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28 days into a dark summer

I’m tired. So very.

Jake must be tired–where’s he sleeping?
Did he eat today?

Now, every time I see a homeless person, I think, That’s some mother’s child.
I had compassion before; this is different. Before, I speculated and sympathized. Now I know.

How can I build something good from this?
I’ve started something rough–if you’re interested, you can check out the resource page I’ve started. Just hover your mouse over ‘a little about me‘ in the menu bar near the top of this page. A drop-down menu will show the page I’m working on. (When someone you love goes missing.)

Edited: May 29th, 2016

Joy Dare

I see that gratitude starts with what you look for–and with the effort you’re willing to expend looking for the good. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to close my eyes and first refocus mentally before I can see beauty with my eyes open.

I read about the Joy Dare here.
Today’s prompt is to find gifts in something written, something sung, and something painted.

  • A gift sung:

Listen to this and find peace in your afternoon:

  • A gift written:

By Henry Vaughan

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
       All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
       Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world
       And all her train were hurl’d.
The doting lover in his quaintest strain
       Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
       Wit’s sour delights,
With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure,
       Yet his dear treasure
All scatter’d lay, while he his eyes did pour
       Upon a flow’r.
(Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light led me to this poem when I was a teenager.)
  • A gift painted:

 

artist: Jill Marie This painting hung on the wall at Michael’s for about five years, and I wanted it from the moment I saw it. I asked if I could buy it when the store first opened, and was told that displayed art in the frame section was not for sale.  So every time I went in to Michael’s– (which was often; it is a crack den) –I stood and stared longingly at it.
One day I saw that the painting had been moved and there was a price tag for $39.99 on it. With some trepidation and a whole lot of wild hope, I found a salesperson and asked if the price was for the painting or the frame, and she said, “Oh, for the painting. You want it?”
I did not squeal, but I think my “Yes!” startled her.
This painting is, oh, yes, a gift.

Edited: March 26th, 2014

People who have lit my way

I recently decided to connect with other writers because I really need to mix with my kind. I need to be around those people who are obsessed with the craft–talking about it, writing about it, learning about it. And I need to connect with people who want to make a difference in the world in any small way. So I have been posting more regularly on Linkedin and Twitter, and one person made me realize that I was on the right path. She’s made me feel appreciated and valued, which has encouraged me to keep doing my small thing in this tiny corner of the universe.

Kristol, you’re a light in the darkness, and I thank you for nominating me for the Lighthouse Award. You’ve made a difference in my perspective in just the short time I’ve known you. Thank you.

lighthouseaward

Nominees, here are the sweet and simple rules:

  • Display the award certificate on your blog.
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
  • Share three ways that you like to help other people.
  • There is no limit to the number of people you can nominate.
  • Don’t forget to have fun!

3 help-y things I like to do:

  •  I help people find short-cuts. (On the road, I know the route with the fewest stoplights or left-hand turns because I hate circuitous routes. This impatience leads me to find short-cuts in every arena, not just on the road.  This, I realize, is also a sign of laziness. And people do not always want to know these amazing short-cuts. lol)
  • I help people find their voices in writing. I am able to set myself aside–my opinions, my voice, my knowledge, all of that Stacy-stuff–and I help people express what’s inside them in their own words. I thank God for this gift, and I hope to develop this skill to its fullest potential.
  • I help people find THAT book. You know when you’re looking for a book that’s about that one thing, or that book that your sister read to you when you were in 1st grade, or any book that is about [insert your pet subject]? Sometimes I have the book (and give it to you via Bookcrossing) and other times I point you in the right direction, like I did in this post about romance authors’ pseudonyms.

Nominees:

Tammy, my critique partner for 18 years.  She inspires me and helps me stay focused.
And Mandy Eve Barnett. Oh, what a blog. Get your coffee or tea and go browse. Time well spent.

 

 

Edited: March 19th, 2014

The appearance of things

The appearance of things change according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.  ~Kahlil Gibran

Be ugly, see ugliness.
Be merciful, see mercy.
Be deceitful, see deceit.
Be joyful, see joy.

Whatever we see out there is true within us.

My husband taught me something about love today.
We had a heated argument yesterday in which we showed all our dark colors.
You always!  You never!
This morning, upon awakening, he mumbled, “Prayer works.”
I thought he was referring to the fact that I had relented and cuddled up to him in the middle of the night, but that wasn’t it.

He said, “I prayed that something would happen to make me let go of my anger because I knew I was the problem.”

Note:  He was not the problem. We both were.

What surprised me was that he had not prayed for God to move my heart, or to change my perspective. He hadn’t prayed that I would relent.
He’d only prayed about his own attitude.

That little act was a mirror:  I could see my own culpability, my own inflexibility, my own pride.

I don’t know how all this relates, precisely.

My goal is  that the humility and mercy that reside in him will be evident in  me when he looks at me.

 

Edited: December 8th, 2013

Best Year Ever: Week 2

Last week I wore a bracelet to remind me to look for the good.
It was not easy. I found myself dwelling on worst-case scenarios every day, but the bracelet served its purpose: it did remind me to take my eyes off the negative for even a short time to consider what was good in the situation.

So now I have a new one. This one is also blue and gold, and it has tiny charms on it.
The area I’m focusing on this week is Acceptance. Right now, this means:

  • Accepting people exactly where they’re at.
  • Accepting the things I cannot change.
  • Accepting change.
  • Accepting responsibility.

(It may mean more by the end of the week. )

I was complaining to my fiance last night about some people I don’t want to deal with, and he said, “Honey, why don’t you pray for them?”

ew.
(my honest response)

But the suggestion is kinda like rhubarb.
Bitter at first, but really okay after you get used to it.
No, maybe it’s like chewing on aspirin.

Whatever. I got over my initial response, and have decided that the tiny charms on my bracelet will represent people who get under my skin or take up space in my head.  Heck, I’m thinking of them anyway, right? Might as well pray for them.

I have since discovered that I don’t know how to pray for people I don’t like.
I am begrudgingly accepting that I don’t like them, and likewise accepting that I honestly do not want to pray for them.

So I’m starting with small steps: first I will look for change in myself that has resulted from rubbing against that sandpaper. What have I done as a result of my encounters with them?

For example:

A few months ago, I shined light on a problem of bullying in a public place.  (I can’t get more specific than this, sorry.) This was not fully well-received.  People really don’t want you upsetting the status- quo. (Actually, it might have been better-received than I know. I was very busy focusing on the negative. This was pre-bracelet, ok.

I had no horse in the race–I was not personally bullied by this person, but I have been told many stories since 2003 by people who HAVE been or who have dealt with the effects.  I finally spoke up when I witnessed it first-hand at a major meeting.  What I really wanted to do was to open a dialogue about bullying so that it could be openly discussed. This didn’t happen, and it discouraged me.

So I decided to find a way to incorporate anti-bullying into my composition class, at the very least so that I could build awareness, and again, open up the conversation.  I have done this, and although I cannot know the full scope of influence this class will have had on my students, I know that I made a difference.  And I did it because of that sandpaper.  I wouldn’t have done it otherwise.

So I must be thankful for the sandpaper.
Ah.  This is going to take some time.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited: April 18th, 2013

Extraordinary challenges = extraordinary gifts

From Notes from the Universe:

“If you understood the extraordinary gifts
that every single challenge in your life
makes possible, even inevitable,
you’d celebrate your challenges,
new and old alike, as the omens that they are
of new beginnings and spectacular change.”

and

“Raise your sights and broaden your steps.
Because doing one without the other
is the same as doing neither.”

I was advising a shooter on the range recently.  He’d been shooting at close range, and I’d moved his target to double the distance. I could tell by the set of his pistol that his sights weren’t properly aligned, and his shots would either hit the bottom of his target or they’d miss entirely.

He didn’t listen.
And he didn’t pass.
I have no idea where his shots went, actually, because they weren’t on the paper at all. What this means, I tell my students, is that you killed innocent babies.

*disclaimer: he didn’t actually kill innocent babies.
*disclaimer #2: I know all babies are innocent. I use the adjective for effect.

My point:
the farther away your target is, the higher you have to raise your sights.

But, as I tell my students, it’s best to practice small distances a LOT.
For example, I advise them to practice 50-100 rounds at 3-5 yards.  Because they can see the target more clearly at that range, it’s easier to correct how they’re squeezing the trigger or gripping the pistol and see an immediate effect on the target.
Once they’re hitting the target in a consistently small area, then they should move target back a couple of yards and practice with another 100 rounds, keeping in mind that the farther their target is, the more important their sight picture is.

Right now I’m doing all the close targets, and frankly, I don’t see a correlation between those and the move.  No, no, I know it’s there, but all I see are trees right now. Three months of trees.  Now where’s my compass….

Edited: March 27th, 2013

Uncertainty and Inspiration

From Notes from the Universe:
At any point in one’s life, the greater the uncertainties they face, the greater their chances of hitting a major, life-changing “home run.”

I am learning how to embrace uncertainty, but I’ve had to approach this concept in baby steps. I tend to prefer the known, but not for a solid rational reason. I just feel like I have more control if I know what’s coming.

I am leaving everything I know to embark on a beautiful amazing life with the man I love this summer, and I am not doing well in the uncertainty department.  I haven’t changed residence since 1997, and I’ve lived in the same town since 1985.  I’m moving across the country to a fascinating city full of tons of things to do, I’ll be surrounded by his big, loving family, I’ll make new friends, and the only thing I can focus on is the fact that I don’t have a job yet.
This note from the Universe reminded me that I’m doing something enormous. So shut up and jump, sister. The water’s fine.

I’ve been feeling anxious, so I looked up ways to pull myself out of it, and I started here:  50 things you can control right now

And that leads me to the other part of today’s post:  Inspiration.

VIB: Very Inspiring Blogger

Yesterday, out of the blue in the most perfect way, I received a blogger award from fellow blogger, Mandy Eve-Barnett.
I’m going to pay it forward by introducing you to bloggers who inspire me.

 

 
The award requests the following rules are kept:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • State 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers for this award.
  • Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.

7 things about myself:

  1. I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for 9.5 years, and our relationship is stronger than most others I’ve seen.
  2. I’m marrying him this summer. 😀
  3. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America.
  4. I teach firearms classes.
  5. I’m genealogy geek and am working on several friends’ family trees in addition to my own.
  6. I’m a member of Bookcrossing.com and I’ve given away over 8,000 books since 2004.
  7. I’m a perfume pig. I love them all. Current fave: Angel. And Opium. And Jessica McClintock.  And… right. Never mind. lol

15 bloggers whose blogs I nominate for the Very Inspiring Blog Award:

  1. Amanda Fox :  The Fur Files
  2. Devin Berglund
  3. Sarah La Rosa:  Her Strange Angels
  4. The Squeaky Robot
  5. Life in the Boomer Lane
  6. Helen Klebesadel: A Muse and Her Artist
  7. Fred Allen’s Old Time Radio
  8. Marc and Angel
  9. The Connectome
  10. 1000 Awesome Things
  11. The First 10 Pages
  12. People Triggers
  13. The Soulful Contrarian
  14. Clotilda Jamcracker
  15. The Tovarysh Connection

 

 

 

Edited: March 25th, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Writer: What Makes a Good Story?

A beginning, a middle, and an end.

Yeah, thanks.
Knew that, right?

Check out this TED talk from Karen Thompson Walker, and consider using your own fears to write well-developed stories.  Those fears ARE stories, after all, complete with characters and horrible things happening and an aftermath.  Don’t we create stories all the time?

Pema Chödrön states, “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” Of course we must use our fears…. That’s where the truth is.

 

Edited: January 28th, 2013

Video: Mel Robbins–How to stop screwing yourself over (TEDxSF)

Want to change your life?
Watch this video:

Remember: if you’re in your head, you’re behind enemy lines.
And remember the 5-second rule.

Edited: August 13th, 2012

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