Getting Back Up

Pick up my pen
And wait…
Batteries seem to need
Recharging
But all the packages
Are empty
Not giving up
I’ll wait awhile
Look out the window
For inspiration
Re-read some old
Cards or letters
Dig up memories that
Make my soul happy
What if I paperclip
Those memories
Together with
My dreams
For the future?
So next time I fall down,
I’ll remember the strength
Found in getting back up

Today’s prompt was very interesting. Listen to a favorite song and take notes. Make a list of things found in your junk drawer. Write a poem combining the two. For more info and prompts visit https://www.napowrimo.net/.

My song was “Like Everyone She Knows” by James Taylor. I will let you guess what is in my junk drawer. 😉

California, Here We Come!

This post is part of SoCS. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/24840312/posts/3241112703

California, here we come! Well, actually it should say there we went! I would have to spend a few minutes calculating to remember exactly how many years have passed since that trip. But, oh, what a trip!

Just picture this-three Honda Odyssey vans and one motorcycle. A caravan from Oklahoma across the country to California. The whole family! Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins-thirteen people in all.

Rest stops were longer than usual. And cousins were constantly switching vehicles, which was great for the adults. One stop even included kite-flying!

This trip has so many memories. We visited the Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, quaint towns, local restaurants. And our eventual destination meant visiting family and a trip to Disney Land. Not to mention, sandcastles on the beach and playing in the ocean.

No matter how much time passes, this particular trip will always hold a special place in my heart. Lots of laughter and actually very little stress. I think that may have had a lot to do with the three vans. 😉

All the kids are grown now. Some have kids of their own. And Papa is no longer with us. I know there will never be another trip like that one-and that is ok. California, we love you! And all the places between you and Oklahoma!

A Red Coat and Tulips

Illustration from the book, OTHER WORDly, by Yee-Lum Mak, Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

She stood out in the crowd of people
Waiting on the street
Waiting to cross to the other side
Headed home from a busy day at work
Or perhaps meeting a friend for dinner
Whatever the destination, it was easy
To get lost in the crowd
She carefully considered this fact
There was a sense of mystery in
The thought of intentionally getting lost
Meeting a mysterious stranger
Forgetting her present struggles
But then she remembered her cat
Waiting by the door for her arrival
And the lovely tulips she carried
Needed a vase and water
Besides, the red coat she wore
Made it practically impossible to disappear
Perhaps standing out in the crowd
Was the better choice

This post was written in response to the SoCS writing prompt for January 23, 2021-close eyes and point. https://lindaghill.com/2021/01/22/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2021-daily-prompt-jan-23rd/

What a fun way to start my Saturday! 🙂

Bittersweet

One of my main goals in writing is getting emotions on paper. I often find it hard to say aloud how I feel. However, if I can physically write down the words spinning in my head, it often brings a sense of release. Today, there may be too many emotions…

Our district made the difficult decision to transition to distance learning for the remainder of this semester. The announcement brought an initial sigh of relief. Teaching during a pandemic is challenging, to say the least. Stress levels have been increasing daily.

Yet, even during the struggle, there have been moments of light. Experiencing the joy of music with students-watching lightbulbs turn on. Being part of a loving, supportive staff that is always saying, “We are in this together!”

Nevertheless, here I am today. This is the last day for students this semester. I have already had conversations with older students this morning-a questioning look in their eyes-my attempt to assure them everything will be ok. Even one of my quietest students called out my name in the hallway, “Hi, Mrs. Morris,” followed by a big hug. They know…

There are no easy answers. The relief that accompanied the decision quickly mingled with a sense of sadness. So, today I smiled and listened. We danced the Reindeer Pokey and did body percussion to Jingle Bells. I reminded them that I love them and that we will be together again soon. And that it is ok to be sad because that is when we can show our love for each other.

The following visual from Taya Oelze’s kindergarten class says it best! You might want to zoom in! 😉

How to help friends who are sad. ❤

Dreams

Yellowstone National Park
Midway Geyser Basin Trail

Disappointment
Has the power
To freeze
Each fiber of
Imagination

Once faced
And released
Fears melt away
Leaving behind
A clean slate,
A catalyst
For growth

Taking a step
Back-viewing
The world with
Fresh eyes
Brings a new
Appreciation

Creativity
Awakens
Stirring
Both mind
And soul
Reigniting
Dreams

Writing Circles

I have so enjoyed participating in Ali Grimshaw’s writing circles. They are a positive time of listening, writing, and responding. I’m excited to have one of my poems shared today on her blog. Check it out along with Ali’s work at flashlightbatteries.blog

As I continue to lead writing circles, I am inspired by the hearts and generous listening of others. Every time I write with others I am changed and lifted by the experience. Here in this space I am calling, Poems from the Circle, I will be sharing poems written by participants of my writing circles. […]

Poems from the Circle — flashlight batteries – poetry

Blank Slate

As I opened up my computer to write this morning, all I could think was, “look at that blank page.” No idea what I wanted to write about, I just knew I needed to write. And then it occurred to me all these days at home are truly blank slates. There was no advanced plan for them. Each one is faced truly not knowing what the next one will bring.

Although that is true of our daily reality, we don’t often live that way. We make our plans, plan our trips, and dream about the future. Don’t misunderstand, those are important things to do. However, they must be balanced with the acceptance that we never truly know what tomorrow holds.

Even more than future planning, these circumstances make me think of missed opportunities. For example, if a specific person comes to mind today, I am more likely to send a quick text. Three weeks ago, I might have pushed it to the back of my mind. “Oh, I will contact them tomorrow…”

Not that I am following through on every thought, but I am working on being more intentional. I’ve already experienced the payoff in some ways that may seem small. One “Hello, how are you” text yesterday resulted in a sweet phone conversation about life and changes. It also brought much-needed tears and encouragement. That conversation will stick with me for a long time.

Another experience from earlier this week also made a lasting impression. I was thinking about dropping off a small care package to a dear friend. The plan was to leave it outside her door, get back in my car, and wave from a safe distance. Even typing it, it sounds silly. I almost didn’t do it.

Thankfully, I decided not to worry about looking silly. When my friend walked out of her front door, I found myself wanting to jump out of the car, run over, and give her a hug. She even had to remind herself not to keep walking in my direction. Driving away, I fought back tears.

My takeaway? We need each other. We miss each other. And I cannot wait to once again freely embrace my family, friends, colleagues, and students. I don’t know when that will happen.

Until it does, I will keep looking at these blank slate days with faith and hope and love. And just maybe, cover that blank slate with a little kindness. ❤

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13: 13

Thoughtful Gift

Sometimes the simplest things bring the most joy. And when they are unexpected, it is even better.

I am having some difficulty with my neck and left arm. A herniated disc seems to be the culprit. Activities such as playing the piano and typing are not helpful at this time. Of course, these are two of the things I enjoy the most.

A package came today. I had not ordered anything, so I assumed it was for my husband. He called after work and asked if I had opened the package. “No. I didn’t know what it was.” “Well, there is something in there for you,” he said.

What was it? An adjustable, 8-position, laptop desk. He knows how much I love to write. And that I prefer sitting in my comfortable chair or sitting in bed, propped up with pillows when I am writing.

Perfect timing. ❤

Writing helps me take care of myself. This desk will help me be able to continue writing while also taking care of my neck.

Tonight I am thankful for my husband, and this thoughtful gift.

Something to Say

The following essay was written for a Writing Contest hosted by Positive Writer entitled You are Enough.

http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-you-are-enough/

I believe each one of us has something important to say.  Valuable ideas, opinions, and questions are always hovering at the forefront of our minds. The decision to keep these thoughts inside our head, say them out loud, or write them down is personal. But once we decide to engage in this process of writing, the freedom experienced far outweighs any prior apprehensions.

Whether typed on a personal tech device or handwritten in a journal, the simple act of writing words down gives them life. Suddenly we see them in a different light. Simple ideas once floating around in our head instantly become concrete-combinations of letters in black and white ready to be read over and over, edited and expanded.

Once words are given life, we have another choice to make. Will our words remain private or will we find an appropriate platform for sharing?  Some may remain unread until we are no longer living, leaving behind insights intended only for those closest to us.  Others we may choose to display freely for anyone to read.

My family recently received a wonderful gift of words. After the passing of my Aunt Pearl, numerous precious pages written in her own handwriting were discovered by her children. Did she consider herself a writer? No-yet her words, beautifully describing her life, her hopes and her dreams, provided comfort during a time of grief.

Certain words, however, need to be shared in the present. Not only for the writer’s benefit but also the unexpected help they may provide others. A strong likelihood exists that other people are coping with the same life challenges and fears, yet have not found the courage to give their thoughts life.  Your words may provide the encouragement they need.

I was extremely nervous about sharing my personal story concerning depression in written form.  Typing those confessions gave them a new sense of reality.  Once I took the next step and clicked the publish button, a flood of positive responses arrived. Others suddenly felt free to tell their personal stories, and their powerful words provided the realization that I was not alone in my struggles.

What happens when we choose courage and allow our words to make a positive contribution to this world?  We won’t know until we write. Don’t be afraid!  Your thoughts have great value. And once put into words, they help tell your story-the specific set of life experiences belonging only to you. No one else is exactly like you, and someone out there needs to hear your words, your insights, your story! Get busy writing!

Something important needs to be said which only you can say!