Sunday, May 31, 2015

Overheard in the Library

3rd grade girl: Where are the girly girl books?
Me: What exactly do you mean by that? Can you explain more clearly what you are looking for?
Her: (looking at me as if I just fell to Earth from Mars) You know the books girls would like...
Me: Well, I'm a girl and I like motorcycles. Are you looking for books about motorcycles?
Her:(completely certain of my dullness in comprehension) Uh, no!
Me: Ok, then tell me what you like.
Her: (wheels are spinning...no response is forthcoming)
Me: (smiling)How about you think about it while you keep looking.


She trots off and returns a moment later to declare, "Princesses! Do you have books about princesses?"
Me: I sure do. Fairy tales or biographies?
Her: Fairy tales.
Me: Now we're getting somewhere!
Library Girl may have other superpowers but she doesn't pretend to read minds.That way she has a chance to challenge them to work a little.

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Library related conversation with my daughter:
Me: So do you want to know what the least frequently checked out books in my library are?
C: I can't even guess.
Me: Presidential biographies. Forty-seven of the bottom 50 titles are presidential biographies.
C: That's a shame. I can recall having a fascination with Taft when I was a kid.

That there is evidence of a nerd begetting a nerd.

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Things you don't expect to say in the library: Please stop comparing your bellies and choose a book.

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And then there are the library questions which momentarily make you take pause.
An articulate, well-mannered 2nd grader walked into the library and inquired with all seriousness, "Mrs. Lime, could you please tell me where the pink beaver book is?"
Me: (wheels spinning wildly as I try to shift into school appropriate mode rather than wildly inappropriate double entendre mode and actually generate an answer) *blink...blink...........blink blink* Uummm.....
Him: (with utter propriety and impeccable diction) It's the book where he tries on lots of clothes.
Me:(delighted for that piece of clarifying information as it immediately fires the correct synapses) Ooooh! You mean Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed?
Him: (still with great composure yet gratitude that we have communicated effectively) Yes, that's exactly the book. Do you have it?
Me: Yes, friend we do. It's my very favorite Mo Willems book. It's right here.
Him: Thank you so much, Mrs. Lime. You have a nice afternoon.
Me: (smiling) Thank you. I already have, friend. I hope you do as well. Enjoy your book!

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I had to close the section where Disney books are found because of the extreme level of destruction which has been occurring there repeatedly and the reminders of library etiquette going unheeded. The young patron who told me she wants more Disney books in the library lamented that she couldn't choose anything because there were no other good books. I directed her to 398.2 in non-fiction, three whole shelves of folklore and fairytales as opposed to half a shelf of Disney in the picture book section. Her eyes boggled.
 
And I am left to consider, where is my own vision so narrow I cannot see a new world of joyous wonder?

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It's standardized testing season in our great commonwealth. In the interest of formulating questions relevant to the real world here's one for all you kids.

If Miz Lime spends $50 a week for gas to get to and from her job and she just paid more than a week's pay to fix the vandalism done to her car while at work (because the cost came in under her deductible amount) and the district says she's SOL for being reimbursed because she wasn't in a school parking lot (because said school doesn't even have a lot, thus necessitating parking on the street) how much money could she have saved by just not going to work during testing week (when she can't see classes anyway because they take over the library for testing) and merely being docked pay once she exceeds her 4 remaining sick days? Generate an equation to express your answer.

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Her: I forgot my book, can I bring it tomorrow?
Me: Well, tomorrow I am at my other school.
Her: You have TWO schools you have to go to?
Me: Yes.
Her: What's your other school?
Me: Warren G. Harding
Her: Warren G. Harding?? That's another big school! Isn't that a lot of pressure?
Me: (smiling) Sometimes, it is. Yes.
Her: Man, That's just a lot.

The kid gets it, more than the school board or superintendent. There is hope

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Bless the poor, toothless kindergarteners and first graders. It drives me nuts when at the end of the school year they still don't know their own last name but when they know it and the lack of teeth makes it impossible for them to pronounce it I feel great pity.

Thowweth. My name is Thowweth.

Feel free to guess.

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Crap that makes Library Girl want to open a can of whoop ass:
When I ask a student who just stepped OVER a book if he saw that book on the floor and he says no while looking at it. Then I ask if he sees it now and he nods. Next question from me is, "Well, what would be a wise choice when you see a book on the floor?" Student response is to walk away.
I compelled the student in question to demonstrate the wise choice. I did so calmly, without violence or profanity. I love elementary aged kids but some days making sure my edit button works and I don't hurl a heavy reference work at anyone is challenging.
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Another young man informed me he didn't want a book.  Said student cried bitterly the week before when I didn't allow him to check a book out due to egregious misbehavior.  I asked if the earlier tears had been crocodile tears.  He was confused as to what that meant so I explained the idiom. He insisted they were sincere but he didn't want a book this week because the one he liked wasn't in.  I guaranteed he could find one he liked among the 10,000 volumes if he looked.  He was skeptical.  I asked what he liked.  He said animals.  I put a book about crocodiles in his hands.  He regarded it and declared it sufficiently interesting.  Next week we may tackle sarcasm.

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Finally, a simple but satisfying exchange with a kindergartener after she checked out her book.

Her: (a little sheepishly)  I can't read this book but I reeeally like the pictures.
Me: That's okay.  Sometimes the pictures help us figure out what is happening in the story and the artist made them hoping you would enjoy them.  I am a grown up but I still like to look at picture books because some of them have such beautiful art in them.  If you want to read though, I bet you can find some of your sight words in the story.
Her: (excitedly) You sure are right about the pictures!  Look at this one!  It's sooooo pretty!
Me: (smiling) It really is.

She continues paging through the book reverently regarding the artwork then discovers a page with a large rip.

Her: (in dismay) Oh, Miz Lime, someone didn't take care of this great book!

And another book and art lover is born, may her tribe increase.

Before May Ends...

...I have to get in at least one blog post.

It's been a month of insanity.  I started the month teaching one yoga class a week.  Then the studio owner opened a second site and I picked up a second class there.  Next was an after school class for some of the teachers where I work.  Finally we added subbing for the owner while she's off on a seven week world tour so I had a couple of weeks where I taught four nights in a row after doing my day job every day.  And just in case that wasn't tiring enough PennDOT decided it was time to dig up the main route to work thus doubling my commute time... and hour and a half to go 40 miles...oh joy oh bliss.  And yes, I tried alternate routes. The problem is, this area is rural enough that they aren't highways and all the other commuters decided to try them too so they are just as gunked up as the main route.  Yeah, so I have been just beat.

I've also been going to this writer's group for the last several months.  I like it.  A lot.  It's a terrific group of talented people and they have been very welcoming.  The irony is I've written fewer original pieces in the months I've been attending than before I started.  Sigh.  I did introduce them to the concept of the Friday 55s and they all have enjoyed writing their own.  It makes me smile thinking G-man lives on in this little group of writers even though he is no longer with us to host it here.

Work continues to be.....um...fascinating.  It would seem that having a rotten situation made permanent is my reward for making things work well in a situation I thought would be temporary.  Damn my ridiculous work ethic and concern for the students.  What was I thinking by trying to provide good service?

Isaac is in Haiti and has requested I send his copy of The Hobbit.  It encourages this library lady that when he kid is in the Third World he is not pining for his game system or some other luxury but for books.

Calypso and I have begun an herbalism course together.  I am excited to share it with her even if I am concerned about my ability to work well with plants given that in a mere three weeks I killed a houseplant I was given.

Next month I go visit Diana in Georgia.  I can't wait to see her.  It's been since Christmas.

Other than that I am counting the days until the end of the school year, which also means I am doing inventory, that is, counting all 22k books in my two libraries.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Oh the Irony


This week is National Library Week.  I live in the state which brought you the United States' first free public library.  I also live in a state which schedules all the statewide standardized testing for 3 weeks in April.  Wanna take a wild guess as to when all that begins?  Yep, today.  Wanna guess where the testing takes place in my schools?  Yep, the library.  Therefore, during National Library Week we can't have any book circulation.  It's enough to make a library lady either cry or rampage.  In order to soothe myself I bring you some interesting happenings in the library lately.

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The kindergarteners get very excited when I come to pick them up.  One little guy, who is enthusiasm embodied, shouted upon seeing me, "It's Library Girl!!!"  I thought it made me sound like a superhero so I am adopting it as my new moniker. Faster than an OPAC! Able to leap tall stacks of books in a single bound. She stands for facts, information, and the literary way!  It's a teacher, it's a book lover, it's Library Girl! 

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A student was dawdling in choosing a book after his teacher had given the countdown for finishing. He grabbed a book off the shelf and moseyed to my desk.  As he arrived he announced, "I'll take this book,  It's sucky, but I'll take it." Nope, we have 10,000 books here there is no reason for you to grab one you think is sucky.  Go find one you actually want.  He said he couldn't find one. I asked what he liked.  He told me.  I stuck a book in his hand.  He looked at it and said, "This doesn't look like it sucks."  Good, try to enjoy it.  Maybe he needs to go spend some time with the kindergarteners.

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I have long had a big soft spot for six year olds in glasses.  I also collect Caldecott Award winning books. When a glasses sporting six year old comes to the library and asks on every visit if he can have a "reward" book* I am a complete goner.

*The first week I said I wasn't sure what he meant by "reward book" and asked if he could explain more about it.  He drew circles in the air and declared, "They have gold and silver circles on the covers!"  It was at the end of a  long day.  His little grin when I handed him Officer Buckle and Gloria totally made up for his one classmate who drove me nuts.

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One  little girl came up clutching a Disney book and begging, "Please, Miz Lime, can you order lots more Disney books?  They're my favorites!!!"  I told her that was a great idea and she ought to talk to the principal about it.  Bewildered, she asked why.  I explained that is because the principal decides how much money the library gets for ordering new books each year...and that it's been five years since our library had new books ordered.

Lime...disseminating information and fomenting unrest among primary students since 2012.

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At the same library we have a tile floor.  Judging by how long certain spills have remained untouched, the floor has not been mopped all year.  Could I do it?  Yes, but I spent a lot of time cleaning up after adults last year.  I've asked repeatedly for people to clean up after themselves. I've been told the custodial staff is responsible.  My take home pay for a full-tome job running two libraries is less than what my kid earns at a part time job serving burritos.  I expend a lot of energy just keeping 22, 000 books in order.  I figure if the floor looks hideous enough maybe someone will finally be compelled to do is or her job. That has proved to be unsound logic.  I am now considering finding a kid with the belly bug and having him strategically barf in the library to get the floor mopped.

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I have a fifth grader who has asked me for books on quantum mechanics and the works of Shakespeare.  She has been so understanding when I have told her we have nothing like that.  I so wish I could put something in her hands that she wants but I am encouraged that she tells me she gets to the public library where she can find these things.

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One student returned a badly damaged book.  In such cases I assign the fine after speaking with the student to see if there is a plausible story or any sense of responsibility or contrition.  This student seemed to have both so I showed her that the cost of the book, which I could not repair was $18 and I told her I would only fine her $5.  We are a very poverty stricken district.  So few fines come in....ever.  She sat down, thought a moment, and asked if she could still check out a new book.  I reminder her that all books and fines have to be taken care of before new books can be selected. 

Her: Well, my parents were going to focus on buying me stuff on Friday so I don't think they will be able to send the money in.
Me: Perhaps you could suggest they buy you $5 less "stuff" and send it in for the fine.  Better yet, you could go home and ask them for some chores to do to earn the money to pay for the book.
Her: (indignantly) I don't like chores!
Me: (arching a single eyebrow and questioning my earlier sense of mercy) No one likes chores but they are a responsibility...just like that book you didn't take good care of.

It was a more professional response than what I wanted to say which was, "Then it sucks to be you."

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I may be Library Girl but it takes more than Super Human strength not to burst out laughing when a first grader checks out a book about outer space and announces, "YOOOOOOUUR-anus is an AWESOME planet!"


Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday 55s



Although our beloved friend and host of Friday 55, G-man, is no longer with us I humbly offer my traditional good Friday 55s with this year's newest verse appearing as the last in the collection.

 

The Magdalene

I wandered
tormented, unclean, unwelcome.
He drove away my darkness,
restored me to a community.
I followed him,
served him gratefully.
Now I follow at a distance
witnessing his torment 
as darkness falls on him,
while the others turn away.
I watch where his body is laid.

So I may offer
my final loving act of service.


The Arimathean

I followed him secretly
since I was on the council which opposed him.
At His trial
I would not condemn him
though the others did.
What I could not do while He lived
I dared after He died.
I boldly asked Pilate
for the body,
prepared it for burial,
laid Him in my own tomb.    



The Governor


I found no fault

in the one brought before me.
My wife warned me.
Herod returned him to me.
I offered to release him
but the crowd demanded the murderer instead.
Lacking strength of conviction,
I yielded to the mob.
Water washed my hands
but could not cleanse my conscience
of an innocent man's blood.

The Disciple

I left my business and my home to follow him.
I sat at his feet,
swore my allegiance,
said I'd die with him.
drew my weapon in his defense.
When my test came
I cowered in the darkness,
denied we ever met,
and knew my love was nothing
as his poured out for faithless me.



The Cyrene

I came to Jerusalem for the Passover.
I heard the commotion,
saw the condemned paraded in the street.
One was barely alive.
I turned away until...
the Roman yanked me from the crowd,
laid the beam on my shoulders.
Only when I met the bloodied man's eyes
did I realize he endures the judgment
I deserve.



The Thief

Merciless sun blisters my skin as the crowd's unrelenting curses assault my ears.
The weight of my own guilt,
the pain of dislocated joints and bound limbs bear down so heavily
I can barely breathe.
I dangle between present agony and hopeless eternity until He tells me,
"Today you will be in Paradise with Me."







The Guard

I'm glad to follow my orders well.
It's like taking out the trash to rid the earth of the scum we execute here.
Today is different.
One never begged for mercy, never fought us.
He spoke mercy on us all.
For the first time I feel guilt.
I fall to my knees, confess His deity.



The Mother

We had to travel when my time was so near.
When the king was killing the little boys we had to flee for our lives.
I was panicked when we lost him in the city.
But nothing has pierced my heart
like watching the spikes enter his flesh
and the sword plunge into his side.


The Beloved

I am a son of thunder
And have asked him
To pour wrath upon the unrighteous.
I’ve witnessed his transfiguring divinity
On the mountaintop.
I’ve been promised a seat in his kingdom.
I watch him gasp for breath.
He entrusts his mother to my care
And I am struck by the humanity
Of a son.



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Because it's March 31

I can't let a month slip by without a single post.  I think the blog would collapse into a black hole.

So what have I been doing?  Well, I've begun teaching yoga classes, three so far.  The first was canceled due to snow.  And tonight, on the last day of March, it was canceled again...due to snow.  I am more unhappy about the snow on March 31 than the cancellation...though that isn't thrilling me, I'd rather be safe. Given that I watched a car stall out trying to get up our hill I think the cancellation was wise.

So, the happy making stuff is we have reclaimed the extra bedroom.  Diana moved out back in August but Calypso claimed that room for a period of time until we could paint her room.  We had stripped the wall paper only about a decade ago.  One must not rush into such things as painting walls.  Anyway, we finally painted her room so she moved back into it and we reclaimed the last bedroom.

Mr. Lime declared an intended use for it and I may have mentioned I thought it would be nice to have dedicated yoga space because nothing harshes a good yoga vibe like having someone try to step over you while in lizard pose, or stoop under you to ask a question while in downward facing dog pose.  He said, as long as I moved all the books out of the den and into this room I could also use it for yoga space.  so that also meant I'd finally get all my books out of boxes and back on shelves where they belong.  Win/win!  Although it was going to require a hard weeding of the book collection to fit them into the new space.  This was also a job I wanted to happen so painful as it was I was glad for the motivation to get it done.  Here are the results with one shelf yet to be built and filled on the floor.  I nearly halved the collection.  I have since gone out and purchased six more books but no one should be stunned by this.






I began referring to the room as the yogabrary.  It made me very happy.  I had lots of space to move.  No one was walking in on me or over me or around me.  My books we out of boxes.  All was well.  Then I came home after a particularly aggravating day and had more happy making when I discovered this sign on the door....








 ....which flips to this when I want to be alone.  Mr. Lime gets it.  One day I was so stressed several of his jokes went right over my head.  He patted me on the hand and said, "It's ok dear, go breathe and do your yoga stuff." 









So I did...








 And then I did some more...
...and more...



















It was very relaxing.
I am a happy Lime.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

This Gift Sucks!

In the over quarter century Mr. Lime and I have been a couple there have been many gifts exchanged for various occasions, be they birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Mother's or Father's Day, or on rare occasion, just because.  Now to be forthright here, we often do not exchange a gift for our anniversary because it is the week before Christmas.  We also tend not to exchange gifts for Valentine's Day because of it's proximity to Mr. Lime's birthday....but sometimes we do.

As you may imagine, sometimes the gifts have been things one or the other of us has longed for and all parties are happy upon receipt.  Other times the gift is a complete surprise which also brings joy.  Then there are the gifts that make the recipient wonder what thoughts went through the giver's mind during the selection process....indeed, were there any thoughts at all?  We've covered the full range.

Mr. Lime had another birthday this week.  I had a particular idea in mind but had not yet executed it due to snow storms and the size of the item I was considering and having no place to hide it.  However, the day before his birthday he announced he wanted one thing this year....well, ok...two.  First he wanted a box of Devil Dogs.  Gross, but ok if it's what you want.  The second item was astounding to me.  He declared repeatedly that this was what he wanted.  He stated in the presence of witnesses that should he receive the hoped for item he would use it with regularity.  Calypso added her voice to the chorus and emphatically seconded the motion as to desire and commitment to use.

Now to be sure, this gift is something that were it to be given from Mr. Lime to me there may be all sorts of accusations of thoughtlessness or anti-feminist sentiment.  However, the direction was reversed and this IS what he specifically asked for.

Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, I present to you Mr. Lime's birthday present.



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Radiant Threads

Last May I joined a yoga teacher training program.  I had only been practicing yoga for about a year and a half at that point.  There were, and still are, many poses which I was unable to do at all.  Part of me thought I had no business thinking I could be a teacher.  Fortunately, my studio is full of teachers who believe in empowering their students and who are faithful to impart the idea that yoga is not a destination in which both feet are behind your ears, rather it's a journey which, though partially physical, is largely between the ears.  As the Yoga Sutras tell us, the purpose of yoga is to calm the fluctuations of the mind, to quiet the chatter, to embrace stillness.  All our movement and sweat and physical effort is really to tame the mind and prepare us to physically endure meditation long enough to find the stillness.

Still I had doubts.  I was blessed to have people I respected tell me that I definitely had something to offer in this realm.  I had little comments here and there from fellow students which made me dare.  I had a therapist who, after three years of sitting quietly and neutrally when I expressed various things, blurted out emphatically, "I don't think there is any question that you should do this."  I asked where the carefully neutral therapist went and why she would so strongly advocate for this particular path.  She said it was a no-brainer because yoga had proven enormously beneficial to me physically and emotionally and when I expressed the possibility of joining the teacher training program it was the first time in three years I had said I was going to make a major investment of time and money in something just for me.  She had a point.

Thus, I plunked down my deposit on the last day they would be accepted.  I bought a dozen books.  I rolled up my mat and prepared for my first weekend of two ten hour days back to back spent listening to lectures, engaging in a physical practice and, cramming my brain full of anatomy, philosophy, and the names of ten other women, only a couple of whom I knew.

It would be fair to say our group of eleven ended that first weekend wondering just exactly what the hell we had gotten ourselves into.  And already personalities were emerging.  We had the shy, the sassy, the seasoned, the serene, and the silly.  Our age range spans four decades. Our cultures are diverse.  Most of us were fairly local but a couple came from considerable distance.

Over the months there were some major life transitions experienced by members of our group.  One made a move of over a hundred miles right at the time when we needed to begin teaching community classes.  She had to scramble to find a new studio in which to practice and which would provide space for that aspect of her training.  One broke an engagement.  One culminated hers in marriage.  One had a husband and child move to a different state in order to separate her child from a very destructive situation.  One buried an only child.  When one member rejoiced or mourned the entire group stood with her.

As the months passed and trust grew, histories were revealed.  Wounds were exposed, sometimes for the first time. Stories one might never have expected bubbled to the surface.  Sometimes they filled gently and floated aloft like a balloon as the person holding the history realized she could let go, that it no longer had power over her.  Sometimes the stories erupted like lava from the belly of the earth. When the mountain trembled and a woman feared it might destroy her there was a circle of support to provide safety.

Our group of eleven went from being acquaintances to being sisters. We shared laughter, tears, joy, frustration, exhaustion, delight, wonder, anger, discovery, insight, and boredom.  In the last weeks we all wondered how we might do on our final exam.  We spent one study session not so much studying as reminiscing over the last ten months, quelling anxiety, and laughing our asses off.  This past Saturday we took our exam.

Sunday morning we received the news that we had all passed with A's. Sunday afternoon we gathered for a simple graduation ceremony in which our head teacher spoke to each of us about what she respected and appreciated most in each of us.  She then handed us a small lit candle and our diploma.  During the party immediately following, the student who is an Indian woman presented each of us with a saree she had chosen especially for us.  She said, "We read the Yoga Sutras for our training.  Sutra means thread.  These sarees represent the beautiful threads of our friendships.  When you look at them remember how much I love you and all the love we have shared and will continue to share no matter where life carries us."

And then we shed a few more tears and hugs and laughter as she wrapped us up in her love just before we prepare to go out and share our light.



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Taking Stock

I know January is nearly half over but here I am to finally usher in the new year formally.  I look back at the last post and see it's been over a month since my last post.  That's the longest hiatus I've ever taken...period...even factoring in having body parts rebuilt or removed completely.  I've missed being in this space and getting my thoughts out digitally in a more extended format than Facebook might allow.

That last post still pains me to consider.  I miss my friend.  His departure was unexpected and sudden and left me reeling.  In the wake of that I had the hope of a children's services position in a local public library.  It was much closer to home than my current job, better pay, and hours which would have been conducive to my continuing professional development in both library science and yoga instruction.  I thought the interview went well.  I still think my credentials had to put me at the top of the list.  For whatever reason, I didn't get the job. I felt condemned to continuing a horrible commute to be paid less than what Calypso makes working in a chain restaurant.  You all know I love what I do but the conditions are just worsening by the day and with the various automotive traumas the idea of a long drive to a deteriorating situation became demoralizing. 

Although I don't make resolutions I do reflect on the end of one year and the beginning of a new one.  Honestly, I was not in a particularly happy place as I considered 2014.  Three cars totaled.  The equivalent of a new car spent either in repairs or complete losses.  Three job interviews with no fruit. Work going downhill fast.  And the year bookended with Galen's death in December and my mentor's in February.  I was ready to send 2014 packing.

And then I cracked open the mason jar full of notes I had collected throughout the year.  Another friend shared at the beginning of 2014 how she jots down the date and a sentence or two about something that makes her smile or laugh or gives her great unexpected joy and puts it in the jar.  At the end of the year she opens it up and reads each one.  I liked that idea and did the same.  Opening the jar and reading through each of the notes reminded me of joys and blessings large and small, which 2014 brought my way. 

I remembered that along with the sorrows, 2014 brought:
  • The return to my life of an old friend whom I had long ago assumed was gone forever after she withdrew. Tears of joy at the first phone call which lasted a couple of hours and later a reunion face to face.
  • Expressions of respect and encouragement from coworkers who have become friends.
  • Lights of dawning understanding in the eyes of students.
  • MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF BEING CANCER-FREE!
  • The courage to enter a yoga teacher training program and getting to know the amazing women in the program with me.
  • Special and unexpected opportunities to share time with friends and family.
  • Courage to try new things and find success.
  • So many examples of laughter and love and joy from a myriad of sources.
The notes I read made me remember the good of 2014 and I realized how many more I should have written but forgot to do so. Even the sadnesses and frustrations had aspects in which to find good.  Cars were lost but no one has been seriously injured...thank God!  Friends have passed from this world but I was blessed to know and love them.  I miss them dearly and wish with all my heart that I could sit down and share a conversation and a hug again but I still carry their voice in my heart. As for the jobs, I have to trust there will be something out there sooner rather than later which will be a better fit that I imagined the ones I didn't land to be.

Here's to 2015.  May we all take time to see the good it brings so we may not be brought low by it's trials.