Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Memory Tree {SOL 11.28.17}

When my kids were babies, I started an annual tradition of creating a photo ornament of each of them.

Every year, I would take a favorite photo (yes, we printed our photos -- at a store! -- in those days), hunt down a photo ornament, and hang it on our Christmas tree.

As the years passed and the ornament collection grew, I began looking forward more and more to putting up the tree. I loved looking at how cute the kids were, each ornament sparking a favorite memory and taking me back in time.

This year is the first year that both of my kids are away at school and my husband and I had to put our tree up alone.

But we weren't alone -- we had our collection of photo ornaments and their memories to keep us company.








"The days are long, but the years are short."


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Leave Your Excuses at the Door (Literally) {SOL 11.07.17}

This past week, I spent four days in Nashville at Christy Wright's Business Boutique event. Christy is an advocate, teacher, and business expert whose work involves helping women start and grow businesses that they love.  (If you are trying to do the same, you will want to get to know Christy.)

Some of you may know that I left the classroom this past spring to start my own business, Teach Write,  which is dedicated to helping teachers teach writing.  This move is exciting, but it has launched me into a sea of uncertainty and doubt as well.
At one of the sessions, Christy talked about overcoming our fear and challenged us to stop making excuses that hold us back from bringing our dreams to fruition.

I am quite familar with both fear and excuses, but I am an exceptionally good excuse-maker.

"I must clean the bathroom before I write today."
"It's a bad time to make those cold calls because it's lunchtime."
"I need to do a little more research first."
"I don't know anything about running a business."

At the end of Christy's presentation, they passed out Post-Its and asked everyone to write their excuses down. Then, as we left for the day, we were to put the Post-Its up on the doors, literally leaving our excuses at the door.

 See the Post-Its on the glass doors?

This was a very powerful experience.

Not only did it help us call out our excuses and move them from the shadows into the light of awareness, it also showed us that other women's excuses and fears were also my own.




It reminded me that I am not alone.

What excuses are holding you back from doing something your heart has been calling you to do?

I encourage you to write them down and bring them out of the shadows into the light of awareness where you can walk right through them.





Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Message From Beyond {SOL 10.31.17}

The doorbell rang a little after 3:00 pm and I shuffled my way toward the front door.

Peeking through the side lights, I saw four ladies standing on my front porch, holding Bibles. The bright daylight behind them hurt my already sore eyes.

Ugh, Jehovahs' Witnesses, I thought to myself.

It's not that I mean any disrespect to anyone's religion, but these ladies had terrible timing in more ways than one. They had just woken me from a much-needed nap that I had been fighting all afternoon to fall into. I was hoping sleep would help me forget about my morning, but that just wasn't in the cards for me.

I opened the front door and greeted them. One of them introduced herself and handed me a brochure.

On the cover of the brochure was a picture of some people standing in a misty-cloudy sort of setting, staring lovingly at each other. The words "You Will See Your Loved Ones Again" graced the top of the brochure.

I stared at the brochure for a moment while the lady began her pitch. She didn't get to talk long before I burst into tears. Right there, standing in my front doorway.

You see, earlier that day, we had to put our beloved 14-year-old Springer Spaniel, Toby, to sleep. It was a gut-wrenching decision, but one that had to be made out of necessity because of his failing health. Being the only one home, I had to take him to the vet myself. I stayed with him the entire time. It was very peaceful, but the only comfort I could find was knowing he was no longer in pain. I missed him already.

The ladies my front porch stared at me and the tears streaming down my face, offered some words of comfort after I explained what happened, then told me they'd come back another day.

That brochure though...

It could have been seen as a strange coincidence, but I took it as a message from my Toby. He wanted me to know that he was in a good place and that he was okay.

And although they woke me from my nap, I gave thanks for those ladies for delivering that message that I so desperately needed.





Wednesday, October 18, 2017

DWP #35: SIGN {10.18.17}

The Signs of Fall
A pondering by Jennifer Laffin

Where are the signs that fall is here?
The temperatures are in the 70's and the sky is clear.

Is it the dry leaves 
falling from the color washed trees?

Is it in the golden wheat field
whose blades are preparing to yield?

Is it the birds flying south?
Or do they know to leave by word of mouth?

Is it the buzzing of the bee
looking for one last taste of something sweet?
(Hey....he just stung me!)

Is it the setting of the sun
because earlier and earlier the day is done?

Is it the late-morning dew
Bringing wetness to my shoe?

Perhaps it is this and more
that says that summer has been shown the door.




Tuesday, October 17, 2017

DWP #34/SOL: WARM {10.17.17}

Mother Nature certainly knows how to spoil a party.

This past weekend, we went to see our kids at the University of Minnesota. Saturday night, we had tickets to the football game to see our son in the marching band. This was Band Parents' Weekend and the band had been rehearsing their halftime show for the past two weeks so they could dazzle the parents.

The weather forecast was not looking good -- in the low 50's with rain forecasted to begin at 4:00 pm, right when the band activities started before the 7:00 kickoff.

Sure enough, just as we left the hotel at 3:00, the rain started. We layered up our clothes, donned rain ponchos, and set off for the stadium. We weren't going to let a little rain spoil our fun.

By the time we got to the stadium, the rain was coming down a bit harder. Neverminding that, we followed Ryan's tailgate band around the parking lot as they played for the fans.

The rain kept up through band inspection and their pre-pregame show. It was now raining so hard that the woodwinds didn't carry their instruments for fear that they would get wet and cause swelling damage.

Finding our seats in the stadium, my husband reminded me that I was never going to be allowed to pick seats again because we were literally in the nosebleed section. (Really?? Okay!)

The football team cleared the field and the band came out for their pre-game show. They played one song and were lined up to play the national anthem when an announcement came over the stadium loudspeaker:

Ladies and gentlemen: Lightning has been sighted in the area. Please evacuate your seats and take cover in the concourse area immediately. 

Seriously??

We trudged back down the stairs and joined the rest of the crowd in the concourse area (which would not have been fun if you suffered from claustrophobia.)
The rain came down in buckets. The wind started up. It was a mass of humanity. It was not fun.

There was a man standing near me who had apparently had a bit too much of the celebration and passed out from the heat and lack of fresh air. I called 911 from my cell phone, not sure how to tell the operator where we were in the crowd for her to send help.

Twenty-five minutes later, they announced that the storm had passed and we could return to our seats.

But there was more disappointment waiting at halftime -- the markings on the field were getting too washed out from all the rain that they weren't allowing the marching band to perform. After all of this, we weren't even going to get to see the band. (Insert sad face emoji here.)

We were too soaked, to frozen, too exhausted to stick around. We went back to the hotel where there was one highlight to the day -- we remembered to leave the heat on in the room before we left.






Monday, October 16, 2017

DWP #33: ADJUST {10.16.17}

Change is hard.

Perhaps it is the pain that sometimes accompanies change that makes it so difficult. (I would say this pain is usually a mental discomfort, not necessarily physical discomfort, but sometimes it is.)

Sometimes in life, though, we do not have a choice about changes that happen.  Sometimes, change is just a part of life.

When my kids both left for school at the end of August, I really struggled with my empty nest. I didn't know what to do with myself. I spent a lot of time talking to the dog. I maybe ate a few extra carbs. I crocheted a lot of washcloths.

But they've been gone now for six weeks or so and I've adjusted. I would even say that I've adjusted so much that I actually enjoy being an empty nester now.  Christmas break may be a different kind of pain...

What I marvel at in this whole change thing is how we can go from thinking the world is going to end to being really okay with our new reality. How does that happen?

Time helps.

So does chocolate.




Sunday, October 15, 2017

DWP #32: GREEN {10.15.17}

This weekend took us on a nice drive from southeastern Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit our kids in college. 

I was looking forward to the drive to see some fall color. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t see much. 

As the flat land of rural Wisconsin gave way to the rocky dells in the middle of the state, most of the trees were still green. Moving farther west toward the Great Mississippi River and Minneapolis, there was a bit more color, but not much.  A hillside might have a yellow or orange tree tucked among the green, but that was about it.

The funny thing is that on the evening news, the anchor said that the area was in peak fall color right now. 

Peak fall color is green?


I thought that was peak summer color.