Category Archives: Life in General

Three things for a rainy Saturday morning

It’s been a long since I sat at my desk and wrote a blogpost on a Saturday morning. Saturday morning was once my ‘go to’ day to write. But things change and as I believe all have learned, and experienced, this past year is that if there is one constant in our lives it is change.

As I do from time to time, I looked back at the blog. Over the past year or so, most of my posts have been on Wednesday – those Wordless Wednesdays with a few words or more, so the posts aren’t truly wordless, but wordless at least for me. The second most frequent day I have posted has been Sunday.

I remembered every post and picture; I suppose that it’s your experience when you look back at your own blog.

Oddly, the last time I wrote a Saturday morning post it was a ‘three things’ post and it was raining. So for this week here are my ‘three things’ – hope, spring, and change. Continue reading Three things for a rainy Saturday morning

Light Mode

It is Friday, Good Friday, and our spring break is winding down. Last year for spring break we were in Michigan and we watched the lake ice melt. I spent the remainder of last school year – April and May – teaching from our cottage in Michigan. This year, we are in the keys of Florida and it has been very relaxing. We’ve been safe or as safe as one can be in the world of COVID19, social distancing, and mask mandates.

Monday evening’s sunset from Sunset park, Key Colony Beach, Florida

This year spring break has a different outcome. Last year I was returning from break to remote learning – something I had never done – posting assignments by 8AM and monitoring student progress, using ZOOM to connect with my students and using email and comments on assignments to provide feedback. This year I am returning to having most students in class four days each week and the remainder joining class remotely via ZOOM.

Much has changed since last year and I am thankful, very thankful. This year there is hope, while last year there was fear and uncertainty. Even with hope, there is still some fear and uncertainty, but I have found that when I focus on what I can control and for the rest what I am unable to control, I rely on my faith and pray that hope rises above fear.

Sunday morning’s sunrise. Key Colony Beach, Florida

A week ago, Monday, I opened my email and found that my Lenten Journal had been published. I smiled and shared it with a few folks, and now I share it with you.

I had written the reflection in mid-January as we were preparing to begin hybrid teaching and learning. Hybrid teaching is having some students in class and the remainder remotely on ZOOM. In January, we had divided the students who wanted to be in school into two groups an A group – last names A-L and a B group – last names M-Z. The A group attended Tuesday and Wednesday and the B group attended Thursday and Friday. In all, I had a little more than a third of my students in class for at least two days of instruction and those students who were not in class attended class remotely via ZOOM. It took a bit of learning on my part and my student’s part but we figured it out. We made it work.

Below is my Lenten reflection.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)..” Ephesians 5:8-9

I teach 6th grade science and recently added an iPad as an extra screen to help manage my classroom with students in class and those following along at home. It helps me to create a single classroom and bring together the students who are in the room with those who are at home on Zoom. The iPad suggested I try ‘dark mode’ to help me better see the screen and improve the battery life of my device. But I soon discovered that it made reading more difficult for me and following along in class, dark mode became a burden and I turned off ‘dark mode.’ Continue reading Light Mode

W^2 – branches

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, February 24, 2021

reaching for the sky – bare branches on a late winter afternoon. Wheaton, IL February 23, 2021 4:44 PM

The past few weeks have been cold and snowy. We’ve had out days with brilliant sunshine, but the land is covered in several inches of packed snow. Yesterday, it was above freezing, and it felt warm even though it was 40F or 5C. It was warm enough for a walk in the afternoon and it was refreshing. I spied this tree reaching for the sky. There is beauty and peace in the world, especially on a late February afternoon. Making the Days COUNT, one day at a time, finding beauty and peace everywhere I look.

Where are you finding your peace these days in late winter?

W^2 – ice

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, February 3, 2021 on Thursday. Ooops.

Ice covered topiary. Wheaton, IL February2, 2021 5:16 PM

We have had several inches of snow fall over the past week and we are expecting another few inches today. Fresh snow is pretty, but when it melts and refreezes it’s another kind of beauty. Making the Days COUNT, one day at a time, looking for beauty anywhere I can find it, beauty in the world makes my day count.

Where have you found beauty lately? Are you looking? Or does it just happen?

W^2 – play

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Fern and Ivy – left to right, their faces seem to say, “can you come out and play, it’s fresh snow and a lot of fun.” Wednesday, December 30, 2020 10:05 AM

Fern and Ivy enjoy getting out and running in the snow and I enjoy watching them. We’ve got a few inches of fresh snow and until the dogs ran through it, it was a clean white blanket. I’ll be stepping out to clear the drive and walks and playing a little, too. Making the Days Count, at play and work, one day at a time.

What have you done lately to play?

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 – herd

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A herd of deer grazing peacefully, Spring Brook Prairie Forest Preserve, Naperville, IL. Sunday, December 13, 2020 3:42 PM

We all would like to gather this holiday season, but we are keeping our distance. Making the Days Count, one day at a time while remembering to look, listen and be cautious, always.

What good news have you heard recently?

W^2 – sunset

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday November 11, 2020

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve – Wheaton, IL November 8, 2020  4:15 PM

Making the Days Count even on a cloudy day there is sunshine. You just need to have faith that it’s there.

What keeps you moving on a cloudy fall day?

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