1800's Farmhouse where I grew up

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Special Day

Today was our county's Special Olympics event.  The day initially threatened rain, with a fine mist and drizzle making the stadium bleachers slick and too wet to sit on.  It could not, however, dampen the spirits of the contestants and buddies who came to celebrate life, or the winning spirits of so many kids who...from many people's standards...had been cheated in life.
The group of excited, smiling, and dedicated special athletes demonstrated so much more class and passion for their scheduled track and field events than I have seen among many in the general high school population in some time.  The truth is, these kids have not been cheated. They have embraced their challenges, they have overcome so many obstacles, and they have won hearts and loyalty from so many volunteers. 
They are loved. It is something of a mirror image love, reflecting back to them as they shine on all of us. Their hearts are pure. No animosity, no jealousy, no bitterness. So many demonstrate an unequivocally, unconditional love we know only for our children, or receive from our pets.  Watching a young man sprint for 50 yards, struggling before reaching the finish line, only to find a burst of energy to cross victorious, and fling himself into his mother's arms was heartwarming.
There were many moments of blurred vision as my eyes teared at the accomplishments and pride shown by these hardworking young men and women.  The entire crowd celebrated with each success, devoted entirely to making the day both memorable and fulfilling.
I know it was for me.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Voted

    Exercising my right to VOTE!

A warm AMERICAN country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Monday, May 16, 2011

Three Mondays

My sanity is SCREAMING for summer...no more 5AM wake ups, no more rushed 20 minute lunches where I am LATE if I actually chew.  My head is DREAMING of poolside lounging, gardening at my leisure, and going out for ice cream. My heart is ACHING for time to read, spending time with my lonely pets, and actually seeing the man I married.
A sense of completion and certainly of relief will envelop me in a few longggg weeks, when I am able to say goodbye to students for the summer.  Remaining are three Mondays, five Tuesdays, five Wednesdays, five Thursdays, and four Fridays if my count down to summer is correct.  The weeks will undoubtedly fly by as the individual days drag on.  I love my kids...don't get me wrong...but this millennium's added responsibilities and standardized stress create a need for the summer break I remember being paramount in my choice of teaching as a profession!

I most obviously have "senioritis" right along with our graduating class.  I think I do every year, even when I worked at the intermediate and middle school levels.  The difference is, the seniors are leaving for good, heading out into a world we can only hope we have adequately prepared them for in this era of joblessness and economic uncertainty. My heart bleeds for those who face the prospect of unemployment, the improbability of being able to leave home soon, or the lack of funds for spiraling college education costs. Our governor has personally destroyed the hopes of many hoping/praying/desiring to further their education.  My own two master's candidates will be paying for the privilege for years to come.
Regardless of future prospects, we ARE all ready for there to be only thee more Mondays....and a whole lot of summer!
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Get Your Grow On

Warm weather has finally broken the 70 degree barrier, and with Mother's Day weekend over, it is time to plant and get things growing.  Mt goal for the summer...to create my own little oasis in the backyard that I can retreat to whenever life gets me down, or just because school will be out and I CAN!  With so much to do I plan to enlist my daughter, who has a wealth of good ideas and jumps on my bandwagon with a hearty, "Do it!"
This weekend she is coloring her apartment balcony with flowers, pretty pots, and cozy candle lanterns to create her own little piece of heavenly privacy in a complex filled with hundreds of people.  At most, it may be 40 square feet, so when her ideas and energy become to big for her space, I will happily scoop up the excitement that remains and use her creativity and muscles for my own masterpiece.  Devious? Maybe, but we will both enjoy it immensely and then be able to sit back and revel in our accomplishments.
Today's drizzle and rain checks only on mulch at the home improvement chain allowed me to do very little to get my oasis started.  Some impatiens and coleus made it either into the ground or a pot, along with already blooming geraniums and spike plants.
It's a start. The Black Eyed Susan's I want to add in honor of my mom Susan will have to wait a few weeks until they reach the plant stands.
There is also a small pond..no fish...in the game plan that my husband is trying his best to nix.  How complicated can a pond with only water and rocks be to care for?!  I tend to see adding flower beds, expanding areas of mulch, and yes adding ponds as LESS work ( AKA mowing) for my hubby.  He just doesn't see it that way.
As the next few days bring rain and wash the pollen from the air, trees, and my burgundy-turned-green car, I will sit back and dream up some idyllic elements to the retreat I want to build.  Like most projects, it will be ongoing, but I still plan to steal some moments to kick back and relax. To enjoy the scenery and my labor of love.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Mother + Daughter + BEACH = One great Mother's Day Weekend!

The best gift ever is time spent with those we love.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Did Something Right

I have done many things in my lifetime.  I have shot game winning baskets playing BBall. I have received awards. I have sung solos. I have helped the needy. I have planted gardens. I have run miles. I have prayed and reflected and wondered at this world.
The BEST thing I have ever done, however, is to bring two very wonderful children into this world. Two little miracles, who taught me how to be a mother.  There was no instruction book. Just the tug of tiny fisted hands on my heart strings that helped me to instinctively know what and how and when to do things.
My two little miracles are now young adults making an impact on this world. With hopes, and dreams, and helping hands that once held mine so tightly.
They grew by leaps and bounds, through scraped knees, first days of school, and college graduations... into who they are today.
I am blessed to not only love my kids, but to also LIKE them, and find that friendship is now central to our relationship.
Here's to the children. Our own flesh and blood, or those chosen by love through adoption, who allow us the honor of being called Mom, Mommy, and Mum.
Here's to our little miracles.
Here's to mothers everywhere.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"I Have Something in my Pocket

That belongs across my face"...  As this old girl scout song goes, "take it out and put it on, it's a great big brownie smile!  I clearly remember singing this little ditty when I was a brownie. Complete with brown dress, little brown socks, and that adorable but awkward beanie we were required to wear not only to meetings, but to school on those days. I am sure our parents thought we all looked absolutely adorable. (Not!)

Scouting had its rewards, and some mighty fine cookies. The reason I mentioned the smile song, though, is because I realized this morning it is a fact that your day truly does go better when you put a smile on your face and let it lighten your mood.  I have a morning duty at school monitoring the main entrance doors, watching the zombie like teens enter and shuffle their tired feet to homeroom each morning.  I am usually as tired as they are due to a 5 am wake up and sunless drive to school. It is hard to be awake and energetic enough for both myself and the kids.
There are those souls who respond to a cheery "good morning" and a welcoming smile.  I have been attempting to "take it out and put it on" each morning in greeting.  I have noticed that the few, the happy, the wide awake have been consistent responders to my bright greetings.  I have also noticed returned smiles.  It is as contagious as a yawn.
As the year winds down and the students sleepwalk their way into summer, I am happy I have had an impact on the start of their days.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Monday, May 2, 2011

And I Cried Again

We all remember where we were on the morning of 9/11....the graphic details that were broadcast are certainly burned into my brain.  I was in a fifth grade social studies class, watching in horror as the first, and then the second plane crashed into the twin towers.  In a room full of ten year olds, most of whom did not grasp the enormity or reality of the news, it was difficult to remain calm and reassuring for those who did understand.  The tears of a ten year old whose parent worked in the north tower caused my own eyes to tear when I was trying so hard to continue the day's schedule as though nothing had happened.
We will now all remember where we were on the morning of 5/2....the graphic details that were broadcast are again burned into my brain.  I was in State College, just 2 miles from the throng of 5,000 jubilant and emotional students and residents who took to the streets at midnight to celebrate the news that Osama bin Laden was taken down.  The song "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" came into my head, causing me to half laugh/half cry as the new enormity of the day hit home.
On 9/11 my neighbor Mary met Christ along with some 3,000
others who were lost to us on that fateful day. She left behind four sons, the youngest just starting 2nd grade.  I have watched those boys grow into young men, and the 2nd oldest join the Marines to fight for right in a world gone so wrong. Mary must be so proud to see the difference he has made for so many on 3 tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.  He has done it not only for the love of country, but the love of his mother.
I cried again today. At the sad memories, in pure astonishment, relief, disbelief, a sense of patriotism swelling my heart as crowds across this great country waved flags and belted out "God Bless America". 
I prayed again today. For the service men and women, for the families who lost so much, for the friends, teachers, neighbors, and all of us who knew we couldn't change anything, but wanted to help anyway to pick up the pieces.
Tomorrow the sun will rise and set again as usual. But the world is not the same.  We are all a little wiser, and hopefully much more grateful for what we have and who we love.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3