Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Haiku. — It’s a Verb Now… A Thing I Do.

The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku Catchoo

When I’m out of time

and it is almost midnight

and there’s been no post…

It’s time to Haiku.

Haiku is now an action.

I verbified it.

Afraid to Haiku?

Nonsense. You can do it, too.

You just need a pen.

And a free hand to

count syllables as you write.

Five. Seven. And five.

Never mind rhyme, just

count the syllables and string

your words together

To tell your story.

But you have to be concise.

And use words to … move.

If you are writing,

then it all counts toward your

… NaBloPoMo goals.



Trace. — Souvenirs of His Soul.

Three years ago, last night, goes on my list of the top 10, maybe top 5, of the hardest nights ever.

Felix was out of town on a business trip. I was single Momma-ing, and juggling all that goes along with having a 5 year old and a 2 year old.

We came home to discover that our beloved 10 year old Cayman had thrown up in several places on the living room rug. This was so unlike him. He never had accidents in the house. He never made a mess. He never tore anything up. He could be home by himself in the house, all day long, and would just sleep on my couch.

So, immediately, I knew something was wrong. I took the best care of him that I could. I hurried the kiddos through their routines, got them tucked in early, and then turned my full attention to Cayman.

He was miserable. He was pacing. He clearly did not feel well. He needed to go outside every 30 minutes or so. I stayed with him downstairs all night long. He couldn’t get comfortable. At one point, he went outside and wouldn’t come back to me. I was so worried that I headed out with a flashlight and was relieved when I found him laying in the mulch bed. I coaxed him back inside. He finally crawled under the coffee table and we slept for minutes, here and there, with my hand on his back.

I knew something was terribly wrong.  The next morning, three years ago today, I hurried the kiddos through the morning routines to get Cayman to our local Veterinarian as soon as they opened at 7:00 a.m. We were at the door when they unlocked it.

A few hours later, I got a call that said they needed to do surgery. I asked them to please wait until I could get there. I rushed out of the conference I was attending and flew back to the Vet’s office. I spent a few minutes with him, looking into his eyes, reassuring him, loving on him. I’ll never forget how he looked at me. Never. His eyes were tired. He was hurting. He was sad. And his eyes seemed to say, “I’m sorry” too. 

Poor Felix was five hours away and was already on his way home, leaving the business behind. Just trying to get home. I felt so bad for him. To be so far away. Rushing, desperately to get home.

But there was nothing that anyone could do. The doctors couldn’t do anything. Felix couldn’t get home fast enough. Cayman couldn’t continue with that pain anymore.

And just like that. I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor, sobbing. Wailing and sobbing.

The rest of the story is just punctuated by what we did and what we had to do. Felix came home. We went to see Cayman one more time. We hugged. We cried. We made calls. We made arrangements. We had to tell the boy and girl-childs the terrible news. We held them while they cried. And we all cried together.

Then it was the next day. It was tomorrow.

Three years ago, tomorrow.

And we started to see the signs.

Signs of Cayman. Or signs from Cayman.

The very next day, we had the adventure with Cleo. Cayman was already on the job as a Guardian Angelcleo

lightThe very next week, I came home to find the sun hitting his picture, spotlighting it in a way that made me stop and smile.

We had a memorial service, invited everyone who loved Cayman over for a time to share stories and have some snacks.

We planted a tree and sprinkled some of his ashes under the tree.

A few days later, it snowed.

And in the snow, randomly or not, one morning, we discovered doggy paw prints. They led from Cayman’s tree. To our back door. And then around the house. snow

This was Cayman’s gig. He did what we called, “Perimeter Checks”. He walked our property everyday. He kept an eye on things. He made sure every thing was in its place.

He was still on the job.

A few months later, we took his ashes to the beach and to the pier on the York River. He loved the water and the ocean.

pawprintAnd randomly in the sand, we found a single perfect paw print.

Another sign.

And as I look around my house tonight, even three years later, there are still so many signs of Cayman. So many traces of his time with us. So many souvenirs of his soul.

His picture is everywhere. Right there beside X and Y when you come in the door.  On the kitchen counter. In the office. On the bookshelf in the living room.

His flashing light collar is still hanging on the coat closet door.  collar

His ball, leash and collar still sit in a place of honor on Felix’s dresser.  leash

His ashes sit in the kitchen windowsill. Looking out, looking in. In the middle of the family action.

boxThe words are faded. comfort

But we always keep a candle light in the window.

Signs…so he can always trace his way home.

cayman signs

Today’s Action Challenge (courtesy of WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge):  Look around. Find three objects around you that most represent you. Objects that could serve as traces and souvenirs of you.  Describe them and tell why these are important to your story. How do these reflect your personality and who you are?


Sock. — Saturated in Mismatched Colors.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturatedsocks

A bunch of new socks

together for the last time

in the girl’s drawer. 

Click here to learn more about our mis-matched sock MommyVerb Adventures. 


Feel. — Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea


The sea brings magic.

I feel better when the tide

meets my toes and soul.


Star. — Meet the Characters of MommyVerbs


    If you need to feel like a movie star, I highly recommend you check this out to see your name in lights:

You’ve met them along the way, however, I thought it was time to officially introduce you to the cast and characters starring in the show that is MommyVerbs. So…


fix it felixFirst up is T. Otherwise known as the best friend/partner/hubby. His name says it all there. That is who he is to me. He plays all of those roles in my life and to leave one of them out is to ignore so much of what he does and who he is, so I kept them all.  However, you should know that he has a new nickname, “Fix It Felix“, for his uncanny mad skills at both literally fixing broken, not working things, but also his innate want and need to figuratively fix all things broken or not working. He offers fabulous advice and has great problem solving solutions for almost any situation. 🙂 Sometimes wanted, sometimes not. 🙂   I have to say, I lucked out with this one.  He’s pretty ah.may.zing.    superman

One more talent not included in his title above is: SuperDad. Seriously. He should be the posterchild for the whole fatherhood involvement campaign. He’s kind of awesome with the kids and is the. most. intentional. Dad. I have ever met. Yes, there is wrestling and game playing, but he is also just so patient and good with them both. I love to watch him at work as a Dad. He is a superhero.

Next. Let me tell you a little bit about Y. She’s cool. She might be my Mini-Me with a little extra flair thrown in for good measure, just to keep it interesting.  Since Day One, she has been a sleep fighter, I always believed it was because she was afraid she would miss out on something. She comes by that honestly.  She’s a fashionista, but not in a girly, ribbons in her hair kind of way, but in a more, she has opinions about clothes and what looks good and what doesn’t way. She can hang with the boys and they like to have her around because she isn’t afraid to get dirty and play rough. Good thing, too, because she is the ONLY girl in our little group of friends…so, she is often the “mini-momma” at the kids’ table when we head out for dinner together.  She doesn’t care to clean. anything. at all. As a matter of fact, she can melt to the floor as if it is the end of times, at just the mention of the words, “we need to clean up this house!” However, when she’s motivated, she does a great job of straightening up her room. She will work for Sweet Frogs.

y on life

She is smart. She can be silly. She is sensitive and intuitive and feels obligated to help others make good choices. She recognizes unfairness in the world and sometimes thinks her little brother gets more attention than she does. When she’s tired, she turns into ‘goo’ both physically and emotionally.  She has her Daddy’s entrepreneurial spirit and often creates goods that she longs to sell to our neighbors and random driver-bys. (Selling girl scout cookies has helped curb this craving a bit!)  She’s a good reader. She’s got an arm on her that makes her a bit of a softball star in my eyes.  She loves horses. She’s all kinds of awesome.

Meet X. I always say that nobody loves me like my X, because he is my only cuddle-er.  He was born ‘sunny side up’ as they say which really matches his personality.  We have told him that story and he has embraced it, saying that is why he is special.  To say he is a fan of The Avengers is an understatement. He’s a fan of all things superhero. He can play, by himself, for hours, lining up cars, building with blocks, flying figurines through the air as a part of a very complicated story line and plot.  He is funny. He is very quick-witted for a youngin’ and he makes us laugh a lot.x on life

Oh, but  is he ever loud. From the minute his feet hit the floor, he starts talking and sometimes, I’m not sure he stops for very long.  He has a lot to say and he makes sure he is heard.  I had the same strawberry blonde hair that he has when I was that age, but other than that, he looks a lot like his Daddy.  He loves puzzles and has the amazing stickwithitness to get a whole 100+ piece puzzle finished by himself.  He kicks his shoes off everywhere and never knows where his jacket is, but he loves to help with the laundry.  He is shy for about 3 minutes and then gets very comfortable in most environments.  He thinks he can swim a little better than I believe he actually can, so I’m thankful that the large water slides make him just a little nervous. Other than that, he has no fear and as soon as we get another inch of growth on him, he will be my roller coaster rider!  X, my monkey, simply rocks.

photo (3)

Then there is the dog.  Ugh. Sigh. He’s getting better. He is. *she says trying to convince no one but herself* Even though Felix refers to him sometimes as ‘squirrel brain’, I’m convinced that he is smarter than he lets on. He just hasn’t figured out how to live with us yet.  His life is not so hard–he stays outside in nice weather tazmanian devilduring the day. Then he sleeps on my couch at night. He will work for treats, but is terrible at coming when called. He’s skittish for absolutely no reason. And I’ll be honest, his personality is a little bizarre and I haven’t figured him out.  I think it is also fair to say that he hasn’t figured me out either.  His only saving grace is that he is still a bit of a puppy, so he might outgrow himself. He has been recently ‘gifted’ to the boy child and amazingly actually does really well for him.  X is happy to have someone to boss around and the dog doesn’t seem to care too much.  So, it seems to be working, so far. At least, he no longer resembles this:

And then there’s me, the writer/producer/director, just trying to keep up and capture the essence of our little “show” in action words, everyday.

Green Blogger

FYI: Some images belong to me, others found their way here courtesy of Google Images, not sure where they lived before that, but ...

Treasure. — X marks the spot…Hurry, Grab them!


I haven’t picked up the Simple Abundance book in years. But this morning, its pink paisley pages called out to me from my little cozy writing nook (aka closet).  In the few minutes I had before deciding which shade of grey (it is not about the books people, but my new signature color as my own personal and utterly useless protest of winter) to wear today…I picked up the book and decided to check out the message of the day.

I immediately remembered the topic and smiled. Treasure maps. Define what you want. Tell the universe what you want. Own it. Claim it. Create your treasure map. X marks the spot.

As an experienced journal keeper over many, many years, I’m sure I have completed this task. Many times. Cutting things out of magazines. glue-sticking into journals, creating the very cool, very hip collages of all the little things I believe, what I want and what I want to do.

But looking at it this morning, I began to wonder what do I really treasure? What would I want to find under a spot marked with X? And I started a brainstorm list of questions in my little on-the-go notebook as possible angles on this topic:

What are the things that I long for? What do I want to do?

What are the things I have that I don’t want to lose?

What are my treasures?

…..What do I save if there’s a fire?

And then, I can’t make this up—Another synchronicity of life presents itself, as lo and behold, WordPress offered this as a Daily Prompt: Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

Are you kidding me? So, obviously, I’m going with the last question (and buying a lottery ticket!)…what treasures do I grab!?

Since all of my people treasures are safe and sound, waiting for me by the mailbox, as is our plan, just in case…

I grab as many photo albums and pictures as I can carry.  I might take the time to get a box and load them up. Those would be the things I would be devastated to lose. Other than the ones actually hanging on the walls, they are mostly found clumped together in albums and boxes on the office bookshelf. My family. Growing up days. The days of me and the best friend/partner/hubby pre-kiddos. The wedding album. Kiddos as babies. The scrapbooks I used to spend hours upon hours on.

I would grab the laptop and the external hard drive because that is where the rest of the digital pictures are.

Then, if there is time … and completely against the advice of my Dad who is a firefighter… I would make a run upstairs to grab the box of home videos, since I haven’t done what I have always said I should do, which is to digitize those.

I grab my JoJo. My sock monkey trusted friend from forever.

If I can carry this, I would grab the lockbox with our birth certificates and important documents….but that is supposed to be fireproof, so maybe I’ll take my chances…it is pretty heavy.

As long as I’m in my closet, then I might as well try to save my wedding dress.  It is boxed up for Y someday and as long as there is time, I might want to grab it.  It is big though and a bit unwieldy, so that might have to be sacrificed.  Really, what are the chances that she will actually want anything to do with that in 20 years?

There are a few other things I might grab, if possible, some notes and journals, my box of mother’s day cards and gifts, anything I spot on my way out of the house that is of the sentimental sort.

My treasures are not worth much.  Nothing that the insurance company would value afterwards.  But these are the things I call my treasures.

The things I would look for under any spot marked with an X…and hopefully without the pressure of a burning house in the background! EEEK!


Stretch. — A rubber band across the country.

Rubber-Band Man

What’s the most time you’ve ever spent apart from your favorite person? Tell us about it.

Two years ago, the best friend/partner/hubby and I had an opportunity to travel across the country to attend a conference. The hotel in a dreamy little surfing California city, paid for. Travel for one of us, paid for. Found a pretty awesome-hard-to-pass-up fly stand by kind of deal for the one of us. And somewhere during the planning process, we even tagged on an extra day to drive up to Los Angeles to see a loved one (and a show.)

We were excited to go.

We planned.

We packed.

And the night before we left the kiddos with my, very capable to take care of everything, Mom…

We panicked.

We had never been away from the duo for more than a weekend…this was going on being apart for 5 days.

And finally, the entire night before our flight, I prayed. I said prayer after prayer after prayer. Bring us back safely. Keep them safe while we are gone. Give Mom strength to make it through.

So, the day came. We drove to the airport. Got on the airplane and we took off.

And as we flew, I watched the landscape change as we traveled from one coast to another.

And I felt it. It was like a rubber band was stretching with every mile we traveled.  Stretching from where I left my heart to the adventures ahead with my love.  It stretched and stretched and stretched.

It never snapped.

The best friend/partner/hubby and I enjoyed a really lovely getaway. We laid on the beach and soaked up some Vitamin D during the winter. We finished a few sentences, even had a couple of conversations.  (We did go to the conference, too, by the way.) We took a bike ride down the coast and even brought back some of the local surfer talk and way of life as souvenirs.

And as soon as X and Y were back in my arms, the rubber band took its original shape. Same as it was. And we were all the better for the little bit of time and space away.

hb surf 2

hb surf


Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved. Another Look

As I mentioned before, I am setting intentions (Click for details)  this year, instead of resolutions.

Here is both the process and the product of our Family Intentions Winter of 2013 edition.

We left space to include our intentional acts of kindness on our board as we go.


Synchronize. — Daily Prompt: The random third page of my autobiography. OK. Really, just a book I want to write. Someday.

Page 3.

We met during his last semester at Virginia Tech. I remember it clearly…third floor of Hutcheson Hall on the west side of the drill field. The course was: COMM 4135: Public Relations Case Studies. I was always nervous on the first day of classes and sat down in the middle of the room, trying not to be noticed too much. This school was always too big for me.

So, that was what I did–Blend. The professors entered the classroom about 5 minutes late, acted nice, but slightly annoyed with the lot of us. And then proceeded to lay out the entire semester as if we were all about to enter Hell and had no idea.

I think that I remember seeing him that first day. Sitting near the windows, toward the front. Saw his brown hair, longer in the back (read, cool kind of mullet of the early 90s, but he will deny that…) I think he my have even asked some questions…that would be his style. But I can’t be sure. I was so focused on being a little scared.

Needless to say, I found the first class to be completely overwhelming. How was I going to work 25 hours a week at the public library plus taking some ungodly amount of classes and still complete this course? We were going to be assigned to small work groups. We were going to be working for local clients, designing a public relations campaign. It was going to be a ton of work. There was just no way. I was a double major in Communications and Elementary Education…I didn’t need this nonsense.

I went straight to my Mom’s office in McBryde Hall, climbed to the fourth floor, and asked her to drop me from the class. This is the part where you all think I’m a spoiled brat because my Mom worked on campus and I never stood in line for classes. Ever. I’m sorry to everyone else at VT in the 90s…it is true. She totally hooked me up. Come on…She’s my MOM!

But she also gave it to me straight…as both an Academic Adviser and a … Mom. She said that she knew the professors and that they weren’t that bad.. and perhaps…maybe… there were probably too many in the class and they were… maybe… trying to scare some students out. She eventually convinced me to go back, at least to the second class and give it another chance.

In all fairness I owe it to my Mom for all things good in my life. My best friend/hubby/partner. My X and Y. My … Life. Thank goodness for her advice or else I would never have met him. Would never have fallen in love. Would never have had a wonderfully imperfect life together as a family.

It was yet another example of … Synchronicity.


Believe. — Faith That Looks Like the Whispers in a Sock Monkey’s Ear.

Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the complete trust or confidence in something or someone.

I have faith in God. I have faith that there is a higher power, that there is a plan. This faith has seen me through many times, good times and hard times. It is enduring and unending, something that gives me peace but is hard to find the words to accurately describe.

Many times I have watched two sleeping children in the backseat, and am reminded that childhood is a time of complete faith. A time when you believe and trust in many things that you cannot hold or see. A time when you have faith in the people around you. A time when a trusted friend or stuffed animal is faith, defined.

My faithful friend, growing up, was always a sock monkey, named JoJo. She was made by my Grandmother when I was a wee small girl. Much like the Velveteen Rabbit, JoJo was very, very real to me. She was always there … except for one night when she was left at a friend’s house by accident and it was much too late to retrieve her. (By the way, that night, my just-3-years- older-than-me-uncle tried to replace JoJo with his G.I. Joe, which didn’t go over well with me, but the event is still a family story favorite.)

JoJo was my confidant. She was the one that I whispered secret dreams to. I used her ears to wipe my tears if I was upset or scared. She was real to me. Important. Faithful. Trustworthy.  She still sits in my bedroom, yes, as a 40-year-old Momma of X and Y, today. She is a reminder of faith.

As a Momma, it is important to me that X and Y know faith; that they know faith as big as, and bigger than, a sock monkey. It is important to me that they have the ability to trust in things that they can’t see. It is important to me that they know there are larger things than this world can actually hold. It is important to me that they believe, without doubt, in these things.





So, we put in the effort…everyday, to make sure that they know and recognize this find of faith.

But being 7 and 4, the world is a very literal place. So, what does faith look like to a 7- and 4- year old?

Complete Confidence in Santa Claus. In Elves on shelves. In Tooth Fairies and the Easter Bunny.

Absolute Magic. These are real and unquestioned.

Then there is:

Family traditions and nighttime tuck in routines.

Knowing someone will meet you as you step off the school bus…each and everyday.

Sleeping contentedly while daddy drives you home after a long day of fun.

Chicken noodle soup and medicine and a day on the couch under a blanket, in control of the remote, when you are sick.

Holding hands across a parking lot.

Seeing your parents hug and kiss in the kitchen; then trying to squeeze in between them.

Birthday candle wishes.

Knowing that someone will catch you at the bottom of the diving board.

Taking the training wheels off.

As adults, we sometimes forget to put in the effort to see the signs of faith all around us. We sometimes lose the feeling that someone “has”us. Someone who won’t let us fall. Someone we can turn to….Who takes care of us when we do trip and fall. Someone who makes magic happen for us and around us.

As adults, we sometimes forget to make the effort to take time to see the sunrises or sunsets. Appreciate the good news amidst the bad. Find the joy and choose happy. Or even recognize that we have just been saved from a mishap or accident.

And yet, we still need to believe. We still need faith.

I think the trick is, we have to keep believing, no matter what, that faith is worth the effort. Everyday.


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