Friday, December 18, 2009

One Word for 2010

Oh—I wanted to tell you about my word for 2010. This is my "One Word" ala Christine Kane and Ali Edwards. The idea is that rather than setting many resolutions that you will soon forget about, you choose one word as your guiding principle for the whole year.


I had sort of been noodling around with the idea that it was time for a new word, what should I choose, here is what I might want, etc. The word "flow" started popping up everywhere –in my reading, in conversations, on TV, on the internet. So I know that Flow is my word for 2010. And I realized that each year that I have done this process, the word has chosen me.


In 2008, my word was Trust—a word that I didn't want, and the universe wanted for me. In 2009, I was determined to pick a certain word because it was something I "should" work on—yet the universe kept popping another word into my consciousness—the word "delight." Not something I wanted to work on at all.


I began my focus by creating a collage on Delight. The intention was to keep adding to the collage through the year. That occurred only sporadically. My intention now is to create an end-of-the-year collage filled with things that delight me—if I can find the time.


Delight did keep slipping into my consciousness throughout the year. Some days, I felt sad or grumpy or depressed—and then I would think, "Can you find something to delight in?" Or something in my life would lift my heart, and the universe would whisper, "Isn't this delightful?" I noticed that delight usually comes from small incidences—a smile, a sweet, unexpected gift, hearing a favorite song, catching your favorite show on TV, finding a new blog, connecting with an old friend, or finding the perfect pen. I noticed that delight is sprinkled liberally throughout my days. I just needed to start paying attention.


So, the universe is now bringing Flow into my span of attention. Looking ahead, I think that this may involve becoming more flexible (yoga anyone?), less worrying, more spontaneity. I see pictures of rivers and brooks, water flowing from taps (remember the scene in Under the Tuscan Sun where water starts flowing from the tap in her hallway?), and blood flowing freely through arteries and veins. I'll have to look up the dictionary definition and write it down. I think of "Go with the flow," and being laid-back. I remember Luci Shaw's book, Writing the River. Oh, yes, my word for 2010 is definitely FLOW.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Websites and blogs that I like

A few of my friends have been asking me how I find the blogs and sites that I find. For some reason, finding blogs is one of my natural talents, which is ironic, since I used to be so scared of breaking my computer just by hitting the wrong key! I never dreamed that one day I'd be surfing all over the web and thinking that it is a breeze.

I started compiling a partial list to share on my blog and with my friends. One thing I need to emphasize to them is that most of the time, I am just following my curiosity and following interesting links. When you find a blog that you like, look at the sidebar. Most bloggers have lists of other blogs that they read. Also, most bloggers will mention a site and link to it in the body of their text. Patti Digh even devotes her Thursday entries to interesting, fun, or thought provoking sites that she has found. Follow some of those.

Another important tip is to bookmark or add to your Favorites list any cool sites that you find. Otherwise, later, you will think, "Now, how did I get to that site that I liked yesterday? And what was the name?" And you will draw a blank. Sometimes, I also just think of a subject that I want to read more about, type that word or phrase in Google, and see what comes up. I did that recently with Google images for "writing utensils" and "typewriters." I found a ton of cool sites and pictures just from that.

Read the comments on blogs and follow those links. Chances are if someone is reading a blog that you like and taking the time to comment, you will like what they have written also.

Oh, also keep your eyes open as you read magazines, newspapers, or watch TV. I've found blogs through those also.

So, now I will reveal, in no particular order, (Yes, I watch too much Dancing with the Stars!), some of the sites that I am currently reading. And of course, this is by no means a complete list! Brooke Castillo's self development/weight loss site. I've read her book, If I Am So Smart Why Can't I Lose Weight? I like her writing, her advice, her encouragement. I just found this blog yesterday. So far, I like everything I've read. She is creative, positive, and energetic. Patti Digh's site. She is the queen of cool sites. She always has something interesting to say and interesting links to follow. If you only read her blog and followed just the links that she sends you to, you could stay busy and interested for a long time! My friend Cynthia has met her and said that Patti is just as amazing in person as she is on her blog—and she is a very genuine person. Read this one for sure! Colleen Redman's site. I love her writing. She is so real and so interesting. I have corresponded with her when I bought her book about her brothers and their deaths. I'd like to meet her someday. Beth Kephart, a writer for young adults/teens. I've read House of Dance and Nothing But Ghosts. I loved both books. I love the way she writes, and her blog entries sometimes take my breath away. And she loves to dance! I like that. I found this site through reading her daughter Marta's blog . Both of these women are good writers. Travelin Oma has been conducting a writing school, posting prompts every day that other bloggers have been responding to. I love reading about their family lives, travel, books, all the interests that they have. Marta also is interested in letterpress, which I love.

These are just a few links to get people started. I haven't even included any of the house blogs, or creativity blogs, or artist blogs, crafty blogs, vintage blogs or writing blogs that I like to read! So go on out there and follow some of these links. I think you might find something to enjoy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sensory Treats

I love the taste of:

  • Mocha frappuccino with a shot of caramel
  • My mom's noodles
  • Candied sweet potatoes
  • An ice cold Coca-Cola on a hot day
  • Flourless chocolate cake

I love the sight of:

  • My grandkids' smiling faces
  • New books to read
  • A rainbow
  • The Mississinewa river
  • Fountain pens

I love the sound of:

  • Old time rock and roll
  • Wind chimes
  • 80's dance music
  • Children laughing
  • A flute

I love the smell of:

  • Coffee (even though I don't like to drink it very much)
  • Cinnamon and apple
  • Paul Sebastian men's cologne
  • A bookstore
  • Fresh cut grass

I love the feel of:

  • A baby's soft skin
  • Flannel sheets
  • A book in my hands (you knew that had to be in there somewhere!)
  • A hug
  • A soft kiss

These sensory treats were inspired by Jamie Ridler's entry that she wrote after being inspired by the work she's doing in The Joy Diet by Martha Beck. Jamie leads an on-line group called The Next Chapter . The group works through a book in unison and writes up their response weekly. I thought about joining this group because I have the book, I love Martha Beck, and I would love to be in a group like this. I've followed the group as they've worked through other books. At the time they started, I still didn't have a reliable computer, and I just didn't know if I would stick with the exercises. Maybe I'll join the next one. Until then, I check in, read their entries, and then do some of the exercises on my own. I guess that is "Learning by Lurking!"

So, how about you? What are some of your sensory treats?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Things I am thankful for today:

  • Having my granddaughter Shannon stay with us—she is a joy and brings new life to our house
  • Family
  • Feeling better
  • Sunshine
  • Connecting with people through the internet
  • Blogs
  • Writing
  • Books (of course!)
  • computers

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Enamored of Outbuildings

This phrase has been circling through my brain for the last little while, and it describes my condition perfectly. I am enamored of outbuildings, longing for a barn, a pole barn, an unused chicken coop, or a tool shed that I could claim for my own. Alas, I live in town with a small yard and a lone utility shed out back that my husband built and claimed for storing tools and yard stuff.

I grew up on farms, lived in places that always had all the buildings listed above, plus a few more. We had a woodshed, a smokehouse, a milk house, and an old lean-to in one of the barnyards. I am accustomed to having an abundance of outbuildings, places that could be used for any purpose we came up with.

When I was little, I had a playhouse in the front of the woodshed. A place where I could decorate, cook mud pies, tend to my doll family and play house with my friends and even my brother when he could be coerced into it. Of course, he always got to be "Dad" and go out to work in the field or to his job in another part of the yard. I was the one staying in my house and hanging plastic curtains up in the open window or rearranging the pieces of leftover furniture and boxes that furnished my house.

So why am I enamored of these buildings now, now that I am a grown woman, a woman who plays house for real, whose children are grown and gone, a woman who theoretically has her own real house with space to use as she will?

My longing on the surface is just for more space, space where I can set up a craft room, or an exercise room, or a writing studio or a meditation space or a barn big enough to contain all these functions. That sounds like paradise to me. I want space to spread out, to sprawl, to unfold all my collections from their imprisoning boxes or the piles stacked in every available corner of my house. A place of my own, where I can leave out the current or not so current projects that I might be working on. Or thinking about. Or just like to see. So many times for me it is out of sight, out of mind. If I had a huge barn, I could keep everything out everywhere.

I used to envy the host on the show "Collector Inspector." He lived in an old 1960's schoolhouse with long halls and many rooms and he had walls of shelves with all his collections grouped, arranged and displayed like those in a museum or second hand store. I loved that house and that man—I think I wanted to be him!

I read magazines now like "Where Women Create" and "Studios." I see all the creative spaces that current artists, painters, quilters, collagers, writers, and designers use. Each space is as individual and quirky as the person using it is. Some pages I return to again and again. I think, "I could do that!" Or, "Oh, how wonderful!" I want a space of my own, just like they have.

After writing about the outbuildings of my childhood though, I think that the childhood feeling is a big part of longing for my own shed. Yes, I could keep my stuff out there, or I could be like the famous and not so famous writers who go out to the shed every day to write or meditate. So grown up. Yet going out to that shed of my own would revive that feeling of having a special place, a place all my own, that feeling of being young with a life full of possibilities ahead of me, a life where I could make those fantasies come true. I want that feeling of largess, of boundless possibilities. And that is why, right now, I am enamored of outbuildings.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Days!

Oh, Happy Day! Castle is back and just as good as ever. I love that show! I love the snappy writing, the chemistry between the whole cast, and the character development--just about everything! It airs on Mondays at 10:00 p.m.

I watched the show last season and was so happy when it was renewed. Then I worried that the producers and writers would try to tweak the show and ruin it in the process. So far, no worries. The tension and snappy writing are still there. The characters are developing and staying true. I'm a happy camper.

Also, Dancing With The Stars has started again. I love that show even when I know that it is being cheesy. I love the sparkle, the glitter and the dancing--even when the dancing isn't good. I like watching people work and give their best efforts. It's fun--although I do get upset when the judges let their prejudices for or against certain stars show so blatantly. I like being surprised--I was so touched, surprised and moved by Kelly Osbourne's fabulous performance last night. Who would have guessed? She was brilliant and beautiful. So far, I haven't picked a favorite. I will before long, though, I'm sure!

I read Beth Kephart's new book, Nothing but Ghosts, last night. I absolutely love it! I had waited so long to get a copy--and it was worth the wait. I love Kephart's lyrical writing; she knows how to turn a phrase and make me see things in a fresh way. I love the characters that she created. I want to know Katie, the determined, smart, vulnerable heroine and her quirky professorial father, and Ms. McDermott, the stylish librarian. As we learned abut Katie's mother who recently died, I loved her too.

The book has mystery, love, and lessons about how to deal with the grief of losing someone you love. Since I lost my mother almost a year ago, I was seeking answers for myself as I read. And Kephart delivers answers that ring true. We keep on going a step at a time and we open to life, love and beauty. Or we don't. It is our choice. Moreover, she presents the consequences of each choice in a way that illustrates and doesn't lecture or preach or should on us.

You can check out more of Kephart's writing at her blog, Beth Kephart's Books. I am definitely a fan. I've also read her book, House of Dance. It is another young adult book that is worth your time.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Long Time, No Blog

How do you start again? How do you tell what your life has been like without sounding like a soap opera? Do you need to explain? Or just show up?

Even though I haven’t been blogging for several months, I have been lurking and reading other blogs and exclaiming over the wonderful things I’ve read and thought about coming back and have just been down in a deep dark hole that I was too tired to even think about climbing out of.

Now spring is starting to come back. We’ve had some sunny days and long warm evenings. Grass is getting greener. And I realize that life goes on, whether we participate or not, no matter how sad we feel. And I feel hopeful once again.

My mom died in November. She was sick for several weeks before she died, weeks that involved staying in the hospital with her, bringing her home, taking her back, again and again. Her heart and lungs finally just gave out.

Since then I have just been in a fog. And then I was in a car wreck on icy roads (no injuries, praise God), then several other people close to me or my friends and family have died, then I’ve had recurring bouts of sinus/bronchitis infections, and my husband lost his job. Altogether, life has been bouncing me around like a pin ball. I’ve just been cowering in my corner, slogging through my days and watching out for the next blow.

Today is different though. Even though I am recuperating from yet another sinus/ear infection, my heart and spirit lifted today, when I saw the sunshine. I opened the blinds, puttered around the house, napped when I needed to, and read some uplifting blogs. I talked with a couple of friend who are going through their own personal crises. And I decided to start writing on here again.

I read other blogs and read about the connections that people are making through their blogs. I received a letter from a classmate from high school and feel connections stirring there. And we only connect when we reach out and share.

So here I am again.
More later!