challenges

Just Disturbing

the threat. The hoax. The stir. The anxiety.  And everything in between. It was a late evening during a weekday and an email popped in from the school about a threat. One that was being worked by leadership. No worries just a heads up.
Then the text messages fly in. The social media posts hit. One of which is below. So many families opting out of school for safety. Some arriving late. What to do? Thankfully we had a preset dental appointment so we would miss the crazy of the morning.

9:30 we arrive at school with a tardy note in hand. It’s an unusual site. 6-7 cop cars and suvs representing various law enforcement. The sound above is actually a helicopter. What is going on? We pull into a spot to park in case we arrived during a lockdown.
We call a few families to see who is in school who is not. As we sit and adjust to the chaos we hear a boom! Maybe it was the echo of a dumpster slamming shut but it was all we needed to hear. After that boom, we immediately thought gunshot and left the parking without a moment to spare.
School could wait for the next day. My child was anxious. My child was unsure if school was safe. Heck I was like what just just happened. I wrote a note the next day to excuse her for being out of school. I was honest. I noted the above. It wasn’t excused. It wasn’t a valid reason. Are you kidding?
That day I’d say more than 70% of the school was out based on vehicles in the parking lot, parent confirmations and minimal traffic before and after school. Would you think the day should be excused? Would you have sent your child if you faced the scenario I did?
I have been scratching my head about this topic for weeks. I finally jotted down this post. There were many other crazy social media posts of concern. In the end I think what is this world coming to. I value each day and hope I never have to witness a mass shooting or catastrophe at a school. Although those are my wishes, I know deep down it’s possible especially in today’s climate.

author moments

Content

Writing is interesting. Sometimes I write in my journal. Sometimes I write on sticky notes. Sometimes it’s thoughts and ideas in my iPhone notepad. Often times I write in cards. Many times I write on my hand as a reminder. Then of course there is this blog. It’s all content of sorts. What is contained in the written document. But since I like words, I am ever so content with writing and the process involved in each step.

Many different forms of writing or typing. Many different moods or mindsets are involved when writing. Many different people, places and topic spur my interest to write. Some writings are for my eyes only. Some writings I share with my writing partner. Some just sit for future use. Some get published on this blog. Some are seeds planted for future books. As a story teller it’s important to share. The share part of writing is where it gets real.

When you are young you turn in your best writings for grades. Teacher marks it up for punctuation, grammar, and the key components such as a start, middle and end. Sometimes that feedback is received well, others not so much. It’s a learning process. As we age the task of writings are usually more defined. The polishing process takes place. Some go from good to great while others just get by.

As adults we write. We write notes to school for our kids. We write to do lists. We write emails. We write business letters or proposals. We might even be the one guiding younger writers in some way through teachings. The point is to write. Don’t lose sight of writing. It’s therapeutic in ways but it’s also communication.

Some people struggle to verbally express themselves. Maybe they lack courage or confidence for a face to face discussion. Taking pen to paper allows for drafting, revisions, thoughts, and think again scenarios. Words are powerful. Writing is documenting that power. I enjoy the reflection point of writing especially within this blog as well.

A time stamp. An evolution of where I was. What I was doing. Who was along for the journey. Who wasn’t. Many details. It also shows highs, lows, and everything in between in life. A brutally honest portayer from my line of sight. Feelings, emotions, celebrations, struggles, loss and so much more.

I would have never thought in my teens that I would enjoy writing the way I do now. Maybe it was a plan to write a book hatched years ago on a whim. Maybe it was a crazy pal who sparked the word passion in me. Maybe it was just what was meant to be.

For now I am here doing me. Writing away. Enjoying the time I spend to share my words with others. One day I may be a New York Times best seller or not. It doesn’t matter to me. That’s not my goal. My goal is to write. Whether I type or use pen to paper, I’m choosing to write for others.

A passion. A purpose. Unique to me. No teacher or professional can tell it’s good or bad. It’s mine, all mine. My artistry. My story. My evolution. My ink. My style. And boy does that style bend, flex, pivot, shift and rewind often. Never the same. Never dull. Always progressive. I’m documenting how one lives life to the fullest or the fullest in my eyes.

My content makes me content. Does that sink in with you? At 3am when I’m sleepless. At 3pm when I need a break from the daily hustle: freedom to write the content. Personal choice to post the content. 100 percent chance of being content with me and my writings.

Just a rant worth sharing on this chilly 5 am morning. As a fun tidbit to readers, this is a post I will future date. Sometime ahead. I’ll glance at it again to see if I have any additions or deletions. I may opt to postpone again if the timing doesn’t seem right. Nonetheless I will revisit this rant or story of mine and reflect on where my mind was when I was in this writing space. Just sharing some of the behind the scenes process that many would never think about.

Since you were thinking just now. How about asking yourself if you would be able to log the world and share you soul with a stranger? 

Enjoy your day.

adventure

It’s in the Details

A surprise picnic. The weather wasn’t great. We didn’t even really know the area. The option to hike it in would have been too much to carry.

A friend scouted a park with a pavilion. We wandered in tandem with the vague directions we had, then finally stumbled on the spot.

The coolers, tucked in the back of the jeep for hours, and boxes and bags were ported out. Then the spoiling began.

A white tablecloth was the foundation. Topped by a fall-themed tablecloth with muted hues. Draped with care over the metal picnic table. Then, fancy bamboo plates and utensils. Yellow napkins folded at each place. Then, the finishing touches…jewel-colored velvet pumpkins that later doubled as party favors / remembrances for each of the women there. A fall candle bought brand new for the occasion, glowing and sharing a hint of apple scent. A table worthy of special guests. Even out in the middle of the soccer fields and playgrounds. Then, a build-your-own lunch spread courtesy of Trader Joe’s. Nothing too fussy. Just nibbles to try.

In recent years, I have grown to love surprising people…not in the sense of surprise parties, but more about delighting people with over-the-top unique details. Whether it be decorations, unexpected custom cookies that match their party theme, party favors that make people giggle, artist-created invitations, or a meal fit for a queen, it feeds my soul to make people feel special and make occasions memorable. People are worth celebrating.

This also extends to presents I may drop on porches on a random Tuesday. Life is a challenge for many. Why not make people smile?

I hope when they pull out that pumpkin each fall they smile and remember a great day, and someone who cared about them enough to plan something special. Spoil people a little sometimes. They are worth it.

perspective

You Can’t Make Me

Parenting and life lessons. My youngest is a senior in high school. With two twenty-somethings, I have had some practice letting go of the reins with my kids. I might be a little more chill about their decisions these days, but that hasn’t come without a lot of years of frustration.

I remember when one of my kids was talking to someone on social media that they shouldn’t be. Waking up at all hours, endlessly glued to the screen. This was many years ago, when it wasn’t quite so usual for everyone to be attached to their screens all the time. After trying so many things, taking away the phone, taking away other privileges, and talking until I was out of talk, I still caught that child up at 3 am, on an old “lost” device, talking to this person they shouldn’t be. Again.

I remember my rage and frustration so clearly, in the middle of that night, and the wide eyes of my kid, completely unmoved by my temper. The look said “you can’t make me.”

There may be few things as frustrating to a parent than the realization that no, you really can’t make them do anything. Not without mental / physical injury or breaking the law. Oh, I wanted to wring that child’s neck that day, but I didn’t. And I remember that “you can’t make me” moment so well.

I remember the time I gave it to my own parents, too. I was running around with a much older crowd, lying about where I was. They went to the place where I said I was one night, I wasn’t there, and then confronted me when I arrived home. I got the lecture, and the “promise you won’t do that again” ultimatum. But I looked straight at my father and told him I couldn’t promise him that. And I am sure, in that moment, when I was supposed to promise, whether or not I meant it, he must have wanted to wring my sassy teenage neck as well. (Sorry, Mom and Dad! Wish you were here so I could apologize to your faces.)

In my adult life, this lesson has smacked me in the face many times. No matter what, you really can’t make people do anything. When you’re left out of a social gathering. When people make decisions that you disagree with or take you further from each other. So many little daily things that happen that may seem puzzling or even hurtful. Here’s what I’ve come to realize:

You can’t make people spend time with you. You can’t even make them want to. People are fickle and messy and unpredictable. You can’t make people thoughtful or considerate. They are or they aren’t, and this changes from one day to the next. Most people aren’t sitting around thinking about how they can make me feel left out or unwanted. Most people are too self-centered to even have that thought. (Or maybe they do, but I’ve realized it’s not productive for me to obsess over other people’s hurtful actions.)

If you have someone who cares about you and thinks of you, cherish that in the moment it happens. Thoughtful moments are rare and to be treasured. If someone thinks of you repeatedly, that is truly special. Enjoy it. Relish it.

In the end it is all just data. I just know what I’ve learned from what I observe.

Everything and everyone is optional. Most people and things will eventually move on. When you change your circumstances, it’s inevitable that things and people change. That probably sounds callous. Maybe it’s the stoic reading I’ve done that makes it a little less personal.

Change doesn’t make the people you’ve moved on from less important. Life takes us all kinds of places and there are only so many hours in a day, a month, a year, a lifetime. It just makes every present moment more special. Time and attention are finite resources for each of us. If we can’t make anyone do anything, how are we spending those precious fleeting moments?

awareness, mental health, perspective

Paths, Loss, and Lessons

How do people lose sight of what they have right in front of them? People, possessions, relationships, amongst others.

Life is full of choices and paths. Sometime we take the right path while other times we don’t. Some paths are smooth while others are bumpy. No two paths are ever the same.

Bumpy roads lead to some of the best life lessons. The important part of life lessons is when one actually learns from said lesson. Unfortunately, many miss the bigger message when it’s right in front of them.

I am at a loss sometimes when people can’t see what’s right in front of them. They don’t see the indirect messages or clues. They don’t hear the direct communication. They just see themselves.

Then I hit pause. Is it that they don’t hear or they choose not to listen? Is there a difference? Why yes there is a difference and it is a choice.

Listening is a form of art. Listening means sharing in the pain or glory of others. Listening means giving of yourself. If somebody close to you isn’t listening to you, they are making a choice. They are choosing themselves over you.

To me they chose the wrong path. The path that ends in loss. The loss could be big or it could be small. No matter the size it’s loss. For those who suffer a loss or get lost in themselves and forget about what’s in front of you, I hope you realize the lesson that you should learn.

Never take life or people for granted. They may be here today and gone tomorrow. Don’t miss your opportunity.

This post was written in honor of Suicide Prevention Month (September 2021).