Stained Glass Chapel Windows Prompt My Blog Return After A Stroke.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I have missed writing my blog these last few months. Yes…beautiful stained glass windows gave me the impetus that I needed to begin writing again. After my very surprising, yet fairly mild stroke last August, I struggled with maintaining concentration. To write for a few hours seemed to be a formidable task. I felt different. I found it to be quite impossible to be my lighthearted self again. I was frightened about such a serious occurrence entering my life. I am really not back to totally finding my old self, but I have had small glimpses of her.

I was reminded recently of the beautiful stained glass windows in a chapel at the college where I attended graduate school. I would often sit by myself in the small chapel…quietly thinking about the quotes etched on the stained glass windows. Oh my…the subtle solitude of meditation in a chapel gave me the confidence to face the challenges of teaching elementary school and taking graduate classes at the same time. The 45 minute drive to and from the campus was certainly not a fun endeavor. I needed that quiet chapel time.

I started thinking that perhaps I needed the chapel again. In fact, I yearned for the chapel. I yearned for the calming answers to my fearful existence. I planned a return…a triumphant return to a very much loved chapel and an attempt to return to the person I was before last August.

 

chapel in the woods

Pictured above…The Little Chapel in the Woods…

Texas Woman’s University, Denton TX.

As I entered the chapel, I felt the calm peacefulness emanating from every direction. I always feel this way when I enter this personally sacred place. Is it the beautiful trees surrounding the building? Is it the history of the chapel? Is it the beauty of the much honored architecture?

 

chapel wedding

 

Perhaps the honest reason is that I have poured my heart into my every thought and my every prayer in this chapel. I can feel the absolute presence of someone much larger than myself within these walls. I’ve found answers in this chapel on every visit.

 

chapel fivechapel four

chapel seven

The messages on the beautiful stained glass windows speak deeply to me. When I need to find myself again…I read the words over and over again.

 

My most treasured window includes these important words from Marie Curie:

 marie-curie-quote-two

There is the answer that I need…once again. I need perseverance and I need confidence. We must believe. The quote says so much to each of us.

 

rose-window

What I learned from my chapel visit…

  • I’ve missed the challenge of choosing interesting (sometimes!), yet heartfelt (always!) posts.

  • I’ve missed looking for the prompt each morning…and thinking “what in the world do I know about this?”

  •  I’ve missed the joy of coming up with something to write about that I have experienced or something that I hope to experience.

  • Most of all…I have missed all of you. I need to know what is happening in your part of the world. I need to know what new something you have learned. I need to know about your joys and triumphs as well as your struggles and challenges. I simply need to know how you are doing! Just because I truly admire you…my writer friends from around the world!

  • ***a link to my earlier post about the Little Chapel in the Woods… https://kindergartenknowledge.com/2017/02/21/little-chapel-in-the-woods-serenity/

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She changed the pathway of her life. Forlorn no more.

 

poem with flowers

 

It was just a night out to have dinner at a small pizza and pasta restaurant. Last Saturday night…the night we met a particularly friendly waitress. The waitress we won’t soon forget.

We walked inside from the unusually cold Texas night. The warm atmosphere was immediate. Pretty linen tablecloths. A man playing the piano…beautifully playing Broadway tunes, current songs, jazz. Soft lights. Quiet conversations at several tables. This is not the normal pizza place. We felt like we were invited into someone’s home.

After we were seated, our waitress came over to get our drink order. So outgoing. A beautiful smile. Young. Perhaps in her very early twenties. Friendly and confident. Efficient. She even brought us an extra plate so we could share the salad…just because the salad was large. She thought that we might want to both have a salad with our dinner.  Thoughtful.

I remember thinking that she seemed especially mature for her age. Probably a college student making extra money. Parents who brought her up correctly…as if anyone really knows the correct way to raise a child.

We soon found out that her parents were far from good parents. As we were about to pay for our dinner, she looked towards the door. “Oh look! It’s my husband’s dad and brother! I love it when my family comes here for dinner!”

When she brought our receipt back, she apologized for getting so excited about someone coming in who we didn’t even know. She went on to explain that her husband’s family was all the family she had. She truly thought that her husband’s family was wonderful. Her own family was in another city, but she didn’t see them anymore.

She didn’t intend to see them until they got their act together. She doubted that they ever would make it. She told us that her family is seriously into dangerous drugs. She said that their lifestyle is not the lifestyle that she wanted. She had practically raised herself.

Without good teachers, she could not imagine where she would be. Eventually she left home…to make it on her own. She soon met her husband and was recently married. Her family did not even know about the pretty wedding. She was going to college and working at the restaurant in the evenings.

Once she started talking, she told us the entire story. She said that she could have been sad. She said that she could have been totally lost. She said that she had faith and that she knew that she was on the right path. She was planning to be a teacher and help someone else make something special of themselves.

 

What a heartfelt story. A story with such a positive outcome. A story that made us smile for this ambitious young woman who grew up to be so very resilient. Not an ounce of forlornness surrounding our waitress on Saturday night. 

Congratulations to a future teacher. She will probably change many lives!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/forlorn/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen teacher…it’s about my allergy!

 Food allergies one

Teachers can learn quite a lot on the first day of school….as I did about five years ago. When a six year old child arrived in class, he promptly told me that he had a “bad” allergy. He did not have a note from a parent, not a note from a doctor not a note from the school nurse. I asked him to tell me about his allergy. This was his immediate answer:

“Most everyone else has an allergy…so I do too. I am allergic to NOT having chocolate cake every day when I get home from school. If I have chocolate cake, I feel fine.”

 

The surprising fact was that his mother did indeed make him a small chocolate cake each day. The cake was hot and ready when he arrived home. She didn’t want to make him feel badly for NOT having an allergy.

 

True story…no kidding! But…allergies are serious and not something to tie in with popularity in a classroom.

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Teaching school these days is sometimes like being a physician without a medical degree or a nurse who never attended nursing school or a child psychologist with only nine college hours of psychology. There are multiple allergies in multiple classrooms and these allergies can absolutely be life threatening. It is a very frightening reality…even for a veteran teacher. I must admit that I rarely heard about serious allergies earlier in my career. At that time, I honestly never had a student to become ill from a negative reaction to an allergy source.

What caused the world to change? Medical research tells us that these severe allergies exist and exist at an alarming growth rate. A site titled everydayhealth.com states the following: “Between 1997 and 2011, food allergies among children under age 18 jumped 50%, according to a 2013 report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)”.

 

Food allergies three

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Why are childhood allergies on a quick rise? There are theories. Rarely is a definitive answer found.

A sampling of leading theories:

1. Better hygiene. Our much improved ability to prevent germs has caused our immune system to become off balance. This is referred to as the “hygiene hypothesis”.

2. Some American parents wait to introduce infants to foods that are potential allergens like peanuts. In cultures where peanuts are given to children at an early age, the number of peanut allergies is lower than in the United States.

3. Parents have been reporting food and skin allergies at an increased rate. Doctors are better able to identify children with serious allergies. Therefore, doctors appear to be reporting more cases of allergy.

 

What foods cause the highest number of allergies in children?

 

According to NBC’s Today Show, approximately 90% of all food allergies are caused by the following foods:

 

1. cow’s milk

2. eggs

3. peanuts

4. tree nuts

5. fish

6. shellfish

7. soybean

8. wheat

 Food allergies two

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Two possible preventive measures are:

1. breast-feeding for 6 to 12 months

2. a delay in introducing solid foods

 

Theories and speculation about a very real problem for young children. What is needed…more training for parents, more training for teachers, more research.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/allergic/

 

How I Found Peace Through A Note From a Third Grader.

Firefly verse

As I have written before, we lost our son in a very sad car accident in October, 2004. To say that it was totally heartbreaking is an underestimate. I knew that we needed to get back to our regular routine as soon as possible. So…we found our strength and found our way back to our familiar life. We focused on our careers, our friends and our daughter who was then a college student.

 

crowfoot

Crowfoot, a chief of the Siksika First Nation.

 

I loved teaching school and found incredible joy in getting to know the children and their families. I knew that I would feel much better when I saw those smiling children. And I did! My elementary school at the time was like a “windows on the world”…so many cultures and so many languages. There were many Vietnamese families in the area surrounding the school…wonderful families with a clear focus on giving their children the chance for a bright future through education.  The year that we lost our son was my first year to teach third grade… after teaching Kindergarten for several years.

 

Fireflies near mountains

Fireflies streaking through a gorge near the foothills.

 

Little did I realize how a child in my Third Grade class would give me the hope that comes from understanding the meaning of loss. One of my students had moved from Vietnam just three short weeks before school started. She only knew a few words of English… “hello, goodbye, friend, thank you”. Eager to learn and always kind, she smiled continuously and listened to every word that was uttered in class. She was paired with two older students for thirty minutes or so a day for English tutoring. I learned that peer assistance in any language development is the real key.

 

Walking with fireflies

Walking among the fireflies.

By Christmas, the young child was virtually fluent in English…a miracle to me and a testament to her work ethic. On the state test in the Spring, her score on the reading part was one of the highest of all the students. During that time, she started reading many types of poetry and enjoyed looking up special topics in the library.

 

 

Fireflies in Japan

A garden of fireflies.

 

One sunny Spring day, she quietly placed a paper on my desk during morning announcements. It was a poem that she evidently found in the library. She had added an illustration with her handwriting. As she walked away from my desk, she said…

 

“Mrs. Davis, I know that you must be still sad about your son. I think that these words will help you!”

To the very smart and very perceptive little girl from Vietnam…now a grown up young woman…”The words you found are still giving me happiness and peace today. Thank you!”

 

The paper that my young student from Vietnam gave me that sunny Spring day…

 

 

Poem from student

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/gorge/