Two Poem Tuesday

Passing Storm

Once again
A storm is raging
Emotions swirling
Like a tornado
In my head
The beginning
Indistinguishable
From the ending
Questions flood
My thoughts-
Why this?
Why now?
Why me?
But I must push
Past the questions
And just be-
Waiting-holding on
Until a tiny
Break appears
In the clouds
A split second
Ray of sunshine
Piercing the dark
Clearing my thoughts
Lighting my path
Just enough to
Observe the dust
Beginning to settle
Assurance the storm is passing

Lost and Found

Where are you?
I sense you are close
But my eyes can’t see
 
I reach out my hands
Fumbling in the dark
Wishing the clouds away
 
Where are you?
I ask out loud this time
A little further-just listen
 
My feet move slowly
Toward the sound of your voice
It grows louder with each step
 
Suddenly, my hands touch yours
No longer lost, I stand with you
Under the light of the stars

Fresh Air

Clouds cover the day
Like a heavy blanket
Intended to comfort
Instead-suffocating
Tossed over me
Without permission to
Hide what is good
Steal what is lovely-
Just as the wind
Chases away the clouds
My feet must
Kick off the cover
Wrestling that blanket
Until once again
The good is visible
The lovely restored-
My feet able to walk
Under the blue sky
Accepting the clouds
As a gentle umbrella
Offering protection
A sweet shelter
Allowing my heart to
Heal in the fresh air

Lifted

Lost track of time
Wandering in the
Shadows between
Dark and light

This will pass
I told myself
A feeble attempt
At reassurance

And then…
Thinking of you
Are you ok?
Praying for you

Glimmers of hope
Breaking through
The haze to
Light my path

Cautiously I
Inched forward
Each step
Growing lighter

My spirit
Began to rise
As the fog
Lifted

Not Alone

Struggled to get
Out of bed
I would rather
Not admit
But if I’m
Being honest
Some days
I feel low
I move slow
And the simple
Becomes difficult
Tears gather
Behind my eyes
Waiting for their
Chance to escape
To expose my
Inward state
The voice inside
My head says
One foot in front
Of the other
Keep moving
Don’t stop
Get in your car
Take a drive
Feel the sunshine
On your face
Tomorrow is a
New day
You
Are
Not
Alone

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3: 22-23

Quest for Oatmeal

This week I suddenly found myself wanting oatmeal, of all things. Almost as intensely as those pregnancy food cravings. It’s been a while, but I still remember those.

First pregnancy-Payday candy bars and Fresca
Second pregnancy-Mexican food, but definitely not barbecue
Third pregnancy-Pepperoni pizza with jalapenos

Those make sense. But oatmeal? And how could it be that difficult to obtain? My simple thought of oatmeal for breakfast turned into a three-day quest! At the first thought of it, the wise thing would have been adding to the grocery list. I did not. Remembered right when pulling into the driveway, after stopping at the store. “Oh well, tomorrow…”

Tomorrow came and went. My husband made the next trip to the grocery store. Thought to ask him to pick up oatmeal…as he was walking through the front door.

By day three, I was determined. The thought of Starbucks oatmeal crossed my mind, but I was running late for work. Not time for the drive-thru. Walgreens is on the way to work-surely, they’d have instant oatmeal in stock. Finally! A box of Quaker oatmeal in hand, I headed to school. Sounds like a happy ending. Well, not quite…

The plan was simple. Put a packet in a coffee cup and run hot water from the Keurig. Stir, wait, eat! Hint-you should not choose the biggest cup option on the Keurig when making oatmeal. Too much water. A follow-up attempt to microwave caused an overflow and a big mess to clean up.

Not ready to give up, a second try was underway. This time choosing the smallest cup option on the Keurig proved a better decision. A short time in the microwave was still needed, but this time a paper towel over the cup prevented any more messes. Success!

After my three-day quest, I was sitting at my desk, preparing for my first class, enjoying a cup of Quaker maple/brown sugar oatmeal. Not sure I’ve ever appreciated oatmeal as much as I did at that moment.

Reflecting on this little adventure, I kept going back to one question. Why? Why oatmeal? Why such persistence?

This week has been a struggle. Cold weather, not as much sunlight, not enough sleep. All working together, negatively affecting my mood. I began to sense low days ahead.  Maybe the desire for something warm and comforting, particularly something simple like oatmeal, was an attempt to pull me out of this blue mood.

One thing is for certain. Tomorrow morning, I will have a bowl of oatmeal-at home-with my coffee. Sitting on my couch, only the lights of the Christmas tree shining. And hopefully, this small attempt at taking better care of myself will prove worthy of my three-day quest… for oatmeal.

List the Positives

Yesterday I vowed to keep a list of positives throughout the day today in hopes of helping my mood and focus.  Well…I have a list.  It took me until lunch time to actually start writing anything down, but by the end of the day my list covered both sides of a post-it note.

  •  Cooler weather
  •  Students positive responses to having a choice between whiteboards and popsicle  sticks for writing or constructing their rhythmic patterns.
  •  Hearing, “I got it right!”
  •  Receiving three books from students off of my book fair list.
  •  Unplanned, improvised “singing” of one of those books.
  •  A student who has severe anxiety, always sits alone and doesn’t speak to me,  accepted a music stamp on his hand when leaving class today.

Was it a perfect day?  No-there’s no such thing.  But was it a good day?  Yes.  And even though I may not be able to use my mood as an indicator for the success of the day, I can look back on my list and be reminded of the things that were good.  Funny thing is, almost all the items are things over which I have little or no control.

So what do I have control over?  Continuing to look for the positive.  My responses to the people and situations I encounter.  Loving my family, friends, and students.

Any guesses which book I sang today?  It was super fun!

books

 

Popsicle Sticks & Clouds

Time for confession-I am struggling this week.  Low days, fighting back tears, just the general blahs.  It will pass, I’m sure.  When this happens, thankfully I’ve learned to recognize it and say it out loud.  If it lasts longer than a week, there’s a need to talk with a trusted friend or family member.

All that to say-I found myself searching for the positive on my drive home from school today.  The sun was shining, the sky a beautiful blue with perfect, fluffy, floating clouds. Besides blue being my favorite color, I’ve always been fascinated with the sky and its inhabitants.  Seeing one like this today most definitely helped my mood.

clouds2

Once my attitude began to change, I remembered kindergarten class from earlier today.  We’ve been learning about rhythmic patterns while going on our adventures with Freddie the Frog.  Today was review time and students were creating patterns on the Smart Board.  Their ability to not only create a pattern but also read it out loud was a pleasant surprise.

Each of them was eager to give it a try-all twenty of them-at the same time.  Suddenly I remembered the popsicle stick basket. First and second graders had used them the day before to create patterns on the carpet. I hadn’t planned on using them with kindergarten just yet.

Change of plans!  I asked the kiddos to move to our circle and gave each a hand full of popsicle sticks-rhythmic patterns began to appear everywhere!  Once we cleaned up, I asked students to brainstorm ways they could do this activity at home if they didn’t have popsicle sticks.  Crayons!  Pencils!  Markers!  Legos!  And on and on and on…one mentioned writing down their patterns.  Impressive!

Encouraged by the success of my kindergartners, I decided to attempt the activity I had asked them to try at home.  Here are my results.

Goal for tomorrow-begin my day looking for the positive.  Will I be successful?  I don’t know.  But hopefully I will remember that the simplest things can change my day for the better-even popsicle sticks and clouds.

Beginnings

I love music.  Music has been a constant in my life since I was a little girl.  Sometimes it seems the only time my brain is truly at rest, is when I’m behind the piano.  There are many thoughts constantly swirling through my mind, and it is often difficult to for me to make sense of them.  I’ve found that writing them down often helps, and I’ve decided maybe it’s time to share some of those writings.  I will begin on a rather personal note…

All Things Bright and Beautiful…

all things grey and gloomy

There is much discussion these days concerning depression.  It is a very important topic. Speaking from personal experience, it is one that I need to talk about more often.  It’s difficult to admit feelings of depression.  They come in so many forms-sometimes sadness, sometimes anger, sometimes crying-almost always without explanation. That’s not to say that specific events won’t trigger depression, however there is often no clear answer.  The reason-depression is an illness, an imbalance-not an emotion or emotional response, and certainly not a lack of faith.

My personal experiences with depression began over 15 years ago.  I was a young wife and mom of three young children. We lived in a quaint Oklahoma town, had amazing friends, a “bright and beautiful” time. Yet somehow I found myself struggling to control my emotions.  Feelings of frustration and anger, almost “outside of myself” experiences left me exhausted and confused.  I clearly remember on several occasions thinking, “Why am I reacting this way?  Why can’t I control this?”  It was staggering, that feeling of not being in control.

Thankfully, my husband is one who viewed this as a medical issue that needed to be addressed.  So I discussed my feelings with my doctor and began taking anti-depressants. Modifications have been made over the years, but thankfully medication continues to have a positive effect on my mental well-being and helps me cope with everyday life. The solution may not be perfect, but it is one I accept as necessary.

That being said…the depression is still there.  Most days are good.  But then a season of the “grey and gloomy” will come.  Sometimes it will make me angry, angry that I have to take medicine, angry that I can’t just snap out of it!  That’s when my husband gently reminds me if I had heart disease, I would seek treatment.  If I was diabetic, I wouldn’t hesitate to take medications.  And the list goes on and on.

As for my faith in Christ, I do not believe it is a lack of faith which causes my struggle with depression. On the contrary, my faith reminds me there is always hope. Hope that travels with me, right alongside the struggle.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 10:23 NIV