Discovering and playing and building in this little corner of the world to document my writing life. I'm glad you're here. {If you want to receive updates via email, sign up below.}

Sign up to receive updates via email.

Friday, July 3, 2015

CELEBRATE This Week LXXXIX (89)


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


*****
I turned my Instagram account public. I've been using it to collect & document celebrations. I love it. Please follow me there: @ruth_ayres to find celebrations throughout the week.
*****

One.
My one goal for the summer is making all of the difference. It's made me slow down, reminding me of my One Little Word for the year -- unhurried. I've held their hands in the car and walking to the skate park. I've held their hands in the grocery store and on the couch. I've held their hands saying goodnight and good morning.

I've thought about what it means to hold their hands in the figurative sense. So I've taken an extra breath and listened more. I've ran upstairs for them to grab a forgotten item. I've taken them to the library two extra times.

The most remarkable thing has happened.

They've started holding my hand first.

And I'm reminded of the truth that allows me to believe that just maybe I can be the momma they need. Children need fans. They need people to invest in them. They need to know they're capable and loved and worthy of someone's time.

I hold their hands and somehow it turns into something so much bigger.

Two.
This is the perfect anniversary memory.

This conversation from earlier today.
Jay: Wait a minute! Aren't you guys going to go to do something for your anniversary?
Me: We're hanging out with you guys. Swimming in the rain, riding the boat, eating cake before dinner.
Jay: No, I mean aren't you going to do something just for you guys?
Andy: And miss tubing with you?
Me: And miss the jokes and the fun on the dock?
Jay: You don't wanna go do something grown-up fun?

Andy and I laughed. Nope. We don't wanna be anywhere but right here.

And it reminded me how I waited for this, how we used to imagine summer days with our kids. I expected a little girl with my curls and a son with his eyes. This is not our reality -- nor my dream anymore. Instead, we have so much more than we could have ever imagined.

A daughter who is becoming herself and another who has bold confidence. A son with an extra dose of creativity and another with an extra dose of all-things-boy. We don't know the endless diapers of having four kids within a year of one another, nor did we weather the stress of sleepless nights and rocking them to sleep.

Instead we know how to build forever and how to weave threads into the fabric of a family. We know the how to weather the ugliness of being scraped by the world. We know how to make a family safe.
We know we're in this together. Forever.

I can't imagine a better anniversary gift than this.
Share your celebrations below. Happy Independence Day!

Friday, June 26, 2015

CELEBRATE This Week LXXXVIII (88)


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


*****
I turned my Instagram account public. I've been using it to collect & document celebrations. I love it. Please follow me there: @ruth_ayres to find celebrations throughout the week.
*****
 My summer is slipping away and when I look ahead on the calendar, it doesn't seem like it's going to slow down. I had the privilege this week of reading a draft by Christy Rush Levine. In it, she reminded readers of the power of a single goal.

One goal.

Period.

Obviously, it got me thinking. Since summer is going so quickly, I really should choose one goal to hold tight. It's tough to choose just one goal, one action that will make a summer. Usually these things come quickly. Last year there were three.


I've been thinking how to boil down and sum up this summer in a single goal. I think it comes down to this...


This summer, I'm going to hold their hands. Feel free to check in with me later and see how it goes.

Thanks for finding time to celebrate. Share your links below!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

CELEBRATE This Week LXXXVII (87)


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****
I turned my Instagram account public. I've been using it to collect & document celebrations. I love it. Please follow me there: @ruth_ayres to find celebrations throughout the week.
*****

My family had the privilege of hosting 8 friends (slicers, teachers, writers) from 7 different states for dinner.  It is one of those moments when you know as it's happening it is affirming  you, changing you, and positioning you all at the same time. We laughed and cried and laughed laughed laughed.

Perhaps you don't recognize them from the photo. You will recognize them from their blog names. From left to right in the photo, you will find...

Ramona from Pleasures from the Page and Washington State
Linda from Teacher Dance and Denver, Colorado
Becca from Nguyen's Prairie Home Companion and Indiana
Christy from Read Write Inspire and Illinois
Mary Helen from Book Savors and Indiana
Kim from Write Kim Write and California
Lori from Colors of My Life and Memphis, Tennessee
Elsie from Elsie Tries Writing and Springfield, Missouri

Andy grilled for us. He'd do just about anything for these women. They handed back pieces of me when my writing life was fragile.

It is a risk to open our worlds to others. I place words -- honest, raw, beautiful, messy words on the page -- and build a story. Bit by bit my story unfolds in notebooks and articles and books and blogs (traveling through time from Inspiring Readers and Writers and Two Writing Teachers and now here).

I have a lifetime collected in scraps of stories, always turning to the page to gather words.

I look at this photo and it anchors me. It reminds me that I always get more than I give when I clack words and open my world.

Home is where I get to be wholly me.  It is an honor to host these women who have helped me believe my story matters. They call themselves the Ruth Ayres Fan Club. It makes my cheeks rosy and my heart tingle. Andy claims presidency of the club. This makes me laugh.


I used to worry about getting the story right.

Now I know Story refuses to have anything to do with getting it right. Story defies perfection. Story refuses stagnation.Story laughs at being controlled.

As a writer the only right thing is to catch the story as it spins.

I celebrate finding this truth because I'm surrounded (in my home and around the globe) by people who write their stories because I write mine.
I'm pretty sure this is the best gift anyone can give.





Saturday, June 13, 2015

CELEBRATE This Week LXXXVI (86)


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****
I turned my Instagram account public. I've been using it to collect & document celebrations. I love it. Please follow me there: @ruth_ayres to find celebrations throughout the week.
*****
One of my standard pieces of advice for young writers is this: Write what you know. Write about events that have already happened, not the things you are looking forward to happening. For example, if you have a party coming up next weekend, wait to write about it. Don't write about it before it happens.

This is solid writing advice.

I'm going to break it.

Next week is the annual All-Write Summer Institute. I love this conference. (It's not too late to register! Just click on the link.) It's like a party in my backyard. Top-notch speakers and educators come from all over to attend. It's one of the few times when my online world and real world blend. I like this. I like to sit in a session with friends from across the map and friends who teach in the classrooms of my school. I like to have coffee with teachers from a  menagerie of states and backgrounds.

I have all kinds of favorite parts, but I especially like the small connections, the conversations happening in the crevices of the day. I like the way our writing wraps around one another and holds us tight as friends...even when we our visits are few.

There's a group of women who have been reading my writing for years. I think they might know me better than I know myself. It's become a tradition to eat together at the end of the conference. I'm amazed each year how this time restores me as a human and a teacher and a writer and a friend. It is almost magical.

We each need restoration. Friday leads into Saturday, and this particular Friday, with a table of friends from more than 5 different states, will lead into an annual writing retreat for Choice Literacy contributors.

I'm going to the retreat a day early, with a handful of people who invest in me as a writer, who restore me as a human. Andy encouraged me to take the extra day for the writing retreat. He knows about investment and restoration too.

So here I am, once again shaking off what I think should be doing and embracing who I am. I am a writer who needs restored. It is a process and I celebrate being surrounded by people who believe the best in me and are willing to sit in the quiet to give me space to figure out it is much more important to BE rather than DO. And once I'm settled in who I am, the spilling of words will follow.

*****
I hope you'll post a pic of your writing spot and tag it with #iwritehere. Thanks Jennifer Laffin (@laffinteach)for the conversation starter & inspiration that follows as we share our writing spaces.

I write anywhere. Here are some of my usual haunts.



Share your celebrations below!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

CELEBRATE This Week LXXXV (85)


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

*****
I turned my Instagram account public. I've been using it to collect & document celebrations. I love it. Please follow me there: @ruth_ayres to find celebrations throughout the week.
*****
Not everybody gets to be an aunt. Long before I wanted to be a momma, I wanted to be the best aunt in the universe. I got to be an aunt to these two before I was even officially married into the family.
 
Their mommy let me be their aunt. It's not something I take lightly. You have to be allowed to be involved in lives. Being an aunt soothed my soul when I didn't get to be a momma.

At age two, they were the world's cutest ring bearer and flower girl. (Andy and his sister, Abbie, are in the photo too...not that you really notice them for all the cuteness of Madison and Cole. Note the bag of Cheerios in Cole's hand. Madison was more discreet with her flower girl basket full of Cheerios.)

 
Of course, the fun was just beginning. 
 
 
A couple of blinks and a handful of ballgames and parties and holidays and recitals and suddenly they are all grown up, dressed in caps and gowns. You know it's going to happen, but when it does, when it really happens, you can't help but catch your breath by the sheer awe of it all.

One moment you're there --
Then the next you're here --

And I find myself completely overwhelmed by all of the emotions. No one ever told me that being the best aunt in the universe means they grow up faster than you expect and they'll tower over you and then they go on to live these beautiful imperfect lives that just make you love them more.

No one ever told me that their hugs get better the older they get. They don't just hug you just because you're the best aunt in the universe, but because they love you back.


Cole and Maddie, your resilience amazes me.
Share your celebrations!