Do-Over

Raise your hand if you’d like a do-over. Ah yes, I see many hands in the air. Some of you might be looking around. Others have their heads down. I’ve had experience with do-overs.

K.L. Hale

“Do I really have to write each word I misspell 15 times?” I asked my teacher in 2nd grade. That was enough for me to become an ace at spelling tests. Fast forward fifteen years to my 2nd grade classroom. Having implemented the Spalding “Writing Road to Reading” theories and practices, along with the spelling to writing and reading curricula, my students didn’t need to worry if they would get do-overs. You bet they did. Victoriously a do-over would lead to why I taught in the first place~to see students light up with learning and mastery. And that mastery was determined by each individual student (not based on their date of manufacture ;-). Some of you must be thinking “hey, you shouldn’t get a do-over on everything!”

My favorite administrator said to me when I was 26, “Karla, I appreciate that you don’t give up on the students or yourself! You’ll find a way!” I’ll never forget the impact of that statement. Ms. M (as I fondly call her) was the reason I changed my Master’s program to administration. She motivated me to fulfill a need to help other adults, not just kids, in do-overs (and of course to help achieve successful first attempts!). It was my personal mission to promote a safe and encouraging environment where each person, young or old, knew that grace would abound. With grace, yoked with skill and motivation, there was a satiation of love and learning. The schoolhouse would be satisfyingly electrifying (oh the stories of when the electrocution hurt!)!

Tweak a situation just a bit and we could all do better I’m sure. “Dad, can I take a mulligan on that shot?” “Mom, will you reteach me that chord?” “Boys, how best can I care for you?” “Students, what are you learning from me?” “Staff, how can I make your job better?” “Friends, in what ways can I help?”

“There’s no need for a do-over!” the voice of God boomed. HE was absolutely right as always. If I were to do it over and over again I’d still be ME. But there ARE things I should be doing over … and over.

My “to-do” over and over list:

  • begin each day with prayer and thanksgiving
  • show compassion
  • give and accept grace
  • be kind
  • learn from my mistakes
  • keep discovering
  • pause and reflect
  • take care of myself and those I love
  • live by truth
  • stay humble
  • see the positive
  • guard my heart
  • help others
  • stay agile
  • be flexible
  • think before I speak

Renew your heart and mind, de-clutter your soul, live with grace, and show love everyday. Do it over and over.

We don’t get a do-over on the ONE LIFE WE HAVE TO LIVE.

Have faith💚

To Hale and Back

“Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

As I gaze at the changing elms and maples around me I am reminded of their strength.   Even with broken limbs coupled with the loss, gain, and change of leaves each season, one thing remains strong-their roots.  As do mine.   I am a Hale.    

The memories of my visits to Grandpa and Grandma Hale’s doublewide are soul-secured.   Although the distance between us was less than 20 miles it still felt like a long trek.   Enjoying the journey over the rolling hills I knew we were close when the four females would all bend briefly right with driver Dad.   It’s just ahead on the right after the grocery store.

Amidst their home were many others they sold.  The smell of each “new” one still stings my thoughts and eyes (ah, the smell of the formaldehyde)!  Alas, I’ve discovered my first love of trailers!

The gas station sat next door.  Grandpa delivered propane and proudly wore his uniform (he had his name on it~I wanted one too). Grandma was the cashier.   How lucky were my sisters and I to “run” a register?  Even more fun was pecking the business calculator (note: even when my own two were young they loved playing with this. Although Grandma didn’t like having to replace the paper all the time).   One-time Grandpa didn’t seem so happy about us girls “helping” in the station.  We took our grape Nehi’s and scurried out (or did Grandpa escort us?). 

When the family would gather a crew of cousins would mob the chow table. If it were a Sunday night us kids would hit the floor in time to hear the beginning of “The Wonderful World of Disney”!   If lucky enough, I caught “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” before it.

The spare room kept us kids when the parents needed to get away.  There were times we got “caught” going through Grandma’s scarves and shoes.   But I loved most the signet ring Grandpa wore.  Adoringly we called it his “bubblegum” ring (don’t ask me why we named it that).  They had the perfect snow hill. Grandma would throw our wet clothes in the dryer, just like Mom did, so we could warm up quickly and return to the drop.

Once we were painting our nails (a very rare thing for me)

“Don’t get nail polish on my leather divan,” Grandma ordered.  Well… it happened.

“Which one of you did it?”

Silence.
(twins never blow the whistle on one another).

“Girls! God knows who did it even if you don’t tell me!”

One of us responded, “But he ain’t gonna tell you!”

K.L. Hale

Ouch! Sorry Grandma! “We love you!” “Isn’t it time to make homemade donuts?”  “Can I vacuum for you?” Quick diversions and hugs of remorse segue nicely into another memory making moment.

It was 1984 when they moved to OUR TOWN.  No more winding roads.  They were just around the corner from me (this time a right and then a left bend).  All I had to do was walk left to my parents.  We lived on Chrysler Street (where I grew up).  It was called the “horseshoe”.  How blessed was I that I lived in my family circle? 

Many years of Christmas breakfasts, croquet contests, garage sales, cook-outs, and table conversations were had at that house.  Grandpa would have his scanner playing (along with the baseball game on his radio) and Grandma would curl her legs like a pretzel sitting cross-legged on the couch.  Grandma always remained flexible and fashionable, Grandpa steady, hearty, and with a first-class laugh.  The two of them resembled Bonnie and Clyde in one of my favorite pictures.

My family is a forest.  Within it are so many exquisite types of trees.  Our pipeline of root systems keeps us connected.   Although sappy and alone at times we will not be uprooted.   I am a Hale.

Afterword:

 It was June of 1964 when Larry Hale (my Dad) married Darlene Wilson (my Mom).    Darlene’s sister Connie married Steve Hale in 1967.  Grandpa Hale (Gerald) was Larry’s father.  Harold Hale (Gerald’s brother) was Steve’s Dad.   Two Hale first cousins married Wilson sisters.  You should see the look on faces when the “double” cousins try to explain it.

From “A River and Honey” to “To Hale and Back” my family is my everything.  The ones we have lost are forever in our hearts and daily thoughts. The Hale’s and the Wilson’s- I am a piece of everyone of them in some way.  May my faith stay unfaltering and my roots keep me forever grounded.

K.L. Hale
In honor of Mac Davis-I’ve always loved this song.