She was at a crossroads in her life. She had watched helplessly as her mother  suffered through an unfairly  long, drawn-out death, a death surrounded by family betrayals and its ultimate demise.  Followed by more loss and betrayals. She wrestled with understanding, numbness,  lack of sleep, flashbacks and the ridiculously unfounded guilt she had about not doing enough that was tightly packaged inside her body.  Stewing. Fermenting. From time to time slowly oozing from her pores, leaving fractures in its wake. She knew she had to find a way out. Unleash this burden, or it would turn on her.

She didn’t want to do it. It. This. Thing. The Challenge. During the fifteen year relationship she has had with her mentor, she heard it many times. Too many times. Write. Put it to words. You don’t have to do anything with the writing. Just write. Write. It sounded so simple and simultaneously, so horrifyingly hard. Boring even. She’d kept journals in the past, but had always found them so, well, mundane. So she ignored him and she ignored it, and she ignored it. Until she could ignore no more. She had to open the floodgates. Unleash.

No, she didn’t want to do it. But she had avoided and resisted and ignored long enough. It took her several days to find a blog that would fit her most basic needs. After all, she knew, just knew, that she couldn’t, wouldn’t write for thirty-one days in a row. Impossible. Not happening. Nothing she could possibly say would interest herself let alone anyone else.  No use in paying for a blog, or having one with bells and whistles.  It took her another day to find a title that fit where she was and another to find the right image, an image that didn’t need an explanation. .. Exhausted, it took a full week to set up the blog, and the game hadn’t yet begun.


Early on, she realized that this thing, this writing thing, held potential.  She knew she didn’t want it to become a journal, a diary of her life, a kitchen sink list of her days. She threw herself into it, determined to make every piece count. Have meaning. Be alive. Unleash…



The first pieces she wrote seemed endless, even though they were short.  She was spent. Wondered how she would keep the pace. But she found a zen and wrote and wrote and wrote, able to open the gate just a little so that some floodwaters were released, without breaking the dam. Unleash.

And then, it happened…


She kept at it. More determined than ever. She made a commitment , made up her mind, and she had no intention of not following through to the end. She was strong-like-bull that way.

More writing followed. Sometimes it was hours behind the keyboard, waiting for the topic to bubble to the surface.  Each day,  a new surprise as she learned that she didn’t know what she had to say, that she had something to say, until she went back and read it.  It. Read her. Read herself unleashing.

Another revelation ensued. She  understood that the writing she most connected to, the writing she found most provocative, the writing she wanted and desperately needed to do, was going to hurt. That writing would be filled with tears. Her tears. The readers’ tears. Tears all running together as writer and reader came together as one. Unleashed.

She knew it would be risky. She knew it would be unpopular. She was already close friends with the route: The Road Less Traveled…


road less traveled

But she explored the road less traveled anyway, and along it,  she…

…unleashed   and   unleASHED  and  UNLEASHED.

She.   finally.   Unleashed.

And she was better for having done it, for having written, for having cried a river, for having conquered…


Thanks for a great run!

Merci à tous et toutes et à très bientôt !

©Maribeth Batcho     All Rights Reserved


Freedom’s Many Meanings

53321-Emma+lazarus+famous+quotes+4freedom quote

What does freedom mean to you?

What does it imply?

Is it a right, is it free?

What is the price you are willing to pay for your liberty?

Can you be free, yet be without resources, dependent on others?

Does freedom exist where discrimination reigns?

Does your freedom come at the expense of someone else’s freedom?

If you have to change your name, to hide your truth to live your life, are your truly free?

Is freedom living a life without debt and obligations and attachements?

Or is freedom something simpler, such as the right to say what you want, whenever you want, and to whomever you please?

Is freedom being able to praise and worship the way you want, or be a nonbeliever,  without risk of persecution?

Is it the right to bear arms?

Do you live in a free country?

Is freedom worth the fight?

What does freedom mean to you?

This above quote from Emma Lazarus was  our opening to a recent, provocative visit to Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History.

The Museum, situated right next to Independence Mall,  highlights the diverse backgrounds, expectations, and experiences of Jews who came to and made their homes in the United States. It explores  how and when Jews immigrated, their choices and challenges, and the ways in which they shaped, and were shaped by, their lives in America.

Each floor of the exhibit addresses different times in the history of American Jews, beginning in 1654 – Present.  It ends with a question:

What   does   freedom   mean   to   you? 

The next time you are in The City of Brotherly Love, take the time to explore this idea at the  National   Museum  of   American   Jewish   History.


When you say

that you are


do you mean

to imply


I am


When you say

that you are


do you mean

to imply

that you are


worthy of worship and adoration,

deeply revered and respected,


Do you mean

that you are

supremely favored,


a part of the elite?

Or do you mean

that you are


heavenly and godlike,

specially selected?


For when you say

that you are


you imply

that    I




doomed for a bad ending.







blighted and condemned.




What gives you this right?

I cannot believe,

I  will not believe,

I refuse to believe

that God finds


more worthy



Pour Shelly et toutes les autres.


©Maribeth Batcho    All Rights Reserved

The Put Off


Put me off.

Delayed me

long enough.

Procrastinated and dragged your feet

long enough.

Five and a half months



just because you

don’t want to hear it,

whatever it is.


put me off

No More.

For Saturday

with Him,

you face the music.

You put me


but perhaps,

just maybe,

very likely,

when you listen

the music will






From Goûter to Déjeuner

That day in February, so long ago, was cold and blustery and snowy.  As the flurries turned into inches on the ground, the thought of something comforting came to mind.  She opened the fridge to find it empty.  Next up, the cupboards. While there was food to be eaten, nothing was calling her like the taste of her mother’s soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Back to the fridge for another look. Bread, check. Cheese?  No response. No cheese.  Nothing to grill between two pieces of bread was to be found in that fridge. It was          e-m-p-t-y.  In the middle of a blizzard. No chance of getting to the market.

But wait, she thought.   What if I grill chocolate instead? It can’t be worse than marmite between two slices of bread, she whispered to herself.  Without much of a choice, it was settled:  grilled chocolate sandwiches.

First, she pullout out the chocolate.  She chose her chocolate based upon the bitterness of the day:


She cut the baguette into slices, enough for three mini sandwiches, and then spread  salted butter on them.

From there, she carefully place the buttered slices into a greased frying pan.  She broke 3 chocolate squares into odd-size pieces and placed them on top. The chocolate was sandwiched between slices of bread.  When she could smell the chocolate melting, she  flipped over the sandwiches, being careful not to let the bread slip apart and lose all that deliciousness melting inside.

After a few more minutes, and a firm press on the top of each one to ensure the squares were melted, she turned off the gas and removed them from the pan. Lunch was served!


From Goobers to Goûter

It’s true that it all started with Goobers,

It’s also true that a chocolate evolution has taken place,

And true that this chocolate evolution was spurred on the day one of my students, Colleen Santry, came into my third grade classroom with a curious snack, a snack I had never seen before, and thought bizarre…

It’s also true that Colleen’s mother, though American, spoke fluent, enviable French, and that she only spoke to her children in French from birth, and she exposed them to as much of French culture as possible living in our neck of the woods,  enabling Colleen and her brother to be bilingual and as bicultural as possible.

And it’s true, I was to learn later, that this curious snack was-and still is-a favorite among little French kids for their petit goûter.

The truth is, I didn’t get it.

Until I tried it

b0147277e1907ab5c1b37a84b92de0baImagine a baguette, bien croustillant, soft on the inside, with your favorite squares of chocolate inside.

Now take a bite…

baguette’s outer crustiness,

soft and airy inside,

a bit of saltiness,

and the firm snap of sweet chocolate…


W-O-W!   Who would have guessed…

And the truth is, I got it. I get it.

I have been inspired by it ever since that first taste of a French petit goûter.

Try it,

You will be turned on by it, too!



Thinking of you, Ralph!