Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Happens When You Write Some Blues?

Today I was feeling down and discouraged. At lunch, I opened my copy of Life Is A Verb by Patti Digh to see if I could find some wisdom. I found the entry “Write Some Blues.”

In it she challenges us to do ‘reverse design.” Instead of trying to create the best, create the worst. Take whatever issue is discouraging you or bothering you and flip it around. Write a treatise on ‘How To Stay Discouraged,” or “How to Stay Fat,” etc.

Patti says that while you’re writing your “how to” you may discover some things that you are doing to sabotage yourself or you may think of some way to change things. So I did it.

Here it is:

How To Feel Down and Out

• Dwell on the worst, scariest thoughts possible
• Obsess and stay paralyzed with indecision
• Avoid action at all cost
• Keep thinking “It will never get better!”
• Play “Woe is me” over and over
• Stay in your head 
• Play helpless
• Demand that reality be different than what it is without doing anything to change it
• Play make believe
• Ignore what is right or good in your life
• Think that you have it worse than anyone else in the world

As I got to the end of the list, I realized that I know how to make myself miserable. I’m an expert! So why not flip it around and stop doing those things?

By the time I got done writing, I felt lighter. I actually felt like smiling. So why not try writing yourself some blues? It works! Thanks, Patti!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Writer's Groups

Becca’s Write on Wednesday prompt is about writing groups and whether we’ve ever had/belonged to one.   

How about you? Have you ever belonged to a writer’s group? Did it work? Why (or why not?) What would be your criteria for the perfect writer’s group?

I have belonged to a writer’s group off and on for over 20 years. So I must like them and think they’re beneficial!

In the 80’s, when I was just beginning to write poetry and short stories, I had no clue about what to do. I had one or two friends who wrote. One encouraged me to write, go to the university, carry a notebook everywhere, and talk to other writers. The other coaxed me to go to a one day workshop put on by Midwest Writers’ Workshop on a Saturday. We went together to give each other confidence in the presence of “real writers.”  

At the end of the workshop, a group of the writers sat around talking. About writing, of course. Then they said, “Hey let’s all go over to the Big Wheel, get some coffee and talk some more—and why don’t you come with us?” We did. They told us about their Writer’s Group that met informally once a month at member’s houses and invited us to come. We did. Even though the group eventually quit meeting regularly, most of us still stay in touch. One of the women that I met then, Sherita, is still my best friend and cohort—my writing buddy extraordinaire!

Today, Sherita and I lead a Just Journaling writing group that meets twice a month and a Creative Writing group that meets once a month. We have a core group that usually shows up and a changing group of writers that attend and then move on. The groups are informal and supportive and fun and I couldn’t live without them.

In journaling, we use Natalie Goldberg’s model and we write timed entries then read what we’ve written. Through this sharing, we’ve grown closer, and our writing has improved. This group is a place to just write, to experiment, to practice, to play with words. We talk, we write, we laugh, we share.

In the Creative Writing group, we have more—well, a little more—structure. We bring things that we’re working on and read them aloud to get feedback. Sometimes we just need general feedback, as in whether or not this is working, what can I do to make it better, how does this sound? Sometimes we want close attention to a particular matter. Sometimes we need advice on sending things out. Several of us belong to both groups, so we have the carryover of intimacy with each other’s writing, style, concerns, etc. and this helps. We have a variety of interests. When one of our members gets published or wins an award, we’re all happy!

So, yes, I say writer’s groups can be very beneficial. These groups have kept me in touch with the writing life even when I was going through a very long dry spell and thought I might never write again. They give me hope. They point me to new authors. They encourage me to take chances. And they write, and I write. They fill my well.  

PS--For another view of our group from one of our members, check out what River has to say.  I love what she wrote!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where Do I Come to The Page?

Becca at Becca’s Byline asks this question: where do I come to the page?

Where I write depends on what I write. When I write Morning Pages, I am lying on the couch in the family room, in front of the windows. The blinds are pulled. It is still dark outside, so I have a soft light on in the kitchen and one beside the couch. I lie propped on a big pillow with a small pillow on my stomach and my notebook on top of that. I’ve let the dog outside, so I write until he scratches on the door, then get up and let him in, then write some more until it’s time to hop in the shower and get ready for the day.

I carry a pen with me everywhere, and can be found taking notes on any available blank piece of paper that I find in my purse—backs of envelopes or receipts, one of my Moleskine notebooks that I carry to keep poems and book notes in, Post-Its, or whatever. One of my Moleskine books comes out at the book stores as I peruse the books I might want to buy. I write down the titles of books I want to buy, the price, etc. If it’s a non-fiction book, I will skim through it and write down pertinent ideas and quotes that I want to remember. Sometimes just getting the main ideas is enough, and I don’t have to buy the book. Other times, I can tell from the sheer number of quotes or the beautiful language that I must buy this book!

For blogging, I am usually sitting at my desk, composing on the keyboard. Sometimes, I lift a journal entry to use. I always develop it further at the desk though. I don’t know that I want to share a picture of my desk, even though I am like Becca and love to look at other people’s work spaces. Mine is a mess though! Piles of paper cover it, along with pens, treasures, knick-knacks, books, pictures, etc. I clean it up occasionally and it takes about two minutes for it to be filled up again. I think I have an aversion to clean empty spaces!

I don’t have a laptop. I fantasize sometimes about sitting in a comfy chair or couch with a laptop and soft lighting. I may have to borrow one to see if I would really use one that way. To me a computer means sitting upright using my ergonomically correct keyboard and a real mouse—I hate those little touch pad things.

I have a friend who writes in a teepee. I have friends who carry little notebooks with them and write anywhere and everywhere. I have a friend who writes at her dining room table. I think, when you are a writer, you can write anywhere and frequently do write everywhere. We may have our favorite spots, but all we really need is a pen or pencil and a scrap of blank paper. We carry the urge with us all the time!

How About This?

I told one of my daughters about the experience of the night rainbow. When I described the strange pinkish light, she said, “Mom, you were IN the rainbow! That is why the light looked like that!” And I think she is right. From the angle that the sun was shining through and the mist that still surrounded us, we had to be inside a rainbow. How cool is that?

Oh, and today is June 18th, Paul McCartney’s birthday! This date has stayed in my mind since those days in the 60’s when I was totally in love with Paul and convinced that somehow we would meet and he would want to marry me. I just knew it would happen! Ah, the faith of a teenage girl! While I’m not still totally in love with him, I do still have that soft place in my heart for him, and I wish him well. Happy Birthday, Paul!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Remember the Night Rainbow

Several years ago, a friend gave me a little book. He said “Read this when you’re feeling blue and I’m not around to talk to.” The book was If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow by Cooper Edens. It’s a beautiful little book, written for children I think, with fabulous illustrations by Cooper Edens also. The book starts with the fanciful lines “If tomorrow morning the sky falls…have clouds for breakfast.”

I love this book. I love the illustrations. And I thought that the words expressed were sweet and fanciful and lived in the land of imagination—especially the “night rainbow.”

Imagine my astonishment Sunday night when I actually saw a night rainbow! And it was truly magical.

We had a big storm Sunday evening—as we have done for the last two or three weeks almost every day. It started around 7:30 pm. The sky blackened, the wind picked up and the rains came. Thunder and lightning filled the air. This lasted until about 9:10 pm. Then suddenly, all became quiet and the sky and the air lit up with the strangest light. It wasn’t the usual green that warns of a tornado. It was an eerie purplish rosy green twilight. The sun had pierced through the western clouds, but not completely. It was still covered with a haze of gray clouds and the black clouds floated above. Yet we were inside this mauve bubble.

I went to the door. The neighbors across the street came out on their porch and pointed to the eastern sky and said “Look!” I ran out and looked back, and there was the night rainbow! A real rainbow, seen through the misty mauve at 9:15 p.m., with darkness outside our bubble.

It was magnificent. And unreal. And it filled my heart with awe and joy. I pulled out the little book and reread it. Thought of my friend. Thought about what is imagined and what is real and what we know—and how all those things are also seen through a misty haze so much of the time.

I went to bed happy, remembering the night rainbow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Trust the Gap--A New Perspective

Isn’t it funny how we can hear something for years—we nod our heads and agree—“Yes, yes, I understand.” Then one day, someone says the same thing using different words, and suddenly “I see! I know! I understand what that means!” It’s like the light comes on and we see clearly.

That happened to me yesterday. I was listening to a clip on YouTube by Ira Glass as he talked about the importance of storytelling. He was directing his talk toward visual storytelling, but suddenly I saw it as it applied to writing. He said that our problem is that we have good taste. We’ve seen TV or movies—or read good books and stories—and we know what we love and what we create at first doesn’t match what we know and love, doesn’t match what we have seen and were aiming for. There is a gap between our creation and our ideal. And this is where so many people quit, thinking that they just can’t do it, they’re not good enough, etc. Yet he says this is the place for us to keep trying—because WE HAVE THE GOOD TASTE—we KNOW what we are aiming for. So just keep trying and each effort will get closer to our ideal. It may take years, but we will still continue to get better if we keep trying.

I think the reason so many of us quit is because we think “I didn’t make it to my ideal so that means that I don’t know how to get there and I’m no good.” But in reality, we DO know how to get there—if we have the ideal in our heads and hearts, then we know what we are aiming for. And every time we create something that doesn’t make it, we still know where we were headed and where we fell short—so if we keep going, we can make our corrections and see how the next attempt turns out.

For some reason that just brought everything into focus for me. It made me realize that I DO know how to write—I know how I want to write, and if I write and revise and write some more and revise some more, eventually I will be able to make/write/create the kind of writing that I hold as my ideal. So keep writing.

This isn’t some overinflated ego thing of “I can be just as good as so-and-so,” it is an affirmation that my intelligence or conviction or standard is valid even when my execution is deficient, that I do know what I am doing, that my writing has worth . So, I can happily keep writing and fixing and quit worrying that my writing is no good—because I have good taste, I know what good writing is, and I am on my way to achieving it.

Anyhoo—my friend Sherita will say, “Haven’t I been telling you this for years? And you only believe it when you read it somewhere else?” Yes, guilty as charged. Except that finally understanding that seeing the gap between the ideal and my creation equals “yes, you can do it.” That if I didn’t see the gap, then there would be no hope for my getting better. That “seeing the gap” is actually the important part of the equation! And that makes all the difference. That means I can trust the gap to lead to better things instead of seeing it as a deterrent. The gap shows me where to go. So trust the gap and keep writing.

Go to You Tube and watch the four clips by Ira Glass on Storytelling. If my link doesn't work, look him up. He explains all this so much clearer and better than my rambling does. And maybe some sentence that he says will illuminate an idea for you. He does know how to tell a story!

More later!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Feast for the Eyes

Here is something that I discovered the other day. The magazine La Vie Claire published by Claire Murray. How could something this beautiful and magnificent have been in publication for over two years without my knowing about it?

The simple, beautiful cover caught my eye as I passed the display rack in the bookstore. Then when I opened the magazine, I was hooked. I knew right away that I had to buy a copy—right then—immediately—MUST HAVE RIGHT NOW! So I bought it. Took it home. And it took me forever to get through it. I would look at a gorgeous picture. Stop to catch my breath and just think about the picture and all the emotions and memories that it pulled up. Then I’d look again. Repeat the stopping and thinking. It was the most satisfying magazine reading experience that I’ve ever had—and believe me, I am a magazine reader from way back!

I have shared this magazine with my Journaling and my Fiction Groups. I think we can use these pictures for writing prompts. My friends were impressed with the magazine too. I keep looking back through the pictures. I have decided that I need to buy some back issues and sign up for a subscription for future issues. Yes, I am truly addicted to La Vie Claire.

Lately, most of the artwork that I look at on different blogs has been collage, scrapbooking, and assemblage type things. And I love that! I do collage and scrapbooking myself. I love buying Artful Blogging and poring over each page. I love the concept of a whole made of tiny pieces. I love quilts for the pattern, color, history and artistry that goes into each one.

Yet the simplicity of La Vie Claire just captured my heart and my imagination. It felt like coming home and breathing a sigh of relief. Like sitting outside on a clear morning watching the world wake up. Peace and satisfaction.

And because it is so wonderful, I want to share it with all of you too. Enjoy!

PS--I tried taking a picture of my copy, and none of them turned out well enough to post. You can visit the website and get a glimpse of how gorgeous it is.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Life vs. Blogging

When it comes to blogging regularly, in my case, it seems to be all about the time. We’ve recently started working summer hours, which means I get off work at 4:00 p.m. Getting off this early, plus daylight savings time means that I have long evenings now. I have no pressing “must watch” TV shows, I have daylight, and I have energy. This let me post entries for three days in a row.

Then, yesterday, I was gone for a happy occasion until 7:30 p.m. By the time I got home, ate supper, walked the dog, cleaned up the kitchen, and meditated (another of my activities that I am trying to do regularly), it was past my bedtime and I was exhausted. So, no blogging.

The happy occasion was that one of my granddaughters graduated high school last week, and my daughter held an open house for her yesterday. I was so proud of my granddaughter. She was Valedictorian of her class. She has won scholarships. She had a whole table filled with her awards. My daughter also had a table spread with pictures from kindergarten on up. And she had a kitchen island covered with tons of food and another table filled with little desserts. Plus, she had found a stand up photo board of a man and woman dressed as movie stars or prom goers with cutouts for people to stick their heads through. I got my husband to pose with me. He said, “Why are you so set on me doing this?” I told him this was the only prom we would ever attend, and I wanted a picture!

I am proud of both my granddaughter and my daughter for their accomplishments and their creativity. I think they’re pretty wonderful—not that I’m prejudiced!

The day was filled with family and friends, happy expectations, memories, laughter and some tears. A good day. Just no time to blog!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Farewell to a Friend

Okay, I’m on a roll—three days in a row of posting! Yesterday I kept thinking of tons of things to write about. I thought my idea well would never run dry. Now today, when I have time to write, my mind is blank. What were those brilliant blog ideas???

One of the things that has been on my heart since yesterday is the closing of our local independent bookstore, Danner’s Books and Gifts. This breaks my heart. This bookstore and the three women who owned and ran it have been such a big part of my life for a long time. They made the store more than a store—it was a gathering place for anyone interested in books, writing, reading, life, knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, local events—you name it, they provided a space for it. They have the gift of making each customer feel like the most important person in the store—even when we were in the midst of a big group. For the last few years, they had added yarn and jewelry and other gorgeous things to their inventory. They provided classes and tutoring to anyone who came in with a question outside of class time. They even convinced me that I could knit—and taught me how (even though I doubt that I’ll ever be a whiz at it!) They provided space for different groups to meet, including the journal workshop that my friend, Sherita, and I lead. His Majesty, Leaf the Cat reigned over the entire kingdom. Going to Danner’s was more than just going to a store—it was a visit with family and friends and just plain fun! I’ll miss you Danner’s.

For another entry about Danner’s leaving, read my friend Sherita’s blog entry. She has written an eloquent tribute to Danner’s. She’s a just-starting blogger who has been my best bud for over 20 years. And she’s a wonderful writer too.

See you on Day 4!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Shift in Perspective

Martha Beck may have altered my whole mind set! In her book, The Four Day Win, which deals with weight loss, she challenges the readers to write a history of our weight without using any form of the verb “to be:” as in is, am, was, had, etc. Don’t say, “I am fat,” say “I carry extra weight;” or don’t say, “I was skinny,” say “I under ate.” I did this exercise, and it WAS hard! She said that switching from that passive identifying mode would let us see that our weight changes—so we can change it.

So I did the exercise. And yesterday, when I started to write in my Morning Pages, again, “I AM having a hard time waking up,” a little bell pinged in my head. Do I say “I AM…” or do I say, “I hit the snooze alarm several times today.”? The first says that I equal/am/become a person who will always experience difficulty waking up. “I hit the snooze,” says that today I made this choice, which implies that on another day I can choose to get up quickly. A subtle difference, yet so profound.

Martha’s advice for weight loss is advice for any area of our lives where we need change or improvement.

We’re told when making affirmations to make them present voice and positive, as in “I am…” So saying “I am having difficulty” is a negative affirmation that perpetuates itself. And we never even realize that we’re saying it. This explains why people say to examine how you talk to yourself and others in your daily language.

I know I’ve heard this before, in “As a man thinketh,” and “The Secret,” and all the positive thinking books, tapes and advice. But this time the light bulb went on, and I can SEE, I KNOW what it means.

This is more than slapping a positive coating on top of negativity. This is a major shift in life view. From passive to active. From helpless to powerful. From static to changeable. And I choose action, power, and change. Thank you, Martha Beck!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thanks For The Nudge!

How do you start writing on your blog again when you’ve let it lapse for much too long? Well, sometimes you need a nudge from the universe, God, a fellow blogger—or all three! I’ve been thinking “I’ve got to start blogging again—but what will I say?” So today, I went to my new friend’s blog, Llama Momma, and found that she had tagged me for a meme. Dilemma solved! Now if I can figure out how to make the time during my day to sit down and post!

The meme is to tell six random things about myself. Hmmm.

1. I love books. I carry one with me almost everywhere I go. I have bookcases (filled) in almost every room in my house and I still have piles of books on tables, chairs and the floor.
2. One of my favorite things to do is browse my bookshelves. I’ll start a search for one particular book and start scanning all my shelves. As I go, I see titles that catch my eye and before you know it, I have an arm full of books to revisit. My husband used to ask “What are you doing???” Now he just shrugs and shakes his head.
3. I have a great memory for faces. I can see someone that I haven’t seen in years, and I usually remember who he or she is. Even if I met them in the first grade—and trust me that is a long time ago!
4. I love ’57 Chevy’s. I just love the look of them. If I owned a Classic Car, it would be a ’57 Chevy. Or maybe a candy-apple-red ’57 T-Bird! Vintage cars are on my mind because we went to a Cruise-In last weekend, and I saw tons of older cars. Fun!
5. I love office supplies. Paper, pens, gadgets, copiers, staplers, hole punches—I love them all.
6. I love fountain pens. I love journaling with a fountain pen; I love the way the ink flows. I love the way fountain pens look and feel. When I graduated from university, my friends went together and bought me a marbled blue Parker DuoFold fountain pen and I loved it. I carried and used it for years. One day I lost it, and I have been heartbroken about it ever since. I really loved that pen. I posted flyers, searched everywhere that I had been, looked through all my stuff at home. No luck. I never found it. And I still miss it after all these years.

I think I’ll tag my friend at RiverWrites. She’s a fantastic writer who is fairly new to blogging, so this will be a learning experience for her too. Thanks, Llama Momma—I needed that nudge!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Time of Refreshing

I’ve just spent the most fantastic weekend at the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing, and it was more than I could ever have imagined. Being able to go and meet Luci Shaw was a granting of my heart’s desire. That would have been sufficient. But the Calvin Festival was more than sufficient—it was a time of refreshing, a filling of my soul, satisfying longings that I didn’t even realize were there. As “God-incidence”(Denise's word) after God-incidence happened, I think God may have just been showing off so I could see just how much love and abundance He has available to pour into my life. And all I have to do is accept it. Just stay out of the way and let Him do His work.

So I returned home, ready to start blogging again (with some helpful nudges from my online friend Denise and my new found blogging friend, Llama Momma) and guess what? My Internet connection wouldn’t work!

I called the server for help and found out that they don’t support Windows 98 any more. No surprise, huh? It really is time for a new computer! After they gave up on me, I did some noodling around and finally was able to reconnect. So here’s my first post in ages, hopefully the first of a consistent new habit.

More details from the Festival later.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

Today has been a nice quiet Sunday. We took my grandson out to lunch for his birthday celebration. He'll be 20 on January 22.

After we dropped him off at his apartment, my husband and I toured two Open Houses in our neighborhood. The perfect thing to do when the temperature is in the low teens, right? Actually, I love touring houses, so the weather didn't bother me, since the sun was shining. We especially like to look at houses for sale in our neighborhood just to compare them to ours. And today, ours was definitely the winner! The two houses we saw had very cramped layouts with lots of narrow hallways and strange traffic flows. Also one had a kitchen that was definitely still in the late 60's with orange and green flowered wallpaper. We both decided that we love our home even more after seeing those houses. We have an open layout with space and light and a flowing floorplan. I am so thankful to live in this beautiful house and to be warm and cozy on this bitter cold day.

Thanks to Becca I tuned in to watch Northanger Abbey on PBS. I loved it! The actors were perfect in their parts, and I loved seeing the scenery. It's been a long time since I've read anything like Jane Austen. Maybe watching a few shows like this on television will tempt me to pick up some of her books.

Becca commented on my taking up knitting. I think I became interested in it for several reasons. I read some knitting based books. Our local bookstore began carrying yarn and slowly turned into a yarn shop with books rather than the other way around. I've read and enjoyed several internet sites about knitting. And I love the scarves and shawls and hats that I see. So I decided to take some lessons and really learn how to do this. You'd know that knitting isn't something that anyone expected of me if you could hear my brother. Mom said that he couldn't stop laughing when he heard that I was learning to knit! He laughed all the way through their phone call! Even my boss and coworker laughed when I told them what I was doing.

I still don't know if I'll become a devoted knitter. I'm much more likely to have a book in my hand than knitting needles. But I am feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment as my first project assignment begins to take shape. We're done with the practice stitches and actually working on our dishcloth, and I've already finished my assignment for this week--and I've started another one for my daughter! And I'm still working on that scarf for my granddaughter. I guess I'll just enjoy it while I'm living it!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


It's Saturday, blessed Saturday, a day to unwind from a busy work week. Today the temperature outside was only in the low teens, with a wind chill factor of minus 4 degrees--yikes! The sun was shining early in the day, though, so it was a beautiful day if you didn't have to be out in the cold.

I went to my knitting class this morning. It was exciting. I had finished our assignment and took a picture of it before going to class, because I knew once we got there we would have to frog it and start over. I'm going to insert the picture here, so that is something else new that I will learn how to do. The sample shows 10 rows of knit, 10 of purl, ten of alternating knit rows and purl rows and the most exciting one--alternating knit and purl stitches to create the rib effect.
I was correct about having to rip it all out. We did, and then we started our first real project, a dishcloth. And we can't rip it out, we have to fix our mistakes--yikes! I started knitting like crazy on the dishcloth and got so enthused about it that I stopped and bought three more balls of colored yarn to make some for my daughter. And some yummy red yarn to make a scarf.
I came home and immediately started a new dishcloth and a new scarf--obviously I'm not a patient delayed gratification kind of gal--and I knit like crazy for a while. And now I know that it is possible to have a knitting hangover as well as a reading hangover!
I thought about going to the library this afternoon. Then I thought about the minus four degrees, and I just stayed put. Now it's dark, so I think it's time to put on my comfy warm pajamas and do some websurfing or some reading. I think I'd better give the knitting a rest!
I also tried taking some self portraits with my digital camera today. I've seen these on other sites and admire them so much. Mine always turn out looking goofy though--and I always seem to highlight double chins and other unflattering features. Photography is not my strong suit. So for now, I guess I'll keep looking at the photos on Flickr and keep trying to replicate them. Thank goodness for digital!
Have a safe, warm, cozy weekend if possible. That is what I intend to do. Tomorrow my husband and I are taking our grandson out to dinner to celebrate his upcoming birthday. He'll be 20, which sounds impossible. And as my husband says, when they get to be this age, we don't know what kind of gift to buy, but we do know that they still love to eat--therefore we'll take him out for dinner. And a good time will be had by all!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good News!

I am doing the happy dance tonight! My older daughter called and said that her older daughter, one of my beautiful granddaughters, was accepted into Ball State University today AND she won a Presidential Scholarship which will provide half of her tuition! I am so excited and so proud of her. Of course, I have always thought that she is brilliant (of course, of course!), and it is so exciting to know that she will be able to come to the university and study, learn and grow. Congratulations, Shannon!

My younger daughter was presented with a Remarkable Service award this week at her job. I am so proud of her too! She is such a good worker, and has such a wonderful personality, so I am happy that she has been recognized for her hard work.

And my youngest stepdaughter was able to pay off her car this week. That is a blessing, and I am proud of her.

So this week has just given me lots of reasons to do the happy dance! I am still taking my knitting lessons. Until this evening, I had thought "Knitting just may not be my cup of tea." Then tonight I was able to go online and find out what I was doing wrong--and now my practice piece is actually starting to look like it is supposed to--and that makes me happy too.

I am so thankful for these happy occasions and happy feelings. I've had the blues for far too long! So now I think I will take my happy self and get ready for a good night's sleep. Unless I knit just a few more rows! Or surf through just a few more blogs! Or read just a few more pages! Nah, I think it's time to call it a night!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Today's Creativity

One of the creative things I did today was practice casting on stitches, tearing them out and repeating. That was the assignment from my first knitting class last Saturday. I now have 20 stitches cast on to take to class tomorrow--that was the rest of the assignment. I signed up for a knitting class which will meet these four Saturdays in January. Tomorrow we will learn to knit, purl and maybe increase and decrease stitches. I am excited about learning more.

The crazy thing is that last year, my granddaughter showed me how to do casting on and the knit stitch and I knit two scarves--one for my mom and one for my granddaughter. Oh, and I also knit two baby bibs. Then I put down the knitting for a year and when I picked it back up, I couldn't remember how to do it. I finally managed to knit about two inches of a scarf for another granddaughter--but I kept making mistakes and having to rip everything out and start over. That got frustrating very quickly! I decided that I want to know how to knit well and how to fix my mistakes without ripping out the entire piece of work. So I finally signed up for beginner classes at our local yarn, gift and book store. I've seen the work that the teachers do, and their stuff is fantastic. So maybe if I finish a scarf or the dishcloth that they are using for our first lesson, I will post a picture.

I also wrote my Morning Pages today. And I wrote in my journal at lunch. And read some poetry by Luci Shaw, one of my favorite poets. I was reading in Water Lines, one of her books.

I created a work schedule for our seven student workers for this Spring semester. That does require creativity because I have to work around their class schedules, give them all a comparable number of hours and cover two workrooms from the hours of 7:30 until 5:00. And usually as soon as the schedule is done, one or more of them has a change in their clinic schedule, so we either make adjustments or start over. At this point we are set to begin next week, so I feel good about that.

And I've posted here one more time! So that is going to be all for today. The next thing I create will be a nice cozy nest of warm blankets and my cushy pillow to inspire a good night's sleep. Good night!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do it!

I'm very tired and sleepy tonight, and my usual habit would be to go to bed and forget about posting. That is a habit I'm changing, and since I've read several sites today about doing something creative every day, here I am. Also, I've been reading several different advice and self help books and I've realized that the messages are all the same. We KNOW what to do--we just don't DO it! If I ate less and exercised more, I would be healthier and lose weight. If I saved money and cut expenses and found ways to increase my income, I would become wealthier. If I wrote every day, my writing would improve. We all know these things. And I've realized that I want to be someone who does these things, who practices ways to become healthy, wealthy and wise. As a matter of fact, I almost chose 'DO' as my One Word for 2008. If I would think "DO," I would get up and finish my million craft projects lying around the house. I would clean the house more often and do dishes before bedtime. I would meditate. So, tonight I am DOing by blogging, even though I'm tired.

Good news today--my older daughter has moved into the new house that she and her husband built! The final inspection was Tuesday, and they started moving in on Wednesday. When I say the house they built, that is exactly what I meant--they did the physical building themselves. They have spent the summer and fall hammering, sawing, hanging drywall, painting, and whatever else they could do. They spent their first night in the new house last night. I am so happy for them. And I haven't seen it since they've finished it, so I can't wait to see it. She lives about 40 miles from here, and with work schedules, car trouble and the weather, it hasn't been easy to get down there. I hope to get there soon.

As the weekend approaches, I am looking forward to my granddaughter Maria's second birthday. She lives here in town, and we will be going to her party on Saturday. She is such a sweet baby, and I can't wait to see her with her cake and her presents.

So, on those two good notes, I am signing off and heading toward that warm cozy bed! More later, when I can take time to write about all the ideas swirling around in my head.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

One Word for January

Two bloggers, Christine Kane and Ali Edwards, advocate choosing a word to focus on for the year rather than making New Year’s resolutions. I did that along with them last year. My word was “Trust.” They recommend journaling about the word, doing collage or scrapbooking, writing a poem or whatever will help you express your word and keep it in your mind. I did very well focusing on Trust during the first few months, and then it drifted out of my thoughts until the end of 2007.

I like the idea of focusing on one word, so this year I proposed to my Journaling group that we each choose a word to focus on for a month and choose a new word at the beginning of each month in 2008. They liked this idea, so Monday we all chose a word. We wrote an entry on what the word brought to mind, and it was so serendipitous that every person’s word fit something that they needed or had been thinking about. I love that!

The word I chose is “Heal.” Here is what I wrote for my entry:

Heal. This word is already taking place in my life. I’ve begun to write 30-minute entries on focused issues and exercises from Writing From The Source, by Allison Price. I’ve had the book for a few years and never read it. One day in November, the book just caught my attention on the shelf, and I picked it up, read it and started doing the exercises. I wrote 21 days in a row. Then I re-read and thought about the entries. I’ve also written about Christmas, an assignment my friend Sherita gave me two years ago in order to heal my angst about Christmas. I put it off until now. And I’ve started writing long entries about money issues also.

I think, feel and believe that I’m in a place of being ready to heal. And the healing is taking place.

A big part of the healing is using the focused writing prompts. I feel kind of stupid in some ways—I’ve been teaching journal groups and classes for years, teaching other people to use their writing as a healing tool. Yet somehow my head knowledge didn’t translate into real knowing until I started writing these entries. And all the things I’ve been teaching are true—just continued deep writing brings all sorts of things into my awareness. And being aware brings healing either through change, new choices, or acceptance. So I will continue to write, and I will continue to heal.

Healing also comes from allowing in the love and kindness that is there in my world, from becoming aware of it, and accepting it. From being thankful.

Here’s to a healing, thankful, wonderful 2008!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Year

A New Year has started, and it is a time for new beginnings, turning over a new leaf, making resolutions, etc. I haven't really made any New Year's resolutions because they are so often broken. I did take time for reflection in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I was able to take vacation time during that week, and I loved every minute of it! I didn't accomplish any grand plans--I mostly rested, read, reflected and wrote. And I think that was exactly what I needed to do.

I've spent a lot of time reading blogs that I love. And each time I read something so poignant, beautiful, witty, philosophical, insightful, or just plain wonderful, I want to be a part of the blogging group, to get to be friends with all these wonderful people, to share in the camaraderie. Yet I hang back, get too busy to post, make determined vows to "start again" then don't write because I don't have time for a long post--you name the excuse, I probably have it! One of my blog friends said that she had noticed that my blog was rusting! :)

Well, after reading some wonderful entries tonight, I decided to just do it. Write something, even if it's only a few lines, even if it isn't deep and philosophical, even if it sounds trite and says nothing. I read somewhere that real love is being present for someone. And as I've pondered this, I believe that it's true. And that this can apply to activities as well as people. so if I really love blogging and my blogger friends, then all I need to do is be present. Show up, write something, keep learning as I go.

So, Happy New Year! and may my blog never "rust" again!