Unaware

Stare deep
Not a quick glance
But a look requiring
Thoughtful
Contemplation
Not judgment
Tempted to focus
On those wrinkles as
Merely a sign of age-
Instead, appreciate
Their true origin
Their significance-
For others have
Followed the map
Of experience
Those lines
Lovingly display-
Before walking away
Take one more look
Acknowledge
The bright light
That is your eyes
Knowing it has
Secretly guided
Many, though you
Remained unaware

Surrender

Tonight, I will
Lie down
Not as if
Holding a
White flag
In surrender
Instead, a
Sign of victory
Reflecting a day
Well-lived
Energy expended
Through actions
Through love
Now in need of
Replenishing
Tonight, I will
Lie down
And rest
Breathing in
The hope of
Tomorrow
Surrendering
To sweet sleep

Talking to Myself

I do not like conflict. At least not when it requires difficult conversations. My emotions tend to get in the way of reason. Not that my feelings are negative. They just sometimes cloud what I really want to say.

I think that is one reason writing is so helpful. I often refer to it as therapy. The process allows me to put thoughts as well as emotions on paper. Words give my feelings a voice while helping me understand them.

When I wrote the following poem, it was not intended to be serious. I was imagining a funny conversation with myself. But the more I considered the words, a different message emerged.

Maybe if I took the time to talk to myself before I talk to someone else, conversations would not be so difficult after all. Seeing my reflection in the mirror, making sure my frame of mind is right. And then approaching another from the perspective of kindness and respect.

Not necessarily stress-free, but most likely more productive.

I think I will keep right on talking to myself. Maybe you should give it a try! 😉

I’m Listening

Please come in
I say to myself
Have a seat in
Your favorite chair

Coffee? Thank you.
That would be nice
We have much
To talk about

Yes, I know you
Prefer to listen
But not today-It’s
Your turn to talk

My head is full
Of thoughts you
Know-Time to
Say them out loud

Nervous? Well, yes
A little, I suppose
But you are right
I will give it a try

Don’t be afraid
I say to myself
Just start talking
I’m listening

Hello Fall

Sleepy eyes
Sun shines in
Warms the body
Mends the heart
An intentional
Slowing down
Taking time to
Look around
Notice each
Speck of color
Hear each
Color of sound
Listen as the
Breezy melody
Sings with the
Shifting winds
Watch as it
Compels the
Changing leaves
To wave hello

Daydream Believer by The Monkees. Kelley Morris, piano

This was the number one song on Billboard Charts the day I was born. Seems appropriate. 😉 ❤

Feeling Warmth

Flames playfully
Dancing over
Shiny pebbles
Of cobalt blue
Warming the
Cool night air

Steam steadily
Rising from
A cup of tea-
Honey and chai-
Warming this
Chilled body

Another sitting
Quietly nearby
Strengthing
Thru the silence
Warming my
Tired heart

Stresses fading
Into the dark
Calmly ending
A long week
Feeling warmth
In a new season

Waves

Although I prefer to spend time in the mountains, the ocean also fascinates me. Waves come in many forms, each with its own purpose and level of intensity. We can learn so much just from observing.

Sometimes the waves are gentle, barely lapping at the sand on the beach. With little force, this wave flows over my feet, body unwavering. Sometimes the swells are playful. Just strong enough to cause the body to sway back and forth.

Other times, the waves are fierce. Swells so high, they knock over everything in their path. No point in resisting. An impossible fight.

Life feels that way sometimes.

Maybe it is a wave of emotions brought on by exhaustion. The kind of tired that knocks me off my feet. Such was the case last Friday. After finishing the third week of school, I had nothing left. I felt like waves were overtaking me. No choice but to give in to the tears already flowing, and then sleep.

Saturday morning was different. The storm had passed. Moments to relax and enjoy my morning cup of coffee were like gentle waves ushering in the day. Later, there was time for reflection to reveal the positives from the previous week.

Both waves were necessary. Sometimes rest does not come until I stop fighting and give in. Only then will I experience peaceful, renewing rest. The kind of rest that prepares me for whatever is in store.

Here’s to a new week! And all the waves it may bring-fierce, fun, or gentle.

Jumbled Thoughts

These are interesting times. So many questions. News stories concerning illness reported all over the world and right here at home. Despite the great distances, the stories connect us all, as if we all lived next door to one another.

I try to limit my news intake, choosing often to read instead of watching the news. However, I found myself watching more the past few days. And last night, I believe this choice had a negative impact.

I woke up several times during the night. None of the dreams I had made any sense. I could not even describe them. All I could think was, “Why are my thoughts so jumbled?”

And that’s when I realized-too much news. Even though I remain calm on the outside, I feel restless. Changes are coming. And that underlying knowledge, infused with so much information, caused my brain to overload.

I did watch the morning newscast today. But then I chose to turn everything off and do something productive. My bedroom is now clean. Laundry is folded and put away. I even vacuumed the floor, cleaned the bathroom, and took a nap.

No, my activity did not take away the stress of the unknown, but it did help me take care of myself. It provided a distraction as well as positive results. Results that gave me a feeling of accomplishment.

The evening news could not be avoided. School closings until April 6 were announced. As a teacher, that brings a whole new set of concerns. But we are all in this together and that brings comfort.

Hoping for a better night’s sleep tonight. Clean sheets should help. 🙂

And just maybe, my thoughts will be less jumbled and my dreams memorable.

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. 🙂

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.