- Pachabel's Canon in D
- Sonny and Cher...I loved her long hair and the way she always made Sonny laugh
- the Holy Bible...a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
- trees large enough to sit under
- Central Dairy Butter Brickle ice cream
- skim milk
- tiny eggs in a nest
- stories that only cemeteries can tell
- veterans...true superheroes
- chipmunks on my porch
- cartwheels in my yard ~ even at the ripe old age of 40
- naptime ~ yes, even at the ripe old age of 40!
- cooking with my great grandmother's cookware
- Arris' Pizza...especially with Greek sausage
- ice cubes from Sonic
- the key to my 1970 Volkswagen Bug...still on my keyring
- silver...and gold
- clean bathrooms!
- the American Flag
- hands over hearts during "The Star Spangled Banner"
- war medals ~ and the memories of those who received them
- the smell of wood smoke
- deep-fried wild turkey, with a dip of Cajun butter for good measure
- the first day of school
- the last day of school
- the music of Yiruma's "River Flows in You"
- Stride gum
- a basic understanding of English grammar, at the very least
- raspberry tea ~ served hot, please
- handwritten letters
- sunkissed skin
- Cardinal's baseball
- the voice of Cardinal's baseball...I love to listen to the sound of Mike Shannon
- starry nights
- homemade quilts, especially from someone who loves you
- the color green
- the color red
- watching the flow of the river from high above
- crackling fires
- southern accents
- fried green tomatoes
- fried green tomatoes with remoulade sauce!
- old friends
- new friends
- true friends
- Harry Connick, Jr...that voice!
- a free trip to the zoo
- super hot showers
- pork chops ~ fried, served with mashed potatoes and gravy
- Patricia Polacco books...the stories, the art
- the author's voice of Cynthia Rylant
- correct spelling...or at least most of the time
- having a point of view
- Luna bars
- old family photos ~ very old...and lots of them!
- sincere apologies
- Coca - Cola...It is the real thing!
- little red wagons
- the sight of retired men enjoying conversation over McDonald's coffee
- playing tag outside until after the streetlights come on
- catching toads
- holding hands
- holding a heart ~ within your own
31 May 2010
30 May 2010
Dear Mrs. Green,
You were my first grade teacher and you got me ready for all the grades after. Another way to think about it is that you are the foundation of my learning. You are the reason I have gotten so far. Thanks to you I got straight A's. Not only did you teach me how to read and write, you were also a super fun teacher. We did all kinds of fun things and projects. Remember the time the class made apple sauce? You were the only teacher that I could talk to about hunting, because you were a hunter too. So you can see, you are my favorite teacher that I have ever had.
29 May 2010
I can't help but include the words to the following letter. I encountered it during some research and it makes me cry. Letters like these are a lost art. Unfortunately, sentiments such as these are as well. Click on the title to hear the words. The haunting lilt of Ashokan's Farewell plays in the background.
Camp Clark, Washington DC
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. And lest I should not be able to write you again I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this government, and to pay that debt. Sarah, my love for you is deathless. It seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but omnipotence can break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battlefield. The memory of all the blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God, and you, that I have enjoyed them for so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes and future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and see our boys grown up to honorable manhood around us.
If I do not return, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I loved you, nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name... Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless, how foolish I have sometimes been! But, 0 Sarah, if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they love, I shall always be with you, in the brightest day and in the darkest night... always, always. And when the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath, or the cool air your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again...
28 May 2010
Which reminds me of Becky... She specifically referenced hugs when she sent me this message: "Although it has been years, your smile is still beautiful and your heart is still full of life." We did have some good times, didn't we? Today I want to see myself using your mirror. Thanks, sweet girl. xoxo
• ¼ cup lime juice
• 2 tablespoons browns sugar
• 3 cups chopped watermelon (about ½ full sized watermelon)
• ½ cup minced red onion
• ¼ cup mint leaves
• 2 tablespoons minced jalapenos (about ½ jalapeño)
• 1/3 cup cilantro
• ½ cucumber
• Salt to taste
- Whisk the lime juice and sugar until sugar has completely dissolved.
- Add the rest of the ingredients in a medium size bowl. Toss gently. Refrigerate overnight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
27 May 2010
This is so very true. Today has been a perfect day for such a reminder. There is a prayer that I love that came to mind today as well. It is spoken in unison at the closing of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, sometimes as attendees join hands. I speak honestly when I say that some of the finest people I have ever known are those whom I met when attending my father's open meetings years ago. Some were elite. Some were criminals. Some were just brokenhearted and down on their luck. We've all been there a time or two. I'm glad to call many of them, still, my friends. There are many adjectives I might use to describe myself. Today, I'll choose lucky. I am a very fortunate girl.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Nos. 29 ~ 33
- a clean and organized desk
- Milk Duds
- evenings with my children
- introducing those I love to friends I've cherished for 25+...35+ years
to be continued, of course
Today my heart is full, but not so much filled with gratitude. Tomorrow is another day...
26 May 2010
- God's grace
- a family that loves me, I think (on most days anyway)
- words, so many words to play with
- the smell of rain
- riding backroads with the wind in my hair
- roses blooming in my yard
- lunch invitations for two or a few
- dried flowers tied with a grosgrain ribbon
- the sound of "Mommy"
- the smells of new crayons, Play Doh, and especially mown grass
- Abercrombie and Fitch Classic perfume
- books...the sweetest gifts
- patriotism, made more precious by the fact that it appears in short supply
- historic preservation
- Grandma Bea's chocolate pie
- homemade biscuits and gravy
- the Smoky Mountains...heaven on earth
- brown eyes
- thunder and lightening
- McKie Roth Designs
- the intellect of Harper Lee...To Kill a Mockingbird is a sermon.
- cumulus clouds floating on a backdrop of blue
- reruns of Bewitched
- visiting the Farmer's Market...the colors, the tastes, the smells
- the atmosphere of Trolley's
- Mom's sugar cookies
- notes that I find on my desk before I leave school on this first day of summer break..."I love you so much, Mrs. Green, and will miss you. You deserve an A+." So do you, Ella. So do you.
24 May 2010
I am not in a good mood. I’ll admit it. I think I’ll let a few others do the talking today…
"Before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience. " ~Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
"The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out." ~Thomas Babington Macaulay
"Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking." ~Henry Louis Mencken, "Sententiae," This and That: A Mencken Chrestomathy, 1948
"You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest." ~Robert Brault"The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe." ~ H. L. Mencken
"The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." ~Andre Gide
"Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. " ~Will Rogers
"The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour. " ~Japanese Proverb
"There is no happiness in love, except at the end of an English novel." ~Anthony Trollope,
"I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar." ~Robert Brault
"After all...tomorrow is another day." ~Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With the WindUntil then...
22 May 2010
(kə-mĕns'mənt) The beginning. The start. The act or process of bringing or being brought into existence. The initial stage of a developmental process.
The evening address was given by alumnus John Ruth. He spoke of his friend, fallen University of Missouri football player Aaron O'Neal, whose life was cut drastically short on the practice field. He spoke of another who was diagnosed as a young man with Lou Gehrig's Disease, who lived his last days spending long minutes communicating simple sentences ~ via blinks of his eyes. These were sobering reminders that life is often unexpected. I hope the graduates will make the most of theirs. "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." ~Steve Jobs
My daughter is not lost on the idea of moving on... It took relatively little time for her to lose the "ugly robe" and set her phone on rapid fire. She is finally free. You've waited so very long for this, haven't you McKenzie? I hope you don't forget your name as you go out into the world...
I'd like to introduce you to two friends... If you have time, please check out their blogs! You can find Janel at Dandelion Dayz. She is a hometown girl but currently resides in the Carolinas. She is an amazing wife, mother and friend. Her thoughts are a bit like kisses of fresh air...so true to her personality and dimpled smile. The same is true of my friend, Dawn. (I remember you from your pre-Mason days! Do you remember that...the days near West Main Street?) She, too, is an amazing wife, mother and friend. Her blog is an affirmation that you really CAN do it all! And after seeing her recent vacation photos, you'll be wanting to pack a suitcase and GO! Stop by and see her at Two Princesses and a Pug. I promise you won't be disappointed. These 'chicks' are two talented gals. Glad to call you my girlfriends. I think those of us who write might just be the summation of this quote..."You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing, but what you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself. " ~Alan Alda
Summer vacation looms on the horizon and I am excited about this process of self-discovery. I have so much to say, so much to write, a book to begin...but first, the research. To be a good writer, you must first and always read. There are other voices I need to hear first. My list begins something like this:
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
- My Antonia by Willa Cather
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
- The House of the Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe
- Radical Reflections by Mem Fox
- Light One Candle: A Survivor's Tale from Lithuania to Jerusalem by Solly Ganor
- The complete works of Patricia Polacco and Cynthia Rylant
With only one exception, I have already read everything on my list. As I mentioned, this is research. This is an electic mix of authors and titles, but these are the voices that will help me find mine. If by chance you, too, are fascinated by Holocaust literature, you will not be disappointed by Mr. Ganor's book. He is a survivor of the Dachau Concentration Camp, a camp my grandfather helped liberate so many years ago. Solly and I have enjoyed e-mail exchanges in the past and I will definitely be providing my daughters with copies of his story. Heartwrenching.
And check out this music! It is Yiruma's River Flows in You. It is in instrumental piece but I wonder...Can you "hear" the words, too? Sometimes the voice the writer hears is silent to all but himself.
"It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of the azaleas, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kid's eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live. " ~Anna Quindlen
I hope you will spend each of your days truly living.
20 May 2010
19 May 2010
On another note, the school year is winding down. My classroom will be empty of first graders very soon. We have accomplished much since August, but with summer vacation's impending arrival, I keep thinking of how much more we could have learned. I love you, kiddos. I hope I've helped establish the roots that will enable you to grow wings. Fly high!
And regarding wings...for the third year in a row I have a House Finch nest in one of my hanging baskets on the porch. This year the birds chose the flowers in closest proximity to my front door as their home. I am excited to watch the parentage nurture their two little eggs. It has really helped to put summer forefront on my mind. Summer... So much to do and yet the days will pass quickly by. My four year-old, Lane, is determined to learn to read. Nurturing this ability is at the top of my to-do list! My nine year-old, Ally, is longing to study the Underground Railroad and I have been appointed the task (by her, of course) of arranging educational travel plans around that theme. My eighteen year-old, McKenzie, is counting the days until she sets up house in a new dorm room. Since her boyfriend is vacationing overseas for an entire month, I'll need to maximize the time I have with her before he returns. I think, at that point, I'll be saying goodbye long before she actually heads off to college. Afterall, she is eighteen.
As for me, I've begun a list of "chores" for myself over this upcoming break. The first ten items are book titles. "A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You should live several lives while reading it." ~William Styron It looks like I've got a lot of traveling to do! And then after family time, travels to see friends, cooking, cleaning, laundry and reading, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna start writing my book! I really must get started on what I anticipate to be a very lengthy project because, as Ernest Hemingway said, "The first draft of anything is shit."
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath
It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. ~Vita Sackville-West
18 May 2010
I think I relate to this story on many levels. First, there's the matter of this quote by Julal ad-Din Rumi. It speaks for itself. "The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." Then, I recognize me when Oliver says, "See, I think you're scared. You put up a big glass wall to keep from getting hurt. But it also keeps you from getting touched. It's a risk, isn't it, Jenny? At least I had the guts to admit what I felt. Someday you're gonna have to come up with the courage to admit you care." Jenny's response..."I care." You know what? I do too.
“Life is short. Don't waste time worrying about what people think of you. Hold on to the ones that care, in the end they will be the only ones there.”
So what, exactly, does any of this have to do with Field Day? It summarily defines my school day today. But there's more... The idiom 'to have a field day' boasts an origin from the military. The literal meaning ~ a day spent in field maneuvers ~ is rarely used these days. Rather, contemporary use of the phrase 'to have a field day' means to have an opportunity to do a lot of something you want to do. Carpe diem. I think I'll make my life a field day.
I want to love like Oliver and Jenny, to laugh...to be productive...and to give a bit of something back. As I prepare for my daughter's high school graduation, I want these things for her as well. And someday, when the time comes, maybe someone will say about me: She was beautiful and brilliant. She loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and (especially) me.
~H.H. "Breaker" Morant
16 May 2010
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14 May 2010
Things have now come full circle. She left the doors of her high school for the last time today as a student. It is amazing to me how the distance of years can be condensed into the smallest of moments when matters of the heart are concerned. Surely it wasn't so long ago that she drew pictures of Maria dancing across hills that were "alive with The Sound of Music"...that she created puppets and staged biblical plays for her extended family (with a tip jar on the piano!)...that she sprinted so gracefully in her track uniform...that she applied and was accepted to Fontbonne University. Oh, snap! It's true. She's leaving the nest soon.
For McKenzie, the meaning of commencement is exhilarating. It is truly her new beginning, and marks the end of a high school career that she will gladly leave behind. For me, this new beginning is a reminder that I must prepare to say a sort of farewell...and I am sad. She is my oldest child and honestly, she is not sad about the transition. She is ready...but I am not. And this is how it is...now.
This morning I told my friend how I was feeling about the day...about how my emotions were running strong and nostalgia had kicked in high gear. He said, simply, "It's the first day of the rest of your life." And so it is. It is the first day of the rest of yours, too, McKenzie. Someday when perhaps you realize that your mom knew a thing or two, please remember these words. They are not my own, but I share them from the bottom of my heart. Your journey begins today. Travel well, Frotten. I love you with all my heart.
Hitch your wagon to a star.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~Confucius
Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. ~Beverly Sills
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain, attributed
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
And of this, I have no doubt...you are courageous enough to be you. You always have been. Don't ever change. Love, Mom.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
13 May 2010
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* * * * *
Readers relate what they read to personal experiences (text-to-self), to information from other text (text-to-text), and to information about the world (text-to-world). "Making Connections" is a favorite comprehension strategy of my students. They love to activate their schema when reading and anxiously throw their hands into the air to say, "Mrs. Green, I have a connection!" Today we read Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed. This is a delightful story with huge implications. It carries the message that with steadfast determination and perseverance, success can surely be achieved. My sweet Ella excitedly raised her hand. I knew it...she had a connection! For those who live in this area, you are familiar with Metro Business College's advertising jingle. So is Ella. "You know, Mrs. Green, this story is a bit like that song...'a small college can make a BIG difference'." How correct you are, Miss Ella. I'm so happy you "get it."