Mary Courtwright

The Promise Tree

There are countless people who have affected my life, who I have never met. I know some of their names, while other names I will never know - the people who designed, made and packaged the laptop where I store my daily thoughts and reflections; the author whose writing saw me through some of the most difficult decisions in life; the person who cared for my daughter just after my emergency C-section; and a woman who used the power of the word to tell the tale of her family’s demise in the Holocaust—Sonia Schreiber Weitz.

Read Full Story
Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 6:57 PM, 07.05.2010

Love is a choice

It may be easy to throw yourself into a romance, but in this context the word love describes an emotional state. It is wonderful, but that is not all love is, and marriage is one relationship that exemplifies this truth. It may be that the first things that attracted you to your spouse are physical beauty, an uncanny wit, and a fondness for the little things in life. These qualities will hopefully remain in the years ahead of you, but you will slowly come to know the parts of your partner of which you are not so fond. Sometimes jealousy and possessiveness may emerge, along with fear, anger, and in the worst of times, deceit. It is in these moments that you must remember that love is more than a feeling—it is also a choice.
Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 11:38 AM, 08.22.2009

Teacher as student

Teaching is more than a job, it is a way of life.  When I chose to become a teacher, I hoped that I might use my daily work as an instrument of positive change in the world.
Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 12:56 PM, 10.12.2009

For the love of my father

My dad, the father of five, instilled strong values in all of his children. He gave us a love of music; a sense of spirituality; the courage to voice our opinions when all odds are against us. He taught us that it is better to give than to receive and always to consider the feelings of others. I can say with confidence that my brothers and I live these ideals on a daily basis. Certain aspects of our father have become deeply rooted in who we are as individuals. I hope that we reflect back to him the most beautiful parts of himself. Each of his gifts to us, however, comes with a challenge that helps us grow.
Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 7:46 PM, 07.28.2009

Eight lighthearted tips for working moms: how to not lose your mind while you care for those you love

For working moms who need suggestions for juggling responsibilities (or maybe just a good laugh), this list may be just what you’re looking for. Note: Follow these tips at your own risk.

1. It is OK if the sink is rarely clear of dirty dishes during the work week, as long as they are rinsed and there is a scheduled rotation.

2. The dining room table makes a great staging area for laundry. I mean, who has time for dinner parties anyway? 

3. To avoid complaints when packing lunches for the family, simply tell them they will either be responsible for packing their own or they will gladly accept what you pack. nine times out of ten, complaints will cease.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 8, Posted 6:56 PM, 07.10.2009

Sometimes we need a smack in the face

You never know when life will smack you in the face with the unexpected. It happens to everyone, those moments of clarity when you realize you were inches from disaster, walking a tightrope between life and death. It could be a car accident, disease, natural disaster, or a random act of negligence by a stranger...

Remembering such times immediately brings back visceral reactions. Time flows in slow motion. You remember feelings of shock, the lump in your throat, the stomach ache that sets in when you realize you almost lost someone you love — or that they almost lost you.  

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 4:11 PM, 06.10.2009

Lessons from Woodie the Wise (aka my dog): “Anger”

Humans often let their thoughts and emotions run them around in circles (and they think I’m silly because I chase my tail—at least I can catch it). I lie there quietly and watch while they turn around and about, especially when they are angry. One thing sets them off—a conversation, a misunderstanding, an event having to do with this “money” concept—and there they go, spinning… Often they’ll move quickly and are inexplicably surprised when they trip or knock things over.  They speak in harsh tones and don’t understand why they get barked at in return (come on people, this is, like, Animal Communication 101). Sometimes they even throw things—plates, keys, baby wipes—whatever’s handy—as if it will stop the spinning. Then they get mad they have to clean it up. Hey, at least it isn’t my “mess” (I usually keep that little comment to myself, but I should think it would be an obvious insight).
Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 11:43 AM, 05.24.2009

The value of the inner gremlin

While school breaks offer a much needed respite from the hectic life in academia, they also bring out the laziest part of me. Type A personalities like me tend to smother that gremlin-like, do-nothing part of ourselves and stuff it in a closet somewhere. After all, the inner gremlin is a nuisance: she gets in the way of working, doing and accomplishing.

The word “break” can unleash that nasty little ankle-biter, who seizes control of my mind, body and soul. Set free, she makes me sleep in until 11 a.m., read mindless romance novels, and eat chocolate chip cookies before going to bed.

Read Full Story
Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 2:17 PM, 05.19.2009