Sunny Day Gratitude. #poetry

(C) 2021

Thank you, Lord, for the ability to sleep
And wake to a beautiful day
I learned not to fret that yesterday was gray,
I took care of business and rested,
So today I could play.
Thank you for the daily chance to make a difference and show love
In what I do or say.
I may not be a hero, but help me be present, a loving mainstay
Even when I don’t know the logic in your ways.

Weekend Coffee Share, Gone to the Dogs!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, on a quiet morning that touches us lightly with a little sunshine and very little humidity. Sixty-five degrees on a morning in Northeast Florida is truly a blessing. My drink of choice is Half-caff hazelnut coffee, and Miles Davis plays in the background in my home ‘cafe.’

We are dog-sitting this weekend. Lucy, a small, energetic curly-haired dog runs around with Bixby and then sits at my feet. Bixby is not sure what’s going on. He’s used to being top-dog, the only dog. My mother is still sleeping, and he has gone back to snuggle with her. A dog for everyone! Who wouldn’t enjoy that? Just a rhetorical question.

Morning outing in the yard.

The sunshine on the house is quite lovely, and Bixby’s fluffy tail frequently expresses his enthusiasm! The dog situation this weekend is a bright spot for me. Instead of looking to the skies and wondering why, I am looking down to the ground at the creatures that were put in our care by the creator to keep us company and make us focus on living. That’s what they do, and so should we.

Dogs are exceptional companions, that’s why they make great emotional support animals. Bixby helps remind me that one does not always need to act their age, and that it is always helpful and appropriate to sniff the air on a beautiful day! It helps me forget my worries, such as why my son is not speaking to me, why my relationship went south, why so much change had to happen at once.

In fact, this Mother’s Day was the first one in which my son was not present. He is not speaking to me. My ex-husband was supposed to bring him to a restaurant and we’d all have dinner, but instead it was my ex-husband treating my mom and me to dinner with much conversation centered around my son. Not all of it though. He seemed to sensed the talk was bringing me down and changed the topic. I took Mom to the restaurant early to have a drink at the bar, though, and she enjoyed that. She likes being social.

Me and my mom, 2021. ❤

I’d have to say, though, that my Mother’s day was nice if I don’t factor in the missing element. Then, this past week at work just grew to be so stressful. It’s the end of the year, teachers are worried about testing, and the kids have the Spring fever. Ugh. So, the dogs are nice company today, and I had a nice dinner last night with an ex-boyfriend from years ago. We had kept in touch through e-mail, and I contacted him recently about all I had going on and suggested we meet-up because I always found him easy to talk to. He agreed to meet.

When one does this, it could mean let’s start a friendship again, let’s have fun, or even more. One does not have to dwell on ‘what it means’ though. We were able to talk quite easily, and that is good. We haven’t seen each other in twenty years. While I am not looking to jump into a relationship, I know when I find someone easy to talk to that I value their time. Along with female friends, I do have male friends that I talk to these days, but I don’t see them as anything but friends. I am going to give myself some space to be my own person. Reaching out though, is one thing I am getting good at. He asked lots of questions and I went through my stories while he listened.

It’s always good to have a friend who listens. It is much better to spend time with someone who knows some of your quirks as well as qualities. This is why I take this kind of chance. Hanging out with members of the opposite sex, or dating after a break-up (this time from an 11-year relationship), can cause anxiety in itself. Sometimes I have felt like I should just spend all my time with the dog and my female teacher friends and just forget socializing with the opposite sex.

In telling my stories, I found that I would lose train of thought a lot, and forget what I was talking about. My short-term memory at times seems affected in that way, and I wonder if my anxiety has caused that or if, as the doctor said, I have ADHD. If so, that means I suddenly developed it in the last few years, or it could be the brain-fog women get as they move up in the years. Ah, something else to worry about? I should just laugh it off. With my students, I sometimes call myself the absent-minded professor.

I can remember conversations from twenty years ago and moments from my childhood, but in a busy classroom or while conversing in a crowded restaurant, I can forget what I was just talking about. So, I have not lost my memory, it’s just a short-term memory thing. As I tell my students, sometimes very intelligent people can forget things, or….”I have an awful lot in my mind, sometimes something won’t take hold.” 🙂 Not making excuses at all. Repetition helps memory. I tell them that as well. It’s all part of the evolving me, no problem. I still think I’m alright. I have a lot less shame and self-judgment which leaves a lot more room for honesty.

All of this sort of fits in with my ongoing novel about Ellie, my on and off work-in-progress, as I have been more focused on working on me lately. Ellie’s story lives on, though, and is developing with everything I learn. She is not me, but I am a part of her. It’s gonna be great. 🙂

Thanks for visiting my ‘cafe’ for a coffee chat. Weekend Coffee Share is hosted every weekend by Natalie the Explorer. Have a great weekend!

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.

Weekend Coffee Share, from a Safe Distance, of Course….

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  If nothing else, we can keep in touch online, sharing a cyber latte, tea, or whatever you like!

I just came back from the Auto Shop where I was watching my son change my battery. He works there, and texted to tell me it wasn’t too busy.  Man, time flies! Photo circa, 2018.  I am quite proud of how well he is doing, learning to be an adult.  He asked me how my day was going and opened the door for me.  I guess I raised him right!  Friday night, I went with him to the Mexican restaurant down the street, an upbeat placed called One Night Taco Stand.  We enjoyed it and ordered a drink.  I felt so brave being out in this time of much fear of other people.  Now, however, I am thinking a lot about my 77-year-old mother and her health and safety.  The three of us all live together, and I’d hate to bring a virus home to her.  So, I am not going much of anywhere today.  I’m editing a book and reading a good bit.  I wrote a flash fiction response to the Ragtag Community’s Daily word prompt.  Click here to give it a quick read:  Isolate (Flash Fiction)

Having sat outside with the dog for 10 minutes in the sun, I’ve been back indoors other than driving out to the Auto shop.  I also had signed up for an online course in Mindfulness and started some of those modules today.  It is something I enjoy learning about that is also very good for me, helping me to not be too worried or anxious during this world’s events.  I’ll do more of that and the editing this week, since public schools have an extended Spring Break for two weeks now.  Above, I am sporting what is now called Quarantinehair.  Yes, there is actually a hashtag for it, found on Instagram. It is quite an easy ‘do, no brush!

Have a good week, my friends.  Do not stress too much, but stay healthy and safe!

P is for Photographs. #AtoZChallenge

 

Photos of my son and me, from 1996 to 2008.

This nostalgic interlude is brought to you by my son’s 21st birthday.  While I am unsure if he’d want me to plaster recent photos of him across the internet, I feel it’s safe to post photos of him from when he was practically another person, a child.  Now, he is a young adult, and today is his 21st birthday, so as a mom, I reserve the right to wax nostalgic.  While it wasn’t always easy, there are some wonderful memories here.

Happy birthday to my son!  May there be many more!  Love, Mom

**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

O is for Ocean. #AtoZChallenge

AustenBeachBird19thIMG_0169

*I own the rights to this photo.

This photo was taken in April of 2015.  My son walks on the beach with a bird fluttering behind him.  He has had a wonderful love and curiosity of birds through childhood.  I have many pictures documenting that!  The ocean has been a common ground for us, even through his tumultuous teens.  It has always been a place of peace.  We spent a day at the beach on this particular weekend surrounding his 19th birthday.  While most teens might prefer partying with their friends, he is a quiet fellow, and he loved this.

img_0284.jpg  Digging on a beach in St. Petersburg, Fla. 2007. Note the chubby cheeks of childhood.  🙂

I used to take him to the ocean quite regularly at certain times of our life.  It is not as frequent lately since we live a little further away and I don’t enjoy long drives, not to mention, my life is packed full of work, volunteer activities, and writing goals.  But I still make it a point to get there over the summer.  It is the first acknowledgment for me that summer is here and it is time to relax.

Coincidentally, it is my son’s birthday again tomorrow.  So far, the only plans are to take him to a Brazilian Steakhouse.  He is turning 21.  I am praying for sound decisions now that he is going to be legal.  I also need to make a beach appointment with him soon!

Sunrise524403_3714407267762_133138129_n

2006 Sunrise beach visit.  Always a special time!  Note the birds in the background.  🙂

**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

The stamped, addressed envelope

 

IMG_0163

5-26-16:  I just put it in the mail today, and I had struggled over the decision to fax it or not.  The deciding factor was that I would not have to explain to anyone what I was sending, would not risk them seeing what I was sending, had I gone to a Kinko’s or faxed it from my work office.  It would bring up my awkward, conflicted thoughts.  Now it may take longer, but it’s so much easier to lick the envelope, seal it and stamp it, and then send it  without a word to anyone.  I won’t have to hide these feelings when I stand in awkward silence, or feel I have to try to explain to someone that I am letting go of a dream.

I just sent the notice to cancel my son’s college fund, and to get a refund on the remaining amount.  At first, it was a glorious feeling, knowing I’d have that money coming in to pay for a summer vacation, and to fund my summer of doing nothing but writing, promoting my writing, and doing other enjoyable things.  It was a relief.  But the reality of sealing and stamping the envelope just brought up these conflicted feelings.  You see, it made me look back.  Back at how he loved going to the college campus but would not keep up with his studies, and the frightening alcohol overdose that landed him into the E.R and into a downward spiraling depression during that first term of college.   This was on top of some of the problems he was already having.  Of course, he withdrew, and didn’t do much, until, a year later, he tried college again.  He struggled in his classes and could not keep up again, told me I was not helping him enough, then told me to leave him alone when I tried to help.  I’d already decided I would not pay for a tutor.  I had done that through his high school years.  The college fund that paid for his tuition was opened by me when he was an infant and I made payments for 18 years.  It was hard to look at him losing a grasp on that dream I had for him.  It was sad as well, because he really enjoyed the open campus and just being there.  After dropping out, he once again, was not doing much, and appeared to feel lousy about himself for a while.

Enter the job opportunity.  A friend of the family helped him get a full-time job.  It earns entry level pay, but there are opportunities for advancement and technical training.  He is doing some really hard dirty work and is enjoying it.  He never complains! I’m amazed.  Recently, I decided to accept that he wasn’t going to college, and to cash in the college fund, depositing it into a retirement account.  Well, it makes sense to set some aside for this unemployed summer that I am about to enter.  I really do need a rest, but not only that, I really do want to continue writing and drumming up interest for my work, because that encourages me to write more.  You may have figured out that writing is my passion.

It took me a couple of days to mail this thing, but, I guess, I am using it to pursue my dreams.  Some of it will go into my retirement account.  I’m trying to feel better about this again.  It is not only going to help me pursue my dreams,  it also represents my letting go, as hard as this is, a dream I constructed for someone else, someone who needs the freedom to construct his own dreams.

There are so many different ways to let go.  Ways we have to let go.  The final step in this scenario was for me to let that stuffed envelope go that I’ve been holding onto for days.  There is really no way we can foresee the future for our children, or the roads they will take.  But we can have faith, that it will be a blessed path, where every misstep leads to wisdom, laughter, or important lessons learned.

AustenBabyAndMe.96.16841_1312867349399_3054698_n  1996.  Loved then, still loved now. ❤

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