100 Days of Writing – Day Ten

Get Up and Go

What gives you purpose? Do you have a dream or passion that you share with others?

I don’t have to ponder too long to answer the question about what gives my life purpose. For the past forty-one years, including twelve after my “retirement,” I have been a classroom teacher.

Each assignment I’ve been placed in has given me an opportunity to practice what I love most – teaching.

Whether the subject matter is math or science, drama or language arts, I feel like I’m having a positive influence on the students I teach and that gives my life purpose. It also happens to be what I’m most passionate about. I truly feel at home in the classroom.

And while I hope I do an adequate job of helping them learn the subjects matter at hand, I think my true purpose goes far beyond that.

I hope that…..

  • my off-brand sense of humor makes their days a bit brighter and brings laughter into their lives.
  • my acceptance of students from diverse backgrounds helps them to be more accepting of those who are different.
  • making the subject matter relevant to their daily lives causes them to look for connections with what we’re learning in the classroom and the outside world.
  • my caring attitude, even when there are undesired behaviors, teaches them the practice and attitude to become productive citizens one day.
  • when they say that Mr. Moser was one of their teachers, they’re able to smile and have fond memories.

And that is what gives my life purpose.

100 Days of Writing – Day Nine

A Place in History

What historical event or contexts – way back in time or more recently – have affected you individually or as a family?

I would have to say that the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge effect on me individually, on my family, and on society as a whole. Little did we realize in March of 2020 how our world was getting ready to change.

The virus at first was something that we heard about happening in “other places.” China and countries across the big pond seem to be most affected. Then we heard of cases in the United States, but those seemed to be confined to New York and other northern states.

Eventually, cases made their way to North Carolina, but still, even then, it seemed so far away. When the governor said we would be taking a break from schools on March 13th, it began to ring a more serious note.

Then there was the lockdown. Living on my own at the time, I wondered how and if it would directly affect me. That question was soon answered, as I went for days at a time without seeing anyone in person. When cases started showing up in the county and city I live in, it really began to hit home. Then there were people that I knew who contracted the virus. And the eventual people I knew had actually died as a direct result of contracting the virus. It truly had hit home in a seemingly short period of time.

I always thought I knew what it was like to be isolated and alone. But when you’re not able even to go to your favorite cafe’ to be around others, it really has a huge effect. I never knew how much I depended on being around others, whether I knew them or not. And perhaps most noticeable of all, the traditional family Sunday dinners we had always had were discontinued. We attempted to do video conferences and get-togethers using various platforms, but it never was quite the same.

I think fear played a large part in many people’s lives, including my own. Fear that somehow we’d contract the virus or perhaps unknowingly pass it along to someone else. Masks had become a part of everyday life and even those didn’t seem to prevent some from contracting covid. Vaccines would become available months down the road and even then, there were no guarantees of immunity.

Our lives had definitely changed. Things that we had taken for granted became more cherished, especially time with friends and family. Things would eventually return to normal in some respects, but in many ways our lives had changed forever. I’ve got a lot more to say on this topic, but for now, that’s it.

100 Days of Writing – Day Eight

Explore your spirituality

What does spirituality mean to you?

The root word of spirituality is “spirit” and I contemplate what this means on both a personal and worldly plane.

I, first of all, believe in a creation much bigger than myself. Some choose to call this being a “Higher Power”, some say “God”, and there are any one of a number of other terms that people can be heard using. Over the past twenty years or so, my ideas on all that have changed greatly. My personal belief system is that there are many paths to the mountain top. So much of what we believe on a spiritual level can be attributed to ancestry, geography, and so many other factors. Above all else, I don’t think it’s my place to tell anyone else what their spiritual beliefs should be. To each his/her own.

I had what I will call a “spiritual awakening” nearly twenty years ago that is still in progress to this day. My involvement in a twelve-step program led me to a deeper understanding of myself and as a result, my personal spirit. I do faithfully believe there is a God and that God watches over all. We all do have free will to do with as we wish and some of the things we find ourselves doing can block us off from the sunlight of that spirit. One of my daily goals is to turn my selfish self-will over to the God of my understanding and ask for the guidance, wisdom, and strength to do what He would have me to do.

Do I still make mistakes? Yes, I am still very human. But I’m also aware that a part of spiritual growth is to realize the mistakes we all tend to make and make amends where called for and try to learn important lessons along the way so that the same mistakes don’t become habits.

I could continue to write on this topic for quite some time, but for now that’s all I have to say…to be continued.

100 Days of Writing – Day Seven

Remember a loved one…

Think about someone you have known who has died. What conversation would have with them if you could?

Abby – I want you to know how much you meant to me in the twelve years we were together – and how very much I’ve missed you in the month-and-a-half you’ve been gone.

I remember the day I picked you out at the animal shelter. I had seen your picture and description online and already knew I wanted you for my own. I also remember they said that you weren’t there, but I saw you sitting in the corner and knew you were the one I had come to get.

You were the best of companions and I never had to worry about having to have a home security system with you around. But even though you were always protective, you were one of the most loving and gentle beings I’ve ever known.

I always knew you would be there to greet me when I got home from work, even if I could tell you had to jump off my bed and come to the door. I still sometimes think you’ll come around the corner when I go to the house we lived in together and have to remind myself that’s not going to be.

Yes, there were those times you’d test my patience. I’d come to the conclusion if you had gotten loose and were running around the neighborhood, it was my place just to wait until you got tired and showed up at the back door.

One of your claims to fame was surviving not just one, but two times of getting hit by cars. I can still see your scars on pictures I have of you and know that without a doubt you were one lucky girl (Actually I was the luckiest of all).

I remember when the neighbor’s dog had been hit by a car and run off into hiding. We humans couldn’t find out where she had gone, but you were able to sense where she was hiding and sat there until we noticed you there with you. On that day you were the angel, a special kind of hero.

I was quite amazed that you were able to adjust to being in a new environment just before you died. You had learned how to use the doggy door, gotten along with your new sisters, and had learned not to be so anxious around strangers. Little did we know how short your stay would be.

As your last hurrah on the day before you died, you caught a bird in the backyard and proudly paraded it around for all to see. You certainly didn’t want to let anyone take it from you, but finally did. You always loved to hunt squirrels and rabbits and perhaps fitting you got a bird on the day before you got your wings.

The news of your terminal cancer was not easy to receive. The veterinarian said the end would be soon, perhaps within a week. It was far too quick for me to fully comprehend that the end would be so near.

That Wednesday morning will forever be etched in my mind. I had taken the day off work and I think you had waited for that time to let us know that it was your time to depart. The decision was not an easy one to make, but I knew it was best for you to end the pain and suffering you had been experiencing. The vet concurred.

I’m sure you understood how difficult it was for me to make that choice as I lay on the floor beside you on the examining room floor. You had fought so hard and never gave up until those last few hours. But your time on this earth, our time together had come to a close.

Until we meet again my good and trusted friend, my Abby.

Random Writing – It’s HOT outside!!!

Summer is definitely here. Although it says it’s only eighty-seven degrees, it feels more like it’s one hundred and seven degrees. I realize that accurate temperatures are supposed to be measured in the shade and I was sitting in the direct rays of the sun, but still, it’s hot!

I sometimes wonder how people before the advent of air conditioners managed to live in the heat of the summer’s rays. I guess a part of it is that they didn’t know of anything else, any other way to be. Perhaps we’ve gotten spoiled at the slightest hint of high degrees of heat and retreat too soon into the cool house.

I also have the utmost respect for those who work out in the heat much or all of the day. Watching workers lay shingles on the roof of a home is quite amazing. And I’m standing there watching, not actually doing any work.

Pictures that I’ve seen taken in the 50s and 60s at major league baseball games usually show the men dressed in long sleeve shirts and ties. Not to mention the flannel uniforms that the players wore during those times. It certainly would seem to make either watching or playing the game much less enjoyable. But once again, maybe they didn’t know any different.

The Upper Deck of the Polo Grounds, where Barney Doyle was watching the Giants-Dodgers game on July 4, 1950.

So here we are, on the first day of July, and I’m already waiting in anticipation for the cooler days of fall to arrive. Until then, I think I’ll tend to stay inside for much of the day and let the heat be in control outside.

100 Days of Writing – Day Six

“Old ways won’t open new doors.”

What does this quote mean to you?

If I keep doing the things I’ve always done, I’m going to keep getting the results I’ve been getting.

If the results of my efforts are desirable, then I likely should keep doing the same thing.

If the results are undesirable, then I to change what I’m doing in expectation of the desired results.

I also know that with most things in life, there is something called persistence. Many times we might be doing the “right thing” but not get what we’d like right away. Someone trying to lose weight by dieting comes to mind. One may have to stick with a newly acquired habit for a period of time before the desired results are realized. In other words, don’t let short-term results get in the way of long-term goals.

Shared Writing – Detachment is Giving Up Control

Detachment is giving up control, even the thought of it!

We are so practiced at trying to control others. We learn to be very subtle, certain that others can’t detect our efforts. But they can. I was a master at control, I thought. But all I was really a master at was frustrating others and then myself too with lack of success. I was slow to learn that my attempts to control were the result of my insecurities. I didn’t want to admit to being insecure; I thought it made me boring. How could I be the one you wanted to be with if I was boring? I was a very sick puppy until I found freedom from my obsession to control those around me.

The freedom I finally found took years of diligence to realize. That’s the not-so-good news. It doesn’t happen quickly, but it will happen. Yet, vigilance will always be necessary. I have come to believe that if I had mastered letting go of controlling the first attempt, I wouldn’t have appreciated, nearly so much, the relief I eventually enjoyed. But we get only a daily reprieve from the obsession to control. The Serenity Prayer, with its suggestion to accept those things we cannot change, is the moment’s reminder that sets our mind straight.

Whenever your focus is on what others are doing, pause. Take a deep breath. Are you minding their business? Are you about to say something that’s better left unsaid? Is it time to back off and refocus on the only business that matters, yours? Even the thought that others should be doing something different is a red flag. The time we have to do what needs to be done by us will expand greatly when we allow others to live their own lives while we attend to ours.

We will be able to care so much more about the things that really matter in our own lives when we let other people attend to that which matters to them. Freeing our minds offers so many unexpected gifts, the first of which is peace.

Let Go Now by Karen Casey

100 Days of Writing – Day Five

Saying No…

How easy is it for you to say no?

Not very. For much of my life, I have been a people-pleaser and have ended up saying “yes” to what other people have requested before thinking it through. And then some time later, I’ve regretted agreeing to do something and have gotten resentments with myself and the person I’ve said “yes” to.

Through these experiences, I have learned it’s perfectly okay to say “no” or even “I’ll have to think on that and get back to you.” It has kept me from committing to things that I really don’t want to do and later regretting it. It also gives me a chance to reflect on what’s best for me and ultimately, all involved.

Detachment is the freedom not to be angry or sad….

Reading #89 from “Let Go Now” by Karen Casey

“Many would argue that we can’t keep our feelings separate from the actions of others or the circumstances that have befallen us. I am certainly not trying to convince you that this is an easy task, but it is doable. While I admit it has taken me hundreds of practice sessions, and the willingness, again and again, to look the other way, to turn a deaf ear, to let others have their own meltdowns and ego attacks without me getting ensnared, it is possible. And it feels so good when we succeed!

Accepting our powerlessness over the behaviors of others isn’t easy. We think, If only I’d said it this way. Or perhaps, If only I had made that special dinner or brought flowers first. We then get fooled into thinking that if we do something differently, too. Alas, that’s never going to happen, unless by accident. People do what they do. Period. Our good fortune is to learn how empowered we feel when we let them!

Awaking each morning, being grateful to know that we can have the kind of day we want, is one of the gifts of embracing a spiritual program. Relieving ourselves of the burden of trying to make others conform to our wishes is a gift we can gladly unwrap a day at a time.”

“Today promises to be a happy one, regardless of what others are doing, if we are attending to our own business and no one else’s”

Let Go Now by Karen Casey

Random Writing – Synchronicity in Real-Time

I have a friend named Michael who I often see at the local cafe’. I consider him to be a learned person, although like most of us, has challenges in life. The discussions he and I have cover a wide range of topics, but regardless of what we might be talking about, I always try to let what he has to share soak in as a valuable lesson.

This was brought forth perhaps most clearly with two synchronistic events that occurred during the course of two consecutive days of conversations we had. I had posted on social media a quote by the ancient philosopher, Epictetus. The quote is pictured below:

On the same day that I made that post, I was talking with Michael and, being the lover of philosophy and philosophers as he is, he mentions Epictetus. What are the chances that I would have posted something by the ancient philosopher and on that same day Michael brings him up in a conversation? I kidded with Michael that he had been creeping on my social media page, to which he had a good laugh, since he doesn’t participate in any form of social media.

The very next day, I had seen a post on social media that featured Psalm 121. After reading its verses, I told the person who had posted that I very much appreciated the share. In turn, I also shared the same Psalm on my page. Later that morning, I once again saw Michael in the cafe and struck up a conversation with him. During the course of our discussion, he happens to mention Psalm 121 as a collection of verses that meant a lot to him. I shared with him that he must be creeping on my social media page again because I had just posted that Psalm a few hours before. We had a good laugh over it all. Once again, synchronicity had made itself known. What are the chances that he would just happen to mention a particular book from the Bible that a friend of mine had shared that same day and I had reshared?

One last synchronistic conversation I had with Michael occurred the next day I talked with Michael at the cafe. We were discussing poetry and poets, of which he seems to have a wealth of knowledge. He said he didn’t particularly enjoy the works of Edgar Alan Poe because most of his poems tended to be depressing. I mentioned to him that I had researched and read his poem “The Raven” over the course of the past several months. The next day I didn’t see Michael at the cafe’, but I did see that had on display and a small book of Poe’s poetry on a table. Did Michael see this book on display before he mentioned it to me or is it another example of a synchronistic occurrence? I haven’t seen him over the past week or so, but when I do, I’ll be sure to ask.

What does it all mean, you might ask? I believe the synchronicities that we experience point us to certain truths that we need to pay attention to in life. In the case of the Epictetus quote, I revisited it and thought of how it applied to my own life. In the case of the 121st Psalm, I also looked at it once more and copied it into my journal. I’m not quite sure of what possible meaning the Poe synch might have, but I’ll be rereading some of his poetry to see if there are possible messages for me in my life.

Just my take on the all of my friend Michael and the synchronicities that he and I have experienced over the last little while. And who knows what else might lay ahead in those conversations we have.