Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Together We Can Do Great Things!

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” ~ Mother Teresa

In his book, The Alphabet of Grace, Fredrick Buechner speaks of the mystical presence that defines religion, which really cannot be named. Reading from his work caused me to stop and think about how The School at Kirkridge is ultimately about the beauty and grace that lives inside each of us, especially the children! With this belief we have gathered the support to start a school.

The School at Kirkridge! It is the School of Kirkridge, too. Even though it feels new, it is not. The energy and excitement about what is possible fills the air in the Farmhouse and through the fields as we prepare to open in September. As the children run and play the spirit of the past is palpable, an amazing grace. The wind makes its ways through the trees and eyes are wide open as the children explore the life cycle, finding tadpoles and other creatures in the abundance of the land. We are building on a strong and beautiful past. The spirit is with us at The School at Kirkridge; we are following in the footsteps of the dreams of John Oliver Nelson and those who joined him in his vision of Kirkridge.

The foundation is strong – and as a program of Kirkridge we are building on the shoulders of those who have come before us and those who lead now. We are learning from a procession of smart and imaginative people who believe that there is a kinder and gentler way to live in this world.  We have that dream for the children, too. The archives of Kirkridge describe a vision of “an educating-participating community”. The founders of Kirkridge dreamed like we dream, that the people of Kirkridge could create a movement and vision for a brighter future. Educating young people who can go into the world, both kind and capable, making a difference. We are hopeful that the barrage of testing does not stamp out the light of creativity, that children can learn as they play. We are hopeful, like the great minds that have walked the hills and valleys of this mountain that we can help the children to go out into the world whole. We are hopeful that we can model and inspire young people to believe they can create change, beginning in their school and moving out into their communities. 
Jean Vanier, humanist, philosopher, theologian, and author, says, “In children and young people a light is present. We must listen to children. We must hear what they have to say. They are people in whom that light of God exists. They will never be able to trust themselves unless someone trusts them.”  We are blessed by the support from the community of Kirkridge. We are thankful to be a part of a history that values the deep and abiding knowledge that children each have a birth right gift – one that when nurtured expands the possibility of carrying the mission of Kirkridge into the world as people of hope, compassion, justice and service.

Join us on this great journey by reading our webpage, following us on Facebook or attending one of our events.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Small Gifts

William Carlos Williams was a poet and a doctor. He was known for noticing small holiness in the ordinary. I wandered through this idea after reading the poem “Approach to a City”. So much of life is found in the small and ordinary. Wanting to notice. Wanting to remember. Wanting to remember to notice.

It all comes down to the little things – they get stuck in our consciousness like the poppy seed in my teeth after eating a thick, chewy bagel. Toasted, butter melting, I don't think about the abundance of small seeds until later, long after I have wiped the butter from my fingers and lips. I notice the seed, left behind from my moment of morning bliss.

And the moments seem to tumble into my mind, the small things we remember; the laughter about tidy-whitey underwear – that turns into the best Christmas present. We sit here at this corner or our table. It becomes obscure in the light of day when it is filled with laughter and conversation. But in this moment, the corner is our altar, offering a glimpse of our deepest dreams or gigantic fears – it is a small holiness that calls us, me, to a large compassion, wondering about traveling gently into the world.
And this small holiness leads me to seek a voice that speaks kinder words, walk more gently on the planet, considers how my being impacts the universe – each breathe, each word, each movement or action. Considering how my life, my consumption, my holding and letting go are all a small, minute, insignificant, yet holy prayer, which swirls together whirling and whizzing - into the sky and the earth, into the ears of my family and friends. I go bumping and twisting into the otherwise small and seemingly insignificant - words, actions, consumption and movement.

Small holiness – I see, I feel, I hold - the other, the least of me and my sisters and brothers, walking this vast universe together. Alone, not really, in this place we call home. The chimes singing their song this morning as the wind blows through the cold. I hear the song, see the light, and it is holy.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reclaim Your Vision!

In a post I wrote last may - Hold Gently I described how practicing Circle of Trust@work has made such a difference in my ability to be resilient. I said, "In Circles of Trust we learn to hold the spirit of others gently, like we are holding a small bird, careful not to hold to tightly, or to push the bird before it is ready to fly. The dream of a new kind of school is something I hold each day and long for it to come to fruition. And while I work hard to make things happen, I know that I must “proceed as way opens” (the words of a Quaker phrase, quoted by many). 
Those words speak to the resilience I have found to persist when things don't work out right away. I have not been able to get a new type of school off the ground, yet, and I work so that the way may open. Like the bird in my essay, we sometimes find ourselves stuck in situations and places that test our souls. I have found healthy exploration of these challenges in Circles of Trust.

Sometimes we need a takes a moment to catch our breath and start over again. Sometimes we need help! I hope Morgan and I can help you reclaim your vision!

See the information below for more details, click here to register, or call/email Morgan or Pat!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

When will the water flow?


Stopped in time,
The water is held until the sun and the air 
elevate, rise, move.
All connected, one movement of the tiniest creature
and a cascade of action erupts.
We impact each other and the earth.

How can we not see 
the smile, a footprint,
a glowing cigarette butt flung into the wind
creating a tsunami of hope or grief?
We crack the earth, 
greed and survival flung against
want and despair.

We touch each other 
whether we want to
believe it or not.
We stretch further than our eye,
our touch,
our words, blasting beyond our being.
Our footprint
the beginning of the swell of the rising

When will the water flow again?
Bless the earth!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cold, Icy Branches

You never know what you will find.
Faced with the cold brittle ice of winter,
Deep in the woods.
The grace of god in the branches.
Not knowing -
What will come next?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

BSN Jubilee - Join Us

Blended Schools is having a Jubilee!

We are inviting people who have broken the mold and moved to personalized learning to help students meet their potential. Please submit a proposal to deliver a conference presentation for the Blended Schools Network Jubilee on April 15th 2015! 
We are looking for every academic disciplines to participate. So join us! The Jubilee will feature a day of presentations and discussions.The benefit of this event is that all presentations will be presented through Blackboard Collaborate. Presentations will be 30-45 minutes in length. You won't need to travel for this event; you can present from the convenience or comfort of their office, classroom or home.
To submit a proposal, complete this form

The deadline for submitting proposals is March 10, 2015. Questions may be directed to us by emailing nhazelwood@blendedschools.net.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Un-Cluttering Day 1

Un-Cluttering – A Year of Figuring It Out

So, it started simply. My daughter and her boyfriend gave us a set of new food storage containers. It was like the children’s book “If YouGive a Mouse a Cookie”. One thing let to another and I realized just how much “stuff “ I have in my life. I know I am not the only one, so I resolve to try to move one piece of clutter from my life each day. I am sure that this will be an interesting journey. One that may help me to look at all the things I do in my life and realize which ones just might be holding me back.

This morning I was going to eliminate the sugar from my coffee, but I failed at that already. With so much clutter in my life I figure that I will deprive myself of the sugar a little later in this game. There are so many things that I have to much of; food, clothes, guilt, shoes, socks, expectations, books, pens, paper, ideas, furniture, broken promises, sporting equipment, cards, …. The list could go on and on. So today I will need to figure something besides the clutter of sugar in my coffee – to remove from the clutter of my being.

I wonder why I couldn’t just say no to the sugar this morning? I wonder why I can’t quite sit still? I wonder why the trinkets, purses, electronic gadgets are so important in my life? I have an amazing life filled with amazing family and good friends. Yet I still long. Is it the call of the media? Is it the aching empty hole that I see on the ads on TV? Is it the constant barrage of emails with offers of products reduced and sales to good to pass up? The advertisement in the mail with a peel off sticker – the offer to good to refuse? So I have blankets and travel bags. I have purses and jewelry. I have more food than I should eat as I must purchase “2 for the price of 1”!

What is it that I will streamline from my life today – and what will the end result be? I hope for less sleepless nights. I hope for making the time to play each day. But I am not sure that I can give up all this clutter – or what I will find underneath all the things.  But I will try. I will try today to free myself from judgment. I will try to speak only good words and eliminate the clutter of gossip and demeaning language. I will start small. I will start with myself. No judgment about adding the sugar for one more day.

Maybe no one will notice. A small start on this journey of un-cluttering, to remove the mess that I create by judging others, by judging myself. Today I will begin by replacing my judgments with kind and gentle words, or better yet, no words at all. That is a start. And if I fail – rather than judge, I will try again with a joyful heart until I succeed.