Sunday, August 24, 2014

Overcoming Writer's Doubt

“I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: Overcoming Writer’s Doubt’ held by Positive Writer.”

“I am a Writer!”  Saying that out loud was the first step in becoming one, I read it in a you can write – workbook.  So I tried it, albeit giggling to my husband a few weeks ago.  “Go for it, honey”, he said lovingly, or was it patronizingly.  Hmmm... does he really think I can write?  “What did you think of my blog post” I asked him after my first anonymous entry. It was so real and honest he responded with a half glance at his cell phone.  Hmmm...what does that mean? 

So I forwarded a blog post to my sister.  It was one that I had written about our recent trip to the flea market.  She was very touched and told me that the article had brought tears to her eyes!  That’s good right?  Or is it that it was about her, but that most people would find it boring?

I was an English minor at Bentley College where I majored in Business Communications.  I loved my minor classes that were focused on creative writing, and suffered through my business classes, an obvious mistake in career choices from the beginning.  But all aspects of our lives prepare us for our life’s journey, there is not one perfect path, though most would advise that the fastest way between two points is straight. I took a less direct route.
Now I am stay at home mom of three, taking a small leap, humbling myself for the critique of others, and hoping that I cannot only help myself through this process, but help others.  My first calling if you will, to being a writer occurred after telling my spirited young son a story that I made-up. I  was drawing on a parallel of a child’s energy to lightning’s energy.  I explained how lightning is quite powerful and can be scary if you are standing in the middle of a field with an umbrella! To which my son then began to giggle profusely.  I then said What if you built the tallest building in the world but did not take the proper precautions?  He answered back “the building needs a lightning rod!”  

“That’s right!”  I said, “it’s the same with you, when you have all this bubbling energy!”  

“I have to put on my lightning rod” he said.  The rest of the day when he started to become a little boisterous, and I would begin to give him a warning, he would pretend to put a lightning rod on his head.  I was elated! It was all that I needed to take off running!  I immediately began to make a rough draft of a story for a picture book.  I thought I would make lightning a personality, and use supporting characters such as the sun and rainbow.  

For some reason the story did not make as much sense on paper and so I decided to go to pinterest for inspiration and picture book advice.  The first link I clicked on  warned that the number one mistake picture book writers make are anthropomorphic animals or objects.  Now I pride myself on my vocabulary, however the word anthropomorphic stumped me!  Wikipedia told me that it’s personifying nature, such as hurricanes or earthquakes!  Um hello!  I was just about to make the number one mistake and personify lightning, the sun, and a rainbow.  I have to tell you it stung and doubt began to flood over me.  Should I continue with this dream?  Am I being silly?  Can I even write?  This doubt creaps into my mind very easily.  I am a very sensitive, feeling person, and these characteristics make it easy for me to be deterred.  Parallel to that, I believe that my emotions are what will give me a chance in making my dream a reality.  I will not give up.  I believe in writing a picture book I can possibly talk about some of the relevant issues that I see my kids going through every day. 

In the meantime I keep writing.  I have written on my blog.  I have submitted a few pieces to a couple of contests.  I am still anonymous, which helps me not have to deal with my doubt in a public way, but I am writing. Luckily my next stumble on pinterest in my quest for inspiration was a quote.  “To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself.”  Anne Rice.  By just writing and submitting this, I am overcoming doubt, and fear.  So good luck to all of you writers out there.  I did it!  You did it!  For that we should be proud!  And who knows maybe someday I will write that story about lightning with a personality.  Just because it is difficult does not mean it can’t be done, it just means it won’t be easy.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Setting our Sights on Routines and Resolutions for the New School Year

There is a peace and calm that overcomes me when I look out on a beautiful horizon.  A cool breeze catches my hair and the sound of nature, faint murmurs, and quiet bird song fill my spirit and I suddenly feel inspired. I look at my children and I see that they too are in awe of God's creations and I make a solemn vow to slow down more often, forget the amusement parks, movie theaters, and loud over-stimulation that our society emphasizes and just sit and look out.

The fall rather than January first has always meant the start of the new year for me.  It is when all seems to start afresh.  The play and relaxation of summer usually gives me the energy to plan to do more, be better, and start something new.  With two children now in the school system I have spent the last month signing them up for various after school activities, taking care not to overbook them so as to leave time for homework, prayer, and family.  On Wednesday my oldest will embark on his new school year, First Grade. I am so excited for his journey, new friends, learning and the like.  My Middle will begin Kindergarten, a full day of school, new teachers, and a new school.  Things will change for me as well on Wednesday.  I will be home with just one baby.  I will have many hours dedicated to her attention, and I no doubt will be anticipating the stories, and arrival of the two eldest from school in the afternoon.  With this change questions began popping up in my head.  Will I have more free time?  If so, what will I do with it?  What are my goals and resolutions for the new year?

I decided to make a list, just like many people do on January first, so that I can check back at the end of the school year.

*  Read at least one book a month

*  Finish baby scrapbook
*  Finish my picture book
*  Volunteer at pregnancy center
*  Make dinner most nights
*  Make time for mom's group meetings
*  Make time for weekday mass at least once a week
*  Get more organized
*  Finish home renovations
*  Read to the kids every night before bed
*  Bedtime prayers with the kids every night
*  Blog at least once a week
*  Make time for friendships
*  Date night every other week
*  Have more patience

Here's to a blessed and wonderful new school year, may our routines keep us comforted and our resolutions keep us focused.  May we never forget that family and God is most important, while we embark in exciting new beginnings where anything is possible.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sisters and Flea Markets History at its finest!

This weekend I traveled with the baby to stay at my sister's house for the night. Our plan was to be up and out the door by 6:30a.m. babies in tow to scavenge the local flea market. 
It is not often my sister and I have the opportunity to sit face to face without the distraction of a holiday or family party and so we were thrilled at the opportunity to do so.  I cannot tell you specifically all that we did or talked about, nor would it be all that important to you, but what I will say is boy did we laugh!  I mean really laughed!  Crying, hurt my sides, barely able to speak laugh!  We stayed up much later than we should since we had early morning plans and we shared and laughed, in a way only sisters can.  Sisterhood is a beautiful thing.  Its like taking a trip in a time machine back to when we were just two young girls sharing a room.  We share an understanding that only family can understand, raised by the same parents, in the same home, with the same traditions, jokes, isms that only make sense for those who lived there.  I felt transported to those nights where we stayed up late sharing secrets and giggling uncontrollably trying to stifle our outburst for fear that our parents would come in. Only this time we tried to not wake the babies.
It was fitting that our early morning plans were to pick through vendors tables at her local flea market.  Which by the way we were up and out the door by 6:30a.m. as planned.  With an adrenaline surged by the excitement to shop and share a day with my sister we were up and armed with coffees and cash.  The beauty of a flea market is you never know what you are going to find!  I found scrapbooking materials, clothes, pictures, and toys for the kids.  The history you see at the flea market is beautiful.  Each time I bring a piece into my home I like to imagine who may have had it before me.  Did they use it the same way?  It brings character into my home, a character developed over the years of things that were once considered treasures, then possibly replaced for something newer, only to be treasured once again.  
This picture is my favorite find.  My children will see this picture on our wall and it will instill a feeling, perhaps even a memory.  For me each time I read it I will think of my mother, my home my upbringing, my sister.  Who knew a weekend away at the flea market could do all that!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Making time for Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is one of my favorite pass-times.   Over the years my albums have taken on many different styles and themes, each one is a special labor of love.  Having a hobby helps me to de-stress and also feel accomplished on days that perhaps the most interesting thing I did that day was change a diaper. 
I am currently working on my youngest daughter's baby book.  I steal away moments during my day and do a page here and there, or a sticker here and a picture there.  I have had  my work - in - progress sprawled out all over my dining room table for a week now.  
As you can see in the picture below stolen moments is all that I have sometimes!  ha I just have to keep reminding myself that this is what life is about.  If it was not for these beautiful children, no matter the interruptions there would be nothing to scrapbook about.  As I am reminded by the many wise older mothers that I pass in the grocery store  " cherish it, it goes by way too fast". 

Above is a picture of my completed scrapbooks so far!  It always makes my heart swell when one of my kids ask to look through their scrapbook!  



I woke up one morning and realized I wanted to be a writer all of my life.  It was one of those situations where I should have known, I probably did know, but I had never said it out loud.  Once I realized it, It was a completely duhhhh…moment.  I mean, I had stories I had written beginning back to when I was in second grade.  There was my excessive love of reading, and my inability to enter a book store, book fair, or book anything without purchasing one.  There was the fact that I went to business school, but every chance I could, I would take an English Literature or Creative Writing course. 
So now what? Now I know and here I am a Stay-at-home Mom of three ready to try a hand at my dream.  What better way than to start a blog, about my family life, my Catholic Faith, inspirations, and revelations.  I hope you will join me along the way and leave me a note if you feel so inclined.  I would love to hear from you.