Friday Photo: Beacons

Sometimes as I’m moving around in my day, an image gets stuck in my head that I can’t shake. Sometimes it conjures up a memory, a feeling, or provides an impulse to do something. Often, though, I just see something that I want to capture in my mind for no particular reason-it just speaks to me. I’d like to offer these images up for ‘thought contributions’-as a way to generate a community of ideas together.

This week’s Friday Photo was taken a few months ago, on a special ‘girl’s weekend’ road trip I take every year with four of my most favorite women.  Each of them brings different gifts to my life:  humor, wisdom, insightfulness, and compassion.  I haven’t seen these ladies at all this summer, and I guess I’m missing them!  I know that like this lighthouse, they are shining beacons of friendship in my life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this ‘Beacons’ photo- please leave me a comment! 

What image do your friends bring to mind?  What gifts do they give to you?

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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mamawolfe received The Versatile Blogger Award today!

Wow! I’m certainly honored to win The Versatile Blogger award today from Why We Love Green!  My first bloggy award!  Thank you!
Why We Love Green is a great blog about saving money while saving the earth. This blogger loves to try out and support natural and organic products and make lifestyle changes that will benefit future generations. She also loves to find a good deal. Going green does not have to be expensive! Be sure to check it out!
A few things you may not know about mamawolfe:
1.  I’m married and have two children, and live in the town I grew up in.  I like it here much more as an adult than I did as a child-boring then = safe place to raise children now!
2. I’ve been teaching junior high for 20 years and I LOVE IT!  They always surprise me, and I usually come home really feeling like I earned my paycheck every day!  I think that’s how I was dubbed ‘mamawolfe’!
3.  I teach at the junior high I attended.  It was a little spooky at first, but then I realized it was actually very cool to voluntarily come back to a place I was pretty eager to leave…
4.  My dog’s name is Cola-if you speak Spanish, you’ll know what that means.  It’s not about the soft drink!  My kids named him that because his tail is one of his most distinguishing features!
5.  I’m passionate about education, especially in developing countries.  I think everyone has the right to be educated.  I’ve worked with a non-profit to build and establish a Nicaraguan sister school with my junior high, and enjoy watching kids in both cultures learn from each other.
6.  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen-my kids and I love to bake and cook, and my husband loves eating!  I think cooking together really expands a child’s palate, and makes meals much more interesting!
7.  I think a little bit of chocolate and a lot of coffee every day is a very good thing.  Enough said.
I would like to congratulate the outstanding bloggers below, who I have selected for the next Versatile Blogger Award.  They’re some of my favorite reads!

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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Old Growth: Towering Redwoods and the Family Tree

We depart sunny Miranda early on this July morning.  40 parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles and cousins squeezing into a parade of wagons, hybrids and SUVs.  As we enter the Avenue, a canopy slowly begins to grow over us.  The sunlight dims and our car instantly becomes neighbors with the towering trees hugging the road.  Past Rockefeller Grove, the Founder’s Tree, and the beauty of the Eel River, we travel deeper along route 254 into the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  One after another, the massive posts from times before swish by as we creep towards our destination.  The line of cars, carrying generations of family, pull off the highway and we spill out into the forest.


The Winifred Brown Bell Grove, along the Avenue of the Giants, is a turnoff like many others along the road.  Noted by the standard California State Park brown and gold lettered sign, we park and douse ourselves with bug spray to guard off the mosquitoes bound to exist along the way.  The 40 descendents of the Brown family gather for the required photo to document our journey to this magical space.  Children and dogs pose with anticipation, eager to scamper along the path, destination unknown and really unimportant.  It’s the journey amongst the trees that they look forward to.

As we move deeper into the grove, lush emerald green ferns replace the dirt corridor of the entrance.  Their verdant carpet encroaches on the foot space, cautioning us to tread lightly-poison oak adding another element of excitement.  The air cools, making me glad to have my warm sweatshirt.  We pause, photographing a huge tree or a massive, upturned root hosting a bevy of fern and new growth.  We caution the children again, hoping that they stay focused and on the path.  Stellar Jays announce their presence, golden butterflies dart through my line of sight.  The group spreads out, some going left on the longer loop, hoping to extend the sensory delight just a bit longer.  I can’t see my son or daughter, but I sense that they’re moving forward along the path.  Someone will be watching them.

I pause, absolutely mesmerized by the sight before me.  Where did this glory come from?  How could I not have known this existed?  How can this image remain untouched, unchanged, for centuries?  Such splendor, such lushness, such beauty, such…bigness.  Freedom.  Growth.  Awesomeness.  I am so undersized, honored to be in their presence.

I look up, and only a sliver of blue sky is visible between the towering trees.  I am small, almost insignificant in this landscape.  My children and husband catch up to me, and we pose amid the ferns, part of a larger family group yet perfectly isolated at this moment.  Like the seedlings that once began this landscape, I realize again that my offspring have immense potential.  Nothing limits them; nothing keeps them from achieving their dreams.  Their growth, nurtured by their guardian hosts, stretches before us, soaring with possibility.

What I learned at Winnie’s Grove is that growth happens.  Hosted and nurtured by our families, cautiously curious as we dash along the path of life, we all contribute to the development of our children.  Time inches along, slowly and subtly raising them to heights we may never know.   Hidden groves and untapped potential lie before them, their existence eager for exploration.

What I’m still learning is how to let go and let them wander among the giants.  They will turn left or right as they choose, hopefully remembering the path  leading back to their hosts, their strong family tree.

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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Friday Photo – Paradise Found

Can you feel it?  Today’s Friday photo was taken on my recent  road trip family vacation.  As my son said, ‘This place is an 11 year old’s playground paradise!”  I have to agree on the paradise part-it was a lot of work to get there, but so worth it!  Can you guess where we were?
Sometimes as I’m moving around in my day, an image gets stuck in my head that I can’t shake. Sometimes it conjures up a memory, a feeling, or provides an impulse to do something. Often, though, I just see something that I want to capture in my mind for no particular reason-it just speaks to me. I’d like to offer these images up for ‘thought contributions’-as a way to generate a community of ideas together.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this ‘Paradise Found’ – leave me a comment!  Where is your ‘paradise’?

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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Guest Posting Today: The Mommy MindSpa

Greetings from the Redwoods!
Today I will be guest posting on The Mommy MindSpa and sharing my ideas about road trips, family vacations and how to build in a Mom-ME Moment.  Please visit The Mommy MindSpa to read my latest!

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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