Tag Archives: writing

PANDEMIC VISION 2020: Where are you on the Tree of Pandemic 2020?

Many of my former students will recognize these worksheets from their autobiographies. During the last 20 years of my teaching, I developed my own version of an autobiography unit. It documented the transition time of Junior High to High School.
A snapshot of life that would be captured on paper.

During various times in those years bad things happened. The students wrote about those times. They wrote about the good things. They wrote about what they were thinking, and since it took the whole year to write the autobiography, they were often amazed at what they had learned about themselves. Years later, they still write me about what they learned from all that writing.

So in this time of distance learning, perhaps it is time for some new compositions to be written. I would love to read some up-dated versions of these things from my “students” and/or their children. Every child can do a version of an autobiography, and I can’t think of a better time to do it. Technology makes it easy to write, insert pictures/videos, and share with friends and family.

Trust your kids. Trust yourself. See what you learn.

Where are you on the Tree of Pandemic 2020? Look closely at the first picture. Are you at the top of the tree looking ahead to what you will do? Are you at the bottom feeling like it will never end? Are you helping someone up the tree or pushing someone down? Print it off. Color the picture, but make sure your special person stands out in some special way. Even adults love to color. I have lots of these in my own “incomplete” autobiography. BTW – this worksheet was adapted from William Glasser’s Reality Therapy, The Quality School

Who am I right now – in this time of solitude from my “normal”? Write an “I AM” poem. The poem pictured is my version of the “I AM” poem. Ir is one I wrote for my mom when she was going through her final years. It still brings that time back to me in such clarity.

If you are bored and you want to see what you are thinking inside of yourself or you want to see what your children are thinking about what is going on, try giving them a writing assignment. Open your vision. 2020 is the best, I guess. But sometimes, a blurry picture of what you see is wisdom as well.

Former students or families: pull out those autobiographies and get some ideas. The rest of you, start your own autobiography. These are treasures to your families and to those who come after us. Look on line. There are lots of writing prompts for an “autobio” on line now. There are plenty that can be adapted to younger kids or older kids. Positive Me from A-Z; Wonderful ME, coloring sheets of their favorite cartoon show, toys, fears, joys…Be warned though: they are addictive, and you will find yourself adding to them over the years.

Writing is a beginning of a conversation. One you should be talking about to your kids, with yourself, with your friends, church and family.

Where are you on the Tree of Pandemic 2020? Hmmmm…I may have to do a new one tomorrow as well. 

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #48

It is late. I’m tired. A front is moving in so my sinuses are complaining. But – – – it has been a productive day – and it was good.

Pulling out an old recipe to make a Grandma Mickey cake. Fussing with a “new” stove that doesn’t register the correct temperature or time. Laughing at a silly chipmunk who thought “daring” the dogs was a good idea. Taking time to read a few snippets from Madeleine L’Engle’s “Herself”, a book on the craft of writing.
There are many books about the craft of writing. There are few books that talk about “serving the craft” and the “Creator” who inspires our bumbling attempts to serve Him and the gift He has given us.
Today’s Ration is one of those few books that does both as well. This pocket-sized book served its craft during the war years, just as it can still serves us now. It also inspires us to seek the Creator who sustained them during the war years and challenges us to continue to seek Him still.
Great books don’t have to be thick tomes to impart wisdom that can last ages. Sometimes they are just 100 page in small print that can fit in a pocket of a person who has chosen to serve.
And it was a good day.
1942 Daily Rations: Read: St. Mark 12:28-34
‘Thou salt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.’~St. Mark 12:30,31
“Many people have recently asked, ‘How can I believe in God with all this cruelty and suffering in the world?’ A keener thinker has said, ‘Had this world crash not come, I must have doubted God.’
“In a newsreel we saw the magnificent Tacoma bridge swaying ad buckling in a high gale. At last the tortured roadway cracked in two and whipped down into Puget Sound like a pair of giant flails. Why?
“The engineers know why. Nothing wrong with the great towers. The powerful cables held, but the sidesway, the tendency of the roadway to ripple under rhythmic beats and wind stress had been miscalculated.
“With biting cleverness Chesterton says: When a fool jumps off a cliff, he doesn’t break the law of gravity; he illustrates it!

“Our civilization had plenty of materials – – – more than any other age – – – but erected contrary to God’s purpose. The crash has cost untellable millions of lives. But what if the crash had not come? Could we still believe in a wise and good God, a God who is not mocked?”

Writer’s Block

writingWriter’s blocks are debilitating, demoralizing and just down-right depressing. Words get written, erased, re-written and erased again.  Sometimes the words don’t come at all, and the computer screen or paper remains blindingly white.  So after a week of Bronchitis – another week of “catch-up” (on all those things I ignored while I was curled in a ball coughing) and finally, a week of trying to get back on a  “normal” schedule, I decided the best thing to write about was the hidden gifts in all of this.

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.”  Prov 3:13 

Writing has been my outlet since I was little.  When I was little and upset with my mom and dad, I would write letters and stick them where I knew they would find them (a bathroom magazine/book rack was a favorite spot).  Being the intelligent, loving parents they were, they never openly acknowledged the venting of their youngest child in a head-on confrontation, but they always found indirect ways to let me know that they had, indeed, found these rambling, often emotional, poorly written outbursts.  All the same, they gave credence to these fledgling expressions.  Sometimes it was in the topics that we discussed around the supper table.  Sometimes it was in the songs that writing nikethey sang to me as we said our prayers at night.  And sometimes, it was just that extra special hug or time spent doing things together that let me know they heard.  Needless to say, writing became one of the primary ways for me to communicate with them when topics were too scary to approach in conversation.  That’s why the past couple of weeks have been hard.  Not writing is almost as bad as a tummy ache…maybe worse.  But not being able to write however reminds me that these dry spells can be a gift in disguise.  While gifts may be wrapped in our physical DNA and propensity of traits (mom and dad were both writers of poetry, song lyrics, speeches and long, long letters), it is Our Father’s blessing that enhances those gifts and weaves them into a tight package that blesses those around us.

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”  1 Chron 28:19

This time the gift was one of receiving.  I listened to lots of people talking via blogs, sermons, TED talks, books- even TV shows as I coughed my way back to health (thanks to the blessings science and the discovery of antibiotics). But mostly –  I spent a lot of time in quiet reflection.  It came at the perfect time (which is exactly the way God works in this crazy world), and while I didn’t realize it at the time (since I was coughing way too much for any kind of logical thought), I needed to be slowed down and reminded about the Author of our gifts.  Eventually, it also surfaced to the forefront of my spinning brain that Jewish month of Elul would start soon and in fact – starts yesterday (the 27th of August).  In Jewish tradition, this is the month of reflection – a looking back – a taking stock of the good and bad things/choices that have transpired over the past year.  The shofar echoes across the land as a physical reminder leading His people into the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

“Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.”  Deut 16:18  

mouth gateIn Hebrew this last verse is written in the singular tense.  Rabbis believe this is because it is not just written for the nation, but in fact, is written for the individual as well.  It is a reminder that as we reflect upon this past year, we should “appoint a judge” to evaluate our performance and also set “officials” over the gates that need protecting.  Common gates such as our thought processes, mouths, eyes, ears, etc. must be protected so that the next year will be much better than the previous year.  In other words, Our Father is encouraging us to “judge” ourselves and guard the gates to His temple that resides within each and everyone of us.

“I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” Ps 132:3-5  

As usual, David – the shepherd, the warrior, the king, the husband, the father, the sinner, the passionate, creative poet – says it best, and I wonder if he wrote it during the month of Elul because it is so reflective.  What better goal could I set for the coming holy days than this?  I [will] find a place for the LORD,  a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob…  

Writing-writing-31277215-579-612Nothing is more important than this – NOTHING.