Five Minute Friday: ONE

Five Minute Friday: ONE

One offer.

That’s what most everyone has said would happen as we tried to sell our house. One offer (the first) that would be the highest we were going to get.

We turned that one offer down; it was much lower than what we were asking. We couldn’t accept it without being underwater, so we persisted.

And here we sit, nine months after originally listing it, three months after parting ways with our first realtor, and trying to figure out what to do.

Everything about the “potentially underwater” part is no one’s problem but ours (we made our bed and are lying it it…).

Maybe it’s magical thinking, as I know selling a house takes work, plain and simple, especially if you don’t use a realtor, but I keep thinking there is one family out there for whom this is *the* house. It certainly was for us.

We didn’t turn it into the showcase it has the potential to be. We extended ourselves so much to get it, we didn’t leave much room for enhancements (see the “underwater” part a few paragraphs above).

But it holds within its walls all the energy created by a family going through so many cycles of life — almost all of Tenley’s and Wayne’s school years, my father-in-law’s last years, the bulk of my Healthy Kids career and subsequent career change, Wayne’s layoff by the Florida Senate and the rough road that led to.

Maybe there will be rough roads for whatever family ends up here next (all families have them), but I hope to find the one family for whom it is the perfect repository of all the best energy too.

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: BURDEN

Five Minute Friday Burden

Today’s Prompt: BURDEN

The main thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “burden” is how Wayne’s parents and my parents all said over the past few decades “I don’t want to be a burden when I get old.”

I don’t know many people whose attitude is “I’m going to be a stone around the neck of my adult child as I grow more incapable and need more care.”

Yet, the problem we face is the reality of what happens as aging parents age. Either:

  1. They made no plans for their later years (not blaming here, just being honest), or
  2. The plans they did make don’t work out (the long-term care insurance they paid into so diligently turns down their claim, the “healthier” partner dies first, whatever condition assails them is so much worse than they anticipated.

That is where the “I don’t want to be a burden” crashes into all those times we adult children said something like “don’t be silly, that’s what I’m here for.”

I’m in enough caregiver groups online, left over from the three years Wayne’s dad lived with us, to be exposed daily to the candid truth of how difficult adult children’s lives are as they accept that burden.

It’s difficult, but the people in these groups (and people I know in person) accept the burden with such grace and competence it floors me. Having a place to vent doesn’t in any way detract from the grace they show, the love they share and the weight they shoulder.

If you are a caregiver struggling under the weight of the burden, I send my support. If you are not a caregiver, find one and share a word of support, Even a kind word will lighten their load, I promise you.

Five Minute Friday

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

Five Minute Friday: REPEAT

Five Minute Friday Repeat

Today’s Prompt: REPEAT

I often stream CNN while I am sitting at my desk. Because I am watching the streamed version, they handle the commercial breaks differently. Often, they repeat the same commercial over and over again, three or four times.

I could tune it out (maybe), but it gets on my nerves. During election season, it has gotten on my nerves because they play a commercial for the opponent of the candidate for whom I plan to vote, and once is MORE than enough. Three times in a row puts me over the edge.

My observation: I am living with it (and complaining about it) rather than doing something. I have so many options: stream something else, listen to the radio instead, work in silence (honestly that one isn’t so appealing, but….). Yet I just harrumph through the break and wish the program would begin again.

Allowing the negative (or what is negative for us) to repeat when there are other options is a pattern that is far too easy to fall into.

A round of annoying political commercials is one thing (and those should be over in five days, blessedly), but are there other things in your life that are repeating, sucking your energy and joy as you endure them?

I have a small suggestion/challenge for the day: don’t be passive in the face of the negative repeat. Change the “channel.”

Five Minute Friday

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

FMF31 2018 Day 31: CLOSE

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: CLOSE

I have been in some situations where I have a shared log-in to a particular website with other people, people who are physically in other places. If I don’t close out of the website, they can’t get in. (For some websites, it doesn’t matter if multiple people are logged in simultaneously.)

There is a metaphor in that (needing to close out so someone can get in) for our lives and relationships too. It is easy, and the emotional default, to keep lingering on something (an issue, an opinion, a bias) long after it serves us rather than putting it to rest and moving on.

There are assumptions I have reached about certain relationships in my life based on one incident or conversation that didn’t go the way I wanted that have probably kept me from enjoying a potentially fruitful situation for both of us.

And I’m wondering how we “close that tab,” silence our minds, and put those assumptions to rest.

The people in our lives deserve better.

I know I have been given a second chance by people I have wronged or not given sufficient time or space at first.

Thank goodness.

(And a heartfelt thank you to Kate for hosting another 31-day writing challenge!)

Five Minute Friday Comfort

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

FMF31 2018 Day 30: VOICE

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: VOICE

I was trying to wrap up my tasks Sunday night so I could get to bed. I had CNN on in the background. I kept stopping to watch, because Lisa Ling wanted to connect with her grandmother.

Lisa Ling has a show that airs on Sunday evenings, and this episode was centered on a town in New York that is known as a haven for mediums. Besides sitting in on another individual’s session, Lisa did her own session where she tried to connect with her beloved grandmother, who died some time ago.

Lisa’s asked her sister, Laura, to join her. As they sat with the medium, trying to conjure that treasured connection, things didn’t seem to be yielding any kind of result to speak of.

Therefore, Lisa pulled out an old-fashioned cassette tape recorder and popped in a tape that contained a recording of her grandmother’s voice. The grandmother was playing the piano and singing a Christian song.

The session didn’t yield any clear moment of “Grandma hovering in the room” or “Grandma’s spirit making itself known” or “Grandma mysteriously conveying through the medium some secret piece of information only Lisa and Laura would know.”

The medium told Lisa and Laura to look for more butterflies as that was  a way the grandmother’s love would manifest itself to them.

***end of five minutes***

I was sort of rooting for a more dramatic moment during the reading (although I have conflicted feelings about that type of thing in general).

Even without a transformational interaction with Grandma’s spirit, I was moved by the reassurance the sisters gained by listening to that old recording.

It’s the kind of reassurance that may alight in their own spirits again, as silently and unexpectedly as a butterfly.

Five Minute Friday Comfort

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

FMF31 2018 Day 29: TOGETHER

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: TOGETHER

I have been thinking, since the deaths of brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal in Saturday’s shooting in Pittsburgh, of a pair of sisters who went to my hometown church when I was a teenager. They lived together all of their lives, and worship was clearly a primary part of their routine. They always sat toward the front of the synagogue.

I read that Cecil and David made it a practice to greet everyone who walked in the door warmly and enthusiastically. What a comfort that must have been to members of that synagogue, to run into them each time the doors were open and begin their worship knowing they had been acknowledged, greeted, interpersonally embraced.

I tend to do many things by myself. For the lengthy time that I worshiped at St. Francis, I would slip into a back pew. I was still happy to be sharing the service with others, but didn’t necessarily want to be part of the mix.

That all changed when I had children. It changed because a) babies are a people magnet and b) as my children grew older, they were gregarious and pulled me into the social life of the church (whether I wanted to be there or not!).

I (an only child) married someone who is the oldest of six, who tends to be the organizer of groups. There is such a difference between the way we approach gatherings of large groups.

Even though Wayne and I approach that kind of thing differently, neither of us would be the ones to say, let’s get there early and stand there, making sure everyone feels acknowledged and welcomed.

What a loss to the world that Cecil and David will no longer be doing so.

Five Minute Friday Comfort

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

FMF31 2018 Day 28: SONG

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: SONG

Let’s get this out of the way. I won’t subject you to having to hear me sing for the “song” prompt. (I have sung for the blog once — after 1000+ posts, there isn’t much that is legal that I haven’t done for the blog, it feels like (although skydiving will never happen!)).

As I have been watching coverage of vigils following yesterday’s horrific shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, I have been struck by the fact that music is such an intrinsic part of such times. Maybe because it is the only common language people can use to try to claw their way toward some type of unified expression. Maybe because, as I saw with my father-in-law when the hospice music therapist came to work with him, music reaches some primitive part of the brain that still holds memories, even after other faculties have long since departed.

In my hunt for a Hebrew song to share today, I came across something else that spoke to me, this recording of a musician in a coffee shop (a scene that undoubtedly plays out hundreds of times a day throughout the world) playing Matisyahu’s One Day.

What the musician didn’t realize was that the coffee shop patron who joined in WAS MATISYAHU HIMSELF!

This resonated with me today because it is almost impossible to wrap our heads around events like yesterday. The idea that any divine presence was there at all in such a moment of loss and pure evil is even more remote.

*** end of five minutes ***

I don’t, frankly, have any idea how to reconcile that — where G-d was in this.

I do know that, somehow, G-d is the great author. Just like Matisyahu, the author of One Day (a song also shared during at least one vigil in Pittsburgh), covertly entered into a shared moment with Clint “Kekoa” Alama and lent his voice to the song he himself wrote, this crime must somehow lead us as a nation to a place of more insight, not less. More unity, not further division.

One day this all will change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate

~ Matisyahu

Five Minute Friday Song

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

FMF31 2018 Day 27: WHOLE

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: WHOLE

Now that my daughter is an adult, we have had several conversations that, to me, reflect her growing maturity. Specifically, we have discussed “void-fillers” and the fact that all of us, at one time or another, try to fill a void in our lives with less than healthy choices. Many of those choices end up exacerbating the problem and leading to a further feeling of emptiness.

The conversation usually leads to spirituality, and the fact that our faith choices can lead to a feeling of wholeness. I am so glad she has found that, in her spiritual journey.

I was reading a story yesterday about how methamphetamine is having a resurgence. The context was the fact that much of our focus nationally right now is on the opioid crisis. That focus is necessary too, because the opioid epidemic is posing a significant problem. But meth is now cheaper to get (because it has become a commodity produced in Mexico and transported to the US), without the dangerous “home cooking/meth lab” setup it used to require.

A man quoted for the article said “Until they figure out why people want to get high and use drugs, it’s always going to be something else.” He should know — he is a former meth user himself.

There was deep truth in that statement, a truth that can be extended beyond that situation.

Be honest with yourself about how you are filling your voids today (I’ll try to do the same.)

Five Minute Friday Belong

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

FMF31 2018 Day 26: MOMENT

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: MOMENT

Five Minute Friday

I was speaking with three people from Carrabelle (about an hour west of Tallahassee) last night at a fundraiser for the Eastpoint Beer Company. It’s a new business that had just started brewing its first batch of beer after putting heart and soul into setting up the business when…

Hurricane Michael hit.

I asked the people if they were involved with the brewery (because Eastpoint is just down the road from Carrabelle).

“If shoveling mud out of it is ‘involved,’ then yes,” said one person.

“I’ve been shoveling oyster shells out of it for days,” said another.

Maybe a hurricane’s damaging moments are technically longer than what we would consider “moments” (an intimate look between two people, the announcement that you’ve won a big award, a baby’s first cry), but still … everything changed in the time it took for the weather event to shove a storm surge ashore and barge into a small community with devastating winds.

One view of the damage. Courtesy Tallahassee Beer Society.

I am so sad for this small business (it’s why I went to the benefit). However, oddly, I would never have had the moments I had with these hard-working, funny, determined people had the tragedy not occurred.

There has been a lot of that in this region in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Nature handed Florida’s panhandle moments of weather horror that changed people’s lives forever. As a result, we have had moments with each other we would not have experienced otherwise.

I read the word “momentous” is a combination of “moment” (brief) and “ous” (important).

This post-hurricane situation has created momentous relationship strength to overcome one of nature’s worst, cruelest moments.

Five Minute Friday Belong

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

FMF31 2018 Day 25: CAPTURE

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: CAPTURE

Picture the image of a traditional recording studio (not that I have personal experience with many of them). They are often tightly enclosed, surrounded by glass to keep the people and sound inside, coated with sound-buffering materials to prevent echo and keep the sound pristine.

Photo credit: Flickr

I am reading a book about Aretha Franklin. There’s a discussion about one of her albums, and the fact that the producer insisted the album be created at her church. The producer’s logic was that the music (I think this album was faith-centered) needed the heart that could only be captured by being in a place of meaning.

The music and its meaning needed to be captured in a place that was not sterile, a place that had memories and echoes of thousands of prayers lifted in the place of sound-regulating walls.

This has been true for me, too. A place can make a difference in how my contributions to the world turn out, and how I feel producing them.

When we put our house up for sale, I moved my laptop and the rest of my “work from home” operation to my daughter’s former bedroom. I went from the dining room table, where I had spent what felt like 13 hours a day between working and eating, to a dedicated workspace, to a desk and an environment that is more amenable to “I’m here to work” than “I’m surviving.” (And the dining room table had to happen for a period of time while my father-in-law was alive, because I needed to be in the same room as him.)

The spaces we choose for our work matter. They are a message to ourselves as well as to the world as a whole.

What do you need to change about your personal space today to capture the best essence of yourself and your work?

Five Minute Friday Comfort

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