TToT – The Calm Before

Categories Family, Health, Home, Life, Love, Self

I can’t believe I’m writing this late on a Tuesday afternoon.

When I started this post, we were definitely in the calm before the storm early Monday morning. Now? Well, 36 hours later we have about fourteen inches of snow outside, the Rottens are sleeping by the window, and the Hub and Zilla finally got their coats on and went outside to do some shoveling.

Don’t get me wrong…I love snow days as much as anyone. The distinct downside to them is that since I work at home, my productivity plummets when they are home and right now I have about ten things that need to be finished, submitted, posted, etc. and I can’t just stop for a day. Or two. (I sincerely doubt schools will open tomorrow.)

I lost enough time on Monday between appointments and grocery shopping and just regular Monday stuff. I did not participate in the milk-bread-eggs panic (we had plenty, thank you, because my Mom taught me to not run out of these things), but I did need our regular weekly grocery run. Problem is the entire world was out panicking and I’m convinced at least half of these people do not shop for groceries on a regular basis because they had no clue how things work.

Anyway…I’ll admit that there is an air of excitement about a snow day, especially when you know well before bedtime that school is closed the next day. So we took our time with the evening, blew off homework, ate dinner late, stayed up late, slept in this morning, and had Eggs Benedict for brunch.

But I really need to get some stuff done. One thing I need to do is finish this post, so let’s get to it.

On Monday, I got a great ego boost – my efforts to be more active and take care of myself are definitely paying off. My jeans are baggy and I put on a shirt I haven’t worn in about five years because it was too tight. Now it fits and it looks great. Win. Also, my hair was completely cooperative despite the fact that I am way overdue for a trim, that’s a great bonus. And based on some conversations Zilla and I have had this week, she sees me as working toward being healthy and active, not obsessed with a number on a scale. For that I am hugely thankful because that’s the mindset I want her to learn.

As we start to come out of the storm here, I am reminded how very fortunate and blessed we are to have a warm place to sleep, plenty of blankets, enough food to eat, and all the other comforts of home during a cold and snowy night (and all the time, really). So many people do not have enough and do not have a place to go to escape the cold and that is not lost on me. It hurts my heart to think of how many suffer, especially in times like snowstorms and bitter cold.

Zilla is keenly aware of the suffering some people experience, too, and I am actually thankful for that. I want her to understand that we are fortunate and to appreciate and share what we have. I want her to understand that not everyone lives as we do, and to do what she can to help alleviate that. Right now she’s dropping a little bit of money into the Lenten Rice Bowl collection each week at church. It’s small, but it matters. I am thankful that she is aware of the truth outside her own little world.

In so many other ways, too, Zilla is a really awesome kid. She works hard, plays hard, keeps plugging away at her goals, and revels in her accomplishments. What I love most about her lately is that she is celebrating improvement, not only final results. Learning this young that it’s the process of growing and learning that’s important? Yeah, that’s pretty amazing. She’s also been so helpful around the house lately doing things like emptying bathroom trash cans and putting away small bags of groceries and cleaning up snack dishes after a movie night and popcorn. And she does it without being asked. She’s really growing up and I am both delighted and horrified at the same time. But that’s a different post.

And while we’re talking about helpful and wonderful, I’m pretty thankful to be blessed with a husband who is both of those things and more. Yes, he drives me up the wall. Absolutely. (And I him.) But the list of things he does around here to keep things running smoothly, the things he does to be active and involved with Zilla, the amazing coffee he makes happen every day…he’s pretty amazing and I’m so glad to be sharing this life with him. He’s working hard and back in school again, too, and I think he’s enjoying what he’s doing. I think there are great things on the horizon for him and I’m so happy to see him thriving in this new career.

Speaking of progress, I have to throw in a Rotten Cat thankful here. I think most people know we have three Rotten Cats here. And I think many also know the story of how we ended up with three, not two. (If not, check that out here. It’s cute.) Anyway, Marley – our Cat Three – has always been much more nervous around people and really not interested in things like snuggling and petting. Lately, though, he’s kind of come out of his shell and is not only enjoying but asking for love and pets and snuggles. He even lets me hold him for short periods of time. He’s super sweet and affectionate in general, but this physical expression of it is huge. And hey, it only took ten years!

I am very happy to report that I am feeling a lot better this week. Maybe not at full capacity yet, but definitely less fatigued and I have my voice (mostly) back. I might even make it to choir this week. Let’s hope this trend continues and we’re free from germ and sickness here for a long while.

On a much lighter note, I am happy to have received two free Redbox movie rentals and a fine forgiveness voucher (which I will inevitably need) from my public library. They ran a six week winter library program for adults to encourage reading and library resource use during the winter. Each week participants were asked to submit feedback about what resources they were using and enjoying and after doing so, the library sent a clue about a final mystery answer. At the end, those who guessed the answer correctly (it was the game of Clue) received a prize and the movie/fine forgiveness vouchers were it. Awesome.

I’ve been doing a lot more writing lately and putting it in front of other eyes to see. The feedback I’ve received has been largely positive and definitely helping me work toward getting better. It is my plan to share more of what I’m doing here on the blog and – hopefully soon – in even bigger ways. I feel like I’m on the verge of something kind of amazing, a breakthrough (for lack of a better or different word). Who knows if that’s true, but I like the sort of restless feeling of excitement and anticipation.

I see this calm before the storm in several things in this list – the writing, the cat coming out of his shell, the Hub’s career, Zilla’s progress. But when I say storm, I mean something great and wonderful about to burst forth rather than something destructive. We are in the calm before…

It’s a very exciting time.


Join us over at the Ten Things of Thankful blog to link up your own pile of thankfulness. Link’s still open until Tuesday evening!

Click on the image below and follow the link to the blog.

Ten Things of Thankful

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

14 thoughts on “TToT – The Calm Before

  1. Hello, Lisa. I didn’t realize this was your TToT at first. I thought you were just doing a random post about staying home on a snow day. I know what you mean about having others around when you are used to having your days to yourself. Congrats on the healthy choices that have led you to being able to wear clothing that didn’t fit. It is best to consider it a mindful lifestyle. I know a lot about losing weight and getting healthy. Glad you are feeling better physically – that flu was nasty and I hope the verge is a reality quite soon.

    1. Yes, well, my TToT’s are rarely much like lists anymore – I write what comes to me. Just glad I made it in at all – the last few days have been weird around here. And now no school again tomorrow, so we’ll have a little more weird. 😀 It is definitely hard for me when they’re home on school/work days. I expect my days to be different when they’re home intentionally, but the surprises still throw me off a bit. But still…I’m happy that no one had to go out or be on the road during this. Still pretty messy here and LOTS of blowing. Happy to have them safe. Right now Zilla and Hub are in his office doing something on the computer so I’m catching up here and getting a bit of a break. Since bedtime is a bit negotiable tonight, I’m indulging in a half hour of Jeopardy – haven’t seen that in years! So far I’m winning!
      I’m very glad to be feeling better – this has been a long illness and recovery process. It’s times like these that I’m reminded how much RA can affect quality of life. I don’t usually have much trouble with it, but every now and then I get a reminder that it’s there.

  2. Finally I made it here to comment tonight, it’s been a busy day! This was such a positive post, full of living in the now and hope for the future! I am most thankful for the daily life lessons you are teaching Zilla! I am delighted about the healthy lifestyle you’ve adopted that has fit you into clothes you love, great motivator! And even more important, feeling better at last this week!

    I know the quirks of cat personalities well, and I have noted that they tend to become more demonstrative of their affections as they grow older, this has proven true for a couple of mine that were before “I like to be near you but don’t try to cuddle me ” types and now now vie for lap space.

    The herd shopping mentality when storms approach cracks me up. It’s not like they are going to be cut off from supplies for the next month or two! 🙂

    Positive feedback on your writing is so important, I can feel those doors starting to crack open for you! And as always, a husband who is also a best friend and a dedicated helper rates high in my books, it makes life so much nicer if you do it together!

    Keep warm, and hopefully Spring will be here to stay before long. Blessings to you in the days ahead!

    1. That’s interesting about cats growing more demonstrative as they grow older. I’d say all three of ours have gone that way.
      When Hub and I were first married I can honestly say we didn’t think too much about health. We were working full time teaching schedules, running after-school activities that kept us out evenings and weekends, and just generally on the go. So we ate out a lot and often did takeout or convenience food when we were home. Not that we never cooked healthy meals at home – we did – but our schedule just wasn’t really conducive to that lifestyle. At least we didn’t really make an effort in that direction. But once I was pregnant and Zilla came along, we became more conscious of our choices. I think most parents probably do that. And when we started digging into information about how diet affects ADHD and we really made conscious strides toward smarter eating and exercise, etc. We’re far from perfect, but we really try to be aware. I could definitely exercise more – Hub, too – but since getting the flu a few weeks ago, fatigue has been a very real problem for me and that makes exercise hard. Hoping to get back to that in the days ahead.
      OK, sending them out to shovel some more…hopefully I can get caught up on some writing and reading.

  3. I’m so happy that you and your daughter are seeing progress. What a great thing to learn to enjoy the journey at a young age. Keep up the good work, Mom, even if it’s hard on a snow day. 😉

  4. Testing. Testing.


    Happy to try this again.

    I like to hear stories of your three cats. I am still fairly new to this cat thing.

    I am glad you all were safe and warm as a family during all that snow. We didn’t get nearly as bad here, but in some parts the driving was the problem. It’s just been so cold. Then I did watch a story on the news here last night, about there not being enough beds in the church basement shelters in Toronto for all those people needing a warm bed to sleep. This made me pull my blanket a little tighter around my arms when I heard this. Thankful doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    Looking forward to the things you have in store, that you are clearly so excited about, with your writing to come.

    Now cross your fingers I can get this one posted. Third time’s a charm I hope.

    1. Looks like it worked! Thanks for trying again, Kerry. Hub and I worked on it yesterday and I think we figured it out. So we’ll see…
      If you like cat stories, then stay tuned for my kids’ books sometime this year. Been working on a series starring the three Rottens and my plan is to publish them in the next few months. When I do, I guarantee you will hear me shout about it all the way up there in Canada. 😀

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