The Lessons I Learned at Alternative School

For ten months, I’ve chanted it every day with my kids at alternative school, our mantra: “This is my life.  This is my story. I will love it or regret it based on my daily choices.”  The first recitation alone didn’t change me, but repetition worked it into my DNA. Our choices, love or regret them, write our stories. Could all our pensive meanderings for how to live a better life really boil down to something so simple?

For the Love of Laurels

If I Were a Peony was the first of my analogical musings.  During a Sunday afternoon meandering the South Carolina Botanical Gardens with Mama Sue, some flora is worth further consideration further, and so is some counsel that was not your garden variety.

Just Another Midlife Crisis

The reminder email comes every day: “You have a new document that requires your signature.”  It’s my teaching contract for next year.  I’m not signing it.  After 16 years in the classroom, I’m taking a sabbatical.  The reminders were annoying last week, cluttering up my work inbox, but this week I found they only strengthened … Continue reading Just Another Midlife Crisis

Words Aren’t Wasted on Tragedy

Tragedy.  It’s not just the play genre of Julius Caesar that my students are studying in English class.  There are three children in Nashville who will never read Shakespeare after a senseless shooting at a Christian school.  We may prefer the comedies, but what do we do when life’s writing tragedies all around us? Cry?  Pray?  Question?  Read, write, talk about it?  Grief is unique...

The Beauty in Weakness

I was right about my garden. It bounced back. Daily nurturing is essential to any profession of care giving. Water the soil, provide sufficient supplements, weed the earth, and positive growth occurs. Ask any teacher how they finally “got through” to a troubled youth and the answer will be an outgrowth of a relationship that … Continue reading The Beauty in Weakness

From Dead Oak to New Life

I understand why Dorothy exclaimed, “There’s no place like home.” On writing night, this white wicker love seat beckons me. The crickets soothe me. The red wine relaxes me. Ever a creature of habit, I plan my day such that when I pull in the driveway at this white house with the red door, nothing … Continue reading From Dead Oak to New Life

Looking Beyond the Microscope Lens

My week and a half long road trip to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina was an exciting adventure, but coming home to missed friends and family was heartwarming. And for the first time in my life, I returned to a missed garden as well. After seven hours on the road heading north, rocking out to … Continue reading Looking Beyond the Microscope Lens

Most Acceptable Draft at the Moment

At some point in my writing career, I was told to write what I know. In my recent tenth grade poetry unit, I advised my struggling beginner poets to write about things that they know. One submitted a parody of Walt Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain” as “O Point Guard, My Point Guard”. Another wrote … Continue reading Most Acceptable Draft at the Moment

Flowers Die, Life Goes On

Last week I returned to Home Depot to purchase new hanging baskets. Mary helped me this time. “Hanging baskets that need shade, please! I've all but killed the last ones by failing to give them enough sunlight. I didn’t realize my front porch doesn’t get any sun,” I admitted with eyes downcast in embarrassment. There … Continue reading Flowers Die, Life Goes On

Marrying Hindsight and Carpe Diem

The magnolia trees were bare when I returned from Greenville.  I’d snapped only one picture, planning to take more when the lighting was right and the trash cans didn’t line the curb. My first thought was one of disappointment.  Did they really only bloom for a couple of weeks? The second was one of disillusionment.  … Continue reading Marrying Hindsight and Carpe Diem