Tuesday, April 14, 2015

# 183 Amy, the Kid Whisperer

There are certain people who are naturals at what they do.  Amy Vatne-Bintliff is one of them and the recipients of this gifted talent are her students.  This glowing blog about me should be turned around with a finger pointing directly at her. She is a one of a kind teacher and Rob and I were humbled and honored to witness her magic in action.

7 days camping with middle school children.  Yep, that's when I got to really see Mary up close.  And what I saw astounded me. 

As we journeyed hundreds of miles in three vans, I felt a huge sense of security that Rob and Mary were behind us in their car. They supported me fully as I brought my Westward Bound summer program to Oregon.  They believed in me, our goals and the idea that this adventure could change lives.  Mary's big question was always, "What do you need?"  

There's something magical about that.  That Rob and Mary humbly supported me, never jumping in, never bossing about...always just there for me, my two co-teachers, and 22 students.  We, the three of us, are all Geminis--three Geminis leading a trip!  But even if they had differing opinions, Rob and Mary let us grow within our own mistakes and successes. That is truly something.  Mary would watch my eyes, and was able to read when I needed her help.  She has a knack for knowing.

The majority of us were strangers, yet the two of them honored us like great old friends coming to dinner.

Camping, sleeping on the hard ground, is not Mary's favorite thing. :) Yet she awoke every day, with a steady smile. (Rob was the only one privy to any complaints!) Those early mornings were often when she reached her arms around every student, and could intuitively tell when one needed extra TLC.

And she shared with them.  She let them know of her cancer story, but in a carefully delivered message of resiliency.  As we sat around the fire, circled together, they kids just listened, and understood.

Mary has a light about her.  And what was so inspiring to see throughout this journey is how much of that light Rob adores and respects. Their partnership is a model for us all.  It is a model for me still.  What love expressed through the little things present in our days--the pitching of tents, packing their car, making sure each one was left with something to eat after the kids went through the line.  What love!

Mary is a great treasure.  It's not often people enter your life with the sole purpose of providing support, but that's what she and Rob have done for me.  And I am eternally grateful.

Behind that kindness and generosity, Mary kicks ass.  She's a cool cat under pressure.  She isn't going to let something like cancer define her Spirit. I love her spunk, her powerful stance...when needed, she'd roll it out, if to do nothing more than to vent for me when I couldn't.  I'd want her in my campsite anytime.  Awakening to a sleeping bison ready to walk all over us never even made her sweat!

That campfire light glows within her--there's healing in that light, you know.  

Thanks for reading # 183 of 7777. 

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