Category Archives: Hope


“It’s morning in America again.”
— Ronald Reagan

I shot all the photos in this post when I woke up on this beautiful fall morning with the New Mexico sunshine streaming in my living room. That hopeful light matched my mood.

I will have more to say about the election after the votes are all counted, but for the moment, it appears our Constitution has weathered yet another challenge. Our government is an operating system with fatal errors written into its .exe file, despite the best efforts of the coders to prevent them. The hard drive has crashed twice — once in 1861 and once in 1929 — and nearly crashed several times since (Vietnam, Watergate, the Clinton scandal, and two elections in which the candidate who came in second was declared the winner under the Electoral College). The Fourth Estate has come under attack by people who would rather not have the public know what they’re up to. The basis of government itself — the counting of votes — is under attack right now. And yet, against all odds, the system prevails.

It’s morning in America again.


If Joe Biden prevails — which seems likely at the moment — I will be celebrating something I’ve wanted since 1984. 

We still have, in the immortal words of the late Helen Reddy, “a long, long way to go.”

But today, I have hope.

It’s morning in America again.


I’d almost forgotten how that felt. 


P.S.: If you share my feelings, please be nice to those who don’t. You know how it feels to have a close race fall apart at the seams and leave you wondering whether the hopes and dreams you’d pinned on your candidate were just air castles, destined to blow away on the winds of politics. After 20 years of division and acrimony, we have had three days of collective uncertainty that ought to endow us with a little more empathy. This is a unique opportunity for us to unite around a shared experience. Don’t squander it by being smug. Celebrate with like-minded friends. Gloat all you want behind closed doors. But be gracious to your acquaintances who don’t share your views and are feeling lost and scared right now. You know how they feel, and the Golden Rule is still better policy than anything any politician ever dreamed up.

Standing porter

What a year.  I’ll have some updates on my goings-on once school is out, but today, I just want to share the most valuable thing I’ve done in a while:

I deleted my Twitter account.

I’ve been considering it for years. There are a few people I really enjoy following on there, but most of the time, reading good content on Twitter is like bobbing for apples in a cesspool: You’re ingesting an awful lot of crap for a pretty unimpressive ROI.

For me, the last straw came when I looked at a thread containing 40 comments and realized at least 35 of them had been posted by what appeared to be fake accounts created for the sole purpose of harassing women and minorities. When I realized I’d blocked and reported 39 suspected fake accounts in the span of 48 hours, with zero response from Twitter, I made a decision: If that number reached 50 before I got a satisfactory response, I was done.

Amusingly, the 49th and 50th accounts I reported were fake accounts with single-digit follower counts that popped up to troll me for calling out fake accounts with single-digit follower counts.

How meta.

I set up my Twitter account in 2008, but I didn’t really use it heavily until I took a job doing social media for a hotel in Tulsa in 2012. I learned some useful things from the people I encountered online, but I find it interesting that in the past seven years, my health has gone to hell in a handbasket.

This might be a coincidence.

I doubt it.

Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.”

I used to do that. And I used to feel a lot better than I do right now.

Probably not a coincidence.


A plea for help

OK, so here’s the deal: The Oklahoma Route 66 Association is pretty much flat broke, so I need y’all to do me a favor, if you can afford it:

Send us money.

We do a lot of good work for the road — promoting businesses, helping tourists find their way down 66, publishing our free annual Trip Guide, doing hands-on historic preservation projects, etc., etc., etc. — but we can’t do it without private donations. We don’t get state money. We don’t get funding from bigger organizations. We don’t get much of anything. We operate on a shoestring, but that shoestring has gotten increasingly frayed, and I’m afraid it’s going to snap one of these days.

Every little bit helps. Clean out your couch cushions. Look under the floormats in your car. Dump out the nickels that have been breeding in the bottom of your purse. Swap your $5 venti mocha Frappuccino for a cup of coffee from the break room at the office and send us the difference. Whatever. We’re not picky. We run on a very tight budget, so any amount you can send will make an impact.

Please send your donations to:

Oklahoma Route 66 Association
P.O. Box 446
Chandler, OK 74834

To learn more about the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, visit or call (405) 258-0008.

Oh, and please pass the word to anybody you know who might be interested in helping. Post this link on your Facebook, Tweet it, Pin it, e-mail it, whatever — just get the word out. We need all the help we can get.

Thanks in advance for your support.


What’s right with kids today

A couple of my former students were expressing disappointment with their generation today on Facebook. One young man was unhappy with his peers’ apparent inability or unwillingness to think critically, while a young woman was disgusted with what she perceived as a lack of compassion.

I can appreciate their frustration — Lord knows I had plenty of negative things to say about my own peers at that age — but as a teacher, I obviously had a little different perspective on things.

During four years in a tough, urban classroom full of tough, urban students, I learned that kids can be remarkably kind. For example: My kids elected a developmentally disabled prom king; started several anti-bullying initiatives, including a Gay-Straight Alliance; and used their own time and money to organize a candlelight vigil honoring two former students who had been killed in a car accident, even creating a special scrapbook for one boy’s mom.

At a more personal level, I will never forget the boy who stayed after class just to give me a hug the day I had Scout put to sleep, or the girl who caught me fighting back tears after a particularly discouraging faculty meeting and responded by writing me a sweet little letter that I still cherish to this day.

I also learned that given the opportunity, most kids can and will think critically about important issues. If they don’t, it’s probably because they’ve spent too much time being told to sit down and shut up.

A lot of teachers don’t like it when kids question authority. It’s too disruptive, and teenagers are cheeky enough as it is. But what I found with my semester-long activism unit was that when I taught the kids to question authority in a constructive, effective way — and then encouraged them to do it — the sky was the limit. (They were hell on the administration, but I think their stellar test scores more than compensated for their impertinence.)

Teenagers can be goofy and annoying and impulsive and obnoxious and exasperating. No doubt about it. But they can also be brilliant, thoughtful, kind, clever, determined, creative, articulate, open-minded, astute, curious, and compassionate — and that makes me very, very optimistic.