About Paula Kiger

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: NEIGHBOR

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” Today’s prompt: NEIGHBOR  .

Five Minute Friday

Mr. Rogers was onto something when he asked, “won’t you be my neighbor?”

When I learned the prompt for this week was “neighbor,” I was tempted to do what is a typical format for me: talk about my current experience of being a neighbor and having neighbors, and how I wish I could have done some things about that differently (in retrospect).

My mind, though, fell on a neighbor I had when I was in high school. Although we weren’t “technically” neighbors (we lived about a mile apart), it was a small enough town that everyone was sort of your neighbor.

I would drop in, unannounced, at her house, and she (busy working parent of three young boys) would always be gracious about it, always work my visit into whatever was going on anyway.

I remember one time when she was baking her son’s birthday cake.

I don’t really multi-task well like that (baking AND making conversation?!) but she did.

And she ended up being there for me during what was, to put it mildly, a “rough patch.”

I am grateful for her, and wonder what happened to neighbors whose doors are always open. I know myself well enough to know that, despite my childhood dreams of being “that house all the kids hang out at,” I am really an introvert with a pretty inflexible way of doing things and was never meant to be “that mom.”

BUT, hopefully I have been the neighbor that was needed (except for that “tall grass citation thing….).

And perhaps the cyber world gives me an opportunity to be neighborly in an equally important way.Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Why Does Local Theatre Matter?

Arts Advocacy

QUIZ: Whose motto is this?

Why Art Matters

Before we get to the answer, wouldn’t we all agree that “art works”? Not all art “works,” of course, and not all art works for every person every time, but the process of making and watching art works. In this East Bay Times article, Kay Kleinerman was quoted as saying, “Theater calls on us to engage with our brains, our bodies, our imaginations and our voices. From what could we learn more?”

Why Art Needs Us

As this United Arts Council statement notes, “Funding strategies are critical to local arts agencies, especially in the face of greatly changing private sector support.” This is why I was happy to do a very small part and write a letter of support for Theatre Tallahassee.

I wrote a letter of support because a) Executive Director Theresa Davis asked me to (and I was happy to comply!) and b) I believe there are many ways we can contribute meaningfully to places we love, such as through letters. I encourage you to do the same for an organization you care about.

My Letter

No actors makes it to the stage without intense effort on the parts of many who don’t get to share the limelight.

Similarly, we don’t always immediately see the benefits a long-term, quality arts program brings to a community.

Theatre Tallahassee delivers tangible and intangible assets to our region, by helping the economy while simultaneously engaging a diverse array of citizens through the joy of creating.

Numbers talk. Americans for the Arts found that local nonprofit arts attendees spend an average $17.42 per person (excluding admission costs) in ways that help the local economy (eating out, for example) while non-local attendees spend an average of $39.96 per person (adding other travel expenditures like hotels). Theatre Tallahassee helps our local economy grow.

Numbers talk but, equally important, art matters. Has every show Theatre Tallahassee (previously Tallahassee Little Theatre) produced since Boy Meets Girl in 1949 been a consensus success? Absolutely not. But I would argue that there has been a disproportionately loud amount of applause versus dissatisfaction. Also, the best art is sometimes judged by how you feel about it months later rather than your immediate reaction.

In an East Bay Times article, Kay Kleinerman was quoted as saying, “It’s not about how engaging in theater can boost test scores for students … It’s bigger and more important than that. Plainly and simply, theater is a lens through which to see and understand the world and understand ourselves in the world. It is a way of knowing, perhaps one of the most complete ways of knowing. Theater calls on us to engage with our brains, our bodies, our imaginations and our voices. From what could we learn more?”

Finally, transcending economic numbers and the value of art, Theatre Tallahassee’s power in my life has been personal. I saw my daughter thrive there as an actor. I have shared countless performances as an audience member, many of them with my blind mother-in-law, who held season tickets for years and appreciated the dynamic of live art even if she couldn’t physically see it. I have volunteered at will-call, worked the concession stand, helped at fund-raisers. Each of these things engaged me, in the fulfilling ways Kay Kleinerman summarized in the East Bay Times.

Theatre Tallahassee matters to our community economically and artistically, and to me in ways no other organization could.

I lend the organization my unqualified support.

Paula Kiger

And That Time I Was a Grailfinder

I have to admit one of my happiest moments at Theatre Tallahassee was when I was the “Grailfinder for the Night” during Spamalot!

Arts Advocacy

Who’s Motto is “Art Works” Anyway?

The organization that said, “In its comparatively short existence in the life of civilizations, the U.S. has produced an enduring legacy of cultural achievements, and leaders are fast recognizing the centrality of artistic expression and creativity to a health society, is the National Endowment for the Arts.

It’s one organization’s motto but applies universally.

Art works, and it deserves our support.

Five Minute Friday: GUIDE

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” Today’s prompt: GUIDE .

Five Minute Friday

Have you ever used Pablo, Buffer’s image system? It has little grid lines, one horizontal and one vertical, that help you make sure your image is perfectly centered.

I use PicMonkey too, and begged them several times to have guide lines too. They eventually did (but probably not because of me…). The funny thing is although the guide lines/grid marks were helpful, they also constrained my ability to move my image around (but I was still glad to have them!).

I almost didn’t write tonight. I have been battling a “bug” the last 48 hours and feel more low-energy than I have felt in a long time. I suspect it’s a combo of something physical, my son leaving home (hello empty nest), and all the financial questions we face with two kids in college and the fact that I just left one of my part-time jobs (here’s hoping my strategy there was on point!).

I think maybe I should be letting my body be my guide. It’s telling me something (rest? slow down? eat better?). It was HARD to cancel my obligation last night (to do a preview of a play for Broadway World, something I love doing). I really really really hate to let people down.

And I guess *maybe* what my body has been trying to tell me is that I have been letting myself down.

Time to cling to some effective  guidance and get centered again.

What will that look like? I know nutrition is a big part of it. Also, exercise. I have let my cardiac issues back me into a corner on that and it’s time to take control again, to prevail over the fear that comes with almost any workout lately.

I also hope my kids feel the effects of the guide I tried to be over the years of their childhoods. Now that they are out of the house, there’s no more micromanaging, no more constant face-to-face. I have to hope the guidance I gave took.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Until Alzheimers is Cured, Let’s Do This

When we prepared Wayne’s dad’s obituary, we designated Big Bend Hospice for donations. BBH definitely deserved this prominent place, and has earned any and all donations people choose to give.

However, another cause that merits attention is Alzheimers Disease. Although Dad didn’t technically have Alzheimers, his short-term memory and cognition were sufficiently impaired that he qualified for the services of our local (and awesome!) Alzheimers Project here in Tallahassee.

Our Experience

Because Dad had experienced several mini-strokes in 2012, his short-term memory was affected. (Note: This dry sentence doesn’t really begin to address what that meant in reality, as it played out in our day-to-day lives.)

This is a bit of a layperson explanation, but he had difficulty remembering events or details that had just transpired, while it was often easier to recall long-term memories. He would ask, for example, if something we were watching (that was obviously (to us anyway) a film) was occurring live. He asked my husband Wayne if he was married (sigh….).

Things changed about the way he processed the world. He didn’t care about personal hygiene. His laugh wasn’t a humorous laugh — it was a haunting expression that always unnerved me — and I could never just put it in some category of “that’s because of his condition.” I am sorry to say that almost to the very end I was sniping back “that’s not funny” and slamming doors (often over the all-too-frequent cat escapes that he facilitated).

Most importantly (and this is a mixed bag), his memory deficits prevented him (I think) from really comprehending how sick he was. Melanie, our incredible social worker, said “that’s probably a blessing” and she was right, to a degree, but I always felt it must be scary as he** for him to see all of us buzzing around, acquiring equipment, administering medication, transforming his room with a hospital bed, for reasons he couldn’t figure out.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are different for everyone, but the challenges are numerous and share common threads, both for the patient who doesn’t fully comprehend the path their life has taken and for the caregiver trying to be compassionate without losing their own mind.

The Alzheimers Project has many services (free), including support groups, respite services, counseling and more. I tell everyone to go to support groups (although (cough cough) I never made it to one. But we did get so much benefit out of the respite care, where an Americorps volunteer comes to the home to care for the patient for a few hours each week. Thanks to respite care, I was able to work, nap, and run errands (and Dad was able to interact with someone new). They were godsends. Here is Alex, who was with us almost until he passed away.

Alzheimers Advocacy

(Note, to read more about the role of Fordham Afghan pictured here in our lives, please click this link.)

Ways To Support Alzheimers Efforts

Like I said in the beginning of this post, it is important to me that the world know how much benefit we received from our local Alzheimer’s Project, and how much we want other families with Alzheimers (and similar issues) to receive support, along with our hope that research will eliminate this terrible disease. If you are a family dealing with Alzheimers, call their hotline 24/7 at 1.800.272.3900 or visit their website by clicking here

If you aren’t currently personally dealing with Alzheimers, but still want to help

Buy a Rivet Revolution Product

Rivet Revolution sells beautiful handcrafted jewelry and donates $10 from each purchase to three Alzheimers-related causes: Part the Cloud, Hilarity for Charity, and The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. Here is mine; isn’t it beautiful?

Alzheimers Advocacy

Rivet Revolution notes these facts among the reasons why they feel so strongly about ending Alzheimers (besides the fact that each of the three founders has a personal connection to the disease).

  • One in 10 people age 65 and older (10 percent) has Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women
  • Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
  • Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease
  • More than 44 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s

Do Charity Miles for the Alzheimers Association

Did you know you can walk, run or bike and help the Alzheimers Association earn funding just by using the Charity Miles app?

Here’s a memory from some Charity Miles I did last year (which seems like a lifetime ago for many reasons).

Alzheimers Advocacy

If You’re in Tallahassee, PARTY!

Seriously, if you’ve never been to Parrothead Phrenzy (it’s coming up on August 26!) or Purple Craze (This year’s has already happened but I imagine there will be a 2018 event), you’re missing out! These events help the Alzheimers Project and show you a great time while you’re at it!

Donate

There’s always the option of straightforward donations! To donate to the Tallahassee Alzheimers Project, click here (a donation as small as $2.50 can provide a replacement band for a Project Lifesaver bracelet). On a more national level, you can donate to the Alzheimers Association here.

Think About Your Words

Although I have my definite (and many, and very strongly held) opinions about our current president, it unnerves me to hear people diagnosing him on the basis of his tweets and behaviors. To me, it dilutes the specificity with which we need to address Alzheimers and related dementia conditions. Let’s be deliberate with the words we use; actual patients are paying a price every day for something that didn’t get diagnosed by strangers second-guessing.

Lastly, a word from Maria Shriver…

Alzheimers Advocacy

Note: I was provided a complimentary Rivet Revolution bracelet.All opinions, though are my own and I will be at the absolute front of the line to do be a part of eradicating Alzheimer’s. 

Five Minute Friday: SPEAK

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” Today’s prompt: SPEAK .

Five Minute Friday

When I decided to transition out of the part-time independent contractor job I have held for almost three years, I found it impossible to speak to my boss about it. She had sort of opened the door a few weeks prior as we had been talking about relief arrangements during my father-in-law’s illness, and she said, unprompted by me, “and also maybe for your permanent transition too.”

I’m not sure if she just sensed it or what

But after he passed away, it became apparent rapidly that I needed to find work where I can earn more and I’ve learned enough about myself these past three years to know I need more structure.

The thing is, I loved (still do) this place. As I said in my “job hunt” blog, it was more than a job.

Not every job has a Slack channel/Basecamp page strictly for Thanksgivings and Prayer Requests. Not that they all should, or have to, but it was  fit at this place and it made a difference.

I “requested transition” via an email.

Then several other email exchanges happened.

Then things got confusing.

Probably because we never did speak!

(We eventually did, and it was a closure type conversation, one that helped me come to some emotional conclusion and peace.) I keep thinking I should have found it in me to speak rather than mail from the beginning.

I prefer writing to speaking. She (in my opinion) prefers speaking to writing. Maybe that is the crux of the problem!

Speaking conveys things (emotion, body language) that writing can’t AND forces us to figure out our message right in the moment without constant revisions. SORT of like this Five Minute Friday exercise!

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Sandwiches for Superheroes

This post is made possible by support from Reward Volunteers. All opinions are my own.

During our family’s recent journey with my father-in-law through the hospice process and his eventual passing away from terminal throat cancer, the life season demanded a focus almost exclusively on him: his medical needs and his emotional navigation of death and dying as our house started to look like a durable medical equipment supply store.

Not that I approached it from a “what about me?” perspective but I was taken aback, heartened, and SHOCKED on the rare occasions when someone would say “What about you? How are you doing?” One steadfast hospice volunteer, who came to sit with Dad weekly, always said, “You know I am here for you as much as for him” (at which point I would immediately escape to the bedroom for a nap).

Similar to the way our family members’ less immediate needs got overlooked during Dad’s illness, siblings of kids dealing with life-threatening illnesses and intensive special needs often inadvertently get pushed to the back burner of life. As a family tries to cope logistically and emotionally with keeping the ill child alive, moments small and big (a third-grade holiday play, a need to say, “Mom, Lindsey was mean to me today on the playground”) get lost in the cacophony.

These kids are as heroic as their siblings who are fighting a more visible battle.

What did approximately a thousand peanut butter and jelly sandwich squares have to do with a filling the gaps in the lives of sibling superheroes?

Reward VolunteersThe morning of February 5, 2017, dawned chilly and clear, exactly the kind of weather marathon runners crave.

But I wasn’t there to run (and technically arrived long before the sun). I was there to help fortify the runners of the Tallahassee Marathon and Half Marathon.

Reflecting on my food-prep team’s work that day, making more peanut butter and jelly quarters than we could possibly count, I am reminded that race-day volunteers may not cover 26.2 physical miles and there aren’t any medals, but it still is an accomplishment of its own kind. Like the participants in all the various projects represented over at Reward Volunteers, we are able to share in dividends like these:

We get to support others who are working toward their goals.

Marathoners train for months leading up to the race, battling self-doubt and pushing their bodies to do things they aren’t sure they can do. When you’re one of the first people they see after crossing that finish line, and you’re able to help them refill their physical tanks after using up all their inner stores, it’s an important role.

We get to meet new people.

I had a crackerjack team of fellow sandwich-makers that morning, many of whom I had never met before and wouldn’t have met had we not found ourselves elbow deep in peanut butter on a frigid Sunday morning. It was a way to establish some new bonds with fellow Tallahassee community members.

We get to be part of a community.

This one is a bit hard for me. I was already a member of the running community, because I was a runner for years. But a cardiac issue has curtailed my running; this is disappointing since most of my social network was composed of runners and Saturdays usually were kicked off by a joint run followed up with brunch. Making these sandwiches, supporting other runners, was a way to still be a part of it all.

Some details in life are critical yet unheralded. Runners who don’t have access to nutrition right after a race have a physical problem (because they desperately need to replace burned calories). If no one secured the food donations, planned out the post-race celebration area, opened the bread, spread the peanut butter and jelly, cut the sandwiches, and made them easy to access, the post-race celebration would be dampened as hangry runners tried to cope.

Proceeds from this marathon supported the Hang Tough Foundation, which has a mission of helping siblings of sick kids enjoy the freedom of childhood at a time when their parents’ attention is diverted.

With every peanut butter and jelly sandwich I made, I knew eventually a kid would be shown by Hang Tough “this is for you too.”

More About the Reward Volunteers Program

In case the Reward Volunteers Program is new to you, here are some of the basics:

  • It’s a site that allows you to log your volunteer hours and keep a record of all the good you’re putting into the world.
  • By logging your hours, you (or your organization) can win prizes.
  • Reward Volunteers also provides information about volunteering opportunities in your area.
  • Organizations also benefit when they register to be a Reward Volunteers organization and their volunteers log their hours.

For more information, click here (or let me know your questions and I’ll get you some answers!).

Grab Bag!

As I compose this blog, our nation is transfixed by the crisis occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalist domestic terrorists were protesting; lives were lost, people were injured, and divisions among people in our nation seem (to me) to have only widened.

Wiser and more prominent voices have addressed these events better than I could (but I still have something to say at the end of this post).

In the meantime, I have had several experiences this week — opportunities to pay some social media love forward and opportunities to benefit from people’s generosity (such as the thread Berrak created in LinkedIn for those of us looking for jobs) — and want to share those with you. I call it the “grab bag.”

Online Connections

A vendor who deserves some attention

My sweet and incredible friend Rachel asked us to follow her brother-in-law, Jordan (a/k/a watwoodshop), on Instagram. He makes beautiful cutting boards like this one. According to his Instagram profile, they are $40 and you order by DMing him on Instagram.

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: Follow Jordan’s WatWoodShop on Instagram by clicking here.

A REALLY cute dog who needs followers

I have helped promote Melissa Lamson’s work for the past few years through my responsibilities with Weaving Influence. We were talking the other day about her irresistibly adorable French bulldog, Rocky (bluefrenchierocky), and how Rocky needs more followers on Instagram (okay, to be specific, she wants Rocky to have more followers on Instagram. It’s almost as though she speaks for him!). Here he is:

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: Follow Rocky on Instagram by clicking here.

A fun local Twitter account that issued a challenge

I am admittedly more of a wine person than a beer person BUT I am a sucker for people who love with they do and enjoy making our community a more fun place. As soon as TLHBeerSociety reached 300 followers and challenged the Twitterverse to help get them to 400, I was in!

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: Follow TLH Beer Society on Twitter by clicking here.

An opportunity to commit an act of kindness and help the You Matter Marathon

The You Matter Marathon, where participants share a “you matter” card each day in November, is entering its second year (here’s a look back at last year). The You Matter Marathon has big plans to distribute a million “you matter” cards in November 2017.

The YMM is one of the causes being featured by the Kind Foundation this month. If it earn the most “votes” (votes are generated by people doing acts of kindness), it will be rewarded with $10,000! (printing and postage add up when the goal is a million cards.)

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: Do an act of kindness and help the You Matter Marathon earn a vote; click here for details.

An opportunity to support a worthy candidate for political office

My incredible friend Nicolette is running for Orange County Commission District 4. It’s a non-partisan seat. She’s running (in my opinion) for all the right reasons, but a campaign for public office is neither low-stress nor low-budget.

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: If you live in Nicolette’s district (Orange County District 4), vote for her (or at least vote). Whether or not you live in the district, use this link to donate if you are so inclined. (AND, if you are local to me in Tallahassee, support the Women Can Run event — I know they would appreciate scholarship donations too.)

I know some MidLifers Who Need Millennials and Vice Versa

I am excited to be participating in the Bridging the Gap campaign this fall; the campaign pairs Midlife women with Millennial women in an effort to “bring the ‘over the hill’ wall down.” Each partner will do a blog post featuring the other. I have a feeling lots of new friendships will be forged!

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: I am in preliminary discussions with two millennial bloggers to be my partner, but I am not positive either will pan out. If you are a millennial blogger (you have to have a blog and a public Instagram account) interested in participating, let me know! (Even if I have a partner already, I am happy to try to introduce you to a midlife blogger in search of a partner.)

My Personal Requests

Although I always say I blog to flex my writing muscle, I’d be lying if I said comments don’t matter! I was so fascinated by the story of Moss H. Kendrix, who I blogged about recently, and would love to get a few more eyes on it (and comments!). Here’s the link.

I am also still searching for additional part-time work (from 1:00 until (?) every day). It might be virtual, it might be somewhere in Tallahasssee. It might be writing/editing, it might be something completely different (I love providing stellar customer service). If you have any leads, send them my way! (And thank you to those who already have.) Here’s a link with more info.

What’s In It For You?

My main hope is that some deserving people (and dogs!) get followed, some worthy causes supported. To up the ante on that, I’ll treat one of you to coffee at Starbucks (via a $5 gift code)! Honor system — you don’t have to tell me who/what you supported, just that you did. You can also earn an entry by leaving a comment with your recommendation for who/what my readers and I should follow/support.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to Charlottesville, Unfortunately

I do believe that there are voices more wise and prominent than mine, as I said in this post’s introduction, BUT here’s what I want to say:

White privilege and racism are real and alive in our country today. I’ve written about white privilege here and how my views about how #BlackLivesMatter evolved here.

As I said on my Facebook wall earlier (slightly modified here), the actions we can take in response to racism are myriad. Some of them DO involve public statements, speeches, blogs, and overtures. Others involve much more tiny, yet influential, choices: speaking up when you’re in a conversation and someone says something that denigrates another race/gender/status, giving $5 or 5 minutes to a cause (such as Being Black at School or Equality Florida) that helps support the very difficult work of overcoming racism (and yes, dismantling the inequities that white privilege has created).

Let’s not leave our fellow human beings holding the bag on this.

Online Connections

Five Minute Friday: PLACE

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” Today’s prompt: PLACE .

Five Minute Friday

When I first started thinking through the prompt “place,” I began feeling sad about all of the wonderful places I haven’t been to recently. Of the fact that our limitations right now (budget, time) are going to keep us close to home.

I thought about the fact that I couldn’t say the last time I dipped my toes in the ocean, about the fact that I may not make it to my “happy place,” New York City, in 2017.

I said to myself, “gosh, you haven’t been anywhere beautiful.”

That’s not a pitiful intention —- but I love traveling and it fortifies me, thoroughly.

My husband and I did spend Sunday afternoon, however, at the coast (about a half hour south of Tallahassee). It was so short it was more of a tease but …. It WAS beautiful. Nature, sunshine, water, reeds, animals. Peace (and the yummy food was a plus too!).

I’m struggling, too, though with a deeper need for place. As I search for another part time  job, the first one that would be out of my house, I can barely visualize not being at my dining room table, at the laptop. Honestly, WHAT WOULD I WEAR? More to the point, how would I fit in? It’s easy to get used to talking mostly through my keyboard rather than to people, face-to-face. Conversely, I do miss the day-to-day of office life (even though it had its decided down points!!).

Place is elusive; staying centered calls on us to be confident and grounded.

I wonder where my kids will find their places as life goes on, especially with my daughter graduating from college next year.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

6 Ways Our Marriage Resembles a Tree

Twenty-five years ago (8/8/92), I stood on the Brooklyn Promenade and said “I do” to Wayne.

Wedding Anniversary Tree

Intrigued by the SITS Girls prompt, “If you were to describe yourself as a tree, what kind of tree would you be?,” some arborial thoughts on our 25-year old marriage.

We aren’t a “flashy” tree like the Hawaiian Rainbow Shower (Cassia) tree, known for its eye-catching blooms, its frequent changes in appearance, or its notoriety.

Wedding Anniversary Tree

Source: Flickr

Instead, I like to think we have these qualities in common with other trees:

Longevity

Wedding Anniversary Tree

Source: Flickr

The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines are the longest-living trees known to man. According to the National Wildlife Federation, they grow straight at low elevations, “but at high elevations, the trunks become twisted.”

Same after 25 years of marriage. Growth gets a little less straightforward as the years go by.

Faithfulness

I read that elm trees represent “dignity and faithfulness.” This elm tree in Oklahoma City, the “Survivor Tree,” survived the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and became an important part of the memorial.

Wedding Anniversary Tree

Source: Flickr

My daughter visited the Oklahoma City memorial earlier this summer and, comparing it to the 9/11 Memorial, said “it was so different in comparison, a place of looking forward.” We both place a high premium on being faithful to each other; it matters and I believe it will continue to make difference “looking forward.”.

Fruitful

Our biggest blessings are our children, Tenley and Wayne Kevin, so a tree that bears fruit is in order. And we’re Floridians, so let’s go with “orange.”

Wedding Anniversary Tree

Source: Pixabay

Extending Open Arms

Even though I don’t consider us, as a couple, all that public or outgoing, we have made it a priority to deepen family ties. Ready for a tree pun? This involves, um, “branching out.” I love this beautiful live oak tree here in Tallahassee at Lichgate.

Wedding Anniversary Tree

Credit: VelvetteGypsy on Pixdaus

From trying to make every get-together, and Wayne’s incredible cooking for those get-togethers, to the last three years taking care of Dad, reaching out has been an important part of our marriage.

Deep Roots

Deep roots are essential to a good marriage. I couldn’t find a great example of one type of tree that has the deepest roots in the world. Rather, I found this blog post explaining that strong root systems need water, oxygen, and space. In other words, it’s not necessarily the kind of tree you plant but how you treat it that makes a difference.

Determination also matters, as Nietzsche points out:

Wedding Anniversary TreeNietzsche was right, as was the blogger who emphasized the fact that you have to always be vigilant to create the right conditions.  

Strength

Smithsonian Magazine says this about the Baobab tree: “Its bark is fire resistant. Its fruit is edible. It scoffs at the driest droughts. It shrugs, and another decade has passed.” Sounds about right for 25 years of marriage!

Wedding Anniversary Tree

Source: Pixabay

It may not be the prettiest tree on the planet but it is still there, while others have come and gone.

Twenty-Five Years Later

My favorite marriage quote came from Ann Landers:

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.

 

Now we are caught up in celebrating the new marriages of relatives who were babies (or not born yet) in August of 1992, like my niece Olivia, who will be getting married in September (this is us at a recent party for her and her fiance, John Landon).

Wedding Anniversary Tree

My wish for all these new marriages is longevity, faithfulness, fruitfulness, open arms, deep roots, and strength.

And for our marriage, 25 years in, a happy anniversary to us!

Five Minute Friday: Try

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” Today’s prompt: TRY.

Five Minute Friday

Even though it may violate the FMF principles just a tiny bit, when I read my friend Mark’s phrase: “You can’t walk ten miles into the forest and expect to get out in five” earlier this week in a piece about his addiction, I knew I had to try to make it a part of my Five Minute Friday piece.

“Trying” makes me think of the first therapist I had (I was in college). Her main takeaway about the way I told my story was, “you make everything sound so hard.” I have always, since then, wondered if I am overcomplicating things.

Another therapist I had in my 20s told me to think like Yoda (I may be messing this up a bit): “There is no ‘try,’ there is only ‘do.’”

As we struggle to find a way for me to shore up my income now that Dad is gone, I am struggling, trying to find a way to share my gifts that simultaneously provides for my family.

I wonder what Yoda would say. Well, okay, I know – DO. Don’t just try.

I’m ten miles into the forest of debt and I’m not going to get out in five.

Writing is so integral to who I am, I think part of the key lies in using my writing in whatever job I take on, whatever new responsibility.

I wish I could think of something Yoda-ish to close out this five minutes with, but I’m drawing a blank.

Maybe: “Write I will”?

I know I process the hardest things through writing about them. Maybe that is why this time has presented itself, with these challenges.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.