1.19.2017

Words from Ruby...

Sometimes I take for granted that my physical working space puts me in contact with amazing human beings. On any given day our campus hosts dignitaries and diplomats, academics and award winners, and a number of humans so smart that my brain can't actually accept what they have accomplished.

Today was no exception. A student committee within our office hosted their annual MLK Breakfast that honors the legacy of a man who fought to show that love is the only power strong enough to drive out hate. The guests for this event have been amazing civil rights activists like Harry Belafonte and Diane Nash and this year they hosted Ruby Bridges.

Don't recognize her name? You may recognize her by this famous Normal Rockwell painting...


Ruby Bridges. A six-year old girl that became the face of the American story of integration. A story about hope. A story about a different future. A story about progression. A story about the America that really is for "WE the people".

I have rarely been so moved to be in the presence of another human. To hear her story and to watch the reaction of 750 others as she told it was a gift. She explains it quite simply - she was six years old and "just going to school." She didn't know why these men had picked her up for her new school but once they rounded the corner and she saw all these people "acting crazy and waving their hands" it hit her... she was in a Mardi Gras parade because being from New Orleans it was a reasonable explanation to all the ruckus around her.

As she filled us in on that lonely year of school - a classroom of just her and her teacher - a school where she could hear children but didn't really see them - a school where she had to eat in her class instead of in the cafeteria with others - I just kept wondering how she did it. How did she, at 6, carry on?

Faith. Her answer was faith. Faith in him. Faith in humanity. Faith in the good of others. Her message was to keep moving forward. To love more than hate,  even when it's hard. Even when it's unfair. Even when you don't want to do it - love. Each and every day. Spread the message that only light can drive out the dark.

She also made sure to talk about her parents' decision to allow her to be part of this movement. They wanted better for her - and I couldn't help but cry because I paused and had to really think about it. Would I...no, COULD I.... send my child past a mob of angry, hate-filled people to make a difference for others? Could I do that?

She spoke of her teacher, Mrs. Henry, and the profound impact she had on her life even though she taught her for only one year. She travelled from Boston just to teach her because no one at the school would agree to the task. They are still in contact today.

So many pieces of that puzzle came together to form her story.

As the literally dawning of a new day in American history approaches I really had to pause and give thanks for her message. Her presence on this campus was not a coincidence...no...that was a divine plan. Those people in that room needed to hear her words. I needed to hear them. I needed to be challenged to understand that one person does not get to write our story. We are all responsible to move forward. We are all responsible to love.

As parents - we teach our kids to face that hard knowing they have a soft place to land in our arms.
As educators - we support our students and meet them where they are. We listen and guide and advocate for them.
As children - we love.

To love is our duty.  Each of us. Whether you are 6, 16, 60 .... whether you agree or not. Not just when it's easy but especially when it's hard. Not because it's the only thing to do simply because it's the right thing to do. Not because you want a better life for yourself but to demand a better life for others.

President Obama wrote us all a letter today. In it he says...

I've seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness. And in your daily acts of citizenship, I've seen our future unfolding. 

All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work - the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there's an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. 


...

America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word 'We.' 'We the people.' 'We shall overcome.'


We.

We the people. You and me. Our children. The people that don't look like us. Or think like us. Our friends and neighbors. And people we've never met.

We shall love.

I'm ready. Are you?

Tiny Tales Thursday...

We kind of hit the jackpot when it comes to first borns. That Radley King is kind, intelligent, gracious, forgiving, loving, inquisitive, tenacious, athletic, and just fun to be around. There isn't much to complain about with this one.

Except.

Y'all.

He doesn't eat spaghetti. As in the nectar of my motherland. Not even my momma's spaghetti gravy (which if you've been around here a hot minute, you know is what we call "sauce").

She has fed 1000s of people this gravy.
The entire RHS varsity football team in 1994.
All 100 people that attended our rehearsal dinner. (Yeah - we had a big wedding).
She even made it for UPS drivers one year at the request of Ryan.

People love this stuff. We should bottle it and make millions because EVERYONE loves this stuff except my son.

He doesn't like spaghetti.

But he will eat pesto and goat cheese tortellini. Or prosciutto and mozzarella. Or half a dozen fried eggs with Frank's lathered on top. Or sushi. And my sauteed mushrooms.

But he doesn't like spaghetti.

Or french fries.

I mean - WHAT?!?

How is he even a child?

And his favorite food is any type of Asian cuisine - specifically Pei Wei. He loves everything about any dish he's tried. So he was so dang excited about dinner on Monday. We were trying our hand at making Fed+Fit's Mongolian Beef - my choice for Chinese every single time - and I have to say... WE HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK!!


My iPhone picture doesn't even begin to do it justice. This dish was super fun (and easy) to make,  full of flavor (and NONE of the bad stuff) and most importantly loved by every member of We5Kings. So... click on that little link abdove and make plans to make this soon. And also every night because so dang good!!! 

In the meantime, I'll be eating gravy with a straw and hoarding all the french fries. 

1.18.2017

If it ain't broke...

I'm not sure how or why the tradition of bowling on our MLK holiday got started, but it's a day I always look forward to spending with this crazy crew of mine. We almost tried out the new jump place in town, but y'all, they SURGE prices on school holidays. Ummm. No.

Meanwhile at Grand Station, we bowled, laser tagged, bumper carred, and played games for the low price of $16 each. Clearly we shouldn't mess with a good thing.


Our group has expanded over the years and this year we had SEVENTEEN kids and six adults hanging with our crew.


The big boys were on a lane all to themselves without bumpers. All that Wii bowling must have paid off for Radley because his game has totally improved.


"DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!"


Besides being great "athletes" these kids are just FUN to hang out with. I love their sense of humor and sarcasm. I love listening to their stories and watching them interact.


I just adore how much the adore each other (well, mostly each other).


Radley asked me if he could make a living bowling and visions of my life spent at a bowling alley flashed before my eyes. 


And you know what? There are worse places you could be!


All the kids were {mostly} all smiles which made the day that much more fun.


I'm totally having a love/hate relationship with how much they are growing up. 


I love that we do this every single year and I can't believe how tiny they were when we started way back in 2011. We totally brought the swing in with us y'all. Crazy? or Genius?


And because I was curious, here we are through the years.

1. Where was Mills in the 2012 pic? Maybe she was napping but it's unlike me or Cindy to leave a kid out of a picture for a silly reason like that.
2. We were kind in 2011 & 2013 to settle for pics of kids not looking at the camera... Again - who are we?
3. We did not plan for them to all match in 2015
4. We clearly were missing the Munsons (they ditched us for camping - ha) and quit caring what they wore. 


And here they are now.... who are these giants and what did they do with our children?!? Also, my motto of "the more the merrier" made this day so much more fun!



As fun as bowling was, I think the real winner of the day were the bumper cars.





Every one had so much fun - maybe we will go back before next year!