Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Power of Showing Up

My husband, Jim, and I are a couple of “show-uppers.” We show up to just about everything and anything we are invited to, are expected to be to and even lots of places where no one thought we would be there. Life happens, of course. Sometimes we are double-booked, out of town, ill or a few times, just plain forget. Nevertheless, generally speaking, we show up. So do a lot of other people. I can’t help but notice a pattern, however. It seems in any given circle, it is pretty much the same people that show up.

The same teachers show up at afterschool events or meetings, the same people show up at ward temple day, welfare assignments, service projects, Eagle projects and Courts of Honor, convert baptisms and wedding receptions, particularly those that are really too far away (but the “show-uppers” will come anyway). They show up at kids’ performances (often when they are not even related), graduation parties, baby and bridal showers and more.

We are also “stay late and help clean-uppers.” Oh yeah, I married into a large bunch of stay late and help out folks. If we are at a wedding reception of someone we don’t even know that well and we happen to get there as it is ending, I can guarantee that the Abneys are not going home until the last table has been stripped of its cloth and decorations, the last chair has been stacked and the floor swept, if not mopped.

Am I bragging? No… just making an observation. It takes a big chunk out of your life to be a “show-upper.” Yet, I know from experience, that when we have an event, a talk to give or any other number of things that may involve others and we look out to see “so-and-so” and we KNEW they would be there… because they always “show up” and we knew we could count on them, there is something so sweet that washes over us. Everyone has fun, gets the work done, cheers the drama student or band member, finishes the Eagle project, does the temple work, supports the new church member, the new grad, the new bride or the new mom or whatever the event may be. Everyone is also enriched, either for having given or received. Everyone becomes closer, bonds of family and friends are strengthened. In this there is real, tangible power… something that adds to your own framework and rounds out the empty spots, fills in the gaps, brings out the smiles and creates value, love and blessings. Yep, I have a lot of gratitude for those who “show-up” and I’m proud to be counted among them because the blessings are a two-way street. It’s impossible to bless the lives of someone else without blessing your own life. You just have to “show-up.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I laid down on a bed of nails

I guess you really can do anything... given the right reasons and/or the right circumstances. (I'll explain this more as we go along). I'm so tired that I think I'll be asleep for the night by 7:30 tonight. Slowly, we are making our way to the end of the school year and at my school we still have 10 actual days of school left (we come back after Memorial Day). What a journey this first year of teaching full-time has been, particularly at my age (58).

I've loved all the years of substitute teaching and now I have really enjoyed teaching full-time this year as well. I think I was truly supposed to be the teacher for some of these kids. I hope I have been able to give to them what they needed, as they certainly have given me what I've needed. Case in point: every morning I read to the children about someone remarkable and we talk about them and the traits that made that person so amazing so they can learn to model them. The last two days we have been reading about Albert Schweitzer. Anyway, when I finish reading, we discuss it a bit and write some traits and ideas on the board and the kids settle down to write a journal entry about it and then illustrate it. It's amazing what young children can come up with. So, this morning I was at my desk when all of a sudden one of my little 7-year-old boys quietly got out of his seat, walked up to my desk, stood right next to me, leaned his head on my shoulder until our heads were touching, gave me a little squeeze and then slipped back into his seat without saying a word. Yep, that's why I teach.

I've tried to make every day memorable for them. Tuesday was National Limerick Day so we learned about them and tried our hand at writing a couple of them. Yesterday we went to the Science Center and the Planetarium. Today is (in case you were wondering, and why wouldn't you be????) National Dance Like a Chicken Day, so we had a reading comprehension on dancing like a chicken and then I put on a CD with the music, and the whole class did the Chicken Dance. Sat. is the anniversary of the day that Root Beer was invented so tomorrow we are having root beer floats. And so it goes, there is always something to celebrate ~ I see to it. I live my own life trying to celebrate each day. Some days I'm more successful than others.

Back to the Bed of Nails... if you didn't read the title, bet I caught you by surprise!! At the Science Center yesterday, there was a "Bed of Nails" ~ 1,000 of them to be exact, all sharp, but all PERFECTLY lined up. The theory is that if you have all these nails to support and distribute your weight, it doesn't hurt. This is true. I have PLENTY of weight to support and I laid down on it twice and it didn't hurt. Every nail was exactly where it was supposed to be; none of them were trying to be in the limelight and stick up higher or be all insecure and be lower than they should be. Each nail did its part. I found it interesting. Lots of analogies there... every member of a family, a ward, a class, etc. etc. fulfilling their part and being there to support each other. Pretty cool. So, if you've read this far, I guess you deserve proof. So, here it is:

*You gotta' love that stupid sign that says "300-pound weight limit" right under me ~ but I didn't need to worry ~ I'm not there yet!!!!!!!!!

Kind of makes me want to head off to bed now. Nighty night!! Enjoy!