Hello Stranger

I saw you
Ten years
From now
Or maybe
It was fifteen
My perception
Of time seems
To be changing
With its passing
In any case
It certainly could
Have been you
Or at least
The future you
I sometimes imagine…
Faded jeans
Plaid shirt
White hair
Just a little
On the sides
Perhaps a little shorter
We do eventually
Start shrinking

Purposefully walking
Into a local
Coffee shop
I smiled but refrained
From saying hello
Wonder if he’s picking up a London Fog just for me?

About Wrinkles

I am choosing
To view wrinkles
In a new light
Especially after
Noticing them
On my eyelids
How does that even happen?
The eyeliner applied resembling
A jagged Jack-O-Lantern smile
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating
But it did introduce
A new line of questioning
What caused the lines framing my mouth?
Smiling countless smiles
Lines drawn from the corners of my eyes?
Squinting from the brightness of a warm sun
Lines gracing my forehead?
A bit of worry over the ones I love-
All these answers are signs
Traces of living
A life not ready
To be erased
Or to be forgotten

Dear Cloud

Stop teasing
Come closer
I see you
Spending
All day
Hanging out
On the perimeter
Yes, I know
It offers the most
Sought after views
Of the blue skies
The location
Where you look
Your brightest-
But you cast
A broad shadow
Perfect for days
Like today
Couldn’t you
Float on over
And provide
A spot of shade
Not even asking
For a drop of rain
Maybe a breeze
Thirty minutes tops
That’s all I’m asking…

After multiple days of one-hundred-degree temperatures, trying to lighten the mood. I am holding out hope for a few cooler days this coming weekend. There is even a slight chance of rain. Fingers crossed!

And Older…

-For persons
Fifty years
And older-

It took hearing
This message
Multiple times
From the same
Advertisement
Over several days
Until I realized
It was speaking to me-
Wait…what was it they were selling?
No idea!
Certainly, nothing I need
Yet, it did leave me
With a question
How did I become
Part of a group
Described as
Fifty and older?
Again-no idea!
Interestingly
The words
“And older”
Provided
A glimmer of hope
For the countless
Inches of ground
I have left to cover

I wrote this poem during a recent poetry circle with Ali Grimshaw. http://flashlightbatteries.blog/ I love this process and the people with whom I’ve been privileged to write and share. Hoping for many more opportunities! ❤️

Scenes from School

Scene One

A third-grade class is entering the music room. One little boy says, “You remember me.” “Of course, I remember you!” He gives me a big hug and says, “I missed you so much!”

He was in my music class last year.

Scene Two

A fourth-grader calls out to me from the cafeteria line. “Hey, Mrs. Morris. What happened to your hair?” “What do you mean?” “Well, it looks whiter.” We had a good laugh.

He was in my music class last year.

Scene Three

Fifth grade is entering the music room. I see familiar eyes smiling above a face mask. Suddenly, this student is hugging me and will not let go. “I missed you so much!” When she let go, there were tears in her eyes. And then, of course, tears in mine. “Oh, my goodness. You were in virtual all last year! Look how tall you’ve gotten!” She nodded her head and smiled.

She was in my music class two years ago. My first year at this school. And we were only in person until Spring Break due to the beginning of the pandemic.

All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman

We often talk about the importance of connections. We don’t always grasp their power at the moment. Sometimes we might not see the results at all. And yet, we continue. Each day, learning a little bit more about these precious ones placed on our path. Each day, challenging them to grow. Each day, showing them they are loved.

I am grateful for these sweet reminders on this second day of school. Oh, and for the power of laughter. 😉❤️

Twenty-Seven Years

Today is our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. That sounds like a long time. Over half of my life.  

When I started thinking about our anniversary, my mind first went back to the day before our wedding. 

Family and friends together, lots of laughter. A simple rehearsal at Rolling Hills Church, dinner at AQ Chicken House, and the final episode of the T.V. series, “Cheers.”

My thoughts quickly moved forward through the wedding, honeymoon, raising three kids, all the places we have lived. It’s amazing how many memories can fill my mind in such a short few minutes. There are so many stories I could share.

But then, my train of thought changed. I didn’t need to write about the past. Nor did I need to think about the future. I only needed to focus on the day at hand. And what it signifies for us both.

This anniversary reminds me that forever is really about commitment. And that commitment has little to do with feelings. It is a promise that runs much deeper.

There is a phrase we often say to each other-You’re stuck with me! Yes, it is spoken in humor, but also carries truth. A truth understood from the day he proposed-this is forever. We are in it for the long haul.

Marriage has shown us our strengths and weaknesses. There is a balance created when we accept those strengths and weaknesses in each other. One would not be the same without the other.

I can’t imagine my life without Gart. Our journey has been quite an adventure. Filled with ups and downs, tears, and lots of laughter.

Here’s to twenty-seven years of marriage. I approach the day with a grateful heart. No worries about yesterday or tomorrow. Only resting in the promise that brought us to today.

Happy Anniversary, Gart! I love you! ❤

And don’t forget-you’re still stuck with me! 😉

Chips Anyone?

When a problem occurs with technology, it is often user error. That was definitely the case for me this week. And though the result can be frustrating, this time it was kind of funny.

I love Sam’s Club app. Useful technology designed to make shopping quick and easy. Once the desired item is located, I scan the price with my phone. I can even check out and pay on my phone. No standing in lines.

I made a quick stop there the other day. My mother-in-law asked if I would pick up a specific bag of chips. We had eaten these quinoa and chia chips at a wedding shower for Robert and Erin back in January. They were so good!

Since I had already done our regular grocery shopping, the chips were my only reason for this stop. Certainly not a typical trip to Sam’s, but this is the only place I can find these chips.

Because they are so good, I decided to get a bag for myself. I scanned the first bag, and then entered a quantity of two. All done shopping, right? Maybe not.

I spotted the boxes of Veggie Straws. We like those, too. So, I scanned the box, clicked check out, and pay. All done.

And then I noticed the total. Something wasn’t right, but I had already hit pay. A quick review of my purchase showed a total of three bags of chips, but no Veggie Straws. Apparently, I had accidentally scanned the chips again.

There was only one thing to do. Put back the Veggie Straws, grab another bag of chips, and leave.

Walking past all the people in line with full carts, I couldn’t help wonder if they noticed the crazy lady carrying three bags of quinoa and chia chips.

Anyone need a bag of chips? They come highly recommended! 😉

Schemes to Switches

I’ve previously mentioned that my husband loves referring to me as a schemer.  Once an idea enters my thoughts I work to make it a reality.  This particular trait appeared way before meeting him. I’m certain my mom could testify. One example from my childhood stands out clearly above the rest.

I don’t remember exactly our age, definitely younger than ten.  The “we” was me and my cousin Rebecca, a great schemer in her own right.  Born only twenty days apart, we were always close growing up. Rebecca has five younger sisters. Imagine seven little girls when you added me to the mix!

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~Me and Rebecca~

There was one specific instance when I’d been invited to spend a few days with my cousins. We all piled into their Volkswagen Bug and began the thirty-minute drive to their house.  During the short trip, Rebecca and I immediately began plotting.

Our scheme? Secretly sneak out of their house and walk several miles down a dirt road to visit her Uncle Jack and his family.  Why were we being sneaky?  I have no idea! But we were all ready to go the next morning.

There was one small problem.  Barbara, one of the younger sisters apparently overheard our conversation and insisted on tagging along. What if we said no?  She would tattle on us, of course!

Off went our little trio, down the long driveway, and out onto the dirt road.  We were not even past the house when we heard Aunt Mary’s voice, “Rebecca? Kelley? Barbara?  Where are you, girls?”  We attempted hiding in the ditch, but Barbara started to cry.  Shushing her proved impossible and we were quickly discovered.

Our adventure was foiled, and talk about being in trouble. Aunt Mary took a switch to our legs while we ran around the yard like a bunch of chickens.  Though the switch didn’t really hurt us, it did help teach us a valuable lesson.  Seeing this now as a parent, I’m certain we caused Aunt Mary a great deal of panic. She was, after all, attempting to keep up with seven young girls.

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~The six sisters and me all grown up~

Reminiscing over this little adventure has brought lots of laughter over the years.  But the best part of the story is yet to come. To this day if we mention it around Aunt Mary, she still feels terrible about switching us!  Forty plus years later!  She has to be one of the most kind, patient, calm people I’ve ever known.  Managing all of us girls while keeping her sanity had to be challenging.

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~My mom and her sister, my Aunt Mary~

Did our scheming pay off in the end?  Well, not exactly the way we had planned. We did learn an important life lesson about being safe.  But even more important, we were reminded then and continue to be reminded now, how much we are loved.

I love you, Aunt Mary

 

 

 

Plans

Teachers love the word plan.  Lesson plans, sub plans, plan time-each have an important place in our school days, weeks, months, years…sometimes our bests laid plans go awry.  Then there are those rare moments when the simplest of plans exceed our expectations.

This was one of those days.

Freddie the Frog and his adventures on Treble Clef Island are breathing new life into my K-2nd grade classes.   (See earlier post-The Innocence of Imagination.) The plan for today sounded simple, and came with very little explanation.  I was actually nervous that I hadn’t added something, afraid it wouldn’t take enough time. Students were going to learn how to create stories using barred instruments such as xylophones by having the story characters, Freddie and his elephant friend Eli, talk back and forth to each other.

Let me just say, having kindergartners play xylophones can be a daunting task.  Imagine twenty-something of them having to wait their turn, holding mallets, making sure the mallets only touch the instruments…enough said.  But I really have to brag on them.  They did such a great job!

We brainstormed before moving to instruments, creating conversations between Freddie and Eli.  Everything from “Do you want to play?” “Yes I do!” to “Would you like some waffles?” “That sounds great!”  Each class came up with at least four different question/answer phrases, their very own ideas.  I spoke the words in rhythm, they echoed, then we repeated the activity on the instruments.

We played, we laughed, we created…I was both energized and exhausted all at the same time.  My plan is to do it again tomorrow with a different set of kiddos.  Will it work exactly the same?  Possibly, but probably not.  And that’s okay.  Tomorrow is a new day.

 

 

 

 

House to Home

Our family has lived in our current home for fifteen years.  Kids were nine, seven, and three when we moved in.  Prior to that move we had lived in four different houses in three different cities, and two different states.  I remember feeling so relieved to be settled.

As someone who spent the first seventeen years of my life (until I left for college) in the same house, all of our moves were challenging.  I worried about how the kids would handle each new place.  Would they make friends easily?  Would I?  Of course, we all adjusted in our own way.

This house has truly become home.  It’s where our kids grew up.  So many memories.  For example, my concern that Ryan would fall down the stairs.  He was so little when we moved in, and the kids bedrooms were all upstairs.  As it turned out, the concern should have been for me!  I was the first one to bounce down the stairs on my bottom.

Although there was the time Robert tumbled down the stairs.  Apparently Robert, Rachel, and Ryan were playing the game “follow your siblings directions while wearing a sleeping bag over your head.”  I’m sure you’ve all played that one before!  Some friendly advice; make sure the sibling giving directions knows their right from their left…

Many of the memories involve celebrations-and food.  Saturday morning pancakes, Sunday night Chinese take-out, Dad’s burgers on the grill, my chocolate chip cookies, yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Birthday parties, holiday dinners with extended family, graduation parties-so many things to celebrate.

Well…things are about to change.  We currently have a high school senior and a college senior, and an already moved out and employed teacher.  We know from experience these next few months will fly by.  And though our nest won’t be immediately empty, that is the direction we are rapidly heading.

Gart and I have talked many times about preparing for this next stage in life.  He would even joke and tell the kids we were going to buy a tiny house or move to a loft apartment downtown.  Neither of those is going to happen, but we are preparing to buy another house and sell this one.

Right now my thoughts are mostly in the details-time frame, moving boxes, etc.  But they  unexpectedly drift and I find my eyes welling with tears.  This happened while driving away from the home we eventually decided to buy.  It’s a beautiful home, warm and cozy.  I am excited.  So why was I crying?

Change is like that.  Even when the change is positive, it still comes with growing pains.  Right now my growing pains involve how my role as a parent is changing.  Since the majority of my parenting years took place in this house, leaving it will be emotional.

Sometimes when I’m at home alone, our once busy house feels like an empty shell.  I’m thankful for the flood of memories that fills the empty spaces.  Just as our family established traditions and made memories here, I must trust we will do the same in our new house.  And as old memories travel with us and mix together with the new,  a transformation will take place-one that will turn house to home.