Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - A Year With Faith



This past year has been a doozy. I have heard the same sentiment from many and witnessed the same from many. A year of challenges, changes, losses, pains. Along with those pains came growth, but at a cost. Perhaps 2012 will be known as the year of growing pains. 

My arms are open and ready to embrace 2013. They are open but not wide. A guarded embrace will take place as the clock strikes twelve. 

As I grew more accustomed to the blogging world over the last few years or so, I embraced the tradition of choosing a word of the year versus making New Year's resolutions. Resolutions never seemed to make it past the idea stage so I had no problem giving up the useless tradition to forge ahead with another. 


2011 - Focus
       I chose the word focus because it was something I needed to work on, something I was greatly lacking. I chose the word and failed it miserably. I had no plan, no idea how to work with a "word of the year" and ironically, no focus! By the end of 2011 I had to look back at the previous year's blog post to see what my word for the year actually was. I had forgotten. Obviously a complete lack of focus. I found the matter to be quite amusing with no sweat off my back.

2012 - Faith
       There was a huge difference with my word for 2012. Difference number one. The word chose me. I did not choose a word, rather I allowed words to play around in my mind until one took hold. I asked the universe to provide my word and it chose Faith. I had been warned that when a word chooses you (versus you choosing a word), you better hang on. The word means business! Can I just say that I believe that was the understatement of the year?
       This past year was one of the hardest of my life. Trust me. I have had some hard, ugly, difficult times. This past year saw my marriage challenged, my world shaken, loved ones lost, and a health issue that had me scared for my life. I am still working on how to shake fear as it is the state I have lived in my entire life, though most say they wouldn't know it (my mask hides me well). I have cried more tears in this past year than I thought possible to produce in a lifetime.
       Faith started out as something I thought one had, only to discover it is something one does, practices, gains. Faith no longer feels like a noun. I believe it to be more of a verb. People say "Have faith". I always thought my grandmother 'had faith'. Faith is something you work to understand, work to gain and then work to keep. Perhaps once you have done all the work you can 'have' it, but there are still times it is threatened and you must work to keep it. It is shaken and you must stabilize. It is questioned and you must defend.
       I walked into my year feeling strong and cocky. "Hmm... cute little word. Pretty sure I know what it means. Let's question it. Digest it. Play with it."
       Faith said, "Oh no you don't! I chose you! This is my year. I get the lead. I take control. You are simply along for the ride."
       Or so it felt.

       I was talking to my husband about a word for this year. He said, "Don't do it." He was as scared for me as I was. He actually said he thought choosing a word to focus on was similar to worshiping a false God. Interesting. Also not real settling. I thought about what he said and thought it sounded a bit like hooey, but at the same time, I was scared. Scared of what the new year would bring, scared to ask for a word, but it had already happened and I knew it. A word had settled in a few weeks prior. I felt it nudging and whispering and trying to attach itself to me. It felt like a good word, a good fit, yet I could not shake the fear it might possibly carry with it a hidden agenda of hard times and painful lessons.
       The word whispered "trust me, you need me" and that's when it hit me.

       When a word chooses you for a year, it is not the word that brings challenges. Life brings challenges. The word allows for transformation. It allows for growth to occur and wisdom to be gained. When walking with a word, we have something to work with, something to lean on, something to guide us. It shows we are open and willing to learn and transform. It is a way for the Universe to guide us. 
       Faith carried me through this past year. At first I questioned it. When I started to think I knew what it was, it made sure to let me know I had a lot to learn. It challenged me and left me until I realized that I was the one who left. When I questioned it, it gave me something to focus on, to learn from. It allowed me to look at things differently. It held my hand through the difficulty and celebrated the good.
       It has been an extremely hard year. I am thankful I had faith by my side. I plan on continuing to grow with/in faith as I know I have a long way to go. Faith is not a word for a year, it is a word for life.
      
2013 -
       This year, my year is my year. I claim it for myself. The word that has nudged me will be at my side. I am keeping it to myself (at least for now), holding it gently and close to my heart. Once again, it picked me. In all honesty, having a word choose me when I wasn't sure whether I wanted a word this year, makes me a bit leery. It is a good word. One of the best. I choose to step into the new year with positive intention and  gratitude. May the new year choose to greet me with the same. May it choose the same for you.







A few months ago I was blessed with a weekend get-a-way with a few other ladies. One is a forever friend, the other I had never met. I almost chickened out. I ended up staying one night instead of two. It was just right. We stayed up late talking deep and long, sharing stories in front of a wood burning stove. The room pictured below is the one I stayed in at the bed and breakfast. So much introspect and healing and dealing of past has gone on for me this year. It was interesting to me that the room I received was representative of the room I had as a small child. It was rather symbolic of the work I've been doing to make peace with my past.




Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dreaming



Cue the music!

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas!



I guess I should have clarified 'light and fluffy' vs. 'wet and sloppy'.

At least our tree is Merry and Bright.



Today is a snow day. The kids had all sorts of play dates planned with the idea of snowmen, snow forts and hot chocolate. 
 The snow came. Then the rain. More snow is scheduled to follow. Right now they would be stuck making slush men, so they are hunkered down with books and crafts. 

Today I am thankful for a warm house, the beautiful snow and the love and safety of my gorgeous children.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reaching Out - Holding On


So much violence. So many shootings.
They only seem to be getting worse.


The events that unfolded in Newtown, CT last friday are unfathomable. So many innocent lives lost. I have not written about it or talked about it much as I feel completely inadequate to do so.
Where are the words to heal the hurt?
Where are the words to soothe the suffering?
Where are the words to explain the unexplainable?

I tried to avoid much of the news. I didn't want to feed into the sensationalism. I didn't want my kids to fear. I didn't want to cry anymore. I didn't want to imagine the pain of those who lost loved ones. I didn't want it to be true.

I have been trying to figure out what I can do to help. I come up with nothing. I feel helpless.

I conjure up feelings of love to send out to the families. Love. It has to be the answer.

There is so much anger and fear and violence in the world.
We have to stop hating and hurting.
We must start healing.
How do we heal?
Love

I read about an eleven year old that brings a gun to school to protect himself and his classmates. I think, "Why is this happening?"
I read about a Texas school allowing teachers to bring guns to school to protect their students. I think, "Why is this happening?"

I am a considerable geographic distance away from Sandy Hook elementary, yet it is now in my own back yard.
The sickness seems to be spreading.

A grade school not even 40 miles away finds live ammo on the playground. A teen gets arrested for spouting about copycatting.
Now it is my child's school.
There have been rumors of a threat against the safety of the students and staff at my child's high school. The threat is set for 12-21-12. The police have been investigating.I received an automated call from the principal saying the students are safe as they feel the threats are unsubstantiated. The rumors continue and build. I do not feel it is safe. How can I? 

I again ask myself, "Why?"

I have no answers.

Anger, fear, frustration, desperation.
A lot of ugly feelings are surfacing for a lot of people.
Including me.
I ask that everyone try, try, try to feel love.
Don't feed the negative energy with more negative.

I am working on centering and focusing and loving.
Feeling love for my family.
Love for this life.
Love for the world.

Sirens flew by my house as I typed that last line.
The seventh time in 12 hours.
Sirens. Warnings.
Of what?
I don't know.
I'm feeling so helpless.

All I know to do is reach.
Keep reaching.
Reaching out and holding on to what is good.


If only by a single thread.
We must hold on to love.
Build on the good with good.
Reach. Hold. Love.

My heart and prayers go out to everyone.

I send you love.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Weathered



I have not been feeling very chatty lately.
Wrapping up a very hard year.
Anxiously awaiting the unfolding of a new and (I pray) promising one. The recent brash of violence in the news has put its finishing touches on my depression.

I feel fragile, weathered, pulled tight, a bit like a barbed wire.


 I decided to go back and visit the pictures of a carving my husband recently finished. He was commissioned by a local to carve a female tree spirit rising out of her tree. She met with us. She chose him for the honor of carving. She honored me by suggesting he use me as his model. He made the spirit pregnant (unlike me) with new life rising out of the dying tree. Vine wrapped around her belly, arms raised in praise and protection of all that is natural in the world. She's a bit sad. Aren't we all?




Centering oneself with nature.
Sometimes it's the only way to feel okay.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Balance



life
balance
finding center
dancing without falling
playing, praying, searching
moments overflow with pleasure
crash into each other with such force
finding self upside down and inside out
unable to breathe, unable to find the light
twist and turn, find footing, stand tall and firm
the light above shining down with such love
always there for the taking, just waiting
to be noticed again, grasped again
shines down onto crown
filling you whole
entire soul
lit up





Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12


Today is 12-12-12
In WI that means it's Aaron Rogers Day. (Packers #12)
In Las Vegas it means record wedding day (for luck)
In my house it means less than two weeks until Christmas and I don't have anything done!
Today is a day of cleaning, decorating, shopping and preparing for a few days of baking.

I had no warning that it was going to be a magical number day.
It doesn't feel magical.
I missed all the hype.
I've been too preoccupied with the numbers 12-21-12.
A flip of two numbers and the meaning is entirely changed.
From good luck
to
the end of the world.
All due to the order of two little digits.

I'm a bit more optimistic than that. 
I see 12-21-12 as the possibility of a new world.

With so many people focusing on the day being the possibility of the end of the world, even if they're not committed to believing it's really going to happen, the date has at least brought about an awareness of the possibility, which gets people thinking about what matters, what they want to change, how precious life is and how very fleeting. There is a movement of spiritual awakening happening across the globe and I believe there are many people focusing on the date as not the end of the world, but the end of the world as we know it. Raising an awareness of "we're all in it together" and "we are all connected". I believe with so much energy focused on one single day (and it has been focused there for some time) there is great potential that all the collected energy could mean big change. My hope it that it is a day of big positive change. The world won't end. Some will be laughing at the silliness of it all which will cover the globe in laughter. Some will be secretly relieved and relax filling the waves with calm happiness. Some will mark it as a day to make positive changes (like a second chance) putting more positive energy out there. It will be a day of Global Positivity and hopefully with enough love and positivity charging up the universe, it will be the first day of a new world. A world of people recognizing just how amazing the world actually is, how precious life is. How good happiness and love feel, and they will want to keep that feeling alive.





Thursday, December 6, 2012

Soak


Soak

Permission granted, photograph and poem © E. H. Thumm

Soaking away the worries
washing away the tears
leaving behind the hurries
drowning all my fears.

Hot water calming
candlelight fills the room
underwater sounding
comforting like a womb.

Meditation finds me
unsteady feelings relax away
peaceful, calm and free
praying for ease to stay.

Naked, raw and real
it is a moment of truth
sacred space to heal
all the pain of my youth.

~ E. H. Thumm


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hump Day Humor




Holy Crap! 
This is some serious funny!!!
Totally worth the click.
Bah ha ha ha!




Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 30


NaNoWriMo Day 30 - 

     Do you see that my peeps? Over there on the right? Yesssss!!!! The badge of honor. I did it! I really, really did it! It took me five years, but I won NaNoWriMo! I now have over 50,000 words under my belt in one month toward a completed novel. The story is not done and the editing will be a challenge, but with a 50,000 word start, I'm good to go! It's a sweet mess right now but it's my mess and it feels sooooo good!




I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.  
~James Michener

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.  ~William Makepeace Thackeray




Novel writing is serious business!



Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 26


NaNoWriMo Day 26 - 

     Twenty-Six!!! I cannot believe I have made it this far! I am at 40,767 words with 9233 words to go with five days to write them in. That's 1847 words per day to win this thing! Woot Woot!
     After five years of trying, I am beyond thrilled to be so close to the finish line. I see light at the end of the tunnel and it is be-yoo-tee-ful!
     Having tackled 4325 words today in order to catch up from Thanksgiving slacking, I am pretty much typed out. I saved enough words to share this bit of silly with you.
     Horse hide protection. Folks gotta do what folks gotta do to protect their furry friends from overzealous sharp shooters! Deer hunting in the midwest. Boo yah!




"The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax." 
 ~Alfred Kazin, Think, February 1963


"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."  ~Ray Bradbury


"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."  ~E.L. Doctorow





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 20





NaNoWriMo Day 20 - 

     Three days of rest, massage and chiropractic seem to be doing the trick. Fibromyalgia is a fickle disorder that I must learn to play nicely with. When I push it around, it always wins.
     Yesterday I jumped back into the game getting in slightly over 1300 words. Rather than fretting over a five day weekend with four kids at home, I see five days of kids sleeping in while I wake before dawn to gently caress the keyboard in hopes it responds in kind.
     I chose today's quote because it's fitting and feels good. Smile with me.




"There are few things, apparently, more helpful to a writer than having once been a weird little kid." ~Katherine Paterson



Found in a friend's garden still hanging on.  -  November 2012



Friday, November 16, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 16





NaNoWriMo Day 16 - 

     Reality post. Did 2 much. Shoulder screaming. Can't use arm. No writing mass words 2day. No pic. Catch up l8tr. Fibro fuç&!ng SUCKS!!!!!!




A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
~Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades, 1947






Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 15




NaNoWriMo Day 15 - 

     Wow! I made it to the halfway point! I am halfway through this crazy writing challenge! This is also the first day I am actually slightly ahead of the curve punching in with 25,350 words! Not to toot my own horn, but... ah what the heck! Toot Toot!
     Actually, I can't take all the credit. I have a strong support group and I have believing mirrors. 
     This past week has been really hard. My body is retaliating and my mood hit the dumper but I persevered and here I am. Halfway.

     Today I visited my son's school. They have this great program called "Superstars". Every month there is a superstar theme. This month's theme was "making good decisions". My son was chosen by one of the teachers to receive recognition for his excellent decision making. The school holds a mini monthly awards show for the chosen superstars. The room fills with superstars and their parents (parents bring lunch for their child from their favorite restaurant) and while everyone eats, they call the student's names one at a time, have them stand at the front of the room while they read who chose them as a superstar and why. The student then receives an award and a small gift. They have their picture taken with their award. The pictures are then displayed for the rest of the month on a wall next to the office for all to see.
     It is such a cool program. It not only promotes student success, but it recognizes and rewards those students in a positive way. I was so proud of my son and all of this months superstars.
After returning home I sat back down to work on my novel. I couldn't help but correlate between the parents at school and those of you who have been cheering me on. It has been a hard few weeks and I still have a few more to go, but right now I just feel so proud and I want to thank all of you who are cheering me on. You make me feel like a superstar and I am grateful for that. With my word count as my reward, I...
Thank You!




"Show up. Get to work even when you don't feel like writingespecially when you don't feel like writing."  ~Daniel H. Pink




Ever feel stuck? Ask yourself "& then..." 
Representative of the spoonfuls of love, support and encouragement I have been receiving for which I am grateful.



Monday, November 12, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 12



NaNoWriMo Day 12 - I fell way behind on my writing this weekend and accepted this will be the trend. Full house = less words. Today was catch up day and I wrote like the wind! Word dumping is becoming rather addicting as I am finding myself waking with the urge to hit the page as if it calls me from my sleep. The blank page is no longer blank. Words are dancing, mingling, playing amongst themselves. Some of it may be drivel, but I assure you, with enough time and attention the words will come to order and work themselves into something grand.

I am posting two quotes today. The first in honor of the weekend struggle to the page, the second in honor of a record day of writing.





"Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies."  ~Terri Guillemets



"Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it – and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one. Be wary of ‘writing rules’ and advice. Do it your way." ~Tara Moss




playing with my word magnets







Friday, November 9, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 9



NaNoWriMo Day 9 - Yesterday was a doozy. Had trouble making it through, but I did. Oh yes, I did! The more pain I felt, the more I wanted to give up. The more the fibro fog wrapped itself around my brain, the worse my writing sounded resulting in a full on fight with my inner editor. No correcting, no deleting, no judging is allowed or I will never hit the word count goal of the day. NaNoWriMo is all about dumping. Getting words onto the page.
Today, something magical happened. I woke, I typed, I was reaching a point in the plot where I had to introduce an altering event and I wasn't sure how. Suddenly, the main character created the event all on her own! She guided me right through! Bravo Amelia! Thank you for showing me the way!




"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say."  ~ Sharon O'Brien





This...


is the "no-no" key!











Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 7



NaNoWriMo Day 7 - Fibromyalgia is kicking my butt. I am in some serious pain. I also have a fire in my belly for this writing challenge that I have not experienced in the past. It is built big and burning strong. I wrote in spite of my condition. I pushed myself and hit my goal for the day in spite of my pain and brain fog. I hurt like hell right now but my mind is happy, my heart is soaring, my soul found freedom in the words in spite of my body trying to hold me back. In spite of. Pretty powerful words when you use them for good. Words I am in love with today. The writing life. At times it literally hurts so good. Off to a hot bath and even hotter tea (to wash down a much needed pain pill). Hey! I'm not Superwoman you know!

Now it's your turn. I challenge you to go do something wonderful in spite of that which holds you back. Let me know how it goes, won't you? I do love a good share.


"Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."  ~ Gene Fowler


Letters I purchased after a tour at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 6




NaNoWriMo Day 6 - I voted, I wrote, I hurt, I ate chocolate. What more do you want?



"Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head."  ~ From the movie Finding Forrester


* bonus quote from yours truly *


"I'm learning the only kind of chocolate that is guilt free is the kind you don't admit to yourself you ate." ~Lynn Retzlaff






Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 5



NaNoWriMo Day 5 - What a fabulous and wonderful weekend! I was invited to spend an evening at a bed and breakfast in the western hills of Wisconsin with a couple of other ladies. I enjoyed beautiful scenery, lack of cell service (which meant no interruptions), wonderful conversation, sisterly love and great food. It was relaxing and recharging beyond belief. Upon arrival home I grabbed the family and headed off to visit a family friend who invited us over for dinner and a movie. It was a second late night of friends and fun. Yesterday was all about food and football. I managed to eek in writing all weekend but still fell behind my daily goal. This morning I logged onto my regional NaNoWriMo group on FB and found a gentleman looking for a word war! We set the clock for one hour and we were off! I won the word war and nearly caught up with my word count. I am feeling so happy today!
My past experiences with NaNoWriMo left me feeling down in the dumps as I quit on myself. This year, all the stars have aligned. I'm in a good place of personal growth for the challenge, my believing mirrors and cheerleaders are out in full swing, serendipity and inspiration are blowing under my wings and I am soaring!
Today I chose a giggle quote.  :)


"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."  ~ Peter De Vries


Thank you to all who are cheering me on and those joining me on this writing journey. I grabbed this image off an old sign hanging on a fence at the B&B this weekend. I couldn't help but think of  all of you. You are my net of support there to catch me if I fall. Thank you!



Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 2



NaNoWriMo Day 2 - I made goal. Made the ticker on the right happy today. The words are flowing freely but the story is somewhat of a catastrophe compared to the perfect scenario I imagined. My inner critic is getting really pissed off that my inner child is running around messing up the place!
I must continue to remind myself that this is dumping grounds. First draft. Free style. No editing. No re-writes. No judgment.


"If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word."  ~ Margaret Atwood





I am l♡ving the new Kleenex box!!!! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 1



NaNoWriMo Day 1 - Fell asleep on the couch last night which ended up being convenient as the first thought that popped into my brain this morning was, "Shit! Day One!"
I set up shop in the living room hoping for inspiration from my awesome book coffee table. I'm planning on writing on my son's discarded laptop as it's pretty bare bones basic and shouldn't allow for too many distractions. It also allows me to become a mobile writer! Look out local libraries! Here I come!
Plenty of Joe and my Dove Dark and I was set! I started writing when... oh yeah. Have to get the kids off to school. Two hours later...
I was off!

It is shortly after noon and I have reached my first day's goal! Boo Yah! Baby!

First day excitement, plenty of coffee, the novel has been churning in my brain for a month, first day dump was no problem. Let's hope it keeps up!

I'm off to shower and vote!

xxx-Smooches!-xxx 




"There's an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets screaming to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention."  ~ Chris Baty


Laptop - check                coffee - check               book table inspiration - check 



animal blankie & prowler outfit and I'm good to go


I always love me some Dove!






Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thankful


Hurricane Sandy.
The weathermen called it the perfect storm.
Looks to me to be a complete disaster.



Today I intended to post a few pictures of pretty fall leaves.
After the storm, it seemed so trivial. I was feeling guilty.

Then I realized it's not trivial.
It's my life.

Instead of feeling guilty, I choose to feel thankful.
Thankful for the beauty around me.
Thankful my family is safe.
Thankful I have a warm, dry house.
Thankful for clean water.
Thankful for the everyday things we so often take for granted.

I am thankful for humanity's ability to care for one another.
If you're looking for a way to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, the American Red Cross has a big banner across their home page asking for donations.

My heart goes out to those affected by the storm.
I pray there are no more lives lost.
I pray the healing will begin immediately.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Little Pumpkins...

... carved their pumpkins!


 
 







Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Accountable



I have added a button to the top of the right hand column of my blog. Do you see it? It's a word counter. A NaNoWriMo word counter.

NaNoWriMo - (from their website) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.

I have attempted this competition for three years now, always throwing in the towel fairly early. I felt guilty for taking the time, my inner critic talked me out of it, it was too hard. A few of the reasons for my past failures. This year, I am determined to win! I am telling family. I am telling friends. Now I am telling you. The more people that know, the more real it will be, the more I will feel held accountable.


This is Lennon. He loves our printer. He waits patiently for pages to print and is beyond thrilled when they arrive. I am going to tape this picture above my printer so he can hold me accountable (as much as a cat can).






A friend sent me this picture. She cannot be here to breathe down my neck. She wants this for me. Bad. She knows how important it is to me. I will hang this picture by my computer. It is to remind me she's watching, holding me accountable. 







If you pop in throughout the month of November, keep an eye on the word counter. See how I'm progressing. Feel free to cheer me on! If I slip, give me a little poke, but please be gentle!




Have you struggled with a self-challenge in the past?
What tricks and/or tools did you use to overcome?

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