Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Slice of Life

Looking back over our holiday photos I have noticed that our house is a gathering mecca.
A place for cousins to gather and creatively use their imaginations, reconnect, and become princesses.

A place for a grandmother and her grandchildren to cuddle and smile.
Where connectedness can be felt.

And where a tradition can be lived out year after year.
This building that we call our home, has become a place for all to gather, meet, and promise to love for a lifetime.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, from the Amicks

We hope your day is filled with many blessings!
God bless you all in the upcoming year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Things I do Have...

Stenhouse Publishers posted a poem on Friday for poetry Friday that really got me thinking. The title of the poem is, "You Can't Have It All, But You Do Have This" by Naomi Shihab-Nye here is a copy of her poem. We have had a wicked ice storm that has left many without power, people living in shelters, etc. The weather has been below 0, and the roads are not great. But I got to thinking in my hermit state of all the things that I have been blessed with this year. It made me make my own poem:

I can't have it all, but I do have this
a family, that is full.
A mother and father in love,
two children who get to see this love in action.
A profession that is challenging, its rewards forever redeeming
a warm home, a ride from point a to b
a lap covered in dogs, happiness when I walk through the door
I can't have it all, but I do have this,
a cupboard that is full of food, food for making, food for snacking
I am not scavenging, looking for loose rice on the side of the road
my water is clean, my clothes are the same
my skin smells like soap
I drive somewhere and Rona cuts my hair, just the way I like it
I don't have it all, but I do have this,
a healthy body, that loves to run, and take in this world that God created
a desire to maintain a healthiness that will allow me many years to fellowship
with the people I love
I have books, books to read, books that change me, and words that I use to allow my soul
to emerge
I have a brain, that is ready to learn more, evaluate knowledge, and desires to keep changing
I don't have it all, but I do have
a constant companion, who walks with me, behind me, and in front of me
he holds my hand, makes me giggle, and shelters me from this crazy world.
Two children, girls, upcoming women
I have the responsibility, the challenge
I have an opportunity to love, cherish, and set free these spirits into this world
Two parents who are living, healthy, and supportive
A grandmother, and then there was one
A woman that I worry about, take care of, and listen to her stories of old
An extended family that I relish, that I think of consistently, and want to keep in my life
I have clothing, a closet full, too many decisions, and too many shoes
I have friendships, old and new, loved ones who care for me, prosper me, and comfort me
I have laughter, daily seeping into my home, work, and play
I don't have it all but I do have
more than enough

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Angel Maker

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest,

...and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Amy

My cousin, Amy is our favorite. Amy is 15, she is your typical teenage girl. Loves sports, hanging out with friends, and texting on her cell phone. But, Amy has a secret. She has a fan club. This secret fan club consists of me, her 34 year old cousin. My two daughters, age 8 and 6. The ground she walks on is better because she walks across it. Tonight we had the pleasure of her company when we made cookies for Christmas. On Saturday, we visited with her at the Gingerbread festival. We try to spend as much time with her as our schedule permits. We are her biggest fans!

The thing we love about Amy is that she seems to want to spend time with us too! Perhaps no one has told her that when you are 15 you should roll your eyes more, or greet everyone with an abrasive attitude? Perhaps she doesn't realize that we are totally uncool?

I look at her, her attitude, her gentle spirit with my girls. I adore her ability to make them feel like they are very important, even though they have come in and wrecked her world. My girls arrived just as she was receiving the most attention. They have smothered that attention, I'm sure they have taken over. However, she has continued to love us in spite of our greediness.

I am astonished by her upbringing, I am hoping she will be the greatest influence upon my girls. They will see her model, her attitude, and her graciousness and want to be just like her.

She is "our Amy..."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Being Happy!

Be happy today. Be kind and be generous with your smile — you’ll start some ripples.
– Stacey Julian, Altogether Too Happy
Ruth, from Two Writing Teachers posted this quote today. I needed it desperately! Today, I envisioned myself doing something else. A different vocation actually sounded appealing to me today... In a world where people throw accountability around for accountability sake, I was ready to throw in the towel. I am tired, tired of fighting for what I am sure is the best thing for my students. I am tired of collecting data and wondering, "when are we going to do something with it?" Do you ever wonder: "where does all the data go?" I turn it in but nothing ever comes of it, it becomes balanced somewhere I guess...
Today, I found it hard to be generous with my smile, I wanted to go into room 142, shut the door and be with my kids. I want to give them all things, everyday, things that I know through my own research that they will grow as readers, writers, and mathematicians. I'm tired of sharing with people not ready to learn, people who are critical, and people who aren't willing to work hard. I'm tired of official people mandating that I need to assess, assess, assess, and then I watch my instruction diminish, diminish, diminish.
But, I'll go back tomorrow. I'll persevere through this rough patch, I'll do what I am asked, and I'll keep on believing. Not for you, or you, or you, but for those 24 students that I stand in front of every day. I owe it to them for they are the reason why I go there everyday, not to assess them, collect data, or for balance. I go there to teach them to love learning, to light the fire within, and guide along side them.
Tomorrow, I will be happy!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Memoir Monday

Waiting in the church nursery preparing to go upstairs my mother found me and shared with me that we would not be starting on time. My heart skipped a beat, had he escaped, was he here? Why were we not starting on time?

We ascended the basement stairs to the waiting area behind the sanctuary, this is where I would wait, and wait, and wait. Since I awoke that morning I had been waiting. Waiting at the hair dressers, waiting to get lunch, waiting until everyone had been seated. This was a day of waiting, and I hate waiting.

I heard the the sweet music of my wedding. I watched my flower girl, Amy, playing with some small toys. Completely unaffected by the timing of this day she was lost in her world of 5 years. Playing until she was called. Dressed prettily, the sun shone through the glass windows and her bright face met mine with a smile. My face returned her contentment and decided to wait with that attitude.

Finally, the candles lit, the runner placed it was our turn to walk down the aisle. With my fathers hand placed carefully on mine I descended to meet my groom. Fighting back tears I was anxious to embrace him. I had been waiting all this day, this summer, my life for this moment.

My father took my hand and placed it in his, and we began our life as one...

As I turned to leave I caught a glimpse of Amy, she was standing next to her mother, my aunt. She waved in my direction, I caught her smile as it spread across her face. Captured in this moment, I was whisked away to my new life.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Heart...On the Outside

here they are, together...my heart on the outside
they walk among this earth
mingling, living, and coexisting
I worry, protect, and hover
around them
conscious that others may harm
but to not let them live, create, or prosper
means that this world would be without them
this sense of humor, this compassionate lover,
this beautiful heart sleeve, full of passionate change
what will you be?
whom will you change?
how can I make you into that person?

or this heart sleeve,
beautiful eyes, charming smile, always wondering...
questioning, black and white- forget the gray
tender heart
how can I make you stronger?
will I protect your esteem forever?
how can we foster your strength?

and, finally my heart sleeve,
we started as the two, slowly becoming 4
keep me ever in this circle, loving me close
caring for me deeply
for I wear my heart
on my sleeve...

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Closest Friend

As I opened the door of my dorm room I could hear her voice at the other end of the hall. She was already having fun. I was nervous as I opened the door, my arms full of things from home. My mother and father had pulled away, tearful I had raced up the three flights of steps to my home away from home. Putting things away I could still hear voices, fun voices, voices who had been here for a while. Later that evening, while I attended freshman orientation, and met with the other girls on my floor, I matched her voice to the voice I had heard when I arrived.

"Hey, my name is Angela. I'm from Colorado." she shyly said.

"Hey," I said.

I learned that she had arrived a couple weeks early, she and her father had driven all the way from Colorado to Indiana so that she could attend volleyball camp. She had been here all this time, waiting, and waiting. I felt for her so far away from home. All by herself, in a new state, without anyone.

We became instant friends she and I. She had so many life experiences, we had many classes together, and she got my sense of humor. We giggled until the wee hours of the night. She complained of the Indiana humidity, I complained about being away from home. We went to Denny's late at night, and church on Sundays.

Those two years at Anderson were the hardest years of my life. I struggled with friendships, studying, and being with people constantly. Angela, was always there, always encouraging me, and always being fun.

Today, we live 18 hours by train from one another. We call frequently, we email often, and we meet on Facebook every Saturday. I want to be with her more, but I know that when we talk, when we finally get to be together, our friendship will be the same. We are the closest of friends. I never had sisters, Angela has two, but I would consider her my own. Not because we always have fun together but because she has been my friend through it all. She puts me in my place, helps me hash out feelings that are harsh, and she laughs through my joys.