seminars that kept us busy from before 8am to way after 9pm and we soaked it all up.
When we felt ready, with everything, we contacted my bank with our mentor’s blessing. I have been with this bank for nearly 30 years. Our meetings went well, our interactions were all positive and we were told that we met all of the requirements for the loan. Then, here’s where Brave comes in, on Black Friday, we received the call that while we were good candidates, we weren’t quite good enough.
After careful deliberation and a great amount of soul-searching, I am calling on my word once again. Today I am being Brave. I will continue to look for the funding and hope that the funding arrives before someone else purchases the shop. I will continue to be Brave and I will put myself out there, again. I know that I have grown as a result of this experience. I also know that you cannot win if you do not play the game. I also know that the right opportunity is out there and I need to be present just in case it shows up when I least expect it.
Here’s to being Brave, taking chances and being willing to work for something that I want. All for the love of quilts!
Grateful for a grey outside sort of day. Better to stay inside, watch football, sew and catch up on school work. Phew! Grateful for the opportunity to get things done around the house. That is one of the reasons I like to stay home on Sunday. It is the only day that I absolutely get things done! There is so much to do on a Sunday, the laundry, cooking, lesson plans and, on this particular Sunday, report cards. I mosey along from one thing to another, with football on in the background, and before you know it, everything is done and I can put myself to bed with a clear conscience. Of course, if I managed my time better during the week, perhaps Sunday at home wouldn’t be as important but that wouldn’t be as much fun!
Dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants and an evening at the theater. So grateful for evenings like this. Both Mark and I celebrate our birthdays in October. This year, for our birthdays, we were gifted a gift card to our favorite restaurant, Anthony’s in Haddon Township. Last Saturday evening we decided to treat ourselves to dinner before the theater.
At Anthony’s, we always sit in the window. It’s like “our” special seat! When we arrived they asked us if we would mind sitting in the window, mind, I thought we owned that table. We always have a difficult time deciding what to eat. Although, it really doesn’t matter, we always have a delicious meal!
Right after dinner we made our way to The Ritz Theater in Oaklyn for their performance of Rent. It is a very moving play and the soundtrack is one of my favorites. I must say that we had one of our best evenings ever! Sometimes it is just a good idea to take a night off and just relax. So grateful for the opportunity to do that!
Second Graders love to create. They are the perfect age to inspire with STEM projects. On Monday we decided to give the entire 2nd grade an engineering challenge; to support our unit, What do scientists do?They were to create a free-standing structure using just spaghetti, tape, string and marshmallows. Each group took on the challenge in a different way and all groups were successful. It was interesting to see the range of structures created. There were pyramids, rectangles and “alien” structures. As well as towers, clusters and a “scarecrow."From my perspective, the best part of projects like these is the opportunity we have to be able to listen in on the conversations, their negotiations and their pride when in fact they feel like they have been successful. It is unfortunate that we do not have sufficient time to dedicate to this type of project on a weekly basis. Our students would really benefit from that type of problem-solving activity. For now we will plan these types of investigations whenever possible.
Grateful for the many happy memories I have of visiting my grandmother’s house. I am the oldest of five children. I think I have more memories of my grandmother’s house than most of my siblings. By the time my baby sister was born, the majority of the holidays were celebrated at our house. But when I was small, perhaps up to age 5 or 6, holidays were spent at my grandmother’s house. From small spiced gumdrops to glass ornaments on the tree, presents hidden under nannie’s bed and the aquarium in the basement rec room. When I opened the catalog from the Vermont Country Store, I was surprised to find a box of the hard candies that my grams kept in a crystal bowl on the coffee table. I do not remember liking them all that much, but I do remember that they were there for the taking. I am not sure that she trusted us not to eat too many or she knew that we really didn’t like them, but they were always there. I especially love the ribbon candies and the little peppermint pillows. So very grateful for the memories.
As we move closer to the holidays, I usually take down the quilts that are on the wall. The truth is, there have been several quilts on the wall and very little quilting getting done. So last night I took down the Winding Ways quilt that I had started back in Seattle, 2011. I did fiish a few more blocks, but now I am at the point where I have to cut some more fabric and too many other things need to get done in the meantime. I will probably get back to this quilt in the new year.
Then there are the baby quilts. This one has been on my wall since forever! The baby was actually born in August so I have a few more months before I will consider it late. I also have at least 4 other baby quilts that will need to be made for babies that were just born or babies that are due in the next day or two. Not like I am cutting it close! I am finally set up to be able to cut out quilts in my studio. My husband will be happy that I do not keep taking over the kitchen table and I am thrilled that I will not need to keep running up and down the stairs. Not that I am doing much running these days! :-)
Grateful for healthcare, medical offices that are open after work, friends that know about the medical field and doctors that listen. It has been a long fall. Grateful that I believe we are starting to get some answers.
Grateful for happy colors and a little bling. There are some days, not unlike Wednesday, when it feels like I motor through from morning until night. It is pleasant to seek out things that make me smile. So, as I ran my errands to Target to pick up my prescriptions, I wandered over to the holiday section and these Christmas decorations just made my night. I love to wander the aisles of stores when they create their Christmas wonderland. Just like I like to drive around once Christmas decorations are up outside and the twinkle lights shine in abundance. My favorite time of year!
Grateful for joy that shows up in unexpected places. It’s funny how it just shows up. Completely unexpected, but right there in front of you, exactly when you need it most. I love this time of the year. Early sunsets, cozy nights and unexpected joys.