It is very quiet outside, just two days before the New Year, as I sit here, rolled up in blankets with some sort of respiratory infection: again.
Our family has a tendency to get sick in November and December. Not sure why, but it seems to be so.
As the grey, dull days after the holidays settle into our spirits, likewise, we can feel grey and dull. Blech.
On my itinerary is a stop at the doctor today .. and I am just occupying my time until it is time to leave.
So I pull out a sketchbook, look at a drawing on Pinterest, and try to copy it.
mildly impressed that perhaps with some more study, I may some day learn how to draw.
One person comes to mind .. a friend of mine who started dabbling in art a few years ago as a way to deal with the pain after losing a child.
I watched her Facebook journey go from “what is that,” to “wow,” and “how much is she asking for her artwork?”
Likewise, another friend of mine has a small business in beauty product sales, and I remember her early “videos” and how they were a little rough .. not anymore. She is on point, she has learned multi-media marketing and found her sweet spot in the retail world, and hence, profits.
Both of these scenarios encourage me that it is never too late in life to learn a new skill, work a new hobby, or pursue an interest that lights up your world.
As we stand on the shore and greet the New Year 2020, the possibilities are endless.
Outside my bedroom window, I hear the garbage truck emptying cans, making early morning clanging sounds as the long arm of the truck puts the can down.
Molly Moo, my cat, joined Winter Moo and Oreo for their morning treats. Last night, Molly had a frog cornered in the kitchen. I tried to pick it up, and she quickly fetched it herself. I almost hurled. Blecchhhhhh. Ran to get my brave friend, who grabbed a paper towel and retrieved said frog, who was of course, in bad shape.
Ordinary things. Ordinary day.
But as I sit in my bedroom, sipping my coffee, reading my Bible devotion, and studying my pink tree lights, I feel somehow, renewed.
I know it has been a bit since I blogged. I hit a couple of weeks where I just could not find words.
Writers always have words.
I get paid to create content at work, and I do.
Yet after work, many times, I find myself pulling into my self .. spiritually, emotionally.
How is it possible to be both an introvert and an extrovert at once?
After a couple of weeks where my creativity spark seemed to have grown cold, I have been renewed.
This is a new season. How many seasons can one human spirit have?
I look back on my life and realize there have been many, many seasons.
So what does it mean to be renewed?
Refocus. Rejuvenate. Recharge.
The “re” of those words puts forth a secondary motion.
Or “do it again.”
We are going along, lose our joy, lose our balance, lose our way or just lose our sensitivity.
Numb, they say.
“Re” implies getting back on track and doing the things we did before.
What does this mean for you, personally? How will you recharge?
Last confession of the morning ..
A few days ago, at work, I suddenly felt depressed.
A variety of things were on my mind.
So I clocked out, went to lunch (by myself, I did not feel like having company), drove to a local dig called The Purple Onion, placed an order for a soup and sandwich combo, and realized the place was busier than usual, and noisy.
I did not want to be with people, per say.
Plugging in my headphones, I turned on Spotify on my cell phone, played Celtic music. And pulling out my Purpose book, (bullet journal), started writing tentative Christmas gifts for those on my list.
The warmth of the soup and comfort of the sandwich, the rekindling of my inner fire glowed within me again.
I returned to work refreshed.
Music, food, planning time.
And my mind was clear to work again.
Anyway .. the sun is up, and I need to get ready for work. Morning contemplation complete, I am ready for the last day of my work week.
Dreamed I was Wonder Woman last night, trying to bring peace to a troubled world.
At some point in my dream, a voice said that is why mothers and women everywhere are so important. Because they teach the skills necessary to overcome and not live a dark life, to make right choices and help others.
I chalk it up to my writing on Wonder Woman’s first female writer, Joye Murchison (Hummel) Kelly. And advertising I saw on Facebook about a Wonder Woman day.
Admittedly, today’s writing is slanted. I know there are many guys who have been house dads or they have had to carry the load of both mother and father. And those roles seem to be changing.
Any parent that has to do that is a superhero, in my opinion.
Although I am a career woman at this point in my life, I greatly recognize the value of having a strong, steady influence at home.
I think of ladies in my Grandma’s generation, who cooked real meals, ironed, washed clothes and kept the home.
Whether out of necessity or the drive in life to have “more,” women went to work in number after World War II. And today, probably in most families, both women and men have to work just to provide the basics.
Meals started showing up in packages and quick stir ins, instead of something to be nurtured all day.
The funny thing is that if you drop your baby at daycare or the sitter’s, someone is still setting a plate out and cooking for your child. Someone is having those important conversations with them. This really confronted me when I went to work.
Many days I look at all of us, the “career” women, and ask, are we happier for it?
When crime soars through the ceiling, and you see that all of society is asking themselves, “who am I, anyway?”
I admit I am grateful for the time I was able to spend as a homemaker, homeschooling and raising my children.
Though I went to work when they hit middle school, at least I had some years with them.
Not saying here, lest the online tribe of head hunters run after me vicously, that people cannot work and build children who have a good handle on the future.
It is just that, even as Joye Kelly said, when she quit writing Wonder Woman, she had a little girl who needed her.
It is worthy to note that in some form or capacity then, she was still making a huge contribution.
We look around us and see the dividends of how people spend their time.
Muscle rippled bods show a lot of time in the gym (where great conversations and goal setting happens, fitness is good, of course). Houses in some areas may not be rich, but they are well kept, well swept and clean properties. Someone had to do that, it did not just happen. Clothes hang on a rack at the department store. Hands hung them there. Restaurants across the world put out a table, a plate and utensils, and fill it with food. Old, restored antique cars shine in their brilliance. Someone had to work on them, they do not stay that way.
We live in a world of upkeep as time marches on.
Let us not leave the children behind as we pursue our large living.
In my memory is a stove in a little house on Ritter Avenue in Indianapolis. A pot of green beans, potatoes and ham simmered, as coffee brewed for the afternoon. I stood on a stool and started to put paper plates on gas burners I just turned on, and Grandma caught me just in time to avert disaster. Handing me a real spoon, not a paper spoon, I received my first lesson in cooking and stove safety.
“Look” before you move. “Listen.”
As Joye Kelly said of Wonder Woman’s golden lasso, it was to “make you stop and think about what you are doing.”
Five seconds can change your life.
Perhaps that is a lesson we need to pass to our children.
Happy Tuesday, all. Molly is purring on my life, and I savor a few more minutes before I hit this busy day.
As I was watching a show last night in which masked singers competed to see who could keep the judges stumped as to their identity, a word popped into my head.
Seeing Hollywood greats, polished, manicured, with their fake extensions added in (gorgeous), fake eyelashes and clothes that were tailored, I thought of ordinary people.
Ordinary people might not have access to all that makes one “camera ready.”
And it hit me.
Why is it that we as a society can only view what we see as “pretty” people? We have come to expect that the movie star or professional entertainer has lots of help to be “pleasing to the eye.”
I met someone recently that I will likely write a profile story on at some point, and it surrounds the idea that she has been at this (occupation) some 50 years (what I will highlight in my story.)
She and her family have lived in the same area since 1887.
As our Sheriff would say, “Did you hear that?” with Southern drawl.
You might say she is an ordinary person. At 78, she did not look a day over a late 50 something. No makeup. Plain T-shirt.
A happy person, too.
If you think about it, many of us aspire to be beyond “ordinary.”
All of our self help mantras (I admit I use them too, just saying) .. like “reach for the stars,” or “be somebody,” etc .. go right out the proverbial window when ordinary appears.
Basically, “I don’t have to change the whole world. Just my corner.”
Or maybe not even “change the world.”
A friend of mine lives in a beautiful house, alone. Yet looking at her life, I do not see her as ordinary, or alone.
Her home, decorated in her favorite purple, scented with warm oil diffusers, and lit with soft lighting, a place of peace and comfort .. and lots of books.
She lives in ordinary America. The space she occupies reflects her creative spirit.
Another friend of mine is sitting in her patrol car as we speak. Serving in an ordinary capacity as a patrol deputy, I find her day to be anything but ordinary. She wears no makeup. Once in a while I get to paint her nails. But as patrol beats would go, she would say yeah, this is pretty ordinary as far as law enforcement. With her highly equipped vehicle and skills, she is busy every day meeting people in the chaos of their unexpected moment in the middle of what should have been their “ordinary day.”
Today, I awake with the same word on my mind. It is Sunday, and I am getting ready for church. In my family, as I grew up, Sunday was definitely the ordinary day for church, though you can have church in your car, or Walmart, or the doctor’s office.
So what is my point?
Well, I think perhaps it is a epiphany. (Did I spell that right? If not, please excuse.)
A realization that “ordinary” is ok. Most people are ordinary. Ordinary is just as beautiful as “showy,” or “glamorous,” or whatever. Ordinary is productive, and kind, peaceful, full of wisdom, fun, a daily thing.
So while many days, I admit I have prayed to be fantastic, for whatever reason .. you know .. that is what a lot of us pray .. Lord, let me be ordinary.
Happy Sunday, all.
I am looking forward to singing in the choir today.
That moment when your day begins with a disaster text, and you fly out the door to write about it for the newspaper.
A tornado hit Polk County, and thankfully, no lives were lost, no injuries reported.
But rebuilding will commence. Things will need to be repaired. Some things will never be replaced.
And yet, life.
As I watched a daughter salvage her mother’s keepsakes and father’s items from their bedroom .. or what used to be their bedroom, I admit, it made me sad for this family, and others, who lost their home and their belongings.
After years of covering news, you hear things like, awww you need to have a tough skin.
People have said cops and journalists are jaded.
I will not apologize for the fact that I care. Were I someone who could write a check for them, I sure would have.
Precious memories. Walls that used to protect from the elements were now gone. Their haven from the world, no more.
There is life after loss. I have personally experienced loss of various things.
One day, the sun shines through the clouds. A ray of hope appears.
Somehow, we all press forward. The storm, someday, will be a remember when moment.
I greatly admired the girls as they cared for their parents. One that was carrying keepsakes, the other protecting her mother from the media.
They reminded me of my girls, who would have done the same thing.
Yes, the story did hit a personal note with me, and that is ok.
I refuse to subscribe to the tribe of the unfeeling.
If being numb helps you, that is your thing, and that is ok.
Me, I quietly go away and yes, cry by myself.
And people have supposed that those who shed tears are weak.
Not so, in my opinion.
After a good cry, I find fresh resolve to handle the matter .. the next step .. whatever it is.
You know, I have heard so many people say terrible things about journalists. Truth is, most community writers take it to heart. They carry your pain. Donate to your cause. Lend a hand if they can.
Today’s blog is written in honor of my former editor at The Lake Wales News, The Winter Haven Sun, The Polk County Sun, and the Polk County Democrat, the late Jeff Roslow. He passed away recently and his funeral was held Monday. Sadness has overwhelmed my soul, and I could not bring myself to go to his funeral. Jeff would agree with my decision to do something else in his honor. I think of how he spent his days, how he poured himself into everyone he met. And the ink flowed. This script below is for you, Roslow. In musical tune you would sing “Little bits of” and add words accordingly. “Little bits of writing, wooo wooo.” The love of a friend knows no bounds.
Every day is a blank page and every day, there is a pen.
Or a sponge with paint on it.
Or a keyboard, perhaps, in our digital society.
Every day we have a chance to fill the page with ..
As I ponder today’s blog, it hits me that each of us wake to 24 hours of possibility.
One author wisely said, “By looking at some people, you can tell how they spend their time.”
My day, I think, is like anyone else’s day. We all travel this big blue marble in the sky, and tackle our day’s purpose.
Work, school, childcare, care for parents, homemaking, etc. We drive, walk, run, or roll to our goal every day.
The minute our feet hit the floor, it is as if the ink is already flowing. A stubbed toe. The coffeepot that did not turn on as expected. Messages and phone calls, notifications before 6 a.m. flood our phone.
Some exercise. One very fit pastor and his very fit wife arise before the sun to go work out at a local gym.
I have the same membership! I have not been to the gym in months!
Their well toned forms show evidence of where they spend a small portion of their time.
We drink our coffee. Brush our teeth. Comb our hair, dress and get ready for the day. Feed the fish. Feed the cats. Speaking of feed, Facebook populates with the morning muses.
The ink flows freely across the blank page.
Traffic. Rush hour. Bills to pay. People to see.
Or maybe your life is sedentary by necessity. Getting out of bed and having breakfast, the ink flows.
We speak. Our emotions or thoughts, or both, begin. Some complain. Some don’t. Some teach. Some don’t. Some speak positive things. Some don’t.
The ink flows.
Noontime comes. The day is half gone, we say.
What do we have to show for it?
Writers are often list makers.
It seems to me that most of us carry diaries or journals in some capacity.
Check, check and check.
A friend of mine carries what is known as a “Bullet” journal. Others call it a “dot journal.” The idea is you can connect the dots to create sections.
If you think about it, all of our moments are sections. Family, spiritual, work, retirement, chores, celebrations. And more.
She connects the dots in all sections of her life, and occasionally, gets so busy that some lists are not necessarily tended for a few days. On paper, that is.
Still, on the inevitable scroll of life, the ink flows.
My thought this morning is it is my goal that the pages of my life are filled with as much grace and beauty, kindness and productivity, creativity and flow, generosity and goodness as I can fit into each moment.
All of my moments matter. All of your moments matter.
The ink flows, whether out of intention or haphazardly as we allow the pen to rest in one spot.
Where will this day take us? How will we bless others? What good things can we do today? What moments can we spend thinking on kindness?
The ink forever flows.
May you have a fabulous day, on this page of your life.
P.S. At this moment, there are colored pencils on my shelf. And yet I prefer markers. As you know from last week, my markers had run dry. I must remedy this. Why is the purchase of markers so difficult for me?