Sure Love Ya

My Mom’s family has a traditional goodbye saying. Sure Love Ya. It means goodbye, see you soon and you might drive me crazy sometimes but we’re still family.  I have no idea how many times I’ve said that expression in my life. It’s probably been at least a million times. There is another tradition.  Before ending a family gathering, we all huddle in a circle like a sports team and shout the saying. “Sure love ya.” The circle keeps getting bigger as more and more people join the family. 

It’s confession time.  The teenage me thought it was an embarrassing tradition. I hated it!  I only did it because my mother said I had to do it.  I was confident that we were the only family in the entire universe that would do something like that. 

My Grandma died this year. She was my last remaining grandparent Earth-side. We couldn’t meet with Grandma as a large family group to celebrate her birthday like we’ve done in the past. This year we meet on Zoom. It was fun to see various relatives as little Zoom boxes on the screen. We ended our short party with “Sure Love Ya”.  It was both sad and beautiful at the same time. 

I think I finally understand why Grandma liked us to huddle up and express love. I think she was trying to ensure that we still loved each other even after she left us. 

That is what I will remember most about my grandmother Marjorie Hill Smith. She loved. 

I loved my Grandma very much. I will miss her. I know I’m not the only person on Earth who has lost someone they loved this year. There are many souls who are grieving right now. 2020. It’s been a crazy year. I haven’t really liked this year. It’s been hard. REALLY HARD! I’m ready for 2020 to be over and just a chapter in a history textbook.

I have learned something this year though. I’ve learned that love is one of the few constants in our crazy, ever-changing world.

Sure Love Ya to all my dear family and friends.

(My Grandma and I enjoyed baking bread together. )


Gratitude Challenge Days #8-14

Day #8: I’m thankful for my sister-in-laws. They are all incredible, intelligent, strong woman. Love you Kim, Sonya, Melissa and Amber.

Day #9: I’m thankful for a working car.

Day #10: Butterflies.

Day #11: I’m thankful for veterans and their families.

Day #12: Shoes.

Day #13: I’m thankful for the beautiful Earth. It’s lovely this time of year in AZ.

Day #14: I’m thankful that Christmas came early this year. Yes, I am one those people who watch fireplace videos on YouTube. It really was fun to listen to Christmas music and watch my fake fireplace last night.

Day #15: I’m thankful I could continue the holiday celebrations by putting on my Thanksgiving socks. They are so cute!

Gratitude Challenge Days 1-4

I have a tradition. I think of one thing I’m thankful for every day in November. It’s a good tradition and it makes the month special for me. I usually post those thankful notes on social media as a way to encourage others to pause and remember the good. I went back and forth this year about it. Do I post or just keep my thankfulness to myself? I’ve mostly been staying off of social media in order to preserve my sanity from this election. After a ton of debate, I decided to do it. I will be writing my gratitutes every day but only posting them once a week. It’s a good compromise between encouraging others and recognizing my own boundary of needing space from the crazy. I may have been singing that Tradition song from Fiddler on the Roof after making the decision.

November 1 I’m thankful for my family and friends.

November 2 I’m so glad we have music. Music speaks what words can’t express.

November 3 I’m thankful for God.

November 4 I love those wonderful green turn signal arrows at busy intersections. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted ‘thank you’ to the person who invented green turn signals.

Election Day poem

I haven’t written on this blog for a while. Work has been very demanding this school year. Teaching has always been an intense job, but this year has been different. I’ve worked in schools for 20 years. I thought I had seen it all. I WAS WRONG. Teacher college does not prepare you for pandemics. The students are worn out. The parents are worn out. The teachers are worn out. It is like the entire system is worn out. It’s a grand experiment and no one quite knows the end result yet.

I did manage to carve out some time to write a little poem about the upcoming election. It captures my thoughts, hopes and prayers for the future.

i voted today

and i think i need a hug

can one of you reach across the aisle

to remember our common humanity

it might just be the only thing

that saves us all

i wait

i wait

no one comes

that other side is so unreasonable

can’t they see me here

the divide grows deeper

i voted today

and i still need that hug

i stare at you

you stare at me

we both know somehow

that nothing will change until we move our feet

maybe we all need that hug

it might just be the only thing

that saves us all

i’m scared but i force my feet to move

you force your feet to move

we meet in the middle where the miracles live

the hug is given

the future

our future

restored

A Hug from Grandma

I had a miracle this month. Even though my Grandma Theda died back in 2006, she found a way to give me a hug.

Grandma's trophy

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Shawn Larson from the maintenance department at St. David School in Saint David, Arizona. I was really surprised. I’ve had  this blog for years, and no one has ever used the “contact me” button. I thought it was a joke, so I ignored the message. Mr. Larson is a persistent man. He wrote me a second time. This time I paid attention. St. David School was going to remove all memorabilia  from the 1930-1940’s from their school. Mr. Larson was given the task of tossing the items. He felt strongly that this valedictorian trophy should not be thrown away. He wanted it to go to Theda Plumb’s family. He went on a quest to find the family. Here’s where the miracle happens. He found me.

I’ve always admired my grandma Theda Plumb Shelley Adams. She was a trailblazer. She’s an example to me on living life even when it is hard.  I wrote a blog post about her a few years ago. Mr. Larson found the blog post and contacted me.

It feels like a little miracle.

The last few years have been rough for me with lots of unexpected twists and turns.  I’m still in the healing part of the twisting and turning. I’ll come out on top eventually, but it has been a struggle to accept that my life is different than what I expected. During this healing time, I have on several occasions felt a special connection that is difficult to explain. I have felt that love for others continues to live on after we die. It’s more than just a wishful hope that our ancestors somehow act as guardian angles for us. It is a very personal feeling that makes me believe that not only does Grandma know the details of what is going on in my life, but she is rooting for me (and all of her children and grandchildren) to be happy.

It’s a hug from my grandmother.

Poetry and the Helicopter

Have you ever had a really strange dream?  I had one last night. In the dream, there was a lone sheet of paper on a brown table. This poem was written in cursive on that paper.

dear madam,

 i am sorry for the trifling distraction

caused by your pending demise

yours truly,

death

My apartment faces a park. Yesterday, a helicopter crashed in the park. I saw and heard the crash. It was very loud and scary. I might at some point write about the crash. Today is not that day though.  I want to write about my dream. I have never in my entire life dreamed a poem. I am both bothered by the theme and a little intrigued by the idea that Death leaves notes on brown tables.

My dream made me reflect on the Emily Dickinson poem about Death stopping for you.   I love Dickinson. Her poems are as delicious as rice pudding. You just want to go back for a second helping.  I felt inspired to write my own little poem with lots of dashes in honor of a master poet. This is my humble attempt.

If I like Dickinson –

Can use a dash –

Perhaps my words –

Will be immortal –

In all seriousness, I was very upset yesterday. My heart goes out to the family of the pilot and the passenger in the crash. My heart hurts for the others on the scene. I’m praying for everyone involved.

cropped-photo-i-like.jpg

(I took this picture several years ago while vacationing in Florida. It was right before a summer storm. This image has stayed with me as an expression on how there is both light and darkness in this journey called life.)

 

Joyful Moment #612

I collect joyful moments like some people collect stamps. I put most joyful moments in a small book. Some of my joyful moments are also written on this blog. I had another joyful moment today. It was #612. It happened as I wrote in my journal.

I have been a journal writer since I was a child.  I’m not perfect at it, but I try to write once a month. As I was writing today, I felt joy on reflecting  why 7-year-old me set the goal to record the events of my life once a month.  I set the goal, because of a conversation I had with my father’s step-dad.

Grandpa Adams picture

Grandpa Adams was sick and his health was deteriorating.  This is how most visits to the grandparents worked at that age. I would say hi and then run as fast as I could past Grandma and Grandpa to play outside. This time was different though.  Grandpa asked me to sit by him for a minute. He shared that he kept a journal. He asked me if I kept a journal. I told him no. Grandpa looked at me and then solemnly gave me two promises. He told me that if I kept a journal I would remember my childhood. Grandpa also said that if I kept a journal that I would have a happy life even if sometimes I had bad experiences.

It was a deep conversation to have with a little kid. It made an impact on me. That night I asked my parents to get me a journal from the store. The brown book with the brown flowers is the journal my parents bought me.

My journals

As I was writing in my journal today, I felt joy that I can record my ordinary life. The act of writing it down somehow makes the ordinary turn into “extraordinary”. I get to be the hero (and sometimes the accidental villain) in the great story called my life.

Grandpa Adams’ words came true. I remember many things from my childhood. I also believe that I can have a happy life even if sometimes I have bad experiences.

 

Enough for Today

SedonaI struggle with anxiety. I’ve worked hard to learn coping strategies. The stress of COVID-19 has triggered me in many ways.  It’s forcing me practice all the skills I’ve learned.

I’ve felt strongly today that I need to share an experience I had this last week. I hope it helps someone feel less alone if they too have been triggered.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stirred up some old feelings about not having enough food. There was a time in my childhood when my parents greatly struggled financially.  The months leading up to my family moving in with my grandparents were very hard.

As the oldest child, I was keenly aware of the financial stress that hung in the air. I was especially worried that there wasn’t enough food. One night before we moved in with my grandparents, I woke up early, tiptoed into the kitchen with my journal and counted the contents of the cupboard and refrigerator. I wrote down my inventory along with my childhood assessment that we probably had enough food to last a few days. I vowed to eat less so my family could live.

As an adult, I realize that we were not really going to starve. We were blessed with a support system. My parents humbly reached out for help and accepted the generosity family and friends were willing to give them. It was a hard time for the entire family and impacted my view of life.

There was a day this week that I found myself in my kitchen with my journal doing an inventory. It’s a reasonable activity in a time of uncertainty to count what you have on hand. I was fine until the memory of younger me worrying about starving came crashing into my mind. I felt young again instead of being in my 40’s. What if there wasn’t enough food? What if I end up alone and living in a tent on the streets?

I knew my mind was going down an unhealthy path. I knew I needed a verbal affirmation to calm my thought patterns. I didn’t know what affirmation would help me though so I asked God to give me the words.

These are the words that came pouring into mind with great power and tender love.

“I have enough for today.”

I said it five or six times standing there in my apartment’s little kitchen. Each time I said it,  I felt stronger. I have enough for today. I have enough for today. That’s true. I do have enough for today. I can plan responsibly for tomorrow , but obsessively worrying will not help me feel peace right now. I have to believe that I really do have enough for today.

Dear Readers (the 20 or so people who actually read my blog),

I hope you are able to find peace in your own life. Let’s all work together to find a way to make sure everyone on our beautiful planet has enough for today. That’s my wish for this world. I want us all to be happy, healthy and whole.

With Love,

Amee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversations in my head

It’s been a month since I last wrote on my blog.  I’ve been trying to feel my feelings and take a day-at-a-time. Most days I can do that.  Yesterday was not one of those days. I felt very overwhelmed with how quickly the COVID-19 virus has spread around the world. The nervous side of me and the logical side started a debate in my head.

I decided to write down the conversation happening between my ears. It was pretty funny when I reread it later. Hopefully, it will make you laugh as well.

Nervous: The world is falling apart. It’s time to get yourself a really big truck and run over to Costco as fast as you can.

Logical: You don’t have a Costco membership.

Nervous: You’ll get one. And then you’ll buy all the stuff you need for the next 15 years.

Logical:  Um. That’s a lot of stuff. Do you really need a 15 year supply of toilet paper?

Nervous: Yes. Yes, you do. Go right now before they stop all production of everything for the rest of eternity.  Buy some chocolate chips while you’re there too. You might get a boyfriend one of these days. You’ll want to make him some cookies.

Logical: Cookies would be tasty.  You should make some. I’m sure this dream boyfriend will be kind and intelligent.

Nervous:  (cuts off Logical Amee) Yes, he’s all of that and a great kisser. You won’t be getting any kisses though if you’re dead. So, you better go to Costco right now before the world ends.

At this point, I just started laughing.

It was kind of funny that both my logical and nervous sides think chocolate chip cookies are a good idea.  I may be stuck at home practicing the social distancing thing, but at least I can still entertain myself.

How are you holding up?

(By the way, I looked in my pantry. I do have some chocolate chips so if the boyfriend decides to shows up on my doorstep. . . . . . I’m ready.)

Cookie picture

 

 

 

 

 

A Want With No Name

Cleaning the dishes

Suds dripping down my hands

Trying to maintain a sense of normal.

It’s hard.

I feel as empty as this old cup

Needing to be washed.

A want with no name crashes over me

As the water fills to the brim.

I’m a bit of a philosopher and at times my thoughts and their accompanying feelings overpower my very mortal body. Grief is hard work.  I’m grieving right now.  It’s exhausting.  I’m grieving the loss of marriage, my home and the dreams I expected to achieve. I’m starting to see and accept the difficult things related to my former marriage.  I’m grieving that knowledge. It was so much easier to remain in the confusing fog, and believe that things would ultimately get better if I just tried harder.  I know that’s a little cryptic, but this is a public blog. The details aren’t as important as the acknowledgement that I’m grieving.

I miss my neighbors and friends from my old life. I still have their friendships, but it’s not the same. Things feel different. It’s no one’s fault. It can happen when you move to a different part of town. You drift apart. The times you do see your old neighbors and friends are sweet. It’s just not the same as before because you don’t see them every week.  I’m old enough to know it’s not personal. It’s just how life works at times. People come and go in your life. You move on. You change. They change. Sometimes people stay in your life for a season and sometimes they remain your lifelong companion. That’s part of life. It’s just hard to accept all the changes.

It’s a want with no name.

person washing his hand
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com   (I love this image of the water overflowing the cupped hands. You could view it as abundance with more than enough or as feeling completely overwhelmed with the pain. It can be both, and that is what is so cool about this photo. Isn’t art great? I love art. It touches my soul and fills me in ways that normal life never does.  A HUGE THANK YOU to the photographer so I could have a photo for my poem. A HUGE THANK YOU to artists and creators everywhere who enrich the human experience. Go artists! Go creators! We need more of you in the world and less politicians who divide us. I will get off my soap box now.)