The nose pickers

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By the time fourth period rolls around, it’s going on 2:00 and the 4-6 year old children are tired. When I come in, I know I have about 15 minutes to teach the most important parts of my lesson before I start losing them to the play things that surround us in the room. Fortunately, my theatrics are good and the children are enthusiastic. We learn about birds, their homes and their habits. The children sit up on their feet, in tiny blue chairs, and prop their elbows up on the octagonal table that they surround. They are fabulous. At this point in the day, all the hair is marvelously messy — bows are askew and many shoes are untied. They stare at me, wide eyed, as I talk about the size of a hummingbird egg or where an eagle makes it’s nest. The children gasp audibly as they imagine that the woodpecker can actually eat a frog and the red tailed hawk can swoop down and pick up a field mouse with it’s strong talons.

It’s a sweet time… well… except for one thing — and can I just be up front here?
They pick their noses.
They pick. their. noses.
And when I ask them if they need a tissue, they sweetly look up at me and say no.
When I suggestively hand them a tissue- they daintily hold it in one hand, while they pick with the other.
When I whisper to them discreetly, “Please use your tissue — don’t pick your nose,” then, one little darling in particular, will turn her head and bend down a bit in order that she may pick in private.

This drives me to distraction and it’s terribly hard to continue with my lesson whilst suffering through the inner squirm. Since I only have a very short time, for the sake of whatever children are not picking, I have to continue teaching, in spite of whoever is picking.

We always listen to the sound of the bird and then we scroll through bird pictures on my iPad.

Then comes the question — and it always comes.

“Can I swipe it?” And the little finger comes for my iPad.

Only the wisest…

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There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.

— Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865-1946

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Quote taken from Jan Karon’s, Patches of Godlight
Photo Credit: Little Pink Monster

But, not yet have I reached that bright life or that white happiness – not yet.

Catherine Whittier:

The snow is deep this morning in Indiana. We live in a rural setting, down a winding road and over a single lane bridge. There are no giant snow plows that take passes over our narrow, private road, just a kind neighbor who pushes a plow with his yellow jeep. While the rest of the world gets cleaned up and dirtied with slush, we manage to stay deep and white and quiet. I lit a candle and sipped my coffee as I opened David Kanigan’s blog post in my beautiful, white cathedral.

At 50-something I can see myself in the mirror with more clarity than ever before. There is no brand of make up and no amount charm that can cover the trails that I have left behind, and I hear solemn echoes that beckon me to live with abandon and heal with completion. There is a longing which is so deep and a desire which is so fundamental… I must not miss what matters most. My quest is constantly crippled by the battle with my habits and by the distractions I allow to come seeping into my world.

As Mary Oliver says, “I would like to be like the fox earnest in devotion and humor both, or the brave, compliant pond shutting its heavy door for the long winter. But, not yet have I reached that bright life or that white happiness – not yet.”
Read on:

Originally posted on Live & Learn:

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Men and women of faith who pray – that is, who come to a certain assigned place, at definite times, and are not abashed to go down on their knees – will not tarry for the cup of coffee or the news break or the end of the movie when the moment arrives. The habit, then, has become their life. What some might call the restrictions of the daily office they find to be an opportunity to foster the inner life. The hours are appointed and named; they are the Lord’s. Life’s fretfulness is transcended. The different and the novel are sweet, but regularity and repetition are also teachers. Divine attentiveness cannot be kept casually, or visited only in season, like Venice and Switzerland. Or, perhaps it can, but then how attentive is it? And if you have no ceremony, no habits, which may be opulent or may be simple…

View original 104 more words

Chicken Talk

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The sun shines — but it is a cruel taskmaster.
We lay eggs day in and day out — but we get nothing.
No beloved bugs.
No juicy earth worms.
Just forced labor in cold conditions.
More white matter tonight.

We need a union.

Borfingtina Whittier, spokeschicken

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Photo credit: Will Whittier 2015

The sound of men

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God, help me to remember the sound of a house full of boys. How many years have I snickered in the other room as I listen to their crazy antics?

When they were small- it was wrestling matches on the living room floor and army outfits and light sabers.
Little Indian buddies racing through my halls.
All they needed was popsicles.

Then came the monstrous thudding feet, loud crashes,
deep voices and sudden screams.
There were drums and banjos, pianos and guitars,
constant ribbing and unspeakable male noises.
All they needed was burgers and pizza and chips, and anything else I could drum up for them to wipe out.

Now… too often it’s the jingle of keys and the zipping of a jacket.
It’s the kiss on the cheek and the slam of the front door…
It’s a bagel in a napkin,
though it’s not really needed.
And a wave from the road.

It’s a new noise. The rattle of dreams.
It’s big plans and carefully, crafted schemes.
It’s girls — no — women.
Gulp.
It’s the sound of men.

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Photo credit: Linus Bohman

A tufted titmouse good morning to you…

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There is a small wooden box full of seed that sits on the narrow brick ledge just outside my window. This little guy likes to hop down inside the box to eat. He frequently pops his head up to keep an eye out for predators. He is not a bit afraid as he sees me get up from my chair or reach for things so very near him. He makes me smile.

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The Tufted Titmouse

“A little gray bird with an echoing voice, the Tufted Titmouse is common in eastern deciduous forests and a frequent visitor to feeders. The large black eyes, small, round bill, and brushy crest gives these birds a quiet but eager expression that matches the way they flit through canopies, hang from twig-ends, and drop in to bird feeders. When a titmouse finds a large seed, you’ll see it carry the prize to a perch and crack it with sharp whacks of its stout bill.

Tufted Titmice hoard food in fall and winter, a behavior they share with many of their relatives, including the chickadees and tits. Titmice take advantage of a bird feeder’s bounty by storing many of the seeds they get. Usually, the storage sites are within 130 feet of the feeder. The birds take only one seed per trip and usually shell the seeds before hiding them.

Tufted Titmice nest in tree holes (and nest boxes), but they can’t excavate their own nest cavities. Instead, they use natural holes and cavities left by woodpeckers. These species’ dependence on dead wood for their homes is one reason why it’s important to allow dead trees to remain in forests rather than cutting them down.

Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from living animals. The list of hair types identified from old nests includes raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans.

The oldest known wild Tufted Titmouse lived to be 13 years 3 months old.”

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/tufted_titmouse/lifehistory

Stay focused…

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Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:5-6 NIV

You have assigned me my portion. This package has my name on it — the exact provisions and quantities are there. If I take the path you have designed for me — according to your instructions, without chasing after lies, without insisting on more or longing for different, I will succeed in living a rich and fulfilled life.

Stay focused — do not give in to insecurity, greed, lust for power or glory.

Simply inventory my provisions and follow you.

There is something freeing and immensely satisfying about beating the temptation to wish for what is not mine.

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Photo from: browndresswithwhitedots.tumblr.com/post/12028805342