Browse Tag


Docile Hearts and Education in Four Languages

The assignment suggested in Come, Become Alphabetically Savvy, has taken wings.  When I chose the word “docile” for the letter D, I also considered the word “dependable.”  These two characteristics have allowed me to navigate the skies like migrating birds that find their way to survive the seasons.  The difference is I just kept moving forward and did not return.

A couple of open composition notebooks called EDUCATOR, educator, with handwritten lessons in Spanish.

I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to parents who fled their native country of Romania.  I learned their language at home and once in kindergarten, Portuguese became my second language.  The desire to learn and belong were in my fabric.  The Catholic nuns at Nossa Señora D’Assuncao kept an orderly classroom where everyone spoke when spoken to in order to respond, and standing up. There were no disciplinary problems.  We must have been a bunch of docile youngsters eager to be in school with paper and pencils neatly stacked on our desks.  The nuns could depend on us to obey the rules and pay attention.

A language is learned word by word and one after the other like putting on socks, then shoes, learning to make the knot and bow, and then taking one step at a time.  That is all there is to it, literally.  Having an ear for words and the ability to mimic the sounds, I found Portuguese to be as fun as the kids, the nuns, all whom I met and heard speaking at school, in the neighborhood, or at the beach.  The simplicity in my first nine years of life primed me for the education that would follow in two other countries. Keep Reading

Veracious Attack of Foul Language

“There’s nothing wrong with using four-letter words explaining the facts of life to children–

words like love, kiss, help, care, give….” _Sam Levenson

I was there to take this photograph and I remember the circle of love Kim created with her two children.  Somehow the seriousness of the moment shows the hearts of three souls united by the focus on words read from a book.  I see attention, understanding and joy.  The love, the kiss, the help, and the care were evident in the “I give you my best

One seeks to be with the like minded for comfort.  Children know the anxiety they observe to be wrong.  They adjust until they can fly to be the adults they choose to become.  This simplistic rule is golden.  Their survivor depends on what their minds absorbed by observation.

That’s why language is so important.  Communication sent is only delivered once it is received. To accept and respond sets the relationship in motion.  In a perfect world we would all know just what to say at the right moment.  To get to the better than the perfect place we can just dream about having, is to have mastered self-control and thus the wisdom of establishing a peaceful, productive connection.

It a parental right of passage to establish the boundaries of communication; this is perhaps one of the greatest golden instructions to  be given.  The learning and teaching returns full circle. Keep Reading

An Open Letter For My First English Teacher

Mr. and Mrs. George Rugh
August 13, 1966

I wish I could show up to be near you to thank you for being my first English teacher.  I was about to turn fourteen years old, and could not speak a word of English.  You were the spinster parishioner in the church that hired my Dad, a Romanian Orthodox priest, to serve St. Elias Orthodox Church in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.  You and others treated us kindly, took pity on us, and offered all that you could to welcome us and help us become established.

You were my particularly favorite person because you and your brother spoke broken Romanian, peppered with English, and mischievously taught me to call all boys “honey”.  Just like Red Skeltom though, you would laugh so heartedly, I knew you were joking.  I loved that you invited me to visit you at your home where you two also lived with your Mom.  I often remember how hospitable you were to invite me to join you for dinner.  I ate my first Venison roast with you.  The plums were picked from the trees just outside, and your warmth filled a void in my life. Keep Reading

Friendship Garden

Once upon a time someone for as long as it was possible became a friend, and blessed are they because friendships remain.  The token of words exchanged between two hearts stay true.  The heartfelt bond cannot be broken even by misunderstandings, disagreements, or separation.  In fact, the precious moments too dear to relive have indeed a garden in the hearts that cherished them.  Love never ends, and there is love in friendships.

Humans learn and teach from one another from the moment of conception.  Friends recognize one another instantly or over time; they become a wholesome part of one’s character’s.  Perhaps the saddest separation of friends is not in miles, but in the departing from this life.  The finality keeps a candle burning.  Friendships are the lights that light our way, and we always look to feel their care.  Even after having lost touch, the heart that cherished the friendship, honors the love.

It is in time “understanding recovers” any friendship lost in quarrels or disagreements.  No one really knows all that transpires unless the conversations continue.  It is a luxury known to all who invest in keeping in touch because the heart strings just will not let go either way.

” ‘I am a part of all whom I have met,’ ” So, friend of mine, you are a wholesome part; our precious visits, lingering with me yet, are flowers in the garden of my heart. “
__Charles Chapler

Understanding recovers our memory because in time we perceive the past differently.  Perceptions change as experiences gather in the room of considerations.   There are memories that are understood with the passing of time…

” Memory changes the color of memories.”  _Jacques Bainville  

This is Friendship Week and dearest Linda Patton from Meadville, Pennsylvania, sent a garden of flowers with quotes honoring all friendships.  I have a box of letters from her as she sent them through thirty-eight  years, and the photos show how the children have grown  , how new members have joined her circle, and I know I could call her today.  I lived through her teaching years, retirement, care of parents, and the quirks of her dear husband, Denny.  His devotion to volleyball and coaching after teaching Geometry as we car pooled together hold memories equal to Linda’s attention to detail at home, in the kitchen, for family, and her notes.  I often only longed to be nearer.  I was strengthened just by seeing her handwriting.  When I painted the gate in the garden, know I remembered all whom I have met.

I miss friends who gladdened me with kindnesses I keep tucked in my heart, and most of all, the ones who shared significant moments in time.  I thank God for each and all.  Their seeds still blossom “in the garden of my heart “.

” We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed.  As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at least a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at least one which makes the heart run over. ” __Samuel Johnson

Your comments will make my day…





Our Words…

They are indeed good

For they feed us


Emotionally… Spiritually…

They make all the difference…

In how we perceive…

How we relate…

They express us…

I can’t get enough of the words that

Heal… Inspire… Engage…



I recognize the difference they make.

I search for words that cleanse

My mind, my heart, my soul, and yours…

Words attract or dispel.

They connect and disconnect…us…

Hurtful phrases flung leave a mark.

Loving ones do too.

I know the marks.

I wish to give you only

The ones that spark a joy

In you, and yours…

Words bear their ware.

We freely gather, compare, and share.

We are the carriers of the serving trays…

The celebrants arrive to a feast that beckons response.

Will you respond ?  I too must choose the ones

with you in mind,from my heart,

in God’s Holy Spirit, always first, and

name them our words.


(The photographed labyrinth was constructed by a father and son just passed Lahaina on Maui…

It is designed to be walked on serenely as an exercise of becoming centered in prayer.)

Sometimes poems …emerge…  Have you written poems ?  Please let me read your comment…Thank you…