Good morning, Saturday.

Please excuse me while I seep into a lovely haze of inspiration.

As you may or may not know, I have a little "thing" for DIY projects. Art and me were never one in the same; however, I cherish the beauty and truth in creatively tackling life's little expressions. Anything handmade. Gifts, cards, wall-hangings, clothes, jewelry...I adore it all. I support local artists and, although slightly time-deprived, have been known to crank out a few projects myself [alright, 'a few' may be a slight understatement].

So, in the spirit of celebration I'd like to share my most recent bits of inspiration. Prepare yourself.

I love love LOVE the garland.

I would also want to try this with antique mason jars.

The wall-flowers. All I'm sayin'.

I may or may not have a slight obsession with anything chalkboard. But seriously, how incredible is this? I thought so too.

My favorite piece of jewelry is an antique piece of silverware bent into the shape of a ring - I love when silverware is recycled and used to serve other [equally beautiful] purposes. Hello, genius.

There's an amazing little gourmet ice cream shop in Columbus, OH - Jeni's Ice Cream, that has a handmade flag banner hanging on their ceiling, much like that on this card. Love. [Check out the flavors listed on their website - Sweet Potato with Torched Mushrooms? Riesling Poached Pear? YES PLEASE.]

For as long as I can remember, I've had an extreme love of all things snowflake. When I was little, all my mom would need to do to keep me occupied in the winter months was throw some hot chocolate, scrap white paper, and scissors in front of me. Hours, I'm telling you. This, this would be a snowflaker's dream.


Now, if you'll excuse me while I go track down some yarn, hot glue, and a couple of mason jars.


8 Mile, Vaulted Ceilings, and Saxophones

Born and raised in Detroit. Love Detroit. Well, love/hate relationship would be more accurate, I suppose. Connection is what it is. At any rate, the Detroit I know is by far significantly different from the Detroit most others know. The interesting thing is that each person knows it to be something different. Crime, poverty, segregation, sports, mo-town, industry, culture..

When I was little, my dad used to take us to Belle Isle, a non-residential island in the Detroit River, armed with apples and an old shopping bag of air-popped popcorn, ready to feed the ducks and deer. We'd walk the River Walk at the fireworks, ride the People Mover on game days, take family pictures outside the DIA, and anxiously await the first glimpse of buildings when driving south on Gratiot. Detroit, especially Downtown, was like magic.

It goes without saying that Detroit has shown me a whole new side of itself.

Last night was the first time I ventured south of 8 Mile to experience the "Downtown Scene", coincidentally on the biggest bar night of the year. Lovely.

I chose to drive [draw your own conclusions here], which [fortunately] gave me a truly authentic experience. Lovely, indeed.

Having spent some time in Chicago and New York, I was anxious to see my Detroit in the same light. WAS NOT disappointed.

The Park Bar had AMAZING Mediterranean food - hummus, shawarmas, oil and vinegar salad with cucumbers and feta and..my oh my.

Grand Trunk Pub offered the perfect mix of rich history, breathtaking architecture, and local brews. Beauty.

Aaand of course, my first jazz bar. Cliff Bells was fantastic - classy and casual. Incredibly low-key. I fell in love here.

This will most likely be the first and last time I talk about a scene on here, but MAAN was it hard to resist. I finally feel like a local - pretty sure that alone is deserving of a high five.


tuesday thoughts

...Lord am I thine? art thou, Lord, mine? So rich!
How doth thy Wealthy bliss branch out thy sweets
Through all things Present? These the Vent-holes which
Let out those Ravishing Joys our Souls to greet?
Impower my Powers sweet Lord till up they raise
My 'Fections that thy glory on them blaze...

-Edward Taylor, Things Present


I want to bake some cookies.

Happy Saturday night!

I am thrilled to say that today has been a true day of rest. Lounging and [need I even say it?] napping in some leggings and cozy socks has been beyond blissful.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away - A truth I had nearly forgotten about until I was asked whether or not I'd be attending Detroit's Thanksgiving Day Parade [Hot chocolate, chunky scarf, and Santa? Yes, please.]. So, in the spirit of all things delicious and lovely, I'd like to take a moment and remember a few of the manymanymany things I have been blessed with.

My Sister. The friendship that we have is beautiful and, to be honest, I'm often in awe of it.

My beautiful, patient, selfless mom. This woman has the most precious heart.

Lemon-Scented Hand Lotion. Mmmmm.

Hot Cocoa-Scented Bubble Bath. I'll say it again..Mmmmmmm.

Boxed Wine. No explanation needed.

Christmas Lights. They're heart-warming and classic and they symbolize everything I love about my childhood.

Dove Chocolate Wrappers. I find myself eating chocolate when I need a little boost to my mood. Props to you, Dove, for knowing this and being one step ahead of the game. My favorite recent wrapper? "When two hearts race, both win"

Laughter. It's healing in so many ways.

My Vintage License Plate Collection. I have 8. Only 8. But that's OK because there's something beautiful about taking a lifetime to discover little bits of history.

Culture. Our differences are poetic - language, religion, dress, music, art, food, dance - I cannot wait to have the chance to devote more time to discovering the beauty in cultures different from my own.

Marvin the Mouse [and all those involved in making his journey a reality]. He puts smiles on my kids' faces, and for that I am immensely thankful.

My Dream. He has kept the fire burning since I was 16. Rather incredible that I'm not there yet, but it won't be long.

My 28. They hurt, frustrate, confuse, test, and warm me daily. They are who they are, and I love them.

Love. Hope. Authenticity. Faith. Struggle. Peace. Grace. Generosity. Harmony. Provision. Chance. Life.


When did I become a morning person?

November. It's NovemberI'tsNovemberIt'sNovember.

I woke up this morning, a morning on which I'm headed to a conference (leaving my kids with a sub - AH), to a phone call from my teammate informing me that the school is closed today. Thank you, shot transformer, for the blessing in disguise. Sure, I would have had the day off too, but MAN the joy in knowing that my kids won't shoot that sub's brains out is INCREDIBLE.

Everyday I'm told the same thing -
"Man, you have a tough bunch."
"Those kids are just [insert various synonyms for 'ridiculous' here]."
"Why would they stick you with the roughest group?"
"You have your hands full!"
.....and my personal favorite.....
"Whew! Glad I'm not in your shoes!"

It says something when I went back to my desk the other day to find a folded up note from a student to me that said simply, "Wonder Woman".

I think it's safe to say that I've never, never ever, been in this position before. I've never felt so stretched, so challenged. I love my kids, but when you have 4 that are considered "severely emotionally and socially unstable", it's painful to say the least. Every day, every moment, is a brand new one. I'm finding myself constantly having to remind myself to breathe. I've figured out how to control each of the four individually and the class as a whole without one or more of them, but when all 28 are present - it's a complete toss-up. One moment might be awesome, the next a disaster when one of my 4 has a meltdown over another student accidentally touching his arm. Meltdown times are angry times. Tears, screams, grunts, stomps...

I can say this - If I wasn't being encouraged regularly by my administration with praise for the "amazing, incredible, rockstar" job I'm doing, I can guarantee I wouldn't be here. That's the other thing - I'm not doing an amazing, incredible, rockstar job. I don't see it in myself, and I certainly do not feel it at the end of the day. Somehow they're seeing it, though, and that tells me one thing - I'm not the one controlling that room. God's mysteries never cease.

I wish I had blogged more - I have so much to say. Good therapy, too. I don't know. This is just a snapshot of what's going on in my mind - the next thing being whether or not to continue on in Detroit or move forward in pursuit of the passion I still have for somewhere else. I can say this - if I can survive this year, I can survive anything.

On some good notes:

I'm doing a project with my kids where I send out our friend, Marvin [a stuffed mouse], on a journey around the world to learn about various places. He's been to Tennessee and is currently in NYC, heading next to the Dominican Republic over the holiday. I am LOVING it, and PRAISE GOD so are the kids! It's bonding them, which I'm telling you they need desperately. Such a beautiful thing. Anyways, I'm thankful to those that are welcoming Marvin in - It's incredible to know I have such warm friends, willing to help out so selflessly.

With that, my kids are getting pen pals...

....from NEW YORK CITY!

I found a 2nd grade class in Brooklyn in the same network of schools as ours that is willing to team up for the year. Again, anything to bond those kids and give them some added excitement for life.