New Year – New Reading Goal

Since 2012, I have been taking part in Goodreads Reading Challenge and in that time I’ve only complete the challenge twice (2016 & 2020). This is far better than my attempts to write 50,000 words in a month and complete National Novel Writing Month each year. (Hint: I haven’t finished once.)

The Mega To Be Read Pile – Photo Credit @LucindaRose

The goal for this upcoming year is to read or re-read 60 books. Two of the books, I have on my to be read pile were given to by Ed from his collection of writing books. Ed encouraged me as a reader and a writer so including this books is a continuation of his presence in my life. The rest of the books on my to-read pile (TRP) are a mix of books for pleasure, research and curiosity.

The following are the books I’m currently reading or have been added to my to-read pile for the coming year:

  1. Marseille Tarot Revealed by Yoav Ben-Dov
  2. The Old Guard: Tales Through Time – Book One
  3. The History of the Occult of Tarot by Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett
  4. Octavia’s Brood edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha
  5. The Tarot: History of Symbolism and Divination by Robert M. Place
  6. Aftermath by LeVar Burton
  7. I am C-3PO by Anthony Daniels
  8. Monstress Volume Five – Warchild
  9. Sandman – House of Whispers Volume 1
  10. Sandman – House of Whispers Volume 2
  11. Monstress Volume Six – The Vow
  12. The is Ear Hustle
  13. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  14. SwordFighting by Guy Windsor
  15. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? Stories by Kathleen Gollins
  16. Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster
  17. Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin
  18. The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders
  19. How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
  20. The Explorer’s Handbook by Marilyn Tolhurst
  21. Writing Horror edited by Mort Castle
  22. The Sandman Preludes & Nocturnes Volume 1
  23. The Sandman Dream County Volume 3
  24. Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget
  25. We Should Have Killed the King by Eccarius
  26. Kaleidoscope by Darryl Wimberly
  27. A mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science
  28. Disease: The Extraordinary Stories behind History’s Deadliest Killers by Mary Dobson
  29. 13: The Story of the World’s Most Notorious Superstition by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
  30. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  31. The Blazing World and Other Writing by Margaret Cavendish
  32. The Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
  33. Demonic Foes by Richard Gallagher, M.D.
  34. A Cultural History of Tarot by Helen Farley
  35. The Art of the Occult by S. Elizabeth
  36. Bad Behaviors by Mary Gaitskill
  37. Mad Madge by Katie Whitaker
  38. Blogging for Writers: How authors & Writer’s Build Successful Blogs
  39. Haunted Roanoke by L.B. Taylor JR.
  40. Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell
  41. Spellbinder by Melanie Rawn
  42. What Every American Should Know About American History by Alan Alexrod & Charles Phillips
  43. Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre by Paul Gambino
  44. Daily Doses of History by West Side Publishing
  45. The Mummy Congress by Heather Pringle
  46. The Little Book of Whiskey by Lynda Dalslev
  47. 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die by Loren Rhoads
  48. Mummies of the World by Alfried Wieczoriek & Wilfried Rosendahl, EDS.
  49. Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic by Lisa Lister
  50. The Mythology of the Grimm: The Fairy Tale and Folklore Roots of the Popular TV Show by Nathan Robert Brown
  51. The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad
  52. Sixty-One Nails by Mike Shevdon
  53. Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You by Cecilia Rodriquez Milanes
  54. The Chanseyville Incident by David Bradley
  55. Justinian’s Flea by William Rosen
  56. Ghosts of Vesuvius by Charles Pellegrino
  57. Notorious RBG – The Life and Time of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
  58. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters
  59. Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia by David Day
  60. Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery by John O. Peters

As you can see the list is quite long and I don’t keep the TBR pile by my bed anymore. It is stacked in various places around the house. This year to keep myself on budget, I’ve decided to read books in my own house or that I can get from the library.

Yes, I own all of books on this list. And no, I don’t know how many books I own. One day, I may count them but that day isn’t today. Maybe the next time that I move, I will count them before I put them in boxes.

A Year In Review (Kind of)

2021 like its predecessor was a year that has left deep grooves in my memory. A year of hope and another year of loss, the last year is more of a blur than I like to admit. Everything has been whipped together in a blender of stress and I am over it.

Aren’t we all? The phrase that I heard over and over again at the beginning of the school year was that we are in the same situation. We were all in the same stress blender, except I have a feeling that my setting was puree and some were set much much lower. As the school year comes to it’s midpoint and the calaendar year comes to a close, reflection seem wise.

Lessons I learned in 2021.

Time is short and fast all at the same time. – Time with loved ones is never enough and perfect time will never arrive if you don’t work towards it. The pandemic travel restrictions meant that I didn’t get to see Ed or Stef before they died. The only thing we have in life is change and sometimes we do need to take that leap and not be sensible.

I am not always right. – Not that I think I am always right but the last year has shown me how many times my thoughts have existed in a vacuum and when exposed to more information needed to be altered or changed completely.

A good therapist makes a difference. – As I work on finding a therapist that is a good fit for me, I am reminded that it is important to find someone that you feel comfortable working with for the long term.

Goals and plans are great but what’s your back up plan. Huh? What I mean by the jumble of words that begins this paragraph is that you need to have a plan for your plan and if your plan doesn’t work what are you going to do about it. How are you going to accomplish your goal when the first plan fails? Cause it might and many of my plans this year fail in flames.

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Things I am changing as I go forward.

Off time is off time. Breaks from my day job don’t mean that I need to catch up on everything including writing. Writing will happen but if I work myself into a hospital This means not talking about work or checking email. Also not buying things for the students’ treasure box no matter how good of a deal.

Exercise is not if I have time thing but a daily activity. I’m not getting any younger and exercise is something that honestly makes me feel better. I am not talking about a work out every day but stretching or going for a walk. Instead of putting it off, I am going to attempt to go for that walk, swim or hike when there is time.

Plans need more than a concept. I make plans but they aren’t really detailed and don’t have back ups. I plan on writing daily mostly after dinner. The issue with this while it is somewhat specific often I am too tired after dinner. Fatigue has been a growing issue and has resulted in no writing happening.

Last Thoughts…

All that you touch, You change.

All that you change, Changes you.

The only lasting truth is change.

God is Change.

Octavia E. Butler

This quote by great author, Octavia E. Butler, has really shaped my outlook these last weeks of 2021. So much has happened in the last year that there is no way I could recap it. Hell, I can’t even remember all of it. It seems like Ed’s passing was years ago and yesterday. I feel like my new co-workers/friends have been with me forever and yet, they haven’t.

Changes rocks and transforms us. Here is hoping that we all can learn to manage the storm better.

All Hail the Queen

This morning brought the news that Anne Rice, the great dame of American Horror Writing, past away. Her son broke the news. Her first book and most famous book “Interview with a Vampire” in 1976 when she was 35.

I am ten years older than she was when she published her first book. A book that shaped so many people’s imaginations. A book that went on to become a series and sparked even more imaginations. Something that I aspire to do as well.

The first book I ever had an author sign was by Anne Rice. It was 1995, I was working as an intern at the law firm where my older sister worked. It was the summer that Granny would die. We had already rushed from Alexandria, Virginia, to Salisbury, Maryland to see her. I remember walking into her hospital room and her yelling at me. She was mad that we had dropped everything. Or that is what memory tells me. The signing with Anne Rice happened a week later, Tish took me to I believe Springfield Mall, and we waited for hours to see her.

I remember the book store was underground and everyone came down a set of escalators. Anne descended the escalator in wedding dress so huge it seemed to swallow her. It took us another hour to make our way to her. I was too nervous to have her address any of the inscriptions to me personally, so she simply signed her name. I cherished those books. A week later, Granny was in intensive care and a decision was made.

We buried her two rows over from a boy named Justin. A boy who made us all smile. I remember because the proximity of his grave was pointed out. I was happy that she was so close to someone that she knew.

Anne Rice will be laid to rest in a private service in New Orleans near those she loved in life. Sometime next year a celebration will take place for all of us to take part in according to her son. Her readers brought her so much joy. Let us celebrate her life so she will life on like her characters will live on beyond our own life spans.

The State of Things – September & October

Hectic. I need a better word for hectic. But the word summons up my life these last two months. It was been one thing after another after time consuming other until I turn around and see that November is already here.

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Well not quite and for that I am glad. I’ve taken this last weekend to head out of town. Normally, I don’t go out of town on Halloween as I like to spend the time honoring my ancestors and waiting for non-existent trick or treaters. This year after so much time in doors and not traveling I am taking the opportunity to stay with friends in Richmond and go to a Halloween parade that I have admired for years. A mini adventure to be sure.

Working from their craft room table so many of the thoughts and their corresponding weigh have evaporated from my shoulders allowing a great deal more work to flow. Breaking from routine can create a freedom of thought that for me lets me reconnect with my muse and things happen. (It also allowed to sleep 11 hours guiltfree.) The return to routine on Tuesday will, I hope, have a little extra energy along with three or four more chapters edited. (I’m 50% through the second round of edits.)

My day job is becoming more manageable and that leaves more free space in my noggin to be creative. With that in mind, I may resign from my tutoring position to free up even more space. It has been good for me financially while filling me with joy. The time it takes, however, driving up and down the mountain takes it toll especially in the winter months. It is something to think on.

In September, I had a small health scare. My chest began to hurt and I was exhausted. The school nurse checked me out and said my heart was fine, but if I felt as bad as I sounded I should go home. My stubborn self opted to see if I felt better in an hour. Ii didn’t. If I would have let myself put my head down on the desk, I would have fallen asleep. Once that happened, I asked to leave and my admin shooed me out the door. Two hours later after a nap, I felt no better and called my doctor who sent me to the hospital. Good news, it wasn’t a heart attack. Bad news, they weren’t sure what was happening. The only conclusion was the incident was more than likely related to having contracted COVID-19 last year.

Since my infection, recovery has been slow and I’ve had fits of fatigue that waylay me for days at a time. This time, it took three more days until I was back to myself. I’ve tried to be kind to myself, cut back on caffeine and increases as best I can exercise and meditation.

Photo by Irina Anastasiu on Pexels.com

Tonight while I am not going to be home, I will be honoring my ancestors and beloved dead by living and exploring the world around me. Loss is never easy and waking this morning to silence instead of the usual Samhain text from Ed was hard. It isn’t hard all the time. There are just moments when the weight of his absence bares down on me full force causing me to stagger and catch my breath.

When I return home I will light the candles and say the words that rest in my heart for my ancestors and beloved dead, Ed among them. And though the veil will close, they are with me as I walk through this life toward the next one.

Be well, my friends, and stay spooky.

I am alright? Short Answer. No

I am not ok. And I’m fine with that. There is no being ok. Not at the moment.

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Ok is a foreign state of being. There is only doing what I need to do to get through the next minute, hour, day. I get by like this and the days have turned into weeks and months.

Moments of happiness are mixed with every other emotion. Each breath, each dawn a victory or a stalemate.

What is happening? In short, life. Life and all is wonderous maladies. May brought news of Ed’s passing. Here on the blog, I’ve called addressed him as Papi. He inspired me to start this blog and encouraged me to write. His death was a shock to my system. I don’t think I can sum up neatly what he meant to me or what I meant to him. Honestly, there is no need to try.

Grief comes in ill tempered waves with memory rocks in its path. A co-worker talked about getting over the death of a loved one. How?

How do you get pass the absence of someone who shaped your world? Trying feels like an insult to the memory of what was and the potential lost.

There would be no more random conversation or plans to reunite. There are no more morning or good night texts. No sharing of songs or images that invoked emotion. All of that is ended. His phone cut off months ago.

Adding to the tempest of grief is the reality of being a teacher in 2021 combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, student loans and family issues. The issues that lurk in my life have become volumes. I’m overworked and underpaid like much of America and doing my best to tread water. There is no comfort in the fact that everyone is overwhelmed. Everyone is in the same boat weathering the same tempest. Except no one told us about the whirl pool. Or the Hurricane on the horizon.

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

So, I am not okay. And I’m ok with it.

And just incase you think that I am remarkably stoic about all of this. You should check out Megan Devine’s book, It’s ok, not to be Ok. Her words and wisdom have helped me through this lost and the lost of my Papa, my stepfather. I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a return to normal or the expectation that life will ever be the same.

There, however, is the potential for a new normal and sunrises filled with joy unimaginable like the one I witness this morning.

10 years of Writing

A week or so ago, this blog celebrated it’s 10th anniversary.

Unfiltered Me Ten Years Past

I didn’t know anything about blogging when I started. I know slightly more about blogging now.

And the question on my mind is what to do with this blog. Do I continue writing this blog or do I stop and try something new?

Ten years ago, the blog was called Rosereads because I had intended it to be a place where I review books and eventually introduce my own writing. Papi gave me the idea. My book reviews never really did take off and I never did get tons of free books or advertising. Still, I continued writing.

And writing.

The fact that I have been actively working on writing for ten years is a success. That success has been bolstered by guest editors help me along the way and to each of them I am so grateful for that assistance.

If you are new here, I’ve dysgraphia which is an odd thing for a writer to have, but here I am. It makes writing a struggle. I have difficulty getting my thoughts out without making spelling errors, omitting words or using the wrong word completely.

I never thought growing up I would be a writer, let alone have a blog (those weren’t a thing when I was a kid) and two published works. My English teachers used so much red ink on papers they looked like victims of a massacre instead of term paper drafts. Friends and family ridiculed things I wrote. Poor grammar and spelling is mistakenly seen as lack of effort or intelligence.

Blood Child
My 1st Publication
My 2nd Publication

I’m still pretty shy about putting myself out there. Writing anything takes me a while because of the fear and anxiety of rejection and ridicule.

And yet, I am still writing.

This blog is going to stick around. It is an important part of my journey. It is something that Papi inspired me to do and even though he wasn’t happy with everything I wrote; it was his push that got things started. This blog will be everything that it should of been from the beginning, a record of my journey as a writer.

New blogs and adventures are beginning after all, what is the fun in making the rational decision and not continuing to do something that isn’t seen as a success. But, the writing while not award winning, it has reached people. It has touched them in heart and that to me is a success. Poe didn’t reach greatness until he had experienced long periods of horrible sanity.

Thank you, dear reader for all of your support.

Prompt Post: Gluten Free? Yes, I am….

Prompt: Gluten Free the early days…

To be honest, I don’t remember much from those days. I remember being in my first solo apartment, one that I was responsible for all by myself. It was my third or fourth year of teaching. Money was tight as it has been my entire life but Friday’s were my days to treat myself. I made it through the work week and still had my dream job. So Dominos and a six back of cider from the grocery store were treat.

My nephew had been diagnosed with gluten issues a few years before. So when I ended up getting sick every Saturday, something began to click. Every Friday, I had a whole small pizza and every Saturday and sometimes Sundays, I was sick.

The thought that gluten might to be to blame for the tummy troubles.

And it was.

It was also responsible for other health issues I was having at the time. I began to feel better the more I avoided gluten.

Those early days were filled with attempts to find a gluten free replacement for all of my normal meals. Pasta was probably the hardest. (try pasta made from more than one ingredient like corn and rice or make it yourself) Pizza, I’ve found good versions of and oh my god what were you thinking serving this to human beings versions. I still find gluten free food that tastes like card board and people who make it who aren’t gluten free that are way to proud of their nasty creations. They think that gluten free foods are a trend that will bring them business and don’t care what it tastes like.

The biggest thing that I learned was to go without replacements and find new ways of eating. More whole foods and less processed food, even gluten free ones makes me feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat replacements but not as often. I love making gluten free treats for people: especially, my non-gluten free friends. The reason I do this is because too many times over the last decade I have been quietly eating my lunch and had friends comment on my food. How it is bland and tastes worse than cardboard, please note that I never let them taste my lunches. And I always loathed these encounters where people felt that it was necessary to have made fun of the food that I am eating while I am eating it.

It still happens.

My allergy is one of the reasons, I love to cook for people. First, I don’t get sick when I cook for myself. I control the ingredients and the cooking environment. Second, the people that I cook for gain an understanding of what is possible in gluten-free cooking and they learn that the food I fuel my body and soul with is good and nourishing. It also helps when they ask for seconds.

Food is a huge part of culture. When your culture is focused on eating food in mass quantities and scoffs at those who can not or choose to consume in a different way, you learn to adapt.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned to do.

  • Eat before potlucks of dinner parties. They may not have food you can eat.
  • Offer to bring something to dinner parties. I’ve learned to make some pretty yummy desserts.
  • Pack emergency food for road trips and aforementioned dinner parties.
  • Always identify that you have a gluten allergy to your server.
  • Beware of buffets. Ingredients aren’t generally listed
  • If you don’t feel like a restaurant is safe for you to eat in, don’t be pressured.
  • Don’t let well meaning people convince you that a little won’t hurt you, it will.
  • You get to decide your risk not other people.

Big thanks to my friend, Lori, for suggesting this prompt. If you would like to suggest a prompt, feel free to leave on in the comments below and it may very well end up as the topic of an upcoming blog.

State of Things August: Amended

The month of August has run off with my mind. If seen please return as soon as possible as I will be running through the fields until it returns.

August is the month, I return to my day job. It is the month that I should resign to take off this blog and other creative pursues as the chaos of the well planned plotted year unfolds. If you have a teacher friend or relative, ask them how the first month of school goes. If they say fine, then read them my description of the first month of school. They will then agree. Teachers tend to be humble folks that don’t want to make a fuss so they will douse negativity in a ton of sugar if need be.

I’m hanging in there. There is only one more day in the month as I begin writing this so I am pretty confident that I will be able to hold on.

Writing and editing are moving at a snail’s pace. The movement is a source of victory. Amid the chaos, work is still happening. The path may not be clear but there are times in life where we must push forward and forge our own path. Days like these it is important to remember that our memories are imperfect. The month of August began with the return to work, but there was also a campout and adventure with friends.

For the last twenty years, a group of my friends had been camping in the same spot. The only disruptions were the year the fields were closed and the pandemic. In both cases, we found ways to gather. The first time we found another location. During the pandemic, we held a virtual campout. It wasn’t the same but it kept the tradition alive.

This year we gather in the fields again surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Jefferson National forest. It was small gathering, the smallest since I started attending in 2015. Still, it was good. It felt right to gather and just exist in nature with friends that have become family.

Not having a tent of my own any more, I stayed in M’s tent. I was able to set-up a kitchen under her canopy as well. Although, I had brought food another friend furnished the sacred elixir of life every morning along for breakfast for me. The food was better than in most restaurants. I didn’t come back into town once. The closest I came was when a dog named George was spotted on the road. He was standing in the road looking for his friend. We were able to get George back to his people by driving down the road until we got signal and texting them.

Beyond that mini adventure; the field and the forest were the entire world for that weekend. It was the peace that I need before the start of the school year began properly.

Be well and take care.

Going Back In Time

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Florida was my home for 18 years. In a way, it will always be my home. So much of who I am today was formed in the Sunshine State, albeit from the shadows as I am not really found of heat or sun. Yes, I did willingly move to Florida but until you live here you don’t understand how oppressive the sun is. It never really stops trying to scorch the invaders so it can go back to being a happy mosquito infested swamp. We all have our glory days, and Florida misses when its very nature repelled development.

The journey here was longer than expected. We left my beloved mountains and solid ground around 7am thinking that with stops we would be in Orlando around 7-8 o’clock. Alas, we made it in shortly after 1am. While we were finishing lunch and getting gas, there was a multi-vehicle car crash 25 miles from the Georgia-Florida line.

We were rerouted by GPS so many times that at one point after a much needed stop we had to head North on 95 to be able to navigate around it. With all the detours, there wasn’t much time to think or reflect on my first trip back home in two years.

Reflection came after I relinquished the wheel and saw the Orlando area for the first time. Places that I had known flying by in the shadows and then the lights growing of downtown Orlando. This is not the land of the mouse. It is hard to define what it is the land of because Orlando and Florida in general is more than a vacation designation. It is home and not home.

Home is the solid footing of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but home is also where the heart is and pieces of my heart will always be in Florida with my family (both biological and chosen). There were so many people and places that I wanted to see. I managed more than my last trip in 2019. Time, however, was not on my side.

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I remembered Papi, first. I remembered the place where we first kissed and so many other bittersweet memories in between. We passed where my friend, Shannon, lived in the last days of her life. We drove pass what had been the home of my friends, Wolfie and Awen. Awen passed away in the home and Wolfie moved out more than a decade ago.

We briefly stopped at Lake Eola before discovering that our bladders wanted us elsewhere. I thought about the walks around the lake. One sticks out, we were walking around before Papa passed, my brother E was with us and we were all sad, but happy to be together in the sun and fresh air.

My companions and I walked through Disney Springs and all the happy memories of my best friend and I hanging out. Memories of family birthday gatherings at the Rainforest Cafe and the day I walked into the Chapel Hats and asked them to find me a hat to match my outfit.

There was a drive through my old neighborhood and so many memoires. My companions got to see the porch where the novella “Blood Child” was conceived. And the places where I used to walk with Luke

We wandered through the Greenwood Cemetery where I poured out every bit of knowledge I have concerning it. I couldn’t bare to take them to the Pulse Memorial but I could point out the section of Greenwood that were some of the 49 Angels have been buried. The City of Orlando donated the plots for them. I pointed out the trees and other features that mark it as unique.

My companions traveled with me back in time. They were most amused after dinner with Zee and the Professor where I had indulged into far too much wine. During the journey back home, I gave them Lucinda’s drunken tour of Orlando. Apparently, I had a lot to say about every building I could identify and quite a few that had been built in my absent.

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

The present and the potential future blinked in and out of my days home.

The past is not a place you can stay. You can only really glimpse it. The emotions push through the veil separating past, present, and future. You are there for a moment, feeling all of the emotions, drowning in them. Then you are in the now, and nothing is right.

Nothing is the same.

Everything changes regardless of your desires. Your favorite nacho places closes after twenty years. Friends move out of your old neighborhood. And sadly, there are people you never get to say goodbye to again, even when you are going back in time.

State of Things July

Wow, what a month!! It is hard to believe that in five days it will be over. And then it will be back to my day job and the stresses and pressures of being an American educator.

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This summer, I have taken more steps to eventually leaving teaching to write and create full time. It is a slow process but I am working on it. Even if I never make a complete transition, I am happier when I am creating.

Most of my writing this month focused on editing, journaling and blogging. The outlines for my non-fiction projects haven’t really gotten off the ground. (Meaning, I’ve thought about them but not put time into the research.) I was hoping to squeeze in another trip to Richmond to write and research but alas I need to attend to more mundane things.

I did get to spend a wonderful day at the lake yesterday celebrating a good friends birthday and making some new acquaintances. It was the day of rest and relaxation that I didn’t know that I needed. Thank you to S for not only being my friend, but making me feel like family.

Family is important to me. In recent years, I’ve spent more time with my chosen family than my biological family. It hasn’t been something that I’ve done consciously. I tend to get lost in the day and when my spoons are gone, I am done. I am horrible at communicating with people I don’t come in regular contact with due in part to my anxiety. I want to, but… well anxiety is not a nice person, to say the least.

Momma and Me Many Years Ago.

This month, I got to see Momma and my sister and her wonderful kids in Florida. I won’t lie and say the visit was great. We all have issues that we need to work on as well as how we communicate with each other. Sissy, if you are reading this, I do love you.

The visit has prompted me to return to therapy sooner rather than later. I have a list of things that I want to work on so I can improve my communication skills, establish better boundaries and be a better me. Therapy has been helpful to me in the past, however, I never actively worked on communication skills. My doctor wants to see how I am feeling after a couple of therapy sessions how I am dealing with things on a mental health front. Did I mention that I love my doctor? Cause I love my doctor.

She did ask if the summer had been restful and I hesitated. It has been good to work on other things without the stresses of work. I’ve gotten to travel, hugged my Mom and good friends, saw new things and breathe the fresh air and sunshine into my soul. I’m lucky to have this time. Time to recoup.

The time is never enough. My gratitude for things I have is not comparable to the things I have lost, the things that have hurt me and the things I still need to heal from. The things I love lots, the things that have hurt me, and the things I need to heal from don’t compare to the things I am grateful for. I could rest for a thousand days and still not be ready to return to my work as an educator. I will, however, return, because I both love my job and need that sweet sweet health insurance.