Inspirational aftermath

Image by Alison Innes from Pixabay

I spent this weekend at the SCBWI-Rocky Mountain Chapter’s fall conference. Two days filled with 240 creative people and lots-o’ conversations. I took copious notes (which became less lucid as the weekend wore on) and felt many pings during motivational keynotes and informative breakout sessions. It was an awful lot of extroverting for an introvert who needs alone-time to refill her well.

On Sunday morning while I was conversing with several women, someone confessed to being at a point of overwhelm. We all agreed it was getting more difficult to process what we were learning. I said, “By the time I left last night, I was almost crying.” A woman replied, “I did cry.”

I’m past the crying stage, but am still refilling my well. I hiked alone this morning and spent some of the day in a patch of sunshine with a middle-grade novel. I’m slowly coming back to myself and hope to resume writing in the next day or so. In the meanwhile, I’m like a candle that burned brightly and is now a slightly different shape/different writer as a result of the experience.

Poppy pride

Many people welcome and celebrate autumn’s arrival, and I agree there’s much to be said for cooler temperatures. However, I’m not a fan of stuff dying off. I get that it has to happen, but what makes my heart soar is the new growth and bright colors after long, dark winters.

So today I take another look back at the poppies from my front yard. Look at all that glorious color and all that potential for many more blooms!

On this final day of September, I celebrate the exuberant poppy.

Say it with me: More good things are coming my way

For the past couple months, I’ve felt discouraged by various aspects of my life. Those feelings aren’t a constant, they tend to ebb and flow, but this morning the discouragement rose up in me again. With a vengeance.

Then I thought back to what I felt last month when I was offered an assignment to write a book about birds. Not only was I so darned happy, but I was also filled with a sudden certainty: without a doubt, more good things were coming my way.

Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay

If only I could’ve bottled those feelings. But right now I’m doing the next best thing to help reexperience that confidence and certainty. I’m opening my arms wide and chanting my mantra: More good things are coming my way.

Yep, that feels so much better.

If you’re feeling not-great right now, say it with me: More good things are coming my way.

Better, right?

Mondays gonna Monday

Image by Richard Smith from Pixabay

Happy to report I survived this morning’s visit to the dentist without throwing any punches. Woot! However, the whole thing got off to a rocky start when my sandal strap broke as I walked across the parking lot. I somehow kept the shoe on my foot as the strap slapped against the ground. But then the front desk woman asked for my insurance card and I emptied out my purse searching for my wallet that wasn’t there. The good news is Zippy located it at home.

So here’s the score:
Teeth cleaned without me breaking into tears (yes, this has happened before).
Sandal broken but fixable, I believe.
Wallet back in purse and the bill’s in the mail.

Mondays gonna Monday. All I can do is keep my head down and push ahead. Wishing the same for you.

Resting in the grace of the world

Green Heron, Kapok Park. January 11, 2019

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. ~ Wendell Berry

For your viewing pleasure

Because it’s Monday and there’s so much awful, rage-inducing stuff going on in the world, I’m offering Emma Jean-Jean, in all her splashy glory, for your viewing pleasure. I hope her wet, whiskered face brings a smile and/or relief from the heat.

Take care of yourselves.

Thankful Thursday: the natural world

So much of our current reality causes me outrage, fear, and anxiety. It’s gotten so that I struggle with getting out of bed in the morning. But today I’m grateful for a new writing project that brings me happiness.

Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard. Greenhouse Trail, Cave Creek Canyon. May 14, 2019

I’m always at my best when fully immersed in a project, especially when the subject matter involves the glories of our natural world, and so this dapper lizard feels like the perfect guide for today’s work.

Running Endorphins R Us

Happy first day of spring! It’s a beautiful day in the Denver metro area, but I was inside for most of it as I struggled with my work-for-hire project. Late this afternoon I stepped away from my computer and went outside to run around the neighborhood multiple times. First loop was with my short-legged doggo who is sometimes more an anchor than a running partner. So I dropped her off at the house and went out again.

Post-runn photo by Zippy

I’m feeling so much better now. Running for the win!

Making happy while the sun hides

It’s Monday and the view out my window is gray and overcast. I’m in need of sunshine, but don’t have the power to make that happen. So I’ll settle for the next best thing:  a bright and cheery sunflower.

You’re welcome. And Happy Monday!

Sunday Confessional: I’m not liking the “now” all that much

It’s Sunday evening.
It’s February.
And it’s cold, gray, and snowing.
The entire landscape appears to be either dead or frozen.
I realize it’s best to live in the moment, fully embracing the “now,” but honestly? I’m not at all in the mood for that here’s-the-best-way-to-stay emotionally-healthy nonsense.

Right now my “now” is all about looking ahead to the vibrant warmth of my garden in bloom.

Thankful Thursday: friendship + sunshine edition

Today I am thankful for my friend, mentor, and critique partner Claudia Mills who is spontaneous and responded in the affirmative to my last-minute invitation to get together. We spent an hour and a half this afternoon strolling around Viele Lake in Boulder. The sun shone brightly the entire time we walked and talked. Tanky-the-dog mostly listened, although he interjected a few yips at other mostly-larger dogs on the path.

Claudia and Tanky after our final lap around the lake.

It’s the last day of January (don’t let the door hit you on the way out!) and I’m grateful for the revitalization that comes from friendship and sunshine.

My January lifeboat

This afternoon I sat in the chair I’d situated just-so in a patch of sunshine and remained there until the sun dropped below the foothills. January is always a struggle for me and in anticipation of posting something here, I went to brainyquotes.com in search of a quote about the excruciating difficulty that is January. Instead, I found this:

I like starting projects in January.
That’s the best time to start something.
It’s so inward.
~ Carolyn Chute

That quotation feels right for today because as I struggled emotionally earlier this afternoon, I kept returning to the two opening sentences I’d jotted in my ideas notebook. There’s a story in those two sentences, I’m sure of it, and my mind keeps going back to them in an attempt to figure out what that story might be. Those two sentences are like a lifeboat to me now and I’m grabbing on tight.

Who knows? This cold and dark January might kickstart something truly wonderful.

Twofer Tuesday: wading siblings edition

After picking up our younger brother from the Tampa airport, we missed a turn on the drive home and ended up discovering a hidden gem: Cypress Point Park. Here are my brother and sister wading in the very cold Tampa Bay water, searching for crabs, minnows, and other ocean life.

That was probably the most refreshing “wrong turn” I’ve ever experienced and I highly recommend visiting the park if you’re in the area.

Must haves

Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
~ Hans Christian Andersen

Today I’m grateful to have two out of three plus the knowledge that the vinca will bloom again in the spring.

Sunday Confessional: my son’s mess helped me feel better

Late this afternoon I crawled back in bed. Despite the fact that I’d taken a brisk 2-mile walk around the neighborhood, I was sad and depressed. I slept for a bit, but when I woke I still felt blue-blue-blue. I decided I’d stay in bed until tomorrow morning. Screw this almost-last-day-of-December. I’d had enough.

And then I remembered Wildebeest’s car. I’d borrowed it last night and discovered the floors behind the front seats were filled with trash. Receipts, wrappers, water bottles, etc. As I huddled under my covers I thought about that finite amount of stuff in his car. I could do something about that! I would see instant results! I got out of bed, put on clothes, and went outside with a garbage can plus a bag for recyclables.

Wow.

As I unearthed layers of stuff from the floor I came upon what appeared to be a whole lot of bird seed. That’s odd, I thought as I continued excavating. Wildebeest doesn’t share my bird love. Why would he be feeding birds? Then I reached under the seat and pulled out a flattened box. Rice A Roni. In fact, I eventually found two destroyed boxes of Rice A Roni in his car. But the real treat (not to be confused with the ♪ Rice A Roni, the San Francisco treat  ♫ ) was a clump of fossilized dog poop that’d clearly come off a friend’s shoes as said friend rode in the back seat. (You’re probably thinking I’m rude for publicly calling out my son’s slovenly habits, but he came by them honestly. When I was his age I was a smoker who wasn’t good about emptying the ash tray in my car and sometimes the filled-to-capacity ashtray would start smoldering when I put out another butt in the gigantic pile of butts. I know, I know.)

Wildebeest’s car was a dumpster on wheels. Oddly enough, I was quite content as I cleaned and vacuumed the interior and then wiped down the dashboard. Instant results, baby. Tangible progress. A job well done.

I’m pleased to report my blues are gone for the time being and that I’m not getting back in bed for a good long while. Wildebeest’s mess + my unorthodoxy = WIN.

 

Existing in the here and now

When I saw this photo I took yesterday, I interpreted it as a scrub jay looking ahead. But as I view it today, I’m reminded that birds don’t get caught up in regrets and what-ifs the way humans do.  This wise jay is probably merely existing in the moment.

I’m trying to do the same.

Thankful Thursday

Today I’m grateful it’s the second shortest day of the year and that soon we’ll be gaining daylight. I’m also grateful for this photographic reminder that although the landscape is currently dry-and-drab as far as the eye can see, brown doesn’t always mean dead. And ugly. And depressing.

Brown can also bring joy. Today I post this intricately beautiful brown iris as a reminder that blooms of many colors are in my not-so-distant future.