Shells & Alice Walker


Yesterday afternoon we were wandering along the shoreline, playing in the surf and happening upon gorgeous shells that were strewn along the shore.  Gorgeous shells just cast about like little gems.  No matter how many times I visit this part of the Gulf Coast – Marco Island and Sanibel Island – I’m always amazed by the shells.  Amazed someone has not already scooped them all up and hauled them away.  Surprised that there are always more.   And thrilled by all of the beauty that you will just stumble upon.


As I woke up this morning and reflected on our experiences yesterday, I was reminded of this poem I love – on what we love and value.   Its a perfectly timed reminder to be present and elevate and focus on what really matters.  Thanks, Ms. Walker.


We Alone Can Devalue Gold – by Alice Walker

We alone can devalue gold

by not caring
if it falls or rises
in the marketplace.
Wherever there is gold
there is a chain, you know,
and if your chain
is gold
so much the worse
for you.

Feathers, shells
and sea-shaped stones
are all as rare.

This could be our revolution:
to love what is plentiful
as much as
what’s scarce.


Just Breathe … and go to my happy place

Mom: “What can you share about your special ed program, and the transition into middle school (my son has high functioning autism)?”

Administrator:” We treat them ‘normal’ … ” (in fairness, they did finish the sentence but I turned off.

Mom: “You mean … because they ARE normal, right???”    (sidebar: very out of character for me to respond that way but SERIOUSLY?!  This is a parent orientation.)

Yes, this was the low point of my first visit to the (now potential) future middle school for our little guy in the fall.  It started off great – upbeat, positive, good info.  Administration and student speakers talked about working hard to make the middle school transition a great one for the kids and talked about how they accomplish that.

But no special ed info at all.  None.  As it wrapped, they pointed out someone to answer questions.   I wish they had not … I was feeling pretty good.  That little snippet above was the jewel of the exchange.  It did neutralize a bit after that, but basically this person seemed to think it was sufficient to tell a parent of a child with special needs that they will be in a ‘normal’ classroom and the teachers are experienced. Nothing about transitions, or IEPs, or how their curriculum is modified, etc etc.  Any actual questions … I should schedule an appt for those.  Apparently parent orientation was not the right place to address these things.


So I stewed as we toured the sixth grade classrooms, ruminated while we hit the gym, and was about to re-approach for a second attempt.  Can’t leave this bad taste in my mouth about the school I thought.  And thankfully the next person I asked the same basic question was so kind, and very helpful.  And the information was encouraging.  It’s not that the school couldn’t address my concerns – its that the spokesperson did it horribly.   Which brought me right back to our gifts … know what they are and play to your strengths.  Of all the people they could have assigned to speak to new parents, I KNOW there was someone who had a gift for connection and engagement that could have left us feeling so different.

So how do I feel … frustrated!  disappointed!  I hoped for so much more – like encouragement, a supportive middle school team, partners.  And it may be there yet … but not the ‘first look’ I wanted.    But before I drive myself nuts

I am going to just breathe … and go to my happy place 


(as depicted by a wonderful artist and friend, Clayton Singleton, in this great painting.)

Gifts of Imperfection

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.
Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.  – Brene Brown

By now so many have watched Brene Brown’s  hugely popular Ted talk on vulnerability … but if not,  you MUST WATCH.   Here it is:

Powerful and important stuff – knowing that you are imperfect and that it’s OK.  Being willing to be vulnerable and try to live a whole-hearted life, every day.

Well this Sunday we start a six week ART JOURNALING ecourse that I am SO excited to take with a group of friends.  Her books are excellent and I highly recommend then, especially Daring Greatly and Gifts of Imperfection.

Grateful to be able to take this course and share it with friends.  Join us!   Here’s the link for more info and to register.

Brene Brown – Gifts of Imperfection Course Link