Greetings of the Front Door

Today I have started my day super grouchy. I won’t get into the specifics, but I got out the wrong side of the bed and can’t shake it off. I know I can’t be the only one who has just woken up in a foul mood, and to be honest, this doesn’t happen often. Usually I have a positive spirit about things. I can hear the older mothers of the African American churches saying to me, “Praise the Lawd that you woke up this morning, and celebrate another day.” I just don’t feel like it today.

One moment that made me smile was meeting up with a co-worker at my front door. Steve is quite the character, and you never really know what is coming out of his mouth at times, which I find quite entertaining. He does have the ability to know when I am in a grouchy state of mind, and he won’t let you get away without saying something to try and brighten your day.

Today, Steve greeted me at the front door with compliments. Yesterday, my team played his daughter’s in the semi-finals in a district match at my school. My team lost 4-1 due to some crazy mishaps, poor choices in marking up, and, more importantly, the brutal heat took out my number of subs.

I had to think so much in that game that I went home afterwards and took a nap. Actually, I took two naps because the heat and coaching had wore me out so. Steve must have realized that, because he had nothing but positive words to say about my coaching and my girls play yesterday.

“I know you can’t be frowning about what happen yesterday, Jes. Not with the good job your girls did on that field. You did a great job coaching yesterday.”

If there is anything that can get me out of my mood, I hope it’s the words of Steve. I am proud of my team’s efforts yesterday, and I am proud to be their coach, in good times and in bad. Maybe if I think of yesterday and I can make my today better.

Cross your fingers.

Becoming Focused Once More

Today, my former student posted a picture on her Facebook wall. I thought that it summed up my feelings for the past month when it came to my writing. It stated, “I lost my focus but not my mind.”

I am not surprised that she posted such a message. She is quite a wise child for her age, and she is probably the most creative soul I have always taught. I agree with this statement completely.

There have been a number of events and reasons that have gotten in the way of my creative thoughts and expressing myself on paper. I was coaching, I was promoting the new book, I was teaching, and I was just trying to survive. But I realized that I was starting to lose myself within the chaos. So, I made some choices.

My seniors are gone now, so I made the decision to make sure to sit back and write for at least 20 minutes. Writing for school doesn’t count. Writing the commencement speech I need to give a week doesn’t count. Writing more voting forms for soccer don’t count toward my 20. Be it at lunch time, or after the bell rings, I have to this week sit back and write something.

So today, I am admitting that I lacked focus, but I am getting it back. I have made the decision to not do summer school, and work on me and my writing abilities. Sometimes, you just have to take a break and be you, and do you. I am going to buy a new laptop tomorrow, and the two of us going to make sweet things together.

Standardize Testing and Sinuses Get in the Way

I messed up. I was really working on my Power of 21 and two major obstacles jumped out in front of me: sinuses and standardize testing. Both are powerful beast, that come at you, lashing their terrible teeth. Once the two S groups get a hold of you, it’s hard to fight back. But I must fight, I must conquer, and I must get back on track for my Power of 21.

I have had problems with my sinuses since I was young, and I can always count on having a sinus infection to start the spring. So, forget looking at a groundhog for guidance on the season, just look for me with a wad of tissues, watery eyes, an achy ear, and a tremendous sinus headache. It started the first day I miss my Power of 21, and I couldn’t sit at the computer to type because of a dreadful headache. My roomie, Bill, knew I was out of sorts, but he thought it was just me being grouchy. It hurt to stare at people, to listen to others on the phone, and mostly, the glare of the computer.

It still bothers me today, but I could not escape the chance to type when my head was clear for a short moment. Oh, dear sinuses, you thought you had knocked me out, but not today. Tonight, on the other hand, might be a different story, because my plan is to drug myself as soon as I walk through the door.

The bigger S that got in the way is the almighty ACT. Yes, my kids took the big test today. I had a range of emotions today, knowing that my students were darkening in millions of bubbles on a scantron-style form. I was worried that they wouldn’t make it on time, scared that one would pass out from the pressure, happy to receive a hug from a kid who thanked me for doing all the prep work for the big day, and excited to run around, like a fool, high fiving my kids before they entered into the testing room.

I have spent the last 7 months getting these kids ready for this event. It is my hopes that they felt the did well, and feel that all the work was worth it in the classroom. Here’s to the hopes that when they receive that envelope in the next 4-6 weeks that they are cheering and not crying.

But, these are not excuses. I am back on track.

Now, where is that wad of tissue for my nose…

I’m Published!

Disclaimer: I did write yesterday and I have been keeping up with my 21 day challenge. For some reason, the computer didn’t save it, so here is the post from yesterday…

Today, I am a published writer. It is so overwhelming joyful for me. It’s hard to put it into words, so this post will be quite short. I am so thankful, for every experience, person and object I studied to find writing inspiration. No one can take this accomplishment from me. I took on a challenge, and I met with with success. Thank you, Jesus. With your grace, I am published.

Snow Days are a Blessing

Remember the days as a child when there was a possibility of a snow day? The times when you woke up, turned on the news (it was the only time you probably watched the news as a child), and waited with such anticipation for your school’s name to appear at the bottom of the screen?

What if adults behaved that way? Some do, and they are called teachers and school staff members. Yes, these fine people wake up early and automatically turn to the news. They sit there, scanning all the names of schools that have given in due to the snow conditions, the freezing rain, the bitter temperatures. These adults not only watch the news, but they grab their phones and post on social networks. They post their worries, their disgust with the tardiness of their school not appearing on the screen, and when the name of the school shows, their celebration is tremendous!

These adults do a snow dance the night before, they jump up in the air and pump their fist when the announcement is made, and text one another in case someone did not receive the news.

There is nothing better than a snow day for those who work in the education system. They enjoy it more than students. So, to those who received this glorious blessing, I hope you danced, smiled, and took advantage of the free time you were blessed to receive.

A review comes in my mailbox that brings me such joy!

I spoke to my grandmother today. Edna Earl, better known as Grams to me, had been on the phone with my mother. My mom was insist that I had to call my Grams right away, and when I did, she was raving on my new life as an author. She stated that my author picture was the best one I had ever taken, and that I was about to do big things in being a published poet. It was very kind of her to share her feelings with me, and it is a day to remember.

 I was confused at first on how she had seen my author picture and one of my poems, and then it hit me. My book promotional materials must have been mailed. After the phone call, others contacted me, like my soccer idol in coaching, PD. People had received in their mailbox a brochure about my book, and about myself as an author. Of course, my mail was running late, but when it did come, a large envelope brought me such joy!

I ripped it open, and there it was. A color brochure, with my picture, with my book cover, and with reviews about my work.

A review of my book inside my book promo stated the following:
“I do not have to be an expert in literature to understand what this woman’s poems are saying. The title is perfect; they are simply, clearly expressed beautiful works about different aspects of li…fe.”

That is exactly how I wanted someone to see my book. It’s not some complicated thing that only a small part of the populations will understand. It’s simply about many things in life: love, disappointment, cultural identity, relationships, family, and all the other aspects of life that make us human.

You can purchase it at by the weekend or at my book signing on March 23rd.