For the usual things
Made more special for their expectedness:

For things beautiful and strange:
Books with voices that strengthen my own;
An orange cat with winsome determination;
Crackling fires facilitating laughter and conversation.

And for things unusual:
Love beyond measure,
And grace that finds us
Even in the midst of our wanderings.

On Coming Home

Same same, but different
Yesterday your fingers recalled
How it felt to play Christmas songs
On the piano with a rattling F key–
The piano which is rightfully yours,
Except for as much as you miss it
You still have no space in your house.

The day before, your feet stayed warm
Inside boots two sizes too big.
You found them in a dusty box in the basement,
The basement which is also full, incidentally,
Of everything you’ve forgotten
But might need, someday.

Today you sat by a Christmas tree
And opened a gift from your parents:
A Nativity scene
Which looks like a miniature of the one you used to unpack–
Each year looking for a fragile baby Jesus
Hidden inside old newspapers.

Last week, coming home had different expectations
You had planned on divesting yourself
Of accomplishments and stories,
Then leaving with a lightened load.
How could you forget?
They fill your suitcase every time
Until the zippers fear bursting.


One week until Thanksgiving break. This is one of those times when the students’ absurdity level rises and my patience collapses on the floor in an exhausted heap. The only salvation for any of us, particularly me, is to maintain a sense of humor, so today I’m choosing to remember the funny moments rather than the frustration. The following things were said in the first ten minutes of class today:

“Lord, please help us do well on our quiz, and help me find my hand.”

“Can you give me a copy of that worksheet we did last class? It will keep my parents occupied.”

“Ms. DiMaria, do you wear heels to make your calves look good? You know, so the muscles stand out?”

“Bill took my stabbing device AKA my compass!”

“Joe, you are a neon potato.”

“Ms. DiMaria, do you like hurting yourself? You scraped your knee, and you fell down the stairs, and now you have a band-aid on your foot.”

“Ms. DiMaria, I have an irrelevant question to ask!”


I wish I could say these were taken out of context, but the truth is, there was no context to begin with. Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Seven days till Thanksgiving break. Seven. Days.



A most blessed Thanksgiving, but not in the usual way.

I woke up to coffee and hugs and cinnamon rolls. I am grateful for how my family loves me and treats me with kindness and grace-filled consideration; I’m so beautifully surrounded by welcoming warmth.

And as this day draws to a close, I bask in the details and moments. The hilarity accompanying a card game, the quirks and laughable frustrations, the electric blanket turned on high.

A most blessed Thanksgiving, but not in the usual way. I was tempted to think about how this day was less, to see what I was missing. But as I look to the door, I see the pile of brown and gray boots quietly signaling how many feet have stopped here for rest, and I realize how wonderfully compensated my family has been in the ebb and flow of life. So today, I am thankful.

“People complain about the bad things that happen to ’em that they don’t deserve, but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things. I don’t recall that I ever give the good Lord all that much cause to smile on me. But he did.” – Cormac McCarthy