Thursday, July 23, 2020

I Arise

like a pregnant woman
round and yet hard - an on coming train
the belly has to move first
hips wiggling it to the front of the chair
the stabilizing the feet beneath
before the lift

wobbly, perhaps off balance


I arise

like a baby deer
so new from its mother
blinking in the new light
speckled in the morning

before I run

I arise

Friday, May 08, 2020

In many ways, this is the Best of Times

Now, I'll admit. I am fortunate. I have a full house of interesting people to love me and interact with me while we are locked away.  Just down the street is my parents. We have considered our houses as one and do not stay away from each other. But almost all other contacts, except the occasional doctor or grocery shop is gone.

And yet, it has not been all that bad.

I got my son back. My 19-year-old came home from college, moved his computer back to the living room. He has been cooking and being the driver for events. He has been there to help things run smooth, even as I spend hours a day helping him finish his college classes. He won't listen to the on-line lectures- so I get to step in and work with him on those items he misses. He is dedicated to maintaining his 3.8 GPA.

So we have all 8 kids home all day, every day. They spend a lot of time playing games together (many video/computer games). The little ones play hide and go seek and other games. We spend time every day playing fetch with dogs and pushing the littles on the swing.

We spend time every day watching something humorous together- laughing together. Our house wasn't built for a large family, so all 10 of us spend most of our waking hours sitting in the same room.- and we talk, we laugh, we confer together. What do we make for dinner? What groceries do we need? What do we name the baby?

Yes, we are expecting #9. And things shut down the week I called in sleepy to work on Monday and by Thursday I went to work and came home less than 1 hour later as news spread that we were social distancing at work. However, I haven't really worked from home. I have played. I have slept, helped with homework, scrubbed my own bathroom (our housekeeper is social distancing too). We made cookies together, popcorn balls, dinners (I think Nailed-It should have families goofing up together).

As church shut down, we started holding it at home; discussing the lessons, the readings. My boys who are too shy to participate in the sacrament at church, do so at home. My 9-year-old has learned to read- his tutoring went on-line. I am so glad we only have 3 kids with any on-line classes to try to balance. The first 10 minutes of every Zoom meeting is getting the technology to work.

Now my new reader sits on the couch reading some of the day. I can see his mouth sounding out some words.

When we do go out, it is more challenging, besides the normal struggle of finding shoes, we have to find masks. Everyone has their own. So far the only place the littles have gone have been to the chiropractor. We have kept our monthly visits, even as the dentist had to cancel all of theirs.

My parents have been an Angel for us. On Saturdays, they will often take the kids and we get a few hours of quiet to regain our sanity.

Yes, there are lots of big world problems to worry about, and I live a charmed little life. But I am so enjoying the time at home. Family time is the most precious thing we have in the world.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The real work begins

playing with my kids
rolling on the floor
giggles and squeals
abound with galore

fairies and dragons
make their roosts upon me
I am the luckiest of places you see

For I am the Mom
home from her job

when I leave
the kids cling and they sob

fairy castles aren't meant to be out of sight
even dragons need a safe cave to make things alright

and they build their hoard in my pockets you see
toy cars, and mittens, crayons, and used hankie
which they then pull out with great glee
all over the floor

and we giggle and squeal and roll as before

Sunday, November 24, 2019

What my letter to Santa taught me

A wrote a letter to Santa for my class the other day.

Dear Santa,
I want a nap. A nice, long, nap in a sunbeam. Curled up, warm and toasty.

I want time to play with my kids, build things with them, read to them, dance with them.

I didn't finish the letter since I had to give the lecture... but I realized that if I wanted time to be with my kids, then I've got to design my life to do it. These early cuddly years are slipping away and if I choose now to enter into a PhD program, then I will probably be spending way too much of that precious time shushing them up so I can write. That's not what I want to do with these years. In 10 years very few of these kids will want to hang with me any more (yikes, 5 of them will probably be grown up and moved away), but now I am the most precious thing to them. The PhD will wait. It is patient. But children grow up either way.

I also don't want to commute anymore. So I've got to design my life where I don't need to do that. That will give me back 6-12 hours per week of precious day time to be with the kiddos.

So I think I see possibilities opening up for me that would allow me to get an MBA in sustainable management - all on-line while working/being trained in as grant writer, and still have enough time to spend more with my kids then I do now. My schedule would be ultra-flexible and adjustable to whatever challenges come my direction for a while. Plus it would let us stay put in our house, stay near my family, and it would allow me to serve a wider variety of people than a specific PhD discourse community. (oh and it pays better now and probably 15 years down the line). Those reasons are all really appealing.

Saturday, November 23, 2019


You can't defeat the dinosaur that is hunting you. But you can train it not to think you're food.
Don't attack the guard dog, that is misguided action

Sunday, November 17, 2019

One by One

I have been a teacher of record for Freshman Comp as a graduate assistant for the last 2.5 years. My stint is up in December, as I will graduate. We were given minimal guidance on what or how to teach. So I naturally pulled on my 40+ years of experience teaching things like Nursery, Primary Music, Sunday School, Relief Society, Ballet, and as a homeschooling mother.

The most important thing I ever learned about teaching is that everybody is an individual. I do not teach a class of 30, I teach 30 individuals in a class. Each comes with different experiences, different styles of learning, and different skills they need to build. Their brains and bodies each work in their own unique ways.

I try hard to learn every name every semester. I try to remember their strengths, weaknesses, tolerances for complication and to adjust my discussions, expectations, council, and encouragement for each one.

We can never choose what others are ready to learn, and if they are not ready to learn it, no amount of lecturing or assignments will get them there. What a true teacher really needs to do is meet the students where they are at, and work with them where they are at. If that means sectioning your lecture to cover different needs for different students, then do it.  A beautiful, cohesive, focused lecture will only help the students ready for that material. But if you hit 5 topics, perhaps you can help 5 times as many students.

The other thing I think is crucial is to love them, everyone, individually. Get to know them. Acknowledge their presence, and thank them for coming, discuss their favorite topics. Moving away from home, to a dorm, being in classrooms or lecture halls with 100s of other students, eating dinner in a noisy dining hall, can all be human processing- even dehumanizing. It is easy to become a number or an ID login, and everyone, especially those in emerging adulthood need to be reminded that they are more than a grade or a transcript. So I look in their eyes, write down what I like about what I am seeing in their papers and make a point to call them by name at least once every class. I grade individually, looking for growth in their skills and thought processes, and try to challenge appropriately.

No, I do not teach according to the latest techniques or theories, even if I know them, they are only useful to a small subset at any one time. No, I try to teach what each student needs.  I teach one by one.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Love Winter's Coziness

the need to feel another's heat
                         another's touch
to know
          smiling faces are waiting
at the end of this long, dark, cold road
   A reason to Push Through
                       Keep Slogging

stars overhead - bright
                         known configurations

Why should I fight, when I could enjoy?

trees silhouette against the moon
bare birch limbs
                        glow in its light

What a Night!

to be
                   almost Home