Friday, April 2, 2021

Pause Before Spring


 

Pause...

I did that. 

I haven't written anything in a couple of weeks and I certainly haven't blogged (January 11 was my last post!). But, it's hard to visit Coffee With Chloe when Chloe isn't around. 

And COVID absolutely paused me.

  • no visiting 
  • no traveling
  • no grandkids
  • no holidays
Just Greg and I.

But now we have TWO shots! We can start making plans!  
  • Josh and Kara's wedding
  • vacations with Sue and Larry
  • visiting friends
  • CONCERTS 
  • and most importantly, family time
My OLW, Grace, allowed the pause this year. Grace gives me time to think. Grace gives me progress, not perfection. 

But now might be the time to SPRING action--or at least SPRING into my writing life again.  Time to get into those writing projects I've been dabbling with. Time to make some plans.  

SPRING

Monday, January 11, 2021

#SOSMagic: The Pile

 


Here it is.

My TBR pile.

All the books Mom has given me in the last few months. She says they're great. I'll really enjoy them. 

And yet. 

They sit beside my bookshelf.

Waiting.



Waiting for me to dive in and devour them now that I have more time to read.

But, I don't.

Because --

Every. Single. One. is a World War II novel. Most are set in Germany. Some in camps. Some about strong women who fight. Some about survival.

But I just can't do it.

With all the crap going on in the world United States, I just can't read these. Right now I need books that are happy, fluffy, uplifting. A good mystery will do, so will a story of family. But WWII novels, dystopian novels. Nope.

So for now, these are going to stay piled beside my bookshelf.

Waiting.






Friday, January 1, 2021

GRACE found me


GRACE found me.

This quarantine has been more difficult than what we started at the beginning of March. Maybe because we were able to spend so much time at the lake with friends and family around. Maybe because the last one was an adventure in survival and this one seems more like real life. 

I don't know. But whatever the reason, it's tougher. I don't focus on anything. I spend too much time on mindless Facebook games. I start projects and abandon them (and leave the mess). Start a book and abandon it. Start a blog post and abandon it. 


And other people? I have horrible conversations with others, all in my head, of course. But still. I rail at them for not living up to some perfectionist standard I've created in my head.

I feel like an imposter at times.

Horrible wife, mom, grandma, and friend. Why didn't I create wonderful holiday get-togethers on Zoom? Why didn't I think to ship each Christmas gift in separate boxes instead of one big one? Why didn't I send more cards and letters? Why didn't I blog more? Why didn't I...

Well, you name it. But why didn't I...

Stupid perfectionist ideals.

And one day, a little voice in my head said, "Why don't you give yourself a little  GRACE?"

So I did.

I can't be perfect during this trying time--well, anytime, actually. But especially now. I don't have to learn a new language, repaint the entire house, organize all my pictures, and keep an immaculate house. Who the heck is that perfect? 

And then yesterday, I found this quote by Morgan Harper Nichols:

A year ago you did not know today.

You did not know how you'd make it here.

But, you made it here.

BY GRACE

You made it here.

And so I start the year being kind to myself and others and living by grace, not perfection.




Thursday, December 31, 2020

The MAGIC of 2020


Who knew when I picked my One Little Word, MAGIC, last December, that we would find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic and become so isolated.  Crazy how the world has changed in these past months.

I could list all the things I've missed this year--and trust me, my notebook contains lists--but there was still lots of MAGIC to be found!

  • Technology saved us. Video chats with family became a lifeline. Video happy hours were a hoot. 
  • We watched last spring arrive with anticipation. We noted each new sign of spring: buds on trees, the arrival of the robins, how the sun seemed warmer each day. We often sat outside in the sun, still in winter coats, and drank a glass of wine, talking about what we would do when the weather was warmer.
  • We appreciated going to the lake like never before. It became a place of safety and refuge, where we could still see family and friends at a safe distance.
  • We took advantage of warm weather and made a couple of road trips with our favorite traveling partners. A week in South Dakota in June, and a long weekend in Bayfield, Wisconsin in September, kept a sense of normalcy to the summer months. Greg and I also took a couple of day trips where we could do things outside.
Of course, summer and lake time had to end and we are once again sticking close to home and isolating as much as we can. Both sons have had COVID--both on their birthdays! How did they manage that? And since the oldest and his family are still experiencing the effects of the d^*n virus, we decided to postpone our family Christmas for now

But the MAGIC continues:
  • Winter walks have become my salvation. It's fun to walk and pay attention to what's happening in my neighborhood. There are several Little Libraries that have sprung up and I've been adding to them. I watched and smiled as people put up Christmas decorations a little earlier than normal. And my favorite is hearing the kids play outside and the laughter and giggles they lift up into the world.
  • There is beauty in the aftermath of snowstorms. Although walking will be a little difficult at times. I did buy myself some new "sneaker boots" and hope they will help keep me on my feet.
  • Technology is once again the MAGIC that connects us. We'll still video chat with the kids. The grandkids like House Party and will check in with the old folks once in a while. There's a couple of online concerts we might check out. And, of course, movies! Lots and lots of movies.
The only dark spot that I can't find the magic in, is losing our beloved Chloe to cancer on Thanksgiving day. She made our days brighter and always gave us something to laugh about. That was her magic. 
In her memory, a couple of my favorite posts about her (you don't have to read them all-they're mostly for me):

Sunday, November 1, 2020

#MagicDays


 

My one little word this year was MAGIC and my purpose was to capture the everyday magic around me. To find the little pieces of life that bring me JOY and make me smile.

Then COVID hit.

We were quarantined. 

Alone.

Far from family and friends.

And in March, COVID was really scary because we didn't know anything about it and all we heard were case counts and death tolls. 

Then, the ELECTION began to take over the news. 

And we felt alone in red-state Iowa.

Alone.

Ignoring the posts of some family and friends.

It all combined to make me forget to look for the MAGIC. 

It's been in my head for a while now, that I needed to right/write my soul and focus on the good and the beautiful. Especially now as we head into the election and more months of quarantine. So, my plan for the rest of 2020 is to look for the MAGIC. To share the MAGIC. 


Today's MAGIC

This is the window over my kitchen sink and from it, I can watch the trees bud and my lilac tree bloom in the spring. In the summer, I can check the thermometer on the garage and see just how hot it really is outside and smile when I look at the daylilies, a Mother's Day gift from one of our sons. Right now, in the fall, there is a leaf bank piled in front of the garage doors, which all too soon, will change to snowbanks that need to be shoveled. I can see it all from this window. Little bits of everyday MAGIC.

Friday, October 23, 2020

I Should


 

I SHOULD

Seems to be the word of the day. And there are lots of "should do's " on my list
  • I should eat better
  • I should walk more
  • I should clean my house
  • I should call friends and family more
  • I should, I should, I should
But sometimes, all those "should do's" make me feel inadequate. And who needs to feel like that?

So I'm making a new list! I should...
  • listen to more music
  • dance in the dining room
  • eat a piece of chocolate every day
  • only read books that make me happy
  • play with Chloe in the yard
  • take a bubble bath
  • buy a new notebook
  • bake when I feel like it (and then give it away)
  • watch Hallmark movies without guilt
  • take a walk with no destination or motive
  • sit outside and watch the neighborhood
  • order takeout
  • eat ice cream 
  • buy flowers (or plants) for me
What's on your "should do" list? Maybe I can add it to mine!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Lesson in Patience

 

This long-legged dinosaur-like bird glides into view, landing gently in the shallows of the lake.

Picking her feet up gently and walking through the water, watching, always watching, for an unsuspecting bite.

She stands patiently, oh so patiently, (much more patient than I who watch her)  for an unsuspecting bite.

And then quickly, throws her beak in the water, then lifts her head to the sky, and swallows.

One bite. That's it. Then the whole thing starts again.

Patience.