Many moons ago, when my children were children, our Sunday nights were filled with music and dancing. We discovered a often times staticky radio channel that played kids music from 6pm – 7pm every Sunday night. It became a wonderful tradition that would start with bathtime and warm pjs, followed by our Sunday night dance party! We would enjoy all sorts of songs such as the classic camp tune The Cat Came Back and the little know favorite titled Dad Threw the TV out the Window (I kid you not!). The kids took turn dancing on the stage – our hearth – with whatever they could find that night to stand in for a microphone. I chuckle thinking back on the fun of these family musical evenings!
Fast forward 20+ years
I am so fortunate that the grandchildren live nearby and visit on a regular basis. One of the activities we love to do together is to sing and dance. The radio and cassette player have long been been tossed. Enter the smart TV with channel upon channel of children’s music to chose from. I can search for any type of song – from Disney movie songs to Raffi. Each time we search we seem to find something new and fun. We dance and laugh and enjoy the songs just like my kids did at this age. And while we haven’t yet searched for my kids favorite song Dad Threw the TV out the Window, I delight in seeing the joy that music brings to the youngest members of our family! And that makes MY heart sing!
Everyone jumps out of their seats to see the majestic bird fly right across the lake at eye level. Even two year old M. runs to the window to take a peek. We stand there for several minutes watching him soar – hoping that he circles back so we can admire him again. His white head and tail glimmer in the afternoon sun making it easy to stay focused as he flies further and further away. His sightings are a common occurrence, yet we are still amazed by his large and mighty wingspan spreading across the sky.
Living at the lake for three years we have a great appreciation for the seasonal changes outside our windows. It’s part of our waterside living to know the habits and the behaviors of a variety of birds. The appearance of the prehistoric looking heron, the back end of the duck poking out of the waters while fishing for dinner, and the graceful landing of the swan, all take us away from our daily to do’s and make us pause, if only for a moment. They bring a moment of peace and serenity to all who watch.
The eagle has disappeared over the trees and we return to our tasks at hand. But we aren’t quite the same for seeing the eagle fly by today. We are in awe and forever changed.
or How a Bag of Chocolate Chip Cookies Saved the Day
Anyone that plans professional development knows that the hours before presenting can be stressful and slightly unnerving. Who is in the audience? How can I reach everyone despite the vast range of background knowledge and experience? Do I have enough material? Am I trying to cover too much material? Am I prepared for all the possible questions? And most importantly do I have enough chocolate? Those were all the questions and concerns I had entering the day yesterday – and concerns that I shared with my daughter the night before.
So when I opened my bag to eat my early – and quick – lunch before presenting and discovered a little baggie of homemade chocolate chip cookies snuck into my sack, I smiled and knew that everything was going to be just fine!
Doesn’t chocolate chip cookies – or any chocolate for that matter – melt away all worries?!
The month long slice of life story challenge is just about half over with 15 days of writing posted online. As I pen this halftime report, I think about my writing and how the process of slicing has changed for me this year.
As in my two previous years, I prepared for this challenge by drafting 31 posts, one for each day. This allowed me to open a draft post and begin to write without hesitation. I spent time thinking of a few seeds of ideas and added them to a new google document. I also placed a new little journal in my pocketbook – to capture those ideas on the go. I judged I was ready to tackle the challenge head-on!
But guess what? This year, slices seem to be falling out of every little corner of my life. And when they do fall, I catch them on little sticky notes, a napkin, a piece of scrap paper. This year my car rides – especially early morning on the way to work – seem to be the place to get inspired. So much so that one day as soon as I parked my car I took out my notebook and jotted down three great story ideas that occured to me while enroute – and all before 7:30am.
My halftime reflection has me appreciative of the draft templates I created but I have as of yet opened that google document to “un-stick” me. I have discovered that the writing will flow if I am open to looking for and capturing the great slices on the spot! In this halftime report I am celebrating the success of my slices by trusting the process.
Eighteen inches of snow fell in our area on Tuesday. It created havoc for us all with the wild blowing winds and the late night snowblowing operations. I plopped on the couch at 9pm exhausted and beat from wielding the large machine around the driveway. I had no energy and was quite frankly done with winter.
That is until I woke on Wednesday morning…
These pictures speak louder than ANY words as I wonder at the beauty of it all!
The knife slices through the flesh and instantly my nose awakens with the strong aroma awakening my senses. Suddenly I am transported to another place – a sunny warm place. A place where the trees are lush and green all year long. A place where the background sound is the crashing of waves. A place where you almost always have sticky sunscreen fingers.
Oh the joy of dreaming while eating a grapefruit as the nor’easter bears down outside!
And tomorrow’s snow totals will likely be 12 or more inches in the city with more to the south.
Wait – did I hear that right? Is this weatherman for real? Twelve inches or more? Are you serious? Again? When will this end? Another snow day? I have so much to do to prepare for the possibility of no school.
Oh my – what is that truck ahead? It looks like a truckload of brand new snowblowers. It is! Talk about adding insult to injury. The sales tags are flapping in the breeze, laughing at me, like tongues wagging and teasing me about this upcoming nor’easter. I can’t believe this! They’ll probably sell right off before being loaded off the truck with this weather forecast. But who needs a snowblower this time of year?
When will it be spring? 12 inches? Or more? REALLY? Can’t winter be over already? It IS March 12th isn’t it? I just want spring! UNCLE!
Wait… what is that? No – it can’t be? Really? Let me look again. Am I seeing things? Oh boy I was wrong. It’s not a truck of snowblowers, it’s a truck of lawn mowers! My first sign of spring!
Despite the foot of snow expected there MIGHT be hope that spring is on the way! I think I smell fresh-mown grass.
I sing as I look out the large window over looking the lake. My two oldest grandchildren both mimic my tone and words and run to the window to see.
We settle into the sage colored chair that swivels and turns from the living room to the lake view and lean into the glass in search for any avian friends.
We might see the gulls, the geese or even a mallard or two. We often spot nuthatches, titmice, and even downy woodpeckers nibbling on the suet hanging on the tree near the house. But on a real lucky day we’ll spot the bald eagle scaring away all the other birds as it swoops in to catch its prey.
Birdies… where are you?
We never know what will appear but this grandma sure loves to explore lakefront birds with her babies.