Sunday, October 9, 2011

Literacy and the Family.

It's probable that most parents have heard that reading to their child is good for them. It is also probable that those same parents have heard why reading to their child is so beneficial. But how many really do? What really are the benefits? A few clicks of my mouse and a couple minutes of reading later, the answers were clear...

"A national survey found that less than half (48 percent) of parents said they read or shared a picture book daily with their children ages 1 to 3. Even fewer, 39 percent of parents, read or looked at a picture book with their infants at least once a day. Most alarmingly, one in six parents of an infant (16 percent) said they do not read to their child at all (Young et al., 1996)."    (Cited from

But the question still stands? Why? What is it about reading that makes it so beneficial for kids? The same website goes on to say that when parents read, talk, and sing to and with their child, it literally makes brain cells turn on. This means that parents really are their child's first teacher. Many of these experiences with words and stories cannot wait until starting school. It has to start at home...

And here's how:

The home is your greatest tool. It is accessable to you at all times and has a variety of ways to incorporate learning, reading, and fun into your child's life.

In the Bathroom:
  • vinyl books during bath rime.
  • bath paints or colored soap with sponges to make letters and numbers
  • magnetic letters on the wall
In the Kitchen:
  • Have your child help you make the grocery list.
  • Put away food packages according to the first letter.
  • Keep a calendar for each week listing important days and times. Have your child draw a picture to go with each event.
In the Back Yard:
  • Let your child write letters in sand. No sandbox? Use a cookie sheet with sand.
  • Let your child write and draw with sidewalk chalk.
  • Make letters with a jumping rope and try to think of words that start with that letter.
For more ideas to use at home visit

Reading books can also provide a great conversation between you and your child.

Before you read a book: Ask "what do you think will happen?"
                                        Look at the pictures together and study the drawings
                                        Talk about experiences that connect to the story.

During the book : Talk about what is happening in the story.  
                              Point out interesting or tricky words.
                              Ask "What do you think will happen next?"

After the book: Share your favorite part and tell why.
                          Rate the book from 1 to 10 and tell why.
                          Reflect with your child on the story.

What about when your child goes to school? What do you do when he or she comes home from school with a new book to read to YOU? What happens when your child makes a mistake when reading?

Here are some important tips about beginning readers...
  • They need to point to each word. Encourage them to do so.
  • They need to look at the pictures. Encourage them to use the pictures to help them.
  • If they make a mistake, ask them "Where's the tricky word?" Have them point it out.
  • Ask them "does that sound right? Does it make sense?" after an error. They might be able to go back and fix it on their own.
  • Don't be afraid to tell them a few words when reading. They don't need to struggle through every word.
  • Encourage them to look at the picture, look at the first letter, and make a guess when they don't know a word.

    Here are some additional resources for you and your child:

    * (for parents) (for parents)
    * (for kids)
    * (for kids)
    * (for kids)

    Remember, you are your child's first teacher. Invest in your child's future by reading, talking, singing, and playing with him. 

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011


    When life gets a little busy and I feel a little more stressed than usual, I am always surprised at what brings me back into focus.

    A little joy to brighten my outlook and put spring in my step again...

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    It's okay.


    Writing Workshop is something that I have grown passionate about in the past few years. I was blessed enough to have a very knowledgable and wise veteran teacher mentor me in the area of writing during my second year of teaching. Since then, I have marveled at the way kids can evolve in front of my eyes. This teacher, let's call her Mrs. R. showed me how writing workshop can be joyful learning. It can be a time of getting to know students, having students getting to know me, celebration, fun, and of course, learning!

    Today, during an informal meeting, some colleagues and I were milling around about focus statments for our writing workshop lessons in the upcoming weeks. Yes, we looked at the standards, and our district's pacing guide, etc. but I was constantly drawn back to thinking about what my writer's need now. I challenged a couple of my colleagues to just think about what their writers need. I wonder how often we let ourselves think about what they need- not what they have to know, and how fast it will be on a test, but rather the most pressing NEED.

    One teacher talked about mini-lessons where she encouraged students to flip back through old stories before getting new paper. I agree, this can be a powerful challenge. It is great for students to look at previous work and reflect. However, the more she talked, the more it was apparent that she wanted kids to go back and "finish" every story. Do they NEED to finish every story?

    This got me to thinking... is this really what I want for my writers? Do I finish every piece of writing I start? Can we teach a lot of valuable things about writing when some pieces don't get finished? I had to reflect back onto my own summer challenge- where I tried to write a slice a day for a month. It was tough for me. I had a hard time thinking of subjects, stories, and ideas that were worthwhile. I still do!

    I think I have to remind myself as a teacher- it's okay. It's okay if they don't finish every story. It's okay if their interests change, and they abandon an idea. It's okay if a newer and better idea comes along. It happens to me all of the time! Lots of Tuesdays, I sit down to slice and something entirely different than what I had planned ends up on the screen. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay. There are still teachable moments there...

    Happy writing!

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011


    Nearly five years ago I started my life here. I started in a new place. New roads to get lost on. New students to teach. New friends to make.

    Scared doesn't do my mind and heart justice. It took a long time for me to get cozy in my new life. Finding friends wasn't easy for me. I allowed (and sometimes still do) my job to take up a lot of my free time. So, going out and meeting new people was rough. One simple start was a television show.

    L and her husband, J watched the same silly show in their basement. I can't even remember how it happened exactly, but we started joining forces and watching together. The winter seemed a little more bearable, a little warmer, and a little more friendly.

    Through time L didn't seem like just a colleague anymore. Sure, we spent time together at school talking about teaching strategies, our students, our struggles and triumphs. Soon we became more. We decided to share life together. I don't think we knew quite what that meant at the time. Living in the same house helped us to become friends and not just colleagues.

    Time has allowed me to know her love of organization, her love of snacks, her practicality, her insane sense of smell, and her talent for losing her phone.

    More than that, time has given me the chance to see her as a wife to J. She loves and accepts him. She values his leadership and skills.

    I am lucky to get to see her as a sister and daughter. She values family. She works hard at keeping in touch with them and their everyday lives. She welcomes them into her home.

    Time has now let me see her as a mommy. Baby J can't know yet how lucky he is to have her. She lights up when she holds him, delights in his existence, and sacrifices for him.

    I am thankful for the time see my friend. From her I have learned love, strength, acceptance, joy.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Tough Choices

    Feelings pushed
    the smile.

    It was hard to
    Did they notice?

    I made the
    It was time
    to follow


    Tears bubbled
    and flowed

    I knew
    it would
    hurt someone.

    Did it have to be me?

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Just Plain Weird

    The new school year is definitely underway. Weekly meetings, mini-conferences with interventionists, a new math curriculum to read and figure out, and yeah, the kids. I have 25 this year. It's not a huge number, but it is a little more than "ideal". Nevertheless, it provides ample personality, creativity, ideas, background knowledge, smiles, and brains. We can never get enough of those things in first grade!

    All of these nuances and many more are running a sprint around the track inside my mind. And then I remember, I have been hired to do more. Yes, I am to teach, plan, differentiate, manage, inspire, motivate, remediate, encourage, love, and learn. Yet, there's more.

    I was hired to be a Mentor Teacher this year in my school. This comes with responsibility and leadership that I have never had before. I sought after and accepted the position to learn to be a leader and to strengthen my own skills by the sharpening of other teachers. One of the aspects of my job is to observe other teachers and help them strengthen their craft. Sounds fairly simple, right? In theory it sounds nice and tidy. However, in practice it can get pretty messy.

    Last week I had my first opportunity to briefly observe another teacher. This is a very informal setting where I pop in and pop out, looking for only a few things. Today was another day I chose to pop in on a teacher and observe the environment she has helped create with her new class. I can't describe the feeling I get when I go into these classrooms. I am excited to be there. I want to get to know these other teachers that I have been working with for several years. However, it feels... just plain weird. I feel like I don't belong. Sometimes I might not be welcome? I feel unprepared. Uneasy. Weird.

    I don't think the teachers on the other side of the situation realize how I feel. I hope I can learn to be a better leader and help them realize that together we can make it just plain helpful.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    "You say Goodbye, I say Hello"

    The time has come to say goodbye sleeping in and staying up late reading until noon lounging around the house in pjs wet hair thrown back with a headband afternoons lounging by the pool with a book and a friend whimsical errands and coffee meetings jetsetting off on a trip with friends

    The time has come to say hello 25 new sets of eyes and ears hair and makeup at 6am wearing a real bra having a plan and sticking to it going to bed early and not sleeping in new learning, laughing, and love being stretched and stretching others working together and seeing growth being surprised and amazed by the minds of the young a new start.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011


    Every day is fresh. I am so glad that it is. There are days when I wake and feel joy, pain, shame, hope. No matter which, the day is new. clean. ready to be painted with life's possibilities.

    Today the idea of newness is even greater. Baby Josiah has come home. L and J have waited many years for this little guy. No, he isn't biologically theirs, but they have given them their heart. love. life.

    As he laid on top of me this evening, I couldn't help but think how lucky this little one is. He has birth parents who loved him to nurture him through nine months in the womb. They loved him enough to plan for him. Care for him. Want for him. He has adoptive parents who sought him, pray for him, yearn for him. He has family and friends all over the world who have waited with breath baited for his arrival, traveled across country to welcome him home, and two aunties who get to spoil him rotten daily.

    Yes, new is...
    ...a blessing
    ...full of possibilities.

    May God bless you with all of his wonderful possibilities, little Josiah!

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011


    Before school let out in May, I sat down one afternoon and drafted a list (go figure!) about things I would like to do this summer. Some were more serious and time demanding, and others were purely for kicks and giggles. One of the things on that list was to learn to make piña coladas. I am not really into coconutty drinks, but it is alwasy refreshing, sweet, and really fun with an umbrella straw!

    As the summer has gone on I have had to let go of some of the things on my list. Some of them were just pipe dreams- things that I knew probably would never happen- but I had to keep hope alive. For some reason, August 1st was the "end" to my summer- at least in my mind. I had given up hope yesterday that any fun or sun or relaxing could happen after that looming date. I even went in to school today for a work day with a pretty bad attitude. I was grumpy. irritable. heartbroken. I was just beginning to feel like summer was coming alive, only to have it ripped away like a sudden death.

    Tonight I was proven wrong! Summer, fun, frivolity, and fruity drinks can happen after August 1st! While L and I were at the store I went ahead and got the supplies needed for our new drink. It was a whim! And I loved every heart beating second of it!

     With a fantastic dinner, we enjoyed my very first piña coladas! So yes, I got to put a "check" mark next to that dream on my summer list.

    Monday, August 1, 2011


    I feel the itch...

    The nagging bite of school.
    It creeps up my leg.
    It demands my acknowledgement.
    It wants my attention.

    I might be ready.
    I should be ready.
    I think I'm ready.

    I feel the need to scratch.

    Sunday, July 31, 2011


    My church has started a series on Psalm 23. Because of my sporadic attendance this summer, I missed the beginning of the series. Even so, the message today held power, beauty, truth. I won't quote it to you. If you know it, then you know it. If you don't, you might look it up.

    The basic premise is about wants or desires. Yes, our culture is "want" driven. Tv commericals, bilboards, magazines, radio stations, etc tell us of the newest and greatest thing-a-mabob that we need. I am ultra guilty of feeling that urge to go and spend. Sometimes it consumes me. Controls me. Even deeper than consumable want is the deisre for something more out of life. A marriage. Children. A talent. An experience. I think we can all relate to either type. The tendency to see what someone else has and want it seems natural to me. Perhaps it wasn't meant to be natural.

    The pastor encouraged us to combat this feeling of want in a way that I wasn't expecting. Yeah, sure I was counting on the "spend within your means", "don't compare yourself to others", etc. I wasn't calculating the challenge of: be grateful for what you have and be genuinely happy for others when they have something you want.

    Even though the summer has been different than I had planned, I am grateful.
    • For the chance to visit aging grandparents.
    • For long evenings spent chatting with old friends.
    • For sunny hours spent lounging in a pool with friends.
    • For a home where I feel safe, loved, welcome.
    • For far-away friends who are happy to hear my voice when I call.
    • For my job- even though the upcoming year frightens me!
    • For new babies in the lives of so many near and dear to me.
    • For those who truly know me despite my tendency to hide.
    • For the chance to stop. be. think. breathe.
    "Be thankful more than envious."- T.R.

    Saturday, July 30, 2011


    The title of the blog here could mean many things. Stuttering. Searching for the right word. Using words incorrectly.
    I have never considered myself to be a creative writer. I can write, sure, the occasional letter, thank you card, email, and of course educational paper. I am pretty good at those. But creatively? Nah.
    When I sit down to write I wish I had a different voice. I wish my style were more subtle, poised, connected. Instead I feel kind of silly. Forced. Cliche.
    I hope its true when others say that imitation is the purest form of flattery, because I try to imitate in my writing. I read. Books. Magazines. Other blogs- and lots of them. I have a few favorites that create mental images so vivid and bold that they make me stop in my reading to go back and linger. Take hold. Study. But even with this apprentice-like studying, I can't seem to take hold of those writing traits. I know why. It's more of a thinking than an actual writing I admire.
    All of this leaves me with a question. If my original intent for writing every day of July was to gain some experience writing in a daily fashion in order to relate better to my six and seven year old writers- What do I do with kids who just don't know what or how to write?
    I have jotted down ideas in a notebook and never written about them. I have read other people's writing and tried to imitate and gleam from their style, expertise and even subject matter. So, in the upcoming year I am faced with what to do with those reluctant writers. I thought after this experience I would have some great insight to give them from my own writing. Instead, I feel sympathy. I know what it's like to think all day and not have an idea good enough or worthy enough for an audience. I know what it's like to sit staring at a blank page. And I definitely can relate to not wanting to share my writing (even though I don't have a choice in this forum). But every day I did it. I am not sure that I learned something each day. But perhaps the whole is worth more than its parts in this scenario.
    What do I tell them? I can relate?Jot down some ideas? Look to others for inspiration and ideas?

    I have been telling myself: Just keep writing. Is that enough?

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    Hours Before Morning

    Even thought I don't want to admit it, I know that summer is zooming toward its finale. With that sudden and abrupt ending will have to be the end of one of my summer habits. I like to stay up late. Very late. Generally, it is unintentional. I don't even realize I am passing by my sleeping hours until it has already happened!
    Many times I get swept up in a project, a book, or a good movie. Last night it was a new website. It is called Pinterest. In reality, I know it is a silly site. You create "pinboards" where you basically pin pictures of things you like. I have several boards: clothes, house deco, classroom, jewelry/accessories, vacation spots, etc. You can create as many as you like, with whatever theme you can dream up. Then, you just find pictures of things that strike you, and pin them to the corresponding board. Others can follow your boards, comment on your boards, or even pin your picture on a board of their own. It's like shopping and swapping but virtually! More than anything, it might be an idea generator...
    Nonetheless, I spent hours last night looking through pictures, quotes, do-it-yourself webinars, etc. The hours ran past while I was in a trance of imagination and creativity.
    Even though I might feel the effects of the sleepless hours the next morning, I never regret my quiet time of guilty pleasures. The house is quiet. Restful. Snug. Still. With a household of four and a baby to arrive within weeks these moments might become extinct.
    Perhaps I can let my habit linger for a few more nights yet.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011


    I recently watched a movie where one of the main characters takes a group of people into the middle of a busy street in downtown Seattle. Here he asked the group to describe what they saw, felt, noticed. Not surprisingly, people responded with,
    "cars honking"
    "trash on the street"
    "homeless people"
    The list went on and on for several minutes as the group got more and more specific in their noticings.

    The next scene the same leader and group exited a door on the roof of a highrise in that same city. Again, the leader asked the group to describe what they saw, felt, noticed.
    "fresh air"
    "the nearby ocean"
    It was at this point that the leader pointed out- "But it's the same city. It didn't change. So what did? Your perspective."

    I realize that at any given time perspective can be changed, shunned, altered, abandoned, embraced, or adopted. It's slippery, that perspective.

    Last week I felt like those people on the streets of Seattle. My brain was overrun with upcoming tasks, responsibilities, and potential downfalls. All I saw was cars honking, trash, homeless people, and crowds. At the time, that was my perspective. It might have been shortsighted, but it was and still is valid.
    Perspective maybe should be looked at as a progression. It can go back and forth, up and down, and around. I like to think of it as the Queen in Chess. She can move where she wants to get what she wants. (Some people may equate this with "Woman's Perogative"...)
    Today I feel differently. I am on the roof today, looking down. I am experiencing fresh air, beauty, the ocean and peace. I realize this perspective may not last. It may slip away while I sleep or read or even as I write this.
    I am just at the beginning of discovering that even thought my perspective may change- and I know it will!- I can validate that perspective for what it was at the time. It was my present reality. That can't be taken from me, judged, fixed, or scorned. It is what it is. Instead, I need to remember that the perspective can and should change. I can see my own growth and change in how those outlooks become lighter, darker, harsher, or softer. There is merit in the journey.
    Where are you? What do you see, feel, and notice? Take joy in the journey...

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011


    Artsy is not something I would consider myself to be. Although it is something I yearn to be. I love going to art museums, checking out local artists, trying my hand at a pottery class, painting class, or even admiring projects within a do-it-yourself magazine. I see the beauty in these pieces. I appreciate them. I learn from them. I am just not specifically talented in creating them myself.
    One area that I have grown consistently interested in is the area of photography. It seems cliche this day in age where anyone can buy an expensive camera that does all of the work, and seem like a person with an eye for art. I don't want to be one of those people. I don't want it to be a fluke. I want to see the shot before I take it. I want to hunt down the angles, colors, and distances.
    For me, photography is not just about something pretty to look at. Instead, it is a way to capture life. A memory. A moment in time. An emotion. I recently read that "photographs take their power from memory and emotion. A picture tells its own story, shaped by the mood or insights of the person you are at the time you take it." I was astonished to see my very own feelings and beliefs before my eyes in print!
    So, even though I am not artsy, here are some of my favorite "originals". I hope they tell my story.
    Beauty in Greece

    Sisters in London

    Feet in Rome, Italy

    Niagra Falls
    Jellyfish in Boston

    Sunset in Maine while Kayaking

    Mardi Gras masks in NOLA

    Magnificent Maria in Honduras

    Remnants of a good afternoon with friends

    Mya the Great
    Banyan Trees in Florida

    Just me.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011


    Homework follows
    like a shadow.

    It will not be

    My paper looms
    like garlic on your breath.

    It cannot be

    I feel the weight
    of responsibility hovering.

    It should not be

    I tell myself
    to do the work.

    But somehow
    my fingers do not tap the keybard.

    But somehow
    my fingers reach for another book!

    Like A Kid

    (For Monday...)
    One of the many joys of being on a lake for the weekend include water sports. I have never been ultra-adventurous or experienced when it comes to these kinds of sports. My idea of fishing is laying on the boat, listening to music, and re-applying sunscreen every few hours. Thankfully, this weekend was a little different.
    My dad has a pontoon boat- which isn't lightning fast, but can still cause a thrill! Both of the afternoons we were there, we went tubing. Basically, you lay on a big round tube and get pulled around by a zipping boat. It sounds easy, but proved to be anything but.
    It was fantastic to watch and participate in this activity. I was surprised at how long my friends were able to stay on the tube without getting knocked off- despite all of my dad's trickery! Even I was able to learn how to "ride like a cowgirl" and domainate the wake and 360 degree turns.
    We were all amazed at how the adreanline rushed, and even though we were gasping for breath, we alwasy nodded yes when asked if we were ready for more.
    Like a kid, we ran around in our bathingsuits, sopping wet, with grins spread across our sunburnt faces. However, this morning, we didn't feel much like a kids. The pain of our muscles and joints reminded us that we might not be kids anymore. Nevertheless, pretending to be a kid was worth every jolt and bounce-- even if my shoulders don't agree at the moment.

    Monday, July 25, 2011


    (This post is technically for Sunday... I didn't have internet access that day, thus making posting impossible).

    Two of my  housemates were able to join me on a weekend get-away to Columbus. I (almost) always enjoy trips back home. They are often filled with laughs, love, and good food! This trip was a little different in that I went back for three reasons: 1. my cousin's wedding 2. to stay at my dad's new lake house and 3. to fulfill one of B's Pre-Peace Corps bucket list must-do's. (B could leave for service in the Peace Corps anytime after September 1st).
    It is always interesting for me to watch my two worlds collide. I live in Indiana, but grew up in Ohio. My entire family lives there, but my day to day family lives in G-town with me. They knew me from the beginning, but the others know the ins and outs of now.
    I loved watching my family and my friends interact this weekend. It is always good to know that your family approves of your friends, your housemates, the people you live life with daily. On the flipside, it is nice to have your current reality be exposed to your roots, your genes, your kin.
    The weekend revolved around conversation, laughter, and making memories. All in all, my two worlds meshed quite well. I might liken it to... chocolate and peanutbutter. Both quite nice on their own, but incredible when combined!

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Two words.

    Surrounded by family
    young, old, and new.

    It was a joy to watch
    my cousin say "I do".

    Congrats Michael and Tracey!!!

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Cheating Boater

    Some friends and I are going to Ohio for the weekend. My dad has a new house on the lake and we thought it would be a fun get-away for a long weekend. I am pretty excited about forgetting all of my to-do lists, stress, and upcoming return to work. I am looking forward to riding on the boat, bonfires, laughs, and being with family and friends alike.

    However, in order for all of this to take place, I was asked to get an Ohio boating license. My dad wanted to make sure that in case I got pulled over for any reason, I wouldn't be fined (hugely) for not having a valid license. So, I decided to go online and take the exam. However, 60 questions is a lot for a boating license! Especially for someone who has no clue about boating!

    Thus, the generation of technology. I had one window open with the exam and another with the Ohio Boating Handbook. My roommate also googled many of the answers for me. Evenstill, we were worried about the outcome.

    Never fear, cheaters do prosper sometimes- we passed with 88% correct! Now to learn to actually drive and dock the boat...

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    New Thinking = New Action?

    This past year I was hired for an additional position than just teaching first grade. The newest position is being a part of my school leadership team and supporting other teachers in their instructional practices. These supports and changes are hoped to eventually affect student growth in a positive way.
    During one of our meetings my principal made the comment that as leaders "we will need to check our pre-conceived notions of other teachers and their practices at the door. Everyone gets a clean slate" with this new initiative. I was immediately slapped in the face with my own guilt toward NOT previously doing this. For some reason, this charge has been running through my mind periodically through the summer as I think about the upcoming year and working closely with other teachers. I don't want to just be seen as a leader or a good leader. I want to BE a good leader. Yes, a part of being that leader is altering my mindset.
    Today in a training the words "Walk the Talk" appeared in an inspirational video. Those three simple words held a huge implication for me. It isn't enough for me to just think or talk about doing this or that as a teacher, leader, friend, sister, daughter, etc. I have to DO those things. More specifically, this upcoming year, it won't be enough for me to just think "set aside pre-conceived notions". I will have to actually do this. That might mean not commenting in a conversation when my own thoughts or opinions would be a normal response. I know it will be hard. Failing is very probable- and has already occurred!
    I hope to be surprised, taught, inspired, and watched as I try this new mindset and course of action.
    What other areas do I just think and never do? How can I break the cycle? What next?

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011


    I am a list-maker. According to my mom, I have always been on the organized, neat and tidy, methodical side of life. I have a particular method when I make lists. There is generally a rationale behind the organization even when it comes to making the list. I remember being in college and having to re-configure my list making because of the new demands in college.
    I was terrified that an assignment would come due and I would have nothing completed for it. So, in this case I would divide each day in my planner. On the left side were the tasks to DO. On the right, things that were DUE. Clever, right?
    Even now, one might say that lists rule my life. They help me feel in control, planned, prepared. When walking around my house, it might be evident where I have been and what I have been thinking about according to my lists. On the coffee table, next to my computer and text book is a list of things to do in general (one before August 1st, and one from August 1-15th). In the kitchen lists abound! A whiteboard on the fridge names things that could be looked for in a garage sale, a pecking order of things to remember when so-and-so comes to visit. Near the utility room is a grocery list, sectioned off by the different "departments" when shopping. We even have a menu list with the days of the week running down the side. On down the hallway in the bathroom might be a list of things needed written on the mirror with dry erase markers. At the end of the hall, in my room, lists of books read and to read, summer goals, birthdays, gift ideas, and things to research float around. Even on the computer where I am typing now, a virtual sticky note marks the tasks yet to be completed for my graduate course. Travel across town to my classroom... yes, lists certainly exist there!
    All this to say, lists are important to me. They are a part of my life, routine, and sometimes, mental health!
    It struck me this summer that given how essential this simple tool is for me, I have never explicitly taught this in my classroom. Sure, I have heard about different lessons that have referred to or mentioned list making, but not on its own. It occurred to me- why not? It's practical, useful, and valuable for everyday life! I think it may also help start the mental organizational process in students at an earlier part in the year. I might also make the argument that it could help some kids see things in a big picture and in smaller parts. Hmmmm... maybe it isn't all that trivial or obsessive compulsive after all. It just might have its own place within higher level thinking skills, independence, and writing workshop.
    On the other hand, another thing I had to learn this summer was FLEXIBILITY! I had become too rigid with my lists. I was stressing myself over not completing them, and feeling devalued because of it. It was major feat for me when I realized it was okay to pick and choose things from my lists (depending on the list!), and throw away the list even when all of the things weren't complete.
    So, this year I might dive into the waters of list making with my first graders. I hope to teach them all of the positive ways this skill can be applied to their life and their thinking. But I want to make sure that I teach them to ride the waves and be flexible with themselves and their learning. I might even reteach myself a thing or two!

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011


    Time for a bucket
    soapy and full.

    Climbing counters and
    trying not to fall.

    Should we keep this?

    Maybe these things
    will fit better over there.
    I wonder if we should
    consolidate this...

    Wiping down shelves,
    rearranging dishes,
    making more room.

    The kitchen looks shiney.
    Goodbye dust!
    Hello fresh and new!

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Summer Cookin'

    For various reasons our household has been doing some experimenting with food. One of my housemates is trying a sugar-free summer. Yes, you read correctly, sugar free! That means no bread, dairy, pasta, most snacks (except for corn chips), and desserts! The list really could go on forever...
    Anyway, for all dinners we have been cooking sugar-free for the entire household. When we started, I commented that we should make a picture journal for all of the meals we cook. So far, I have only taken two pictures. Both meals were surprisingly delicious and very healthy!
    This is our first meal: Swordfish (grilled), Asparagus, and Quinoa.

    This is the second picture: Flat bread pesto pizza with grilled chicken, basil, red onion and tomato. The "salad" to the side is two types of zuchinni with red onion sauteed with olive oil and seasonings. (The pizza crust is made from rice four).

    I have really started to love cooking in the past couple of years. One of my goals this summer was to try new recipes. I will try to add more pictures and posts when I try them out!

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Life With The Brother I Never Had

    I have to capture this moment in time:

    L: (sitting on couch next to J with blogger window open) What should I write about today J?
    J: Write about building a hotel on Mars.
    L: What else should I write about today?
    J: Write about the aliens who attack your hotel on Mars! (with a combined tone of annoyance and little boy grin).
    L: Good idea. What else should I write about today?
    J: Write about the lice on the Aliens that attack your hotel on Mars.
     (note grin is gone and annoyance may be growing)
    L: Ok. What else should I write about today J?
    J: Write about dung beetles from Africa!!!
    L: I don't know anything about them...
    J: Google that s**t.
    L: Okay. Okay. What else should I write about today?
    J: Write about having an annoying roommate! (grin returns...)

    Who said having a brother was no fun? Now I know what I have been missing all these years!

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Going the Distance

    I am perhaps ready to admit it. I am not very good at dealing with change.

    In my head I know it is necessary, essential and even inevitable. But my heart gets thrown onto a roller coaster ride every time. The crazy part is that I don't ever prepare my heart for it. I go through it millions of ways and times in my head. I play and re-play scenarios in my brain. But every time I am puzzled by the pendulum swing of emotions and irrational thoughts surrounding the upcoming change.

    Why can't I deal with it? I have been encountering this boogie monster since I was a little kid. In fact I deal with it on a daily basis. It shouldn't be a stranger to me. I shouldn't feel like I have entered someone else's life. I don't want to get side swiped by my own heart when my head is telling me 50 other rational thoughts.

    Someone once said that the longest distance is from your head to your heart. For me, change must get way-laid on the journey!

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Love is.


    keeping you up at night
    waking you in the middle of the night
    waiting for you in the morning

    helping you find yourself when you are young
    living life with you daily
    sustaining you in old age

    laughing with you
    crying with you
    rejoicing with you
    mourning with you

    remembering the little things
    seeing the big picture
    taking the fall
    lifting you up



    Love is.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    What's in a Name?

    The answer is simple. Everything. I have many many many friends and family members who are expecting children at the moment. The topic of names has come up plenty of times in the last few hours alone. Sure, every young girl dreams about having her own family some day, and with that is the list of potential names for those offspring. My friends and I even had this discussion in California a couple of weeks ago.
    It's tricky business, right? Naming a person. I mean, it's for life! You don't want the kid to be made fun of. You need something that sounds "right" with the last name. Plus, there's the entire debacle about throwing in that middle name. Oh yeah, and the idea of calling a baby, a toddler, school aged kid, teenager, young adult, adult, and elderly person this name throws another hitch in the plan. The name has to suit all age groups. Yep, tricky.
    I myself like the idea of mixing family, modern, and old names together. I have always advised friends to look up 1920's, 30's, 40's census information to see what names were popular then. Like everything else, it comes back around. So, a name that was popular then might be suitable for now, but not overused. These are just my opinions.
    As a teacher, I also have a whole new perspective on names. Names are used in primary grades for a plethora of learning opportunities. And there is that sad yet true rumor that certain kids with certain names can ruin the name for life!
    I know, I know. I am not a parent. But please, please, please, parents--- don't take this job lightly. Pick a good, solid, joke-free name for your child. After all, they have to live with it long after you are gone!

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

    Some days are just meant to be lazy. Lazy with quiet hours of reading. Lazy with a sappy love movie. Lazy with sun, a pool, and a friend.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Digging Deep

    Maybe I am the only person in the world that this happens to, maybe not. Sometimes I feel my anger rising, and I can't stop it. The weird thing is that I can't quite nail down the reason I am so upset. Perhaps it is some unwrapped insecurity or the let down of expectations. Maybe it is feeling left out or unimportant. It might be feelings leaping over from another situation to haunt me. Every so often I am honest with myself enough to admit what is truly bothering me and spiking my blood. But sometimes I just can't or won't unearth the buried answer. Honesty is underrated. It's essential for interacting with others, but it is vital for dealing with myself.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Small Moments

    One of the reasons I started blogging is to experience the discipline of writing daily. I ask that of my first graders, so why not try it myself. Here is what I have learned so far: it's not as easy as I thought.
    I now realize that having a "story" every day is not as plain and simple as I had expected. I have plenty of ideas stumbling around in my head and even in my heart. But I have come to realize that they are not all ripe. Some are too close to home still. Some have fallen flat. Some are still being lived out. And some are too lengthy or too short for my moods.
    One thing I have challenged myself with is to find the small moment of the day. I think I might even try this with my first graders in the upcoming year. My ideas are not fully formed yet, and clearly neither are my experiences.
    I always practice and understand the importance of modeling for my students (not with clothes, but rather with strategies). But now that I have done some adult writing of my own, I think I am ready to start transforming that into what it means for 6 and 7 year olds.

    Here is my small moment for the day:

    Exercise is a pretty regular thing around my house. We are all interested in being socially, environmentally and health-consciouse. So, L and I decided to go on a bike ride to start our day. We have many different paths and routes that let us explore our wonderful G-town. Today we took a familiar one down the Mill Race to the dam. Once we get to the dam, I love to latch onto the fence, balance on my bike, and watch the water spill over the edge and foam at the bottom in celebration of the trip. Today was particularly joyful because the clouds were shielding us from the hot sun, and the ducks were out feasting on the algae and bugs.
    It was peaceful, isolated, and serene. Maybe a little too peaceful.
    I am sure most people have experienced and heard of the "calm before the storm". Well, we should have taken note that the clouds were not just guarding us from pre-mature wrinkles, but also growing in size and darkness.
    It was inevitable, though. We were too far from home and the clouds were rolling too quickly. It started to storm. L has a fear of tornadoes, so that was an immediate source of conversation. I don't love the idea of being on a metal bike when lightening is present. Thus, we opted for an abandoned office building to take cover for a few minutes. The rain came down in sheets of drops. It was beautiful to watch them sweep over the land before us. It was like watching a time-elapsed video of rain. Eventually, the lightening subsided and the sheets became just steady drops. We started again, pedalling toward the house. We eventually made it home, soaked from pink hat to green shoe.
    On our way back, I remarked that I don't think I have been out in the rain, on my bike since I was 10 years old. We both smiled. It wasn't what we had expected on our morning trip, but it sure was an experience!

    I hope to collect, remember, and cherish small moments like these. More importantly, I hope to cultivate this kind of thinking in my first graders. Writing isn't just about the mechanics. It is a process, an art, a love.

    Sunday, July 10, 2011


    I have one biological sister who is seven years older than I am. She and I have had a tumultuous past at times, but have come to understand, rely on, and love ane another. We are sisters, afterall. Last month my sister called me to tell me that she is accepting a job in Texas.
    Some background on my family might be important at this point. My entire family lives in central Ohio. My cousins, grandparents, siblings, parents- everyone! R. has worked for The Ohio State University for the past ten years and even earned her Master's degree and PhD from that wonderful establishment. She has lived her entire 33 years in Ohio. She has a live-in boyfriend, 3 cats, and a charming home there.
    This job is not just a job. It is a change. And a big one.
    Since I have lived outside of Ohio for the past 8 years, it is very exciting to me. I think it is a wonderful experience to move away from everything you know and start over. That doesn't mean it is fun or easy. But it is stretching, reflective, and important.
    It might be weird to say, seeing as how I am the younger sister, but I am proud of her. She has taught me many things over the years. She has had a hand in many of my major milestones. She taught me to blow bubbles in bubble gum, drive a manual car, and how to be a strong, independent woman.
    I will say it again. I am proud of my sister. Here's to you, sis, and your future success in Texas!

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Beach Babes

    Today a dear friend of mine and I decided to head for the beach! Since she works in the summertime and the days when all four of us are home are rare, we decided to throw boredom to the wind and make the sun our goal!
    Throughout our day I was reminded of how much I love the summer. Sure, its nice because technically I don't work, but besides that there are many benefits.

    In the summer I love to ride in the car with the windows down and the tunes BLARING!
    In the summer I love to read books on the beach.
    In the summer I love bon-fires.
    In the summer I love sleeping with my fan on in my room.
    In the summer I love staying up way tooooo late and sleeping in a little.
    In the summer I love planting flowers and watching them grow.
    In the summer I love picking fresh produce from our garden.
    In the summer I love getting a sun tan...errr burn.
    In the summer I love starry nights (like the ones I saw in California last week!)
    In the summer I love sleeveless shirts and flipflops.
    In the summer I love eating dinner on our back porch.
    In the summer I love people watching at the beach.
    In the summer I love not putting on makeup because I have a tan!
    In the summer I love seeing the bean fields full of fireflies!

    Today could have been ordinary. Instead, it was extraordinary!

    In other news.

    A baby is coming to our house. To live. It shouldn't seem unnatural, but given my living situation, it unnerves some people. Yes, I live with a married couple and another friend. Its different, yes. It makes some people uncomfortable. So what. We like it and we are functioning quite well. That's for another post.

    Last Friday, L. called to tell me that the birth parents she and J. met the week before had decided that they should be the adoptive parents of their unborn baby boy! I knew this day would come. We have been talking, thinking, and praying about it as a "family" for a while now. I'm not sure how L. felt exactly when she got the call, but I was excited and yet very nervous all at the same time.

    A baby changes things. Things need to be quieter. Things need to be moved around and re-organized. Jobs and working situations need to be re-evaluated. Changes are aplenty. However, pure joy trumps all changes (whether they be good or bad!)

    L and J are my friends. No, my family. Even though no blood is shared between us, I have shared a living space and a life with them for almost three years. I have seen first hand how becoming parents has been more difficult and painful than it every should be.

    When I saw L's face today and started talking about baby S. (he is due August 15th), I could see the joy radiating from her smile, her eyes, her giggle. She is going to be a mommy. Sure, it's technically unconventional. But again, who cares. We pride our selves in unconventional at our house.

    I couldn't be more excited, proud, humble, and prayerful for my friends at the start of this new venture in their lives. I am sure we are all nervous. It doesn't matter. A new life will start in the house. I am lucky enough to be a witness and a "family member" during this VERY exciting time in life!

    Friday, July 8, 2011


    I saw this tonight and had to post... I love shoes!

    "Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life!"

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011


    I have never considered myself to be a procrastinator- well, at least not on most things. Perhaps yes for cleaning (especially dusting), returning a phone call, or sending out that birthday card. But not for most things.

    But for some reason I hear the clock in my room ticking away and yet I have no post for tonight. Perhaps blogging has brought out the procrastinator in me. Oh well, I made it. 2 minutes to spare.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011


    girgle. girgle.


    dark and bold.

    drip. drip. drip.


    to consume.


    short and tall.

    patterns, stripes, solids.

    clink. clink. clink.

    married with creamer.

    light and sweet.

    sip. sip. sip.


    warmth and comfort.




    4th of July

    (It's still Monday here in California).

    Our weekend get-away has come to an end. It has been nice to be with old friends. Our lives, jobs, families, and viewpoints may change, but what matters most remains the same: we care about each other.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    Vacation Tendencies

    I have a lot of pet peeves, I guess. I wouldn't necessarily think of this about myself until I start thinking of them. Last night, I became my pet peeve.

    Souveniers (or "Tchotchkes" as we call them) are a must whenever I go on a trip. I generally steer toward items that are practical to my everyday life- a bag, earrings, a piece of artwork. Occasionally I will purchase the t-shirt or sweatshirt riddled with destination names and catchy slogans.

    I think I mentioned in my last post that we have been surprised at the chilly night air and all were unprepared when it came to long-sleeves. So, we decided to purchase somewhat matching sweatshirts. This was a fun idea considering we live in varying states and hardly see one another.

    Here comes the pet peeve... B and I went on a late night run to the store for some wine and more peanutbutter m&ms (a must have for our vacationing pleasure). Of course, it was evening and I was cold. So, I wore my new fancy shmancy sweatshirt out. I hate it when people are on vacation and they wear the new items that they have purchased at their destination. But there I was, in a Safeway grocery store, walking through the aisles with my newly purchased LAKE TAHOE sweatshirt.

    Heh, I guess you can't win 'em all...

    The best laid plans...

    For some of you, it is now Sunday. For me, it is still Saturday. A few people know that my goal for July was to post every day. The goal remains. It is in fact July 2nd, but I am not deminished. I will prevail.

    I am currently in California with some dear dear friends. We lounged this morning, drinking coffee, giggling, and wiping the long sleep from our faces and bones. Later in the day we ventured out from our "Cozy Bear" cabin to explore King's Beach. It was a lively place full of sand, fun, sun, and an arts fair. We even purchased some matching sweatshirts to combat the surprising chill in the evening.

    This evening we skyped with a loved one who is in Connecticut waiting the arrival of her precious twins. I was amazed at the way technology has enabled us to make thousands of miles unimportant and seemingly non-existant. I was grateful and touched to see her and her new home.

    Summer is here. I am with loved ones. I am relaxed. Summer is here.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Desires vs. Productivity

    What to do, What to do.
    My mind is tired;
    tired of trying to decide.

    My heart yearns for one thing.
    My conscience demands another.
    Why must I choose?

    This time should be mine.
    Mine to relax, reflect, recharge.
    But why is there always more?

    I fear the possibility of nothing.
    I regret the planned hours.
    Why can't I choose?

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    7 days

    In one week I will be in California.

    In one week I will be relaxing with some sisters of the heart.

    In one week I will be drinking coffee while rocking in a chair.

    In one week I will be hearing stories, catching up, and laughing.

    In one week I will be relaxed.

    In one week I will feel at home with my long lost friends.

    In one week I will be celebrating the 4th of July with loved ones who let me be free.

    In one week I will be meeting a friend's newest baby.

    In one week I will be refreshed.

    In one week I will be reminiscing about old times.

    In one week I will be free to lounge in pajamas, glasses, and bedhead.

    In one week I will be rejuvenated.

    In one week I will be with soulmates, bosom buddies, neighbor sisters, friends.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011


    I wish I had a good subject for my post tonight, a funny anecdote, or a thought provoking story.

    I wish there were more hours in the day so I could read.

    I wish I were more crafty and could make my own clothes like L.

    I wish I could see one of my best friends as she grows with pregnancy.

    I wish I could see my nephews more often and babysit by the pool in Ohio.

    I wish the summer didn't feel like it was slipping away from me.

    I wish the air conditioner in our house was fixed!

    I wish I was a runner- maybe someday...

    I wish I could sing or act or draw or do something artsy.

    I wish I didn't have to go to bed so soon!

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011


    Even though it is summer, the stressful weight of time slipping away grows heavier daily. Every day since I have been back from my "trip down south" I have had a list of things to do or complete, or at least start! The last two days have been particularly bad with things let go that have to be gathered up again, dusted off, examined, and ultimately taken care of. Then, they can go onto the "finished" shelf in my mind. However, just when I finish one of these tasks, 2 or even 3 more pop into my brain! Just when I have called about the warranty on my car or printed the pictures to send to my now second graders, I remember to add- call car insurance about crack in the windshield, or clean bathroom, or research a rental car for California trip! Are these things always there to do? Or do they come into my brain now because I actually have the time to deal with them?

    Whatever the case may be, I've found my escape! One word: Zumba! I started participating in a zumba class this spring. One of my co-workers offered a class after school and a small group of us started sheepishly learning to move our bodies to rhythm! Tonight, I was re-united with my good friend Zumba. We pretended to ride motorcycles, acted like birds, and even galloped like horses for a short while. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it is. That is kind of the point. Lots of people think you have to have rhthm to enjoy or succeed in this exercise. Not true. Ask anyone who has seen me! The point is: move your body, let the stress escape, and smile!

    So tonight, even if for just a little while, the weight has been lifted.

    Friday, June 10, 2011


    I know I missed my goal of posting on Tuesday. I just couldn't decide what to write about so I let the hours slip away like water down a stream.

    I had plenty of initial ideas:

    • The book I am reading on poverty and the church. Can we help? How? Do we hurt? How?

    • My ravenous rate of reading the past week or so.

    • My inability to read Non-fiction with fervor.

    • Visiting 80 some year old grandparents and realizing the frailty of life.

    • Researching my family history and the quest it has started in me.

    • My double life: Indiana and Ohio

    • Traveling with your parents

    • Starting Graduate school

    • How to forgive and overcome when a friend hurts you deeply.

    Alas, none of these topics were (or are) fully developed in my mind or heart yet. I guess, like a fine wine, I should let them age a bit.

    Instead, I began reading some posts by my fellow "bloggers". I wanted to comment, but for some reason every time I try to comment on a post, I sign in, complete the word verification and then get kicked right back to the log in screen again. This is what I know for sure: Technology is wonderful, useful, practical, progressive and yet if fallible.

    So, here are my comments (I'll get the best of you,

    Ruth: I'll be over soon! What flavors should I bring???

    Ann: I liked the way you talked about erasing. I always have a moment every summer where I catch myself complaining about the heat (I dislike the extreme cold and heat very much) and feel ashamed, because my complaints a few months earlier were about the cold. The grass is always greener, right?

    Bria: First, are you posting every day? My goal is to slice daily in July. We will see. Maybe you can hold me to it! I don't know the background of these three latest posts. But, I love how each of them holds mystery about different topics. I was particularly struck by "disconnected". I chuckled to myself this past week to watch my parents check their blackberries constantly. These, the people who less than a year ago didn't want a cell phone because "then we will be tied to it all the time". We have a choice. There is an off button.

    I guess I did have something(s) to say. Take that, Technology! I will not be stopped (insert evil grin here).

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011


    Last night I saw a man picking food out of a trash can.

    I realize people have different political, religious, and economic viewpoints. But...

    Last night, I saw a man picking food out of a trash can!!!

    How can we--- no. How can I help?

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    The Birthday Queen

    It's true. Last Friday was my birthday. I am officially on the downward trail to... well, I won't mention any numbers.

    In an attempt to make me feel special, my housemate and coworker- L. bought me a tiara, a purple ring (I dubbed it "the ring of power") and asked me to parade around school in the get-up for my special day!

    Now, anyone who knows me, knows that normally I do not like being the center of attention at all. However, something happens to me on my birthday. I become giddy and flamboyant like a jack-in-the-box. When my principal didn't announce my joyous occassion over the announcements, you better believe my class and I went down to the office to set the record straight! (yes, he did later announce it...)

    My students proudly exclaimed to all who passed by what a special day it was. They would point out my crown, ring, and even shoes! (I know it will date me, but I wore my new "jellies"). I had on "glass slippers", making me all the more qualified to be queen for a day.

    Even though it was all pure silliness, I thoroughly enjoyed being "The Birthday Queen"!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    It shouldn't be, but it really is.

    "Oh shit!!!" 8 year old L muttered from his desk last Friday. I was surprised to hear the words in my classroom of first graders. It is probably the first time any profanity other than "stupid" has come up thus far this year. In all honesty, my first reaction was to laugh.

    I knew I had a choice: react, or seem nonchalant.

    I had my back turned to the groupings of desks, so I just called out "Be careful with your words." The kids were all engaged in various morning duties: breakfast, writing, reading, creating, and giggling. L looked at me with shifty eyes, trying to decide what his best excuse should be. In between glances at me, he looked down to his finger that he was delicately holding with the opposite hand. I rotated throughout the room, performing my normal duties and carrying on various conversations with other students. I didn't want everyone to know I was heading over to L. Eventually, I made my way over to the conciencious, loving, and by now, nervous kid.

    I gently whispered in his ear, "Is your finger okay?" He nods.
    "You know we can't say words like that at school, right?" He nods.
    "Okay, I just wanted to check with you." He nods. Looks at finger. Looks at me with uncertain grin.

    I am sure his instant reaction to his finger getting smashed is in large part due to hearing similar reactions at home.

    This shouldn't really be a funny story if you think about it, but it really is. Human nature and what we model for kids is pretty fascinating stuff.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Caught in the Storm

    Since sentences won't come to me and poetry has been our study the past two weeks, here is my own stab...

    words and expressions
    cut to the deepest part.
    two talking as if on different floors of a building

    the moments replay
    again and again in the brain's record.
    two walk away in a duel's fashion

    tears burn
    demanding their release.
    strong-will pushes them back to the dungeon

    calm returns
    to the body like a blanket on a shivering child.
    alligator skin and a duck's back are remembered
    because that's life...

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    To wear or not to wear?

    I don't particularly like to wear socks. Most people who know me, know this fact. My students know. My housemates know. My friends know. My family knows. I don't wear socks in the winter. Mainly, this is because my shoes simply don't look good with socks. I don't wear socks in the spring. Same reason. I don't wear socks in the summer. (I bet you know the reason.) I don't wear socks in the fall...

    However, today I was tempted to change my pattern. A dear friend of mine has a newly built house. I was attending the open house before her and her husband move in. This is when the problem presented itself. Should I wear socks? I was assuming that because the house is brand new that guests would be asked to take off their shoes upon entering. I was faced with two options: wear socks or change my shoes (and potentially entire outfit to compensate) to work with socks.

    Some people might not think it is a big deal. To me, it was a major dilemna. I didn't want to go walking around in my bare feet, but I didn't want to wear socks either! Maybe no one else thinks about this as being a potentially awkard social situation. I do.

    What to do? What to do?

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    "Hey, What's That Playing on the Radio?" - R. E. M.

    Here's my own attempt at ipoetry. Afterall, I have started a new study of poetry in my first grade classroom. I told my kids that I am studying poetry with them and hoping to grow as a poet. This week's focus lesson on poetry is that poets write what they know about and love. I love music. This is my poem from my ipod...

    In my head, Fallin' for you.
    Rhythm of love.
    Love the way you lie.
    Sexy can I, take you there?

    I gotta feeling-
    I am not my hair, According to you;
    We R who we R,
    What's my name?

    Bye Bye, Chasing Pirates;
    Live your life- shark in the water,
    Ridin' Solo, Damaged.
    How do you sleep?

    Just a dream. Just breathe.
    Raise your glass.
    Fearless love, gives you hell.
    Do you remember?

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011


    What is it about secrets? What makes us want to keep things to ourselves? Do we learn to keep secrets or is it a natural tendency? Do we keep them to gain control? power? save our image? protect others? protect ourselves? Do we even realize the things we keep a secret?

    We are told as kids that "Secrets, secrets are no fun, secrets, secrets hurt someone!" We all have them. I know I do. They can be funny, silly, quirky, serious, sad, hurtful, or even destructive.

    A friend of mine recently posted some of her more personal, but silly secrets. This particular post struck me. Yes, it was funny. But even moreso, it was honest. I appreciated the honesty and courage it took to write them out and share them with the public.

    Here are a few of my own:

    In first grade, I stole my teacher's mini-stapler. I saw it sitting on her desk and swiped it like a pelican swoops down for the jumping fish. I have always had a passion for school supplies and the temptation of the cute little purple stapler was far too much for my 6 year old self-control to resist. When she questioned me about it, I denied it and gave her my most angelic smile to convince her of my innocence. To this day, that is the only thing I have ever stolen.

    When things got particularly bad with my Freshman year college roommate, I would read her journal. I am not proud of this, even now. At that time, our communication was limited and full of disdain. Instead of trying to talk to her, I took the cowards way out and read her feelings about me. I always wanted to defend myself, but knew I couldn't because she would know about my secret reading material!

    I have no musical talents per say, but I have always wanted to play the drums. The trouble lies in the fact that I have no natural rhythm. I would uproot my life today if somehow I had any talent in the musical realm. I think I could totally rock out the punk hair with colored extensions and all-star sneakers.

    A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to a social art experiment. Its main focus is secrets. The goal of the project is for people to reveal their most intimate secret, but anonymously. People can send in a postcard with any secret-- that has never been told before-- and open it up to the world. I imagine that this exercise is liberating, therapuetic, and defining for many people. I make it a part of my weekly routine to check in on the new secrets posted every Sunday. Again, what makes us keep secrets? But on the flipside, what makes us reveal them?

    Check out and you will never think about secrets the same again!

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    After the Stumble

    I love to ride my bike. Let me clarify, the words "Let's go on a bike ride" make me smile, jump up and down, and hurry to put on my shoes. I did not realize this love until two summers ago.

    When the four of us first started riding, I was skeptical about the whole situation. I was never a risk-taker as a kid. I played things on the cautious side. I knew what my limits were for safety, and I was sure to stay within them. I was never the spontaneous, impulsive kid with bruises and scrapes. So, when taking my first ride, on my new bike, as an adult-- I was shocked to have new feelings about bike riding! I felt: free, careless, powerful, and young! As the four of us raced down the road, I wanted to be 8 years old again. I wanted to knock on the door of my friends' house, call them outside, and race off to the woods or pool for a day of summer fun.

    It didn't take long for my sense of power and carelessness to be checked with reality. By that point in the fall, we were on a routine ride through G-town. It was a brisk afternoon, full of vibrantly beautiful trees, making the transition through seasons. J. decided to jump a curb. Because by that point, I was feeling very confident in my bike riding abilities, and because I didn't want to seem like a wimpy girl I went ahead and followed suit. However, I didn't realize that all of those beautiful leaves I had been admiring earlier were also on the ground. This made the distance from the road up to the sidewalk seem much less. Before I even knew what happened, I was on my face instead of on my bike! I couldn't move. My arm hurt, my legs were twisted between the frame of my bike, and my sunglasses were a few feet in front of me. Even though I didn't cry, my confidence had disappeared like the skin on my knees.
    The moments after this stumbling were more important than all leading up to it. My first thought after realizing what had happened were "What now?" Even though my confidence was absent I was able to straighten myself out and get back up on my bike.

    I learned that confidence or no, the only choice is to get back up and keep on keeping on.

    So, when faced with the idea of this new blog and the task of writing consistenly and for an audience, even if I stumble a time or two, I hope to hop back up and, post again!