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What Verse Are You Singing?

My new teenager (!?) and I enjoy listening to the radio as we tool around to the various places we go. One of the songs we both like these days is Lukas Graham’s  “7 Years.” Though there is a line or two that we needed to discuss (smoking herb, etc.), we both hear and appreciate the story within Graham’s lyrics.

 

Continue reading “What Verse Are You Singing?”

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’ve been at this blogging thing for a while now, and I’ve come to “meet,” love, and learn from many other bloggers over the years. Continue reading “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award”

The World Needs More Hugs

This Frabjous Friday post is simple, short, and sweet. It’s a kitten video. You don’t like kitten videos? You can go suck it. Oops. Sorry. That seems rather counter to the Frabjous Friday spirit I aim to cultivate. How about “you can go and inhale quickly and deeply” (especially if you’re in Colorado)?

At any rate, this little video lifted my spirits, and I hope it does the same for you.

I, for one, could sure use more hugs like this:

How about you?

Thanks to my niece Monica for sharing this video on Facebook yesterday! What a viral world we live in!

[Email subscribers: please remember you will have to click through to my blog to view the clip.]

The Day Harper Lee Wrote Back

Harper Lee 2
Harper Lee in 2007

The idea behind my Frabjous Friday posts is to share something joyful–or at least something that will make you smile. Today’s post was a very joyful moment in my life, and I’d like to share it with you. It happened 17 years ago almost to the day. It’s a little longer than my typical Friday post, but I hope you’ll find it worth your time.

Back when I taught high school English, my freshman class read To Kill a Mockingbird as one of our core novels. I loved that book as a student, and I treasured it as a teacher. So many layers to explore and think about all delivered in a wonderfully descriptive and even suspenseful way. There was no greater joy for me as a teacher than to see a student come alive within the pages of a book, and Ms. Lee’s one and only published novel kindled that time and again.

One of the activities that we did after reading it was to send notes to Harper Lee. The first time I did this and told the kids we were really going to send the letters, they were stunned. Really? In junior high they did the activity frequently, and it was just for “pretend,” as they called it. I told them why wouldn’t we send them when she is still around to receive them? This made them take their own words a little more seriously. A real author–one whose work many had grown to care for–would be reading it, after all!

I showed them all how I put their letters into a big manila envelope and addressed it to “Harper Lee, Monroeville, Alabama” with the proper zip code. Since Harper Lee was a recluse, this was the best I could do. I figured the town knew her whereabouts.

The first year’s letter writing experience had been positive enough that I did it again the next year, with much the same response from the students. As a teacher, it was satisfying to know that the kids realized their words were being delivered. It mattered.

I just didn’t know it mattered to Ms. Lee, too.

One day, a few weeks after the second batch of letters had been sent, I went to my teacher’s mailbox. Inside was an envelope the size of a thank you card, and I could see that the return address had “Monroeville, AL” written on it. My hands started to tremble. Was it possible that one of the nation’s great authors had written back to us?

Why, yes. Yes she did.

Harper

I couldn’t believe it. How kind she was to let my students (and me!) know that she had read every letter with “great care and enjoyment.” My students were giddy with excitement–and it’s not often you see 14-year-olds giddy about anything. It was a tremendous validation for them–and for me as an educator. Words matter. Thought matters. Kindness matters.

I hope my former students think back on that experience with joy. I know I do. Ms. Lee’s letter still graces my office and makes me smile every time I see it.

17 years ago Harper Lee wished me and my students a Happy New Year. How cool is that?

Happy New Year to all of you, too!

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” ~Atticus Finch

George Bailey, I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die

I’m a bit of an It’s a Wonderful Life fan. (Like…it’s my very favorite-est!) I’ve already shared a bit about that. To me, the movie resonates deeply on a number of levels. But it’s Frabjous Friday time, so I won’t get into a long discourse on why this movie is so amazingly awesome.

What I will share here is a new joy that the movie is bringing me. See, I’ve always been an old movie buff, so it’s no shock that my relationship with IAWL began when I was just a kid (back in the day when the copyright had expired and they showed it approximately 20,498 times a season). But in this day and age, most people under 30 (or maybe even 40) are pretty much not interested in a black and white movie. (“It’s booooring.” Sigh.)

That’s why the fact that my kid is loving It’s a Wonderful Life is a huge joy to me. The torch has been passed. My kid is starting to “get” the depth that the movie has to offer, and I am delighted. As the years go on, I’m hoping his love for it grows, and that he’ll be able to share it with his child one day.

That’s all I’ll say on my beloved movie today. Except if you haven’t seen it in a while (or…ever?!?!?), you should make the time to do so. It will be time well spent. (And someday I’m going to watch it with the sole purpose of counting how many sayings from the movie have become a part of our family’s lexicon–I’m a little scared to find out. I know it will be a number deep into the double digits.)

Happy Frabjous Friday, folks. I hope you were all able to make some wonderful memories this Christmas season…after all, it IS a wonderful life!

[Email subscribers: please remember you will have to click through to my blog to view the clip.]

My Own Little Lake

My little lake
My little lake

As much as I love the beauty of the Southwest, I don’t think I could do a desert for long. I need water. The ocean, a river, Lake Michigan…it all feels like possibility or hope to me. Even my little ol’ lake tucked away within my neighborhood. It’s just a small body of water, but for some reason, it always lifts my spirits.

Every season around the lake offers its own take on life. Spring brings newness and the promise of summer. Summer is life in full bloom, where goldfinches swoop in for a nibble on a sunflower and swans that the village brings in to keep the geese away…swim with the geese. Autumn offers different blooms and colors that are at once invigorating and bittersweet, as I know that the flora is getting ready to tuck itself in for the winter. And winter…even though it can be harsh and cold, still has a beauty all its own. Some times are more beautiful than others around the lake, but there is no “bad” time.

These days, it’s harder and harder for my head to clear, but my little lake helps me take a breath and free my mind up a bit from the fuzz of life. If I find myself using the time to think of all the things I need to do, I tell myself to shut up and listen instead.

Listen and look for the beauty of the minute (mī-ˈnüt not ˈmi-nət, though I guess both meanings apply). Even though this little lake is smack-dab in suburbia and not in any majestic setting, there are still small wonders to enjoy. The occasional snapping turtle that takes a sun nap before continuing its journey back to the water. The herons dipping in for breakfast and a bath. The huge willow tree blowing in the breeze. The shimmer of the sun tap dancing on the current. Simple beauty.

Notice the bird in the center
Notice the bird in the center

Yep, I love my little lake. When my son was younger, there were times I would take him there for a visual scavenger hunt and make him find specific little gems, and I still enjoy going for a bike ride with him and seeing him notice something tiny and beautiful because he’s taking the time to do just that. I hope he always will.

I’m pretty sure my dog is a fan, too because no matter how many walks he goes for around that lake, he still acts like he’s drunk with delight. I always wonder what crosses his little peanut mind while walking…”Oh! A flower! Oh! A feather! Oh! Some goose poop!”…Uh-oh…our thought processes may have more in common than I’d like to admit…

I don’t know what it is about water, but it’s good for the soul. At least it’s good for my soul. There is the beauty of it, but also the reminder that life is a symphony of sorts and all parts are important.

I’m glad I have my own little lake to ripple away my cares—if just momentarily— and help me see the simpler side of things. Somehow it makes handling the more complex seem do-able. And that’s exactly what I need to start my week.

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