Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Donna Beth's Morning Prayer

I read in an email in my inbox: Please send a poem to the person whose name is in position 1 below (even if you don't know him or her). It should be a favorite text/ verse/ meditation that has affected you in difficult times. Don't agonize over it.

The phrase "affected you in difficult times" stands out to me and immediately I see Donna Beth, her infectious smile, seeing it would make you feel like any troubles could be conquered. I see Donna Beth, probably the kindness person I ever knew. "Knew" because sadly in 2002 she died. She lived out in country and was kindly riding her neighbors horse as a favor. (As a city girl, I guess it is like walking the dog for a neighbor). Then suddenly, the horse threw her, she was helicoptered to the city hospital but she never awoke.

At her funeral, cards were passed out. On one side of the card, her picture, that smile, and "October 23, 1961-January 13, 2002". On the reverse is this prayer, written by Donna Beth that her husband carried in his wallet. Now I carry it in mine

Donna Beth’s Morning Prayer

God of my life, I welcome this new day. It is a gift to me. I thank you for the gift of being alive this morning. I thank you for the sleep, which has refreshed me.

Lord, this day is full of promise and of opportunity; help me to waste none of it.

This day is full of mystery and of the unknown; help me to face it without fear or anxiety.

This day is full of beauty and adventure; help me to be fully alive to it all.

During this day, may I become a more thoughtful person, a more prayerful person, a more generous and kind person.

Help me to not be turned in on myself but to be sensitive and helpful to others.

Let me do nothing today that will harm anyone. But let me help at least a little to make life more pleasant for those I meet.

When night comes, may I look back on this day without regret.

Lord, bless this day for me and for all of us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Last Night's Dinner

"We need broccoli and one onion."
"OK, I'll get that and meet you in the cheese aisle," I told Anne, my daughter who is gathering items at Whole Foods to replicate a favorite meal she often cooked while in France last year. Then, she was living in Chambery while teaching English for TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France).

Why make this meal this weekend?
A former TAPIF friend she roomed with while in France is visiting us for the weekend.

Fast forward 24 hours....

"Do you have a cutting board?" asked Hannah.
"Sure, right here," I replied and handed her our bamboo cutting board.
"Use this knife," suggested Anne.

After opening a bottle of wine and pouring myself a glass, I walked out of the kitchen, leaving it in good hands. An hour later my husband and I joined the kitchen-duo for their meal.

"What do we have here?" asked Brian.
"It is basically a French mac&cheese casserole with pancetta and as Americans, we added broccoli. Instead of elbow macaroni, we used Crozets, the pasta Chambery is known for making."
"Wow....so cheesy...so good....very filling"
"It's best to eat after a day of skiing on the French slopes!"
"It's pretty great here on President's Day in VA!"

As I loaded the dishwasher after dinner, I thought my husband and I have done an OK job as parents. Not too bad having our youngest cook us a meal which helped her and her friend relive their amazing year of teaching in France.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


It's Tuesday and I want to write and post and read other's writing and leave comments. It is almost March and I am gearing up for the March writing challenge, yet it is 6:24pm and I am just now getting to sit down to write.

What to write....???

I glance at today's Washington Post and the headline below the fold reads " 'I won't put you in a nursing home': A vow that sometimes can't be kept. " (Can read whole story here)

My mind thinks back to the many Grey's Anatomy episodes I have been binge-watching lately. The season I am in now has the chief taking his wife with Alzheimers to live at a nursing home after she left the burner on in the kitchen.

My mind then thinks of my own dear friend who is also showing symptoms of this disease. I wrote about her becoming a grandmother last March here. She is still living at home with her family but I wonder about her future.

I start to read the article and read this sentence: By 2050, the number of people 85 and older is projected to triple.

My mind then thinks about how this is good news for my husband's architecture firm which has a large Senior Living Division.

My mind then thinks about my current 3rd graders and how I should teach them about the field of geriatrics, apparently a growing field for future jobs.

Then I reread the sentence: By 2050, the number of people 85 and older is projected to triple and think. Just to be sure, I open the calculator on my iPhone and type in 2-0-5-0, hit the minus sign, then type in 1-9-6-3 and hit the equal sign.

87 stares at me.

I reread the sentence a third time: By 2050, the number of people 85 and older is projected to triple.

And it sinks in. I will be one of the reasons for the tripling.

I wonder where I will be living in 2050??

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Peek-a-boo and Blizzards

All babies love peek-a-boo!  The baby's big smile appears when the face they were staring at reappears when hands shift. I contend that the peek-a-boo-er loves this game just as much or maybe even more. How simple it is to delight a baby with a simple cover-up/reveal game! As it snowed and then melted this week, I'm reminded of this simple game.

Last week as the blizzard began and the snow fell, my motivation to do routine "stuff" lessened. I found myself sitting and watching it snow. I snapped pictures showing how the deck bench was collected in inches and the whiteness next to the cedar was striking. I baked cookies because I had time. I watched an old episode of an old series on Netflix because I had time. Then I watched another and another and another. I saw a friend post on twitter that she read a book and added #blizzardbook. So I went on my kindle, bought a book and read and read and read and finished it in a day and a half because I had time. Then I cooked more. And watched it snow more.

As the snow stopped and the clean-up began and the school and Federal Government announced closures, I had more time. Some I used to shovel. Some to do more cooking. Much more time spent reading and watching old episodes on Netflix.

Today I taught again (Feb. 2nd...last time I taught was Wed, January. 20th). My alarm went off at 5:30am. I arose, showered, drove my husband to the Metro and headed to work. I taught 23 great kids all day long. I barely stopped, on my feet all day long, guiding all the lessons and transitions and squeezing in one more thing to make-up for all the days we missed.

A week ago Saturday during the blizzard, the deck bench that gathered inches of snow eventually was completely buried in the snow. But today, I see it again! Somehow when was covered completely by the white blanket of snow, my motivation to do "stuff" also got covered up. Somehow that snow blanket whispered to me to rest. Somehow that snow blanket let me feel a bit like a bear. I hibernated. I stayed in my house. I read stories, watched stories , rested, cooked, rested some more.

I can't control when the next nature-induced hibernation will come but when it does, I will fully embrace it. Maybe a snowstorm is mother-nature's way of playing peek-a-boo with us, allowing us to close our eyes and rest. Then, when the white blanket melts away, we smile widely, just as the baby in the peek-a-boo game does, feeling refreshed and motivated to return to our busy, routined lives.