Summer Break is Near. Thank God.


Dear Hours that I used to Have to Blog,

It’s been a good, but busy few months. I miss you, and apologize for ignoring you.

Here’s the thing – I’ve been trying to balance an increasing work schedule and am now going back to college.

None the less, it is You (Hours that I used to Have to Blog), my darling, and you alone who was responsible for being able to still my spinning head and heart after our big move to the banks of the Mississippi. Fear not – I remember. And, just like my mom did, I’m saving my favorite other thing for the summers now that my school years are locked and loaded. Her favorite other thing was her garden. Art of course was her favorite thing.


Now that the moving truck dust has settled, I am clear that learning is my favorite thing.


And, like my father – solitude is what keeps me sane. So – I’d like to R.S.V.P. a date with you for approximately whenever school is out and before we start our summer of many travels….

It will only be a few weeks for us to enjoy the silence and stillness, but I promise to do my best to listen to you and make the right call.

Rosie Red card



Your friend,


I Have a Lenten Plan…..

(image from This Quiet Lady by Anita Loebel

In a flurry of trying to call in sick to work and the college class I’m taking, two of the texts I got back said:

1: Yikes!

and the other:

2: Feel better.

I’ve decide that these three words are going to somehow become my theme for this year’s Lenten observance. I’m not sure what will come of these thoughts. But, one of the good things about having bursts of unthinkable busyness is that it gives something to reflect on when those calendar pages are done and turned.

If life were different I would challenge myself to blog along the way to this Easter.

My intuition tells me to stay focused on the marathon spring ahead for our family, and enjoy that circus until school’s end.

A teaching mentor and dear friend who held me on his shoulders when I was a wee lass sets those boundaries to prevent total exhaustion. Creative juices go wild in the summer. This was my mother’s creative calendar too now that I think of it…

In any case. I miss the solitude of connecting with others and the spirit while writing and posting, yet am so thankful for the way life has fallen together for me and interrupted my blogging journal tool.

Quotes about Windows


The “photo of the week” word is windows. Saturday chores start in just a few minutes and I look forward to working on that project.

I do most of my good thinking while staring outside.

In the meantime, I found some interesting quotes.

Poor Tennessee…always a scardy cat:

“We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call;

no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down

with us trapped, locked in it.”  

―     Tennessee Williams,     The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore

A “Come to Jesus” perspective that I prefer:

“Bare heights of loneliness…

a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to HIM?

Even there He can refresh us,

even there He can renew us.”  

―     Amy Carmichael

This quote brings images to mind that remind me of the hours and hours of BBC dramas that I watched over the long winter school break:

“Every face, every shop, bedroom window, public-house, and dark square is a picture feverishly turned–in search of what? It is the same with books. What do we seek through millions of pages?”

―     Virginia Woolf,     Jacob’s Room


I like this quote the best. Windows are about feeling safe, eh? :

“It is not real,” he whispered.

“This place is only a thought that has grabbed hold of you.

It cannot harm you.

You are not of this place, and it has no power over you.

You do not need it, nor do you owe it your allegiance.”

I nodded,

listening only to his words and not to the rattling of the windows,

which had begun as soon as we stepped inside.”

―     Rita Murphy,     Bird

Dear Kate: These are Your 2014 Goals. Good Luck, Me

photo (1)I don’t have a clue what my 2013 New Year thoughts were, do you remember yours?

I’m sure they were mostly: “Get a job, maybe. Lose weight, hopefully.”

Go me, both happened and with much bigger and better results than I had imagined at all at this point 12 months ago.

So, before my super sticky notes dry up and fall down, here’s where I’m at for

photo (2)

Good luck me, good luck you!

P.S. Ouch. I had to look up the spelling of Ha-Rang. Definition = busted. I do that at home. A lot.

Last Spring I Became Smitten, and Was Forced into Happiness


1452562_10152012126498810_283704191_n (1)Did you read the snippet I found on the internet yesterday?

I put it in this post:

Does Change Have to Happen All at Once?

How does change look in your world? This is a topic that my husband and I have always differed on.

Actually. I drive him kind of crazy.

I say no, all at once can be good…but not as a rule.

He says  yes, all at once is the rule…and is good.

Another difference between us is reflected in my unwillingness to talk about this or to have a debate.

I don’t care. Seriously. I have other fish to fry at the moment. If sweeping change is what floats your boat, then keep on truckin’! Bully for you!

Same token, I’ve done some serious thinking of late and have sobered up to the fact that if I don’t grab these last several “working” years that my body will hopefully give me, I will have missed an awesome boat ride indeed.

When we first moved to Iowa I was certain that I was interested in anything that did not include working in a school. My years as a sub, and various teaching jobs of many sizes and colors never left me disappointed in the magic of children or the power of falling in love with an idea or a letter of the alphabet. (Seriously? You’ve not had a conversation or contemplative moment about the bold roundness of the letter “O”? Odd.)

1477677_10152061644043810_1326140848_nI arrived to our new city life sorely let down by the adult world though and it’s bitter, whining approach to what we as educators should feel lucky to be doing each day.

Iowa being a writing mecca, I wrote. Day after day, blog post after blog post. I read, fed the dogs, wrote, deleted, read, fed the kids, and reread my way into being ready to step out the front door and actually talk to people.

And then there was the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, soon after at a religious temple, and shortly after at Sandy Hook.

I went from afraid, to sad, and continue to feel intensely angry about these events.

During that same time period my family was saying: “You seem bored, how about a job?”

No change.

And, “You seem cranky, how about a job?”

No change.

Then, “We can’t take it any more – get a job!”

As luck would have it – a ruby of a job I landed indeed. I’ll spare you the details of how I stumbled into the one I had in the Spring, and the one that I have now – but lucky I am indeed. And, now I know that the computer dying as the spring blossomed was a gift as well.

I had no time or way of processing how happy I was to be working with the hard of hearing Kindergartener for whom I was a communication coach. Being unhappy became a most boring and lonely consideration. Written, or even spoken words not needed.

480201_10151552955388810_1938698632_nI was trapped, smitten, and humbled by his eyelashes, wit, and ornery moves. And, I’m now eagerly re-enrolled in school to help increase the odds that I can keep on working in a series of best jobs ever.

As my cousin said on the phone the other day, “This is my last job, and I plan to make it the one that is the most fun!”

Does Change Have to Happen All at Once?


“But Gemma, you could change the world.”

“That should take far more than my power,” I say.

“True. But change needn’t happen all at once. It can be small gestures.”

“Moments. Do you understand?” He’s looking at me differently now, though I cannot say how. I only know I need to look away…

We pass by the pools, where the mud larks sift. And for only a few seconds, I let the magic loose again.

“Oi! By all the saints!” a boy cries from the river.

“Gone off the dock?” an old woman calls. The mud larks break into cackles.

“‘S not a rock!” he shouts. He races out of the fog, cradling something in his palm.

Curiosity gets the better of the others. They crowd about trying to see. In his palm is a smattering of rubies. “We’re rich mates! It’s a hot bath and a full belly for every one of us!”

Kartik eyes me suspiciously. “That was a strange stroke of good fortune.”

“Yes it was.”

“I don’t suppose that was your doing.”

“I’m not sure I don’t know what you mean,” I say.

And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.”
―     Libba Bray,     The Sweet Far Thing






On the topic of starting to enjoy my new job and continually forced to be extend my extrovert skills in our still new to us town:

All real living is meeting. ~ Martin Buber,

    I and Thou

And on the topic of recess duty and wanting to go to Chicago to see my friend Bridget:

Play is the exhultation of the possible. Martin Buber,

    I and Thou



How Pablo Wound up as “Picasso”



I miss my mom today. Her name is Carol.

I am not missing her in a “feel like weeping about it way.”

Today I just miss her.

I miss her in an, “oh. yeah, that’s it!” kind of manner.

When I was a child my mother said to me,

‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general.

If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’

Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
― Pablo Picasso

The other day my son brought a friend along while we cheered on Will. His last high school cross country season is nearing a close. I brought a couple of boxes of cookies and some drinks because I didn’t know how long things would go and Joe’s Intermediate School ends in the late afternoon.

I could describe the energy that I put into trying to pick out drinks and snacks. I was looking for some that are sure to please the pursuit to popularity that is the hallmark of tweendom. It would be an embarrassing and boring discourse though.

Noble pursuit none the less – these things do matter when you are eleven.

I like this age a lot. The confusion is hour to hour though. Pleasing them is like trying to throw darts with a feather in one hand, and a fork in the other.

This I know, because I’ve been through it twice. Never before with this guy…but twice none the same.

I think the most important thing I learned during my previous trial and error tween train rides was the basic truth that their hormones are flowing indeed, but it’s random. Occasionally the preteen sons of my husband, I would guess, (having never been a boy) are starting to have superman moments.

In our family that often means basketball knowledge and skill, and most recently, baseball and running.



my husband John mentors much more than that though. (I sort of hate sports).

In Cooperville, being Superman also means making a difference in the world. And the shoes to be filled are big. He doesn’t encourage little change.

I do. I’m more of a trees in the forest kind of parent.

We’re talking Ghandi, JFK, Kareem Abdul and C.S. Lewis kinds of “the Kingdom is ours boys so let’s make it a good place!” types of talks and speeches.

Sometimes, I have overwhelming moments of pride in each of them when they pay attention to dad’s encouragement to be something huge. To be the unique change that they were each meant to be.

How can I not be glad when they get his point that a beautiful hookshot and Ghandi’s insistent smile are indeed connected. Thinking through either one can be a reason to keep moving in the Kingdom of God as if the world is becoming what it should be.

I’m not sure how he keeps that thinking cap on because what I see is that the forest around us is sorely lacking caped justice in a telephone booth and Aslan was more powerful when he was on paper rather than screen.

So, the missing my mom part? It would be nice to brag out loud to her that I haven’t forgotten to remind John Isaiah, Will and Joe, that in the end, they each are who they are.

That it’s actually just that simple.

She told my brother and I that this is our first time on the earth. She warned us that we better stay on task and ride the ride, because we will never be re-invented to the core again .

On the other hand, it was a fairly awesome day last weekend when my youngest found a photo I put out of myself at his age and he claimed that it was a photo of his very self.

And in response he didn’t have a superman surge of muscle – more like a goofy Kate dance around the house like the kid that he still is moment.

Looking for a good song that, I think, is about trying to be okay with another young man flying the Coop soon? Look up Joshua Radin’s “Everything’s Going to Be Alright (Will’s Lullabye).”

It’s sweet. Just like my William.