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The Beauty of Death and a Dogwood Tree

My beautiful picture

Me, my grandfather Finn, and my older brother Matthew

A long time ago, I read Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho, a brilliant read about a girl who tries to commit suicide and fails. She is then sent to a mental hospital, and there in her own freedom, she learns how to appreciate life. It struck me because it had never occurred to me to think about those who had failed at the task, and what that might feel like, yet I found myself empathizing with this girl who was trying to do what we all are trying to do, and that is to navigate our journey. Paulo gives us a rare opportunity to try to understand Veronika, who thrives by failing at her suicide, which is the ultimate example of how failure makes us who we are. At times during the read, my stomach would get sick because I found myself jealous of her, to have that kind of opportunity to learn from such an enormous failure, and at the same, gaining an acute understanding of how to be a survivor of death.

I’ve been thinking about death more often, and not in the scary-Veronika-I-want-to-take-myself-out-way, but more of a ponder. New territory, death has surrounded me more and more lately and I suppose that is what comes with age, but I question how we behave with one another from the lens of dealing with death, and how we learn from the experience. So far, I’m more struck by the suffering and resiliency of the survivors than the deaths themselves. Do we all wonder about what kind of survivor we will become?

My beautiful picture

My grandmother Hilger

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What does Sheldon of the Big Bang Theory have to do with school culture?

Here is a recent blog I wrote about how Standard Operating Procedures impact students. Happy back to school everyone!

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The Invisible Backpack that Poverty Brings

As much as people want to separate the two for a variety of reasons, rural and urban environments face many similar challenges in education. Check out this quick post I wrote for KnowledgeWorks while attending our annual conference.

The Invisible Backpack that Poverty Brings

127 Ways to Learn about a School District

Here is a recent blog I wrote for a school district that I work with in Michigan. Happy Spring everyone!

127 Ways to Learn About the Kenowa Hills Public School District

King Salmon Fishing in the Cook Inlet

Glass like conditions for King Salmon fishing in May out of the salts in Alaska!!! The conditions couldn’t have been any better. Thank you Mother Earth!

Compromising Fear

In the 70s and 80s, parents could hire cheap babysitters, and even if they didn’t, it was an accepted practice to leave the kids home alone by the time one was the appropriate age.  It’s hard to say if parents agreed on what that age was, but it was certainly younger than what is considered acceptable today. In those days, parents would go out without the kids quite often. Once I was defined as old enough to be left alone, my parents took advantage every now and then. We only had one tv in our house at the time, or so this is what I remember. Back then, you still had to get up to change the channel and I found the tv to be good company when home alone.

My childhood home was complete with a very used wooden bar, a multi-colored patch-like love seat with wooden arm rests, and red shag carpet; the house screamed 70s’ decor, although I am not sure that is the technical name for it. We also had this deck that was a constant second gathering while entertaining. As a child, I loved having all of my friends over for birthday parties on that deck. Our legs would be dangling off the sides, swinging with joy as we sat on the bench-railing waiting patiently for the home-made ice cream machine, the kind that required rock salt, to finish. The adults too, whether separated from us or not, seemed to relish in their joy while entertaining each other on that deck.

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Lance Mackey at the 2016 Iditarod Ceremonial Start

Bib #72

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