Light and Dark

This post is part of SoCS. These were the instructions-

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “beside you.” Write about whatever is beside you when you read this prompt. Not when you sit down to write, but whatever is beside you right now. Take note of it if you think you might forget. Enjoy!

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Glancing over at my nightstand, I noticed two things-a book and my lamp.  I love this lamp.  The body of the lamp is made of clear glass and the shade is white.  It gives off a lovely, soft glowing light.  There is a matching one on my husband’s nightstand.

I love to turn these lamps on in the late afternoon/early evening, before it gets dark.  They provide a guide around the corner when I later turn off the rest of the house lights.  Without them, I would have to feel my way through the darkness to get to the bedroom.

Isn’t that how it is with light?  We need it for so many reasons.  To guide us physically, to help us read, work, cook…live.  But we also need the dark to rest, and the soft light of my lamp provides the perfect guide to the dark.

The other thing on my nightstand is a book.  “The World According to Mister Rogers.” This small book is filled with quotes from the beloved Fred Rogers.  Little bits of wisdom that shed light on many of life’s circumstances.  His words are clear and honest.  Each time I pick up this book, the words make me smile.  They also make me think about how I respond to what is happening around me.

A lamp and a book-what perfect things to have beside me during these uncertain times.  It is easy to feel overwhelmed, like darkness is closing in.  But the truth is, light is present in many forms.  Sometimes a soft glowing lamp, sometimes the words from a book.  We just have to open our eyes and look. 

Blank Slate

As I opened up my computer to write this morning, all I could think was, “look at that blank page.” No idea what I wanted to write about, I just knew I needed to write. And then it occurred to me all these days at home are truly blank slates. There was no advanced plan for them. Each one is faced truly not knowing what the next one will bring.

Although that is true of our daily reality, we don’t often live that way. We make our plans, plan our trips, and dream about the future. Don’t misunderstand, those are important things to do. However, they must be balanced with the acceptance that we never truly know what tomorrow holds.

Even more than future planning, these circumstances make me think of missed opportunities. For example, if a specific person comes to mind today, I am more likely to send a quick text. Three weeks ago, I might have pushed it to the back of my mind. “Oh, I will contact them tomorrow…”

Not that I am following through on every thought, but I am working on being more intentional. I’ve already experienced the payoff in some ways that may seem small. One “Hello, how are you” text yesterday resulted in a sweet phone conversation about life and changes. It also brought much-needed tears and encouragement. That conversation will stick with me for a long time.

Another experience from earlier this week also made a lasting impression. I was thinking about dropping off a small care package to a dear friend. The plan was to leave it outside her door, get back in my car, and wave from a safe distance. Even typing it, it sounds silly. I almost didn’t do it.

Thankfully, I decided not to worry about looking silly. When my friend walked out of her front door, I found myself wanting to jump out of the car, run over, and give her a hug. She even had to remind herself not to keep walking in my direction. Driving away, I fought back tears.

My takeaway? We need each other. We miss each other. And I cannot wait to once again freely embrace my family, friends, colleagues, and students. I don’t know when that will happen.

Until it does, I will keep looking at these blank slate days with faith and hope and love. And just maybe, cover that blank slate with a little kindness. ❤

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13: 13

Poppy and Ginger

Poppy, that tiniest dachshund, loved life in her new home. The sweet girl and kind boys played with her often. And Poppy never got bored.

She would run outside in the grass and sometimes hop on one foot. Poppy even learned to do tricks. She could speak, roll over, and sit.

Such a smart little puppy. Her personality was full of charm. She loved being rewarded with special treats and was always ready to perform.

Even though Poppy was happy, she sometimes got scared at night. She didn’t like being alone and would cry when they turned out the lights.

Well, the mom could not bear Poppy’s crying. The whimpering broke her heart. So instead of her dog bed, Poppy slept right in the crook of mom’s arm.

Almost six years had passed since adoption day. Her family’s love for her grew. But they worried about her being alone while they were at work and at school.

They decided she needed a sibling. And so, the search began. Soon she would have a sister to always keep her company.

The first time they met was quite funny. Poppy’s eyes quickly blinked. Her new sister looked very different and Poppy was not sure what to think.

Poppy was still very tiny, but her new sister was quite large. A chocolate lab, at least four times her size, but oh so gentle at heart.

Ginger moved in a few days later. So sweet and happy to be home. Poppy cautiously welcomed her but made sure Ginger knew who was boss.

That sounds rather silly, a dachshund bossing a lab. Believe me, it was true. Poppy would stare until Ginger moved, then take over Ginger’s big bed.

Sweet Ginger never seemed to mind. She would happily find a new spot. Besides, someone was sure to pet her, she simply had to nudge their hand.

They both loved being outside, especially when it was sunny. Ginger played fetch while Poppy sunbathed under the big oak tree.

There was one thing they did together on those sunny days outside. Chasing squirrels was the name of their game. Thankfully, none were ever caught-only chased away.

Sometimes those squirrels would tease them, inching closer and closer to the door. But as soon as the dogs ran outside, those squirrels scurried back up the oak.

Short trips were also quite fun. They both enjoyed rides in the car. As long as the destination was grandma’s house and not a trip to get shots.

Poppy and Ginger, inseparable sisters, a sweet and funny pair. A miniature dachshund and chocolate lab, always sharing adventures. ❤

Special Guest

I am excited to have a guest writer on my blog today, my mom. ❤

When I was a little girl, my mom loved to write poetry. Sometimes for special occasions, usually written for or about an individual. She would share them with family and friends. Her words are displayed in frames in many of her siblings’ homes. But more importantly, her words have been stored in hearts.

She has not actively written in many years, but she has consistently encouraged my writing. Our current world circumstances influenced her to write again. She was a little nervous about sharing, so now I get to encourage her. 🙂

I hope her thoughts bring you peace.🌺

Break of Day

Birds singing
Break of day
Tune’s different
In harmony
This day

Flower Blankets
Covering ground
Soft colors
Fragile-Beautiful
This day

Gentle breeze
Dancing leaves
New life memories
New beginnings
This day

Joyful reminders
Hope and love
Steadfastness
Break of day
This day

Great Shepherd’s hand
Gently leads
On mountains
Through valleys
This day

Stand still
Know peace
Given by God
Break of day
This day

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Cues

Cue-a signal (such as a word, phrase, or bit of stage business) to a performer to begin a specific speech or action.

When I think of the word cue, it is usually about music. As a pianist, I’m very good at giving and receiving cues. For example, I might follow a singer’s breathing or lead them into an entrance with tempo/musical changes. The cues help us stay together, resulting in beautiful music.

This week, I’ve been forced to listen to a different kind of cue. It actually took several days for me to even recognize that it was a cue. 

If only it had been a musical cue. 

But no, this was an emotional cue manifesting in a physical symptom.

The first time it appeared was around 5:00 p.m. I had planned to cook dinner-homemade meatballs, roasted veggies, and pasta. 

All the ingredients were ready.  

Suddenly, I began to feel a little nauseous. “Hmmm, that’s weird,” I thought. I immediately began to worry about getting sick. But I hadn’t been anywhere, and it was not likely. I almost changed dinner plans to take-out.

But then, I decided to push through. We needed a home-cooked meal. It would surely make us all feel better. So, I cooked. It was yummy. I even baked cookies. When the cookies were done, I realized the nausea was gone.

The same thing happened the next day, at the same time. Curious. 

“I wonder if this is stress?” I asked myself. This time, my daughter and I took a short walk around the neighborhood. Guess what? Nausea once again disappeared.

That night, I told my husband what had happened. I also expressed that I thought it was a reaction to stress over all the changes occurring right now. He agreed. 

Somehow, just sharing how I was feeling helped.

As I thought about this more, it made sense. I may be putting on a good front, staying calm, and saying I’m not worried. But truthfully, these are unsettling times and they are affecting my emotions. This little cue was trying to get my attention. Trying to tell me it’s ok to not be ok.

The time of day also made sense. Each time I noticed this feeling, it was around 5-5:30 p.m. This is the time of day we would normally be getting home from work. Everyone would be sharing about their day, talking about what went well and what didn’t. Talking about students and what we were planning the next days, weeks, etc.  

That has all changed. We are together most of the day at home. Not knowing when we will go back to work. Worrying about our friends and family. Worrying about our students. All things that are out of our control.  

No wonder my physical cue was nausea.

The most important thing about cues? They require a response. How could I respond to this one? Well, I’ve found a few things to be helpful.   

  1. Take a walk
  2. Tell someone how I’m feeling
  3. Cook
  4. Play piano

This experience also made me think of our kiddos. How do they react to stress? What is often their first complaint? “My stomach hurts.” I guess some things never change. 😉   

Take care of yourselves, friends. Listen to your body and pay attention to your emotions. Don’t be afraid to say how you’re feeling.  ❤ 

Faces

Dear Friends,

This past week was our Spring Break from school. One whole week to relax and do whatever I wanted. Except, it really wasn’t. Yes, I was able to relax and spend time with family. But no coffee with friends, spring clothes shopping, last-minute trips out of town, etc.

I tried not to worry about establishing a new routine or what would happen in the weeks to come. But now it’s Saturday, and a new week is almost here. It is time to think ahead just a little.

This morning it hit me what I’m going to miss the most when Monday comes-faces. I see so many faces each day. Faces help us know how a person is feeling. We can see happiness, disappointment, struggle, or excitement with one single glance.

We can also receive what we need from the face of another. If I am the one showing sadness or struggling, a smile from another person is powerful. It shows that someone else sees me and recognizes how I’m feeling.

So, although I won’t see all those faces on Monday, I will be thinking about them. Those colleagues who greet me each day. The students I greet each morning as they enter the building. Those few ornery boys who still call me grandma every time they see me. My friend who sits across the table with a cup of coffee.

As I think of those faces, I will also pray. For that is one thing I can do no matter where I am or what the circumstances. These are unsettling times with many unanswered questions. But I have faith that I will see all those faces again soon-live and in person.

Until then, I remain thankful for technology and social media. And with that thought, I will share a picture of my face from this morning. Hopefully, you will see joy and contentment amid uncertainty. And be reminded that I love you.

Take care of yourselves, sweet friends.

Kelley

“I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” 3 John 1:14

The Tiniest Dachshund

Preface-This is my attempt at writing a children’s story.  Our current circumstances-illness, quarantines, social distancing-seem like the perfect time to share.  Hope you enjoy and read it to any kiddos in your life. 🙂

There once lived a tiny dachshund. The start of her life was quite rough. The place she was born was quite scary. No one listened as she softly cried ruff.

Thankfully, this sweet puppy was rescued-along with her siblings and mom. They moved in with a nice foster parent, who would help them find a forever home.

Their names were as sweet as their faces-Rosemary, Laurel, and Parson. And that tiniest dachshund? The runt of the litter? What was her name? Perfectly precious, Poppy.

Poppy loved to play with her siblings. Tails wagging, they would hop and run. And although she tried with all her might, her little legs could not keep up.

One day, a nice mom and dad came to visit. They wanted to meet these sweet puppies. When they saw little Poppy, they cried, “We choose her!” With their family, they knew she would be happy.

Poppy was officially adopted! A new home, a new bed, and new toys. Most important of all, she was met by three children- a sweet girl and two kind boys.

These siblings, along with their parents, were glad to call Poppy their own. This tiny sweet dachshund had stolen their hearts, from the moment she entered their home.

Many years have passed since her adoption day. Poppy is older and gray.
But she loves her family, and they love her even more than that very first day.

We love our Poppy girl! ❤