Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The End is Near

No, not the end of the world - but the end of college basketball. Until fall at least.

Since the Final Four are this weekend, and the Championship Game is on Monday night, I thought I would share this final basketball poem (for now - I have a few others in mind for another time).

I have to say, even if you do not follow college basketball, you have to admire those Butler Bulldogs. An amazing team from a small conference - a 5th seed, making into the Final Four! Perfect year too, because the Final Four will be played this year in Indianapolis - a basketball-crazy town that will gladly adopt the home team since neither Purdue or Indiana University are playing. Go Butler! I'd love it if they won the championship.

An update on our family pool - if West Virgina beats Duke on Saturday night, then Glen wins. If Duke beats West Virginia, then probably Isaac will win. If Duke wins the National Championship, he's golden. Both he and Lydia chose Duke to win it all.

I'll let you know next week - when the games are done. It makes me a little bit sad to write that - which is why this poem is appropriate.

After the Game

By Tony Johnston

The game is over.

But the gym still


with the basketball’s





poetry Wednesday

Friday, March 26, 2010

Longing for Sunny Faces

Last fall I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Glen and I had had big, ugly bushes removed from the front of our house, and we hadn't planted grass in the bare spot yet. I've always, always, always wanted tulips, hundreds of tulips in my front yard. However, we're in a major deer zone, so that was out of the question.

I was in Sam's Club (rare occasion indeed!) and spotted a bag of 100 daffodil bulbs for under $20. Perfect! I had done enough research to know that deer are not fond of daffodils, and if I can't have tulips, then daffodils are the second best.

So, I bought the bag. Planted 100 bulbs. 100. Oh, was I sore! I was praying that I had planted them deep enough, far enough apart and that all that work would not be for naught.

Out my front door this morning I'm seeing some green shoots! I'm so excited! Nathaniel said today, "Mom there are, like a hundred of these shoots. How many did you plant?"

I couldn't help but laugh.

I cannot wait until those flowers show their sunny, cheerful blooms!

I'll be sure to post a picture.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


March Madness lasts for such a short time. I cannot believe that we're already down to the 'Sweet 16' round - eliminating 48 of the 64 teams which originally started. (That stat is courtesy of my husband, Glen.)

And what a year this has been! Glen and I have already lost our National Champion in our brackets (Kansas) - what a game! Neither of us begrudge Kansas' loss to Northern Iowa. UNI is almost a home team for us. We met and married in Waterloo/Cedar Falls - Glen was on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ at UNI and I was working for KWWL-TV.

It's the upsets that make the tournament so fascinating - and picking the right ones this year has been hard. Anna's done the best - she picked Murray State over Vanderbuilt. I remember her asking me, "Does a 13 ever beat a 4? Does a 12 ever beat a 5?" I said, "Yes, that has happened, but it doesn't happen often." I think Anna wins our pool of picking the most upsets correctly.

But none of us ever thought that UNI would knock Kansas out of the tournament in the second round.

Just writing about the games makes me excited! My poem this week is a long one - but a great one about basketball. I found it in the library, a book unto itself. I think it captures the feel of the game wonderfully well.


By Robert Burleigh


The game.

Feel it.

The rough roundness.

The ball

like a piece

of the thin long reach

of your body.

The way it answers whenever you call.

The never-stop back and forth flow,

like tides going in, going out.

The smooth,

skaterly glide

and sudden swerve.

The sideways slip

Through a moment of narrow space.

The cool.

The into

and under

and up.

The feathery fingertip roll

and soft slow drop.

Feel your throat on fire.

Feel the asphalt burning beneath your shoes.

The two-of-you rhythm.

The know-where-everyone-is without having to look.

The watching

and waiting

to poke

and pounce.

The fox on the lurk.

The hunger.

The leap from the pack.

The out-in-the-clear

like a stallion

with wind in your face.

The bent legs tense

as the missed shot swirls

and silently spins.

The hawk.

your arm shooting up

through a thicket of arms.

The lean

and brush

and burst free.

The skittery,

cat-footed dance

along the baseline.

The taste

for the rock in your hands

when it counts the most.

The weight of you

hanging from fine,

invisible threads.

The eyes.

The arc.

The no-sound

sound of the ball

as it sinks

through nothing but still,

pure air.



The game.

Feel it.

poetry wednesday!
Picture courtesy of

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Friday Already? ( Week in Review)

And Friday's almost gone! Time goes so quickly...

This is the view from my front door this morning. My two youngest are always up for a picture.

Then I spotted my Mom's car coming in the driveway, which distracted Isaac. She was coming to pick them up for the morning so I could study. But Lydia looks so cute here, I had to post it.

Yesterday, we read about batteries, circuits and switches in our Sonlight science book. Isaac was completely inspired by the light hat and Justin dressed up as a miner in our Science DVD. He insisted on putting together his own light hat. I was busy with schooling the older two, so he and Lydia worked on it together, and got it working! He and Nathaniel went down to the crawl space to try it out and Nathaniel took this picture. Isaac is so pleased - he can't wait to show his cousin this weekend. I'm sure they'll be playing 'spy' or 'explore' with it all weekend.

Look at these lovely young ladies! Anna successfully completed Suzuki Book One for the piano and I learned from her friends who take violin that students are to host a recital upon the completion of each book. Sunday was her recital, and her good friend agreed to play with her on her violin. They played three songs together, and Anna played several on her own. I cannot believe how mature my Anna looks here! Her recital went well. And quickly - it took only eight minutes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Mad, Mad March

This month is a big month in this Leichty household. This week is a big week.


The NCAA Basketball Tournament begins tomorrow - a whole day and night of basketball games... and a whole Friday, and a whole Saturday, and a whole Sunday.

Normally, this would not make me happy. However, since we've been married, Glen & I have had a contest every March. He makes his picks for the tourney, and I make mine.

For the first 10 years, I won. Yes, me, who rarely watches college basketball, except in March. It drove Glen crazy because I made my picks like this:

"Mizzou is my alma mater, so I'll pick them. I've heard good things about Duke, so I'll pick them. My cousin is at Oregon, so I'll pick them to win."

Little to do with ranking, how they played in their respective conference tournaments, or what the commentators are saying.

Like I said, it drove Glen crazy.

The problem is, I started second-guessing myself. I think I'm still ahead overall in our contests, but have lost ground over the past few years.

Now we've included the kids in our contest - Glen calls it the Leichty family 'pool'. I wrote down Isaac & Lydia's picks yesterday (they both picked Clemson to beat Mizzou - what's that all about?!)

Anna made a point to tell me that she picked Mizzou. That's my girl!

Hoop Dream

By Rebecca Kai Dotlich

The sound of the ball

as it drums on the ground.

The fans in the stands

who are held spellbound.

The tick of the clock.

The feel of the floor.

One quick, sure step,

then shoot to score!

Poetry Wednesday
flickr photo by

Friday, March 12, 2010

Is It Spring Yet?

It's hard to believe that in just one week all that snow has melted out of our front yard.

This morning, this was the view out of my front door - my younger two children riding their bikes in our driveway. They were so excited to be outside!

All four children spent most of the day outside - mostly on the swing set in the backyard. We took a walk in the neighborhood this morning - enjoying the sun while it peeked through the clouds.

This week's weather has been a tease - making us think that spring is here. I keep telling myself that the cold will come back. It could even snow a couple more times before the real spring is here.

My kids are ready for spring too - not just to play outside. The girls have changed the flannel sheets on their bed, pulled out their flip flops, and asked to get out their shorts! I'm trying to temper their enthusiasm so they're not devastated by a probable late-spring snowstorm.

But today - today we reveled in the relative warmth of the day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First Robin

This morning, my oldest sent an e-mail to everyone on his e-mail list announcing that he had seen the first robin of the season.

He was so excited.

This afternoon, we went for a walk, and he spotted two more.

Spring is on its way! If I had had my camera I would have tried to capture the moment. However, I didn't. (When will I learn?!)

Today's poem is dedicated to my oldest, robin-spotting son, Nathaniel.

Spring Real Estate
by Eileen Spinelli

Here is a house, dear robin.
The floors and walls are strong.
It's safe from wind
and snug from rain
and yours for just a song.

(I just have to note here, that I am at the library. An unexpected trip to participate in a program my handy-dandy iPhone reminded me of one hour before it started. I found this poem in a poetry book on the shelf in the children's section. I tell you this because I never thought I would look for a poem at the library. I'm learning!)

Poetry Wednesday - there are some great selections this week. It's worth following the link, trust me.

Monday, March 08, 2010


On Friday, I was frantically finishing Isaac's pizza, packing my clothes, cleaning the kitchen, making sure the children were packing their clothes so Glen and I could drop off the children and head out for the weekend.

Yep, by ourselves. With no children. For a whole weekend.

What a treat!

But in my frenzied state, I forgot to have Anna take a picture of Glen and I before I took them to my mom & dad's for the weekend. Thankfully, my camera has a timer.

Once we took the picture, I realized I had shut down my computer. So, I thought I would just work on it at the bed & breakfast where we were spending the weekend. After all, Glen never goes anywhere without his laptop (just in case the world ends at work).

Famous last words.

Well, Friday's gone. The weekend's over. We've been there and back again (I cannot stop with the Lord of the Rings references!), and had a wonderful weekend.

Just the two of us.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hard Places

Last week I watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy - the extended version. It's my annual depth of winter tradition, enjoyed a little late this year.

Since I watched it again, I have been pondering what about these movies, books, these stories, resonate so loudly with so many people.

I think one reason is the selflessness of the characters - so many stepping out of their comfort zone, leaving the world they know, being tested 'by fire and water' (as Gandalf was). Frodo and Sam leaving the Shire, and for the good of the world, traveling step by weary step, to the Mountain of Doom. Aragorn, overcoming his fear of his heritage to stand against evil and eventually reclaim the throne of Gondor. Even Legolas and Gimli overcome their racial prejudice between Dwarfs and Elves, if I can call it that, and become best of friends.

I could go on and on about the different themes in the book - the reality, horror and power of evil, yet its allure too, which overcome Sauruman and Denethor, and threatens Pippin. The undeniable horror of war, and yet its necessity to fight undeniable evil.

My favorite part of the whole series is in The Return of the King, in the battle before Minas Tirith when the Nazgul is ready to pounce upon King Theoden. Merry the Hobbit is there, frozen in fear of the Nazgul, yet one young warrior stands his ground against the Nazgul and forbids it to come further.

The Witch King says,
'Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!'

Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. 'But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. ... I will smite you, if you touch him.'
I remember when I first read the book - I didn't know Dernhelm was Eowyn (although in the movie you do). What a thrill that scene was - when she smites the Witch King forever. What makes me marvel at it even more is that this was written in the 1960's, before the women's liberation movement. And by a man. I think those two facts make it an even more powerful, wonderful a moment (and defy those women who think men capable only of suppressing women).

It's the hard places, the weary steps of determination, the selflessness required of service to others, which make us better, stronger people. All the self-help books in the world cannot substitute for that. It's our wounds of battle - our emotional, spiritual, physical wounds - which make us beautiful. It's His wounds by which we are fully healed.

The Lord of the Rings beautifully illustrates the sorrow, and the beauty, of this life. And the anticipation of the rest and restoration we look forward to in the life to come.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Poetry Wednesday