Weekend Coffee Share. Cafe Music and Pre-Springtime State of Mind

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! The sun is shining through the window blinds on this crisp morning, and the cafe is the place to be! My ‘cafe’ is currently playing songs by Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, and there’s a click of my dog moving about on the floor until he settles at my feet again. It all sounds heavenly to me. I haven’t “hung out” in a real cafe in quite some time. So, I’ve created my own. We’ll converse virtually.

It’s a coffee drinking day! I have abstained from coffee for the last four days, due to my desire for better sleep and less anxiety or stress tension. I don’t think coffee is the whole problem, but I promised myself I would drink the green matcha tea more often, as it fuels me enough and is supposedly healthier. Still, this is my reward today, since I slept great last night and actually, most nights this week. Coffee goes so well with Simone’s “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” Piano and/or horns and a sultry voice just bring Spring closer to my heart.

Spring is scratching on our car windows, flirtatiously telling us she is near. “Be ready,” she calls. A rainy week has washed a lot of pollen off of our cars and into the streets. Florida is confused, but heck, that is nothing new. Having lived here since I was eight (with an 8 month misled venture out to OK for the sake of love), I’m used to it. Last night it got close to the thirties but our Florida sun is brightening this day.

I went along, day after day this week with a number of gray, rainy days. Having Monday off was great. Wednesday after school I had the Newspaper Club meeting. We accomplished a lot, I believe! Some are unsure of themselves with writing, so I pair them up, and it has helped. I am trying to make it a welcome place for anyone to find their voice. This was the third week. On the evenings after Newspaper Club, I am pretty tired. I get to bed and fall asleep with ease, and if I wake up in the middle of the night, I get right to sleep. It is good work, something that I am enthused about and that is turning out to be really good for me.

It’s becoming clear to me that I write a lot about my struggles. That’s because I am human. When I am honest with others about that, they are more honest with me. Add to that fact that, my struggles that I’ve overcome are a part of who I am. In my everyday life, I am teaching students who need to feel comfortable expressing themselves in my classroom, so I believe this is beneficial.

Keeping things in or hiding things about ourselves is difficult, too difficult. It results in us alienating ourselves; I know, because I did this drastically four years ago, when my son went through a really hard time with emotions and mind issues after a car accident and head injury. I felt like a failure as a parent. There were struggles he had with himself and that I had with him in the household. I kept so much bottled inside and felt really depressed since I was bottling up the stress. Not very healthy.

Glad that I’m beyond that, I have a few close friends that I can confide in. His struggles are much better, and he has held down a job for two years. I see that I wrote a lot about my stresses back then as well, and that’s a good thing. It helped me to hang on.

Having gone through the shoulder injury last year and educating myself on dealing with arthritis pain has helped me acquire healthier habits. There is a true link between anxiety, body tension, and pain. I’m still working on all of it.

Writing is sporadic, but I will not give up. Perhaps I will move more into autobiographical writing. Journaling is a more frequent process for me in “getting things out.” Blogging is a sort of journaling. It’s all good.

The sunshine outside my windows is representing my current state of mind. I’ve gotten through many things recently, COVID fear being part of them, and I just don’t feel as fearful anymore. Sitting at home in the computer chair all day is not an option! I can do this. You’ve likely heard me say that before. 🙂

**Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly bloggers’ feature that many across the globe have joined. Search for or use the hashtag #weekendcoffeeshare and tell me about your cafe of choice and the goings on in your part of the world. Have a great week!

Hurricane Haiku while Hunkering down…#hurricanematthew, Poetry and Reflection

As it gets closer,
Wind gusts, growing more steady.
Hurricane Matthew.

One must admit, Nature can be beautiful, even when it is fearsome.  I videotaped the breezes and wind gusts the morning of our expected hit date by Hurricane Matthew.  The breezes were beautiful and enthralling at this point.  However, they are to be feared.  Reporters and news reporters kept reminding us to “hunker down.”  It was a Category 4.

I had said that I didn’t want this storm to be anything worth writing about.  I recently shared a poem with my classes about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.  No one wants to go through that.  I did not want a life or death situation.  I did not get one.  Luckily, the storm downgraded to a category 3.  The worst we had personally was a power outage, and a tin roof from my neighbor’s dog house flying into our backyard.  I survived said power outage by reading with a flashlight.  James Patterson is entertaining no matter what goes on around you.

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Some neighborhoods did not fare as well, as old trees were knocked down or uprooted, blocking roads or hitting houses.  This tree and road blockage was surveyed the day after the storm came through.  Residents of the beach area, 20 miles away, had to evacuate, as it became flooded out.  I feel fortunate not to worry about such a thing as flooding, and am very relieved no trees damaged our house.  A tree was felled at the front of our neighborhood but was cleared away by the time I ventured out.

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Trees with shallow roots did not stand a chance.  Shown below, is a tree near the front of my neighborhood, already trimmed to make our entrance and exit possible.

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I am heartbroken, however, by the death of a friend of our family, a church member who had taken us under his wing, mentored my son, and helped him get his first job.  It was reported that he tried to cover up his roof during the storm.  It had been damaged by a tree, and while on the ladder, he fell.  I believe he was approximately 70.  He lost balance and fell, most likely because of those wind gusts.  He later passed away in the hospital.  Why did it have to be him?  Sometimes it appears these things happen by random, to good people who didn’t deserve it.  I can’t question it much more because I can’t find the answer.  He will be remembered and missed, God rest his soul.

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I truly will miss Bob’s smile and his hugs.

Echoes of My Neighborhood, October Entry. Widening the Radius

A neighborhood with trees such as these, is a beautiful one indeed….

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How far does your neighborhood reach?  On this beautiful October day, October 2nd, I got to experience a larger neighborhood reach.  Today I walked with some members of my church in the Cropwalk, a yearly event that raises funds and spreads awareness to stop hunger in other countries and in our local neighborhoods through an organization called Church World Service.

I live in a side of my town called Mandarin.  My church is located in Lakewood and is called Lakewood Presbyterian.*  (It is only a ten-minute drive for me when there is no traffic).  There’s a small area beyond that called Miramar, and then there’s San Marco, a beautiful historic area.  Our walk began in a church in San Marco, still, probably just a ten-minute drive from my church on a pleasant Sunday.  Simply an extension of my own neighborhood!  Never mind that the homes are a bit more expensive.  The land is a little more valuable, considering many of them have riverfront property and easy access for a boat entrance.  I just love our river.  Maybe you can tell, I also love these old, moss-filled trees.

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The weather has been a lot less humid lately, but the temperatures seemed to be pretty high anyway.  Another reason one would enjoy such lovely trees along the roadway!  I was so thankful for their coverage as we continued our walk.

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As we headed back to our starting point at South Jacksonville Presbyterian, I was amazed at what a perfect backdrop the clouds made.

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Later, when I’d been back at home in my little neighborhood again, they peaked at me during sunset while I took the dog on his walk. I caught just the last glimmer of pink.

So, I suppose I widened the radius of my neighborhood quite a bit in this entry.  I’ve done that before, have you noticed?  It’s all part of my neighborhood, my world, my home.  Our church service today reflected on World Communion Sunday and the fact that we are all neighbors.  Perhaps these same clouds drifted past you in your neck of the woods.  I hope so; they were perfect.

It was such a lovely day, and I look back on it peacefully now, as my city is in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.  I truly hope I won’t have any outlandish stories to tell about it.  I prefer to be the author of outlandish fiction, thank you very much.  Please pray for us!

“Echoes of My Neighborhood” is a weekly blog challenge started by Jacqueline Obyikocha at her blog, A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales.  One of her recent entries can be found at http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/2016/10/06/random-snaps-of-my-neighbourhood/ and illustrates her life in Dubai quite well!  Go and give it a look!

Having participated regularly over the summer in this blog challenge, I will try to join in every few weeks, or monthly, now that I’m back at work.  I am hoping my brief entry here has shown a little of what life is like in Northern Florida with the river, the sunshine, the Spanish Moss.  It all comes together to paint a lovely picture.

*Lakewood Presbyterian in Jacksonville’s website is lpcjax.org. If you are in the area, please give it a look!