I stood by the door, waiting to enter the classroom. I was a few minutes early and I didn’t want the teacher to feel rushed. As I waited, kindergarteners walked by on their way to their classroom. Two little girls with ponytails bounced by me. As they passed, one of the girls looked up at me. A grin spread across her face and she pointed me out to her friend.

“You’re the lady who taught us to write books!” she declared.

I smiled and nodded, in awe that she remembered that September day. Then I thought to myself, “What a great way to be known!”


Above 40

I drove up to the school and parked. As I crossed the street, I saw the principal and another teacher in the arrival line welcoming students to school.  They were dressed in knit hats, gloves, insulated coveralls, winter coats, and boots. I walked over to say hello. On my way towards the building, my flip-flops slapped the asphalt beneath my feet, a crisp, brisk air kissed my cheeks.

“Good morning!” I called out as I closed the distance between us.  They smiled and we exchanged morning pleasantries. As we chatted, their eyes took in my lack of coat and brightly painted toenails peering up from my flip-flops. I smiled and said, “Yeah, one of is under-dressed right now.”

“Aren’t you cold?” they asked.

“Nope. The forecast said it will be above 40 today. Any day above 40 is a flip-flop day,” I grinned as I replied. “Flip-flops equal happy feet.  Happy feet lead to great days.”

They shook their heads and laughed as I turned away to walk in and begin the day. The conversation got me wondering, what is your flip-flop threshold?



I Remember

I remember when your momma and daddy came to my house. They inspected every corner and asked all the right questions. They knew they only wanted the best for you.

I remember the first day your momma left you with me. You were an easy baby. Happy. Content. Enchanted with the excitement of kids playing. And they were enchanted with you.

I remember how as you grew, my shoulder was your safe spot. When you got upset, you would crawl over, lip quivering, eyes flooding, arms up and want to be held. As soon as you were nestled in your spot, the tears started to ebb, your cries turning into hiccups before they ceased altogether.

I remember how you loved to swing. I would put you in the swing and give you a push. Your belly laugh would carry across the yard and through the play area.

I remember the day you read your first book. Your chubby eighteen-month-old finger pointing to each letter in the alphabet book as your mouth made the sounds of the Alphabet Song. You ended your song when you reached Z.

I remember when you started requesting books by certain authors. You developed a discerning eye at a VERY young age!

I remember when you told me your name was Buttercup and you decided to be a Buttercup for Halloween because I always asked you, “What’s up, Buttercup?”

I remember baking cookies, making bracelets, and painting.

I remember you dancing “callet” in the middle of Orange Leaf. You would spin and twirl around and around the orange and white chairs.

I remember your first pedicure and how you sat so still in the big girl chair with the princess crown on top. I remember the little flower she painted on your teeny big toe.

I remember when you wanted to create an exclusive writing club so you could blog every day.

You are curious and passionate about so many things–animals, dolls, Paris, sewing, creating, painting, baking, blogging, vlogging, and reading.

You are thoughtful.

You are strong.

You are sensitive to others.

You are eight years old today.

Happy Birthday, Buttercup!


Decision: A poem for three voices

February 3

Slice of Life Story Challenge is coming.

You should sign up.

You can’t write next month.

You don’t have time.

February 6

Slice of Life Story Challenge is coming.

You should sign up.

You like writing.

You do like writing,

but you are traveling every day.

You don’t have time.

February 16

Slice of Life Story Challenge is coming.

You should sign up.

You enjoy reading the blogs.

You do enjoy reading the blogs,

but baseball season is starting.

You don’t have time.

February 25

Slice of Life Story Challenge is coming.

You should sign up.

Teachers should be writers.

Practice what you preach.

You have been a slicer for the last three years.

None of your teachers will know if you participate or not.

You don’t have time.

March 1

Slice of Life Story Challenge starts today.

You should write.

You grow as a writer when you write every day.

Your eyes view the day differently.

Your ears listen to the day differently.

You like playing with words and structures.

Time. Time. Time.

You DON’T have it.

No one does.

I have never had time before.

I was able to write every day then.

I can write every day now.

Hello, Slice of Life Story Challenge 2018!

I’m in!





I’ve loved the idea of OLW (One Little Word) since I first heard of it several years ago. People choose a word that symbolizes what they want to be/do/become/change/value to let guide them in their actions for the year. I am always curious to see what word people choose for themselves. Nine times out of ten, when I hear the word they have chosen, I think, “That is such a great word! That would fit me!” But, I don’t want to “copy”, and I want my word to be my own. This morning, as I was driving home from the library, my OLW found me.

All my life I have struggled with my self-worth. I put too much value on what others think of me instead of finding my value in God. I worry about pleasing others and making them happy sometimes at the cost of being untrue to myself and my own beliefs. I know this is crazy and realize how far from the truth this is, yet I still choose to allow others to define me. It makes my stomach curl when I think about it, yet I fall right back into the pit as soon as my nose peeks over the top.

Yesterday I was hurt by someone I called a friend. This hurt dug me further into my pit. Today, I decided I am finished being defined by others. I am a child of the Most High God. He will never leave me or forsake me. He goes before me. He loves me and has chosen me. I am His treasure. It is about time I lived my life in a way that shows I embrace that truth. My OLW is treasure. My hope in choosing this word is that by the end of this year, my identity will be found only in Him and not in this world.

The Final Christmas Concert

This past Tuesday, Max had his final Christmas concert. Since fifth-grade, he has performed/written a special piece for the concerts. This past Tuesday was his big finale. In October/November, he found some bell plates in the band room. After playing with them for a couple of weeks, he wrote a piece for the bell plates and piano to frame the Christmas story.  He asked some classmates to play the bell plates, he played the piano, and his friend, Cody, told the Christmas story. I hope this blesses you as much as it blessed me.

Merry Christmas!

The Email

When I taught preschool, the longest time of the day was the period right after lunch when we started settling down for nap. I would unstack the cots; spread out each child’s blanket, pillow, and lovey; put pacifiers where they were needed; and begin the bathroom process before nap. We only had one bathroom, so the process took awhile. While each child had their turn, the rest of the children sat on their own cot, or a friend’s cot, and read books. While this was the longest time in our day, it was also one of the best times in our day! There is nothing like 10 little preschoolers all reading and enjoying books at the same time.

While I waited for the bathroom process to finish, sometimes I would quickly check my email from the morning. I remember one day vividly.

I sat down in the green office chair, relieved to have all the diapers changed and the dirty clothes from lunch changed. I looked around the room. My kids were pleasantly content at the moment: Anders, Colby, and Jonah were reading together on Anders’ cot; Blair was reading/singing Fiddle I Fee to Paige on her cot; Macy had her own book–Five Little Monkeys; Sterling and Natalie were reading on his cot; Gavin was on his cot enjoying a Thomas the Tank Engine book , and Joe was in the bathroom. Everyone was accounted for. 

“I’ll just check my email real quick while they are all content,” I thought.

I pulled out my phone and pulled up my email account. Five new emails were waiting in my inbox. I began to go through them-in order, of course. “Junk, delete. Junk, delete. Junk, delete. Deal with that later. Oh, the library. What do they want?” I wondered.


The item you requested is available for pickup at the Columbia Public Library.

We will hold the material for 6 days.

If you are unable to pickup these items, you may cancel your holds at

To suspend your available holds, call the library at 573-443-3161. We will ask 
you to

specify the dates you are unable to pick up your holds. When that time is past,

you will be in line for the next available copy of the title.

If you have questions, reply to this email or call the library.

I scrolled down to see what was waiting for me and let out a gasp of delight. “Yes!” I had been waiting for that book for such a long time. Finally.

Jonah looked up from his book at me and asked,  “What is it, Miss Erin? Is it the library?Did you get a book you wanted?” he asked.

I looked at him, puzzled. “I did, Jonah. How did you know that?” 

“You always get excited when you get an email from the library.”

Surprised by this, I challenged him, “I do?”

All my kids began to nod their heads in agreement with Jonah.

“Every time, Miss Erin,” replied Sterling. “Are you going tonight to get it?”

“You bet I am!”

“Will you get me a book while you are there?” asked Sterling.

“Me, too!” The others began requesting books. They called out favorite titles and authors as easily as they called out favorite television shows. Finally I gave up trying to remember their requests and decided to make a list. 

I read in a professional book somewhere that children/students know what you value. You don’t have to tell them. They figure it out all on their own from observing you and listening to you talk. Furthermore, they will begin to value that same thing, too. Whenever I think about that statement, I always remember this small moment in time. It’s true. They did figure out what I valued without me even having to say anything directly about it. Books were a part of our daily life. Authors and characters were extended members of our class. It was who we were. We were readers. We read. Everyday. We believed books were to be valued and cherished. I don’t think I could have taught those kids a more important lesson.

And yes, I still get a little thrill when I have a book on hold to pick up. 🙂




I need to plan,

but the dogs need to be let out.

I need to plan,

but the laundry needs to be switched over.

I need to plan,

but my books are ready to be picked up at the library.

I need to plan,

but we are out of bananas.

I need to plan,

but the dogs need heartworm and flea and tick preventative.

I need to plan,

but the kitchen floor needs to be steamed.

I need to plan,

but there are too many papers lying around my office table and the clutter keeps me from thinking.

I need to plan,

but emails keep popping into my inbox.

I need to plan,


I am really good at stalling!


  • It helps me process
  • It helps me remember
  • It helps me identify the “gems” hiding in my day
  • It helps me reflect
  • It helps me confer authentically with kids
  • Because my favorite seven-year-old asked me to join her writing club


My favorite writing space.