Category: thinking deeply

9/11/20 and the Country Crumbles Around Us, Again

Posted on September 11, 2020 by

Nineteen years ago I sat at this same desk, looking out this same window. I still get up at the same early hour, teach the same grade level, same subject. I still don’t watch the morning news, but now in 2020 it’s for vastly different reasons.

I have the same husband, same children, and even the same hair color – although, after the last six months living through the pandemic, it’s definitely showing signs of grey, appropriately matching the smoke in my California sky. and the emotions in my heart.


Nineteen years ago we realized that the world would never be the same – not for those of us living through the attack on the World Trade Center.

The attack on our citizens in our own country.

The attack on our sense of security.

In 2001, I still woke early – but then it was to find some ‘me’ time before my babies greeted the day and my focus shifted. Today, my babies are adults, living in some other house, in some other states.

In 2001, I’d never even visited New York, I had trouble imagining visiting many places with a three-year-old, a 23-month-old, a full-time teaching job, and just, life. Today in 2020, I imagine visiting my 24-year-old and my 21-year-old on Zoom, in between teaching virtual classrooms and a pandemic.

Now, in retrospect, I’m glad I made it to New York before 2020, before the idea of getting on a plane terrified me – not because I fear dying from more acts of terrorism like 9/11, but because I fear dying from the terror of COVID-19.

I fear never seeing those places I dream of visiting, those places that just six months ago awaited exploration and checking off my bucket list.

Did any of us ever imagine there could be a horror greater than 9/11 in our country? That more people would die in a week, a day, of a disease that COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED, than died on September 11, 2001?

Today, September 11, 2020, I’ll stay safe inside my house. I’ll still look out the same windows, still listen to the morning news, still prepare to teach 7th grade English, just like on September 11, 2001.

Today, though, I’ll stay safe from COVID and wildfires. I’ll look out at smoke and ask swirling outside my window, listen to the morning news not about unbelievable loss in New York City but this year, unbelievable loss across our country and our world.

I’ll still prepare to teach 7th grade English, but this year it will be from my ‘classroom’ down the hall, in front of a camera, unable to hug and comfort and look into the eyes of my students. This year, I’ll teach them how I’ll never forget that September 11 morning in my classroom with students. I’ll share with them how shocked and scared and silent we all were, wondering what would happen next.

But still, just like 9/11/2001, I’ll smile and still remind students that I’m there for them, to be a stable adult for them amidst the chaos, just like I did nineteen years ago.

Not at all like September 11, 2001 – but why do I feel the same sense of overwhelming sadness, anxiety, and fear for my children? For our country?

What follows is a re-posting of my 9/11 reflection, written nine years ago – before the country crumbled once again before my eyes. Back in 2011, when the comfort of a decade of healing gave me a little bit of room to breathe. Then, looking back when an ordinary day was something we dreamed about.

Still, the same.

It may never be an ordinary day again. But now, in 2020, for vastly different reasons.

9/11: It started like any ordinary day. 

  After maternity leave, I’m still getting the hang of getting out of the house on time each morning. I’m up early enough to have some ‘me’ time – 5:30 a.m. – before the pitter patter of my 23-month-old boy’s feet signal the start of mommy-time. 

Must plan Cameron’s birthday party for next weekend, I think.Coffee made, candles lit, I start up the desktop as part of my morning ritual, eager to check email and read the news.   Having children broke us of our TV news habit when we realized they were transfixed with images of stark reality we were trying so desperately to shelter them from.  

  A breaking news alert flashes into my inbox – “Plane crashes into building in New York.”  Hmm.  I’ve never been to New York.  Worlds away from my cozy study.  I hope it’s nothing serious.   Pitter patter pitter patter…here comes my boy, blankie, and book in hand.  My heart thrills at the sight of his big round head.  “Make sister juice,” he chimes with a smile as big as any Cheshire cat. 

I switch off the computer, eager to start the morning snuggle and reading time.  It is just another ordinary day.   The 11-mile commute to school is nothing unusual.  I drive past the harvested tomato fields, crop dusters skim the highway.  Lesson plans fill my mind.  Exit right, then left, then straight down the walnut tree-shrouded road towards Douglass Junior High, where my 7th grade English students stand lined up, waiting for me.  

“Hey, did you hear about the plane crash?” they shout as I open the door.  

“Yes, I did,” I answer, and switch on the lights.  “Let’s get started.”  

“But, can’t we watch the TV?  I have an aunt that lives in New York, and I’m worried,” a child pleads.  

“TV?  When do we ever watch TV in class?” I respond with a smile.   ‘Let’s get started – it’s grammar day everyone’s favorite!”  

Moments later, an announcement is delivered by a TA telling us the grim news.  Not one plane crash, now it’s two.  What???  The Pentagon?  Three planes?  Buildings collapsed?  People dying?  But it’s just an ordinary day!  

Why don’t I have my cell phone?  This ancient classroom has no Internet; the only technology is the old TV mounted in the corner of the classroom. 

Where are my babies? Did Lily make it to kindergarten?  What the hell is going on? I want to go home…  

Thoughts flash through my head as I try to process what to do.  Thirty sets of eyes stare at me, searching for comfort.  I’m the teacher.  I’m in charge.  I know what to do? 

Frantic thoughts of my own children race through my mind.  Are they OK?  What will happen to us?  Are the terrorists on their way?  

Then I realize-someone is taking care of my children, just as I’m taking care of someone else’s.  I know what to do.  They need me to make sense of it.  That’s what I would want my child’s teacher to do. 

Reluctantly, yet desperately, I turn on the TV.  I have to know. I can’t wait all day.  

After two hours, no word from my family, I switch it off.  Business as usual – that’s what educators do.  Keep them calm, keep them busy.  I know it’s only going to get worse, and it’s only 10 a.m.   Two more hours and I’m done. 

As I jump in my little gold Escort wagon, I’ve never been so relieved to only work part-time; 11 miles fly by-not enough time to decide how to explain the unexplainable to my 5-year-old.  The radio news drones on and on.  Thousands dead.  The children.  The mommies and daddies who will never commute home again.  The parents who will never see their babies again.  The young people who will never have the joy of holding their child in their arms. 

It’s more than I can bear.  The tears stream down my face as I safely reach home.  It’s clearly not just an ordinary day.  

‘Mommy, why are you sad?  What happened at school today?” Lily whispers, her big blue eyes boring into mine.  How do I answer?  She’s only four.  Far too young to have to learn about such horrors. 

I tell her a story about a plane crashing and good guys trying to stop the bad guys. “Did the bad guy go to jail?” she questions.  

“No, he died,” I reply, choking back tears at her innocence.

“I’m sorry he died, Mommy.  But I’m glad that we weren’t on that plane.”  

“Me too, baby.  Me, too.” 

I realize it may never be an ordinary day again.

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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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distance teaching

Distance Teaching & Learning: The 4c’s for Making It Successful

Posted on August 2, 2020 by

Distance teaching and learning is different from face to face teaching and learning. It’s the truth.

I’ve spent the entire summer facilitating courses for educators on Digital Teaching and Learning. I’m seeing many educators start to panic about not knowing how to start thinking and planning about beginning a new school year online.

The COVID chasm I wrote about a few weeks ago is real, and it’s terrifying. Teachers everywhere are trying to rethink, remake, redo all that they’ve ever known about teaching. We know this may go on for a semester at more.

What are the 4 C’s of distance teaching?

In California, most districts are starting the year virtually. This requires us to reimagine our back to school routines. I believe there are 4c’s to define the best practices of distance teaching and learning: community, connection, collaboration, and competency.

Taking a look at each of these will help teachers breathe more easily. It will help parents trust the school system and ensure students have the best possible start to the 2020-21 school year.

Distance Teaching = COMMUNITY

So many teachers are frightened about never having met our students face to face and trying to create a classroom community. But think about it – how many virtual spaces are there where we connect with people we don’t see every day? Do you participate in social media groups? Have you taken online classes or done Zoom yoga groups? Did you ever use a VCR to do a workout, or maybe you’ve even done online dating?

Today’s kids see virtual communities differently. Fanfiction groups thrive and survive on the social connections and dedication of members. Classrooms can be the same! Social-emotional learning is important at the start of the year. It’s also crucial to embed into EVERY SINGLE lesson and student contact.

What does SEL mean?

Check out the CASEL competencies for detailed info, but in summary, pay attention. Ask questions. Listen to your students. Comment and give feedback. Show your personality. Crowdsource feedback and ideas from your students. I’m a huge fan of HyperDocs. I make sure that as I design every learning cycle I’m embedding deliberate entry points for student choice, voice, and feedback.

In synchronous meetings, use icebreakers, polls, discussion questions, photo sharing, read alouds, videos and games EVERY TIME.

It’s a ‘pay it forward’ way of thinking – that first five minutes you spend intentionally connecting with students as they enter your virtual class, while they’re ‘getting ready’ and as you end the session will PAY OFF BIG TIME! The conferencing space IS your classroom space – do what you’d do face to face.

Distance Teaching = CONNECTION

Connection goes hand in hand with SEL, and also should be extended to TEACHER connection and PARENT connection.

Teachers need to feel supported. They need to learn self-care strategies, how to set work/home boundaries, how to develop routines, and where to share their glows and grows. One way to create teacher connection is to curate spaces – my favorites are Google Classroom and Wakelet. Using Google Classroom to set up a safe space for virtual PD allows teachers to enter on their own or during virtual meetups. Housing articles, videos, tech tips, and discussion threads help teachers focus on pertinent topics while having access to resources and reflection time.

What’s Wakelet?

Wakelet helps curate collections of resources and can be shared, and/or curated as a community. I love sharing my collections on Assessment ideas, Google Classroom Tips, HyperDocs, and Diverse Reading Lists.

An added bonus of using Google Classroom and Wakelet is allowing teachers to explore new systems that can then be transferred to student use or creation.

Parents need connection, too – Wakelet would be a powerful tool to share tech training how-to videos, Google Calendar appointment sign ups, websites – really anything that you want parents to use to ‘see’ inside your classroom!

Distance Teaching = COLLABORATION

Distance learning shifts the way we collaborate. Students NEED to connect with others – collaboration on projects allows for shared critical thinking, communication, and a deeper connection with school – as long as WHAT they’re collaborating on is engaging, relevant, and rigorous. consider tech tools to foster collaboration like Padlet and Flipgrid. Check out this fabulous collaboration resource created by Steve Wick!

For teachers, collaboration through Professional Learning Communities, not just in your school but worldwide, offers opportunities to share academic, pedagogical, and personal ideas. Many social media networks like Facebook and Instagram are turning to groups and hashtags to connect educators; my favorite collaboration site is Twitter.

Educators find ideas via hashtags searches, groups, direct messages, and Twitter chats – in fact, I hosted a WeVideo Twitter chat on ‘Podcasting and Student Creativity” in hopes of sharing and collecting new ideas for student podcasting projects!

If you’re interested in podcasting you can see the archive of ideas here.

What else can teachers do?

Taking an online class, webinar, or book study helps teachers connect and collaborate over topics of interest. Also, it puts teachers in the point of view of students – what better way to ‘feel’ what it’s like for our own students to be in a virtual classroom! Consider getting Google Certified (Kasey Bell has great resources here) or taking tech tool certifications. Perhaps join your local CUE affiliate, or attend virtual conferences or edchats – all ways to not feel so all alone in distance teaching while making new friends at the same time (see, I told you community is built online!).

For students, authentic collaboration needs to happen in synchronous and asynchronous time. In web conferences, consider using breakout rooms, if possible. Many face to face strategies, like give one, get one, can be done in with the chat feature. Utilizing UDL lesson design with HyperDocs allows the teacher to build in collaboration within a lesson or unit using a variety of digital tools. Sarah Landis created a compilation of UDL resources in this slide deck!

Distance Teaching = COMPETENCY

Competency means taking a look at how we not only train teachers, administrators, counselors, and support staff in best practices for digital teaching and learning, but also onboarding our students and parents with digital basics. We need to intentionally TEACH structures, tools, and systems to ensure student success. Also, creating a standardized design for students to access assignments in your LMS, writing, and recording directions for each assignment helps create strong organizational systems. Creating a teacher website to share access points also helps students achieve systematic competency.

Then, ensuring consistent lesson design that features frequent, familiar strategies like those found in EduProtocols can help students move from feeling overwhelmed with new strategies and content every time. Students know when a teacher says “Iron Chef” how to approach content. One of my favorite sites is using Google’s Applied Digital Skills. I can either use or modify their lessons, embedding digital tools into the curriculum, and building up my student’s digital toolbox.

How many tools do teachers need?

Teachers don’t need to have a new tool for every lesson. Just like cooking meals for the family, you don’t have to try a new recipe 365 days a year. Take the one you like, use content in a new way, and continue to modify. And always have a solid fall back – I call that lesson the ‘macaroni and cheese’ for when I need something solid and tasty to fall back on, that doesn’t require a lot of creativity on my end.

I hope sometime we can stop calling this experience ‘distance teaching and learning’ and just remember it’s TEACHING and LEARNING. Yes, our methodology may look different, but we need to remember that we have good strategies we already know – the trick is to switch them into a digital space. Trust your instincts. You can do this. You WILL build community in your virtual space. Your students are looking for you to show up and SEE them…whether it’s through a camera, on a screen, or face to face.

We’re teachers – it’s our super power!

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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It’s Hard Not To Feel Sad Right Now

Posted on April 22, 2020 by

Are you finding that it’s hard not to feel sad right now?

It’s lingering right there, all the time. Some days life feels somewhat ‘normal’ – we’re adapting to the new routines, becoming used to the safety of our homes. And then other days…it’s just hard not to feel the weight, the enormity of what is unfolding in our world.

For the first week of the shelter at home orders in March in California, I slept. A lot. 12 hours or so a night. That counts the time I lay awake around 2 am, wondering how this was all going to play out. That was before I really understood what safe at home would be like. How distance learning and virtual teaching would transform education – and my job.

It was awhile before I realized how very, very sad this would make me.


I tried to get up ‘on time’, tried to cut back on coffee, to write my daily gratitudes, to reach out. I filled bird feeders and pulled weeds and watched my backyard slowly grow and give me a new space to just be. Never venturing too far from home I took twice-daily walks, just looping around and around my neighborhood, staying in the familiar, close territory to home. I switched out educational podcasts for audiobooks, responding to my need to hear and read stories, letting myself loose in the narrative. I made myself pull on a pair of well-worn jeans every morning, just to start some sort of routine.

Over the following three weeks, I dove into training teachers. I’m prepared for this – and I love being able to share my skills and excitement for educational technology with educators who feel scared, vulnerable, and yes, sad.

There’s a grief factor to what’s going on now if you’re an educator. The ‘old’ way of teaching and running a school died with the decision to close the buildings, to pivot into Google Classrooms and WebEx and Zoom to deliver curriculum and connect with students.

We hardly had a moment to take a breath. We had no time to be sad. Educators had to act fast, come together and figure this out.

We’re good at that – the quick decisions, the thinking on our feet.

And now…

And now, two weeks into our virtual classrooms, it feels a bit more routine – a bit more ‘normal’, whatever that means. I’m waking up earlier – too early, in fact. I’m starting my days outside, coffee and journal and birds and blooms. My walks are longer, taking me on new paths, new landscapes. I’ve had a few moments, even, where I feel almost settled.

But, despite my heroic attempts to push it aside, to break it down and not deal with it, I’m finding the sadness creep back in.

The postponements started trickling in, the canceling, rescheduling, the pushing-back on things that we’ve been looking forward to. Graduations. Weddings. End of the school year projects. Family trips. Funerals. College.

We’re flattening the curve, most definitely. But we’re flattening ourselves at the same time. Days blend into each other. The routines that helped me make it through the day feel comforting and monotonous simultaneously.

The dark side

I start to let the dark side crawl in. The spiraling, swirling sense of never-endingness. Of worry. Of wondering.

I’ve been using a ‘Weekly Check-In’ form with my students to build community and maintain relationships even when we’re not in the same physical space. You can see a copy of it here. They have options to tell me how they’re doing – ‘’I’m happy”, “I’m silly”, “I’m stressed”, “I’m angry”, and “I’m sad”. You can make a copy of my form here.

And guess what – sadness topped the list this week.

When a 7th grader shares their sadness on a digital form, it hurts. The impact of knowing they’re isolated at home, away from the structures and systems and community that we’ve created in our schools makes me sad.

How do I respond to that? Ignore it? No way. Brush it aside? Nope.

I agree.

I am sad. THIS is sad. Challenging. Scary. Unsettling.

I want them to know I feel it, too. And that it’s ok to feel sad.

What I do

I ask them what they do to feel better and I tell them about how I go outside every morning, curl up under a fleece blanket on my patio, and sip my coffee.

I write to them about how I walk around my garden first thing, looking for new blooms. About how I take photos of my flowers and post them online, just to bring a smile to someone who is looking out the window at the snow.

When I feel sad, I say, I take a walk around my neighborhood. I look at the little things, the trees, and flowers and try to notice changes from the day before.

Sometimes I share how I look up at the sky, searching for birds and butterflies and clouds, and how I smile at other people as we walk towards each other, and then step out of the way. Sometimes I cross the street, just to keep my distance.

I still smile, even though it makes me feel sad.

I tell them about how I pick grapefruit off my backyard trees and leave them in a bag on my front lawn with a sign that says, ‘Take some for your family. I’ll keep sharing. Stay home”. And how I smile when a few hours later, the bag is empty.


I’m sad, for sure. I wish my mom could drive here and spend the weekend. I miss being able to jump on a plane and visit my daughter. I’m sad that her wedding is being postponed, colleges are shutting down, that trips and graduations are canceled and that people everywhere are sick and dying.

This loss of control over our lives, the lack of feeling like life (and we) aren’t moving forward, leaves us feeling like wanderers in a dark, dense, forest. We know there is a path, somewhere -it might be overgrown or trampled down, or we might have just taken a step too far to the side to stay on track. We know that once we get through this part, the scary, solitary steps we make will eventually lead us to…somewhere. Better than this. Definitely a different landscape.

I think I need to just leave it here, to be with the sadness and sink into today – to what is right here, right now. Robin Wall Kimmerer says, “If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again.”

I’m ok with that kind of doorway. I’m ok with weeping a little bit now and then – I’m pretty sure our tears are just a lens to magnify the stars, anyways. With that kind of grief – that sadness that we can fix with love – I trust that we will find our way.

Do 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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Best Books of 2019

Posted on February 16, 2020 by

I had intended to create a ‘Best Books of 2019’ every quarter or so, mainly to share my joy of reading and create a community of readers here and in my social media channels.

It started off OK-I got this I post done with the first chunk of 2019’s reading.

And then the year just sort of exploded – in some ways great, with lots of new professional opportunities (hello AVID Staff Developers!) and others personally challenging (saying goodbye to my dad).

But books were my constant companions, even if I wasn’t sharing. In fact, I met and exceeded my Goodreads challenge despite all the turmoil and turnover in my little part of the world.

So today I’m sharing the books that made a difference to me, the books that were by my side, and the books that you may enjoy, too, as 2020 challenges us to move forward. I’d love to hear your feedback on what you’ve read, what you’re reading now, and also follow you on Goodreads. You can find me on Goodreads here.

A Year of Daily Gratitude: A Guided Journal for Creating Thankfulness Every Day by Lorraine Miller

A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays by Mary Oliver

The EduProtocol Field Guide: Book 2: 12 New Lesson Frames for Even More Engagement by Marlena Hebert and John Corippo

The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani

180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents by Kelly Gallagher

Educated by Tara Westover

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

The Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod

DON’T Ditch That Tech:Differentiated Instruction in a Digital World by Matt Miller

Donna Has Left The Building by Susan Jane Gilman

The Designer by Marius Gabriel

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Miriam

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott

I read 62 books in 2019, and have set my goal for 70 this year. I’m six in…one book behind schedule.

Reflecting on my book choices in 2019 I noticed I pushed myself out of familiar genres. I hope that these titles spark some interest for you, and you find (and share) your favorites. I always love talking books – find me here, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – @mamawolfeto2!

Happy reading, everyone! And remember, ‘You can’t buy happiness but you can buy (or borrow) books, and that’s kind of the same thing.”

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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breathe mamawolfe

Intention, Breath, Renewal, and Resolutions

Posted on January 4, 2020 by

I first noticed the lambs in the field.

Two days ago, they grazed gracefully in the green grassy meadow. Babies spotted black and white and grey kicked their hind legs and nuzzled their mothers. Their unique markings caught my eye as I drove down the two-lane road, not sure where I needed to be at that moment.

Last night they caught my eye again.

This time, mothers and babies huddled close as the tule fog drifted in, coating their meadow with grey light and dropping dew on their wool. And as I glanced back to the road, John reminded me of how nervous he felt driving towards the headlights, the two of us, together. Parenthood always brings that anxiety of abandonment, the fear of leaving our kids parentless when we’re just having a normal day. Always the anxiety of ‘what if’. Always bringing me out of the moment.

‘Look at the sunset,’ he suggested. Ever cautious, he typically reminds me to keep my eyes where I’m going. If you look ahead, he shares, you’ll get where you want to be.

But tonight was different.

The sky, an exhale of pink and silver and mauve was not to be ignored. The first sunset of 2020, caught by chance, brings me to tears.

We’re reminded to make resolutions at this time of year, to identify what is wrong with us and our life, and try to fix it. As if just saying it, or writing it down at the stroke of midnight will somehow result in a different me. Drawing attention to an ‘all or nothing’ mentality as if it will spur me towards some sense of ‘betterness’.

For the last decade, making a resolution hasn’t been my focus for the turn of the December calendar. I’m not a ‘wind-up toy’ able to switch on a date; I’m the same ‘me’ I was the night before, maybe with a bit more anxiety thinking about the push to focus on something different.

My tears don’t stop as I pulled into Home Depot. The sky glows over the Berryessa Hills as I wipe my eyes with the cuff of my sweater and take a breath in. I make my purchase, and as we drive home the sky is dark, sunset replaced by stars shimmering energy drizzling down. I feel my breath like stardust now as I stop and start, careful to focus on the road ahead. Breathe in, breathe out. My intention surfaces with every inhale, a desire to pay attention – the intention to breathe in what I’m about to create.


The possibility of moving onward.

I don’t need the resolution to be outside, to search for your spirit. Every time I look up, the birds or the sunset or the stars of a fleck of spirit dust in candlelight refocuses me, reminding me that you are everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.

I have intention.

I have daily practices beginning with my first breath of ‘thank you’ as my exhale hits the floor. It’s the same me as yesterday and the day before, just another reminder of the divine presence all around me.

I won’t see every sunset in 2020, no matter the strength of my resolve. Some days I’ll see sunsets on social media and wonder what I was doing that was more important. What could possibly take my focus away from right here, right now? I won’t hear every moment of birdsong outside my window. And I’m sure some days I’ll repeat my mantra ‘onward’ just to make it through.

But I will remember my intention of breath, my hope for the possibility of moving forward. I’ll feel your breath like stardust, shimmering down on my shoulders when I don’t know which foot to put first. I’ll know your spirit soars over me with a birds-eye, omnipotent view, reminding me to enjoy life. To breathe. And to just start again tomorrow.

intention starlight

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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