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Editing, Pruning, and Smelling the Roses (take two!)
Not sure what happened to this post last week, but thank you to those who let me know it was blank! Let’s try it again:
It’s been two weeks since school let out, and I’ve been trying to de-stress. Some days are better than others. If you aren’t a teacher, you might think we immediately jump right into vacation mode and chill out. Um, I wish.
One afternoon I burst into tears and was inconsolable for an hour, rambling on and on about the state of the classroom, the state of the union, the state of the planet (my poor husband). I felt better the next day, though. You have to feel your feelings and let them out to fully process.
Then I spoke to my teacher bestie this week, and she said, “One day I just started sobbing and couldn’t stop. I think I was coming down from all the stress.” And I said, “Me, too!” We laughed, but it was a strange, awkward laugh because she followed it with, “What is teaching doing to us?”
Even writing has been hard lately because I’ve developed an aversion to my laptop ever since teaching online during the pandemic. Although I teach every class period in person now, I am somehow expected to monitor and teach students using three screens at once, and my soul is tired of being tethered to technology.
My goal for the summer is to try to ground myself and find balance. I joined a local yoga in the park group that meets once a week. I’m de-cluttering the house, one room at a time, one drawer at a time, and getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve how we live, and updating small things to make living here more comfortable. It’s so nice to step into room after I’m done and see how it reflects us now, not the people we were in 2018 when we moved in. Has it really been five years?
It got me thinking about how spaces define us—my classroom, my home, my writing office, my garden—and how much they are a reflection of who we were, who we are, and who we are becoming.
Where in my life are spaces holding me back, allowing me to rest, and inspiring me forward?
How do we balance the sentimentality of the past, the grace of the present, and the dreams of the future in the spaces we inhabit?
This is a summer of change for me with empty nesting starting in the fall, so as the nest changes, I must evolve. As someone recently told me, “The nest isn’t empty. The nest is always inside you.”
That’s my new mantra.
I’m working on edits for my agent for my young adult Christmas romance novel, and my local critique group said the changes are working great, so that’s a relief. If I can focus, I could be done within two weeks…however, I’m trying to find my balance, so I’m not stressing and pushing myself. Once that’s done, I’ll write new material in a notebook to finally get a break from screens.
I’ve also been slowly removing grass around my vegetable beds to add a pea gravel path since it’s hard to mow around them. Phew, removing grass is tough. I can only do a little at a time during the cooler mornings. Good for stress, though, ripping things out to make them better. Another form of editing. Another form of therapy.
Every morning after I have my coffee, I walk my small garden with pruners and a basket and deadhead spent blooms, and I smell a rose as a sign of respect that it’s a new day, and it won’t last forever. Here’s a small motivation tip: Find a beautiful basket from a local thrift store that has a strong handle, and then leave it outside for garden chores. It’s a great example of romancing the ordinary. I find myself drawn to pick up the basket and prune and weed because it feels special. This basket only cost $3.00 at Savers, and it will eventually break down from use and the rain, and that’s okay.
On a bright note, the roses in my garden are loving their life this year. We’ve had a lot of overcast days and rain, and the combo seems to be working for them. All of these roses pictured below have a fragrance except for one (bottom middle). Did you know many roses don’t have a scent anymore because of hybridization? So smell the roses, if you can!
If you haven’t heard, my book just released in June with Sourcebooks Fire! Check out the details on my author website. Available online and at your local bookstore. Thanks for your support!
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