Shimmer.

They are too rowdy to be inside. They slam the door despite my repeated scoldings against it. They are full of facts and attitudes, laughter and groans, restlessness and energy. And even though I cannot help but roll my eyes and shake my head sometimes, my heart fairly explodes with love when they share a secret to keep from me, a boyish rough-and-tumble, a silly made-up game.

It’s the beginning of summer — when my oldest allows her younger sister to become her closest confident and chosen playmate for a time. The oldest will be eleven at the end of summer. These summers of play are limited, I know. And they are so beautiful in the backyard, screeching, laughing, filling up their clothes with grass stains. Their hair streaks in the sunlight and I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from Walt Witman:

“You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light, and of every moment of your life.” 

One more summer of careless childhood abandon for the older, and full on glorious golden-day summer for the younger who is finally a “big kid” at seven years old. I want to be greedy. I want these days to never end, even though both will be in here soon bickering about nothing and claiming they can’t find anything to eat in a fully stocked fridge.

And now I am filled with an urgency to get outside. To leave the laundry and the dishes and the overflowing-with-Tupperware cupboard. Because my daughters, they are in the backyard. And they are shimmering. They are shining.

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For my students

To my former students,

On Friday I went back to the school where I taught for nine years. And I got to see, once again, the faces of so many young people whom I hold fondly in my heart. I wish I could say something heartfelt and true about each and every one of you. But I could never find the words that are adequate to express my affection for you individually or collectively.

Young people often make the mistake of assuming that they have no real impact on their teachers. Not true. Regardless of what the gradebook ever said, I could never feel good about a class if I felt like I didn’t have a positive connection with them. I could never not take it personally. Maybe that’s why I took it so hard when I couldn’t reach a difficult student. That’s why your goodwill, your cooperation, your willingness to play and learn along meant so much to me. You let me do something I loved. To those of you who let me do it without complaining or judging… you gave a priceless gift for which I will always be grateful.

Some of these people may not think that I am talking about them.So, let me be clear to any who may happen to read this. If I saw you face to face on Friday, know this: You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are a powerful light in this world. And I am honored and humbled to be a part of your lives for the short time we spent together. There are a few whom I didn’t get to see, but I trust that you know that this is for you as well.

To you seniors, I can not wait to see what you will do next. I believe in you. I pray for you. I hope that all good things come to you in their time and season.

Please, for goodness sake, keep in touch.

And one last thing — Jedis > ninjas, no contest.

Much love to all of you!

“Finally brothers and sisters…think about such things”

iris

Friends, It has been so long since I have even visited this space. I came here tonight looking for a picture of me and my mom. I thought I’d take a stroll down my virtual memory lane. And friends, what I found here made me mostly sad. My goodness, what a frustrated, unhappy woman I found here. I am particularly saddened by how often I vented the frustrations of motherhood rather than express my gratitude for my daughters and all the things they are teaching me.

Looking at those old posts was like looking at the worst version of myself. I don’t mean this in a down-on-myself, fishing for reassurances kind of way. I read those posts and I saw a woman who was so burdened with guilt and shame that it made my heart cringe. Worse, even, than looking at old pictures of myself in junior high. Yikes. Maybe, if you’ve been around here awhile, you saw something different when you read my posts. I hope so. I know it wasn’t all negative. It’s just that when I read those happy posts, I remember how fleeting those moments of happiness were. How the frustration and guilt and worry were the constant. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case.

For that reason, I feel like it is important to make a change, so, I’ve renamed this blog.

Phillipians 4:8 has been rattling around in my head for a few months now, and I’ve been looking for a way to integrate it more into my life. What I post here will not be all sunshine and happiness, because I have found real peace and beauty on my way to the other side of pain, but I’m not done yet. I have so much to share with you. So many good and difficult and wonderful and painful and freeing and hopeful things. I don’t know if I’ll give much backstory or if I’ll just pick up where I am and let that big blank stay there. I was tempted to start a whole new blog. To metaphorically sweep all that old bitterness under the virtual rug and let it go to the place where neglected blogs die. But I decided that if nothing else, it’s good to know where we come from.

Perhaps by leaving the entire record here, anyone who cares to read it–past, present, or future–might have an understanding of why I celebrate what others might see as brokenness. Somehow I feel like my version of true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy is more intact if I leave it all here.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Phillipians 4:8