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Monthly Archives: June 2013

It’s love that builds community

It does take love to build a community. It takes someone giving directives to build a team. They are so different and yet often confused.
I am on my way to Spokane over the next 24 hours so I am not sure about tending my blog for the next few days as I travel and settle into a different routine.

love builds communityWhen we participate in a spiritual or healing practice, we become one with the source of abiding and ever-present love.

We share, co-create and sustain a safe place where compassion and wholeness can be nurtured for ourselves and others.

Participating in a spiritual practice is like lovingly tending to your plot in a community garden. Initially, the immediate benefit is personal. As the flowers and plants in your plot are nourished and receive regular care, the scraggly shoots thicken and unfurl abundant new leaves and buds.

Eventually, the other community gardeners take notice of your beautiful flowers or vegetables, and are inspired to spend more time weeding, watering and caring for their own plot. One or two may even kindly pull a few weeds in a neighboring plot to offer support for someone who was not able to make it over to the garden that week.

As more of the…

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Harvest Home

Tomorrow is my last day. I looked for the poem I thought would speak most eloquently to the role teachers can play. Bettye T. Spinner wrote this lovely poem. What if our classrooms were poetry meant to be lived and learned? It would speak to the wonder and awe of each day we spend with children.

In the ideal

it is harvesting

the work we do–

a reaping of crops grown

from ancestral seeds,

a gathering of first fruit,

from vines that traces their sources

beyond geography,

beyond gender,

beyond the bleach

and blush

and black of skin

and root themselves in watery grace,

in knowledge that nurtures us all.

In the ideal

our classrooms fill, like cornucopia,

overflowing with the bounty of our grange.

Life stories, heaped among the texts,

spill into hallways of our schools,

crowd the sidewalks or the subways

or ride yellow buses home,

altering the form of knowing,

changing heads,

changing hearts,

changing history,

bringing harvest



What a beautiful sentiment this is. Take care and have a wonderful day.

I Am a Teacher

A student gave me this poem Thursday. The Alberta Teachers Association published it in their monthly newspaper recently. Susan Holland, a retiring teacher, wrote it. Is there such a thing as a retiring teacher?

The poem encapsulates many of my current feelings and points to the impact we have on children and families. The gesture of giving me the poem is deeply meaningful and I am grateful to receive and share it.

I Am a Teacher

You are my children.

We triumph together when you master cursive.

We struggle through long division.

I wipe away your tears when something bruises you elbow

Or someone bruises your heart.

You read to me—I read to you.

We laugh over silly jokes or stories.

I introduce you to new words—

You refresh me with new perspectives.

I wasn’t there when you were born.

I don’t tuck you in at night …

Or dance at your wedding.

But, you are my children.

And as June draws to a close

I grow melancholy.

You will move on and I will stay behind to start again.

And as the years pass you blend, merge, and mingle—

Warp and weft intertwined into my universal child.

I am a teacher.

You are the fabric of my life.



I posted this poem some time ago, but Simon explains why we keep coming back to Mary Oliver and her beautiful poetry over and over. For that matter, it is why we come back to poetry or the writings of people like Parker Palmer, Thomas Merton, and Thich Nhat Hanh who incorporate poetry in their prose.


Each day should bring up a sense of renewal. It would be like picking up the edge of the ocean, shaking it out a bit, and letting it find its place again. This is a beautiful poem that gently reminded me of the need for self-renewal each moment, each day. Take care.

who could know then

 photo tumblr_lqp396S3741qg39ewo1_500.gif

and if i

sound wde eyed,

it’s because

i am.


a little

in awe of what

i’ve become,

so late

in my


this poem was submitted to
20 Lines A Day prose and poetry
challenge for the month of April.

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The Smartest Thing

Maya Angelou is a wonderful poet and writer. Her quotes are gentle reminders of what should be important in life. This one asks me to stop and be present in this moment. It is the most important moment I have, because it is the only moment I can live in fully.

Positive Outlooks

If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you will look forward, do so prayerfully. But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully.  Maya Angelou




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Don’t Quit

Edgar A. Guest wrote this poem that seems apt now. I watch the students struggle each day with the end of the year coming. For a number they will transition into new schools and those that stay behind much change is around the corner. They seem apprehensive. I remind them daily that they will be able to stay in touch. Technology makes this world so different. We can pick up a phone or send a message via email, Facebook, or text. It would be easy to quit on the relationships they have built up over the year because they might not see each other daily.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
when the funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit – rest if you must,
but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man;
often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup;
and he learned too late when the night came down,
how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and when you never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar;
so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – it’s when things seem worst,
you must not quit.

Who I Am

Anytime I come across a Parker Palmer quote it is a great way to begin the day. Parker suggested we spend too much time wondering what we are, why we do certain things, and how we do those things. Those are all important questions, but ‘who I am’ should lead them. Who is the person that leads this life? It takes time and quiet to sit and visit with that person.

It Started with a Quote

Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.  Parker Palmer

I have been listening…trying one idea after another.

Yes you have.

But other people seem so certain about themselves.

Haven’t you felt that way before?

Yeah, then life steps in and mixes things up, leaving me with doubts and a shaky foundation. Then I wonder if I’m really who I think or say I am.

Who are you today?

A bunch of questions and ideas. Listen…I have this idea…I could write the Palmer quote in a little notebook and go about my day. A gardening seminar, lunch with a friend, some reading, a trip to the grocery store…and those words would be right there, like a foundation for the day. Pretty much what I do with this blog. But then tonight before I go to bed I’d do a timed writing…

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On The Rise

One of those pictures that captures the imagination and is perfectly complemented by the Bob Marley lines underneath. It is a new day. Enjoy as you rise.

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