Friday, December 27, 2013

Are You Ready for 2014?

I can hardly believe that nanowrimo and Christmas have both come and gone (and no, I did not win nanowrimo this year, boo). There is only a week left before 2014 rings in, and I feel like I still have so much to plan.

What about you?

I might not be ready yet, but I have a powerful feeling that 2014 is going to be a rockin' year. So, I really want to get my butt in gear and get ready.

This year, I am planning with 3 separate, fabulous, awesome tools.

1.  Leonie Dawson's Creating Your Amazing Year Workbook



I really wish that I would have bought the hard copy of this book. Instead, I ordered the digital version and had to print my own pages which were not as pretty as the print copy.

No matter though, the message is still here. I spent a lot of time going through the workbook, filling in my 100 Things To Do in 2014, creating my own personal affirmations, brainstorming, making lists, producing mottos, and a whole lot more.

I really felt like I was refining my vision for 2014 and honing my goals and dreams. I would definitely recommend this book. Leonie also has a business edition of the workbook available.

Did I mention that they are super reasonable? Just $9.95 each for digital version.

2.  Sage Grayson's From Lazy to Amazing

 

Sage Grayson (isn't that the most fabulous name?) sets out "5 easy ways to get off your butt and start kicking ass" in her ebook. She recommends creating a vision board (which I have done and posted on facebook). I used Pinterest to gather up my images and then used Picmonkey to create a collage that I could print out.  Next up: morning routines.

and lastly:

3. Kimberly Wilson's Tranquility du Jour Daybook



I have just started to fill in this daybook. It is a regular type calendar/planner but with so many cool touches added in. There are blank pages for brainstorming or collaging or whatever else you might like to do there, wheel of life pages for each season so you can monitor your life happiness in 8 areas, daily/weekly/monthly tranquility tools, important dates, book suggestions, and really so many more cool things. I just finished creating tabs for each month and some of the inspiration pages that I will want to refer to throughout the year.

Using a combination of all three of these resources, I am getting closer to that Rockin' 2014. What are your favourite organizational tools?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fabulous Mail Surprise

(as opposed to a fabulous MALE surprise).

My darling pal Stacy of Magic Love Crow fame surprised me with a feel-good mail package. I've been putting off posting about it because my photo software was acting up (why does that always happen right after you update software?) and I haven't gotten good photos.

Well, I'm going to have to ignore that because I don't want to wait any longer. A HUGE thank-you to Stacy for sending me two of my favourite pieces:

You Are Never Alone


and, Celebration:


I just adore them. They are now in my office, helping me hit my nanowrimo goals each day.

Thanks again, sooooooo much, Stacy!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mushroom-Millet Soup (and nanowrimo)

Nanowrimo has started (and yes, I am already behind) so I'm trying to make simpler meals to get out of the kitchen faster. This of course allows me to procrastinate from writing in a bunch of other ways.  :)

Though it was sunny today, it was also pretty chilly so I thought soup would be a great idea. Also, due to a little misunderstanding about the grocery list, I ended up with two ginormous trays of mushrooms. So here it goes:



Mushroom-Millet Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 ginormous tray of mushrooms (4-5 cups sliced)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups white beans (I used navy, you can use whatever you have)
6-8 cups mushroom stock (or veggie broth, chicken broth, whatever)
2 cups greens (I used spring mix to finish it off)
1 cup cooked* millet**
thyme, salt and pepper

Chop onion and saute in oil until soft. Add in all of those mushrooms and garlic and let it go until the mushrooms start to soften. Throw in the rest of it and let it simmer for at least a half hour but all afternoon is even better.

* To cook millet, add 1/2 cup dry millet + 1-1/2 cups water (or broth) into a saucepan. Let simmer for 25 minutes until the millet is soft. Don't worry if all of the water is not absorbed, as long as it is soft. Just throw it all in the pot.
** You can definitely substitute quinoa, couscous, barley, amaranth. Whatever you've got.

Now get back to writing. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - WrapUp

Thank you so much for joining me every day in October for the 31-day Challenge. Myquillyn, the genius over at the Nesting Place, has hosted the 31-day challenge for the past five years and this was the first year that I joined up.

We've been talking about creating a healthier inner dialogue and getting rid of our stinkin' thinkin'. I found it difficult to write something each day without succumbing to harried writing or a preaching tone but here we are, and I would definitely recommend you consider taking part next year. (I know I will be).

Here are some of the things that I learned this month:

I love slam poetry. Never heard of it before I went looking for some commentary on beauty, but I am struck by its power now.

We all seem to be in the same boat. Oh we might have different names for our hangups, but we all having little things that trip us up and we are all working on improving those things.

We all seem to be striving to be better, to do better, and to accept our wonderful selves just as we are too, not an easy dichotomy.

It feels really good to take on a challenge at the start of the month and then sail past the finish line, a little bruised and roughed up, but successful.

There are some brilliant gals out there commenting. 

Here are some of them:

Lisa Handley from Paper and Ponder commented on the 'Different' blog post: "Your post reminded me that each & every one of us, despite similarities and shared views & interests, is ultimately different. This, in turn, prompted me to think about how becoming courageous & comfortable with being & expressing our "different" selves can resonate with others, & by reaching out through sharing our different perspectives, we can end up connecting on common ground."

Stacy from Magic Love Crow says: "Tell your friends that you know, to wake up in the morning and say to themselves, they are a beautiful Goddess! And, tell them to look in a mirror when the say it too ;o) "

Maureen Hayes of Being Chronically Ill Is A Pill responded to the 'Should' post with this: "I had to laugh when I read this because a few years ago I was struggling with using the "s" word (should) until a friend explained that when we do that we "should all over ourselves!". It made such an impression on me that I no longer use the word should in that context because I don't want to "should" on myself."

Did you learn anything from this month of posts on how to achieve a healthier inner dialogue?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Don't Believe What You Think

I have had two recent revelations about my thoughts. The first is that I should not believe every idea that goes through my mind.  The second is that even if my impressions are true, I might be wise to ignore them.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Love Yourself

I don't know why it is so much easier to be unkind to ourselves than to be kind. Judgmental instead of understanding. Impatient instead of tolerant. Punishing instead of forgiving.

But it is.

Nanowrimo - It's Back

I can hardly believe that Friday is the start of this year's National Novel Writing Month, aka nanowrimo. If you're new to nanowrimo, head on over to the website to get the details.  Briefly, it's all about getting together with a virtual (and real life) community to set aside all of your excuses and write 50,000 words in a month.

You get the 50,000 words done, you win. Easy peasy.  ;)



It doesn't have to be a fiction piece either. You can take the challenge and completely make it your own. Maybe you're dreaming of writing a non-fiction piece? That works too. Writing is writing, just get in there.

I've come across a couple of sites that I know are going to be helpful for me so I thought I would share them here:

Scrivener - I am completely in love with this program for writing.  It has index cards, research sections, templates, awesomeness.

Justin Swapp - these are free templates for different writing genres and techniques to be used with the Scrivener program

Dan Wells - story structure video series (5 parts)

Tiki-Toki - this is a timeline site that some people might find useful (I tend to use a big whiteboard for this but might give this site a try)

Unofficial Binder of Resources - FireFallon has created a binder-type list of resources for everything from characterization to name generators to productivity tools. Super helpful.

Crockpot White Chili - from Practical Stewardship - nothing like crockpot recipes so you can just throw everything in the pot and then go write.

Crockpot Drip Beef - from The Pioneer Woman - looks amazing.

Slowcooker Chicken Tacos - from Happy Hour Projects, so easy, so delicious.

Please feel free to share any resources that you might have discovered.

Is anybody else signing up for the challenge this year? I know that Kei from Unfortunately Oh is going to be taking part. Kei is easily the most prolific writer I know during nanowrimo. Watch her numbers and be astounded (no pressure there, Kei).

I would certainly love company if anyone is interested -- I can be an awesome cheerleader. Let me know if you're joining up.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Beauty Re-Revisited

This is a poem by Katie Makkai. The last stanza of her performance honestly (and literally) brings tears to my eyes. So powerful. Chilling. I hope you enjoy it.

Oops, meant to warn you that there is swearing so make sure the little ones are not within earshot.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Compassion

If all roads lead to gratitude, then all streams must lead to compassion. Can you imagine if our world was filled with gratitude and compassion? I can't imagine we would need a single other thing (okay, I'll throw in love - but that's it).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Stop Talking

Sometimes, the best inner dialogue, is no dialogue at all. Silence, glorious silence, is a healthy alternative to your internal chatter. It is easy to do anywhere, totally free, and comes with a truckload of health benefits.

Ghost Stories for the Kiddos

I can hardly believe that October is nearly over and Halloween is on our doorstep. Are you ready with costumes and candy? I'm ready with a couple of ghost stories.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - The Paradigm Shift

Many moons ago now, my husband told me a story that has stuck with me. It was something he had read but neither of us remember the source now, unfortunately.

The author is sitting on the bus when a man and his two kids get on. The man sits quietly, ignoring the children as they terrorize the other riders -- running, screaming, misbehaving. The bus riders are irritated, some even getting angry. Why won't the man make his children behave?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Expectations

Do you sometimes look at your creation (whether it be a painting, a recipe, a crochet piece, an essay, whatever) and think that it kind of sucks? Then someone sees it and they're all crazy for it (sincerely it seems), and you think - what the heck? How was I so off about this piece?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Soul Suckers

Have you ever been stuck in the company of someone who sucks your soul dry? Maybe they prattle on endlessly without asking you a single question. Or maybe they are the type to whine on and on about every little mishap like it's the end of the world. Or maybe everybody else is stupid (of course not them).

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Different

Are you afraid of being too different? A little leery of standing out from the crowd? What if the descriptor was changed from 'different' to,...

One-of-a-kind. Unique. Special. Distinctive. Exclusive. Rare.

Does that sound better? Feel better?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Beauty Revisited

Though I could not have crafted this fabulous poem in any number of lifetimes, this is the feeling of what I was trying to say on the previous post about Beauty. It's 3 minutes and it's amazing. Be warned, this is a spoken poem and there is swearing so be sure to wait until the kiddos are out of ear shot.  :)

Female, by Anna Lieberman





Friday, October 18, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Check In

Gretchen Rubin, the Happiness Project guru, has the greatest idea to prevent snapping and being grumpy. It is free, doesn't take any special skills, and is almost effortless.

What is it?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Under-React

x

I remember reading somewhere (or was it on Dr. Phil?) that you don't have to show up for every fight you're invited to. This was a revelation to me. If I feel attacked or accused, I don't have to respond. If I feel that someone is just grumpy and lashing out, I don't have to respond.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Change It Up

I do this thing.  It's kind of weird. Well, maybe a lot weird, but it really works for me. I change the endings to things so that I like them better.

I find this especially helpful when it comes to commercials. I think we will all agree that a lot (a LOT!) of commercials are just plain stupid, or even worse - annoying. So instead of getting all tense and irritated (a land where I tend to reside a good deal of the time), I make up a new ending.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Habits

Sometimes I find that I respond badly to a situation entirely out of habit and I wonder how I can stop doing so. For example, I have a hard time resisting the snappy comeback, no matter how inappropriate or unkind it might be.

I'm not sure where this started, but I can tell you that it is definitely ingrained - a habit. My mind thinks quickly, my mouth works even faster, but my filter is tremendously slow. Yep. Not really an optimal situation.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Self-Pity

Today's post is difficult for me, embarrassing really. Originally, I started off by asking if we are all guilty of self-pity and even started to type that I only succumb occasionally, but the more I sat with that statement, the more I realized it wasn't true.  I am a self-pity queen.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Beauty

I've started this post about beauty in so many different ways, but I can't get it right.  I can't get started, I think because I don't understand it. This obsession we have with beauty.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that I am unaffected by this quest to be pretty, because I'm not.  I pluck and tweeze and exfoliate and moisturize and condition.  I know which side of my face takes a better picture.  I know that if I give a full toothy grin my jowls will disappear.  I know that good posture makes me look significantly thinner.  I know that a smile will always make me look more attractive. I dye my hair and whiten my teeth (but not too much) and wear eyeshadow that makes my blue eyes pop.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Mistakes

I really dislike being wrong.  A lot. I don't even have to be right to be happy, just not wrong.  Maybe I should be rethinking this. Maybe we are all too hung up on not making mistakes?

I say that like it's a question or something to ponder, but I think we all know that focusing on perfection isn't a wise course. Letting go is the easy breezy way to be.  :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Me, Me, Me

Have you ever talked to a friend the day after a party and had her mention something like, 'so did you like my dress last night?" or "Oh wow, did you notice that I spilled that dip on my shirt right at the beginning of the night and I had to wear that on my front the entire evening?" or "I'm so embarrassed, did you hear me slip out something about Jane's husband?" only to realize you have absolutely no recollection of this 'horrific' event? You were there, must have heard or seen it, but nope,...it didn't stay with you at all.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Comparisons

Do you know that most (all?) of the visual media that we are fed has been altered in some way? Some of it is fairly benign, a brighter colour, tweaking the background.  We even do some of these smaller things on our blogs, to make our photos look just a little better. Some of it, however, is anything but harmless.

Television commercials have actors behaving as if they were random people being interviewed, spewing out perfect little sound bites that coincidentally enough promote the product in a succinct, pithy, positive light.  Except it isn't a coincidence.  It's choreographed, right down to the pauses in between sentences and 'surprised' facial expressions.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Prioritization

You're not going to like this, but I'm going to say it anyway, because you need to hear it.  You cannot do it all.

I know, I know. You want to. You think you can. It isn't true. You just can't. You have to decide what is most important, make those things a priority, and let the rest go.

So how do you do that?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Fear

When I look back across my many years of reading, there is one book that stands out as a life-changing read:  Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.  I've included a link to Amazon, but it's so old now that you can probably find it in your local library if you want to check it out.

Jeffers talks about a variety of tips and techniques for getting past fear, but this one is my favourite:

"At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can't handle whatever life may bring you."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Should

Every morning (well most of them), I do a version of Julia Cameron’s morning pages.  I sit down and write for a few pages, just to get my creative self rolling.  Sometimes I write the start of a cool poem or blog post or a snippet of dialogue that I like enough to use, but most of the time, I end up writing about things I need to do that day.

One day I realized that my morning pages were filled with line after line of shoulds: I should finish up that writing piece, I should pick up the dry cleaning today, I should stop to get stamps.  Should, should, should.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Affirmations

As we discussed yesterday, one of the most detrimental habits we have may be negative thinking. With a little bit of initial effort, the pessimistic view can be replaced with self-affirming dialogue.

Affirmations do not cost a penny, they do not require any additional time to perform, and you do not need any particular skill to use them. Sounds perfect? It just might be.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Nocebo

Okay friends, I just read about something that has totally blown me away.  You have heard of the placebo effect, right -- where there is a positive or healing response to a treatment that is inert (paraphrased from Wikipedia). For example, a person's headache or gout or cancer might disappear after taking only a sugar pill.  Well, I just read all about the NOCEBO effect.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Procrastination

I wish I could remember where I read this because I adore it.  When you are thinking of procrastinating:  
Just get your shit done.

Brief, to the point, bam.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Just Say No


We all have an unprecedented number of demands on our time these days.  The more things get easier because of technology, the more things we pile on, and yes, the less time we have for all of it.

Couple that overburdened schedule with a hesitancy (and that's likely understating it) to say no, and wow, we have no time to ourselves.  So how can we fix that?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Guilt

I am one of those people who is both fuelled and tormented by guilt.  I am perpetually haunted by things I did do and things that I did not do; troubled by words I wish I had said and words I wish I had not said; concerned about things that have happened and things that have not happened.

Crippled and paralyzed by guilt.

And the more I focus on my guilt, the more,….
The more what?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Perfectionism

Perfectionism.  Mmmm,…I love the sound of that.  There are few things that will get me feeling all swoony and high like something that is absolutely perfect:  a faultless dinner party, unsurpassed consideration, a flawless home, unrivaled conversation.  Yummy perfection.

Except, and we all know this is true, there isn’t any such thing. No matter how much of your time, attention, and skills you throw at attaining perfect results, you will never do it. You can't. It's impossible.

Stinkin' Thinkin': 31 Days to a Healthier Inner Dialogue

Are you looking for the 31 Days series? You've arrived at the right place.  We are starting off with Perfectionism and winding our way through 30 other habits of thought that aren't helping us out any.  Maybe by the end, we'll be kicking our negative notions to the curb and watching our spirits soar.


Each post is a separate piece so you don't need to go in order.  Feel free to click on any topic that calls to you. As each post goes up, I'll add it to a list below so it's easy for you to find.
And don't forget to pop over to Nesting Place to check out all of the other fabulous 31-day challenge blogs.  

Fabulous and Free E-book

I am so excited to share this project with you all.  A bunch of fabulous creators, bloggers, and friends have gotten together to make sure that you are ready for Halloween.

Need decor ideas? We've got you covered.
Drinks and dessert? You're good.
Costume ideas? Oh yeah!
Ghost story for the kiddos? Done.

Just click on the book cover below, and it'll take you to the download site.  Enjoy and Happy Halloween.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

Perfectionism - A Joy-Sucker


“That isn’t good enough to show anyone.”
“Those other bloggers do the coolest things, and I’m always doing the same boring stuff.”
“If only I could drop these last 7 pounds, I would be so happy.”
“Why didn’t I remember to ask her about her trip? I can be so self-absorbed.”
“I should really finish up these chores instead of enjoying this gorgeous day.”
“How do the other moms do it?”
“Why can’t I be more patient with the kids?”

Do any of those sound familiar?  I’ll admit that I fall prey to that type of negative talk despite decades of conscious effort to be positive and self-supportive.  I’ve read self-help books, seen a therapist (a couple actually), tried meditating, kept a journal, written letters to myself. I’ve tried a lot of things, but that unhealthy inner dialogue is really difficult to squelch.  And I think it’s a problem that many of you have as well.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

Something is Coming

Hey friends,

I want to start by apologizing for my long absence.  Summer swept me away and took my focus and ambition with it.  Now that fall has kinda sorta arrived (63 degrees today), I am revving back up with big plans, lots of new things, and a different look.

My plans are to launch this new stuff by October 1st, but I'll let you know the big day as we get closer.

Thanks for your understanding.

Terry 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Cotilion

I decided to try something a little different for the second piece of my art journal.  This was my inspiration piece:

A birthday card created by My Creative Place.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Adrianne's Trees

Do you remember the art journal that I started last week? I shared the cover with you here.  Well it has been the perfect answer to my fear of ruining things and my chronic frugality, ha ha.

I have finished 3 pieces already.  This is the first one.  It is modelled after Karrie on Canvas' trees tutorial.  She is amazing, so loose and free.  Her mantra is Brave and Bold.  Love her and her tutorials are really fun and helpful.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Learning How To Let Go

I am way too tense.  I worry about everything.  I am anxious about everything.  If there is a possible worst-case scenario, I will have thought of it already and started to plan my actions in case it happens.  No matter how ridiculous it could be (tsunami in Ontario for example).

So,...I'm working really hard at relaxing.  :)

I'm learning to let a little messy exist around me (a little) and working to focus on something other than perfectionism.  The best way, so far, that I've found to do this is to get loose with art.

I picked up a children's book at the thrift shop; a whopping quarter investment. (It was about giants.)  I gessoed the cover and a few of the inside pages and am going to use it as an art journal where I just get a little crazy and let go.

Here is the cover I created this week:


I used a couple of book pages, paint, stencils and stamps, ribbon and lace, beads, and a whole lot of glitter glue that plopped out when I gave it a good squeeze.

My goal is to complete one page each week, just playing and trying out new techniques and tools.  How important do you feel your craft/creative time is to your relaxation?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Song

I ducked out of doing the five minute friday last week.  Just wasn't feeling it, but I'm back at this week, albeit feeling a little shy about it.  My mom mentioned to me this week that she had read my blog and I felt, well, shy.  Like I was more comfortable for strangers to read my stuff.  Weird huh.  Especially weird because she is truly my biggest cheerleader, always so incredibly supportive, and just all and all amazing.

So,....yeah.  :)

This week's theme is "Song".  Remember how it goes -- no over-thinking, no backtracking, no editing, write for five minutes.  If you want to play along head on over to Lisa-Jo Baker's blog and give it a go:

Five Minute Friday

GO

Have you heard that song "Brave" sung by Sara B. (yes, that means I can't remember her last name).  It is awesome.  Such an empowering message about what would happen if you were honest and brave.  I could listen to it over and over again.




And what a great message for our young kiddos to hear especially the ones who would be more apt to keep quiet and avoid their own voice.  It makes me feel more powerful, more confident.

It reminds me of a painter that I have recently found.  Her name is Karrie E. (yes, again) and she used to have a program called Karrie on Canvas.  She is an abstract painter and she does tutorials in a really fun and fresh way.  I'm going to take a stab at one this weekend (now that my brushes have arrived - woohoo).  Her mantra is Be bold and brave.  I love this.  She is a mom but is also this sassy wild woman, full of colour and energy.  Love her.  Another great inspiration.

Karrie Evanson's "Best Friends"

Where do you find inspiration? Anything interesting or compelling lately? Would love to hear about it.

STOP

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Andy and The Stinky, Smelly, Poopy, Putrid, Reeking, Rotten Day


This is a short story for the kiddos.  It is silly and foul and dedicated to Emma and Carter who have been oh so patient while I do other things.  If you have little ones at home that might like this story, I would love it if they drew some pictures to go with it.  If anyone does, please send them to me and I'll be sure to post them here and on Facebook.

Andy and the Stinky, Smelly, Poopy, Putrid, Reeking, Rotten Day

As Andy turned the corner, he crashed right into the foulest smell. “Oh man, what stinks?!” he grimaced with nose all wrinkled up. Julia whipped around quickly with nasty eyes that made Andy feel frightened. Just behind her he could see her cat, poor old Elvis,  throwing up. Whew – did it ever stink.  Andy tried to move quickly to his desk area to get away from the smell but it wasn’t working. He could feel his stomach turning. Ewwwwwww.  Before he could stop it, Andy was throwing up too. Again and again and again. He could hardly stop. Every time he thought he was okay, he would breathe in the pungent smell of Elvis’ puke and vomit again. Poor Andy. He felt terrible.  He had to get out of there.

Holding his stomach with one hand and his nose with the other, he ran out into the parking lot to get some fresh air. Whew. That’s a little better he thought, maybe I’ll go get something to eat, that will probably make me feel better.

People were always amazed that Andy could eat at any time. He really liked to eat. He liked to eat a big breakfast to get his day started off right. Then he liked to eat a snack in the morning so his tummy wouldn’t be rumbly. Another little snack before lunch, lunch of course, afternoon snack,…it really went on and on. Andy was an eating machine and right now he was amazingly enough, hungry.

He stood up straight and took a very deep breath just to make sure he felt okay. Wowee! “What is that smell?!” he gagged.  Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. The sewage treatment center across the street was letting out the stinkiest stench that he had ever smelled. It was much worse than the cat puke. Andy tried not to think about it, but before he could stop it, he was throwing up again. Again and again and again. He could hardly stop it. Poor Andy. He had to get out of there.

Wearing a very pale face, Andy ran around behind his work building so he could enter through the back door. He was feeling weak and had to slow and then stop for just a second to rest. When Andy stopped, he could smell something poopy. Sniff, sniff, sniff,….ewwwwwwwwwww,…he could smell dog poo. Slowly, carefully, he lifted his right shoe so he could see the bottom. Nope, nothing there. Even more slowly, more carefully, he lifted his left shoe so he could see the bottom. Ewwwwwwwww,…that was dog poo all right. Quickly Andy tried to scrape off the poo from the bottom of his left shoe by dragging it along the cement curb. The more he scraped, the more the poop smell dashed up to his nose. Andy tried to just keep breathing out so he wouldn’t smell the poop, but before he could stop it, he was throwing up again. Again and again and again. Wow did he need to find some fresh air, somewhere. 

Quickly, ever so quickly, Andy sprinted to the supervisor’s office out back. Up the stairs, two by two until he burst from the hallway into the large, fresh smelling office. Well it wasn’t really all that fresh smelling, but it didn’t smell like cat puke or sewage or dog poo. Andy was so relieved.

He flopped into the Supervisor’s chair and closed his eyes, breathing in the not smelly air. In and out, in and out. Okay, he was starting to feel better. And still feeling hungry. “Hmmm,…I wonder if Bob has any leftovers in his desk here,” Andy mumbled as he searched through the drawers. “What is this?” he wondered as he reached in and touched something soft and fuzzy. Maybe it’s a peach he thought. Oooh, he hoped so. Andy loved peaches. He loved how they tasted and he loved how they smelled. Swiftly Andy pulled out the peach and took a big sniff. Oh no.  It wasn’t a peach and boy did it smell putrid. It smelled so bad that it brought tears to Andy’s eyes. Without even looking to see where it landed, Andy threw the fuzzy piece of mystery food and started to run. He tried not to keep smelling the fuzzy food but the smell was stuck in his nose and before he could stop it, he was throwing up again. Again and again and again. Poor Andy. This was getting to be too much. 

He staggered into the kitchen area where the rest of his friends were having a snack. He needed to get his mind off of all the stinkiness around him. So he sat down and tried to relax. Ah, this was better. He was sitting with all his friends, everyone was laughing and chatting. Andy caught a look at Walter. Walter didn’t look very good. “Hey Walter, you okay?” Andy asked, “You look a little weird.”  Before anyone could answer, Walter ripped out the loudest fart Andy had ever heard followed immediately by a huge reek. That was all Andy needed and before he could stop it, he was throwing up again. Again and again and again. Without even stopping to see how Walter was, Andy bolted from the kitchen, down the metal stairs and out into the yard. 

He ran and ran and ran, not even looking which way he was going. He was running so fast that he tripped, flying through the air right onto a pile of rotting garbage. Of all the smells that Andy had smelled today, this was the worst of them all. It smelled completely rotten. Andy panicked when he realized where he was but the more he flailed about, the deeper into the garbage pile he got. He wanted to yell for help, but he knew if he opened his mouth, garbage would fall into it. He was trapped. Trapped in the garbage pile; breathing in the most rotten of the rotten. Andy’s body couldn’t even throw up anymore. His tummy was empty and he thought he was a goner.

He could only open his eyes a little, little bit but he spotted it. Could he reach it? Sure he could. He had to. Andy stretched and stretched his weak arm until he could feel his fingers wrap around it and he pulled it close to him stuffing it right up to his nose. In he breathed, deeply. Oh it was wonderful. So very, very wonderful. Andy had found a bathroom air freshener and it smelled wonderful. He couldn’t stop breathing it in. In and out; in and out. Mmmmmmm. Slowly Andy crawled out of the garbage pile with the air freshener still jammed right up to his nose. He brushed off the stray pieces of garbage with one hand and just kept on sniffing that freshener. Whew! He was starting to feel quite good now. He checked his watch and realized that it was nearly lunch time. Perfect, he thought, I’m starved.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Brave

Fri-daaaaaaaaaaaaaay. (enough said)

It's time for five minute friday and Lisa-Jo Baker's theme for this week is 'Brave'.  It's all about writing for five minutes.  No planning, no backtracking, no over-thinking, no stopping, no editing,...just writing.  We all know I go back after and fix typos, but that's the only change.

If you want to join in, head on over to Lisa-Jo's place and play along.


Five Minute Friday 

GO

You know how people pick a word at the beginning of the year and then try to follow it as an inspiration throughout the rest of the year? Well, I didn't do that.  But if I had done that, my word would have been brave.

This is my year for upsetting everything and starting fresh.  I've been spending painstaking hours removing all the spent plant carcasses from my garden so that I could spend time preparing my soil (so to speak, lol).

My stagnant clay-filled garden dirt has slowing and effortfully been replaced with a rich nourishing loam.  I have read self-help books, done at least a hundred quizzes, started to see a counsellor, began journalling almost daily, and perhaps most importantly of all, focused on being more mindful.

All of these steps have been more than a little scary, but I knew that without this kind of preparation, anything else I tried to add or fix wasn't going to take.  Wasn't going to be strong enough to stick.

This next step is a little more fun but still has fear attached to it.  I'm working on slowly adding in the little bits of myself that I want to either keep or add.  I've started with some interesting pieces like painting and morning pages and these five minute fridays.  I'm liking the changes but can't say that it gets easier with practice.  Just worth it.

STOP

Part of this trying new things has me going to a local church to listen to a Celtic Choir - by myself.  Do you ever do things like that alone?  I can't say that I do but I'm really excited about it.  What's up for your weekend?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Friend

I did actually do this on Friday but had already posted the four-letter word so I thought I would give you all a break and save this little blurb for today.  Hope your weekend was fabulous.

The rules are still the same - five minutes, no overthinking, no backtracking, no editing, the theme is 'friend'.  If you want to join in, head on over to Lisa-Jo Baker's site and throw yourself into it.


Five Minute Friday

GO

I have so many thoughts bursting about 'friend', I'm pretty sure this is going to be rambly.  :)

My first thought is how wonderful I have found bloggyland to be.  So many wonderful people around every corner wanting to help, and to share, and to inspire.  I have never been involved with such a positive, passionate, caring group before and I cherish each of the friendships that have developed from it.  There are some gals that I only know through the blog connection who I would scale a wall for (and trust me when I tell ya, I don't really do the scaling wall thing).

The next thought that popped into my head was how much my family members have become my friends. Not all of them, lol, but (tempted to backspace here,..struggling) a few who have jumped up in my times of need, stood beside me, and shared their hearts with me.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have them in my life and I know that I would chose them as friends even if we weren't related.

(I warned you, rambly).

The last thought that popped into my head was the friendship with myself that I have been nurturing lately.  I have felt an incredible peace settle over me in the last month as I have been making effort to quiet my inner critics, listen to my wise self (a SARKism), and generally be more of a friend to myself.  There are other benefits I've noticed:  I'm more creative (I can hardly stop the ideas from rushing into my head), I'm more patient, happier, spontaneous, less angry and irritated.

STOP

Right now SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) has a free (free!) video series on Awakening and Activating Your Personal Power.  I have watched the first two videos and love them both.  She has a charisma about her that stems from a very genuine place inside of her.  I couldn't take my eyes off of her.  Definitely recommend.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Bird is the Word

Gloria over at New End Studio suggested that every 4th Friday of the month we do a post based on a four-letter word. Gloria mentions that your creation can be anything,...art, a short story, a poem, a painting.  Whatever.  So, my four-letter word for this month is BIRD.

That's right,...the bird is the word (do you know that song? or the Family Guy episode?)  Check out this video if you don't.  You'll be sooooooo happy that this song is embedded into your brain.  :)




Okay, that really isn't my four-letter word contribution though.  I took a shot at a painting tutorial by Marc Charles.  Never mind that I love his accent and would listen to him read the dictionary, lol.  He does a great job taking you through the beginner silhouette painting instructions, makes it so easy.  Here is my first attempt:


I really had a lot of fun doing this.  Can anyone guess what I used to paint this on?  If you want to participate, head on over to Gloria's site.

New End Studio


Friday, April 19, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Jump

I can't tell you how glad I am that today is Friday.  I know, I know, that's not a terribly original thought.  I'm just really feeling it this week.  This week's Five Minute Friday theme is 'jump'.  If you want to join in, head on over to Lisa-Jo Baker's site and get in on the fun.


Five Minute Friday

For now, no over-thinking, no backtracking, no editing.  Here goes:

GO

Funny but the first thing that came to my mind when I read this week's theme was that old Pointer sisters song, "Jump".  Jump, jump, for my love.  Are you all singing it now?  I should be sorry, but that kind of cracks me up.

Anyway, (I want to hit backspace, fought the urge),.....the temperature here has been jumping around.  The last two days have been super warm (70s) though today is full of wind and rain and muddy paws.  I'm trying to enjoy it because tomorrow we might have snow.  Yikes.  I don't know if this is global warming or what, but I don't remember having seasons like this when I was a kid.

We had winters that were vicious and piled high with snow but they started in December and ended in March.  Now, who knows.  It's April and I don't know what to plan to wear to my niece's first communion tomorrow.  Are snow pants appropriate? Okay, it's not that bad.

It just feels that bad sometimes.  I planted some cool weather seeds (kale, lettuce, spinach, chard) the other day and my mother-in-law laughed at me.  She is skeptical but the little seed packets said, "as soon as the ground can be worked".  Do you think the seed packet isn't aware that we are getting snow weeks after the soil has become workable?  I'm not sure.  I'll keep you posted on whether anything comes up or not.  I checked yesterday and did notice that there are some tiny little weedlings coming up.  Buggers.  

STOP

Hmmm,...not happy with this week's attempt but I'm going to abide by the rules and leave it up there.  Has anyone else been experiencing crazy weather and a spring that just won't come?  

Tomorrow, as I mentioned, we are going to my niece's first communion celebration and dropping Libby off at daycare for the first time.  I wonder if I'll be one of those doggie mommas in tears at the doorway?  Wish me luck.  What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Here

Friday already.  Time for our frantic five minutes of writing.  No over-thinking, no editing, no backtracking (though you know I'm going to go back and fix typos - it's just who I am).  This week's theme is "Here".

If you want to join in, head on over to Lisa-Jo Baker's site:



 GO

The rain is cold and almost more of a mist.  I can feel Libby’s hot breath on my leg, hear her snort as she shifts position, burrowing her nose deeper into my thigh.  I have had to pee for some time but I can’t bear to move her or to lose this closeness.  She doesn’t cuddle as much now that she’s older, always on the go, and I miss her warmth.

Right now, I just want to be here, listening to the soft patter of the rain against the windows, watching her legs twitch, wondering if she’s chasing a cat or falling upon a littermate, wrestling the afternoon away.

I’ve forgotten how wild she was just an hour ago, racing through the house, a tornado of messes in her wake.  Crying cats and grumbling adults, tired of her grabbing their cuffs and forcing some play.  Forgotten how she grabbed up the bathroom rug, eyeing me the while, and then ripped out a big bite, laughing with her eyes as I scolded her.

Forgetting everything but how wonderful it feels to snuggle up, right here with my Little Miss Libby.

STOP



This weekend promises to remain coldish and rainy for us here so I'm thinking of heading over to doggie gym on Saturday morning.  Letting Little Miss burn off some energy.  On Sunday, I'll be enjoying the fabulous cooking of mom and Gary for my brother's birthday. Super win!!

What are you plans for this weekend? And if you're going to have some warmth or sunshine, please do share.  :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Another Stack of Books

Look what the Amazon angels brought me.  Woohoo.



I still haven't finished the last stack, but you can never have too many books waiting in the wings, can you?  Maybe you can, but nothing beats that giddy feeling when you break open the box and pull out a pile of new adventures.

I picked out most of these books after reading Leonie Dawson's post "Top 10 Self Help Books".  I'll keep you posted on how I like them.

So far I have finished The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  I loved the message of the four agreements and feel that they are truly life-changing.  It was an easy and fast read (I had it done in less than two days) but a little repetitive, so I ended up doing a bit of skimming here and there.
Amazon

Here are some of my favourite lines:

"Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me."

"The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth."

"We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing."

"If you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself.  And if you don't judge yourself, there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment."

"If you break an agreement, begin again tomorrow, and again the next day."


I have started in on The Celestine Prophecy but am just a chapter in.  Has anyone read it?  I'm still working on The Forgotten Garden (loving it) and The 21-Day Conscious Cleanse (it's a tougher read for me but still liking it).  What are you reading?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Five Minute Friday - After

How did it get to be Friday so quickly this week?  I guess I shouldn't complain, right!

Time for Five Minute Friday.  If you want to join in, this week's theme is "After" and here is the link.

Lisa-Jo Baker


Friday, March 29, 2013

Broken

Okay guys, it's Friday again and it's another episode of Five Minute Friday.  This week's theme is "Broken".  Scary topic really.  I am trying to think of anything that might be good or positive or even neutral and also described as broken. Let me know if you gals come up with anything.

If you want to join in, head on over to Lisa-Jo's site to join in the fun, then just click on the button.

Lisa-Jo Baker, Five Minute Friday


Friday, March 22, 2013

Remember

Somewhat fitting with this week's theme, I am wondering if you remember that last Friday I took a shot at the Five Minute Friday writing prompt from Lisa-Jo Baker's site? Well, it's Friday again, so I'm going to give it another shot. If you want to take a stab at it, follow the button.

Five Minute Friday


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Are You Reading?

In an attempt to address some of the stupidity that causes me anxiety, I should first admit that calling it stupidity is neither helpful nor compassionate, and rephrase.  So,...

In an attempt to address some of the issues that are swirling around in my head and causing me anxiety (better? I think so), I am putting some effort into becoming more self-aware and mindful.  Right now, I am reading like crazy and listening to podcasts to help with this.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Is It Just Me?

Does anybody else look at this 'cool' outdoor bed and think,....oh yeah, that's what I need,....another set of bedding to wash.  But wait, I also get to trek all the way outside and through the yard just to get at it.

Or is it just me?


HGTV

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rest

I have just stumbled across this fabulous blogger, Lisa-Jo Baker. She is many things including being a huge source of inspiration and motivation, especially for moms, but not exclusively. I am really excited about this 5-minute Friday idea that she has. Here's how it works: you check out the topic of the week (this week is 'rest'), then write for 5 minutes. You're not allowed to over think it, not allowed to go back, and not allowed to edit anything. Just write. Then share at her linky party. Sounds exhilarating and terrifying.  :)

So that's what's happening here today. I would love it if you would participate as well. Let me know if you do so I can check out what you've written.

5 Minute Friday

Here goes - 5 minutes - no editing.  (yikes)

REST

I am an anxious person. I worry about things, I stew about things, I obsess about things. And not even really important things. More like,...if I make a fabulous meal for company and there is one tiny thing that isn't perfect (like the chicken could have used a bit more salt), then the entire thing is a failure. Or, if I take the  puppy to puppy class, where she is surrounded by 12 others crazy little fur babies, and she acts up or is rude, well that's a mini-catastrophe.

My rational self knows that is silly, and if you were anxious about things like that, I would have the most compassionate, supportive pep talk to share with you. I haven't been able to get it to work with myself though. I struggle, but I still stress.

And it's tiring. So incredibly tiring to try to be perfect at everything. To be perfect for others, but also to be perfect for myself, because if there isn't perfection, then what is there?

So I need a rest. A big old rest from perfection, a rest from anxiety, a rest from that kind of pressure. Instead, I am striving to relax, to be more compassionate towards myself, and to strive for more healthy goals.

Like good enough. Have you heard that quote: Perfection is the enemy of good. (did I get close on it? I'm something of a paraphraser at heart). So instead of aiming for perfection, and stressing about perfection, instead, I am going to aim for good. Good and healthy, and give myself a rest.  (that's 5 minutes)




I must confess that I popped back up to fix the typos (I can't go cold turkey, lol), but I didn't change anything which is incredibly scary.





Thursday, March 14, 2013

Those Are Flowers?

I stumbled upon this watercolour tutorial on Ink Stitch.  Denice does a great job with explaining this and I am amazed that such a simple process produces such a cool finished project.  This is Denice's version:

Ink Stitch


I started off with a piece of cardboard from a pasta box (one of my usual culprits because I'm cheap frugal).  So I started with coats of acrylic paint instead of watercolour in butter yellow to get started.

Then I did a haphazard spray of yellow at the top, red in the middle and green at the bottom.

Now, time to add in the flowers.  This was something close to hilarious.  After I saw my attempt (which someone in my house, who shall remain nameless, referred to as 'something a 4-year-old might do', lol), I pulled out a sketch pad and got to work making flowers.  Apparently, I need some practice in this area.

Here is how mine ended up:




I'll try this tutorial again when I get some watercolour paper because Denice's version is so pretty.  I'll let you know when I do.  What is your most recent,...uh,...room for improvement piece?



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who doesn't love a fabulous mail week?!!

This week has been such a happy mail week.  Two of my favourite bloggy friends have sent me goodies in the mail.

The first is THE most gorgeous infinity cowl you will ever wear.  I've been wearing it around the house today to keep the chill at bay.  Kadie of Seven Alive fame crocheted this stylish piece for me and I will be heading out hiking with Little Miss Libby this afternoon to test it out.  Thanks Kadie.  If you want one, head on over to Kadie's storenvy shop.

Gorgeous Cowl!

The second is this fabulous aceo made by Stacy of Magic Love Crow fame.  It is titled "My Heart" and that is exactly what it touched,...my heart.  It is amazing to me how she is able to create such a detailed painting on such a tiny canvas.  I have this propped up on my desk to inspire me while I'm struggling with my writing.  Thanks Stacy.  If you want something similar, pop over to Stacy's etsy shop.


Fabulous Aceo!
Great big thank you to Kadie and Stacy.  You have truly made my week my fair ladies.  Big hugs to you both.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Writer's Bucket List

I want to be a writer. I might even be one now, that's debatable.  My supportive, loving friends and family tell me I'm a writer, but I do doubt it almost daily.  But I want to be a writer so I soldier on.

Some days I almost write something.  Some days I actually write something.  Most days I have no focus and feel a little lost.  At least, that's how I WAS feeling.

Before Dana's book.  I'm not kidding.  I now feel like I have a plan as a writer because her book offerred up a bunch of fabulous suggestions and I jumped right in and started following them.

Writer's Bucket List Website

The best part is that the book is more like a package.  It comes with a writer's bucket list workbook, a bucket list of exercises, and a brainstorming workbook.

The three items from the list that I am attacking first are:

1.  Writing poetry - this is not easy.  I am attempting a serious piece, and you might remember the fun children's piece that I did last week.  Neither one is easy, lol.
2.  Start a newsletter - I have a start date in my mind for June 1st and am currently brainstorming what this will be about. (of course if you have any suggestions or requests, please feel free to voice them)
3.  Interview someone and write their story - I haven't picked this person yet, but I'll keep you posted on the assignment (and again, if you have a suggestion or request, please do speak up).

This book is officially available today, February 5th, and I heartily recommend it.   If you decide to purchase it, please do let me know how much you enjoyed it.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Birthday Wishes and a Title


The first thing I want to do today is to send fabulous birthday wishes to "The Kid" from Rindy Mae.  Happy Birthday!!!!

The second thing I want to do is to thank "The Kid" for giving us a title for the poem from the other day.

Whoosh, Whoosh, Go The Waves

Whoosh. Whoosh.  
Wobbly teal waves somersaulting. 
Rolling.  Rolling.
Stumbling, a little dizzy.
Whoa. Whoa.
Bumping into the sand.  Pardon me.
Giggling.  Giggling.  
Self-consciously sneaking back out.
Whoosh. Whoosh.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fresh New 2013

There is something so fresh and promising about a new year.  You can look over your shoulder and see the past year being erased leaving you with a clean unmarred surface in front of you on which to put your dreams.

Just as so many other people do, I want to accomplish things this year.  Some happiness things, some diet and exercise things, and some writing things.

One of the goals I have under the happiness category is to nurture my relationships.  I am getting help with this goal by Gretchen Rubin who wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home.  She is having a 21-day relationship challenge and you can sign up for her daily resolution by email.  You can jump in any time so don't be shy.

The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin

Under the health category, I am getting a thrice daily (isn't that a funny word, thrice?) walk with Libby which is taking care of my exercise needs for the moment (a daily yoga practise will be added in the near future as well).  I am also doing a bunch of little things that I hope will turn into habits:  drinking a glass of lemon water first thing; adding a green smoothie as lunch or a snack daily; refraining from that beloved second glass of wine after dinner; and, maintaining my current weight.  :)

Libby

I found a great writing tips resource to help with the writing resolution.  Dana Sitar is a freelance journalist and indie author.  She is the brains behind the blog DIY Writing and the author of the book "A Writer's Bucket List" that is available now for pre-order and for sale starting on February 5th.


This book has 99 writing suggestions, many of them things I had not ever thought about.  I'm committed to improving my writing quality and quantity, and her book is already helping.  I've started with the suggestion to write poetry.  I am so far shocked at how difficult this is.  Do you write poetry?  I would love to read one of your pieces.

This is what I came up with for my first attempt.  One of my writing muses (The Kid from Rindy Mae) suggested the theme:  "ocean".  So here goes.


Whoosh. Whoosh.  
Wobbly teal waves somersaulting. 
Rolling.  Rolling.
Stumbling, a little dizzy.
Whoa. Whoa.
Bumping into the sand.  Pardon me.
Giggling.  Giggling.  
Self-consciously sneaking back out.
Whoosh. Whoosh.

I always find titles to be the hardest part of any writing.  Would you like to suggest a title for the poem?