Category Archives: Life

I Am But One


I am


one person


I can

cultivate kindness

through actions and words,

mold memories

with passion and love,

shape student success

to learn, grow and be,





I can

create change

in all that I do.



an educator,

a learner,

a leader,

a mom;



all these things



I am,

I can,

I will.


Today’s poem inspired by Jo Knowles’ Monday morning warm-up for #TeachersWrite which can be access here:

To view Kate Messner’s #TeachersWrite Mini Lesson with Mara Rockliff, visit





Flaw or Fortitude?


Ahhh… I can feel the cool refreshment of the clear, sparkling water as I dip my toes once again into #TeachersWrite summer camp. Today’s assignment, from author Lisa Papademetriou, the author of A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic, encourages us to experiment with characterization. We are to write a scene exemplifying a character’s virtue then rewrite it as a flaw. I’ve been toying with the art of fictional writing, so I’ll complete today’s assignment with a character I’m developing in that realm: Marissa.

Character Virtue

It is only dusk, but Marissa sees the fireflies appear, their golden orbs blinking as darkness envelopes her shoulders with a wisp of cooler air. She stretches her long legs away from the bench, pulling herself up to walk back to the cabin. She already knows what to say. She will be gentle with her rebuke, her words of kindness wrapping her daughter, Erin, like a soothing salve for the open wound left by her daughter’s friends. “Time heals all wounds,” she whispers to herself as she approaches the walkway now shrouded by night.

Character Flaw

“You ALWAYS say that!”

The door slams as Marissa stares perplexed at the space that once held her daughter. There were no hugs. No head on her shoulder, no shared mother-daughter bonding. The stifling silence is an impenetrable wall of anger, an unexpected quandary that freezes Marissa’s heart to the core.

What had she done wrong? She always knows the right things to say. Her daughter, Erin is an open-book when it come to skirmishes with her friends. Typical teenaged angst, usually about bodies or boys, always healed by a few words of a wisdom and a double scoop of mint chocolate-chip ice cream piled into a delicately laced waffle cone.

This time is different. The anger is real. The door is locked with silence and hate. Marissa no longer holds the keys of comfort, her words absorbed by the wooden door separating mother and child.

So tell me, fellow readers, which scene resonates with you? Can a character’s strength also be a flaw? Does this entice you as a reader to turn the page? I would love for you to share your comments below!

Why I Wear a Two-Piece

Here we are again, the one time of year most women despise: bathing suit season. Something about shedding the comfortable layers of fabric to reveal our true silhouette is intimidating and filled with silent (and sometimes vocal!) angst. I get it. I really do. Believe it or not, I also fight the demons in my head about body image.

“You’re so out of shape.”

“You used to look great, but now…”

“You are way too old to wear that.”

“If you wear this, you will be judged by ____________ .” (fill in the blank)

I’ve seen my friends post articles about being fat. Being skinny. Being modest. Being honest. It seems with every perspective shared, there are three more viewpoints to contradict the point. It can really make your head spin.

So here’s the deal. This is my perspective on the whole “What bathing suit should I wear?” debate:

This is my life.

My body.

My story.

I really don’t care what bathing suit you wear. Bikini, tankini, ruffled skirt or racer-back tank. Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing! You, and you alone, are the only person in control of your body image. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else and for goodness sake, stop gossiping about those who have the confidence to boldly wear what they like. I’m not threatened by you; please don’t feel threatened by me.

I wear two-pieces. That’s right – a bikini. No, I’m not trying to act 18. I’m not trying to make you jealous. Seduce your husband? Are you kidding me? Girl, please…

I am 42 years old. I’ve had 3 children, all full-term, delivered naturally. My body has been in a state of constant change for the past 17 years.

I’m short. Curvy. No surgical enhancements, not even lasik surgery to fix my ailing eyesight. I can stand in front of the mirror and rip my reflection to shreds. Thanks for your opinion, but I need no assistance from you to feel horrible about my appearance.

I will never be tall, thin, and gorgeous. I will never look like a model in a magazine (mainly because the girl in that photo doesn’t even look like the girl in that photo.) And to be perfectly honest, this is probably as good as it gets.

I’m at the point in my life when I can embrace who I am in every single way, including body image. I try to eat somewhat healthy. I work out when I can. I can also wipe out a bag of salt and vinegar chips faster than you can blink.

I am me. 

Not the girl next door. Not the woman across the street. Not you. Just me. 

I will always be fatter than someone else and skinnier than another.

Please. Stop. Comparing.

I wear two pieces in the summer for many reasons. I hate having wet spandex stretched across my stomach. I despise having to remove an entire bathing suit just to take a bathroom break. Because I’m short-waisted, tankinis make me look like I’m wearing a dress, which brings me back to the whole wet-spandex-on-stomach issue.

I don’t wear a two-piece to make a feminist statement and I most surely don’t choose this swimwear to contradict my Christian beliefs.

I am wonderfully and beautifully made. Stop trying to make me think differently.

I have a teenage daughter who internalizes my spoken and unspoken words and actions. If I spend every summer bemoaning my physical inadequacies, what message does she receive about her own body? (Which, I might add, is almost identical to mine when I was her age.) I can assure you, she is not flaunting her body and quite frankly, neither am I.

I’m just more comfortable wearing a bikini.

I am not judging you for wearing a one-piece to remain modest. Rock on! You over there, wearing your tank top and shorts, shine in all your comfortable beauty! I am not trying to stir the pot or rile you up. Goodness, no. I am merely sharing my own personal insight on a trending topic in my newsfeed.

Embrace who you are now and who you are going to become. Age means change and that’s ok! Wear what you want, so you can enjoy the time you have. I’m sure there will come a time when my preferences shift, but until then please accept me as I am, which includes what I choose to wear.

And the next time you see me at the pool or water park, I hope you will stop by and say hi without judgment. I might need you to lotion my imperfectly freckled back so I don’t burn as red as a lobster.