My Best Life-Growth: August, 2013

From my first day teaching to mothering in Nicaragua, living my best life means embracing growth in all it’s subtle forms.

I first felt like a grown-up…

when I started teaching, back in early 1991.

Jen first day teachingCollege wasn’t easy for me, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was and where I was going. Ultimately, I found myself in a credential program teaching 7th grade. To my great surprise, I loved the kooky age group, and when I was offered a job teaching 7th grade English at a brand new school, I was thrilled. I remember my first day so clearly-what I wore (purple, because it was the school colors – ugh!), my nervousness, the over-planning, the exhaustion, the adrenaline, the absolute weirdness of being called “Miss Mason” by groups of kids not much smaller than me! Over the 22 years I’ve been teaching, I’ve experienced tremendous growth, but still get that first-day-of-school tingle when I know I’m meeting kids for the first time!

If I could make anything grow on trees, it would be…

time.

Cameron age 2I’d like to be able to pick a few minutes or hours or days off branches right outside my study window. I’d love to be able to go back to those lazy summer days of my childhood, when it seemed like all I had was time and couldn’t wait to go back to school to fill up my days. I’d love to stop time and buy those minutes back from my babies’ childhoods, those times when they were screaming and fussing and I didn’t know what to do, just that I wanted it to stop. Their growth as humans measures my time as their mother; now that they’re plugged in and heading into their lives independent of me, I’d love to have more time to be with them before they head off into the world without me.

My last growing pain was…

this summer, when I had to stretch outside my proverbial box and trust that everything would be OK.

Nicaragua Lily and CameronIn Nicaragua, I had to trust that my kids were strong, smart, and capable of traveling in a foreign country without me hovering all the time. I needed to let myself grow into trust, knowing that all would be well, and that they were learning valuable lessons right along with me.

I use my “green thumb” to…

bring beauty into the world.

gardenI can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a garden-first it was at my parent’s one-acre lot, where my dad would plant rows and rows of vegetables. I remember spending so many summer days happily moving hoses and scampering around in the dirt. My grandma Flossie was the consummate gardener – so much so that she carried around pruning shears in her purse to take slips of plants that she found on her daily walks. When I finally purchased my first house, the first thing we did was plant and landscape a blank plot of dirt into a beautiful Monet-inspired garden, complete with a brick patio and retaining wall built by hand. Today, as I write, I look out my second-story window and see hummingbirds feasting on Buddleia bushes and Stargazer lilies, old-fashioned roses blooming alongside gorgeous, droopy lavender Russian sage. My morning blooms make me happy, and digging in the dirt centers my soul.

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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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Friday Photo – Harvest

Cameron in a Nicaraguan produce marketSometimes 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.

At this time of year, it’s all about the harvest.  Crops are ripe, summer gardens are being sowed and then tilled under in preparation for winter planting.  But my garden this year – not so good.  I tallied less than a dozen tomatoes, and four measley peppers.  And this wasn’t due to lack of effort or care-I tilled, composted, fertilized, watered, planted and tended my crops from last April til now.  I guess this just wasn’t the year.  Mother Nature didn’t cooperate – our cool northern California spring wasn’t the right temperature to set fruit.  Our usual one hundred degree plus summer heat never really materialized, leaving valley farmers shaking their heads and hoping for the best.  Me?  I keep my plants in, hoping that those green orbs will somehow ripen if I just have faith.

So today’s Friday Photo reminded me of what an abundant life I have.  No matter what happens to my own garden, I will have enough.  I have resources to get what I need.  It might not be directly from my own hands, but it will be fresh, healthy, available and enough to sustain me and my family.  In today’s photo my son marvels at the bounty we found in Ciudad Dario, Nicaragua.  Gorgeous produce can be had there for mere pennies-but to many Nicaraguans, pennies are like diamonds.  Produce is grown on your own land, and a luxury to purchase.  There are no ‘bulk buys’ or prepackaged warehouse size amounts.  People simply buy what they can, only what they need.

I enter this harvest season with a heart full of gratitude, and a faith that next year, my harvest will be that of my own making. What hopes do you have for the next year?  Will you have an abundant harvest?

 

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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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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