Let Social Media Inspire You

“I can’t decide if procrastination kills creativity or is essential to it.”                                           Grant Snider@grantdraws  Twitter

Today is the test. Has procrastination murdered my creativity?  I’ve been putting off completing this assignment all day.   I don’t know why, but maybe the very essence of the word procrastination is enough to make me fall off the wagon.  I think I’m doing pretty well since I decided to make my blog a priority.   I knew keeping up with a consistent writing routine was going to be a test of dedication to my craft.   I’ve joined Writing Challenges and participated in courses at Blogging U just to make sure that something would stimulate me or hold me accountable to get to the computer to write.

writing muse
Photo by Fröken Fokus on Pexels.com

In the past, when a project was due, I was one that pondered, ruminated and at the final hour moved forward with all my might to catch up. I have found though that if I have a thought, an idea or an inspiration, I need to grab it and run with it at that moment.  If the sentiment passes, it goes up like a cloud of smoke, and it’s much harder to be creative because one can’t force the arts.  I can understand when someone cries that the muse is gone and with it the intention to be fresh and original.  

I’ve said before that I have learned that I am a binge writer as explained by Kara Daly from Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog.  https://brevity.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/staying-out-of-the-headlights-on-finding-my-own-writing-process/.   I need my imagination stirred; I need a catalyst to start churning ideas in my mind.  When I feel it moving, thoughts start flowing, and I write; it may be poems, essays, sometimes it’s a story without end, and I need to find a wrap-up.  Lately, I’ve been better about jotting the random thoughts that come about as well.  I may not use all of the material that flows, but then I have something in the pipeline for when the muses don’t stop by.

In short to respond to the tweet by Grant Snider@grantdraws; Procrastination kills creativity for me because if I wait until the last minute, I am stressed and worried about the time.  Procrastination may be alright in other areas but not when I want my creative juices flowing. 

Please remember that I need your help too with ideas of what you want to see me write about for the final lessons.  You can put suggestions in the comments section of this blog post or go to the Contact Me page on the menu section at the top of the page. Thanks.

Day Seven: Let Social Media Inspire You  #everydayinspiration

Happiness Is Like a Butterfly

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Author unknown, printed in “The Literary American,” 1848. (Credit- Quote Investigator)

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have difficulty finding a favorite quote to share because I have many.  I store bits wisdom from a variety of people and sources.  First and foremost I often quote my parents and grandparents, especially to my younger generation. Its the Wisdom of the Elders.

Through the years I’ve memorized quotes from the Bible and preachers; from educators and authors – even quotes from “the mouth of babes.”  As we know kids say the truth no one else dares to. 

These quotes and special thoughts are put away in seemingly random places in my mind, but they are usually available when I need them. I often sprinkle them among the sentences in my writings to endorse a point or a statement of my own.  The particular quote above, I got from my daughter many years ago, as she explained the tattoo on playing peek-a-boo on her hip, but that’s a story for another day.

The quest for happiness seems an obsession of the human race since the beginning of time.  People don’t realize that happiness is not something that can be measured by the pound or the yard and you can’t keep it in your pocket or on a shelf.  It means different things to different people.  Happiness is more of a state of being. I have seen people strive for one thing or another, thinking that it would lead to happiness only to be sorely disappointed. “I thought, once I didn’t have to worry about money … or when I lose weight… or once I was married or finished my education…”  It’s sad that along the way they rushed by and possibly missed those moments that would have made them happy.  

All those aspirations and dreams are worth the effort, but we must remember to keep our eyes, ears and above all our hearts opened to the showers of blessings that fall upon us when we least expect it.  An old friend left me with a thought that I always remember, a simple truth, a quote I’ve used often – a lesson learned.  “Enjoy each great moment as it comes, you don’t know when the opportunity will come again.” 

I leave you with this, when you think happiness is out of reach, sit for a moment in the quietness of gratitude and fill your heart with the sweet moments you have lived.  A smile from a stranger, a hug from a friend, the wonders around you like a butterfly on your shoulder; those memories will sustain you to continue your journey until you reach your destination because they help you remember there is good in the world. 

Day Five: Hook ’Em With a Quote’    #everydayinspiration

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Home is Where the Heart Is

I was “home” this weekend visiting family.  It’s funny we are all far from our childhood home and our parents have long past on but spending time with my sisters always feels like home no matter where we are.  From the belly laughs to the tears it all feels just right.  I am reposting this story, which is one of my favorites, in honor of spending time with loved ones.  

Baby Girl woke up startled she didn’t recognize the loud voices in her home that morning. Strange things had been happening for days. Stuff was disappearing from all the rooms; like the picture frames on the mantel and the books her sisters liked to read to her at night. There now were big boxes all over the house. New ones appeared each time something else went missing. Nothing seemed to be where it should be, and the whole family was too busy to play with her.

Suddenly Baby Girl realized she was alone in the room and she was scared. She could feel the hair on the back of her neck stand stiff against her collar, but she had to go to the bathroom, and she was hungry, so she quietly ventured out into the hallway. Baby Girl peered out from behind the long wall. She did not see Lovey or Annie. Where had they gone without her so early in the morning? She called out to them as two big men crossed in front of her with the boxes. They smiled at her but went on their way carrying boxes out the open door. She glared at them. Where was Mama or Dad? Baby Girl called out again. No one answered.

Since the front door was open and the big men were not around, she decided to let herself out and go to the bathroom. She knew Mama and her sisters did not like her to go out by herself, but she was just going to the backyard. She had done it many times with the girls. She started creeping along the side of the house, the gate was closed, and she couldn’t open it. She continued slowly and carefully, close to the fence until she found a spot. Business was done but still no sign of her family. She couldn’t even hear them. She went back to the front of the house to check. Did those men have anything to do with her family’s disappearance? She sniffed the air – nothing. Should she worry?

Sometimes Mama and Dad went for a walk in the woods behind the house early in the morning before everyone else was up. Maybe Lovey and Annie went with them this morning. Baby Girl knew how to get to the woods. She would walk along the long white fence until the end and then walk into the woods no further than the Big Pointy Rock. Her sisters always promised their parents that they would go no further than the Big Pointy Rock so that Mama could still see them from the kitchen window. Baby Girl was getting hungrier; she wanted to find everyone so that she could get some breakfast. Off she went into the woods.

Lovey and Annie had gone with Mama up the street with a box of baby toys and books for the new neighbors. Dad went to take a few things to the dumpster. Lovey and Annie agreed to give those things to their babies because they were big girls now and would be getting Big Girl things in the new house. As they were walking back, Lovey and Annie noticed that the movers had left the front door wide open. They ran the rest of the way calling out to Baby Girl. The movers said they had just seen her near one of the bedrooms, but she was not in the house! She had not eaten her breakfast. The girls went outside and called again. They shouted her name all around the house and at the end of the fence.

In the woods, Baby Girl had followed a big green lizard past the Big Pointy Rock until it ran up a tall tree. She couldn’t reach it but as she was looking up, she spotted a big beautiful dragonfly and followed it as it danced in the air through the woods. She did not hear her family calling, but she did hear a splash from the gurgling of a brook nearby. Fish were jumping out of the water! She wanted to catch one of those, it smelled like food, and she remembered she was hungry.

Back at the house, the girls were upset, and Mama and Dad were worried. They had to leave soon, and they could not find Baby Girl anywhere. They put the last boxes in the car. As she hugged them goodbye, the neighbor next door, Mrs. Levy, promised to keep an eye out for Baby Girl and would call them right away. “I’m sure she’s just having an adventure. She’ll be back.” She reassured them.

In the woods, Baby Girl paced back and forth along the edge of the water, she wanted to catch the fish but hated getting her feet wet. She heard rustling in the bushes and looked up to see two baby deer. The deer are back Baby Girl thought with excitement. She forgot about the fish and ran after the deer. She ran and ran but couldn’t catch the deer. The baby ran straight to Mama and Dad Deer who stomped their feet at Baby Girl. She stopped in her tracks and realized she was standing in front of the Big Pointy Rock. She remembered she was hungry and headed toward the house. She hoped Mama and Dad and Lovey and Annie were back.

To her surprise Baby Girl found the gate to the yard open; and so was the screen door to the back porch. She discovered her bowls were on the back porch. How strange she thought, but things had already been odd for days. She was glad because she was sooo hungry. After she ate, she wanted to go inside and lay in her bed; she was tired. She called at the door for Mama or Dad or Lovey and Annie, but no one came.

Just as she was going to check to see if the front door was still open, she saw Mrs. Levy coming toward her. She liked Mrs. Levy; she smelled like food and always had a special treat for her. “Baby Girl, where have you been? You had us all worried! I heard you barking and called your family. Lucky for you they were not too far yet. They are on their way back to come for you. Let’s go to my house to clean you up before they get here.” Mrs. Levy picked her up and took her home. When she was clean, she lay on the rug by the door and waited for her family.

When they arrived, there were hugs and kisses everywhere. They were all glad to see each other. In the car, Lovey and Annie took turns holding her tight. They told her they were afraid she was lost and they didn’t want to go to their new home without her. Baby Girl didn’t understand all the fuss. She was home. She was where she wanted to be all along, snuggled in between Lovey and Annie as they all took a nap in the backseat of the car.                          

 #everydayinspiration 

Homeward bound

I write because…

I have stories to tell. I write because I want to make a difference in someone’s life. My head is full of ideas. Some are reality-based; they are the stories of people I’ve met who touched my life in some way. Some stories are what-ifs that swim around in my brain. I see something or someone that catches my eye and that sparks my curiosity. I wonder what’s beyond or why does it happen that way. Sometimes I see things and am overwhelmed with emotion, and I need to stop and sort it out.

I believe we all share a human experience and we learn from those who’ve gone before and even those who are coming up after us.  If we choose to learn, age teaches us but does not give us all the answers. Everyone who crosses our path affects our life in some way. They leave something behind – either a gift or a lesson.

I have worked with people in different aspects of my life in various roles, and I have learned a lot about the human experience. If something I write helps one person take another look at a problem in their life, I will have served a purpose.
#everydayinspiration

Another work group to improve my writing.  Please bear with me.

Reflections of A to Z Challenge April 2018

Blog A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

A few days after I had started blogging again, a blogger I follow posted her theme reveal for the April 2018 A to Z Challenge. https://promptlings.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/a-to-z-challenge-2018-theme-reveal/.   As I read her post, I got excited because this Challenge sounded like a perfect way to develop the habit of writing every day. My life is less hectic now, and I felt there was really no excuse but to be consistent with my writing.  I knew the exercise would help me to be more disciplined.  I also enjoy and actually fare better, when I am working with a team or in a community. I thought this was perfect!

Without much thought to the process, I clicked the link and signed up.  I did not post on all twenty-six letters, but I was glad that I was able to get as much done as I did.  The A to Z Challenge April 2018 did serve its purpose for my personal goals.  I have made blogging part of my daily routine.  I didn’t get much feedback, but I did enjoy exploring other blogs.  Because of my limited experience with blogging, I learned a lot from the different styles of writing, and of course, I enjoyed the creativity.  It also encouraged me to take more pictures when I am out and about. 

There were some issues that made the A to Z Challenge more demanding than it needed to be.   The first was I was sick the first week of the challenge and the next week I was trying to catch up until I convinced myself that was not necessary.  I breathed a sigh of relief and moved on.  Second, my theme was broad and not clear – even to me.  I chalk it up to the fact that I really had no clue what I was doing when I signed up, and I had no overall plan.   Sometimes I felt like I was on Sesame Street trying to find a prompt from random words for the “letter of the day.”   Somedays it was amusing to me as I sang … “the letter of the day is here…” in my head of course.   I was able to come up with a post whether from my unfinished work or an idea that popped into my head while humming that tune all morning.

The only negative thing I can say is that for some reason I did not feel connected to the group.  Perhaps I misread the instructions, and as I indicated I earlier, I didn’t understand the process.  I tried to get back to the original page where I had signed up to review the instructions, but I could not find it.  I did not understand it was a page outside of WordPress.com.  I did not get the daily badges with a different letter each day.  I still don’t understand much about the spreadsheet or how to post to a community page.  I’m hoping this will get there. 

Overall, there is no question that I would do it again.   Thanks so much to the hosts for organizing it; looks like there was a lot more behind the scenes work than I realized. I’m hoping I can get things straight for next year.   Looking forward to 2019.   Lindi Roze

 

Willy-Nilly and Wocka-Wocka Letter W

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If you’ve read my blog before, you know I am a Beginning Blogger. I started this blog Willy-Nilly, without direction or planning; haphazardly. I jumped into this A to Z Challenge without much understanding of the process, and in trying to meet the daily deadlines, I feel like my thoughts are all over the place. I am looking forward to completing this challenge, but I must admit, I’m proud that I’ve stayed in this long. I think the most difficult aspect is that I chose a very broad theme. Each day I wake up feeling like I’m on Sesame Street looking for the Letter of the Day. Then I rummage through those “snapshots” in my memory files to find a match.

This is my second time starting a blog but alas- my skills remain at entry level. Since I have a bit more time these days, I’ve also decided to dedicate some energy to setting up my page and getting to know what’s behind the screen. That’s where Fozzie Bear’s Wocka, Wocka comes in. Today I spent most of the morning in a cyber backroom, chatting with one of the Happiness Engineers at WordPress. Chatting is difficult when I don’t know the lingo, but the person on the other end was quite patient and answered all my questions. Most importantly the HE straightened out my domain issues which will make my blog easier to find and my behind the screen dashboard easier to manage.

At the end of the day, I feel a bit like Fozzie Bear. He tries so hard that his ineptness is endearing and we are all cheering for him waiting for the day he gets it right. Well, I don’t have a fan base yet, but my family has my back.  I appreciate them for that. This song is exactly how I’ve been feeling.   Dancing in the Dark.

Enjoy it with me. 

 

Twinkle little star. A to Z Challenge

Windows in heaven
Perhaps they are not stars, but rather windows in Heaven where the love of those who went ahead pours through and shines upon us…

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky… or as my fifteen-month granddaughter sings it “kakle, kakle, sahh, ahh, ahh.” Don’t judge.  Her mother grew up in New England where people say “Pahk yah, cahs in Hahvahd Yahd.”  It could be she’s already picking up the accent her mother brought to their new home fifteen hundred miles away. The point is that my granddaughter loves that song. Every time I go to visit, almost as soon as I walk in through the door, she brings her storybook with the big yellow star on the cover. We put the world on “pause”,  she proceeds to climb on my lap and rests her little head on my chest. We cuddle to read it- at least three times before we can move on. I don’t mind. I love it!

I can’t say that she’s made a connection between the star in the book and the immense collection of twinkling diamonds in the night sky outside her window. She rarely stays up past 7:30 anyway. I’m sure when she’s old enough; she will be as mesmerized by the vast infinity of bright lights in the night sky as I am. How can she not?

The first time I was aware of the overwhelming expansion of the stars in the black velvet sky, I was breathless. To understand the extent of my reaction, you have to remember that I am a “city kid.” I grew up at a time when folks were talking about smog, pollution and how to make the air better in the large cities across the country.  I don’t lie when I tell you that I never imagined the night sky could be so much more amazing than a visit to the planetarium. I was about 16. It was during a Winter Youth Retreat in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, the night was crisp and not a cloud in the sky. It was magical.

I’ve lived just outside city limits since then, and whenever there is a night clear enough to see the sky full of stars, I swear I feel a little tipsy.  It still takes my breath away.  In one of those moments of stretching reality through imagination, I promised my kids that when I’m gone from this world, I’ll try to find a way to still keep looking out for them. Maybe I’ll be looking out from behind one of those stars. In our family, many of our loved ones have left this earth before we were ready to  say “Goodbye.” I love that quote that suggests that stars are windows in the sky for our loved ones to see us. Here Anne Murray’s version of the same idea.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbZBZC01_sQ

I do believe that our loved ones have the opportunity to become angels or spirit guides as some faith practices believe. A teacher once said it might take some longer than others, but that’s why we pray for the deceased souls and offer services. I find that comforting, maybe that’s why I will always love a starry, starry night. It lights my soul and gives me hope. Blog challengea2z-h-small.

Letter R – Reality and beyond

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There is a fun side to an alternative reality. I like to live on the edge of it sometimes. That’s why I write. I like to look down a narrow dirt trail and wonder how many people walked there before me. How many footsteps and how many years did it take to carve out this path? Who were they? Where were they going? Did they carry hollowed canoes to the river? Was it a shortcut to town? Was it a path to freedom?

Depending on who my companion is, I can elaborate a life story for these imaginary dirt trailpeople – joys and sorrows included. My friend would say, “yes, and…” to complete my narrative. One of my siblings would say, can’t we just walk without you making things up? Peaceful walks in quiet reflection, engrossed in the sights and sounds are one of my favorite things to do. However, there is a time for everything under the sun, and sometimes, I want to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. As a side note, remember it’s important to choose travel companions wisely to enjoy the moment fully.

When my sisters were young, and the mood was right, they could spend hours “talking” to our mutt, Victor.  The girls at about five or six years old, obviously knew it was me talking for Victor.  I never pretended to be a  skilled ventriloquist to throw my voice in his direction. I was almost ten years older, and yet, we managed to entertain each other regardless as Victor sat between us loving all the attention.

Victor was some kind of a shepherd mix and quite a storyteller. He would tell them how his day went – who stopped by the house, what he saw each time he went out to “do his business,” what extra treats he got, what he thought Mom was cooking for dinner that made his mouth water. Sometimes he would complain that Fred, the stray cat, had come into through the kitchen window to brag about his adventures in the alley and the mouse that got away.

Sometimes I would live vicariously through Fred, the stray. I learned to love cats with Fred, despite my dad’s superstitious apprehensions. Fred was big for a cat, furry, gray and quite independent. He would roam the back alleys of our city freely with a swagger and without fear. I would wonder how far his cat feet could carry him. Where did he go and what did he see? Did he stop at other homes? What did other families name him? Most days he would only stop in for a short while to eat. In the winter or hot summer days, he would stay longer to keep warm or cool off. Those days before he took off again, he would rub against us one by one as if to say “thanks”. One time he came back with cuts and scrapes. We tried to keep him in the house and off the streets, but as soon as he was strong enough, he was wailing at the window to be let out. At times he was gone for days, and one day he never returned. Unfortunately, there was never a shortage of alley cats in our neighborhood, and soon Fred was replaced by Snagglepus and then Mister Magoo.

Not too long ago I was at one of those Brews, Jazz and Funk Festivals at the park by the river. As the tribute band played well-known favorites, a small, lone figure of a dancer rocked and rolled her way to the front of the stage. With her ripped shorts, bracelets, and tattoos up her arm, she personified the saying “dance as if no one was watching.” She was easily in her 70s, but she had obviously transcended time, and everything else around her didn’t exist. She was definitely in the zone and inspired others to step out. Soon she was surrounded by people of all ages letting the music take control. When the music stopped, she was visibly exhausted, but I caught that big smile that slipped across her face. She had a cosmic air about her. Who was she? How many concerts in the park had she attended? Was she a musician herself? In my mind her name was Carole, and she sang and played with a band a lifetime ago.

I like to stretch my mind beyond what my eyes can see. It’s great for problem-solving and relationship building because it helps me to have an open mind to see alternative beginnings and endings. As I continue to blog, I’ll share some of the stories of my alternate reality. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have making them up and perhaps together we’ll learn a few things about us along the way.

R is for Reality, the alternative kind.

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A quick review of the first month

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A to Z challenge letter Q.  A QUICK review.  It’s been a month since I started blogging again. My blog and its appearance is still a work in progress though. I like the theme I’m using but need some time to play with widgets and plug-ins. I also need to take more pictures that I can incorporate into my posts. Most importantly is that I’ve managed to write a post almost daily. I haven’t always been in sync my theme or with the corresponding letters of my A to Z challenge, but my personal goal in participating was for me to get in the habit of sitting to write something every day. I think I’m doing OK with that.

I’ve also learned that daily posting may not work for me in the long run. In my daily readings, I found the term “binge writing” which sounds more like me. I generally like to write when something inspires me, but then I also like to research to make sure any references are accurate. The problem is I tend to get bogged down with the research and editing. That’s just my personality style. I need to remember this is a blog, not an epic historical novel.

I’ve enjoyed reading other blogs. I’ve learned a lot by looking at style and content. I found a local “Meet-up Group” of bloggers and partners such as web developers. This group has been very helpful because I’m more of a creative writer and I don’t know or understand all the ins-and-outs behind the screen. Just by listening in on different discussions, I’ve picked up tips for practical things I hadn’t even thought about. They mentioned things like not using all caps in your title so that it’s easier for people to find your post and not starting your title or blog entry with the same phrase each time. I’ve tried to make changes based on the group’s recommendations. It’s too soon to gauge the effects but the group also keeps me focused and motivated to continue to write.

I’ve had my five minutes of fame due to an unexpected opportunity to interview with a reporter from a local NBC TV affiliate. I spoke briefly about why I blog, and she asked why I didn’t just keep a private journal for myself. “Why do you want to go public?” I explained that I like to write but I need the feedback and I like being part of a community of like-minded people. Now I need to work on letting my thoughts flow and getting my “self-censored” blog out to the general public.

I’m interested to hear why you blog. Why did you want to go public with your personal thoughts?

 

 

 

A to Z challenge – INTENTIONS

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I started blogging again past the ides of March 2018. Inspired by a page I was following, a few days later I signed up for the A to Z challenge for April 2018. I was ready to go. As things go, I started five days after everyone else. No big deal. I’ll post twice a day until I catch up. Well, that didn’t work out and alas all my good INTENTIONS have left me feeling frustrated but not quite discouraged.

I’m not going to lie; I was ready to say OK, maybe this daily blogging is not for me. I put too much pressure on myself, and it stops being fun. I want to be creative, thoughtful and if a post calls for it, I want to be accurate. It feels lifeless, mechanical and automated. I went back to my Reader to find a wonderful post I read a few days ago in which I saw myself. The writer described her process, and I recognized it was how I’ve been operating all these years – Binge Writing. Something or someone will trigger my imagination which makes the sparks fly, and I’m out the gate writing every chance I get. I’ll make notes any time of day on my phone, on the back of an envelope, store receipt, etc. and stitch it all together to make a story. I’ll go at it for a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months but then I seem to hibernate. I am keeping this blog entry for future INSPIRATION.  https://brevity.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/staying-out-of-the-headlights-on-finding-my-own-writing-process/

I was about to try something different and throw in the towel for the A to Z challenge when I remembered that this blog was about ME. I took on the challenge with the honest INTENTIONS to get myself back in the habit of writing- period. Yes, was hoping that after 26 days, a natural part of my daily routine will be for me to get on my computer to write – after I walk the dog and have my tea with mini protein cakes. My apologies to the bloggers in the community that have diligently kept up with the challenge as described in the instructions but I’ve decided then that I will take a detour and resume my challenge for the rest of the month with the ninth letter corresponding to April 9th – I.

Onward to J!