bit of a shocker

I took Monday off work to finish up my application to return to school in the Fall. My plan was to enter the Post- Baccalaureate Special Education licensure program while I also started a teaching position in my current classroom (my friend and teacher Joan is joining her husband in China for two years). Since special ed teachers are always needed, it is possible to be fully employed while you are just beginning to be licensed.

I love my school. I love my colleagues (one of whom will be staying as a technician in the room). I love the kids. I love the feeling of doing something important. And it doesn't hurt that my school is only a mile away from home and keeps my hours away at a real minimum. After being a SAHM for eighteen years I have felt blessed to find a job back in education again (I was a fifth grade teacher when I was first married), but in a new and exciting section of it.

When I came back to work on Tuesday I was told by my very likeable principal that the higher ups had taken the job offer off the table and are planning on sliding an administrator with fewer district responsibilities into the position. Budget cuts. Kick in the gut.

Then when my husband got home he brought these.

Sweetheart. He loves me and felt rotten that I felt rotten. Beautiful flowers help. They really do. And so the next day I brought them in to the classroom to cheer us all up, since it wasn't just me that was disappointed the day before.

By Friday I was in the mood for a little hair therapy, which I crave here and there when I feel restless. So I went with a defiant single highlight that made me feel good. It was fun to play around a bit, even if I end up changing it again by Sunday night. It's my canvas and I like to mix it up.The main lesson I actually learned from this whole experience this week is that I can expect things of myself. I can be a real contributor. And this was a valuable thing to learn about myself even though the job itself slipped away. It's all good.

perfume free

After getting cologne for Christmas for ten straight years, my friend finally said to his parents, who thought they knew him, but didn't, You know I don't wear cologne, right? I have been giving this away to people for all these years.

To which his parents responded, You really just give it away?

They didn't know me,
he said to me today.

How well do I know the people that are important to me? How hard am I trying? Am I letting myself be known?

lessons at a crosswalk

When we lived in London in the Summer of 2002 I was standing at a busy intersection on Cromwell holding a chubby little boy hand in each of mine. We were trying to cross over to the neighborhood grocery store and I found myself looking at the white letters painted on the road saying "LOOK" with the arrow pointing right. We were in London for weeks, and those little white letters saved our lives more than once, for sure. We Americans look left all the time when we are stepping off curbs.

And as we stood there waiting it out, my little four year-old mentioned the smell of the air. He didn't know how to explain it, but it was some serious exhaust from the mounting traffic. And as the years have passed he continues to say, "It smells like London" when we stand at a crosswalk. But after I looked up from the white letters on the street, and then helped my little son interpret the suffocating exhaust, there was one other thing to catch my attention. I heard engines revving as the traffic light changed from red to yellow, then finally to green. Red to yellow. Red to yellow. It took me a second to realize that this was backwards from what I was used to. We have green to yellow. Get ready to stop. Start slowing down. Be careful. Here, as I gripped two sticky little boy hands at a busy London intersection, I watched the locals work in a different order. Get ready to go. Start your engines. Take off.

Musical Monday: Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

A few shots of me in the den where I do my recording. I did this song out of nostalgia for the country music I grew up hearing in my friends' houses growing up. My folks were more into Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears. Yes, they are cool.

Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

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.

pond water potion

After an afternoon of learning about teeth and making fruit parfaits with 6 little special ed. kindergarten boys, we settled down to watch a short movie before the bus came to pick them up. In the movie we watched a caterpillar and a tadpole who were excited to grow up and "turn into something else". Simple idea, right? Even though some critters keep their general characteristics and just get bigger as they age, many others go through a physical metamorphosis where they turn into different creatures, close to being unrecognizable.

Sitting there I had a metaphorical flashback to when I was about 12 years old. In this post I wrote about my idyllic upbringing in the woods of Virginia with my amazing family, but what I didn't tell you then was that I struggled with the girls in the neighborhood. Moving when you are 12 is a tough thing, but if the local boys kinda like you it is like a death sentence.

One of the things my new potential pals had me do in order to be their friend was to stick my arm, elbow-deep, into a five-gallon bucket full of pond water and loaded with tadpoles. I did it. And after that I jumped through other ridiculous hoops out of a need to not be hated.

How ironic that tadpoles would be part of that experience. Tadpoles that change and turn into something else. I am the frog that got its start in that bucket. Ribbit.

bang a drum

My kids like for me to play video games with them, not because I even come close to giving them a run for their money, but because I am like the second, less entertaining storyline, in your typical TV show. I am filler, and I give just enough of a diversion from the main act to allow them some comic relief. I can live with that. I have a purpose beyond doing laundry and making meals, and I am good with that. Actually, I am glad for it.

My friend has raised 8 children, and has kept admirable relationships with all of them. She is not only insightful and funny, but she is present. She told me today that recently her almost-eighteen year-old (last one at home) asked her to have band practice with him. "Sure." she said. "What instrument do you want to play?" asked her son. "How about drums?" was her answer. So there she sat, straddling the bass drum, in a dress no less, while her son played electric guitar. Present. In it for good.

I like when my kids laugh at me. I like to show them I am game. I like to think that every time I jump in and do something with them that they are better at (which is just about everything), that I am telling them, "I like you." And I most certainly do.

Musical Monday: Let It Be

Paul McCartney wrote the lyrics to Let It Be as a song of peace as The Beatles were facing their imminent break-up. With his deceased mother, Mary, as a symbol of calm and understanding this song ended up being the last single the group would record. It was released in March 1970, when I was in kindergarten, so I ended up learning about the Beatles just after they disbanded.

These lyrics can almost serve as a hymn to us. Slow down, relax, and let it be...

Let It Be

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.

invisible paste

I hover above things around here. Often I am the only one around, like when the man and his wife are at work and the children are at school sitting in their chairs, where they sometimes might forget about me. They don't forget because of any real reason. It's just that life moves along each day and the small blocks and distractions can take over, at least for the moment. But I stay here in the house and wait for the chance to rub up against a still-soft unshaven cheek, or a filled-to-the-brim head full of concerns and plans. I cushion things. I remind these people that there are big important things that we can't see or explain. But we can feel them in our hearts, and we can hold on to each other. In a stream of thought I can skim the waters of the Atlantic and wrap around the southern tip of that dark and unknown continent until I climb the eastern edge to the mysterious coastal city of Mombasa, where another smooth face waits to be kissed and longs to be remembered. I am a thick paste when I need to be, and a thin mist when I need to sneak in. I am love.

Musical Monday: Home

So sometimes I really enjoy that Michael Buble or Harry Connick Jr. vibe. They have such throwback voices that are, what I would call, creamy. For today's post I did a Buble song that I liked from the first time I heard it. I hope I did it justice. Click on the title below.


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.

white linen feeling

I have a white dress.
It makes me happy to take off my shoes and flit around the house in it.
I like being a girl.

purpose in injury

A few weeks ago our beloved potential daughter-in-law was in a car accident that could have (and should have, according to the Utah Highway Patrol officer we talked to in the emergency room) ended her life. She fell asleep driving on the freeway, with her cruise control set at 60 mph and drifted off the road into a tree, hitting it head on. Her seat belt, and the airbag, along with many little Kenyan angels floating above the car due to regular prayers offered from our missionary son, saved her life. My husband and I were called from the nurse to the E.R., and when I met Geo there he was already pretty misty at just the thought of losing this person that has become important to us.

Later that day my husband felt the need to offer some counsel to M, and soothe her anxiety a little bit. What he said to her has stuck with me over these past weeks as I have had my own small struggle with a sinister sinus infection, coupled with two (yes, that's right) root canals.

"Being sick or hurt offers us the opportunity to slow down and ponder our lives. We get the chance to mentally and emotionally filter things out that we don't need. It helps us to feel a dependence on God and to look for our own purpose."

I am not naive enough to think this is an easy platform to reach, but sometimes it's about the ideal. Sometimes we need, as weak human beings, to find some kind of purpose in our sufferings and in our injuries. A little refining. Rub off some rough spots. I need that.

Musical Monday: Take It With Me

One of my faves this week. Geo is playing for me here, and with our busy Sunday we didn't get to it until 11 p.m. Fun stuff though, and I love it! I hope you do too. Just click on the title below.

Take It With Me

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.