Thursday, July 31, 2014


Today I am grateful for a creek walk with Jess.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

flights of fancy

Today I am grateful for a calm, focused mind.

(sometimes gratitudes are little hopes)

Update: I was distracted by what Seth said.

(back to that focus now)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

not New York City

This is the town which sleeps, goes home and watches TV, prays for their school and their people. This is outrageous potential and a nice, quiet settling of we are what this is. Though I can't help but dream of little cafes and tiny lights under awnings, there is a charm to the quiet. It feels like peace.

Today I grateful for the impulse to take a left last night.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Obviously I blacked out. Last I remember she seemed highly interested in my thoughts on Common Core State Standards and how Glen Beck was obviously going broke and feeling irrelevant so he latched onto something he could sensationalize at the risk of harming our educational system and people actually paid twenty bucks to see that movie.

Next thing I knew I was sprawled out on the floor of the back porch with two dead frogs, one in each hand. Frog blood everywhere. She looked into my eyes, nodded her little head and let out the perfect little purr signaling to the others she had dinner.

Today I am grateful to go to the office. It's getting weird out here, folks.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


This Sunday brought to you by Van Morrison.

Today I am grateful for a slow and easy weekend.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I read this on Medium yesterday.

At first I was all in love with how much Philip Kovacs obviously cares for his son and how studied he is on the issue of early childhood education. The guy can pull strings. His concern is for all the kids. Oh look, his boy builds forts and a robot and is eager to discover what happens past the number twelve. And why can't his son, you know, just hang out, become kinder and more courageous and compassionate? 

His desire is to have his child's kindergarten teacher instruct on matters of perseverance, impulse control, resiliency, and how to think about thinking.

The letter feels like hot chocolate by a warm fire on a cold winter's night.
A night when I would pull my favorite blanket over my feet and write an open letter to Philip Kovacs.

Dear Philip,

What you wrote to your son's kindergarten teacher felt good. I loved how you love your son. Not only that, you are obviously well educated and thoughtful. I can only assume you did not receive your schooling in the United States. Finland, maybe? How was the parenting there? How old were you when your Finnic parents suggested that you learn some tavallisia sanoja, because they thought common words would assist you in your attempt to communicate with others? Did you simply speak gibberish till the age of seven? We need to know that because you communicate well, and here in the U.S. we are always trying to do better for our children.

In the USA we are in constant study of how to help our children become better communicators and critical thinkers and leaders and creators. We never want a child to be left behind or cry or go hungry or have to consider he may not be as great a reader as the next guy or girl (don't even get us started about gender and learning).

Your child's teacher put the word kind as a sight word on the list you received, and I do understand that you were too busy to go over this list with him. It is likely that you will have no worries because most American kindergarten teachers I have met are compassionate toward the various special needs of the children in their rooms. And though it will take courage for you to let your baby's hand go, Philip, you are likely to learn how resilient your precious angel is. He will have to think about thinking, possibly control his impulse to run, as he walks into a center of learning (sometimes called a classroom) filled with strangers.

So, with a little perseverance you will allow your child's kindergarten teacher to do what she came and trained to do. Then you'll notice how your child starts teaching you. As the mother of a son who is graduating this December from an American University after a lovely and sometimes not so much study in public education, I will say that somehow, somewhere, someway there came a love of learning and he started teaching me. And not even drinking hot chocolate by a warm fire on a cold winter's night can beat it.


P.S. Don't blink. It all happens way too fast.

Today, again, I am grateful for our teachers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Denham Blue

Tom Giles said, "One of the most satisfying things about owning this blueberry farm is in the morning when I pour a bowl of cereal and then walk outside to pick the blueberries from the tree and put them directly into my bowl. Now that's a good breakfast."

I didn't say it, but one of the most satisfying things I did yesterday was visit the Giles Farm with three women who are focused on feeding Mississippi's schoolchildren with food grown by Mississippi farmers. Now that makes sense.

Today I am so very grateful for my job.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


An Oxford Sketchbook, Watercolors by Wyatt Waters

Beautiful. Just like the place.

Today I am grateful for a friend who is always so eager and willing to share her books.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

in other news

I am a naive American. Many times when I walk out of my door I am concerned with the weather or what my job will call for me to do that day or if I talked to my son that morning or what I need to put on the grocery list. I don't have television and I don't watch the news but I do hear the rumblings of a war so I search out a trusted source.

Etgar Keret, of course.

As the cannons roared and members of the Israeli government made fiery speeches, the peace conference opened and I listened to the speeches and read the writings of many eloquent, resolute people who continued to talk about the same longed-for peace without blinking an eye, even though, or maybe because now, the earth was shaking beneath our feet.

Then I listen to music.

And here I focused on our bounty.

Today I am grateful for trusted sources and empathy and how reading and listening can help me begin to understand what I can do in this world. (you know, other than just worry about the weather when I walk out the door)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Today I am grateful for a change of scenery.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Today I am grateful to finally comprehend from where the term "sweetheart" derived.

Sunday, July 20, 2014



Today I am grateful for a couple of visitors who rolled into town.

Friday, July 18, 2014


There's a note. On it is written Heisenberg Principle. I don't know why I wrote it, who said it or why I am looking at it but it's there and a google search is too easy. Maybe it will lead to I don't know. I gotta write

like every night the same damn music plays.
I'd have it no other way.
like a sage a man of vision but he knows he's really nothing but a brief elaboration of a tube.

I solve sudoku puzzles in my sleep. there's a nine there and a nine on that row and then the column so the nine must go there and the one next to it...

I have to listen to Seether and I cringe when I see the name because I think I am just going to be screamed at but it's not as bad as I remember.

There is yet to be a cure for cancer and people still starve and planes fall from the sky and lightning strikes and at least some shame that my brain seems to be incapable of doing anything other than putting numbers in boxes someone else created.

maybe tomorrow I can be better.

I think about last night in a truck with four other people. We drove to a restaurant which is more like a secret.

maybe that's all family really is. a group of people that miss the same imaginary place.
It's Garden State, a quote I loved. Caring is Creepy is a song from that soundtrack and thinking out loud made me think of it.

Sometimes I lose the music and then I hear Leonard.
the troubles came. I saved what I could save.
Then he goes away.

What I can gather from the Heisenberg Principle is attention to one thing results in less attention to another. That guy was brilliant.

Me not so much but today I decide it's okay since I was riding in a truck with four people who obviously sometimes miss the same imaginary place. And a song came on. It was The Steve Miller Band and though the truck is nicer than any we would have taken way back when

and life happened

and we are not those kids anymore

until we all start singing.

Today I am grateful to understand what I say and do affects other people and maybe if I pay really close attention to that I can find myself again riding a backroad with those four other people trying to remember the words to a song so I can sing it with them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

hand me downs

At first glance it reminds me of a six-word novel.

Something like Alma no longer made the biscuits.

Or five words, Sybil waited. He never came.

Then I think in seven words, Abstract photo? Please. Shea just hated cleaning.

Today I am grateful for play. And the weather. Ohgoodgosh the weather.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Me: It's like, ya' know, I rub your back. You rub mine.

Him: It's not rub.

Me: That does sound kinda creepy.

Him: It's scratch.

Me: Scratch what?

Him: I scratch your back. You scratch mine. What people say.

Me: Less creepy.

Him: Yeah.

Today I am grateful for time to consider my words.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I loved the scene pictured above.

Also, the motto. You are going to love the motto.

Today I am grateful for a good movie.

Monday, July 14, 2014

romanticizing poverty

Here in the south we like to handpick the pink cotton candy in the mornings before the heat takes hold.
Otherwise, it melts in our hands.

Yesterday I read this article and the comments which followed.

I have this friend who talks about a childhood within economic and social hardships very few Americans could understand today. He has a third grade education and is one of the most brilliant people I know. When considering the issue of poverty I'd much rather listen to him than any economist.

Today I am grateful for how romantic this place is.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

too soon

San Miguel Lanterns, Acrylic Mixed Media by Amanda Townsend

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worry is effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
Mary Schmich

Today I am grateful for whatever time we have on this earth to tell our children we love them. To hold them. To mess up their hair. To listen to their stories. To hear them laugh at our own.

It's all too fleeting to take for granted.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Grammie & Jess

Watermelon Salesperson of the Year.

Today I am grateful to be witness to such brilliance.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

the ethic of work

Today I am grateful for the understanding that if ever I am frustrated, feeling either self pity/loathing or having an inclination to be some type of victim of this world there is one surefire way to remedy the situation. I just need to get a task done. Check something off a list. Scrub a floor. Sweep the porch. Write a thank you note. Finish a story or start one.

Or as Jess might say, Put on your flip flops and feed the cattle.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

little bird believes

 Dude. Your Dad just quit his job. Just finally said today's the day and I'm going to do this on my own.

And look at you. You're not worried at all.

Today I am grateful for those who inspire us to do better and be better because they know who we are.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Today I am grateful for cool evenings, tomato sandwiches, long baths and short stories.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Today I am grateful for the power of place. And music.

Ben Howard has taken over my life and made me a total sap.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Today I am grateful for unlikely visitors, the absolute joy of two kids and an evening spent simply listening.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Today I am grateful for choice.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

if ever I should have a parlor

I will invite you to my party.

Today I am grateful for those who build, who allow us to glimpse at what is I don't know. I am simply in awe, at times, of what must be our human potential.

You go, kid.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

like a fine wine

There comes a time in your life when your favorite movies are sold in a huge bin and your you gotta hear this music is called classic and you remember that time when you looked at a post it note and thought, Why didn't I think of that?

Now I am willing to admit I never would have thought of this, but I am sure glad someone else did.

Big thank you to the source of much inspiration.

the cynic

Artwork by Josh Miller

It was a couple of weeks ago when I talked to a friend on a Saturday morning. That afternoon, he said, he was going to a wedding. My initial thought was People are still doing that?

Then. Of course they are, Shea. Don't say it out loud. Don't ask that question. Don't admit to how you think. Hold back. Hold back.

Then. Out loud in a socially appropriate time frame I asked the question, Oh. Who's getting married?

Here I would like to report nobody's values, beliefs, ideas, philosophies, religion or social contracts were ruined during that phone conversation, but my initial reaction did linger with me like when I was a kid and would learn a new word and then all of a sudden it seemed I would hear and see that word everywhere.

Until last night when I finally threw my hands up and watched a forty minute wedding video and found that even if I don't believe in something for myself I can still hope and believe in it for others.

Today I am grateful for the world which exists outside my cynicism. That video made it look quite beautiful. Go, others!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Today I am grateful for little rituals.