Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Slice of Life: Fleeting Moments

I started to make a collage of memories from 2016, but I quickly realized too much had happened to gather it all in a collage.     If you would have asked me about 2016, I would have managed to recall a few highlights.  The images I had collected told a richer story of family, friends, new opportunities, and a bit of adventure.  

Fleeting Moments

years 
roll on 
in fleeting moments.

we try to hold them
in our hearts, 
but memories dim.

we try to capture them
in collected images,
but they're easily lost.

we try to explain them
in words and lines,
but they fade on the page. 

in a year's time
doors open
to new opportunities.

family and friends
gather in celebration, 
share in laughter. 

new places 
offer a chance to revision
our understanding of the world.

each day
the sun rises and sets
the same, yet different.

we search 
for a way to hold 
all of it in our hand.

but moments 
aren't meant to be held,
they're meant to be lived.

each coloring who we are,
preparing us 
for our tomorrow.  

© Cathy L. Mere, 2017 















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Monday, January 2, 2017

2017: My One Little Word


Hello, New Year.

This is the week that the world will be off and running with good intentions to change.  The gym will be crowded.  Organization tubs will be purchased.  Lists will be made.  Refrigerators will be cleaned out and healthier fare will replace all the holiday goodies that were there just a week before.  We'll all be searching for the better form of ourselves.  It is in these first weeks of a new year I often hear people talk about a quest to find balance:  a harmony between the many hats we each wear in this life. Many years ago I too sought balance, but as life marched on I began to realize that the best things happened when life was, quite honestly, a bit out of balance.  Can too much balance result in missed opportunities?  In our search for balance, we have to be judicious in our no's, be careful of our essential choices, but we can't overlook opportunities.

One Little Word
About two weeks ago, I heard a podcast ( A Little Happier:  What's Your One Word Theme for the New Year with Gretchen Rubin) about finding your one word so I started looking for my word to guide me through 2017.  This advanced notice was appreciated as I like my word to "find" me, and it hasn't always happened quickly.  As words found their way into my days, I began to make a list and --- this won't surprise anyone --- it was a long one.  I had several words I wanted to consider for my new year.  I narrowed the list to five and then to three, trying each word on for a day or two.

The quest for a new word is never easy, but always worth the effort.  Having never been someone who does well with resolutions, I've enjoyed having one new word to shape my journey for the last few years.  I've found one word or phrase to be easy to remember, applicable across contexts, and helpful in my continued steps forward.  Here are the words or phrases I have selected in the past:



The Quest 
To find my word, I needed to reflect on the previous year.  In 2016, a few things happened that probably have made me look at my life map with a greater pause.  First of all, I celebrated a big --- okay, really big --- birthday.  All of my friends told me that "at our age (the one where they send you an AARP card)" we finally have it all together, we can say what we want, we are sailing.  Oh, how I wish there were truth in their statement.  I'm finding quite the opposite to be true.  The new lessons from a big birthday, a new position as our district's elementary literacy instructional leader, a flood in our basement, and my children's continued steps forward in their own lives, have made me reconsider all that is possible.  As Mary Oliver asks, "Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"  We may only have "one wild and precious life," but we can constantly reinvent it or change its course.    

Truthfully, I've really never been one to feel I have it all figured out.  I consider that a gift.  It helps me to continually think about what might be possible next.  This new decade feels quite similar to life in my 20s where there was so much to figure out; so many new possibilities ahead.  It's probably this search that soon led me to my word.  As I pondered new word possibilities, I found I kept coming back to a word I heard in November.  It was a word I first heard from Christine Arylo when her Positively Positive's post came up in my Feed.ly account:  Are You Feeling Stretched?.
"Every person I know who is awake, open-hearted, and desiring to live their greatest life, in alignment with their soul, is being called to their 'edge' - personally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically."  --- Christine Arylo

Seek the Soul Stretch
There was something about the word "stretch" that I appreciated.  A stretch seems better than balance to me.  Balance makes me feel like I'm trying to control chaos, but a stretch feels like I'm reaching for something that will move me to a better place.  A stretch isn't outside of our limits, but pushes us toward new horizons.  A stretch says it might be hard, it might even be something life has just sent our way, but it is something we can do.  Christine's advice, "Lean into the stretch and grow, breakthrough limits and old ways that no longer serve and eventually soar and reach deeper levels of strength and faith and expression."  In 2017, I hope to seek the soul stretch.  It's only in the stretch we can continue to grow.  


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Be Present


The internet has made me a collector of quotes.  It seemed a waste for quotes to just sit on my Pinterest board.  I thought perhaps I'd start sharing a few on Wednesdays.  


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Next Steps

The internet has made me a collector of quotes.  It seemed a waste for quotes to just sit on my Pinterest board.  I thought perhaps I'd start sharing a few on Wednesdays.  







Tonight's White Night

In February
we will be ready
for it
to end.

We will tire
of the bitter cold,
the slippery streets,
the colorless days.

Tonight,
however,
we marvel
at glistening white.

The first snows
dress the world
in glittering gowns
of white.

Billowy flakes
float delicately
in a dance
to the earth.

Snow cloaks branches,
blanketing endless brown;
brightening earth's
masterpiece.

In a few months,
we will wish
for green,
yellow, and pink.

But tonight
as the full moon
illuminates
the splendor.

Tonight,
we marvel
in the majestic silence
of a first white night.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2016






Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Slice of Life: A Writer's Nudge


this space
has been quiet 
for some time.
waiting.
for words to return.
for time to slow.

there are
the usual
excuses.
of days lost.
of great demands.
of busy days, 
tired nights.

in truth,
time spent 
in ways
unproductive.

a friend reminds,
with the understanding 
of another 
who has fought 
the same fight,
wrestled 
the same demon,
"You need to get back
to the page." 

another inquires,
"What are you writing?"
interest genuine.
my silence speaks.
she knows 
the struggle.
this knowing
rests between us.

their words
spin in my mind.
for days.
weeks.
my fingers
grow restless.
tired of stillness.

still
i wait
for time to slow
for words to return.
of course
this doesn't happen
until in the quiet
i return
to this space.
to try
yet again.   


© Cathy L. Mere, 2016 



It's Tuesday.  Today I'm joining the Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers Stop by today's link up to join the conversation or find some great reading.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Poetry Friday: Lifting Voices

It's poetry Friday!  Today's poem was literally found.  During our last day with the Columbus Area Writing Project we were asked to take a piece of writing from our time together and use it to find a poem.  We were asked to carve it down to its most essential words.  I found this poem hiding in a blog post I wrote titled:  Why Digital Writing.   



Lifting Voices 
quiet.
wandering.
surveying
collections:

childhood reports,
paper books
made by tiny fingers,
journals
filled with wondrous words,
handwritten poems.

words
surround.
gifts
tucked safely away,
in closets and drawers.

stories should reach;
connect
to communities.
writing for something -
for someone.

finding space.
reaching out.
letting words spill.
writing lifts
silenced voices.


© Cathy L. Mere, 2016



It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by The Opposite of Indifference where Tabatha Yeatts hosts today's parade of wondrous words.