Tuesday, August 31, 2021

If You Want Me, Come and Get Me

If You Want Me, Come and Get Me

 As a former teacher, I often share stories about the start of the new school year. It is indeed an exhilarating time for educators. It is a season of anticipation. 


A few schools are already in session. A few will start this week or next. But the year I want to share in today’s post happened many years ago. The first day was on Wednesday, September 1st.


I taught second grade at the time. I loved my job. This particular year would start a bit differently than others. 


I was pregnant with my third child. The baby was due September 2nd. Mrs. Boyer was to be the long-term substitute teacher in my class. I knew my students were in good hands. I went to the school a week or so before the first day of school to help Mrs. Boyer set up the classroom. 


That same day of working in the classroom, I had an ultrasound. My husband and I marveled at the little hand and fingers of the baby as they opened and closed; a sort of beckoning motion. 


We had not had an ultrasound with our first two daughters. This was new to us.  We hoped to learn the gender for this little one, but the doctor couldn’t tell from that angle. 


What the doctor did see was that the baby was what they call a “frank breech.” (read: butt first) He told us to pray the child would turn. So I did.


My first two children arrived at least a week before their due date. Not this one. 


I went to school on that first day of classes to meet my students, assure them Mrs. Boyer and I were working together, and, hopefully set the tone for a smooth transition when I did return to the classroom later.


Then I waited. The next day came and went with no sign of labor. 


I woke up early on September 3rd. I was uncomfortable.  An hour or so later, my husband and I headed for the hospital. My prayer had been answered. The baby had turned. Unfortunately, I had not been very specific in my prayers. My little one was now what they call a “transverse lie” breech, meaning the baby was crossways instead of head down. The doctor announced he would need to do a C-Section.


That little gesture made with the hands that we saw on the ultrasound turned out to mean, “If you want me come and get me.”


Our third daughter arrived early on September 3rd. On her own terms. She still lives life on her own terms. She is a vibrant, active, loving woman. She is a wife and mother of two… two little girls starting school.


The Best Start of School Ever!

Happy Birthday, Kendall! You proved to be the best start of school ever!


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

A Date

A Date to Remember

Yes. I had a wonderful lunch date with a most incredible man. He called last week and asked if I would be free on Monday for lunch. Of course I said, “Yes! I’d love that!” (I know... I sounded overly enthusiastic.)

He is smart and kind and good looking. He took me to his favorite restaurant. It is a fun place in Cincinnati called The Silver Spring House. I had only been there one other time. They have a great atmosphere and yummy food but it was the company I cherished.


It was lunchtime, so he had a chicken sandwich. I ordered a hamburger. We both indulged in French fries. 


We ate, talked, and looked at favorite pictures on our phones. He shared some of his favorite shots of Cozumel. I showed him pictures of my youngest grandchild on a recent “dinosaur dig” at Trammel Fossil Park in Cincinnati.  


I’ve known this man for almost twenty years, though this may well be the first time we’ve gone to lunch together. Alone anyway. We talked about future hopes and dreams. We shared stories of the past. We shared a few memories that brought tears to my eyes. Sweet memories. Then, all too soon, it was time to leave. We had things to do.


He needed to pick up his University of Cincinnati parking pass. He applied for his student ID online, so that part wasn’t part of our day’s activities. 


Admit it…I had you fooled there for a minute, right? But anytime your oldest grandson makes a date to take you to lunch and to his college, is a great day. 


A day to remember.



Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Invasion of the Squash

My middle daughter planted a garden this past spring at her home in Wisconsin. I was pleased. I tend to put out a few tomatoes and peppers each year. This year I planted a few cantaloupes as well, but between my aversion to cicadas, the weird weather patterns, and rabbits, my garden will likely yield very little. 

Perhaps I’ll harvest a single grape tomato for a single salad. 


I digress. This is about my daughter’s garden. This is the child I worried would grow up, marry, and take her family to McDonald’s for Thanksgiving. Now, here she is, a mother of four planting a garden and cooking delicious foods for her husband and kiddos.


She has canned produce, frozen veggies she raised, and even made bread and butter pickles. 

And she shares.

A few of the smaller squash awaiting processing.

Along with the other vegetables, Danielle planted three yellow squash plants and three zucchini plants. Her yield? More than she could manage. She cooked, baked, and froze squash. She gave produce to friends and family. They continued to grow. And grow.


The vegetables grew until they reached the size of small torpedoes. 


On a recent visit, Danielle brought several of the monsters to us, her Ohio family. My mother took a couple of them home to cook. My other two daughters took veggies as well. Fried, baked, cubed for soup, and shredded for breads and quiche, we have managed to make good use of the squash, freezing what we can’t use immediately.


We seem to all have the invasion of veggies under control now. I trust, this winter, when I bake a lemon-yellow squash dessert or zucchini bread or when I add a touch of summer’s garden to a nourishing vegetable soup or chili, I will remember not only the gift from God for the food, but also the gift of the sweet little gardener in my life. My daughter.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Good Teachers Make Us Curious

             Good Teachers Make Us Curious

Ah…the smell of fresh crayons and the reams of stacked notebook paper in my local store create in me a sense of excitement. School is starting. 


I loved school. I loved it so much I became a teacher. My oldest daughter also became a teacher. Later, I became a professor at a college so I could teach teachers. My daughter coaches teachers throughout the county and surrounding area. Teaching and learning must be in our DNA. We love what we were called to do.


I’ll get back to that. First, I need to share this picture I found in my album recently. It is a picture of my husband’s fifth grade class. Tom is the cutie standing far right in the second row with the yellow horizontal stripes on his shirt and the big grin on his face. His teacher was Mr. Koester. 


Mr. Koester was Tom’s all-time favorite teacher.


We all have those teachers who influence us for life. Mine was Joanne Salyers. She was my second grade teacher. I wanted to be just like her so, when I landed my first teaching assignment in second grade, I was filled with joy.


Now, as teachers began preparing for the 2021-2022 school year, my daughter had the opportunity to work with a district embarking on an innovative program in the early childhood classrooms. She and her team spent the first day talking about the children coming into the school.


At the end of the presentation, one teacher wanted to know why they spent so much time talking about the kids. She wanted more about the curriculum and the standards. She was asking for the “how-to” needed to meet state criteria.


I never met her, but I can tell you now, she wasn’t a Mr. Koester or a Mrs. Salyers. 


I once asked Tom what it was he liked so much about Mr. Koester. He didn’t talk about curriculum specifically. He talked about intangible elements that made him want to learn. Elements of respect and care. “He made us curious,” Tom told me.


Mrs. Salyers made me curious as well. She valued my efforts even when I missed the mark. She was the first teacher to tell me I was a writer. Her words of encouragement could have led me to become a writer many years ago. 


But no, I wanted to be a teacher. Just. Like. Her. 


Do you have a favorite teacher? What made that person special in your eyes? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a test score. 


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

An Eat-Your-Vegetables Kind of Moment...With a Dose of Pure Honey

An Eat-Your-Vegetables Kind of Moment...With a Dose of Pure Honey

I started this blog because “I had to.” It was an eat-your-vegetables-because-they’re-good-for-you kind of moment. It was a word of wisdom I gleaned from writers, editors, and publishers at my first writing conference. 


“You need to start a blog.”

“Learn how to blog.”

“No matter what else you do…blog.”


And finally, from my first publisher, “How many followers do you have on your blog?”


I was honest. I told him I didn’t have a blog. Yet. He encouraged me to start one. “As soon as possible.” There was this one tiny problem: I had no clue what a blog was and was pretty sure I had never read one. Write one? 


That was the first week of June, 2012. 


I came home from the conference and looked up blogging. I read a few and honestly couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about. I found a free course offered by Jeff Goins online and joined it. It was likely the best move I could have made.


I handed in my final manuscript to my publisher on December 1, 2012 and turned my attention to my blog. My research was complete. I was ready to blog except for one small glitch: I wasn’t a grand cook blogging my way through a cookbook as in the movie Julie & Julia. I wasn’t an expert on gardening, sewing, crafts, or anything as far as I could see. 


I was a teacher. I was a professor. Sure, I was a wife and mother and served in my church, but everything I studied on blogging let me know I needed a unique or expert vantage point. I’m just me. I had nothing to offer. I was sure of it.


So…I called my blog “A Novel Creation.” I shared with other novice authors what I was learning about writing and publishing and the entire experience as I moved through the process of my first novel, Breathing on Her Own


I set up the blog and ran a trial post on December 26, 2012. I called it, “Who is Rebecca Waters?” I wanted to see what it looked like. I put something on Facebook about it and wound up with over 200 readers for my first post. I was excited, though now I think a few of those readers were family and friends who read the post more than once in an effort to encourage me. 


In fact, I KNOW a few readers visited that blog more than once. Here it is, 2021 and I only just revisited it myself in preparation for this post. I hadn’t looked at that first entry at all for quite some time. 


I glanced at the list of published posts. There were three comments listed for that first trial run. Three? I try to answer all comments so there should be an even number. Someone wrote a comment I didn’t see. 


I opened the post and saw the word “anonymous.” Hmmm. I read the comment. It was dated February 24, 2013.  Here is a screen shot of the comment:



"Rifka." Tom's name for me. The blog may have started as good-for-me-vegetables, but today? As I approach the seven-year anniversary of my husband’s death, his words are like honey for my soul.


Never underestimate the power of the printed word.