Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Simply, Simplify

"Our life is frittered away by detail. . . Simplify, simply."

And with those simple words, I became hooked on Henry David Thoreau.  My 11th-grade English teacher, Mr. Becker, introduced us to the world of Transcendentalism.  His expertise on this topic and his amazingness as a teacher helped me expand my thinking and think beyond my little Nebraska world.

I love everything about Thoreau, but my absolute favorite passage comes from Walden.  Thoreau tells us we work and run around like ants, and we don't take time to appreciate what we really have.  He tells us our lives are complicated with too much detail, and we need to simplify.  This rings true now more than then.  We've so cluttered our world with everything from technology to clothing to cars and even food choices.  I long to just retreat to a cabin in the woods and get away from it all at times.

During this Thanksgiving season, I plan to slow down and savor all the blessings in my life.  I will be traveling to Nebraska with my traveling companion, my mom, where most of my family lives.  First stop--Lincoln--to help my brother celebrate 60 years of living a great life and to see my sister in law and feel her warm embrace and to hug tightly my nieces and nephew and to get to know our little Lucy and to watch the Huskers stomp Iowa.  Next stop--Cairo (Nebraska, not Egypt!) to celebrate my niece's 32nd year of a beautiful life and to see my sister and to be surrounded by love and joy and laughter with E and Drake and beautiful Quinn.

Simplicity.  Life is good!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Father's Eyes

"Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?"
Henry David Thoreau

It's hard to believe that my dad has been gone for more than thirty years.  His sudden death in 1982 sent a shock wave through my close-knit family.  Indeed, we still feel some of that shock even now.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about his strong spirit, his unique and genuine laugh, and his beautiful eyes.  My dad had the bluest eyes, and it is from him that I get my own blue eye color.

Growing up, there were times when I couldn't look my dad in the eye, especially those times when I knew I had disappointed him.  He was always so extremely proud of all of us, and even though he would never show it, he must have felt some moments of disapproval.  I regret not looking him in those blue eyes and saying "I'm sorry.  I love you."

I would love  just an instant to look through those blue eyes once again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Write Like Thoreau

"Write often, write upon a thousand themes, rather than long at a time, not trying to turn too many feeble somersaults in the air"--Thoreau

My 12th-grade English students are creating Thoreau journal/blogs, and I'm going to join them.  I will be switching gears a bit with my posts and trying my own hand at writing Thoreau-inspired posts.  I'm super excited to revisit some of my favorite Thoreau passages and explore new ones with my seniors.  Follow us as we all try to write like Thoreau!