Archive for December, 2015

A perfect afternoon

My friend Ra is visiting this afternoon.

I’m an introvert. I start each visit with almost any friend attempting to entertain. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Entertain?

Quickly enough each time Ra visits, I realize she doesn’t need to be entertained. I can chat, read blogs, or do my laundry. All of it’s fine. She’ll keep herself entertained any which way.

Right now, she’s watching Shark Boy and Lava Girl with my six-year-old, Li’l D. They’re snuggled together on the couch and laughing.

auntie ra

My husband is talking to his computer while my toddler drags toy swords around the house.

It’s the perfect afternoon for this introvert: I’m surrounded by people I love, basking in the warmth of getting to be here with them … without my having to say a single word, except when necessitated by my offspring’s shenanigans!

Categories: Family, Friends Tags: , , ,

Merry Christmas, Mr. Jones!

The first post in my reader this morning sent me tumbling back in time.

I once lived and taught English in Japan, where I called three separate towns home.

In my first home, I had roommates in a smallish but bustling ocean town. A couple of cats would leap through open windows to visit me.


In my third home, I lived in a small town-subsidized complex with many of my students. I loved working in a little garden out behind my apartment, and would open the apartment’s front and back doors so my students could run through during their playtime. The town was incredibly rural, but it felt anything but to me!

So, so many hours of work to clear the plot by hand!

So, so many hours of work clearing the plot

Read more…

60 things o’ thankful

I read Goldfish’s 50+ things of gratitude last night, and then promptly wrote my own timed list. I set it aside without reading it. Here’s how it originated:

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list (the timer doesn’t matter for filling in the instructions, intro, etc). The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join us for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at Tales From The Motherland. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 15, 2015. After that date, no blogs can be added.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise; I will remove it. Aside from that one caveat, there is no such thing as too much positivity. Share your happy thoughts, your gratitude; help us flood the blogosphere with both!

I read Ra’s list soon afterward and was touched, but still didn’t peek at my own list again.

I read my list tonight and decided I wanted to post it. It’s not earth-shattering stuff, but … gratitude’s gotten me to where I am today, and I’m happy now to not only think quietly but reflect aloud upon the things for which I’m grateful. Read more…

Categories: Family, Friends, Reflections Tags: ,

Maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be different

As Christmas nears, many strangers find my blog searching for “first christmas without mom.” This post leads them here. This later post probably contributes to the traffic.

Today I’m home with a sick toddler. He’s alternately screaming and babbling. Some moments he wants my comfort; others he wants to be left completely alone. In his leave-alone moments, I’m tidying up what little I can as I listen to him babble. More and more of his words makes sense in combination.

“No more outside!” he exclaimed as we walked back inside earlier. “Is a nose,” he said sagely while pointing at Black Widow’s nose on a gift bag.

As I listen to him, I think of my mom. She must have had like mornings with me when I was little.

I think of my godmother, Anna, who snuggled with both my sons while we were in Oregon last weekend. Read more…

Something (inevitably) better

Categories: Personal, Women Tags: , , ,

To Big D with Love

A decade and a half ago, my brother dropped out of high school.

Today, he received his M.Ed.

I’ve never seen him smile so wide for so long.


With or without any piece of paper touting any accomplishment, I am proud of him.

Today, I am proud and thrilled, seeing his smile and knowing he will inspire many students in the years ahead.

I am so proud.

We are so proud.


Categories: Education, Family Tags: , ,

Soaring over anxiety

I’m not afraid of flying, but I do suffer anxiety that’s exacerbated by flying.

The higher my anxiety baseline, the more acutely I experience anxiety around flying.

I’m incredibly excited about my new job. And yet, the good stress of that coupled with other stressors–not to mention an overindulgence in celebratory sugar–means my anxiety levels are already sky-high … before I even begin to think about actually being sky-high, where I’ll be today en route to my brother’s graduation.

walking snuggliThis morning I found a little green jacket that helped ground me a little. “This is a sad and a happy thing for me,” I told my newly awakened six-year-old. “It’s sad because I bought this jacket to keep you warm while my mom was dying. It’s happy because it reminds me how much my mom loved being with you, and because, this trip, there’ll be a whole new person we didn’t even imagine then wearing the jacket.”

Um, okay, weirdo, my six-year-old said with his eyes.

I smiled as I breathed in the jacket’s familiar sweetness.

I set it over the back of a chair and took a seat at my computer. I searched my blog for “i love you amy,” and softened further reading the post that returned.

Then I searched for “vulnerability,” and breathed a long, thankful sigh of relief while reading the post I’d sought. It was just the medicine I needed.

I’m often amazed by how healing others’ words can be in the blogosphere. Much less often, I’m amazed to find was the source of exactly what I needed to read.

Holding all of this close to my heart, I won’t just be flying today.

I’ll be soaring.

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