Category Archives: Daily Prompts


The Solitude…

When I hear this word, I first see myself standing on a mountain, being swallowed up by the multi-colored sunset sky, waiting for the darkness to approach me. I have no fear, no pain; I await the dark with open arms. Because I know that when the darkness comes so does the glimmering stars. They awaken the sky; causing the darkness to dance through and behind the stars. It’s strange because this is my first thought but then other images come…

Next, I am sitting in a filled room; all the bodies around me are of people I know. However, they don’t acknowledge me; I am just a form taking up space they wish to fill with someone else. I stay sitting waiting to be noticed. Chaos surrounds me and continues to move without intertwining with me. It’s like there is a force field separating me from them. I am alone in this crowded place, and if someone were to notice me they would see tears spilling down my face. This image has pain and fear; I am in solitude and nothing will change…

Then I see myself here…After a long stressful day, I come home to my loveable but loud family. My nephews are screaming with glee when they see me. My brothers want to discuss their most recent logical problems. My eldest sister is singing and dancing in the kitchen to the new song that dwells in her brain (she will be singing it for a couple more weeks). With all this going on, I wish to just travel through the household and bury myself into my bed.  I feel guilty for wanting to block out my family. Silence seems unattainable. Which in any other situation, I would feel comforted and loved but after that long hard day I want to be in complete solitude….

But no matter how I feel in these moments, I know I am never alone and I won’t ever be alone. Solitude: loneliness, privacy, isolation, seclusion, lonesomeness…are just some synonyms. I might feel loneliness sometimes, but I am never truly alone. Privacy is luxurious but also singular; I might know it but I rarely have it. So when I do attain a small shred of privacy I can cherish it for the small window of time I have. Isolation is to be alone without contact. I have a family which loves me and I get to see them every day; I am blessed because of this. Seclusion is alone and quiet. If I am in dead silence too long, I go stir crazy. Hearing the small giggles and voices steal themselves into my room brings comfort to my soul; I am not alone. Yes, in some instances of my life I feel lonesomeness…but even without my family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, students, etc. God is with me. He is in that sunset sky, His presence is beside my in the crowded room, and His love flows through my heart as I enter the loud loving house. He has me and I have Him. Until the day I die I am blessed.

Solitude…It’s not good or bad, it’s just what you see it as…


Battles of life.

Across the street in front of a store window you see a family gathered around a gleeful child. The child beams with excitement and wonder. The family is close nit and welcoming; you wish you could intertwine into their love because that is all you seek. Instead, you continue down the other side of the street; which seems clouded and musky with a hushed noise engulfing you up. No lights or laughter is along your walk. Only a gradual darkness on this lifeless street.

Years pass and again you walk along that lifeless street; however, this time you are next to your partner. You love them deeply and your walk now has a glow of happiness surrounding your essence. You walk hand in hand down the pavement path, but they stop suddenly causing you to run into their shoulder. Their eyes stare to the left, you follow their gaze to a beautiful human in front of that store. This new human radiates warmth and love. The person stands so tall and proud glancing at all the wonders in the store. Your partner stands there a second to long and you know your love is fake. Their heart is still searching, where as yours was complete and satisfied. Your partner pulls away from you and leaves you there on this side of the street. Without a word of goodbye your partner greets the radiant person as if its love at first sight. You stand there on the now dark path depressed to the core, “Why is life so unfair?” and you continue back down the lonely path and are submerged in the darkness.

Time passed and you have given up on life. You walk this hard paved path and you don’t care what crosses you. Nothing surprises you anymore; you are just not one of the fortunate souls in life. This side of the street has grown more unwelcoming. You can only see a footstep space in front of you. You’ve given up trying to lead a fake life knowing that somehow it will be taken from you. You continue stumbling toward the end of the block to the full submission of darkness; this time not stopping to look over at the side of the street you can never be a part of. You journey on, eyes cast downward, wanting to stop all movement and be done. Darkness…

Life isn’t perfect but its not in total gloom either. You still have no one, but you walk now head high and curious about what will come your way. You are not expecting much from day to day life, but you are optimistic that one day might be better than another. The side of the street you walk on is now slightly brighter. You can walk freely without fearing of tripping over an obstacle. You stop in the spot that has many a day changed your fate. You turn and look towards the side of wonder. In front the store stands a couple and child. The child beams with excitement and the couple are radiant in the light. The family exudes love and you cave and wish that for yourself. You forget your previous mindset and dream of a better life you desire. You turn and continue down the hard pavement path pondering on how you can have what they have.

“Why bother, nothing ever happens for me,” a new day has come and you walk head hanging low. Tears pour down your face. You pour your heart into person after person and they never love you back. You falter every step as you continue down this path. “No one will love me,” and you walk into the shady darkness…

“Life…” you say as you step onto the ground which hasn’t changed. “It’s my own life and I can do with it as I see fit.” You decide that moment on you don’t need anyone, instead just live your life for you. If things happen they happen, but if they don’t you at least love yourself. Every life has love; others might have more, but all lives have love. Walking along the path you follow everyday you pause in the space…You turn your body to align with the spot in front of the window. No people are standing there that spot is vacant.There are lights shimmering and couples and children giggling. “Is this real?”

Standing there alone searching across the street to a bright vibrant side, you step towards it. Your foot falls onto the asphalt ground. It’s firm and will hold you. You continue each step towards a brighter life uncertain if it will be striped away from you. Walking across the street you think back over your life. How you could have changed you life if you had been brave enough to live it alone. Realizing, you had been alone all these years, and you could have been living them alone in a world of light and laughter. Last step…

You are here. The window of dreams and light. You peer inside and you see what all had seen before you. SNAP! A light engulfs you. As your vision comes back, you see your own image in front of you. You are a small human standing wide eyed and dreamily into this gleaming world. You look radiant against the dark shadows behind you. The picture is proof that you live. Life is about living it. You live in the bright and darkness of the world. To say you only live in the bright happy one is fake, and to say you are doomed to live in the darkened one forever is fake. Life is living between the two. Constantly battling and struggling to stay in the middle.

Looking up and down this brightened street, everyone is too happy, faking their emotions. You don’t feel comfortable here, because this is not life either. You turn back towards the darkened side. You walk to the center of the asphalt road…This is life; where the shadows mix with the light creating the perfect balance. A path suited for living.

As life goes on, you stumble and falter between the happy and sad sides of life, but you always stop, gather yourself up, and return to the center.

Live life. Live it for yourself. Take the battles on. Follow the path designed for you. Love.


Store All You Love.

“One pillow. One blanket. One pajama shirt. One Pajama pant.” placing each item inside as I mentally check off my list.

“Honey, what are you doing?” Mom called from the room across the hall.

“I’m packing mommy! You will be so proud of my accomplishments when I finish!” my voice creeping louder as my words continue on. Probably due to my face being stretched wide to fit my prideful smile.

“You don’t need to worry about that dear. I was going to pack your things.” Her voice travels past my room and into the bathroom. “Packing can be very difficult due to limited space; if you do not do it in the right order.”

Hearing her collect objects reminds me I need my batman toothbrush and bubble gum toothpaste. My mother’s body passes by my room again and back into her own. I go collect my bathroom necessities. I add a roll of toilet paper to my case, because daddy always says, “You can never have enough of this lifesaver.” So I’ll pack it for him.

Thinking to myself, “What did Mommy mean about order…my order is working just fine.” So I place the toothpaste and brush on top of my pajamas and the toilet paper too.”Now where was I on my list?” drilling through my brain for that mental list….”Right…underwear!”

“Honey, are you going to say bye to your friends. We won’t be back for about 3 weeks. That can seem like a lifetime in kid years.”

“I did yesterday. I explained to them that it is not for forever. They said they would come say good bye before we leave” my friends are awesome, as I place the three pairs of each superhero & barbie underwear on top of the bathroom stuff.

I can’t believe Mommy gave me this tiny little suitcase to fill up with my most loved things. My new mental list has too much on it and it would have been impossible for me to fit it all inside so I did what Mommy keeps telling me…”Use that creative brain you have and solve problems.” Which is what I did. Making it possible for me to place my teddy bear: Mr. Pinky, coloring book and crayons, Lego, my three favorite books, a package of gram-crackers just in case I get hungry, and my tiny diary which holds my deepest secrets. Mommy told me to always keep my most loved items close to me…Feeling accomplished I close the lid and zip it shut.

I lay on my bed exhausted from my morning…

“Okay honey I am ready…” Mommy stops mid sentence as she enters my room.

I sit up expecting her match my same huge smile, but instead I see fear and contained anger. “Oh no…” I think to myself, ” Mommy’s mad again. “Mommy?”

Her face changes several times until she changes back into my beautiful mommy. “Honey I thought I told you I would pack.”

“I know, but I wanted to help you because you are the best mommy ever and I wanted to give you a break.” I run to her and squeeze her as her knees dig into my chest. I pull her towards my creation.

She stops before the suitcase, “what did you do?” Is all she can muster as she stares at the suitcase.

“Well you always tell me to use my brain before anything else, and I knew before I started packing that what I wanted to pack wouldn’t fit so I tore the bottom of the suitcase off,” which actually took a lot of work, “and taped a sheet to the bottom,” I used that tape that Daddy always uses when something breaks that he doesn’t have time to fix at the moment. That strong stuff; which is tough to rip off the roll. “Its kind of like the Mary Poppins bag, Mommy!”
She stands staring at that suitcase. She moves towards it and  lifts the handle. She pulls it off the bed slowly.

I am crossing my fingers hoping that my Mary Poppins bag stays strong. It should because I used the entire roll of that strong Daddy tape. I watch as she begins to lift the case and sheet extension off the ground and…

“It held!” I squeal with excitement. I stand a bit taller proud of my invention.

Mommy places the case back on the floor, and plops on the bed. She opens her arms and I climb inside my castle of warmth and love. Footsteps sounds wander through the house and Daddy’s head pops into view. His face changes just like mommy’s did: from confused to angry to calm again. He sits down right besides us and hugs my Mommy and rubs my back.

“So it seems that our dreamer packed her own things this time.” Daddy says as he messes my hair and smiles a proud smile for me.

“She did. She did it for me. She wanted me to have a break.” Mommy says to him with a sweet smile.

“Did you fit everything in your case?” Daddy stands and lifts the handle and the case and sheet follow. “Oh…” his face changes to confused again…

I caught the smallest of look that Daddy gave Mommy. He looked to her ever so quickly that I almost missed her caring eyes saying something to him. It’s probably and old person thing that I won’t understand for a long time.

Daddy sets the case back down and sits back upon my bed. “So my creative genius used her brilliant mind again!”

“Yeah Daddy, I did.” My smile returning to my face. “Mommy told me to pack the most important things to me, and I knew what I wanted to pack wouldn’t fit in this case so I need it to be bigger.”

“Did you pack everything you need?” He asks as he squeezes the breath out of me.

“Yeah! After I change my first plan of packing; everything fits perfectly.” I squeeze him right back.

“Ellie! We are outside!!” voices flood through my window from outside.

“Can I?” I jump up and stop at the door.

“Go ahead.” They say together.

_12 years later_

“What’s this?” As I pull it out from the back of my closet.

“Oh wow! I haven’t seen that for years.” Mom says as she sits on my bed holding the object. “This was your suitcase when you were 6. We went on that vacation, and you decided to pack all your stuff yourself.”

Drilling into my brain trying to find that memory…”Right, My Mary Poppins bag! I  extended it with a sheet to fit my most loved things inside.” I sit holding that suit case/sheet. “Its smaller than I remember. I would have never fit my original plan,” placing that memory on the bedside table.

“What was your original plan? It always made me wonder. But you were so young I didn’t know if you would remember.”

Smiling to myself as I sat down beside my mother. This time I embrace her in a loving hold. “I wanted to pack you and Dad. In my mind I needed a case big enough for you both to be comfortable for the trip; so that’s why I extend the case.”

“I never expected that. Your father would be so happy to know this if he were here.” Her small body falling into my own arms and remembering Dad in this moment I rub her back.

“But then I remembered I needed you to travel with me, and since the case was already extended I filled it with other things I loved.” Remembering opening that bag once we got to where we were going…everything sticking to each other because the toothpaste exploded; the toilet paper winding around everything; the gram-crackers powdered over everything. My poor mother…

“Oh…I’m sorry Mom for ruining your suitcase. I just realized I ruined it for any future use.”

“Oh, its fine dear. The thing is, I gave you that case because my mother gave it to me. She said it had been used as several different things before becoming a case; through our generations it has be changed into whatever someone needed. This is a traveling invention in our family. You are part of its history because do you know why…”

Remembering Dad…”A creative genius with a brilliant brain…” taking up that case again, and embracing it along with Mom.

“Yes, my creative inventor.”



Fight…can be brutal, casual, abusive, exciting, debates, physical, empowering, mental, determination, childish, or just a fight.

I have heard many and experienced all of these types; I am sure I forgot some or I have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing them…

A fight can be in many different ways. It does not just mean a physical altercation with another physical body. I have experienced the brutal fight, but this one I was the controller behind the brutality. I know this makes it sound like I did something stupid but to me it was when I would race. In a 50 Freestyle it is a fight to win. In other races you can set your own goal and race your own race, but in a 50…you have to fight back against the other swimmers and hit the wall before them. So, if you want to be the winner you have to do many things, all at once perfectly, without screw up. It is the hardest race for most athletes and only the best get to race it in the big leagues.

So to me the brutal part in the fight to the wall was lack of oxygen. You must hold your breath, while sprinting, while fighting, while losing consciousness, until you hit the wall. And the controller or boss of your lack of oxygen is yourself. You have to want “it” more than air. You have to want to see black spots in your vision and win before you can have that healthy breath of oxygen.

I remember my coach always telling me to stop breathing. I thought that was kind of funny, because that’s something you say when you are extremely mad and you want the person to drop dead. But as a swimmer you hear this all the time. It is a natural thing to hear. My response every time was, “I know, I know…” I am sure my coaches were annoyed at me at some points of my career, but I am also sure they were excited when I swam. Because swimming was my fight. It was what drove me to wake up every day. It made me want to be an athlete. It has made me fight for want I want in life.

But it has also made me a passionate coach. This year I get to coach the varsity team; everything is faster, quicker and more intense. Not as intense as when I swam but way higher than JV. But, I can get a little too invested in my athletes lives. Some of them are swimming to stay in shape for polo season. Some are staying in shape for the summer. Some girls just want a good tan for that beach day. Some swimmers like swimming as a fun sport, but don’t have the drive. But I do have a handful that personally told me they want to be the best they can be, and they will work hard to be the best.

So, to tie in the breath control thing…we had a swim meet yesterday and I put all of them in the 200 Freestyle Relay so they could all do a 50. But also, relays have so much more pressure to them; they were one of my favorite parts of the sport. Because if you messed up your own individual race it was just “your” bad. But if you messed up on a relay or went to slow you lost if for yourself and three of your other teammates.

But on Wednesday, before the meet, we worked on breath control, I gave them an easy set, however the catch was that they could only take two breaths. Some of them they looked at me like I was crazy or it was an impossible task. You should only be taking 1-3 breaths in a 50. I always took 1 so 3 is giving them a buffer. I would say on average that 15 of my 22 athletes take on average 8 breaths in their 50…sometimes more like 11. So to some of them it seemed impossible. But I wanted to challenge that handful of people who like swimming but have never been challenged…they thought I was crazy, but they still attempted it…

They found that when you don’t breathe you push yourself harder to make it to that wall before you take that extra breath you don’t really need. If you put your head down and let your limbs pull your body to the finish the race will be over before you know it. As of right now, for them, it is only a 23-25 sec race. You only have this much time or less to be perfect. So if you take one factor out, breathing, then there is less to worry about. One less thing to have in your mind as you race and fight for the finish makes it that much easier to succeed. The fight is a fight to the finish…


…no name…

Immediately as the cold tip of the sharp needle punctured my skin my blood began to boil. Electricity flowed through my veins awakening something dormant inside me. My eyes glued shut,but I could still sense the brightness engulfing my body; my skin was oozing warmth like a bright light hovered over me trying to burn my flesh away. I could hear the small hushed remarks from the figures around me, but I could also hear the rusty swings stirring at the park across the street. I could smell the cologne of the doctor standing nearest to me, but also the secretary’s perfume from the lobby downstairs. “What is happening to me?”

I gently pry my eyes open, even though it feels like they are being sliced apart to produced my sight. However, once the pain is gone I look straight through the light and directly into the bulb. I can see the electrical current running from one wire to the other. I focused on it and I could hear the low hum surging through the quiet.

I search for something identifiable, my mind twisting and turning. My subconscious trying to discern between the chaos and reality.

I try to stand but my limbs are secured to the icy table. The confinements hold me captive upon the firm fiery table.

I need to be free; I need to move freely. Again my blood stirs, but this time it goes above and beyond, and it melts away the straps holding my wrists and feet. I expand my arms to raise my rib cage so much it tears the bind across my chest. My air-way is larger and the pain is less. All this movement though causes my mind to spin and blur. However, the pulsing in my arms and thighs jets adrenaline to my brain, clearing all the chaos and noise. Now I can hear my breathing and panicked heart.

I feel small yet large at the same time…The figures around me seem so large as their hands search for my freed body. They want to tie me down again… “I won’t let you!”

I swing one arm left at the doctors and their bodies fly across the room; their bodies smash into the wall and crumble to the floor. They lay lifeless. I feel the bodies to my right move away from my side, but just in case I swing in their general direction.

My fist comes in contact with a face, and a yelp escapes their lungs before dropping unconsciously to the ground.

I brace my body as I stand before what’s left of the staff. My body is surging with energy, giving my distorted heart one goal…escape. The figures flee from my presence, and I clamor through the white hallways in search of the heavenly sign…EXIT. This door leads to freedom and peace…

I run towards this door without hesitation. However, before reaching the knob of life a sharp pain stabs into my right shoulder. Reaching around with one hand in search of the damage…a dart. “No…”

Stumbling a few steps forward, I tumble to the ground. The stone tiled floor slams into my rib cage, forehead, and knees sending pain throughout my entire system. I only have strength in my hands and I dig my nails and palms into the floor and try to pull my body towards the door. Sweat pours off of my face and onto the floor, making the ground slick and easier to slide across. I come to the threshold of freedom. I push my body up…My eyes at the same height as the knob…

But another sharp pain hits my lower back. It feels like a knife being twisted and turned in my spine. My blood thickens and I slowly fall to the floor. My muscles are stone, and my head is a whirlwind of chaos.

In those last moments, all I remember are my tears cascading down my face, and the soft noise as each tear hits the floor…drop…drop..drop…



Every time I feel this feeling it jolts me back into the past…

I am again behind those blocks preparing myself for battle. My muscles sore but warm from the beginning. My mind goal-driven and not ready to back down from this fight. Swinging my limbs to keep them energized and lose, but every so often slapping them to make sure I can feel pain. This tells me I’m ready. The short whistles are called and I step towards the block. We are kind of like sheep being lead to either our death or success; only you are the deciding factor of this choice. They announce my race and my blood begins to boil, it is almost time. The long whistle blows and I mount that block. The firm cold platform is my rock; it is what sets me up to be my best before I begin. The block is like the beginning of my foundation…it makes it possible to see my goal at the other side. The official says, “Quiet for the start…” it is about to begin…, “Take your mark…” I bend my body towards the pool preparing myself for the next 24 seconds of my life. This is what I live for… “BEEP!” and I am off towards my deepest dream, to flow through the water; soar through it as if it is air. So much so that I seem to be flying through without any hardship. The flow of the water matches my energized blood; we need to be challenged to be great.

Adrenaline is my current; it is what jolts me back into the past. But now with coaching I have a new adrenaline flowing through my veins. I can only teach and encourage them to be better, and now I must watch from the sidelines trying to contain my competitiveness. It comes to me like butterflies in my stomach…but my body yearns to be in their place. Instead, I must now challenge myself to make the deck my firm foundation; the screams from my athletes the commands of my heart; and that moment when the official says take you mark…is to pack down the flowing energy inside my flesh.  There is no way around this, but to teach and encourage my swimmers to be the best they can be…and just know I am a competitive person and always will be.


The picture is from but I am actually one of the swimmers.

The Game…

Pain and loathing spread across their faces. The sweat, mud, and tears mix together hiding their expressions. Their muscles are worn and tired. Their arms too sore to reach up and wipe away the sweat from their brow. Their fingers pulsing to the sound of their running steps. Their bodies ridged with suffering, but maintaining to carry their body weights through the field.

But they never surrender, and they never will give up. They push through their misery with great gusto because they love the game. The game drives them, pushes them, finds their inner beast. Rain, sun, or snow we continue this game.

Normally, I play alongside them. The adrenaline scorches my blood and sends currents of electricity through to my muscles. The chase is the best part of the game. Everything seems to blur into each other, and you fly through the chaos to success. Everything moving a mile a minute. Never slowing, always a steady fast pace, but only your breathing quickens.

I stand here immovable, watching them play. My eyes can’t leave the field. My body yearns to join them, and every muscle is tightening ready to burst into action if need be. But now as the coach, I must let them discover the love of this game. My body is stone cold and stiff. No sweat drips down into my eye line. No tears pour from my eyes in fury and excitement. No mud mixes onto my flesh turning me muddy. I am perfectly clean, and I feel incomplete.

But watching this game from the edge of field, causes it to slow. I can see the stopping and falling. I see their bodies actually move at a normal pace. Every athlete is wincing in pain, but I witness that smile creeping through the layers of mud across their faces. I see the high power leaps into the air towards success. I see the collisions in slow motion, and then the bodies slowly cascade dowards collapsing into the mud. I see the small gestures to their teammates as they have done well, or are losing.

No one really ever losses at this game. You only lose if you give up. You only lose if you quit. You only lose if you don’t try. You only lose if you believe you did not give it your all. If you do everything you physically and mentally could then you have won. That is why I play this game. You must work as a team to score. You must put in the work to succeed. You alone must decide if you want to play the game or not. This game is challenging but still through all the pain, hurt, tears, sweat, mud, and effort you might catch a glimpse of a smile or smirk if your mind slows down their movements.

Even though my body is aching for more than to just stand here on the sidelines, I need to give them the chance to love the game. I also get the chance to slow down my mind and see the dissimilarities between the athletes who want it and who don’t. Also, I have another source of knowledge to help them understand our true sport. This game is our outlet to team bonding and self-finding, but our true passion happens elsewhere.

But without this game, we would not know what it feels like to have sweat, tears, mud, dripping into our eyes. The water masks our expressions and exhaustion. I only truly see it in their faces during this game. When we swim there is no slowing…this only happens in the game.

Pace Oddity