Thursday, June 30, 2011

Eighty Seventh Post - Fizzle

The 2010/2011 school year is coming to an end today and I am at home nursing my outbreak of shingles. Oh brother, what a way to end the year, much more fizzle than bang. It saddens me not to be at work to say proper goodbyes for the summer. We've put in a great collective effort and have walked through some great times, good times, and some almost unbearably sad times.  

This year we had too many deaths; student, parents, grandparents. The grief felt overwhelming at times - for all of us. Yet, we worked together; we listened, we cried, we grieved... At the other end of the spectrum there was laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. Laughter so loud we had to shut the staff room doors. And even then, students commented on the laughing coming out of the staff room. We also laughed with our students. We have some hilariously funny and clever adolescents at our school. 

The vast majority of our students didn't give up. They came with challenges, both academic and personal.  Due to confidentiality I will not give details other than the knowing that many adults would have, indeed have, given up under less trying circumstances. Many seemed almost paralyzed with anxiety when year end exams came into view. To their credit they didn't fold up and quit. They worked hard; the students and their amazingly dedicated teachers. During the week of exams there was a quiet contingent of teachers cheering on their students with no less pride than a group of proud, possessive parents. 

The end of the year always brings mixed feelings. Of course we're all glad we made it and summer vacation is about to begin. There is also the sadness that accompanies loss. Students and staff alike leave. Those of us left behind will miss them. Many have impacted my life.

Instead of celebrating the leaving with my staff, I'm home nursing these darn shingles! So from my couch I send you a good bye and have a good summer. Have fun, rest, cause who knows what the next school year will bring. 

How are you affected by the end of a school year?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eighty Sixth Post - Tribute

This week one of my dear friends lost her father. Mr. Tutchek was 92 years old at his passing. His funeral was on Friday and it was a celebration of a quiet man who had great impact. His legacy lives on in his three children, their spouses, nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Mrs. T. his wife of 59 years is left to mourn his passing. It was clear that Mr. T was a man well loved. He was not loud, not particularly outgoing, but dependable and faithful. 

Mr. Tutchek had a profound impact on my life that he wouldn't have realized he had. Mr. T. was my encourager. Janet (his middle daughter and my dear friend) and I are musicians. We started our musical careers young. It must have been in our early teens that we began performing with substance. She on violin and me on piano. Mr. T had a good ear for music and I can't think of a time that I performed that he didn't make a point of finding me and blessing me with praise. That meant; still means, a lot. 

It was an honour and privilege to accompany Janet at Mr. T's funeral. Thirty minutes of playing through some wonderful old hymns in the midst of dear old friends and relatives from Bethany (the church we grew up in). Many of Mr. T's family spoke at his service and the common theme was his faithfulness. What struck me most was Janet's comment about never having heard her father say an unkind word about anyone. How rare is that? But not a surprise to hear.

In 92 years Mr. T lead a full life. His oldest daughter Karen spoke of his time during the war; sadly he was a POW for a number of years, escaped and was recaptured. Eventually he made his way to Canada. I hope the family will find time to print at least a portion of his memoirs. What a testament to God's sustaining grace. 

With Mr. T's passing comes a reminder that we are getting older. Our parents are aging and approaching the ends of their lives, indeed some have already died. We're having to face that day of sorrow and sadness (for us) as they enter eternity.

Mr. T:  I thank you for your impact on my life. Thank you for modelling encouragement. Thank you for always taking time to talk to me; to ask me how I was, what I was doing and ALWAYS looking so happy when I was doing well. Your life and example touched many lives. May your faithfulness continue to live on in the lives of your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. To God be the glory!

This old song Find Us Faithful best sums up the legacy of a long and faithful life. 

What legacy are you leaving behind?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eighty Fifth Post - Delight2

Random things that recently brought delight to my life:
(back by popular demand!)
  • Courage that seems to come out of nowhere
  • Potted plants on my deck

  • My first ever tomato plant - woohoo!

  • Celebrating my middle child's engagement: A fun family get together!
  • Enjoying the interaction between my children and their Grandma Irmgard.  Bonus: Joy!
  • Savouring the look of pride on my reverend's face as he received Father's day greetings from his children and step children
  • A Sunday afternoon walk 

  • Finishing a good book and having time to grab a new one from my TBR stack. 
  • A Sunday afternoon nap
  • My city, Vancouver coming together with goodness after the senseless riot and mayhem that followed the Stanley Cup Final.
  • Knowing there is only one more full week of school before summer vacation.
What brought you delight this week?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Eighty Fourth Post - Awards

It's a sunny Sunday morning. A good time to pass on a couple of blog awards to five people and hope they each will do the same for five more bloggers. The awards were given to me by Grammy @ Blabbin' Grammy  Treat yourself and head over to her blog, She's got heaps of wisdom and bushels of common sense. Thanks for the awards Grammy!  

Here are the requisite seven facts about myself

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eighty Third Post - Possibility

Many of my dear writer friends post blogs about rejection. Not being a writer, I haven't put much effort into empathetic reading. I follow the posts with interest and tsk, tsk in sympathy, but have never tried to wrap my head around what it would feel like to put your work - a portion of yourself out there and have it rejected. For that I humbly apologize. This morning I had the proverbial Oprah aha moment.

At this late point in my career I would like to move to a more broad based leadership role. I've applied to several school districts and for all my efforts the response has been a series of thin rejection letters. The old 'thanks, but no thanks'. Each new rejection, has plunged me to new level of resiliency. Resiliency - my old friend - it's good to talk to you again.

Another week... one more application, one more possibility.

 Here's a peek at my 'Philosophy of Leadership'. My dear reverend read it and said he'd hire me. What more could a girl ask for?

Here's what I believe; in one page or less.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eighty Second Post - Delight

All About Delight!
(in no particular order)

  •  The fragrance of lilac; a reminder that spring is here.
One of my Lilac bushes. So delightfully fragrant.

  • Phlox blooming in my prayer garden
Such a beautiful colour!

  • Birds bathing in Perry's Pond  hopefully I can get a picture of the bathing birds this year
  • Hearing 'I love you, Grandma!' I never get weary of hearing this
  • My wedding diamond it's a dazzling reminder of enduring love!
  • My reverend **sigh**
  • Having breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee with any of my children nothing like food and conversation with the kids!
  • Having breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee with any of my step children this bunch came to me late in life, but have added unmeasurable joy!
  • Super sunny Sunday mornings you know what I mean!
  • Blank time that I can fill any which way I want to <insert a big AWWWW>
What has brought you recent delight?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Eighty First Post - Timing

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." ~Proverbs 16:9

Two of my Facebook friends posted Proverbs 16:9 as their Facebook status yesterday. Two unrelated friends. I realize this is a rather popular verse but the coincidence caused me to pause and reflect. Could there be a message here for me? I have been restless at work. While my work is challenging, and I have a fulfilling career, I still find myself craning my neck, looking for another; perhaps better, path. Which way should I go?

June is the time of year when our pension information is sent to us. My earliest reduced retirement date is August 1, 2011. My earliest unreduced date is July 1, 2013. Reduced/unreduced is somewhat misleading. I worked part time for nineteen years after my children were born therefore my unreduced will really always be reduced. However, I made the choice to work part time deliberately because while I knew I needed to work, I also wanted to have time at home with my children. That balance worked for me. Now, after ten years of full time work; the last five as a school counsellor, I find I'm once again looking for change. What direction should I take? Should I move? Stay here? Change schools? Retire early?