Monday, September 26, 2016

Mindful Monday- Drive By

“Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another.” 

I drive by, now and then. This house was the beginning. It was a time of radical change. We moved from the city to an island. More a lark than determined decision, this island is where I have planted roots.

     Our first house sits on a bluff overlooking the water. With widely spaced eyes and a little top hat on the roof, the house has not changed much in all these years. Only two families have lived there since we did. My stay here was short and difficult.  When the tumult and confusion became overwhelming, I came to the swing on the back porch. The beauty saved me. As I invite the long ago moments to come back to my mind, I surrender to the truth that I have a home here on this rock. I never thought we would stay but here we are almost thirty years later.

Coming soon! 31 Days of Writing in October
Stories of Island Living

Friday, September 23, 2016

Five Siblings

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."

- Desmond Tutu

 The number five always brings me to the children I birthed and labored with through their lives. I continue to labor alongside them as they find their place in this life and as they raise new little siblings to populate their own homes.
    I can't help but see them as little boys and girls. Even though only a fourth of their existence was spent in childhood they are imprinted on my soul as little ones. I was barely out of the "little ones" category when I started the journey as mother. These human beings made me grow up, over and over again.

    I remember how they all slept together in one bed even though we had bedrooms a plenty. They mothered each other and fought against each other more than I liked. I failed to understand that my love alone could not make them love each other more. Nothing makes me happier than when they orchestrate time together, even though I get miffed that it doesn't always include me.
   I always think I know them but then they reveal events that happened under my nose. I am appalled! Who was watching these children? Truth be told, they are not entirely mine. They were gifted to me by their Father and Mother who have the amazing capacity to see their whole potential, their whole being in the present, and who remember them in the past as beloved heavenly children.
  I am grateful. When they bestow their love on me I am moved to love them even more.

      Join me in October for 31 Days of Writing-
 Stories of Island Living

  Almost 30 years ago we decided to move to an island. Technically England is an island but our island is very small by comparison. 

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share their work. Would you like to join? 

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt                        to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Eight Minute Memoir- Learning New Things

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. 

Steve Jobs

Many say that you learn faster when you are young. I think, the young have less ability to connect experiences of learning new things. I learned to play the piano when I was a child. For more than a decade I practiced the skill of trying new things. Ingrained into my very soul is this creative process:

  • This is awesome
  • This is tricky
  • This is hard
  • I can't do this
  • This might be okay
  • This is awesome 

    When my daughter-in-law gave my son and I a pie making class for a gift I thought "this is awesome". Then when I was rolling out my dough I made the mistake of looking around. NEVER LOOK AROUND AT OTHERS WORK! It catapulted me into the "I can't do this phase." I might have stayed there but I know how the process works. I can synthesize this hard new skill into my past experiences. The pie tasted awesome but truthfully it looked "blah".

    If I can live through the "this is hard, I can't do this stage" learning new things is good. One would think that as we got older we would have fewer new things to learn but alas, it is not true. My aging body forces me to learn new maintenance skills everyday. 

    The name of my blog reinforces the truth that starting back on the floor again is a never ending cycle. A balance act of reviewing old skills and trying new makes life fresh every morning. 

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt                        to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mindful Monday- Inviting The Moment To Be Sick

There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before. 

Henry David Thoreau 

  This month I am inviting the moment, not seizing it, but inviting it to bloom. My moment lasted several days as I looked out to my kitchen from the couch. I was sick. First there was the killer sore throat. I hate the uncomfortableness of the raw sensation when swallowing. The upside is trying out new throat lozenges. I may have grown out of the black cherry flavor which I loved as a child.

    Then there is the running nose which is so annoying when you are bending over. I let my nose just run and wore a bib. Sorry, is this too much information? Can't say that having a stuffed up nose is pleasant but I did rejoice when my nostrils had time to breathe free. Every once in a while they would clear and I would recall the joy of breath.
   Reading a great book is a wonderful upside of being sick. I do believe I finished two. They transported me to Canada and Florida where the characters had much more difficult issues that just being sick. And, I joined a new service that runs old and new Hallmark movies. The sugary sweet interchanges were just right for those moments when I invited a short nap. Upon regaining consciousness the characters were still swearing their undying love.
     My energy must be returning because typing this has been most enjoyable. Auf weidersehen sickness. DON'T COME BACK SOON!  

      Join me in October for 31 Days of Writing-
 Stories of Island Living

  Almost 30 years ago we decided to move to an island. Technically England is an island but our island is very small by comparison. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Eight Minute Memoir- Camping

“How is it that one match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box of matches to start a campfire?” – Christy Whitehead
Our family has only one camping experience. It was in the early eighties when we owned a business called Commodity Computer Services. My husband went out early in the computer world to bring computer information to farmers in the Midwest. To aid his traveling side show, I called it, he purchased a red truck which had floor to ceiling carpet. He was to outfit it like a an office for clients to climb aboard and get the spiel. Before it got fancy my husband suggested we go camping behind Mt. Timpanogus with the kids in the empty, carpeted van. 

Camping with children wasn't our thing. My only experience was church girls camp. As a child from an immigrant family, who survived being refugees after WWII, we did not find camping in a tent appealing. My husband and I went because those four munchkins, above, thought it would be fun. To be honest, I can't remember much except being awake all night while we rolled around the truck. Oh, and I remember trying to keep my children from falling in the fire. 

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt                        to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?


Sunday, September 18, 2016

I'm Teaching Young Children In Church, Again

“Children will follow your example. You are always teaching, even when you are not aware of it. You often teach more by your attitude and example than by your words. For example, children will notice whether you treat the scriptures respectfully. They will observe how you speak about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They will watch how you live the principles you are teaching."

I bring my ideas from three years ago to teach these new 6-7 year old children. I want them to know how much I love the scriptures so every week we have a scripture experience related to the lesson.

The skill of finding a scripture is paramount and building confidence in that skill is my goal. Step one is having scriptures for each child. Step two is isolating two to three scriptures from the reading block that are simple and relevant to both the child and the lesson. I stick a piece of removable highlighter tape under the scripture when thy find it. That makes it visible on the page.

I'm also back to making journals and working on a page every week. Doing lesson journaling fits well with the suggestions below from the Primary Resources Page.

"Make a paper chain. Make road signs. Make class banners. Make salt dough figures. Draw a picture. Make bookmarks. Write an incomplete statement about the doctrine on the board.  Invite the children to look for important words or phrases from the scriptures and teachings of latter-day prophets that could complete the statement."

Foldables are a favorite journaling technique. The lesson on telling the truth  was well suited to using a hot dog shaped foldable with the honesty train as the principle. The engagement was glueing and reading.

The week before I taught them about tithing and using a small pop up element in their journals.

  My favorite so far has been the obeying laws journal entry. We used the street signs to play stop and go singing. Obeying my metronome was an added element of fun.

    Want to know more about pop up foldables? I did a pretty good tutorial here. I actually had to use this tutorial to remember myself. I won't deny how much I like teaching every week. It is my passion and I hope I never tire of wanting to do better.

Friday, September 16, 2016


    Words from May-
              The world is still quiet at 4:45 am. Today I am meditating on bird songs. I completely relax and allow my ears to ready themselves for the eventual "dawn chorus". First the sound is far away and then a young dapper robin opens with gusto. He announces that he has survived the night and is by far the most able, handsome, musical fellow anywhere. He has some competition but each time he rises in a more fevered pitch. 

     Oh how I miss the  Dawn chorus. I am throwing out a few ideas about listening which I contemplated in May. Sounds from nature provide a perfect resting point for the mind. When you are listening to nature you are present.
      Music is another entree in the feast of life. Here are a few suggestions I use when I take time to listen.
  1. Listen to music as foreground 
  2. Notice how music makes your body feel
  3. Listen to an entire album, instead of a play list of many different types of music. 
  4. Be aware of dynamic changes and the emotions coming through the pieces.
        Carefully listening to a conversations is a challenge for me. When I discussed this with a health professional recently she encouraged me to change my perspective.
She assured me that it is part of being human to listen with an ear for how the conversation affects us. What is in this conversation for me? Why not use that tendency and tweak the motivation to assert that this conversation has something important for me to hear and listen for that information. The speaker becomes important to us and our attention moves more genuinely to the speaker.
If we were talking together right now I would want to know what ideas you have on the subject. 
Do you listen to be heard or do you listen to hear?

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share their work. Would you like to join?