Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

What is Christmas about really? No longer steeped in Christian tradition of church and the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus, it is now really more about presents and parties and decorations and twinkling lights. But when you don't want it to be that either, what is Christmas, really?

This year, I thought about this and realized that my vision has nothing to do with presents or parties, decorations or twinkling lights. It's about reflecting on the past year, trying to capture the essence in a yearly letter to friends. It's about those friends responding in kind. Pictures of families and children with smiles and laughter! It's about being with my own children and the memories of all their past Christmas mornings. It's about that feeling of warmth and satisfaction that comes over you, telling you that you have had a blest life.

And then, in the quiet of the morning, you thank God for the birth of his son because without that biblical event we would not all have this one date, this one day when work stops...and families make time to be together!

For me, Christmas is love!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


She loved the color purple! She insisted on wearing fancy hi heeled shoes even with swollen sore feet! She made meals consisting of everything each individual person liked - steak, meetballs, hotdogs and ring bologna, mashed potatoes, twice baked potatoes and potato chips (Pringles to be exact)!

Some say she was controlling, to others she was sweet and so thankful to see you!

And, as far back as I can remember, she was always dying!

Many family events were focused on her new potentially fatal disease. After multiple exploratory surgeries for cancer, she settled for just telling people that she was "not good".

Then her husband died and then her son and she went from believing that she was dying to wanting to be the next to die! According to her daughter, she has been planning her funeral for the past 15 years!

Well, today is the day! This lady who started to truly shrink away has been described as spunky and sassy but at the age of 91, I believe that now she is finally just relieved!

Her funeral will be part official tradition but mostly party. Purple flowers will float in small bowls on each table. Wine and manhattans will be served. Lawrence Welk polka music will play in the background along with "How Great Thou Art".

In the end, God was good to her and after years of worrying about death to longing for it, he took her quietly in her sleep! The greatest gift!

Go in peace, Grandma Marcie

Friday, November 18, 2011


Passing it On!
Thanksgiving is the time of year when everyone should take a moment to reflect on the riches in their lives!  In many cases,  riches are inherited.  So now is a good time to thank those who passed on their gifts to us!

At first, you think that "riches" and  "inheritance" are measured in MONEY!  But, in fact that is the least important benefit that a person can give or receive.  More important are characteristics.  Although we like to think of ourselves as unique, we often return to our family history to determine the reason for our health issues and even our actions.

Now I know that neither my mom or dad intended to pass forward issues with blood pressure, high cholesterol or digestive track problems but I can handle these characteristics better than they could because now I know what to watch for.  I have been vigilant in my attempts to change the family pattern of premature death.  I can now say that I have enjoyed more years than both my mother and father and I intend to continue, thank you very much!

The best part of getting older is reaching a time in your life where you can truly reflect on your greater inheritance.  Aside from pesky health issues what else did my parents gift me with?

Well, after pondering that thought for awhile, I have come up with the following:

I believe that my dad passed on the gift of laughter!  Although I was so young when he died, I remember my dad as a very happy man.  He seemed to find joy in many things and loved to make others laugh as well.   I understand now that he had wanted to accomplish so much more in his life but he faced so many limitations.   Still when I picture my dad, I see a happy, laughing person.  I credit my positive attitude to my dad!  No matter what, there is always a potential positive from every negative.  Finding the humor in situations eases the tension.  People say that they love my laugh!  I thank my dad for that!

My mom loved to write!  She had wanted, so much, to be an educated person and every spare minute she had was spent typing out her memories on a manual typewriter.   I still have that typewriter!  She was so proud of the fact that she had graduated from high school but I think that, if times were different, she would have continued on like I did!  Instead, she raised a family and pecked away on that old typewriter, sharing her words to no one in particular!  She would be surprised at how much her words have been read by her family over the years.  Then again, maybe she always hoped that would be the case.  Today, I do the same!  I have that same desire to share my thoughts!  The words may never be viewed by anyone in particular but there is a feeling of peace in writing them down.  Who knows, someday perhaps my kids will read them!  I thank my mom for sharing this talent with me.

There are other characteristics that I feel come directly from one parent or another.  Sometimes over the years I have heard myself sound exactly like my mom.  Other times, I wonder if my dad would be proud of the person I turned out to be.  I don't think they did anything intentional to have their children carry on their visions but somehow they modeled characteristics that have continued into my life.

So now I wonder, am I passing forward the characteristics that I want to be remembered for?  When my kids reach the age where they can take the time to reflect on their life, will they see the gifts that I tried to give them?

On this Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to my mom and dad!  They made me the person that I am today.  And in my humble opinion, I'm a pretty good person, as it turns out!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Changing Seasons

It's been a long time since I have posted to this blog.  It's because I have been on an emotional journey; one that has felt much like that saying "being pulled through a knot hole!"  Over the past year, I celebrated a milestone birthday, a daughter's wedding, and my retirement!  The hardest one to accomplish was the retirement even though you hear people long for that glorious time in their lives!

During the first month of retirement, I cleaned like a crazy woman; emptying all of the closets and sorting out everything that felt "work" related.  Why would I ever need business wear again?  In thirty days, I ran a mega garage sale and didn't care to make any money.  It was just a revelation to see it all out of the house!  Now with closets in order, I sat on my back porch to hear those birds sing and drink in the day!  That lasted for two or three days!

Then I went running back to school to find out if there was anything at all that I could do to fill my time.  I was bored!  Within minutes I was back.  Sort of!  I was given tasks at least that kept me linked to the school email, school staff.  I wasn't involved in the day to day conversations though and I felt it.  I wasn't a necessary voice to weigh in on any decision but I buried myself in the tasks that I had been given and tried to believe that I was still important to the district's success.  I was like a race car running at high speed.  The race had ended but my mind was still racing!

But then, something happened!  I slipped and twisted my knee!

The car,  still going a hundred miles an hours, crashed!

I was told that my body (at least my leg) was to be in the repair shop for 4 to 6 weeks!

WHAT?  Sit?  Elevate?  Ice?

It will get worse before it gets better.  The swelling will increase.  You will have to spend time working the muscles so they don't grow stiff and immobile.  Use the crutches so you don't limp!  And you will need to start physical therapy once a week.

Suddenly, I had a completely foreign new assignment.  I was to focus on ME!  And...accept help!  I had to...I couldn't even get my own socks on!

...It has now been six weeks and I have endured the sitting, the physical therapy, the pain with a new found humility.  At one point, I looked at our house's front step as though it were a mountain.  I was thankful to have anything or anyone to hold on to so that I could make that one step down.  I understand fear differently now.  Fear is now the knowledge that anything can happen at any time in an instant that will change your direction immediately!  For a person who embraces change, I don't like this kind of surprise!

But now, I think I have finally learned to pull away from that lifelong career in education.  While sequestered to the couch, I was limited to projects within reach.  I found photos on my laptop that I had been wanting to do something with,  so a movie was born!  Some photos were of summer flowers and, with the help of an app, I spent hours enhancing each one to look like a work of art!  Those have now become individual cards that will bring smiles to other people over the next year.

Still, after six weeks I had a brief meltdown because my recovery wasn't as fast or complete as I had hoped it would be.  I had to cancel a planned trip to see my daughters because I had come to a realization that I still did not have the strength to endure the length of the trip!  It was like I was battling my brain!  One lobe in "Get up, get moving", the other in "Slow down, be careful".  In the end, my knee spoke!  And I actually listened!  I cried, but I listened!

What I am discovering from all of this is a need for inner peace!  Find the calm!  Accept what is!  I am finally realizing that I no longer need to climb a mountain every day!  Nor do I even need to plan to climb a mountain!  All I need to do is step back and enjoy the view!

I think I am finally ready to retire!  The season has changed!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Loving My Summer!

I got a call tonight from one at my annual retreat. "I miss you!". You know how nice it was to hear that?

And yet, I am finding joy in things like perfecting my gardens but also truly learning how to do imovies! Do you know that I have now compiled an iDVD for my daughter's wedding reception that has photos, video clips and music segments that all sounds easy but took concentrated effort to perfect! I actually completed the final, best version tonight at 6:00. Who knows if it's the final, final version! The point is that I now have the time to actually get good at something!

And you have to admit, my flowers look dam good!

Learning to Change

Education as we know it needs to move on too! Time to grab hold of all the innovation happening around us and put it squarely in the hands of the kids!

Moving On!

A milestone birthday, a wedding, and a retirement! All in the last 10 months! Time to celebrate the memories and then move on!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Beautiful Day!

Today was wonderful! Beautiful weather, good music, and I figured out that my flowers could be uploaded into Flicker instead of Picasa and it WORKED!

They don't even look real do they? But it's true, they are in my back yard!

And now my day is complete.

Administrator Retreat

Memories from last year! Will be thinking about everyone back in Green Lake this year without me!

Trying Out a New App called Blogsy

So I am having fun with a new ap on my ipad called Blogsy which allows me up update my blogs with ease! Or maybe not! I was able to upload one photo which you see above but then unable to upload more. Internet error, it says.

At any rate, the photo is one from my garden which has been enhanced with another ap called snap seed. Both really cool.

Now if I can just upload another photo!

Request failed! Sorry!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

And It's Over!

A lifetime, it seems, has passed in seconds in front of my eyes. But then people say "you will love retirement!" So, now I just have to wait and see.

So far, it's getting used to waking up and not being startled that the alarm didn't go off! "Oh my god, am I late for work?" It's also getting used to have hours and hours of time to choose your own adventure! I want to end each day with a sense of satisfaction. Did I spend the day well?

I went to a Tarot Card Reader who said that many things are going to happen in July and August! Ok, I'm here...waiting!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Closing Another Door...Or Is It Opening A New Door!

The countdown to retirement is running. Sixteen more weeks of work are but grains of sand now on the beach of life!

I remember beginning the journey so well and thinking at the time that I would surely only work full time until I had children. Now 38 years later, I look back on a career not just a job and surely not just work! I never did get to be a stay at home mom but I still managed to raise to incredible girls and work full time as well.

I am calm, now, with the decision to retire. I am calm because I can see, in myself, the desire to hold on to the old when I know that things need to change. I can see myself becoming more anxious over simple tasks. I can also see the fact that I am taking too long to accomplish some of those tasks or I put off starting them because of that anxiety! These are the signs I have seen in others when I have secretly thought they should retire. So now that I see it in myself, the decision is a comfort.

So what next?

This is uncharted territory. Having parents who died before reaching retirement, I see this time as a pure gift that can not be squandered! So, one would think that I have a grand plan...but I don't! It's kind of like stepping up to a door and not knowing what's on the other side so I am unable to prepare for anything other than opening the door!

We'll call this my One Step At A Time journey. I'll keep you posted!