Tuesday Thanksgiving

Because there are documented benefits to a regular practice of gratitude and thanksgiving, I pause on Tuesdays and give thanks for all of the wonderful things in my life. There are really too many to list, but I try to make Tuesdays my highlight reel.

This week, the following things are making the list:

  • A 3-Day weekend. I cannot tell you how good it was to be at home, even if only briefly and even if I spent the majority of the time doing work. I was at home. With my puppies and my Sweet Husband, relaxing and enjoying the life that I want to live on a regular basis.
  • Pay day. There was a slight raise on this month’s check, and coincidentally, today after school we had a meeting with a retirement planner. I’d meant to set up an account with these folks last year, but I’m definitely planning to do it this year. We were getting by just fine before that raise came in; it can go straight into that retirement fund where, in the long run it will do us so much better.
  • Sweet Husband. I know he really wanted me to go with him to our friends’ yesterday, but I also know that he recognized how stressful it would have been for me to not have stayed home and gotten done the things I did. He was also sweetly contrite for the state of the house when we arrived home, apologizing for having had a long, hard week. He knows what I came from; he knows that a dirty house is a huge trigger for me. He’s working on getting better. I can’t ask for more from him.
  • An amazing colleague. Not going to lie – working in alternative school is no joke, although for me in a lot of ways, it’s the easiest teaching gig I’ve ever had. Not everyone is cut out for alternative school, though, and I’m supremely grateful for the colleague across the way. We know that we have to be on it, and I can count on him to have my back and do whatever needs to be done. We make a really good team.
  • My in-laws. I know it’s not easy having a semi-permanent houseguest. SH and I couldn’t make this work without their help and support.
  • Better health. Even though I got bit by another spider this weekend, I’m feeling better this week. I’m hopeful that I can get back into the work-out groove and keep making progress on those goals that I have set for myself. Last week was misery.
  • Royals baseball. It might be an odd thing for which to be thankful, but you have to understand – as a Royals fan, I’ve been waiting 25 years for a serious run at the post-season. I’m excited and nervous and much more interested in what’s going on with baseball than I am with what will happen with my football team.
  • Good times with good friends. We had a great time in Starkville Saturday. I’m glad that we got to go, and I’m glad we got to go with the people that we did.
Tuesday Thanksgiving - MS State Tailgating

At the Junction – Before the Dawg Walk

 

Tuesday Thanksgiving - Tailgating at the Junction

At the Junction – Tailgating between rain showers

  • Possibility. I keep saying this, but I almost feel like I need to speak it into life. I feel like I’m on the tip of something big. I know the changes are going to take an immense amount of work on my part, and I know it’s not going to be easy, but that’s OK. I can deal with that. It feels good to be making decisions to move forward.

For what are you grateful and thankful this week? What blessings are you counting? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday Thanksgiving blog button

 

 

Weekend Unwind

I realize that normally the weekend unwind goes up on a Sunday night, but here in the United States, we had a 3-day weekend, which means that the weekend ends tonight. It’s always a good weekend – always – but with an extra day in the mix – it’s even better.

My Sweet Husband surprised me Thursday night by coming up to Hattiesburg Thursday night. Because the rain was coming in, he was having a gout flare-up. He was off Friday while I had to to work, but i got to sleep next to my puppies and my SH for an extra night, which made it all so very good.

This weekend marked the beginning of the college football season, which meant that SH, his daddy, and I along with friends of ours made the pilgrimage to God’s Country (Starkville, MS for those who are uninitiated) for the Mississippi State/University of Southern Mississippi football game. Now, both SH and I are USM graduates, while his daddy, momma, and brother are MSU graduates. SH could have gone to State, but he decided to go to USM because it was cheaper. He’s a bulldawg at heart, though, and me…well…I come from a place where college football isn’t as intense of a thing as it is out here, so I can be happy going for State.

The weather for tailgating was horrible. Horrible. We got there and got everything set up in our spot – 2 tents over from the Dawg Walk (where all the players come through on their way into the stadium) just as the rain was starting to fall. Once the rain started, it kept falling. And falling. And falling. Did I mention that the first game was a white-out? Meaning that all State fans were supposed to be wearing a white t-shirt? I had planned to wear my rain boots but because SH left early, I didn’t have a chance to remind him to bring them for me. Instead, I was in flip flops, and I’m not sure my feet are ever going to be dry ever again. We had the forethought to bring a tarp with us to put down on the ground so we weren’t standing in mud – just water. We made it to the mud when we had to leave the tent for things like the bathroom or to go to the stadium.

College football really is an incredible thing. Even though I had to sit by myself and had a small slip up with profanity with a tiny State cheerleader sitting next to me. Once we got into the stadium, the rain went away.

State went on to win the game 49-0, and a good time was had by all…until we had to carry all of our stuff from the tailgate spot to the truck. I gotta say – carting a chair, a stadium seat, a bag, and two coolers – that half mile walk was hell. HELL. SH’s daddy has said he’s picking up a cart from Harbor Freight for his band equipment so next time, we can use that for the tailgate gear. I’m for it because if that’s what we have to go through next time – there won’t be a tailgate at the Junction next time.

I had intended to take my Big Girl Camera with me and take a ton of pictures, but due to the rain, I elected to leave the BGC at home rather than risk catastrophic damage to it. Instead I took a ton of pictures with my iPhone 5S, which will make an appearance on the blog either Wednesday or Friday, so be looking for those. We really did have a great time – in spite of the rain…and the walk back to the truck…and the drive home that seemed to last forever and that SH essentially had to do by himself because all of the rest of us were snoozing. When I realized that everyone was asleep, I made the effort to try to stay awake for the last hour of the trip, although it was a mighty struggle. SH struggles with being awake while driving anyway, so I can’t imagine how hard it was for him.

Yesterday was a rest day for us. Literally. We got home to the Coast around 1:30, and we promptly took ourselves off to bed. I think we slept until about 5:00…and then were up until 3:30 in the morning. Not sure at all what that was about, but whatever. Something bit me again on the front porch…I don’t know what it was, but it happened while I was watering the plants. Again. My left wrist is incredibly swollen. I’m hoping that the antibiotics that have been coursing through my body for less than a week will take care of whatever the problem is this time. I really don’t have another $300 to spend at the doctor’s office on this kind of crap (yes, it’s time for our pest service, and yes, we will be asking them to spray outside because this is ridiculous).

Today SH made his way to friends’ to celebrate the holiday with many of our other friends and family while I elected to stay home. I would have loved to have gone with him and enjoyed time with our friends, but I just had too much to get done here at the house. I spent the morning cleaning the bathroom, living room, bedroom, and office. I feel much better about the state of things, although I did have the kitchen and laundry room on my list but they didn’t get touched. SH will just have to take care of those sometime this week. As well as mopping. I didn’t get to the mopping. But everything has been dusted and cleaned and things have been put away. Almost all the laundry has been done, although there’s still probably three loads of linens to be done.

One of the very difficult issues that comes from working out of town during the week is that all of those things you would normally do in a few minutes in the afternoon or evening get pushed to the weekend…taking up precious time that could be used elsewhere. I made use of my Pomodo timer and found it very effective at helping to keep me focused and on task. I could see it helping a great deal during he evenings…if I were at home. For instance, it took me about 25 minutes to clean the bathroom, top to bottom. Longer for the bigger rooms because they were much more cluttered and messy, requiring deeper cleaning. But. SH could easily maintain what I’ve done. If I remind him.

I also have done some work on school things I needed to get done, but honestly, not nearly enough. I’m good to go in the morning, though, and I suppose that’s what really, really matters when it’s all said and done.

I created a huge list of things that I needed/wanted to get done today and I probably got through about half of it. That is frustrating to me. I should have done work on Sunday, but to be honest, I was tired and was really just wanting a day to relax. I get the feeling that things are about to get really interesting at work, and I think I needed that time to rest and really do nothing. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Today is a rare day in that it’s the beginning of the week and the beginning of a month, so in addition to my regular weekly intentions, it’s also time to set monthly intentions as well. I think I’m going to go global first with the monthly intentions and then break them down into the weekly intentions because the weekly intentions fit into the monthly ones.

September Intentions

  • Remain focused on my five goals: C25K training, weight loss, reading, photography, and teaching myself Lightroom 5 (my students and I have been working on goal-setting. Because I asked them to set goals, I set goals. I can’t have them working on their goals and not be working on mine)
  • Participate fully in Clever Cookie School of Blog.
  • Work during the week so my weekends are more enjoyable (lesson plans done by Friday, all grading done during the week, etc)
  • Complete two home projects (pillows for the front porch and the Saints lighthouse)
  • Plan SH’s birthday party
  • Participate in a Mississippi Gulf Coast Photography Club group photo shoot/outing
  • Keep the house clean
  • Gain new followers on IG, Facebook, Twitter, and the blog
  • Order my business cards
  • Deepen my meditation practice

With those over-arching intentions in mind for the month, the weekly intentions almost write themselves.

Weekly Intentions

  • Complete Week 2 of C25K. This is going to be harder than it sounds. I didn’t run last week because of the spider bite on my ass, and the week is already contracting. We’re talking about me coming home one night this week, which means that I’m going to have to use my time very, very wisely
  • Eat a healthful lunch & breakfast each day (which means taking my lunch and breakfast…not buying it)
  • Write every day
  • Blog every day
  • Read for 20 minutes each day (the Nook is charged and ready to roll)
  • Take a photo for Fat Mum Slim every day (I haven’t ever completed this, but I hope this month is different. Several Clever Cookie classmates are also working on it and hoping to make it through this month)
  • Mail out the pressies that have been hanging around the house for way too long
  • Comment on 2 blogs/day
  • Do our Love Languages Devotional with SH each day. Being apart is always a hard adjustment. We’re working on making it smoother. I think getting back to our devotional will help.

It’s a lot, isn’t it? I knew it would be, but I’m feeling good about where I’m heading. I’m optimistic about the future, and I get the feeling this month is going to be a good one.

How was your weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Weekend Unwind blog button

Weekly Retreats – Link Round-UP

I read a lot of blog posts during the week – I kind of consider them like a little retreat during the beginning, middle, or end of a day – thus the title of this series of posts – weekly retreats. I try to remember to collect the best of them here for you each week so you can be as entertained or prodded or as moved as I am.

This week, the following things are making the list:

 

  • Creating Your Ideal Day – Jamie Ridler Studios. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately…and I’ve been thinking about it a lot for a long time. Jamie was actually the prod that started me on the path and got to make a few changes towards going in the direction that I wanted to move, so it is good to see this post.
  • How Meditation Changes Your Brain – Sara Lazar (thanks to Susannah Conway for sharing this!). We’re going to begin teaching our students how to meditate. I love the idea of showing this video to my colleagues and to our students.

What of interest did you stumble across this week? Let me know in the comments!

The 9th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

 

Nine years ago today, Hurricane Katrina came roaring ashore along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. If I’m remembering correctly, when Katrina made her landfall with a direct hit to the occupied areas of Waveland and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, it was the third actual landfall for the storm. Earlier in the week, Katrina had crossed the southern tip of Florida and then moved into the warm waters of the Gulf, where she strengthened and became the incredible monster storm that devastated the Coast. She hit east of New Orleans in Plaquemines & St. Bernards Parish before wiping out Coastal Mississippi.

We weren’t worried about it. We should have been when we saw that incredibly well-defined eye and noticed that the storm literally took up almost all of Gulf.

Hurricane Katrina - Occupying most of the Gulf of Mexico

Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina

I write about Hurricane Katrina every year on her anniversary. Sometimes I think I do it because people still don’t seem to understand that Katrina happened to Mississippi. New Orleans gets all the play when the national media remembers Katrina – still – to this day – and it is painful for those of us in Mississippi who lived through the fear and uncertainty that she brought with her. I don’t want to minimize what happened to the people of Louisiana and all of the terrible, terrible devastation that happened in New Orleans, but the Gulf Coast of Mississippi was obliterated. You can view a gallery of pictures from a local television station showing destruction and in some cases, the before and after pictures of the same places. Other pictures can be found many places. I took pictures both in Hattiesburg and Gulfport after the storm.

I don’t want to rehash all of the incredible destruction again. It’s been done enough times.

This morning while I was writing, my thoughts were about choices and how my life might be entirely different if I’d made different choices in the lead-up to and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In early July, Hurricane Dennis formed in the Gulf, and as a precaution, because the projected path at the time was bringing the storm straight up through Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi (where I was attending graduate school) made the decision to close the campus. I came from the midwest and the mountain west where we experience tornadoes, earthquakes, and snow and ice storms. Not hurricanes. Because the campus was closed and my colleagues advised me to, I made the decision to pack up my two cats and my most important things and head north to southwest Missouri to ride out the storm with one of my best friends and her family.

It turns out that for Mississippi, and particularly Hattiesburg where I lived at the time, Dennis was a non-event. I now know that almost all hurricanes, regardless of the projected path, are going to make an eastwardly turn at the very end. If the storm is projected to come in East of you, don’t worry a whole lot. If it’s projected to come in on top of you, be concerned. If it’s projected to come in West of you, be very concerned.

I felt foolish for having left, which contributed to my decision to stay for Hurricane Katrina. Having left for one storm and doing all that entailed, I didn’t want to go through it all again. My first hurricane season and my first storm and I already had storm fatigue.

As the Hurricane Hunters flew into the storm and the radar pictures kept coming in on the news, I wasn’t scared or anything. The storm was predicted to come into Louisiana and as far north as we were in Hattiesburg (which is a good 80-90 miles from the Coast), we should have been fine…if the storm had made landfall where originally predicted. I went about my business, thinking not much of it, not worried, not bothered, not anything really. Until Sunday when the track started coming further east.

Some time that afternoon, my now-mother-in-law but then friend of approximately one month called and asked me what I was doing for the hurricane. I told her I didn’t have any plans, was just going to hang out at the house by myself – that crappy little duplex on Camp Street that my Sner said I couldn’t stay in when she helped me move in – for the storm. Future MIL, then Friend said I couldn’t experience my first hurricane alone.

It seems that some of the best times of my life here in the South have been prefaced by, “You can’t do that alone!” Mardi Gras, various shenanigans, trips to the Delta, visits to New Orleans, hurricanes.

So on that Sunday afternoon, I found myself driving out to Gumbo Acres, taking back roads I’d never been on because the main highway had been contraflowed for people leaving the Coast, with literally an over-night bag and four sticks of butter…because we were going to make cookies. I had no clue what was about to happen.

That night sealed my fate, I think – started me down this road I’m on. Maybe if I’d initially been as scared of Katrina as I had been of Dennis, I would have made the decision to pack up my life again and head north to safer environs. Maybe I would have thought long and hard about whether I needed to stay in Mississippi; after all, I’d already met my year’s residency requirement. It might take awhile, but I could have finished my degree via online courses. Maybe my then friend and I would have formed this close of a bond and Gumbo Acres and its people would have still felt like family long before it actually was. Maybe I might not have stayed in Mississippi after May 2006 when all my coursework was definitely done.

I don’t know. I do know that Katrina and her aftermath – the uncertainty and fear but the care and affection – have blessed me immeasurably. I truly could have done without all the death and destruction, but I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.

I have lots to remember about Katrina. This morning I wrote about fear as well as what has changed in my life as a result. Maybe next year that’s where I’ll go, but for now, I’m looking on the bright side of such darkness 9 years ago.

#Reverb14 – Transitions – August post

Last December, I participated in project reverb, a reflective writing challenge meant to close out the year and prepare for the new year. One of the groups hosting reverb prompts decided to continue the reflection through the year and sends out a monthly prompt. The prompt for August is as follows:

Transition | Transition of seasons; from single to couple; from couple to parents; from one to many. It’s that time of year when the high summer sun starts to sink and we all start to long for long sleeves. How is your life changing. How are YOU changing?

I suppose that the biggest symbol of transition in my life right now is that I am no longer living on the Coast full-time with my Sweet Husband. At the beginning of August, the new school year started and since my hopes for a job much closer to home did not materialize, SH and I are sliding back into the rhythms of a commuter marriage once again.

I am not happy about it.

I am grateful for a job, don’t get me wrong, and I’m actually enjoying teaching right now because we have yet to dive into the curriculum – 3 weeks into the school year. We are focused on goal setting and our visions for the future, which I think is much more important. We will get to curriculum. Eventually. But right now I’ve got engaged, productive students. So I’m good.

Taking that into account, though, this transition has led me to realize and begin planning for even bigger transitions. Like working for myself transition. While I am constantly looking for a job that will get me closer to home, I’ve been disappointed too many times. I’ve come to the realization that if I’m going to get home and be anywhere near happy, I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands.

It’s frightening. Truly, incredibly frightening. But it is what it is. And I don’t quite know any other way around that. All transitions are frightening. I don’t want to spend much more time away from my home and my family, though. We joke about it being like I’m offshore, but I’m not. and I want to be at home.

There are also other smaller transitions happening: getting healthier (the spider bite on the ass thing has out a damper on that this week in terms of C25K training, managing my time more consistently, writing more, taking steps to improve my photography. All of these smaller transitions are pieces of the much bigger transition, I think. They will ultimately help make that other transition more possible and attainable.

Are you in a season of transition? What kinds of changes are you making as summer fades to fall?

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Tuesday Thanksgiving

Because there are documented benefits to a regular practice of gratitude and thanksgiving, I pause on Tuesdays and give thanks for all of the wonderful things in my life. There are really too many to list, but I try to make Tuesdays my highlight reel.

This week, the following things are making the list:

  • Savings. I went to the doctor last night about my spider bite, and I’m glad that Sweet Husband had just been paid and we had a little in the savings account. I don’t really know how people in this country manage. If our politicians truly want to do something that will help most of us, figure out how to make health care truly affordable. Everyone having insurance isn’t the answer because I have insurance and yesterday’s total with my prescriptions is almost $400. The doctor told me to anticipate another visit that may be equally as expensive. How do people afford that?
  • Sweet Husband. Who just said, “it’s only money” and who has been worried about me. We had a good weekend together – because he decided that we would. And I love him for it.
  • Kat McNally & August Moon 14. We’re all done now, but I really appreciated the chance to do the work that was involved in the process. It came at the exact moment that I needed it.
  • The Sner. She helped out this past week. It was greatly appreciated.
  • Muddy Boots Ranch. They opened themselves up and allowed a bunch of us from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Photography Club to come out and take pictures this past weekend.
  • Friends. I’ve got some really, really good ones. I’m grateful.
  • Vacation. We have a 3 day weekend coming up. We don’t have a ton of plans, but it’s at least I’ll be home an extra night with SH.
  • Good students and supportive staff. Not going to lie – it’s been a rough week at alternative school, but there are bright spots and for that I give thanks.
  • Slightly cooler temperatures. After last week’s terrible heat indices, even just a few degrees cooler is a relief.
  • Sweet puppies. I mentioned in the Weekend Unwind post that I think we spent the best $7 ever on the puppies’ “rufferee” shirts. I’m still giggling over their incredible cuteness. I love them so much!

For what are you thankful this week? In what ways are you counting your blessings? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday Thanksgiving blog button

August Moon – The Future

Today is the sixteenth day of Kat McNally’s August Moon. I have participated in her Reverb projects in December as well as her April Moon offerings, so it was a no brainer for me sign up for August Moon again this year. it comes at just the right time for me, I believe. There is a lot swirling around in my head and heart these days, and I’m looking forward to using the opportunity that August Moon gives me to work through those things that are rattling around inside of me.

Today Kat gives us the following:

Fast forward a year…

On our last day together and in the shadow of the new moon, I’d like you to write a little love note to yourself from yourself a year from now.

Where are you? What are you doing? How has the journey been? What bits of your amazing life have you claimed?

How does the path ahead look?

What does your one-year-older one-year-wiser self have to say to you where you are now?

Keep this letter somewhere safe. I’ll remind you to open it this time next year.

You have my word of honour there will be glorious surprises.

I think my New Moon wishes are the same as what my hope for a year from now is – fulfilling work that has me at home with my family. Work that makes me happy and sustains me while allowing me the freedom to serve in whatever capacity that I am called.

When I think about this time next year – approaching the Labor Day weekend – I hope that I have been at home, on the Coast, enjoying a summer filled with work – photography, writing, editing, teaching, tutoring. Enough to move me to where I want to be. I see myself settled into a routine that includes some work in the mornings that might not exactly be what I want but that allows me the freedom to pursue the work of my heart (more on that later, but there is something taking shape in my head).

I do not imagine that it will have been an easy trek to get to where I want to be. I think that it will probably be a year filled with trial and error – trying things on, seeing how they feel and either making them part of the package or electing to move on. I see lots of learning and a bit of frustration because I tend to get that way when there is something I know I want to do but for some reason I just can’t get it done or I can’t figure it out. I see me seeking out some mentors, taking a look around at who could provide me with the kind of guidance that I am in need of.

I think if at this time next year, my Sweet Husband and I get to sleep under the same roof every night, I’ll call all the work that has been done in the intervening year worth it. If I’m not exactly where I want to be, that will be OK, as long as I get to be home.  The work will be the work regardless of what it is; what will make it tolerable is being able to sit down on the couch and scratch my puppies’ ears or snuggle up to SH and watch some Wheel of Fortune. I really hope that the pieces of this vision that I have for where I want my life to go begin to come to fruition, but in the end, the biggest piece is being home.

…and I’ll tell myself that it’s worth it – one little step at a time, even if it’s just a millimeter today. All I have to do is the next thing. I don’t have to do all the things. And piece by piece, I will arrive at the destination. I always was a distance runner; these linebacker thighs are good for propelling me forward over the long haul. One step at a time.

Thank you so much to Kat McNally for hosting this reflective writing challenge. These are the thoughts that I have been thinking but having a reason and an excuse to put them together has been a true blessing. I’m feeling more grounded and ready to go…now that I have a bit of an idea of where I want to head.

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August Moon – Just Do It

Today is the fifteenth day of Kat McNally’s August Moon. I have participated in her Reverb projects in December as well as her April Moon offerings, so it was a no brainer for me sign up for August Moon again this year. it comes at just the right time for me, I believe. There is a lot swirling around in my head and heart these days, and I’m looking forward to using the opportunity that August Moon gives me to work through those things that are rattling around inside of me.

Today Kat gives us the following:

What if there was no need to wait until you’re “perfectly formed”?

 today, on our penultimate day together, I invite you to do it now.

Do whatever. Do something. Build a website. Claim a tagline: you can always change it later. Use a Nôm de Plume if you’re not ready to share your journey with the people who know you: I still do. Get business cards printed and practice introducing yourself.

Don’t wait until you have it all figured out. Pick something easy, something scary. Just start. And keep going.

What if what you are doing right now was actually your destination? What would that mean for your journey?

It’s funny that business cards are mentioned. Last year on my Christmas list, I put “business cards for the blog.” Didn’t get them.

One of the things that I had on my to-do list for the summer was to create business cards for myself as a writer and photographer. For me, it’s slightly awkward when out in public and either writing or taking photographs, particularly when you’re taking pictures of someone else. It would also be nice to have them available to hand out at those awkward moments, but I never quite got around to it. Not because I was waiting for something but rather because there were other big tasks to accomplish – end tables to paint, a light house out of clay pots, linings to sew into drapes. Stuff. But I think I’d like to make that happen in the next week or so.

The other thing is that I’m asking folks if I can take pictures of them…or their babies. I’m not being shy about it. I want and need the experience, and I don’t mind putting in the time. Plus the babies are cute. I’m also accepting offers that make me a little uncomfortable. Engagement photos? Well. If you’re patient with me and don’t expect the moon and the stars, I’m willing to try. Birth photography? I’m honored and frightened and willing to try.

I’m saying yes when in the past I would have said no. I’m accepting that if this thing is to make a change, then I have to be the one to make the change. And right now, recognizing that is enough.

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Weekend Unwind

This morning when I was trying to get my morning pages done, I wondered if the weekends with Sweet Husband are so beautiful because we don’t get to see each other during the week….& if when we are back together full time, sleeping next to each other every night, the weekends won’t be so lovely. They continued to be good this summer but I have to wonder if that is because we were just reveling in so much time to be together. Or maybe it’s possible that our lives are just this good together.

Saturday was a beautiful day. SH was up much earlier than normal and we started our day by planning it. The. We were out the door for some outstanding lunch in Long Beach before SH took me around to three of the local Hudson’s – salvage stores. It’s been awhile since we’ve done that and while we didn’t buy much – a set of great plastic tiki lights for the front porch at one location and the best outfits for the dogs ever. So awesome that I’m still giggling about them. Best $7 we’ve ever spent. & we aren’t people who dress our animals).

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After we did our shopping, I made my way out to Muddy Boots ranch in Pass Christian for a group photo shoot with members of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Photography Club. I enjoyed it. It was nice to meet people who are interested in the same things that I am, and it was nice to meet people who are at the same point of the journey that I am as well. The owners if the property were phenomenal, and the place was gorgeous. The horses were cooperative, and I took a bunch of pictures that I now need to edit. There are weekly shoots that I miss because I’m out of town so it was wonderful to be able to make this one.

Today hasn’t been so hot, and I kinda hate that. I don’t feel good. Over the last several days, I’ve noticed a ton of bug bites – many of them came Friday night when I was watering the porch plants. I had SH look at one particularly bothersome one last night and he didn’t think it was actually a bite. Probably more like an ingrown hair. This morning when I woke up, that spot, which happens to be on my hip, was killing me – swollen and hard. When I say killing me, I mean killing me. It hurts to walk. So SH looked at it again and said that it looked like a spider bite in the light of morning. Two small puncture wounds.

I don’t know if it is what is making me feel like hell but I feel like hell.

SH and I completed the ALS Ice Bucket challenge this afternoon. Our videos are on Facebook. I’ll try to get them uploaded after SH finishes his fantasy draft.

I also forgot my work laptop charger so all the work that I needed to do this weekend hasn’t gotten done. Whatever. I’ll get it taken care of tomorrow. Easy peasy.

As it is Sunday, it’s time to set intentions for the week. Tomorrow is the new moon so there is quite a lot for me to think about tomorrow. I always make new moon wishes – putting the energy out there into the Universe, hoping that it eventually comes back to me. Between now and then I need to read a bit more, think a bit more and come to decisions. Beyond that though, the following are my intentions for the week:

  • complete week two of Couch-2-5k.
  • eat healthfully during the week
  • exercise (either walk or swim) on the days I’m not running
  • write every day
  • do my school work at school
  • send a few letters
  • take photos
  • read

Tell me about your weekend. Was it wonderful? And what do you have going on for the coming week?

August Moon – Go Gently

Today is the fourteenth day of Kat McNally’s August Moon. I have participated in her Reverb projects in December as well as her April Moon offerings, so it was a no brainer for me sign up for August Moon again this year. it comes at just the right time for me, I believe. There is a lot swirling around in my head and heart these days, and I’m looking forward to using the opportunity that August Moon gives me to work through those things that are rattling around inside of me.

Today Kat gives us the following:

How will you start the journey?

OK so if you’re anything like me, you have spent the past two weeks gathering information about yourself and now you’re itching to do something.

At this point, my inner task master is itching to get moving and start ticking things off the list. This will tend to involve making To Do lists, enrolling in e-courses, setting deadlines, contacting people who might be able to help me.

Imagine your most beloved little person (or yourself as a small child) came to you with this same dilemma. What advice would you give them? “Suck it up! Work harder! Work smarter! Push yourself ’til you burn out! Give yourself grief for not being good enough!” Somehow I don’t think so.

Today, I invite you to consider how you might contemplate the path ahead from a place of greater self-compassion.

What sort of trust would this require?

Goodness. I just signed up for a rather intensive blogging/photography course, and I also signed up for a course to help me navigate using Lightroom to edit photos. In my defense, though, the Lightroom course is self-paced, and it was too good of a deal to pass up at the time. And the blogging/photography course – well. It comes at the right time, too, and I really believe that the moves I want to make come this time next year need to be started now. Small steps, little things…even if right this moment, it feels a bit like a huge thing.

As for how I might advise another who is on this path, I think it’s much like I think about my students. We’ve started the year working on setting goals. Many of them have not had much success in their lives, and to me it feels right to spend time thinking and talking about what makes a goal achievable and how to break goals down into smaller steps.

So what are the goals? And what are the smaller pieces of them that are more manageable mouthfuls? Proficiency in Lightroom will hopefully be accomplished by the end of the year. Since it is a self-paced course, it should be easy enough and gentle to dip in and out of it when I have the time or inclination…as long as it by the end of the year, yes? And this other thing – is best if done as it goes, but is also something I can catch up with on the weekends or even after it is over. Or I can be mindful about the way I use my time. In the evenings, I often find myself rather mindlessly reading online (or if we’re calling it what it is, looking at Facebook or Twitter) or sitting in bed, trying to sleep for hours at a time. I could make use of that time.

And what’s more – I think I’ve got to take these small steps, little bites now so I have a better idea of where to take myself over the next year. One of the things that I also tell my students is that a little work and thought at the beginning can make the work in the middle and the end easier. I don’t mind doing that work now…particularly if it’s going to bring me home at some point. I can see the ultimate brass ring in the distance, but I know it is a ways off. I am training to run a 5K – it’s a little bit of running every week. I can do that. Just a little bit at a time.

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