Weekend Coffee Share, Health: Body and Mind

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

It’s 9:59 a.m. here in Jacksonville, Florida and sitting at about 50 degrees. Nonetheless, our Florida sun is shining vigorously. My coffee is half-caff with almond milk and honey. Have whatever you like and join in the conversation!

Please excuse my bedhead, however. 🙂 I slept until 9:30 this morning. Sleep: what a glorious thing it is! There was a brief wake-up when I heard my son’s alarm and his shower running. I had to take the phone and knock on the bathroom door so he would make it stop; evidently I don’t know how. He was out the door and went to the gym. I returned to the world of dreams. I needed that sleep. Work has been hectic and life with my grown son at home has been taxing.

He’s moving out next week. This should be a good thing for my stress levels. However, he has been bullheaded and agitated leading up to this move. His move was at my request, though I thought he’d take a few months to save up. He won’t be far away, so that’s good. Still, he is increasingly irritated when I ask questions or give him reminders, as if he is offended and just can’t wait to get away from me. Well, I worry. I’ll have to give myself a number, and that is the number of times I’m allowed to contact him during the week. Only one or two, and I’ll have to stick to it, because I know it’s better for my own health and well-being. There have been too many near-misses, mishaps, ER visits and accidents that I have seen him through. You may be thinking, I see why you worry then. However, he’ll be twenty-five in two weeks. It is time for his next phase, and I can just hope he will step up and show more maturity with spending and responsibility to take care of himself.

I am one of those people who can get really tense, and I’ve been feeling that. It leads to more aches and pains, something I’m quite familiar with, having had several of my own injuries and in the last few years, having been diagnosed with arthritis and now, poly-arthritis. I was tested for RA and it came up negative, which is good. I’ve had my share of accidents and slips that may lead to recurring pain as well. I’ve read a lot about healing and dealing with emotions that may have surrounded an incident. I’m trying. I don’t think the pain is strictly emotional, but that these things react to each other. Part of my healing is likely dealing with past emotions and putting them in their place (which is a raging, burning dumpster that I will send off into a mysterious river by night).

My childhood emotions aside, and the numerous times of teen imbalance when I just fell off of stairs out of the blue aside, the first thing I remember is a car accident with my friend driving at age 20 when my head hit her windshield. I had no seatbelt on. I seemed okay, the paramedic said I looked catatonic, but no medical treatment. I made a little crack on her windshield.

When I was 24, living in Tulsa during my ill-fated engagement before my ill-fated marriage, I slipped and fell on my back on some ice. Also at this time, I caught a TV on my knee at work when a fellow salesman was trying to hook it up and it slipped out of the cabinet. I had gotten on my knees hoping to catch it with my hands and use my knee as backup. Stupid things we do in our youth, you know. My not reporting it was also stupid.

At age 25, I was married, and my husband was driving the car behind a foolish young girl who kept breaking. He sped to get in front of her. We had to stop in a long line of cars, but she just barreled into the back of us, and we had a ten car fender bender. I got x-rays and had physical therapy that time.

Let’s make a long story short, and I’ll sum it up with, a few more car accidents, one of them in 2016 setting off anxiety in me and possibly causing some lingering claustrophobia. Then, there’s the one my son was in that landed him in trauma and ICU for a few days with a head injury. I was not involved, but waiting in the ER with no word of his condition for a few hours and then hearing the details of the accident caused me to envision it all in my mind, and how it could have ended up differently. He suffers no recall of the actual accident to this day.

My sidekick and source of relaxation and play. Circa 2016

Until a few moments ago, I had written event by event, and then my laptop froze, forcing me to exit out and come back into WordPress to finish. I’ve lost a few paragraphs. Maybe it helped me to get it all out but would not have helped my readers. Suffice it to say, the physical injuries we sustain are not as harmful until we emotionally take them to heart. Our emotional reaction to our injuries can impede our healing. Dealing with our emotions can really aid our physical healing.

I’ve spent a few days this week starting my morning with morning meditations through the DARE app (for addressing anxiety) and Youtube videos of positive affirmations involving gratitude for everything that is wonderful. I had no idea my post today would seem as dark as it is, but sometimes you throw the bottle into the ocean and it goes its own way, goes with the tides, or takes a path determined by fate. I do see the need for more gratitude. I promise you I will soon write the post, as it is long overdue. Now I am trying to get motivated to get my exercise in today.

Thank you for bearing with me as the subject took a turn today. I suppose it’s what I needed to talk about. What are you going through? Perhaps some of you can relate to my struggles as of late. I am not fearful; I am making progress. There is hope in that! Have a great Easter weekend, and enjoy the holiday or the coming of Spring, whichever you celebrate.

The Words

The words that we hear

Influence the people we become.

There is no way around that as a child….

But then there is the process of becoming an adult,

And the moments of awakening you may be fortunate enough to reach.

You are influenced by the words you choose to let in, you influence the world with the words you send forth and share, and you may negate the power of any words aimed at you or nurture them in your heart and soul. Don’t grow and nurture the vitriolic words that bring you down.

Nurture in your heart the words that help you grow as a person, just like a flower grows toward the sunlight.

This thought comes to me on this Holy Week as we head toward Easter weekend, and I feel I’ve been neglecting my faith.

Perhaps a change is coming, or maybe this is just a phase. Hopefully, we are near the end of COVID’s rule over our lives, and I can get back to fellowship with my church friends instead of watching church or talking to heads on a screen when I actually choose to participate in Book Club. The fellowship sometimes feels two- dimensional in this era, but of course, that’s just me being like a stubborn child when my routine is upset and the things that I like change. So, I’ll ask forgiveness for that, but I will not judge myself for the way that I am.

The stories of the love of Jesus fed my childhood imagination. The judgment of my childhood church stifled my growth. Nonetheless, I am past that paradox and I hold the stories of Jesus dear.

On this Easter weekend, I feel it is helpful to think of what Jesus would do. He would live my troubled son no matter what. He’d work to get along with those who seem difficult to take. I don’t always feel up to it, but it’s worth a try.

I started today listening to a positive affirmations recording. It was an awesome start to my day. I don’t feel very churchy lately, but I am seeing the benefits of putting the right words in our mind. So I’m going to try to frame my life with words of gratitude.

That’s where I am this Easter, 2021.

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Business as Usual? Nope.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! I’m posting a little late, but I already got in my Saturday exercise. That’s a good excuse right? My drink is matcha green tea today, what’s yours?

Having had my exercise means I got some fresh air for at least 30 minutes, and it’s a nice, mild 70 degrees, so I’m dreaming, dreaming there’s a little bit more sunshine, and the world has returned to normal. Dreaming that I could be at an outdoor music festival today, smelling fried food, hearing loud echoes of the music of my choice while I sit back and lose track of time, feeling the rays of sun on my face.

But things have not gone back to normal. I’m teaching in the midst of a pandemic, sleeping horribly, and lacking focus to the effect that it’ll take 5 plus years to write another book, and I get so distracted when reading. I’m not my usual self. I still find things to laugh at, though. I’ve always been a survivor. How do I thrive through this, though?

1/20/21 My coworker & I in our pearls honoring the first female Vice President!

I’ve been trying to show more appreciation to those I love and to my friends and co-workers who lift my spirits. While being careful with teaching around kids, I’m trying to help start a new club at school. There are lots of sweet, awesome kids also in school during this pandemic, longing for the social-emotional connections they miss. While I want us all to be safe, I hope we don’t have to stay home again to do it.

I’ve been prepping all week for my yearly observation like it’s business as usual, and I’m feeling positive about it, because some kids still love to learn. I see some kids acting out at school, though. I hear the frustrations of new teachers, and I sometimes struggle to react positively. That’s where I’m at right now. Sometimes, dark or absurd humor helps.

Despite feeling a sort of writer’s block, I do write poems now and then in certain bursts of reaction. The most recent was in response to something I’m planning to teach next week. Please visit the post and read my short poem: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/01/18/day-and-night-poetry/

I love teaching poetry…one more thing to be positive about. Despite arthritis flaring up in my hand, I’ve been able to type this post. I was able to go over a mile this morning. Our nation had a peaceful Inauguration Day! Let’s focus on what’s good today. I hope you all are well, and taking any bad news that filters through in stride. Have a great weekend!

#WeekendCoffeeShare. What’s New?

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. Today, I drink green matcha tea, since I had coffee yesterday and experienced some bothersome sciatica. I started the matcha tea in an attempt to improve sleep and stress/anxiety reactions. I do think it helps in the long run, and I allow myself coffee 3 plus times a week. So now, I am experimenting to see if my nerves are calmer with the matcha tea, hoping that means I know one way to keep sciatica at bay. We shall see, right?

Bixby has had a haircut, and good timing, since it was 78 degrees yesterday here in Northeast Florida! It’s supposed to cool off again but won’t be below 40, so it’ll be fine.

The always-poofy tail! #pommix

On New Year’s resolutions

I always liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It is a great time to start over and look forward to a better year. I sort of did it differently this year. I’m reading and working on something called A Mindfulness for Beginners Journal. (That’s because, despite trying for fifteen years, I still suck at meditating, but I’ve accepted that some ideas that pop up at the wrong time could still be good ideas). Anyway, this journal gives recommendations on things or ways to ponder and disconnect from worry and the every-day grind. One suggestion was to think on an inspiring mantra, shut my eyes for a certain amount of time, and then write down the mantra or whatever variations occur to my mind.

Perhaps I was not narrow enough or focused enough (which I’m not), and I always break the rules with these ridiculous exercises; still, I will actually own it if I do it my way. I only call them ridiculous because I don’t do them exactly as they are prescribed. I’ll own that too. 🙂 Since mindfulness is a personal thing for all of us, don’t we need to access it in a way that works for us? I was writing each time something good popped into my head, thinking of the things I need to remind myself all throughout this coming year. Here’s what I have, in a quaint little graphic:

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”-quote by Amit Ray, from A MIndfulness for Beginners Journal

Yes, I am enough.

My running joke is that I take selfies merely to document the aging process. Believe what you want. 🙂

My gratitude today is for sleeping well last night, which is overall much better for my sciatica. They say practicing gratitude is a great way to stem off or fight anxiety, which I believe affects the nerve pain of sciatic. I will make it so. My belief is that, day after day, I can make a difference in this world while honoring my own needs and boundaries. I will make it so!

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for stopping by. I hope your life is wonderful, and I’d love to hear what you feel gratitude for during, and despite, this COVID pandemic.

Peace!

Weekend Coffee Share, Growth.

(c) 2020

When life suddenly

Becomes a field of thorns

Sticks to your barefooted soul

And pricks your composure,

Look for the wildflower.

Nourish it, feed it, focus on it,

And thank it for the experience.

Nurture the growing wildflowers in your life and in your heart. Don’t focus on the thorns; let them serve their purpose. Weekend Coffee Share, 11/22/20

Tired but still kicking. Looking for the positives wbile removing the thorns, to bring forth gratitude.This is all I can give today. I hope it inspires you. Have a great week and a happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Beach Meditation

No words to scream today,

But I am writing again, I have thoughts

As I meditate with each step, each noticing is my prayer of thanks:

For soreness in my legs, for water that reaches for my toes, for foamy surf that comes and goes

For soft sand caressing each step of my feet

A low radio playing a happy beat

For waves that invite and dare, crashing down every which way

And the slight trickle of sweat down my back as I turn when it’s time to walk away.

Weekend Coffee Share. I Feel Good!

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali!  My coffee is still brewing, please give me a moment….

Pull up a chair and grab a cup of whatever gets you going!  As I was saying, I feel good, I wasn’t sure that I would… However, I feel like I am slowly leaving the club of overthinkers, OCD sufferers, etc.  Intentionally; it has taken some work!  Sleep was spotty last night, but I woke up to drive my son to work feeling good about life.  Maybe it is just that all of the techniques I’ve been trying are finally coming together and working.  In fact, sleep is my main complaint right now, but I feel okay waking up.

In the last week, I have: *visited an orthopedic surgeon. No surgery recommended! I have frozen shoulder, and he’s suggesting a shot to the shoulder joint. It is now scheduled for next Tuesday. Maybe it’ll help me sleep better!

*Attended physical therapy twice. On Thursday, he moved me to more strength-building exercises, and I was quite sore the next day, but I still feel good about it! This can help keep me healthy. My plan is to stay active the rest of my life.

*Gone to the beach for a 35 min. walk with my son.  It was peaceful and awesome! First beach visit this summer; certainly not the last! I find walking on the beach to be very meditative, and it puts me in a state of gratitude.

*Written a little of my upcoming book, Ellie, the Time Traveler and edited my short story, Crossroads Diner #225.

Ellie60163761_2307068182890086_4478659740125102080_n Ellie is a mysterious character who surfaced in Undercurrents in Time and haunts the main character in Malachi, Ruse Master.

*Watched a FOUR and 1/2 HOUR school board meeting, whereby they decided to delay school start until 8/20 (It had been 8/10) and start with staggering the days for middle and high school, yet elementary gets 5 days of instruction.  Parents can opt for their kids to get fully online learning.  People have many differing opinions on this, but remember, kids in school are a hotbed of germs, and Florida is currently a hotbed for COVID-19. I myself have bought face shields, masks and scrubs that I can wash right on my return home.  I also plan to get tested for COVID weekly.  I hate that the meeting took so long; I had to sit for more than four hours straight with bated breath.  *sigh*  I just had to hear the decision.  It directly affects my life.

*Went to the chiropractor for my spine health and enjoyed the hydra-bed and EMS for neck and shoulder.  As you have probably inferred, it takes a village to straighten me out or to keep me straight!  But I am getting into a good frame of mind for a new school year that promises to be super-weird and possibly stress-inducing, and I feel great about myself!

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I am also fully convinced I can handle it all.  How was your week?  Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Weekend Coffee Share, A New Routine

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali.  I’ve got to say, my coffee is sooo good today!  Maybe I am just feeling a sense of gratitude, trying to make the best of strange times.  I am beset with a lot of changes, as most of you probably are, too.

I’m a 6th grade teacher switching to online teaching to keep with the times and the state protocols. I’ve done my best to find the positives. Here is an intro video I did in the spirit of optimism:

https://youtu.be/5lLWXmpEMt8

(Yes, I know, I touch my face too much, especially when I’m feeling warm, a not-so-strange phenomenon for a woman my age :)).

So, here are five things you can do with online learning (or teaching) that you could not have done in a classroom:

1. Clip your toenails during a lesson

2. Wear sunglasses and a hoodie while completing (or grading) assignments (Good for students or teachers)

3. Raid the refrigerator for snacks as you wait for a student to give an answer

4. Pet your dog or cat, or your pet snake for what it’s worth….

5. Wear pajama pants. Really, no one will know!

I am going to enjoy the dog access the most!  (He has appreciated me being home more).  Seriously, though, I have been missing seeing my students.  I have posted to my Class Dojo a few times this last week as we had a week added to our Spring Break.  Well, now we have three more weeks off of school (at least), and Monday we will be starting online learning.  Schools in some states are out for the rest of the school year, and state testing is canceled here in Florida.  So, I am looking forward to communicating with my students and their parents.  I just have to go easy on my arm and the mouse-clicking.  I will say, yesterday after my home workout for the arm and shoulder, it felt better, despite being on a long conference call and setting up my classes online.  There is hope!

Nature is buzzing around us, even though we are avoiding many things.  A lot of parks are closed; nature is unbothered.  Birds chirp when I wake to silence, as no cars are starting up this morning.  I read that pollution has reduced drastically in China, and Venice canals are much cleaner.  Yes, we can be a parasite on this Earth.  I won’t go doom and gloom, okay.  I love the sound of birds in the morning!  My dog is happy, and I will take him for a walk later.  The sun has been shining constantly.  We will be fine!  I had some down evenings of worry and despair, but that was five days ago.  My church book group had a Zoom meeting for our discussion Thursday and will have an online service Sunday, so I’m feeling more connected.  Maybe now that I have more purpose and will be teaching my kids again, I feel better.  I can make other people feel better, since I’ve been actively seeking to learn what I can to calm my anxiety. Instead of feeling alone, we should all take this time to reflect and learn to unplug.

relax-569318_1280 Pixabay photo.

I loaded an app for meditation called Insight Timer.  I really like it so far! The Curable app for chronic pain and Mind-Body issues also has great meditations.  I signed up for an online course on Mindfulness which will yield a certificate when done through New Skills Academy online.  There is a lot about meditation in there.  I am exercising with things I learned in physical therapy and also logging in to see virtual yoga and abs classes through my yoga studio which is closed currently.  All of this is keeping me healthy; heck, it is keeping me going!  We have many ways to stay connected.  Let’s practice them!

I have also finished editing my manuscript for the Malachi novel, which is focused on a young adult man taking an unusual job to make ends meet.  This job forces him to face his own ideas of right and wrong.  There is now formatting and a final proofing.  Maybe it will be out in a month? I will let you know!  Here is a preview of the cover:

MALACHI.RUSEMASTER.eBOOK

Malachi, Ruse Master is a young adult novel with hints of sci-fi, as it intersects with characters and some events in the Detours in Time series.  People of all ages should enjoy it, as it can take you back to your own identity struggles and clamoring for independence as a youth.  There is plenty of action and adventure, too. I will follow it with a novel devoted to Ellie, whom we have already seen as a child, a teen, and an old, demented woman.  She will intersect with Malachi in this novel and then have her own story in a novel to come out in 1-2 years.  Time is not linear, you know!

If you have read Detours in Time, you should read the follow-up, Undercurrents in Time, in which Malachi is first introduced. I have reduced it to .99 for the remainder of the month.  Find it here:    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DCCQS3N

Stay well, my friends.  Do the things you love or find new things to love doing.  Read books.  Ask your writer friends about their books.  Write a book!  Exercise indoors or in your backyard.  Stop and breathe the fresh air, and find a reason to laugh, with your family, with your dog, yourself, with your friends online.  We will survive!

 

Weekend Coffee Share. A Day Like Any Other, in a Beautiful World

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Iceland, the countryside, and me, circa 1972.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com

This is the post in which I celebrate, or bemoan in a humorous attempt, the addition of another candle on my birthday cake. I am now not as old as dirt, but officially older than dirt. 😉 It happened Weds., sandwiched in between Memorial day and the last day of school, two other things I like to enjoy.

This past Wednesday was a day like any other, except it was the day I celebrated having made another trip around the sun! As”trippy” as that sounds, it makes me feel better about being a year older. So, let’s look back. I was fortunate enough to live in five states before turning eight, thanks to Dad and his Navy career. The dissolution of Mom and Dad’s marriage ending up with her putting her feet down and not having us follow him to the next station after Jax. Such is life. I got schooled in school and then got truly educated in college; I am so greatful for that! I have lived in Jacksonville since age eight, and I’ve been married, pregnant, a mother, divorced, engaged, rebounded, freed. Raising my son was a whole other story, but I did it, all while engaging in a teaching career.

I have raised a son, mostly on my own, but I will acknowledge the help of my mother, my church, and my long-time boyfriend in helping him be part of a community and to learn things I couldn’t teach, like changing the oil or driving a car with a clutch. I know he appreciated that. My mom has been helpful at those times I needed to have a social life and my son couldn’t be left alone, and they were very close when he was younger, since Grandma never had to be the stern one or the disciplining figure in his life, but I’m sure there are many other reasons they had a special bond! I have seen him through some hard times and I hope I helped him out. He has grown a lot just in the years since he turned eighteen.

Then, to put the icing on the cake, or maybe to find my moorings and to not lose myself in the midst of a storm, I finally got a dog and published a fiction book. I am still publishing fiction books! This was part of fulfilling my bucket list, and I am so glad I stopped letting ‘life’ (read that as ‘survival’) get in the way. I started spending a little time now and then with an elderly church member who is in a home, which teaches me a lot about patience and attitude. The gratitude she gives me is humbling. To be honest, I didn’t know I would be doing that; it just struck me as something I should do when volunteers were enlisted. At any rate, here I am in life, not yet a millionaire and haven’t made it to Europe. That’s not bothering me yet. Well, I never did expect to be a millionaire. 😉

I am so much more accepting of myself now, yet I’m still a little bit enslaved to culture’s dictations on what is acceptable. Bralessness is still not accepted. Eyebrows are a must, and that can be a problem for women of a certain age. A pencil is no longer sufficient; now I must have an eyebrow kit. Yes, there is more than one step to ‘doing my eyebrows.’ In fact, I hate spending too much time getting ready in the morning, so most days now, I skip the eyeliner or eye makeup and consider having eyebrows to be my makeup. Plus, clear mascara goes a long way and doesn’t leave raccoon eyes after a day in the humidity of the good old Southeast, U.S.

If I look to my mother and how she has aged, then I have nothing to worry about! She is having fun and has made more friends this last five years than I have ever seen her enjoying. Too many years her life was just work and church, then work, church, and the internet. It’s great to see her enjoying life and aging well, and we still get to spend a good amount of time together. Life is good!

Books I’m Thankful for, 2018. #books

This was day 3 of “Books I’m Thankful for.” Daily, I’ve been mentioning a book that I am grateful for on social media as we go through this Thanksgiving week. I also encourage you to share yours! This is The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. If you have ever felt like a social misfit, you just may identify with Holden Caulfield. When I read this, I was 18, newly graduated, and a little cut-off from my high school social tribe. I can’t say I felt like he felt, or did the things he did, but I can tell you, what he was going through, I felt like I’d been through it before, right at about year 16 to 17.

Let me quote: “Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know.” When I read a book, sometimes the main character becomes just like a friend, and I am able to shut out the world around me. Some say the character Holden is a sick person. We’ve all been sick at one time or another. Some of us will tell no one. We may only tell parts of it to our friends, but here is a character who will tell you the whole story. I loved that.

Other books I’ve mentioned include: The Help, by Kate Sprockett, Little Women by Loiusa May Alcott, One Day My Soul Just Opened Up by Iyanla Vanzant, and Fish Out of Water, by Helen Palmer will likely be my finisher, as it is the first book my mom can recall ever reading to me, which also makes me very thankful!

 Inspirational reading by Iyanla Vanzant.

 The first book that helped me to love books.

I hope you all have an enjoyable, heart-warming Thanksgiving holiday and plenty of time to read a good book!