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. 🙂

Purposefully Remembering

Today marks three years since my father-n-law, Bob died. Each of us remembers him in our own way, with our own actions. Most importantly, we purposefully remember. We choose certain things that to others might seem insignificant, but to us say Papa, Dad, Bob.

Here are a few:

Peanut butter on pancakes
Wild Cherry Pepsi
Chocolate covered cherries
Lego sets
Family photos
Catholic Mass
Barbecue rib dinner
Extra whipped cream on your dessert
A cigar and sip of Drambuie

Finding words may be difficult, but incorporating these little things into our day help us remember him and smile. Each item represents something we know he enjoyed or something he would often get for us. He was always generous. Always thinking about his family. Loved to spoil his grandkids.

We miss him…grateful that the life he lived continues to influence ours.

Time Apart

”Absence makes the heart grow fonder”

Does time away from a loved one really make us feel closer to them? I can only speak from personal experience.

Our married life began with time apart. Soon after our May wedding, my husband, Gart, was hired as the band director in Hominy, OK. He would need to begin working in July to prepare for marching season.

We were so excited about this new chapter! Then reality hit. His first paycheck would not come until late August. We could not afford to go without income. I would need to stay with friends in Fayetteville, AR and keep working while he moved to the apartment where we would both eventually live.

During this time apart, we saw each other most weekends. Weeknights consisted of long, tear-filled phones calls. It was a long two months, but we survived. Looking back, I’d say the experience made us stronger.

Spending a week apart became part of our summers as well. While Gart worked at a summer band camp, I would spend a week with my parents. Once we had kids, it became a perfect opportunity for them to spend time with grandparents.

I believe those times apart early in our marriage helped us truly appreciate one another. It laid a foundation of security and trust. Knowing that even when we were apart, we were okay.

Fast-forward twenty-five years. Our kids are practically grown. That empty nest time is just around the corner. As I type, Gart is out of town for work. Not quite the same as our previously planned time apart.

Honestly, these days I prefer when we are both at home. Maybe it’s because I am getting older. This new life stage. Selfishness. I’m not certain. I only know that when it comes to time apart now, less is more.

As I drove my husband to the airport early this morning, all I could think was, “I’ll be so glad when he gets home this weekend.” ❤️

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