Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Future of Skipping School

Welcome to Diary of a Square Toothed Girl's new and improved site!  Don't be alarmed, I have a bit of an itch when it comes to change--usually this is fulfilled by simply moving every few years or so, but I don't feel like packing right now, so a blogging face lift will have to do.

In order to prepare you for today's post, here are some pictures of yesteryear just to get you in the mood for our topic today: Skipping school.

That's my 2nd grade self--what's up with the corsage?

Me on the phone, before I started hating the phone...
but long after I started running from the paparazzi.

Our High school production of Grease,  I'm 2nd from the left with my hand
 on my hip giving "Summer Lovin" some soul.
What was I thinking???

Today was a day full of parental chauffeuring, bill paying and cleaning and it got me thinking as I tried to get my daughter excused from school for a dentist appointment:  Skipping school isn't as easy as it used to be.

After calling in the proposed appointment and being transferred through 3 different secretaries, this is what I heard:

“Now, you realize you will need to come in and sign her out?”  said the secretary with the very nice Australian accent that I wish I had.
“Excuse me?”  I replied, confused.
“You will need to come into the building and sign for her.”


Apparently, they also wanted to see some identification, a recent credit history, and my firstborn child, but lucky for me, she is my first born so that was one hoop I didn’t have to jump through.

Now, I’m grateful that the school is tightening their security precautions, but it makes me wonder about the future of school skipping.

Back in the day, when I had to walk to school up hill, both ways, and wrapped newspaper around my feet for shoes, skipping school was simply a matter of your best friend calling in for you and off you went to spend your afternoon napping on their couch, going to the movies, or holding hands with your boyfriend in his car. (Hey--This is a ’G’ rated blog.)

In any case, skipping school was a sacred, right up there with freedom of speech and the right to carry a rifle on the gun rack in the back of your truck.  Just kidding, that was Mountain Man’s high school, not mine…

Anyway, high school was a lot less stressful because I wasn’t there all that much.   Usually, the day went something like this:

7 a.m.  “Zero hour” early morning English class with a man who apparently did not own one single pair of socks and who had a predilection for choosing risqué pieces of English lit to read to us.  Ew.

8 a.m -Noon--a couple more classes, break, boredom, and my mind wandering to figure out which sickness to spring on the school nurse that day to get out of class.

Noon-3 See ya!  Checked myself out of school by having best friend call from the phone in the lobby, or forging a note from my mom who has the has the easiest handwriting in the history of the world to copy.  This simultaneously made me miss Math for Dummies, PE, and some other class my 36 year old brain has since forgotten.

Now, you may be wondering how in the world did I graduate?  Here it is:  I had good grades.  That was the era when your grades alone could not only get you into a good college, but the half-hearted study habits you formed in high school (as well as an aversion to math) served as the lack luster foundation for graduating from college with honors and preparing me for a life of writing a grammar-challenged blog which you read everyday.

Ah, times were simpler.

Ah.  There I am, obviously scheming for more
ways to creatively skip school.

What are some of your fond memories from yesteryear?  
What creative excuses did you use to skip school?
How is your child's school experience different than yours?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here.  Live on the edge and become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl...it's a guarantee  that your fields will be filled with eggplant, and your goats will be fat!

Join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Mind the Gap!"

When standing in the London underground, there is a lovely voice which calls out “Mind the gap!” reminding passengers to watch the space between the carriage and the platform before getting on the Tube.  Apparently , there have been a lot of problems with people falling in the London underground, or at least enough to warrant the repetitive voice calling out “Mind the gap!” several times an hour. 
I’ve thought a lot about this phrase “Mind the gap” and whether your travels take you to London or not, the phrase “Mind the gap” is deep wisdom regardless. 
At the center of who we are and all that we do is our attention.   99% of life's success comes from paying attention, and the other 1% is spent in line at the DMV.  Many problems could be avoided with an acute dose of mindfulness.  How many of us have missed the fuel light coming on in our car and then run out of gas?  A bit of attention could have headed off the problem before it occurred.  Not to say that vigilant mindfulness is a way to avoid all of life’s problems, but I would say that many of life’s challenges can be made easier with the art of mindfulness. 
Every day, at the end of a long school day, my kids vie for my attention.  I’ll be honest, there are some afternoons when I’ve been overwhelmed by work, projects, and phone calls,and it’s difficult to focus my attention to their day’s successes.  Training my mind to focus, pay attention, and be mindful can be a challenge when I’m in the middle of something else.  But I know that my life is more meaningful, richer and more abundant when I am present and listening to my little people.
Mindfulness is not easy, but the short term investment of systematically developing our attention has long term pay offs.   The ability to focus on the present moment gives us the gift of joy.  Everything we do becomes more important, more lasting and more meaningful because we understand that everything is connected and therefore, everything is important.  The brief hug, a kind word to a friend, a moment of silence in the midst of a crazy day, are all significant because they are the moments that make up our lives.  And it is in everyday living where joy can be found.   
Recently, I’ve been under some stress—my mind constantly comes back to the situation at hand.  I can’t change it—it is what it is.  It is not something I chose, or can even influence, and therefore it is completely out of my control.  But in the midst of this difficult season, I am finding joy in the little things by giving attention to the details of my days.  Who can estimate the value of a new book?  Freshly painted walls?  The crack of a newly opened Diet Coke?  My life can be lived fully in the present circumstances and joy can be found as I give attention to the daily moments that are my life. 
When we raise our awareness to pay attention, we open ourselves to our limitless possibilities within, the wonders of each day, and the ability to do as Emerson said, to, “Write it on our hearts that every day is the best day of the year.” 
So to myself and to you, I quote our British Underground friend and say, “Mind the Gap!”

What would you like to be more mindful of?
What simple joys do you appreciate in your life?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here!  Become a follower and join us in celebrating the simple moments of every day life!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Hero of Black Friday

Warning:  This post is infinitely more enjoyable if read in your best dramatic narrative voice.  Think of Morgan Freeman narrating "Shawshank Redemption" or at the very least the guy who narrated the iconic film "A Christmas Story".  In any case, channel your inner radio announcer and have fun...

His day started like no other.  From the ethereal realm of dreams he was jolted awake by the buzzing of his alarm.  Groggily stretching forth his hand to hit the snooze button, the six-and-a-half-foot-hollow-legged man stumbled to his feet.
He was on a mission.
He was going to face his darkest enemy.

He was going to face the shoppers of Black Friday.

Wearily, he dressed himself in the cold, dark room.  Raised on the high plains of Montana, our hero refuses to sacrifice money to  unreasonable whims--like heat, but he would do anything for his bride, his one and only love.

The night before, she was casually looking at cameras in the pages of ads tucked into the paper.  She had mentioned that her camera had stopped working, and perhaps it was time to buy a new one.

“The perfect gift!” He thought.  For even though the girl refused to be photographed (she was stalked by her personal Paparazzi as a child) she had recently started a blog, and her camera was quickly becoming her favorite toy.

Quietly, he grabbed his keys, and shut the door quietly behind him.  “How bad could it be?  This is a small town, only boasting one or two major stores…there won’t be that many people to contend with.”

5:30 a.m.

Hordes of shoppers lined every aisle of the local office supply store which sold laptops and cameras by the cart-full on Black Friday.  Women, hair ratty from sleep, barked out orders to bleary-eyed husbands to “Grab that one!!” Pajama clad teenagers, ever cool, nonchalantly tossed colored ipods into their carts. The air was thick with excitement as the shoppers rode high on the adrenaline of the hunt.

Our hero shut his eyes, shook his head, and stood on line for a better part of an hour.  Finally, camera in hand, he fled from the store, or rather, ran for his life.

Back in his warm bed, as his bride slept peacefully by his side, he vowed, “Never again.”

Thank you Mountain Man.  You ARE the hero of Black Friday!

How was your Black Friday?  What did you enjoy most about the day?  What are your Black Friday traditions?  Do you run and hide?  Shop online?  Brave the crowds and love it?  

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave a comment or two here!  Please join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Magic Mom

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I will be absent from the Bloggosphere for a few days as I assuming that all of you will be, but before I dive head first into the cranberry sauce, I want to tell you about my Magic Mom.

This is Karen:

She really looks a lot like Sally Field in that movie with the young Julia Roberts, who was married to that guy, who was on that law show on ABC for a while...Dolly Parton was in the movie too, but I can't remember the name if it--Anyway, Karen is the classiest woman I know and she makes Thanksgiving magic every year.

The day would begin like no other, Karen rising from bed at 3 a.m. to put the turkey in the oven, then all through the house her little humming could be heard as she moved from room to room spiffing up.  Next, she would unceremoniously roust us from our warm beds at which point we would either "go on a run", (escape), or like we did one year, hide in the closet in the attic until dinner time.  While I can't remember in great detail each Thanksgiving of my youth, I can remember with perfect clarity the hustle and bustle and general joy of the day.

It seems there were always about 20 people for dinner, and sometimes, people who were not even invited would show up.  Both my parents have hearts the size of Saskatchewan, and are the source from which I inherited The Invisible Tattoo.  So needless to say, sometimes we had a lot of guests.

Thanksgiving could always be counted on to be a crazy, and a fun day. There were no less than 12 side dishes along with the usual turkey, gravy and rolls. My mom is a wonderful cook--except for the year she got it into her head to make her own stuffing--from then on, we were a Stove Top family--making our own stuffing was my first lesson in cost/benefit.  The "cost" of time and worry was just too high for the "benefit" of seasoned bread.

I wrote a poem about 700 years ago which captures the essence of Karen's joyful Thanksgiving countenance as well as the general feeling in our home each Turkey Day.

Thanksgiving Thanks

light the candles!
thank goodness for fire resistant water and 
tell your brother we will be eating in
five hours and thirteen minutes and 
I want him ready
he is so slow...

bring down the dining room chairs
I know that turkey baster is around here somewhere
turn that music down!

and add that to my to-do list, 
we never have many trick or treaters"

"that was last month," I mutter

"I broke a glass!
No one move
until I get it cleaned up
these glasses are so cheap!"

short lady in the kitchen
dance your feasting 

holidays decorated with casseroles
but we rely on their reminder
of the  
little dancing lady
who wallpapers her kitchen window in
scrawled with her
jiving to-do's
in the colorful ink of 
her heart. 
*        *        *

Thank you, Mom, for wonderful memories and for teaching me to celebrate life.  
Your magic touches me everyday.
I love you!

And to all of you: May your Thanksgiving be full of family and joy and may you celebrate the prosaic moments together, tomorrow and forever!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Boots

With the several inches of snow we’ve received today, I want to honor the one item of apparel that makes my life complete:  My Boots.  My Boots (and yes, Boots is capitalized for a reason as you will see) in inclement weather or not, are my favorite article of clothing EVER.

In my profile, I mention a pair of shoes that makes me feel like I could do anything.  Today, I introduce you to the beloved shoes that have magical powers and spread joy through my entire being just by putting them on:  

How can one pair of shoes make me feel so good?  Honestly, this is one of life’s mysteries up there with what makes gum chewy instead of break down in normal digestive juices and how M&Ms are made--if you know, please don’t ruin it for me…I like to live in a state of suspense.

Anyway, it suffices to say that once the Boots hit my feet, I’m just a little bit sassier, a little bit more fearless, and a little more certain.  Life is good when it’s me and my Boots.

What's your favorite thing to wear?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave a comment here!  
Please join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Profound & Funny Dad

Hey!  We're happy to be here!


So, this last weekend, we were able to spend some time with my dad. Spending time with him always makes me laugh and see a side of life I had never before considered.

Today, I’d like to honor my dad,  George, and share with you some of the profound, funny and prosaic stuff he has shared me over the years.

Don’t mess with crazy.  One of the first pieces of advice I can ever remember him giving me was “Don’t mess with crazy.”  He usually said this upon leaving church and what he meant, I may never know…did he mean, “Don’t get near people from church?”  Don’t get “messy with people who may be crazy?”  Don’t visit mental health institutions on a Monday?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Recently, I asked him what this meant…he said, “I don’t know, but it sounds like good advice to me.“  Simple prose, but sound advice.  In any case, Don’t mess with crazy.

The Un-Arborist.  Growing up, my dad was the guy in the neighborhood who pulled other people’s weeds, organized the Neighborhood Watch, and got all the neighbors to pool in together to have the alley paved and keep our neighborhood (as well as our alley) looking neat and clean.

As a child, I remember my dad endlessly planting and then pulling up trees. We had no less that 19 trees planted and subsequently pulled up from our backyard over a 10 year period.  He would plant one, live with it a few years, then pull it up if it did not live up to his arboreal expectations. To this day, in friendly conversation, I refer to him as the “Un-Arborist” or, he who repeatedly plants and unearths foliage.

Leave a generous tip, but make sure no one steals it off the table.  George is one of those remarkable people who was always able to put a bit a away ’for a rainy day’.  Consequently, he is very particular where his hard earned cash goes.  But in spite of his thrifty eye, he is unfailingly generous to those in the service industry.  After eating out, he would leave a generous tip on the table, then make sure no one passing by would steal it on their way out.   More often than not, he would simply hand the server their tip so we wouldn’t have to wait around for them to pick it up from the table.
As an adult, I find his generous heart endearingly kind, while simultaneously appreciating the vigilant nature concerning the welfare of his hard earned money.

Paparazzi.  Long before Lady Gaga even considered meat as couture, George had introduced us, his children, to all of the negative connotations of the word ‘paparazzi’.  Meaning, we were the most photographed children in existence.  But 99% of the photos were usually
A) out of focus
B) taken so far away that you could never tell who the picture was supposed to be of, or
C) filled with unhappy grimaces of teenage children wishing they weren’t raised quite so politely as to impede us from kicking our resident paparazzi and running for our lives.

At one point, we even named his camera.  We considered it the 6th member of our family.

As an parent, I appreciate his intent--he was simply trying to capture the moments of our fleeting childhoods.  However, I am hopelessly scarred.  I am one of the few people I know who actually runs at the sight of a camera, or poses with the same lame open mouthed smile that looks all “hey, I’m happy to be here!” but I’m really thinking, “MAKE IT STOP…MAKE IT STOP NOW.”

In any case, we are well documented.  If you were to empty all the pictures from the album and thumbed through them like one of those cartoon flip books, you could see the wonder of our childhoods unfold before your very eyes.

*        *        *

My dad is an extraordinary man.  He is bold and assertive and  he’s one of those people who has never met a stranger.  He is a fierce friend.   Life with him is never boring.  He is one of the hardest working people I know.  One of the greatest gifts he instilled in me is that work ethic and the ability to speak with boldness. As I get older, I find myself thinking  that his random wisdom isn’t so far off.  Just the other day, I was looking at a tree we had recently planted.

“Hmmmm,” I thought, “Let’s give it a few more years.”

What sound wisdom did your parents give you?
What funny moments do you treasure from your childhood?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here!  Please join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Autumn Thanks

There are many things I love about autumn.  I love to rake crunchy, colorful leaves into gigantic piles.  I love to hustle children into the house after school on a crisp afternoon and catch up on what happened at school over hot chocolate. I love the smell and cracking sounds of a freshly laid fire.  I love to walk outside and see my breath come out in a misty cloud.  Today, I spent a better portion of my morning driving over snow covered mountains majesty, but as I drove down into the valley, autumn was still arrayed in all it's finery. 

Trees were clinging to their last leaves.  The sky sat heavily over the mountains.  Happy chimney smoke curled over houses full of family gathering for the coming Thanksgiving. 

This week, we get to take one last pause before we jump head first into Black Friday, Holiday programs, Santas on the corner, and all the rushing and hustling and bustling of the coming Christmas season. 

For many reasons, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but not for the reasons you might think.  I could care less about turkey, sweet potatoes, and all that Thanksgiving fare.  (Personally, I am pushing for Thai this Thursday.)  Thanksgiving represents an opportunity to take a moment and celebrate gratitude.

As a child I was taught that 'gratitude determines our attitude'.  When we are full of gratitude, life is more abundant.  Kak Sri said, "Gratitude is the art of painting adversity into a lovely picture."  When we share our gratitude, it becomes a living power of the possible joy available to all of us.  Our hearts feel lighter when we count our blessings.  So, for this day, this short moment, this time to gather and give, to renew gratitude, to love one another more abundantly, I give thanks.

What are some of your favorite autumn rituals? 
What are some of your most important Thanksgiving traditions?

Please e-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here!  Become a follower and  join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Sassy Grandma

Today's post is in honor of my sassy grandmother, Ruth, who passed away earlier this year.  This is her birthday week and she was one incredible woman, who taught me some deep life lessons about how to be happy. 

One of the first memories I have of my Grandma Ruth was staring down at her small hand (with painted finger nails) while she held a crochet hook in one hand and a mass of gauzy white yarn in the other.  Her thumb was bent in an unnatural position as she gripped the yarn between her fingers.  Her hands moved like a tornado through the ball of yarn, but instead of reaping destruction, she created order:  making knots form into perfect seashells across our laps.  

I thought she was a magician.  She placed the yarn in my own small hands and tried to guide my fingers to work the same magic.  Impossible.  My patience bested me.  Sensing my frustration, she taught me a simple chain stitch instead.  Hook under, catch yarn, pull through.  Long after her visit, numberless chains of yarn decorated our house, but weaving seashells remained a mystery.  I learned many, many things from my Grandmother, including eventually, how to make yarn into sea shells.  These are some of the things Grandma Ruth taught me.

The big problems in life will take care of themselves, as long as you move forward and do your best.  This life lesson carried her through the loss of a spouse at a tender age, raising two children, and putting herself through nursing school in the 1960's.  Ruth firmly believed that no problem was too big that it couldn't be overcome with a positive attitude.
Take care of yourself.  One of the great things I always admired about my Grandma Ruth us that she took the time to take care of herself.  All her life, Grandma Ruth dressed to the nines, had her hair and nails done and just 'took care'.  She understood that it was important to feel good about yourself and that one of the best ways to do that was to take care of yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually. 

Travel.  Ruth traveled all over the world.  She camped, cruised, walked and flew many places with unequaled vigor all her adult life.  Travel made Ruth's life full and rich, and she encouraged others to experience the wonder of travel.  So, travel!

Little things count.    Life is funny.  You spend the first third of your life trying to 'make it' and accumulate all the things you think you need for one reason or another, the second third of your life cleaning, managing, paying taxes and taking care of all the stuff you just accumulated, and the last third of your life presents a beautiful opportunity to realize that you probably didn't need all that stuff to begin with.  When Henry David Thoreau said, "Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!" he really knew what he was talking about, because he understood that little things count.  Ruth enjoyed the simple things in life, like a cold glass of iced tea on a hot summer afternoon, cooking a good meal, and gathering with her family. Little things count.

Be sassy!  When I was little, my Grandma Ruth was the sassiest person I knew.  She was not like other Grandmothers.  Her hair wasn't blue or pink and  she didn't smell like cookies--she smelled like Este Lauder perfume.  Her fingers were decorated with rings and there was always a necklace of scarf at her throat. 
         Twice a year, from the airline's open gates she strutted, jaw jutted, chin high, painted fingernails grasping the purse that perfectly matched her shoes.  Her sassiness was not lost in her later years either.  She new what she wanted and then went after it with gusto.  She had sass, so Be Sassy!

Serve others with love. The last few years of Grandma Ruth's life were spent in the company of my mom who attended to her daily needs.  It was a special gift for our family to have her so close geographically.  On occasion, she was able to visit our little family and we were able to be a part of her daily care.  Caring for her was not always easy, but I learned that when we serve others with love, that service is no longer "business getting done", but it becomes holy.  And when we make a moment holy, it becomes more special, real, important and lasting.  Serving others with love creates an opportunity for great joy in our lives.

Tell people you love and appreciate them often and without reserve.  During the last few years of Grandma Ruth's life, she often, and without reserve told me how much she loved me.  She always said, "I love you, honey."  In fact, everyone who was a part of her life heard those precious words from her.  Love heals, binds, forgives, and makes life's bitterness a little bit sweeter.  And the best part is, it's free!  (Grandma Ruth loved a good deal!)  Love doesn't cost a thing to give away, and at the end of the journey, the only thing that may really matter is:  How much did we love?

Do something you enjoy and in turn, enjoy the moment.  Ruth was a gifted still life painter.  When I was 12, she introduced me to painting during a camping trip.  She, patiently and with great love, taught me how to mix color, which brushes to use, and how to capture light.  She taught me to pay attention, and while I don't paint much anymore, there is not a day that goes by that I don't use the skill of watching the little things unfold.  She taught me how to capture and enjoy the moment; and learning how to delight in the moment through something you enjoy doing is one of life's greatest gifts.

I am grateful for the life of my Sassy Grandma Ruth.  She taught me many, many things.  Her life was one of hard work and much love.  I raise a glass to her this week and celebrate her vibrant and giving spirit!

What things did your grandparents teach you?
What kind of grandparent would you like to be?

Please email me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here!  Join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Voice In Our Heads

There are many voices that we hear each day.  The voices on television, the voices of our friends, the voices of parents, media, music, and the like; But none are as strong as the voice in our own heads.

Many of us, everyday, listen to, believe in, and even swear by the voice of defeat that speaks so loudly--that negative voice in our heads.

Most often, this negative voice is constant and critical, unreserved in its judgement and absolutely untrue.  The voice in our heads tells us the most abominable lies just to have something to do.

Lies like:

“I’m dumb.”
“I can’t do it.”
“I’m ugly.”
“I’m not perfect.”

The list could go on and on.  Often we believe the voice in our heads as true because we’ve been listening to it for far too long.

Yesterday, I volunteered in a local school where I teach kids about art.  We were working on emulating the artist, Henri Matisse.  The purpose of the project was to paint in the style of old Henri and understand his process.  One little girl in the back of the room, sat frozen in fear.
“I can’t do it!!” She said with frustration.

It got me thinking about the negative voice in her itty, bitty head (she’s only 10) and how we always think that voice is right even when clearly, and without argument, it speaks absurd fiction.  There was nothing stopping that little one from picking up her brush and giving it a try except the voice in her head, which told her she couldn’t.

But the thing about this voice, is that we are the creators of it.  Just as happiness can be found not without, but within our own minds, the voice in our head can be taught to speak more gently and with mercy.

For instance, how many of us have thought, just like that sweet little girl, “I can’t!”  What if instead, we said to ourselves, “This is difficult, but I can do it.”  What if this mercy extended to every word we say to ourselves and then to others?

For whatever reason, good karma, blessings from above, or the stars just lined up right, I have a circle of extraordinary women in my life who have taught me how to find the voice of empathy in my own mind and then taught me to believe in it.  One friend in particular, let’s call her “Clover“, speaks with such empathy, energy and enthusiasm that when you are around her, you literally believe that you can do anything in the world.

What if we, like Clover, told ourselves our capabilities were endless?

What if we cultivated a positive voice of hope, and kicked that negative voice out to the curb?

A couple of days ago, in the post You Are Beautiful, I asked what made you beautiful.  I have to be honest, there weren’t a lot of responses.  Don’t get me wrong, I got a lot of positive feedback, but I got the feeling that most of the people reading it had been listening to the negative voice in their heads a little too long, and that maybe it was hard to say something nice about themselves.

Guess what?  Unless you are 7 feet tall, a Swedish vegetarian super model who donates her hair each year to Locks of Love, saves babies in Africa and works at a soup kitchen--I want to hear from you about what makes you beautiful…and even if you are that Swedish vegetarian super model who saves babies in Africa, I STILL want to hear what makes you beautiful!!!

Like I said, when you let that beauty and all its attendant joy cascade from you, you give others the permission to do the same.  Now is the time to deny the negative voice in our heads and celebrate, celebrate,  CELEBRATE what makes you beautiful.  And if you can’t do it for yourselves, do it for your kids, so that they see that its o.k. to shine.  It’s o.k. to be unique.  It is beautiful to listen to the positive voice in our heads and rejoice.

What makes you beautiful?
What things do you want to start telling yourself? 

Please e-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here.
Invite your friends, kids and loved ones to join Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl--Let's help each other celebrate the simple moments of everyday life!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Operation Get the Word Out: You are Beautiful

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write today and I had something all planned, but then yesterday, there was an overwhelming response to You Are Beautiful.

I believe that everyone who comes to planet earth is valuable, unique and beautiful.  Believing that others are beautiful brings joy.  Believing in ourselves is our greatest power.  And when we believe in our worth, our goodness, our significance, then we can help others see that worth in themselves. And when we begin seeing others an individuals, beautiful and whole, then we are able to stack our hatred in the corner and embrace the beautiful in everyone.

I want to ask you a favor:  If you read You Are Beautiful, and it touched you in any way, even if you don’t yet believe it about yourself, will you please forward it, link it, e-mail it or repost it  on your Facebook or MySpace page and share it with someone who you think needs to hear it?

Everyone deserves the right to believe they are beautiful.

With much love and many thanks,

Lisa, Square Toothed Girl

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com
Or post your comments here!

Monday, November 15, 2010

You Are Beautiful

Long, long ago, (about 10 years) in a galaxy far, far away (called Montana), I was walking on a local bike path when I came across this message:

These simple words gave me pause that day.  They were a gift that made me happy.  Those words made me believe that I was just what they said: beautiful.  Those words were written by a well meaning stranger on a public bike path, and even though hundreds of people must have seen them, that day, those words were just for me.

I’ve thought about those words a lot since then, and about what those words mean.  This 'beauty' I'm referring to doesn't concern the buckets we walk around in.  The beauty I’m referring to is regarding the content of our spirits. Today, I want to give you what a stranger gave me and tell you a simple truth about yourself:

You are beautiful.

You are extraordinary.

You are unique in the world.

You are whole, just as you are.  Right now.

You bring something to this planet that no one else can bring:  yourself.
You are amazing.
You have a kind heart and a marvelous mind, even if you feel that your heart is broken or that your mind is filled with dark thoughts about yourself and others.

I firmly believe that most of the unhappiness on this planet is caused by unhappy people.  We women, especially, feel terrified that we ‘aren’t enough’. And when we are terrified, we feel like we need to be in control of everything.  And when we try to control everything, (as if that's actually possible) our control mutates into an unhealthy, and soul wrecking competition with others.

Today, you can let all that negativity go.

Today, instead of condemning yourself and those around you, you have the opportunity to exonerate those you influence with your undeniable beauty. You can cease to belittle yourself and others, and instead, delight in all the success you see. Today, you can take pause and feel the peace that comes with this beauty and then you can share it.  You can let all the pain that you have been carrying about this and that go, because you can choose to.  You can believe in yourself and get out of your own way, and be happy, because you are a spark of the Divine.

Today, you can believe that you are beautiful.

Because today, you are fearless.

The time for resignation is past.  You are beautiful. When you let that beauty and all its attendant joy cascade from you, you give others the permission to do the same. Today, don’t shine less.  Shine more.  

Shine more, because,
You are beautiful.

What makes you beautiful?  Please leave a comment about the beautiful people around you, or especially about what makes you beautiful...too shy?  Email me at  squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com  I look forward to hearing from you! 

Want to share the beauty? Get the conversation rolling and send this as an e-mail, share it on Facebook, Tweet it!! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

The City of 3000

Mountain Man and I have long operated under the theory that no matter where you live, you associate with approximately 3000 people. Unless of course, you find yourself living in Booger Hollow, Arkansas, population 6--(probably because it's named Booger Hollow)  in which case, your will have to include road-kill and boogers to make it to 3000.

Anyway, these 3000 people are the ones you see on the Metro, on the bus, at the grocery store, the gym, work, church, etc... London, Montreal, Bend, OR-- it doesn’t matter, your daily patterns probably take you past the same people everyday... and chances are, you probably know the same ones that I do.

For instance, in my City of 3000, there’s the sweaty guy (like water slide sweaty) at the gym who never wipes down the machines after he's done.   There’s the mail carrier who dutifully delivers your mail everyday without complaint.  There’s the car salesman who stands in front of you in the line at Starbucks every morning and who, while simultaneously hitting on the server, tries to sell her a car.  There’s the guy in your neighborhood who walks by your house and engages in spirited conversations with the voice in his head.  And my favorite, the little lady who walks her dogs around the block several times a day, all the while chatting to them like old friends.  

In the City of 3000, every soul counts.  Every person is the center of their own novella, the star of their own movie and the superhero of their own comic book.  And while each of us plays our own lead role, we are also a supporting or peripheral character in another’s story.

I’m sure I play the weirds-mo, who dances to her ipod, while mowing her lawn each week. Or I play the sleepy mom who drops off kids at school every morning, while wearily wiping last night’s mascara from under her eyes as she hustles little one into class.

In any case, each of our stories overlap and touch one another and sometimes collide.

People in the City of 3000 can be jerks, crazy, and just mean.  But people in the City of 3000 can also be kind, generous, and loving, even to strangers.  Saint Augustine said, “Our whole business in this life, is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen.”  People in my City provide the opportunity to do just that.  

I am grateful for my City of 3000, for the considerate mail carrier, the sweet little lady who walks her dog past my door, and the compassionate neighbor-- all who make the day a little lighter, and my City a little brighter.  And I’m even grateful for the mean, and the crazy, who make my City interesting and illuminate the goodness of others just by being here.

Thanks, City of 3000.

Who do you see in your City of 3000?  Share it here!

And if you like Diary of a Square Toothed Girl, send it along--and thank you!  
(May your fields be filled with fat cows and lots of eggplant! :) 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Vegetarian & The Mountain Man

Their first dinner as a married couple began like any other:

There once was a boy named Shiloh (aka Mountain Man) who fell in love with a square toothed girl named Lisa (the Vegetarian).  Lisa wasn't a real vegetarian, she was a practicing  periodic vegetarian, more emotionally volatile but a bit less opinionated than full time vegetarians...(To my true Veg friends, I so admire your convictions and wish I could make the leap--) Shiloh came from a family who hunted deer and elk and ate them too.  Yet in spite of these differences, they somehow managed to fall in love and get married.  At the time of their first meal as husband and wife, Lisa was in the midst of a five year long vegetarian streak and Shiloh had been eating meat three times a day and often as a midnight snack too.

Lisa carefully prepared one of her favorite dishes:  Hummus, tabbouleh, and fresh sliced peaches purchased at the local farmer's market.  As Lisa placed dinner on the floor--remember, they were newly married and didn't yet have a table--Shiloh carefully surveyed her offering.  With great tenderness and love, the six-foot-five-inch-hollow-legged-man ate the meal prepared by his new bride.  At which point, the fairy-tale ended and he asked, "Where's the beef?"

*       *       *

Over the years, I have gone back and forth in my vegetarian ways and seem to have arrived at a point in moderation being married to the beef eating, pork loving, Mountain Man:  I don't eat things with four legs.  So, horse, cows, pigs, iguana, and armadillo are out.  But les poulets, our fish friends and humans apparently, are in--but only if I find myself in a plane crash in a remote mountain range and in the company of Ethan Hawke.

Anyway, Shiloh and I 'meat' (so sorry, couldn't resist!) in the middle where the consumption of animals is concerned.  Over the years my culinary creativity has been stretched (tofu tacos anyone?) as Shiloh's patience has waxed strong in the face vegetarian enchiladas, vats of  ratatouille (it's not just a Disney movie) and my near constant eye rolling when he takes our meat eating children to the local burger joint (they inevitably always order grilled cheese!)  But somehow, we've made it work.  Part of the reason is that Shiloh's basic philosophy (while pointing at his mouth) is, "food goes in here".

No matter the dish, dinner together as a family is our most important hour.  We get to catch up, reflect, rejoice and just be--it is the ritual that binds us together as we all arrive home after being in the throws of the storm. With this celebratory idea in mind, I'm including our favorite family recipe for a crisp autumn day:  Lasagna Soup (thank you, Gwen.)

While not a fan of actual lasagna, this is a truly great soup.  I think that it is best made while listening to Rosemary Clooney's "Mambo Italiano" as I drag Shiloh around the kitchen and we shimmy like we are contestants on Dancing With the Stars--only with fewer sequins, and less spray tan.

So to the 5 of you that read this blog, here it is:

Lasagna Soup
1 pound turkey sausage (not pork, beef or armadillo)
2 cups shopped onions
1 cup diced carrot
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 can chopped Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 cup radiatore pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
cubed mozzarella or provolone & Parmesan and chopped, fresh basil to garnish

In a large stockpot, brown sausage, onion, carrot, mushrooms and garlic.  Then add chicken broth, tomatoes, and radiatore (pronounced with a heavy Italian accent, and don't forget to roll your 'r'--rah-dee-ah-tor-aye.)  It's really effective to wear some kind of striped blue and white Venetian gondola captain shirt and sing a bit in Italian.  If you don't speak Italian, don't worry, most Italian's don't speak Italian either (I'm kidding, please don't write me letters--) Just do it with confidence and you can fool anyone.

Simmer soup until pasta is cooked and tender, about 10 minutes.
Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute more.

Serve over cubes of mozzarella or provolone and garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil.

Light a candle, crack a Diet Coke, sit with your family and enjoy this luscious and filling soup.  Celebrate your time together.  Celebrate yourself.   Mangia bene, vivi felice!

What's your favorite dinner time ritual?  Your favorite recipe?  Share it here!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Save My Marriage! Buy This Range Rover

O.k, I’ll be honest.  I am a freak.  Yeah, I admit it.  I am one of those people that gets excited about de-cluttering.  I can’t wait to tackle an overfilled closet or a messy drawer and I can throw anything away.  I mean anything.  Sometimes, I’ll admit, this causes  problems for other family members in our house.  There are frequent questions of, “Mom, have you seen my….toy, sketch book, shirt, car?“  I always reply with the same answer, “I haven’t seen that in a while.”

This phrase is usually accompanied by a practiced thoughtful  look as if I am really trying to remember where the item may be.  (In high school I played Anita in West Side Story--unfortunately, I sounded more like mediocre Russian actor in a bad 80’s cold war film than a sultry Puerto Rican diva,) but acting is acting, and my kids have believed my innocence in their missing stuff for so long that my charade is expected.

Over the years, various items of import have disappeared into the abyss of the pile to Goodwill.  Clothing my husband just shouldn’t be wearing (no grown man should ever wear a Spiderman t-shirt), toys that are just too annoying for words, (no doubt given by well-meaning grandparents) and yes, even a car.

You caught that earlier, right?

Last summer, my mom was visiting and she looked at the aging Range Rover parked on the street in front of our house…exactly where it had been sitting the last time she visited six months previously. All four tires were bald.  The windshield was cracked, and internally that hunk of junk was so backward and messed up that in the interest of keeping this post under the length of the Bible, I’ll refrain from boring you with the details.  However, this particular car had been a gift.   During a bad run of cars, a dear friend drove it across the States to give us a way to get from one place to another  in a semi-reliable fashion.  The Rover lasted 4 years longer than we expected until she came to an unremarkable stop in front of our house.

My mom asked, “Why are you keeping this car?”  The answer was simple: I was holding onto this un-running car as a symbol of the selflessness that had been so generously given to our family.  Every time I looked out the window and saw it, I was reminded that someone loved me so much that he spent his time to drive it from Boston to Montana just because we were in need.  Given its broken down state, and the fact that I would have to dump more money into the car than it was worth just to fix it, I was still having a hard time letting it go.  Plus, my husband was obsessed with how cool it was.  I was convinced that it looked like we belonged to the Russian Mafia (minus the poor accent), and he felt that it was his macho dream car come true.  Needless to say,  all of these reasons were just plain stupid when it came down to it.  It didn’t run, and was costing me money each month as I paid the insurance to keep a nice reminder of a great gift.  So….did I really need to keep it?

We have all felt the reluctance of getting rid of things that seem to be overtaking our homes.  We say to ourselves, "It was a gift--It was my grandpas---Its an antique."  We go round and round justifying all the reasons we should keep great-great-Grandma's broken plate that she carried across the plains.  But how can we get rid of that plate without getting all misty-eyed about it?  Some of the questions I like to ask myself before I chuck something are:

Is it beautiful?
Is it useful?
Does it bring me joy?
Have I used it in the last 6 months?

If the answer to any of these questions “No”, then it is time to pass my stuff into the world for someone else to enjoy.   Here is the reality of all that Stuff we hold onto:  It’s just stuff.  Great-great Grandma’s feelings are not going to be hurt if we throw her broken plate from 1895 away.  In fact, she would probably be the first one asking you why you were still hanging onto that broken trash after all this time!   So often, our stuff ends up controlling us.  We shove our stuff into boxes and storage units in order to hold onto memories of better times (come on, you know what I‘m talking about --how many of us still have that favorite pair of jeans in the back of our closets from before we got pregnant?!)  And no matter how much I wish I could still fit into those jeans (and I hope every day) when I actually pulled them out of the depths of my closet, they were hopelessly dated and out of style.

Sometimes to realize a better and more fulfilling life for ourselves we have to let go.  We have to let go of bad habits, bad attitudes, and even the stuff in our homes which stops us from having a place we can’t wait to get back to at the end of the day.  Our homes, filled with things we love, can reflect our interests and views of the world, but they are not us.  Simply, we are not what we own. My friend who gave us the car already understood this lesson.  In spite of  the Range Rover’s intrinsic coolness, he sent his car out into the world for someone else to enjoy.    And now, it was my turn to realize that even if I didn’t own the car anymore, the gift given to us was not diminished in any way.  I still had the memory of a great gift given so selflessly, a memory that I will always carry with me and, it was, after all, just a car.

After this realization struck, I painted on a white poster board in big red letters and placed it on the broken windshield….”Save my marriage, buy this Range Rover.”  It was gone by the time my husband got home.

“Babe, where is the car….?”

“Hmmmmm…..” I said  thoughtfully, “ I haven’t seen that in a while.”  


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Story of Mister Puffy Coat

This is Mister Puffy Coat.
No, not the growing boy in the coat, but the coat itself.

It has a name.

Mister Puffy Coat is a member of our family.  Three short years ago, I brought Mister Puffy Coat home.  He was quite big on Chops (my son's nickname) at the time, but like all kids, Chops grew…and as he grew, Mister Puffy Coat became more than just a coat.

At first, it was all very innocent.  Mister Puffy Coat would, like any regular coat, keep Chops warm and dry.  I’m not really sure when Mister Puffy Coat made the leap from innocuous weather gear to actual friend, but a bond was forged as he and Chops went many places together…to school...playing in the tree house…and even camping.  On one particular trip, Mister Puffy Coat even saved Chop's behind from being baptized in bear poop, and, like any best friend, didn’t even complain about being soiled.

Chops was happy.  Mister Puffy Coat was a good friend.  All was right with the world.

Until last week.

You see, Mister Puffy Coat is now two sizes too small for my growing boy.  He is dingy and torn, and in one of his pockets lie the sticky remains of a package of gum that has gone through the dryer.  But in spite of his battered appearance, Chops and Mister Puffy Coat continued their games of hide and seek, chase the coat, (Mister Puffy Coat not always taking the role of coat, mind you--) and freeze tag.  While waiting for my daughter to get out of school, I watched in the rearview mirror as Chops climbed over the back seat, threw Mister puffy Coat over, then chased after him.  It made me laugh.  Then it made me wonder if we need to invest in some toys for the kid so he doesn’t have to play with his clothes for entertainment…

Anyway, while shopping last week, I came across a new coat.  I brought it home and my husband (not being aware of this affection for Mister Puffy Coat, or that it even had a name) told Chops to throw his coat in the donate bag.  At this point, true to 7 year old form, Chops had a meltdown, as would any one of you if your dad told you to throw your best friend in the trash, and wrapped himself around Mister Puffy Coat never to let go.

Friends, I wish I had more compassion.

I wish I scooped Chops up in my arms and told him that Mister Puffy Coat is going to a ’better place’--a place filled with down and gortex and inclement weather, where puffy coats are honored and revered for just being who they are: coats.

Instead, I laughed.

I laughed so hard I fell to the floor.

I laughed until I cried.
And when I was done laughing, I began laughing some more.
I laughed and laughed and laughed…only to look up and see my family staring blankly at me, like a Doctor looks at the crazy man locked up in a padded cell, or like parents looking at a 7 year old who plays with coats.

I took a deep breath.

And a compromise came to mind.

                                                *      *      *

Mister Puffy Coat now hangs with honor in the mudroom, ready to play, like a faithful companion, at a moments notice.  He is washed and cleaned (except for the gum--).  Chops is wearing his new coat to school everyday without complaint.
And this morning on the way to school, he turned to me and said, “Guess what Mom?  I named my new coat…his name is…"

(Wait for it…)

“Mister Puffy Puffy Coat!”

Welcome to the family.

What kind of crazy things did you play with as a child?
What about your own kids?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

All You Need Is Love

Seriously.  The Beatles really had it going on.  All we need is love.

There's too much hate.  Not Haight, mind you...but soul tearing, heart breaking, nasty tasting hatred that leaves it's black ugliness all over everything.  My husband, after reading this post, kindly called it cliche. (Wondering why there's no accent in cliche?  Read this ) He says it sounds like a "Miss America answer" to trying to solve all the problems on planet earth.  I say, cliches are 'cliches' for a reason.  Yes, they are trite and stale, but at the same time, they are filled with wisdom.  Maybe from time to time it's o.k. to be cliche.   Heck, it's even o.k. from time to time to be campy, stupid, and even stereotypical....as long as you know you're doing it.  And right now, I need a cliche to make me feel reassured in this world of weird.  And remember, even the worst cliche was, at it's birth, unheard wisdom.  After all, once one acknowledges that their thinking is 'cliche', (or that they are referring to themselves in 3rd person)  it's well known that it's then alright to use it because we all love a self-aware cliche.  So, I say (like Paul, Ringo, John and George), what we need is love.

What we need is love.  Heart healing, soul mending-grandma-lap-sitting, cinnamon roll baking, big armed squeezing love.  Love that transcends ego.  Love that swallows ideas.  Love that oozes and fills up all the cracks in our errant thinking that we are right. And they are wrong.

What if we, instead of pointing our dirty fingers, spread out our arms and said, "Hey, brother, I love you."  I love your conviction.  I love your heart.  I see your spirit shining through, and even if we disagree, we can still love each other.  I don't belong to your religion, but I can respect your right to believe.  I don't agree with your politics, but I admire your courage to stand up and be heard.  I don't agree with your hair color, shoe size, neighborhood, or a million other things, but I love you.  No matter what.

What would we be like?

What goodness could shine forth?

What kindness could happen as a result of such love?

One of my favorite quotes is, "Resolve to be an instrument of extravagant love every single day you walk this earth."

Well, why not?

Let's lift the hands that hang down.  Let's speak a little kinder.  Let's reach a little further to the stranger, the neighbor, the friend.  Let's remember that we are all allowed to fail.  And then let's be a little more merciful....even to ourselves.  Little hinges swing big gates...let's bring a little more love everywhere we are and then see that love grow.  We can do it.  We can make this one place a little better, we can give a little more hope.  All of us can show a little more love.

After all, all we need is love.

Lisa Haight, Square Toothed Girl
What cliches do you live by?  What's the ancient wisdom you see buried in your favorite cliche?
How DO you add accents to words like 'cliche', 'bebe', and 'bloque'?  No, really...I wanna know...

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Invisible Tattoo

So, I have a curious genetic quirk that crops up at the oddest moments.  Without meaning to, and quite by accident, complete strangers engage me in soul-sharing conversations that bring forth great discovery, joy, and sometimes, just downright disturbing information.

Since before I can remember, people just tell me their stuff.  Now, we all have people who we want to tell us their stuff, like husbands, children (hopefully), and friends, but I am talking about complete strangers coming up to me and unloading their deepest secrets in under 10 minutes.  I think I have a invisible tattoo on my forehead that says, "Hey, I'm listening."  I'm not sure when I first realized what was going on, but uninvited visitors find me everyday to tell me their stuff.

However, this odd gravity that brings strangers to my person, door, and phone (not kidding) isn't always a bad thing.  Today, for instance, I was in our local health food store, when a curious little woman approached me and struck up a conversation about beets.  I was in the process of wrestling a large cabbage into a bag when she begin telling me about how she ate beets in her native Romania before she emigrated to the U.S.  She stood about two heads shorter than my almost six feet, and she wore a pumpkin colored scarf.  She had a missing front tooth, and spoke in a quiet voice which made me stoop to hear her.   She told me that her parents sent her to the States to "become a rich, fat American", and she walked to all the grocery stores near her home each day to check out the produce and compare prices.  She then took me on a guided tour of a huge bin of pomegranates (whose price was raised from .99 each to 1.49 just this morning) and she even placed a couple in my cart for me to enjoy.

Now you may be thinking that her deluge of friendship was just because she was older.

Not so.

Yesterday, I   was engaged in conversation by a 30-something waiter (I wasn't dining in the restaurant, just picking up take-out) who asked me if I was a track coach.  Seriously?  I was earing 3 1/2 inch, knee high, black laced boots, a skirt and a cashmere wrap.  Did I look like I had just come from the gym?  Besides, I only run when people are actually chasing me.  My body type says more "voracious reader" than "fitness buff"--not that the two need be mutually exclusive, but they just are in my case-- He then told me about how he works nights as a waiter so he can go to school to become a nurse.  He even followed me out the door and to my car (don't be worried, I was wearing those big boots and can run really fast since I'm a track coach) telling me about his childhood in Mexico.

And the most disturbing:  Once at the gym, just as I was drying my hair in the locker room, a fellow gym member, whom I had never seen with the usual 5 a.m. crowd, shared with me about how she'd got an abortion the night before.  Not kidding.  My heart broke for her.  She needed someone to talk to, and naturally, she found me to share it with.  I was glad to help her carry her burden even if it was in the locker room surrounded by half dressed women getting ready for work.  I never saw her again.  But I still think of her and send love her way whenever she crosses my mind.

I could go on and on, stories of lost limbs, insurance claims, custody battles, aging parents, terminal illness, wayward children, physical abuse, indigestion, pregnancy, mental disorders, embezzlement, anger issues, unemployment, homelessness, death, and just life.  All these tales told by strangers, who land briefly in my presence, and whom I never see again.

Sometimes in the middle of the night, I find myself thinking about the story I've heard that day and I wonder if I was a Priest in another life.  What is it about sharing personal information with a stranger that eases a burden?  I can honestly say, (to the best of my recollection) I don't ever remember telling a stranger much of anything.  In fact, because of my invisible tattoo,  I strive to make every interaction with a stranger one of love and joy, and if that's just not possible, then at least one of politeness.

In spite of all these stories, I somehow never feel burdened.    And, this may seem not very introspective, but I've never wondered why all these people tell me their stuff. Some things just are.  Like parking garages--seriously, a mystery, how can you go up, but come down and out?  And Netflix movie streaming--a complete conundrum--a movie on my computer that is streamed to my t.v. via a little box with a flashing light?   Some things defy explanation.

And anyway...

Hey, I'm listening.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Butter To The Bread Of Life

Since the moldy pumpkins and fake spider webs have been swept from the porch (only the real webs remain) and November is now upon us, I gladly welcome this season of Gratitude.  Blustery skies, falling leaves, and cozy nights next to the fire allow time for reflection on the year past. I personally have much to be grateful for.  I could ramble on a list like many who are posting their gratitude on Facebook updates, but instead,  I would like to send my gratitude out into the Universe to all who have lovingly shone their personal sun of  mindfulness upon me.  I have long said that it's really my friends and family who make me who I am, and to you, dear ones, I dedicate all my gratitude this season.

To long lost friends who gave love and laughter, thank you.  I have bright memories because of you.

To new friends, welcome, I can't wait to get to know you better.

To those who shaped me as a child and young adult, and who, by far had the most difficult job, I stand in awe of the time and love you gave and give.  Thank you for being patient with me as I learn to 'get it right'.  You are pillars of strength and super-heroes, one and all.

To my friends who speak volumes with one word, who call at the exact right moment, who send a note in the mail, pick up children, make a meal, lift the hands that hang down, and shower undivided and absolutely pure love, I adore you.  You make my life rich and full.  You are instruments of extravagant love.  Because of you my life is vibrant and joy-filled.  You make the path easier to trod, and I am glad and grateful to share the journey with you.

To the old souls in new bodies that I get to walk with for a little while as your mother: you are amazing.  You are love embodied.  You light up everyday just by being who you are.  You shower peace and acceptance with every action and word.  Just by being yourselves, you make the world a better place.  I am so glad I have front row seats to your life!

And to the One I get to spend my days and nights with, listening to the dance of little feet, as we laugh and work together, I say: I am glad we walk as one...and you know the rest.

Friends are the butter to the bread of life.

And for them, I am grateful.