Tag: dreams

Keeping Faith In Beginnings with Katrina Kenison

Posted on February 15, 2014 by

“…I allow, just for a moment, the past to push hard against the walls of my heart. Being alive, it seems, means learning to bear the weight of the passing of all things. It means finding a way to lightly hold all the places we’ve loved and left anyway, all the moments and days and years that have already been lived and lost to memory, even as we live on in the here and now, knowing full well that this moment, too, is already gone. It means, always, allowing for the hard truth of endings. It means, too, keeping faith in beginnings.”

~from The Gift of an Ordinary Day:A Mother’s Memoir by Katrina Kenison

Katrina Kenison's Gift of an Ordinary Day

Katrina Kenison’s Gift of an Ordinary Day

By the time I finished reading this quote, tears were rolling down my face. The journey of parenthood so often pushes us to places we never imagined, and throws us into moments that, if we truly pause and savor, teeter us on the brink of excruciatingly beauty, tenderness and often, just a touch of peril.

For me, reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison is like simultaneously savoring the taste of a fine chocolate, rolling around the decadent sweetness in my mouth, and wanting to devour it, hand over fist, to fill that need for connection to a writer who shares the universal experiences of motherhood, womanhood, and staying true to our dreams. After I read Mitten Strings For God: Reflections For Mothers In A Hurry about her life raising two very young boys, I instantly recognized a kindred spirit in Katrina Kenison – a spirit that I wished I had known when my children were in their early years. But for right now, as my teens explore their identities and their dreams, and as my husband and I attempt to parent them with the willingness to honor their dreamsThe Gift of an Ordinary Day softens my soul and frequently leaves me in tears.

Thank you, Katrina Kenison, for being one step ahead of me on this journey, and for sharing your world with us.

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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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Happier At Home: The “Safe”, Parent Approved Track

Posted on January 5, 2014 by

“I know many people who started out on a “safe”, parent-approved track, only to leave it – voluntarily or involuntarily-after they’d spent a lot of time, effort, and money to pursue a course that had never attracted them…it’s painful to see your children risk failure or disappointment, or pursue activities that seem like a waste of time, effort and money. But we parents don’t really know what’s safe, or a waste of time.” – from Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

It started about nine months ago, the persistent questioning (sometimes to the point of nagging, in fact) that let us know he wanted a change. At first we hardly listened, brushing him off with a ‘we’ll see’ in hopes that it was just another spur of the moment idea. The persistence continued, growing more intense each day until we gave in to his request to ‘sit down and talk’ and we heard what he was saying: he wanted to move to a ski academy.

Sugar Bowl AcademyI don’t know why this surprised me, really. My kids have never really taken the ‘safe’ track for much in their lives; they push themselves with extreme, risky sports and always try to live life as an adventure. They love risk – so different from my childhood.

As parents, I think many times we make decisions based on what feels right and how the decision will effect our children – which sometimes is the right way to go. We check movie reviews, investigate song lyrics, evaluate safety ratings on our cars and determine our decision based on really concrete facts. But other times, I’ve found, we make decisions based simply on how it will effect us – will we be inconvenienced by getting up early for a practice, will we be bored waiting at the shopping mall, or will we just simply. miss. them. too. much. when. they’re. gone?

Some friends have called me brave for letting my son move away to pursue his dream. I’m sure some friends have called me crazy, irresponsible, or said “I-can’t-believe-she’s-letting-him-go-away-on-his-own.” Funny-I never considered it an act of bravery on my part – he’s the one who deserves the bravery award. My son is doing exactly what I raised him to do. He’s setting goals, believing in himself, evaluating risks, and taking action. He’s walking the talk. He’s just doing it 120 miles from home.

So when I dried my tears (the first time) and watched him walk into his dorm room on that first day, I realized that maybe this wasn’t a ‘safe’ decision for me, but it was safe for him. It’s his path to walk in life, not mine. It’s the ultimate in mother’s love. And while I’d be a lot happier to have him home every night, I know he’s on his own, parent approved track. And it’s fabulous.

This post was inspired by Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life. Join From Left to Write on January 6 we discuss Happier at Home. You can also chat live with Gretchen Rubin on January 7 on Facebook! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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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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Silver Lining

Posted on October 4, 2013 by

silver lining

“Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.”

-Maurice Setter

Do you ever get going so fast on life’s treadmill, so convinced that if you can just make it one more hour,

one more day,

through one more project or meeting or load of laundry  or dinner from the freezer or shopping trip….

that you’ll find gold?

I do.

But what happens when the treadmill stops?

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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On Desire, Willa Cather, and Clinging To Our Dreams

Posted on February 9, 2013 by


12 12 Tahoe and Mammoth 117

The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing — desire.

– Willa Cather

I’ve driven by these structures many times in many seasons.  They could be any remnants from the days of the Westward movement, seemingly randomly placed alongside a now-busy highway.  Their walls, still sturdy, form the outline of what used to be.  Gaping holes which once must have boasted much-sought after glass and framed for heavy wood doors. What were they dreaming of as they carefully hammered each nail, hoisted each plank, and lifted each shingle into place?  Why would they choose this place, this spot, to claim for their own?  Did desire pound through their hearts as they searched for the American dream, longing for just a piece of land to call their own?

What remains of their hopes are just abandoned walls, clinging to life under the havoc of the elements, of time, a forsaken dream of what once could have been.

 What do you cling to when you feel beaten down by your dreams?

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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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Somewhere Over the Rainbow Is Right Here, Kids

Posted on February 6, 2013 by

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“The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom and joy in the universe are already within us; we don’t have to gain, develop, or attain them. We’re like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight, there’s no need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we already are – as soon as we stop pretending we’re small or unholy.”

~ Bo Lozoff

This quote reminds me of the scene from ‘The Wizard of Oz‘, when Dorothy, having survived the tornado of her life, wakes up and sees all that she has around her.   Things she previously worried about, people she loved, and those she feared had swirled together in her mind to create the most unimaginable drama, but when it came down to it, there was no place like home.

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailer for the film The Wizard of Oz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many times throughout my teaching day I find myself cheering on my students, telling them, “You are better than this. You are better than these grades.”  I think about how they must feel, lost in a world that judges them by accomplishment rather than individualism.  I wonder how I can teach them to close their eyes, to look inside, and realize that they, like Dorothy, have all they need in life. They just need to figure out how to harness it, how to jump on the power and energy and wonderfulness that life has to offer them, and soar above anything they have ever imagined.

I think if we can teach teenagers this – to stop pretending they are ‘small or unholy’ – that they not only have a huge future ahead of them, and that they have all they need to get there – if we can help them see the joy of life, we can create hope that somewhere over the rainbow really is right in their own backyard.

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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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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