14 June 2011

Flag Day

If anyone, then, asks me the meaning of our flag, I say to him - it means just what Concord and Lexington meant; what Bunker Hill meant; which was, in short, the rising up of a valiant young people against an old tyranny to establish the most momentous doctrine that the world had ever known - the right of men to their own selves and to their liberties.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

The day began with a late start.  Somehow I set my alarm for the p.m. rather than the a.m...but the extra sleep felt very nice.  I took my little one to her pre-kindergarten summer school (tardy ~ I really despise that word), and then spent some very productive time at the grocery store.  Because I am a working mom with kids underfoot, I am rarely afforded the luxury of shopping, alone, at a leisurely pace.  This morning there were no emergency detours to the restroom, no special requests in the candy aisle, and no attempts at sneaking Justin Bieber magazines into my cart.  Instead, I loaded up on onions (green and Vidalia), peppers (green and red), mushrooms, olives, chilies, Italian sausage, pasta sauce, and so many other [and less exciting] items.  I prepared two Italian sausage lasagnas, one for tonight's dinner and one for the freezer, and felt like I'd actually accomplished something.  This afternoon I'll prepare chicken pot pies and cheesy enchiladas for the freezer as well.  I'm attempting to stock meals for my upcoming absence from home ~ my month of incessant writing and coursework and research and, well, my month of just being gone.

My little one is attending the school at which I teach.  This should prove interesting as she is fiercely independent...and stubborn.  (Hmm, the apple doesn't fall far from her momma's tree.)  Today her teacher expressed concern about Lane's coloring.  Quite frankly, it has been a sloppy mess.  I've noticed it too.  Curiously, Lane is extremely artistic and usually colors beautifully.  Apparently she wants to be the first one to finish her work.  Quality matters less to her right now than it does to her teacher and mother.  I am hopeful that the new box of crayons and princess coloring book (also purchased during the productive grocery store adventure) will encourage her best work. Otherwise, maybe the chocolate milkshake [also known as a bribe] will.

My middle daughter is here this week (see photos below).  It is a place I love, a place where many good memories were made, a place to which my heart returns when I wish to deny that I am getting older.  Fortunately, childhood ~ and church camp excitement ~ is but a thought away.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.  ~Proverbs 22:6


There are newer buidings on the campus now, but I am quite fond of the older ones: the chicken houses and barn, converted into dorms and a chapel.  The drive to camp is a treat in and of itself.  The jaunt requires travel on old, two-lane highways; across one-lane bridges; over gravel roads near towns with names like Spring Valley, and Spring Garden.  The property is nestled in a hollow where the strongest smell is that of grass and clover...and cows.  And this is what I found along the roadside.  I only wish I could have captured the heirloom roses, whose vines long ago began their ascent high into the trees.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. ~Song of Solomon 2:12

xo, ~S.

09 June 2011


We must overcome the notion that we must be regular...it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre.
 ~Uta Hagen

How curious that I should discover this quote today!  Yesterday, I visited with my friend and mentor, Dr. Carol Maher.  Last summer we met during a leadership seminar.  As she discussed her career path, she indicated that her journey was rooted in a deep desire to stamp out mediocrity.  How could I have possibly known that a year later, I would be one of her doctoral students?  I walked into the doors of that seminar without a single thought of ever pursuing post-graduate studies.  I exited those doors, however, with an altered mindset.  And that is when my journey began.  "When you take charge of your life, there is no longer need to ask permission of other people or society at large. When you ask permission, you give someone veto power over your life." ~Geoffrey F. Abert

Today it will, again, be unbearably hot...unless you spend the afternoon indulging yourself in a perfect saltwater pool (which I am).  It is the "Summer of the Cicadas" but fortunately, the beady-eyed insects don't concern me much.  I only wish they were a bit more attractive.  If I must share [every inch of] grass and pavement and air with them, it would be nice if they were beautiful or something.  Perhaps I could offer a stretch and allude to their gossamer wings?   (Okay, maybe not.)  And for now, I'm off.  I have a date with the sunshine...

...and what a date it was!  I've been sunkissed (and am loving it). 
Naples, 1961
My firstborn contacted me from Rome today.  She has developed an affinity for Italian shoes, purses and jewelry.  I am thankful, extremely thankful, that she and I wear the same size shoe.  Tomorrow she will travel by train to Napoli, before returning to the Middle East.  My father enjoyed his time as a sailor in the Mediterranean, and he had an affection for Naples.  I e-mailed this photo to her.  It made her cry.  She misses him.  I do as well.  Just know, sweet girl, that Italy is an experience that, in some small way, you've shared with your grandpa.  xoxo

02 June 2011

Noble Things

Today was hot and humid, but happy.  I spent it with my sis and her sons, and two of my daughters.  We rode the city bus downtown, visited the Capitol (the most beautiful ever, and that's the truth), enjoyed a bit of small town diner food, visited a locally-owned bookstore, said hello to my dear friend at her new and fabulous business CORK, then finished the afternoon with some frozen yogurt, topped with fresh strawberries and granola.  Whew.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the cicadas.  They are everywhere (as in a plague of biblical proportions) and their cacophony is deafening ~ almost.  Fortunately, I was not overly concerned with the need to remove them, with regularity, from my pants and shirt.  The joys of  a Midwest summer...

 Architecture.  Beautiful.  Stunningly so.

The rotunda.  Breathtaking.
Perfectly Painted and Inlaid Dogwood

Upon my return home I visited Pinterest.  (I love these virtual bulletin boards.  It's an organizational dream.)  A photo of mine had been repinned onto another's board.  This fellow user had labeled her board artistic.  This is significant to me because the photo that was reposted was of something personal, something of personal significance, something that it seems only I understand.

It is flattering that someone else appreciated the art.  I appreciate the meaning.  Despite all the scars I carry, this one was strategic...with purpose, with meaning.   
A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars. ~Carly Simon

That, that is what I want.  

And now I'm off.  The chicken tetrazzini is hot from the oven! 
xo, ~S.
Look love
They've given up believing
They've turned aside our stories of the gentle fall

But don't you believe them
Don't you drink their poison too
These are the scars that words have carved
On me

Hey love
That's the name we've long held back
From the core of truth

So don't turn away now
I am turning in revolution
These are the scars that silence carved
On me...

...Hey, love
I am a constant satellite
Of your blazing sun
My love
I obey your law of gravity
This is the fate you've carved on me
The law of gravity
This is the fate you've carved on me
~excerpts from Vienna Teng's "Gravity"

01 June 2011


“I want to be remembered as the girl who always smiles even when her heart is broken, and the one that could always brighten up your day even if she couldn't brighten her own.”  I've had this quote saved for quite some time in draft form, hidden in the list of yet-to-be-published posts.  I don't know it's origin, only that I so often resonate with its tone.  Tonight I came across another quote, a more important one, whose author amazes me, whose name is much like a prayer..."Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." ~Anne Frank  Surrounded by death and disgust, she remained a smile in the dark.  That's the kind of girl I'd like to be. 

This is taken from Rumi's Ode 1823.  I found it on Pinterest (my latest addiction) and it's credited to Tarah Lowry.  If you'd like to visit an uplifting family blogspot, please click the banner below.  Sweetness.

My daughter called today, the one who is fearlessly venturing out into the desert.  She and her friends visited The Grand Mosque.  I would have liked to have seen her covered in Muslim dress, seeing her pink face taking in the wonder.  Very soon she will head to a more temperate climate.  Rome awaits.  And the Vatican.  And the Colosseum.  And Michelangelo's art.  And the food.  *sigh*

On a sad note, I began the process of saying farewell to a friend today.  I had never met her, but felt I knew her rather well.  I'd learned that she had a pet dog named Pups, that her family vacationed in California... but this morning my youngest told me that Mary Jeffy isn't real.  "I made her up, mom."  Oh dang, I knew this day would come.  Some things should last forever...like childhood.

Things that made me smile recently:
  • a chat with my dearest friend of 27 years (oh my, we're getting old!)...I'm envious of the foot of snow in her Bozeman, Montana mountains, by the way.
  • my 10 year-old's shoe choice ~ Chuck Taylors...and the fact that she thinks they are cool.  (They are.)
  • the words of a friend, reminding me of the sentiments in my heart:  "No self doubt. It's your story, your glory."  I love you, too.
  • this, via Becca Norman at Pinterest:
  •  and this, from Pinterest:
And with that, I bid you goodnight.  An hour on Skype,visiting with my heart in Abu Dhabi, while the little ones giggle and play hours past their bedtime.  That, THAT is passion.  xo, ~S.