“Proud” : Easy to Learn in ASL

11188262_825705304161925_1221999162433126540_n This is what I wrote on my Facebook page this morning:

“I’m waking up feeling so thankful about the tight little group of friends that I am making.

 

I wasn’t ready to make friends for two years – yet the key was barely in our new door before my neighbor sent fresh-baked cookies…and how can one resist being hopeful with daily jokes from a sign language interpreter who was my first coworker in this new town we are in ?…and now the list goes on.

 

I’m just as introverted and still need hours of solitude and some of my rough edges will never go away, and that’s okay… and the work load is kind of huge, and it is going to get exponentially bigger soon….

 

When I first registered for these classes I sent a note to my (speech therapist) friend about how unreasonably worried I was that I was making a mistake to be taking this side route at this point in life and his main comforting advise was :

 

‘Your brain will be so happy, and if your brain is happy, your family will be happy.’

 

So, if you are wondering if those articles that you’ve read about language, foreign language especially being good for your noggin? It’s true. Do it. It’s not too late…

 

my class mates are saying the same thing…it’s like our heads smolder with information and vocabulary and grammar rules and confusion and then we go to these Deaf social events…and it works.

 

It’s like having a popcorn popper suddenly launch with yummy linguistic happy time. We understand, they understand us, and if there’s a mix up, who cares, we are still cordially invited to another event! So. That’s what I have to say this morning. Have a good day.”

11054444_817268375005618_6549938944609850678_nP.S. I apologize to the t-shirt company that advertised these shirts…if I can find you again – I will post a link and advertise for you!

P.P.S. The green t-shirt is showing how to do the word “proud” in American Sign Language.

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Last Spring I Became Smitten, and Was Forced into Happiness

Aside

1452562_10152012126498810_283704191_n (1)Did you read the snippet I found on the internet yesterday?

I put it in this post:

Does Change Have to Happen All at Once?

How does change look in your world? This is a topic that my husband and I have always differed on.

Actually. I drive him kind of crazy.

I say no, all at once can be good…but not as a rule.

He says  yes, all at once is the rule…and is good.

Another difference between us is reflected in my unwillingness to talk about this or to have a debate.

I don’t care. Seriously. I have other fish to fry at the moment. If sweeping change is what floats your boat, then keep on truckin’! Bully for you!

Same token, I’ve done some serious thinking of late and have sobered up to the fact that if I don’t grab these last several “working” years that my body will hopefully give me, I will have missed an awesome boat ride indeed.

When we first moved to Iowa I was certain that I was interested in anything that did not include working in a school. My years as a sub, and various teaching jobs of many sizes and colors never left me disappointed in the magic of children or the power of falling in love with an idea or a letter of the alphabet. (Seriously? You’ve not had a conversation or contemplative moment about the bold roundness of the letter “O”? Odd.)

1477677_10152061644043810_1326140848_nI arrived to our new city life sorely let down by the adult world though and it’s bitter, whining approach to what we as educators should feel lucky to be doing each day.

Iowa being a writing mecca, I wrote. Day after day, blog post after blog post. I read, fed the dogs, wrote, deleted, read, fed the kids, and reread my way into being ready to step out the front door and actually talk to people.

And then there was the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, soon after at a religious temple, and shortly after at Sandy Hook.

I went from afraid, to sad, and continue to feel intensely angry about these events.

During that same time period my family was saying: “You seem bored, how about a job?”

No change.

And, “You seem cranky, how about a job?”

No change.

Then, “We can’t take it any more – get a job!”

As luck would have it – a ruby of a job I landed indeed. I’ll spare you the details of how I stumbled into the one I had in the Spring, and the one that I have now – but lucky I am indeed. And, now I know that the computer dying as the spring blossomed was a gift as well.

I had no time or way of processing how happy I was to be working with the hard of hearing Kindergartener for whom I was a communication coach. Being unhappy became a most boring and lonely consideration. Written, or even spoken words not needed.

480201_10151552955388810_1938698632_nI was trapped, smitten, and humbled by his eyelashes, wit, and ornery moves. And, I’m now eagerly re-enrolled in school to help increase the odds that I can keep on working in a series of best jobs ever.

As my cousin said on the phone the other day, “This is my last job, and I plan to make it the one that is the most fun!”

Does Change Have to Happen All at Once?

Aside

“But Gemma, you could change the world.”

“That should take far more than my power,” I say.

“True. But change needn’t happen all at once. It can be small gestures.”

“Moments. Do you understand?” He’s looking at me differently now, though I cannot say how. I only know I need to look away…

We pass by the pools, where the mud larks sift. And for only a few seconds, I let the magic loose again.

“Oi! By all the saints!” a boy cries from the river.

“Gone off the dock?” an old woman calls. The mud larks break into cackles.

“‘S not a rock!” he shouts. He races out of the fog, cradling something in his palm.

Curiosity gets the better of the others. They crowd about trying to see. In his palm is a smattering of rubies. “We’re rich mates! It’s a hot bath and a full belly for every one of us!”

Kartik eyes me suspiciously. “That was a strange stroke of good fortune.”

“Yes it was.”

“I don’t suppose that was your doing.”

“I’m not sure I don’t know what you mean,” I say.

And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.”
―     Libba Bray,     The Sweet Far Thing

 

 

 

Dear Mrs. Obama: Have They Considered Mr. Lemon?

A6TRRWgCMAAjjpPDear Mrs. Obama,

This message to you has been near the top of my list for months: a most heartfelt thank you for all that, well…all that you are actually. I don’t claim to know you as more than a woman for whom I am fan and follower. Yet, I’m tempted to put in this quick note the same thing that I put in birthday cards to those who mean the most to me:

“Thank you for being born.”

That would be a bit intense though since despite my greatest efforts, we’ve not yet met.

Actually, here’s the truth: I started last fall by taking for granted that you and your family would continue to be the leaders protecting and leading my sons for another term. Like so many others, I watched the debates for the first time ever and during that process I cracked. Rage would not be an exaggeration. Even though it was your husband who was being personally and morally attacked – for some reason, I found myself feeling deeply offended as well. Thankfully I remembered a huge sign that my mother kept in her laundry room which said:

“Living Well is the Best Revenge.”

So, despite my best efforts to keep the home fires burning and volunteer for your family campaign in an official manner, I found myself seeking revenge “Kate Style”: I drove around the Quad Cities being an hour, or day, or a week too late for events but never allowed myself to feel a dollar too short. I prayed and retweet all that I found to be good. I wrote and deleted and lost my thoughts and eye glasses on what felt like an hourly basis…

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no hero. My campaign efforts were nothinganxiety girl compared to those of most of your volunteers and most of all, other than the retweetAthon that a friend pointed me toward, everything I did was in my head.

As a matter of fact, in an effort to support one of your speeches I got lost and ended up in a town called Lost Nation, Iowa. My family is so long and suffering.Thank God, I did find my way to hear you, just days before the election in Iowa City. Did you see me? I was the one who started crying like a sissy girl when you simply opened your mouth to say hello. My mother campaigned for you before you even knew you needed her. Sadly, she died several years ago.

Actually, the tears on my part were that of complete joy.

165977_10151106768050774_429870657_nThe joy was, in part, to be a few feet away from a woman who I admire deeply. More so, tears flowed because you said, word for word, what I was feeling.

After the harrowing experience of dodging winter weather, my completely mismanaged childcare back up plans and getting utterly lost on the road to a very easy to find destination…what could I do but laugh?

I was exhausted from worry and effort by the time you got up on stage and if I’d had to wait too many minutes longer I would have needed to bail yet another event to get home in time for after school pick up.

Shazaam. On came the Earth Wind and Fire music. Shoulders grooved. Water cups were passed. Secret service squeezed in, andA1JU2PeCQAADnFI you came out to say what I’d come to realize in those exact long hours:

If, despite my most heartfelt prayer, Michelle is asked to leave the house, joy will still come in the morning.

Thank you for saying exactly that Mrs. Obama. I heard you say:

“No matter what, we are going to be just fine. On Thursday (after the election), no matter where my family will live next winter, on thursday we will go back to picking up our shoes and putting them away.”

Soon after you said that a mom in the crowd hushed her child who was playing in the front rows and you said:

“No!

Don’t shoosh…Let her go!

We’ve got another party over here!”

So, for now, I’m going to finish this thank you note and ask that, although I think I am certainly at least 24 hours too late with this message,

I would like to recommend that the benediction for the inauguration be given by one of my many favorite pastors: Meadowlark Lemon.

I knew he was a Trotter, and am so pleased to read this week that he is a theologian as well:

“True visions have transformed my time on this earth from

mere existence

to joyful living.

 

As the saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it.

A worthwhile life

begins with a bold vision.”

~ from Trust Your Next Shot: A Guide to a Life of Joy, by Meadowlark Lemon and Lee Stuart

Thanks again.

With peace,

Kate

@Chris Handles loves my new book as well.

@Chris Handles loves my new book as well.

A Great Quote, A Creek Photo & a Sentence or Two

“There but for the grace of God, go I.”

 

~ John Bradford

 

Photo by Kevin Lester, Ripley Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*random disclaimer: I don’t do heated political debate, and the above quote, the photo and these couple of thoughts are about missing my Mom. Merci mon ami!

If we could talk by phone or email, my mother and I would be hard at appreciating the contagious effect of Michelle Obama’s sense of joy.

Is joy more hard-earned for this generation of young kids than in the ’70 ‘s when I was playing hopscotch?

Who knows. Joy is important, that’s for sure.