Category Archives: teaching

W^2 – prairie

A solitary prairie grass shoulders the snow, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, Wheaton, IL.  Monday, January 18, 2021  12:52 PM

One of the joys and blessings of this pandemic is making time (and taking time) to get out and move purposefully outside. Herrick Lake is a short drive from home and there is much to take in on a mid-afternoon walk with my puppy Fern (not pictured). Making the Days COUNT, one day at a time, especially when I make time to be mindful.

How have you used the pandemic for good?

still silent, Stille Nacht

It’s Christmas morning and Fern and I are the only ones awake, really I am the only one awake. Fern is curled up in her favorite chair overlooking the lawn and the lake. It was grandmas favorite spot, though the chair has changed. Grandma passed away a little more
than five years ago but her memory lives on.

our Christmas tree with the reflection of the fireplace in the window… Merry Christmas…

We drove north to the lake Wednesday morning. O drove one car with Fern and B and I took another with Ivy. We’ve spent the last couple of days readying the cottage for Christmas and it looks and feels like Christmas. Snow is gently falling and all is silent on the lake and in the cottage.

This morning I came across a memory and tweeted it….


And I went back and re-read my post about reading the story to my mother-in-law. Please read, if you have time – Stille Nacht. Continue reading still silent, Stille Nacht

W^2 – color

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Bright pink berries on a bush in my backyard. Wheaton, IL November 27, 2020 1:40 PM

Making the Days Count means finding color in the world around you wherever you can find it.

How are the colors you are seeing when you look around?

Sunday morning, November 8th

If you had told me that I would be sitting outside writing a blog post on the second Sunday morning in November, I am not sure if I would have believed you.

But I am. The sun has shifted in the sky from where it is in the summer. I can feel the sun on my temple, and I can see my shadow in the laptop screen in front of me. Like many summer mornings when I have written a blog post outdoors on the deck at home or by the lake, I am wearing a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt. The temperature is 67F or almost 20C , there is a gentle breeze, and the sun is shining. It is a beautiful morning.

Yesterday morning, the puppies and I, sat outside and I enjoyed my morning coffee instead of inside on the couch. They sat side by side staring into the backyard, seemingly on watch for the critters they long to catch. The two puppies are really dogs, but they behave like puppies do full of curiosity and eagerness to run, jump, and play. Ivy, the older one, will be 11 years old in a few months and Fern, the younger one, is a little more than a year and a half.

 

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looking for squirrels and I am watching the leaves fall – yesterday the deck was clear… #fallleaves #raking #fallchores

A post shared by Clay Watkins (@makingthedayscount) on

We are repeating yesterday morning’s unusual opportunity – sitting outside in early November. Continue reading Sunday morning, November 8th

W^2 – sunshine

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday November 4, 2020

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve – Wheaton, IL October 31, 2020  2:43 PM

Making the Days Count when the sun shines, when it’s cloudy and overcast and everything in between.

What are you doing with your sunshine?

W^2 – fall colors

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday October 14, 2020

The view from my front porch, the flag of the United States, and my favorite maple tree. Wheaton, IL.  October 10, 2020 – 3:22 PM

What is the view from where you stand?

W^2 – so long summer

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday September 23, 2020

NOTE: The autumnal equinox occurred this morning, September 22 at 8:30 AM CDT.

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Tuesday morning’s sunrise – final sunrise of summer 2020, my school’s parking lot, Naperville, IL.  Perspective is facing east September 22, 2020 – 7:10 AM CDT

What memory of summer 2020 will makes you smile?

W^2 – moment

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday August 26, 2020

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris – Wheaton, Illinois on Tuesday August 24, 2020 8:45 AM

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris – Wheaton, Illinois on Tuesday August 24, 2020 8:45 AM

Making the days count, one day at a time, remembering to look around once in a while.

What wonder have you seen in a recent moment’s glance?

It’s a new (school) year, sort of….

Today was supposed to be the first day of my 2020-21 school year. It will be my 22nd year as a classroom teacher. It was also supposed to the first day of our daughter O’s senior year.

But it’s not. Our first days are a few more days away. My first day of school is nine days in the future and O’s is fifteen.

It’s been a summer of uncertainty and anxiety for many people as the future is constantly changing and beyond our control. I am reminded of a prayer my mother shared with many years ago when I was struggling and needed lifting up,

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

That prayer is better known as The Serenity Prayer. There is so much beyond my control, it is best to focus on the present.

And, I have been. I’ve been making the days count in more ways than I can write about.

Currently, I am on a streak of seven days of walking or working out.

the wooded path from my hike at the Morton Arboretum

A week ago this past Saturday I drove to the Morton Arboretum for a hike, or as it turned out, it was a troll. I was able to take in four of the six trolls on my almost 4-mile hike along the trails at the arboretum. It was my longest hike going back to April and it felt good to walk along the wooded paths and hear the birds and the rustle of the gentle wind through the leaves above.

I believe the trolls – the trolls at the arboretum – are trying to tell us something. Continue reading It’s a new (school) year, sort of….