Making Time

A sliver of a moon slides across the sky as a frozen Lake Margrethe sees the last part of day

@MakingDaysCount and MakingtheDaysCount dot org, on many occasions, I have written about time and using it wisely; and if you have been looking for an update and wondering where I have been, I’ve been here, or there, seemingly everywhere – but not on the internet and certainly not at MakingtheDaysCount dot org. It has been a long three weeks. During that time, I have started a couple of entries but they have died on the figurative vine and been left unfinished.

“Every man has only enough strength to complete those assignments that he is fully convinced are important.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German writer and philosopher

It seems over the past weeks, my strength and energy has been focused where it is needed most – at home with family, at school with my students, and keeping up with the holiday. Finally, there is time it is Winter Break.

Winter Break is here and I am enjoying it. It is time to recharge the batteries for the second half of seventh grade – for the thirteenth time. In the weeks approaching winter break, I always ended my e-mails to the parents of my students by wishing them a Happy Holiday and how I was looking for the best part of seventh grade. I don’t mean it is the best part because it is the last part and I am looking forward to being over with this group of kids, far from it. I mean it is the best part because this is where the hard work and drudgery of the first part bloom and the students take off. It is also the time in the curriculum that students enjoy most: there is science research and their health book (it is actually better than it sounds), literature circles and quasi book clubs, and The Giver, personally, my favorite part of the seventh grade Language Arts curriculum.

I had started a post for Christmas and had finished it but lacking an internet connection, I was unable to upload and publish it. It is below.

Christmas Day

It’s Christmas morning and I am awake with Olivia. She got up right after I did and came out to survey what Santa had brought. William was still sleeping and Beth, too. I tried to encourage her to go back to sleep, but she claimed she couldn’t and well, I wouldn’t have been able to go back to sleep when I was nine, either. So, I believed her and told her she had to wait until the rest of the family was up and reminded her that she couldn’t cheat and wake them up!

This is my twenty-first Christmas in Versailles. We’ve been coming here since moving to the Midwest and getting married in ’91 and it is never the same. In the time before kids, it was a drive over late on the 23rd or 24th and back late on the 25th so Beth and I could be back at work on the day after Christmas. Working retail and restaurants – in a shopping mall – imposed restrictions on time off and we could only take a two-day holiday. Now with kids and teaching there is more time to stay and it makes the time with family more relaxed, more comfortable – even if it is hot in grandma’s house. I just wear shorts and a t-shirt and drink lots of water.

This year Winter Breaks for the kids and I didn’t match, didn’t align. The kids, who are in a different school district, started their break after school ended on the 16th and I started on after school on Thursday the 22nd. They drove over with Ivy on Thursday morning and I drove over Friday – late Friday. I started late and it got dark early as I drove across northern Indiana. Somehow, I missed the children bickering and dog barking, and it was quiet as I listened to Christmas music and car gobbled up the road and the miles and time passed as I traveled between corn and bean fields done for the season. In the distance, I could see farmhouses decorated for Christmas and an occasional barn or star-topped silo. When I finally arrived, grandma and grandpa had gone to bed but the kids were up and I got a big hug from Olivia and help unloading the car from William.

Christmas Eve passed with errands and a short nap and church. The same church we were married in, where our children were baptized, and where Beth’s family has worshipped her entire life. It was a nice service about God, and Jesus, and the gift we all have received. It is easy to forget what the day is all about in the frenzy of getting here, getting ready, and Making the Days Count. I hope you remember they day is about and what it means to you. Merry Christmas and I hope you are working to Make Your Days Count.

Christmas was a few days ago and much has passed largely time and miles. I am, rather we are, in Michigan for the last bits of Winter Break. The kids will ski, snowboard and enjoy the hills. Beth and I will enjoy time to read, write, and grade (it follows me everywhere) but most of all I will enjoy watching our children have fun. But, most of all, we will all enjoy the peacefulness of the cottage. Lastly, Ivy will enjoy napping in the sun, sniffing for critters, and walking in the woods in the snow.

Ice fishermen set up 'their spot' on Lake Margrethe

In the meantime, I am going enjoy the time away and chip away at a few tasks I am convinced are important because as Goethe wrote, “Every man has only enough strength to complete those assignments that he is fully convinced are important.” and Making the Days Count is truly important. Making the Days Count, one Day at a time, even when there is a three-week lapse.

Have you ever had a long time between important tasks, as I have? If so explain.

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