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I am lucky. No, I didn’t win the most recent Powerball drawing, but I can say it for so many other reasons. As I see the devastation in Moore, OK, after an F5 tornado rampaged the town, I cannot even begin to imagine how the residents are feeling.  I may complain about a snowstorm in the U.P., but then I compare it to other weather storms and know I am lucky.

There are some days I struggle to remember how fortunate I am, but at the end of the day, I always note, at least mentally, 10 reasons to be filled with gratitude.  On days like today, when the media continues to show and tell me how quickly life can move towards the negative, my list seems to appear with no effort.  And on some days, when my list seems too easy, I begin to worry that life is too good. This happens each time I’m with my National Writing Project colleagues.  When I’m with them, I know life is good.  I don’t need a t-shirt or hat to tell me.

The National Writing Project has provided me the environment to improve myself professionally since I first joined in the summer of 1999.  Back then I joined because my university advisor suggested it.  Working towards my Masters degree, I needed college credits and decided to accept the invitation to apply.  That invitation connected me to a world of passionate, knowledgeable, edgy educators who I still admire today.

In early April I spent a long weekend with a small group of NWP colleagues, and then this past Saturday, spent four hours with another group of NWPers.  Each time I left invigorated.  While the media and many in society continue to focus on what they perceive to be the negatives in education, my NWP colleagues and I connect with one another by helping each other find the positives.  By comparing our varied situations, we discover similarities and brainstorm ideas to increase the positives for ourselves and our students.

It is the NWP which grounds me more than any other person, place, thing or idea when it comes to education.  No matter how negative my educational life may seem, my NWP hat reminds me to compare, connect and remember how fortunate I am.