“Z” is for…

Zoey and Zig Ziglar

Yes, you read that correctly.  My favorite “Z” word in the whole world is Zoey, my precious granddaughter. There is none so perfect as she. 🙂 Especially in her sassy little leopard print dress.

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And Zig Ziglar? I couldn’t think of a better way to end this remarkable blog challenge than with one of his quotes.  This adventure has led me to the good habit of writing every day (which I hope I can keep), it has helped me get to know acquaintances better (My NCW comrades), and has brought some amazing blogging friends into my blogging life. It has been an amazing ride and I hope to stay connected with all of you. Every one of you has a special place in my heart.

“Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success.”
― Zig Ziglar

The willow

GOD{isms}

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Lonely willow tree. Standing tall against a backdrop of stormy skies.

Resilient and compliant, it bends with the wind.
While chartreuse limbs cry out against the dark skies that are creeping in.
Day and night, a hollow song can be heard as the winds whip through its branches.
Singing it’s lonely and sad aria to whomever may be near.
Yet the willow stands strong beneath the darkened skies.
Knowing that it can not be beaten by any wind.
Willow’s roots run deep below the surface of the trampled ground.
Drinking the cool refreshing water of life from the shoreline that it calls home.
Digging it’s roots in deeper and deeper still with each passing day.
Drawing strength from the well-spring of never-ending love.
From the One, the Creator, who rules in Heaven above.
The willow tree stands silent but strong.
Ready to face the storms of life head on.
Rooted in…

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“Y”is for…

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Practicing yoga has woven its way through various aspects of this life I live. The parallels are multiple in number, and I believe it’s more than mere coincidence that it’s called “practicing” yoga. It’s a discipline that allows an opportunity to practice becoming better–at yoga and at living life.

Each stretch and pose, as uncomfortable and awkward as it may feel at first, carries me just a little further to becoming better the next time. It’s about stretching beyond my comfort zone to accomplish what I couldn’t just a moment before. It has shown me how to take the uncomfortable, make it comfortable, and move forward.

Yoga teaches me to show up even when I don’t feel like it.  In fact, especially then, because it leaves me with an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I’m enjoying those last cool down stretches.

That act of showing up regardless of what I feel like doing, reinforces how important it is to show up in life every moment of every day, not allowing feelings to dictate how I live that day. Negative feelings can be overcome by simply showing up, whether we feel like it or not, to live a life of purpose. It’s about pushing past letting feelings control you and using that power within you to control your feelings.

It carries over into my writing life, my running life, being-a-wife/mother/friend-life…and life in general.

Showing up at my desk even when I don’t feel like writing produces written words and pages, along with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I’m done with my scheduled time, rather than feelings of wish-I-would have’s and regret when I neglect to show up, producing nothing, opening up the door to negative feelings.

Showing up when my husband/kids/friends need my time, even when I feel I don’t have the time, reminds me to set my “self” aside and put others needs before my wants, reminding me life is about relationship and being available to and loving others.

Yoga shows me it’s about the journey of mastering a pose, progressing a little further each time I practice, rather than being able to immediately conquer and perfect it. That making progress through hard work is key to growth–physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Yoga teaches me to focus on the importance of each breath as I breathe slow, even breaths through holding each pose, uncomfortable as it may be, teaching me to keep my focus on the matter at hand, anxiety at bay. Not thinking about the next pose, the next hour, or the next day. Just the here and now.  And that leaves space for nothing other than peace.

Yoga

Namaste.

“X” is for…

X-tra ready for the challenge to be over…Okay, so that may be cheating a bit. But the truth is there all the same. 🙂

This challenge has been an amazing journey.  It’s taught me that even when I am sure I have nothing to say or my mind feels blocked from thinking of something interesting to write about, I can overcome that self-doubt and conquer the blockage.

It has shown me what an amazing group of people the blogging community is comprised of.  The support, the camaraderie, the pooling together of minds.

The diverse subject matter has given me knowledge I did not have prior to the challenge.  And knowledge is truly power.  However, I’ve learned more than just subject matter content from all my blogging peeps. (That means friends where I come from. 🙂 )

It has shown me the importance of making writing an everyday occurrence and not simply when I feel like it.  Writing every day is what produces results.

It has also shown the importance of endurance–to see it through to the end, even when it got difficult or time was hard to find. We make time for what is important to us.

Finish Strong Quote

But that being said, I’m ready to finish–and not just finish, but finish strong–and carry on with the revisions on my novel, The Inheritance, and to start the revisions of my “novel-in-waiting,” The Last Resort, which has been patiently waiting since I completed the first draft this past November. Writing novels is where my heart is.

What will you be working on after the A to Z Blog Challenge?

 

“W” is for…

Writing on the Wall

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After reading a blog post some time back asking how far back our love of writing went, I began thinking about when my love of words began, and discovered it was the writing on the wall.  Literally.

Much to my mother and father’s dismay, I began experimenting with writing on our living room walls when I was about four years old.  In crayon.  And despite getting into trouble, that was the beginning of freedom as I knew it. 🙂  (The second time words got me into serious trouble was in elementary school when a boy kept getting me out in four-square and an obscenity I didn’t realize I knew flew out of my mouth before I even knew what happened. Right in front of the playground aid.  I’m not sure who was more shocked, me or the aid. 🙂

I never wrote on the walls again, but I practiced my writing and my penmanship endlessly–on paper and chalkboards, taking great pride when my teachers would compliment my near-perfect handwriting.

As I grew into my teens, I spent endless hours and evenings in my room, walls decorated with all things writing, and immersed myself in writing in my journal and writing heartfelt poetry about the life of an adolescent.  When I wasn’t writing, I was reading.

As I grew into my late teens I still enjoyed writing but it fell to a lower rung on my list of priorities, until I got married.  It was then I decided to try my hand at a novel.  Although, truth be told, I hadn’t even thought about it that deeply to realize that’s what I wanted to write, I just knew I had a story I wanted to tell and sat down to write every evening until I realized I had finished the first draft of a novel.  A whopping 90,000 words before I even realized what I had done.  That manuscript, along with another completed first draft, still sit in a box in the bottom of a filing drawer.  Someday maybe they will see the light of day, but for now they’re tucked cozily in place.

For several years I took a break from writing to raise my boys, and have found my way back to it about two years ago. And what joy! It was like finding a long lost love after being separated for far too long.  And now that its been rediscovered, I can say I will never separate from that love again.  I found my way home.

When did you have that “Aha!” moment that you knew you wanted to be a writer?

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“V” is for…

Vacation

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Who doesn’t love a vacation? The image of my toes in the sand, a cool drink in my hand…ahhh…heaven.

When I was younger my definition of vacation was narrow, including only the traditional meaning of the word–“a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel.” (Merriam-Webster).

As I get older–although I prefer the word “seasoned” rather than older–I have developed a much broader view of the word, which now encompasses the full definition–”

1:  a respite or a time of respite from something :  intermission

2a :  a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended
 b :  a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3:  a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation
(“Vacation.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacation)

Vacation means more than just a break.  Taking a break from something has its time and place, but taking a vacation is feeding the soul.

It means spending time reading a book in the sun, even if it’s on my backyard patio, with a glass of lemonade, without a shred of guilt from thinking I should be doing something.

Vacation means going somewhere with no phone service, no television, and no computer.

It means pitching a tent in the woods with nothing but a backpack, the smell of oak trees and bonfire smoke, sounds of rustling leaves, black coffee early in the morning, and the ripples on the waters surface to start the day.

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It means a day spent lying in a boat floating in the water for an afternoon, throwing a line in to catch dinner, and even dozing off in the sun.

It means picnics under a big oak tree, eating nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chips, stretching out for an afternoon nap afterwards.

What does your ideal vacation look like?

“U” is for…

Understand

There’s a common saying that says in order to love others, you must love yourself.  I go back and forth on that one and think there’s more than one way to look at that.

I do believe, however, that before I can understand the world around me, I must understand my place in the world. It’s important to discover my part in making the world around me the best it can be, making sure that whenever I leave a room it was better than when I entered.  Making sure that what I say and do gives instead of takes away.  That I lift others up rather than tear them down.

It’s important for each to know one’s strengths so those strengths can be shared with others, as well as to know one’s weaknesses so those areas of need can be strengthened.

It’s important  to know and understand one’s own morals and values so as to stand firm when the undercurrent of the opposition threatens to undermine those values and carry us away to dark territory.

“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
― Peter Hamilton

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Peace.