When you know you’re getting through …

Each week my student’s write a journal about class – what they’ve learned, etc.

I received this today ….

“This week’s lessons were simple and helpful. I would’ve never thought that learning how to write proper sentences was something you learn in college. Most people are taught how to write proper sentences in middle school, but the way Mrs. Wilkinson taught it this week was jaw dropping. She told me that writing in passive voice is weak. “Always try to write in active voice which makes your writing stronger.” Mrs. Wilkinson said in class Wednesday. I use to think that having more words will make my writing look better. It’s not about the number of words in your writing, but the quality of the words you choose from. Another thing I learned that will help me with my writing is not make announcements in my writing. An example of an announcement is, “I’m going to tell you about” or “This story was about”. Another skill I was taught was to take “you” and “I” out of the story. That’s not difficult for me if I’m writing in third person, but it can be a hassle. I was taught that when you’re writing you should always write according to your audience. You can’t write a letter to a group of Christians the same way you would write to a group of prisoners.

This week I can make improvements to my writing off the new techniques I was taught. My teacher Mrs. Wilkinson has made me strive to be a better writer. These new tools will help me with the book that I’m writing. Thank you Mrs. Wilkinson for this week’s lessons!”
And …. another one …
“This week in class was another exciting adventure. The class watched another set of interesting videos. Our teacher is wacky and full of surprises. I had no idea she would make us start watching videos about parodies of popular songs. I was really surprised to find out that there are English parodies out there. I really hope she continues to introduce us to new styles of writing via these videos. They really connect to our kind of generation. Normally after 10 minutes of boring lecture we tend to tune out, but these wacky songs hold our attention. This week we learned about passive and active voice. I was taught this back in high school but it never hurts to go over old terms.Our teacher put examples of passive voice on the projector and had us, as a class, change the sentence to active voice. It ceases to make me laugh when I watch our teacher have to go into the settings to change the volume. On Friday we spent a good portion of the day using an app called Socrative. It truly is an amazing app. It allows everyone in the class to participate together. The teacher can design a question and allow us to answer it individually. The best part and in my personal opinion is the fact that we are able to vote on which response we think is best. All in all i believe this week turned out to be quite successful. I look forward to what our teacher has planned for next week.”
Drop the mic.
It feels so good to help people see that WRITING is not the big bad wolf.   A pox on all high school English teachers who created droves of human beings walking in zombie-like states repeating “I hate English” and “I can’t write” … EVERYONE can.
We are only into week 4.   I LOVE what I do.  :)

LinkedIn Recommendations – My Heart is Full

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Keep in mind I am an INFJ.  Tears come easy and I’ve wiped a few. This morning, my former boss and I exchanged recommendations on LinkedIn.  It was my honor to write these words for Robert Donnell …

“If you could choose the person you’d work for a career lifetime, who would it be and why? If that question were posed to me, the answer is Robert “Bobby” Donnell. The “why” began in October 2010 when I first came under his leadership. Bobby is a strong man – emotionally, mentally, and compassionately. He leads with kindness and respect. In all of the five and a half years I referred to him as “Boss,” I did not hear one co-worker say a negative thing regarding him. He guides and encourages. He gives autonomy to employees and allows them room to grow. I bloomed under his leadership. It was in quiet talks in his office, and sometimes not so quiet because of laughter, where I gained confidence in my abilities as an instructor working in our specific – often challenging – environment. I watched him. Modeled my own behaviors after his. Lead with kindness and use a firm hand as needed. Bobby is the leader that commands respect without demanding it … and that is the greatest lesson I have learned from him … be the servant leader with a quick and ready smile. Speak with gentle words and maintain the dignity of all around. Use good judgment in working with people. Bobby is all of this. With alacrity, I’d jump at an opportunity to work for him again! He’s always got my vote!”

With all of my career-minded self, I mean these words.  Bobby is a Shepherd – and it saddens me to know that more than likely in this lifetime, I will not work for him again, though now I consider him a friend, a colleague, someone I can laugh with on a personal level.  It’s nice.  I’m so blessed to know him – as are the people he comes across every day.

Why tears?  Well … in writing those words, I found myself emotional, but then … he returned with the following and the sides of my eyes no longer acted as flood gates, but rather slip-n-slides.

“Dacia Wilkinson is one of the best instructors I have ever had the opportunity to manage. When a graduate from an Electrical Mechanics program comes back and tells an instructor from two years prior that he still takes 30 minutes each week to free-write because of how it makes him feel, you know that is a teacher who changes lives. This is just one of hundreds of accolades I have been witness to since 2010 when I hired Dacia. She puts her all into her class and her students, transforming them from “trades” guys and high school drop outs to successful college students and graduates – students who come to a “Gen Ed” class not because they have to, but because they WANT to. She is a pleasure to work with and leads a team even if she doesn’t have a leadership title. Other instructors look to her for guidance and she freely gives it. She is a true asset to any organization lucky enough to have her.”

I tell my students on the regular to use LinkedIn, because it is a holding place for all resume type information and reference letters. To be able to exchange these and let them sit on the internet as testimony to character is a beautiful thing.  Even more so … because of this idea I share when we discuss Interview Skills in class …

Do not just read the recommendations that are left by others for the candidate you research, but read those that the candidate has WRITTEN.  Get a taste of the writing style – what language choices does the person make?  What is the person willing to say?  Many words? Few words? Get an idea about who this person is from their writing.  Writing always gives away the author.

Love this twist.

So, the recommendations I compose … I intend them with care.  Always stating truthfully the character of the person and my interaction with them as well.

Thank you, LinkedIn for this feature.  Thank you for the smile and the tears brought to me today over your platform.   You rock!

The Gardener …. written by My Son

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The sun will rise,
And it will fall.
Let the moon rise,
So that the night will follow

In an open field there are dark times,
But the dark hours are short,
In comparison to the hours that are bright.

The field is my garden.
This field is my home.
Keeping it plain, and the grass short
So I can see if I am alone.

The garden is combed daily,
to find what might have grown.
Mostly weeds, but sometimes flowers;
I try to care for them like my own.

But some have needed too much caring,
They were so high maintenance,
And most times far too wearing.
Some grew thorns and toxic fumes.
Some, just straight up died.
My garden has seemed surely doomed.

They seemed like dark times,
And, to be honest, they were;
But the dark hours are short,
In comparison to the ones that are bright.

Be thankful for all your days.
For until they have been run completely dry,
The sun will rise,
And it will fall.
Let the moon rise,
So that the night will follow
The sun will rise again
And another day borrowed.

08/11/2016

 

When things feel overwhelming … write.

This poem is the result of my 20-year old son’s frustration with the pattern and pathway of his perception of life at this juncture … this morning as he grimaced while getting prepared for his day … mother, in all her love of writing as a means of therapy, said to him …”After work, write a poem.”

And he did.

 

RHETI Test Results – My Type 4 Personality is – THE ROMANTIC

No surprise there … giggled as soon as I added the scores and looked up Type 4.   Have looked at a couple of different sites for Type 4 information – you know, to learn about myself.  This is hilarious.  From … http://www.9types.com/descr/?type=4

“The Romantic (the Four)

Romantics have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.

How to Get Along with Me

  • Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.
  • Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.
  • Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.
  • Though I don’t always want to be cheered up when I’m feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.
  • Don’t tell me I’m too sensitive or that I’m overreacting!

What I Like About Being a Four

  • my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level
  • my ability to establish warm connections with people
  • admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life
  • my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor
  • being unique and being seen as unique by others
  • having aesthetic sensibilities
  • being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What’s Hard About Being a Four   (OMG to ALL of these! Totally me!)

  • experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair
  • feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don’t deserve to be loved
  • feeling guilty when I disappoint people
  • feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me
  • expecting too much from myself and life
  • fearing being abandoned
  • obsessing over resentments
  • longing for what I don’t have

Fours as Children Often

  • have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games
  • are very sensitive
  • feel that they don’t fit in
  • believe they are missing something that other people have
  • attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.
  • become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood
  • feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents’ divorce)

Fours as Parents

  • help their children become who they really are
  • support their children’s creativity and originality
  • are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
  • are sometimes overly critical or overly protective
  • are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed”

And from … http://calmnessinmind.com/enneagram-type-4-personality-individualist-designer … I can’t copy/paste it here, but wow.

In light of the post I wrote yesterday … THIS is hysterical and yet sobering. So true.  Such the Romantic but don’t want to be.  Don’t like it but love it.

Oh … how insightful it is to discover oneself … lol, that’s being a Type 4.  I love working through tests that help me get a deeper grip on … ME.

Thought it was fun.

You can take it too … http://www.9types.com/rheti/index.php  – The link has 36 questions. The test I took had 144.  Always be as truthful as you can.

Found this too …. the INFJ Type 4.

I Have Made Him To Be Linton

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It is a crazy thing to realize I am an attention whore. Need it … all the time. Texting. Emailing. Hang-outs. Constant. Need to be in continual back and forth with another soul as I move through the day. Like it is only through another’s attention directly on me and that validation such aplomb brings me that I find an ability to proceed. What a thing to recognize … and admit … and look back on and see and wonder at … who have I become or have I always been this person of such deep internal need (for lack of a better term – “need” –perhaps filling a hole in my self-worth or … Something even more deviant from the norm of therapy)?

This morning – I stopped. Turned the radio up on my drive in to work and sang along to Matt Maher and Francesca Battestelli – also spending some much needed time in prayer, talking to God out loud – wiping tears – about some things He is well aware of inside of me, but that I have neglected to talk to Him about because I’ve not wanted to admit them or stop them.

My prayer today – to find the ability to be at peace in my relationship with God and with my man. 

21 years of marriage and I’ve never given him – the man who calls me Wife – all of me, not completely – have shared bits and pieces and parts and wholes around with others but never fully to the one who is promised to care for and provide for me. Have held so much back and become an utter mess of blame and misguided contempt. Misplaced contempt in a vicious cycle of hurt and blame – never ending and always confused – irrational – the making myself a victim only to portray him as devil – which is false. It is not true. 

My husband is a good man who loves God. He’s an introvert – hermit like at times. He strives to do his best. He is the hardest working man I know. He is serious-natured. He is forward thinking. He is an undiagnosed ADHD lifer. He questions everything. Questioning, questioning, questioning … because he likes to know. He desires to understand, to fully know, and be in life. To live each day. 

And I am his thorn in the flesh. Have been his thorn in the flesh. Always arguing. Always defensive. Always retreating. Always … never myself.

And who is myself? This INFJ. And I roll my eyes here. In personality profiles, under INFJ relationships, it often states that an INFJ is most difficult to exist in a relationship with – because they eternally seek perfection – the ultimate romance – the larger than life love – and are continually disappointed, always looking for something new, something else … that grand explosion … my Heathcliff – the ultimate dastardly hero – the dark lover who lifts all of living above and beyond into the hereafter within his obsession for my love and companionship. He holds my soul – this elusive Heathcliff – found only in the pages of a book – though I’ve sought him in life – searching for that great, thirsty need of another’s soul – only to be satiated by the two oceans of humanity becoming one – wild and abandoned – taking on the world – high on life – unstoppable – a force undenied – the greatest love story ever to exist.  

Wuthering Heights and it’s Catherine and Heathcliff is forever etched inside me with this unquenchable thirst for the romantic – gothic romanticism – wherein I create all of my own dramas without recognition – trying to recreate their passion into my own living – a searching that will never be and even if attained – disappointment for I exist on a plane of disillusionment, which is not reality, which is fantasy played out on the moors of a 7th grade reading of a novel which has encapsulated my very existence and played out through my living of this life …. I am become Catherine Earnshaw and my poor husband is become despised Linton – ever seeking to know me – to his detriment as I seek that twisted perfection of obsessive soul-matched love written by a preacher’s daughter on the moors of England, who herself never married and died at a very young age – Miss Emily Bronte.

Dacia … this is not living. Your Linton is yours – and only in writing this and speaking to myself, do I see and know that I have made him to be Linton – the one who my fiery and free Cathy inside of me ever wants to escape … but that is not rational. It is only a story. My Linton is Kyle … and he is real. Flesh and blood. He is my husband. His rings are on my finger. His hand holds mine when I cry. His eyes light up when I smile. He is humble. He is committed. He is stronger than I allow him to be. He is that which I need to tame this wild nature. Not to tame, but to refine … 

Today, my prayer is to find joy in this relationship … it is not my husband’s to create. It is mine to allow. I am grateful that for all of my idiocrasy that the man wills himself to love me still – that though I live my life from the pages of book read at the age of 12 – that he remains.

Of all relationships I have, or believe that I have, none other are more important than with God and my man – for far too long these are the ones to have taken back seat as I searched to find fulfillment in my longing for that larger than life Heathcliff love … turned necessity, rather addiction – the becoming of an attention whore – always seeking, seeking, seeking, flirting with fiction, manipulating men, toying with time, desperate to discover … what? To discover what, Dacia? Fictional heroes written by another such soul-obsessive natured person as yourself are REAL? Here … I shake my head at myself, again.

Today, this morning, I see it. I name it. In reality and with Wuthering Heights aside, I toss myself into the journey of falling in love with God and with my husband … fully, with both, for the first time.  

 

Hosea 12:6 … What are you waiting for? Return to your God! Commit yourself in love, in justice! Wait for your God, and don’t give up on Him – ever!

Hosea 14:9 … If you want to live well, make sure you understand all of this. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll learn this inside and out. God’s paths get you where you want to go. Right-living people walk them easily; wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.

 

Forced Creative Writing in English Class

Grown adults stifle creativity in life unless they’re naturally creative people and they cannot help but burgeon forth with ideas and wonderment.  Harsh thing about that perceived lack of creativity in adults is, we all have a form of creativity burgeoning inside! So, my class begins with a free-writing session … A forced free-writing session. It’s wonderful. Each week, I post a creative writing prompt picture and the class has 15 minutes to write! Each week, the stories loosen up.  Creative juices flow.  This past week, several of the stories jumped at me. I asked student permission to share! Their responses are below this picture (art design by Doris Salcedo)  ….

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by K. B.

“All of these chairs,” I thought. “Where di all of these chairs come from?”

There I was, surrounded by all of the natural beauty that Detroit had to offer, and all I could think about was these chairs.  wooden chairs, plastic chairs, metal chairs, chairs that looked like they were older than I am. Chairs for adults and chairs for kids. What is the deal with these chairs? My train of thoughts was interrupted by the sight of an aged man hobbling towards the pile.  He had a chair in his hand! He extended the chair in my direction with a reach, “Young man, give me a hand, eh?”

I didn’t even think about what was going on at that moment, I just grabbed the splintered brown chair out of the man’s grip.

“Now then,” he said.”Give her the old heave ho!”  As he said, this he made a motion with his arms like was throwing the chair himself. “Heave ho! Heave ho!” he kept repeating it with an excited tone and a gleam in his eye. It made me chuckle.

I reared back and threw the chair into the pile with all of my might, as though I was going to be the last person ever to throw a stupid chair on this stupid pile.  I looked back at the old man who was still standing there.  As our eyes met, he perked up.

“Feel better?” he asked.

I peered at the giant worthless mountain of discarded seats that lay before me.  When I turned my head to answer him, he was gone.

“Yes, I do.”

************************

by K. H.

Oh my god!! I was walking down main street, you know the street that has that frozen custard place. Just past the hot dog vendor. Anyway, I saw this huge wall of chairs.  All kinds of chairs. There were kitchen chairs, recliners, desk chairs. It looked like Rothman Furniture Warehouse threw up.

So, I stopped and asked this guy, Harold, “What up with all the chairs?”

He told me it was the last entrance into the city, and they used the chairs to build a wall to keep out the ZOMBIES!

“What Zombies? I have been catching Pokemon for the last forty five days like some Pokemon catcher guy … Harold, are you listening! Stop trying to bite me, Harold! Oh, no, you’re a Zo ….”

That was the last thing Kortney had recorded.  We don’t know what happened to the Pokemon. We’re afraid they all died.

***************************

by D.D.

“Are you serious?” Herbert asked incredulously. “Just right out the window?’

“Yep,” Nancy replied. “That’s what they said.”

With that, they began in the first classroom at the end of the hall, and continued down until every last chair on the fifth floor through the eighth had been tossed into the alley.

Herbert asked again as they hiked the stairs to the ninth floor.  “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to repaint these and keep using them?”

“Nope,” said Nancy. “It’s not about the costs. They want to start using this new method where everyone sits on a rug in a circle.”

“You’re serious? … No, I can’t tell with you.”

“No, of course I’m not serious. They just got a good price on the furniture and the demo and disposal guys said it’s easier if they dump all the chairs out there.”

“Oh,” Herbert said, panting at the top of the stairwell.

Nancy wondered if Herb sometimes just spoke to have something to say. This was pretty close to the truth. Herbert couldn’t handle her being silent, so he scrambled to say anything at all just to elicit a response.

**********************************

by M.D.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen: James D. Chairstacker.

The man who had balanced many of chairs in his day looked to break yet another record. But at last he is no more after stacking 6 million four hundred and ninety three thousand chairs on top of a three story home in down town.  Tonight he is dead after the tower of chairs came crashing down like the tower of Babel. The through street of 3rd is completely blocked off tonight as crews work feverishly to clean the mess up.  Mrs. Chairstacker arrived on location and his this to say …

“James lived as he died, surrounded with chairs.”

Onlookers search for anyone who may have been caught in the avalanche of chairs and there’s plenty of room for onlookers and injured to have a seat as we wait for the mess to be cleaned up.

*********************************

LOL … hope you enjoyed these too.  Loved the picture. Loved my student’s responses to it.  There were many more, but these in particular I had to share. Such creativity.

Free-writing is strenous, stressful, challenging, freeing, refreshing … the gamut of writer’s feelings happens in front of me as my student’s write.  Each week, I see more of the latter part of the list and smiles, smirks, light bulbs over heads.  Good stuff to free the mind to express self and let creative juices roll.

Thanks to my students to allowing me to share!🙂

Invite Willie Nelson to church?

The preacher said he wouldn’t. 

My face must have portrayed my “What the heck?” response. To my thinking, if he isn’t invited, then why am I here? 

Isn’t the entire purpose of being the church of God to welcome all and love all in the name of Christ, not to choose who can come and who cannot.

The sermon still goes on but that’s all I hear … 

Willie Nelson may have a deep connection to the Father. That is not for me to judge. Would I welcome an opportunity to sit and talk with him about life and allow the conversation to naturally turn to spiritual things, as most conversations seem to do, …. Yes.  What a beautiful talk I know that would be. 

I’m distracted and now picturing Willie sitting near me … To the right … Just down the way.  He’s looking at me too, like, really?! He shakes his head, looks away with a roll of the eyes. He stands and walks toward the back door of the sanctuary. His own voice plays through the speakers around the room – a Willie rendition of In the Garden plays.  https://youtu.be/hz1f5NcNK40

He’s gone, still I hear him sing. And I am caught between wanting to leave and sitting stuck to my chair.  I know he’s not really there, but to have a conversation with the old guy about life and God seems to me a much greater use of my time.

As the church … Am I, are we, not called to a life of love, acceptance, gospel sharing? Of self sacrifice? Of seeing everyone through the eyes of God? Of living in open invitation to moments to share God’s grace and mercy with all people?  That’s what my heart says.  But that’s not what my ears heard today.

😢