I have been thinking about the number of times I have laughed so hard snot flew from my nose and tears streamed from my eyes. I have been thinking about the magnetism of joyous people. I have been thinking about the sound of children on a playground. I have been thinking about the look on my nieces’ faces when they showed me their new puppy on Christmas many years ago. Joyful people fill our hearts. Joyful sounds resonate beyond what words can explain. Joy is precious. I want more joy in my life.

Novelist Justine Musk believes that joy is…


There will never be an us if I play small. — Sharon Preiss

There is a lot of talk about playing small right now. From a gender perspective, people ask why women are encouraged to play small personally and professionally? Through a critical lens, people ask what is the power dynamic that forces people to play small? Using a philosophical frame, people ask what is the lived experience of playing small? When I think about playing small, I immediately conjure images of flowers with the most amazing blooms. They don’t play small. They don’t sweat small for one minute. They…


Lessons from the Women’s March

The March

I caught an Uber at 7:15 in the morning to go to the house of a dear friend where we were meeting to have breakfast before we headed to the National Mall for the Women’s March on Washington. The Uber driver had already taken three carloads of women to the Mall before picking me up. I arrived at my friend’s house to a room full of women of all ages wearing pink and sparkles and sharing signs. We ate breakfast and headed to the Metro. We walked about a mile alongside a steady stream of people.

The young women I…


The Love we show saves the Love we hide, the way a sprig in sun feeds its unseen root. — Mark Nepo

What we can learn from roots and stems and blooms.

Underneath the surface.

It is easy to forget that the stuff that happens to us underneath the surface of our lives really matters, especially when we are young and invincible. Often, it takes getting sick, really sick, before we pay attention to our experiences and the choices we make. Just as the stems and roots are the life blood of plants, trees and flowers, our stems and roots give us life, too. How we treat our stems and roots, not just…


On the Value of Caring and Tending

My Mother’s Mother

Playing Bridge

Granny played bridge with the same group of women for more than 50 years. I am not sure how her bridge group started. Maybe they met in church? Maybe they met as part of a military family support organization? Maybe they were high school friends? Maybe the were all daughters of men that worked on the L&N Railroad? It is funny that I never asked, or if I did I don’t remember the specifics.

Around the War

What I do know is the nucleus of women who started playing bridge together when they were very young played together many years. They saw their…


Imagine the Stories of My Family’s Irises

My family passes down irises from generation to generation.

Deep purple with a whisper of violet and a golden backbone. Their genealogy can be traced to my great-grandmother’s garden, I think. They have been fed by more than 100 years of soil and rain. For more than 100 winters they have slept in silence. They have survived the frost of more than 100 springs, their faces always pointed to sun. They have kissed bees and flirted with ladybugs for generations. Pistils and stamen waving in the breeze as if to greet the Queen of England. Bursting through snow without apology, hesitation, or fear. Every inch a lady.

What stories could they tell?

Could they…


Dear Dr. Steedly,

Belatedly, I thank you for your generous letter, and, more than that, for the opportunity to read your beautiful, scholarly dissertation. It is not only the overlap of our commitments. It is the authenticity of your “class notes”; and it is the delicacy and skill with which you present the nuances of classroom life and the actuality of your students’ and fellow teachers’ lives.

I hope you publish it as a whole or in sections. The best of luck, and thanks again.

Sincerely,

Maxine Greene

About a year after I finished my doctorate, I found the courage…


I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.

e.e. cummings

Growing up on the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky, I visited the Falls of the Ohio. The Falls are a 390 million-year-old fossil bed on the floor of the river. Fossils tell the geological story of the river; of how the river has sang and danced for millennia. As a writer and teller of stories, I deeply connect with the story of wonder, strength, patience, and constancy the Falls tells. …


A few years ago my best friend gave me a copy of Hope for the Flowers. It was a Valentine’s gift during what I had termed “The Year of the Butterfly.” The book is the story of two caterpillars and their journey. Published in 1972, it is part hippie call to kindness and love, part Christian resurrection story, part anti-corporate allegory, and part existential statement on finding life’s meaning. In it, the central characters discover that to live as the butterflies they are meant to be, they must shed their caterpillar selves. …


Saturday, May 1, 2010

My life coach at the time had encouraged me to celebrate the completion of the manuscript of my memoir, The Stage Is On Fire. I had been working on the manuscript for well over three years in supportive writing classes, with patient editors, in a coffee shop surrounded by fellow writers who by their very existence proved that even in the tough writing world people still get books published. I was scared to share the work, but celebration needed to happen, and my friend Wendy graciously opened her doors for the festivities.

The first Saturday in May

I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky…

Katie Steedly Curling

Applied Researcher. Ph.D. in Education. Committed to strengthening individuals and communities. I write about wellness, mindfulness, gratitude, and the arts.

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