Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


33 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday on Writing Goals

Don’t Worry, Just Write!

While reading a newsletter from my Trust the Timing editor, Andi Cumbo Floyd, I realized my writing has gone to the back burner. I’ve worked a few measly hours here and there on the novel based on my parents, but I give way more attention to household issues which are primary.  One thing that has discouraged me from working on the novel is the research it will likely take on Washington DC and Vietnam. But I need to stop worrying about that and just write a first draft. Okay, maybe there’s some anxiety related to thoughts like, I’ve never written a novel before, and this seems like it’s going to be a long one.  Then there’s grief. January 21st will be the second anniversary of my father’s death. I must be processing grief as I write about my parents. Deep sigh. However, my goal is to finish a first draft by the end of this year. There. It’s in writing. But I don’t need to worry. I just need to write the first draft, feel my feelings, and breathe deeply.

one-liner-wednesday-badge-2018-19

One-liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda G. Hill who has written a bunch of novels! Visit her and read more one-liners.

https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/02/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-2nd-and-one-liner-wednesday/

 


16 Comments

Back in First Grade

School boy from pixabay

I recently started volunteering at an elementary school one day a week helping first graders with reading and writing. My job is to invite one student at a time to a back table where we read a book together, or I help them with a worksheet.

Three days after my first visit, I came down with a bad summer cold and had to miss the second week. (This happened after saying to myself, “I never get sick.”) So, I stocked up on vitamin C, echinacea and zinc, and I’m making a renewed effort in my goal to get more sleep.

rabbit

Yesterday, I helped the first graders write stories using the prompts, Who, What, Where, When, and Why with the theme of what they like to do for fun. One student said she liked to go to “Jungle Rabbits.” I had to smile, because I remembered my daughter, many years ago calling the water slide park “Jungle Rabbits” when it’s official name is Jungle Rapids. The word, rapids, makes no sense to first graders, but rabbits do. It doesn’t matter that there are no rabbits there. When I said, “I think it’s called, Jungle Rapids, she insisted it was Jungle Rabbits, so I joined the journey and helped her spell rabbits. The next student who said he liked to go to Jungle Rabbits, got no argument from me. Jungle Rabbits it is!

But my favorite experience, so far, was when it was almost time for recess. Two boys in the back of the room started getting on each other’s nerves. I re-directed them to their work and wondered it I was going to need to get the busy teacher’s attention. A third boy came to one of them with a letter he had written. It said simply,  “I love you,” followed by the author’s name. Then the letter writer went back to his desk and wrote another letter, and brought it to the other boy. It said the same thing. “I love you.”

“Isn’t that nice?” I said.

The restless boys didn’t say anything. They didn’t quite know what to make of the letters. But they were distracted from their irritations and settled down long enough to make it to recess without any problems. There’s just something about a hand-printed letter.

I think I’m going to like first grade a lot better this time around.

(The images are from Pixabay)

 


16 Comments

All (or Nothing) Up in My Head

SOCS

Linda’s prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness is “all or nothing.” We get bonus points if we start and end our post with one (or each) of them.

All or nothing thinking is one of my pet peeves. There are so many possibilities between all and nothing. Just like there are so many beautiful colors between black and white.

As a counselor (and a parent) I encouraged people to watch out for words like always and never because they usually mean someone is not thinking accurately. But it does seem like I always have something to do. I guess that’s better than having nothing to do. But it’s nice to have moments of nothing to do but take a nap or watch the sunset.

River sunset orange and blue

Here’s one of my gazillion sunset photos.

I’ve had a busy week getting ready for the Silver Arts competition (part of Senior Games) which includes literary, visual, and performing arts categories. I entered a poem and an essay, and I’m finishing one of two paintings I need to turn in on Monday. All this is happening as my book is getting finished up. There was one final glitch in the typsetting. I say final with some eye rolling because I’ve thought I had a my “final” book cover and “final” PDF to upload more than once.

Gah! When it rains is pours.

Today, working on the painting of angels, which I will share with you next week when it’s done, I got keyed up. I feel emotionally tired after painting for a couple of hours. I want to relax more. But I talk to myself while painting, making comments on whether something is working or not. I spent about an hour on two angel faces trying to get them right.

Do any other artists feel emotionally drained after working on a painting? I don’t feel this from writing, unless I’m writing about something emotional. Which sure did happen writing my memoir.

I asked my gynecologist last week if it’s normal to feel mood swings after menopause that feel hormonal. She said it’s normal, but it’s not necessarily hormonal. She said it’s maturation. I think that’s the word she used. She said as we age, our nervous system doesn’t work quite as well as it used to, so some people get more easily frustrated and some, like me, get weepy. But then the next day, or the next hour, I’m fine. Or better than fine! Plus I realize that I have more time to think now that I’m not working that intense job I did for 30 plus years. Sometimes I have too much time to think, too many conversations in my head. It’s better when I talk to the dog.

So today, I used some mindfulness techniques and rode the old Schwinn I bought for $10 at a yard sale. I rode around my neighborhood with the wind in my hair and finding all the hills I didn’t know existed with my 61 year old knees getting a reminder of the old days. It was a good balance after all that painting and being all up in my head. Balance is something I will continue to seek to stay away from the all or nothing.

 

Doodle and bike

I just had to share my “new” bike (and my old dog)

 

 

Here are the rules for the Saturday Stream of Consciousness Post:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


11 Comments

Time and the Toilet Paper Roll of Life

socsbadge2016-17

This is the busiest time. No, wait. It’s not that busy. Maybe this is the busiest time since I started semi-retirement in June. Was that this past June? No way. I have to check that. Time is so strange. I think this is the fastest time has ever moved. It moves faster and faster the older we get, and also the busier we get. Just like the toilet paper roll goes faster as you get closer to the end. But then someone will hopefully replace that toilet paper roll with a full one. Usually a mom type person does that. Does God replace our roll when we get to the end of our life? Do we get another assignment? I like the idea of taking a rest for a while, in my idea of heaven being a cabin in the woods, running around with all the dogs I’ve ever loved…and then getting an assignment, as an angel or whatever God wants me to do. I just really want a rest for a while and to see my dogs.

I had no idea I was going to go there. That’s what I love about the Stream of Consciousness.

Though theses are the busiest times lately, they are also the best times. So I want to stop complaining and have some gratitude already!  My busyness has been writing, a little art, feeding feral kittens, puttering around the house in the never-ending busyness of things like replacing toilet paper rolls and de-cluttering.

The best things about this busy weekend are:

This afternoon, I get to read one of my two stories which will be published in the public library’s e-book about our coastal county. I should say, I get to read it out loud, in front of people! I’ll send you a link to the e-book when it is unveiled.

Tomorrow afternoon, I get to lead a guided meditation at a coffee house celebration of Recovery Month. That’s right, September is RECOVERY MONTH. We need to celebrate recovery because so many people don’t get how much work it is. We need to applaud people in recovery from addiction and other illnesses.

Both of these events are related to my work. The first, reading my story, is about my new work and my new creative life. Sunday’s event is about my old work as a counselor, which I continue to do one day a week. So this weekend is sort of an affirmation, that for now, I can do both.

Next week could be even busier. It might be the busiest week!

Monday I need to go cut my father’s hedges. And visit him which is more important. And then I need to go the old job on Tuesday as I get ready for a reunion trip with my high school girlfriends in Mississippi!

One thing’s for sure, I’m not bored.

And I am grateful.

 

Linda’ prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness post was, “-est” to be used as a suffix.

Read more SOC posts, and join in the fun at Linda’s blog:

https://lindaghill.com/2016/09/16/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-1716/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


8 Comments

Insights from the Writer’s Conference: A Self-Published Memoir Can be a Winner

one view from room (2)

The view from my room at the conference

Greetings from the final day of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. We’ve been blessed with perfect weather since Sunday, and it looks like that blessing will continue this morning. I’ve been thankful for the opportunity to strengthen my leg muscles as I climb the steps to different buildings and for the evening serenades from a soothing diversity of frog voices. I’m thankful for the support of new friends and for the enrichment of friendships that encouraged me to come here.

I’ve learned a lot this week. A 15 minute critique packed with suggestions revealed that I still have plenty of “show don’t tell” details to add to my memoir. The fact that publishing companies are not fond of memoirs, unless you’re famous, was confirmed by brief meetings with faculty. More than one conversation reminded me that traditional publishers  want writers who already have huge platforms and marketing plans.

Hope came during last night’s banquet where awards were presented to authors in a variety of categories. It’s always fun to see the smiles of people recognized for good work. Most of the awards went to authors with traditional publishers, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear Create Space named as the publisher for a few of the winners, indicating that some of them were self-published. Caged Sparrow, a self-published memoir, won the Director’s Choice award for non-fiction. It’s the story of Joseph Tuttolomando, an undercover narcotics chief facing a 7 year prison sentence, as told to Rosemarie Fitzsimmons. After the ceremony, I was lucky, blessed, and destined to speak with  Rosemarie who shared about self-publishing as a reasonable route for memoirs. I won’t be surprised if self-publishing becomes more accepted over time.

There are many “take away” points I carry home this week. One that stands out  from Wednesday morning’s opening prayer is this:

No man or woman can derail us from our calling. We need to look to God for our confirmation.

I’m looking forward to reading the award winning memoir, Caged Sparrow and getting back to work on Perfect Timing, the memoir God is calling me to complete.

garden creek close up

 


21 Comments

Big Plans and a Big Skink

socs-badge-2015

In just over one week, I’ll be traveling to my first writer’s conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains. My friends in my Word Weavers group have encouraged me to go. We will be driving up on Sunday and coming back Thursday. Then, I’ll come back for Memorial Day weekend and work on Tuesday. By work, I mean the job I’ve had for about thirty years. Because something big is happening in my life. I’ve mentioned it a few times, or at least hinted at it – the big transition, my leap of faith into becoming who I am meant to be. I’m planning to write more about this transition in a few days.

I just stopped writing to put a snail outside. It was climbing on the inside of my bedroom window. Maybe it has something to do with the weather. Maybe it came in to get out of the rain. I tried to take a picture of it, but I couldn’t focus the camera with one hand while holding the snail in the other hand. That reminds me, I do have a picture I can share of a skink that was in the bush in my front yard earlier this week. I had no idea what it was, because I’d never seen anything like it. My husband looked it up and found it was an adult blue tailed skink. I’ve seen plenty of young blue tailed skinks on my back deck, but didn’t know they looked like this as an adult. It was about as big as my hand not counting the tail. It kinda makes me feel good about having such as lush, aka overgrown, jungly yard, because wildlife likes it around here. I’d prefer they stayed outside though.

I just looked up skinks. I don’t think this guy I saw in my bushes, or gal, it might have been  female, was a blue tailed skink. I think it was more likely a broad headed skink. 

It seemed like the whole body was orange and not just the head.

IMG_3618

 

IMG_3621

Well, maybe the whole body wasn’t orange…..but it was big!

Our prompt today for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was to start with a two letter word. I thought about trying to start every sentence with a two letter word, but that got old  quick and interfered with the stream of consciousness flow. We get bonus points if we end with a two letter word. But that’s not happening. It almost happened with the word be at the end of my first paragraph. But then the SOC flowed on.

(Hey, did you see that. I did end with a two letter word! Didn’t plan it either.)

If you’d like to go with the Stream of Consciousness flow, visit Linda’s blog at the link below:

https://lindaghill.com/2016/05/13/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-1416/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


20 Comments

God’s Whisper

This past weekend, my daughter and I attended a writer’s retreat at God’s Whisper Farm.

approach

Located in Radiant, Virginia, the home of Andi and Phillip and their family of dogs, cats, goats and chickens, is a place where one finds peace and quiet, laughter and wisdom, a place to hear God’s whisper.

cows on hilltop

house 2

After Andi showed us to our room upstairs in the old farm house, we took a brief tour of the farm.

rooster

bench and table

goats with tree       Goats good

We enjoyed a healthy dinner and read some of our work around the campfire. That’s when I discovered fireflies! An abundance of fireflies blinking on and off around the farmhouse! I took a video with my phone. Maybe some day, I’ll figure out how to load my phone videos to this blog. For now, just know that fireflies are alive and well at God’s Whisper Farm, where I did not notice any mosquitoes.

On Saturday morning, after a walking meditation led by Kelly Chripczuk, Andi read to us from The Mindful Writer, then we worked on writing exercises to help us explore what we need to let go of, what gets in the way of our writing, and what we love about writing.

On Saturday afternoon, we each workshopped a piece of writing and received helpful feedback from the group. Then Andi, author of The Slaves Have Names, and author Shawn Smucker, shared their knowledge and experience on writing and publishing.

After dinner, my daughter and I visited the neighboring pasture where the cows watched us with curiosity, from a distance.

cow below

cow standing at attention

cows coming

We looked for the deer we saw on the hilltop Friday evening. This time, I was ready with my zoom lens, but the deer must’ve had other plans for Saturday night.

distant deer too

Later, we rejoined the group around the fire in the field and listened to Shawn read the first chapter of his book: The Day The Angels Fell.

fire

IMG_2392

 

On the last day of the retreat, we talked about making time for our writing and how important this is for our well being. Shawn passed along a question asked by the rector of his church:

“Could it be that God delights in the things that bring us happiness?”

happy dog

I come home from this retreat with gratitude for the encouragement and affirmation I received, with a new sense of excitement and direction for my work, preparing me to make a leap of faith, with confidence that God’s whisper is leading me on a path of creativity and freedom.  I believe it is a path that will delight the Creator who ignited this creative spark in me many years ago, knowing it would come alive when the time was right.

All photos on this post were taken by JoAnne Silvia at God’s Whisper Farm.