Calm

School, bills, the apartment, health, Facebook, twitter, political podcasts, the car, dang deers!, DH, his health, the sheets don’t fit right, dishes, no bowls, Mom’s what?!, The Young and the Restless, deadline, that makeup does not match, where are my shoes?

The first time I used the Calm app it was kind of like that.

I didn’t breathe deep enough and focus? What’s that?

It took ONE day for me to fall in love with Calm.

By the end of week one I had a routine. Wake up, make coffee, Calm.

21 days in, today, I woke up, turned on Calm, and it didn’t work.

I panicked for a minute.

I was able to meditate for five minutes, but it wasn’t the same. I missed the lesson, the coaching.

And I was a grumpy bump the whole way to school. Bad drivers, bad roads, lights. Ugh!

So when I got to school, I tried again.

It worked! Whew!

It’s such a little thing, but that 10 minutes of silent reflection and soothing life lesson is incredible.

I love Calm. I really do.

What I’m Loving: the Calm app, DoTERRA On Guard, school holiday anticipation

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After.

Living Deliberately

Maybe that headline is little too much, but I’m making a point to be a more aware of my time second semester.

It’s super easy to get caught in work and to live in the newsroom. I like it there. It’s fun. I like the kids. We do great work. The students like 80s music and will jump into a dance party on demand. I mean, yeah. It’s AWESOME.

But I need to reclaim my time. And they need to reclaim theirs.

Yes, after school deadlines are part of my world. No, staying after school every day is not healthy, wise or a good lesson for my kids.

So…

I have a signup sheet on the table. If kids need to work after school outside of designated work nights or past the 30 minutes I’m always here, they have to sign up on Monday for the week. They can’t stay after Friday. We’ll see about Saturday mornings. They’re fun but they make the weekend short, and that’s not good for any of us.

This live deliberately goal will require all of us to plan better. It will also encourage us to do more outside the classroom.

I want my room to be vibrant and alive and exciting and fun. But I want us all to be healthy with the time we spend.

We’ll see how it works. 😊👩‍💻👏

An aside: you guys, Quest chips are LCHF heaven.

What I’m Loving: coffee, Diet Dr Pepper, these temperatures, Quest chips, LCHF, our yearbook cover, the scene I just wrote in my WIP, getting all my electrolytes in, the Daily Calm

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Doubt Demons

I passed out doubt demons in class today. I started class showing off mine. His name is Freddy.

I told the kids I write novels and love words and help edit others’ work, and still there are times I sit at the computer and hate everything about everything. I hate the way the words look, they way they feel when I say them, the scene they’re part of. I hate the commas and periods and pronouns. I hate it all. And if I let it, that feeling will consume me and the work and it’s so bad I just want to trash it all and start something shiny and new and fun. Something I can LOVE. But with my doubt demon around, I can pick him up, put him on my finger and say, “Not today, Freddy. Not today.”

After I told my story, I broke out the demons and invited the kids to choose their own. No one had to, but if they wanted one, they could take one, name it and have it out at their workstations while they work the rest of the year.

I thought I’d been pretty open about my writing, but as I told my story today my kids sat there listening and nodding their heads and even saying “Yes!” at times. They’re halfway through the year and they’ve faced all the doubt struggles that come with interviewing and writing and designing and photo stories. They know their work is going to be published and it lasts forever and the pressure is real. Some of them write creatively outside our class. They understand doubt. But until today I don’t think it ever really connected that I know doubt too.

I hope the doubt demons help us all banish the negativity and embrace the reality that the doubt is just part of the process.

*I ordered my doubt demons at Archie McPhee.

I’m thankful to Angelique L’Amour who introduced me to Doubt Demons at last year’s DFW Writers Conference. If you get a chance, definitely take her classes!

What I’m Loving: Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead, LCHF, Finals!, Saginaw Night Writers, Quest nacho cheese flavored chips

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Books I’ve Loved This Year: Atomic Habits, Dumplin’

I Want Him to Stay

I want him to stay.

But I know he can’t.

I don’t even know why it’s a big deal.

I’m working all day. Then it’s group on Tuesday.

I go home and write. Sometimes. If he’s not there.

If he’s here, I go home and talk and laugh and watch TV and gripe and complain about who does the dishes and we debate my Young and the Restless obsession and why I should watch something different and…all the little things in life. And then I write. Sometimes.

And I lay in bed next to him listening to him breathing, inhaling his scent, luxuriating in his nearness. If he’s here.

And when he’s not I sprawl out over the entire surface and pull his pillows to me and wish the neighbors would stop talking even though it’s not that bad with ocean waves playing.

People do this. They live in separate spaces, far more than we have. I feel almost guilty for what I wish, what I want.

We’re almost there where he’ll be here all the time. We’re almost there.

Escapism

Back in the day I’d log on to my blog and write about all the things. Writing, family, diet struggles, books I loved, God, TV, tales from the classroom and the politics of education. Every little thing.

The blog was my way to share little bits of life with friends.

Back in the day before Facebook and twitter and the constant bombardment of my News App.

I love the ease of the blog, the breathing space of the blog, the focus of the blog.

When I’m here I don’t worry about notifications or nuclear war. I just write. I just share.

Sometimes I write to make readers laugh. Other times I share to get through a moment. Often I post to ask advice.

I like that about the blog.

It’s my little place in the vast space of online infinity.

👩‍💻

What I’m Loving: The Daily Calm, Dumplin‘, coffee, my giant down comforter, my Dallas Stars gloves, Cali’flour pizza crust

What I’m Writing: blog posts and So Much For Happily Ever After.

Teenagers, Teenagers

Spent today with teenagers who chose to give up their Saturday to compete in UIL Academics.

People trash talk teenagers all the time. But you know what? Young people make me happy.

They believe absolutely that they can do almost anything unless that belief has been sucked out of them. They will defend their beliefs with research and a well thought out argument. They are kind and caring and considerate, and they often reach out when they see someone hurting or alone. Even if they don’t know that someone.

They are smart! When I was in school we had to take math. Not Algebra. Math. And science? Physical Science and Biology. Social studies and English weren’t even required four years. Sure, some kids did more. But you didn’t have to to graduate. These kids take tons of tough classes and still work and juggle busy electives AND give up their weekends for UIL.

People talk about teen attitudes, and yeah, they can roll their eyes so far into the backs of their heads I wonder about their health. But you know what? Go hang out on twitter for more than five minutes. You’ll see they’re just in training.

Teenagers are great. Glad I got to spend my Saturday with a few.

Not the Plan

The postcard on the table when I walked in from school surprised me.

DFW Writers Conference.

On the way home from school I’d been thinking about the blog post I planned.

The postcard changed everything because it far surpassed my expectations. The summer workshop is one of the best I’ve attended, but I can’t go this year. I figured the postcard was a reminder to register and I was a little sad.

I figured wrong.

I completely forgot they had us write the message to ourselves. Seeing the words, remembering the excitement of workshop moved me to tears.

I won’t be there this year, but if you’re a writer you should go. It’s incredible.

Check it out here!

What I’m Loving: Friday, Aguage hairspray, Diet Dr Pepper, DoTERRA On Guard

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Tales From the Classroom

She didn’t have her photos.

Easy photos.

20 photos that tell the story of our classroom.

But nope. No photos.

Why?

Her phone had no storage.

No problem. I gave her a little point and shoot to take her photos.

Excited, she took the camera, started walking around pressing the display screen in frustration.

Wait. What?

“Miss, how does this work? How do I get pictures?”

That’s when I realized I’d made a world of assumptions. When I handed her that camera, I assumed she would know how to use it because it was a simple point and shoot.

But that simple camera was completely foreign to her. She’s 14. She’s grown up pushing a button on a screen to take photos.

Fortunately, she wasn’t afraid to speak up when doing that didn’t work.

I showed her how to snap the pictures and she quickly took care of the assignment.

She learned how to use a point and shoot. I learned a whole lot more.

So often I think I’m assigning something super easy, but it’s only easy if the students have had specific life experiences.

I’ve got a lot more to learn.

On to the next assignment.

What I’m loving: The Young and the Restless, the train running from Fort Worth to the airport, DoTERRA On Guard, Quest snickerdoodles, Spark People, teaching

What I’m writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Oh Hey Neighbors

It started right away. It’s been a year and the “new” neighbors still insist on late nights and loud voices.

I’ve said “hey neighbor” and “hello” and other friendly greetings.

She’s said “Sorry, I know we were loud last night.”

And I’ve said “Yeah, makes the morning wake up call tough.”

And she’s gone about her business being perfectly normal until 11 or midnight or 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.

And I guess I get it. Her apartment is her apartment. And her kids are kids who stay on their gaming systems all night long not even bothering to think about sleep until she starts yelling at them to go to bed at whatever hour of the early morning it is. One time she yelled “Did you hear me?!” And I yelled back “I did.” And silence reigned supreme. Glorious.

But usually nothing works. They don’t care.

I’ve tried Ocean Waves and Thunderstorm to cover the noise. I’ve tried 80s and heavy metal to share the “I can hear you” wealth. I’ve woken up early and played my Pilates music full blast. I’ve prayed. Thrown shoes at the wall. Meditated.

And still they yell at each other all night long and I lose sleep.

I read this tweet thread about someone baking a cake and delivering it to a neighbor who had a party and it turning into a beautiful thing.

If I made a cake for my neighbors, they’d eat cake and yell about it at 1 a.m. waking me from dreamless slumber.

Apartment living has its perks. There’s the zero maintenance and zero budget for landscaping and the pool and the lack of a mortgage. But I’m not loving it right now as I prepare for my classes bleary-eyed and tired.

Maybe I’ll try the cake thing.

Whiny, sleepy post done. Over and out.

What I’m loving: The Daily Calm, DoTERRA On Guard, Night Writers, my pillow, LCHF, Mixtiles

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After (53k now. YAY!)

Surround Yourself With Creatives

Creativity is contagious. My writers group meets at the local library Tuesday evenings. The meetings always inspire me.

It’s easy to not write, but when I go to the meetings I HAVE to write something, even if it’s not great. The more I go, the more I write. The more I write, the better I write…it’s a cycle.

There’s something about writing in community that refreshes my writing spirit.

I almost didn’t make tonight’s meeting since I came home from work with enough time to do a short workout and decided to try HIIT. I nearly died. It’s back to Zumba tomorrow!

What I’m loving: my current WIP, Night Writers, the Dallas Stars, Mixtiles (they are as good as the Facebook ad says!), Quest snickerdoodle cookies, LCHF

What I’m writing: So Much For Happily Ever After