Daily Post Word of the Day Prompts

Last week I reblogged the post regarding the fall of the Daily Post’s word of the day prompt. I was concerned personally because I depend on these words to stretch my thinking, to practice my writing and to encourage me to be accountable for posting every day. I decided immediately that I would post a word myself that I could use as inspiration. I never realized how many people would feel the same way; it has become quite the topic on WordPress.

That being said, I have 3 people who will be collaborating with me on this project. Given that the first post is scheduled for tomorrow I feel very behind on organizing this effort so it’s likely that we will have a bumpy start…completely my fault as I’ve been preoccupied with making summer plans (if you read my post yesterday this might not surprise you).

As quickly as I can I will organize everything. If you want to participate what you can expect is that the word will be scheduled to post on my blog at 7 am Eastern on Mondays and Fridays. Kristian will post on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Kate will post it on Tuesdays. Cyranny’s Cove will post on Sundays and Thursdays.

Once they post their word I will reblog their post here as well. The hope is that this will grow and improve over time, as we all do. Happy writing!

What is the Benefit of Looking in the Rear View Mirror?

I’m told, “Live in the present. True happiness exists only here, right now, in this moment. Regret lives in the past, fear lives in the future.” Honestly, I do believe this. I believe that I should spend most of my time being present and appreciating what I have in front of me. Wishing the past were different or worrying about the future will not make me happier.

But there is value in being retrospective if I can do it in a constructive way. There is still so much for me to learn, so many ways I need to grow. I can’t do that without examining my past to understand why I do the things I do.

How have I handled things in the past? What patterns have developed? Are these healthy patterns or ones I need to change?

The past 5 months I have been focused on getting into shape. This is something I can do when paying attention to what is happening in the present. Why is it at the end of a particularly stressful day I feel like a glass of wine (or perhaps something stronger) is the best way to unwind? What does this do for me? How can I get the same feeling doing something healthier? These are all “present moment” types of thoughts.

But I want to maintain this healthier lifestyle and I know that in order to do that I need understand why maintaining it in the past has been a challenge. I am currently back to the weight I was when I went to Spain 2 years ago. It confuses people when I point to that particular trip as the cause of a 30 pound weight gain over 2 years. I didn’t gain the weight over that trip; in fact I only gained a couple of pounds during those 2 weeks. But it was during this trip that I broke the healthy habits I’d had prior to the trip.

I started eating gluten again (not an enemy to most but something I need to avoid due to my thyroid problem). I ate breads and pastries like it was my last chance. I drank wine with virtually every meal. As a result, the sugar cravings I’d previously overcome returned. I stopped running and instead started sleeping in. When I returned I lacked motivation to resume getting up at 5 am to tackle the treadmill, something that I had just started to maybe possibly enjoy before the trip.

By looking back on how I got to where I am, I can identify the things that might be a problem in the future. It allows me to make better decisions now, in the present. This is the moment that truly matters.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Retrospective

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What Will I See in My Kaleidoscope Today?

My life is a kaleidoscope of pieces that all come together to form something beautiful. Some scraps may be broken or bent, damaged or flawed; but these add character to the design. Perfection is boring, and my life is anything but dull.

With the dawning of each new day, the pattern changes to a new delightful design.

My life is normally full, surrounded by kids and friends, with endless opportunities to enjoy all this area has to offer; but the kids have summer vacation now and this is when things get really crazy.

Yesterday I returned the kittens to the shelter, in hopes of them finding their forever home. Today I have 5 kids hanging out with me, who will be here at least through the end of the week, possibly for the weekend. As long as they’re all getting along they’re welcome to stay. They’ve decided to paint a couple of rooms in our house as one of their summer projects. They’re actually painting right now. This is completely their project, not mine so it should be interesting.

Tonight I booked a cabin for us in Georgia for a few days. We’ll be taking an extra friend or two on that trip as well. In all honesty I love having a large group of kids around, and I truly enjoy their friends. Weather permitting, we’re going to go hiking through Tallulah Gorge State Park, check out Anna Ruby Falls and explore the quaint town of Helen. We’ll roast marshmallows in the fire pit, play games in the loft and relax on the deck overlooking the mountains.

Then my 17 year old niece will be joining us for six (mostly) fun-filled weeks. This will be her third and final summer staying with us. I’ve already arranged for her to volunteer with a teacher in a summer school program and we’ll be planning some adventures as well. When my kids are with their dad we’ll have late nights binge watching the new season of 13 Reasons Why (it’s our thing) and chatting about everything that we’ve missed over the past year.

Then swoosh the kaleidoscope turns and we’ll be jetting off to NH to visit family and friends. This year we plan to spend more time in the mountains, taking the kids to places they don’t remember and doing things they’ve never done. My sister and niece may be moving to Florida next summer so these annual vacations may change in the future and we need to make the most of this one.

But wait! We’re not done! After a frantic week in NH we will be rushing off to Washington, DC for a few nights. We’ll ooh and ahh at the White House, wander through the museums and pose for pictures with the monuments. The girls will (finally) get to travel by train and ride the subway, both experiences they’re excited about.

Until at last we return home to some normalcy and the end of summer vacation.

For the next 10 weeks I will have plans nearly every day, someone counting on me to spend time with them or at the very least drive them to the store. Through all this I hope to continue posting every day. I want to move forward on some projects I’ve been thinking about for a while. I don’t know quite how I’m going to pull it off…but I am determined to find a way!

Photo by drmakete lab on Unsplash

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Broken

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How Do You Compare Yesterday to Today?

What once was, is no more. When you juxtapose the past with the present what do you see? How does today compare? Does who you are today rival who you were yesterday?

For years I remained essentially the same. Year after year, my beliefs stayed consistent; my core values never varied. Any attempt at self-Improvement was squashed by those around me who felt threatened by any attempt to change. Each day was essentially the same, the routines carved in stone.

Over time I convinced myself that this consistency was a noble attribute. I fooled myself into thinking that I did not need to grow because as an adult I had reached the end of that part of my journey. I bought into the erroneous belief that only people with serious problems had to change. Others felt that if I wanted to be different it reflected negatively on them; if I improved myself it meant they were somehow not good enough; if I continued to grow I might leave them.

But deep inside, a piece of me knew that I needed to change.

In February 2011 I faced a crossroads. I had interviewed for two different positions. One would easily maintain the status quo, allow life to continue in NH the way it had always been. The other would take me to a new life in Florida where everything was unknown.

We moved to Florida and nothing has been the same since. My life today is completely different from the one I left behind. I am completely different from the person I was. There are times my past seems so foreign it’s almost as if it happened to someone else.

I won’t deny, growing pains are real. I learned most lessons the hard way. I fought and struggled; I read and researched; I denied and rebuffed. I felt alone, scared, and unsure of the right path. But through it all I changed. In fact, I have changed more in the past 7 years than I did in the 20 years leading up to those years. Given the freedom to truly be who I wanted to be I flourished.

And this is just the beginning. I don’t know where this road will take me, but this is far from the end.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Juxtapose

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You Are Invited to the Kitten Graduation

****WARNING – Some images may be too cute for some audiences****

There won’t be the usual ceremony, no caps and gowns, no long inspiring speeches about the future. You don’t need to bring flowers or a balloon. But the kittens have grown and it’s time they move on to the next phase in their lives.

It’s bittersweet knowing that I may be forgotten, that the lessons I’ve taught them may be ignored. I will no longer have little ones who are blissfully excited every time I open the door. Okay, so they’re just kittens, and I’m not even a cat person, but it does cause me to reflect on other transitions, other graduations.

My nephew was the first, graduating two years ago now. My niece will be next as she finishes high school next year. My kids will soon follow and it has me wondering what our relationships will be like when they no longer need me quite so much.

But let’s get on with it. You’re here to see kittens, not listen to me lament about the passing of time as my kids grow up before my eyes. I promised you no long speeches.

It has been quite the experience to have so many kittens for so long. In the beginning they were required to be isolated from our household, this ensures they don’t pass any diseases onto our cat. Those early days they spent a lot of time in a cage as we got to know them and they got familiar with us.

Being set free from the cage and instead confined to one of the bedrooms, I have been greeted each morning by them swarming around my feet. Whether they’re happiest for the company or the breakfast they know I’ll bring is hard to tell.

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Gradually they have been allowed more freedom in the house, at times seemingly taking over every available surface.

They have become playful and cute, and I can enjoy them a lot more now that they have stopped climbing the curtains and regularly use the litter box.

My cat has now accepted them as part of the household and so may miss them more than I will, since he doesn’t have to clean their litter box.

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Our other resident, a hamster, isn’t quite sure what to make of these guests but remains somewhat curious.

It is with a mixture of sadness and utter relief that I say goodbye to these little monsters. It has been a lot of work, more than I expected, but worth it in the end. Please join me in wishing them well on their next adventure!

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Ceremony

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How Do You Make the Most of the Ticking Clock?

Life is short. Anything could happen tomorrow. Today is all you can count on and it will be over before you know it.

Time is the most valuable gift we are given, yet there never seems to be enough of it. What are the things that take up your time every day? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Game of Thrones? Cooking, cleaning, working, homework with the kids?

There is always so much that needs to be done, there never seems to be time to do the things we want most to do. What are your goals? Do you want to be rich? Are you hoping to find the love of your life? Do you aspire to be famous?

The clock is ticking. How will you choose?

I learned early how fragile life is. When I was 9 my 16 year old neighbor died in a drunk driving crash. He never got to graduate, fall in love, or have a family. His life was over before he even knew who he really was. When I was 15 my mother nearly died of a brain aneurysm. She never again worked a regular job, rode a bicycle or took the dog for a walk. Her life changed in the blink of an eye.

I’ve known this, yet it wasn’t until after my divorce, when I looked back at the 16 years we were together, and realized how much time I had spent on things that added no value to my life. Countless hours had been whittled away watching TV, doing chores simply to please my ex and working at a job I hated to buy the things he wanted. I had let all those years slip away, almost without even thinking about it.

It is because of this that I choose to live much more intentionally now. I know the things that truly add value to my life. I make my relationships a priority. I take time to do things that bring me joy, like spending time in nature. I cherish my kids and pay attention to them when they are with me.

My life is full and I try to make every moment count. A good friend of mine sent me a link to this video below. She said it was because she sees me as someone who uses her 86,400 seconds each day wisely. Do you?

Before You Waste Your Time

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Famous

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Don’t Be Fooled By My Evil Twin

I have a doppelganger, an evil twin of sorts. My friends have all met her. They assure me she’s not “evil” in the traditional sense, but I have my doubts.
Even though she looks like me, she is definitely not me.

She will say things I would not say. Do you want to know what I really think, deep down? Just ask her. She’ll tell you.

She is brave when I am afraid. She will talk to anyone, strike up a conversation with complete strangers out of nowhere. She doesn’t care what they may think, or if they will reject her. She just does it.

She will do things I will not do. Do you want to dance in the rain with carefree abandon? She’s your girl, although be careful, she can get a bit wild.

She is strong when I am weak. She sticks to her resolve no matter what happens. Apologize all you want; she’s not the forgiving kind.

She will lead when I would follow. If there’s a battle to be fought you will want her on your side. She can be ruthless so watch out!

There’s no telling what she might do.

Want to meet her? She’s not hard to find. A couple of drinks won’t do it though, I’ll need at least 3. We’re like Clark Kent and Superman, never in the same place at the same time, so if you see her would you tell her I said hello?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Doppelganger

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Bravely Living an Amazing Life!