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"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe


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Friday’s Five-May 22, 2020

I have lost count of the days I’ve been home lately. At some point, I’ll look back at a calendar or journal entry and know the exact number. Sometime in March though…so definitely a couple months, give or take a day or two.

I looked out today and started thinking about what I have added to my space during these days. What five things could I list? Which five things are items that bring me happiness and are things I might not have purchased in my pre-covid life?

1) cast iron skillet—-a little luxury that I’ve made excellent use of already—-more time to cook and cook well. It is also a nod to nostalgia—my family cooked a lot with cast iron as I grew up. If you like home cooking, there is a terrific lady named Brenda Gantt that you can look up for easy home cooking tips. She uses cast iron all the time.

2) an extra hummingbird feeder and two shepherd hooks—-happy hummingbirds already bringing me smiles as I watch them dart to and fro. Most springs get away without me getting feeders ready, but this spring it’s routine to clean feeders and refill the nectar. I love looking out of each window in my home and knowing there is some new item: feeder/plant/color to view.

3) double embroidery hoop with stand—-getting more hand stitch time in these days…a welcome diversion from the stream of news. The luxury of not having to grip a hoop while sewing means I can spend more time doing the stitches on bigger projects.

4) zinnias and tomatoes and herbs—-things to plant and nurture and watch grow…things to care for during these days. Yeah, I likely would have bought flowers…but it is fun to try new ones and see what I can help thrive.

5) maybe the best item: extra SD cards for my 35 mm camera. This was one of my first covid purchases…I hadn’t used that camera since my last big vacation, and all the cards were full. It’s been a welcome activity to sit and watch things in nature and capture them on film.

What about you? What good things have become part of your days lately? Tangible or not, it’s good practice to think of the good things. Celebrate the little things they bring joy to the days.

Stay safe and well, dear reader. Surround yourself with good thoughts and good things. 🦋


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Friday’s Five—May 15, 2020

Hello, dear reader…

I hope you are well. I hope you are safe.

I hope that when you might start to think too much about these coronavirus days, some new and hopeful thought can wriggle in to keep you moving forward.

These are things that moved me forward this week:

…a new routine materialized in my morning writing. (This happens quite often…don’t be impressed. 🤣😅) However, a new schedule that I succeeded with today (yes, just today) gives me a sense of accomplishment. I guess I’ll keep trying new ways of moving through the days until I find the right one. ✅

…a friend who sends podcasts. We have similar tastes in our love for nature and poetry, and she seems to find the one that speaks to what we need on a certain day. Listening isn’t my best attribute, so this gives me a challenge and I have been rewarded each time with some new insight. ✅

…water. I offered some to a delivery man this week. You would have thought I had given him a thousand dollars. His gratefulness made me realize how little we have to do to make someone really happy, and how surprising to make such a difference without leaving my front yard. ✅

…a look back. Now and then, it is good to stop and reflect on all the ways our lives have unfolded through the years. Surely we all have a few places along the way where we thought What is this??? Yet, here we are. Past it. Stronger. Smarter. Determined. Remember: we only have to do this one day at a time. ✅

…a look toward the future. Join me in picturing yourself sometime in the future in your favorite place (or a new place). You might be smiling. Laughing. Embracing someone special. Toasting to some new wonderful event. You’re safe. Well. All the people you love are, too. That day you’ll realize you made it. Picture it. Think about it, even for one minute a day. There is power in visualizing what we want. ✅

I’d love to hear that you’re doing well. Take care of yourself during these days. Keep looking for the good…sometimes it comes through the simplest, sweetest means. ✅


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Friday’s Five—May 8, 2020: Moms Get a Turn This Week

My sis and I were talking earlier this week and she mentioned a beautiful crystal vase our mom had given her years ago. Isn’t it funny how some objects carry so much meaning? I hope she will fill that vase with flowers this weekend to honor a truly good mother AND her own good mothering self as well.

I’m planning to make biscuits tomorrow, and I’ll use a pottery bowl with navy hearts on it. My mom bought that bowl for me over thirty years ago. It was really too expensive at the time, but she bought it for me anyway. It’s seen a lot of good use. I’ll feel her spirit with me when I make those biscuits. I’ll wish I could sit with her and share one or two.

Vases, bowls—-those outward objects that represent people/times/moments. Outward gifts to be grateful for of course, but maybe your mom gave you some not so tangible gifts. Maybe you’ll think about those this weekend. Maybe you’ll hear her voice. Maybe you’ll feel blessed or grateful or loved.

During these hard days especially, I think of my mother and how she’d react to this pandemic.

Honestly, she would be worried, but she would also fill her days with prayer and good works. She would laugh a lot and make us laugh. She would call us to encourage us. She would look forward in hope. She would cook or later in life, ask us to cook for her. She would envelope us in such a sense of well-being that we would feel better than we were. And she would say this:

Be good to yourself.

This was one of her favorite quotes from the book of Sirach. She probably said it when she bought that vase, that bowl. She already knew that when you are good to someone else, you are also good to your own self. Amazing how she continues to teach me, years later.

Thanks mom. I’m surely grateful I had you to love me.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear readers. Be good to yourself. It has an amazing effect. ❤️


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Friday’s Five—May 1, 2020

Let’s start with life. If you’re reading this, you’re still with us. Hallelujah… to praise that we are still here. Do you wake up grateful? I hope you do. ✅

Flowers along the roadside. Clover is coming on, some Queen Anne’s Lace, oxalis (even a white bloom variety!), and plenty of dandelions. Yeah, some folks don’t care for weeds, but if there is color, I count it as a good flower. And in this month of May, let’s try to pay attention to the color we are given —free bouquets to view daily. Maybe you’ll make a nature mandala? A honeysuckle crown? ✅

Something to do. I do not understand the word “bored”…so if you get that way, all I can say is … wow. Don’t you have a drawer to clean out? A car to wash? Heck…a window? 🧽 A book to read? Cookies to bake? Anything??????✅

Someone to cherish. I’m missing lots of someones these days. But I have words. I can text. Email. Skype. Call. Make contact virtually. So, in the time until it’s safer, I will think of creative ways to show love. I believe even Pope Francis encouraged the “creativity of love” early on in this pandemic. The reality is it is better to miss for awhile than for a lifetime. So suck it up and deal. ✅

Know-how. Sure, there are plenty of things I can’t do, but there are several that I CAN. Start listing them or ticking them off when you get slump-y. “Play those positive mental tapes” as a dear friend used to tell all her students. Advice that’s truer than true. ✅

I know there are marvelous things that are true about you, dear reader. I invite you to tell me anything at all…you probably won’t because…well…that’s how we often are…but I’d love to read something from your list.

Meantime…hang in there. We have made it through a full month (plus +++) of pandemic time. We have not liked it, but we have made it.

And we will keep making it and if we encourage one another, the walk will be not as hard, not as lonely, not as frightening.

So. Take care of somebody. Reach out to anyone this week. Do for them what you can. Carry on. ✅


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Friday’s Five —April 24, 2020

Five very good things from these past few days—

because if I have learned anything in my years here in this realm, it is this: there are beautiful gifts in front of us every day, but we must take a breath and slow down and pay attention.

1–my dear friend Kim enlisted her hubby to help, and they came to my house and created a raised bed garden for me. It has already been a daily delight for the grands and for me…such kindness and generosity. 🌱The bigger gift was paying attention when I mentioned I’d love to make one someday. How rare and sweet to be given an answer to a wish. 🌟 ( Listen to your people. Make a wish come true when you can. ❤️)

2-good music on the radio. As I write this post, NPR is playing a classical music segment. It’s calming. But this week I heard my fave song (Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd) in its entirety as I was driving—windows down, volume up. You know exactly what I mean, I hope. 🙌🏼 🎶 (Know the power of music to elevate your mood. Listen.)

3-cocktail hour with my sis. I kidded with her this week that we did long distance “virtual” cocktail hours before pandemic time made them cool. We are going on six plus years now—once a week and sometimes more—we settle in to create/chat/vent/sip, and I am always happy to hear her sweet voice. 🍷📱🍷 (Make extra “special”time for your loved ones.)

4-children’s laughter. Emma and Sofia are imaginative and happy and their voices reflect that, no matter what we are in the midst of…and this week, when I saw baby Clara, she smiled her slow sweet smile of recognition and then pushed her arms and legs out in what I translate as recognition of the love we already share. She “answers” with her own language and I answer with mine, knowing she already understands far more than people might think. 👶🏼 🥰 (Always talk with children at a higher level than you think they understand.)

5-poetry. It is National Poetry Month, and I’ve made a point to post a poem a day on social media. Usually, I create a project of some sort…this year, it’s a postcard project, which serves multiple purposes: it puts poetry into the world, lifts someone’s spirits, and supports our USPS. Will you join me in a grassroots effort to help our postal service? Will you send an extra piece of mail out once a week? (You have power to change things…use it well.) 🌟✅🧚🏻

Stay strong and well, dear readers. The world is in the midst of upheaval, but we carry on with our heads up and eyes open to the gifts around us. They are our strength. Remember. ❤️🌟🌟🌟


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Friday’s Five

Yes, I realize it is Saturday. 🙂

Somehow yesterday got away from me; even though my life has slowed down in so many ways, I did not manage to sit down and write this post. So, on a cool (for Texas) sunny afternoon I will share some grateful thoughts with you because late or not, I am dedicated to this practice of gratitude.

*cakes in mailboxes (My friend Paula recently delivered a warm lemon poppyseed cake as an afternoon surprise and belated birthday gift–delicious and maybe enjoyed even more, in some ways.) Proof of how we can lift people’s spirits in so many little ways.

*leftover cascarones (Well, just the shells)…multicolored evidence of the joy that transpired in my front driveway less than a week ago on a very different but still love- filled Easter Sunday…and a few hours of sunny time to celebrate between two thunderstorms. I still hear the laughter and squeals as two little girls chased their parents and me around, cracking the eggs and enjoying the time together.

* words from little ones on paper and in voice (Both older granddaughters are writing uppercase letters in their diaries, dictating notes to me, taking orders for food at their pretend drive thru/kitchen center.)Words on post its and scraps of paper fill the tables at my house. Lovely. The infant is not able to write yet, but she makes her needs known by crying if we pass by without interacting. She knows how to get our attention. She is learning from her sisters. “Up” requests Emma and “Come snuggle with me” says Sofia. I am happy to cooperate.

*seeds in cups (another thoughtful gift from Cindy)…one that continues to bring squeals of delight from all of us when we realize that tiny seeds do indeed sprout. Watching and tending to a plant is a valuable use of time.

*handknit socks (my sister Mary says I am one of the few she will knit for…well, lucky me.) If you are ever spoiled by hand knit socks, nothing else will seem to keep your feet quite as warm. Maybe that has something to do with the love used to make them. 🙂

So, there is my roundup of 5 good things from last week. There were many more, but these get the spotlight today.

Take good care of yourselves in these COVID/pandemic days. What are we in, dear readers? I ask that multiple times per day. And then I start looking for the good things to soothe my spirit. I hope you are able to find the good, too.

Be well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Friday’s Five on Good Friday

I know so many are missing ritual and routine today.

The one day of the liturgical year when everything is upended: no holy water in the fonts, no music, no consecration …is all the more real this year because a worldwide pandemic has us looking at shuttered church doors, emptied holy water fonts for fear of disease, and no communion.

No Good Friday services. At least not in person.

The questions about the future remain.

We are in mourning.

That is the base truth. We are mourning the present, and we are mourning the past. We are mourning the future that has not been revealed.

In the space between now and what is to be, I invite you to:

Take a quiet breath

Close your eyes

Listen for a familiar sound

Really hear it…

And in the space between hearing and accepting the new truth about our circumstances,

Be still.

You are not alone.

We are walking with you.

You do not have to know what to do next.

You only have to be present.

You survived the moment.

Survive the next one. The next one.

At some point, it will change. Until it does,

Stay in the moment. This space.

If your body says it’s tired, rest.

If your heart misses a friend, call him.

If you feel like crying or screaming, allow that to happen, too.

Stay home. Stay safe. I’m praying for our world.

Please join me.