Archive for August, 2009



Recently, I made a list of things that made me happy. Ten things were on the list. It was fun to make and not very difficult. After I had completed the list, I read it and re-read it, thinking it somewhat complete. I was pleased with my list. Then, I sent the list to the friend who asked me to make it in the the first place.

Later, I looked at my list again.

Here is what was on it:

The ocean

Moving my body

Cooking with my family

Old friends

Going to the movies

Following through on things

Clean sheets

Learning new things

Chocolate desserts

Feet on the dashboard watching the world go by

I re-read the list again, one more time. I felt something begin to wash over me. Guilt? Maybe that is it. Maybe it is guilt(?) that is setting in. That list was supposed to be about things that make me happy, right? There were glaring omissions from my list. Slightly glaring omissions. Guilt inducing omissions. 

I forgot to mention my husband and children.

I forgot to mention them.

What does that say?

What does that say about them?

What does that say about me?

You know, for maybe a minute, I thought about feeling guilty. And I thought about obsessing over it. And then I thought, Ellen, you might be silly. And then I thought that maybe, just maybe that the vital lifeblood in my daily routine might not make me happy. They might also not me sad. They might just be so much a part of my world , that they make me joyfully ME.

And my guilt stops there.



I have never been a morning person. Ever. in. my. life.

I have always been a person who loves to stay up late… I love the way that at night time you can let your thoughts wander. I love how there is no timeline to what you want to do. In the morning I have always struggled with the fact that there is a deadline to these moments of the meandering mind and creative spirit.

But, somehow, I have evolved. Or adapted.

I have gotten up early for the past three weeks. I never thought I could do it this long. And I have surprised myself by liking it. I usually work out, but there is something I am beginning to love about the stillness of my house and my city in the dark. Peace and quiet before the buzz of life breaks day.

I guess this is just one of those things in life I have never tried on… but I think it fits.

(Oh and for those who are wondering, early is 5:30 am. I know it is not crazy… but for me this is unheard of.)


first day

It was good. I am thrilled. I will share more later.


My blog is ready for publication

I have been reading a new blog, It is a blog that brings up topics in education and this and that. Today, I came across this entry, which proved to be relieving. Blogging friends, read here. I know some of you will feel a little better after reading.


“The Blog Herald has some advice for bloggers: How to Make Sure Your Blog Post is Ready for Publication.

Stuff like check for broken links and “have someone else review your draft” are certainly all good suggestions.

However, blogging really isn’t the same thing as “publication” and few of us have editors, much less time for rewrites.

So suggestion number 3 on their list for me encapsulates the concept of the read/write web.

Make sure the post is imperfect. This one may strike you as odd, but let me explain. There is always something you can improve about a blog post. Always. Add a paragraph, go with a different image, change a word choice, tweak the headline … the list goes on and on. But if you actually consciously take a moment to consider the fact that your about-to-be-broadcast post is not practically perfect in every way, and if you take an additional moment to choose to be okay with that fact, you’ll conquer that perennial stumbling block that so many bloggers trip over – the double-edged sword of perfectionism/procrastination.”


Made me smile that someone (apparently someone with authority in the blogosphere) actually suggests imperfection.

So, relax into yourself and feel free to blog.



in teaching others we teach ourselves.

                                                               – author unknown


back to my own mess

I have spent the last few days, almost a week now, getting ready for the school year. What that means is that I have spent about an hour in my actual classroom and about 40 hours in meetings. Typical. The good news is that while I have sat through each arduous meeting, I have had time to come to terms with something about myself. I am terrified that I am not a great teacher. I am completely insecure in my ability to mold and shape the students while at the same time holding them accountable for their actions. I am afraid of the students not liking me and I am also scared of being a pushover and too soft. The list could go on and on, but the more I realized these fears, the more I realized the reason I keep coming back to teach. Teaching is not easy for me. It is extremely challenging. I am not sure if there are teachers it does come easy for. Probably. But that is beside the point. The point is, I am starting to see that these fears and insecurities will continually be tested. I can not handle teaching on my own. I will continually need to reach outside myself for hope, strength, clarity, confidence, and the ability to sit in a mess. Teaching is a mess. And sitting in someone else’s mess on a daily basis only brings me back to my own mess.

I realized I just need to face it… my insecurities. Admit them to myself. I mean, the joke would only remain on me. So what do I have to lose? I guess I just get out there every day and do something that is hard and humbling and great and rewarding. I think I’ll go with that.



The other day, Ben and I were talking about God. Ben is three, almost four, and his blessed little mind is practically perfect. He looked at me and asked, “where does God live again?” and I think I responded that he lived in heaven which is sort of like “past the clouds.” (Like I know all the answers.) He thinks for a minute, and we chatted about the comfort of the clouds. And in true three year fashion he continues, “And you know, remember Mommy,  he doesn’t have a blanket.”

And there you have it, folks, God does not have a blanket, at least as my personal fact-checker reports. Kids are funny. And blankets, are obviously, a human necessity.

Books that made an impact

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