The Vow

The Vow

Living
It was a sunny day at the end of May, 2015. The water glinted in the sunlight behind the arbor and rows of white chairs as the piano and string notes of Sleeping At Last’s, “Turning Page,” floated on the light breeze that spun the aqua and periwinkle pinwheels lining the aisle. Smiling bridesmaids descended the stairs from the upper deck down to the crisp clipped grass below. The song crescendoed into the lyrics of the chorus, expertly spliced together with the instrumental verses and chosen for their language...   Your love is my turning page Where only the sweetest words remain Every kiss is a cursive line Every touch is a redefining phrase…   As they began, I took the first step forward into a future with my husband.…
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Kairos Time

Kairos Time

Living
It was 6:30 p.m. and counting down. The temperature outside, 11 degrees and falling. But there we gathered, the 6 of us around the kitchen island with cold beverages in hand as we talked, laughed, and listened to music. An hour in, we feasted on three racks of ribs with homemade, homegrown tomato barbecue sauce and cornbread with cheddar. We followed dinner with the annual unveiling of Chrismix… 80 minutes of music curated each year by “Ten,” this year with an expansion pack - an additional CD with 2 songs chosen by each of us 6. As we listened to the mix, we exchanged gifts and delighted in the thoughtful selections made… art supplies, journals, alcoholic accoutrements, silly socks, and more. After gifts, we switched to the expansion pack CD,…
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This Year, This Me

This Year, This Me

Living
In my bare feet, I padded up the two carpeted steps into the short, narrow hallway outside my parents’ bedroom, crossed the two strides to the closed door, and reached my hand out to the cool, metal knob. No one else was home, so I twisted the knob without knocking and crossed into their sanctuary. Their bedroom always felt like a secret growing up, though I’d been in it countless times. Once inside, I hugged the right wall and stepped into the walk-in closet, flipping the light on as I went. My eyes slid immediately through the rods full of hung clothes and stacked shoe boxes to the reason I was there: a large, green, metal-sided mid-century steamer trunk with brass-toned trim, corners, latches, and lock. I dragged it out…
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The Happiness Challenge

The Happiness Challenge

Living
I generally consider myself to be a happy, go-lucky person. I have a passion for creativity, play, travel, new experiences, and the rosy wash of optimism. But like so many things, happiness is like a muscle… it can start to deteriorate over time if not flexed properly. It starts, perhaps, with too much time spent watching the news or looking at social media, and the negativity slowly builds up and begins to weigh heavier and heavier on the mind and heart. Then maybe one day you listen to yourself while talking to a friend or loved one and hear complaints, gossip, or other negativity spilling from your lips. Before long, all you can think about is how unhappy you are at work, how lonely you feel, or how lazy or…
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First Fridays and Favorites

First Fridays and Favorites

Living
Happy Friday, friends! In addition to it being Friday, today was my first day back to school/work after enjoying the summer off. No matter how long I’ve been “in school” (whether as a student or a teacher), the anticipation of the first day never seems to fade. Today is also the first day of September, the kick-off of the holiday weekend, and… First Friday! If you read my post a couple of weeks ago or saw my article share yesterday, you might remember the term, or you might be familiar with it in your own community. First Friday is an opportunity for a community to come together, either for arts and entertainment or social, political, or professional networking. The First Friday events I’m familiar with are intended to celebrate the…
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Back to School ~ A Professor’s 10 Hacks to Help Students Survive and Thrive at Semester Start

Back to School ~ A Professor’s 10 Hacks to Help Students Survive and Thrive at Semester Start

Living, Teaching
The fall is fast upon us, and it’s time once again - for back to school and the start of a new academic year. For those of you making the leap to college, it can be a scary time. Many colleges are much larger than the campuses you're used to. You'll be surrounded by people you haven’t known for the last 4+ years and aren’t sure what will be expected of you in terms of homework. Or maybe you’ve been out of school for awhile and are nervous about going back. Even if it isn’t your first semester, there are still many unknowns that can cause anxiety. As someone who’s been teaching college classes for 15 years, I’d love to share some wisdom from a teacher’s perspective to help start…
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Art, Love, and Community ~ United Against Hate

Art, Love, and Community ~ United Against Hate

Living
It’s Friday. One week after the torch-lit procession at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Like so many others, I felt shaken by what happened last weekend. As I looked at the photos of the flame-illuminated faces coming out of the demonstration, the pit in my stomach grew in proportion to my shock. As a general rule, society tends to move forward with each generation in terms of growing toward acceptance and equality. As they become adults, children move beyond the views of their parents to become their own persons with fewer tethers to antiquated ideas. We’ve seen the progression from slavery to civil war to emancipation to segregation to integration to Civil Rights Act to Voting Rights Act to African Americans in Congress to our first Black President. We’ve…
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5 Friday Favorites ~ National Smile Week Wonders

5 Friday Favorites ~ National Smile Week Wonders

Living, Writing
My eyelids fluttered open, and I paused to take stock of my upper body. Throat? All good, actually. Nose? Still a little stuffy, but I could breathe through it. A significant improvement. Head? Much less sinus pressure and fog. Final assessment? Feeling about 70%. I checked my phone for the time. 11:30 a.m. Time to climb out of bed. I stretched once more before sweeping the covers off, swinging my legs over the edge, and finally stepping into the day. Sleeping so late felt decadent, even if it was a healing sleep. I noted my gratitude for the significant improvement in my well-feeling, that it was only a case of severe allergies knocked out with medicine and sleep and not some lingering summer cold that would plague my last few…
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Summer Bucket List Check In

Summer Bucket List Check In

Living
It’s the second day of August, and the coming semester is fast approaching with one school starting August 29th and the other starting September 5th! With just a few weeks left of little obligation, and just under 8 weeks until the autumn equinox and the official end of summer, I thought it would be a great time to check in on how everyone is doing with their summer bucket lists. In case you missed it, I shared my list of 50 activities here. This is how the hubby and I are faring so far:     Done:   Spend a long weekend on the coast - We've enjoyed both Block Island and the Outer Banks Go canoeing Have a bonfire Watch some fireworks Check out a new brewery - New to…
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Celebrate Life ~ Our Favorite Weird, Wacky Holidays in August

Celebrate Life ~ Our Favorite Weird, Wacky Holidays in August

Living
I walk past the yellow picnic tables, across the enclosed, painted-gray concrete patio in my grandparents’ backyard, and release the latch on the screen door. I push the aluminum door open, hearing the light squeak as I step out into the yard. The sky is the usual vibrant blue of a San Diego summer, and the waterfall splashes into the small goldfish pond. I scan the perimeter and smile at the colorful orbs dotting the green leafy trees. Walking past the lemons and limes, I head straight for my favorite - the peaches. I reach up into the tree and start testing the fruit, searching for the one that will come off easily into my small palm. I’m finally rewarded as a soft, fuzzy peach separates from its branch. I…
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