Long-Hauler

Missing Coffee

I miss coffee
The rich aroma
In the morning
Waking up senses
Before the first sip

I miss coffee
A sweet flavor
In the afternoon
Conversation over
A cup, hot or iced

I miss coffee
An offering
At the end of day
To share in
Restful silence

I miss coffee
Aroma, flavor
Stolen away
By an unseen
Silent culprit

I miss coffee-but
Memories remain
Conversations flow
Rest still comes
I am thankful

When considering the destruction brought by COVID, coffee seems a small price to pay. So many have suffered major health issues, and many have died. The numbers are hard to fathom. And easy to forget, if not made personal.

This virus leaves lingering effects for many. COVID long-haulers has become a common term. And though symptoms vary greatly, none are pleasant.

I was diagnosed with COVID in January 2021. Everyone in our home tested positive. We all lost our sense of taste and smell to some degree. We all began to get them back to some degree. Then my symptoms took a strange turn.

One afternoon, I noticed a smell of rotten meat. That is the best way I can describe it. There was no rotten meat. Other things began to smell and taste bad. I now have a long list of things I cannot eat or drink, including coffee, chocolate, and most meats. And a shortlist of things I can tolerate.

I hesitated to write about this strange phenomenon. Did not want to complain. Then today, I thought more about why I miss coffee. I’ve always called it my comfort food. My first memories of drinking coffee are with my grandma. Coffee is part of family gatherings. It’s what I offer guests to make them feel at home. And the list goes on.

I am hopeful this will eventually go away, that my senses will return to normal. Until then, I remain thankful for my health in other respects. And I will continue to enjoy London Fog tea lattes-a pretty tasty substitute. Stop by-I will make you one. 🙂

Bittersweet

I guess it’s my word of the day. I can’t seem to get it out of my head. The thought of it first came with my morning coffee…

I love coffee in all forms. My day usually starts with a simple cup of hot, black coffee. Yes, there are hints of bitterness, but a taste for them has developed over time.

Thanks to COVID-19, my taste and smell are almost zero. It is a strange sensation, obviously making it impossible to enjoy any food or drink.

In my current state, bitterness was the only taste in my morning coffee. No hints of anything else. Kind of like drinking hot water with an aftertaste of cough syrup.

Yesterday, I noticed a slight recognition of sweet. It was subdued but present. That gave me an idea. Coffee creamer to the rescue? It was worth a shot!

I filled the bottom of my cup with vanilla creamer. And then poured in the hot, steaming coffee. The result? Bittersweet. And that is not a bad thing. Today, it counts as an improvement!

FYI-It has been a tough week. No need for a symptom list. I’ll just say I am beginning to feel better. This virus is no joke, and it is so important to remain vigilant. Protect yourself and the ones you love by wearing a mask and taking precautions. ❤

Friendly Reminders

Now that school is out for summer, I look forward to many conversations over coffee with friends. I love the connections which begin and grow from this practice. They bring renewal in ways which often surprise me.

Sometimes they also bring friendly reminders. Here are a few much-needed ones I recently received.

  1. Perfection should never be my goal.
  2. Honesty in friendship is a necessity.
  3. Daily prayer provides daily renewal.

The first reminder concerned perfection, an ideal we are bombarded with on all fronts. You can be the perfect wife, mom, friend, teacher. Fill in the blank. That goal always leads to disappointment. Why? We are not flawless creatures. We do not live in a picture-perfect world.

Admitting our imperfections and hearing someone else say, “Me, too” is powerful. That one simple phrase takes away a small piece of the loneliness which often accompanies my inward thoughts. It provides a beginning, a binding with another heart.

The second friendly reminder was honesty. Truth, even spoken by a friend, is not always easy to receive. Just this week, a friend said to me, “I have to talk to you about something.” She went on to share observations about certain attitudes and my need for an adjustment. 😉

Although her words were difficult to hear, they brought a sense of relief. They took me back to the beginning realization-I am not perfect. And that is ok! I can, however, seek to be better.

Another friend reminded me of the importance of daily prayer. It holds the power to renew my mind, even when I don’t know what to pray. It also reminds me that God loves me in spite of my faults. And affirms my purpose at this moment, on this day.

As summer begins, my heart wants to soak in these beautiful reminders. I’m quite certain more reminders will be needed in the coming days. But for today, I am thankful for honest words from caring friends. And I will end this day with a prayer for rest and renewal.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23

Tomorrow is a new day! Grab a friend and a cup of coffee! ❤ ☕️

Dream Team Lattes

I work with an amazing team. We are Art, Music, and P.E. teachers at our elementary school. A.K.A the Dream Team, five years strong! The pink t-shirts we wear on Wednesdays give it away. Students have even started referring to us by our nickname.

Every student may not love each of our classes the same way. We know they have their favorites. But they all know we care about them and they know without a doubt that we are a team.

Love these Ladies! ❤

Our matching t-shirt idea has grown to quite a collection over the past few years. In addition to the original pink Dream Team shirt, we also have a sisterhood, Rosie the Riveter, and peeps shirt, all pink of course. This year we added a silly turkey shirt for Thanksgiving and a Santa’s Favorite (Music, Art, P.E.) Teacher. Each new shirt requires a new group photo. So much fun!

Recently I’ve been thinking about why we make such a great team. Each of us is in a different life stage-a grandma, an almost empty-nester, and a young mom. Tami takes care of the group-bagels on Friday, chocolate, cream for our coffee. Shannon keeps us organized, always remembering what needs to be done and when. And then there’s me-the emotional, sometimes scattered one. We balance each other well.

No matter what, I can count on these ladies. If I’m having a hard day, they will pick me up. When there’s a program or assembly, it’s not just my responsibility. Always a team effort. Tami sets up the stage, gets mics ready, etc. Shannon creates backdrops, artwork, whatever is needed. Both help organize and chorale students while I play piano or run a rehearsal. Our team is a well-oiled machine.

This morning I stopped at Starbucks to get our team a little pick-me-up. Only two days until spring break. Shannon was also bringing us a treat. For once, we would surprise Tami. She never lets us do anything for her. But today was the day!

As I pulled in the school parking lot, a little too sharply, the drink carrier sitting quietly to my left tipped over. I honestly thought all three drinks had poured out in the floor. Panicked, I lifted the carrier back up. Only one cup was empty. The other two still had their lids on securely. I don’t know how.

Quickly checking the drink labels, I realized the spilled drink was mine. Disappointed? Yes, but also glad it was not one of their drinks. I made it inside, shared my story with Tami, and borrowed an umbrella.

I could not believe I’d spilled an entire latte in my car! And how was I going to clean it up? Did I mention it was raining?

Back outside, armed with dry and wet cleaning cloths, I attempted to clean up my mess. Picture me, in the rain and wind, holding an umbrella, squatting next to my car, trying to clean up coffee and foam. Quite a sight, I’m certain.

Once I was back inside, wet and wind-blown, what did I find waiting for me? Half of someone else’s Starbucks drink, poured into my empty cup, sitting on the desk. I wonder who would have done that? 😉

This morning, things did not go as planned. But they turned out ok. We enjoyed our dream team lattes, a snack, and had a good laugh.

💓💓💓

Oh, and my car smells like coffee…

Depleted

I had brunch with my dear friend, Marina, this morning. We caught up over coffee and yummy food. It has been a busy couple of weeks, and friend time has been scarce. I don’t think I realized how much I needed this time until it was over.

Near the end of our visit, my friend looked at me and said, “You really are depleted, aren’t you?” I chuckled at first. She tends to use what I would call formal words in casual conversation. It is her way, and I love it. This term, however, stuck in my head. Depleted.

When I got home, I wrote the word down. Hmmm…an interesting word. Looking up the definition lead to a list of synonyms: exhausted, sapped, drained, expended. Yep, that’s how I’m feeling. (Honestly, I might have stayed in bed all day had my friend not called.)

Then I scrolled down to the definition part you never take time to read-the Latin word roots, etc. There I saw these words-emptied out. Wow! An entirely new perspective. In order for something to be emptied out, it must have been full at one point. This must also have been true of me, even if I can’t remember when right at this moment. 😉

Instead of thinking, “I’m so tired, there’s so much still to do.” What if I take the time to be refilled? What would that look like?

The upcoming week is musical performance week. Double responsibility. However, I can’t wait until it’s over to begin this process of refilling. So, what is my plan?

Take each day as it comes.
Pray and read-things that calm my thoughts.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Drink more water.
Take short naps after school each day before call time.
Go to bed early.
Enjoy playing for this amazing show!

By the way, antonyms for depleted are energized and full. I know it will take more than a day to get there. Nevertheless, hopefully, this fresh perspective will remind me that when I am feeling depleted, it is time to slow down and remember to take care of myself. That is the only way I can go from depleted to full.

And this process might just begin by having brunch with a friend. 🙂

Coffee

My earliest memories of coffee stem from my Grandma Mahar’s house.  Always a fresh pot brewing, Grandma was glad to share a cup.  She had nine children and twenty-six grandchildren, so someone was bound to stop by for a visit.  Visit is the key word, because in our family, drinking coffee meant conversations around the kitchen table.

IMG_2453

Several years ago I realized coffee for me equates to a comfort food due to this strong childhood connection.  Not only does it provide literal warmth, it also provides fond memories of growing up in a family that talked, listened, argued, disagreed, and loved, often over a cup of coffee.

Today getting coffee is a common social convention.  Whether it’s friends visiting, a nervous first date, a job interview, each may be witnessed at the local coffee shop on any given day. Some may consider the practice routine or mundane.  As for me, an invitation to coffee is neither.  It’s an invitation to talk, laugh, maybe even cry-enjoying the time our paths are allowed to cross.

Coffee

Fancy or Plain

Black or With Cream

Home or Coffee Shop

Makes no difference to me

Coffee

Warmth and Comfort

Friendship and Family

Laughter and Memories

More than it appears to be