Monthly Archives: February 2015

routine? not always, but mostly, yes.

I spent the day trying to take pictures once an hour.  Everything was going well until about 9:40 – the fourth hour of my day.

The students were clearing away their breakfast things and Caleb started vomiting.  This has been the worst year I’ve ever had for kids getting sick in the classroom.  You’d think it would be routine for a preschool teacher but I have not found this to be true.  This is about the 5th time in 2 months I’ve had a student start puking.  Of course the child gets freaked out and they start crying.   The other kids are either grossed out, curious or sympathetic and no matter which category – they tend to gather around the sick kid which is not what I want to have happening.   So far I’ve been lucky to have kids puke in the garbage or I’ve been able to scoop one to their side in record time so the mess has been minimal.

So – daily routine kind of went out the window with that little mishap. But I got back into the swing of things an hour later.   Then we had a fire drill… but for the most part, it was a typical day and I caught most of it on film.

It was interesting for me to notice how much of my day is quite predictable, or I can at least anticipate what might happen to and around me.  And I realized that routine or ability to prepare is helpful when everything goes haywire – the sick kid, the spilled coffee, the sudden bad news about a loved one.  Because most of my days don’t have big bumps, I can deal with them when they happen.  And because I know what the comfort of routine feels like, I can work to get it back even with a few new wrinkles.

I am grateful for the safety and comfort of routines I’ve been able to create and sustain for myself.  I know there are many who don’t have this same experience.  Bumps and wrinkles are the routines for many instead of the lap cat who greets me morning and night, and the other systems I’ve put in place to organize myself and sustain the work I do as well as the relaxation I need to be ready for the routine of another day.

a five forty am  b six fifty amc seven thirty ame nine oclock amf ten thirty amh eleven ten ami twelve forty pmj three pmk three fifty pml four twenty pmm five pmo seven forty pm

a week thinking about “light”

week 2: 28 moments: light

1) Last Saturday, Valentine’s Day, my hubby and I went to IHOP. It was a gorgeous sunny morning.  Here we were sitting at an iconic American restaurant table with its rack of four kinds of syrup and over-sized menus and Mike says, “The light reminds me of breakfast in the Sudan.”  What?

Mike lived in the Sudan when he was 10 and apparently it was one of the few places he lived where he remembers sunlight at a breakfast table.  I think my sunniest memories are from Cape Cod at my grandparents house.

2) I spent the week doing a little research to help plan activities for a mother-daughter retreat at our church which took place on Friday and Saturday night.  The theme was “Dreams” – and making dreams come true.  I found a website that suggested applying this acronym for LIGHT to a vision board:
L – for legacy
I – for impact
G – for gifts
H-for habit
T – for time
I also found this quote by Joel Barker: Vision without action is a dream.  Action without vision is simply passing the time.  Action with Vision is making a positive difference.

3) We often speak about darkness as “the absence of light.”  I don’t usually say the opposite – “light is the absence of dark.”  I enjoy the contrast of light against darkness or darkness warmed by light.  I made this felted rock which shows the qualities of light and dark I notice the most.




in the company of strangers

the prompt was to tell a tale of 2 meals – one wonderful, one not

I’ll begin with the not-so-wonderful meal.  I actually can’t remember the meal, just what happened next.

I was a Peace Corps volunteer for a very brief time in the South Pacific. We were a small group of 12 and hadn’t been in the country for very long when, naive traveler that I was, I ate something at a market and ended up with food poisoning. This was not my first time away from home or even living with a bunch of relative strangers in close quarters, but it was my first time being sick and requiring care by people who weren’t family members or really even close friends. I spent a whole night curled up on a bed in the humid dark cement block room, vomiting over and over again.  When it was finally over I realized I had gone through a rite of passage – that of feeling and looking incredibly wretched and vulnerable in front of strangers.


The wonderful meal I remember wasn’t a proper meal at all.  It was Communion at a women’s retreat some years ago.  One of the women attending had recently been diagnosed with cancer just days before and was going to begin an aggressive round of treatment for it.  There were some 40 women at this retreat and we spent the weekend passing around a prayer shawl started for her on Friday night and finished on Sunday morning.  We wrapped it around her shoulders and passed bread and wine to each other around the circle.  It is a favorite memory of mine.

i am not a foodie

The prompt is about food and my stomach sinks.

They say there are people who live to eat and those who eat to live.  While I am not totally in one category or the other I definitely sit closer to the right side of that sentence. I think a little bit about where food comes from and a little bit about how it tastes, but mostly I just want to put it in my belly so I’m not hungry and can move on to doing the stuff I enjoy more.

The Pacific Northwest is an area where people are always talking about food.  There is a big farm to table movement here and we have access to fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and dairy. There are almost as many markets as churches.  But it is expensive too, and somethings I see just seem nutty: a whole store dedicated to olive oils, islands in the market dedicated to fancy cheeses, salsas, olives and other condiments, bakeries as prevalent as latte stands.

I have friends who love to cook and whose entertaining I have thoroughly enjoyed but I just wonder about whether it could all happen with a little less of “the perfect.”   But I am really not a great judge of taste – because mine isn’t especially developed.   I grew up with a casserole queen and sometimes carry on the tradition grandly – just substituting rice for the noodles.

So when asked to take pictures of food as a creative prompt, I struggle to find a suitable something to capture.  I love the texture of the containers, dishes, silverware and napkins that accompany everything I eat so maybe I’ll take a picture of those, and if some of the food gets in the photo, so be it.


Cat tails

there’s a 6 year old boy I spend time with – not as much as I’d like, but a few times a month.  This was Thursday, 2 weeks ago:


Where are we going?   he asked.
Just down this path.
Where does it go?
Well, I don’t really know, but it will be a nice walk.

We look in the grass for walnut shells left by the crows.
He whoops when he finds two halves side by side
and holds them in his palm for me to see.

Can we glue them back together?
Sure, there’s a glue for that.
What are those?  He points to cat tails standing just off the path.
Cat tails.  I’ll get one for you.

I step carefully from the path into the saturated field
trying to walk on the tufts of flattened grass
but one foot sinks deep and my shoe is soaked.
Oh well. One shoe, one afternoon.

I snap the dry stalk of the cat tail and move back to the path where he’s been watching me.

Feel this, take a look.

He takes the stalk like a sword
and touches the tip the same way he would test a blade.
Some fluff spills from the cat tail.

Inspired he thrashes the stalk from side to side
and dashes back and forth across the path
smacking the blackberry vines on the border.
Fluff spews and flies to the wind;
it mounds on the path, catches on his sleeve and hair.

He is laughing.
He is Arthur, Ninja, Pirate, Jedi.
Soon the tail is only a withered cat’s paw.

Can you get me another one?

Of course. 

Today, tomorrow, forever if I could.

I will step off the path for you, wade in the water,
bring you what you need
to make halves whole,
clear the wilderness,
cast doubt to the wind.
Whatever it takes
for you to be equipped to run bravely in the world
with joy and laughter deep in your belly.


Just sayin’

so it is kind of cool to be standing in a line at my local market and have someone boom out “SEA” and the rest of us respond “HAWKS!”

but how about this – can you imagine a market of people chiming in to these calls:

“LOVE”………”Your neighbor!”

“FEED”…..”the hungry!”

“HOUSE”….”the homeless!”

“BLACK LIVES”…..”matter!”