Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Happy New Year, 2020!

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Every year, for several years now, Tony's brother boxes up a big big box of pecans that he collects from a friend's backyard trees. A huge box. Pecans, still in their shells. He even sent us a fancy nutcracker - almost a small machine - to make the work of breaking them open much easier. May I admit to you, honestly, how I enjoyed this box at first and how much I have resented it in subsequent years? How is it possible to use up all these pecans? How patient must I be to crack open pecan after pecan? Hear me on this - it is such abundance, we simply cannot get through the pecans in a single year, and here comes more! The pecans themselves are hit and miss - some years very good, some years not so much. We give pecans to neighbors and friends, and still the box doesn't empty. I said to my husband...are we allowed to throw some out? can we at least get rid of the large cardboard box? I cheered myself up by getting a pretty glass cookie jar, and filling it to the brim with pecans - only to realize I needed two or three of these jars. I filled a pretty bowl. I became annoyed. I am so tired of looking at containers of pecans.
This Christmas, Tony cracked open pecans and declared - "These are a little dried out. I don't think we've really got any good ones left."
You see, my brother-in-law died last summer. We didn't get a big box of pecans this year. We only have the dwindling number from last year's box. 
How sad I feel that I got so frustrated about those darn nuts.
Wouldn't we have loved another box of them this year?

Why did I waste time with frustration and annoyance? 


As well you know, it's that time of year when one thinks about New Year resolutions. I've been going back and forth as to what should be my one little word this year...what one word describes my focus, my goal, my hope? 


There's a beautiful meditation that I read in a book by Steven Levine, called the 'Soft-belly Meditation,' with these phrases that jumped out at me:

Take a few deep breaths...
Soften the muscles that have held the fear for so long...
Let the awareness be gentle and allowing...
Have mercy on yourself...
In soft body, in soft mind, just letting it be there...
Let thoughts come and let them go...
Let the healing in...


When my children were young, I used to love to read parenting advice from Marguerite Kelly. I remember her suggesting a litmus test for things to get aggravated about  - Will it matter in 100 years? If not, let it go. If yes, do something about it.


I'm tired of getting myself into knots during my teaching day, due to a zillion different "adult-initiated problems" - lack of subs, lack of planning for required meetings that end up feeling like a waste of precious time, lack of clarity about certain mandatory to do's, etc. (I don't typically get frustrated by young children - it's adults that make me crazy ;-) I think it is high time I realized that things rarely go as expected! I'm going to try my best not to take offense.


This morning's sunrise seemed to cheer on this word choice - no bright colors, just muted, gorgeous streaks across the early morning grey sky. 



  1. Maureen,
    I love the story. It did not go the direction I expected. Its conclusion softened my heart. I love "soften" as a OLW. That's something I worked on more my last years of teaching as I thought about how I'd be remembered by the adults in my building. Like you, I always did better w/ the kids.

    1. Thanks, Glenda! Always great to hear from you. Happy new year!