O Captain! My Captain! A Memorial Day Tribute


I cannot think of a better tribute to our fallen heroes on this Memorial Day than Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain! paired with some photos I took at our Memorial Day Parade, May 27th, 2013 – Fairport, NY

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

air corps

air corps older





O captain!  dear father! This arm beneath your head; It is some dream that on the deck, You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

boys holding posters

poster wwII
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! But I, with mournful tread, 
Walk the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.
end of parade

Bad Teacher or Great Teacher Which One Are You?

appleWho was your favorite teacher?

You might need to think a minute before answering.

Now, who was your worst teacher ever?  Of course you have no trouble remembering that one. Name, grade, school, year, day, her beehive hairdo, his polyester suit, her gravely voice, his receding hairline. Was it math? English? Shop? Gym?

bad teacherSometimes we don’t recognize the great teachers until we’ve experienced the bad ones. I once had a teacher so awful he would leave the answer key to our tests on his desk.

answer key

He’d saunter out of the room and we all took turns going up to get the answers. Even the brains cheated. Otherwise, we would have all failed. I’m not proud I cheated, but goodness – the teacher permitted it because he knew he stunk at teaching.


A great teacher can make a difficult subject wonderful and easy to understand while a bad teacher can destroy creativity and make a student hate a subject –  sometimes one that was once a favorite. You bad teachers: shame on you. Go away or fix yourself. You are doing serious, perhaps irreversible damage.


You great teachers: thank you. Our children need you.  Don’t give up. You may be the one person who pulls the greatness out of a struggling student.

The Great Teacher:

She makes learning fun. Gives constructive feedback and shows how to improve. He recognizes the difference between knowledge and understanding. Great teachers are accessible and enthusiastic. They care. They see a student as a unique and talented person. Never compares but rather looks for individual growth. Does not teach to a test. Does not rely on tests for sole assessment. Is not rigid. Acknowledges there may be more than one correct answer. Would never condescend. Asks a student how are things at home? Is a coach, a guide, a mentor, a role model, has character. A great teacher can always find something good in a student’s work.  Praises often, yet will not stand for shabby, crappy, disrespectful work.  Explains plagiarism and confronts those who dare do it. Deserves respect as she gives respect. Does not punish all for one person’s misbehavior. Deals with problems promptly. Is not a bully and does not allow bullying. The great teacher…

…the good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires…….


Jon Foreman and Robert Frost Celebrate Spring with Me

close up

A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;

And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year.

spring is hereOh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,

Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;

And make us happy in the happy bees,

The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

white flowers


And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

purplesFor this is love and nothing else is love,

The which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what far ends He will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.

I walked outside this morning, the day before Easter and saw these amazingly beautiful flowers surrounding my walkway.  The skies were blue and I felt happy. I felt God.  I grabbed my camera and took these pictures so I could share the beauty with you. My pictures don’t do Frost’s Spring poem justice-the only thing that could would be for you to walk through a blooming orchard or sit in a garden and reflect on the poem’s words, and enjoy the moment. Take a second and listen to Your Love is Strong – it’s moving, earthy, rich. Just Like God, Just like spring. Happy Easter….Kathy

Your Love is Strong by Jon Foreman


Homeschooling? Oh, I Could Never Do That!

“Why aren’t you in school?” Strangers will ask my children when we visit the library or store during traditional school hours.

“We are. We’re homeschooled.”

A pause, and a response. Oh

I can tell exactly what that person is thinking by the sound of the Oh.

If it is drawn out with a slight high pitch at the end Oh, isolated, with no companion words then it means, “Oh-You are one of THEM”. We are sized up as right wing conservatives, backward fundamentalists intent on brainwashing our kids while sequestering them from the real world. Oh the stranger repeats, her smile fades as she walks away.

Then there’s the Oh- said with a tone of shock.

This person is thinking: “Oh, I’ve heard about homeschooling.  You do that?  What about socialization? How will your kids ever adjust in society if they are not allowed the opportunity to interact thirty-five hours a week with their peers and are never introduced to objective, educated, professional teachers. Don’t you agree they are more qualified than you to teach your children?“ She shakes her head and clicks her tongue as she disappears into the crowd.

If the Oh is light and followed by a sigh, then the thought is, “Oh, I wish I could do that.  I would love to homeschool my kids, but I can’t.  I have to work, and honestly, I just don’t have the patience. My kid and I would butt heads.” Good luck is added before she walks away.

Then there is the Oh I long for, but rarely hear. The Oh! is said with excitement and recognition. This time, words are spoken.

Oh, I should have realized you were home-schoolers. I home-schooled my three children.  My eldest is in his first year of med school, my middle one a sophomore at Harvard majoring in political science, and my youngest just got accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. They are well adjusted, flexible, creative adults. I’m so glad I chose to homeschool, they are too!

My hero gives me a hug, wishes us well and waves goodbye.

Imagine that. I can tell what people are thinking by the sound of a simple two-letter word.



Hey-thanks for reading. I’m Kathy, wife to Gary, and mom to three teenage sons. I’ve been a family nurse practitioner since 1991 and currently practice in addiction medicine. I also negotiate clinical placements for APN grad students. We’re home schoolers with a dash of un-schooling. My most memorable celebrity patient: the Munchkin Coroner from the Wizard of Oz.

Seriously Man, Is There Any Hope For You?

Then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
Wearied out with her wanderings, the dove returns at length to the ark as her only resting place. How heavily she flies–she will drop–she will never reach the ark!  But she struggles on. 

Noah has been looking out for his dove all day long, and is ready to receive her. She has just strength to reach the edge of the ark, she can hardly alight upon it, and is ready to drop, when Noah puts forth his hand and pulls her in unto him. Mark that:
pulled her in unto him
She did not fly right in herself, but was too fearful, or too weary to do so. She flew as far as she could, and then he put forth his hand and pulled her in unto him. 

This act of mercy was shown to the wandering dove, and she was not chidden for her wanderings. Just as she was she was pulled into the ark. So you, seeking sinner, with all your sin, will be received.
“Only return.”
Those are God’s two gracious words.
“Only return.”
What! nothing else?
No. “Only return.”

She had no olive branch in her mouth this time, nothing at all but just herself and her wanderings; but it is only return.
And she does return, and Noah pulls her in. 
Fly, you wanderer; fly you fainting one, dove as you are, though you think yourself to be black as the raven with the mire of sin, back, back to the Saviour.

Every moment you wait does but increase your misery.

Your attempts to plume yourself and make yourself fit for Jesus are all vanity.

Come to him just as you are.

“Return, thou backsliding Israel.” He does not say, “Return, thou repenting Israel” (there is such an invitation doubtless), but “thou backsliding one,” as a backslider with all thy backslidings about thee.

Return, return, return!
Jesus is waiting for you!
He will stretch forth his hand and “pull thee in”–in to himself.
Your heart’s true home.
-Charles Spurgeon

What Makes Me Speechless and Breathless

Life isn’t about how many breathes you take but about the moments that take your breath away.





music lyrics that capture the pain or joy of what I am going through

seeing my favorite band in concert

watching the sun rise on my drive to work

the sound of a violin 


an elderly couple holding hands 

big brown eyes

baptisms and new beginnings

christmas morning


witnessing others express pure joy







reunions of loved ones


a newborn’s fingers


picturing my son’s wedding day

thoughts of heaven

What makes you speechless and breathless?

Homeschooled Child Prodigy Grows Up

Nature’s first green is goldHer hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay – Robert Frost

The journey has ended. My son has finished his K-12 homeschool education, graduated with honors a semester early, and is now embarking on the next phase of his life.  He has grown up.  But what is he going to be?

Not everyone knows what they want to be. Though some have shown extraordinary talents early on. For example:

Blaise Pascall wrote a treatise at 9….Christopher Paolini wrote his first novel at age 15….Jackie Cooper was nominated for an oscar at age 9…Picasso painted Picador at age 8…Mozart was playing beautiful music by age 5.

My son too, showed talents early on.

  • Age 1: Tore off the wallpaper in his room. We thought Interior designer?
  • Age 2:  Ate rocks. Could he be a Geologist?
  • Age 3: Invented a cheerio baking soda pound cake. Maybe a world class Chef?
  • Age 6: Brisk lemonade and candy stand sales. Entrepreneur?
  • Age 8: Guitarist? 
  • Age 9: Self-published his book “When We Were Shrunk”. Could he be a novelist?
  • Age 10:  Started movie making. Would he be the next Steven Spielberg?
 He taught a course on film-making at age 14, started his own lawn mowing business at 15, and became a paid tutor at age 16.  At age 17 he developed, beta-tested, and published his own video game.
 Perhaps because he had so many interests, and showed promise in countless areas, he’s not sure which way to go.
I tell him it’s ok.  It doesn’t matter, because he has proven he can be anything he wants.
What does matter is that he never loses his passion.
That he feeds his desire to learn, to do, to teach.
It’s hard to see my baby boy grown to a man.
I feel the tears welling and my heart is heavy.
God, I can’t believe it’s really over.
I loved it all. I look back over the last 13 years and I am so glad we chose to homeschool.
I think if you met my son, you would agree, he’s a fine young man and he’s had a wonderful education.
His homeschool journey has come to a close and it’s his time to step out into the world.
Director, chef, engineer, physicist, CEO, writer, husband, father.
He may choose one, he may choose them all.
Whatever he chooses, I have no doubt –  he’s going to be great.

Top 12 Quotes of 2012

 Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future. Oscar Wilde



Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt


Don’t wait.  The time will never be just right. Napoleon Hill



Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. Khalil Gibran



Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.  Warren Buffett



Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Steve Jobs



The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. Dwight Eisenhower



Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas Edison



Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.  Mother Teresa



Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely…if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, think on these things.  Paul the Apostle



Leadership is influence…nothing more…nothing less.  John C. Maxwell



In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life……

It goes on.  Robert Frost

The Art of Lifting Burdens

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. Charles Dickens

The thought of adding more burden to my life frightened me. Putting into practice freed me. There will never be a day where I can walk through life and not see a burden that needs bearing. The traffic of daily encounters reveal so many who suffer. Some, in silence. Others are on display to the world as the media brings their pain to our living rooms. Even though everyone knows, they may be bearing their burden alone.  We assume they are being cared for. But are they?

We are all frightened by burdens, who wants to carry another’s load? Aren’t our own troubles enough?  Won’t our back break under the weight of shouldering more? Will we spiral down? No, I don’t think so.

Our burdens become less when we carry another’s.  We become liberated of our own encumbrances and our vision becomes clearer. To know you have lifted the burdens of another, made the road easier, shared the pain-eases our own.  Don’t recoil or be afraid of rejection. Though the heavy laden have not asked for help they cry for it when alone. “God help me get through tonight, give me the strength to get through tomorrow.” If you are quiet enough, you can hear them. They are considerate people, the burdened, they don’t want to let you know the weight is too much.  You have to look with your eyes and see with your heart. You are thinking of someone right now. You may know them well, or they may slip past you like time. But you see them, right? Even though they think they are invisible.

Break the ice, tell them you know about the burden, and you want some of the weight. Take them out to coffee. Be quiet and let them talk. Send a note with a prayer or a comforting quote, clean their house, make a meal, drop off a care package, give a bonus, a day off. Say hi to someone you pass in the halls. Introduce yourself. Don’t give advice, don’t say anything really, just listen. Take the weight.  Your back can take it.  Remember to use your knees when you bend, it helps.

The Man Who Lost His Heart

Rest assured, dear friends, that where your pleasure is, there your heart is. Charles Spurgeon

From the lips of Spurgeon, the man who found his heart.

“I knew a man who lost his heart. His wife had not got it, and his children had not got it, and he did not seem as if he had got it himself. “That is odd,” say you. Well, he used to starve himself. He scarcely had enough to eat. His clothes were threadbare. He starved all who were round him. He did not seem to have a heart.

A poor woman owed him a little rent. Out she went into the street. He had no heart. A person had fallen back a little in the payment of money that he had lent him. The debtor’s little children were crying for bread. The man did not care who cried for hunger, or what became of the children. He would have his money.

He had lost his heart.

I never could make out where it was till I went to his house one day, and I saw a huge chest. I think they called it an iron safe: it stood behind the door of an inner room; and when he unlocked it with a heavy key, and the bolts were shot, and the inside was opened, there was a musty, fusty thing within it, as dry and dead as the kernel of a walnut seven years old.

It was his heart.

If you have locked up your heart in an iron safe, get it out. Get it out as quickly as ever you can. It is a horrible thing to pack up a heart in five-pound notes, or bury it under heaps of silver and gold. Hearts are never healthy when covered up with hard metal. Your gold and silver are cankered if your heart is bound up with them.”