Category Archives: Monday Moments

Monday Moments: Sliced Bread

sliced bread

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~ John Muir

“Better than sliced bread……”

Now that’s a phrase I hadn’t heard in a while. Walking across campus this past week, I passed a group taking a tour, that phrase left hanging in the floating air behind their push onward to see more buildings. It’s a funny little phrase, so deceptively simple, conjuring up some strange historical moment when people were in awe of that newfangled item of pre-sliced bread.

In the weeks since the new year, my husband was back in the hospital again, bent on discovering our new town via the medical community it seems. He’s home and doing better, on the mend again. But after sitting through another round of late dark nights in a hospital room, listening to the sounds of breathing in the middle of the night, to cries of “Help me” from faceless voices down the hall, to the opening chorus of a Bach minuet that the hospital plays each time a baby is born, I was intimately reminded of the fragility of moments.

In the rush of each day, each meeting, hour, minute, breath, I often forget that they are once in a lifetime moments. No matter how many meetings, or breaths, or days I have, each is unique, each is history the moment after it happens. And when I forget that, when I lose myself into the hustle and bustle instead of being aware of it, I lose a connection to myself, one that I crave and need and rely on to get me through every other part of what I do.

So this weekend, I took time to reconnect, to settle internally, in the best way I know how for me — cooking. More specifically this time, to bake bread. There’s just something magic in working dough, end over end, knead after knead, watching the rise of it, a living thing as the yeast works its magic. Nothing more healing that sitting down, arms slightly tired, and smelling freshly baking bread perfume the air. Nothing more satisfying than a newly-cut slice of warm from the oven bread, a dab of melting butter oozing into the crevices.

In that moment, all is good.

And I find it hard to discover much of anything better than sliced bread.

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Monday Moments: So, Where Was I……..

time warp sxc

Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It’s passing, yet I’m the one who’s doing all the moving.
~ Martin Amis

Well, now then…… where was I?

*wandering about the blogosphere until arriving home again*

Hello, my friends! It’s almost amusing now to look back at the previous post and remember good intentions. Alas, they whizzed by me so fast I could swear they screamed at the speed at which they traveled.

When last we chatted, I was preparing for a household move, which we accomplished. Much like a whirlwind, I might add. In June, I accepted a new position, which entailed moving several states away. July was spent in a flurry of packing the household and cleaning up long overdue tasks at work, to leave as clean a slate (*cough impossible cough*) as possible I could for my successor. We left our jobs at the end of July, and within just over one week’s time –yes, indeed, you read that right– we packed, moved (with a cat, no less) from Dayton, OH to Richmond, VA, unpacked (mostly), and I started my new job.

Whew!

Add in a small health adventure for my husband, which allowed us to get very acquainted with our new insurance and medical options, and settling into new routines, places, and things to do, and miraculously 5 months disappeared.

Five months. Hard to believe it’s been that long.

But here we meet again, my friends. I appreciate the emails and comments — it means more than I can say that you stuck with the empty spaces here.

This passing year –2012– was a year of change for us. And as we finally settle in to life away from major snow and ice-cold temperatures, I look forward to sharing our new memory-making adventures here with you all.

In the meantime, however, I’ve got some catching up to do.

*grabbing a cup of coffee, pulling up a chair*

How are you? What have you been up to while I’ve been away?

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Monday Moments: Memorial Day

cleaning up cemetery placing flags

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~ From a headstone in Ireland

My father was a quiet man. Not just in tone or in spirit, but in nearly everything. In part, I’m sure, this came from spending much of his time by himself, out in the fields or working in the timber. He was far more content to sit and read than to listen to the radio or watch television. He was never one to make a fuss, or to want a fuss made about him.

Our primary piece of farm acreage was old family property. The remains of an old schoolhouse were barely visible under the growing timber and brush. Remnants of the old family cemetery were strewn about one section. Every winter, when he couldn’t be in the fields, he was in the timber. He’d clear out dead trees and provide firewood for the fireplace at home. He’d beat back the ever-encroaching brush from the edges of the fields. And he would work on the cemetery. He’d try to match old, long-broken tombstones with the right bases, and he’d try to set right what weather and the occasional vandals took down each year. One of his quiet actions in life was cleaning up the cemetery, year after year, stone after stone.

He did this as a labor of love, to his family, to the people buried there, and to the families of those who were forever wedded to that piece of land. Without fuss, without caring if anyone knew or noticed or helped. It was his task. His remembrance. His service. He was a young child when the U.S. entered World War I, and by the time World War II rolled around, he was exempt from the draft as a food-producing farmer. He never talked about not going to war, like he never talked about a lot of things, but I always believed that he wanted to do more, give more, for the country whose history he taught me. So he did what he could, quietly. But occasionally someone would notice and say thanks. letter to the editor about my father cleaning up the cemetery He’d stammer and get uncomfortable, but he appreciated the sentiment. And each Decoration Day, as he always called it, he’d help put flags out on the graves of those who served.

Now living near a very active Air Force base, I see people every day who serve quietly, without seeking honor or notice or attention. Because it fills them from the inside out. Because it’s just what they do, oftentimes without notice. So today, as we should do every day, take a moment and express your appreciation to someone who willingly serves, who has lost someone who sacrificed themselves for what they believed. Who lives each moment to make sure we have our freedom.

A friend of ours, Adam White, who happens to be a very talented filmmaker, put together a marvelous tribute to those who volunteer, those who serve. Please take a couple of minutes to watch the clip, and to remember all those who have served and those who now serve.

Today and everyday.

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Monday Moments: The Middle of the Night

moon and clouds

In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Anyone remember that Billy Joel song “River of Dreams”?

It’s a catchy little tune, especially when you’re up at 3 a.m.

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To a river so deep.

Do you ever have those nights when you’re tired but you can’t sleep? Sometimes I’m that way when I get ready for bed. So many thoughts twist and turn that it’s hard to fall asleep. Those nights are challenging.

But worse, for me, are the ones where you wake up, either from some strange dream or for no apparent reason at all (or because your cat decides what better time to play with Mom…….) When you’d like nothing better that to stay in bed, sleeping, but your mind won’t turn off.

Where you watch the digital blue colon separating hours from minutes flash over and over again.

Where the clock hanging on the wall in another room ticks off moment by moment by moment.

Yeah, those nights. 

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the jungle of doubt
To a river so deep.

There are lots of reasons for me to be here in the middle of the night tonight. We’re starting a new quarter at work today, which means new classes (both taking and teaching). I’m in the midst of too many unfinished “to-do’s” both at home and at work. Running through plans for guests coming in this weekend. A new story idea that longs for attention I can’t give it right now. Anticipating a flurry of things that lie ahead. Missing long talks with good friends in far away places.

So here I am, sharing the middle of the night with Billy Joel and with you……..

We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We’re all carried along
By the river of dreams

In the middle of the night.

How do you spend those middle of the night moments?

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Monday Moments: Madness in the Air

It’s that time of year again – madness is in the air – in multiple ways!

March Madness, of course, kicks off today with a feverish scribbling and erasing and rescribbling of brackets. In the years since we got married, I have converted my husband into a college basketball fan, particularly when March Madness rolls around. In part, that’s because the first year he had the job here, we (and by “we” I mean he entered and I did the brackets!) entered his office bracket pool and took first place out of more than 100 people! Of course, I’ve never been able to do that again in the years since then, but not for lack of trying! Dang those bubble-bursting teams….

Also, Dayton is home to the “First Four” play-in games on Tuesday night, so beginning yesterday, Madness is indeed in the air. The level of madness escalated tremendously with the announcement last week that President Obama and the British Prime Minister will be in attendance at those games on Tuesday. Wow! Very cool! The Dayton Daily News even did a piece on other presidential visits to Dayton, something one of my colleagues here did all the photographic research in the DDN archives here for them!

Finally, madness of a different sort is also on the horizon! As you may have noticed from the dancing zebra in today’s lead photo, the April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge is just weeks away (actually less than 3, now)! If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a marvelous way to work on blogging skills by completing a 6 day per week, alphabet-driven blogging challenge throughout the month of April. Introduced in 2010 by Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the Challenge continues to grow. Last year, more than 1300 bloggers took part, and when I added my blog to the list yesterday, I was number 985 for 2012. And seriously, one of the best parts of the Challenge is the community it builds, as part of the fun is hopping from blog to blog to see what everyone else is doing. I met some great bloggers last year, and I’m sure I will this year as well! Hopefully this year I’ll get to finish, since last year I was closing in on the end of the Challenge when I injured my hand on April 24 (soooo close!) — now, I can’t believe it’s a year later, but that means I have extra motivation to dig in and complete the Challenge this year! Let us know if you’re going to join the challenge ~ we’d love to follow along on your journey, too!

So, what kind of Madness is hovering around your world??

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Filed under April A-to-Z Challenge, Life, Monday Moments, writing