Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sharing Our Stories & Slice of Life: Good Laughter!

 "We are all here for a spell. Get all the good laughs you can." — Will Rogers

I was staying at my daughter's home while my son-in-law was traveling for work. Her new baby was two months old, and with two brothers, ages two and four, I was trying to get a head start on the day. I wanted to get showered and dressed before the children were awake at seven. 

As I rubbed hair gel into my damp hair, I was dismayed to discover that I still had shampoo in my hair. I turned on the shower, rinsed my hair, and towel dried it for the second time. 

As I began to gel my hair again, I discovered that I STILL had shampoo in my hair. I tried to figure out why this was happening. Maybe her shower head was not strong enough to rinse out the shampoo, so I decided to head to the kitchen to rinse my hair once more. Maybe the more direct pressure would solve my problem. I felt the minutes evaporating, knowing that my wish to be ready for the day before the kids woke up was disappearing. 

As I tried to explain the problem to my daughter (who is not a morning person and was enjoying a few precious moments of alone time!), she was puzzled and thought I wanted HER to rinse my hair. No, I just wanted to be sure that it was okay with her for me to rinse my hair in the kitchen sink (something I did frequently while growing up in the sixties). I made sure to rinse long enough to get out any lingering shampoo and returned to the bathroom. As I squirted the gel into my hand, realization finally dawned! 

The blue travel bottle that usually holds my hair gel had shampoo in it instead of hair gel. (And the reason? Why, that's a slice I'll save for another day. Another mystery and another story.) I chuckled with laughter knowing that I had been putting shampoo on my hair each time instead of hair gel. 

And when I told my daughter about it . . . she commented that my hair had looked really "different" the day before. Although I hadn't noticed the suds, I did notice having difficulty styling my hair. But when you have three boys, four and under in the house, your hair takes a back seat to more important matters. 

I've laughed every time I think about this morning even though it happened almost a month ago. Some mistakes make for good laughter.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Here

Welcome to this community where we support one another on our spiritual journeys. This month, I'm hosting our gathering and offered the word "here" as the prompt. I look forward to your posts and to the insight you will bring to our gathering this month. 

I have enjoyed searching for appearances of here after I selected the word based on Emily P. Freeman's podcast #188: You Are Here (And It Matters). And here's a quote I shared from the podcast:  

"What if you being all the way here actually mattered, with your cold feet and your stomach ache and the light shining through the window. You with your stack of books, by the bedside table and hopeful feeling inside your heart. You with your deep grief, over a loss you thought you’d be over by now, standing in the kitchen while you microwave your coffee. For now, this is true. So what is true of you? And do you really believe God is with you no matter what? That you are not alone, that you don’t have to be you all by yourself? Here’s to being where you already are. Fully present with all that is true. And then here’s to doing your next right thing in love."

Last week, on a walk in my neighborhood park, I was thrilled to watch a pileated woodpecker winding his way up the tree trunk searching for tasty morsels in the bark. Lucky me, to be here at the same time as this magnificent bird!

Yesterday, I found myself totally here with grandson, Oliver. There's something about an almost three month old that makes it easy to be here, to be present in the moment, to coax him to share his beautiful smiles, to not look away for an instant, (for if I do, he will surely grow up without me noticing and celebrating him along the way).  

I stopped this morning while running errands to savor the colors and the sky and the trees. Even though I've taken pictures of these same trees bedecked in autumn splendor before, I loved pausing to see them here and now, in the glory of today's moment.


 


One of my "do something" goals for 2021 is more stillness. I'm trying to learn to meditate. It's a process. I love these words I jotted in one of my quote books from blogger, River Brown.

"Breathe.

You're here.

You are supported.

Even loved.

Let that in."

         -River Brown

My afternoon walk included time to notice the changing colors in a nearby neighborhood as I listened to another podcast, Kelly Corrigan Wonders, Episode #54, Perfectly Imperfect with Anne Lamott. I highly recommend this episode when you have the time.

At the end of the episode, Kelly asks Anne this question, "Why are we here?" 

And Anne answers that it is "... to carry the word that there is goodness and that there is beauty and that most of all, we're all in this together."

Thank you for showing up here to share your story on Spiritual Journey Thursday. Your words add hope and goodness and beauty to my spiritual journey. We are an open community and welcome anyone who would like to join us. Leave a link to your blog post in the comments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Sharing Our Stories: A Profusion of Photos!

I love to join my friends at Sharing Our Stories on Thursdays!

We've been anticipating this trip for weeks!

Hello, Grandpa!
Hello, Grandma!
 Introducing Lily!

Want to learn about the solar system and dinosaurs?
Hang out with a five year old!


The Dinosaur Park moved to a five star rating when Teddy discovered the playground. We didn't know if it had a playground, but Teddy assured us that a park would DEFINITELY include a playground,

and he was right!

The playground even had a dinosaur you could touch!

We spent lots of time outside.

Teddy played baseball with sidewalk spectators.


 
And captured a grasshopper to examine closely!

We played Go Fish  
and enjoyed dinner on the deck each night with 
a  light show one evening,
complete with thunderous sound effects!
 

When Baba and Aunt Amy joined us one evening, Ruthie became very animated.

She's still a bit hesitant about walking, but a stroller walk is good! 

 
 

 And Dad is her favorite buddy.
A lapful of love!
 
Teddy's decided that we always make Muddy Buddies when I visit. 
 
 And shaking is the most important step!

A group pic to savor until we can gather again!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Come Hike with Us!

 

Karen is hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday this month. She asked us to write about virtue and sent us an extensive list of virtues. When I scanned Karen's list, I found several were apropos for the experience I wanted to share. So if you find yourself needing to let go of your cares and worries, nothing can beat the contentment and joyfulness of spending time in the glorious creations of God manifest in our natural world. Throw in the energy, motivation, zest, enthusiasm and passion of my hiking companions and you're sure to walk away with a renewed feeling of calmness, serenity, centeredness, peace, and gratitude.

He's almost 7 weeks old. He logged his first hike this week. He slept through almost every step. 

We took a quick detour to see the bridge over the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Our walk through the parking lot to the trailhead netted our first wildlife sighting. 

With a four year old and a two year old (and the baby) in tow, we intentionally planned a short hike. We'd hike a half mile in and then return to enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back home.

We paused often to look around, to pick up sticks, and to summit rocks. We listened to the birds, the sound of pine needles falling (you can hear them), and the rushing sound of the river.

At the halfway point we paused for trail mix and a compass lesson with Grandpa. Big brother pointed out the giant leaves just like the ones we saw once at the park back home. When middle brother found a dried twig with pine needles that became an imaginary spider, big brother insisted on backtracking in search of one of his own. We failed to find one and I spent the rest of the hike scanning the trail for him. Nothing compared to his squeals of delight when he found one all by himself just before we arrived at the picnic table.

By this time, baby brother was awake, so he and Mom headed to the van for lunch. The wind had picked up a bit and middle brother was ready for the jacket he had refused while we hiked. Big brother was so cold that he added the comfort of Grandpa's puffy jacket to his jacket. And Grandpa, always prepared, retrieved his second jacket from the van. 

When Mom emerged from the van ready for her lunch, Grandpa and I happily took turns with baby brother who was enthralled by the green trees, the blue sky, and the gentle caresses of the wind.


As we began our return journey home, we were captivated by the mother deer who herded her twins across the road just in front of us, only to have one dash back across the road. We felt blessed that our adventure had included an adult to look out for each child! 

And we made one stop on the way home: to check out the low water crossing with vented stones and a culvert (which Jack correctly named because there are culverts in Dragons of Blueland). The creek bed was completely dry (evidence of our lack of rain this summer). 

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to share life with these little ones and experience their wonder and delight in our natural world.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Slice of Life & Sharing Our Stories: It's Back to School Time!

I arrive out of breath, unprepared, after the bell has already rung. I was summoned by our school secretary who called when I failed to show up for school. When I arrive at my classroom door (which I needed help finding since I have a new classroom and a new grade level assignment in a new wing), the "substitute grabbed for the moment" has already opened the door. I try to shoo the students back into the hallway, so I can greet them individually at the door, per my usual practice. But there are so many of them!

I have no lesson plans and all my "go-to" first day ideas don't work for this grade level.  I muddle my way through the morning until someone arrives to tell us it's time for recess. I step into the hall, eager to connect with three fellow grade level teachers, frantic to know which textbook of the many on the shelves is the right one to begin with. They look at me with judgment in their eyes and little understanding for a colleague who would fail to show up for inservice days and then be late for the first day of school.

Somehow I make it through until lunch when I hope to try once again to connect with my grade level colleagues. And that's when I discover that my lunch time is different from the three of them! I head off in search of our principal, furious of how I've been treated and wanting to know why I didn't receive the summer letter about inservice days and why on earth no one called when I failed to show up for them. She's nowhere to be found. 

I return to class, still frantic, but trying my best to muddle through. Someone comes to tell us it's time for afternoon recess. When I step into the hall, I come face-to-face with our principal and I utter three words, " Go to _ _ _ _ !" (and I am not a woman who swears) before I awake with tears streaming down my face. 

Every nightmare of classroom management was manifest in my classroom of 30 students. 

And my new grade level? Kindergarten!

I'm beginning my eighth year of retirement from teaching middle school language arts and social studies.

One question. Do the first day of school nightmares ever go away?

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Slice of Life: Lost and Found!

The day started out well. I walked early in the morning with a friend. We caught up with each other's lives, noticed some beautiful blooms, and spotted a cute green caterpillar. 

I fed the neighbor's salamander and picked up a friend to run errands with me. We went to TJ Maxx and then Target. We came back to the island and had lunch at a local spot we love. I dropped my friend off and headed home without remembering that I had planned to stop by the post office.

When I arrived home, I saw the package on the table that needed to be returned. A company recently sent me the wrong size and they gave me a $10 credit on the new order to cover shipping. I decided to head to the post office with the plastic envelope (that it came in) so I could discover the least expensive way to return it. I waited for a long time (post office miseries) to arrive at an open window. I learned the best way to return the item was in the package it arrived in.

So I stepped aside with my trusty "big box" tape dispenser to ready the package and affix the label. After the next customer was processed, it was my turn at the window once again. I reached into my wallet and discovered that my credit card was missing. Luckily, I had some cash and could pay the required postage. My mind frantically went over the morning's tasks to determine the last time I had used my card. 

It must have been when I placed my lunch order. It was a completely self-service ordering spot. I probably just failed to retrieve my card from the reader. Another wait while someone checked the safe (even though they assured me no one had turned in a card recently). They pulled out a stack of credit cards (more than ten) and flipped through them looking for my name. No luck!

I returned dejectedly to the car, thinking that we might have to cancel the card (on the chance that someone had taken my card). I went through my wallet again, pulled everything out of my purse and flipped through the contents on the seat. No card! It was probably time to call my husband and report the card as missing. As I picked up my planner to return it to the purse, the card I was seeking fell out of its pages and onto the seat. Hallelujah! We don't always find the lost item, but when we do it is a time of rejoicing. I uttered a quick prayer of gratitude and made sure to return the card to its correct slot in my wallet.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Sharing Our Stories: Remembering Patty!

Sharing a tribute to our administrative assistant, Patty McCann, a beloved fixture at our middle school (for 27 years until her retirement in 2020) and dear friend who recently lost a valiant fight against cancer:

It is impossible to measure the way Patty loved so many and impacted so many lives. My own children, Blake and Sara and son-in-law Will, were recipients of Patty love. And when I started teaching at IMS, my favorite way to start the day was to stroll through Patty’s office to check in and chat.

She had an unlimited supply of whatever one might need in her office drawer. And if you happened to need something larger than a rubber band, a Tylenol, or a packet of Emergen-C, she could find just what you needed in the safe or in her magical stash in the supply room.  

Patty was one of the strongest supporters of Poem in Your Pocket Day and could always be counted on to recite the poem in her pocket. We shared books and loved passing our latest finds back and forth. We became Grandmas within a few months of each other and never tired of sharing pics of our fabulous little ones.

Perhaps Patty’s greatest gift was her unique way of listening to your woes, dusting you off, and booting you out the door to face whatever dragons your day might bring. She was more than just my colleague at work. My world is less bright without Patty in it, but my heart is stronger because Patty is my friend.


To savor the magic of story, link your post at Sharing Our Stories.