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I'm still writing; you just won't find me here any longer. If you want to keep reading my writing, head over to mollyflinkman.com. I'll keep a cup of coffee warm for you.

Monday, August 30, 2010


word of the day: time \ˈtīm\ a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future

There's a loofa on my kitchen table.

There's an unopened box of toothpaste sitting on my kitchen counter.

There are two empty water bottles collecting dust on my coffee table next to the unopened bottle I took out of the fridge two hours ago.

There's a gold flip-flop on one of my kitchen chairs. It has been lonely there ever since Ginny got ahold of its counterpart with her razor sharp teeth.

On Sunday, Jake found six glasses that I had apparently been stowing away upstairs.

The clock in the bathroom has been without batteries for about nine months. Every morning when I get out of the shower, I look to see what time it is. Every morning it reads 3:21. Every morning I think, "Maybe I'll walk the five steps to the batteries and reset it. Instead, every morning, I forget.

It seems that time has been getting away from me lately.

Time is a funny thing, isn't it?

Last Saturday I was driving over to my parents' house and I was noticing the green leaves abundant on the trees. Doesn't it seem like just yesterday that those same trees were getting their first spring buds? And can you hardly believe that within the next month reds, oranges, and yellows will replace the bright shades of green?

Last week I was frantically trying to get things in place at the end of a school day. Had I been given the keys to time, I may have stopped my clock at 3:21. Instead, when I finally stopped to look at the time, it was 4:30 p.m. It was 30 minutes later than I was anticipating.

How is it that when we want time to stand still it moves more quickly?

Why is it that when I'm willing the minute hands to whiz around the clock they seem frozen?

Is a reference to an analog clock even relevant anymore?

There's not a point today. Just musings if you will. You'll probably hear more on the subject. I've found that when I get a word stuck in my head for an extended period of time there's usually a lesson to be learned somewhere along the road.

For now, though, I'm going to work on moving the loofa into the bathroom and I'll see if I can't help the empty water bottles find their way back into the fridge.

Or, maybe I'll just go to bed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


word of the day: jake \ˈjāk\ all right, fine

I was saving the title of this blog post for Jake's acceptance into medical school. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that our lives are all right and fine even with another year of waiting for medical school. In fact, I fully believe that, hindsight, we'll see how this plan better suited our lives.

But, that is not the point of the post. The point is that Jake turned 26 on Friday.

Jake was a champ when the waiters at Texas Roadhouse asked him to sit on a saddle while they gave him a big "Yee-haw!" He shakes his head when I, now, give him a hard time for "pushing thirty."

Those of you who know me will know that I love birthdays. So, as we close out Jake's "birthday weekend," I felt like putting down on paper (so to speak) a few of the things I love about my husband.
Jake likes to believe that he made flannel "cool" while we were in college. In all reality, it's quite possible that he did (with the help of Nate, of course). Sometimes, when people don't know Jake's name, they just refer to him "as that guy who wears flannel," and usually that's description enough.

His legs are the same length as mine AND he is six inches taller.

When I make my friends crafty baby shower gifts, he does most of the work.

When he accidentally buzzes all his hair off, he doesn't let it ruin our date night and pulls the look off at the same time.

He plays Scrabble with me.

He cleans out the refrigerator when I ask and only complains for a little while about it.

He watches musicals and (if I'm lucky) So You Think You Can Dance with me.

He quotes lines from movies even past the punch lines.

Jake teaches me what unselfish love looks like.

He reminds me what it means to be a friend.

He exemplifies the word "generosity" and encourages me to give more freely.

He makes me laugh.

He makes time for me.

He's encouraging when I feel down, supportive when I need comfort, and convicting when I need to see my own faults.

I could go on and on. And on and on and on.
"Jake" really is in the dictionary. It really does mean "all-right" and "fine." Don't you think that's something we should incorporate into our daily vocabulary? I've always wanted to respond to the question, "How's it going?" with "Everything's jake."

Everything is Jake.

I'm learning that life doesn't have to be in perfect alignment for everything to be jake. It just has to be in perspective.

And Jake continues to help me see that.

I'm sorry, what'd you say?

Oh. Everything's Jake. Thanks for asking.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


word of the day: shiny \ˈshī-nē\ a.) having a smooth glossy surface b.) bright with the rays of the sun

When I think of the first day of school, the first word that pops into my mind is "shiny."

Everything about the first day of school is shiny. Kids wear shiny, new shoes and shiny, colored belts. They carry shiny backpacks and bring shiny pencil cases to class with them. Their folders, notebooks, pens, and pencils are all equally shiny and unused. Some kids even have shiny smiles that are not necessarily dependent upon braces.

I wore shiny shoes today. They may have given me horrible blisters, but darn it, they were shiny.

That's not the real news, though. The real news is that I made it through my first day of school today.
It wasn't all shiny and "bright with the rays of the sun," but it was right. It was full of the feeling that this profession is what I was wired for. That maybe teaching really is in my blood like my dad has always said.

I have been thinking about my favorite books and television shows lately. A few of my most favorite books include To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, The Secret Life of Bees, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. My most favorite television show is, without a doubt, So You Think You Can Dance.

Suffice it to say, I am a sucker for anything that involves a "coming of age" story. I'll never tire of reading about Scout learning to walk in someone else's skin or of Lily discovering what love means with the Boatwright sisters. I could read again and again of how Harry, Ron, and Hermione discover true friendship in the halls of Hogwarts. Francie's experience in Brooklyn, while heartbreaking, reminds me that all children grow in different ways. As for So You Think You Can Dance, I was a sucker for Kent, because of how I watched him change and mature throughout the season.

I realized this week that I love all those things for the same reason that I love teaching. I get to experience kids "coming of age" and stepping into the skin of others every day. I get to encourage it. I get to create it. I get to learn from it.

I feel very privileged to be in the position I am in. It's humbling to think about the impact I could potentially have on each one of those kids who brings his or her shiny face into my classroom. It's exciting to think about the journey that we're taking together.

When I left school today, my desk was still shiny and clean. I'm well aware that it won't always be shiny. At some point it will be cluttered with papers. My new Sharpie pens will dull and my notebooks will bend at the edges.

But ultimately, I believe it will all be worth it. The good will mesh with the bad and I'll be a better person because of journey.

I'll be a better teacher because of the journey.

I'll appreciate So You Think You Can Dance more because of the journey. And that's really what it's all about.

Just kidding.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


word of the day: rich \ˈrich\ a.) having high value or quality b.) magnificently impressive c.) having a strong fragrance d.) highly productive or remunerative e.) entertaining, meaningful, laughable, and significant.

Remember The Max? The Central Perk? Joe's Emerald City Bar? Monk's Cafe? Cheers?

I was thinking yesterday about all the television hangouts that have been made famous throughout the years. The Max is my favorite, because I can remember being in elementary school dreaming about where my hangout would be someday. I think I envisioned The Max, because I'm pretty sure I thought I'd grow up to be Kelly Kapowski.
Many of the shows we all watch now or grew up watching have a common gathering place, a place where they all belong.

I think that's the key, right? Belonging? Everyone wants a place to belong. Like they say, everyone wants a place where everybody knows your name.

I ended my career as a barista (I like to say I was a barista, although I'm not sure that was my official title) yesterday at Rich's Brew, a local coffee shop here in Des Moines.

If there was a sitcom about my life, Rich's Brew would be my place. If I wasn't at home or school, people would just drive out to Rich's and know that I would be sitting at the back table closest to the coffee beans. They would then sit down with me and we would laugh, play cards, and enjoy our place of belonging.

To some extent, that already happens, and I don't even live in a sitcom.
Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
I've learned in my 5 months working at Rich's Brew that everyone is going through something. Some are tackling new jobs or just trying to find a job in general. Some people are taking care of their sick loved ones or grieving the loss of a parent or spouse. Some are recovering from surgery while others are moving into new homes. And they all come in for coffee. Sure, some ask for extra caramel and others want the coffee as black as it comes, but they all come in for the coffee. They want a break from their worries and a smile to brighten their day. Rich's is rich with comfort and support.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go.
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
Rich has most drinks started by the time the customer walks in the door. There's a medium vanilla latte who usually comes in a little bit of a hurry. There's a medium mocha who's always talking on the phone and forgetting her keys. There's a large coffee, little bit of vanilla and cream, and two Splendas who was finally convinced to switch to real sugar. There's a four shots of espresso and a one shot americano. There's a large vanilla chai with water, a caramel aulait, and the infamous Paul's Special. Rich's is rich with familiarity.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
There are so many different groups of people who come into Rich's. The coach's corner sits in the back almost every day of the week. They talk sports, grandbabies, and cause a ruckus you wouldn't believe (I mean that in the grandest sense of the word). The bridge ladies come in on Wednesdays. They eat a lot of chicken salad and paint a picture for me of how much fun retirement will be someday. Sometimes there are business meetings, Bible studies, and tables of high school kids doing homework. Young or old, everybody has a purpose and everyone is welcomed. Rich's is rich with acceptance.
You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.
Coffee is coffee and people are people. Regardless of where we are in life or how many years separate our ages, we all have something in common. In this sense, Rich's is rich with wisdom, experience, laughter, and all the things we have to share together.

It's arguably the best place in town. And if the people don't convince you, Donna's lemon, poppy seed bread will.

Trust me. Cheers!

Monday, August 2, 2010


word of the day: big \ˈbig\ large or big in dimensions

Everything seems bigger in Wyoming.

For instance, Jake and Hannah climbed what looked like a mountain from the ground. Jake told me that once they were on top of the "mountain" they realized how small it was in comparison to the actual mountains around them. It was still an impressive feat nonetheless.

The sky seems bigger in Wyoming. The high elevation makes you feel like you could reach up and grab a piece of cloud. From horizon to horizon during the day, the clouds billow around you and the blue sky seems to stretch forever. At night, the stars are endless. The Milky Way is obvious, the Big Dipper is harder to find, and if you look long enough, you're bound to catch a shooting star. You could hear me humming this catchy Jake Bouma number beside the campfire:
Cassiopeia was a sassy little queen
I asked her for help but she just ignored me.
Well, I was mad, then it all came clear,
You see, it's kind of hard to hear with a dress over your ears.
Unfortunately, I didn't know what Cassiopeia's constellation looked like, so I couldn't find her.

Our family grows bigger in Wyoming. We add about 25 to our, generally quiet, 5 people. It's louder, more chaotic, and altogether marvelous.

It's always hard to come back after vacation, isn't it? Real life looms and responsibility hovers. There are bills waiting to be paid and phone calls to catch up on. I had to wake up before 9:00 this morning in order to put another load of laundry into the washer.

The sky isn't as big here in Iowa. The clouds feel farther away and the thunderstorms last longer. There aren't any mountains to take your breath away and it's so humid that my sunglasses fog up the second I step out of my car.

I was reminded today of a song. And the song was a reminder to see beauty and to find joy in even the seemingly mundane events of vacation-less living. God exists in the humidity just as much as He exists in the snow-capped mountain peaks. He exists in gatherings of few and in gatherings of many. He exists in all stretches of Interstate-80 and beyond.

I choose to try to find Him in all the moments that He provides, big or small.

I am afraid of beginning
‘cause I don’t know how to end
But you told me that the mountain before us
would become a plain in our eyes
So I won’t despise
I won’t despise the day
I won’t despise the day of small things

Even when you tell me…
oh, even then I’m shaking

‘Cause I am afraid of believing
The plans that we make seem so big
But you’ve shown me that we’re never alone
and your spirit will stay by our side
So I won’t despise
I won’t despise the day
I won’t despise the day of small things

-The Day of Small Things, Alli Rogers*

One more thing: Ginny also became smaller upon on our return to Des Moines. After a week of being a ranch dog, she was in definite need of a haircut and bath. I don't think she can appreciate the small things yet...

In fact, as we speak, Jake's trying to force her to sleep on the floor due to an unfortunate incident with some tootsie roll pops this afternoon. It's not going very well.

Oops, I spoke to soon.

There was no keeping her away. Well played, Ginny, well played.

*The Day of Small Things album by Alli Rogers is fantastic and you should definitely check it out.