I LOVE school. I always have. I probably always will – otherwise, why would I have subjected myself to so many extra years of it? There is something so exciting about the first day. There is excitement to pick out the right outfit. There are nerves about who you will sit next to in class. There is joy over seeing the freshly organized school supplies: crisp notebook pages just waiting to be filled with scribbled notes as you wonder how the teacher thinks you can write that quickly and words falling off the page in those college classes when you stayed up too late the night before…for real, who thinks turning the lights down in a lecture hall is a good idea? There are kindergarten girls with bows bigger than their heads, middle school boys in their football jerseys, high schoolers with backpacks full of textbooks that weigh more than the weights they lift in gym class, college freshmen flooding Target and Bed Bath and Beyond for the cutest sheets and the miniature lamps and everything to make their dorm room a cozy space.

I love school.

My life has revolved around the school calendar year for as long as I can remember. My mother, a teacher, has been on the school schedule since she was in kindergarten. Summer and school years came and went, and I was always ready for the next one. I dream of bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils, dry erase boards, and flashcards. Even in adulthood, my career revolves around a calendar that begins in July instead of January. We’re settling in from our most recent transitions and digging in our heels to learn a little more every day.

I love school.

In what one friend recently dubbed, “chalkboard season,” the pages of social media are full of new outfits, new backpacks, and chalkboards marking the occasion of this new school year. In church this morning, we blessed backpacks of students standing in the service with us, and we blessed backpacks that are going to bring joy and a sense of belonging to students who need a little extra blessing this school year. We pray for learning, for safety, for growth, for friendships that encourage, for teachers who invest in the lives of these young persons. We imagine the overjoyed face of a student in pigtails when she finishes her timed test with seconds to spare. We look forward to the pride of a spelling bee winner when they nail that final word. We picture the late nights of college students cramming for their chemistry exam or writing the paper for their literature class with a cup of coffee and a determination to get through.

I love school.

I love teachers who encourage, who plan,  who create a welcoming classroom, who grade papers, who find innovative ways to help their students understand new concepts, and who teach today’s youth what it means to be a good citizen. I love teachers who cry when they see a sad story on the news because they empathize with the families and communities and cannot imagine what it would be like if hate and sorrow and pain permeated the walls of their own school communities. I love administrators who work tirelessly day after day (year-round! what a concept!) to make sure they provide a safe environment, an encouraging environment, and a educationally rigorous curriculum so that students can not just pass a test but can reach achievements beyond what others may think is possible. I love school crossing guards who keep children safe as they cross the road, janitors who stop what they’re doing to help a little boy tie his shoe, receptionists who greet everyone with a smile, bus drivers who deliver kids safely to and from the building, and cafeteria staff who make sure every child has their nutritional needs met.

I love school.

The past few years, though, I’ve gotten to see the other side of the beginning of the school year. Working in a hospital, I am fortunate to meet lots of families. Some are anxious to get over an acute illness so they can get back to their normal routine. They continue to plan for the first day of school, even if it may be a couple of days later than when all the other students went back. Other families, however, are already in a new routine, and those students are getting a different kind of education. These families are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in their child’s life, which becomes a little more difficult with the start of a new school year. Instead of buying colored pencils and erasers and ten boxes of kleenex for the first day of school, they’re learning how to sleep through 4 am vital signs and lab draws, how to position an arm just right so the port will draw, how to convince a child to eat and drink when their appetite is ruined by their medical treatments, how to entertain a 6 year old who should be in kindergarten but is instead spending their time lying in a hospital bed. Their backpacks are not full of homework and newsletters. Their backpacks are full of nausea medicine and tube feeds, full of an extra set of clothes in case this trip to the emergency department turns into an overnight stay, full of iPads and coloring books and anything else to help distract their child from the wait for lab test results and the fact their classmates are moving on without them.

I love school, but I pray for those who cannot attend a school this year because of illness.

In the midst of uniform buying, new tennis shoes, the perfect backpack and lunch box combo, and apples for the teachers, there are children across the world who dream of school. In fact, what is more upsetting, is that there are probably some children in the world who don’t even know that they should be in school. There are children who work to feed their families because their parents have passed away from illnesses or violence. There are children who live in refugee camps because their governments and their communities have been threatened and are not safe. There are children who, instead of learning addition and subtraction, are forced to learn how to shoot a gun and become a child soldier. There are children who have special needs and live somewhere where they are neglected and get little stimulation – not because they are not loved, but because there are not resources to care for them. There are children who are excluded from class because they don’t have a uniform to wear or a tablet on which to write.

I love school, but I pray for those who cannot attend school because of poverty, shame, or violence.

So, as this school year begins, I ask you to take a minute to think of all the students who are embarking upon the next step in their educational pursuits. I also ask you to take a moment to say an extra prayer for those children who are not wearing a backpack – whether that be because of illness, poverty, violence, or whatever reason. May the generations continue to strive to give every child a new day, a new possibility, a safe community, and the education they need to continue to provide for future generations.

…because when you haven’t finished your 101 in 1001 list, you should instead pick up a new hobby. Faux calligraphy, anyone? I’m hoping this will be a stepping stone to actual calligraphy and other fun hand lettering ventures.


…and it has been over 18 months since I last blogged. Excellent. That doesn’t mean I stopped doing/creating/eating fun things, it just means life is a bit too hectic to always do AND blog about the doing.


I was curious how I was progressing on the goals I laid out many moons ago, so I thought I’d check in on my 101 in 1001. So, where do we stand?

48 items complete! 9 in progress. And plenty that will not get done.

That is a failing grade on a test, but I’m actually pleased with how many things I’ve done over the past couple of years despite an intense work schedule.

I updated the main page in case you’re curious to look – I added some photos of things I haven’t had time to blog.

Three months to go! And who knows, maybe I’ll start dropping by this little corner of the world more often. I do miss it!

This is the bridge I drie o

Since Laura was in town, we planned with a bunch of my co-workers to go out on the harbor for a delightful sunset cruise! The co-workers complied with my request, but the weather and sunset were less agreeable. We bundled up and went out on a dreary evening, but a great time was still had by all! Luckily, the weather did eventually improve and we were able to head to the beach less than 48 hours later with great results.

This is the bridge I drive over daily! Looks a little different from the water.

This is the bridge I drive over daily! Looks a little different from the water.

So fun! Thanks to Sandlapper Cruises for the great experience.

Because everyone loves new (and delicious…and easy!) recipes, I’m sharing some of the recipes I’ve made from Pinterest recently. Some of them I found and pinned to my own board from different websites, and some I’ve found from other pinners. All are spectacular and have been very much enjoyed by my friends and co-workers. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter S’mores cookies

 pb s'more

Twix Caramel Popcorn

 twix popcorn

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

 texas sheet cake cookies


Laura came to visit! She hopped off the plane and I whisked her straight to the middle of nowhere for some booze. Okay…so, actually, we stopped by my place first so she could drop things off, and then we went to the middle of nowhere for some booze! “Middle of nowhere” is code for Wadmalaw Island, which is a rural part of South Carolina south of Charleston. Booze = wine and liquor tastings at the Irvin House Vineyard and Firefly Distillery.


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The silliness ensued.

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The vineyard was gorgeous. If it hasn’t rained for the entire 48 hours prior to Laura’s arrival and made everything into a soggy mess, I would have loved to explore the vines.

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But, it had. And so we occupied ourselves with taking photos of the random farm animals around the property. We saw ducks, chickens, roosters, (Easter!) bunnies, a cow, a pig, and these goats. The goats inexplicably had a spiral staircase in their area. One of them obliged by taking a turn up at the top. He also paused every few steps to rest on the way up, as you can appreciate in photo #2. 2014-04-19 13.36.422014-04-19 13.36.362014-04-19 13.37.23


Overall, we had a great time. We determined that the majority of the liquors/liqueurs were delicious and that the muscadine wine was fine but not our glass of vino (sweeter than we really like, but well done!). 2014-04-19 14.00.32 HDR

Overall, it was a great start to a great visit!

This actually applies to two of my 101 in 1001 items, #33 and #75. I made a stacked herb garden for my porch, and I am loving it so far! We’ll see how long this green thumb lasts…

I was inspired by this pin and tweaked it a little bit to make it work for me (budget-wise, space-wise, etc).

Plus, who isn’t inspired when you see this at Home Depot?

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So, I loaded my cart with (on sale! my favorite!) herbs and a citronella plant (because mosquito biting is worth an attempt at avoiding…) and the supplies necessary to plant said vegetation.

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…and since I had just worked a 16 hour shift and taken a 5 hour nap, I left all the plants and supplies on my porch and promptly went back to bed while patting myself on the back for doing anything productive at all.

The following morning after a glorious full night of sleep, I was ready to get started. The whole process was very quick. I used an empty pot upside down in each of the two larger pots as a space filler and base for the next tier. I arranged the plants giving the mint free range of the upper tier and the strawberries more space on the lower tier. I am the worst at taking “in process” photos, so here is the finished product on day 1:

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And here it is a couple of weeks later now that things have filled in a bit and it has gotten settled out:

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I am looking forward to cooking with the mint, rosemary, basil, and dill soon. The strawberries are my own little experiment, and my fingers are crossed that the citronella keeps the unwelcome biting pests away


"I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean's depths its flow may richer, fuller be."

what i write about


relay for life

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