31 May 2010

Reasons Enough

My Happilist
Gratitude is the heart's memory. ~French proverb

Nos. 34 ~ 101
  • 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
  • emeralds
  • pearls
  • 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
  • autumn
  • 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
  • snuggling
  • 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!
  • hayrides
  • 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

30 May 2010

A Smile

My Casey is now in middle school. It's been awhile since we learned together in first grade. What a treat to be remembered this way! Thank you, Casey, for this mailbox surprise!
May 21, 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.

Your friend,

29 May 2010


It is Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer season! There is a steady movement of boats passing by along the highway, headed to "The Lake." The weather, for now, is beautiful. I hope families will enjoy time together. As so many of you know, time passes quickly and sometimes, sadly, tomorrow never comes.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was established as a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. My family is not inundated with military history, but each generation does boast a few superheroes...dating back to the patriots of the American Revolution. Of this heritage, I am quite proud. The Daughters of the Revolution plaque in honor of John Blackburn can be found in Dandridge, Tennessee. I will visit the grave of his descendant this weekend, the man who traveled to Missouri from the east to begin anew. Also named John, he was a Civil War veteran, proudly serving the Union in a sea of Confederate-held territory. I have visited his home. It is privately owned and at the time of my visit was undergoing renovation. The bloodstained wood floors in the entryway of the house ~ which was captured by the Confederates and made into a military hospital, while they attempted to unsuccessfully hang John three separate times in his front yard ~ has not faded. Nearly 150 years later, it remains as a testament that some gave all.

There are several men in my life who set the stage for my unfailing patriotism. First and foremost, my father, Carl J. Sanders... I remember so many evenings talking about plans for my own possible entrance into the United States Navy. As a teenager, a shipful of "dress whites" was motivation enough, but regardless, I know my father would have been proud for me to follow in his footsteps. I contemplated no less than the Naval Academy. I wonder how different life might have been if I had followed that pull.
Carl J. Sanders
United States Navy
Cuban Missile Crisis
Carl L. Sanders
United States Army
Liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp
Awarded the Purple Heart
John W. Hayes
United States Navy
World War II

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.

Sullivan Ballou's Civil War Letter

July 14,1861

Camp Clark, Washington DC

Dear Sarah:

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


"You are prolific." That is what he said.

He was fortunate enough to have been my high school classmate (insert a wink and a laugh here). The funny thing is, we didn't really get to know each other until a few years back... around the time of our class reunion. Matt and Suzy are lovely people. Lovely. I enjoy the banter between intelligent minds, the discussion of fine literature, and the security of knowing that if my McKenzie needs a helping hand while away at Fontbonne, these dear folks are but a quick phone call and short drive away. Enjoy your jaunt to Disney World, my friends! xoxo

"The good Lord puts us here for lifting people up." Yep, he said that too. This wasn't the exchange that began my day, but it was the one that mattered most. Thank you for counting me among your blessings. Please know the sentiment is reciprocated! Certainly the good Lord knows when one can use a hug...

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
* * * * *
Yesterday I visited Southbank Gift Company. The owner, Jill Bednar, is a delight. The mood of the shop is delightful (and oh boy, those gourmet foods!). She is a such a giving, kindhearted person and several items in her store were pleasant reminders that we should enjoy our journeys. If you have the opportunity, click on the store name and stop in for a visit.

You won't be disappointed!

And tomorrow I'm off to the Farmer's Market! I canNOT wait until a bit later in the season when I can make this:

Watermelon Salsa
the Gourmet Foodie

• 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


  1. Whisk the lime juice and sugar until sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients in a medium size bowl. Toss gently. Refrigerate overnight.
I think I'll serve it up with a side of my own kitchen-made chips!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And now I'm off of here for a bit. There is a plane ticket somewhere just waiting to have my name on it. I've postponed its purchase long enough. Click on the map below to check out my destination!

27 May 2010


Looking back, you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life, and that person was you. It is not too late to become that person again. ~Robert Brault

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.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
The Serenity Prayer

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.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

My Happilist

Gratitude is the heart's memory. ~French proverb

Nos. 29 ~ 33

  • a clean and organized desk
  • dusk
  • 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


I am sitting here in my classroom, looking out the window. Yesterday, twenty-one students were here with me. Today I am alone. My return was reluctant. I slept late, visited with friends, then wandered slowly... finally...through the school's front doors. There is much still to do ~ student records to be updated, books to organize, and materials to be gathered and taken home for the long process of planning for the next academic year. Summer vacation has begun, and so have my thoughts on next year. It is difficult for me to slow down my contemplation on curriculum and learning, on sharing with young students and allowing them to be my best teachers. Summer is my season to reflect, regroup, and again to respond to the call of my heart. I have so much I still don't understand about learning and teaching. After all, I'm really just an overgrown first grader myself. The day I convince myself I know it all, I promise: I'll quit my job as a teacher. I hope each and every teacher my own children encounter will vow the same. “Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.” ~Henry L. Doherty This is one of my favorite quotes. It drives my professional life. It defines the passion in my personal pursuits. Sigh. And here I am...still [just] sitting by this window...
* * * * *
Some of you have asked if I'm okay. I think today my answer is, "No. That's boring." (Boy, do I love that response!) But I am in a better mood (thanks for asking). I've been told I'm dramatic. I think maybe it's just that my creativity thrives on heightened sensory perceptions [see the post entitled 'Crayons'] and a roller coaster with an emotional bent. As capable as I am of hiding behind a wall, I also have a tendency at times to wear my heart on my sleeve. Recent posts have been a reflection of that. It looks like today I've changed my shirt!

...I've also changed my mind. I indicated previously that House Finches are building a nest on my porch. Upon closer inspection today, I realized this is untrue. I'm admitting it. I was wrong. I don't admit that often. I have no idea why I didn't pay better attention before! I know House Finch eggs. These look nothing like them! I am very careful to avoid the nest when I water the flowers. The birds become quite nervous when I'm near, and it was their chatter that made me really notice the eggs. The chatter wasn't that of finches at all. I bet you know which birds are talking in my front yard!* * * * *
Twenty years ago I gave my sister a book entitled 14,000 Things to be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer. Taking this cue, I think I'll fight my pessimistic inclinations by counting the many blessings in my life. I'm wondering... Can I reach 1,000 before summer vacation's end? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

My Happilist

Gratitude is the heart's memory. ~French proverb
  1. God's grace
  2. a family that loves me, I think (on most days anyway)
  3. words, so many words to play with
  4. the smell of rain
  5. riding backroads with the wind in my hair
  6. roses blooming in my yard
  7. fireflies
  8. lunch invitations for two or a few
  9. dried flowers tied with a grosgrain ribbon
  10. the sound of "Mommy"
  11. the smells of new crayons, Play Doh, and especially mown grass
  12. Abercrombie and Fitch Classic perfume
  13. books...the sweetest gifts
  14. patriotism, made more precious by the fact that it appears in short supply
  15. historic preservation
  16. Grandma Bea's chocolate pie
  17. homemade biscuits and gravy
  18. the Smoky Mountains...heaven on earth
  19. brown eyes
  20. thunder and lightening
  21. McKie Roth Designs
  22. the intellect of Harper Lee...To Kill a Mockingbird is a sermon.
  23. cumulus clouds floating on a backdrop of blue
  24. reruns of Bewitched
  25. visiting the Farmer's Market...the colors, the tastes, the smells
  26. the atmosphere of Trolley's
  27. Mom's sugar cookies
  28. 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.
to be continued, of course...

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, Barchester Towers

"Sticks and stones break certain bones and tear our flesh apart. Rocks can hurt like anything, but love is what breaks the heart." ~Unknown

"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 Wind

Until then...

Spirit of '76

"Spirit of '76"

(note video)

The Alarm
Album: Standards

Well I find myself in reverie
'Bout what we might have had
And what might have been
We had something going once
That was such a long, long time ago
It was way back in '76
Our friendship formed of pure innocence
We first met in Mathew Street
Where we heard something that would set us free
A sign stands over a door, it says
"Four lads who shook the world"
In the depths of those heady nights
We would dream of those bright lights
Oh my friend, Oh my friend, Oh my friend

And my friend John, he went away
He made some mistakes
Spent time in Walton jail
And now when I see him we still talk
But there's no light shining in his eyes
And Susie, she was seventeen
And more beauty in this world
I swear you'll never see
I was gonna be king
And she was gonna be queen
But now all she does is hide behind the tears
If there was more sense in this world
And work wasn't so hard to find
You would not be going your way
I would not be going mine
Oh my friend, Oh my friend, Oh my friend

Somewhere tonight out on the street
Somewhere beneath this city's heat
In the eyes of strangers who pass me by
Life is cruel and so unkind
Oh, Oh the SPIRIT OF '76

And Pete has seen his dreams come true
But that don't make him no hero
He's just one of the lucky few
If a man can't change the world these days
I still believe a man can change his own destiny
But the price is high that has got to be paid
For everyone who survives there are many who fail
I've seen my friends caught out in that crossfire

All their dreams and hopes smashed on the funeral pyre
I will never give in until the day I die
Get myself some independence
Carve out a future with my two bare hands
Oh my friend, Oh my friend, Oh my friend

Somewhere tonight out on the street
Somewhere beneath this city's heat
In the eyes of strangers who pass me by
Life is cruel and so unkind
Oh, Oh the SPIRIT OF '76

Mersey lights shine in the distance
Same as they did for us then
Mersey lights shine bright in the distance
Where are you now my friend?

You see some nights when I can't sleep
I still think of you

And all the promises,all our dreams we shared
I know those lights still call to you
I can hear them now
I can hear them now

(Still shining for us)
(Let em shine)

(Can you hear them)
(Can you hear them)

(Lights are still shining)

Somewhere tonight out on the street
Somewhere beneath this city's heat
In the eyes of strangers who pass me by
Life is cruel and so unkind
Oh- Oh
Where's it gone

22 May 2010


I'm sure you've sensed somewhat of a theme around here of late. Last night my daughter participated in Commencement exercises from my alma mater. The graduating class of 2010 was the largest in the history of the school...604 students will now begin anew. So often we tend to view graduation as an end. It is, I suppose. But commencement...

(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


The farewell sermon...wasn't mine just yesterday? Sheriff White said it best in last evening's address: "You are Ambassadors for Christ."
I love you, McKenzie AND MacKenzie.
Be good..and be God's.

19 May 2010


"Powerful stuff...That's what you are made of, girlfriend." These words found their way into my inbox today. It is always nice to be reminded. My parents would agree with my friend's assessment. Much to my mother's chagrin, I was born with my father's "scrapper" instincts. Personally, I count this as one of my best attributes. Perhaps at times I tend to be argumentative. Most of the time that is not my intention. I do, though, own my convictions and hold steadfast to a certain perception of who I am. Sometimes maybe self-assurance is a bit intimidating to others. Wow ~ powerful stuff! My three daughters get it honestly. Use it well, girls.

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

Field Day

Lately I've had classic movies on my mind. Today it's Erich Segal's Love Story. The tagline is poetic. Love means never having to say you're sorry. As much as I wish this were true, I don't really believe it. Love, to me, means saying you're sorry if you need to ~ when you need to. Anyway, Oliver's words at the opening of the film are haunting... "What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?" I read a review of the film once. It's assessment, "Effectively simple and straightforward..." So very, very accurate.

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.

"Live every day as if it were your last and then some day you'll be right."
~H.H. "Breaker" Morant

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
-Abraham Lincoln

16 May 2010

That Little Black Dress

I just bought my second "little black dress" in as many weeks. An addiction? Maybe.
"Scheherezade is easy; a little black dress is difficult." ~Coco Chanel
My middle daughter loves all things Paris and fully intends to work there as a fashion designer someday. At 9, she is already determined. So was Coco. In Ally's room, one can also read these words by Chanel...

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.

And one of my favorites (which is NOT in my child's room):

A woman is closest to being naked when she is well dressed.

I think this 'little black dress business' of late has a lot to do with age...and my present attitude, of course. I've been in a Holly Golightly mood lately.

"I knew damn well I would never be a movie star. It's too hard; and if you are intelligent, it's too embarrassing. My complexes aren't inferior enough: being a movie star and having a big fat ego are supposed to go hand-in-hand; actually, it's essential not to have any ego at all. I don't mean I'd mind being rich and famous. That's very much on my schedule, and someday I'll try and get around to it; but if it happens, I'd like to have my ego, tagging along. I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany's."
~Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn remains iconic in stature. I love her classic elegance...as Holly Golightly and, too, as just herself. She was a beautiful woman inside and out. Apparently I am not the only one who thought so. Interestingly, the black Givenchy dress she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's sold at auction for $800,000.00.
"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others." ~Audrey Hepburn

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Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot. ~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1958, spoken by the character Holly Golightly
* * * * *
I do owe you a lot ~ my bestest, the one who thought I was worth it and made me believe it too. xoxo
* * * * *
And now for my next plan...As much as I love the story, I do not own a copy of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. And so it is once again time to go shopping, this time for a book. Summer vacation is going to begin in grand style!
"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." ~AH

14 May 2010

Fly High

It was surely just yesterday when she smiled for the camera with her new backpack, new clothes, and blond ringlets. It was her first day of kindergarten. She was my only child and honestly, I was not sad about the transition. She was ready...and so was I. But that was then.

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.

You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world. ~Tom Brokaw

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.
~Ralph Marston

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.
~e.e. cummings

13 May 2010

To Light a Fire

"To furnish the means of acquiring knowledge is...the greatest benefit that can be conferred upon mankind." -John Quincy Adams

It is no wonder Mr. Adams continues even now continues to receive so many accolades as a Founding Father. He was a genius! His words remind me of something I always tell my students... "If you learn to read, you will have the means to teach yourself anything you may ever want to know...and books are the vessels which enable you to travel any place you'd like to go." Perhaps this sounds lofty, poetic at best, but it is the most basic of truths. By substituting one word in a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln, I've settled on this belief about education: People are about as ignorant as they make up their minds to be.

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. " ~Albert Einstein

* * * * *
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."~William Butler Yeats

My first graders partner with Ms. Bearden's fifth graders each Friday for "Reader Pal" activities. Ms. B will soon enjoy maternity leave. Because we believe that literacy is everything, my students and I gifted our little as-yet-to-be-born Reader Pal with a book of Nursery Rhymes (with a wish that she grows up to always enjoy fine literature). The book was signed by all of my students. One little girl wrote a note to the baby..."Welcome. I hope you enjoy your trip around the world." This brought a smile to this teacher's face. Emily already understands that books take you places. Wow!

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

* * * * *

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars." ~Les Brown

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."

"If a seed of lettuce will not grow, we do not blame the lettuce. Instead, the fault lies with us for not having nourished the seed properly." Buddhist proverb.

Happy Reading!

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings."
~Hodding Carter