In Which I Tell You I’m About to Disappear – #10Thankful

This is going to be tremendously short.

First, let me say that I most definitely do not enjoy writing my TToT posts on Sunday evenings. If I’m here on a Sunday evening with fingers to keys, it means either A) I had a hard time figuring out what to put on my list, B) I was out doing stuff all weekend and never saw my desk or keyboard, or C) I plain old just didn’t get to it.

Whichever answer is true – and this week it’s B – I still don’t enjoy the Sunday night write because it just feels so forced and deadline-ish.

But. I’m doing it still.

The tremendously short version of my list of thankfuls is that we’ve had a wonderful weekend enjoying the completely not-fall-like weather (mid 70s the last two days – bizarre) and taking a little weekend getaway that we love. Fun. So I’m thankful we were able to do that.

I’m thankful the port-a-johns at the farm where we visited a fall festival today were unbelievably clean. I kid you not. And I’m glad we got to enjoy a  nice very not-crowded afternoon with Zilla and a cousin at said fall festival. They had a good time.

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I’m tired as can be, but I’m glad for that, too, because it means my body can get up and move around fairly well and my muscles got used in good ways. I’m also pretty thankful for a little ibuprofen and some tea and a comfy bed on which to put up my feet and recover.

I’m pretty thankful that no one in this TToT crew is going to mind that this is short (although is it really at this point?) and haphazard because hey, whatever you do is fine and this crew does not judge.

Finally – this is the thankful where I finally get around to explaining my – I’m thankful to have a (sort-of) plan that may help me reach some of my personal and professional goals. I’m about to kind of disappear for the next month. See, I’ve decided to go ahead and give NaNoWriMo a try again. Last year I put a project in the system and got exactly nowhere. This year I have three projects in the works that I want to make significant progress with and so I’m doing it. I have all sorts of reservations about NaNoWriMo – the obligation versus desire factor where writing is concerned, the actual quality of anything banged out in a 30-day mad dash, the realistic potential to sit and write that volume every single day… But you know what? I need these three things out of my head and in any form of semi-half-baked completedness on screen and page.

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So this space may remain empty many days. It is my hope to continue posting semi-regularly. I may not get around to read or comment or share at anyone else’s page for a few weeks. It is my hope that I will because I love reading all of you. My house probably won’t get cleaned very often if I’m writing that intensely. It is my hope…. Pfft. Who’s kidding whom? I wasn’t going to clean anyway.

I may or may not “succeed” in producing anything for NaNo. But if I’m absent in the online world, let’s assume it’s because I’m getting something done. You know where to find me if you want or need me and I’ll pop in at least for a bit – you know that much is true.

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And now I have to end this and move on, mostly because I’m falling asleep at the keyboard and it is time to go finish out my evening, put my kid to bed, and relax.

Pretend I left you with a snappy and entertaining close here.

See you soon!

~ XO <3

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Ten Things of Thankful
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An Awareness of Smaller Moments – #10Thankful

I always think it’s interesting how – or when – certain moments strike my awareness.

I spent all weekend half-thinking about writing this TToT in the back of my mind, but never quite sat to do it. It’s not that I don’t have much for which I’m thankful, it’s that every time I tried to come up with a list or a theme, the grander ideas eluded me.

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But I did notice small items of gladness and gratitude here and there – just nothing that I could really spin into a larger, more profound thought. Sometimes life is really just about the little moments, though, not the profound ones. Sometimes it’s about simply being in the right place at the right time to become aware of these moments that matters and leads us to gratitude.

For example…

Right now I am very thankful that Cat Three opted to puke on the hardwood floor, rather than the carpet. It’s usually the carpet that gets hit. We have carpet in exactly two places in our house – the stairways – and somehow the cats always find their way to the carpet when they get sick. So while I’m not happy to be cleaning up cat yerf, I’m pretty glad it’s not a carpet job.

It is fall – finally and for real this time, I believe. I am never more at peace than during the autumn of the year. I saw a line go by somewhere over the weekend that sums it up for me. It’s a half-line, really, and taken quite out of context, but still it shows up all over the place at this time of year. “Are we not better and at home In dreamful Autumn…?” is the often-quoted snippet, but there’s much more to the poem (“Autumnal” by Ernest Dowson). I love how well that expresses my feelings about this time of year, but am also glad it sent me digging for some long-forgotten words of poetry to enjoy again.

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I have a friend (actually more than one, now that I think about it_ who is having a tough time with some things right now. I can’t begin to ease the pain in this person’s life. I can’t find words that will comfort that won’t sound completely trite. But I can stay in touch, ask how things are, lend an ear, send a card…small gestures to say the least, but I know that they matter. So that’s something.

I’m bursting at the seams this morning over Zilla’s successes of late. She’s working hard, putting tools and strategies to use, and seeing very positive results. She revels in her successes and feels confident about herself – and it shows. This morning we discovered an unfinished homework assignment that a year ago would have been a huge setback for the rest of the day. Today? I saw so much resilience in her and it made me so happy. She accepted responsibility, handled it, and marched into school with the work finished. No meltdown. No upset. No kidding.

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I was struck the other night by just how wise my Husband is. I can’t quite remember what the discussion was, but he offered such calm and rational wisdom that I couldn’t help but see things more clearly after the conversation. He grounds me and reminds me to keep my eye on the big picture, and not over-focus on minute details. On the flip side, though, sometimes when I get overwhelmed it’s because I’m worried too much about the big picture. In those moments he reminds me that the way to get it done is to focus on one thing at a time. Why he’s so much better at sorting out which approach is the right one, I’ll never tell you. It’s just one of the mysteries of our relationship that I’ve come to accept and treasure.

I’m delighted to have a huge pile of books that I’m working my way through right now – some lovely fall reads, some new books by friends and acquaintances, some old favorites. I’m also glad to be able to make time to sit and enjoy them, even if I’m not getting through them as quickly as I’d like.

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I’m happy to have a plan right now. I’ve been working on some projects – slowly and distractedly without a doubt, but nonetheless surely – and after quite a few days of thinking, I believe I have a good plan in mind to really make some progress. More on that as we move forward, I suppose.

And at this very second I’m very grateful for alarm clocks that tell me it’s time to move to the next task of my day. So, friends, I’m out of here for now. I don’t have a link-up thing to share this week, but drop your TToT (or other post) link in the comments and I’ll get around to visit.

Have a wonderful week!

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TToT – Wants, Needs, and Practicality

It is not always possible to do or get what you want.

Sure, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? To be able to do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it? To be able to have anything you want right when you desire it? Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Maybe.

But then again perhaps having everything on demand isn’t the best scenario. Maybe it’s true that the best things come to those who wait.

Continue reading “TToT – Wants, Needs, and Practicality”

Calm and In Control

I swore I wasn’t going to do this.

I was not going to write an end of the year wrap-up post, or a list of my favorite books, or favorite moments of the year. I was not going to make any New Year’s resolutions (aside from the perennial one I make to stop swearing) or post any goals related to weight, writing, water consumption, or anything else. I find the whole concept – much like all of January – just…ugh.

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But I have done the word of the year thing for the last few and I definitely liked it. I suppose I didn’t do much with my 2015 word, Progress – at least not here on the blog – so I figured picking a word for 2016 was probably a wasted effort. But it’s not.
Just because I didn’t actively or regularly report on my word doesn’t mean I did not make Progress in many ways throughout the year. And as I recall, I chose Progress as a theme for me, the Hub, and Zilla – whether they liked it or not. In many ways we have all made significant progress in the last year. I’m calling all of that success.

But I’m kind of done with 2015 so let’s move forward, shall we?

See? Progress… Continue reading “Calm and In Control”

TToT – We’re Here Already?

I can’t believe it’s the weekend again already.

I also can’t believe that Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone, that autumn is now two-thirds past, and we’re heading rapidly toward Hanukkah next weekend and Christmas not far behind.

Time moves so fast… What is it that Ferris Bueller said? “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I definitely don’t want that to happen. I want to be aware of the life I’m living.

And so it is good practice, especially in times when life is busy and stressful, to just…be. We need time to stop and look around, to find the quiet moments for which to be thankful, the moments that give our life meaning.

So let’s talk turkey… Continue reading “TToT – We’re Here Already?”

Having Gratitude for Hardship – A #1000Speak Post

I’ve been thinking for weeks about my post for this month’s 1000 Voices for Compassion link-up. Weeks.

My #1000Speak efforts are most often fall under the umbrella of self-compassion – something I know so many of us struggle with and need to remember to practice. For some reason, I just couldn’t marry the gratitude theme to the self-compassion theme. The one idea I liked, I rejected.

It occurred to me (finally) that I had already written my #1000Speak post – I just didn’t realize it. So this post has already appeared on my blog, but it is also what I want to say for this month’s link-up on Gratitude. It was written last week for Kristi’s Finish the Sentence Friday hop. The prompt asked us to consider the hardship we are most thankful for having experienced in our lives…

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Let me tell you something about hardship.

You are never prepared for it.

You can tell yourself that you are. You can tell yourself that you’ve thought through all the possibilities that could befall you and can handle whatever life hurls at you. But no matter how much you think you’re prepared, when that moment comes – and I can assure you that it will come – the world will grow dark and it will bring you to your knees.

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You can believe your own half-humorous claims that your position in life is secure because they’ll never find another fool to do your job for what they pay you. But the truth is they will. Not only will they find someone to do your job, but they will find someone to do it for even less than they’re paying you.

Three and a half years ago, my Husband lost his job. We had no suspicion, no warning. There was only a seemingly sudden decision that his services would no longer be required. We were devastated. He had spent eleven years of his time, energy, and talent on that position – sometimes to the detriment of other aspects of our lives. He worked hard and cared about his work. But suddenly, circumstances beyond our control left us standing, mouths agape, utterly shocked. Continue reading “Having Gratitude for Hardship – A #1000Speak Post”

Hardship

Let me tell you something about hardship.

You are never prepared for it.

You can tell yourself that you are. You can tell yourself that you’ve thought through all the possibilities that could befall you and can handle whatever life hurls at you. But no matter how much you think you’re prepared, when that moment comes – and I can assure you that it will come – the world will grow dark and it will bring you to your knees.

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You can believe your own half-humorous claims that your position in life is secure because they’ll never find another fool to do your job for what they pay you. But the truth is they will. Not only will they find someone to do your job, but they will find someone to do it for even less than they’re paying you.

Three and a half years ago, my Husband lost his job. We had no suspicion, no warning. There was only a seemingly sudden decision that his services would no longer be required. We were devastated. He had spent eleven years of his time, energy, and talent on that position – sometimes to the detriment of other aspects of our lives. He worked hard and cared about his work. But suddenly, circumstances beyond our control left us standing, mouths agape, utterly shocked. Continue reading “Hardship”

TToT – The Unexpected

I am not a fan of surprises.

Surprise parties, unannounced visitors, restaurant servers gathered around my table singing an unenthusiastic birthday song while I sit in my seat wearing a sombrero and smiling awkwardly at a cupcake holding a flaming sparkler? Not my thing.

But as I get older – and I hope wiser – I’m trying to embrace the beauty of unexpected things. You just never know when you might find a moment of fascinating and beautiful in the midst of the ordinary – like the sea turtle Zilla found living on the wood boards of the restroom at our hiking spot. Sometimes the unplanned and unexpected in life are the very things we never knew we wanted.

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For example, I can start here with my daughter, our Kidzilla. Before she was born, we were certain she would be a boy. We wanted to have a boy and we hoped for a boy, so we convinced ourselves that she was, indeed, a boy. As it turns, out she is a girl. A very pink, very sparkly girl. And we can’t imagine ever having wanted anything different.

In a million years, I never would have expected to decide that I wanted to work for myself, work from home, and want to make things like chaperoning field trips and volunteering in the school library the first items that go on my calendar. And yet, after Zilla was born, I found myself wanting that more and more.

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I never would have expected to choose to leave the “security” of a full-time benefits-included job and strike out on my own. Terrifying. And yet unexpectedly rewarding. I certainly did not expect to start taking sub-teacher days – and I definitely didn’t think I’d enjoy it. But I’ve been subbing a couple of days each week for the last couple of weeks and enjoying it quite a bit.

I did not expect the plans I had for my self-employed ventures to fall through. Nearly everything I expected and planned and attempted for the last year has somehow not gone as planned. But as it turns out, in retrospect, it’s very likely been for good reason and it seems has led to better opportunities.

For example, I most definitely did not expect to land three freelance contract in three days – but that’s exactly what happened this week. I’m still in a bit of shock. Of course I’ll continue to search and add more – such is the life of the freelance writer – but these are a very positive and encouraging start. And I expected my first few jobs to be, well, hateful. But these three are actually quite interesting and I’m excited about doing them.

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I’m sure I missed a memo or a posting or an invite somewhere this week because I most definitely did not expect my phone to ring with a video chat call on Friday evening. The next thing I knew, I was talking face-to-virtual-face with Clark and Lizzi and Kristi! That was an absolutely delightful surprise!

I never expected to find so many dear friends out there in so many places as a result of starting this blog. Nor did I expect the outpouring of good wishes, support, and encouragement that they provide in so many ways. I hope you all know who you are…I love you guys.

I didn’t expect my blood work to look all that great this week, but it’s quite good. Nor did I expect to buy jeans several sizes smaller than I thought I needed, or that I would drop (and keep off) ten pounds over the last couple of weeks, or that anyone would notice – ten pounds on a fat girl isn’t always that noticeable, you know? And yet all of those things have happened.

When asked what I do for a living, I never expected “I am a writer” to come out of my mouth. But it did. And oddly enough, mere hours after that utterance, I accepted my first contract. Coincidence? Who’s to say…?

20150902_125402I did not plant to have an impromptu girls slumber party last night with Kidzilla or expect that my Fab Hub would grab me in the garage for a good solid kiss this morning. Those happy surprises happened, too.

I didn’t expect to like the soup I’m eating right now, but it might be one of my new favorites.

And I certainly didn’t expect to go several days without Cat One making a fecal deposit somewhere unacceptable in the house, but it seems that even unexpected miracles do sometimes happen!

It’s a good day.

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Your turn: What unexpected things have made you happy and thankful lately? Do you like surprises or dread them? What is the greatest surprise you’ve had in life? 

You know the drill – share ’em or link ’em!

Ten Things of Thankful

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TToT – Finding My Groove…and Peace

Wow. Just wow.

Well, I muddled through OctPoWriMo – sorta. I somehow anticipated having more time, producing more words, posting more posts…then life happened. I even missed a TToT or two which I truly never do. And now, here we are a week into November and NaNoWriMo I’m feeling a bit like I’m trying to climb a very slippery slope. All good intentions fall to the wayside, unexpected things fall in my path…you know…things fall apart.

But it’s not bad … in fact, things are rather good, I think. I did get some poetry posts in for October. I am writing for NaNoWriMo, albeit slowly. I’m just having a very hard time finding my groove right now, in all respects. It will come. I will get there.

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In the meantime, I am just enjoying autumn (well except for this last week of ridiculously hot and muggy temps…ugh), continuing to find my way, and keeping my eyes focused on the path ahead. And even though the sun does not always shine through the trees, there is much for which I am thankful…

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Continue reading “TToT – Finding My Groove…and Peace”

TToT – A Bit of Progress

I skipped the TToT link-up last weekend.

I never do that.

It wasn’t for lack of intent or even lack of things for which to be thankful. It was simply the result of circumstance. So this week I have plenty to add. Mostly I think I’ve found many ways to acknowledge small bits of progress (remember that word – my long lost One Word for the year?) and to keep the positive efforts flowing.

Let’s start with the beauty of autumn. I love this season most of all and even if the color changes aren’t the most spectacular around here this year, I still love everything about this particular season and its changes. The empty corn fields across the road from us struck me as particularly interesting this year…there’s a post coming, I think.

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Continue reading “TToT – A Bit of Progress”