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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas in Chaos/New Year Thoughts

This year I felt as if,beginning the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and ending Christmas night, I was running at full speed. As well as the normal tasks and responsibilities I have, there were special things to do. Besides parties and holiday events, there was extra cleaning, shopping, planning and cooking.  This is true every year, but this year for some reason seemed extra hectic. I felt as if I was always thinking three steps ahead, and never felt as if I had a handle on anything. My world is chaotic on a good day, and the extra holiday preparations magnified that. I hope I can calm the inner chaos I feel, thereby taming the outer chaos I see.

Each of our Christmas decorations were placed among the chaos that exists every day. I often think that it would be nicer to pack away the everyday things and have a picture perfect house for the holidays; but life isn't picture perfect. It's hectic and disjointed and sloppy, and it seems right, somehow, that this is how we decorate every year. It's fitting our beliefs, our faith, into our everyday lives that's the challenge, isn't it? If that is so, then I seem to be doing a fair job of it.  It's likely that at some point in the next few months I'll notice a decoration that we forgot to put away, and I'll leave it, not wanting to stop what I'm doing to put it away. But maybe they are seemingly forgotten because I need occasional reminders that the spirit of Christmas is needed year round. Maybe I need reminders that joy, and love, and wonder are ever present in our lives if we only tune into them more, as we do at Christmas time. Fitting these things into the chaos of our lives is something we need to do all year, not just for one month of it.

With the turning of the calendar upon us, our thoughts turn to how the year that's ending was, and how we hope the year ahead will be. Some people make resolutions for the year ahead, things they want to improve in themselves. I don't do that, but I do reflect on things that happened in the past year and think if I handled things as well as I could have. The desire to improve ourselves, and in turn our lives, feels like putting hope and faith into action. So maybe those forgotten decorations are reminders to us throughout the year that we take the spirit of that time, especially the hopefulness, with us as we go forward in our efforts to grow into better versions of ourselves.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gratitude and Attitude

Today I have much gratitude
For the freedom to choose my attitude,
On this nineteenth day of November
I'm thankful I don't often surrender
To the negativity all around,
With optimism I am usually found.

I wrote this little ditty in 2013, I am not sure what was happening in my life that inspired me to write it. It was Hilly’s final year of school, and there were many unknowns about the future for both of us. Her in regards to where she would be going instead of school after graduating and me in regards to employment. It would have been easy because of those two situations alone to fall into pessimistic and negative thoughts, but I didn’t.  I may have visited that way of thinking sometimes but I chose not to dwell there. I still choose not to live in the negative; I find it exhausting.

Well my pies may not be pretty,
And the stuffing from a box,
I’ll be wearing comfy jeans,
And maybe slipper socks,
But the food will be delicious,
And the company divine,
‘Cause all we really care about,
Is having a great time.
Happy Thanksgiving!2017

This one I wrote the night before Thanksgiving after spending the day preparing for the feast with my brothers and their families Thanksgiving Day. Television programs and social media were filled with images and tricks for the perfect day, everything from what to wear to dinner time subjects to avoid. Well I don’t think I’ll ever be featured in a “perfect Thanksgiving” segment, but it suited us and that’s what matters to me. We are not a noisy, drama driven family. We talk, reminisce, and laugh a lot; we compliment each other’s offerings to the meal, and eat too much. If someone falls asleep, nobody is offended, in fact, Hilly got up in time to watch the parade on TV in the morning, then went back to bed and didn’t want to get up until dessert! I guess that’s the best part of the meal for her, and that’s fine. We are all unique, and accept each other as we are. That’s what helps make gatherings pleasant in my mind. Good food, no drama, respect and love for each other. I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving Day, and choose to live in gratitude with a positive attitude.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October Poems

The Autumn sun is late to rise,
Yet earlier to set,
We greet the days with bleary eyes,
And think of challenges we've met,
Shorter days can give us time,
To reflect on our life's events,
With cooler air and longer nights,
With ourselves we reconnect.2016

Early morning fog and mist
Obscure my view of the trees,
There is no sun to dazzle us
With bright display of leaves,
Sound is muted, birds don’t sing,
A hush lies o’er the land,
As I look outside I realize
Soon we’ll all have rake in hand.

Thursday Haiku

The week is near done
Our weather is getting cooler
Autumn should be cool

This gross weather’s making me cranky,
Mother Nature is acting quite wanky,
If this doesn’t stop,
I’l be blowing my top,
So enough of this weather that’s stanky!

Leaves are falling
Through sticky air
Can’t find a
Cool breeze anywhere
October weather’s
Up and down
Cold then hot
And all around.

October dawns with air that’s cool,
As is generally the rule,
With shorter days and crisper air,
And golden sun beyond compare,
The trees will sport their colored leaves,
And at the end a ghostly breeze.

Autumn is my favorite season. Every year I get through Summer’s heat and humidity by looking forward to cool, crisp mornings and sunny, comfortably warm afternoons. This year, however, we have had few cool mornings and many (too many!) muggy, warm days and nights. It makes me feel pretty cranky! The leaves are mostly turning brown and falling off the trees. Not many red, yellow, and orange foliage to be seen.  I don’t like it, but there’s nothing I can do about it! It’s quite maddening when the weather isn’t cooperating with your expectations, isn’t it? By now we should be needing to turn on the heat but instead we are running the air conditioning most days. So it’s not like we’re even saving on the electric bill with the warmer weather. Ugh!

But enough of my mullygrubbing! On the good side, I don’t need a coat most days and I like that as I find them a bit restrictive. I can still enjoy reading outside and seeing flowers bloom. Also, I like not scraping frost off my windshield and having no worries about ice on the deck in the morning. So, I guess if the weather is going to be unseasonably warm I might as well enjoy it because before you know it I’ll be whining about snow.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

There's Always Laundry

Now that I'm back to my lunch lady duties during the week, I do most of the laundry on the weekends.  There is a mountain of it on the bed by the time I get to folding the few loads I manage to wash and dry during the week, and oh how I hate doing it!  Putting it in the washer and dryer doesn't bother me, but the folding and putting away just feels like a never ending task.  I especially dislike matching up socks; there always seems to be a few without mates and it is an age old question about how that happens!  You put 2 socks in the hamper, the washer, and the dryer then only one comes out.  Where do they go?  It's one of life's great mysteries.  Anyhow, laundry is one of those tasks that we must do--clothing, bedding, and towels don't wash themselves, that's for sure!  Last weekend I saved it all for Sunday because I decided that I wanted Saturday to relax and do as I pleased.  In the morning we took Hillary to an art and crafts activity run by a nonprofit disability advocacy organization, and while she was crafting I helped another parent stuff envelopes for the group's annual fundraiser.  So I didn't feel too guilty taking the rest of the day off!

And so it was that in the afternoon I spent time outside on my favorite seat on the back deck with a paperback novel and some iced coffee.  It was a beautiful day, very warm for the end of September, and blissfully absent of the sound of lawn mowers and leaf blowers.  I think it's important to take a day whenever possible to do something that you find enjoyable and restful.  For me that usually involves a book and a beverage and some quiet time.  Being outside with those things is a bonus!  It's so pleasant to read a bit, then look around at the trees, the sky, birds flitting from branch to branch and just appreciating my surroundings in general.  I spend so much time during the week running from task to task both at home and at work that I need a lazy afternoon on the weekend to recharge a bit.  My life is full, and I'm not complaining, but a break is always most welcome.  It helps my brain function better, and gives my body time to recoup from the weekday demands.  One thing I know for sure is that housework will still be there waiting to be done when I get to it, and that there's always laundry.  Unless you're a nudist, but that's another story.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Thoughts & Pictures

This is a picture of my daughter with frosting on her hand at her 25th birthday this week. I love this one because it captures the joy she got from the cake. My friend works at one of our local supermarkets as a cake decorator, and she made a truly beautiful cake for Hillary. We don't often get pictures of Hillary smiling or excited, those shows of emotion are fleeting and it's tough to capture them.
This is the cake my friend made. So beautiful! It was yellow cake with chocolate pudding filling and it was delicious!

This is a picture of my eldest brother's wife, Allison, who left us so young a year ago as of August 27. This picture was taken at her bridal shower. Her life was not easy, as she battled a painful and debilitating bone disease, yet I remember her smile, sense of humor, and pride in her children, her husband, her nursing degree and the time she spent practicing the profession she loved, as well as her love for my children and my brother. 
This is another picture from Allison's bridal shower which shows how she loved my girls, who were around 5 and 2 at the time. To me it shows family love.

I visited our town park one day toward the end of August to walk and take some pictures. This one stands out to me because it shows what a gorgeous day it was, how beautiful our park is, and part of the all veterans war memorial there. This is the memorial to service animals who gave their lives in service to our country. There is also a 9/11 memorial, flags from every branch of the service, names of local service people who gave their lives throughout the years, and a special seating area for Gold Star families. I like that these memorials are at the front of our park where all who come here to use the playing fields, playground, splash pad in summer, dog park and walking trails see it.

This is a picture of the retention pond which is across from the memorial area at the park. I've seen ducks, geese, and a blue heron there at different times over the years.

These are pictures from daily life, and it's moments like these that, when strung together over the course of years, make up our lives. If happy, pleasant moments are pearls on a necklace, the less pleasant ones are knots between them, keeping the beautiful ones in place.