Christmas Thoughts

A quiet Christmas morning. Time for us to rest, enjoy each other’s company. No hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping required. Thankful.

A quiet celebration. Occurring in the heart. Reflecting on the roots of my faith. Believing along with my questions. Faithful.

A quiet remembering. Blending memories from Christmas past and present. Children who graciously accepted gifts now thoughtfully give. Hopeful.

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
What Child is This?
In the Bleak Mid-Winter~Kelley Morris, piano

Merry Christmas! ❤️🎄 🕊

Kick Off Your Shoes

We used to live in a two-story house. It was great for growing kids. All their bedrooms were upstairs, making it quiet for mom and dad downstairs.

Whenever they would get home from school, shoes were kicked off at the bottom of the stairs. This was not an expectation or house rule. It is just what they did. At some point, we placed a small storage bench at the bottom of the stairs. A place just for shoes.

I can picture them now. Shoes off, heading up the stairs. It was time to relax after homework and a snack, of course.

Hi, Mom!
Hi! How was school? Homework?

Kids are all grown up. We no longer have stairs. Nor the same number of shoes.

Today, I decided to clean the laundry room. Ours is attached to the garage. And often becomes the drop zone for lots of non-laundry stuff. It is small, but there is a counter for folding.

Once the counter was cleaned off, I knew it needed a little something. Maybe a cute laundry sign. Something small, simple. Just enough to encourage us to keep it clean.

My daughter, Rachel, and I went shopping this afternoon. Looking at Christmas decorations and possible décor for the laundry room. I had just about given up when we saw the perfect sign.

Not at all what I had pictured, yet, perfect!

I know only close friends and family will likely enter our home through the garage. But I hope those that do take the message to heart. Like the kids when they were little, kick off those shoes and let go of their worries. If they’re lucky, there might even be snacks!

Disclosure

Yesterday
My steps
Were heavy
Even the ones
Taking me
Where
I wanted
To go
Precious feet
Walked beside
In the sunlight
Of a clear
Fall day
Splashes
Of color
Painting
Our paths
Until the light
Slipped away
And heaviness
Completely
Draped
Demanding
To be named
Before sleep
Could come-
Now morning,
Fragments
Remain-
But I smile
At the beautiful
Pink sunrise

I have not written about depression lately. But honesty is my goal. And sometimes, admitting how I feel is the first step to feeling better. I love the fall colors and cooler temps. But when sunsets come earlier and cloudy days are multiplied, struggle sets in.

I am thankful for friends and family who understand and remind me it is ok.

The photo was actually taken a year ago. Matched today perfectly.

Simply Sunday

There and Back

How far is too far?
To travel
For one
Conversation
Over a meal
Or a cup of coffee
For one hug
Combining
Both greeting
And goodbye
Considering time
As the crucial
Measurement
These may
Seem minor
Unimportant
Except for years
Of living
That reveal
In certain times
With certain
Loved ones
That one conversation
Over a meal
Or a cup of coffee
That one hug
Combining
Both greeting
And goodbye
May hold the key
To a treasure trove
Of memories
Enough to
Last a lifetime
Face to face
Heart to heart
No thought
Given to
Time
Distance
Or the drive
There and back

Cocooned

Life in limbo
For a brief time
No place to be
No place to wait
Only one person
Allowed at a time
With the patient

No mulling around
In the lobby
Outside
Seating
Available
Perfect!
Now if only
Wind and rain
Would cease-
These times call
For lots of love
Often demonstrated
By a waiting room
Filled with family
And friends helping
To pass the time
COVID changes things
But it cannot stop
The outpouring of
Love and support
Sent by caring hearts
Across the miles
From wrapping
Around our hearts
Spinning a soft
Place to be
A place to wait-
Cocooned in peace

Simply Powerful

Power is often
Found in the simple
Expressions of love
In very few words
Because those are
The only words
Necessary-
Praying for peace
Held in love
Thinking this morning
Filled with courage-
Words from the
Hearts of others
Allowing themselves
To be givers
Of the calm
Their kindness
Pulling away
Anxiousness
Lifting me up
Carrying me
Reminding me how much
I am loved and cared for
Leaving a smile
On my face
A melody
In my heart

These past few weeks have been challenging. An MRI led to a biopsy which led to surgery. Yesterday, I had an excisional biopsy. The surgery went well. I am having very little pain and will spend a few days resting. Once again, we are waiting for the results.

I was very anxious the few days leading up to surgery, until the day before and the morning-of when messages began to pop up on my phone. Each one lifted another piece of the struggle. Each one reminded me that someone else cared.

Yesterday morning, I was overwhelmed with feelings of peace and calm. As I thought about it this morning, I realized many contributed to those feelings. They are still present today. And I know they will carry me through the waiting. ❤

No Matter the Detours

Lately my thoughts
Seem to wander
Backward
Focusing more on
Where I came from
Less on where I’m going
Hopes for things to come
New adventures in this
Wild, unpredictable life
Hang in the back of my mind
But those thoughts
Are not for today
Today is for remembering-
Seeing me as I once was
Embracing the path
That lead me to this
One singular moment
Embracing the faces
That loved me
No matter the detours
Showing gratitude as
I wander backward
And forwards

Question?

Question of the week-
Which is harder
Only seeing faces
On a screen
Or seeing faces
In-person, yet
From a distance?

The computer screen
Filled with little faces
Smiling, waving, singing
An adventure
Controlled chaos
No group hugs
Yet, welcome connection

The short visits
In-person, tho
Physically distant
No pats on the shoulder
Yet, beautiful smiles
Kindly delivering
Much-needed messages

Both experiences
Bring a rush
Of emotions
Tears, happy and sad
Despite attempts to
Swallow the lumps
In my throat

Maybe it’s not
A question of difficulty
Instead, a reminder
Both complex
And beautiful
Of how desperately
We need each other
Up On the Roof by Carole King/Gerry Goffin
"And if this world starts getting you down
There’s room enough for two…"

Quarantine Dream

I had the strangest dream. The first dream I can remember from the last several weeks.

I was walking alone in our neighborhood. The sun was setting, it was beginning to get dark, but I did not turn around and head home. As I continued walking, I noticed a stranger approaching.

I remember feeling a little uneasy. What should I do? Turn around? Cross the street? But no, I kept walking. And soon, this stranger was right in front of my face.

We were soon having an in-depth conversation. I was sharing details of a personal, emotional story with this person I had never seen. It struck me as odd to be sharing this story with a complete stranger.

One other thing struck me as strange. This person seemed to have no sense of personal space. He was listening intently, but his face was only a few inches away from mine. A little uncomfortable, to say the least. Yet, I continued talking.

I had to laugh as I gave this dream some thought. The idea of reunions has been on my mind. I picture a day when I will go back to school, meet a friend for coffee, visit family. In each scenario, those involved physically knock one another over as we reconnect with hugs, laughter, and tears.

If I spend too much time on that picture, sadness creeps in. Right now, we don’t know when that will happen. But our plans remain aimed at that day somewhere in the future. And as we plan, we hope.

Until then, my quarantine dream reminds me of the importance of connections. Get ready friends, I am looking forward to some “knockdown” hugs. And though I also hope for new connections in the future, I’d prefer ones that are a little less creepy. 😉

Unknowns

Our current circumstances are filled with many unknowns.

There is a new virus spreading quickly. How long will it spread? I don’t know.

As a teacher, I will be planning for distance learning. What exactly will that look like? I don’t know.

I must stay at home. When will I be able to hug my extended family and friends again? I don’t know.

Upcoming travel plans have been canceled. When will they be rescheduled? I don’t know.

I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of that phrase. 😉

I may be oversimplifying, but somehow admitting that I don’t know helps a little. It forces me to take a step back and breathe. To realize these circumstances are new to all of us.

Earlier today, I found myself feeling frustrated over some of these unknowns. The voice inside my head kept saying, “Just breathe.” Then I remembered an exercise I often have students do when it is time to regroup and focus.

  1. Breathe in through your nose. 1, 2, 3, 4.
  2. Breathe out through your mouth. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
  3. Repeat as often as needed.

I just did the exercise twice. Yes, I know it is simple. But right now, simplicity is what we need. At least, it is what I need.

So, what else is on my simple list? Coffee, music, texts, and phone calls are near the top. Zoom and FaceTime are also on the list. But grace and love are at the very top.

As I breathe out my frustrations, I breathe in the need to show grace. And showing grace is an expression of love. And I don’t know about you-sorry, there it is again-I need all the love and grace I can get right now. Especially during this time of unknowns.

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25

“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16