Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Rather than resolutions, for several years I participated in the movement that espoused choosing a single word to encapsulate my goals for the coming year. It has been a while since I have mustered that kind of focus, but this is a year when I feel the need to hone in on what matters to me intently.
Reading Michelle Obama's Becoming this morning, I was struck by a passage she wrote about observing her husband early in their relationship. He was working with a group of church women in Chicago urging them to band together in their efforts to make positive change.
He was there to convince them that our stories connected us to one another, and through those connections it was possible to harness discontent and convert it to something useful. Even they, he said--a tiny group inside a small church, in what felt like a forgoteten neighborhood-- could build real political power.
In these words, I found my word. Build.
The past few years in America and too many other places have been about tearing down. Tearing down the norms of society and government. Tearing down the illusions of tolerance I thought existed in our country. Tearing down civil discourse. Tearing down alliances. Tearing down neighbors and people who don't look, live, or pray just as we do. An influx of violence and addiction devastatingly tear at the fabric of family. As a society we lack the patience to fix things and rely too consistently on wiping away altogether what is only in need of repair.
It occurs to me my life is about building. My professional work is about restoration of lives. My personal hobbies are about restoration of architecture, community, and beauty. I long to see things, people made whole. My motivation is to repair, restore, to build.
This year I resolve to build: my faith, relationships, healthy habits, community, and yes, political power.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Another year is coming to an end, and I have much to be thankful for. One of the things that brings joy to my life is my abitilty to read.
I am thankful for my parents who personally modeled reading regularly, for my mom who read to me all the time, for my teachers who helped me crack the code so that I could read the written word for myself.
I am thankful for Goodreads where I can track the books I read each year, interact with other people who love an author or book as much as I do, and discover books I would never know about otherwise.
I am thankful for authors who can captivate me with their stories or even just the way they turn a single phrase. I am thankful they transport me to other places and times where I am encouraged to dream or blessed to escape the daily news.
I am thankful for the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library which is absolutely top shelf...pun intended.
My Ten Favorite Books This Year
The Bell Jar
The Girl Before
Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine
I'd Rather Be Reading
The Woman Next Door
Ten Things of Thankful
Sunday, September 23, 2018
We are just back from Oklahoma City where we attended the wedding of a young man we have known for most of his life. It was a relaxing weekend in a city that holds special memories for us. Sometimes you don't realize you need to get away until you've had a chance to do it. I think the moral of the story is if you wait to take a break until you know for sure you need one, you're likely way overdue.
The happy couple
Amazing architecture in a city that prides itself on its colorful and unique neighborhoods
A chance to unwind
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Monday, September 10, 2018
We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color. --Maya Angelou
A new mural covers the wall of a building across the street from the National Park's Brown v Topeka Board of Education site. We were given the opportunity to help underwrite the mural project and to paint on it some as well. The day we painted was memorable for me. As I worked, my family painted alongside me on the right, and some of my students painted with me on the left. I have worked with many students through my years in the Topeka Public Schools. We chose TPS for our own kids' education. USD 501 does not have a perfect history, but it does have the distinction of being the place where America attempted to right a wrong for a little girl named Linda Brown and all other children who would follow. Children deserve safe, welcoming, and adequately funded schools in which to learn. It is a priveledge to do my part to help see they get that in Topeka.
A Supreme Court ruling that stuck down Separate but Equal
The opportunity to work along with others--some I know and love, some who simply share the understanding of the importance of the Brown v Board decision
A tapestry of colors
My family. My students.
Beautiful weather that lures you outside
Cooperation that leads to a finished project
Love and support from the people in my life
Stories--whether the lifestory of a person I know, a book that captures my imagination, family tales that I have heard a million times. Stories give life meaning.
Monday, August 27, 2018
He wakes again before the first real light, slipping away in that part of the day that still registers only in black and white. Experiences and interactions have yet to color this day for good or ill. It is still merely potential, and it beckons him from our bed.