* Rough bird on a stick

You probably noticed, I mean I hope you noticed, that I was MIA from blogging in May (and at other times, sadly). Times were decidedly rough. Right now, I’m recovering from food poisoning so I’m feeling very a wee bit sorry for myself.

Back in May, during that distinctly rough time, I saw that Cee had a marvelous Fun Foto challenge on feathers. (Be sure to check out her fabulous entries!)

At the start of our dolphin adventure a month earlier, before times got severely rough, a grackle serendipitously posed for us as we waited for the boat to set sail. As usual, all the passengers were effortlessly snapping photos while I scrambled to get the lens on my camera. That pleasant grackle waited while I took this photo, no doubt grinning at my efforts. I also managed to smudge the lens with sunblock, so all my photos from this outing have a nasty worm-like blob which I have cropped out which didn’t matter since I was following Cee’s “rule of three,” despite my haste.

When times are not extremely rough, I will catch up on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges. I have plenty of singularly rough photos to use.

* Resilience

Find this photo here

Resilience is a much-admired and much-researched topic. For students with disabilities, resilience is also much-needed. Why do some kiddos and adults have it and others don’t? It has traditionally been viewed as an innate characteristic, but resilience is now regarded as something we can learn. And if it’s something we can learn, then we need to teach it.

I believe that some teachers already support and model resilience for their students. These are teachers who empathize with students, notice challenges, and encourage them to overcome obstacles. Supporting regulation of emotions is one key to developing resilience. Making sure that tasks are carefully sequenced and of value to students births confidence. Being a teacher who openly asks, “What can I learn from this debacle?” models a healthy approach to making mistakes and managing strong, unhappy feelings.

My advice is to read up on resilience this summer. Learn more brain-friendly strategies for supporting struggling students. Become a more resilient person and pass it along!

* They’re back!

The kiddos are here! Another fun-filled summer ahead of us, with as many electronics and wild times as possible!

It’s not all fun and games, though. One of the challenges we face is that Christopher (who is on the autism spectrum) is now using the term “autistic” as both a derogatory and teasing label for his sibs and friends. Last year it was “retard,” along with the ubiquitous “smokin’ hot.” Obviously, he has been taught that “autistic” is not a good thing and/or draws attention. (For him, all attention, whether positive or negative, is pretty much OK.)

Another change: Christopher no longer makes me chase him down for a hug while disguised as a “hug-hating” ninja or ghost! He chases me down for a side arm hug, his eyes glistening with mischief. What a sweetheart!

* Retirement: 3rd time the charm?

For 8 years now, after my first supposed retirement, folks have been asking me why I’m still teaching full time. It didn’t start out that way. I took 3 months to socialize and sleep in late. Then I responded to tutoring requests, started providing homebound instruction for a local district, and eventually filled my days and evenings with delightful teaching and planning. End of retirement #1.

Midway through that retirement, my long-suffering teaching widower wondered if I would ever have time for him. So I shed most of my tutoring caseload and started on retirement #2. That lasted about 3 months and I was back at my full-time pace.

In March of this year, I announced my 3rd retirement to coincide with my teaching widower’s imminent retirement. Will this one last? I have the hat and flowers, the perfect equivalent of a gold watch. We’ll see. I already have students in the wings….

* Father’s Day

Like Mother’s Day, this holiday was long a source of anguish for me. Growing up in an abusive home, my Hallmark greeting would have read, “How much do I hate thee? Let me count the ways!”

Over time and much healing, a lot of it from the hands of my dearest teaching widower, I have come to endure these celebrations and rejoice with others who have had a different path. After today, I have a joyous and unique new memory: my dearest widower winning a smoker at church!

I laughed because we typically never win anything. And we have been trying to decide whether to continue our movie group in the fall. I think this is a sign: Movies and a Smoker. Who would have guessed? The One who loves us and constantly surprises us with many good things. A Father who is worth celebrating every day!

* Mystery Blogger ??

Thanks again, Davina, for your Mystery Blogger Award. Here are the questions I am shamelessly borrowing from you!

  1. What have you learned about yourself through blogging? I am either mindlessly foolish or simply no longer afraid to reveal my identity.
  2. What do you hope to accomplish through writing content either for yourself or others? My goal has been to support other teachers and open hearts and minds to struggling students.
  3. In the spirit of Avengers Endgame: If your blog content had superpowers what would it be? Hmm, I think telepathy would serve me well. I could share my thoughts without missing a single post.
  4. Who inspired you to become a content writer and what inspired you to choose the niche that you chose? A dear friend started a blog and that emboldened me. Suzie helped me broaden my range of topics, encouraging me to share more of myself.
  5. Spring and soon summer will be upon us. What are your spring/summer plans for this year? Really? Spring is coming? That would be awesome. My dearest teaching widower and I are travelling more than usual this summer. Whee!

So if you are one of these bloggers, please feel free to answer the same questions. Or if these nominations are not your thing, just know that you are appreciated!

* digging for gold (ten things of thankful)

I have been a terribly sporadic visitor to the Ten Things of Thankful blog, but every time I go, I’m rewarded by the words, photos, and humor from such encouraging folks. It’s a great place to share gems of thankfulness.

Gem #1: My dearest teaching widower remains at the top of my list. His tech skills are sometimes clumsy but always endearing. I got him a Fitbit for his birthday and it’s already destroyed! I think his inner distrust of all things tech has created some kind of deadly force field. He’s a powerhouse when searching the web, though! (See #4.)

Gem #2: The patient families of the kiddos I teach, who must wonder if my body is falling apart. Yes, it is.

Gem #3: The Bible in One Year 2019 devotional by Nicky and Pippa Gumbel. They are an amazing couple, perhaps best known for developing Alpha courses. OK, I am now 42 days behind in reading, but onward, ever onward!

Gem #4: Thanks to Cee’s inspiration and support, I have a REAL camera! It was a delightful Christmas present, heavily-researched by my dearest widower (see #1). I haven’t used it much but I look forward to the day….

Gem #5: Cadbury’s milk chocolate, which remains sweet and silky and mood-changing.

Gem #6: Faithful followers of my blog, despite my erratic posting. Thank you!!!!!!!!

Gem #7: Suzie’s kind support and encouragement. Check out her amazing blog (Suzie Speaks), her cat’s bottom, and her new job!

Gem #8: My own Fitbit, a birthday present from my fam. Fitbit and I love each other. It purrs on my wrist. It cheers me on, even as I feel like body parts will soon start dropping off.

Gem #9: Amazon Prime wardrobe, which means I never have to expose my feet to strangers again. No one fainting in horror at a shoe store.

Gem #10: A physical therapist who reminded me to be thankful I have feet (even if you can find them by googling “ugliest feet in the world”). That PT works with folks who have prosthetic feet and they would give anything for my ugly feet.

Freebie: Don’t search for ugliest feet in the world.

* Mystery blogger award

Davina Lyons, a middle school teacher, blogger, and workshop facilitator, has nominated me for a cool blogging award. Wow! I didn’t see that coming!

The Mystery Blogger award was created by Okoto Enigma “for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.” Okoto Enigma

I know I can’t live up to that description, especially with my erratic posting, but it’s sweet to be nominated! I am nominating the awesome group below. Some folks do not care for this process, so no pressure!

Here are the rules of this award and my nominations below!

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three things about me: I love Jesus, my dearest teaching widower, and my students.

I am nominating these intriguing and inspirational blogs:

In my next post, I’ll answer some questions and add my own. Well, I might just copy Davina’s cuz she’s better at this than I am!!