Pieces of Your Heart

Grandparents are special people. My grandparents were an essential part of my childhood. Spending time with them was important. As a child, you don’t really think about losing them. You imagine they will be part of your world forever. Then you become a young adult, or in my case, a high school student and that idea is shattered.

When my Grandpa Mahar died, it was very sudden. Early on the morning of July 4th, he woke up before anyone else, sat down in his favorite chair, and did not wake up again. We had seen him the day before. The family would be gathering on the 4th to celebrate. How could he be gone?

I mostly remember shock and tears from that day, almost thirty-five years ago now. The reality of my mom losing her dad brought a new perspective on the frailty and brevity of life on this earth. And it was made even more difficult because there had been no chance to say goodbye. This seemed especially hard for my mom and her siblings.

This was not the case for my own children with their first loss of a grandparent. Before my father-n-law passed away, we knew our time was limited. Watching as death approached was not easy, but we found comfort in having time to say goodbye. He will have been gone for three years this coming week, and we miss him more with each passing year.

One circumstance is not easier than the other, just different. Grief is present in both. We hang on tight to memories. We look at photos, share stories, cling to anything that reminds us of the person we lost. And as soon as we think our grief is fading, a birthday, holiday, or other event brings it right back to the forefront.

Sometimes the grief catches us off guard, and we are encompassed by unexpected emotions. How do we respond? That depends on the person, for we are all different. But here are a few personal thoughts:

When tears well up
Let them fall
When your heart aches
Let words flow
When a friend is near
Lean on them
When feeling motionless
Take one step
When tempted to forget
Remember
For that memory
Is a piece of your heart

A memory of my Grandpa Mahar: He is wearing overalls and telling me if I do him a favor, he will dance at my wedding. 😉

A memory of my father-n-law: He would always bring me a box of See’s candy when traveling to California. We both had quite a sweet tooth. 🙂

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

What’s Cooking?

Say, hey, good lookin’
Whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ somethin’ up with me?

Hey, sweet baby
Don’t you think maybe
We could find us a brand-new recipe?

-Hank Williams-

Yes, I know this song has little if anything to do with food. While recently thinking about food/cooking, however, my thoughts turned to people. And then to this song. Maybe not logical, but that’s my musician brain for you.

What is it about this act of cooking which draws us closer to each other? As I considered this question, my memories were clear. My friend Donna McDonald and her peanut butter pie. My friend Cindy Wright and her frozen strawberry dessert. The Seifert family and their homemade pizza.

The list could go on and on. Specific people, specific foods, and specific occasions. All of these foods were delicious, but what I remember most is the people and the reasons behind their cooking-family dinners, baby showers, hospital stays. Being on the receiving end of these gifts always made me feel loved.

I’ve also been on the opposite end of this circumstance. Cooking a family birthday dinner or baking cookies for a friend. Knowing that others are enjoying my creation always makes me happy.

This week I experienced both sides of this culinary phenomenon. Monday, I baked my famous chocolate chip cookies. Student musicians in our all-school musical were the recipients at our Tuesday rehearsal. They were surprised and grateful. And they ate all the cookies. 😉

I chose Tuesday for this treat because it was our first “late” day. This almost four-hour rehearsal followed a full day of teaching elementary music. Even with some extra caffeine and a cookie, the long day left me exhausted.

Dragging myself into the house, I immediately smelled something yummy. “Are you hungry?” My husband had made a tasty meal. He fixed me a plate. I sat down to eat and unwind.

No, this wasn’t a birthday dinner or special event. It was just a regular old Tuesday night. A late work night for me. A night he knew I needed a good meal. A meal that made me feel loved.

All of these situations are connected by one element, and it isn’t food. It is time. Time is precious and cooking takes time. When someone is willing to give their own time in this way, they’re showing how much they care.

If you find yourself on the receiving end there is only one thing to say. “What’s cooking?” Followed by a big, huge, “Thank you!”

Seeking Light

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Your words continue to shed a light
Our hearts continue to seek
Darkness must not be our plight
Your words continue to shed a light
They do not call us in hate to fight
They call us instead to be strong yet meek
Your words continue to shed a light
Our hearts continue to seek

“Shed a Little Light” https://youtu.be/crKDDS5D_os

All Things Sunshine

Wishful Thinking-A Triolet


To feel the sunshine on my face
 
As it peeks from behind a cloud
 
Providing warmth, no need to chase
 
To feel the sunshine on my face
 
Although today it shows no trace
 
Wishful thinking, I am allowed
 
To feel the sunshine on my face
 
As it peeks from behind a cloud

The above poem is a reflection of recent cloudy days, but today the sun is shining! Except for some thin, wispy clouds near the horizon, the sky is so blue. I really needed this today, to both see and feel the sunshine on my face. A welcome relief.

The dreariness of the past few days had me focused on the sunshine or lack thereof. One morning not long ago I woke up with these words playing through my mind.

There is sunshine in my soul today
More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky
For Jesus is my light

I have not heard this hymn in years. It was a standard in the small church I attended as a child. So, what made me think of it now? Possibly all the complaining I’d been doing concerning the absence of sunshine…

Or maybe I needed to be reminded of God’s love. Always present, ready to provide light and warmth for my soul if I’m willing to accept.

Today the warmth from the sun is not just wishful thinking. For that I am thankful. I am also grateful for songs, old and new, which remind us of all things sunshine, both physical and spiritual.

Here’s one more of my sunshine favorites. Give it a listen. 🙂 https://youtu.be/Fb5ZyPH41vE

Friday Confessions of a Music Teacher

For teachers, Fridays create an interesting contradiction. The day begins with an air of excitement. Yay! It’s Friday! We made it! The weekend is in our sights, and that means rest and regroup.

So, where’s the problem? We still have one whole day ahead of us to teach. And for me personally, that second half of a Friday is one of the most difficult parts of my week.

This week was no exception. Three forty-five-minute classes filled with rhymes, body percussion, singing, and playing instruments made the morning fly by. On my feet-singing, clapping, snapping, scanning the room. Making sure everyone is engaged. It was exhausting! I’m not complaining here, just stating a fact. 😉

Next came lunchtime. Always a welcomed break. Visiting with my team, laughing while we ate. But right as the break is about to end, I suddenly found myself lacking the motivation to finish strong.

The afternoon brings kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders. They require a much different level of energy when compared to my morning classes. In addition to the usual music activities, I now have to be a convincing puppeteer, tie shoes, and remind them to keep their hands out of their mouths and off of their neighbors.

Gotta love puppets!

Confession time. Today I was tempted to scrap my afternoon plans and take the easy way out. Surely there was an appropriate music activity we could do which would require less energy from me. After all, it was Friday.

But then the thought hit me-these little ones deserve the same energy I gave my morning classes.

I’m happy to say I did not give in to the temptation. And I’m so glad. We marched around the room while reviewing tempo terms, listened to a Freddie the Frog story, and played instruments. Instruments! Little hands echoing rhythmic patterns on xylophones and metallophones. They were making music, and their smiles made it all worthwhile.

Freddie the Frog

Most certainly I will face this dilemma again. It’s part of being a teacher. If I’m being honest, there will be at least one “change of plans” day before the school year ends. My goal, however, is to remember today and the positives which resulted from pushing through. And when I feel this way again, allow those memories to help me once again finish strong.

Cloudy with a Chance of…

A multiple-choice question concerning Oklahoma weather might read something like this:

What was the most likely weather forecast for Tulsa, Oklahoma on January 17, 2019?

  1.  Snow
  2. Thunderstorms
  3. Wind Advisory
  4. All of the above

If you answered number 4, you would be correct!  Oklahoma is known for sudden weather changes.  A common saying here is-If you don’t like the weather today, don’t worry, it will be different tomorrow.  During the month of December alone we have experienced tornadoes, spring-like sunshine, and cold rain.  But what about that snow?

Snow has been in the forecast several times this winter.  This very week, as a matter of fact. So far this winter, only a dusting.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to be stuck at home with 10 feet of snow.  But is it too much to ask on these cloudy, damp days for a covering of white? Maybe enough to build a snowman.

Lately we’ve had more cloudy, dreary days than sunny ones.  Gray skies with cold rain falling.  The kind of days which make me feel blah. Yes, I know its winter, but would it hurt the clouds to part and allow the sun to peak through?  I either need some sunshine, or I need it to go ahead and snow.

There is something refreshing about snow. Everything simply disappears. The dead winter grass and mud from recent rains are covered by a fluffy, white blanket. Even though the covering is temporary, it provides a fresh start. A fresh start for things in nature and a fresh start for my attitude.

Once again, the snow which has been in our forecast for tomorrow, this entire week, has disappeared. I must admit I’m rather disappointed.

So, what is the forecast for this weekend? Cloudy with a chance of…your guess is as good as mine! I’m still holding out for snow. 😉 Even though it just started to thunder, pour down rain, and hail. That’s Oklahoma!

Thoughts for a New Year

So excited to have one of my poems shared on http://www.thedrabble.wordpress.com 😊

twigs-2941230_1280

By Kelley Morris

Look back
Through laughter and tears
Remembering when both occurred

Look ahead
With anticipation and hope
Not knowing what lies ahead

Live today
Remaining firmly planted
In this moment where life is lived

         
Kelley Morris is a public school elementary music teacher living in Oklahoma. She is passionate about the need for music education in public schools and the right of all students to receive a quality public education.

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