"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Lenten Journey: Intentions

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I’ve heard this more than once during my life, and I have to admit I’m reminding myself of it during this Lent.

I had plans. Plans to do good things for people. Oh, I’m sure a few things I’ve done would “count,” but really, that’s not the point.

The point for me is to live with intention. To follow a plan. To realize I might have to change a few routines in order to make room for some better ideas.

Every day, not just when it is convenient.

I realize this journey isn’t supposed to be easy. If it were, what would be the point? Still, I marvel (really, I flinch) at how easy it is to get off track.

The day is over and I’ve skipped the extra prayer time. Or started without the silence I crave. Or neglected to do the extra kind thing for someone. Or worse, let something cause me to react instead of rethink.

I know better.

I know my days are smoother when I create a spiritual atmosphere first thing.
When I take time to listen to others without interrupting or finishing with my own words.
When I have a plan and follow it.

I also know Lent isn’t over. We all know it takes 21 days or 28 repetitions to create a habit. I’ll just start again.

The Lord sees my heart. He is well aware of what I need. And, I know He is waiting right there. With no shaking of the head. No sadness. Just joy that I would find time for Him through prayer or communion with others.

Lent means different things for different people. For me, it’s not only about having an intention to change, but doing something about it.

So I intend to try again. And again. And though I know I’ll never be satisfied, at least I’ll be trying. Every day, through Lent and beyond.

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Teaching Tip: Images

Bear with me as I create a list:
a Marine playing Taps
silver bugle
American flag
white gloves
wooden casket
cars stopped on the road
blue lights

Today we said goodbye to a good man: Buddy Rose. My sister-in-law’s father. A retired police chief. A Marine.
I went to visitation and heard songs, listened to stories, a little preaching.
Hugged some family.
Thought about how important it is to pay our respects. How our presence matters. How every goodbye reminds us that life is fleeting.
How images tell a story.
Students need to know this. They need to hear poignant pieces sometimes, and they need to know how to shape them. They need to think of nouns that illustrate those moments. That stay in the mind’s eye. That remind us of what matters.

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Pep Talk

Tonight is one of those nights when I breathe in and realize there is so much more to life than work.
I breathe out and relive funny moments with family and friends, genuine laughter, good conversation.
I see life for what it is: a series of events, a moving picture.
Can’t get stuck in a freeze frame.
I look out to where I am living the life I want. It is there, just around the bend.
See the snow on the branch? Hear the dove coo her song? Smell the bread rising on the counter?
It’s waiting. Whatever good is in your mind, it is yours. Believe it.

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Saturday’s Snapshot: Inspiration


Today is the seven month anniversary of this blog.
I spent the morning as a juror in a high school art contest.
I’ll spend tonight creating scarves that people ordered recently.
The thing is, seven months ago those creative pursuits were not even on my radar.
Well, not my conscious radar.
The book you see in the photo changed all that.
I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I still have not made my way through every page, but I will.
I am trying to live creatively. That was my goal in July. It is my goal today.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I know this: Next year, my pay will be cut significantly, but my life is richer today than ever before. I’m celebrating that.
Those who read my blog routinely know that I’m trying to record here daily for one year. Then, I’ll regroup and see what’s next.
I’m happy to see lucky 7 today.

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Friday’s Five

I am grateful to have this ritual of remembering on Fridays…even in the midst of various trials, I remember to look for the sweet moments. They always appear.

This week’s top five:

Watching with my husband through our bedroom window as deer appeared through the woods and walked to the pond…just slowing down to watch;

A random act of kindness in the Starbucks drive thru: my coffee paid for by the lady in the grey blue Infiniti…still makes me smile remembering that;

Sitting at Ironwood Grill (a local restaurant) with my husband…sweet moments…and he always makes me laugh;

A text with a friend’s baby bump beginning to show…oh the preciousness of life within us and those who will share those dear moments;

Three new scarf orders: winter is not over yet…always fun to create something new…and one customer’s challenge: Oh I can’t wait! Crazy it up!
Now that, dear readers, is a friend worth keeping. 🙂

Smile and look for the good. Know you have someone here looking for it, too…

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Lenten Journey: Crosses

I’ve decided to devote Wednesday blogging during Lent to some kind of faith reflection or spiritually based writing.

It’s been one week since Ash Wednesday. A priest formed a cross upon my forehead with ashes from last Easter’s palms.

I recognized this priest, even though I wasn’t at my home church that night.
I attend adoration at this church, and I usually see Father Adams during that time, either praying with us in the church or leading the benediction.

I can tell he recognizes me, too.
I see it for just a second in his eyes: a moment of connection before he ministers to the next person. A smile.

I have thought a lot about that brief moment. It gave me reassurance.
How can I give others that same reassurance in the busyness of each day? Does it even matter?

It matters.

I know the smallest effort to connect with someone matters. It might be a simple greeting, a sincere compliment, a pat on the shoulder. A smile.

Because no matter our outward countenances, there is always an unseen cross.
We cannot carry that cross for someone.
As Father Adams cautioned us last Wednesday, it’s good to not be the cross for somebody, either.
As we carry our own crosses this Lent, crosses of worry or illness or pain, it really does help to look out at others.
I looked out at the congregation on Ash Wednesday and realized Every one of us has a cross. No life is perfect.
And while we cannot carry that cross for someone, we can make their journey easier. Just for a moment in a day. I know it’s true.

Be that moment for someone today.


Teaching Tip: Quote ‘Em

Yesterday my intern and I took our students to the cafeteria for the daily writing lesson.
There is a display of posters there, posters spotlighting famous African Americans. Each one has a quotation on it.
We chose the ones we liked best. Some kids, like me, couldn’t decide–or liked them all. So we sat and copied.
We added these quotations to an ongoing list.
We are trying to help the children build a repertoire of words to pull from when they need them to illustrate a point, to start or end a paper.
We have a long way to go, but our efforts are paying off.
The kids are serious. They want to build up their “mental warehouses” with many words…their own as well as those of others.
I have hope when we write like this. I think the kids do, too.