facially speaking

Behind this hair there is an eyebrow that likes to hide. It gets raised during the day when my little autistic friend gets excited about getting his daily sticker. It gets furrowed when I think of bills to be paid or paperwork that needs to get done.

This eye cries pretty regularly. Today, when I found myself alone for ten minutes, it dripped a bit. I had a mini pity party for myself. It squints when I laugh. Like when my boys show me funny YouTube videos or wrestle in the living room until they can't breathe.

These freckles got their start when I would lie on my back under the humid VA sky. I wore a knit, striped swimming suit and only shiny, slippery oil on my olive skin.

This face has given and received lots of kisses from my husband, my parents, my siblings, my children, and my friends. A random student, here or there, has snuck up beside me and planted one too.

It is a face that is beginning to show wear and use. It is my face. I live in there.

beyond textbooks

We, as a family, attended some short plays tonight. Because my husband had directed one of them, we stayed after for the talkback session, where the writers and directors sit up on stage and answer audience questions. It was during a quiet moment when the producer asked the audience if anyone had been inspired during the production. Some people gave some decent answers about how one play or another had made them think about the Creation, or about relationships.

And then a handsome young man, who happened to be sitting right near my #3, gave a beautiful speech, in broken English, about coming to hear these "beautiful stories" as a way of learning this language. "Much better than words and numbers in a textbook," he said. They spoke to his soul and helped him to feel more a part of his life here. "Thank you. Thank you.".

And then I cried a little.

where I attempt to sing classic R&B

OK, so I am not really a good candidate for R&B, unless you consider my absolute love for the passion and rhythm of the genre.  I have been nuts for this one for years.  Enjoy.

A Change Is Gonna Come

Kazzy's voice has been silenced by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(see the details here). Sorry you can't listen to her sing directly. But send her a message and she'll try to work something out.

losing and winning

Tonight I enjoyed a little female comraderie around a nice big dining room table loaded with games and cards.  I managed to avoid the M&Ms as I lost two out of three games, and that was a pretty nice accomplishment.  Gotta keep the streak going on the whole "no chocolate and no eating after seven o'clock thing." 

Now, as I was sitting there playing Rage, I got this nice warm feeling about my neighborhood and the friends I have made here.  We are working on our 17th year here in our little shire, and it is nice to be settled and to develop long-term relationships with people that I respect and enjoy keeping company with.  What a cool blessing.

the process

She cried and raised her voice as she shouted across the oval conference table; first yelling at last year's teacher, then at me, the potential new teacher her child would have if she approved the move.  Her defensiveness totally understandable as she struggles in her singleness as a mother and provider.  I got it.  I felt her pain in a real way. 

Disappointed parents are common when you work in special ed.  Some choose to stay that way, and others embrace the opportunity of early intervention in a loving classroom like ours.

Our classroom is a magical place, Mrs. X.  Really.  Not because of me, but because of our teacher to student ratio and because of our pacing.  Kids succeed in there.  I have seen miracles.  

And I meant every word I said as she stared me down while a couple of educators in the room sniffled a bit, wiping tears.  We don't make more money if he goes here or there.  We are only in on this to find the best spot for the child.  Trust us.  Trust our best intentions.  Trust that we will provide every chance for success.  But don't count on us to do it all. We will all vow to work together to help this child.  This is a team effort.

Then the call.  He is coming...

wedding recap in pictures

I missed my blog over these past 5 days or so, but it was a wonderful weekend as we got our boy #1 hitched to his beautiful bride.  Great fun, great visits, great food, great spirit.  I loved every second of it.

The photos following the ceremony are still being processed, but there were some terrific ones taken of the bride and groom before the big day, and also at the reception the night before the wedding (can I just add here how wonderful it was to have the big shindig the day before???).

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are the visual representations of the happiness we enjoyed over the last few days...

Our missionary was moved around as the evening progressed.  The cardboard cut out was life-sized, so it was even funnier!
Perry's band members each did an acoustic tribute to the happy couple.  It was really personal and nice.
In order left to right: My sister Jen, #4, Perry, Mindy, back of my niece's head, me, #3, and Geo.  Tearing up the dance floor.  :)
The photographer.  My BFF, Luann Hawker.  She is a magician behind the camera.


It is what brings us together today.

Please excuse my absence from reading and writing for a few days. Family in town from back east and a son to marry off.

Ain't love grand?


When I was a kid I remember learning that the reason we sometimes call Autumn Fall is because leaves fall from the trees.

Today, when I took a solo drive up into Hobble Creek Canyon, I wondered if we call it Fall because the earth (at least our little slice of it) passes through a period of death. A kind of fall like that experienced in the Garden. Where there needed to be a time of rest and reassessment, before the resurrection could be the glorious thing it was.

I sleep in my spirituality. I fall.

lovely? me?

Petra at From Donuts to Crumpets gave me this most lovely award today. 

 Thanks, Petra.  I am glad I make you think.  That is a nice compliment.

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is the way I get fresh perspectives on things that might seem like common experiences.  I have chosen the following blogs to receive this award too:

Jessica at Singing Devil and Susan at Mermaid Gallery.  Jessica gives me a youthful view of the world, and Susan is a delightful person who turns everything she touches to a work of art. 

Here are the steps to follow if you wish to accept the award:
  1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pay it forward to (up to) 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
  3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
Ain't it nice to be read?

love/hate reality

You know that whole "love/hate relationship" thing?  Yeah, it's real.  At least to me.

Today from about 5pm until 8pm I kept thinking to myself, I should go make a visit, but *she drives me nuts.  I give and I give and then I go home and feel a bit shaken up, even though I am actually glad I went.   But why can't I stop thinking about going over there?  What is my problem?  I am such a sucker for punishment.

*The high school bleachers (which I have mentioned before) and I have this weird, thing, going on.  It's complicated.

grace as a cleaner

Everyday is a new life, with a chance to start over.  Of course, these new days are easier when we have cleaned up the previous one.  Return and report and make things right. 

Grace is what we need to fill in the cracks.  It makes everything smoother, and the potholes easier to navigate. It reminds us that we have been purchased by a very kind and compassionate buyer.

And how do we determine what something, or someone, is worth?  Whatever someone will pay- pretty simple, really.  And we are worth a lot.

This is why

This is why I didn't blog this morning.

This is why I am so happy when I see my handsome son with a big smile on his face.

This is why families are forever.

This is why my family from back east is coming this week.

This is why I still am in love with my husband after 23 years.

This is why my sweet DIL was smiling today. Yes, I already call her that.

cleaner glass

Sometimes you look through your old dusty windows and get used to the view.  You stop noticing that there is a little tear in the screen, and that there just might be spiderwebs in the metal tracks.  You forget that with a little cleaning you could get a better view and a clearer picture.  You live with it.

For 18 months I have been looking through a dirty window that has been laying right up against my mirror.  Not enough exercise. Too many meals on the road between work and school.  Not enough introspection.  Not enough honesty.  With myself.  I have been living to get things done.  To get through my classes.  To meet the basic needs of my family.  To meet deadlines.  Slowly the dirt and dust started to cloud my vision, and I forgot to look at (and for) myself.  I was bad to myself.  Even harmful.

Yesterday we had a window installer out to measure our house for new windows, and while we were standing in my bedroom talking about which windows we wanted to put in, I was completely distracted for a minute, thinking about this parallel. 

New windows.  New vision.  New recommittment to myself and my health.  I am feeling good, having spent these past 6 weeks installing a much better window to look at myself through.

team work

It was 6th grade and my team shirt was orange.  I think we were the Tigers.  I played shortstop and second base, and I was just good enough and competitive enough to realize that I might thrive on team sports.  I loved the idea of everyone cheering each other on and working for a win.  It was so incredibly invigorating.

I am still a team kind of girl.  I like to collaborate in my teaching.  I like working with other people in my church responsibilities.  I like being in a family and pitching in together.  And although I have liked my private time exercising lately, to me there is nothing like a meeting of the minds for a common cause. 

parallel with the weather

I don't know if I make the mood or situation fit the weather, or if the weather just knows me really well, and wants to send a sign that says, "I am with ya, sistah!"  The wind we had last night and this morning fits me. 

Winds of change.  Whirlwinds.  Time rushing by.  Frantic business.  Whatever it is, it is in the air all around me, rushing past my window when I am trying to fall asleep.  It is making my ears numb when I am taking the bleachers two steps at a time in the dark morning.  It is whistling and gusting and bringing things into my yard (life) that I don't have time to clean up right now.

And we might get a good storm today, which I generally love.  Yeah, I am pretty sure mother nature and I knew each other in a past life.

techno sis

Tonight my sister and I were texting back and forth about her upcoming visit for my son's wedding next week. She is one of my besties because she takes the time to know me and to ask about me and my life. She also makes me laugh more than anyone else I know. Totally true. When she calls me I laugh so hard my abs hurt by the time I hang up. Quotes from her preschoolers, run-ins with sales clerks, etc. She just makes my life better.

Tonight we took pictures of some of our clothes and texted them to each other. What we might wear to the wedding. It was so fun. I love that we could do that. And I love that I did it with her.

colored memories

my green rolling hills that turn burnt orange.

my gold and red five-point stars flickering from branches, and eventually falling to the ground.

my soft wet wind blowing through trees.

my melancholy.

my virginia september.

high octane

You talk louder and louder so that nobody notices the cracking of your voice, even though you are always a good sport about it, and you chuckle along with the rest of us.

You can't seem to get up in the morning on your own, even when you strategically place your alarm across the room so that you have to crawl out of bed.

You made me laugh so hard at dinner the other night that milk came shooting right out of my nose.  Remember, when you jumped up and did a little Beyonce right there beside my chair?

You are very patient with everyone in our family, except yourself.  I am scared to admit you may have inherited that from me.

You love banging on drums (hard), which is something you picked up from your oldest brother.

You are my third-born son, and I love you to pieces.

calming my inner beast

We moved when I was 12, and after the awkward "new girl" thing wore off in 6th grade, I joined the middle school choir. I knew I liked music and enjoyed singing, but I had no idea that it would become something that I loved, and even felt like I needed to survive. Now, 35 years later, it still holds true. I haven't done any recording in a month or so, and I miss it. I want to get back to it. I want to close the door to the den/studio and belt it out. I want to collaborate with friends. I want to try new things that I haven't sung yet. I want to push myself.

On a non-teaching day today, my husband, on his own accord, set up a data base of the 67 songs I have recorded and posted here on my blog. So many have poor sound quality (I had a bit of a learning curve as I was learning to record and mix the music), and so many are just poor quality in general (sometimes I just didn't perform the best I could).

After getting the data base set up, he used www.soundcloud.com to set up a place for me to store my files and then organize sets that I will now post as tracks in my sidebar (look to your right under my photo). I have tried other systems, but this seems easy. For my friends who subscribe to my www.box.net updates when I post recordings, I will probably still use that also since I am comfortable with that app on my iPhone.

These are the ones he (and I) decided on putting into the top 12 list. I hear flaws, of course, but I remember each recording experience and have great memories. Also, when I put new recordings up in my Musical Monday posts, there will be an mp3 player right there in my post, so that you will not have to leave and come back. I hope this is easier for everyone involved.

Thanks so much for listening and sending in requests. It has been so much fun to have a place to express myself this way. I would ask you, What are you doing to demonstrate your own talents on your blog?

a new world order

I get the kids home at 4:30 p.m., allowing them a couple of hours after school to play and relax before we dig in. But once 4:30 strikes it is all about the books and the papers and the algebra. It has taken a couple of weeks to really get this in place, but the boys are getting the hang of things, and once it is flowing well, all of us feel less stressed out in the mornings, because we know it has been taken care of the afternoon before.

Cello and piano lessons are stuck in between homework and dinner, because we are swapping everything so that the mornings are less crazy. It seems to be working. A constant process, keeping the kids balanced. But we have a mantra this year, that we repeat regularly: Family first, church second, school third, friends last.

their own path

Between being a girl (I think you know what I mean), and being a teacher, and being a mom, I totally passed out with my laptop by my side in bed last night.  I woke up at 3:30 when I reached for my husband and felt metal instead.  But I was in the process of posting this:

They asked for my help in choosing the right photo, and this one was so cool.  All of the symbolism.  Walking in step, hand-in-hand, on a path.  You get it.

My boy is all grown up, and so excited to marry his sweet bride who loves him so.  It is a good day.