In defense of a snow day

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Snow day!

Snow day! 

In my little corner of the world, the area schools have (wisely) declared a snow day. Thousands of students and most of their parents are thrilled – however, just as many people are not.

I often wonder why there is such a fuss over snow days. Most school years, students may get one or two weather-related cancellations. Over the past few years, we’ve had some of the harshest winters on record, and the students have racked-up many snow days. But I am sure if these days were averaged over the course of their years of education, the sum total of days off would be the tiniest percentage point.

School officials don’t make these decisions lightly. They know that education is important, and they understand that a snow day can create child-care issues for many of their district’s parents. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, especially since their decisions are scrutinized in the media.

If you want to see how passionate people are on this subject, just read the comment section of any article posted about school closings. The complaints and nasty responses would blow your mind, as they use foul language and remark that “the system” is making wimps out of the next generation. A good number of grumpy responders don’t even have school-age children, so why do they care? As I read some responses, a few thoughts came to mind:

  • Maybe these people are envious that they can’t stay home.
  • Perhaps they aren’t accurately remembering “back in the day.”
  • Possibly there is nothing more serious happening in the world than local schools cancelling.

When folks state over and over again that as children, they had to walk in the cold and snow to get to school, I can appreciate that. I did the same. A few blocks to elementary school felt like trekking across the frozen tundra. By junior high (see, dating myself here), it was a little over a mile of walking on un-shoveled walkways while cars zipped by, soaking us with a misty, salty, road-debris spray. Waiting in the elements for the bus to high school wasn’t much fun, either.

But life was different then. Many households had one car. Most elementary schools were within walking distance by a few blocks. Today, the dynamics of our neighborhoods have changed. School consolidations have made walking to school non-existent in many communities, plus many districts have eliminated bus service.

Logistically, closing schools for bad weather makes sense. Why take unnecessary risks? Plus, with less people commuting, road crews can do their jobs more efficiently and expediently.

So again, why the angst?

My guess – it is our society. We’ve been convinced that we can stop for nothing. Always on the go – no down-time. How many people do you know cash in their vacation time instead of taking the time off? How many families do you know of that pick up their kids up from school and shuttle around town all evening, from practices to music lessons or whatever? How many people go to work sick, spreading their germs, because they boast of never taking a day off? Achoo, sniffle, sniffle – thanks and congratulations?! Is there an unwritten rule they we must always be on the go and/or productive?

As a society, we just can’t “be.” We’re either looking at our phones, watching TV, listening to something via ear buds, and so on. We are distracted constantly.

So maybe it isn’t the snow day that it the problem, but it is the anxiety that is created when we just don’t know how to sit back, relax and wait for the storm to end.

As a child, I lived for snow days. Hot chocolate, making extra money shoveling neighbors’ walkways, sledding, playing in the snow, sleeping in – yeah, that’s the life! And the best part was everything was unplanned. Just go with the flow, embracing a little down-time.

As a parent of school-aged children, I prayed for snow days. I loved having a “free day” with my children; no rushing out the door, no schedule – just time to play, drink cocoa and just “be.” I have cherished memories of impromptu cookie-baking sessions. Making pancakes or fresh-baked muffins mid-week was wonderful – a nice break from the routine, like a mini-vacation.

As an almost empty-nester, I still love a snow day. Granted, 90% of my work is done at home. However, this morning was one of the days I normally need to be in the office. I am very grateful for the snow day that allowed me to stay put. My typical routine was tossed aside, and I am enjoying my “free day,” lending me a few spare moments to sit and write. I have truly embraced a few moments of down-time in an otherwise very hectic schedule. Had it not snowed, life would have been business as usual.So, for all the negativity surrounding them, I am writing in defense of snow days. I am seeking the positive and enjoying a little down-time. Sure, the clean-up is a pain, but I am relishing the opportunity to take things a little slower.

Even if it is only for one day.

© Lynne Cobb – 2016

Do you embrace or dread snow days? Share your opinion in the comment section!

 

Oh the irony of the timing of “Make Your Dreams Come True Day”

Make Dreams Come True
Take a chance! Make Dreams Come True!

“Make Your Dreams Come True Day” is today!

Seriously, it is! I was Googling, “fun observances in January,” and ta-da, I found out that every year, January 13 is the day set aside to assess your dreams, goals and so forth. Makes sense to observe this in January as we begin a fresh new year.

Continue reading “Oh the irony of the timing of “Make Your Dreams Come True Day””

The Day After

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“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

It’s hard to believe that yesterday at this time, sleet, rain and snow flurries were taking turns smacking against the windows. It was gray, cold and dreary – a typical November day in our area of the world. Twenty-four hours later, the sun is streaming through the windows of a pretty late-fall day, and as I had let the dog back in the house, I could hear the comforting bells chiming at the church a block away.

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September 11: Finding the Good in the Evil

wpid-2012-07-04-10.19.47.jpgAs I sit here remembering where I was on September 11, 2001, it is hard to even fathom how something so horrific happened in our nation. Like so many others, I replay the awful, tragic events of the day.

I remember sitting outside on our porch the evening of the attacks, trying to wrap my brain around what I saw that morning. Our children were close by – we weren’t letting them out of our sight. The sky was calm and blue, and pastel hues began to emerge as the sun was setting. It was eerily quiet with no aircraft flying overhead. Neighbors were coming over, and a large gathering of stunned and somber people filled our yard. Folks that would normally just nod hello actually stopped to chat longer, as everyone needed to be surrounded by someone.

The next morning, people were lined up outside a flag store in our town, and by mid-day, America flags were swaying gently in the breeze on almost every house. News stories talked about long lines for giving blood donations; doctors and others were jumping in their cars and heading to New York to lend assistance; bottled water, clothing and non-perishables were collected. Churches opened their doors for prayer. People were kinder to each other and helping each other – looking out for their neighbors. September 12 brought about a change of heart and spirit. Police, firefighters and military members were thanked and honored. Somehow, as awful as September 11 was, September 12 began anew. Patriotism was sincere. People were changed.

So now, 14 years later, I have to ask, what the heck happened? How on earth did we forget what it was like to be bonded together and act civil towards one another?

Just this past week, a firefighter lost his life to an angry hit-and-run driver. Police officers are under attack, and I stopped counting how many we lost last week. Military members and their families are threatened. There have been instances where first responders have been refused service just because they are police officers or service members.

I’m not delusional – I know that there are a few rogue cops and soldiers amongst the ranks. But the majority of our first responders are honorable people. These are the folks that not only protect us, they serve us. They go into burning buildings; they perform first aid and CPR; they extract people from twisted wreckage; they deliver babies who are born en route to the hospital; they put a uniform on every day, and every day wonder if they will come home to their families.

And the discord doesn’t stop there. It runs so deep that it is oozing all over social media. If you have an opinion that is different from someone else’s, you are chastised and humiliated for speaking your mind. Bad manners and rudeness runs rampant.

Why don’t we care about each other anymore? Everything is a shouting match, a protest, or angry sparring online. There is little civility, and there is little to no respect for authority or anyone else. Sanctity of life seems to be out the window. People have died due to beatings at sports events. Spirits get crushed by betrayals made public.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa

We are divided and fragmented, hateful and opinionated instead of being united as one, like we were on September 12, 2001.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like who we have become. Reading or watching the news is difficult. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, another sick and demented story airs on the crimes committed against other human beings.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa

It’s true. I can’t change the world, but I can change for the people in my world, starting with:

  • Thanking our family, friends, neighbors and all others who are police officers, firefighters and military members. I don’t think any of these folks know how much they are loved and appreciated for what they do, every single day. And a huge shout-out to the first-responder families for their support.
  • Acknowledging people with a greeting, a nod or a smile.
  • Appreciating all forms of labor and the workers that make my life easier.
  • Trying harder to be patient with people in general, acknowledging that they may be having the worst day of their life.
  • Being kinder to others, especially when I am having a rough day.
  • Treating others as I want to be treated.
  • Being grateful for what I have.
  • Smiling more; frowning less.
  • Praying more; complaining less.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

My faith leads me to know that out of evil, God brings good. The good that came from the evil of September 11 were the positive changes we made on September 12. I pray that we won’t wait for another horrible act to bring us together. We can bring good from evil again.

© Lynne Cobb – 2015

Did you notice a change of heart in people after the terror attacks? Let me know in the comments below.

Props for Menopause

Props for Menopause
Props for Menopause

“I love to come in and play with a wig or glasses or clothes. I love using props. I’m from the Peter Sellers school of trying to prepare for the character.” – Dan Aykroyd

Ha – you’re probably thinking “Props for Menopause” means this essay is all about a big thumbs-up for this crazy change in women. Ummm – no. Far from it. It’s about props that one needs to survive this change of life.

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Top Ten Reasons to Attend Writing Conferences

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“The answer to all writing, to any career for that matter, is love.”
—Ray Bradbury

Though I have been in the writing field for about two decades, it was just this past year I started to attend writing conferences. I have attended workshops, but never day-long conferences. Trust me when I say I am kicking myself for not attending these events sooner.

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The Next Chapter

wpid-20150519_164254.jpg“Every story has an end, but in life every end is a new beginning.” Dakota Fanning

“I don’t think I am handling this very well,” I admitted to my husband.

It all started last week. I went to the high school to pick our daughter up from an event. Since she and her friends began driving, I haven’t had to retrieve her from school very often. As I turned into the parking lot, tears welled up in my eyes.

This was one of the last times I would be at this school. With the exception of one more concert, that is it. She is our last to graduate. Twenty-five years of children in school and it is over.

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A Warrior’s Faith Book Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I was given an advance reader’s copy of this book to review by Family Christian.  All opinions are my own.wpid-2015-03-25-16.34.39.jpg.jpeg

Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours. – Wallace Bruce

It was with great interest I read “A Warrior’s Faith,” written by Robert Vera, who tells the story of Navy SEAL, Ryan Job.

Ryan was not your typical Navy SEAL. He was physically bigger than most, and put through the ringer from his trainers and teammates. Each rigorous test he encountered and passed was a credit to the true spirit he had deep inside – the desire to succeed and the desire to serve his country. In June of 2005, he completed his Naval Special Warfare Training, and was assigned to SEAL Team 3.

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It must be true. I read it online.

It must be true. I read it online.
It must be true. I read it online.

 “Knowledge is good.” Emil Faber – Faber College – Animal House

This morning, as I was drinking my lemon water (I read online that this is good for you), I started reading all kinds of neat new tricks for every ailment and flaw under the sun. As the last shot of lemon water sent a sour shiver down my spine, I reached for the coffee, and then started my routine of quenching my thirst for knowledge. Continue reading “It must be true. I read it online.”

Before Amen – A book review

before amen“If attention deficit disorder applies to prayer, I am afflicted.” Max Lucado – Before Amen

What an honor to review Before Amen, a book by one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado.

One of the reasons I have always enjoyed Max Lucado’s books and devotionals is because he has a talent for writing the most profound messages in such an easy-to-comprehend way. He begins this book by announcing that he is a recovering prayer wimp, and admits that has dozed off while praying. He also admits that his thoughts zig, then zag, then zig again.

Though describing himself, he is also describing me. Continue reading “Before Amen – A book review”