Wednesday, January 3, 2018


I first heard of One Little Word when I was reading over at Two Writing Teachers.  Each of the contributing writers there chooses one word to focus their lives around for the year.  This is based on the work of Ali Edwards.  Check it out here.

For the last few years, I have been fascinated by this decision, their focus.  It's a great concept.  I am indecisive and haven't taken the course, so it was fascinating and, simultaneously, intimidating to me.

This year, I'm going to give it a try.

My one little word for 2018 will be concentrate.

When I think of the word concentrate, I normally focus on the verb having to do with mental focus.  2018 will be a year for this cognitive center, to concentrate.  Many times, I find myself multi-multi-tasking.  This usually ends feeling unproductive and scattered.  In 2018, I want to slow down to go fast.  I will be present in conversations and become a better listener, concentrating on what is in front of me in that moment.  I vow to be more organized and centered in my work and play.

A concentrate of my family time is also needed.  I know that my love language is quality time.  However, my family can often be found in proximity to one another, not spending quality time together.  Instead, it has a feeling of "putting in our time".  I know that these are precious, fleeting moments with my loved ones.  I want them in concentrate.  It's not enough to have this diluted time where we are together, only as defined by space.  I want time spent together to be full of meaning and conversation, and memory making.  I want our family, each other, to be the center of our time together.

This is a year for concentrate.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Asking for a friend

Have you ever used a (sort of) clean fork as a bookmark? In a book about writing notebooks?

-asking for a friend

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My Fingerprints

Yesterday, I was trudging down the hall, hauling a giant stack of notebooks for a couple of 1st grade classrooms.  The notebooks were heavy.  The stack was tall and awkward to carry.

"Do you need help?" a passing student asked.

I had a moment of doubt and was considering offloading the top half of the stack.  Suddenly, "No, thanks," popped out of my mouth automatically.  Unsure that I was going to make the trek without losing the top few notebooks, I continued on, grateful for the creation of my fingers.

The rest of the hundred yard journey was spent deep in thought about the marvel that is the human anatomy, especially the grooves and valleys at the ends of my fingers, gripping the cardboard back of that bottom notebook.  I was in wonder at the almost spidey like grip I could have on these notebooks, yet feel they could slip at any instant.

By this miracle, I made it safely to my destination, delivering the potential for lifelong writing to begin.  We are working on a mini unit about living a writerly life.  Our 1st graders will be headed into the Christmas break armed with a new notebook and good habits to practice there.  I can't wait to see what it becomes.

After delivering my goods and reflecting on my time spent in wonder of my fingerprints.  I started thinking about leaving my fingerprints and how teachers do imprint something on students.  Is what we leave messy like the greasy goo after shoveling down a large fry?  Do we instill strong character with healthy habits, clean lines and clarity?  What fingerprints are we leaving with kids?  Is my effect an oily smear or a crisp stamp?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

For When I Have Too Many Words

Aunt's birthday
travel time
big plans.

Airport parking
nervous stomach
take meds.

Take off
stay hydrated
doing fine.

Touch down
too fast
I'm safe.

Big hugs
smiling faces
sister's place.

Cowboys' football
road trip
memories made.

Drinking soda
stadium food
yelling loud.

Long walks
past parties
I'm done.

Hotel room
time change
free breakfast.

Drink coffee
new hat
take meds.

In air
no wi-fi
almost there.

Quick trip
we're back
I'm home.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

When Weird Al and Red Ribbon Week Meet

Every year, in the last days of the year, our elementary has a talent show.  Brave boys and girls step out on the stage with mic in hand and impress the audience with their boldness and courage.  Weird Al songs have made a few appearances at the talent show.  I think these songs (from a couple years back) inspired my little middle for today's participation in Red Ribbon Week.

We are in the midst of Red Ribbon Week, celebrating and committing to healthy, drug-free lifestyles.  Today's theme is "Hats Off to Being Drug-Free", where students are allowed to wear hats to school and during the school day.  It's so exciting!

Last night, after he had already been told to go to bed twice, the little middle said, "Mom, I want to make an aluminum foil hat for tomorrow."

"You are supposed to have brushed your teeth and be in bed.  We are not talking about hats right now.  If you can get up, and get yourself going in the morning, and find that you have time to make a hat, then you can talk to me about it," I answered.  "Now, go to bed."

This morning, as I drearily got dressed and drained two cups of coffee, the little middle was busy dressing, brushing, eating, and designing.  I trudged down the stairs to a bustling kitchen where the little boys were occupied, one with dry cereal on the counter, the other with aluminum foil on the floor.

The baby was the cause of my sleepiness.  He seems to be decreasing my hours of rest at 15 minute increments with today's initial wake up call at 4:37, too early.  Now, I find him happily munching on cereal, watching his brother create something shiny.  I am jealous of his ability to easily fall back into a slumber, while I lay in bed changing my mind repeatedly about what to wear or what to make for dinner.

The little middle raises up from the floor with his aluminum foil cap on, complete with a camo duct tape connecting to the aluminum foil bill.  It's possibly one of the cutest things I've ever seen.  He is proud and happy.  "Looks good.  Are you done?" I ask.

"Aaaaluuuuuminum Foooiiiiiil!" he sings, in reply.  Thanks, Weird Al.

On the way to school, with the three youngest boys in tow, the little middle says from the third row, "Mom, do you know the last time we ate at the Chinese food place?"

"Not really," I say back.

He continues, "Well, my fortune said 'Tomorrow your creative juices will be flowing,' and that would have been a Saturday, but today is Tuesday."

"Ok."  I mean what do you say back to that?

My boys are random.  I am random.  I don't know why I continue to be surprised.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I'm back...I hope.

Where does the time go?  I mean really.

I said to myself, "Take a break, then get right back to it."

Then, "When summer break gets here, you'll have time to write."

After relenting to teaching summer school, "When summer school is over, I'm doing what I WANT to do!"

We had a beach vacation planned for the beginning of July so, "I'm going to write at the beach!  It will be great to capture those slices!"

Now, I promise you that I am not crazy, but this is a pattern of someone who is not too observant of their own reality.  (In case you hadn't noticed that on your own.)

Continuing with the story, we got back from vacation.  "Ok, this week is the week.  I'm going to get something posted.  I have a million slices that I want to write."

Then, "Next weekend, I'll write and get going so I have something to post on Tuesday."

After that, "School supplies are out!!  I have to get back to writing!  How can I be accountable if I'm not being accountable!!"

I did not plant my computer on my lap and write.  I did not drag out my favorite pens and notebook and get into a new habit.  I did not jot my many noticings and thoughts about the everyday moments I was living on shopping lists and scraps of paper.

I did think about it and guilt myself silly.  It really is silly, the guilt and ridiculous feelings with which we shame ourselves.

And here I find myself.  Today is the day.  I am writing despite my to-do list and frenzied life pace.

The school year is going strong.  It's been my busiest start to a year that I can remember.  It's wonderful and awful at the same time.  I just knew that getting back into the groove of school would get me back to writing, right?  Not so much.

So what finally got my fingers going on this keyboard?  Well, a very strong desire is one thing.  Also, my family has been sick with this nasty stomach bug.  There are many little slices that I could torture you with, but no one wants to read gruesome tales of woe from a mother who does laundry incessantly and uses lysol spray for an air freshener and body spray.  It is sufficient to say that I've been cleaning quite a lot.

Anyway, I'm back...for this week anyway. :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Grammy Does Her Nails #SOL

Rarely do I do one thing at a time.

Recently, I read a post or an article or something about "single-tasking" and slowing down and giving attention to just one thing.  This is something I am considering and thinking about at length.  It deserves attention because I know that the intent behind the advice of the article was true and right.  However...

While painting my nails this morning, I was also brushing my teeth.  Well, not at the exact same time, but the one event, teeth-brushing, came immediately after the previous event, nail-painting.  As soon as one cap could be screwed on, the cap of the other was being screwed off.

After I completed brushing my teeth, I needed chapstick, the final step in my daily bathroom routine.  Of course, I messed up the polish on my left ring finger.  The polish was wrinkled and holey.  As I walked into the bedroom, I dabbed my nail to my tongue and tried to repair the damage.

"What are you doing?" my husband questions from across the room.

"Oh, trying to do ten things at once, and I messed up my nail polish," I said.

He replied with a cursory, "You always do that," under his breath.  We made eye contact and smiled, knowing he was right.

His smart-mouth catapulted me back to my Grammy's kitchen.  She always painted her nails at the table.  Avon reds and pinks were staple colors, filling her top right dresser drawer where she kept the bottles.

One day, she was finishing up her nails, replacing the screw-on applicator top as she had done hundreds of times.  I watched thinking about the hot pink she never used and wishing I could paint my nails with it.

"Here, Honey.  We'll do yours after lunch," she said as she handed me the bottle to put back in the drawer.  I loved the sounds the bottles made as the drawer was pulled out, clinking together like wind chimes.

As I came back into the kitchen, I saw Grammy touch her right index finger to her tongue.  Then she brushed against her wet nail with her other index finger.

"What are you doing, Grammy?" I asked, thinking the action would mess up her freshly painted nails.

"Oh, I was stirring this pot and bumped my nail with the spoon handle.  If you lick it real quick, you can fix it...most of the time.  I always do that.  There's never time to let them dry."  She showed me, flashing the perfectly polished pale pink nail down to my eye level.  It looked fine to me.

Later, after Grandpa had come home for lunch, napped in his chair, and left again, we did my nails at the table.  All Grammy's attention was on me.  I sat there, still as a statue, fingers splayed wide, grinning from ear to ear.  As Grammy twisted the top of the polish closed once again, she said, "Sit still, Honey, until it dries."  I did just as she said until I was dismissed to go play.  There was no need to rush, nothing pressing to do...just sit still, watching paint dry.