When The Cardinal Chirps

I took this picture a year ago today as I was closing down 2020;
what a difference a year makes. 2022, here we come.

I've decided on the word nourish as I continue to work on feeding my mind, body, and spirit with things that are healthy for me and serve me well so that I can wholeheartedly serve those whom I'm blessed to coach, mentor, support, teach, love, encourage, inspire, influence and impact. 

What's YOUR one word this year?

So right before the semester ended, I called a self-care audible and booked a last-minute trip to go home and spend a few days before Christmas with my parents and siblings. Full disclosure: I needed to be with the people who feel the loss of my brother Mipps as much as I do. So off to the frozen tundra I went. We laughed, we cried, we celebrated, and we grieved. 

Together. Oh how I savor my time with these two.

It was in line at the Milwaukee airport Starbucks, at 5 am on the morning of the 23rd that I saw the cardinal on this gift card and heard Mipps' voice whisper to treat my crew to a coffee and a pastry, as a thank-you for working during the holidays. 

So I grabbed 3, then felt his tug not to be stingy, to think about the gate agents and pilots. I picked up 5 more, and continued to wait my turn in line. Finally at the front, I didn't get the warmest reception from the cashier. In fact, she kind of tried to talk me out of buying the cards, explaining that each one of them had to be rung up on its own, in eight separate transactions. Mindful of the people behind me but perplexed by her reluctance, I asked, "So would you rather I only buy six and not eight?" Then she reiterated that it would take awhile to get them all rung up, but she added that since I'd taken my turn in line, she didn't see why I shouldn't be able to get all eight. I thanked her profusely and pointed out that it might be the chance her barista needed, to get caught up; she chimed in that she, too, could use the break.
Words can't adequately express how grateful I am, 
that I listened to that whisper.

I started with the gate agent, asking how many crew members there'd be. She told me three, so I knew I had enough cards to bless her with one. She was SO tickled that she gifted me with pre-boarding status to help facilitate the gift-card distribution, in case anyone needed proof that 
kindness begets kindness. It just does. And it feels AmAzInG.

I handed three to the crew as they waited to board the plane, 

then went to the agents at gates C-19 and C-20 to give them each one. 

That left two more, one for each of the pilots. As I was choosing my seat, one of the flight attendants greeted me with, "There's the nice lady who gave us Starbucks cards." And there it was, my invitation to talk about how I'd lost my brother and how I'd been on the lookout for ways to show gratitude through the grief, to remember him and make him proud. I may have even mentioned that I'd seen the cardinal on a few of the cards and how important it is to listen, when the cardinal chirps. She expressed her condolences as I settled in and the other passengers began to board.

Right before we landed, my new flight-crew friend haded me this:

Heart warmed.

And now, back to that #OneWord challenge, before we fly off into 2022. If you're planning to invite the children in your care in choosing one word, this book would beautifully segue into setting those intentions.

In Letters To Live By: An Alphabet Book With Intention, the author shares a two-word intention for each of the 26 letters, to help our youngest learners make our world better. My favorite pages include: 
Choose Compassion, Forgive Friends, Give Generously.

Read a piece about helping kids set intentions {here}.

Ask your students for their intentions or focus word; what skill or trait do they want to get better at? Or how do they want people to feel when they're in their presence?  Here's what happened when we did the challenge at Bales Intermediate five years ago.

This is how it looked when I challenged the staff to choose their one word.

Check out this new treasure making its debut January 11, 2022.

And don't forget to keep listening for those quiet chirps.

Happy new year, dear reader.


1 comment

  1. Peace. Paz. I love that "peace" in Spanish sounds like "pause". I hope to experience more peace and do what I can to influence peace in the world around me. I love your story about the Starbucks gift cards. You reflect the light of Jesus wherever you go, Barbara.❤️


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