Daily Tasks with Stories

dsc0904-704x1024We fill our days with so many events, activities and tasks. We hurry from place to place, from shopping to work to the coffee shop and back again. Even those of us who are retired can get caught up in the movement of the day. Do we listen? Do we hear and see the stories that are flying around us?

I love that flow of activity and the stimulation that being out and about provides to my thinking. There are voices, colors, sounds, animals and people who slip in and out of my thinking as I move from one place to the next.

Each of these places and people have stories to tell –

  • This morning sitting in the sun at the tea shop with an old friend – I was listening to her many stories of family, weddings and friends struggling.
  • A beautiful lady walks by in multi colored stretch pants and top – black at the edges with brilliant oranges, reds, greens and yellows creating a design all up and down her legs and arms – how marvelous!  What is her story? Where is she going with that coffee and wonderful outfit?
  • A quick drive to the doctors appointment left me wondering about the story of a young man in a wheel chair, unable to speak his mind but with eyes watching and alert – what stories are hiding in his thoughts?
  • From there I travel home for lunch where my husband has stories from his morning walk, work and coffee. There is always a story from the local coffee shop.
  • Then on to cardia rehab – a busy room of elderly people today with oxygen tanks or imagesgrandchildren watching – all with stories. One story started to slipped out as I was working with the hand weights – an older man asking for support on getting stronger so he did not have to use the walker in front of him. He was loaded down with a portable oxygen tank but looking to get moving – he references his work as a first responder in his younger days.

Stories – they are swimming in the air around us. We just need to take time to listen, hear and then find a quiet moment to reflect and write.

Time for writing stories – what stories did you hear today?

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Sit still and watch the rain

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It is a dark rainy morning in early September and I am now fully two weeks out from a heart attack. They fixed my heart! Right? I should be good to go but there is the small issue of the rest of my body and mind that are desperately trying to sort out what happened.

It is really odd to feel your heart on a physical and emotional level all at one time. The heart has been working since before we are born. It pumps away without stopping. We know it is there, we feel it and at times we even stop and count its beats but it is something else to fully understand the life it gives us.

Stop to think about the flow of blood through your body. Think about it – with each beat of your heart blood is running up to your brain and out to your limbs. It is carrying oxygen throughout your body. It is one amazing system that works without our even needing to pay attention. It just does its thing.

Well – it just does its thing until it doesn’t. This is when modern medicine steps in to help us out. It does this well. The body is repaired but the emotional body takes a bit longer to sort things out. One day you are walking long distances and the next day it seems almost impossible to make it around the block. One day you are scraping wall paper, running around town and the next you are sitting quietly watching the day go by as you breath deeply.

The switch in thinking is slow. I get up ready to move a book case for the painters or I start out for a walk and see a large hill looming in front of me and I stop. At first thought I am ready and going but then a slow bug says is your heart ready for this? I stop and realize the heart may be ready but the rest of me is not.

My muscles, as well as my heart muscle are still healing. My emotional muscles are also healing. A bit of fear rises up as I look at the hill or decided on what activity I can or cannot do. My heart attack did not happen during any activity, I was sleeping, and yet movement seems to trigger an emotional response – is this to much?!

What I know is it takes time – time for our bodies to heal, time for our emotions to catch up and heal as well. What I also know is how hard it is to be still when asked to heal.

So I am trying to take each day as it comes. Planning activities and events then cancelling them when I realize that I am not ready. The act of doing, doing anything, is hard right now. Doing is what I want more than anything. I am not a sitter but doing is what triggers fears, makes me tired and really is just a bit to much right now.

So I am grateful for the dark and raining morning. A morning ripe for reading, writing and sleeping. A morning that says sit still and watch the rain.

Posted in Reflection | 2 Comments

It’s Monday! What are you reading? fiction as always

imgresI joined the group of people reading Summerlost by Ally Condie.  This is a great middle school read with warmth, friendship loss, sadness and renewal. Condie has lots of young adult books out but this is the first I have heard of her. My head must have been under a rock since Ally is the author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010 plus there are sequels, CROSSED and REACHED.

Summerlost follows Cedar’s summer with her mother and brother Ben as they try to settle into the new life of a family of three – a family missing their father and one very important brother.  Condie slowly fills us in on the accident that has take the two family member away and the impact these people had on their lives. We see the world through Cedar’s reflections and actions as she steps back into the world of friends and activities.

Living in a small town for the summer Cedar befriends Leo and finds herself with a couple of jobs at the local theater festival and a town mystery. She develops from being shy and withdrawn to stepping up to support her friend in many ways. In the process of helping others Cedar also finds ways to help herself and in some way her family as well.

This is a quiet read with no magic, no real scary scenes or wild adventures but readers will find honesty, emotions and friendships are clear and present. This a great read to help students look at relationships and loss.

Posted in Book Review | 6 Comments

when life gets in the way

Ok so I really wanted to post today! I have a post started that is harder to write than I can do at 9:15 p.m. after a busy day. The detail that is needed to express what I am think is just to much right now. It is not that it is bad or hard, well kind of hard but it is a post with more emotional ties than I wish to step into now.

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This is the post I started last Tuesday night about 9:00 p.m. I never finished it – I was not able to focus after a few busy but nice days. I was unsettled but did not know why. I went to bed only to wake up about 11:00 p.m. hurting all over. I placed this pain to the rain, arthritis and stripping wallpaper the day before. Then returned to sleep only to wake up at 4:00 a.m. with neck pain, jaw pain and pain running down both arms and across my chest. A quick google to heart attack symptoms for woman and I knew I was in trouble.
s_129915We were at the hospital by 5:00 and by 10:15 I was admitted, resting, watching vital signs on the monitor and the new owner of a small stent in my heart. We were grateful before measure for a quick thinking and working team of doctors and nurses. I had all the right symptoms for heart attack but no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, and no high heart rate. I eat a good diet, am thin and exercise but have a family history that tells the story.

After three days in the hospital I am home watching my garden (I am told I can pick my tomatoes in the raised beds), reading, resting and trying to make sense of what happened.  A busy week of projects, plans and events all stopped, a small trip cancelled and plans for a large garden re do for the fall on hold. (My guess is spring is a great time to re do a garden.)

It is amazing how life can change in a moment. A moment we can’t see coming but there it is. We are taking it a day at a time. Slowly restarting our life – new medicine to take when I was taking nothing before, lots of doctors follow up appointments and rehab to get everything safely moving again.

It is a shock but after it all I can only say I am pleased to live in a city and country where help is not far away. A place where medicine this there (even at the high cost) when needed and where family and friends hold a safe place for me to heal.

I am grateful today because I am here.

 

 

Posted in Reflection | 10 Comments

It’s Monday! What are you reading? prison books

bk_allrise_140I am finishing my reading run of Prison books for middle graders. An odd topic for some but a topic that opens a new perspective for many students and adults alike. It also opens the door for students whose family setting is not what we use to call “normal.” The thing is I am not sure what a normal family is or is not.

Growing up my family life fit into the not normal range but it was very normal to me. It was a group of 4  – three kids and one adult. We lived in a small house, went to church, school, eat dinner, visited with friends. I had a hard time dealing with the idea that we were not normal. We did everything everyone else did we just didn’t have a Dad there.

In All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, by Leslie Connor, he also sees his life as normal. It is all he has ever known. He has family friends, his mom, he goes to school, and eats dinner with his family. It is just that his home is inside a prison. Not everyone sees that as normal.

Connor sets up a perfect comparison when Perry is moved out of the prison and into the home of his best friend. This new home does not seem normal to Perry. It does not have his Mom. It does not have is small bedroom or all the daily routines that he knows and loves. Perry feels as if he is now in his own Prison on the outside. His Mom is in prison and so is he. Just a prison on the outside.

As we follow Perry and his friend and now housemate, Zoey, through their school days and projects we learn more about his friends on the inside of the Prison. We learn who they really are compared to what people on the outside think of them. Connor helps us all see from a different point of view.

I have to admit I have not finished this book and am off to do so now but from where I sit now this would be a great read aloud. A book to talk about point of view, what is a family and why it is best not to assume things about the people around you.

A great read!  Check it out!

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It’s Monday! What are you reading? fantasy

imgresI tend to fall for certain authors and Jonathan Auxier is one of them. I read Peter Nimble and the Fantastic Eyes a year ago or so and didn’t love it at first but for some reason the character of Peter grew on me. I wanted to know about this orphan who had lost his eyes. I wanted to follow his wild tales across the seas. So when Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard came out I was on it.

I finally had time to read Sophie last week and fell in love all 51-qWHHpDiL._OU01__BG0,0,0,0_FMpng_AC_UL320_SR214,320_over again. My childhood love of magic and heroes came tumbling out. I spent many a happy evening reading.

Sophie is growing up in a book store and is a young bookmender. She has lost her mother and lives in a town that is preparing to burn all books of nonsense. This means all children’s books, and fiction. How could you not be hooked with that as a beginning?  Plus dear Peter Nimble arrives in the middle of the night. He brings a book that needs repairing but hold a magic power and possibly the answer to what really happened to Sophie’s mother. This is where we begin – a tale of strange animals, witches, magic, evil and books.

There is so much to share but it is much better to just find a cup of tea, a comfy chair and slide into the world of fantasy. It would make a great read aloud to start the year. You could but don’t really need to read Peter Nimble first. I would read one out loud and leave the other for the students to read and have fun with on their own.

The Night GardenerAuxier also published The Night Gardener in 2014.  I have heard good things about it so it is now on my TBR list. All of these would be a great October read with scary tales and spooky characters.

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Where do my plants come from?

I am one happy gardener and love picking up plants from friends and neighbors yards. I buy a few here and there and grow a few from seed as well. This is literally where they come from but my question has more to do with the history of plants. What is their origin? And what is there story?
Hot Fish Pepper

I never really thought about the origin of the plants in my garden until this week when I was looking up information on a hot pepper I am growing in my garden. This beautiful plant had a great story to tell if I was willing to do a bit of searching. I wrote about it over on my gardening blog – click here to get the story of Hot Fish Peppers.

I then began to wonder about other plants like the Black Pearl Pepper (Capsicum annuum). I found this beauty late last year in a city park. I started this ga_d2d10cfc5858bf98_spcmsplant from seed in the spring. My plant is not doing so well but will try again next year.

This plants history came right from the horticultural lab. It did not have a magical trip from somewhere in the world. It was developed by cross breeding of two cultivars and test growing for a few years.

Lisianthus

The Lisianthus has just started blooming in my small stone garden in the back yard. It has its roots as a prairie flower that comes from Mexico or the Texas area of the United States. The Lisianthus is often called the ‘poor man’s rose’, due to its striking similarity. This plant came to me by way of my neighbors extra seedlings that I stuck in the stone garden.

 

As I walk the garden and look at the flowers I realize that there are plants whose origins are from China, Turkey and the prairie of the United States.

sagepurple basilIf we start talking about the herbs like my basil, lavender, sage and oregano we are off on another journey to Asia or the Mediterranean.

Then there are the plants like the Black Eyed Susan’s (Rudbeckia) that are native to the plains here in the United States and yet have a great tale in Old English Poetry and there is also the Swedish connection in the name Rudbeckia coming from the scientist Olof Rudbeck the Elder and his son. You can read more about these tales at the American Meadows web site.black eyed susans

Who knew there was a whole world right in my garden with so many stories to tell!  What stories do you plants have to tell you?

Posted in gardens, Reflection | Tagged | 8 Comments