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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

As I sit down to write this, there are 5 electric service trucks outside on my street and in my neighbor’s driveway. Hurricane Barry powered through over the weekend and took out a few branches. Nature’s way of tree trimming, but unfortunately, one of those limbs took out a transformer. We were only without power for 24 hours and thanks to a trusty, industrial generator, we didn’t suffer much. The guys working on the poles, clearing out the downed wires, and restoring electricity are heroes in my book. Many are not even from our area. They made the sacrifice to travel here in the wake of a major storm. We are grateful.

This summer my life has been busy in a different way from previous summers, no teacher workshops, no writing retreats, no foreign travel. I have not sliced in weeks because the topic feels too big for a small slice.

My parents moved to a retirement home. This is good news for many reasons. They made the decision on their own, and they are now in a place that feeds them good meals with a built in social life.

What needed to be addressed was the house they lived in for 29 years. This was not the home of my childhood, but it is the home of my children’s childhood. It was a place I took them to be loved. The house was on a lake where sunsets were glorious. My brother took my girls fishing on the dock. I watched herons and egrets and white pelicans. Sitting on the swing on the back porch was a favorite spot. Many family photos were staged there.

I’ve visited my parents every summer, so I looked back to blog posts written there. Here is a poem I wrote the summer of 2015.

Sometimes on the lake in June
white pelicans fly in together
and I get out the camera.
Then they turn as a drum line in step,
swim away swiftly in a cloud.

Sometimes on the lake in June
a lone blue heron fishes.
Sly step, long beak held high,
drinking in the sunlight.
A small boat passes by
lines thrown out,
catching nothing.

Sometimes on the lake in June,
I wake before dawn,
put the coffee on,
Sometimes Dad will join me
silent, reading the daily news.
Mom comes in pleased to have fresh coffee.
We sit on the porch, quiet
content to be together
on the lake in June.

(c) Margaret Simon

Sifting through the stuff of a house, the history of a life, is bittersweet. There were treasures to find, memories to share, and things to keep. My daughters and I have all taken things with us, but we will all miss the peacefulness and joy of the house on the lake.

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Spiritual Journey is gathering today at Ruth’s blog.  We are writing about our chosen words for 2019.

Choosing a one little word is something I start thinking about weeks before the year’s end. For me it becomes a process of listening to the universe.  This year my thoughts started around Thanksgiving.  The first word I considered was Compassion. 

A compassionate life is something to aspire to. I recently read Bishop Jake Owensby’s latest book A Resurrection Shaped Life. 

“By God’s grace, a new life–what I’m calling a resurrection-shaped life–emerges from suffering and sorrow.  One way in which that new life emerges is in our unguarded engagement with the suffering of others.” (21)

Caring so deeply that we stand beside and hold hands with suffering is what Jesus calls us to; however, the more I thought about this word, the more unworthy I felt.  I don’t want to choose a word that leads me to despair, that feeling of not meeting up with my own expectations.

Another word I considered was Mindfulness.  I love practicing yoga and bringing meditation into my day.  I’ve not made time for this since school started, so perhaps if I gave myself the word mindfulness, I would get back to these spirit-filled activities.  And being in touch with my spiritual center would also lead me to compassion.

These words are still an integral part of my thinking.  I meditated the other day and heard another word, Blessed. Ah, yes.  That’s it.  I am blessed and when I feel blessed, I can bless others.  But the dictionary definition of blessed is “made holy; consecrated.”  This definition makes me feel I am proclaiming something rather than working toward a better me.

In searching for synonyms of compassion, I found a perfect word, one I can wrap my head around, one that is not a claim or full of unlimited expectation.  Simple and sincere…

 

 

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Round up is with Ramona at Pleasures from the Page.

It really wasn’t a bad day, but not such a good one either.  I had a lingering cold and was scheduled for my yearly mammogram.  One of those necessary uncomfortable things we women are subjected to, but the tech was pretty upset that I had come in with a cold.  She ran out of the room for a mask and continually said, “I hope I don’t get sick.  We have a lot of patients who come through here.  I don’t have time to be sick.”

I felt awkward anyway considering I was exposing myself to boob smashing, but I also tried not to cough or sneeze.  And then there was the guilt. Maybe I should’ve rescheduled.

Following this embarrassing encounter, I drove through a coffee shop treating myself to a flavored cold brew.  When I got up to the window to pay, the clerk said that my coffee had been covered.  The lady in the car ahead of me paid for me.  What a kind gift!  I have thought of doing this on occasion, but not often enough.  This woman has no idea how her gesture turned a bad day into a good day, a feeling of guilt to one of gratitude. Then again, maybe she does know, and that’s why she did it.

This stranger lives in gratitude and spreads love with kind gestures.  And I’ve never met her.  Sam, at the window, said she comes every day.  I asked him to thank her the next time he sees her.  But did she do it to be thanked?  I don’t think so.

Living in gratitude means noticing the good, sloughing off the bad, and taking each moment as a gift.

 

Photo by Robyn Hood Black

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

St. Mary Falls, Glacier Park

 

Montana mountains
marvel me with rugged peaks
water blue as topaz.

 

 

Bear Grass wildflower
Glacier Park, Montana

 

Bear grass blossoms
a mountain spray of stars
invite travelers in.

 

 

Kayaker on St. Mary Lake, Glacier Park, Montana.

Lone kayak streams
rock mosaic reflection
private piece of heaven

 

I understand why Basho turned to haiku to capture moments in nature.  They are just too big to write big about.  Last week, my husband and I spent July 4th with my friend Dani and her husband, Randy, hiking in Glacier Park.  A note about Dani: We meet through a Voxer group and Twitter chats with #G2Great.  It means so much to me to have a close friend so far away.  What a joy to get our guys together and spend time in a magnificent wonderland! These pictures say it all, beauty and majesty, and all that is good.

 

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

Living near nature puts you in touch with the sanctity of all life. I am spending Memorial Day weekend at my parents’ home on a lake in Mississippi. They watch the birds that come and go like they are their own family. Mom called me a few months ago to tell me the goslings had hatched. And now those babies have grown and still come by every afternoon. When years ago the Canada geese were invasive and leaving behind a stinky mess, now they are part of the nature of things that live with my parents. They cry out, “The babies are here!” My father says he has new respect for the species because the father stays with the mother and goslings.

Two Canada Geese families

Around Easter, I noticed a new contraption in my neighbor’s front oak tree. I couldn’t tell what it was, but there was a metal ladder, a wooden platform with a small umbrella set above it. What could this project be?

We saw our neighbors at the Boy Scout banquet last week and Svitlana shared with me her story. She had rescued a baby owlet and the mother owl. They had both been injured in a storm. Ric made a platform for her to place a basket on. She cared for the mother and child for about 6 weeks. She fed the mother who then fed her baby. I was enthralled by her story. She sent some pictures to me.

Svitlana rescues an owlet.

Mother barred owl in basket.

In her poetry, Mary Oliver reminds me to pay attention. We are all part of the family of things. Nature can guide us to ourselves and to God. I want to live in this knowledge and appreciate the sanctity of nature.

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

 

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Ruth Ayres hosts a round-up on her blog each week of Celebration posts.  Again, I haven’t been participating each week, but the fact that she’s there is a gentle reminder to celebrate even the little things.

My #Teachwrite colleagues Leigh Anne and Michelle recently wrote slices about things that they prefer.  Leigh Anne titled her post “I’d rather”.  Michelle’s post was Early Mornings. I’m in the early morning camp.

Today, I celebrate the things I love

I love…an early morning walk.

I love… the sound of birds echoing through the trees.

I love... Charlie bouncing near me, his tags tinkling like bells.

I love...the scents of wisteria, sweet olive, satsuma blossoms filling the morning air.

I love…cut flowers in a vase on the kitchen table.

I love…frothed milk with coffee, Starbucks French Roast.

I love…writing in the morning.

I love…the quiet of students writing.

I love…the noise of student engagement.

I love…a glass of wine at the end of the day.

Spring on the bayou

 

 

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone at Check it Out.

A week off to enjoy family, friends, and food.  I’m sharing my week in verse.

Throw me somethin’ Mister!

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2018

Mardi Gras after the rain
Parades roll, beads fly,
Hands waving high.

Open doors,
chicken fingers,
Chili Fritos,

Costumes, blue hair,
hugs
and happy laughs,

Marching bands,
King cake,
Vodka and La Croix.

Come on in,
stay right here,
Bacchus is rolling soon.

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2018

Houston in the rain
heavy trucks spray
hold on tight.

Find a friend.
Sit a while
comfort in just being.

Glasses of wine,
flat bread pizza,
gather around the table.

Ukulele playing,
out of tune singing,
cuddles with the dog.

There is love here,
not over the rainbow yet,
but healing will come.

My friend Sarah is fighting the battle for her life.

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Ashes to ashes,
we are but dust,
miserable wormness,

Yet now is the time
to reach out
to reach in.

Be alone with God
to realize you are
never alone.

Spread the fruit
of your solitude.
Translate cynicism to Joy!

I am but dust.
Life is a gift.
Existence is grace.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Japanese magnolia blooms
along my walking route,
sending pink fragrance into fog.

My mind wanders as I walk,
thoughts of children
whose lives were shot short.

My voice speaks to neighbors.
Can I trust my words
to be kind?

We are all wandering
on this lonely path
questioning God’s grace.

Find meaning in a moment,
Joy in a conversation,
Light in a dew drop.

 

 

 

 

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