27 May 2011


"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." ~Confucius

Today I hung up my whistle for the last time this school year.  It was a bit sad, actually.  This group of students has a special place in my heart.  Collectively, they were the strongest class of my teaching career...so many of them already reading grade levels beyond expectation.  Most importantly, though, they are incredibly kind and thoughtful children.  Even at their young age, they are empathetic toward their peers.  They are genuinely sweet and will give, and give, and give to others as their lives unfold.  I am missing them already.  There are a few whom I will likely never see again.  They are preparing to move far away this very weekend.  I will not forget them.  Their tug on my heartstrings will not lighten.  Ever.

"Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything." ~Muhammad Ali

Summer...My firstborn has begun a vacation of a lifetime.  Today as I attempted to quietly finish the last day of school, a large commercial jet was landing in the desert with her on board.  As I type this, she is walking the streets of Abu Dhabi with friends, e-mailing me about the similarities she sees to America ~ with the exception of the ever-present Arabic writing and men wearing dishdashas.  Tomorrow, she thinks, will include a helicopter ride over an area of the world I will likely never see.  Enjoy every moment, sweet girl. 

"Adventure must start with running away from home.” ~William Bolitho

Yesterday, my Ally received several awards at school.  None of them involved fashion sense or expertise regarding Justin Bieber trivia.  Nevertheless, she was recognized and I am delighted I could attend the assembly.  You are a superstar, kiddo, but you already know that. *  *  * Today, very soon, I will retrieve my youngest from preschool.  It is her last day as a "little kid" and she is glad of it.  Still, Lane, you will always be my baby.  Always.

“Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves... for growing up.” ~The Wonder Years

And now I am off...to be a mom for awhile, to return to school to finish some tasks, and to study and write a paper.  I am transitioning from one school setting to another for the next few months...and I am happy.  Be so, too.
xo, ~S.

23 May 2011


We tend to be a tight group here in the Midwest.  When tragedy strikes we become even closer-knit, drawing together and remembering that we are, indeed, a family.  Please keep those affected by the devastating tornadoes in  your thoughts and prayers.  Please. Tomorrow it could be one of us. 
xoxo, ~S.

"You don't realize what you take for granted.  When you're surrounded by devastation, it's a different story."  ~Brittany Stanley

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."  ~Deuteronomy 31:8

17 May 2011


“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” ~Roald Dahl

Life has become quite busy and I am already sensing the prospect of an increasingly neglected blog.  I hate that.  (A strong word, but true.)  This arena is such a creative outlet for me, a necessary outlet, but sometimes life creates its own agendas.  My intent is to stay awatch "with glittering eyes" and to somehow translate the findings onto page as time allows.  Besides, it will provide an apt respite from the theories and research connected to my professional and academic lives.  I have decided that busy-ness is my favorite brand of craziness.  I will simply go with the flow.

Things That Made Me Smile Recently 
  • Sweet Mrs. Plassmeyer, our 82 year-old reading buddy, wearing a perfect pair of lilac espadrilles.  One is never too old for style.
  • The excitement from a friend who enjoyed the gifted book.  *sigh*
  • The purchase of school supplies...a laptop, textbooks, a parking tag.  It's the feeling of moving forward ~ not the costs ~ that excite me.
  • Daughter Number One's return from college, now a sophomore.  Incredible.  And now she prepares to leave again, this time with a passport. 
  • My five year-old's statement that she was having a bad hair day, followed by her profession that her doll was a control freak.  Again, she is five.  Hmmm.
  • Spiedini Giovanni.  And good company.  Perfection.
~Billy Collins
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

 Glittering eyes.  Magic.  Remembrance.  xo, ~S.

11 May 2011

Birthday Girl

Forty-One.  Already.  I feel much younger, but my shell belies the truth.  I found the idea for this post some time ago on another blog.  Perhaps you'll find it interesting.  Perhaps not.  Regardless, it's good for me to reflect a bit.  Forty-one years is a long time to spend in thought.

41 Things about Me 
  1. I am saved by grace, thank God.  John 3:16 is what matters most.
  2. Biscuits and Gravy.  My favorite food.  Ever.  I have the fondest memories of such breakfasts with my grandparents. 
  3. I have regrets but will probably never tell you what they are.
  4. I have a white tattoo on the inside of my writer's wrist: an anchor.  It means a lot to me. 
  5. The greatest gifts are daughters.  And books.
  6. I am cultivating a great story in my head.  I hope it continues to find its way to my pen.
  7. I remember more than you realize. 
  8. I love to teach.  In my next life, I'm heading to law school.
  9. My favorite color is green, followed by red and brown.
  10. I have graphochromatic synaethesia...never a dull hue.
  11. I respect people who have points of view.
  12. I am extremely opinionated and generally believe my views are correct, but I respect your right to disagree.  See #11. 
  13. I love thunderstorms, the smell of rain, autumn, and the silence of snowfall.
  14. I could live forever in a cabin in the Smokies...
  15. ...or in a Captain's House on Nantucket.  Both are heaven on earth.  This, I know for sure.
  16. I vote my conscience.
  17. I miss my dad and always will.
  18. My students are fabulous...and they know it.
  19. Education matters, and I hate it when parents don't support and encourage their children's academic efforts.
  20. I still carry the key to my 1970 VW Bug on my key ring.  What a car... 
  21. I wish the Sonny and Cher Show was still on TV.
  22. I've come a long way, yet realize I'm just getting started.
  23. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I prefer to have WILD turkey (the bird, of course).
  24. I've studied 3 foreign languages and can't remember any of them.  I prefer English anyway.
  25. I have a diverse group of friends and like it that way.
  26. My mom and my sisters are among my dearest friends.
  27. I know what my mom meant when she said, "I hope you have kids just like you someday."  Payback is hell.  Despite that, my daughters are amazingly strong and independent individuals whom I adore.
  28. I am a grammar snob. Ugh.
  29. I am a recovering pessimist (which makes me an optimist).
  30. The Serenity Prayer...words to live by.
  31. I enjoy poetry...in print, in a smile, in the heart. 
  32. I am a very creative, but analytical and Type A personality.  I like the dichotomy.
  33. To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book.  It is a sermon.
  34. Talk books with me and I'll love you forever.
  35. Songs in minor keys tell stories that require no words.  I like them the best.
  36. I can play the piano and flute.
  37. Teddy and Cat are my best friends. These childhood animal pals have never let me down.
  38. I am an extrovert (duh).
  39. My favorite nickname is Mom.
  40. Forty.  I learned a lot this past year.  It wasn't such a bad age after all.
  41. I've entered a doctoral program at the university where I first began my college experience many years ago.  I hope I'm never accused of being stagnant.  I hope you aren't either.
"Get over the idea that only children should spend time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn and this will mean all your life."  ~Henry Doherty

Point taken.  xo, ~S.

01 May 2011

Choice Words

~ Saturday ~

I am feeling a bit under the weather (Whatever that means...feeling less than sunshine-y? Definitely!) and am spending the weekend as a soccer mom. Game One of tournament play ended, at least officially, in a loss. The girls, however, played extraordinarily well. That is what matters. My daughter was in the game with maximum effort. Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.  ~Robert A. Heinlein  For lunch we shared conversation (my, she is really growing into a little lady) and laughs. She ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, while I enjoyed New Orleans Tilapia topped with shrimp. Fish on fish. Delicious. And I learned something new: according to Ally, Red Velvet Cupcakes taste better with sprinkles on the cream cheese frosting. I'll trust her judgment. I skipped dessert ~ sort of.  My treat involved a bit of shopping. I've been holding on to a gift card since Christmas.  Although the gift card remains in my purse, I did find a sweet deal on a pair of shoes.  New shoes on my feet = happiness.  Always.

*      *      *

Ally at Mizzou's Columns

Little girls are the nicest things that happen to people. They are born with a little bit of angelshine about them, and though it wears thin sometimes there is always enough left to lasso your heart. ~Alan Beck

Meanwhile, Daughter #1 was reveling over a successful turkey hunt.  Hers did not rival the 26-pounder that her little sister took during Youth Season (a fact that Ally will let no one forget...ever).  Nevertheless, it was a nice, beautiful bird and provided an apt dinner.

She's the one all the boys loved because she lit up the room, and she's the one all the girls hated for the very same reason.
~S. Brewer

What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be.
~Helen Claes

It is a cool evening as I type this into my phone, to be e-mailed to Blogger for publishing. (I love technology!) This afternoon, between games, my daughter and I spent some time on the University of Missouri campus. It was a beautiful day on the Quadrangle. At the Columns, I saw a former first grade student, now a freshman in another school district. She hugged me and said, "I thought that was you!" I still remember what she wore on her first day of first grade. She is still as lovely.

*     *     *
~ Sunday ~

After a bright and early soccer game in semi-final play this morning, the spring soccer season has come to a close and I am preparing for a nap. As much as I'll enjoy the extra free nights to keep up with laundry and homework, I'll miss cheering from the sidelines. There is so much joy in celebrating the endeavors of your children.  The most important gift anyone can give a girl is a belief in her own power as an individual, her value without reference to gender, her respect as a person with potential. ~Emilie Buchwald

The week ahead, I hope, will be a productive one.  Daughter #1 is slowly bringing things home from her dorm room for the summer and preparing for her overseas adventures.  Daughter #2 awaits summer, church camp, and friendships that might [or might not] last a lifetime.  And Daughter #3 is counting down the days until kindergarten.  Time passes quickly by...which I hope proves true as I embark on this terminal degree.  One week to go...then years of study, research, and writing.  I am so very, very excited.  (!!!)

When you educate a man, you educate an individual, but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.
~Johnetta B. Cole

If nothing else, my girls can say, "My mom did it.  So can I." 
xo, ~S.