Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 31 - Beginnings, The End of It

January seemed to fly by.  I'm surprised I stuck to my commitment to write every day of the month.  Some days it was just a little bit, but at least I got it done.  Going forward, I plan to make daily writing one of my rituals.  The more I write, the more ideas I get for writing projects.  I'm making slow, but steady progress on some book ideas.  The NaBloPoMo prompt, Beginnings, has certainly been a beginning for me.  It's inspired me to keep pushing forward with my writing, and I'm enjoying the journey again!  I've decided to continue with it for another month.  The February prompt is Relative.  There's no requirement to use the prompt.  You just have to commit to writing each day of the month.  I hope you enjoy following along as I continue with my resolution to write every day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 30 - Beginnings, My Lil Sis

All dressed up for church
Today is my little sis's birthday! I remember the day she was born.  We were at church, and someone had to leave to drive my mom to the hospital.  I stayed at church with my grandparents.  After the service was over, we drove to the hospital.  Only adults were allowed to go up to see a new baby, so I waited downstairs with a friend or relative.  That was the beginning of my life with my sis.

I sat here last night, letting my mind drift over the years.  We have lived through so many things together.  I'm not going to list them here, but there have been joys and there have been sorrows.  We have laughed, cried, fought, loved, rejoiced, grieved, survived... we have shared our lives.  I can't imagine what life would have been without her.  I don't even want to!  I do want to wish her a very Happy Birthday!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 29 - Beginnings, Sunday Morning

Automaton from the Franklin Institute
Below is my piece for the Sunday Scribblings prompt, action.  One of my favorite weekend programs is Sunday Morning on CBS. Today they did a segment with Martin Scorsese about the movie Hugo, and the inspiration behind it.   They also did a section about the history of automatons.  One was featured in the movie.  

It was fascinating to see what these mechanical "people" could do.  My favorite was one that could write a poem in English and in French.  It is part of an exhibit at the Philadelphia Franklin Institute.  See the Sunday Morning Segment HERE.  I really enjoyed learning about these machines.  I hope you enjoy it too.  Here's a little poem about automatons. 

Pen moves on paper
An action making words
Lifeless hand creates

 © 29JAN12 ajj

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 28 - Beginnings, Sidelined

It's early evening, and my well-laid plans for the day got sidelined.  Not by any person or event.  I just misplaced my initiative.  Do you ever start a project and find you get bogged down before you've barely begun?  That's what happened today.  I've been treading water all day long.  Boxes half-filled.  Dishwasher not loaded.  Baking and laundry not done.  Don't ask me what I did get done.  I couldn't tell you for sure.

Well ok, to be honest, I did spend some time chatting and laughing with my boys.  And I watched a movie, read the paper, worked on the crossword, got caught up on FB posts, peeked at Pinterest...
Is it any wonder I didn't make it through my to-do list?
Sigh... oh well, tomorrow is another day...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 27 - Beginnings, The Help

I just spent the past two and a half hours watching The Help.  It's been a long while since a movie touched me in quite that way.  Movies have often dealt with the race issues in our history, but only a few stood out to me.  The 1974 film, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman was one of those.  Cicely Tyson was magnificent.  It was both heartbreaking and inspiring.  In 1985, The Color Purple broke my heart again.  The Help is another one of those.  It was a joy to see Cicely Tyson again, as Constantine, and Viola Davis was amazing as Aibileen.  It was a different kind of story.  One where you saw good and bad on both sides, but it felt like goodness won.  No, it didn't tie it up in a pretty package as if everything ended ok, but it left you with a feeling of hope.

My early childhood years were during the turbulent 1960's.  Racism was covered on the evening news.  It shocked me to see the overt hostility on peoples faces.  Brutality of any kind had always frightened me, and I couldn't understand how people could resort to cruelty and violence.

I used to hear people say things like, "I just don't see color."  I do see color.  I want to see it.  I want to see all our differences and glory in them.  I want to be seen for who I am.  When we look at the world around us, much of the greatest beauty is in the differences of texture and color.  Craggy mountains, deep valleys, smooth blue waters, sky, clouds, sun, and rain.  It's the kaleidoscope of differences that shock and thrill us with their wonder.  Seeing people is like that too.  Some are comforting, some bring smiles, some try our patience and stretch our boundaries, others leave us breathless with their beauty.  Our common bond is the most important thing.  We are human, we have heart and soul and spirit.  I wish it was enough to stop the hatred and injustice which still exists in our world.  It isn't yet, but I still have hope.

© 27JAN12 ajj

28JAN12 - NEW NOTE...  From a thread on FB, I discovered a lot of people who felt the movie minimized the race issue.  Some were even highly offended by it and felt it continued to perpetuate racism.  I didn't get that from it.  I thought it was a blend of drama and humor, that tried to look at both sides.  My hope is always that our world continues to grow toward more understanding and peace.  Please leave comments, negative or positive.  I always have room to learn from others.  Wishing you peace!

Day 26 - Beginnings... Just missed my deadline

Well, it's actually Day 27.  I've missed my first deadline since starting this challenge.  So I'll talk about what caused this... procrastination.  It's a bad habit that I'm constantly fighting to overcome.  Even though I know it's extremely inconsiderate, even rude, to be late, I find I am often arriving well past the expected hour.  It's not intentional.  Sometimes it speaks of my reluctance to leave my home.  I'm uncomfortable in many social situations, so I delay getting ready to go.  I also can't decide if I'd just be happier canceling.  Usually when I do arrive, I have a wonderful time.  It's just a matter of getting past the anxiety.

I procrastinate on my own projects too.  It used to be, the excitement of a looming deadline would be enough to carry me through.  I'd get finished, just in the nick of time.  I know I don't have the same energy levels these days.  I still feel the adrenaline rush, but rarely make the deadlines.  There is only one solution.  That is to change my ways, forget about the fun of racing to the finish, and just enjoy a slower pace.  I'm now 13 minutes past my deadline.  I'll do better tomorrow!  I promise!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 25 - Beginnings, My Love of Vinyl Records

You already know I'm one of those people that likes to keep everything.  That includes vinyl records!  A few years ago, I made myself sell a bunch of my old favorites at a yard sale.  Mistake!  I miss those albums, and they didn't take up much space.  Some have never been released on CD, so that music is just gone.

Do you remember your first record album?  Mine was one by the Chipmunks.  Later on, I was given a storybook album of "Goldilocks & The Three Bears" and a Perry Como Christmas album.  I still love Perry Como!  My mom gave me a stack of 45's when I was about 8 or 9.  My favorite of those was the Kingston Trio "It Takes A Worried Man".  My sis and I used to play it on all the different speeds, trying to sing it hyper fast and high pitched or very slow with deep bass voices.  Often our cousins were over to join in on the singing.  We knew how to create our own fun!  Pause my playlist (over on the sidebar), and have a listen to this old favorite of mine!

Over the years my collection grew to include Fleetwood Mac, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Barbra Streisand, Emmylou Harris, The Gatlins, The BeeGees, Heart, Nat King Cole, James Taylor... I could go on and on.  I loved music.  I had everything from rock to country to gospel, and it all started with that first Chipmunks album.

© 25JAN12 ajj

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 24 - Beginnings, Finding Joy

Today has been a beautiful one.  Not the weather, it's been overcast and very cold.  Just something about the day.  Maybe it's because I woke up feeling good.  My head cold is waning, and I slept much better last night. 

My mind has been filled with ideas.  Things I want to do, things I'm looking forward to.  A visit from my sister-in-law in a couple of weeks.  My lil sis and one of my best friends have birthdays coming up.  That means a lunch or dinner out with each of them!  I talked to my husband about some craft projects I want his help with.  That may mean buying myself a couple of tools, but it will be fun!  He thought it sounded like fun too.  I'll keep you posted on this. 

I've also been thinking about my journey with my faith.  I hit a crisis a few months back.  It felt like I might never recover, but I did.  I was reading this post today, Talking To God.  That's how it is for me.  Things hit, and maybe send me reeling, but I always have God to turn to.  It doesn't mean that life is always rosy and wonderful.  It does mean I can find joy, in even the darkest of times.  Hoping you are finding the joy in your life!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 23 - Beginnings, One of Those Days

I've started this post three times now.  Maybe this is one of those days where "if you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all" is the rule to go by.  It was a very long Monday, and it was definitely "one of those" kind of days.  The kind of day where roadblocks seem to pop up at every turn. A dreary kind of day that started grey and rainy.

Do you know what you do with that kind of a day?  You either turn it around, or relax and go with it.  Sometimes just starting a new project, or getting out of the house, will get my energy going in a new, positive direction. Other times, it pays to just settle in.  Settling in was my choice for today.  I put on my comfiest clothes, warmed up leftover pizza, fluffed a pile of pillows on the sofa, and watched MI-5 from my Netflix Queue.  There's nothing like a little espionage, with British accents, to make the hours fly by.  I can't say it was a productive day, but it was a nice little escape from reality.  Tomorrow will be soon enough to get back to that big to-do list.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 22 NaBloPoMo - Beginnings, Plus Sunday Scribblings - Possible

The possibilities seemed endless when they were young.  Life was just beginning, stretching out before them with dozens of adventures and dreams to choose from.  So how did they get here?  A mortgage more than double what their home was worth, kids long gone from the nest, and still not living the life they once imagined.  Jenny and Doug looked at each other across the kitchen table.

"Where do we go from here?" she asked.

"I wish I knew.  I can't believe everything is gone.  Job, credit, assets.  We can't survive on what you're bringing in." he dropped his head into his hands.  Jenny sat quietly, thoughtfully looking at her husband.  "Well, I've been thinking about something for a while.  You know how we always dreamed of traveling?  Why not just let the bank have this place, sell off everything we own, and just go for it?"  she waited.

Slowly Doug raised his head, they locked eyes, and sat in silence for a couple of minutes.  Then he started to smile and she smiled back.  "I didn't lose all my retirement.  If we're careful, we could stretch it out for quite a while.  The motor home is paid for and it's still in great running condition.  Gas would be expensive, but this might just work." he paused, "The kids will think we've lost our minds."

"Let them.  They're all grown up and have their own lives to worry about.  This is about us.  What's best for you and me!"

Their smiles grew wider, and they began to laugh.  For the first time in years, they had a bit of hope.  An idea for a fresh start.  If they just took the chance, anything was possible.

© 22JAN12 ajj

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 21 - Beginnings, Tenacity

Morning began too soon, after a very restless night.  It's a rainy Saturday.  The gorgeous snow we had, got rained away in two days time.  Bogus Basin, our local ski resort, finally got to open though.  They normally open about Thanksgiving time, so people with jobs connected to skiing have had a rough year, as well as those who make their living plowing roads.  In these tough times, hardships seem to keep getting more difficult.  But, the beginning of 2012 gave us some snow in the hills and a bit of hope.

If I were a pessimist... funny, my husband often calls me "Ms. Negativity"... a little name picked up from our years of watching Home Improvement... anyhooo, I can definitely go there.  I blame it on my love of fiction, and my inner "girl scout"!  I like to create horrific scenarios and then figure out how I'd get out of them.  If only I could get paid for that... wait, some people do get paid for that!  They're called writers!  So I need to get myself to stick with a story idea, long enough to evolve it into a book.  There's the trick.  Talent is important, but sometimes I think tenacity outweighs talent.  Not a stretch, considering some of the books I've seen published.  So, while I hope I have a talent for writing, what I really need is some tenacity.  That's my word for the day.  Tenacity!  It has a nice ring to it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 20 - Beginnings, Baby Gabriel

On August 28 of last year, Baby Gabriel arrived.  While still inside his mother, doctors discovered a challenge.  Gabe was diagnosed with HLHS, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a severe congenital heart defect.  An additional challenge of Downs Syndrome was verified after his birth.

I don't want to go into all the details of little Gabe's life so far, but I'd love for you to meet his mom, Julia, at her blog.  It's called The Four Of Us.  I'd also love for you to meet his dad, Nick, at Gabriel's Hope.  They are two incredible people.  Gabriel is their second child.  He has a big brother, Judah.  Every day, Nick and Julia pour their love out over their two little guys.  They pray with them and over them.  They continue to have faith and hope as they walk this journey together.  It's a road that might seem impossible to some, but one they welcome, because it is the road they get to travel with their boys. 

If you have means to help financially, there are two donation links on my sidebar.  One is a fundraiser with items for sale.  The other is for direct donation.  Even more important, if you are a praying person, pray for this family.  Pray for God's hand of healing over this little one... little Gabriel. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 19 - Beginnings, Stories via Television

I have always loved stories.  It started with hearing family tales and having books read to me; progressed to doing my own reading and creating my imaginary worlds; then moved into television and movies.  I love all forms of story telling, but today I'm taking a look back at television.

The very earliest programs I remember were Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo.  The Captain was a particular favorite of mine, and of the characters on his program, I remember Mr. Green Jeans and Mr. Moose the best.  It had stories, skits, songs and more, and was fuel for my already active imagination.

Later on, there was I Love Lucy, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, Lassie, Art Linkletter, and more.  There weren't endless hours of TV viewing in my childhood.  Time in front of the set was limited and many programs were watched by the whole family.  My love for comedy, animal stories, mysteries, and action films started back then.  Television expanded my universe, much the same as radio did for the previous generation, and the Internet has for today's youth.  Television sometimes gets a bad rap, but for me it provided a forum for entertainment, learning, and keeping in touch with the big world that existed beyond my little town.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 18 - Beginnings, Snow...

Do you remember when snow only meant fun?  When you didn't have to worry about how bad the roads were, or who would have to shovel the drive?  When who had the best snowman, or the fastest innertube, was your biggest concern? 

Today we finally got our first winter snow.  I have to admit that I wasn't all that excited.  I thought about the errands I'd planned to run.  At least I didn't have to worry about shoveling the snow.  My husband was home today, and our neighbor lady couldn't get her snow blower started.  PJ got it going for her, then she offered him the use of it.  He was one happy guy! 

My broken little Maple doesn't look so sad with snow decorating it's branches...
As the snow continued to fall and those flakes got bigger and bigger, I felt that childlike excitement start up again.  It was so beautiful!  I snapped a couple of photos, and I'm glad I didn't wait.  As is normal for Idaho, the snowflakes began to get tinier and before long it had turned to rain. 
Notice the bulbs were confused and had already come up...

Look at how thick the snow lies on the branches...

I love this little tree... and I loved this perfect Snow Day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 17 - Beginnings, Too Early

Today began too early, around 4 am.  I tried to force myself back into sweet slumber, but the internal clock kept ticktickticking away.  Persistently, I continued to lie there determined to get my rest.  I was unsuccessful.  The extra lie-in time actually worked against me.  Morning began very efficiently, but that quickly waned.  Now it's late afternoon, and I have that "almost bedtime" feeling.  My brain is foggy.  My body crying out for sleep.  
So, goodnight dear friends.  
I will begin again tomorrow...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 16 - Beginnings, Happy Birthday Dr. King

When I think of things that have had an impact on my life, my way of thinking, there are a few that certainly stand out.  Learning to pray, reading, attending school, family... the basics.  Then there are the major news events that changed me; the assassination of John F. Kennedy, of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Vietnam, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Columbine, 9/11...  so many more.

Today I want to honor the memory of Dr. King.  I was 11 years old when his life was taken.  During my childhood there was so much more news coverage available to us, than in previous generations.  I saw some of the violence, the inequality, the injustices played out before me.  But, I also saw the hope and the dreams of great people like Dr. King.  I was privileged to hear some of his words, and those words created in my mind a picture of a world free of hatred.  In my innocence, I thought it was just around the corner.  All these years later, much has changed.  Much has not.  We still have to stand up for what is right.  For peoples freedoms.  We have to work even harder to create that world of peace, equality, harmony and love for one another.  To expand our understanding of all people.  Not just those who resemble us, and believe like us.  We have a responsibility to continue making dreams into reality for the generations that follow us.

© 16JAN12 ajj

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 15 - Beginnings, Plus Sunday Scribblings Prompt - Tribe

Below is my piece for Sunday Scribblings.  It also falls under my NaBloPoMo prompt.  It's about the beginning of a friendship...

Free Degas Image from Dover
It started after a gathering of church ladies.  They got to chatting and the minutes turned into hours.  There was an instant kinship.  Two very different looking women, but cut from the same cloth, from the same roots.  As if part of a long, forgotten tribe.

They talked, sharing stories and laughter.  This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.  One of sharing their joys, accomplishments, marriages, children, and faith.  No secrets were too dark.  It was an intimate relationship, as if they were sisters from the same clan, separated long ago, but now reunited.  This deep friendship does not disintegrate with age or distance.  The thread that binds them together is woven too deeply in heart and in spirit.  They both feel such gratitude that, in this life, they found each other, and they hold the belief their friendship will continue into the next.

© 15JAN12 ajj

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 14 - Beginnings, Fashion & Photography

I watched a documentary about the career of Bill Cunningham, a photographer and columnist for the New York Times.  He's been producing a fashion page in the Times for years.  Though I'm not outwardly stylish, I love looking at fashion, imagining what I could get away with wearing.  I also have a love for photography.  Here is his page for today's edition, On The Street and here is the video of Style On The Street.  I'm loving the hats. 

Bill's techniques intrigued me.  As well as covering fashion events, he just wanders the streets of New York City on a bicycle and snaps photos of everyday people.  He's also traveled to other cities around the world, a favorite of his is Paris.  I liked what he had to say about fashion, about his photography.

"When David (Montgomery) came to New York a few months later, he brought a little camera, an Olympus Pen-D half-frame. It cost about $35. He said, ''Here, use it like a notebook.'' And that was the real beginning.  

I HAD just the most marvelous time with that camera. Everybody I saw I was able to record, and that's what it's all about. I realized that you didn't know anything unless you photographed the shows and the street, to see how people interpreted what designers hoped they would buy. I realized that the street was the missing ingredient.... the difference for me is I don't see the people I photograph. All I see are clothes..."  From a New York Times Article, Bill on Bill, found HERE.

I think what intrigued me most about Bill Cunningham, was his disinterest in photographing the "big" name designers and celebrities exclusively.  If he doesn't like a look, his camera stays down.  He photographs what inspires him.  What is beautiful to his eye.  He watches for trends.  He "collects" them in photographs.  He also has a policy of treating his subjects with respect, never ridicule.  When an article of his was changed,  making fun of the people in his photos, he resigned from that job.  Success seemed less important to him than following his heart. 

It makes me wonder how much I could accomplish by doing what has meaning to me.  Not trying to fit a mold, or preconceived idea that someone else has, but simply doing what brings me joy.  Now that is something to consider.

 © 14JAN12 ajj

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 13 - Beginnings, Expanding My Circle

Sooo, I'm on the 13th day of my pledge, to write every day of this month, for NaBloPoMo (click link on side bar for explanation).  Besides writing every day, you are encouraged to read other blogs on the blogroll list.  I'm having trouble with that part.  I just can't seem to find blogs that I have much in common with, or that tempt me to branch out in a whole new direction. 

I've made so many friends through blogging, including artists, crafters, photographers, and a few writers.  By writers, I mean those whose first love is writing rather than those who write to share their other loves.  I've been told that to be a great writer, you have to spend time reading other great writers.  Not to copy, but to gain inspiration and knowledge.

Love of the written word is what brought me to blogging in the beginning.  The friendships I've made have kept me coming back.  Connecting to people who may be in far off places, but who I share a kinship with in some way.  This is reason enough to keep reading new blogs.  I'll try another few links from the blogroll, and work to expand my relationships with other writers.

 © 13JAN12 ajj

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 12 - Beginnings, Eye Glasses

As I sit here, I'm struggling to see the computer screen.  I got my new glasses today.  Progressive lenses.  I can barely see a thing, especially with my right eye.  My first pair of progressives was back in 2009. I remember there was an adjustment period with them.  They told me to give these a week.  If I'm not seeing well by then, I'll get another eye exam.  Any of you who love reading like I do, can understand my frustration at the wait.  That said, I know there are much worse things I could be going through.  I will just have to put on my "happy face" and be patient. 

All of this reminded me of my first pair of glasses.  I got them in 4th Grade.  It was a whole new world for me.  Things looked more interesting than I'd originally thought, or at least there were a lot more details and definition.  Eyesight is definitely a blessing and something I never take for granted. 

Several times today, I was reminded that it's important to be thankful for things in our lives.  Gratitude Journals were mentioned on a program this morning.  My friend Carol, of Silver Valley Stories, posted about Simple Delights.  Goldie Hawn spoke about attitude and the brain/body connection on Dr. Oz this afternoon.  I know when I focus on the good, I feel better.  It only takes a few minutes out of each day to make a difference.  It doesn't erase all the bad in our lives, but it makes it so much more bearable to live with.  Sometimes it pays to smile through the tears, to sing through the storm, to look for all the good that is right there in front of us.   

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 11 - Beginnings, In Regard to Relationships

I can't let today go by without mentioning my grandpa.  Today is his birthday and thoughts of him have flooded my mind.  With people I love, there are certain signatures that they imprint into my memories.  This happens at the beginning of any type of relationship for me.  Over time things are added to that list, but there are always the very significant ones.  With my grandpa, it is the following:

His laugh - indescribable, infectious, pure joy
His prayers - heartfelt, sincere, coming from a deep commitment and trust
His singing - off-key, joyful, with gusto
His hands - strong yet gentle, raised in worship, reaching for a handshake, turning the pages of his Bible
His eyes - laughing, brightest blue, seeing and still loving

In the beginning... with God, with family, with friends.  There are things which make an imprint, they are written on our hearts.  These are the important things.

Grandpa & Grandma... Love...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 10 - Beginnings - Thoughts on Food

Only thing I disliked more was the chicken spread!
I thought I'd take a look at the beginnings of my relationship with food.  My earliest memories consist of Campbells Soup, Wonder Bread, Hot Dogs, Rice a Roni (always served with Mom & I singing "Rice a Roni, the San Francisco treat, Rice a Roni, The flavor can't be beat"), and the occasional pepperoni pizza from the restaurant Mom worked at.  Grandma and Grandpa had some interesting items to add to my food memories, Spam, Hominy, Deviled Ham and Chicken Spreads, Canned Sardines, and Chung King Chicken Chow Mein.
Loved: Wonder Bread, Soup, Hominy, Hot Dogs, Rice a Roni, Pizza, & Sardines

Hated: Spam, Deviled Ham, Deviled Chicken, & Chung King Chow Mein

Couldn't find a photo of the whole sardines
Don't get me wrong, Mom and Grandma both made some wonderful meals.  Grandma was an especially good cook, but times were lean and sometimes the budget couldn't afford a nice roast or chicken.  It was called making the best of the situation. Most of these foods were inexpensive, though I don't know about the Sardines.  Grandpa would buy them occasionally and share with me.  They were the tiny, whole ones, packed in oil.  They came in those cans with the metal key!  Do you remember those?  I loved it when I got to be the one to pull off the key, place it in the slot, and turn, turn, turn until the lid pealed open!  Many things came in those "key" cans.  Once in a while, we even got a big ham in a can.

Mixed memories of Spam... not all bad.
I remember a picnic where mom served our hotdogs on white Wonder Bread, ketchup oozing through the soft bread.  I was about 5, and I thought it was delicious and finger lickin' messy-good!  Grandma would take hotdogs, slice down the middle but still connected, dip in her homemade pancake batter, and pan fry.  I loved those!  She also did the same with the hated Spam, and it became acceptable dinner fare for me.

We ate as the budget dictated.  Most of our foods were fresh, and you didn't toss a potato because it had grown "eyes" or had a bad spot.  You cut away the bad, and tossed the rest into the stew pot.  Bones from the ham, chicken or roast were simmered and made into soup stock.  Everything that could be used was used.  I feel a little shame that I've allowed myself to be so finicky and wasteful at times.  Another Resolution... Be Less Wasteful!

I hope this brings back some of your early food memories.

 © 10JAN12 ajj

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 9 - Beginnings, Still Writing

I'm still on track with my daily writing goal, but getting in just under the wire today.  When I decided to make the commitment and join NaBloPoMo for the month of January, I worried about letting myself down.  You know, failed resolutions and all that.  What I'm finding is, the words are coming easier each day. 

Writing is something I love to do, and when it stopped coming effortlessly, I felt a little lost.  Once I got past the block, it became fun again!  I've been working on my book ideas.  The strange thing about that is, for the first time in many years I feel like I may be on to something good.  Something people may want to read.  Time will tell.

Before I stop for today, please check out two important links on my sidebar.  One is a fundraiser for Baby Gabriel.  The photo is a link to items available for sale, with profits going to help with his medical expenses.  You can read about him and his family at The Four of Us.

The other link is a fundraiser for the documentary, Finding the American Dream.  Click on the link to read what Idaho filmmaker, Will Schmeckpeper, hopes to accomplish with this film.  He loves writing and directing, and is trying to make a living doing what he loves.  He wants to find the answer to a question we all have these days, "What happened to the American Dream?"  There are only a few days left to meet the fundraising goal through Kickstarter. 

© 09JAN12 ajj

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 8 - Beginnings, Sorting Christmas - Plus The Sunday Scribblings Word Prompt - Normal

The New Year has truly begun.  I finally took down my Christmas tree.  I've been going through my huge collection of ornaments and weeding out many.  I find I'm tired of mass produced plastic or resin ornaments.  I'll keep a few sentimental Hallmark pieces, but many are going to find a new home!

I plan to spend some time creating handmade ornaments for next years tree.  I saw a cute idea on a decorating show that I'm going to try.  If it works out, I'll post photos.  If it doesn't... well, I'll probably never mention it again!  I'll also be doing a little bit of Etsy and blog shopping for handmade creations.  My budget being what is is right now, it will be a very tiny bit of shopping. 

Following is a short piece I did for the Sunday Scribblings Prompt, Normal...

What do you really see, when you look at me
I am not your normal, run of the mill kind of woman
My style is undefined, eclectic, ok... it's weird
My laugh is sometimes much too loud
And even my friends say I talk expansively
Which is apparent to me, when folks wander off
While I remain mid-sentence,
rambling perhaps, but singed just a touch
because I hoped my words would be meaningful
or at least entertaining
Normal I am not, but are you

© 08JAN12 ajj

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 7 - Beginnings - On Faith

I've been thinking about faith.  It has been part of me for most of my life.  I was baptized in water as an infant, but my faith began a few years later.  It was the day I recognized that I could talk to God, and I felt He was hearing my prayers.

As a small child, I heard prayers being said and was prayed with.  I wasn't sure exactly how I should pray.  I had a little book of prayers that I loved.  It held all kinds of prayers for children.  One night I took it to bed with me.  I propped it open on my pillow, elbows on each side of it, hands folded.  With head bowed and peeking through my fingers, I began to read, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.  As I read those simple words, I felt that God was there with me, listening.  Not only listening, but caring.

After that night, I began to speak to God from my heart.  I remember the night I prayed God would let me live with my Grandma and Grandpa.  I loved my momma so much, but she worked long hours, and perhaps I was picking up on her unhappiness.  Something had changed.  I didn't know it for a long time after, but my mother had cancer. God answered my prayer in a matter of days.  Momma sat me down and asked if I'd like to live with my grandparents. I was filled with joy and excitement!  It was my first palpable answer to prayer!  God had heard me!  He became real to me in a way that I'd not known before. Just so nobody misunderstands, the answer to prayer was not the cancer, which she had been fighting already, unknown to me. It was feeling God had seen my loneliness and confusion, in our situation, and placed me where I needed to be.

Every person's faith has a beginning point.  A defining place that stays in the core of their being.  No matter how many trials have come my way, I still find peace through my faith.  It carries me through the storms of life and increases my joy in the tranquil times.

© 07JAN12 ajj

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 6 - Beginnings, Will have to wait

Today began too early after a rather sleepless night.  I got up and drove my youngest to a dental appointment.  It was a sunny, cold morning and it felt good to be out.  When I got back home, I just couldn't seem to get my thoughts together.  I finally sat down about an hour ago to write.  Nothing came to mind.  I visited Facebook and a couple other sites.  Listened to some music.  Now I'm nodding off.  Sometimes you just have to know when to quit.  It's time to throw the towel in, get some sleep, and begin again tomorrow! Goodnight dear friends...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 5 of Beginnings - My New Obsession

I recently got hooked on PINTEREST.  It began with seeing the little button on some fellow blogger's sidebar.  Before long a couple of my FB friends were talking about it, so I wandered over to check it out.  I love it!  It's like a combination of collecting, list making, bulletin boards, or saving pages from favorite magazines,  all combined in one place. 

I can visualize things I dream about like travel, art, and photography.  There are ideas on home decor, cooking, crafts, fashion, and so much more.  I've found images of things I remember from my childhood.  There are photos of my current style of decorating and photos of my dream style.  It's had the effect of waking up parts of my personality and history that I'd forgotten about. 

Today I found an image of vintage Bingo cards.  It took me right back to my mom's tiny kitchen when I was about 6 years old.  I was seated at the table with a Bingo card and some buttons.  The numbers were being called out over the radio.  The sun was streaming in through the small window over the sink.  Beside the sink, on the wall, was a little Dutch girl memo pad that I'd made at school.  Her apron was the note pad and above it was a paper tube with a short pencil in it.  Those little pencils that used to come with board games.  My momma loved that memo pad.  My new hobby took me on a surprise visit back to my childhood.  I can't wait to see where it will take me tomorrow.

© 05JAN12 ajj

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 4 - Beginnings, Hoarding

Here I am at Day 4 of NaBloPoMo, Beginnings.  See the link on my sidebar for more information.

Today was the beginning of my resolution to regain order in my home.  For those who don't know, I am a hoarder.  Before you all pass out, because I know you've seen those TV shows or the commercials...  NO, I do not have rotting food in my fridge, dead animal carcasses, racoons living in my house (aka Grey Gardens).  In fact, I don't have any pets at this time, though that will change one day.  I do have an overabundance of "stuff" that I have collected over the years.  Even with donating box after box of things to charities, I still have excess.

My love of books has taken over the house.  I am going to stop buying and start reading what I have.  The best-loved will stay.  Those that are a one-time fun read will be sold or donated to a library.

I have baskets, boxes, drawers, and shelves filled with things that I plan to use for art and craft projects.  If I have not created a piece of art by July, I will be having a big yard sale so someone else can dream of being artsy/craftsy.  Even if I do actually start creating pieces, all that good junk needs to be labeled and organized.

I've been giving away family keepsakes, knickknacks, photos, etc. to other family members I know will treasure them.  I've had to ask myself, how much can one old girl enjoy?  Really.  I have dreams of simplifying.  And yes, it's been on my resolution list before.  The difference is that my heart is ready for a big change.  One of these days, there will be photos to document the changes.

Now, about those other resolutions... yes, there are a couple but this is the big one for 2012!  Simplify, Organize, and Enjoy the Journey.

© 04JAN12 ajj

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 3 - Beginnings, Art & Books

My love of books started very young.  I'm not sure of my exact age, but one of the first was a very large picture book.  They were called My Big Little Golden Books and measured about 12 by 9 inches.  Mine was called Wonders of Nature and I loved it.  The illustrations were by Eloise Wilkin, and they were beautiful.

 This was the beginning of my love affair with books and art.  Over the years, I've read hundreds of books.  When my grandpa couldn't get me to the library, I would pick up the Childcraft Encyclopedias.  I read them from cover to cover.  I loved reading so much, I read about subjects I wasn't naturally drawn to, such as science.  When I'd exhausted all of my books, and my sister's, I started reading books from my grandparents shelves.  This was everything from Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin to The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.  Then I moved on to magazines.  We always had Better Homes & Gardens, Readers Digest, and National Geographic.

Stories opened a new world for me.  One of travel, adventure, and imagination.  These days I spend much of my reading time online, visiting other bloggers, and continuing my happy journey with the written word.

 © 03JAN12 ajj

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2 - Beginnings, My Journey with Writing

Last night I made a list of life events to look at for the NaBloPoMo prompt, Beginnings.  One that came immediately to mind was the beginning of this blog.  It began in the spring of 2008.  A dear friend of mine had a blog I'd been reading.  She knew how much I enjoyed writing and encouraged me to blog.   It was so foreign to me.  It took a while just to get through the setup and then the writing began.

I've written about a lot of things since that beginning.  Mostly about family and my daily life.  I was writing for myself and also for my mom, who had passed on.  Back in the 90's I'd started a book.  It was intended to be a romantic mystery along the lines of a Victoria Holt or Phyllis Whitney.  I had written about six chapters and let my mom read it.  She was so excited about the book and couldn't wait for me to finish.  During that time, my dad was fighting to survive cancer.  He didn't make it.  I felt such guilt that I'd been busy writing, instead of spending more time with him.  I set the book aside.  It was only meant to be for a while, but I never went back to it.  Mom would ask about it from time to time, encouraging me to finish but it didn't happen.

I satisfied my writing urges with a monthly church newsletter.  That worked for a season of my life.  My friend Carol, of Silver Valley Stories, had been doing our church newsletter.  When she moved back to Northern Idaho, she recommended me for the job.  It was a blessing in so many ways.  Carol is also the friend who inspired me to begin blogging.  When my days doing the newsletter ended, I had my blog to satisfy those writing urges.  I've done some poetry and short stories, as part of Sunday Scribblings, as well as sharing about my family life.  As I continue to write about "Beginnings" this month, I will have to look back at that first book attempt.  It may be time to dust it off, or maybe it's time for a brand new beginning.

 © 02JAN12 ajj

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 1 - Beginnings, A New Commitment...

Bright new beginnings,
like bubbles rising to the top or
balloons set adrift on the breeze.
You don't know where they 
will go or how far.
The journey is the adventure.

I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for the month of January.  The prompt is "Beginnings" and this is a new beginning for me.  I'm making a commitment to write every day of the month.  Over the past few weeks, my mind revisited some of the stories rattling around in my head.  I just couldn't seem to find my words when I sat down to write.  I'm hoping this exercise will get me back on track with blogging, Sunday Scribblings, and my writing in general.

I noticed a friend had signed up for NaBloPoMo and it inspired me to push myself.  During the month, I plan to share my thoughts on other Beginnings in my life.  I hope you'll enjoy taking this journey with me.  If you want to give this a try for yourself, go HERE!  You have until January 5th to sign up.  Another blog with writing prompts is Sunday Scribblings.  Today's prompt is "New" and you may enjoy reading what their participating writers have to share.

 © 01JAN12 ajj