Category Archives: Learning

A Time for Everything

I’ve been blogging for almost seven years and writing for even longer. It doesn’t seem possible, but I’ve written more than 500 posts and when I click ‘Publish’ it will be 525. Over that time, I’ve written mostly for me and I have developed a small modest following. I am grateful to the friendships and e-relationships I’ve developed. My mom reads and occasionally comments when we talk, but doesn’t leave public comments. But, the original focus was to develop as a writer and maybe, just maybe, write for a broader audience.

the first crocus of 2017

In early January, I noticed an advert in our church bulletin looking for writers for the Lenten Devotional. The advert in the bulletin asked for a scripture reference and I tore off the slip and dropped it in the office message box. A week or so later, I got an e-mail and it read:

Hi Clay,

Thank you for registering to contribute to the Lenten E-devotional. I have you on the list for this scripture passages: Ecclesiastes 3.  Please submit your devotional to this email address by February 10. I look forward to reading it.

Blessings,

So, I sat down and wrote a draft and came back to it a few days later. When I was finished, I called a work colleague asked for editing advice and she told me I had nailed it and offered only a couple of revision and stylistic edits and I submitted the piece.

Yesterday morning, my FIRST piece of public writing landed in my e-mail box, promptly at 5AM. I had no hint of when my devotional would be selected, but it was first. I beamed. I forwarded the e-mail to my mom, my brothers, and my colleague. It felt good. Then, I went about my day.

Before I left the house for school, I received an e-mail from a friend with the message – ‘Enjoyed your devotion. Great Job!’

Below is the Lenten Devotional I wrote.

A Time for Everything

Seasons. That is what I love most about living in the Midwest. I grew up in Southeastern Texas along the Gulf Coast. Most of my family still lives there and my mom still lives in the house where I grew up. Southeastern Texas has two season – HOT and mild, with an occasional dip into cold.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 1:1

Continue reading A Time for Everything

shadow

It’s Sunday morning and I am Up North. I’ve found my solitude for the moment, but I don’t have to be here to find it, solitude is wherever I can find a moment to reflect and restore. This week it’s the lake. Last week, it was getting caught up and looking ahead.

last Sunday’s shadow cast over the front yard and sidewalk

Before church last week, I snapped the photos below. It was a beautiful sunny day. The skies were clear and it was absolutely beautiful. I uploaded the two photos and planned to write a short post for the weekly photo challenge. Then life happened, before I knew it Sunday was over, then Monday sped past, and Tuesday and the entire week passed before my eyes. Life happens. Continue reading shadow

Solitude – a photo challenge

It’s Saturday and I find myself searching for solitude. It’s been a peaceful day, so far: Men’s group at church, a Saturday morning webinar on Tinker vs. Des Moines, a bit of school work, and a power nap. Earlier, I found a bit of solitude at my desk after the webinar and I’m back after the nap. At the moment, I have the sounds of “Still Wild” by La Mar playing. It has a pleasant beat and it’s peaceful and calming.

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl and an unofficial national holiday. I don’t have a preference who win, I only hope it’s a good game. In previous years, I have made my predictions known, not this year. Tomorrow will be a busy day getting ready for the coming week.

I read the WordPress e-mail and post WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude yesterday after school. I pondered the topic this morning; I was stumped. Finally, it came to me this afternoon.

The lake: magic – a photo challenge.

Saturday afternoon’s view the sun shines

We were up at the lake last for Thanksgiving. We had a good time and celebrated Thanksgiving and enjoyed the peace and solitude of being Up North. We invited our neighbor, Mr. Bill over for Thanksgiving dinner, he’s retired and a full-time resident along the lake. He’s also a diehard Detroit Lions fan and they had won the Thanksgiving Day game with a field goal as time expired. I always look forward to seeing him. When we talk, it was always about family, friends, and the peace and solitude along the lake. Especially, the lake.

At school, my science classes Continue reading Solitude – a photo challenge

names – a photo challenge

It is Sunday afternoon and the sun is shining. It’s Martin Luther King Jr. weekend which means a three-day weekend for me and O, W is out of school until next week when his college goes back into session.

Winter Break finished last week. I was back at school this past Monday and it was a whirlwind of a week; each day I came home from school promising myself I’d put together a post in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Names and I never did. Friday night, I fell asleep on the couch and yesterday I was laid low by the flu and took a day off, of sorts.

I spent the last week of Winter Break in Northern Mississippi visiting my step-mother, Juliana or simply J. It was intended to be a wellness check visit, she lives by herself and I worry. She has friends, but friends aren’t family. So, I worry,and my brothers worry, and we visit when we can.

Vicksburg National Cemetery – of the 18,244 interred, 12,954 are unknown – unnamed

I had asked J before I arrived if she would want to take a road trip to Vicksburg with me. I planned  to see the Vicksburg National Military Park and possibly pay a visit to Jansen Schmidt, a blogger friend at the Baer House, J agreed. So, on Wednesday – January 4 we took off on a road trip. Oxford, Mississippi is almost two hundred miles from Vicksburg. The weather was great – it was cool in the mid-forties but dry. Perfect for driving into unfamiliar territory.

Wednesday morning got off to a slow start – I distracted myself with a technical issue that I discovered was a worthless endeavor. J was hesitant getting started, but once we were on the road we made good time and arrived at the park close to 2 PM. We were all in. Continue reading names – a photo challenge

resilient – a photo challenge

This morning, on the way home from dropping W off at work, I glanced left and took in the magnificent morning as the bright sunlight brought the prairie grasses back to light and life. We had a hard freeze last night and much of the world was covered in a heavy frost. It was 19 F or -7 C, depending on your scale, whichever you choose – it was cold.

Danada Forest Preserve – 1/1/17

The prairie grasses were frosted and golden in the light. The sun had been up above the horizon for less than an hour and it was low on the horizon and the entire prairie was brightly lit and slowly warming.

By now, a few hours later, most of the morning’s frost is gone and the prairie grass is no longer coated with frost. It’ll be a while, several months with the arrival of spring, before the grass completely returns to life and the cycle continues.

Danada Forest Preserve – 1/1/17

Continue reading resilient – a photo challenge

path: a photo challenge

Thursday – December 29, 2016. Counting today, there are three more days in 2016. Then a new year, of sorts. Last year, I had three hundred sixty-six to count, the coming year brings three hundred sixty-five. For educators, like myself, the year is defined by the school calendar mid-August to June or early May with a break in June, July and early August. Which means new year marks the beginning of second half and new birth of sorts for my eighth graders.

Christmas dessert – B’s homemade old-fashioned creampie

At the moment, I am on winter break – Day 7. I wish I could report I had accomplished more than catching up on sleep, but I can’t. I prepared an amazing Christmas Dinner – roasted bone-in prime rib, au gratin potatoes, and Brussel sprouts with bacon. Ivy got the bones. B made the old-fashioned cream pie for dessert.

Today marks the beginning of a new path – thank you notes, cleaning off my office desk, a workout (this would be three days in a row), and maybe some school work –  maybe.

We had snow in early December, the first Sunday of the month. The storm left several inches of snow covering the ground. A week later, we had another storm blanketing the area with a fresh layer if snow. The following week, we had bitter cold and last weekend we had rain and the most of the snow melted. The Monday after Christmas, I was outside raking leaves from the deck and cleaning up the yard a bit. Except for a few patches where the sun doesn’t shine, the snow is gone, it’s history. This afternoon’s forecast calls for a dusting of snow, but at the moment it is clear and sunny – a bonus for this time of the year.

Same path, different days….

Continue reading path: a photo challenge

new horizons: a photo challenge

Sunday morning. It’s cold outside and we’re between snows – yesterday afternoon it began to gently snow as we were finishing our outdoor Christmas decorations. This morning when I woke the eastern sky was cloudy and grey and the sun’s light struggled to dimly awaken the world to a new day.

my first peek outside – the window beside my bed…

We’re 14 days from Christmas morning and 21 days from New Year’s morning. A new horizon and a new year. Somehow, the past 345 days have been a blur. Continue reading new horizons: a photo challenge

Carry on

It’s Sunday evening and the beginning of a new week. Yesterday morning I woke up at the lake, awakened by a barking dog wanting to go outside. This morning I woke in my bed at home to a barking dog, reminding me it was time to get up and get moving. Some things in life are constant.

It was great to get away to the lake. It’s magical. But, there’s magic here, too.

carry_onUp at the lake I was able to relax and breathe. I was also, to find a quiet place and read. When I packed up left the lake yesterday, I only had a few chapters remaining in the book I was reading – Carry On by Lisa Fenn. This morning, after I let Ivy outside and then let her back inside, I poured a cup of coffee and then I sat down in a quite space and I finished reading the book.

There are a few books which after I read, I want to know more, I want tell someone and share. There are books which change my perspective and make me want to continue to be a better person. Carry On is one of those books.

Carry On is the story of three people – the principles in the story – Dartanyon Crockett, Leroy Sutton, and Lisa Fenn. It’s the story of how the three met and how their lives intersected to change the lives of more than the three, and seemingly everyone touched or connected to the story.

The story began in February 2009 when Lisa Fenn first learned of Dartanyon and Leroy and flew to Cleveland, Ohio to meet them. At the time, Lisa Fenn was a producer for ESPN and Dartanyon and Leroy were high school wrestlers, seniors. It would be the last time either would wrestle, competitively. But that day, marked the beginning of a relationship that would change the three forever.

A blind wrestler who carried a legless wrestler. Continue reading Carry on

magic – a photo challenge

It’s Wednesday afternoon. It’s been an amazing day and there is still a little magic left.

We’re UP NORTH where magic abounds. I suppose if I looked, I could find it at home, but I am here. We drove up after school yesterday and stopped halfway to deliver a Christmas wreath to a good friend. We arrived late and the stars were twinkling magically as we unloaded the car.

This morning B nudged me and said, “we’d better get going and rake the yard before the snow hits.”

I grumbled, but got moving. It began to spit snow as we finished.

there is magic in the air...
there is magic in the air…

Then it was a trip to the grocery for what we needed for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s tomorrow and I am thankful

I’ve been dreaming of being here since my last visit in early October. It’s magic here, even when it is cold and snowing. Continue reading magic – a photo challenge

UNITY: Rights and Responsibilities

Election Day, it’s finally here. This year, I am off. The schools in my school district are closed, but not all school districts are closed for election day, it depends on the school district. It’s a local issue.

My students wrapped up their study of the U.S. Constitution last Friday. They believe the Constitution is behind them, but they are in for a surprise – knowing and applying the Constitution never goes away.

I was awakened this morning before my alarm sounded and I got up, I should have stayed in bed, but didn’t. I am not sure what woke me in the first place, but what kept me up was a thought I couldn’t keep out of my mind. Last week, as I was discussing the Constitution with my students, I needed to cover their rights, duties, and responsibilities as citizens of the United States of America.

ivoted

The duties mentioned in our textbook are:

  • Obey the law
  • Pay taxes
  • Defend the nation
  • Serve in court
  • Attend school

I went further to remind my students that though attending school was a duty, being in school and being more than ‘present’ was their responsibility, not only to themselves, but to our country. It meant being engaged in their learning. Continue reading UNITY: Rights and Responsibilities