Letter to my Students

UPDATE: After I posted this I realized that it might need a little more explanation. I did not write this letter simply for the joy and practice of letter writing. In fact, if I was trying to convey something to my students I probably wouldn’t use this blog since I don’t think very many of them read it! At my school we have a wonderful tradition of sending our sixth-graders on to junior high with a special memory book just for their class. In it there are letters from many of their former teachers and the current sixth grade teachers wishing them well on their way up the educational ladder. This particular letter was the one I wrote for their memory book this year.

What I failed to mention was that last year when I wrote to my students I included many bits of the same advice. It was my first time writing a letter meant to be kept and reflected upon in future years.  In fact, I am certain that most of my former students have this taped above their beds and are reflecting upon it at this very minute – asking themselves “What would Ms. Owen do?” Like most of my major pieces of writing I had my mom proofread it. One Sunday evening we sat down together and came up with some bits of advice that we each thought pertinent.

So what you may not know is that these words come not only from me but also from my mother who was wise, kind, and had this way about her of knowing exactly what people needed to hear.

 

To Ms. Owen’s class,

Before you head off to junior high and leave your elementary years behind you, I want to tell each of you how much you have amazed me this year. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such a fabulous bunch of young adults.

We had our ups and downs, and I haven’t seen much of you the last half of the school year, but I want you to know that I thought of you often. You have learned that bad things can happen, but you need to remember that good things can rise from the ashes of a disaster. When you think back on this year I want you to remember the happy story, because there is a happy version for every situation. Remember that Ms. Owen is alive and happy; remember that you had a great teacher the second half of the school year, and that you got to experience something really special this year. You watched me struggle, cry, and be mad, but you were also able to watch just how much hard work pays off. Your job is to never give up. There are very few things in life in which hard work does not pay off. You hold a very special place in my heart because of the wonderful people you are and because of all the great memories that we share.

As you depart to junior high I am confident that you are academically prepared and will be wildly successful in all your classes. What I would like to do is also leave you with some practical advice:

  • Choose your friends carefully….You reveal your character not only by the company you keep…..But also by the company you avoid.
  • When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.
  • In ten years you will be nothing like the person you are today. I know you don’t believe me…but please try not to embarrass the future you.
  • Learn how to swing a hammer, change your oil, and flip a breaker.
  • It is okay to say “no.” No one will explode and die, regardless of how they may try to convince you otherwise.
  • Do not post Facebook pictures of yourself that you wouldn’t want me, or any of your other teachers to accidentally stumble across.
  • You do not have to be tomorrow, who you were today.
  • Happiness is a choice.
  • Find something you like to do and do as much of it as you can. You will get good at it, and that will make you feel strong.
  • Plan for college.
  • If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see you doing it, don’t do it.
  • Peer pressure is no excuse for stupidity.
  • Be compassionate with yourself, respect yourself, be comfortable with the person you are. Only then can you feel peace.

While you learned many new skills this year, more importantly, you learned about respect. That was the foundation of our classroom. We always tried to be respectful of other classrooms and our classmates. It’s not always easy to be kind and respectful, but you worked hard at it. You listened to your friends as they spoke and applauded their ideas. As adults entered our room, you thanked them for helping us. By taking your time and doing your very best work, you demonstrated self-respect. I am so proud of you for these accomplishments.

I hope you know what truly unique, talented, and amazing people you are. All of you have been generous with your belongings, your knowledge, and your time. You all have special talents and have shared them with us. When you brought your gifts and talents to our classroom, you helped to build a unique learning community. We learned from each other. I hope you know how important you are to me, to your classmates, to your family, and to many others in our school community. I know you will do many fabulous things with your life, and I cannot wait to see what amazing gifts you give to the world around us. You have already proven what precious gifts you can bring to a classroom. Believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish anything. Know that I will always believe in each and every one of you.

You are always welcome to come back and visit me anytime. Have a safe and wonderful summer and best wishes next year.

Love,

Ms. Owen

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Fundraiser Reminder

Quick reminder that the second fundraiser for Jessie is fast approaching.  The Lawn Olympics fundraiser is on Sunday, July 21st, 10 am – 3 pm at Cromwell Park in Shoreline.  This fundraiser will start with fun adult and youth activities for you to compete in and win prizes, followed by a BBQ lunch and silent auction with some amazing auction items available.

Pre-registration is strongly recommended to help us with a head count for food.  Please click this link to register:  http://www.helphopelive.org/find-a-patient/profile/dsp_patient_event_registration.cfm/patient/EC3BB5C7-DCAD-81B7-1C7A32460EBAC363/event_setup_summary_id/224

For those of you that didn’t realize, Jessie’s birthday is that week, so please come celebrate Jessie’s birthday with us and help us raise money for Jessie’s uninsured medical expenses!!  The outpouring of love and support from the community, family and friends has been amazing, so thank you in advance!!

If you have any questions, would like to help with the fundraiser, or donate items for the auction, prizes or lunch, please contact Katie Beth at 206-679-1475 or katiebeth6@gmail.com.

Crazy Week

It has been over a week since that magical Friday night! The Rock for Love concert was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen, or felt in my life. I was so incredibly touched by everything, and what everyone did for my family and me that night! I have so many more words, and so much more praise for the evening that has boosted my confidence, and touched my heart more than I can explain. So what I would like to do is have you send me the photos, and videos that you took that night, and with your permission I would love to make a little montage to imprint this memory forever. After I collect all these treasures, I will spill my heart out to you about the gratitude that I feel for my genuinely selfless, dedicated, and loving community. lovetheowens@gmail.com

In all fairness, I had a crazy busy week! So… That is why I couldn’t blog… Excuses, excuses :-). The Sunday after Rock for Love was Father’s Day, and we went to my grandmother’s house and had deliciously salty Chinese food! It was a fun day and I feel like we did the right thing for our family.

Monday, my hard-working, and kind sixth graders had their promotion ceremony. I went to school to be there with them, as I still feel like I am their teacher. It was a beautiful promotion and it was nice to see these kiddos get ready to move on to junior high. Let me also note that every day of the week I am doing therapy before or after each of my events!

Tuesday I attended the sixth grade party at Lynwood Bowl and Skate! I would like to say that I got my skate on… But sadly I did not, I just sat and watched flexible, young, and not exactly agile kids fall on their face while skating around the rink. That evening I went to Golden Gardens and had a little picnic dinner on the beach! We stayed out late but it was such a beautiful evening that it seemed like a waste spend it inside! There’s something about the boats, the water, and the pristine sky that is relaxing and incredibly mysterious to me. The universe is vast and although we know some things about it, it is one of our biggest mysteries as humans. We are small and tiny, but we are not insignificant. We can live our lives in a way that enriches others, and fills our hearts with happiness. Tuesday evening was a great joy for me!

Wednesday, was the last day of school and I wanted to be there for the assembly. One of my major goals was to walk through the gym, sit on a regular chair, and walked out of the gym by the last day of school. And I’m really proud to say, that I did it! It was not easy to get there. I spent hours practicing how to get out of a chair, how to use a walker, and trying to get my booty to land in precisely the right spot! My trainers at Pushing Boundaries really helped me achieve this goal by pushing me to do it over and over and over again.

Here is a clip of my brilliant, beautiful and ever supportive principal talking to our school at the assembly on Wednesday.

Thursday, I wanted to go to my friends softball game. So we loaded up the van and headed to the field just to find that it was rained out. If you remember on Thursday, that was the day rain just dumped from the sky. Not to be deterred from having a good time, we went to a bar and had dinner and drinks. It turned out to be quite a late-night! We found ourselves ordering totachos… Which is exactly what it sounds like, nachos on tater tots! I think I outdid myself as I proceeded to shove tot after tot down my throat!

Friday, my buddies and I went to a little martini bar at the Northgate Mall and had dinner and drinks while we watched the Mariners choke another game! Those boys have got to get it together! Go M’s!

Saturday I went to the Fremont Solstice Parade… Among the top five Seattle people watching events! I saw my fair share of naked individuals! If you are not familiar with this particular parade I will give you a short background. Wikipedia explains it as ”
famous for its wild and creative floats and ensembles and for the
Solstice Cyclists, who strip down before the parade and paint their bodies,who unofficially start the parade every year”. It was hot, crowded, and a complete blast! I had such a good time! I did not take my power chair, so my friend had to push me around Fremont. But I don’t think he minded, it was quite a good workout! After the parade I went to a friends house and celebrated a birthday party in her backyard. It was absolutely perfect! Hot dogs, hamburgers, and beer! And for my party girls out there, I want you to know that I played a few rounds of boat races or as some of you know it flip cup. We stayed out late, danced, and enjoyed each other’s company! Being out with my friends in a backyard, and having a little barbecue makes me feel normal. You should know that I struggle with many simple things, squeezing the toothpaste bottle, getting over bumpy ground, opening doors, and one of my most serious problems right now… Is doing my damn hair! It drives me nuts that my arms can’t reach every part of my head and that my fingers are not nimble enough to put a clip in or tie a ponytail. If anyone has any great solutions to this I would love to hear it! I am all ears! 988629_10100838632231353_1792592321_nBut what I’m saying is that in the presence of these wonderful people it is easy to forget that I currently cannot do as much as them!. I’m lucky to have people in my life that one, can look past the chair and the choppy movements I have and two, simply help me out when I need it without a second thought. As much tragedy as I have experienced lately, the loss of my parents, the loss of my independence, the loss of my home, and the loss of my body, I still consider myself a lucky woman.

Now, here I am on Sunday updating you about my crazy busy week! I am enjoying the chaos, and not letting this injury get in the way of all the fun that is out there to experience!

I’m really looking forward to all the pictures and videos from the concert! Send them my way so that we can do blog justice to this event!

If you have not already RSVPed to the memorial in August here is the link that you need.https://lovetheowens.wordpress.com/celebration-of-life/

Keep on keeping on!

Please RSVP

We are looking forward to celebrating the beautiful lives of Tim and Cheryl on Sunday, August 4th.  In order to help us in our planning, we would love it if you could please let us know if you will be attending by clicking on the tab above labeled “Celebration of Life” and filling out the form at the bottom of the page. All are welcome and we hope to see you there! 

Daddy, Pop, Pappy, Dada, & Dad

In our house it was my dad who took the kids out in the evenings to find ladybugs and worms along our neighborhood trail. It was my dad who scooped us up from the bath with a towel and carried us around like a stork delivering a baby.

First time together as a family

First time together as a family

Dad was the fingernail cutter in our house. He would clip off almost all of the nail but leave a little bit attached so that we could pick the last bit off ourselves. In our house daddy was the joke player, so you better be on the lookout all the time!

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Bath, books, and bed

Daddy taught us to put glue on our hands so we could peel it off slowly, how to ride a bike without training wheels, and that working hard at something will make you a better person.

In second grade my dad took me out to breakfast every Friday morning to study my spelling words at the Clearview Café. I would order four pieces bacon and he would order eggs and toast. He would drive me to school, give me a kiss, and say good luck sweetie work hard.scan0079

All three of us got to be a coaches kid growing up. The rule in our house was that the coaches kid needed to be the first one there, the last one to leave, and the hardest worker. The coaches kid got no special treatment. There was a time when my dad was coaching fastpitch practice at Kokanee Elementary and no assistant coaches could make it that day.

Typical Jessie moment - and DAD!

Typical Jessie moment – and DAD!

On accident… And I stress that this was an accident! I hit my brother in the eye with a baseball bat. My dad was alone with 14 nine-year-old girls and his four-year-old son. He found the first aid kit, cracked open an ice pack, and propped my brother up against the fence until practice was over. As we packed up the van he scooped my brother up, gave him a kiss, and told him how proud of him he was.

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In our household both parents were always present at every soccer game, softball game, wrestling match, basketball game, football game, crew meet, and horse show. scan0065When taking Jessie to any of these events it meant taking two cars because if her team lost there was not one person on earth who could bear the car ride home with her. Daddy was the one who always drew the short stick and listened to her meltdown all the way home.

Dad was the one who took you to the emergency room when you cut your finger off, dad was the one to teach you to drive, to change a tire, and how to shoot a gun. At 58 years old my dad kicked our butts in a game of badminton, though I will deny it to anyone who repeats that!

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Dad always encouraged us to try new things, to have an adventure, to be wild, to be proud, and to work hard.

So how can I live a life worthy of his legacy? If I can be as kind and generous and as bad ass as my dad, I think that will be a start.

So happy Father’s Day to my mentor and inspiration, my coach, my perspicaciously witty, and relentlessly hard-working father. I love you, we all love you.

I will always be my daddy's girl

I will always be my daddy’s girl

Fundraiser Reminder

Reminder that the first fundraiser for Jessie, The Rock for Love Benefit Concertis tomorrow night (Friday, June 14).  Tickets are still available!!  

Details and registration are now available for the second fundraiser, Lawn Olympics (Sunday, July 21).  Sign up here!!

We appreciate all the support from the community as we help Jessie fund raise to pay for uninsured rehabilitation expenses.  We look forward to seeing you at these events!

Kenny! Kenny! Kenny!

If you did not already know, last weekend I had one of my long time dreams come true!kenny-chesney7

Many years ago, when I was about 14 years old I remember riding  in the minivan to soccer practice with my girls and singing along to Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”.  From that moment I fell in love with Kenny and have not missed one of his concerts in Washington. Since that time I’ve had many firsts with Mr. Chesney: first time learning to drive, first time falling in love, first time away from home, my first broken heart, and my first serious hangover!kenny-chesney-2jpg-c31667837914cec0

Even as a teenager when my friends and I were blasting Shaggy, Smashmouth, Britney Spears, TLC, Puff Daddy, Blackstreet, and M.C Hammer through the speakers of the Toyota Corolla with the windows down – I always had a spot on the playlist for my beloved Kenny.

Kenny is not only an amazing artists, but he is also a phenomenal showman. His concerts are like a big party! I have enjoyed each and every one of them and look forward to every time he is in town. This year I was excited but also had another piece of a small emotion hanging over me. I’m not sure what it was, I wouldn’t call it nervousness, but I was conscious that this particular concert was going to be different than the others that I have been to. I would be in a wheelchair. People would look at me. I would have trouble holding my beer, getting through the crowd, and eating a snack.Kenny Chesney at Century Link Field I knew I would have fun, I was going with great friends and I would not let anything spoil this day for me. However, it was another small step in moving forward with this new life.

We arrived a couple hours early and sat outside the KMPS tent and listened to some live music in the sunshine. My friend Dan, who I have done some volunteer work with, works at KJR and asked his buddy at KMPS to be on the lookout for us. So we met Pat who worked tirelessly to score 1 meet and greet pass for Kenny Chesney. To say I was excited is a complete understatement. I could not wrap my head around this! I have literally had dreams about meeting this man in a Walmart and wrapping my hands around him in the cereal aisle!photo10

As we were waiting to go in we entered a few raffles and ended up scoring three meet and greet passes for Kasey Musgraves. It worked out perfectly because my three girlfriends would meet her and I would go see Kenny! Since their meet and greet was earlier than mine they headed into the stadium and I relaxed in the sunshine for a few more minutes before proceeding inside and meeting them at our seats. They said that this girl was so down to earth and a complete cutie pie! Not to mention the fact that she is completely talented!

Our seats were the perfect people watching seats. They were right on the railing of the 100 level looking down into the floor seating.kenny-chesney-seattle-seahawks-practice-570x760 There was a stairway heading up to the restrooms and food area right next to us so we got to see everyone who came up and down those stairs. Let me tell you that near the end of the night we saw many more people tripping and falling down those stairs rather than gracefully descending them as they did earlier in the afternoon. Kasey sang, then the Eli Young band sang, and then it was time for me to head down to the meet and greet area.

In line I met a sweet girl named Alex, who works at KMPS and she became my date 🙂 There were approximately 30 of us and we waited about 20 minutes on the 100 level waiting area, and then we all headed in to a press conference type room. There we waited another 20 minutes. Kenny came in wearing a black shirt, khaki pants, and a baseball hat and sat in front of a backdrop that was situated kitty corner. He was facing the corner so it gave us the illusion that our one on one was private. When he came in I was immediately engulfed by a feeling of elation and avidity! I was quite certain Kenny’s life was about to change forever.Kenny Chesney at Century Link Field

I was near the end of the line and was getting increasingly nervous! I practiced what I would say in my head over and over and over again. There was another man in a wheelchair so when his turn came I sent Alex over to see where he put his wheelchair in relation to Kenny so that I would know where to go! The line seem to creep too slowly and too quickly at the same time.

When my turn came I wheeled up there and said in my most charming, yet sexy voice “Hi it’s nice to meet you, my name is J-J-Jessie”. He replied  “Nice to meet you Jessie” and shook my hand. I peeled my eyes away from him long enough to face the camera and asked “Is this okay? I’m kind of new at driving this thing still—I want us to look good in our picture”. He laughed and said “Sure baby, that is great-you know we will!” It took everything in me at that point to act like a dignified person and not screech with delight that he called me baby. We took a picture and then I asked  him if he would be willing to sign my ticket. He smiled and responded “sure babe!”. I grinned and squeaked out a thank you. As I left I wished him a great show and he replied “You enjoy the show, it was really nice to meet you”.

And now you know the story of my engagement 🙂 We are getting married… He doesn’t know… We are not telling him… On second thought… That isn’t a bad idea! 964898_10100811777857733_1963846654_o

As I rolled out of the room I could not contain my shriek anymore and had to let it out! So amazing! A very short, but very magical moment for me.

The rest of the concert was incredible. He is such a performer, and he clearly loves being in Seattle! At one point Russell Wilson came out on stage and the crowd erupted in cheers! Century Link ended up running out of food, beer, and womens restroom facilities. Despite that, I am pretty sure that everyone in there had one hell of a night.

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Mom and me last time Kenny played in the stadium xoxo

I have to think that my mom had some small part in this. The weather could not have been better. All four of us ended up getting some type of meet and greet pass. And during a song about rain a light mist trickled down and kissed our heads for just a moment.

Also, for the record, even in a wheelchair I was still able to score a free beer 🙂