not ready



not ready to write my heart out
for thirty days of emotional draining
I might bleed out upon the page
as the words saturate the moment
while I hold onto hope
that something good is still in store
my heart is seen and heard
that a gift will be given
careful not to unleash fear
believing that love will win
trusting that I know that heart
somehow it will all work out
despite my imperfections
I might have a chance
to be accepted




more than just a slice



As I read through all of my slices for this month, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity I have each March to be part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge and write with a purpose for thirty-one days straight. It has been something that has pushed me to grow as a writer and thinker, and I couldn't imagine my writing life without all of the wonderful support from the slicer community. I was introduced to the community when I was in the depths of divorce, and it was a source of strength then and continues on still.

This year's month-long Slice of Life Story Challenge has held a bit of every good thing as well as a heaping tablespoon of heartache. No matter the slice, I hope you have enjoyed reading my words and thinking along with me. All of your comments have encouraged me immensely. 




4.  Jalopy






10. Sleepy









19. Knots






25. Courage

26. Today

27. Marvelous




31. This one right here, right now. 


It has been yet another life-changing and wonderful experience.
See you on Tuesdays until next March! 








the sunny path

debris


The word of the day is humility, and I've been taking time to reflect on the process we go through to cultivate it within our hearts.

Humility is a simple virtue, yet it doesn't come easy for some people—people like me. I seem to have a gift for doing things that force me to be humbled to the dust. I feel the pinch of its learning curve as we speak. I want more than anything to treat others well, to be considerate and kind, and humble, yet every once in awhile I slip up and make a royal mess of things. And royal messes humble me. In these cases, I must be at the mercy of whom I have offended, and that's a hard thing, waiting to see if you will be truly forgiven or if all is lost.

Right now, I feel caught in the shadows with thinking about what has gone wrong and what I should have done to have done what is right or best—wading through the debris that was left in my wake. My heart hurts because of my inconsideration. Knowing that the pain you feel is from your own hand is a torturous affair. To get into a positive place after mistakes are made, we can create paths out of debris, and sometimes it all needs to get cleared away to see the good again. And it all takes time and a whole lot of care.

Something I know for sure is that I want to have enough humility to see what I should change about myself in order to be more like I want to be. One of these days I won't be so lacking in judgment and will overcome my propensity to spoil good things. Despite myself, I will find my way to the sunny path that lay ahead.




keep trying


Words can mean anything we want with just the right mindset.

These words, "Push button to open doors. If door begins to close push button again," are directions for boarding the train. However, I saw them as a metaphorical opening of doors for my adventure this past week. And right now, I hope they will be seen as a prompt to forgive, be kind, and continue keeping those doors wide open.

All of it is for me to remember that I want doors to stay open and to stop saying everything that comes to mind, so they won't close.

the versatile phone


My first memory of a telephone was when I was around 4 years old. I was at my great grandmother's house and refusing to eat her steamed broccoli and cauliflower. I wanted to go home because my great grandma wouldn't give me anything different to eat either. She told me that if I wanted to go home instead of eat my dinner and stay the night with her, then I would have to call home myself. I didn't even know my numbers yet. She wrote my phone number 4 5 3 1 4 7 4 largely onto a small piece of paper, set it and the black rotary dial phone from probably the 1930s onto the organ stool, and showed me how to work the phone. She showed me how each number matched up with one on the dial, and how to pull it around to the little stopper, so it would be able to make the call. I recall sitting in the living room next to the organ working so hard on learning how to match each of the different number symbols on the page to the ones on the phone and figuring out how to turn the dial around all the way. It got dark out. She wouldn't even turn on the light in living room. So by light of the dining room I figured out how to make my first phone call. And I love her beyond words for that lesson in determination—hers and mine.

Throughout my life thus far, phones have changed a great deal. I used that antique rotary phone a few times. Then I remember talking on a phone in my kitchen with a 10-foot cord with my little friends to see who would be spending the night where and making plans to beat the band. Then the mighty cordless phone came into my life. I couldn't get too far away from the receiver, but that blasted cord was no longer an issue to get tangled in. When I was an older teenager, the magical teen lines became a thing, and my parents got me one so that they could actually receive phone calls of their own. And let's not forget the all powerful pay phone. The movie theater adventure would never have been as good without the freedom to call for a ride home after all of the fun was over—not just the movie. I graduated high school, and I wanted my own phone line, to pay for something myself along with my schooling costs. So I got my own phone line put in, and having my own telephone number was something else. I felt independent. Along with that phone line, I purchased a forest green little phone. I still have it actually. I can't seem to part with it. Many adventures were planned on that phone. Breakups were hashed out, makeups too. Tears, laughter, and everything in between has that little green phone been the bearer of.

Then I got my first cell phone necessitated by my child's seizure disorder. I was fine with having a pager—until I was screaming for help on the corner of a busy intersection while my baby was turning blue and vomit was spewing from her nose. A phone saved us both that day. From the next day onward, I have always had a cell phone. It is an essential item for me even more so than most people believe for themselves. My cell phone gives me a sense of empowerment to save.

Cell phones do so much now. They deliver all sorts of information: news, facts, lies, love, hate, almost anything you can think of. You can purchase something from a store somewhere else in the world and have it delivered to your home with a few swipes and taps to a phone. Business can be done more efficiently by way of these magical contraptions. Setting and breaking appointments, making decisions, and so much more are all at your fingertips.

Phones cause and solve problems. Bridges are built and burnt using phones. Love and care is conveyed throughout the world at any moment in time through the phone, but so is unkindness, misery, and grief. Insensitivity, compassion, disdain, and admiration are part of the nearly infinite gamut of emotions that phones are able to convey. Sometimes, phones by their lack of use convey emotions too. When a message is left and never returned, that non-response says something. The receiver does not understand entirely what the unused phone is saying, so painful misunderstanding can be one side effect. Affection, kindness, and concern are also side effects of a phone best used. Care is communicated by way of voice and text messages, and photographs are one of my favorite means of sharing my world with people who can't be near as we make our way through our days. It is such a treat to reach out across the wires and miles to loved ones and even strangers to share morsels of my day! I truly delight in it.

Without phones, I'm sure life would be vastly different for all of us. I know it would be for me. So much love and happiness arrives throughout my daily life by way of the phone, and I am thankful for the entire experience.




marvelous

Creating happy memories makes life worth living because things can't always be good or we wouldn't  know when life is reaching those high points. There are good and bad times for everyone.

When I was a freshman in high school, my mother was working three jobs as a newly graduated RN to make ends meet for our family. She always seemed to be gone or sleeping—probably because she was. So anyway, I was going to homecoming, and it was my first high school dance. That's a pretty big deal in a girl's life, so when my mom couldn't be there to help me pick out accessories and stuff to wear, I was sad. My dad took me out shopping to find the final touches: shoe clips to dress up my patent leather black flats and a purse that matched them perfectly. When we arrived home, I went into my room to get ready, sat down at my vanity area and found a note attached to the mirror. My mother wrote about how sorry she was that she couldn't be there to help me get ready for my first big dance, and that she loved me. But the sentiment that has stuck out in my mind for 25 years since reading it is this: I hope our happy times will always outweigh the bad.

Her words push on my mind again today as I consider all the things going on for me right now. Life, love, family, work, friends, and all the little things that fill in the rest make for an interesting ride on this roller coaster. It's funny how the fine details matter so much in the moment, but when we look back, the things that stick with us are the way we remember people treating us. My mother couldn't be there for me then, but she was. She took the time to consider my feelings, to understand my girlish heart.

I'm not so different even though a quarter of a century has passed since that first homecoming dance. I still notice how people take time to care. I notice all the love that comes my way making sure that the good always outweighs the bad. Yesterday, I was able to spend time with one of my favorite people on this planet, and everything was truly marvelous. Even though plans had to change because time slipped past us, it was so good. Consideration and kindness was in every thought and action. The day created another layer of joy for me to cherish, and I simply couldn't be happier right now in this moment.



today

Wishing I could stop the counting
Because though we may wish it,
Time will not stand still for us
But will sneak past,
So let us try slowing things down:
Breathe in minutes
Exhaling moments. 

courage

I think a lot—in case you hadn't gathered that yet. So another thing that has been on my mind lately is courage. Courage is no generic quality; it requires you to do something when the odds may be against you or you just can't see how things will turn out, making you uncertain or even afraid to take action. Courage asks you to try even when trying appears to be counterintuitive. Courage says, "You should try. Trying is the only way you'll know if [insert the thing for which you need courage] will turn out alright." 

And now I am recalling my philosophy I've held to since I was a teenager: The worst thing they can do is tell you no. I've lived by this maxim/motto/whatever-you-want-to-call-it for so long that all it looks like in hindsight is I'm one brave (or crazy) person.

Sometimes my instincts have been right and sometimes not, but then again, maybe they have been right more often than not and the people I've interacted with simply haven't had the courage to try along with me. I'm not saying that I'm the end all be all of courage because that is far from the truth, but I have had my share of proving ground in this area, and I'm confident that courage is a quality that I am at least half-proficient in. 


I don’t even know why I’m saying all of this except for maybe I am talking myself into reevaluating what courage looks like for me in certain situations. Maybe courage can present itself in not saying something in order to trust someone else to speak up and take the lead. Possibly courage is silently holding onto hope while looking at each day with gladness because truly it is turning out even better than just alright.


choosing my own adventure

deprivation

I have had sleep on my mind for several months. There are studies about it, people complain about it, and the fact of the matter is we need it.

I really love sleep too even though I doubt you'd believe me with how little of it I've had in the past few years. Since December, I've been working on improving my hours invested, but the whole Daylight Saving Time stuff has got me off my game, and I can't seem to find my groove again. I can't even tell you how badly I want to get back to a healthy sleep schedule. 

The situation at hand is messy. Towing this line alone forces me into late night remembering of things that didn't get accomplished in the day but need to before the next. And then I also must have time to just be myself and unwind, so I do that once my children are taken care of. The push and pull of things doesn't leave much room for this elusive sleep schedule that I seek. 

I am actually pretty darn raggedy right now as I write this. Deprivation is catching up to me, and I am left with a sense of longing—for someone to hold and for my perfectly delightful pillow. 

tomato soup

Tomato soup with dumplings. My mother used to make this for dinner in the winter. I've never been fond of tomato soup, but for some reason those dumplings transform it into a delight. She worked her magic on the soup I think because my father loved tomato soup but none of us did. Knowing she liked to show my father that she cared by simple means gladdens my heart. There was so much love that I didn't notice as a child. It feels good to realize it even now that they're gone. 

Today, I decided to work some of my mother's magic. I needed some comfort food without having to spend a lot of time on it. Sundays are a day of rest for me. Like, I literally catch up on the rest I'm deprived of throughout the week. So as you can imagine, I fixed a batch of magical good stuff, got my blanket, and have been camped out on my purple sofa ever since. 


counting down




Whispers from your precious heart
Find me in the dark of night
Waking me from peaceful rest
Awakening hope that would hurt
If I didn't know how it's all a gift

Lifting my soul from that abyss
Of broken dreams and hopeless days
Into a perfect mess of flaws and joy
Insecurity erased and resurrected

Flutters of the heart
Eternal butterflies
That won't depart

Time tells this story.
Choices write every word.

Words pave our path to action.






rounding corners

Writing about myself right now isn't going according to plan. I had this idea that I would write about how I have these habits or ways of being that friends tell me are virtues. But it doesn't seem to come out how I want. Even those sentences before this one appear convoluted in my eyes. Maybe it's because I'm trying to talk positively about myself when I've just rounded the corner on a day of assuming a great deal of negativity.

It's funny and not so funny how negative thoughts can change our perspectives so drastically. My one hang up right now is that I am so sure about myself in one light and entirely in the dark in another. (But that doesn't make sense either. I'm pretty sure I am suffering from major fatigue.).

Even though I haven't found the words to accomplish my original goal, I am thankful to have rounded the corner and have some positivity coursing through my veins again.



into knots

I've gotten on a soapbox about how we shouldn't compare ourselves to others. I've done it many times. However, I think I only get on one as often as I have strength to do it because I fall prey to it at times. It's one of those note to self things that I hope might help someone else in the process.

To get down in the dirt about it, I struggle with negative self talk because I was talked to in unhealthy ways for many years. I was about to list some of the mean things that were said to me, but after the second and third words, it hurt too much to write more, so I will spare you from having to read it too. I don't excuse myself from taking action against my own negative self talk, but I must admit it is hard to stop after being conditioned for so long into thinking my imperfections are why I don't deserve to be loved.

Seeing photos plastered all over social media of what is considered desirable, guys giving virtual high-fives over being ladies' men, and me not matching up with any of those qualities does something to me. It twists my heart into knots; that's what it does. When it's a good day and I feel strong, I remind myself that I am beautiful, that outward beauty truly is not everything (not just a cliche), and that I deserve to be loved—someone someday will love me enough to stay. And I love myself. I am a good person at heart, and that is enough. I am contented and confident in the truth.

But then, there are days like last week and today when I just don't have it in me to get over the knots.


lucky to write

Top Eleven Reasons I Love Writing

1. I love words—learning new ones and using the ones I know. 
2. Thoughts can overburden me, and writing is a healthy outlet. 
3. Books are something I enjoy, and writing is the vehicle to creating my own book. 
4. Poetry speaks to me. Writing poetry helps me process my feelings. 
5. Reading other people's writing inspires me to write more and different things. 
6. Writing in a journal saves my less formal writing for later reading—by me or loved ones. 
7. I am empowered as I learn how to write better. 
8. Improving writing is improving myself because I see writing as a hobby and tool. 
9. I gain a sense of satisfaction when people appreciate my writing. If I didn't write, they couldn't enjoy it. 
10. Writing expands my thought process because I take time to think deeply. 
11. The ability to write is a gift and privilege, so I don't want to take it for granted. I'm thankful I can express myself with the written word.

immovable wall

Every time I think we've got this thing, stupid stuff happens. I don't know what to do about all the troubles my children are having. I am one person with limited resources. I am failing. 

These things are all real thoughts of mine today. I want to kick them out and never look back, except I'd not figure out how to fix the issues. Some things won't be fixed though. There must be more than me making things happen. The children need to choose better. I need to choose better too though. I need to cut things out that aren't serving me well. But then again, how can I tell what is going wrong when I don't/can't slow down until I'm crashing and burning on my lovely purple sofa? 

There is too much for one person to do alone, yet I know I can make things work by doing what I can and leaving the rest. I remember my mother telling me something like that, and I cling to it in this moment. 

There are walls that seem immovable, but isn't it really us who won't move to change our circumstances? 

Do what I can and leave the rest will be how I take charge of things on this new day. No walls are going to stop me from walking around, climbing over, or even getting out a jackhammer. 



a glad heart

Seeking to Become - March 2015



I am in no way a perfectly spiritual person, but I do strive to live in a gospel-oriented way. Some days are better than others though. It's interesting to ponder how much we change and grow throughout our lives. 

As of late, I have been experiencing some personal setbacks, and I catch myself feeling such disappointment. I know I am not perfect, neither am I expected to be, yet I can't see how I will make it through this phase of my life with the way things are. 

Trusting that God sees me and knows my needs is how I am making it so far. Sometimes I let myself forget though. I get so wrapped up in looking at what I lack that I forget to focus on all the progress I've made and blessings that continue to flood my life. I've thought about this a great deal over the past few months actually, and I want so much to overcome my tendency to set aside what is going right because when I do so I also forget my purpose in life. 

For this month's challenge, it will be a focus on doing good. 

"Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God."
3 John 1:13
I found this scripture awhile back, and it reminds me that doing good is what I should be about. Additionally, the opening beloved creates a sense that it is a personal invitation, a reminder that I am individually important to God. 

As the month progresses, I hope to reflect on this message to do good and by doing so I will remember that I am loved no matter what, I have joy in my life, and there will be a way to find the peace and comfort that I seek. 







savor and enjoy

Today's slice of life is a note to self for the days when I forget . . .

"Savor and enjoy, or endure and know you will get through it." — me.

I was reading a slice of life on Deb Day's blog, and the aforementioned thought hit me like a ton of bricks. How often over the past several years have I not seen this simplicity? Over time, I have learned how to better savor and enjoy the precious moments, but I have not been able to remember that I have overcome many things, and even problems do end at some point. I get caught up in the stress and strain of problems, and then I can hardly see the forest for the trees.

Someday I hope to overcome this shortcoming of mine because on any day of the week in any moment of those days, I have blessings beyond measure. Too many to count. So many that I am ashamed of myself for allowing problems to overshadow what I know about the good that abides with me.


Henrietta, Texas at sunset and a heart full of happiness






dance do-over

A student's YES! reply to Prom


Something that I adore about being a teacher is that I get to do a few high school things over. None of it is like a total do-over obviously, but I still get to have a fresh experience in some of the same situations. One of those same situations happens to be Prom. 

For my first quasi do-over I was a chaperone for Homecoming, and it was a blast. During the fast songs, many of my students were dragging me into the center of the circle and realizing that I have a few dance moves. Even with going stag, I don't think I ever had that much fun at a Homecoming dance in my entire high school life—and I had an amazing time at Homecoming dances. But to get back to Prom . . . 

Prom is a different story. I remember getting picked up in my boyfriend's brother's super hot red Acura and me looking like a million bucks just so I could stand in line for like ever for photographs in the entry of the Officers' Club on Nellis Air Force Base. Then, I danced a couple times with my date, a couple times with a few friends, but that was it. My boyfriend didn't care about making my Senior Prom memorable for me. I have so many regrets leading up to that day and on that night. Too much information to share even with me being an over sharer. 

So anyway. When I got word that Prom is coming up for my school, I thought it would be fun to make my first Prom as a teacher something worth remembering. Erase some bad by writing some good onto the page, right? Crazy me actually told a few students that I was considering bringing someone with me, so I could dance the slow songs too, and they all freaked out demanding that I do some elaborate ask-a-date-to-prom thing. Well, if you count sending a text as elaborate, I totally made good on their demands. 



And the best part about this story is he said yes. 




same time same feelings



Every year I think things will be better. And every year they aren't.

My mother passed away on this date twelve years ago now. I don't sit around moping and crying all the time, so don't think that. Life has certainly moved on because it must and it's mentally and emotionally healthy to do so; however, I seem to miss her more each year. I don't cry more than I did in those first days and months—I don't think that is humanly possible—but the sense of loss and wanting to see her again grows. I see how my children aren't getting the love and hugs that she once gave to the first two. I catch myself wishing she were here to help me. Her presence is sorely missed when there are accomplishments. I believe that her presence is near, but there is absolutely nothing like sharing the same air, getting a real life physical hug, and hearing someone say I love you. That scenario has been far too long absent from my life.

She had her shortcomings, everyone does, but she had such a vibrant personality that it outshone the flaws. My mother taught me how to give and love and live. I am thankful to have her example to draw from as my life keeps twisting and turning.

I'm pretty sure I break my own heart every year with these reflections, but if I didn't take the time to express my love for her, I'd be cheating myself too.



Here's a few links that you might like to read:

The Best White Bread Recipe Yet Written

The Best Mostaccioli Recipe Yet Written

The Best Pumpkin Cookie Recipe Yet Written



just say no to DST

A friend of mine was kidding around about being tired since her first year of teaching over fifteen years ago, and it got me thinking. Is this Daylight Saving Time the one that finally breaks me? 

Each day the feeling of exhaustion has gotten worse. I have taken naps because my sleep pattern is all messed up. But that's all I can do to catch some rest. Another friend of mine and I were discussing the woes of Daylight Saving, and he thought of something that I know would be amazing: being able to slow down and take a real rest for awhile. I believe if we could all make a week long holiday of it, our bodies would readjust. I doubt that is fiscally possible, so abolishing this body clock killing practice is the next best thing. Or actually, it should be the number one solution. 

sleepy

Hitting a wall. 
That's what it felt like when I got home from school. 
No energy left. 
No words. 
Nothing. 
Resting a bit doesn't seem to cut it. 
Neither does wishing I could take a nap since it's too late for that. 
Then I look around to realize that the day escaped me. 
And it is now time for sleep. 
Slumber that hopefully carries me over that wall 

Into a sunny path for tomorrow.  

lucky stuff

There's this one word that keeps on popping into my head today: lucky. I don't really believe that luck is very real, but it is in a way too. Whenever there's those few unexplainable, wonderful happenings, luck fits the bill. 

I tend to assign the words blessings and blessed to the special and good things about my life, but even then, the feeling of being lucky to have or be with or whatever just fits again. You don't have to feel like you deserve the good thing if luck is involved. Having that sense of luck paints a picture of winning something too. Blessings are full-on earned and deserved, while luckiness is a blessing and beyond—a little extra on top that you get just for because. 

I'm lucky to have a beautiful home and children who love me and a few types of best friends and family who truly care about me. I'm lucky to have graduated from the university of my choice. I am lucky to be doing what I enjoy for my career. I am lucky to be alive and in good health. 

And you know what else? I feel like I have double luck for having so many people around who read my writing, take time to comment about it, and come back for more. I am reaching my dreams slowly but surely. That doesn't happen by luck, but I sure do feel lucky. Thank you! 



nice is different than good

The movie "Into the Woods" is a mixed bag of tricks if you ask me. The stellar cast drew me in. I had no clue there was a Broadway musical and all the double entendre and such that was coming my way.  So, I took all of my children to see this movie that is not a children's movie.

But enough of that. I don't want to go on a rant—today. 

I want to talk about the morsel of pure understanding that I uncovered. It might just be me, but when someone is being nice: showing good manners, talking sweetly, etc., I have always assumed that meant good. Well, after watching "Into the Woods" and hearing that dryly put line from Red Riding Hood "Nice is different than good," I see niceties in a different light. 

While it is still good to be nice, nice words and nice looking outer shells do not necessarily mean that person is a good person at heart. Intentions are something to take into consideration. Some people are only nice in order to get what they want—to manipulate a situation and people. And that is not good. I like to call that charming. I hate to put a negative connotation on such a lovely word, but it has been done before, and it's the best word for this context. 

Sometimes pretty faces with their pretty words as they push and persuade or double dip relationships are only playacting at good. They want to have it all. How can you be good when all you want is your own interest or have loyalty and love for both worlds when you have to lie to one or both to keep up the appearance of doing good? It seems that nothing will be the result. No real connections, no true loyalties, no confidence to stand on. No substantial happiness.

My big question and what I want to know a real answer to is: Can anyone have everything if they are being truly good to no one? While goodness doesn't guarantee happiness and success, it does have a positive long-term effect on lives. I have several trains of thought going in all directions, but I will focus on one to wrap up.

I'm thinking that it is impossible to have much of anything worthwhile, let alone everything, because nice is different than good. And nice laced with lies isn't actually nice at all.




for the love of treats



I wish I didn't like treats so much. I know, I know. Some of you are gasping for air because that's something we shouldn't say out loud, but it's true.

My mother was raised by a cake baking father, and her mother's daily drink of choice was Pepsi.

My father's story is different though. He came from a time and place where treats weren't completely saturated into daily life. I'd have to say that he didn't get treats but once in a blue moon. He was raised by a single mother, and because of money issues at the time, he was too busy not starving to get sweet stuff on the regular. So when he found his success after being married to my mother, he decided to make up for lost time, I think. He kept a candy counter of sorts in his armoire next to his chair in their bedroom. Various types of candies such as black licorice (which I hate), candy bars—full size—none of this bite size nonsense, pistachios, beef jerky, and Dr. Pepper practically by the gallon.

So put my parents together, and you get me. Treat-loving me. Over the past several years, I have been working on my approach toward sweets and was really owning it, but then I decided to do this funny thing called get a divorce, and my healthy approach unraveled like there was no tomorrow. I put on almost 50 lbs. at my lowest point. Can anyone say 'emotional eater'? The past two years has been a roller coaster of getting on and off the wagon, but I'm hoping that I'm getting back to my healthy, rational self who can say no to drugs like sugar (except upon truly special occasion).

So anyway. As the divorce finally began to settle out, I began to see what I'd done to myself. And now I look back and realize how I sort of gave up on myself all while trying to fight for me too. No wonder life is still sorting itself out. That's confusing just to read, so I hope you get what I'm trying to say. It's been wonderful having a couple of supportive friends who help me see what I want to do with myself and how to get there. I believe that when trying to change something deep-seeded like a long-term habit you need people to talk to who will not judge you but give support when you need it and when you don't.

I'm pretty sure I will always enjoy a really decadent dessert, and chocolate won't ever stop being a temptation, but I want to and will find balance despite my programming.




time for myself

Having Friday off has been a good thing for me today. Time to be within the walls of my home with no guests, no children, nothing to do except take care of it and me. Taking care of my home feels akin to taking care of myself because I enjoy decorating and keeping things nice. After having been through almost two years of full-time school, I haven't been able to enjoy too many days like today. I realize as the day winds down that I miss being home. There is something to be said for becoming a teacher. I love it. But there is also something to be said for all the time I get to be home caring for my family, my house, and me. There is too much for one person to do alone, so I do invite close friends into my quiet time, and it couldn't be more perfect.

Now, it is time to prepare for a girls' night out because I am so way ready to get out of this house!

ready for battle

Not sure what to say right now. I got a massage after school, and I am downright relaxed. I have about a hundred or more papers to grade, but I needed to recharge. And it worked. My mind keeps wanting to drift to the same old stress, but I'm not letting it. Taking care of our bodies oftentimes helps us take care of our minds as well. I am mentally strengthened by the peace my body is enjoying. And right now it feels perfectly wonderful to let go of the worry and just relax.

Now if I can get all that grading done that's piled up before I want to bang my head against the wall, that will be the real miracle. 

jalopy



I've said this before, but right when I think I might be doing better, I realize its accuracy: I am a stalling out, backfiring, rusted out jalopy with nowhere to go but uphill—forever.

And this is the part where I wrote some pretty long paragraphs about how it sucks to be me but deleted it all because you know what? It does not suck to be me too, and every reason points to love.

Parental love. My children are part of my struggles, but it is not because they are crazy bad or anything. Those monkeys are wonderful. It's just a heavy load of work and care to tow alone. And it's not like I am simply alone. I actually have opposition pushing and pulling at me. So, I want to proclaim that each of my children give me happiness that has no price. They are why it does not suck to be me. They are the ones who make me a mother and leader of civilization. They teach me things that I could not learn any other way. I am a better me because of them.

Platonic love. Another thing that doesn't suck about being me is having so many friends who care about me and I care for. I seem to need an army of them, but an army is exactly what I have. A wonderfully supportive army. Too many times I've been pulled up into sunlight I couldn't see for myself by these people. And I am thankful for every single one of them.

Romantic love. That's a tricky one for me. I don't want to say too much, but if I'm to focus on what doesn't suck about my existence, this love must be included. For quite some time whenever my worries get the better of me,  I've reflected on how loving someone hurts and heals all at the same time and why I would even put myself out there. My conclusion is that I am thankful to have this love in my heart even if it may never be shared/reciprocated in the same way. I patiently (and some days not so patiently) hope to be loved as I know is warranted, but that love must be given freely or it is no gift. And I want a gift—even the entire package. So I hope on.

As I slow down to breathe and let go of the negative self talk, I can see how wonderful life is to have people surrounding me in my journey uphill forever in this perfectly imperfect vehicle called my life.





expectations

I have them.
I didn't mean to though.
At first, they crept into my heart.
But I let them stay for a good while.
Until they stayed long enough to change.
I used to expect something good out of each day.
And then I began to expect the worst because it was truth.
I relearned hope and happiness but to invest with little return.


So now, I do expect a few things:
I expect to love with my whole heart
And never be loved like that in return.
I expect to care until it hurts
And to wish I never did but I still will.
I expect to be solitary until my dying day
And never find not one person who will ever want to stay.





























happy birthday



Birthdays are special. When babies are born. When children progress to the next milestone. When teenagers survive into adulthood. And—no matter what the haters might say—when adults mature into true adulthood and wisdom. 

Figuring out how to celebrate an upcoming birthday with a party, cake, surprises, and anything else possible is what happens around this place. It's like my mind has been in party planning mode since age eight. I just go from one special occasion to the next to the next. Sometimes there isn't a way or the means to do what my crazy brain gets to mapping out, but there are times when the stars align and surprises happen. 

Happy Birthday songs happen. Cake happens. 
And cake is good. "Let them eat cake" is a favorite quote . . . I wonder why. 

Today, I want to proclaim that I love birthdays. Mine and yours. Celebrating the miracle of our existence is wonderful. 




a slice a day keeps the quiet away

Today is March 1 and the first day I try to make this month-long writing challenge work its magic a little extra.

I've been struggling to keep up with life. On too many days, I get to the point that I can't even think straight, so I wrap up in a blanket and do next to nothing instead of all the stuff I ought to be doing. That said, I wonder how intelligent it is for me to keep up this writing challenge tradition.

I will tell you how and why it is intelligent.

If I don't write, I might lose myself to the quiet. If I drop one more thing that I enjoy, I might drop out of life. If I don't find healthy ways to cope with the stress in my life, I will enable unhealthy stress to destroy my happiness.

All of that might sound slippery slope-ish to you, but I'm telling you that I'm walking a thin line. And things are that black and white on many a day.

Today is the day I turn things around one slice at a time.