13 Reasons Why I Keep Going Tag

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to enjoy a mini vacay with my husband and two of our closest friends. Where did we go? Las Vegas.

It was H-O-T, hot. We spent the majority of our time in the pool. We also watched Shrek 1, 2, 3, & 4, because they kill me. Rarely do movies make me laugh out loud, but those movies get me every time! My in-laws also live right outside of Las Vegas, so we were able to enjoy some family time too.

Recently, I was nominated for the 13 Reasons Why I Keep Going Tag by my friend Denny. I do not struggle with depression, nor have I ever experienced suicidal thoughts, but I do think it’s important to reflect on those things that make life meaningful. To switch things up a bit, I thought I could incorporate those aspects of my recent trip that really refreshed my spirit.

Here we go!

  1. Outdoor patios. They are great for reading, thinking, and eating breakfast sandwiches.
  2. Water slides. Who knew sliding down a dark tunnel could make you feel 10 again?
  3. Books. Right now I’m reading the chronological Bible and a book called The God Conversation by J.P Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff. I highly recommend both.
  4. Water. There is nothing as refreshing as water. Fun fact: I don’t drink soda, and I never have.
  5. Food.
  6. Friendship. This one is new for me. I come from a large family, so I’ve always joked that I never needed friends, but they’re pretty cool.
  7. My husband. I’m just amazed that someone, who is not my parents, can love me as much as he does.
  8. Shrek 1, 2, 3, & 4. Must I say more?
  9. Time away. I haven’t told anybody here on WordPress, but I was recently hired as an Adjunct English Professor for two different college campuses. I’m SO excited to start, but as I’ve said before, having this summer of blissful nothingness has been life-giving.
  10. WordPress. I have not been as active on WordPress as of late, but there are so many of my WordPress friends who show me patience and understanding, and I am just absolutely grateful for YOU. The fact that you are reading the words I’ve typed is just unreal.
  11. The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise franchise. The finale of the Bachelorette was this past Monday. The irony is I don’t necessarily watch to see a love story, and I certainly don’t watch to see the drama. For me, it’s like going to an airport to people watch, but I don’t have to leave the comfort of my own home.
  12. My dog Dobby. Home just isn’t home when a furry face doesn’t greet me when I walk through the door with luggage in hand.
  13. God. Truly, He’s number 1-13.

I hope y’all enjoy this short list and have a happy Wednesday. 🙂

XO
T. Shaw

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Ten things I like about me

I was supposed to write this post yesterday. It was even on my to do list, but it felt too awkward to write.

In my gratitude journal, there was a prompt that asked me to write down ten things I like about myself.

I was able to list the first five qualities pretty quickly, but then I came to a halt. I couldn’t think of number six, seven, or eight…

The irony is that two of my blogging friends Em and Little Miss Sunshine have written posts about being comfortable in your own skin, and in both their comment sections I said that I was grateful for the body I live in. Still, I felt awkward thinking about the things I like about myself and even more awkward about sharing those things with all of you.

Who knew this gratitude journal would really make me think?

Here’s what I ended up coming up with:

  1. I can stay calm when others get angry. I salute those years where I worked as a customer service rep.
  2. I can see both sides. It’s the mediator in me.
  3. I’m a learner of all types.
  4. I’m a faithful friend.
  5. I’m a poet.
  6. I can be a good listener.
  7. I’m stubborn. This wasn’t always a characteristic my parents enjoyed as I was growing up, but I use my powers more for good than evil now.
  8. I have wavy hair (not featured in this picture), which reminds me that I need to update my “about me” photo since I no longer have long hair, and I grew out my bangs a century ago.
  9. I’m quiet. Sometimes my silence inspires anxiousness in others, but it’s something I’ve come to appreciate.
  10. I can sing some really good karaoke. Bring on any song with freakishly long notes; that’s what really gets me going.

How easy or difficult would it be for you to rattle off ten things you like about yourself?I’d love to know a few. 🙂

XO

T. Shaw

Exploring the Land of the Midnight Sun

This past week I vacationed in Alaska with my husband, my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, my three nieces, and my nephew.

Here’s a photo of the squad.

This trip has been in the works for almost two years! My mom traveled to Alaska two summers ago with a group of her friends, and she had the absolute time of her life. When she came home, she couldn’t stop talking about the adventures she’d had and her desire for all of us to make the same trip.

(Here’s just a glimpse of the beauty we witnessed in AK)

But you and I know vacations are never as glamorous as they appear in the photos we capture, and this trip was no different. Traveling with ten humans is no joke. Some of us are introverts; others are extroverts. Some of us like to sleep in; others like to stay up late. You have shower schedules and people with varying appetites. Not everyone likes mustard on their sandwiches.

We also came to realize that even though we’re blood, we’re not always the best communicators.

Still, this trip was special. Being a long distance Auntie, it really meant a lot to be with my kiddos, to ride with them in the bed of a truck, to play cards with them on a ferry, to cheer them on as they reeled in fish, and to listen to their riddles.

Here they are, from oldest to youngest!

      

     

They each have wildly different personalities and from each of these precious young humans I gleaned something special this week.

In no particular order, here are some of the bits of wisdom I collected from these kids.

  1. Don’t be afraid to somersault when everyone else is walking
  2. Never give up, even if you continually reel in seaweed
  3. Share your talents, even among strangers
  4. Make friends wherever you go

There ya have it. In keeping with my Gratitude Series, this week I’m most thankful for the opportunity to vacation with my family, even if we are a crazy bunch.

What are you most grateful for this week?

XO

T. Shaw

An Attitude of Gratitude (Week 1)

Last week, I mentioned that I wanted to start a gratitude series, where I would be able to take time every week to reflect on the good in my life. Welcome to the first installment!

**

The day I graduated with my M.A. in English, I told my husband that I wanted my first act as a graduate to be visiting my local, public library, so I could apply for my very own library card. Even though I have studied literature for several years, I have rarely found time to read for pleasure. Finally, I was going to be able to make my own reading lists! However, when we got to the library, it was closed. Ha, just my luck. But ya know, I persevered and went again the following week.

I haven’t had a public library card since elementary school. I remember going there often with my mom and picking out picture books. One of our absolute favorites was a book called A Five-Dog Night. If I remember correctly, it’s about a grumpy old man that an old woman befriends. She happens to measure the temperature by how many dogs she snuggles in her bed every night. Now that I’m talking about the plot, it sounds a little creepy, but I promise it was a cute, heartwarming story, but I digress.

Over these last couple months, I’ve checked out a few books.

Image result for mosquitoland       Image result for we were liars       Image result for the light between oceans

Image result for the light we cannot see       Image result for the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

I truly can’t explain how much I have loved this summer post graduation. I feel undeniably free. Perhaps that is why I haven’t been blogging as much. I have enjoyed living with very few responsibilities. Life has been relaxing, especially when I’m in the arms of a good book.

That is why this week I’m most grateful for my library card. I’m reminded of Ray Bradbury’s admiration for libraries and his belief that those who have access to a library have access to a free education.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

XO

T. Shaw

Is gratitude weird?

My church just started a series called “Summer in the Psalms.” This past Monday a speaker taught on Psalm 1. One of the things she said that stuck out to me was, “What resides in your hearts and minds will become your daily lives.”

I was immediately reminded of one of my graduation presents. It is a journal called A Life of Gratitude: How to Appreciate It All Big and Small by Lori Roberts. Basically, it includes short prompts that hopefully inspire thankfulness as you dwell on “the good stuff more often.”

Instead of keeping my meditations private, I thought I’d share what I’m grateful for here. My goal was to post every Wednesday, and I was hoping you guys would also share what you’re grateful for in the comments.

But then I typed up my gratitude list from the first entry of my journal…

  • sunshine
  • a light breeze
  • the birds that sing, even the one that bites me (yes, I’m talking about my not so nice parakeet named Sam)
  • Dobby, my furry best friend
  • my marriage
  • my home with my parents
  • the future ahead
  • the new growth on my bonsai
  • my friends
  • my family
  • graduating “on time”
  • literature
  • the power of words
  • poetry
  • author Isabel Allende
  • Danny’s new position
  • Wednesdays
  • summer break
  • good T.V.
  • quiet moments,
  • singing,
  • God’s Word
  • prayer
  • yoga
  • blue skies
  • fluffy clouds
  • long—I mean, short walks
  • long showers that help me think/remember how blessed I am

Originally, I had no intention of sharing this list. Then when I typed it up, my list suddenly felt silly, maybe even a little bit weird. I’m still going to share, because it meant everything to sit on my back patio, take in the fresh air, and reflect on even the smallest bits of goodness that either get unintentionally ignored or forgotten.

Feel free to make your own mini list in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for at this moment in time.

Also, I’m hoping that every Wednesday I can take some time to reflect and expound on 1-3 things that I’m thankful for that week. We’ll see how it goes!

Happy Wednesday, y’all! I hope you have an awesome rest of the week.

XO

T. Shaw

It mocks me

It mocks me—the grand piano—that resides in my living room.

It was purchased for my older brother. After playing for some time, his piano instructor recommended that my parents buy a bigger keyboard for him, but our dad brought home the monster with white teeth instead. My family and I always give my dad a hard time about this—his go big or go home attitude. He’s a very humble man, but sometimes he has expensive taste.

My brother played for awhile, but eventually the instrument was no longer a priority. His interests changed, but that was okay, because my parents believed I could learn to play. The problem was that I never hit the keys until an hour before my lesson, because I believed that I could master a piece without training.

I have had three piano teachers, so it’s obvious I’m the problem. I always joke that if there was only a pill to swallow that provided instant mastery of an instrument I’d take it.

Since a pill of that sort doesn’t exist, I’ll try something I’ve never tried before: consistent practice.

Currently, I’m on page 109 in Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course: Level 1. I hope to finish the book by the end of this year.

XO

T. Shaw

Happy Father’s Day

Today, I’d like to wish all you dads a Happy Father’s Day! Yesterday, we spent time in San Diego, CA, to honor my dad. We didn’t take any pictures, but I’d like to add an oldie but a goodie of my parents.

He is an incredibly selfless, hardworking man. When I picture him, he’s outside working in the yard, wearing a white T-shirt, jeans, and a bucket hat to block out the sun.

He is loyal and loving, and I am extremely blessed to have him as my own.

XO

T. Shaw

Her Pen Pal

For my nephew

Her Pen Pal

Through the bay window
One eye may spy
Six humans, a chattering of chicks,
A Doberman duo, a duckling duet,
And one cat with a gimp.

Their lives orchestrated by
Slap shots, take downs, touch
Downs, layups, yellow cards,
Major scales, call times, and
Camping trips.

Still the boy finds time for
Dear Auntie,
To share about his day,
What’s keeping him busy,
How he celebrated Easter, and
That he relly enjoys when
She writes back.

The Ultimate Party Crasher

The Ultimate Party Crasher

All impurities swept and mopped,
Tables ornamented with
Praying napkins in
Coordinating colors to
Match blue vases borrowed
From her sister’s summer wedding,
Now filled with flowers from
Miss Shelly’s stand at
Famers market.

Doorbells ring, guests arrive,
Stacking gifts, munching chips and dips,
And exchanging home renovation tips, concerning
Outdoor patios, stainless steel appliances,
And the latest candle scents.

Until he arrives,
The ultimate party crasher.
He’s never invited and never notices
How you’ve prepped and planned.
He sneaks in to suck and scavenge,
Slighting every party guest,
From person to person he
Indiscriminately pests, stealing
a taste from everyone’s plate.

And there’s nothing you can do
But wish you could,
Like him—fly.

Five dollar yoga

Five Dollar Yoga

Her eyes rise as
a soft tide amid a forest
of dreams. Her ears hear
dishes clink on the other
side of Shavasana. She envisions
a couple clasping hands across
an expanse with four legs.
For the first time,
she can sense time tick as
the fan breathes. Her eyes
should be shut, but she’s pulled
to praise. To exhale an
offering—all she has,
kneeling before her only need.
Her hands rise from her side
to rest on a hopeful
vacancy. She’s waited
to be filled, and at present,
she is.

 

In response to the daily prompt: forest