Guided by prompts from WDC blogging challenges... and of course, life
This is a collection of writings prompted by WDC blogging challenges from "Journalistic Intentions" , "Blogging Circle of Friends " , "30-Day Blogging Challenge" and, well, life.
|Here's to the end of August! Slowly, eventually, summer will be gone and Fall will appear with a burst of color and cooler weather. I, for one, cannot wait! I'm one of those persons who loves Fall. Not just because of the cooler weather and eye-pleasing scenery though. I love the smell of fall! That earthy decay scent that leaves and other dead plant material begin to take on when they've fallen to the ground, almost fungus-like in its odor. The hint of crispness that the cooler weather lends to the air that tickles the nose. And the feel of Fall, a slowing down of the natural world, finally ending the frenetic paces of spring and summer. It is me coming into my own. I belong in the Fall.
And now, on to today's BCOF prompt:
Day 3213: August 31, 2021
Prompt: The first thing I did when I turned 21 was _________. If you're not 21 yet: The first thing I will do when I am 21 is ________.
Thinking back on my twenty-first year of life I have to go through the fog of my poor memory. However, I do remember going to a restaurant/bar and ordering my first legal alcoholic beverage. My family joined me in celebrating, and we went to a bar in Waco, Texas called "Buzzard Billy's Armadillo Bar and Grillo". I love Cajun food and it was my day, so that is where we went. The gator etouffee was delicious. I ordered my family members each a drink of their choice and ordered what they called a Blur Hurricane for myself. What goes better with Cajun food than a drink reminiscent of Louisiana, right? Uh. No. That was my first taste of a fruity mixed beverage. The first in a long line of trying drinks so I could find the right one for me. What I learned later on was that I'm quite picky when it comes to alcoholic refreshment. I'm not big on those fruity, cloyingly sweet concoctions.
But back to my twenty-first birthday celebration, shall we? I remember the vibe of the place; how there were taxidermied critters everywhere. They had them hiding in the rafters and made a part of the lighting fixtures, on the wall like hunting trophies, everywhere. I was enamoured with a huge alligator on the wall opposite our table. It was so big and must have been extremely strong in life. Such a beautiful animal! I wanted to watch a creature like that in its natural habitat, survey the way it moved and reacted during life. And I suppose there was an inkling, even back then, that I'd be happier moving farther East in Texas and that one day, my life would be immersed in the nature I so love. But, that was my twenty-first birthday and it took a while for me to grow beyond those inklings. My birthday didn't include big parties or club hopping just a nice gathering of family. I was, after all, already a Mom and had responsibilities beyond my own welfare.
|Day 3212: August 30, 2021
Prompt: "Courage is grace under pressure." Ernest Hemingway
Write about grace under pressure.
As a former teacher of middle school and high school science, I was able to experience first-hand what it means to have grace under pressure - and discover where I am lacking in that particular aspect.
I believe most teachers will experience a good deal of pressure during their tenure and as such will learn whether or not they have what it takes to show "Grace Under Pressure". Teachers have to plan their classes, usually weeks in advance. They are expected, however, to be flexible in their plans enough to be able to spend more time on areas where their students are not grasping the topic. Easy enough, right? Well, add in poor behavior from students, parents who think their children do no wrong, limited resources, being forced to teach to tests and restricted from teaching certain topics within their discipline, and excessive scrutiny from administration (especially toward the end of the school year, testing time). Not to mention, if you are teaching for a school that holds a certain sport or sports in high regard, you are pressured by administration, coworkers, and parents to "give" athletes grades that they did not earn for themselves just so they can continue to participate in sports - thereby creating an unfair atmosphere for the non-athletic students in your class and those who work hard to make passing grades. Standing by your morals can sometimes cost you your job - or in many cases, lead to a breakdown of health and/or mind. There's that pressure, where's the grace?
How do you live up to all of those demands on top of the ones you put upon yourself daily? Like I said, it can lead to breakdowns or poor health. In my case, in the end, I had to remove myself from the public school platform. I apparently did not have enough grace under the load of pressure working in a public school had placed upon me. And I am not a fan of being told to give someone something they did not earn. I cannot abide dishonesty. I found that my love of teaching could not keep me away from teaching, however, and started teaching at a private school instead of a public one. While there are definitely fewer pressures placed upon a teacher's shoulders at a private school, there are still pressures (this is life, after all). But learning from my mistakes and holding to my morals, I did well in the private education sector, until my health showed just how bad it had really gotten due to the stresses of my job.
Nowadays, people say I show grace in how I deal with my illnesses, that I must be courageous and strong to live with all the pain and all of the illnesses in general. But I don't see myself as strong or courageous. I do it because I have to. Because if I don't, I wouldn't really be living - I'd just be a shell of a person wasting the oxygen of those who are really living their lives.
But in the end, maybe that's actually what courage/grace under pressure is all about; doing what we have to do because we have to do it in order to live our lives within our own standards, to continue to be ourselves. And you know what, while the pain doesn't go away, it becomes easier to tolerate eventually. So do the other obstacles we have to face in life.
LeJenD'Poet - Just ME
|BCOF Day 3210 “Why do we go away? So that we can come back. So that we can see the place we came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see might see us differently, too..” ― Terry Pratchett
Your thoughts about Pratchett's view on change....
Pratchett makes sense to me - it's happened in my life as a matter of fact. Recently, I returned to visit my family in the town in which I grew up. It was for a party for my great niece so there was more than just family there. What a pleasant surprise to find that some of the folks I happened to run into were old school-mates of mine! I had purposely not been back to visit more than my parents' home for over twenty years. Going into town brought back such nostalgic memories. But coupled with those memories was the inevitable change a town goes through over the years. Some of my most beloved landmarks were torn down, and replaced with new buildings in most cases. It was a feeling of it being "the same yet different." And those people who I knew from way back when, well, they are a nicer lot now. Grown in maturity through the years, some enough to apologize for the Hell they put me through as a teen. Back then, being the different one - the outsider was hard for me. Going back made me realize that I did what I needed to do by staying true to myself. And you know what? Those people had different memories of me from then. They don't remember me as the weirdo, the butt of everyone's jokes and rumors. Some did remember what they put me through and apologized for it. That was nice, but for me, I put the past behind me long ago. It was just lovely to get to catch up with those people I spent my formative years with. We go away, sometimes to come back, sometimes to escape from unhealthy situations, other times just to go because going is what makes us US. But coming back is almost always an option.
|BCOF Day 3209 27 August, 2021 - "Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." ― John Lubbock.
Most of us as adults forget what it was like to simply lay on the grass and be one with nature. When's the last time you laid on the grass and looked up at the clouds? Did you try to identify different cloud shapes or simply just absorb the beauty? How did you feel?
I love laying on my back in the grass. It is a great way to relax and ground yourself. When I lay on the ground, I not only look to the sky and its clouds and/or stars, I also imagine that all the negative energies and feelings inside of me are being pulled out of me into the ground. It leaves me feeling calmer and more refreshed and has, on more than one occasion, helped ease pain.
I also love looking toward the heavens. I guess you could say that I am a girl with my head in the clouds. But there is such beauty to be seen there! So much that still instills feelings of awe and wonder in me - even after all these years. Watching the aerial dances of birds and dragonflies, the movement of the clouds as they scuttle through the sky ever changing their shapes as they go, the dance of the stars at night and maybe even getting to see a shooting star or two, and seeing the moon in all her phases and how those phases change with each passing day. Yeah, I guess I do have my head in the clouds.
And to lie under the trees and look up through their branches and leaves is an experience in and of itself. How you can see each separate leaf as it rustles in the wind, the sighing sound they make as they shiver amongst one another, the green of the leaves as seen from underneath and how you can almost see light through each one as the sun shines upon them. And watching all the critters that call the trees home as they go about their daily lives, squirrels playfully chittering, woodpeckers busily knocking holes in the sides of the trees, other birds coming and going from branch to branch and tree to tree, and the thousands of insects working tirelessly to take sustenance back to their holes and hives - the cycles of life that would normally pass us by because we tend to focus on humanity rather than widening our senses to include the world around us. Have a peaceful day folks. Go lay in the grass and look up at the sky.
LeJenD' - Just Jenn
|Day 3208 August 26, 2021
Please use these words in your entry today: Birthday, number, young, elderly, candles, paper, and a clown.
They all gathered in the house to celebrate Grandma's ninetieth birthday. The young, middle aged, and elderly all packed into the small house together, as no one wanted to miss this special day. Someone even hired a clown to bring laughter to the monumental event. Grandma wasn't fond of clowns though, and asked Auntie why they couldn't have hired a male stripper instead. Auntie responded that a stripper would not have been appropriate with all the little ones running about. Many of us chuckled at Grandma's continued spunk. She'd always been a strong and blunt woman, way ahead of her time. Momma decided it was time to light the candles on the cake for Grandma to blow out. But the funny thing about having as many candles as the number of years being celebrated, when you are celebrating that many years, the first candles you light tend to be melted down quite a bit by the time you finish lighting the last of them. Grandma just told her to get rid of all the candles but one and she would just blow it out and that would be just fine. Said she didn't need any fire hazards in her house at her age. After the candle was blown out and everyone had their fill of cake, punch, and ice cream, the presents were brought out for Grandma to open. She slowly and carefully opened each present making sure she didn't rip the wrapping paper and replacing those gifts that arrived in bags back into the bag they came out of. This had the children going nuts, as they were ready for Grandma to get to each of their presents faster than she was going. All in all, everyone had a wonderful time and left with tears in their eyes and memories of the best birthday party ever.
LeJenD'Poet - Just ME
|I missed my blog yesterday so I decided I'd do it then write today's. My mind's been a bit wonky of late. Crazy vivid dreams have left my thoughts askew and gathering them has proven to be more than a little difficult. At some point, I might have to journal more of these realistic dreams that stick with me upon awakening. In any case, here we go...
8/24 Prompt: When I was in grade school I would walk to and from school in all kinds of weather. I always enjoyed walking in the rain. Write about walking in the rain.
rain falls, dampening sunbaked lands
a welcome respite from summer's drought
Earth drinks deeply of this gift from the skies above
animals emerge to wash weeks of dust from fur and feather
a handful of hardy humans throw their arms to the heavens
in thanks for this sweet blessing so needed
walking in the rainfall's refreshment
and inhaling the sneeze-scented petrichor.
8/25 Prompt Day 3207: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Khalil Gibran - Let this quote inspire you blog entry.
It is the way of life
to weed out the weak ones
Only the strong survive
a life with no failure
is no life at all
our scars our ultimate prize
LeJenD'Poet - Just ME
|Day 3205: August 23, 2021
Prompt: time, peace, might, song, evening, morning, and reverence.
Dance of Sun and Moon
I hold reverence for the sun and moon
and their perpetual dance through time,
waltzing to the song of night and day.
Sun brings light on his morning crossing
as Moon lays down her haloed head to rest
and evenings see the sun to slumber
while Moon tempers night with her cooling gaze
each, allowed mere glimpses of the other.
What might be learned from this game of tag?
Or perhaps Peace is found in the not knowing.
LeJenD'Poet - Just ME
|DAY 3203 August 21, 2021
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri Nouwen,
Your thoughts about friendship:
Friendship does not segregate in any manner. Some of my best friends are not even human. But as for those friends of the people-kind... It takes a special person to get through my barriers and win my trust enough for me to actually give them the moniker, "friend". Those are the relationships which withstand the tests of time, distance, and differences. There's a feeling of comfort being around these people that doesn't dissipate over years of being apart. There's an ability to pick up right where you left off, like miles and years never passed you by. Friends won't ostracize you for thinking differently or acting differently; for having opinions, beliefs, and dreams unlike theirs. These are people who are easy to talk to. They embrace and oftentimes celebrate your oddities and absurdities. They listen and are supportive but are not afraid to tell you the truth about matters, not afraid to share their opinion when theirs is different from yours. They've got your back when you need it and don't hide their troubles from you. Friendship is a give and take of love, care, honesty, and time. It should be effortless for the most part.
Throughout my life, I have been blessed with at least a handful of these. Some I have had for over forty years, others have come into my life more recently. Many of them do not share my beliefs or my opinions concerning many things but somehow, these differences are not obstacles to our friendships. These gentlemen ad ladies have proven time and again that nothing will stand in the way of our friendship, not time, or differences, or distance, or disease, or trouble, or even new relationships. True friendship is a bond that cannot be broken. And I thank the ones in my life for teaching me these truths.
LeJenD'Poet - Just ME
|DAY 3202 August 20, 20210
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."― Mark Twain Your thoughts, agree or disagree?
I agree with two out of three of these. I do not agree about the "sleepy conscience". Our conscience is there to remind us that there are lines we should not cross. If our conscience speaks up, it is sign that perhaps we should take a look at the situation and figure out where the questionable action is so we can either stop it or make amends for what we have done. Our conscience is the little angel on our shoulder that helps us stay on the right path.
Good books, I cannot live without. It still surprises me when I come across people who do not like to read, but I remind myself that their opinions are just as valid as mine. But really, who doesn't want to have good books around, right?!
As far as "good friends", I'd much rather have good ones than bad ones - or than indifferent ones. But friends are not a necessity in my life. I'm quite the introvert and more than a little anti-social, as being around people causes me to have anxiety attacks.
LeJenD'Poet - Just ME
|DAY 3201 August 19, 2021
Please. use these words in your blog today: campfire, eerie, branch, stream, marshmallow and ghost story.
It was an crisp evening in late September. The cool weather had come and with it, a renewed desire to go camping in the woods. A group of twenty-somethings decided to gather at the campsite on the east branch of Alligator Stream for a night of camping fun. Night sounds surrounded them; frogs croaking, insects chirping, and the occasional lone hoot of an owl in the woods. Since the air was chilly, they built a campfire. After a dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, and chips, the gang decided to tell ghost stories while making smores. With marshmallows roasting, they began their eerie stories...
I'll let you create your own story from there. Happy writing!
LeJenD'Poet - Just ME