I am grateful for the writing, leadership, and example that Anita Silvey has been for my life. I have long admired her books about children’s literature, the excellence of The Horn Book magazine under her editorial leadership, and her ability to hold an audience enrapt. In recent years, I have been encouraged by her example of focusing on the writing of nonfiction for young readers and especially her books about women scientists. Her biography of Pete Seeger, another one of my heroes, is the best I’ve ever read. Anita is a class act and an extraordinary woman.
After spending the morning in conversation with a friend over breakfast, I realize how grateful I am for those beautiful moments of communion, face to face, soul to soul, strengthening our connection … in ways that email and smartphones will never be able to achieve. Thanks for the camaraderie, friends.
Dear friends brought these tulips to our home for a Game Night last Friday. Our weather has been a tad rainy and gloomy, so dark inside the house that we’ve had lights on during the day. But these TULIPS! They’ve been sharing a light of their own. The metaphor is not lost on me. I am grateful for light from unexpected sources.
I am grateful for my friend Heidi Grosch who is one of the most ebullient, determined, warm-hearted, and talented people that I know. After moving from the US to Norway for love, she learned Norwegian, earned a master’s degree in education, raises Christmas trees, and, oh yes, teaches education at Nord University. Her current excellent idea is CyberBridge, short, daily videos inspiring ESL teachers in grades 1 through 7. Today’s video, singing “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music, is suggested for your classroom (done in sing-along style). Other videos talk about grammar, books to share, and learning activities. And remember, these are done by Norwegians for whom English is a second language. Heidi, you are simply amazing.
This is the point when cabin fever sets in. I recognize the signs. Leaving the house is unreliable. You’d rather have the TV off than on. Your 23 bookcases full of books aren’t tempting you. Cooking adventures are uninspiring. Friends feel far, far away. And then … two of those dear friends stop by with a spring garden in their hands. You are watching it grow every day. Aaaahhhh!
I am grateful for the art of conversation. This morning we shared a delightful breakfast conversation with D.B.and R.B., a client and her husband whom we had not met in person. They live two states away, drove to our metropolis to listen to a friend’s band, and invited us to meet them at the Good Day Cafe. Our wait person was friendly, the food was delish, and we found so much in common with these new friends … that’s the best kind of day. Inhabiting the same space, feeling the energy, observing facial expressions, reacting to gestures while storytelling, building a rapport … there is no online experience that can equal sitting down to share a meal and conversation. Until the next time!
I am grateful for each of you who takes time in your day to read this journal and share your thoughts. Sending you a hug today!
There are some people in my life with whom, even though they aren’t present every day or even every year, I feel a solid connection. Part of my writer’s group for many years (begun in Maureen LaJoy’s class), I kept in touch with Terry Lovaas. We didn’t agree on politics, or religion, or what we were writing about, but I respected him. We had lively conversations. We read each other’s manuscripts and gave honest, forward-moving critiques. We worked together on videography projects that made us both proud. Terry was brilliant and caring and an inspired dad and husband. He passed away yesterday, still a young man. He will be missed by a legion of friends and writing group members, and his family. I’m grateful Terry is a part of my story. I’m going to miss hearing him laugh, wondering what he would write next. Fare well, Mr. Lovaas. You were one-of-a-kind.
Who would we be without our friends? The friend I have had for the greatest length of time (I can’t say my “oldest” friend, she’s not) is standing in the middle of this group of neighborhood children celebrating my birthday. The sweet blonde standing next to me (lower right) is very dear to me. I grew up in the Twin Cities, in an apartment in a complex with few children nearby. I waited until my summer vacations and holidays, spending time with my grandparents in my hometown, to see my best friend. Once I started working (at 16) and stopped traveling to that hometown (my grandparents moved to another city), we lost touch. Each of us married, our names were different … even though I searched, I could not locate her. I am grateful for Facebook … we found each other again. A couple of years ago, we traveled for hours to have lunch together. I couldn’t stop smiling. For all of us, time passes but friendship bonds sustain us.
In 2014, we began hosting a game night for six Friday nights during January and February. Steve and I were having a tough time with winter and grief. We suspected that surrounding ourselves with friends and playing games would be a healthy—and fun—prescription. We were right!
The games are designed to fit a theme, several people take a turn hosting an evening, and the laughter, talents, and wisdom are always heartwarming. I am grateful for those warm hearts, the avid game-playing, and the creative efforts of this very dear group of people because, really, it’s not about the games … it’s about the people. If you’re looking for a way to brighten your winter, give game nights a try!
Year Five began last Friday night. The theme was “Harmony & Understanding,” a look back at 1968 to 1972. Thanks to David for taking photos. Not all participants are pictured here; poor health kept some people away—get well, everyone!)