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Showing posts from 2020

The MAGIC of 2020

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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 trave

#MagicDays

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  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

I Should

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  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!

A Lesson in Patience

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  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.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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  In the sand, between the wave smoothed rocks, through the seaweed cemented in the cracks, a small tomato plant peeked through. It shouldn't be there. It shouldn't survive. But left unattended, it does. Inching its way towards sunlight, it is watered by the waves splashing against the shore. Unseen by most, forgotten by me, it blossoms. And then, those blossoms turn to fruit. And one day, those small bites are brightly shining against the rocks, waiting to be appreciated.

Lost: It is natural to retreat when things get tough.

Lost in a world I no longer understand how to Navigate. It is natural to retreat when things get tough. I don't know who I am Right Now. It is natural to retreat when things get tough. Where do I fit in? The world doesn't want to let me Be in the middle. It is natural to retreat when things get tough. Friends Who fight Who torment Who never ask How are you? {and if they do, they don't listen} It is natural to retreat when things get tough. A nation Who fights Who torments Who never asks How are you? {and if they do, they don't listen} It is natural to retreat when things get tough. My world exploding and I don't understand why we just can't BE KIND. It is natural to retreat when things get tough.

#sosmagic20. Just Write

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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. I DON'T WANNA! But, secretly, I do. I just have to  shut down Facebook and Twitter, shut off the TV, and  put the excuses in a drawer. Now. Open up the blog. Put your fingers on the keys. Just Write

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

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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

#sosmagic20 Memories Abound

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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 downto

#sosmagic20 Heartstretched

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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 t hey 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 check

#sosmagic20 Small {Spring} Matters

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Have a story tell? Itching to write? Join us! https://sharingourstoriesmagic.com/ 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

If This Isn't Nice... Magic.

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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 (becau

A Red Letter Day

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A RED letter day! Never did I think I would write for ONE HUNDRED days. Really. 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 l

#SOL20 Day 31 Almost Normal

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Sitting outside on the front stoop with my last cup of coffee for the day.  I close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun shining down, although there’s a cool “last day of March breeze” that makes me happy I have a sweatshirt on.  The kids across the street at my neighbor's in-home daycare scream and yell their enjoyment, finally able to be outside after a long winter of being entertained inside. The big wheels rumble on the cement, and I hear them calling her name for minor annoyances. In the distance, a chainsaw whirs, cleaning up winter debris and the strong winds of last weekend. Chloe does her low throated growl at some unseen threat to our quiet but soon settles back down to sunbathing in the yard. Every now and then, she whines a bit for the walk that has become our habit. A cardinal calls to his mate and the blackbird caws loudly, probably warning other birds of Chloe's presence.  All the normal sounds of a normal spring morning. But we know

#SOL20 Day 30 I'm One Tired Woman

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I am one tired woman tonight. The first really nice day we have had. Spring fever hit hard and I needed to get ready. weekly grocery store outing car washed and vacuum deck swept deck chairs hauled out of garage and put in appropriate spots cushions for chairs carried out to appropriate chairs Deck rug lugged up from the basement and put on back deck Easter decorations outside and ready for town social distancing Easter egg hunt long walk and trash pick-up with Chloe and Greg lots of up and down stairs 8500 steps And this will do for a post tonight. 

#SOL20 Day 29 Words That Are Speaking To Me

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Let Me Grow Lovely Let me grow lovely, growing old-- So many fine things do: Laces, and ivory, and gold, And silks need not be new;  And there is healing in old trees,  Old streets a glamour hold; Why may not I, as well as these, Grow lovely, growing old?                                                          Karle Wilson Baker These words found me earlier this winter and I keep returning to them time after time. That first line, "Let me grow lovely, growing old--" has become almost a mantra in the last couple of months. I repeat it often when I feel the grumpy old lady creeping into my brain when I gripe about the weather or the quarantine. I'm working daily on  "Grow lovely, growing old" I'm trying to be more patient than when I was younger. I know everything happens in its own time and place. I move slower than I did when I was younger, but in my slower moves, I notice more--buds on the trees, tulips poking thr

#SOL20 Day 28. If This Isn't Nice...

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Uffda. It's been a week, hasn't it? Cases of coronavirus increase daily. I think in lots of places, tensions are running high and spirits are running low. I've been working really hard keeping track of all those little moments that bring me JOY. This week, I'm just going to make a list: 1. Last Saturday was a day of music and joy . We watched a couple of friends play and share their music. Then we found out that the Grand Ole Opry was live-streaming a show, so I hooked my computer up to the TV so we could watch. And because we wanted to end the night with music, we watched the last episode of Ken Burn's country music series that we recorded. 2. My weekly outing to the grocery store yielded TOILET PAPER! I don't think I've ever been so excited to buy a package of toilet paper, but after the empty shelves of a week ago, this was really nice to see. The shelves were stocked well in all areas. Our grocery store is doing an amazing job throughou

#SOL20 Day 27 Let's (not) Get Physical

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One of my favorite Facebook friends is a former student who I had in class several times during her time in our district. I love her because she is so upbeat most of the time. She makes the world a better place just by being in it. The other day, she posted this: I've been thinking about it a lot since she posted it. And, she is right! Physically, my husband and I are distancing all the time. We are careful when we have to buy groceries. We make sure we get everything we need in one trip, we avoid busy times, we keep our distance in the aisles. Other than walking the dog, we don't go anywhere else. But we haven't quit being social. In fact, in some ways, we're more social than ever. We keep in touch with family almost daily. And now, instead of just talking on the phone, we are video chatting with those we love (well, except my mom in the land of the internetless). We saw one son and his family last weekend. Had a glass of wine with the other. Tonig

#SOL20 Day 26 My Favorite Lie

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"Mamacita! Who are you today?" A student stops, turns, and asks, "Wait. She's your mom?" And so begins, My Favorite Lie Libby and I shared a classroom for several years. She went half time after the birth of her oldest daughter and I split my time between junior high and high school. It made sense for us to share a room.  We are both early-to-school teachers and mornings could be crazy with students dropping in for one reason or another. We'd laugh and cry over bagels and coffee (or orange juice for Libby) many, many mornings. We'd joke about the youngest teacher and the oldest teacher sharing a room, she called me "old but fun", we'd share stories about her daughter and my grandkids.  At some point, she began calling my mom. Of course, a student heard that.  I got an email during class one day telling me what she'd done. "Go along with it", she said. And I did. But I never thought it would go on

#SOL20 Day 25. 2 Minute Journal

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Every once in a while, you need a fall-back post. Something quick to write while you think of a better post for tomorrow. Today is one of those days (although I'm sure I'll need more than two minutes!) Something I am grateful for today: We've talked to most of our families in the last few days and everyone is doing what they are supposed to do and are staying healthy. My 85-year old mom is even staying home and that is something. We're becoming more proficient with Facetime and Facebook Messenger calls, although some of the grandkids got a chuckle when we talked the other night. But at least we get to see them and chat! The best thing that happened today: We got some mail from one of our grandsons, which brought a smile to our faces. AND, there was toilet paper at the grocery store! Who would have thought we'd be so excited to buy a package of toilet paper! Something I did well today: I have a great pot of soup on the stove. I remembered to thank th

#SOL20 Day 24. The Lady in Gray

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She sits in her  White Plastic Lawn Chair on the front stoop. Wearing her Gray Star Dotted PJ Pants and gray polka-dotted socks (with the hole in the heel) and drinking Red Wine. Watching The World Walk By as she follows The Orders to stay home BUT Get fresh air.

#SOL20 Day 23 Fine. Whatever.

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Fine.  I'll get dressed. I don't really want to, but Whatever. Really I just want is to stay in my robe All Day. But I'll get dressed (comfortably, I might add) And, fine.  I'll join the pop-up Writing Group on Zoom.  I don't really want to. I can't think of a  Damn Thing  to say. Whatever. I'll write. Because if I don't Do It Now I might not do it At All. And then I won't get my notebook pages written and forget about A Blog Post.  Really.  I probably won't  Get Anything Done. Whatever. Does it even matter? Yes. Yes, it does! Because through this whole mess,  I've been writing and  Being Pretty Positive.  Today it is just hard to get motivated.  So. Fine. Whatever. I wrote.

#SOL20 Day 22 I'm Going to a Party!

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If you want to join in on Leigh Anne's Spring Fling, check it out here Dear Leigh Anne, I'm so happy you invited me to your Spring Fling this year. This whole quarantine thing can be kind of confining,   a pain in the rear, hard,   lonely, so getting together with friends, even virtually, is a great way to brighten up your day! I've been thinking a lot about self-care since I got your invitation. Everyone has different ways to take care of themselves, but here's what I'm bringing: Check out Moon River Music   Since this whole quarantining thing began, I've rediscovered music I love. And some new music too. I've been watching live stream concerts, DVD's that we have, specials on TV and our old albums and CDs. The music brings such JOY when I listen to it, that I just have to share. Let me know what kind of music you like. I'm sure we have it. I know for sure I'm going to bring James Taylor's new album,  American Standard.  It

#SOL20 Day 21. If This Isn't Nice...

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I've been celebrating those moments in my life for a few years now. It's the little things that make me happy. And it's those little things I want to remember. So I've resurrected my Friday Favorites, Celebrations, Gratitudes, in my new writing life.  "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."  1. The sun is shining today and that is a wonderful mood lifter. After a couple of days of dark and dreary rain, topped off with an inch and a half of snow, sunshine is just what we need. 2. A simple trip to a Target about an hour from us (everything is an hour from us, to be fair), was also a mood lifter. It was nice to get out of the house even if we did feel rebellious doing it. We found some things that weren't in stock at our hometown grocery and felt like we won the lottery. No toilet paper, but we are OK for now! 3. We took Chloe in the car with us when we went to Target. She was as excited as we were to get out of the house.

#SOL20 Day 20. Chloe Writes: The New Normal

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Whaaaattt?  They're home again? All day? Especially Mom. It's been a long time since she's been gone all day. Even Dad doesn't leave every day. I'm missing my naps. Wait! She's getting dressed! Maybe she's going to leave! Or, maybe she's taking me somewhere. Yippee! I love going in the car. It's always someplace fun when we go. Well, almost always... Nope. She's wrapped up in her furry blanket again. Dang it. Dad's up. But he's not doing anything either. Maybe if I grab a ball and look really cute. Or my rope. Nope. That's not working either. What the heck are they home for if they're not going to play with me? I better stay awake just in case.

#SOL20 Day 19 But You Can Wear Those to the Store!

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”Congratulations.” I’m puzzled. “For what?” “You wore real clothes all day today!” I knew that staying in my robe ‘til noon and then changing into pajama pants and a sweatshirt was not going to cut it, But REALLY! I was wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt. Not much difference. “But you can wear those to the store!” FYI. I DO NOT wear pajama pants out in public—-well maybe at the lake, but that’s different. I always change out of my pajama pants and into jeans when I have to go out.  I just change right back when I get home. Doesn’t he notice anything?

#SOL20 Day 18. Birthday to Remember

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At 63, I've had my share of memorable birthdays. The first one I remember, I was really young, 3 or 4 maybe. My dad brought home a birthday cake with a doll in the center and the cake formed its dress. I don't remember anything else. I don't know if others were there. I really don't know how old I was. I just remember looking at that cake. When I was 8 or 9, my grandparents picked me up from school on my birthday. They were going to buy me new shoes for birthday. As I opened the door, my tights flew out onto the street and started rolling up the street. Now, why Grandma had me take my tights off and put on socks, I haven't a clue. All I remember was crying because I lost them and my grandpa racing up the street after them. When I was 40, my husband threw a surprise party for me. The house was full of family and friends when I came home from speech contest. It was so fun. But the best part of the night was the speech kids who kept showing up at the

#SOL20 Day 17. Things I Love About My Life

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Today I turn 63. I don't feel much different than I did at 40. In fact, a few things have shocked me lately. I am one of the "older Americans" at risk for Covid19 I can shop early at some of the stores that are doing special hours for the "elderly" So I decided today I needed to make a list of the things I love about life right now! Senior discounts. First Tuesday of the month at the pharmacy, hotel discounts, movie theatre discounts... Early bird specials! Being retired. I can plan my days just how I like. And if I don't get my list done? Well, there's always tomorrow. People think because I'm old, I'm wise. I'm not. They just think I am. My hubby and I are the "cute" old couple now. Technology. I grew up with party lines. Now I can Facetime with a friend across the world and my grandkids! Also, technology--the internet makes connecting to the world so easy. And who doesn't need connections of any kind to