Wherever You Are Is Called Here: Poetry from David Wagoner

Hiking on Mt. Tamalpais, CA.

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.

Bird on branch, UC Davis Arboretum

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

~David Wagoner

Words are the spark that ignites my soul. I am a collector of language in all forms, not a hoarder. The extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared. These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

 This beautiful, meditative poem by David Wagoner found its way to me via The Writer’s Almanac.

“Lost” by David Wagoner from Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems. © University of Illinois Press, 1999. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Finding The Extraordinary In The Not-So-Ordinary November Moments

November 2016 is certainly going to be etched in my memory for a long time to come…our presidential election rocked the country and has left me feeling unsettled, unstable and unsure about how my life – and the lives of most Americans-will be altered.

Before the election, I shared my thoughts about Donald Trump in my post “It’s Time To Let Donald Trump Be The Poster Boy For Rape Culture”. I’m still waiting to hear more about the pending assault cases against him.

After the election, I wrote “For All The Little Girls Who Are Watching This Election” to share my thoughts/fears/sadness about not seeing our first female president elected. With two young adult children, I definitely worry about how our new administration could impact their futures.

I find myself quieting this month; shutting down the news, limiting my screen time and focusing more than ever on my locus of control. I spent the election week confined to bed, watching and listening and reading in disbelief to the stunning results. I’ve baked a lot of bread, cleaned out clutter and reveled in special family time over Thanksgiving. I’ve kept my thoughts scribbled in my journal, waiting to come to a place where I can make sense of how I will move forward to stand up for my children, my students, and what I believe to be a dangerous shift in administration. I’m concentrating on places I can make change, and trying to engage my students and push them to think critically. I wrote a post sharing 4 Reasons Why I Love Teaching With Chromebooks that you might enjoy.

I thought I’d show you what life has been like around here, and how I’ve slowed down to find my center and soften into what I know is safe and real.  I’ve been active on Instagram, sharing my ordinary, extraordinary moments – I’d love to connect with you there, too! Find me @mamawolfeto2.

reflect quote
I find myself doing this a lot lately.

 

California garden
I love living in California – I love fall planting, preparing for beautiful spring and summer blooms. It gives me hope.

 

anniversary
We met when I was 19 and he was 18. We married 9 years later…and just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary!

 

rainboots
I spent my first day of vacation watching my alma mater, Cal,  lose to Stanford…in the rain. My feet were the only dry spot on my body.

 

Carmel photographer
One of my favorite days of Thanksgiving vacation was spent in one of my favorite places, Carmel. I had to drag my boy home.

 

Point Lobos
If you’ve ever been to Point Lobos with your daughter who you haven’t seen for three months and ten days, you’ll know why my smile is so huge.

 

I love looking back on these last thirty days; I take such comfort in the small joys of life. What were the extraordinary, ordinary moments of your November? I’d love to hear what’s filling your days and feeding your spirit! Let me know in the comments below, and I wish you joy and peace today and every day.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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BlogHer 16 – A Photo Story From Los Angeles

Last week I pushed myself out of my introverted comfort zone and went to BlogHer 16 in Los Angeles.

It’s not easy for me to go to a huge conference, share a room with women I don’t know, and spend four days surrounded by thousands of people with very little alone time; you can imagine how awesome BlogHer must be if I manage to make it there!

Last year was my first BlogHer- and I went big- flying all the way from California to New York City  I wrote about my BlogHer 15 experience last year, and I have to say that not being a “newbie” for this year’s conference made it much, much less overwhelming and far more enjoyable overall.

A bit of background about BlogHer- it was founded in 2008 as a publishing company created by women for women to write and share content- the kind of company the founders always wanted to work with but couldn’t find. BlogHer has helped thousands of women writers and entrepreneurs  become empowered and successful, and with last year’s alignment with SheKnows Media, is certain to help thousands more women reach their dreams and live their passions.

So much happens at BlogHer- I thought I’d offer a BlogHer16- A Photo Story of Los Angeles to help you have a sneak peek, and hopefully motivate you to join me next year!

BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I’m not a big city girl – so I always head out into nature. Santa Monica beach is full of all sorts of interesting creatures, and great views, too!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I wanted my BlogHer 16 roommate from North Carolina to have the ultimate L.A. beach experience – doesn’t get more beautiful than palm trees in the sunset.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
After walking nearly 8 miles along the beach, we headed for Third Street Promenade – a gorgeous outdoor shopping mall in Santa Monica. Thank goodness for our Lyft ride home – we were exhausted!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
BlogHer and SheKnows Media always choose beautiful locations for the BlogHer annual conference. The downtown JW Marriott was top notch, and our view from our room on the top floor was awesome – and I could constantly check the freeway traffic!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Los Angeles always has cool stuff to look at – our hotel was right around the corner from the Grammy Museum. Grammy Awards 2016!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
BlogHer does a fantastic job making us feel welcome, and showing us how to get around the hotel…so many experts among us! (I’m called a ‘middle school’ expert!)
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
A big part of the BlogHer 16 conferences is the Expo – a chance for bloggers to connect with brands and check out all the trending products heading out into the marketplace. Thursday night is dubbed “Evening at the Expo”, so if you’re there early, you can get the first glance at the products, hosts, and have some drinks and appetizers . I’m a huge HGTV nerd, so meeting Sabrina Soto (Velcro ambassador) was great fun – and she helped me figure out how to hang Lily’s apartment curtains with their new HANGables product – fingers crossed it works! And yes, she’s as sweet in person as she is on TV…
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
The days and nights of the conference are jam packed – I love the Staples event each year (I’m a teacher and secret-stationery-supply-hoarder, you know!), and this year’s hosts Lori Loughlin (remember Aunt Becky from Full House?) and Gabby Reece (Olympic volleyball star) offered their ‘celebrity mom’ perspective on back to school. I left with a fab new backpack and gift card for school supplies! Win-win!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Loved Gabby’s super down-to-earth thoughts on mothering.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
And I can’t forget the speakers…I stay mostly on the “Publishing and Writing” strand, and this talk on content by Lain Ehmann, Rachel Holis (The Chic Site), Susan Kaplow and Jadah Sellner (Super Green Smoothies) really made me think about building a community with love and consistently offering honest, helpful information. It was powerful.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
BlogHer 16 did have its share of celebrity keynotes – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anyone? I LOVED Sarah Michelle Gellar’s message about living life, tackling challenges, and remembering that failure is our first attempt at learning. She’s launching a new product line called Foodstir- look for it in Whole Foods soon. And maybe a Buffy reboot in the works???
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I popped into a Business strand – talking about being an expert, and the ‘imposter syndrome’ with Julie Ross Godar and Tiffany Pham. I just love some of their points about being ‘smart’ to see your faults, and being OK with talking about what scares us. I had to LOL when I read the ‘fake it til you make it’ part – I tell my students that all the time!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Lunchtime keynote at BlogHer 16 –  Kim K. Make your own judgment – I’m not going to hate on my blog. She has beautiful hair.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Another spotlight moment – meeting Jessica Leahy, author of “The Gift of Failure” and writer for the New York Times. Teachers really are kindred spirits. When she saw me fan-girl with her book (and yes, she jumped down from the podium to sign it), she made my day. Love her brain. And the rest of the panel – Kathy Cano-Murillo (CraftyChica.com), Ayinde Howell (ieatgrass.com) and Penny Sansevieri were pretty cool, too!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I haven’t gotten my official AARP card – yet – but I was nevertheless invited to their #DisruptAging talk. I’m so glad I went – besides the delish bubbly and the free book, I was surrounded by the wisdom that comes with having lived for 50+ decades, and the beauty that comes with it.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Can you believe they’re all over 50? Successful, smart, strong women. Surround yourself with who you want to be.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
I volunteered as a mic wrangler this year, offering me the chance to meet speakers and run around the room like I’ve got my own talk show! This session was about writing a memoir – these four women have each published their stories ranging from college advice (Christine Glascoe Crowder) , living in a harem (Jillian Lauren), grieving the loss of parents (Claire Bidwell Smith) and living in India (Jenny Feldon). I’ve got their books on my to-read list for sure!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Lunchtime speaker at BlogHer 16 Lucy McBath – mom of Jordan Davis and Faith and Outreach Leader for Everytown for Gun Safety – brought tears to my eyes.
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Saturday’s lunch ended with keynote Mayim Bialik (Blossom, Big Bang Theory) sharing her thoughts on being a ‘hippie-crunchy-chewy-mom’ and how to live an authentic life in and out of the spotlight of celebrity. The had the crowd mesmerized! Have you checked out her website, GrokNation.com? So cool!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Another fun BlogHer event was watching the screening of Tig Nataro’s new pilot TV show, “One Mississippi” – and she entertained us with a Q and A right after.
IMG_2627
Feet up, last speaker of BlogHer 16. Comfy shoes and clothing is a must!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
One thing BlogHer knows how to do is have fun – the closing party at The Conga Room (owned by Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez, will.i.am) was hoppin’ thanks to child-prodigy DJ Fulano. He’s only 13!
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Is this my tired face, or my “I love Whiskey Sours” face?
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Saturday night, packing up…one of my favorite free swag items from the conference was this tee from the TNT #GoodBehavior TV show (and yes, we had a choice!).
BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Just some free swag…great booths at the Expo this year! I’m telling you…that bai Cocofusion is like a pina colada in a bottle!

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BlogHer 16 - A Photo Story From Los Angeles
Sunday morning slog through LAX with 51 pounds of swag hiding in my bag – be sure to always bring a BIG, empty duffel to BlogHer!

BlogHer is definitely the place for writers and bloggers and women who want to surround themselves with others who want to work hard to reach their dreams. Have you been to a BlogHer conference? Come with me next year!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Beauty, The Brave, The Exemplary, Blazing Open

daffodils

This week El Nino backed off, and the sun smiled on us with 70 degree days. Everywhere I went, the violets popped their purple and white heads, the daffodils unfurled into yellow trumpets heralding spring, and the finches and flickers and chickadees flock to the feeder in glorious song. It’s hard not to think about spring, and the emergence of new life just below the surface.

birds at feeder

Oh, this world. This humble and silky life. Thank you, Mary Oliver, for reminding me to fill my arms with flowers, to be wild, and  that “there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary, blazing open” trusting the journey to spring .

Peonies by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary, blazing open.

Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

~ Mary Oliver

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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My Favorite Moments of 2015-A Year In Photos

I love the new year. Not because I’m a big one on resolutions (I’m definitely anti-declaration in that way). And not because I like to whoop it up on New Year’s Eve (I don’t – I was in bed by 10 p.m.). And I love photos – not because I’m any sort of skilled photographer, but because I love the moments they capture.

And certainly not because I love endings and change and the unknown (not.not.not.).

But I do love the new year because I adore reflecting on memories. I love stories. I’m sentimental that way.

I’m a huge creator of photo albums and memory boxes – at least, I used to be, before I got a digital camera.

Now my photos are stored all over the place – my phone, my computer, the cloud, Google Drive – and I need to do a serious project to get them organized.

Wow – that sounds almost like a resolution. *shudder*

To start, I searched up each month of photos that I could, and want to share my favorites here. Not because they’re terribly technically good photos, but because, for me, they tell a story of 2015: what happened, where I went, and who I loved.

And that will have to do for now.

JANUARY 2015

no cast

This was in the orthopedist’s office – it was the first time C had seen his leg outside of his cast since he broke it on the ski course. I love the look on his face and the fact that he wore his “Bomber” shirt that day – sigh.

FEBRUARY 2015

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While most days I dislike the fact that my daughter moved to Utah to go to college, when her photographer boyfriend sends me these shots, I can’t help but smile. Can you see her face? She’s loving life. What more can I ask for?

MARCH 2015

IMG_8810 (1)

I love the blurriness of this shot-it’s so representative of how life was (is?) feeling in this moment. I love that C is on his skateboard after months of being in a cast (wait -really?). I love that he hasn’t lost his confidence and that our dog follows him everywhere. A boy and his dog. And his skateboard. *sigh*

APRIL 2015

IMG_9020

Being a part of Listen To Your Mother seemed like an elusive writing goal – although motherhood tips the topic list of my blog, it took a huge leap of faith for me to actually submit my writing. My smile represents my joy at being chosen, at doing something that made me nervous, and the accomplishment I felt when I was done. And this photo also reminds me how short I am.

MAY 2015

IMG_9081

My girl and her dog along the trail at Five Lakes. It’s near Alpine Meadows, where we spend the winters skiing. If I was in this photo, my smile would fill the frame – this was the first time I’d seen L since Christmas, and I couldn’t get enough of her. This adventure, hiking with her and her boyfriend and our pup, was one of those perfect moments that I appreciate so much more now that she doesn’t live with me anymore.

JUNE 2015

selfie free summer

A day trip to Point Reyes, CA, was one of the first things we did when L came home (briefly) in June before she left to work in Oregon for the summer. My boy was still not 100% on his now-healed leg, and yet he made it down to the coast with his camera. Can you feel my heart bursting here? I assure you, it was.

JULY 2015

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NYC subway with one of my oldest girlfriends taking the snap. I’d never been there, never ridden the hot, steamy, sweaty, crowded subway, so I insisted she capture the moment. I’d just finished attending BlogHer16 (awesome) and was spending my last few days seeing the sights. I may not look like I’m 18 years old in this image, but I sure felt like it.

AUGUST 2015

Utah hiking

I can’t remember the name of this lake in Utah but I do remember the moment. C and I had driven L back to school and she and her boyfriend took us up into the mountains of Alta where they ski during the winter. I was pretty happy I kept up with the youngsters (elevation and all), but mostly, I felt the joy a mother feels when her babies are by her side, happy and healthy and loving life. I’m not sharing the photos I took the next day when I left her there and had to drive home…

SEPTEMBER 2015

sixteen

My boy turned 16. What I love about this photo is how much he’s changed, yet how he’s stayed the same. He didn’t want a ‘sweet 16’ party like my girl did, so I dug out an old cake photo to contrast with where he is today – the fact that his broken leg healed, he was able to skim board in Carmel and is growing into such a determined, kind human….I’m a proud mamawolfe.

OCTOBER 2015

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An Instagram screen shot of L and her boyfriend hiking in Utah. What mom wouldn’t be proud to see her daughter in love like this?

NOVEMBER 2015

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Even though I turned 50 in December, and even though I did NOT want a party, my mom did it anyways. The day after Thanksgiving, before L went back to college, and when my extended family was still in town, we celebrated. And I’m glad. I chose this photo because it is a rare moment when I am in a shot with both of my parents – they divorced when I was a teen and are rarely seen together. I love this because it reminds me what parents will do for their children and that I’m getting old. Older, but better. Definitely better.

DECEMBER 2015

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I love the holidays, but they overwhelm me. Too much going on, too many people, and I’m usually exhausted from teaching during those crazy December days leading up to the break. But here, on Christmas Eve at my dad’s house, this photo made it all worthwhile. My babies. My boy (with a concussion 🙁 – can you see his hospital bracelet?) and my girl, my best life’s work. What makes me mamawolfe.

Here’s to 2016, a year for more photos, more adventures, and more writing about thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. A year for trusting the journey.

That’s one resolution I can keep.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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