Monday, June 28, 2010


One of my favorite Tom Waits albums is called Orphans. He said that he had all the songs wandering around loose because they didn't seem to fit with any particular album. Finally he bundled them all up and created a home for them. Their own home - Orphans. This post is full of my orphans. Posts I began, but never finished. Good writing, or at least appealing to me. But orphans all the same.

I believe that it is in the dailiness of our lives that we find real beauty. It is in the ordinary that we really dwell. Much more than milestone birthdays and special moments, our lives are created in the day-to-day moments, habits, and pursuits we choose. I believe it, and I do my best to live it. (4/28/10)
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I love this quote from my friend, Jeanne:
"Babies are such a lovely way to start people." (9/18/09)

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My name is Relyn. As in Ruh-Lynn, which actually sounds prettier than it looks sitting there like that. I get Ray-Lynn all the time. ALL THE TIME. I also get Ray, Ree-Lynn, and most notably Rahh-Lynn. I just answer to anything that starts with an R. I mostly just get a good giggle out of it. But, really, when you have known someone, taught with them, for five years, you really should be able to pronounce their name. (10/11/09)

They say,"It's the thought that counts."
I say, "Think harder."
~ Ebay commercial
And for a bit of fun today, a shamelessly materialistic post. Here's my wish list:
* a gift certificate for a monthly pedicure * huge gold ring; a knuckle grazer * an amazing chronometer * iPhone * tickets to Wicked * another family trip to Disney * a convertible * (11/27/09)
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I believe I've told you before that as a Momma and a teacher I am a firm believer in early bedtimes and consistent bedtime routines. The first makes certain that children get the rest they need. For second graders, pediatricians say 10 or 11 hours a night. The second gives them another constant in their life, which brings peace and contentment. A consistent bedtime routine also cues the body for sleep. (12/8/09)

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I told you already about my best book of 2009. What amazes me is that out of those 259 books, only 27 of them were rereads. I usually have a list of favorites that I reread every single year. Books like The Hiding Place, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Year of Pleasures, Isabel's Daughter, When Venus Fell, The Pull of the Moon, everything by Helene Hanff, Chili Queen, and Secret Garden. It's not a plan to reread them, I just notice that I tend to. I'm not sure why I didn't last year, but it was a year full of new-to-me books. (1/1/10)

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I love your list. I started laughing when I read your comment about a list of what's great about lists. No kidding. Here's my version:
1. Keeping lists give you a record of your life.
2. Marking off lists gives you such clear sense of accomplishment and celebration.
3. If you pay attention, you'll learn what your true priorities are. For example, if something stays on the list for years, you don't really want to do it.
4. It's an easy way of capturing all that's in your scattered, racing mind.
5. Written well, they can be a sort of autobiography. (1/29/10)

I've sat here at my desk and cried my way through lunch. Again. No, there's nothing wrong. It's just that my heart gets so full that it all bubbles out in tears. I was visiting my friend Maithri and ended up crying. Have you heard the story of the day water came to the desert? (10/14/09)

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Magic moments. Magic has been on my mind a lot lately. I guess because this Fall has been so blessed. Jeffrey and I passed a personal milestone a little more than a month ago, and I was so busy I forgot to mark the occasion. Sometime in mid October we passed a date I've been watching for. Jeffrey and I have been together longer than we have been apart. I've spent more than half my life with my heart belonging to Jeffrey. (2/1/10)

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I wanted to tell you about my word for the year. I do know it's already February. I told you that sometimes I take a while to warm up to a new thing. I'm ready now. My word last year was YES. I almost kept it for another year, it's such a wonderful concept - saying yes. And I did say yes last year, a good bit. But, perhaps, not as much as I intended; not as much as I wanted to. I didn't take the risks I intended. This year, that will change. In fact, that is already changing. My word for 2010 is LEAP! My post title (Leap as You Run) came from a song by Big Smith. Listen. (2/8/10)

You probably know by now that Team Lawson is big on experiences and not as much on things. Though we make an enormous exception for books and magazines. So, did I ever tell you about Sloane's Christmas present? We bought her an entire hiking kit. Great walking stick, compass, hiking boots, hiking guide to the Ozarks, reusable water bottles, and a fanny pack stocked with everything from band aids and bug spray to granola bars and trail mix. Of course, we also included a series of writing utensils and her first Moleskine to be her hiking journal. (3/27/10)

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Susan's pictures brought back a memory of a time when we lived in an old farmhouse on a dirt road out in the country in Oregon. There was a falling down house in a field nearby. The house was absolutely over-grown with lilacs. I wanted them. Badly. So, my four-year old nephew, my husband, my brother-in-law, and the dog all jumped in the back of the truck with pocket knives, buckets, and secateurs. They cut and cut lilacs for me. I had armfuls of them. I smelled lilacs in my dreams long into the summer. I can still smell them now. (3/29/10)

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As an elementary school teacher, I teach every subject every day. Since it's not possible to be an expert in every single subject, a good teacher has to become an expert in her pedagogy, her teaching. If you know how to teach well, it is possible to teach anything. Of course, I'd be spending every night cramming if I had to teach middle school math, but I think you get what I mean. (4/21/10)

My number one book last year was Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell. When I choose it, I didn't know that it had been made into a film by and incredible independent film director. I have to tell you, I was pretty nervous about it. How would these beautiful Ozarks be represented by a director from New York? I got my answer last night at a special screening of the film. I wasn't disappointed. (5/17/10)
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Good Things:
  • "Fotofenfefish, that's how plants make food for themselves." ~ Sloane, age 8
  • I took Sloane and Lauren to pick wild tiger lilies yesterday. I loved it when they both promptly decided to have huge tiger lily bouquets for their weddings.
  • Lauren excitedly asked, "Can I please pick some to take to my Mom?" She couldn't wait to share her bounty. (6/10/10)

Do you have orphans, too? I'd sure be interested in reading them.

The images are from the photo day I wrote about a few days ago.


Georgianna said...

One of your most memorable posts, Relyn. A pure joy to read and relish. What a very brilliant idea! Yes, I have orphans, binders full of them, waiting to have homes. Perhaps I'll bring them out to play one day! Thank you for this. xo – g

ELK said...

so many windows into your world here Relyn gathered them together with the photos to savor...

i have pages upon pages of orphans
but have never thought of them that way...fabulous

Suz said...

Yes I have them too
SOme I sent off and they went who knows where
Lovely post..just lovely

Yiota said...

Early in the morning, with a cup of coffee, reading this post: bliss!
PS. The painting you liked is called 'Interior of a french bistro', an oil-painting (o,33*0,49m) by Georgios Kosmadopoulos (1895-1967)

Tracy said...

Magic moments... and dwelling in the everyday, which is magic, I think... Much of what you share here resonates with my soul too, Relyn. What a great idea to gather these bits & piece--wonderful writing. I do have some oprhans--in notebooks, on the computer...gently aging before I take them up again--haha! Love this post. And thank you so much for your visits, my friend :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

CrowNology said...

Love this Ruh-Lynn! ;)
Great way to pull things together...I have many too.
I love the sleep time advice...For me. It is my biggest hassle...I hate falling asleep! :)

Joanne said...

These are beautiful. And the thing is, most if not all of them are complete posts in themselves. The nature of blogs is brevity, short posts that say so much, and wow, these work!

Andrea said...


Jeanie said...

Oh, dear - -you know how sometimes you come into a post and it just sucks you in to the very bone! This does that to me! In these bits and pieces of orphaned posts, I come to know you better and better, and while I already liked what I knew, I smile even more, recognizing your joy, your love, your heart, your keen eye, your deep mind, and your ecstasy in discovering and and reveling in the world of daily life.

What a treasure.

(And thanks for your kind words on my book "reviews!" I always like it when you stop by!

Lennye said...

Lovely post! You are an inspiration! One post of yours that I think about had to do with your special place in your classroom. I'm really trying to create that place for me in my room.

Derrick said...

Hi Relyn,

I know I'm guilty of mispronouncing your name to myself, even though I know you have explained it for us! Will you still speak to me?!

Because I have never kept a diary or journal, I tend not to write snippets of things and yet you show what treasures it's possible to accumulate!

S. Etole said...

Savored every single word ... and yes, enough to start an orphanage.

maggie said...

Love you post. So your word for this year is 'listen'- beautiful.

Erin Wallace said...

This is fantastic - evertyhing is written so well that they don't need a full post to surround them. Great post, Ruh-lynn!


Sarah said...

I loved reading your orphans Relyn. Each one had so much to say and some made me think-oh yes, I see! Especially the teaching one and the one about how you and your husband have been together longer than you have been apart. Love fotofenfofish(have I got it right?!)
I tend to write my posts quite quickly(you may be able to tell!), for me it is more the visual side that takes a little while. If I don't like a post I don't keep it-I either change or delete it. I think I may have lots of photo orphans though-pictures I took with an idea in mind that then never got posted.
As for photoshop-I was intimidated and fustrated by the whole thing, until I discovered the Kim Klassen course through Christina. I would really recommend it-photoshop the skinny. It is 29 dollars-money so well spent! It is easy to follow with step by step videos. The best thing about it though is that once you have followed Kim's lessons, it is like a key to how to do many more things-and to have the confidence to try them. I think she is a very good teacher. Here is a link to her blog-course is on the sidebar. Good luck!

Rita said...

I had several posts that I had started and didn't finish... So, I just deleted them. Enjoyed reading yours! Yes, I remember the fun times that we had in the boat. I'm glad that you got to enjoy them too!

Marilyn said...

I do have some orphans tucked away. One day I will bring them out. In the meantime I love your orphans from tiger lilys, a hiking gift, to your words YES and LEAP. Love those words.

Thursday I will post a little something on living in SF during the flower children era.

Anita said...

I'm glad your 'orphans' have found a home in this post. What a joy to read these little bits of inspiration.

Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

I meant to email you over the weekend, but wanted to let you know that you won the World Cup of Beauty Giveaway! Please email your mailing address to so I can forward it to the beauty product people. Congrats! Hope you will enjoy the goodies :)
xo Mary Jo

Amy said...

Ooh, I love your orphans! :) Thanks for sharing them...

Elyse said...

Ooooh...this was a good idea. I've got lots of tidbits laying around. I'm not sure how truly GOOD they are, but I'd like to think so! And yes, I can completely relate to the list about lists.

SE'LAH... said...

AMAZING post, Relyn.
the writing and photos were captivating. sweet...

one love.

Ragamuffin Gal said...

You continue to amaze me, (even after 10 years of friendship)
this is possibly the best post you have ever written. I have experienced so many emotions just by reading it.

Secondly, you continue to inspire me ~ now to begin "listing" and to read Winter's Bone.

Finally, please tell me if I ever pronounce your name incorrectly as I promise to keep practicing until I say it correctly.

Love you friend ~ we've been apart for less than a day and I already miss you. XO ~ Katie

beth said...

i've re-read two books this summer...what does that mean ?

and is it pronounced "rulen" like coolin off in the summer pool....or rU-lyn with a long U sound ?

sheesh...good thing i don't teach as that probably doesn't make any sense.....

Hindsfeet said...

a few thoughts, Relyn...(ok, more than a few, but too many to write here...)...

Loved your first "orphan" here...I have a good friend who says something that sort of resonates with that...He says life is like Beethoven's 9th...Everyone knows the climactic "big bang" part of that piece, but there are tons of monotonous "hum drum" notes that lead up to that bit that everyone knows and lots of lacidaisical bits that leave that climactic bit in their wake.....a lot like life, he says...if you only appreciate the "big bang" bits, you wont be enjoying much of the music....


regarding the ebay quote, *LOVE IT!!*...too funny, Relyn...


And finally (at least for now), I read Helene Hanff's "84 Charing Cross Road", but what else do you recommend by her? (Love "84" and have read it three or four times : ) )


As always, Relyn, *love* "sitting by your fire"...thanks for this lovely little oasis....

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. . .like pearls getting strung together. . . pearls of wisdom and glowing light.
Thank you, dear Relyn.
Sending you love and magic*~*~*~*~

spread your wings said...

i enjoyed reading your orphans. the one that made me really smile was the one about the Christmas gift you gave Sloan. I love that you did that.

Jennifer Richardson said...

That was so much FUN...loved each juicy tidbit. What a great concept....and now I'm sure I want to read "To Kill a Mockingbird" again.

susanna said...

I am so glad that I came by to visit you today, Relyn. Your posts are always so warm, welcoming and funny. Okay, so where to start?

1. I'm a Tom Waits fan, too. I like how he creates interesting and unusual characters on his albums. Like Edward (did you hear about him?)

2. Yes, it's in the daily ordinary that we find real beauty. Like naps with (our) favourite person in the late afternoon.

3. Well said, Jeanne.

4. Ruh-Lynn. Ruh-Lynn. Ruh-Lynn. Will remember that.

5. Did you get your knuckle grazer ring?? I'm picturing you wearing a WWF ring right now - just kidding!

6. Yes to early bedtimes - and to bedtime stories. Hearing my mom reading to us at night is one of my best loved memories as a child.

7. You read 259 books in one year????!!!! Oh my gosh!!! How?? HOW???

8. Lists are good de-stressers (unless it's a really long To Do list involving housecleaning and early deadlines)

9. YES to LEAPING! I want to hear more on that.

10. That was a great present for Sloane. Much, much better than an xbox.

11. Lilacs are my favourite. Mmmm.

12. I can just imagine you all picking wild tiger lilies. Just like a painting. Or a scene from your own version of Bright Star. They are such a pleasure to see during the summer months, aren't they?

13. You read 259 books???!!!! Still can't get over that.

Great post, Relyn! And Happy July 4th this weekend!

Angie Muresan said...

I am stuck on you reading 259 books a year. Wow!!! When and how? I only manage two per week.

Oliag said...

Loved each and everyone of your orphans Relyn:) So glad you saved them to share with us.

Personal Injury Claims said...

Love the lit things also love the details. Those pieces are pretty

Jaime said...

Relyn, what a wonderfully creative idea for a post! Tying together all those little tidbits...and so many good little nuggets here.

I wrote the title of that book down...every time I read a book at your recommendation, I am never disappointed. But I will never be able to keep can read, girl! Holy moly, you read a lot of books...and fast!

It was fun reading this post. Great have a brilliant mind.

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