Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Truly Rich

"A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty."
~Author Unknown~

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Prayer for Today...

It's Monday again. Our weekend was a long one and the week ahead of us looks like it has the potential to be challenging as well. Today, I have a few simple, mostly Hurricane Sandy related tasks:

  • Get the laundry finished before the power goes out.
  • Prepare some snacks to enjoy when the power goes out.
  • Unglue my attention from The Weather Channel before the power goes out.
  • Charge all phones and electronics before the power goes out.
  • Locate a candle or two to light (say it with me) when the power goes out.
  • Heed the standards posted on the living room wall...

Perhaps if  I put this one first, the others would be easier to accomplish?

Lord, give me I pray:
A remembering heart for the things that have happened
An attentive heart to what I have heard
A forgiving heart for what has hurt
A grateful heart for what has blessed
A brave heart for what may be required
An open heart to all that may come
A trusting heart to go forth with You
A loving heart for You and all Your creation
A longing heart for the reconciliation of all things.
A willing heart to say "yes" to what You will.
~Leighton Ford printed in

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Please Tell Dad...

She yelled for me as she came down the stairs, 

"Mom, when Dad comes back from running dis morning, tell him I'm getting married."

"No kidding!" said I, astonished and completely unaware of her engagement.

"Yes," she confirmed, "please tell Dad." With that she sashayed past me, apparently running late for the upcoming nuptials. 

"And just who shall I tell him you are marrying?"

"My boooooyyyyyyfriend," she explained with a huff and an eye roll as if to say,  

Who did you think I'd be marrying? 

Honestly, I'm operating under the illusion that she still wants to marry her Daddy...

...and I'm pretty sure he'd prefer it that way too!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Real Challenge...

"Mom," he said carrying his science book into the room, "what were those birds we saw this summer at the museum called? Were they finches?"

"Yes." I answered, in a bit of a hurry to move on to my next task.

"Look, here they are in my book and see this Honeypot ant? It's a kind of ant from Australia that's still alive, I mean it hasn't become extinct."

 "Cool," I responded all the while moving on to the next thing which I think was brushing my teeth.

"Mom! Check out this article about the FDA and new regulations, it's interesting." Interesting maybe, over my dinner-cooking head, absolutely. The poor girl had to tell me about her current event three times before I stopped body and brain long enough to focus.

"Mommy! Are you ready to do my reading lesson?" Nooooooooooo. "Yes, get the book and meet me on the couch."

"Mom, what am I supposed to do in math. It says to draw a star and I don't know how." Then just make circles instead. "OK, let's work on it."

Kate accompanied me to the grocery store one day and the cashier asked, "Is she too little to be in school?"

"No ma'am," I answered, "I teach her at home."

"Oh, you know," she said with a very interested look on her face, "I see more and more home schooled kids in here with their moms. Lots of people are doing that lately. It must be so difficult. You must have to be so disciplined."

I guess there's some sort of discipline required on a day-in-day-out basis, but it's not the discipline of "doing school" that challenges me, it's the being present in each scholarly conversation and interaction all throughout the day

...and THEN it's the being present in each non-scholaraly interaction when school has ended.

 Like it or not, our school day exists within the realm of a home that coughs up dust bunnies, and dirty dishes. School happens in a family that requires meals, haircuts, and every now and then, some adventure.

The students, like those in every kind of educational setting, need, on occasion, to be challenged, corrected, and inspired and all of that requires attention...more attention to science than to dinner, more attention to language arts than to laundry, more attention to students than to the stuff they leave in their wake.

That's the real challenge, being present in my own home, in my own day, among my own students and living outside of my own head and encouraging my students to do likewise...daily.

{Family portrait by Molly.}

 "The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention."
~Richard Moss

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I was too worked up about the Presidential debate last night to gather any words to post. Decidedly, I am a political junkie, but last night I fear the highlight was on the junk. I'm not certain why, when women voters are so vital to each campaign, The Commission on Presidential Debates would foist upon the female viewer a debate in a format which made women's stomachs knot and their skin crawl.

Studies show that women don't like such behavior from their candidates. That debate format just begged women to turn the channel and disengage. I spent the evening near my clothes dryer reading about the debate on Twitter, it was a much gentler delivery system than the TV in our living room whose big screen and booming volume gave uncomfortable witness to the interruptions and personal space infringements of the debaters.

My man soaked it up. He said it was certainly not enjoyable but he didn't feel the need to retreat to the basement like I did. The male commentators on TV following the debate all made a comment similar to, "I thought it was a great brawl."

 I thought it was a great reason to do the laundry! My Twitter feed was full of fun quips, but none more pithy than this one...

"It is true." "No, it's not." And, yes, presidential politics is not dissimilar to conversations I have with my 3 year old.

Maybe this is why women don't like to see men fighting on TV in the evening when the day is finally supposed to be settling into a quiet peace and especially after many of us have spent at least a portion of the day refereeing disputes between our own children.

I'm guardedly looking forward to next week's debate, hoping that a different format will allow for easier viewing and listening. No worries though, I've always got Twitter and it can always be counted upon for pointed observation and smart comedy...

i hope the guy with a mustache has a spot in line. and i hope he stands up to say "Mr President, I mustache you a question."

Well, not all smart comedy, but comedy nonetheless! Then there's this...

What if President Obama and Governor Romney traded hair?

And since I began this post talking about women and this debate...

What if Governor Romney and President Obama traded hair...with their wives?

"When humor goes, there goes civilization." - Erma Bombeck

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Six of us live under one roof. Every now and then we are reminded of the effect of that number on the children. Tonight was such a night.

Opening the fridge door after the kids had gone to bed this evening, I found this note attached to a bowl containing this evening's left-overs:

This kid's teacher hesitates to invite you to take a closer look,

1. At least he corrected his own spelling?!

2. I'm pretty certain that if the pizza exists in the fridge on 12/10/12 nobody, NOBODY is gonna fight him for it.

3. Just in case you think kids in large families are naturally gifted in sharing...he felt it important to specify "both pieces" which in sibling speak translates to "Yes, I DO plan on eating every bite of BOTH pieces even if you sit in front of me bawling so don't even ask me!" 

4. I'm thinking that the verse on the note pad beautifully described the contents of the container in my son's estimation!

5.  That he started the message with "Mom says..." kinda makes me feel like a big ole grown up whose words carry some weight. 

No wonder I said he could have dibs!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pint-Sized Inspiration

When I take on a new activity my librarian is usually the first to know because whatever it is that I am doing, you can bet that I'm also reading about it. I'm learning how to be healthier and in better shape these days soooo I've been reading a bit on the topic.  The first book I read was called Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen and it was, except for a tedious chapter near the end, fascinating. Here's what the cover material says...

Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

Even if you NEVER plan to run another step in your whole entire life, and especially if you enjoy jogging a mile or two on a regular basis, I'm confident that you will find this book fascinating.

A book I'm thoroughly enjoying now is called Run Like a Mother which is so full of tips and tricks to help make even the most difficult Monday morning runs more enjoyable.

{Don't ya love the cover?}

The authors suggest things like counting your steps to 100 when heading up a tough hill to take your mind off of your task, or taking smaller steps and striking the ground lightly with your feet (I still don't quite get this one, I'm pretty sure all of my pounds are hitting the ground every time my feet do!), and keeping your head up and shoulders back to allow more air into your lungs (this one I get!). Each of those tips has been extremely helpful as I plod along the streets of my running route.

The mantra of the "Mother Runners" is "don't think, just do it," meaning, if you take time to think about whether you should exercise or not, the battle has already been decided; it will be nearly impossible to get out the door and do what is best for your mind and body weather it be running or some other necessary exercise. While that line of thinking is very sound, I've another very reliable way to encourage myself to lace up my shoes and head out the door.

Here's what I do...I eat a full pint of mango sorbet at 11:30 on a Saturday night and fall promptly into a sugar induced slumber. I wake on Sunday morning and start gulping coffee as fast and as hard as possible then attend Sunday School and church services and then come home and bake two pies and a cake. Pay attention here, this part is important...I make certain after the baked goods are in the oven that I lick any involved beaters and use a rubber spatula to efficiently clean and eat any remaining batter in the mixing bowl.

Next, I sample a piece of one of the pies and generously offer some to the children. I feel that it is important to eat any pie that the children have left on their plates, especially the crust. Finally, I take pies (or what's left of them) and cake to evening church classes and share with others, all the while filling your own plate for the purpose of being sociable.

When morning dawns, I don't need to spend much time trying to convince my inner couch potato to hit the pavement. Thinking about all of my indulgences the day before is enough to haul my buggy out the door.  Hitting the ground at my rusty jointed pace, I and am much inspired until that first hill looms large. It is then that I am nearly able convince myself to turn around and walk dejectedly back home but just as I've mentally turned around to quit, my path is blocked by a life-sized pint of that mango sorbet wagging it's finger at me and telling me that I've earned that hill so I'd better get it in gear and and start climbing.

I ascend snail-like up the hill and home again to begin a new day with my family.  A new day that happens to involve a couple of baskets of chips and bowl or two or two salsa and cheese dip and... well, looks like I've found inspiration yet again to lace up my shoes. Wonder if it will be Speedy Gonzales who sends me up the next hill?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Remains of the Day...

My Man is out late tonight at a meeting and I've just tucked the last of the kiddos into bed. Normally I'd be executing a fancy swan dive onto the comfy couch about now but that's not going to happen tonight. Tonight, the couch is full. On one section lies a history book flopped open on its belly, a few cushions over is a devotional book stacked neatly atop a book entitled Stink Alley. Near that pile, lies a thick tome containing every word ever written by Arthur Conan Doyle about Sherlock Holmes.

I scooped up the books and headed toward the school/dining room to place them on the table where the kids would begin looking for them tomorrow only to find the table so full of the rest of school that I had  to clear space to make a new pile. Discouraged, I took a deep breath, picked up an empty teacup, and turned the light off on the mess, trusting that tomorrow's daylight would make the piles appear less oppressive.

Intending to place the teacup into the sink, I veered into the kitchen nearly tripping over discarded Elmo slippers and a felled block castle. When I stopped to right my balance, my desk, or what had been my desk earlier in the day loomed into view. How did I let it get so awfully piled under?

Probably in the same way my bedroom, where I attempted to take refuge next, did. My life, my real life, is a pile of messes or maybe a mess of piles. Piles of clothes, piles of books, piles of dishes, piles of paper, and piles of people...I could decide to wallow in these piles and let them defeat me, let them sap my energy, let them beat me down mentally, let them define me...I could, I have before, in fact I often do but I certainly don't have to.

Tonight, instead of lamenting, I'm going to look at things a bit differently...

Instead of seeing this messy couch, I could appreciate the evidence that a child, the one who was determined not to learn to read, appears to have been reading ahead in her school book while her little sister and her pet horse listened.

Instead of moaning about the mess, I could instead remember all of the learning that took place at this very table today...this very MESSY table, full of world history and American history, full of American literature, full of science and of math and of preschool counting.

A table full of the expansion of young minds (young minds who must use their young hands to make space in the morning for more learning!).

 Here is where a little girl chose to play so that she could be close to the rest of us just in case someone found a moment to play with her. 
The spilled blocks attest to the castle her sister found time to help her build. 

 This desk, in this condition means that I'm needed here and there to teach (read: learn along with) folks who love to learn and who don't mind my yammering on now and then. This desk, in this condition also means that I have a space to call my own in this very real life of mine. 
Note: most things that are my own tend to exist in this condition eventually, sad but true.

More's the pity. 
Below you see a pile of bags, laying in front of a pile or six of books. I see trips taken in those bags yet to be unpacked, and adventures yet to be enjoyed in those books yet to be savored. 
(I also see a possible need for a new bookshelf!) 
I see a red pillow...
...a red pillow which points to...

...a completely disheveled bed. A bed that was properly made and pillows that were primly fluffed first thing this morning but which hosted a napping four year old who feels like a real princess when allowed to sleep "in Daddy's place." 

It was not one small child who wreaked such havoc on this bed though, it was four children of various sizes who are guilty. Ok, four children and a forty-year-old who insisted that a bedtime story be shared instead of dealing with the couch and the kitchen floor and the school table and the desk and the...

I'm always going to have things to clean, to pick up, and to fold because the days always insist on leaving their remains. I'm not always going to be able to fit four willing kids onto my bed to listen to me read to them. 

Oh yes, this place is a supreme mess but tomorrow awaits and maybe we will shovel through and dig out just in time for the weekend, or maybe, just maybe, we'll grab our book and a blanket and head to the park to capture that last warm day that fall offers us!

"The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year--the days when summer is changing into fall--"
E.B.White in Charlotte's Web

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baby Steppin'

Real life.

That's where I live, smack dab in the middle of real life. Schedules, budgets, lesson plans, meal plans, and absolutely NO LAUNDRY plan shape much of this real life. During the past year and a half my family and I have been trying to better our real lives in very real ways by taking very small steps toward healthier living. None of us has taken any drastic measures like becoming vegetarians, nor have we sworn off of sugar, a few of us have set and reached a fitness goal or two, and all of us have reaped the benefits.

What did it take to send us baby steppin' down Health Avenue? It was the nudge of a health concern that sent my Man to the doctor for a check up a little more than a year and a half ago which yielded numbers that got his attention. My Man, who until that point, had never had any issue with excess weight, who was a dedicated 3-day-a-week runner, and a generally healthy fella, was concerned. Very concerned. So concerned that he came home from the doctor's office and at once, began making changes in his diet.
{Before...June 2010}

I loved watching more vegetables disappear from his plate, and watched amazed as sweet tea also did a disappearing act from his daily routine. Second helpings of dinner were a rarity as were requests for dessert. I no longer kept sweet tea cold in our fridge replacing it instead with unsweetened tea. Almonds and craisins soon took the place of chips and cookies as this Man of mine became a much healthier, much happier, much more fit individual right before my very eyes.

I was so proud of him and happy for him and more than a little bit irked. Yes, that's right, irked...big time. I had made all of the changes that he had (except, of course for the exercising which I was heartily opposed to) yet I was experiencing minimal results. Eventually, I found new vices and lost my way as winter doldrums set in hard and real life responsibilities and stresses loomed large. While the numbers on my Man's scales had decreased by almost 40 pounds, my results were heading very much in the opposite direction which only served to send my doldrums into overdrive.

I've written here and here about how my Man finally nudged me out of the doldrums and into the gym without, somehow making me feel like the frumpy, lumpy, jiggly, aging version of the girl he'd married. What I've not written much about are the things I've been learning along the way about food, and new-to-me ways to prepare it so that my gang reaps the ultimate benefits. I've also learned a thing or two about where my food originates and why that just might be important.

Don't for one minute think that I've gone all tree-huggery. I've decidedly not. I am however a little more of a health-hugger these days and I've brought my little gang along with me. During October my plan is to post a baby step or two among the other bits of happenings around The Wright Place so that you can take a baby step or two for yourself if you so choose.

I'm still learning, still trying new things, still indulging in sorbet date nights and birthday cake breakfasts once in a while (or once a week sometimes!), still failing and flailing, and every now and again, enjoying some measure of success. I'm loving all of the learning and I'm loving that what I'm learning is having such a deep impact on me and on those I adore!


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Big Eyes

Today my baby sister turns another year older, not quite ready to join me in my 40s, but definitely gaining on me...right?

My sis is the mama of three beautiful girls, Sophie, Haleigh, and Mackenzie. Each gal is unique in her very own "I'm-growing-up-in-my-very-own-direction" sort of way. The youngest, Mackenzie has, from her birth had something in common with none other than moi.

What, you may wonder what a grown woman could have in common with an infant? With a toddler? And even now with a kindergardener?

It's not our hair, she has curly locks. It's not our stature, she's always been an ultra-light. It's not our smile, though you're getting close. Little Mackenzie and I share what my family has been calling "the big eyes" for years now.

"Big eyes" are a fine feature, handy for reigning in children who are slipping slowly out of control, for showing ultimate surprise, and in my case and surely not Mackenzie's dishing out a generous helping of "stink eye" to anyone wondering exactly what you think about displeasing circumstances. Big eyes are supremely useful, as I'm certain Mackenzie has figured out, when asking your Daddy for stuff...supremely useful!

Once, while visiting Mackenzie, we were cuddled up on the couch and she looked at me and said the very same thing that I said when I first got to hold her in my arms, "Hey, you have big eyes too!" It's always comforting to find someone in life who has the same super power as you do.

While at the beach together last week, Mackenzie and I celebrated our big eyes and the moment ranks high on the list of my favorite vacation moments...

Big eyes...from one generation to the next...

you saw it here first.

{Happy Monday. Happy Birthday Sudeana!}

**Photos by the Birthday Girl**

Share button


Related Posts with Thumbnails