Monday, March 9, 2015


Today was a rough day. A tiring day. A stressed out day.

I had tutoring after work. I drove with my kids to the middle school and went into T's last class of the day to get him for tutoring, and he was with Mr. C.

Mr. C is a good teacher. He is young. And he is one of the few teachers at T's school that tells me what they are doing so I can work on it with T.

Today Mr. C said T has a project. Poetry. Figurative Language. I was like, Great! This is RIGHT up my ally.

T was to research a poem by Emily Dickinson and tell the main idea of the poem and what figurative language is in it.

I was going to wait until Wednesday and bring T M's Emily Dickinson complete book of poems she got for Christmas, but T said, "We can just look it up on the computer!"

He was ready to start the project. He was READY to START the project!

We did.

This was the very first poem to pop up.
I asked if he wanted to use it for the project and he did so I printed it out in the library.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

We read it line by line dissecting the meaning. Of course right away we discovered the poem is a complete metaphor comparing hope to this figurative bird. A bird in our soul that sings the optimism of hope that weathers the storms, that brings us warmth on the coldest days in our lives, that never dies, that follows us and asks us for nothing.

He got it. Every. Single. Word. He read it several times out loud word for word beautifully.

He immediately pointed out the main idea. I asked him what the storm represented and he responded, "hard times." We talked about what abash the little bird meant-to kill our hope that lives in our soul that things will get better.

He practiced presenting it describing the metaphors, the personification, the symbolism. We discussed the word soul. We talked about how he lives in a body, has a mind, but he IS a soul. He got it. He was pensive.

I described the visual of little birds begging for bread crumbs. I don't know if he really made a connection to that but a really funny thing happened.

After the poem we all-He, I, M and W went to Panera because he had never been, and I have like 4 Panera gift cards from teacher appreciation week, and there is just something to walking in Panera the very first time and seeing and smelling all that bread and the pastries.

On our drive there he ventured out to tell me something. He said from the seat behind me, "Mrs. Papillion?" I said, "yes?" He said, "I saw my dad." Now I know this is a big big deal. He hasn't seen him in 2 years and for 2 years I've had him shed many tears to me because he wants a father, he misses his father. He feels a gaping hole. I said, "Really?!" He said he saw him at his brother's birthday party and he didn't stay long. He left soon after but called and talked to T on the phone.


We walked in Panera and we all made our choice. He chose a huge cinnamon roll, W a cheese pastry, M a cobblestone muffin, and me an orange scone. I ordered and we went outside on this cloudy 60 degree muggy warm day with our carbs.

As we got out there we sat at the outside tables and talked and ate our pastries.

Then the funny thing happened. It would be totally ordinary if we had not read and analyzed and discussed the Emily Dickinson poem.

Little frail birds flocked to us looking for crumbs. I had just discussed this scenario in the poem. Little birds begging for crumbs. Yet here they were. He was delighted in a solemn quiet serious way to feed the birds his cinnamon roll crumbs. We watched the tiny birds carrying huge crumbs away.

Hope, what warmth it gives and doesn't even ask a crumb of me.

Just earlier on this day I wondered what is MY purpose. I didn't know I would be teaching the meaning of this poem I myself have never even read to T. Hearing his story of his dad. Taking him to Panera for his first time to watch the birds from the poem carry crumbs away. None of that was planned. At least not by me.

But Hope.

The thing with feathers.

That perches in our soul-in who we are.

Sings a tune that doesn't even need words.

Doesn't fail.

That flies through storms so harsh so full of dark reality that could crush the little bird of hope...but doesn't.

The little bird of hope that warms our soul-who we are from the core.

In the coldest period of life.

In our strangest most lost moments.

And no matter what, never asks anything from us-not even a crumb. Well spoken Ms. Dickinson.

It is just a gift no strings attached- the little bird of hope.

When I dropped T off today I pray the little bird was with him. I took it home with me. I hope it is with my kids as they trail along beside me on this journey with T this year.

Earlier while I was tutoring T today one of my old students came in. She came to talk to me. We talked for a few minutes and she is now in the 7th grade. Then she said, "Mrs. P your birthday is on the 25th!"

This precious precious child who I have not had in my classroom for THREE years knows my birthday. It breaks my heart. To mean so much to them. As much as they have meant and still mean to me.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Joy WIlliams - I Hate It When We Fight

They played this song at the end of church Sunday.  We have been in a series called XOXO Friends, Flings, and Relationship Things.  The last session was entitled Fighting Fair.  You can watch it on

So this is the song they played at the end.  I had never heard it and man it is beautiful.  If you are married there will be these moments.


Hair Clip Ins

Today was Monday and that means I got to tutor T. I haven't seen him in 2 weeks due to a week and a day of snow then last Wednesday all after school events were canceled due to....more snow! I called the school and let them know he needed to get on the bus due to weather warnings. He called my cell that evening and said, "Mrs. P......what happened?!?!"

I let him know there was snow in the forecast and sure enough he was out of school the next day.

That brings us to today. He was in the office about to call me when I arrived. The test he and I studied geometry for the last I saw him-well, he made a 90% I was so happy. I was so elated. I was so shocked!

So while we were reading the Hunger Games today I saw an old student in the library. I said, "Oh, that's J I had him a few years ago." T said, "I wonder if he remembers you?" So I wave big and say, "Hey J!" He looks confused so I say, "It's me Mrs. P"

He gets a surprised happy look on his face and runs over. I said, "What grade are you in now??" He said, "7th!" I said, "wow, it's been 3 years already!" He said, "Ya! I didn't recognize you with those hair clip ins!"

I said, "Oh....J....this is my real hair! It's just blonde now."

We talked some more and then he left. When he got out of sight I looked at T and we just died laughing. Died. Could not stop. I looked at T and said, "I swear this is my real hair!" Then we bursted out laughing again.

A little later we were reading the part of the book that describes Cinna and his gold eyeliner. I close my eyes and show T what eyeliner is. I said, "See I wear brown eyeliner." He leans in and really takes a look at it. Then he asks, "Mrs. P are your lashes real?!"

I erupt into laughter again. I say yes my lashes are real and I don't wear Hair clip ins!

It was a good day. We then went to the bank. to the gas station. Through the car wash. Then I took him home. He laughed and played on his phone exactly like my M and W did the whole time. He has grown incredibly close to my kids and his progress is beyond what I could have imagined.

It was a good tutoring day-clip in hair and all!

Bills (Clean Audio & Lyrics) by LunchMoney Lewis

This song came on in the car today at the very best moment.  My last two days have consisted of shelling out the cash- Spring Baseball?  $220.00, Volleyball camp? $340.00 5th grade field trip? $102.00 Church Camp? $140 Car needs gas? $50.00 Groceries? $200  Oh, You want to order this book from scholastic? $15.00 Need Lunch Money? $40.00  Little Boy's Birthday party? $250 All due....March.  Good bye paycheck.  Those Hunter rain boots were just a passing dream!  Cause I. Got. Bills!

Thank you LunchMoney Lewis.  Thank you.