Shattered Glass Political Ceiling

Today, a shift has occurred in our world. A woman has been nominated as the official Democratic contender for President of the United States. Other women have run before, but no one has moved to this level of the game.

Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton has broken the glass ceiling for presidential politics.

Finally.

When our middle daughter Liz was little, she asked her Daddy why women couldn’t run for President of the US. He told her he hoped that would change in her lifetime.

Today it changed.

Finally.

I am very happy for girls and women everywhere.   And for boys and men.

Hope reigns for equal involvement of men and women in making the decisions that rule our world.

Most appropriate.

Finally.

Hooray.

roosevelt

Repost: My Connection to Texas

Whenever I drive back to Texas, the minute I hit the border from New Mexico, a calm settles over me. Not that West Texas is my home, but still, I can see the big open sky and the flat plains and I hear that West Texas closed-mouth drawl when I stop for gas. These signal the start of the feeling that I am back home.

By the time, I get to Wichita Falls, the terrain is shifting and the rolling plains of North Central Texas come into view. At that point, I start to breathe deeper. The fields are dotted with cattle and horses and fences that separate the ranches. I see barns and hay and tractors and I am moving closer to my roots.

After Gainesville, the hills start. Not big ones, but small lifts that break up that endless horizon. There are more trees, too, and gullies and creeks that make the leaves greener on the nearby vegetation. I begin to see combines in the fields and cattle trailers filled with livestock headed to auction and I know that life as I knew it fifty years ago isn’t all that different today. Of course, there are cowboys talking on cell phones as I pass their pickups, but they are still wearing their cowboy hats and nod a friendly hello.

I have a home in Sherman, thirty miles east of Gainesville. My husband and I have lived in that area on and off for the last thirty-five years. That is familiar territory for sure and I am always happy to drive up to our two-story Victorian with the lights glowing through the lace curtains on the living room windows. Aw, what a feeling.

But it’s when I make that twenty-five mile trek from Sherman to Bonham on Highway 56 that I feel as if I’ve never grown up and moved off to California. That is the same stretch of road that I traveled endless times as a kid and a teenager, coming to the big town of Sherman from my little town of 7,000. That road holds the secret of a trip with my high school boyfriend to go look for wedding rings when I was seventeen. Rings we never bought, but surely did dream about buying. That road is the same that I drove to see my best friend’s father at the hospital when he was diagnosed with the disease that would kill him while she was still in high school. That was the road where at least two of my friends died in car accidents in our teenage years.

Even with those memories, not all happy ones, I still love that stretch of highway. It connects my present to my past and pulls me closer to a time when I was surrounded with people I loved on a daily basis, my family and my friends.

I drive through our little town now and I see it how it was in the 1950’s, 60’s and early 70’s when I was there. I note the changes, but superimpose my own memories of people, places and events onto the current landscape.

I love California and feel a different set of feelings connected to there, but North Central Texas will always be my home. That is where I first sat in my Daddy’s lap when he let me steer the car at three or four years old, held my mother’s hand in Holy Trinity Episcopal church on Star Street, and had my first high school kiss on a country back road.

Home is where the heart is as they say and that is certainly true. Home is where the memories are, as well.

I feel happy that I have such a deep connection to the land in Texas. I feel grounded by that connection; it continues to serve me well.

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A Writing Focused Day

This has been a day spent on Story Circle Network’s Online Classes program and my college essay students. I have been evaluating proposals for the fall term, which is exciting since there are some great classes coming up. Also, I worked with three students over the phone so we can get a jump on the college admission process this summer and rather than waiting until school starts in the fall.

I also will be teaching a new course for SCN in the fall: An Intermediate Flash Fiction/Memoir class for students who have taken my Introductory “Writing Short” class. I’ve never taught this before and am doing so at the request of several students. I am excited about it because I will be working with students with whom I already have a rapport and we can dig deeper. Yahoo.

I have been focused for several hours on this. After a week of being outside in the heat, I must admit I’ve enjoyed sitting in the air conditioning and working on the writing part of my life. I also must say that sitting here in our Victorian is a pleasure in itself. It is such a quiet and peaceful place.

I am ready to relax now so I’ll say good-night. I hope you all had a good Sunday and are geared up to face Monday in the morning!

I’ll be checking in again tomorrow.

Startup Stock Photos
Startup Stock Photos

Garage Sale Day

A big thank you to Debbie Hope Norris and her sister for making the trek over from Bonham this morning to come to our garage sale.  I really appreciated you taking the time to visit.

Also, much thanks to Ronnie Ball’s wife, two daughters and granddaughter for dropping by.  As I said to them, “One of my greatest pleasures on facebook is seeing the wives/husbands, children and grandchildren of my childhood friends. I find it very touching.” I admit to getting a little teary -eyed when I looked at Ronnie’s girls and saw his face in their faces.  Yes, I do have a serious sentimental streak, for which I will not apologize.

Also, my cousin Lee sent a friend of his over with our mutual friend/family member, Jim Adams, to meet Ray and me.  We chatted with Jim and David and then I took David on a house tour.  In his words, “I was geeking out upstairs looking at all the Lyon memorabilia.”  Needless to say, we hope to be seeing more of David.  We clearly have a lot in common!

Much thanks to Parker McComas for making the trek from Anna to see us.  Parker always brings his well-honed sense of humor with him and that makes everything a lot more fun. Gayle, we missed you, but understand you were making tons of money today working, so what can we say?

Finally, thank you, Laura (Jeannine) Jones for coming to visit after sixteen years.  We picked up right where we left all, a true measure of friendship.  I enjoyed getting completely up-to-date on all the family news.  Hugs to Jim.  It was good to see your son and grandson too.

We had a great day.  Lots of sales, fun and camaraderie among neighbors and friends.

Now I must sleep.

We’ll be talking again tomorrow.

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Dragging

I would write more if I could get my fingers to move. We have been working all day getting ready for the garage sale and it was 98 degrees for most of the time we were outside. I am sitting here wringing wet and I still have at least four or five boxes to unpack. Those will have to wait until early morning. Right now I am going to take a bath, maybe burn my clothes and hit the hay.

My step counter says I walked 17,764 steps.

Enough said?

Hope those of you who are nearby will come by and see what we have to sell. It’s a yard-full, I can say that and we have several friends arriving tomorrow with their stuff as well.

Off I go to the bath. I expect to be up with the chickens.

Sleep well and I will be checking with you again tomorrow.

texas heat

Delving Deeper for Great College Essays

I have been working with students on college essays over the past few days, using shared Google docs and the telephone. It is always an interesting process and this year is no different.

Part of the fun of college essays is that we dig deep, looking for experiences that carry real heft. This is not particularly easy to get to and requires a lot of prompting:

“Have you had a particularly challenging experience?”

“How did you feel? Sad, defeated, frustrated, demoralized?”

“What did you do after you felt those feelings?”

Most students are very uncomfortable talking about themselves in this way, but this is one sure method to get down to a person’s core values.

“And then what?”

Deeper and deeper.

Many of my students laugh in the middle of this process and say, “I’m telling you things I don’t usually share with anybody.”

This is the key. The goal of the personal essay is to communicate in 650 words an essential truth about the writer’s life experience and that is never going to happen by focusing on surface experiences and emotions.

I have helped many students write their college essays over the past sixteen years. It is one of my favorite activities because it is so personal and ultimately so rewarding. I’ve watched kids with average grades and SAT scores gain admission to top schools primarily because of their superlative personal essays and I’ve seen others with excellent grades and top SAT scores get unexpected full ride merit scholarships to top universities greatly aided by their strong personal essays. More importantly, I’ve watched all of my students find that nugget of truth that sheds real light for them on their lives and their struggles and who they are deep down. That’s the best part, no matter where they end up in college.

I am lucky to have this job. I always come away with a sense that we have accomplished something that goes well beyond the college application process. We have connected on a personal level and I have witnessed a transformation as my students have pushed themselves to ask important questions about who and how they are and what they see as their purpose in this world. We would all do well to have someone from time to time asking us to probe into our psyches for those answers. I suspect we’d create a better world for others and ourselves if we did.

going-deeper

Come See Us on Saturday for Our 2nd Neighborhood Garage Sale

Ray and I were up at 6 this morning, down at our bank building, pulling out lots of goodies for our next neighborhood garage sale which will be this Saturday from 8 – 5 in the front yard of our home here in Sherman, which is a historically marked Queen Anne Victorian known as Lyon House. We also brought a whole van load of antiques and collectibles from CA specifically for the garage sale and/or the antique mall. Several of our neighbors and friends are joining us for what we hope will be a repeat of our successful sale back in late May. We can only have two sales a year, so come one, come all! There should be lots to buy and the prices will be right. There will be antiques, collectibles, appliances, clothes, household items and books. Our address here in Sherman is 716 North Crockett Street. Just come on by to browse and visit. It should be a fun day.

garage_sale_funny

Flash Fiction, Memoir and Essay

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