Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm Back!

Something beautiful happened on the way to church tonight. I was talking to my sweet friend Kami about absolutely nothing significant when I noticed it. I smiled. We aren't talking a small pull at the corner of the mouth. I'm talking an ear-to-ear, exploding off the face, there's no hiding it smile. As I realized what was going on, I noticed another thing...I felt good. Total peace and calmness. There was honestly no reason for it besides the fact that I was talking to my friend. For a moment, my brain quit scanning my 800 page to-do list and just rested. Everything in me felt calm rather than racing through 50 emotions. I was just there.

Then, just as I was wrapping my mind around this moment, I saw something in my mind's eye that brought me lost joy. I saw me. Not the heartbroken, confused, shattered woman that had taken up resident in my body but the hopeful, innocent, wide-eyed dreamer that I remember so well. It was almost like one of my students was looking at me with a "Can I come in?" look. I remember her so well and, I have to admit, I have missed her.

So here is to dreaming big dreams, reaching for high goals, and looking for silver linings yet again. It's good to feel at home in my skin again. It is good to be back.

(And Erin, looks like you got your wish! - Thanks for sharing a beautiful song!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I'll have to admit something rather embarrassing. I am in love with Google. I know that some people hate it but I really, really rely on it. Without Google, I think that I would shut down. Whether it is images, lyrics, websites, curiosities, play, or work, Google is my hero. You name it, I'm on Google trying to find it. I think that it is beginning to become an addiction. Now that I am off MySpace, I have more time to actually "be productive". This usually means more time with my friend Google. Are there any websites you are addicted to?

Monday, August 28, 2006


This weekend I went to see my parents for one reason and one reason only. Sure there were things that had to get done but they could have been done anywhere. I wanted to be held. I wanted to lean on my mom and watch TV. I wanted her to play with my feet from the other end of the couch. To be physically touched in a comforting way. So I went home. I was no longer a 26 year old woman with racked with responsibility and concern. My 6 year old came out and I just wanted my mom.

What is it about hugs and being held? Everything in the world feels right. In that moment, there is understanding and peace. That is what I have missed most. Just like I knew she would, Mom held me. Watching TV, talking, on the couch, when arriving and leaving. Just what I needed!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


There are times in our lives where we have to make choices. You take a chance, do what you think is the best, and pray that whatever you do is the right thing. You prepare for all possible consequences so there are no surprises. And then you step....

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The First Law

Newton said that once an object is pushed in a direction, it will continue along its path until something stops it. I think he hit the nail on the head with that one. However, I don't think he developed his theory completely. I think that that pretty much sums up life. Events in our lives continue until BAM! we hit a wall. We stop. Death, moving, fighting, saying good bye. Lately, it seems that just when I think I have run the full course of the moment, another turn is made and I am met with another surprise. Another bomb is dropped and I find myself with my jaw on the floor. I am starting not to be surprised anymore. I'm starting to develop an attitude of "What now?" What a yucky way to live!

If I am right (which I think that I am), maybe the same is true for positive things. Maybe if I start thinking that things could not possibly get any better, they will. Then my attitude will become, "Now what!" Almost like a child on Christmas morning that can't wait to see what is in the next box. This is more like me. This is where I live and breathe. This is where my heart finds home. It is time to come home.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lessons Learned

School has started back for the teachers. I've actually been in training and inservice for about 8 days now. I'm on a new campus looking forward to a year with 4th graders. I've been meeting everyone and finding my ways around the different groups on campus. I like them all. My team is something else. I've been noticing a common factor among them - resilience. One lady had reconstructive surgery this summer after a long battle with breast cancer. The man next door and his wife lost a baby last week almost at full term. Another fourth grade teacher lost her husband in May. I am filled with hope when I talk to these people. The human race is so complex. We laugh, cry, hurt, and heal. Sometimes this process takes years and some people experience all of these things in the course of a day. In the end, we are OK and that amazes me. What a beautiful thing we are.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Light the Corners of My Mind

Lately, my mind is buzzing with work and memories. Honestly, the first is there to try to keep out the second. In the times that work doesn't consume my mind, I am amazed at what pops up. We are being trained right now to have our students write about the "kinda-sorta important" memories because those are truer to life. Daily, I am more convinced that this is true. There are significant memories that come to mind. Yet, my mind keeps jumping to the everyday things - a song, a look, an inside joke, pet peeves, overused sayings, a hand on the back guiding through a crowd or up some stairs. Photographs and mental movies just waiting to be triggered. My mind keeps revisiting the corners where little memories hide only to be found when the work ends. I swallow the lump in my throat or find myself smiling to myself each time a new memory creeps in. So I head to bed tonight, anticipating what will happen between awake and asleep.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Pain is in the Waiting

I had to say goodbye to someone today. I don't know if it is forever or temporary but it was goodbye. At the time I held my head up and didn't shed a tear. I went about the rest of my day and buried myself in work. Now it is almost midnight (six and a half hours later). The work is done and I am left alone with my thoughts. Now every ounce of strength I had this afternoon is gone and I am left with tears. I will be better tomorrow but tonight I am sad. The TV is on in the other room and a character just said, "I could use a few moments of oblivion." I agree.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dad's Story

This is a story that I have been working on for training. I'm not quite finished yet but I thought I would share. All of this is true but may have happened at different times. Enjoy!

Collecting Coins

It is one of those Saturday mornings when you wake up early but feel very rested. No alarm clock, no plans. I lay in bed basking in the comfort of my covers and stretch. I poke my toes out and wiggle them. Just as I am thinking of drifting off again, I am suddenly startled by a loud pouring sound coming from the other room. As I try to place it, a vaguely familiar scent wafts into my nostrils. I grab my glasses and make my way to the door.

I step into the living room. The inviting couch and large chair do not catch my eye. Instead, I look past them and into the breakfast nook. I am hit by a scene that confirms the fact that my dad is a nerd. Sunlight filters through the curtains and illuminates a table littered with coins, collection books, and the source of the smell – Brasso. Dad is on a mission: Find a 1984 D penny to complete his first book. He meticulously searches the coins has saved for months.

I walk into the room, ready to lovingly shoot a sarcastic comment at him, when he finds it. His face lights up with satisfaction as he reaches for a white cloth and the Brasso. He makes the penny shine like new. He pops it into the book and gives it one final wipe to remove his fingerprint. He glances up as he lays the book aside and reaches for another. He greets me with his usual, “Hey!”

I could read or watch TV, leaving him to his work. Instead, I settle myself into the chair across from him. He opens his book and glances over the open slots. Dimes. I hate dimes. Their dates are the hardest to read. I adjust my glasses and ask, “What’s next?”

After learning the year and mint, our fingers dig through the coins. As we discard dime after dime, we begin to talk. What happened during out week, plans of what’s coming up, concerns about family.

“Found it!” Using just the cloth, he shines the dime, pops it in place, and rubs the fingerprint off. On to the next coin.

As we seek out another dime, he tells me about something that happened at work. He is an adult probation officer and one of his men threatened to “tell his dad!” We laugh and comment on the similarity with my students. We shift to talking about his latest meeting at church. He is a leader there and throws his time and heart into this responsibly. This leads to a discussion about my grandparents. Eventually I am asking for my favorite stories about him as a boy. I hear about the time he accidentally called his parents drunks and CPS investigated the family. Then we laugh about the time Grandma left a frozen turkey in the trunk of the car for days. This leads to a discussion about Grandma’s obsession with the wide variety of apples and everyone’s favorite birthday cake. As a lull in the conversation, Mom snores loudly and we exchange a look that says “Holy Cow!”

I stop to watch him as he talks and I realize what is going on. For an hour, our chaotic week has stopped. Dad is actually taking some time for himself. I rack my brain and I cannot recall the last time he has had the chance to do something for himself.

“Remember this!” I tell myself. Remember the sun and cluttered table. Remember the smell of the Brasso. Remember the sounds of change clinking and Mom sleeping in the other room. Remember Dad in his robe, bed head, and glasses sliding down his nose. Remember our conversation. Remember his busy life and how he shared his rare, quiet morning with me. Just the two of us.

Click! The mental picture is taken and is forever stored in my mind and heart. My eyes drift to the books of coins off to this left. I smile. I sit surrounded by money and it pales in comparison to the value of this moment.

“Got it!” He smiles as he shines the dime.

“Me too,” I think. “Me too!”

Friday, August 04, 2006


Anyone who knows me knows that my sister and I went to New York City last summer and I fell in love with it. We're not talking, "Wow! That was a lot of fun!" We're talking, "Wow! Every little thing reminds me of NY!" It is almost ridiculous. Wednesday night at church, the minister showed a video where the narrator was at Ellis Island. I seriously was back in that afternoon so vividly that I didn't hear a thing on the clip. This morning I turned on the TV while I was eating breakfast and Today was on. They were in Rockefeller Center standing right where my sister and I stood to take pictures. My heart ached. A few weeks ago, I was eating a hot dog before a movie and I commented about how the best hot dog I have ever eaten was from a street vendor in NY. Part of me feels SO SILLY. Who remembers exactly where you stood to take a photo? Who instantly longs to be in a place just because it flashes on TV? Who remembers a hot dog? It is has become a joke with some and possibly an annoyance for others. I take what I said back...It IS ridiculous!

When I came back, I told my mom that I wanted to move there. She smiled and laughed. She asked if I really missed New York or the fact that it was a vacation. To a degree, I guess she was right. Anywhere without the daily stress of life is better because you can just have fun. Yet, if that were the case, wouldn't the ache have gone away by now? As I look back, the things I miss the most are not the "vacation things". I miss the diversity of culture, walking everywhere, the acceptance by all people, the variety of things to get caught up in.

Today I miss New York. I wish I were there....