Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Un-Nesting {SOL 8.21.18}

Both of my kids left for college on Sunday. This is the third time I've gone through the experience of moving my kids from one home to another for a year away at school.

The first year, it was my son who left. When your firstborn leaves the nest, it is a sad day, a day you never imagined would arrive as quickly as it did.

Last year, my daughter joined him in flight, leaving our nest completely empty except for our two dogs. Having BOTH kids gone was an adjustment I was dreading.

This year, as the kids packed up to leave, I was sad, but not as sad as I've been in years past. Having made this extreme adjustment before -- from a house of four to a house of two -- I knew I would get through it. Afterall, I had survived this adjustment twice already.
My first day without the kids living here I spent the day cleaning: washing the carpets, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, and gathering up old clothes to take to Goodwill. Getting the house back into order brought me comfort for some strange reason. It reminded me that last year when both the kids left, I found my way into a new life, a life that included the house only getting as messy as I made it, date nights with the hubby, and not having to share the hot water, the car, or the washing machine.

A life that I kinda....liked.

I guess my massive cleaning efforts yesterday were my way of ushering out one way of life for another.

And you know what? It was okay. I was okay. My kids were okay. And we will all be okay again this time.

Monday, June 18, 2018

#DWHabit: DEEP {6.18.18}

A poem.

On the surface,
just words.

But go deeper
and find a message
among the letters.

Something that begs to be said
without saying it.

A hint
a whisper
a revelation
an inkling
a story

All revealed through
a few very carefully chosen words
of a poem.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

#DWHabit: EMBRACE {6.17.18}

Light breaks the night,

The darkness fades to dawn
taking with it
and all its

First the pink,
then the orange,
the yellow.

The birds awaken
and ride the sky,
of joy.

They understand.

A new start,
A new chance,
A new day.

I embrace the moment
and await the new stories
of today.

Friday, June 15, 2018

#DWHabit: BRING {6.15.18}


Packing for vacation
is not fun.

I'm not done
until the suitcase
is stuffed so full
I have to sit on it
to get it zippered.


I know I bring too much.

I know I will be made fun of.

I know I will not use half of what I bring.

But you never know
when you'll need that one thing
you chose to leave behind
even though there was extra room
in the suitcase.

So I bring it all.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#DWHabit: POWERLESS {6.14.18}


We prepared the soil
churned it up
raked it out
pulled the weeds
with a merciless tug.

we dug the holes
placed the seeds
tucked them in
with a gentle pat.

We watered.

We waited.

Watered some more.

Still nothing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

#DWHabit: EPHEMERAL {6.13.18}

ephemeral = short-lived

a thought
   (why did I come in this room?)
a laugh
   (she said what?)
a scene
   (seven cardinals at the feeder)
a scent
   (lilacs in bloom under the bedroom window)
a sight
    (the sun dipping low in the evening sky)
a sound
   (soft whimpers escaping the dog's dream)
an action
   (a secret smile when he saw her)
a moment
   (walking out the door for the last time)

the ephemeral
and makes it

permanent = forever.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

#DWHabit: DISPUTE {6.12.18}

I want a puppy.

A soft, fury
bundle of love.

Who will get so excited
to see me come home
that she can't help but
up and greet me.

Who will snuggle
with me on the sofa
and fall asleep.
Soft whimpers and sighs escaping
her dreams
as she nestles into me
and reaffirms that I am her person.

Who will bring me a ball
and beg with her eyes:
please throw it just
        (I promise this will be the last time.)
Until it's not.

Who does puppy things
chase her tail
play tug-of-war
and wrestle with her toys.
Until she collapses
from her puppy exhaustion
and her sweet snores start again.

I want a puppy.

Monday, June 11, 2018

#DWHabit: FAVOR {6.11.18}

I am not the kind of person who is comfortable asking a favor.

I am the one who DOES the favor,
the helper,
the doer.

If you are my friend and you ask for help
I will walk to the end of the earth for you.
To give you what you ask.
To help you with what you need.

What you ask will go at the top of my To Do List
and I will stop at nothing until I can cross it off.

But asking a favor?
          That is a completely different story.

I don't want to burden you.
Distract you.
Take your time.

I'm not sure why that is.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

#DWHabit: ABSORB {6.9.18}

Absorb is a funny word.

When I taught my 4th and 5th graders how to use prefixes and suffixes to increase their vocabulary and decode bigger words, we learned that 'ab-" means away. I liked to teach my students to use Memory Minders, small tricks to help us remember what something means,  and our Memory Minder for the word part 'ab-' was actually the word 'absorb,' to soak something up and away.

When I am ready a really good book and don't want to stop (to do something trivial like sleep), I wish I could put the book under my pillow and have my mind absorb its words overnight. Soak all that information into my head.

When I am practicing being mindful, I am trying to absorb all that is happening right at the moment. Trying to soak it all in.

For some reason, when I give the dog a bath, her fur does not absorb the water. It runs right off of her.

The wind was howling through the screen door in the kitchen the other afternoon and blew over the vase of flowers that Jeremy had given me for our anniversary. Water was running everywhere because the towel I was using did not want to absorb the water. Paper towels were more absorbant and did the trick.

Friday, June 8, 2018

#DWHabit: PICK {6.08.18}

I round the corner of the house
and without looking,
I am 100% sure it has finally blossomed.
The lilac bush.
It's sweet, dense scent wafts through the air,
tickling my nose,
reassuring me that
nature has come back to life.
I pick a few blooms
for Mom
so she knows this too.

The bud starts out
the size of a jawbreaker
Tiny and hard,
but holding a treasure within.
Days and weeks of spring sun pass
And the tiny jawbreaker grows into a gumball
stuck to the end of a stick.
The ants go to work.
Then bud bursts open
Revealing a pincushion of petals,
the color of bubblegum.
I pick a few
for the table
bringing nature's treats inside.

Thursday, June 7, 2018


I begin the day with BIG plans.

I feel strong and capable,
ready to take a deep dive
and slay

My intentions are strong

My eyes focused on the prize:
Bold checkmarks

I begin.


        Life happens.

Email chimes.
Facebook notifies.
Phone rings.
Twitter chirps.


And I watch my big plans
into dust.
Hands, Clapping, Dust, Flour, Bakery, Craftsman

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

SOL #6 {3.06.18}: My Watch & Its Guilt Trips

I have a love/hate relationship with my watch.

Last April, I splurged and bought myself an Apple Watch. One of the features of this watch is a daily reminder to exercise, stand, and move.

Every morning, I get a little reminder on my watch telling me to get going. I'm sure the watch thinks this is supposed to be motivational. If didn't exercise the day before, it reminds me. If I haven't exercised much that week, it tells me that too.

Here's the thing -- I also have a love/hate relationship with exercise.

When I do it, I like it. I love watching the little circles on my watch fill up to show my progress. It's a great day when I can "close my rings" before I even eat breakfast.

When I don't exercise, it's because I really don't want to and I'm okay with that choice. No amount of nagging from my watch will make me want to head to the elliptical. As a matter of fact, feeling that little buzz on my wrist with my watch's daily motivational messages downright makes me mad. It makes me NOT want to exercise even more than I did before. It is anti-motivational.

It's amazing how a little thing like a watch can cause so much angst.

Monday, March 5, 2018

SOL #5 {3.05.18}: Get Ready for It

I am making a concerted effort to walk my dog, Rosie, as often as possible.

This wouldn't be a big deal except she doesn't like to walk. (Have you ever heard of such a thing?) She will literally pull back on the leash when we reach the end of the driveway, trying to slip her collar over her head so she can make a getaway back to the comfort of the sofa.

While on the walk, she pulls and barks anytime a car drives by. And don't get me started on how many plastic bags I need to bring along to clean up after her.

Walking her is a real pain. It would be much easier to go by myself.

Last week, I considered leaving her behind. Confirming thoughts swirled in my head:

      She slows me down.
           She's obnoxious when cars drive by.
                 What do the neighbors think of my badly-behaved dog?

I almost listened to those voices, but I didn't. I threw her sweater on her (it is March in Wisconsin, after all), laced up my shoes, popped my earbuds in, and out we went.

We had gotten up to the top of the hill before I even really noticed that she was actually behaving. A neighbor was out at the end of his driveway so we stopped to say hello. Rosie just stood there -- and waited! No barking. No pulling. No acting like a lunatic. 

We kept walking. A car drove by and I didn't have to use both hands to yank her back to the shoulder of the road.

It appears that maybe, just maybe, Rosie was beginning to learn how to go for a walk.

I'm glad I didn't give up on her.

This experience reminds me of writing and what all of us are going through right now with the challenge of writing every day.

For the first few days of March, the writing comes easy. We have energy and enthusiasm and there are lots of comments from friends to cheer us on.

But as the month moves on and your energy begins to wane, you may hear that voice. The one that tells you it's okay to not write today or that you should just quit. That one that whispers that you don't have time to write. The one that tries to tell you that no one will notice if you're gone.

       That voice is a liar.

I'm here to tell you to get ready for that voice. Most of us, experienced slicers or not, hear that voice at some time during the month of March. (Many of us hear it multiple times.)

When you hear it, it's time to keep your head down and barrel forward. Go to the page and show that voice who's boss. Prove it wrong.

You'll be glad you didn't give up on yourself.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

SOL #4 {3.04.18}: Outside My Window

I sit in my favorite chair, a mug of coffee steaming on the table next to me.

The book I'm reading sits there too, calling to me to pick it up. I'm almost done with it, after all. I just don't want the story to end so I let it sit. Maybe later.

Outside the window and see the sun is rising. This seems to be happening earlier and earlier every day which is a good thing. It means spring is coming.

Lots of birds are circling the sky this morning. They weren't here last week. They are waiting their turn at the feeder and keeping warm with flapping wings.

Through the glass, I can hear their chatter and imagine the conversations they are having:

    It's good to see you again! How was your winter?
    Why did we come back so soon? It's so cold!
    Should we stay here or keep flying? This place is kinda nice.
    Has anyone seen my family? We were separated in flight. Can I join yours?
    Check out that sunrise! 
    Are you done at the feeder yet? I'm hungry.

So much changes outside my window. So much stays the same.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

SOL #3 {3.03.18}: Packing Problems

I am a horrible packer.

It's actually become a joke around here with my family teasing me that there must be a dead body in my suitcase because it weighs so much. You should see their exaggerated faces and the noises they make when they lift my suitcase! Serious drama, I'm telling you.

Anytime we go away, I have a tendency to overpack my suitcase. The way I look at it -- if there's space, I should fill it up. And heaven forbid if I forget something that I could have brought. You know, just in case.

This is usually not a problem because we drive most places we go and my husband is there to carry in the suitcase.

Except for when he's not.

And the hotel doesn't have an elevator.

And you're staying several floors up.

And you wonder why you brought so much for an overnight trip.

Friday, March 2, 2018

SOL #2 {3.02.18}: How Do They Know?

How do the birds know when it's time to fly back north?

This week has brought many old faces back to my yard -- Robins, Sandhill Cranes, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Kildeer, Canadian Geese, Finches, and more.

I step outside my front door and it is no longer silent -- there is a symphony of song.

My birdfeeder is the local hangout spot. I now have to fill it about every three days.

There is even a Hooded Merganser duck swimming around in the pond behind my house. His stay here will be short as he heads even farther north.

The funny thing is that I never really see the birds migrating -- they just show up.

How do they know?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

SOL #1 {3.01.18}: A Slice of Me

Here we are...off to the 2018 Slice of Life Challenge.

I'm looking forward to making my writing muscle even stronger and to meeting new friends along the way over the coming days.

To get things started, I thought I'd start off with a short introduction of myself.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I think these pictures tell my story pretty well.

What did you learn about me?

I'm looking forward to writing with you this month!


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Word That Chose Me {1.02.18}

A new year. A new One Little Word.

I don't know about you, but I feel tremendous pressure when I go pick a new OLW. After all, I have to live with this word for an ENTIRE year, so I better get it right. Some years, I have hit my mark. Others, not so much.

This year was no exception. I thought and thought. I tried on a few words for size, but none seemed to fit just right.

However, one word kept coming back to me. I tried to ignore it. Push it away. I didn't like it and I wanted it to not like me.

I felt this word was selfish and self-serving and that is NOT what I want 2018 to be about.

I talked it over with friends and they reassured me that this word was a good pick for me. I tried to deny it again.

Finally, I gave up and accepted my word:

I spent yesterday reflecting on my new OLW and what it REALLY meant, not what I was telling myself it meant (money, money, money!).  I was pleasantly surprised to find these inspirational thoughts about abundance:

“Abundance is not something we acquire, it is something we tune into.” 
--Wayne Dyer

“Secret to having abundance: Stay focused on what you love and express it fearlessly.” 

“You must find a place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” 
--Deepak Chopra

“Three keys to more abundant living: caring about others, daring for others, sharing for others.” 
--William Arthur Ward

"When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” 
--Tony Robbins

In the end, it looks like abundance is the perfect word for me. I'm glad it chose me.