not really nothing

Recently I had coffee with a friend who is now teaching at a different school. Although I haven’t shared this information with my current school yet, she knows that I plan to retire at the end of this year.

“So what will you do?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I answered.

She stared at me. “What does that mean?” she wondered.

I thought for a moment before answering. What that means is that I don’t plan to have my days metered out, each hour accounted for, every chore at home squeezed in between the race at school and the desire to have a life outside of work.

I will relearn how to cook, not just the quick and easy recipes but also the ones that take a bit more effort. I will get out the good china and silver more often and use cloth napkins because I will have time to keep them clean.

I will also keep my house and my car cleaner than I do these days. I will change the sheets on my bed more often. My husband will have a more pleasant environment to come home to after work, because I will be a better homemaker (and a happier soul).

It means that I will make a list of all the people who have been influential and instrumental in my life, in making me who I am today. And then I will plan visits with each of them, for lunch if possible.

There are community groups I will be a part of, and church committees to which I will make meaningful contributions of time and energy that I don’t have now.

There are day trips I will make to places I hear about or read about in the paper. I will help my daughter with her stationery business when she needs me. I will get to know my neighbors better. I will be a better friend.

And I will be able to write more, and I hope I will finally get started on all those art projects I dream of doing.

I will take more deep breaths.

So what I said to my friend was, “Well, I don’t have to have another job lined up for me. I have some dreams I hope to follow.”

But it won’t really be nothing. As Allison Glock wrote in the December issue of Southern Living, “It’s hard for Southern women to do nothing. We like to feel useful. It’s how we show we care.”

it’s time

Leaves hold on

through blustery wind

and howling storm,

blown and battered,

tossed and torn

but even so…

they remain.

Yet early on a frosty morn,

the air is still

and sleep awakes.

Then, silently,

the first light of day arises.

Leaves wait in treetops.

At last, with finality,

and a goodbye kiss from the sun,

a touch that says

it is their time to go,

then one by one

the stems release their grasp,

The leaves, in different hues,

drift down

dancing along through quiet air,

choosing their own path and

landing gently below.


how dare we…

In celebration of Veteran’s Day and in honor and memory of soldiers who have given their service to our country, our community pays tribute in various ways. Last Friday our town had our annual parade honoring these heroes. Here are a few pictures from our local newspaper, the Williamson Herald:

veterans day parade band

veterans day parade sign

veterans day parade

This afternoon, on Veteran’s Day, my husband and I attended a showing of the movie Honor Flight at our downtown theater. It told the story of how a community in Wisconsin was able to send hundreds of veterans to view the World War II memorial in Washington, DC.

The movie was beautiful for many reasons, and highlighted so many things that we as Americans have to be thankful for – the dedication of these service men and women, the way their actions literally saved our world, the lives that those who survived have lived, the families and legacies they have created, the sacrifice of those who gave the ultimate gift, and the dedication of today’s volunteers who are determined to include all veterans in this honor before it is too late.

There is so little we truly understand of that time. We cannot comprehend the trembling state the world lived in, the worldwide fighting, the devastation, the deaths. We have little knowledge of the sense of duty and patriotism these men and women displayed. We cannot fathom their constant feeling of day to day fear, all the while serving and fighting and marching and trying to keep themselves alive. And yet some being willing to die to keep their fellow soldiers alive.

We wonder how it was that those who did survive came home, went on with what was before, started new lives and families, and kept so much of their experience somewhere deep inside: not sharing, but somehow remaining unbroken by it all.

At that time few of those soldiers realized what a profound difference each one of their lives was making on the world at that time, and on the future lives of all Americans. They didn’t have a sense of it then, but we do today, we should, and we must thank them and let them know how special they are.

We were moved by the personal stories of several men portrayed in the film. We were uplifted by the ways that they were honored through this gift of recognition and honor. We were challenged by one of the last lines spoken. The man who organized this effort asked us to ponder, as we learn about and reflect on the sacrifices of these heroes, “How dare we live trivial lives?”

Today, I am thankful. And I am challenged to live with purpose because of this great gift given to me  – my freedom – by these heroes who have lived such meaningful lives.

How dare we live trivial lives, indeed.