The Difference A Day Makes


Sunshine outside my window this morning

Yesterday I posted about Rainy Days. Today, the landscape is entirely different, as you can see from the picture above, taken from the same vantage point as yesterday’s photo. The trees, decked in all their autumnal glory, seem almost to glow in the sunlight today, backed by robin egg skies and puffy white clouds.

But the change isn’t only in the outside world.

Today, my spirits are lighter. I’m making a concerted effort to focus on the positive around me and inside me, and to take baby steps toward keeping that balance I spoke of before. I, like many busy people who work full time at fulfilling but demanding careers (in my case two separate careers: teaching and writing), while also trying to be good spouses, parents, children, siblings, and friends, have times of feeling overwhelmed and unable to climb from beneath the pile of responsibilities, pressures, and even sadness or sense of helplessness. Lately, I seem to be having too many of those times.

But just as the world outside my window changes, so can I. Not much around us is truly in our control, but that much is.

My dear late father used to tell all us girls that, while we couldn’t control what happened to or around us, we could control our reaction to it. And therein lies a wealth of wisdom. In the years since his passing, I’ve found myself shifting away from remembering that like I should. I continue to miss his common-sense support, his unconditional love, and his wisdom-filled reminders. Sometimes I let the cares and worries overwhelm my days.

Today is a new day. Each day is a new day: a fresh page to fill with the writings of our own stories. Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery captured the essence of this wonderfully when she said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

I’ve had a version of that quote posted on the wall of my classroom for 26 years. It is nice. And I’m going to try to remember that whether the rain comes down in torrents, the ice and snow blow and bluster, or the sun shines down…life – and each day in it – is what we decide to make of it. 🙂

I Am Cinderella…


An actual stack of student papers that is the work of only three of my six classes…

The Struggle is Real…but I have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat!

In this modern age (so different from when I began teaching, back in 1988), student grades are submitted electronically, via computer. That means when grades are due on a particular date, they can be submitted up until midnight…at which point the system will lock you out, preventing any further entries.

In my case, the academic year’s first set of five week “progress report” grades were due today (well, technically yesterday at this point).

I am a HS English teacher.

With 92 students per day.

I bring home a LOT of papers, quizzes, reading logs and daily writing journals to read, correct, write suggestions on, and assess, followed by tabulating and entering averages into the computer, along with the variety of helpful comments that are expected and selected by code (i.e. typing in “300” will print out “A pleasure to have in class” on the report that students receive at home).

I am always behind in my paperwork (as in “I can either have clean clothes/see my kids/make dinner for the family/do the dishes/plan lessons/attend one of their sporting events/sleep for seven hours straight once in a while…or whittle away at the ever-growing pile of papers). Add my own fiction (or blog) writing to the mix, which is necessary for my mental health…and well, you get the idea.

It’s a never-ending battle, and a balancing act that tires me more than seven straight hours a day interacting with/facilitating discussions of/serving as sounding board and mediator for masses of young (sometimes hormonal) people ages 14 – 18. Don’t get me wrong: I love my job and adore my students – really and truly. A few get squirrely now and then, but mostly they are great. I feel privileged to work with them…but I HATE the paperwork.

Tonight, at the stroke of midnight, I entered in the last grade.  I escaped the wrath of the Guidance Office, who would be calling me in consternation tomorrow morning if they opened the system to run grades and some of mine were missing.

I am Cinderella, and I made it out by the time the clock struck 12. 🙂

Goodnight, all…