Don’t should on yourself.

I should exercise more. I should eat better. I should sleep more. I should. I should. I should.

Someone told me “I should” write down a two column list.

Wants vs. Shoulds

I want a cookie. I should eat a salad.

I want a new pair of jeans. I should save my money.

I want to be thinner. I should go to the gym.

Sooooo…why am I doing this?

Why shouldn’t we should on ourselves?

The message that we are receiving is that we are judging ourselves. Do we like to feel judged? Not effective. Not helpful. Not self-compassionate.

We SHOULD LOVE ourselves.



Good Night

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Mr. Dylan Thomas I beg to differ today.

Sometimes soft words whisper “good night”.

Sometimes a gentle kiss releases a soul.

Sometimes waves crash against hot concrete sizzling into vapor.

Sometimes mist lifts embracing the dying light.

Sometimes frail deeds dance quietly into the dark night.


sometimes there is no rage here.

Only love.


Sugar We’re Through! Maybe…

I started my day at the organic grocery store. They have the most beautiful self-serve salad bar on the planet. The shiny stainless steel is blinding. It’s a delight for the senses. There is not one piece of wilted lettuce in the bin, the carrots have a healthy deep orange hue, and the cucumbers are nestled in perfect rows.

Tossed all my greens into a plastic container and headed for the check out. I just can’t wait to go home to put all this green goodness in my body; I am the poster child for healthy living.

Heading home I stopped at CVS to get some mouthwash.

Oooo…jelly beans.

Sugar! No! What am I thinking?!? I’m going home to a salad! I can do this. I can walk away from these delightful little beans. Seriously, what harm will come from jelly beans? Ugh! I threw them in my basket.

Balance–it’s all about balance. 😉





“I am”…I said. SOL 2018

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Her trapped toe tapped under the thick layers of sheets and blankets as the music started. With her eyes still closed, raspy sounds escaped weakly through her soft breath. No one would think she was singing. No one recognized the tune. No one could. The sound leaked out from her throat as if it was an old rusty pipe that no one bothered to turn off. Too old and a wrench would surely pop the fragile steel now nearly rusted throughout.

Ever since my mother made the decision to die on her own terms the days have been peaceful. Not full of sadness as one would expect. The day she demanded to end her torturous hospital stay was sad for us, her family. She thanked us–a lot. She reminded us of the bargain we made years ago–No wires, no tubes, or sitting in my own mess.  Done.

On an FMLA from my teaching position, my days are spent with her now and I love them. Her comfort is top priority. My mother loved her life. Music was always apart of it. So everyday I flip through her CD collection, and ask her, “What will we listen to today?” Tango? La La Land? Tito Puente? ABBA?

“How about a little Neil Diamond today Mom?” She threw her head back and mouthed, oh yes.

“I am” …I said.  The music poured out and filled the room and our hearts as we sang with Neil.

Fill the cup. Fill it with love. Fill it with lots of love.

Deconstructing Poetry

Slice #17

My 6th graders have been working on a poetry unit. They are reading and writing a variety of poems. I tried a new strategy today to get them to focus on word choice and the importance of it in poetry. I learned this technique at a CPS PD a couple of weeks ago. I really didn’t think much of strategy when I first heard about it, but I thought I would give it a try today. Wow! I was very impressed by the power of this activity. The gist is to gather all the words and list them in alphabetical order–just the words. I didn’t tell the kids it was a deconstructed poem. The title of the poem is Foul Shot by Hoey. Below is the word list. (not totally in alphabetical order but close enough).

A and and and and and against along ball ball ball balances begs before breathes boy by center calms clock crouches coy drums dives down every eyes feet floor fingertips face gently hanging hand his his hesitates in it it line left lands leans measures net nudges on on on out out plays raises right right Roar-up scoreboard seconds solemn squeezed silence Seeks soothes stillness stretching stuck slides screams the the the the the the the the then then then then two two through through upward up uniform until unsounding wavers with with with with waiting Waits wobbles

I asked the kiddos to read the list and put a circle around any words that were unfamiliar to them. Then the students reread the list and chose a word that they thought was the most important one. You have to steer them away from the, and, at, in… or words that are used more than once. The point is to get them to choose a word from the list and prove why it is important. For example one of my students chose scoreboard. She said that word was the most important one because of the words ball, fingertips, net, and screams.
“All those words show a ball game because people are screaming in the stands and watching the ball leave the boys fingertips and go into the net.” Remember this is all before she knows it is a poem.
Another student said solemn was the most important word because of the words hesitates, calm, silence, seeks, soothes, stillness, and clock.
“Maybe it is during the part of the game where everyone is waiting for something important to happen.” (brilliant)
The next literary term we focused on was tone. They reread the words again and I asked them to identify the author’s tone.
Then I gave them the poem. When they read it, they had a better understanding of the meaning because of the simple act of analyzing just the words ahead of time. I highly recommend you give this a try in your classrooms.

soul punched

Slice #15

Soul Punched

Arise and
encircle me.
Pull me in tighter
And tighter.
Trying to regain balance
but soul punched.
Lurch and lunge
Pull me back in
and negotiate.
soul punched
Submerged and gasping
Trying to regain balance
but soul punched.
Arise and relent
encircle my quivering soul.


Slice #14

My sixth graders worked on creating vocabulary acrostics today. They are reading Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I printed a list of vocabulary words they should know and gave them a blank template. For each letter of the vocabulary word the students wrote a word or phrase that he/she associates with the word and if possible relate it back to the book. The kiddos wrote some pretty creative stuff. I was very impressed. Then I thought that I would try one myself, so I wrote one for the Slice today. Enjoy. 😉

S–Scribe your existence
L–Life happens daily
I–Imagine yourself as a writer
C–Comments will propel you and
E–Energize your skills


Slice #11

He lined us along the railing.
“Which one of you is the liar?” he accused.
We glance at each other momentarily.
“Who is the liar here?” he demanded, but no one spoke.
I looked straight up from my post to the vaulted ceiling.
He leaned over the railing and his argyle tie dangled from his neck.
“You know who you are,” he said broadening his knowing smile.
I gripped the railing in an effort to reduce my vertigo.
“You can try to be someone else, but you’re so transparent, it’s so obvious,” he threw his head back to accentuate the word obvious.
He descended down the spiral staircase and stopped next to me and whispered in my ear.
“You can’t hide it. We all know the real you.”
The girl on the opposite side of the staircase nervously giggled. He stopped next to her and she froze.
“Are you the liar?” he asked her.
I watched as he scuffed down the stairs.
“Everyone knows you can’t hide the real you,” he said to all of us as he jogged to the bottom of the stairwell.
He stopped and look up at all of us staring down at him.
“You can’t hide. Everyone can see right through you. It’s so obvious.”