Tag Archives: Dewey

Be Aware

Friends, I have no words.

I only know that there will be grace to sustain me for what is next. Whatever comes.

Can I trust that?

Can I be like mama duck, returning to her nest in the planter, high off the ground, trusting that it will be left alone? That humans well be aware and not touch?

Can we be aware of each other? Read and write signs for the vulnerable? Look out for one another?

Can we walk gently?

Today brings more big news. It feels like the new Monday Thing.

I won’t lie, I pull out the thermometer to confirm that the tightness in my chest is more panic and less COVID-19. No fever. Just more adjusting to the shifting ground beneath my feet.

I leash the dog and step out into the sunshine. We walk around the block, breathing and distancing. I try hard not to distance from self.

Be aware, Friends. Be kind. We are all in uncharted waters. None of us has done this before. If you need support, please reach out.

We are all in this together.

Let’s be aware.

Out of Sorts

Even daddy duck is out of sorts.

Opening the back door to summon Dewey after his wake up nature call, I heard incessant barking. Unusual for the early-morning hour, especially since the college students are gone and the street quiet, I ventured from my perch on the back stoop and out into the backyard.

Dewey! Come in!

He stood at the fence, pulled up by front paws, barking and kicking his back legs, not the least bit interested in bounding back inside for his breakfast. Unusual. Most unusual.

What’s up, Dog?

My gaze followed his, as a strange sound reached my ears.

There in the middle of our neighbors’ yard was a duck quacking and waddling around. His befuddled wandering in circles mirrored the feeling I have inside these days.

Which way do I go?

With so many virtual options, alternatives, and ideas springing up, I am just trying to orient myself to the new reality of my present-day surroundings. Capacity for clear direction feels muddled. I am as perplexed as a duck wandering an unfamiliar, albeit friendly, backyard being terrorized by a terrier on the other side of the fence.

Come on in, Dewey! Let’s give our visitor some space.

Bounding towards me and scampering inside, Dewey attacked his food dish with gusto. He knows what matters.

I haven’t followed up to see if there is a nest in the neighbors’ yard or if they saw their morning wandering visitor. We are all in this weird space where spring calls us from hibernation, yet social distancing dictates it.

If you read this Melody or Tina, let me know if you have a duck nest in the comments. And also if you need any toilet paper or microwave popcorn, because we have plenty of both to share.

Mindfulness on a Monday

Yes, I realize this is Tuesday.

It’s hard to be mindful on a Monday, that day of all days beginning the work week. No one enjoys rising early ~ at least I don’t~ and Monday is my early day. I pay for lack of preparedness by the scramble.

Most Mondays are filled up with activity. Work. school drop-off and pick-up, appointments, errands, choir, the day rolls from activity to activity, my mind racing ahead from one moment to the next.

Settling into work at my studio after getting everyone situated at school, I’m thwarted by a laptop that didn’t make it into the work bag and settle in to an hour of tasks that don’t require technology before leaving to finish those at my dining room table.

My unexpected return home disrupts the dog, who now needs his walk. There are library books to return, so I leash him, stuffing dog waste bags into my cardigan pocket.

I leave the phone behind intentionally, stepping out into the brilliant blue of fall. Can I inhabit this moment without rushing it? That is my question.

Focusing on the crunch of leaves underfoot and the sound of heavy machinery working on downtown construction finds me able to answer, Yes! Yes, I can!

I soar in the moment before being jerked to a halt by a dog bracing himself to do his business ~ very conspicously~ on a downtown sidewalk.

Sometimes inhabiting the moment literally stinks.

Balancing the library book bag on my shoulder, removing a cluster of green bags from sweater pocket and clumsily trying to tear off just one, squatting down to pick up the mess while holding the leash securely finds me wobbling in my ankle boots.

Looking back over my shoulder at the elderly man in his car, parked facing the sidewalk with driver’s side window down, I laugh, I hope you are enjoying this free morning show! We smile at each other as I stand and tie off the green bag. He nods. I continue walking towards the library to deposit the books.

Heading home, I reel my mind back from its frantic race ahead. There is still time left in the brilliant blue as I walk in the present.

My fitness tracker notes a pace that is slow, refusing to close its exercise ring as quickly as I would like.

I return home with an hour to spend before moving into the appointments, errands, school pick-up, choir, and evening family management part of the day. I anchor to a spot at the dining room table, open my laptop, and work.

The moments move on, and I choose to engage them with curiosity. When I am being mindful I am like a blank page hoping to be filled with words as I wait for an appointment to end.

Clickety-Clickety-Clickety

My mind wanders while I walk the dog. Eloquent words string together in my head. There is so much to say, I just need time to gather the thoughts.

Swirling ideas settle with each step taken. I land in the present, the clicking of dog toes on the sidewalk as anchor. Clickety-clickety-clickety. Dewey knows only present, and presently we are walking.

I learn more of my fall routine each day, having not yet claimed it fully. Maybe by actual fall I will know.

One thing at a time. Day by day. Step by step. Clickety-clickety-clickety. Only the present. Presently I sit on my friend’s porch writing.

The rhythm of days and weeks comes into focus. Walking the dog. Writing on the porch. Setting intentions. Following through.

I fight for words on this blog, in this space. There are other places I write, but this is my first love. My fingers strike the keyboard. Clickety-clickety-clickety. My rhythm is not as steady as the dog’s toes on the sidewalk. I press on.

I think to the tiny leaf on the sidewalk interrupting my morning walk. Seizing the moment I stop the dog and snap it, hoping for inspiration, trusting it to come.

I feel nothing profound. No wise words on change or seasons or fall schedules, only the ambiguity of not knowing.

And it’s okay. It has to be. In this moment it is okay for me not to know the final schedule, the outcome. I just need to be present to the clickety-clickety-clickety of now and anchor into the moment I have been given here on the porch.

Swept and Scrubbed

No cars line the street alongside my house. It is July’s end in this college town, townie summer, the pause before resume.

Dog barks frantically, running to his post at the window. His paws grasp the ledge, as he pulls himself up to look out at the culprit.

It is a moment of serendipity amidst the incessant barking when I realize the street sweeper is the source of his angst. Secretly delighted, I could not have planned a better time for it to make rounds. The cars are never all gone.

Usually we hear the barking and say, We should have moved the cars! This empty-street moment is brought to you by a last-minute vehicle inspection, a son with a driver’s license, a husband at work, and college kids still at their respective homes for summer break

The street is brushed tidily clean in preparation for August. It is washed down by the torrential rains that fell this afternoon. Swept and scrubbed, it waits in anticipation of what is to come.

I spend time sweeping and scrubbing the underside of the blog. Radically untended, post writing in this space has fallen drastically by the wayside. Though the word flourish adorns its front page, a better description of its current reality reads languish.

All is not lost. Much has been gained in other areas. It will circle back. As August approaches more settles, routine emerges, hope surfaces.

The new month beckons, swept and scrubbed fresh and clean, inviting me into its days. Gingerly, I take the first step.

All is Calm

In this moment all is calm. 

It is almost laughable that I am sitting on the couch in one of my favorite places with a small terrier pressed up against me and a calico cat looking on from the far cushion. Anyone that knows me recognizes the absurdity of this scenario.

The only sound is a light purring. Sunlight streams through the window, just missing my eyes.


I do not want to move my body, so I lower my head a bit.

This moment of calm is brought to me by a messy kitchen and a pile of laundry. It comes from an intentional choice to sit and spend time with my words rather than with a broom and dustpan.

The animals recognize this and take full advantage of the space. They live in it. They bring their presence to me, one of them leaning in close. This is how they spend their days, and they invite me to experience their world.


Paws folded, one eye open, Zephyr shifts and snores. She has nowhere to be right now, is in no hurry. Dewey leans closer to me me each time she adjusts.


I want the calm to stay, but I know that it can’t. The day marches on, and I must go with it. So I rise carefully, a habit formed while tending my babies. Let sleeping dogs (and babies and cats) lie.

In a most unusual turn of events, neither one moves, save to adjust for comfort. They curl into parallel balls of fur and sink into sleep. I leave behind an imprint of just that and exit the room, carrying the calm with me.

Make Us Glad

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Psalm 90:15, ESV

Yes, Lord. Please make us glad for that number of days and years. It’s been a long time, and gladness feels far away.

I sit on the couch in my living room, feet propped, listening to my daughter’s playlist of gaming music and the click of her mouse. She does schoolwork online. I attempt to do my own work, assembling thoughts racing around in my head. They are difficult to catch.

Bright sunlight and blue sky shine through open blinds. Anticipatory autumn sun returns today, casting long shadows, giving a warm glow to the brick house and mature trees across the street.

What can I say? I long to be glad.

Are you glad to walk the dog? I ask my girl as she walks in the room. It is that time of day according to the schedule we are trying to create.

She laughs at my choice of words. I explain that meant to say ready and am writing about gladness. I send her to find the dog so that we can walk him. We are still finding our normal together. Our daily routine.

Write something is again written in my planner, the only thing on the list of Today’s Top Three.

I am writing. Something. In the snippets of time that present I sit with words, fighting forward for gladness. It comes to me in sunshine on the other side of a window, in a sky brilliantly blue, in a dog curled on his bed, in laughter at a distracted choice of words.

I am made glad in the moments that I choose to see goodness and receive as gifts what can also feel hard. When I feel the gladness redeeming affliction, I know I am growing and growing is good.

This makes me glad.

Still Summer

I know it feels like fall. School is back in session. Football games have begun. Life has resumed routine. Morning drives to school find me facing a blinding low-rising sun in the eastern sky. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back.

But it’s still summer for a little while longer.

Today I celebrated that truth by stepping off into the deep end of my daughter and son-in-law’s pool and swimming to the other side. It was my first time in the water this summer. The sensation was lovely.

My intention was to try to turn around the funk that seems to have settled around my shoulders, pressing into my heart. Surely water and sunshine would wash it away.

It was worth a try.

Several of my kids and my husband joined me. Others sat on the edge. We talked and laughed. We played games.

It was a relaxing space to regain perspective.

I wish I could say I left my troubles at the bottom of the pool with the leaves that have begun dropping, but it is not that easy. I wish I could say that I have leaned from Dewey to just live in the moment.

I am still practicing and being given plenty of opportunities to do so.

This afternoon brought laughter and connection and escape. It brought exercise and fresh air and a son-in-law who grilled hamburgers while we swam in his pool.

It brought goodness and kindness and another reminder that even when life is hard and unpredictable and wearisome, there is beauty and joy and love.

It’s still summer.

Week’s End

Dewey captures perfectly the way I feel at the close of this week. As I write he sprawls on the floor, moving only to change lounging positions.

This week has been full of beginning and ending and celebrating which all adds up to exhaustion. If I were a dog, I would have the answers to life’s complexities. Just sprawl out and sleep.

Steve began his new job and the kids entered their last week of school. We adjusted the routine that had served us well all year. I am grateful it was only one week of adjusting. That was disruptive enough!

In the fall when we begin again, things will look different. I keep reminding myself that it will not always be this way. It will not always be my husband’s first week at a new job and my kids last week at school.

There will not always be the transition of an adult moving out while the youngest excitedly anticipates her double digit birthday. I will probably always dread my birthday, somewhat, though. And life will always be full.

Much fullness converged this week in the form of awards assemblies and final projects for my school-age kids. The youngest was home with me as we tried to find some sort of a groove while preparing for our shared birthday.

My husband began a new work schedule which left me in the role of solo home front manager getting kids to and from school. We were reminded of the need to communicate better, as the old morning routine we had settled into no longer served us well.

I was reminded of how I always think I will find the magic solution to make all of life feel wonderful when in reality I have to learn to live in the tension. That is a constant process.

I need to learn to bask in the patch of sunlight even if everything around me is a mess. Dewey illustrates this so well on the floor of my room moving from place to place and hunkering down.

This is the last morning before summer break officially begins when I pick up the kids from school at noon. It finds me in the aftermath of a birthday celebration and a day full of goodness and surprises.

It also finds me in a bit of chaos. My temptation is to try to do everything to fix it all immediately which is unrealistic. So instead of doing all of the things, I am sitting and writing, inspired by a small dog who is now curled into a ball close to his grandpa’s flip-flops.

Week’s end reminds me of all of the grace that gone before and behind and surrounded me during this transition. There is much more to write, but for now I will say, Happy Weekend! Enjoy the start of Summer Break!

In Between

I am in the middle of the in between. It is a week I have referenced and talked about for two months in various conversations. Now it is here.

Friday was the final day of my husband’s (and if we are totally honest here, mine, as well) 25 year career. No, I was not in attendance all of those days, but I was present for many. I offered behind-the-scenes support. I was affected by early-morning and late-night calls and texts. We were both all in.

Now we are both all in between.

On June 4 Steve begins his new job. Many have asked what’s next?  He will be a salesman with Valley RoofingWhat about me? I still do not know, though the mothering and home management part of my day take quite a bit of time and energy.

I am confident that the right paying job will present. For now it is summer, school is out, and the best way for me to help with making money is not to spend it. That is easier said than done.

This entire transition has been a complete walk of faith. The past 25 years have been a walk of faith, as well, but stepping out into the unknown in this stage of life has taken courage. It is a decision not made easily or lightly, but it was time.

There was much behind-the-scenes work leading up to this in between place. Many conversations, feelings, lists. When my two cons were fear of the unknown and finances, I knew it was not enough to stay with the status quo.

The ending has been kind, the in between a gift. Walking the dog together this morning, we reflected on the fact that we have never had a season of just us. It has always been us plus all of the responsibilities. 

We have accepted that we will never escape responsibility. We have grieved the loss of our youth. Watching our young adults navigate their individual worlds has given us perspective and more words for what we did not have at their ages. These days together this week have given hope for what is possible. For what we do have.

We have a rich life.

This week we savor a space that is not completely ours. It has never been. Little Mae finished school last Friday, and our 19 year old moves out next week. We laughed that we have the youngest of each bunch of babies home with us.

We also have the dog and cat. We are never alone.

I will hold these final in between days as the gift that they are. I will embrace the laughter and tears that spontaneously erupt and slow down to walk to the ducks or watch a movie together at a completely irresponsible time of day. I will celebrate what was and what is to come, rejoicing in the great faithfulness that has brought us to this place.

In between.