Category Archives: thoughts

clutter my life with these

I haven’t read the books but I have heard plenty about what is all the rage right now – the imageKonmari method of organizing.  In the end it is still tidying up, paring down, decluttering.

I think part of the reason people are so drawn to these messages is because there is so much in our lives we have no power to discard, dismiss or distance ourselves from.

If I could gather before my senses only that which sparks joy, my days would be filled with nature, music, art, poetry, hopeful people and knitting.


do you know this  word?  the definition is: the withering of, but not falling off, as in part of a plant

I discovered this word because I wanted to know why the oak trees that line my street don’t imageshed their leaves in autumn.  Their dry, brown leaves cling desperately throughout the winter wind and rain and then drop just before new buds appear in late spring.  Apparently this is what happens with oak and beech trees.  I found this out by “Googling” my question and read a lovely answer by Michael Snyder at  Botanists don’t really know why some trees do this.  Evergreens appear green all year but actually replace all their needles.  Most deciduous trees drop all their leaves in autumn.  But not these two particular species.  No one knows why but the two suppositions are:
1) they drop their leaves in spring to provide their own compost at a time most useful to have extra nutrients
2) the dried leaves provide protection for new buds against nibbling deer and moose and the effects of winter snow and weather

I kind of like thinking about this – wondering about my own efforts at marcescence……..

Evergreen? Maple? Alder? Oak? Beech?  what do I hold on to for months at a time, what do I let go of all at once, what changes are so subtle I don’t even know they are happening?

How about for you?

(it’s day one of the Slice of Life month long writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers – check it out!)


the prompt is “soft”

My first thought reading the prompt “soft” was the term “soft eyes.”  How appropriate.   As I begin my new school year and am sitting through days of reconnecting with peers and trainings and recalibrating for new learning, it is a good reminder to maintain soft eyes.

It is a bummer that when I Google this term the first thing that pops up is the title of an episode of The Wire but oh well, maybe now more people will become familiar with what it means.

Reading how it is used in horseback riding is interesting and similar to what I’m trying to do this week – keep my eye on what is in front of me while maintaining my peripheral vision.  The Urban Dictionary states flatly that soft eyes involves not to forgetting to see the forest when looking at a tree.

So my soft eyes are seeing the beginning of the school year and all the new relationships with students and families at the same time I am tediously compiling the paperwork needed to be filled out for each child.

My eyes are seeing the possibility of a new curriculum coming alive in my classroom and supporting my young aide at the same time I’m trying to decide how in the heck I’m going to store and organize the materials.

Soft eyes see a school staff taking baby steps towards a positive school culture even as they digress into their usual haggling of who is responsible for what.


It is supposed to rain tomorrow – we haven’t had rain for so long and we need it so badly.  My eyes are eager to see a wildly wet and splashy world and I don’t plan to focus for one tiny moment on anything narrow or small at all – like the fact I just washed my car…..

jury duty

I’ve never served on jury duty before.  I was called to it about 10 years ago but there were no cases and so my term expired without service.  But this time has been different.  I was dismissed from the current case but not until I went through an entire day yesterday of getting orientation and filling out a questionnaire and 6 hours today of discussion between the lawyers and the 80 others in the jury pool.

While I didn’t like the chit chat going on behind me that made it hard to hear, I did like witnessing and being a part of the process.  I’ve found out I don’t need to call in again until next Sunday so who knows, maybe my term will expire again without serving but I’m a lot more informed regardless of the outcome.

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.

my heart is in the honey jar

honey can last forever
if you take care of it right

in the past week
i have spent time
or talked to
many of my most precious friends

time with them is golden
drips with sweetness

can last forever
if you take care of it
just right