Monday, November 28, 2011

Still, still, still...

It's easy to be swept up with the busyness of the holiday season, to rush to and fro, to yearn for vacation in the distant near future, and forget to enjoy the moments in the here and now.

As I prepped for dinner, continued with a Christmas present, walked the dogs, and made a mental list of what I should do in the morning, the song "Still, Still, Still" came onto my Pandora station.

I was reminded to be still, to sleep, and to dream.

It's time to attempt to be still in a time when I want to push and fly through.

But we can choose to be still.

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.

Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.

More lyrics:,_still,_still_lyrics_christmas_songs.html
All about Christmas Songs:

Because there will be joyous days to come, but they are also present each day. Be still and hear the falling snow!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Time

Our days were filled with laughter, jokes, sharing, games, movies, shows, cooking, wood-piling, hiking, feasting, a bonfire, crafting, singing, chatting, and delving into deeper conversations- as any truly great holiday should be spent!

Jim spent parts of his break studying (no surprise!) and I had some good therapy/energizer/brainstorming ideas sessions with my fellow teachers on both sides of the family!

Leif did give us a slight scare when he impaled himself on a stick while running through the woods, but he's recovering with a little help from some medicine and rest. No more hikes for us this weekend! Well, maybe just him ;)
Nevertheless, we've had a wonderful time with both of our families. Here are a few pictures/highlights:

Pheebs received this awesome hat from a friend and wanted a picture with the other "bearded"members of the family! :)

We became the wanna-bes!

This blog would not be complete without mentioning the two biggest highlights of this weekend, though! The first came when we had just finished the our incredible feast and Dad hopped up from the table and went to the piano (which happens to be in the same room). Without even announcing what he was doing, he proceeded to play a song that signifies Thanksgiving to our family. 

Dad was working at a Friends school in Maryland when a lead sheet just randomly appeared on his piano. He never could find the person who put it there, but when he looked over the it he decided it was the perfect Thanksgiving song- and it is! He has brought Thanksgiving Time into the lives of so many people. Every school he has taught for sang the song each Thanksgiving, some still keeping the tradition long after he moved on to another school. I even taught it to my Kindergarteners for a Thanksgiving Chapel in Louisiana!

So, when the chords began... we leapt aboard, some unable to sing because they were too choked up, and those normally too stubborn to submit to a moment like this also became swept into the mood and belted the melody with their full heart. It was heart-warming and may just turn into our own family tradition, since none of us are able to sing it as students in school anymore!

The second highlight was the opportunity for Jim's family to chat with Christine for more than an hour. She is currently studying at St. Andrews in Scotland and will be home for Christmas, but was not able to return for Thanksgiving. So, we brought her into our dining room for some of the afternoon! The first few minutes were spent like this and then people moved, got comfortable, rotated chairs, and just pretended she was right in the room with us. Technology is wonderful!

We hope you had a joyous Thanksgiving time!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Our Thankful List (not necessarily in order of significance):

1. To have goals, as a teacher and a medical student, to achieve and strive to meet.

2. To have a loving network of family and friends who help to guide and support us through our peaks and valleys.

3. For our house, though we often complain, which does provide us shelter from storms and a safe haven for us and our pups.

4. For our car that gets us the many miles we need to go throughout our days, weeks, months, and years.

5. To have opportunities to travel to lands unlike our own and glean lessons and a different world view from those experiences.

6. For music and it's emotional outlet and connection to memories, people, and places.

7. For the simple joys that come with hobbies and making things with our own two hands.

8. For the beautiful location where we live, with so many opportunities for great hikes, paddles, bike rides, and more.

9. For mentors who share their life experiences and invest time and energy in our own.

10. For the opportunities we have to impact the lives of others (for the good) through our occupations or future occupations.

11. For the endurance, strength, and perseverance our parents fostered within us.

12. For our health and for the health of our family and friends... we had a few scary moments this year. We are thankful.

13. For warm fires, food in the fridge and cupboards, and clean water in our faucets.

14. For the dreams we share about our future...

15. For the many things we did not list here, but should have.

We look forward to sharing Thanksgiving with both of our families this year and are thankful for the time we get to spend with them!!!

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

That's our boy!

Though I despise allowing pets onto our furniture, Leif has basically claimed a chair. And if you sit in it then you can bet he's going to pester you for it. There's only a matter of time before you're going to get up and leave AND you probably won't remember to place something in the chair to inhibit him from claiming it as his own.

It's a tough life for our boy...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friend & Family Connections

This weekend I trekked to Richmond and then Newport News to see some friends and then family. If I could spend every weekend, or every other weekend, doing just that then I would. It takes me some time to make friends who touch me to the core, but once that happens I have a difficult time letting go. And when it comes to my family nothing compares to the emotional connection and love I have for just being around them, observing, laughing, and, yes, crying.

In Richmond I stopped, and got stuck in some crazy marathon traffic, to have brunch with my dear suitesweet-mate Lindsay. We lived next door freshman year and have remained very close. She's like a sister or close cousin (since some of my cousins are basically sisters) to me and her mother passed away two weeks ago of ovarian cancer. She fought a good fight for two years. Hence, some tears were definitely shed... but man, Lindz is one strong woman!

Newport News was the final destination and Willem did an amazing job in his lead role of Ferdinand. He played a troubled Duke who had incestuous feelings toward his sister. Disturbing? Yes! However, it was disturbing because he played the part magnificently. His stage presence, emotion, and voice quality set him apart from the others. He made me very proud.

I'm able to officially say that he was set apart because I had a second pair of eyes with me and SHE said it first. It's not just the biased sister in me! We got to spend time with our cousin Lisa, who lives in Norfolk, VA. It was great to get to watch the show with her and then the three of us grabbed a beer afterward to debrief and catch up.

Fortunately, Lisa remembered to snap a picture with her phone or else we'd have no proof :)

You've gotta love a weekend full of loving friends and family! There's just something about close family & friend bonds that do wonders for the heart. And I mean appropriate bonds, unlike those on stage this weekend...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Peril Harbor

My students never cease to amaze me. In this case, they made what would seem to qualify as a Freudian slip. While grading my students Reader's Journals (RJs) today I came across two words that two different students substituted to represent a time in our nation's history.

"Conservation camp" for concentration or internment camp


"Peril Harbor" for Pearl Harbor

We recently read "The Bracelet," by Yoshiko Uchida, which tells the story of a young Japanese American whose family is forced to leave their home and go to an internment camp after Pearl Harbor.

I don't know about conservation camp, but Peril Harbor certainly made me stop, think, and smile.

We certainly could rename that location or event, as the following two definitions fit what occurred on that day, and what came afterward...

per·il/ˈperəl/ noun:
1. Serious and immediate danger.
2. The dangers or difficulties that arise from a particular situation or activity.

Quite intuitive, don't you think? Even if he did or did not realize it!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Savvy Skills

While Jim was woodworking this evening he cut himself and went to clean it up. Being that he is a medical student, he made sure to bandage it up very well so that he could keep working. There's no stopping his progress on his newest project. Check out his lovely handy-work!

I believe this would fall under "use the resources you have" category. He doesn't have a suture kit yet, but we always have duct tape!

Along the same lines, I wore my hair a different way yesterday at school. I showed my savvy skills at hair-dressing and switched things up a bit. And many of the students commented on how they liked my hair, stated that they had never seen my hair this way, and told me I should wear it that way more often. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I wore my hair in a ponytail! Little do they know that since my hair is just, almost, long enough to fit into a ponytail again, this will be my only hair-do for months to come!

We're a talented duo :)

Friday, November 4, 2011


In the winter, nothing beats eating a good grapefruit. I try not to let the advertisements and the creative displays at the grocery sway and convince me to buy items that weren't on my list. But grapefruits were certainly NOT on my list and boy were they calling to me!

And why shouldn't they call to me?

It's the change in the seasons, the brown of the leaves, and the beginning of cold sniffles that make it oh-so-right to get citrus, even if it isn't on "the list!"

And it's also okay if it isn't on your list the next week you head to the grocery store. They're helping me fight off any colds that may come my way.

There are so many good foods to look forward to in the colder months: hot chocolate, oatmeal, oranges, clementines, grapefruits, yorkshire pudding(!), Thanksgiving turkey and side dishes and desserts, roasts, soups, and more. More than food there are warm fires, down blankets, warm and bulky sweaters, smartwool socks, boots, and most of all, snow days!

I always struggle when people talk about their favorite season because it's so hard to choose. That's saying a lot coming from a teacher who gets her summers off! But there's so much to look forward to during every season and right now I am focusing on the wonders and positives of winter, since summer is so far away.

Thank goodness for grapefruits or I may not have begun thinking about how lovely this time of the year really is!