Already A Rainbow


“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray. ”

-Lord Byron

As much as human nature pushes us to seek perfection, right now being the rainbow must not be seen as a destination.

Being a rainbow is a much softer, gentle endeavor.

To be a rainbow, in the storms of a pandemic, means to find a momentary break in the clouds each day.

A rainbow cannot be held, it cannot last forever, but it can provide a glimpse of peace.

A rainbow permits a peek at the hope and potential that is always right there in the rain.

We started this rainbow project over a week ago, and it still hangs there in our kitchen unfinished. Maybe next week we will finish it, and hang it out front for our neighbors to see. But for right now, it is something already complete: a beautiful intention.

Go easy on yourself and others.

You do not need to be a compete rainbow to tint tomorrow with your prophetic ray of hope.




All American Girl


So you love her hair, eh?
Wild and free
Curls defying gravity
You love how they bounce
When she walks
So full of cuteness
Every ounce
You love her light eyes
And how they pop
Against the backdrop
Of her caramel skin
She’s so beautiful
Your pockets would be so full
You say
If she would model
For Old Navy
Or some agency
Willing to pay
For her variety
Of beauty
You love her hair, eh?
That’s what you say
But can you see
The legacy
Of slavery
Buried in her skin
Can you feel the heat
Of prejudice overcome
To put the pink in her cheeks
Do you touch her curls
With the same fingers
You use to clutch pearls
And vote for nationalists
That see her brown skin
As a threat
As something their country
Should regret
Will you compliment her dress
Then support a leader
Who feels it is ok to undress
Females and strip them
Of their rights and dignity
Don’t you see
She is the fruit
From the trees
From which her ancestors
Were hung
You love her hair, eh?

A Living Rainbow

Bold primary and secondary colors exemplify the essence of preschool, at least in the traditional sense. Memories of bright blobs of finger-paint, jumbo sized crayons, and brilliantly colored carpets to sit on, while the teacher reads colorful books like Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by, Eric Carle.

Learning the colors seems to be one of first preschool milestones or signs of preschool readiness in our modern society where there is a push to learn more earlier and at a faster pace than ever before.

Just take a stroll down the toy aisle of any big box store and you will be met with a barrage of talking plastic toys that bark the names of colors in an odd robotic voice at the press of a button. Companies like V tech, Playskool and Leap Frog to name a few have really capitalized on this consumer desire to teach kids and babies their colors.

Turn on the television and you will find endless commercials for, which I am convinced is the truest evil in the current education climate for children and their parents. The pull of these commercials is akin to a creeper in a van with candy luring children to their demise. An exaggeration? Maybe.

But why then is the website so profitable that it can buy enough commercial space to monopolize every break in every preschool show? What do they have to gain by hooking children and their parents on commercialized computer-based learning programs by 3 years old, at the latest?

The answer might lie in the multi-million dollar standardized testing industry that has driven schools to invest billions of dollars in chrome books, typing programs, test skill prep programs like Study Island and IXL, all while our nation’s school librarians are cut from budgets and libraries are referred to as outdated and under/defunded.

“Well, computers are the way of the future.”

I hear this all of the time. And I want to ask…the way of whose future? And what kind of future?

Since computers have taken over our workplaces and schools have we seen progress? Have our lives been improved or made easier? Or have we seen an unprecedented spike in drug abuse, anxiety, depression, suicide, and violence? Has our Earth been healed by all of these marvelous technological advances? Or has it become more polluted, disrespected, endangered, and irrevocably damaged?

What if we stopped letting the companies who are profiting off of this vision of a technologic Shangri-la? What if we envisioned a new future and stopped buying all that these companies and their vision of the world, so limited by the blinders of greed, offer us?

What if we taught our children the colors with literature again? Real books with hand painted illustrations read by real humans who love them?



What if we lead our children to the forest or farm instead of to a room with cinderblock walls and flourescent lighting?



What if they learned the name and appearance of a color not by pressing a plastic button that would one day pollute their beautiful ocean, but by pressing their hand to a living organism in their environment?


What if we showed our children that human connection is the most powerful rainbow of all?


What would the future look like with a living rainbow of educational experiences?



Lessons Learned

Our children receive so much direct instruction from their parents, schools and institutions. Day in and day out, the lessons are specific with measurable outcomes that are often tracked and nearly always mitigated by systems of praise and punishment.

The lessons our children are supposed to learn are simple, well-defined and have remained nearly the same for many years.

Parents teach: Say please and thank you. Clean up after yourself. Brush your teeth. Wash your hands. Eat your vegetables. Look both ways before you cross the road. Use your words not hands to solve conflicts.

Teachers teach: Don’t forget to write your name on your paper. Memorize your multiplication facts. Answer questions in complete sentences. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Raise your hand before speaking. Try your best. Do your homework.

But, as important as these lessons are, there are other lessons that adults teach children indirectly. Powerful lessons that have lasting affects not just on the children, but on our society as a whole.

When parents choose to not be educated and informed or choose not to act in the face of injustice either locally, nationally, or internationally; they send a message.

Instead they need to talk to their children. Engage in difficult discussions about the news and the depths of sorrow, anger, hatred and greed that lie in those stories. And they also need to share stories of hope, love, and kindness that prevail in even the darkest of times. 

When teachers choose to teach the same narratives or subject matter, year  after year, ignoring pressing current events outside the confines of the textbooks, screens, standardized tests, and walls of the classrooms, they miss the opportunity to connect students to the real world that they will inherit.

The water protectors, bravely standing up for their communities and the earth, offer important lessons for our children, but only if adults allow them to be taught.

Our children should know that the civil disobedience promoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not a story about the past, but also one about our current reality. Children need to know that injustice still exists  and that there are people in the world willing to stand up against it at all costs. Children need to know that the very people we think will protect us; sometimes will not.

Children need to know early that they are powerful beings, capable of making a difference in the world.

After talking to my children the first time about the pipeline, my oldest son got the most visibly upset. He was indignant that President Obama would not intervene. He could not believe that the president that he looked up to and thought was “so nice” would not help the Native Americans that he learned about in second grade.

For Christmas that year, he wanted a dream catcher….a real one, just like the Native Americans had.15138354_10211344717958204_8713426760154199435_o

Well, this year he is in fourth grade, and I want to give him a different kind of dream catcher to honor the Native Americans and others fighting to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from jeopardizing their water supply and desecrating sacred land.

His idea was to get people to write letters to President Obama and ask him to stop the pipeline. We went on Amazon and ordered 50 postcards. This week we will organize a postcard campaign to send President Obama a message.

Though our postcards may not change the president’s mind or stop the pipeline, it will serve as a dream catcher for my son.

He will learn that the only way to make the world a better place is to dream of a better world and get busy trying to catch that dream.

Actions speak louder than words.

Life has all of the lessons that our children need.








The Glory of Gardening

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”

-Alfred Austin, an English poet

Alfred Austin surely wandered through an English garden in his day and sipped tea, while his eyes feasted on perfectly pruned roses.

I too have strolled such English gardens, and admired them so. Maybe I even gasped at their expanse and lush delicacy.  Yet I cannot recall those English gardens feeding my soul…not the way it was fed in the four hours we spent at the Community Garden beside the Salvation Army on Texas Road in Atlantic City.

Sure New Jersey is nicknamed the “Garden State” but, despite its great expanses of farmland, many chuckle and think that it’s just the name of the Parkway referencing some day of yore-when Jersey wasn’t crowded with roads and identical sprawling suburban neighborhoods. But even for those of us who know the gardens of the Garden State, Atlantic City is an uncommon city to find one.


It was Election Day, all 4 of my kids were off from school. I was nervous about the election and the uncertainty that comes with democracy. I had only been working on the Goji team a little over a week, when I saw the Community Garden Day pop up on my Google calendar. I didn’t know any details, but I figured let’s just go see what it’s all about. We can always leave.

When we arrived, it was a half hour after the start time, so all of the volunteers were working. Like worker bees in a beehive, each seemed to have a job and were engrossed in it. We walked in and I asked someone what we were doing and he said pulling apart these mounds of dead plants and soil. Hmmm…perhaps bringing a shovel or 4 would have been smart. I wondered why I didn’t think of that, and before the thought had fully landed, someone  handed one of my children a rake. A little boy handed my little girl a shovel he had finished working with. My other two boys and I got down on our knees and made shovels out of our hands.


The rake nearly poked some eyes out. The little green shovel instantly sent soil flying through the air. My other kids fought over an adult shovel and I moved in to mitigate turn-taking …and we were off. 10 hands working in the soil. Sun on our backs. It didn’t even matter when we found out we were moving the soil counter to the plans. We adjusted with little pause and just started pushing soil the other way.

The sun was warm, felt even warmer from our work. We stopped for a drink and into the garden walked a family who lived about a block away. The father just asked what we were doing and within minutes his little two year old boy and my three year old girl and two other young children sat in the soil and started digging with their little hands.  Once tired they moved on to dropping rocks and sticks into a metal grate on a door.


The kids ages 1-9 worked side by side, barely talking but moving in busy synergy.  The boy’s 12-year-old sister gravitated to the adults, chatting with us about the garden at her school and her new shirt that she mused that she probably shouldn’t have worn that day.

We got to talking about the pile of half edible produce on the table. My son pulled off a piece of kale to eat and she looked interested so I offered her some. Then her father and mother tried some and we discussed the best way to cook it. I began separating the edible leaves for them to take home with them.  Then we started to notice the colonies of insects that had made these dying vegetables home.


Fascinated, we pulled the leaves apart, and with encouragement she let the insects crawl on her hand, after she made me try it first! We were surprised how many we found as we shook the kale onto the table. The orange and black insects were neat as they laid on their backs and rotated little pieces of kale around and around with their legs. We speculated several reasons for their actions.

Then a volunteer rounded up the kids to help with spreading green sand over the soil. The kids oo’d and ah’d when they heard that green sand was around during the time of the dinosaurs.


Many hands made quick work, soon it was time to spread the leaves.  The kids’ laughter was infectious when Grant started a little leaf fight. We had been there for hours by then, but the kids had not once complained or asked when we were heading home. They delighted in the task at hand.


Usually gardens won’t bear fruit until after a long winter, but not this one. The fruits of our labor were right there for the picking. Instant gratification.

What better way to spend Election Day in today’s tumultuous world? Grounding down into the earth. Planting the seeds of the future; seeds with the power to fill your soul, build community…


And transform us all into something so delicately beautiful; ready to fly.




More often than I think…

There is no need to rush.

No people to see

No places to go…

I notice…

The breeze on my cheek

The sunshine in her eyes

The quiet hush of the forest.



I walk with my daughter…

A girl that won’t remain small forever…

And I drink the moment in like water

I quench my thirst for more

With the sweet nectar of now…


When I notice,

What lies right here before my  eyes…



I begin to live.




Childhood Is

inlet kids

Childhood is fleeting.

The days rush by like subway trains as I stand at the station feeling the rush of air as another one departs.

The hundreds of thousands of inhales and exhales propel me through this life powerless as they grow up before my eyes.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhaleexhaleinhaleexhale…

Sometimes I have the wisdom to slow my breath and take in the moment that I have right now.

Right now with them as they are.

Not the babies they were and not the grown ups I hope they grow to be.

Who they are right now. Where we are right now. Feet in the sand, head turned to the blue expanse of sky.

I inhale their laughter, their sobs, their smell, their bodies in perpetual motion.

I exhale my worry, my doubt, my rush to think about what’s next.

For childhood is precious and meant to be savored one moment at a time.