Thursday, May 29, 2014

the power of starting small

tropical color, seen at Talcott Greenhouse MHC

When I was on campus (I posted about reunion last week) one of the complaints of some of the alumnae touring the new dorm were that; the commons spaces were fewer, coupled with kitchenettes that looked uninviting, and no longer central to the floor but off on the sides. In some of the older dorms the common areas had been converted to dorm rooms, the old dining rooms had been converted to rooms... gathering places had been replaced by rooms to accommodate more students.

The alumnae acknowledged that students today arrive at campus plugged into technology but they felt that the community space fostered community (imagine that.) As one said, many of the class of 1994 arrived with TV and even VHS.

While this discussion was happening I began to notice that within the class members at reunion there were groupings of 3 to 5 women who had planned to be there together and gravitated towards each other at functions. Some had matching necklaces in the parade, some had matching bags, little tokens of identity of a group within the group. At a glance one might wonder if they had all played the same sport or been within the same major. Surprisingly no. It seemed that they had all stumbled across each other their first or second year of school and roomed together or on the same floor and finished their years as a group. Shared space.

I wonder how this will play out for the newer crops of students. Students who, as my class president pointed out, probably haven't shared a room growing up, don't want to share a room at school and have all their own mobile technology and who the school seems to think will not want to gather to watch a t.v. show or a movie, or the news together. (yes, I said news. President Bush - the first one - sent us off to Desert Storm my freshman year of college. We watched the news together, some to protest, others to pray for family members involved. It was a group thing, even if we saw things very differently.)

These thought on small community groups, to strengthen bonds and support larger community are spilling over into a project I'm pulling together for elementary school.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Old AT trail, Wintergreen VA

one of my favorite places right now, the Old AT Trail.

lichen on rock, Wintergreen VA

Hiking a trail or skiing a slope or rowing a river, it is the same trail (river) and yet every day it is different. The snow is different than it was yesterday. The plants & rocks & birds & animals are different than they were yesterday, the water might be running faster or slower, deeper or colder than it was yesterday...

lil mountain goat

wish I could see what she sees

for more information about the Old AT trail in Wintergreen check Wintergreen's Hiking Page
and here is a link to Hiking Trail Map for Wintergreen

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mount Holyoke, 1994, Pegasus Class, Girl Power

I 'borrowed' this off FB

I took two of my girls to Mount Holyoke College over the weekend for my 20th reunion. It is the first reunion I attended. I didn't go back earlier for many reasons, but the biggest is that I am not living up to who my Alma Mater expects me to be.

Mount Holyoke Women ROAR and they change the world.

or at least their little corner of the world!

But reunion was a great time. And my 16 year old was introduced to so many women doing so many interesting things and she really enjoyed campus. Prior to attending reunion she would smile at me and say things like "I don't really think I want to go to a school of all women." "I like the camaraderie of the guys on the cross country team." "I don't get along with girls. Girls are mean." When we left she said things like "that is some serious girl power." "I like the idea of studying many things in addition to what your focus is." "a lot of your classmates went to graduate school." (yeah a LOT of my classmates did go to grad school, in a room of 100 or so women I think 90 of them raised their hand when the class president asked how many had additional degrees.)

And the campus is gorgeous. And the science department still rocks. So does the math department.

And possibly my favorite moment of the entire weekend was Sunday morning. We went for a run around upper lake, it is about a mile. K needed to get in a run anyway (she ran it three times and did some sprints too) I wanted to run because that was what I did as a student, I ran around the lake regularly. And M was being a very good sport and ran it too.  So there we were, the three of us together, running side by side around upper lake and talking about I don't remember what. So freaking cool.

checking the old stomping grounds in the Art Dept

Friday, May 16, 2014

Looking for good

I have been working through some life lessons lately. They seem to center around the theme of "perspective" and "choice" and what you see. Do you look for good? Do you look for flaws? Some people simply see what they love in everything. Some people focus on what could be better. Some people are happy with what they have and some people want more. Some people see good in others and some people are more inclined to see flaws. And it is pretty much up to each of us to choose what we see.

This has been tying in to Christianity for me (a topic I tend to avoid when blogging but today I make an exception.) Some people are focused on "rooting out evil." Right? They look for it. They look for what is wrong in their own life and more often in someone else's life. And try to fix it. Or "helpfully" point it out so the other person can fix it, or whatever.

Others focus on God is Love and God is Good and so they focus on seeking good and seeing God in the good.

For whatever reason the call to seek good and let God worry about rooting out evil was something of an "aha" moment for me.

Habits can be hard to change. So in the meantime I'm counting on grace to get me there and to protect everybody else from my good intentions.

This ties into parenting for me too. I keep reminding myself it isn't my job to mold them. It is my job to love them as they are because they are "perfectly made." And leave the rest up to God. This gets sticky for me when they are little cretins because of course they are. But again, habits are there and I'm working on being aware of my intent.

K of course is going to have to just soldier on because she's 16 already and by the time I have this down she'll be a grandmother. But there is some hope that I'll be softer with the younger ones.

little eggs seen in Windsor Virginia last week.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My oldest is 16. My my how the time does fly!

pink & purple balloons 

pretty homemade cupcakes

MLyons and I made 3 different batches of cupcakes. We made strawberry cupcakes via "The Cake Mix Doctor" in which one adds fresh strawberries and jello to yellow cake mix. And we made lemon lime cupcakes via a recipe I found by Betty Crocker: Key Lime Cupcakes by Betty Crocker and MLyons made chocolate cupcakes from scratch following the Hershey's recipe found on the back of the Hershey Cocoa: Hershey's Chocolate Cake recipe. And I firmly believe in buttercream icing so we made that here at the house and went to town with the sprinkles.
ready for taste testing

those bright greens and pinks come from the jello. no additional food coloring added (the jello obviously has plenty!)

which flavor do you like better?