Taking Steps…

Hi Friends!

It’s been a very long time since I last walked to school. This late winter morning, for the first time since the early 1970s, I bundled up in layers and headed out the door. I planned this walk several weeks ago and a windchill of 2o degrees would not deter my walk on this historic morning. I was taking important steps

The sun shone brightly as I stepped carefully over the icy patches on the sidewalks, detouring onto the snowy grass from time to time. It felt important, as though something BIG was about to happen! As I walked, I met up with friendly teenagers hurrying to their classes. I’m sure that they felt it, too. As I walked with one high school student, I told her that I was coming to school to ‘stand’ with all of the students and teachers… and she smiled and thanked me. Although I retired from teaching six years ago, there is still very important work to be done!

Of course, I was early… I’m always early! (“Anticipate the bell.” 🙂 “Early is on time, on time is late!” 🙂 ) These words still make me smile warmly as I reflect back upon my thirty-five happy years of teaching young children. ♥ As I walked around the quiet neighborhood surrounding our local high school, my thoughts turned to my own school days, both as a student and a teacher. So much has changed over the years…

Today was the National School Walkout as students, young and old, across America raised their collective voices against the ongoing crisis of gun violence in our society. Today marks the heartbreaking one-month anniversary of the massacre of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida. Massive student protests spread across our land beginning at 10:00 in each time zone. Organizers planned the National School Walkout to highlight “Congress’ inaction against the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.” I knew that I must stand with our students and their teachers on this day.

At 10:00, the school doors opened and hundreds of students walked out and assembled in front of their high school. They had planned ahead and many wore red and black. Many students carried hand-lettered signs. Their speeches lasted for 17 minutes, in remembrance of the 17 lives taken by gun violence in Florida. As I listened from a distance, my eyes filled with tears for all of the school children and their teachers across our nation who face fears for their safety in their classrooms. My heart swelled with pride for all of the young Americans who are taking steps to solve our national epidemic and to create a brighter future.

In between the speeches, there was much chanting,

individual voices of young men and women,

tomorrow’s leaders,

united to send a strong message to our lawmakers and leaders.

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Listen to their words…

“Enough is enough!”

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“Congress is complacent.”

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“We are the future voters.”

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“We are the change!”

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“Thoughts and prayers are NOT enough!”

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Between their powerful chants, there were loud reminders to pick up contact information for our lawmakers, write letters, make phone calls, and send texts. Eighteen-year-olds were reminded to vote in our upcoming elections. After 17 minutes, the young protestors respectfully filed back through the school doors and went on with their studies. It was most definitely a powerful, teachable moment… one they are certain to carry with them into adulthood.

The gathering of community members who came to ‘stand’ with our high school students clapped with pride as we listened to their voices. Parents tried to explain to their preschoolers what the ‘big kids’ were doing today. I met other retired teachers who also came to show support. High school alumni shared their pride, as well. The tv news crew packed away their huge camera as the protest came to an end.

It feels like this is only a beginning for our nation! The March for Our Lives rally for school safety, on March 24th, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of marchers to our nation’s capital.

Another round of National School Walkouts is planned for April 20th, on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.

Malala’s words give me much hope…

“One child, one teacher,

one book, one pen can change the world.”

 

I’ll keep taking steps as long as necessary.

Be the change!

♡ Dawn

 

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3 French Hens

A wonderful place to find treasures!

A wonderful place to find treasures!

Hi Friends!

We hit the road very early on Saturday morning! My excitement just bubbled over, as I wondered what treasures were waiting to be discovered at the 3 French Hens French Country Market. This monthly market, located in the quiet, little town of Morris, Illinois, completely fills a pretty park, on the banks of the historic I&M Canal.

The 3 French Hens French Country Market is held on the second Saturday  of the the month, May through October. It’s good to arrive early, as the little town quickly fills with visitors! Everyone is headed to Canalport Park in search of antiques, handmade wares by talented artisans, and repurposed treasures. We’ve been going for the past three years. It’s always a delightful place to spend the day, in the Spring, Summer, or Fall.

This pretty park sits along the peaceful waterway.

This pretty park sits along the peaceful waterway.

As we drove past vast stretches of farmland,

my great anticipation was tempered with the unsettled feeling of not knowing exactly what I was looking for…

Antique dealers and talented artisans display their wares in the park along the sleepy canal.

Antique dealers and talented artisans display their wares in the park along the sleepy canal.

Over the years, my antiquing trips have always been most successful

 if I have one or two treasures on my ‘wish list’ for the day.

Don’t you find it easier to know what you are searching for?

Alas, on Saturday, I really didn’t know…

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It was such fun to look at everything!  Treasures upon treasures, all waiting for new homes.

Olde Farm Creek offered a nice collection of vintage inspired farmhouse treasures.

Olde Farm Creek offered a nice collection of vintage inspired farmhouse treasures.

It was fascinating to talk with the artisans about their handmade pieces. These primitive signs were made from tobacco lath and the beautiful canvas bags were stitched from worn tent canvas. The lovely, old patina of the materials added a special touch of the past to each newly created piece.

 

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Roseberry Farm Primitives brought a touch of Autumn to the market.

 

The 3 French Hens French Country Market always draws big crowds of the friendliest people! Live acoustic music drifts across the park. Wonderful smokey smells from the food vendors whet the appetite for a picnic lunch.

But it was much too early… and there was still so much to see!

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Local farmers bring their fresh-picked vegetables and fruits to the market. Bakers bring homemade pies, breads, and cookies. Freshly canned jams, marmalades, and salsas make it easy to take home the tastes of summertime to enjoy throughout the year.

 

My husband and I continued exploring, looking through all of the treasures of the past, and laughing as we came upon so many toys from our childhood. He is always attracted to vintage books, old photographs, and antique coins. I’m always drawn to peek inside old painted cupboards, to touch antique quilts in soft colors, and to admire vintage Mason jars sparkling in the sunshine. It was a perfect way to spend an August morning!

 

Suddenly, I saw it! I discovered what I had been looking for all morning…  inspiration!!

My heart just leapt when I saw the beautiful antique school desk! It looked so nice displaying old books on its seat and vintage treasures on its desktop.  It was just the right inspiration… at the right moment!

‘Back-to-School time’ is  just around the corner…

Jessica, from Tattered Accents Old & New, and I talked about fun ways to use an antique school desk.

Jessica, from Tattered Accents Old & New, and I talked about so many different ways to use an antique school desk.

Many years ago, a friend gave me an antique school desk. I’ve been saving it in our basement, thinking that one day it might look nice in the garden holding baskets of summertime flowers, or on the front porch holding vintage boxes filled with winter evergreens, pinecones, and holly. But today there is new inspiration! Maybe it’s time to bring the old desk upstairs to hold some vintage school memories.

It’s such a great feeling to discover new inspiration for a treasure that you have loved all along!

(My husband certainly agrees!)

Truly a perfect August morning!

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Carrying inspiration back to the car is so much easier! You can take the scenic path… holding hands! ♡

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Since ‘Back-to-School’ days are just around the corner…

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H A P P Y   N E W  Y E A R !!

Today is the perfect day to celebrate

all of the wonderful, creative, dedicated teachers

who share the gift of learning every day in their classrooms!

You truly do make a difference!

Here’s to a happy new school year… and all its promises!

To all of the retired teachers everywhere,

who have given a lifetime of learning and inspiration,

we honor and thank you for making our world a brighter place!

Look back with love and gratitude,

and cherished memories,

as your students carry a part of you

in their hearts…  forever! ♥

Scatter sunshine!

♡Dawn

           P.S.  What is your favorite back-to-school memory?