Five Minute Friday: DONE

Today’s prompt: DONE

Although I am not able to run right now, my social world is still FULL of runners and triathletes. These are relationships built over years … of Thursday night trail runs, Tuesday night intervals, and countless Saturdays toeing the line at races (then relaxing together afterward.

Something that comes along with hanging out with athletes in real life and online is all the motivational sayings.

Here’s this week’s: CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP #CSWS

In all honesty, #CSWS isn’t one of my favorites among the flood of motivational hashtags I see and hear over a week.

Before I get off the whiny horse, I had to stop so I did stop (running). #HTSDS doesn’t have the same ring as #CSWS.

But I know it isn’t to be taken literally, and it basically means “do what you love — break down ALL the barriers — keep going because stopping isn’t an option — and hold each other accountable to that.

#CSWS is the hashtag our community has used to support our friend Ron Nieto, who went to hospice Tuesday. He has had cancer for several years.

Now that he has been moved to hospice, he and his family are so much on my mind. It hasn’t been that long (a year) since we were a hospice family, first for several months at our home and then for the last week of my father-in-law’s life.

I didn’t know Ron well, and I had just started socializing with him a bit due to our mutual involvement in Team Red White and Blue right around the time he got diagnosed. I remember chatting with him following one of the amazing Gate to Gate runs at Eglin Air Force Base.

** end of five minutes **

But then life got in the way and we didn’t see each other that often (except on Facebook).

One day not all that long ago he posted “just come see me. I don’t need anything, just company.” (This is a paraphrase.) I wish I had made a point of visiting, even if we don’t know each other that well (how often do people actually ask for things specifically enough that we can know we are doing what they want?).

He also went out of his way to thank people for supporting him. After several friends participated in the Ride for Hope bicycle event in his honor a few weeks ago, he posted thanking them. And the volunteers who made the race happen. He was gracious and remembered the small things.

Ron may be done with triathlons, but we will never be done benefiting from the example he set.

#CSWS #RonStrong

My musical inspiration for today’s writing (hopefully I found the clean version considering this linkup is a faith-based thing!).

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: VACATION

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: VACATION

My Facebook scrolling (and most other social media) is full right now ….

…..of what OTHER people are doing on vacation.

Europe seems to be especially big this summer, with New York City (my favorite!) not far behind. Oh, and the beach.

Honestly I struggle with the generosity of spirit required to simply be happy for these friends (which I am) rather than be envious.

My dream trip (Valencia, Spain) seems farther and farther away as I get older and my wallet gets slimmer. I haven’t been to New York since December 2016 (I aim to go once a year). Our family doesn’t take summer weeks at St. George Island anymore.

Bluntly: I need a vacation!

(alert for whiny paragraph here) I haven’t taken a day off for something that didn’t involve a family member’s hospitalization (my mom’s lengthy illness), a death (hers, as well as my father-in-law’s) or a medical procedure for myself since April 2017 (who’s counting?!). It’s not that my free-lance employer wouldn’t give me the time off. They would. It’s a combination of the fact that we need the earnings (especially until this house gets sold) and trying to prove myself reliable to my employer. To keep all the “whines” in one paragraph, one of the challenges of freelance life is the fact that there is no paid leave.

***end of five minutes***

***puts Flamenco music on Spotify to inspire a Valencian vibe as I finish the blog…***

Until my vacation materializes, I’m going to keep enjoying my friends’ pictures and stories, and redouble my efforts to be genuinely happy for them rather than feeling deprived (and let’s face it, at this time in our world there are much bigger problems than not having more stamps in my passport or more frozen daiquiries at the beach).

I’ll keep working, keep proving myself, keep hoping.

Maybe the next time a prompt is “vacation” or “trip,” I’ll have something more to report!

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: IF

Five Minute Friday

Note: While this runs completely counter to the point of Five Minute Friday and having a prompt, I am inserting two pictures that I plan to work into this week’s prompt before the prompt is revealed. There’s a particular thread I need to pull in my life and writing right now, so here’s hoping the prompt somehow works into the concepts in my head and these pictures.

Samples of what would work: Bloom, climb, suffocate

Can’t wait to see what I end up with! ~ pk

Today’s prompt: IF

As I mentioned above, there’s an emotional thread I need to go ahead and pull. Not knowing what the prompt would be, I took a leap of faith and found the images below, hoping it would all work out. It has (yay)!

The issue/thread is a relatively private thing that I am trying to do in a public manner (what could possibly go wrong, right?), so I apologize for any additional “cryptic” that characterizes this post.

There is a connection I have been seeking with another individual, and I find myself (in my perception at least) being *that* over-attentive acquaintance that I *know* annoys me when the reverse is true.

You know — the person who is genuinely wonderful, but may not have that much faith in themselves therefore are the first to show up at every gathering (not that punctuality is bad!), if you ask for a glass of water they bring you the glass, plus a backup gallon for when you run out. Giving, but cloying.

There is a fine, fine balance between confidently asserting yourself in someone’s life and sucking the air out of that intangible space that helps an acquaintanceship grow into deeper friendship.

[Timing note — I’m at roughly the 4:30 mark — and stopped writing because I got a phone call — and I guess that’s how this prompt is going to go today. Obviously, I need to finish my response (and at least get to the prompt word), so I invite you to keep reading.]

Here’s a visual. There are some beautiful flowering vines out there. Wisteria is one. I have seen many different gorgeous color variations of wisteria.

However, did you know wisteria is one of the Five Monster Vines Southern Living Says You Should Never Plant? The Southern Living article says Chinese Wisteria and Japanese Wisteria can: “Tear off gutters. Bend iron railings. Strangle trees. Smother entire woods and hillsides.”

Wisteria looks much less attractive if it gloms onto something else in its overzealous way without being patient about finding a way to co-exist beautifully (like this…):

Source: Wikipedia images

Each of us has something to give the world that no one else can do in exactly the same way. Trying to grow connections too fast without taking into account the two-way of this kind of thing can end up being stifling for the other party and exhausting for the person seeking to connect.

(And this is a side note, but the other thing about overzealously pursuing something that just isn’t destined to connect better or more deeply, at least not at the current time, is that I sometimes end up giving short shrift to the people with whom I already have a comfortable, dynamic, trusting fit.)

IF

What if, instead, we appreciated what we already have and had confidence that connections that don’t bloom the way we want them to may still be developing roots?

What if, instead, we accepted that sometimes these gaps between people are not about either person but about timing, or misunderstandings, or for goodness sake — just because they aren’t meant to be?

(Another side note: I think social media complicates all of this — it’s that much harder to read intentions when you have never looked someone in the eyes….)

What if, like the wisteria below, we each worked on strengthening our core values and sense of self? What if we let the people who have been faithful in our lives help build a logical and stable frame so we could stretch out our limbs and bloom?

What if we spent less energy on proving how fast we can climb and how colorfully we can bloom and instead proved our worth to ourselves?

Photo Credit: Flickr user Catherine

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: OCEAN

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: OCEAN

I laughed and laughed (probably too much – it wasn’t that hilarious but it WAS very early in the day) yesterday when an article I was reading for work talked about the acronym for the Portland Urban Data Lake — PUDL.

The metaphors for data make me laugh – fog, lake. I’m not sure if there’s a data ocean but we are all dealing with so many waves of data it seems like there should be if there isn’t.

Like all of us, I am dealing with so many waves of incoming data — it’s definitely high tide for that kind of thing — and a trip to the REAL ocean would, to borrow from last week’s word, RESTORE me.

When I first started having tinnitus, it was summertime and our family was scheduled to go to the beach. It wasn’t until I was at the shore, sitting on the sand, taking in the roar of the ocean, that something was finally loud enough to drown out the rushing sound in my head.

I’m (mostly) used to the sound in my head now. There could be worse problems to have, but it was incredible to have relief for a few minutes, especially when the sensation was new.

The tinnitus also went away (briefly) after a chiropractic adjustment to my neck a year or two ago. There’s probably a large, meaningful message there about the effects of alignment on my literal head.

But back to the restorative ocean. Our family doesn’t go to St. George (the local and beautiful beach) for a weekly get-together anymore, but being back there would certainly help me align my head and my heart again, and drown out some of the incessant tides encroaching on my life.Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: RESTORE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: RESTORE

The word “restore” makes me think of a local church called “Restoration Place.”

I suspect people may go to Restoration Place seeking for their spirits to be restored, but the real work happens inside and can take place anywhere.

I want to write something positive tonight (because I feel my writing lately has tended toward deep introspection with an essence of despair (not to sound maudlin — it’s been a year.))

Therefore,  a word of gratitude to the people, places and things that restore me daily. It really doesn’t take much.

My Facebook friend Lisa, for example, shares her vivid nature photography. I don’t think she and I have ever met in person, but she restores me with these gorgeous images that remind me there is a force out there bigger than ourselves that places beauty in our paths. Thank you, Lisa, for capturing it so beautifully.

Gulf Fritillary
Photo Credit and all rights: Lisa Baggett

A friend texted me yesterday to set up brunch this weekend. That gives me something to look forward to, at a restaurant I haven’t been to before. I know from prior experience with her that the shared laughter, empathy and support will be restorative.

I’m in a new (additional) freelance situation this week. The fact that the owner took the time to tell me that I am appreciated, picked up screen share (do you pick up screen share? Set up, I guess) to teach me a skill I needed because I hadn’t used their social sharing platform before, and in general set a positive tone refreshed my faith that sometimes a strange set of situations …

** end of five minutes**

… some Slack conversations and a bit of serendipity can lead to a bright moment or two.

I’m also still in my (old) freelance situation and, although anyone who is hanging out with me on Twitter at that time of the evening may wonder why I tweet almost every night that I am happy to wake up early for work I like, all I can say is the same thing I say in many of those tweets. I don’t take this for granted. A decade+ of Monday dread showed me otherwise, and it’s worth sharing over and over when something revitalizing happens.

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: FLY

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: FLY

It’s almost impossible to write today without the muted presence of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain hovering near (and in our family’s case, my brother-in-law Chuck).

Images are deceptive, especially in today’s media world.

I read Bourdain’s book, Medium Raw (it was the successor to Kitchen Confidential, which I have not read) a few months ago and loved it. I was amazed at how close he came to losing it all and how he pulled himself up through gumption and luck and serendipity.

I’ve walked into Kate Spade shops with my daughter numerous times. I could never wear much of what she made (too many shift dresses and non-curve-friendly items) nor was I up for paying those kinds of prices. Still, because my daughter loved her merchandise, I tried to open my sensibilities to it also (but not my wallet, usually).

I wonder what voices in their head needed to take flight.

If I have given anyone the idea that I am above those types of demons, let me assure you I’m not.

Even though I didn’t go into practice, the reason my undergrad is in Child Development and Family Relations and my Master’s is in Counseling has to do with wanting to undo/fix/improve issues in my family of origin.

Sample things I struggle with:

Guilt (about many things but especially the amount of debt I’ve gotten into (and remaining issues about my relationship with my mom)).

*end of five minutes*

The feeling that I am responsible for things that in some instances I had no part in.

Searing insecurity, personally and professionally.

Trying to embrace the things I am good at (writing, proofreading, editing, social media, relationships, connecting people) without getting paralyzed by the perfectionism that threatens to destroy them all.

I’ve seen so much debate on social media today about the best way to respond to friends and others who are suicidal or having mental health issues. I’ve seen people saying it’s ridiculous to tell people to reach out because they literally can’t (I get that all too well). I’ve seen people begging others to talk to them, take advantage of their ear, ask for a hug.

I don’t know the answer.

I know, speaking at least for myself, we all want desperately for our problems and issues to fly elsewhere because they are like dark clouds blocking the sun.

While they aren’t going to fly away (probably), we can surely try harder to give each other a safe place to land.

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: RETURN

Today’s prompt: RETURN

My friend Gordon posted the image below on our running club’s website a few days ago. It resonated with me because, despite *all* the well-intended encouragers out there who say “no goal is impossible if you try hard enough,” I truly “just can’t” run right now. But that’s a post for a different day.

Five Minute Friday

Here’s what I can do (alert: abrupt subject change). I can get rid of all the medication (and the non-alcoholic beer) that characterized my father-in-law’s time with us. Did you know when you start hospice (at least in our case), a FedEx package arrives at your door step almost immediately filled with “comfort items” like anti-anxiety meds and some high-powered pain relievers (i.e., morphine).

I have looked at those items pretty much every time I opened our refrigerator since he died on July 2 of last year, frozen. I would say “I need to look up the procedures for getting rid of these meds and do it the right way (flush them? take them back to the pharmacy?)” and ………. do nothing.

Thanks to this blog, I moved past the “can’t” in order to return a bit more to my pre-hospice, pre-caregiver life.

They have been disposed of. Maybe not the right way but it’s just like me to get hung up on the right way and in this case the need to move on prevailed.

It turns out I CAN mobilize myself to take the action I need to take.

Staring at those items on the year anniversary of his death (7/2/18) certainly wouldn’t have been the way to go.

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: PAUSE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: PAUSE

WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING?

Although my use of all caps here may imply yelling, that’s not exactly my intent.

I am thinking of my father-in-law asking me that when he lived with us.

He didn’t understand my quick day naps (I’m not sure I did either).

Napping has always been something I have needed.

Unfortunately, my tendency to get sleepy at inopportune times (think: meetings, when sitting in the choir loft facing the church) has led to me taking a pause when I least wanted to.

But, being home for the past four years made it a little easier to meet that need for the well-placed brief midday nap without annoying an employer, stealing time from their clock or embarrassing myself by falling asleep in front of a group.

Especially as it relates to the last four years, though, I guess mainly the three years of caregiving, I wonder if the napping wasn’t a response to the overwhelm.

I read someone talk about stress napping a few months ago and I rang true.

Maybe that’s what I’m doing, I thought.

(Although, to be fair, I’ve rarely gotten enough sleep at night so am probably in a perpetual sleep deficit to a degree.)

This article talks about stress napping. I’m not sure its premise applies to me, but it is another piece of (sweet) food for thought.

Side note: I’m listening to the Paus playlist on Spotify because themes matter!

I also often fall asleep before my plane takes off and wake up at landing. I actually love flying, but this pattern started when I was…

***end of five minutes***

…traveling for work while also caring for an infant at home (can we say exhaustion?) and seemed to get even more entrenched after 9/11. Maybe my need to avoid/escape any unpleasant effects of flying is deeper than I think. Maybe I don’t want to chat with my seatmate.

I just know that whether it’s a mental health thing, or a physical need, or some other drive, a pause through a micro-nap is something I seek often.

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: SECRET

Today’s prompt: SECRET

I bought the sleep mask pictured above recently.

(I am going to bed exceptionally early (for me) and that creates a disconnect since inevitably I *just* get to sleep when my husband comes in to go to bed and turns on the television. I am not likely to convince him not to do that, so I sought help in the form of a sleep mask.)

When I went to purchase the mask, I thought about the cute masks Tenley used to get when she was a kid. They would have kitten eyes, or some other cute design. I also thought about how much I really don’t like to have anything on my face, and remembered what a huge frustration it was for my mom during her illness to have all the CPAP and BIPAP masks on, how she said she hated having anything on her face.

I couldn’t find a mask locally and didn’t make it to the mall to look at Claire’s, which is (I think) where Tenley got hers, so I headed over to Amazon and researched a few options on the Internet for people who need help getting their environments dark enough for sleep.

It was overwhelming!

So many options.

I was struck among many of the options, though, about the fact that the part that covers the eyes is so BIG. Wouldn’t it make sense for it to be flatter?

It turns out, the design is meant to allow the wearer to still be able to blink.

I suppose that idea has merit.

As I have begun using the mask, besides the fact that it looks like a tiny strapless bra for a small person…

***end of five minutes***

…I am still a bit struck by all that space. In addition, I have a really small face so the mask seems huge even though it is adjustable.

(The reviews also talked in detail about people who found it difficult to sleep on their sides without dislodging the mask. That has been okay for me.)

It is that space that still gets me.

I open my eyes, with plenty of space to spare. My eyelashes aren’t squished and I am looking out into darkness.

That space reminds me of something more permanent than the allowance for blinking and unsmushed eyelashes.

It reminds me how dark our secrets can feel —– trapped behind a barrier that can’t be breached —– floating around and getting in the way of our ability to see clearly —– all because we have chosen to give them room.

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

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

Five Minute Friday: INCLUDE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: INCLUDE

Today, at my work, I had written something summarizing another piece of information (it’s what I do at this job). The client asked for me to include a link to a different site that would help the reader understand more about the topic.

Don’t you want to be the hyperlink in others’ lives?

Okay, maybe it’s just me, so I’ll own it.

I want to be the hyperlink in others’ lives, the person who helps them think a bit more deeply about topics, talk more articulately about them, and (most of all) see other angles so as to be more accepting and open about the world.

I had hoped to write this post for Mother’s Day as a tribute to my mom, but we are going out of town so five minutes is it and she deserves so much more.

HOWEVER, she was the deepest hyperlink of all in my life.

We didn’t always see eye to eye, and it took me way too long to appreciate her selflessness, but it is only through her — through a girl who grew up deep in the country, in relatively bare bones accommodations, living off the land — the same girl who insisted on going to kindergarten at age 4 because she followed her sister to the bus and just demanded to go because she wanted to learn — that I can find the “deep” background that ultimately makes me who I am.

She deserved a different end to it all, for sure. I am grateful, though, that the way everything unfolded gave me time to sit with her and just “be” for about two months. I’m not sure how “deep” we went during those visits, but it was an important investment in each other before our hyperlink of life was deactivated.

Five Minute Friday

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.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

This post was originally published on Medium as Five Minute Friday: INCLUDE.

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