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The Courage to…

April 22, 2018

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Today the sun is out–and the snow is finally melting.  Last week we were digging ourselves out of the TWO FEET of snow that accumulated in the BLIZZARD.  In April.  The middle of April.

I figured that I could dig myself out of not showing up here for a year and a half.

It does take courage to begin again.  Especially because now that I have decided to sit down and write all the people in the house need to talk to me.  Weird how that happense

I don’t really have much to say.  I just wanted to start.  Starting is the hardest thing for me, and just getting something down might help me come back again.

This morning I looked at the stack(s) of boeks that I have to read.  The one I have chosen for my summer faculty book club was suggested by one of the Deans last summer:  The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer.  I read it twenty years ago, and new it is a new and improved “twentieth anniversary” edition.  I ordered it last week.  It came in the mail on Friday.  I picked it up this morning, and read all of the accolades on the beginning pages.  I am so excited to read it again!  I remember it being hard the first time.  Very academic.  I wonder if it will be as hard this time–twenty years later.  I wonder if I will connect to the words more easily, if it will ring true in a different way.  I remember being so blown away by the concept of disequilibrium.  It taught me that it was normal to be frustrated when learning something.  That if you believe something, and something else proveseyour belief wrong, your brain has a hard time coming to terms with that.  And that is okay.  I wonder if he left that part in the book.  I wonder if there will be more to it than I remember.  I wonder if there are more brilliant nuggets that I missed, or at least don’t remember now.

I have a lot on my plate for the summer (weird, I know), but it is self-inflicted.  I have decided I need to fall in love with my discipline again.  Dig deep.  Read a lot.  Figure out how to love it so much that I can convince my students to love it too.

I thought about beginning a new journal for this journey.  Or to write in my catch-all writer’s notebook.  Or to write here.  I might do a bit of all three.  One thing is for sure, writing is how I love my discipline.  I haven’t done it regularly in a very long time.  And this was a start.  A new beginning.  eScreen Shot 2018-04-22 at 11.33.33 AMe

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And it begins…

December 23, 2016

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Today is the day!  It is Christmas Eve, Eve which marks the beginning of our family celebration.

This year has been a “denial” year in terms of Christmas.  I just finished my finals last week, and I was wiped out.  Jeff and Nicholas traveled to Duluth for a hockey tournament and I stayed back with Sarah and Katie, mostly to shovel and drive them places.  Those two girls decorated the house and put the tree up.  Sarah put all the lights on the tree herself.  It was wonderful.  On Sunday night we put on the ornaments, and I began Christmas shopping.  I finished on Wednesday…sort of.  I still had two things to get for Katie, but it was planned:  I would pick up one thing after I dropped Nicholas off for hockey that night and we would go to get her tap shoes when I dropped the girls off for their movie on Thursday.  BUT…dun, dun, DUN…instead…I got the stomach flu.  So did Katie.  Such bad timing!  Actually there never is a really great time to get sick.  I came home from my hair appointment on Wednesday and went to bed.  I stayed in bed most of the day yesterday, but did get up to wrap the presents.  They are currently under the tree looking festive.  I told Katie we would try to get her tap shoes today (I need her feet to get them) and that she can pick her own sweatshirt when she goes to dance….Merry, Merry!  So, she gets the flu and gets stiffed on the presents!  Poor kid.

This morning, I am still in bed.  My first task is to go to the grocery store.  I will be making our traditional lasagna for dinner tonight, and I will be making Christmas dinner on Sunday, as well as Christmas breakfast.  As I gaze out my bedroom window at the lightening sky, I am aware how little time I get to gaze, and how much I miss that.  There is a squirrel’s nest in our tree, and I wonder if they are still snuggled in sleeping, or if they are out searching for that elusive acorn.  I am excited to have a little bit of time to gaze before going back to work.

I am also happy to begin the celebration.  This is the season of love and giving.  I am trying to hold on to those things.  I still need to finish the cards, and go to the post office.  And tomorrow we will deliver the cookies to our neighbors.

I am wishing you all a Merry Christmas.  May love lead us all into 2017, and be the beacon of hope for all of us.

Words to Live By

November 11, 2016

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“All you need is love…”

~The Beatles

 

 

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

~Mahatma Gandhi

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

~Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope


“With the last vestige of consciousness she jerked her mind and body. Hate was nothing that IT didn’t have. IT knew all about hate….
“Mrs Whatsit hates you,” Charles Wallace said.
And that was where IT made IT’s fatal mistake, for as Meg said, automatically, “Mrs Whatsit loves me; that’s what she told me, that she loves me,” suddenly she knew.
She knew!
Love.
That was what she had that IT did not have.
She had Mrs Whatsit’s love, and her father’s, and her mother’s, and the real Charles Wallace’s love, and the twins’, and Aunt Beast’s.
And she had her love for them.”

~Madeleine L’Engle:  A Wrinkle in Time
(Special thanks to The Diamond in the Window for inspiration)


“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

~Barack Obama


“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

~John 8:7


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

~Nelson Mandela


“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

~The United States Constitution (Preamble) [spelling is from original document]

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

~The Declaration of Independence


“13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

~1 Corinthians 13


“Love wins.”

~Glennon Doyle Melton


“‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

~Matthew 25:40


“Imagine all the people living life in peace…you… you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one… I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”

 ~John Lennon

 

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

~Mother Teresa


The key is you have to know yourself and take the time to get to know yourself.

Because then, and only then, are you taking responsibility for getting your core needs met.

I knew a woman who loved ironing so much she would ask to iron my jeans. Seriously, that was her meditation she was always looking for more things to iron. The steady movements, the smoothing, removing wrinkles, folding, smell of fresh laundry, the steam? I have no idea what part made her most happy. I just watched her satisfaction in the beauty she created. She loved the process of ironing and had no shortage of rituals around it.

Find the beauty in the tasks and do them mindfully as an offering to the day, an offering to the vibration surrounding you. Take pride in your effort, particularly when it is hard, particularly when it really pulls from the bottom of the bucket.

I promise you, there are many nights I see dishes in the sink just as I am about to head to bed and, if I am deeply tired, the thought that I can just do them tomorrow is more than tempting, it seems justified. And yet, that is not where my joy lies. My joy lies in coming down the stairs in the morning to a clean sink. I know this about myself and so, I give this to myself and it is a gift that carries with it a sweet satisfaction and deepening trust.

Please understand. This is not about dishes. You may love doing dishes in the morning or not doing dishes at all. Don’t get distracted by my examples. The point is to find your daily rituals that link one to the next to the next until from the moment you wake up, to the moment you drop into bed, your day has been experienced, felt, witnessed.

the spiritual life is active, joyful, and intentional.
It is a middle path between extremes
that transfigures everyday living

Eknath Easwaran

~Elizabeth Duvivier
(E-This is what I return to…again and again.  Sorry my homework is late!)


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

~Margaret Mead


“We will not betray ourselves. Self betrayal is allowing the fear voices, the rage voices. the hopelessness voices to drown out the Still Small Voice that tell us the Next Right Thing. The next right thing has and forevermore will be: Get back to work.”

~Glenna Doyle Melton

A different anniversary

September 12, 2016

As of today, I have been married for 24 years.  Twenty Four.  TWENTY FOUR!  Good golly, that is a long time, and I don’t feel much older than 24, so.  It’s weird.  IT IS.

We went out to a fancy dinner last night and today we have barely seen each other.  I had to take Sarah to school early, and then my taxi job filled my evening.

Last night we talked for a couple minutes about what life would be like when we are empty nesters.  I can’t even imagine it.  Seriously.  I want my chicks in the nest.  I can hardly remember life without them.  We were married for nine years before we had children, so you would think that I would be able to picture it, but I can’t.

Here is what I love the most about my husband:  When he lets his guard down, he is probably the most compassionate person I have ever met.  And, he is funny.  He makes me laugh.  Also, when my dad was on his journey last year?  He was THE most awesome support ever.  I am so lucky.

Now, I have some grading that needs attention!  xo

Almost Bed Time

September 11, 2016

Everyone else has ascended the stairs.  Each in their own rooms.  Some lights, I’m sure, are still aglow.  Some are extinguished.

I am sitting alone.  Feet up on the ottoman, computer in my lap.

It is quiet, save for the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

Someone left the light on in the family room.

I have two lamps alighting my work in here.

It is quiet, save for the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

I feel the weight of darkness slip in from outside and settle on my shoulders.

My eyelids are relaxing.  I yawn intermittently.

Someone is finally getting into bed, their footsteps loud against the quiet.  I wish them still.

I can feel the pull of my own bed, my smooth purple sheets, my cool, soft pillow.

I still have work to finish before my slumber.

I wonder how long it will take?

My wish for you:  Sleep well.

Good night.

On balance

September 10, 2016

It should read “On balance“but I couldn’t get the strike through to work…

I am procrastinating right now.  Have you ever seen this?

It makes me laugh every single time, because I have that damn monkey in my head.  This post is my case in point.

An illustration:  I have been telling myself that I need to to laundry for about two weeks.  (Could be longer, but that’s just embarrassing.)  Yesterday I wore a skirt that “looked okay” when I put it on and about half way to work I understood why it was NOT okay.  Oh, well.  I lived through it.  Now.  One would think that as soon as I got home, a load of laundry would be happily splish-splashing it’s way to being hung up in my closet.  Or at the very least, the first thing this morning…  It is 1:45.  PM.  No laundry.

HOWEVER:  The guy who has been slotted to fix my dishwasher has been waiting for a part for a long time, and it came in last week sometime.  I texted him last night to see if he could come this morning.  He texted me at 9:20 that he would be here at 10:00.  I washed all the dishes in the dishwasher by hand, cleaned the kitchen, and took a shower…I was ready when he rang the doorbell.  All of the kitchen NEEDED (desperately) to be cleaned, but wasn’t yet on the nonexistent list.  And now it is done!  And my kitchen is all sparkly!

I also said to myself that the stack of 50 papers needed to be done before I got out of bed.  Well.  I had to clean the kitchen.  And after the guy left, I watched Youtube videos for a while and ate lunch and read some blogs and checked my email and decided to write a post instead.

I get frustrated with myself.

So the papers are next to me.  It is a glorious fall day.  The windows are open.  And I. don’t. want. to.

I have hundreds of more papers on the floor.  Those 50 are just my first job.  I should really put in a load of laundry too.

 

A most embarrassing moment

September 7, 2016

It was the end of fall semester, and snowy.  I was a sophomore in college.  I had finished my finals and was ready to sell my textbooks back to get some extra Christmas money.  The sell-back place was in the basement, and there was one narrow staircase to go down in order to get there.

Did I mention that it was snowing?

The stairs were steep and covered with black rubber matting.

And it was snowing.

I embarked on the decline, arms loaded with large textbooks.

And

Down

I

Fell.

It was spectacular.  The sound alone:  thud, thud, thuudddd, thud, THUNK.  And, since it was the end of the semester?  EVERYONE was at the bottom of the stairs.

“ARE YOU OKAY?”

People rushed at me.  I jumped up and acted like I didn’t just fall down very hard, steep stairs.  “I’m fine!  No, really, I am just fine!”

I sold my books without limping or crying or anything.  That could wait until I was back in my dorm room.

*

So, today I had my Fast Track Class.  I team teach this course with my friend, Jan.  We have dumped our two classes together, so we have 50 students.  They seem to ALL need to talk to us after class, and we are always running late to our next classes.  We are both in the same building across campus.

Today we had to take the tunnels because it was raining, so we were even later, because we usually can take a short cut outside.

So.  We were rushing.

I had many bags and my arms were full of books.

We were entering the building where our classes meet and…

SWOOOOOP!

I was on the floor.

People were rushing at me.

“ARE YOU OKAY?”

I got up and said quickly, “Yes, I’m FINE, really, I’m fine!”

Someone had spilled what looked like a whole bottle of Gaterade on the tile floor.  I was wet because I landed in the puddle.

I went to class.  I entered and told the class that I had fallen and that Josh, my Supplemental Instructor, would hand out the quiz while I went to dry off and assess the damage.

I knew my elbow hurt.  I landed on it.

Yep.  My whole elbow was split and was bleeding.  I tidied up with toilet paper, found some instructor’s offices, asked the nice man at the desk if he had a bandaid so I wouldn’t bleed all over my clothes, and went back to class.

Falling in public.  So awful.  And, YES.  My elbow still hurts. A lot!  Haha!