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Rules for Being Human (Cherie Carter-Scott)

Posted by on 28 Jun 2018 | Tagged as: 3rd Grade, children, citizenship, editorial, musings

I didn’t know the original author of these (nor apparently did the Washington State PTA in 2010). It is apparently Cherie Carter-Scott, according to the website elephantjournal.com.

These were typed on a piece of paper in a slightly altered form by my mother in 2010. The paper has soot all over it, but I found it when organizing this week and thought I would record it where others can see it and enjoy it (and I won’t lose it).

  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant or stupid.
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.”
  4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it you can then go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
  6. “There” is not better than “here.” When “there” has become a “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that will, again, look better than “here.”
  7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. Your answers lie inside you. The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
  10. You will forget all of this.

Now, there are some parts that I think in today’s world need caveats, but what I will say is that apart from the author’s obvious privilege (for example assuming that “there” cannot be better than “here” – obviously has not lived in a place of war/high crime/high poverty) and lack of disabling conditions, the core is true. We are all given a life, a person, and situations to deal with. How we comport ourselves, how we deal with situations, is central to our character. We can sit and complain, or we can do what we can.

Those who “know” me via facebook will know that the last few years have had many sometimes life-threatening health struggles, but I have persevered and this coming year will be my fifth year teaching third graders. I spent five of the last seven days attempting to deal with a migraine without OTC medications, and yesterday was my first day that I didn’t actually sleep for several hours mid-day. Today I am working on organizing art supplies that have piled up and become unusable because I couldn’t find them. Little steps, small gestures, taking advantage of moments that arise — What do we do in our daily lives to make our small sections of the world better?

Grant’s senior project

Posted by on 24 Jun 2016 | Tagged as: children, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Kid Activities, Uncategorized

How did I manage to NOT post this in May 2014? It is rather badly overgrown now, but the patio is one of my favorite places to sit and read, or work, this time of year.


Grant had to shift gears mid-year about his senior project. He came up with a really great idea: fix up the front yard that got trashed this last year from neglect and construction.

Fish pond and lilacs, after weeding but before planting new annuals.

Fish pond and lilacs, after weeding but before planting new annuals.

He has “roped in” a couple of friends occasionally to help — Thanks Mady, Gabe, Jake and Tabitha!

Here is the progress he has made so far, pics are a little rough, but I am trying to get caught up on blogging this weekend and no time for a lot of fine-tuning.

I am actually going to post these in a gallery, with no commentary to save myself time and actually get this up (started it yesterday, here 24 hours later sitting down to finish…).


I didn’t finish the post then, either. And now I cannot find where the pictures are that I took… so this will have to be enough for now.

Random Musings on my Day

Posted by on 03 May 2016 | Tagged as: 3rd Grade, 3rd grade, children, education, Education Professional, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, musings, seasons, Uncategorized

Living
is hard work.
It is better than the alternative?
The answer is: Yes, when you are there.


That curious moment in the day when the gray skies pick up the bright green of new life and suffuse creation with an immortal glow.


Success! The fledgling
finds his wings
and starts to fly.


What is better than a happy third grader?
TWENTY happy third graders!
It was a very good day for learning.

Important Dates in our Lives

Posted by on 23 Feb 2016 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, Family Matters, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, Uncategorized

Today is the 21st anniversary of the day our older son became a big brother.

He was so proud of his little brother!

Here is a pic of the birthday boy and his big brother the day after he was born…

Feb 1995

Feb 1995

When he was about 3 or 4, he LOVED that Snowman toy!

Grant and his Snowman toy, off on an adventure in the back yard.

Grant and his Snowman toy, off on an adventure in the back yard.

When they were about 6…

Thurston County Fair, possibly 2001?

Thurston County Fair, possibly 2001?

I am so proud of my sons.

And today, I am beyond-proud to be the parent of two full-fledged (in the eyes of the law) adults!

And one more, of a proud mama and her son, probably taken in 2002.

Walking at the Nisqually Delta, a favorite jaunt in those days.

Walking at the Nisqually Delta, a favorite jaunt in those days.

Happy Birthday, Grant.

In charge of change (another delayed post)

Posted by on 21 Feb 2016 | Tagged as: children, citizenship, climate, economy, editorial, environment, hope, Making a Difference, musings, politics, Politics and War, Uncategorized

The orginal post was almost finished in January 2009. Here is the original, and how I would finish it now:

It seems to me that a lot of the time people expect government to step in and do clean-up, not matter what the troubles, whether big or small. And it seems to me that, sometimes, government just isn’t equipped to do things especially quickly, or in small doses that might be effective before things reach a crisis state.

Now, I believe we are facing a crisis. And I don’t believe that the crisis is “not as bad as” the one we faced in the Great Depression; or the Cold War; or any of a number of Capital-Letter Events this nation and the world have faced. I believe this crisis is unique and will have far-reaching, long-ranging effects. I don’t know that there is anything particularly special or noteworthy about the crisis other than:

  • millions of people around the world are losing their jobs with little hope or prospect of finding a new one with similar (presumably livable) conditions soon.
  • the climate is changing and there are other conditions making agriculture difficult over large areas, causing crop failure and famine for millions of people, with the predictable political upheaval and conflict.
  • posturing and saber-rattling by military and para-military forces around the world, not unlike that before world war one, and world war two, the cold war… and every war and conflict.

It isn’t any one particular scruffy-looking person on a street corner that indicates homelessness is increasing. It isn’t any one particular “For Sale” sign on a street the indicates the failure of banks. It isn’t any one bank failure that indicates economic melt-down.

It isn’t any one particular event that indicates wide-spread disaster, no more than any one particular monsoon or melting glacier doesn’t indicate global warming is occuring (I hope that I don’t need to explain that global warming is happening?).

The signs of increasing homelessness were my first clue that the economy was in bad shape — and getting worse. Naively, I thought government was keeping tabs on things and would somehow have things in place to avert total disaster. Just as I, naively, expected the military to be able to effect winning campaigns.

Of course, I thought the military would have sufficient support from the bureaucrats who ordered them into battle. And I supposed that the regulatory commissions in charge of finances had the resources and rules in hand to avert the kind of disaster that followed the greedy policies prior to the Wall Street crash of 1929.

Naive. Yes. Perhaps wishful thinking as well — wanting to not have to be responsible or reactive to things not immediately under my control. Going about my own business, doing what I was supposed to do. Noticing of course that there were more people on street corners, that food banks were running low, that more houses were for sale for longer… and I noticed these things before they were on the news. Did I stick my head in the sand? Did I expect too much of my elected government? Did I fail to meet my own obligations?

Like a peasant who expected the liege lord to be sure that enough of the tithes and rents and fees were put aside in case of disaster; I have found instead that those relief supplies were long-since consumed by the departing denizens of the manor-house as they hosted others of similar means. Regardless of the origin of the crisis, the peasant children starve, people die. Though good intentions may now take hold, the new lord lacks the resources to contribute in any meaningful way to alleviate the suffering.

The government finds itself in a similar situation today. Though we have a new president, administration, and the legislative branch is also updated, there is little that remains for them to do.

So what are WE, whether peasants or higher-ranking vassals, going to do?

We can choose to //

I suspect that when I finish a post in mid-sentence that I was called away for kid-duty.

In the case of this post, perhaps it was also related to the hip issues I was having that year, or the class I was taking.

I would now alter the term “global warming” to the more accurate, and less-likely to be misinterpreted climate change. The rest pretty well represents my thinking, and, sadly, how prescient I was.

We are seeing the effects of governments’ lack of action in a world-wide, drawn-out recession that seems to stall each time some progress is made. Strange weather patterns of drought, extra precipitation, heat, cold, and winds are becoming more common. Low-lying nations are ravaged by combinations of higher tides and more violent storms. As I finish this post in February 2016 (seven years later), Fiji is recovering from a direct hit from a Category 5 cyclone. The overall U.S. Economy has recovered from the deep economic woes of the past decade, but by creating lower-wage and part-time jobs that keep the poor in their place and benefit the rich and powerful. Those of us who have been “middle class” are less and less likely to have extra for things like savings accounts, visiting relatives who live at a distance…

Politicians, this being a presidential election year, refer frequently to helping the “middle class” which increasingly, by their metrics, includes families who are barely scraping by. And families earning a quarter million dollars a year. They rarely talk about working class people, or those who live in poverty while working more than full-time hours at multiple jobs.

Finally teaching, I see the effects of twenty-plus years of misguided political directives on my students. In the failed refusal to support young families by means other than the barest minimums; by failures to fully fund education (Washington state legislators, I am pointing this finger at you); by ignoring overseas hostilities and human rights violations until the issues turn into full-fledged war; and by an increasing disregard for the realities of life on our planet, in part because of irrational fears over science (or is it self-serving economics that makes these politicians work to protect fuel sources that damage the planet and fail to promote measures that heal?).

I am angry about this. My sons, now grown into fine young adults, are starting out in a world that reeks of protectionism, isolationism, racism, and secularism. The founders of our nation would be shocked to see the petty tyrants mow fighting for supremacy in our land. They would be, I think, appalled at the careless disregard for human life, for dignity, and for giving all people a fair shot at pursuing happiness.

So here we are, seven years on from the original post, and I am still wondering if the people of the United States have the fortitude to do what is necessary to take back our nation. Do we have the wisdom to make changes in our personal lives in spending/purchasing, work/career, civic duties?

I purchased a used hybrid car to make my commute of over 30 miles each way to save on gasoline even though it is a big chunk of my take-home pay. We recycle, even though hauling it to the curb twice a month is inconvenient (our driveway is longer than most yards!). We eat mostly locally grown, mostly organic foods that are expensive, but have a lighter footprint for fuel and carbon production. My peculiar allergies mean we purchase many things that come from a great distance but, where we can, we do choose local! We vote…

What can you do? What will you do?

{edited several times for typos due to composing on an ipad… ]

NaPoWriMo 2015.24

Posted by on 24 Apr 2015 | Tagged as: children, Gardens and Life, NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month, Uncategorized

Dear Grandmothers
and Grandfathers
who loved the land
and the people

who taught me to appreciate
the little things
the small garden
with stepping stones

who taught me to slow down
sometimes and just sit
enjoying the music
and the poetry in the moment

who opened up the world to me
to my brother
and then to my spouse and my children
teaching hospitality
while you modeled manners

I miss you
and on days like today

I wish you were here.

Letter to my home on the importance of children

Posted by on 12 Mar 2015 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, Gardens and Life, good things, parenting, seasons, social justice, Uncategorized

[Draft One, 12 March 2015]

Did you know that before you were here, another structure inhabited the land?

In the first Act of this land’s existence, there was a deep, varied garden, filled with nut trees and timber trees, with berries, with vines and flowers, and with creatures that depended on them all.

Then silence while the land that had been cleared regrew; Life being such that fire and harvesting do not dissuade the green mantle.

The Second Act began as a new millenium approached. For nearly 15 years, a home lived here.

A smaller structure, true, but one filled with hope and happiness. And, yes, its share of sorrow and worry.

But one filled with life, with the details and baggage of living. The cluttered countertops (no surface was safe!). The muddy steps, both in front and behind.

An entrance door with dents, scuffs and scratches from feet, boots, paws and who-knows-what attempting to get in. Or out.

The front looked out over a rapidly establishing garden with fruit trees and roses, bulbs of various lineages, lilacs and lavenders. The rear entrances referenced but did not invite the back yard, wilder and less-tamed than the front garden (but no less beautiful and in my mind more radiant).

I walked the gardens daily, front and back, when I could. When I couldn’t I watched from the windows as birds and beasts visited and moved on.

I relished the sounds of my children playing, talking and even arguing. Young life, finding its way into the maturity of young adulthood. Some times more gracefully than others.

Life ebbed and flowed in the other house, fortunes waxed and waned, time passed.

And one day, it was gone. For reasons still too painful to reflect on for long, and so I will pass over it except to mention that it was hard. So hard…

We had to leave the garden and the back yard. There was no shelter in between, nor even shelter at a distance, for a while.

But life must needs proceed, and so we planned and worked and toiled and waited until one day we could move back to the land.

Back to the land and into a new structure. A larger, more substantial dwelling, in keeping with our larger, more substantial, mature incomes. A home with a front entrance like a warm embrace, and back doors that beckon to those inside to explore the wonders of the wild unknown.

And yet, with one child grown and gone and the other on the verge of escaping the bonds of childhood, the house that finally has enough storage, fewer drafts, better plumbing…

You are emptier and harder to fill than we expected.

And here is the secret that I will share, the hope and the dream that I have for you.

Where once I wrote to my sons about staying grounded — being at one with the home-as-place; now I write to you, my home-that-is-becoming.

For it is not the structure that matters, nor even the particular shape and content of the landscape that surrounds the structure. What matters is that love lives there.

The dream is that one day, some day (not yet, for I am too young in my maturity), eventually, this house will shelter not only two people who love, but those they love. The children of the next generation. The hopes and dreams of their own parents. A dwelling, however rich and grand, does not become a home until that hope of hospitality permeates every nook and cranny, and, messily and happily, invites the clutter and chaos of friendship and family.

This space between the walls and under the roof, this is a holding zone. A moment in a larger world that waits to welcome life. The things inside are props for the play that is ongoing. Act III is about to begin.

And the trillium are in bud once again…

brilliant white bud about to open 12 March 2015

brilliant white bud about to open 12 March 2015

Continue Reading »

The classroom after an actual MONTH

Posted by on 02 Oct 2014 | Tagged as: 3rd Grade, 3rd grade, broken bones, children, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, Uncategorized

This is how I left the room today, set up for a sub who gets to do the “fun stuff” with the kiddos. 🙂 I try to keep a few tricks up my sleeve just in case, and today it was necessary to pull a few of them out.

Tomorrow, Grant has a surgery to repair a hand damaged at work earlier in the week. Should be an “easy” fix and he should be fine, but just in case I thought I should be there.

So I took a few pics of the classroom. Here are a couple. I am not commenting on them individually since they are relatively standard schoolroom pics, but the room is looking more and more lived in. The large leaves hanging from the ceiling are felt. I got them at a local large kitchen and bath store, and they have really made the room feel less cavernous.
Continue Reading »

Senior Prom

Posted by on 31 May 2014 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, friends, fun, good things, Uncategorized

This is my boy, and his girl. Dapper and Elegant. What a cute couple they have made for nearly 4 years.

The picture was taken outside the State Capitol building.  It has a lovely rotunda, but the feature that always intrigued me were these amazing bronze doors with scenes from Washington State in bas relief...

The picture was taken outside the State Capitol building. It has a lovely rotunda, but the feature that always intrigued me were these amazing bronze doors with scenes from Washington State in bas relief…

So proud of these young adults!

Today in my garden

Posted by on 17 Apr 2014 | Tagged as: children, Gardens and Life, good things, Green Living, house building, Uncategorized

I grow a lot of things.

Click on the link to see a few of them: Continue Reading »

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