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Stay Alive // NSPD

September 11, 2017

For my friends, my family. Stay. Grow. Live.

Courtney Anne Walters

20116846_1362327513888691_7252262361934813502_o.jpgThe first time I tried to commit suicide, I was 15 years old. Sad and lonely, I was unsure about everything– including staying alive. I remember throwing the sheet over the shower pole and my fingers trembled. I was saved when my camp counselor walked into the bathroom to announce that it was chapel time.

The second time I tried to commit suicide, I was 18 years old. Walking into college, I thought I would do nothing but thrive. Instead, I was floored by depression but named it “being too tired and isolated.” I remember holding the knife against my skin, thinking about how I wouldn’t be missed and no one wanted me around, as a text lit up my phone. It was a friend asking if I was free and that she wouldn’t take no as an answer. I went.

The third time I tried to commit suicide, I…

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January: Awakening

February 1, 2016

Beings are alien to one another, even if they do stand beautifully by one another and complement one another like colors, like water and stone, like sun and fog: even if they do communally perfect the resounding harmony of the universe. (Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Heart of the World)

This month I’ve realized the beauty and power in the balancing work required between knowing and caring for our selves while still knowing and caring for others.

This year I am working to illuminate opportunities to learn from daily moments of life.

Small moments.

Real moments.

In January I learned more about the importance of these lived moments in knowing and caring for myself

so that I can know and care for others.

I am awakening and now longing to embrace the complex beauty of remaining an individual while living in community…whatever that may mean.

How are you choosing to use your time to know and care for yourself?

How are you choosing to use your energy to know and care for others?


Beauty in nature shared

January 17, 2014

I have decided to write something on my small little blog at least once a month this year…but the life stuff that I am processing is taking WAY to long to share publicly yet.

But today I saw this beautiful artist highlighted on one of my friend’s blogs at her emerald homestead. Visit her blog today and check out what Kathleen Chavoor does with nature’s art. I hope you will find restoration there as I did.

With much love.


listening during the shifting

August 30, 2013

Next week our family trades our summer rhythms for our school routines. The two weeks leading up to this change always feels incredibly tenuous. I find myself excited for new people and new experiences and daily structures, yet I mourn leaving the long mornings in jammies, snuggles and naps in the hammock, and playtime with bare feet behind.

So, we try to make the most of these two weeks as a family while still trying to get prepared for our routines that begin next week. I have learned that listening to our children during this shifting of our home life can be difficult but incredibly restorative.

Saturday the boys went camping and the girls went to dinner at one of our favorite local eateries.

As my daughter and I began to get ready she stated,

I think that we should dress up and make it a fancy night“.

I agreed and asked her to choose both outfits. I wondered…what does fancy mean? What does “dressing up” mean to her?

We got dressed and she asked,

Mommy, can you take lots of pictures so that Daddy can see all that we do tonight?

I agreed and asked her to tell me when she wanted me to take a picture. I wondered…what am I going to take pictures of???? What did she treasure enough to capture in a picture for her to share with her father?


IMG_3352IMG_3355IMG_3354IMG_3358IMG_3382IMG_3417IMG_3389IMG_3447IMG_3432IMG_3446Taking these moments to listen to her and everyone else in our family during this time of shifting will inform our new patterns of life. I’m thankful that laughter, swinging, bare feet, flowers, local food and music, and family time will continue to be part of these patterns.

IMG_3452A whistling girl and dessert can always help us remember how to smile while we work (she didn’t ask for THIS picture…but I wanted it).

I chose…

August 22, 2013

…to wash the dishes when I just wanted to go watch an episode of Fringe.

…to listen to my daughter when she was talking about absolutely NOTHING.

Wait…did I ACTUALLY write that?

Did I, a mother who believes that I treasure every new idea my children share, an educator who positions children’s voices in powerful conversations, a researcher who discovers astounding realities in discourse analysis, say that my firstborn was talking about nothing?

Is there talk about NOTHING? In the moment, it felt like it.

I was tired from the first of two consecutive full days of meetings. I was hungry. I was sad that I didn’t get to go with my children and friends to one of my most favorite places in the world. The house needs cleaned AGAIN—how???

Then I finally realized that I am tired, hungry, sad…I am hungry. I am hungry with a hunger that can’t be fulfilled through food and drink. My spirit is hungry.

I long for peace…for…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.

P1050445So, I chose to seek for that peace.

I sat in a room in quiet solitude and breathed deeply. I looked at pictures and breathed deeply. I listened to music and breathed deeply. I danced and sang to the music and my breath returned.

I wash the dishes.

I walk upstairs and listen to my daughter ramble on and on about a book that I don’t quite understand nor appreciate fully…but I am able to hear her heart again.

I am grateful for a God who hears my heart every day.

Light finds me…

March 17, 2013

These last few weeks have felt fairly dark for me.

I have questioned a lot.

I have listened a lot.

I have prayed a lot.

I have read a lot.

I am tired.

I’m tired of these cycles of questions gone unanswered.

Or are the answers in the silence…in what I am perceiving as darkness.

Do I need to see with different lenses?
I like these lenses I’ve worked to adjust and clean these past few years.
Do I need to listen to other voices I have silenced?
I’ve found clarity and freedom through their silence.

Breathe in…

Breathe out.

And then the light finds me unexpectedly as I write this…

light found me photoI need to at least understand the histories of those different lenses that inform those voices.

I need to at least show love in my words and actions towards the people who have these different lenses that I’ve labeled as murky and voices that I’ve labeled as harsh and judgmental.

I MUST understand.

I MUST love.


November 3, 2012

Today I am thankful for a thinking human who helps other think further and change more than ever thought possible…

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Writing about school reform from a historical perspective can be, well, depressing. So many examples of hype-on-steroids, past and present, of school reform solving community and national problems. So much policy talk, past and present, that overestimates success while underestimating the difficulties of converting words into classroom deeds. But melancholia and teaching a seminar twice a week do not go hand-in-hand.

For me, teaching about school reform and the history of making “good” schools and districts stimulates the brain and clutches the heart. It lifts me up. My mind races with the questions that I need to ask students. And in asking questions, who do I call upon, which student to probe further with a follow-up question, what to do when a student asks me a question–answer it? Redirect to the class? Ask student to answer her own question?

And over the past six weeks in the seminar of “good’…

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