1. Taking solo walks in the early morning hours is a fabulous way to start the day. Talking to myself out loud. Telling myself all the things I wish someone else would say, but since no one else will, I'll say it all myself. Reviewing last night's dreams. Planning out the day. Listening to the birds. Watching leaves fall. Feeling autumn's chill and summer's last licks. Looking for turtles in the two ponds I pass. Hoping and praying not to run into any snakes.
2. Laughter makes me happy. Seems like an obvious thing. But when I'm sad or feeling sorry for myself, a good story well told cracks me open - which allows sadness to pour out and light to pour in. Thanks for picking up not only the phone, but also my spirits, Amy.
3. I am about to finish one journal and start another. The one I'm going to begin is the last of a case of 24 journals I bought in Madrid back in May of 2005, when I was there with the children for a month-long field trip. Early in our time there the proprietor of the lovely stationery story around the block from our apartment sold me two of this model that he had on hand, and I fell in love with them almost instantly. A few days later, I asked him how many he had in stock; he had none, but offered to order me a case. There were 3 or 4 journals in each of our suitcases when we returned home in early June. I used all the others in the subsequent three years and saved this one for more than two and a half years. I'm not sure why I held onto it, but today I decided to stop saving the best for some indeterminate future time. I'm using my best stuff now.
4. Last week, I read Karen Maezen Miller's Hand Wash Cold. Fabulous book. Too many lessons to name here. But one that stands out in my mind is the one that made #3 on this list possible: use the best stuff now. this is the only moment i've got. this load of laundry, this sinkful of dishes, this doggie walk, this kitchen counter cleaned up - this is my life, the only life i've got. all my hopes and dreams and fantasies have to be lived out here and now. right here. right now. Thanks, Karen, for a mind-bending and soul-shifting book.
5. Taking trips with each child is another fantastic idea. I first heard of it from Judy Heins - who is my hero in more ways than she can possible imagine. More than ten years ago, she told me about the family tradition she and her husband had of taking solo trips with each of their children.
One week ago tonight, I was in Augusta, Georgia with my son at a Labor Day weekend tennis tournament. His record at the end of the weekend was 6-3, and he came home with a 2nd place trophy for doubles.
Two nights ago right now, I was in Raleigh, North Carolina with my daughter attending a conference called Big Tent Christianity - which blew my mind in more ways that I can name here.
Thanks, Kristiana and Daniel. You are awesome kids. I couldn't be a mom without you.
6. Starting the new homeschooling year has been challenging. Books, assignments, taking notes, online classes, Mom-taught classes, mechanical pencils, calculators, trips to the library, tears, fears, and way too much anxiety. None of us wanted to start up again, least of all me! The good news is that this is the last year they will be homeschooled together as Kristiana is a senior this year. The bad news is that this is the last year they will be homeschooled together as Kristiana is a senior this year. We are all growing up, most of all me!
7. Until recently, the morning walk from my bed to my study or the bathroom was accompanied by the sounds of my ankles and knees snapping, crackling, and popping. Then a dear friend's gorgeous daughter, newly certified as a personal trainer, taught me the right way to stretch after I exercise. The key, it turns out, is to hold each stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds. The longer, the better. Now my morning strolls are delightfully quiet. No one can hear me sneaking downstairs to head out for my morning walks anymore. Thanks, Beka. My formerly aching joints thank you as well.
8. It's okay to not respond to sarcastic remarks, even when the person who says them assures me that it's all in jest, only a joke, and that if I am offended, it's because I'm altogether too sensitive. Today I was informed that any energy spent on protecting or defending myself or my actions or my decisions against such behavior is wasted energy. Thanks, Sheila.
9. I can be happy come hell or high water, in silent times or in noisy times, for richer or for poorer, together or apart, with or without anyone else's affirmation. I can be my own superhero. I can be the queen of my own castle. Yes, I can. Yes, I can. Thanks, Jen and Andrea.
10. There is something mildly shocking, more than a little disarming, and strangely liberating about taking nude photos of myself, looking closely at them, and recognizing that I'm not bad looking despite my advanced age of 44 years and having given birth to two large babies a few years back. I had no idea how differently I would appear in the photographs than I do when looking in a mirror. Not sure what to attribute that to...
11. It is no longer Friday night, but rather early on Saturday morning. I need to get some sleep. I thank my bed in advance for its comforting embrace and warm welcome.