Basics, Friendship

Being Yourself

Be Yourself because everyone else is taken. Oscar Wilde

One of my favorite women traveled over 600 miles to my house—in her pajamas. I know because when she arrived exhausted, and I offered her a nap before dinner, she said, “I shouldn’t have changed out of my pajamas to go inside McDonald’s at the last exit. My daughter insisted.”

A friend, who had recently moved, asked if she could crash at my home overnight. Her son had a morning orthodontic appointment. “We won’t be any trouble,” she said. “Fix us peanut butter and jelly.” I did. She couldn’t believe that I believed her. Why not? She’s authentic.

These dear women—both named Sandi—are themselves, which frees me to be myself, which hopefully makes it even easier for them to be themselves. It is a cycle that ministers.

Who is the Sandi in your life?


World Art Day

Why do you try to understand art? Do you try to understand the song of a bird?

Pablo Picasso

Along the way, I learned that I am an amazing art teacher—by my standards.

Multiple students and parents of students have told me for almost three decades how much their children enjoy art and look at the world in a different way because of my classes. And that is my standard.

Perhaps, my students will remember some artists or art terminology or acquire a favorite or think about creating art. I hope they do. But the goal is for my students to enjoy art—and for that enjoyment to be as accessible as their favorite books and games.

So, let’s cerebrate World Art Day on April 15th this year by enjoying some art, even if it is only a clever graphic design on your cereal box.

For fun, find and read If Picasso Painted a Snowman by Amy Newbold.

Basics, Decisions

Learning New Limitations

My scheduled Sunday post did not appear this week. You may not have noticed, and at times, I didn’t either. What happened?

Although this week’s blog was written months ago, I was too tired to edit it last week. And I am still too tired to edit it, so those words have been rescheduled for December 2023. Stay tuned.

When money used to be our family’s major limitation, my husband and I saved and budgeted so that we not only covered all our needs but also any emergency. As we age, time and energy are our new limitations. I can be more careful of how I spend both, but unlike money, neither can be put in a bank for future withdrawals. And I am constantly learning the extent of these new limitations. They seem to be increasing faster than I can adjust.

So today, I acknowledged that I cannot rebound quickly from overscheduling and a recent emergency. Not only will the blog be postponed but also certain decorations will remain in their boxes and Christmas cards sent after the holidays. And it will be fine.

Did you acknowledge something recently?


Happily, Ever After

Once upon a time, I believed in happily ever after—not only in favorite movies and books—but also in my real life. Along the way, I learned that eternity is my only shot at happily ever after.

Others tried to tell me earlier, but I was too idealistic.

One afternoon after class, a favorite professor took me and two other students into his office. He pointed to a wall hanging. My memory of that image is blurry, but his words are still clear.

The road never gets easier. There are only fewer people traveling with you.

Dr. Smith meant our careers, but I learned his words applied to more.

As newlyweds, my husband and I met with our pastor to say goodbye before we moved. After small talk, he said,

There’s only one thing I want to say. Each challenge is preparation for the next challenge. You never arrive in this life.

Bad news? Not really. Along the way, I learned that realism is needed to prepare and persevere.           

My most discouraging hikes were the ones where I was deceived about the distance, the difficulty, or both. Now I read trail descriptions more carefully.

Preparing for your next challenge?


World Letter Writing Day

December 7th is National Letter Writing Day. Unless a Christmas card counts, it seems a burden to add to the holidays. I prefer World Letter Writing Day on the reasonable date of September 1st.

While both bless, written words have advantages over spoken ones.

Letters linger. I almost cried—okay, I did cry—when a current, long-distant friend’s note reminisced about meeting me in fourth grade, and her prayers for me over the years. I don’t think she would have said those words out loud. I reread Dawn’s nourishing words several times the first day.

Even better, letters linger for decades.

Boxes of Saved Letters

Maybe I don’t need to know that during her college years my mother regularly had sore throats or needed a new pair of black pumps or sang in a trio, but it gives me insight into her 1950s concerns. I definitely like knowing that my serious, quiet aunt was quite the flirt when she dated my uncle. I need the loving—and sometimes admiring—notes of small sons who are now grown and more jaded about their mother.

Blessed are the letter readers and the letter savers, and especially the letter writers. Which are you?