2016-10-07-20-36-34I’ve been a teacher this week. A wife. A mother. A daughter, sister, and friend. I’ve also been an insurance claim reviewer, a bill payer, and some sort of  unpaid hybrid of an Uber driver and chauffeur. I’ve been both problem solver and whiner. The very best of me and only a shadow of what I should be.

So it’s been a regular week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I choose to spend my time. In the scheduled blocks of my day, much of my time is spoken for, but what I’m becoming gradually more aware of is the wide open and unspoken for spaces in the daybook.

So far this season, I’ve not dropped any balls, but I sure do get tired of juggling. Ask anyone what I complain about most and, presidential election aside, they’d likely say my consistent go-to is lack of time. I rush and stress and hurry and power walk through the hallways of my day until the sun sets, and it’s time for David Muir on World News Tonight.

From Friday’s perspective, I look back over the week and see how far I’ve walked to make it to this point in time. What I’m questioning, however, is not how far I’ve traveled but rather, how much I remember about the journey. What stands out as the moment to be most savored? In all seven days from one Friday to the next, what felt most important?

There’s a bit of rain outside this morning, and it’s peppering my thoughts,  We’re in the midst of a severe drought, so the rain is welcome. I’ve been so worried about our well. I hear the splash and splat, the growing and then easing of intensity, the gathering water spilling from the roof and trees,  I’m thinking about the leaves. How many will hang on though the storm and how many will fall?

It’s Friday morning. And today, I’ll be a teacher. A wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. But I’ll also be a woman who listens to the sound of rain. A woman who thoughtfully chooses how to live better in those wide, open spaces. I’ll be a slow breather, a daydreamer, and a watcher of leaves.

And I hope someone will ask me about the moment most savored. Because today, I’ll know how to answer.

A Good Hair Day

It’s a good hair day.

Not only that, but the dress didn’t need ironing, I found matching shoes, and the bed got made. Lunches did too.

All feels right with the world.

I know.

You’re waiting for the shoe to drop. You’re waiting for … the rest of the story.

Don’t wait. Because it’s all good.

2016-10-02-03-09-41Some days – especially after sleeping – I wake up feeling so powerful and strong and confident … and put together, I’m pretty sure I could run for president. And win.

(Especially this election year.)

I notice these days when they come along. Revel. Celebrate. And rejoice.

Happy Tuesday.

Be glad in it.

Saying No


There are weeks when life lives you.

Meetings. Appointments. A deadline. Or two. An unexpected delay. Bad timing.

You know.

Wednesday – or maybe it was Thursday? – I thought I was going here, but I needed to go there instead. And I could pencil plans in my datebook, but I’d better be sure I kept my eraser handy.

(At last count, I’ve rescheduled my annual eye exam three times.)

All of that erasing can be stressful.

Until you decide not to give in to the stress.

It’s best, I think, when you realize it’s one of those weeks to just drop the reins along with any other attempts at control.  Just give your way over to the gallop, hang on, and find out where you end up.

I was a little resistant at first, I admit, and hopeful maybe life would slow to a more gentle trot by week’s end.

But it didn’t.

Honestly, when life lives you on weeks like this, our homes show the strain. Yesterday’s coffee cup and water bottles sit side by each on the kitchen counter along with mail and newspapers. Our dining room table’s served up a main course of folders, binders, miscellaneous this, thats, and the others.

Let’s not even discuss the laundry and trail of outfits I’ve lived in this week, left behind like breadcrumbs in case I need to find my way back to sane.

Which is where I was.

Last Sunday.

So be it, stress. Whatever.

Yesterday, I moved from room to room like a butterfly drifting from flower to flower.

Serene and saying no … to stress.

All that chaos. All that clutter. Each piece of evidence that life’s been a little … irregular … tucked away, back where it belongs. Doing what I could to quiet life where I live.

Order restored.

And a little bit of sanity too.



(Almost) Free Fall Decorations

I’ve been gathering.

Fall is a gathering season, after all.  Nuts. Pumpkins. Apples. The very last sunflower.


I may transition slowly, but once I do, I’m all in … and I fall in. 

For sure, fall’s my absolute favorite season and I have a bunch of fun bringing a little bit of fall from out there … to in here … our home.

Tiny touches … and (almost) free.

  • gourds/ from the grocery store nestled in an old wooden bowl


  • berries/gathered by the side of the road and plopped into a vintage crock


  • mini pumpkins/scattered solo here and there



or in a roly-poly pile on the kitchen counter


  • apples/of course and piled high



  • acorns/collected on many walks around our neck of the woods



  • candy corn/for a jarful of fun and frivolous


  • mums/tucked in a farmer’s basket for the front porch


The berries and acorns were free for the gathering. So were the apples … a gift from a friend with some apple trees. The gourds, mini-pumpkins, candy corn, and mums are from Market Basket – where you truly do get “more for your dollar.”

Happy first week of fall! Enjoy the season’s offerings – for (almost) free!


Blue Plate Special


A few weeks ago, one of our neighbors knocked on the front door. He carried a whole plate of delicious in one hand and a dog leash in the other. It was hard for him to juggle both, I think, but he outstretched his hand with that blue plated cake, offering our family a sweet dessert.

And a little love.

We’d had a rough stretch over here on this side of the street.  Awkward stuff to talk about, really, and we stood there he and I, neither sure what to say. So we chatted a bit instead about his dog and probably the weather, but care and kindness were there – passed from his hand to mine, neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, family to family.

The blue plate traveled back across the street today warmed by  a 3 x 3 array of cinnamon sugar pumpkin muffins, just out of the oven.

Once upon a time ago, I learned or read or heard never to return a dish empty. For a long time, I supposed such a custom to be about good manners.

I know now it’s about gratitude.

Each tiny muffin a warm thank you from our home to theirs.

Reaching out from one side of the street to the other.

And heart to heart.

P.S.  If you’d like to bake these oh-so-moist and autumn-inspired muffins, I used a recipe from Inspired by Charm. Mine came out more muffin-like than donut-like. They sure looked cute nested in their crisp, white muffin liners!




A Slow Shift


Good morning from the other side of summer.

So far, September’s been slow. Intentionally slow. No hurry. Not blurry.

It’s become important to see the life I’m living in up-close detail and absorb it all. Such an in-depth relationship with everyone and everything around me can’t be managed by a speeding drive-by kind of living too quickly, with barely a break for a breath, or beauty, or soul-searching.

So I’ve slowed. And I can’t for the life of me remember what the God-awful rush I used to live in was all about anyway. Why the frenzy? The rapid heartbeat? The constant cascade of must-be-dones? Sleepless. Breathless. Less. Less.

And I’ve got me some routines. Like lighting candles at the end of a day. Like holding hands. Sharing a sit-down on the porch. Kicking acorns down the road. Sometimes, I just sit silently because sitting in silence is all I need right then and there. I don’t live a life of leisure – but I’m living more leisurely.

Does that make sense?

It’s not that I’m worry-free. Each and every life has some. Now and again, a little or a lot. We’ve lived with our worries. And we worry still.

The slowing doesn’t mean freedom from pain, or sorrow, or problems. Life’s deadlines and appointments must be met. Bills arrive in the mail needing payment. There are obligations, commitments, and tasks. But I’m learning (again) life’s easier to live when I do the next right thing, whatever that may be.  Move paper. Shift piles. Wash dishes. Tidy. Straighten. Sit. Walk. Rest. Breathe. Wonder.

I no longer measure time by checks on the list, to-dos that were done, or goals reached. I am not counting calories, miles walked, or hours of sleep.

I’m living in a season of: what do I need?

And gratefully … doing just that.









What If?

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I went back to school today.

Actually, I’ve been in and out of school all month long, but today was the official first day of school.

It’s always a bit of a mystery, that first day. No one really knows what to expect. On day one, both the tall and the small share the same hopes, heart-fluttering nerves, and   what-if worries. We all feel a little giddy (and maybe giggly) because we didn’t sleep well last night. And all of a sudden, the day begins and before the end of the first hour, it feels as though we’ve been back awhile.

We arrive with one foot left still in summer and the other walking forward into fall.  Day one is fresh and forgiving of past mistakes. Our new shoes arrive at the front door unscuffed by the past paths we’ve walked, and our notebook paper waits clean – no marks, smudges, or erasures.

It’s almost like New Year’s Day. We sharpen our pencils and get right to work, a checklist of goals just set and still easy to remember. All of us stand right there at the starting line. Poised and ready to run.

Because we know we can. The first day of school is here and the last day of school is so far behind us, we can’t see it clearly anymore and all we really know for sure is … this … this will be our year.

When we go back to school, we all have dreams and there are people all around us ready to help us reach them.  We each have questions and friends all around us who want to help us find answers. We are not alone.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone went back to school in the fall? If we all set learning goals and found time to write, read, and figure things out every day? What if we found nourishing people to surround us and support our lives and our dreams, and what if those same people forgave our mistakes, remembering we’re all still learning?

What if?

I love when my students ask, “What if?” It tells me they’re wondering. They’re thinking. They’re taking chances, risks, and plunges.

Have you asked, “What if?” lately?

Maybe today’s the day.