Friday, June 12, 2020

#sosmagic20. Just Write

Just write, she says, Just Write

I DON'T WANNA! I whine.

Moths fly out of my notebook.
My blog account is inactive.
I don't have my favorite pens.

But, secretly, I do. I just have to 
shut down Facebook
and Twitter,
shut off the TV,
put the excuses in a drawer.

Now. Open up the blog.
Put your fingers on the keys.
Just Write

Sunday, May 31, 2020

#sosmagic Celebrate: If This Isn't Nice...

I love celebrating the little JOY's of life. Taking a few moments to enjoy those little moments that make me smile keep me sane during a time when the whole world seems to be going crazy.

This week I seemed to find lots of happiness---

My hibiscus plants are finally poking through the ground! The false spring we had early on faked me out and I kept thinking they hadn't survived the winter. But they are a lesson in patience. While we were getting ready for spring, the hibiscus knew winter wasn't quite over.

And they were right.

As soon as we hit some 75+ degree days, they emerged from their blanket of dead leaves and started reaching for the sun.

Along with the hibiscus, I've got lots of little areas planted with annuals, little spots around the yard that just make me smile. Wish I would have taken pictures before I left for the lake! Maybe a future blog post will have to be a tour of those spots!

Video chats with two of my grandsons. It's always fun to hear what's going on in their worlds, even when they are bored. And video chats help me miss them a little less.

We've been trying a few new recipes lately. Our Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes were a big hit. Greg and I both loved them, and they make enough for leftovers which is always nice during lake season. They will freeze well too, which is always a plus!

It is officially summer and lake time. Temperatures in the 80's this week and lots and lots of sun (sun improves everyone's attitude, doesn't it?). Chloe and I will enjoy our time this week, while poor Greg has to go to work for a few days. Lazy mornings writing and drinking coffee while looking at this view are definitely a great way to start the day!

And speaking of Chloe. She's back from her walk with Greg and now sleeping soundly on the bed. The little snores coming from her, those make me smile too.

Monday, May 4, 2020

#sosmagic20 Memories Abound

All weekend, little memories popped up in my life.

A song started the trip down memory lane:

The Doobie Brothers, Old Black Water. Every time I hear it, I smile and am immediately transported back to a school bus, traveling to a speech contest, singing at the top of my lungs with all of my best friends. It was such a happy, uncomplicated time in my life. And those memories of rehearsals, long bus rides, trips to "Mickey D's" make up a lot of my high school memories. I think it's why I loved coaching speech so much. I was able to help kids create those memories on their own and enjoy them again in the process.

Then I grabbed this coffee mug out of the cupboard and was once again student teaching in a small town not far from where I live now. I ate a lot of instant mac and cheese out of this mug. As the first person in my family to go to college, none of us had a clue about the needs of a college student. I lived in an apartment above a store in downtown. No car, so I walked everywhere. Not much for furniture. No refrigerator or stove! I had a hot plate and a crockpot and the grocery store was on the counter. A small portable TV that got one channel on which I watch every John Wayne movie ever made on Sunday afternoons, while I created lesson places and graded papers. I loved every minute of my time there. I was an adult, learning what kind of teacher I wanted to be and what kind I didn't.

Twenty years ago, we bought our little cabin at the lake. The previous owners left us this little artificial plant and shell doily for us when we took over. I was over the moon happy when we bought our cabin. It had been a life long dream to "live at the lake", and although I don't live there full time, our summers at the lake have definitely been my happy time. Even now, in the midst of quarantining, it brings us JOY to snuggle in there and watch the world around us. We passed on that love and now both boys live close enough to the cabin to visit often in the summer. The grandkids love coming to "the lake" and spending time with us. It truly is our family happy place.

And then, there is the class of 2020. They were freshmen during my last year of teaching and I've had many of them in classes when I sub. Four of them were on my freshmen speech team. In the last week, I've been friended on Facebook by many. Now, my rule has always been that I wouldn't friend kids until after they have their diploma in hand. But this year's class, well, I've made an exception. I don't know why they want to friend me on Facebook, most of them aren't really on much. Maybe it's just the connection from their high school memories. But that's OK. I'm friends with many former students and it's fun to watch their journey to adulthood. And it's nice to remember, that I made a difference, at least to a few.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

#sosmagic20 Heartstretched

It started with a picture.
One picture on Facebook.
Four smiling faces. Four friends looking forward to a night of fun and laughter. Four friends. Soon, much too soon, to become three.
One picture and it was seven years ago, the Monday after prom.

In high schools, the Monday after prom is lazy, full of chatter about weekend events, and whispers in the corners about things teachers shouldn't hear. Phones get passed around with pictures to share and underclassmen listen wistfully about the magic of the night.

But they don't prepare you for Monday after proms like that one,

"for the silence
for the echo in the hallway
even though students walk through them"

I wrote those words seven years ago, and as I write them again today, my heart remembers breaking for a young man who thought there was no other way. The eerie quiet came back, the silent tears remembered. I thought I was prepared for the day, but I wasn't.

This week, as I've checked out Facebook memories, those from seven years ago stand out. His friends are still grieving and I offer virtual hugs, though I know it's not the same as wrapping them in my arms and listening through the tears like I tried to do that day.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

#sosmagic20 Small {Spring} Matters

Have a story tell? Itching to write? Join us!

Spring comes slowly around here.
Winter does not quite want to give up her grip.
A 70-degree day arrives and you think,
"Spring is here!"

You start to believe you can
Drag the deck chairs from the garage and
The flip-flops from the closet.

You watch the buds on the trees
Grow bigger each day,
Almost while you watch.

You walk your way around the yard,
Checking, checking,
For tiny green sprouts to poke through the ground.

The Tiger Lilies fight their way through their leaf blankets.
and the Lily of the Valley finds holes in the rock garden
to spread their little white bells through the gnome village.

Sedums hope you will soon
Cut away the old stems
So they can push to the sky

You itch to grab a rake and
Clear the flower beds of their leaf blankets.
You want to give them
A little more warmth,
A little more room to spread their roots and grow.
So the warmth of the sun
Can work it's MAGIC.

But you don't. Not yet.

Because a day and half later
It snows.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

If This Isn't Nice... Magic.

I almost gave up on MAGIC this year. My One Little Word for 2020 just didn't seem appropriate with the way the world is right now. I mean, how can you look for the MAGIC around you when you can't leave your house!

Almost. Not quite.

An unexpected invitation to chat with writing friends led to
                         an unexpected writing group,
                                                 which led to an unexpected joy of finding more old writing friends
                                                                           and blogging with them again.

And that got me thinking about all the other MAGIC in my life because of writing. 

  • TeachWrite I joined them a while back and loved the people, but really thought about leaving the group until...
  • #100daysofnotebooking Joining this group kickstarted my writing again. We're now on day 102! And this lead me to...
  • The TeachWrite pop-ups on Zoom.
  • This helped me keep connected to people (because this quarantining stuff is hard!)
Writing has been a lifeline this last month!

Video Chats have also been MAGIC. I don't know who figured out the Jetson's way of communicating, but it has also been a blessing. I'm able to keep in contact with family and feel like we're (almost) together. 
Really, Who doesn't love a happy hour video chat?

We "see" the boys and their families at least once a week. The grandkids have Snapchat and House Party and Kids Messenger, so we hear from them even without their parents.

And there is nothing better than the sweet goodnights I'm getting from one of the youngest.

We are probably keeping in closer contact with others now than we were before! But it's one habit that won't go away when the quarantine is over!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Red Letter Day

A RED letter day!

Never did I think I would write for ONE HUNDRED days.
I prepared myself for failure.

I believed I would write consistently for a week or two and then it would dwindle off to once or twice a week until I quit.

Especially after I saw all those pretty pages or those pages of writers who tried something new. It could be pretty intimidating.

But I kept telling myself, "This is my notebook and I can do what I want!"

So I did.

When I hit 31 days and the end of January, I celebrated. And urged myself to write through February too.

And I did.

I celebrated Day 40.
I celebrated the finishing of one notebook and the beginning of another.
I wrote through vacation and a weekend visit with family.

But could I keep it up?

And, somewhere around the end of February, a little voice in my head asked, "What about March?"

I've always loved blogging and I did miss it. But could I do both?

I signed up for the slice of life challenge in a moment of weakness. Before I knew it, I was notebooking and blogging every day. I'm not saying it wasn't hard--it was--but writing has become such a habit, that I couldn't skip a day.

So here I am. One hundred days in a row of writing. My life is chronicled in the pages of these notebooks (and in 31 days of blog posts). My current notebook is almost full and a new one arrives tomorrow that will replace it.

I'll continue recording my days, and fill the notebook with words that are speaking to me and the news of the day. There will be poems and drafts and some things that will never see the light of day. But they will be mine.

I hope that someday
when I am gone,
picks my soul up
off of these pages
and thinks, 
"I would have loved her."
                                            Nicole Lyons