Friday, October 31, 2014

Published 1:40 PM by with 0 comment

Dear _____, I Miss You. Here's a Letter, Finally!

Dear _______,

My letter to you is under a pile of guitar paraphernalia on my cluttered desk, halfway finished, along with several others that are not completed yet either. It's not because I don't care about you, but I know that you understand that already. That's why we make such good companions, right? Because no matter how long we go between actually hearing from each other, let alone seeing each other face to face, you still care about me and will be excited to see me or get a letter whenever it happens.

Life is so incredibly filled with good things here, and my calendar is constantly filled weeks in advance now. I even schedule in down time now, which I call my "breathing room", you'll be happy to hear! Sometimes you just need a break. But all the events going on are exciting, truly they are, with friends and family and students and musicians, outdoors and indoors, in town and out, many adventures everywhere. So even though I might feel busy, busy, busy, it's my own doing, and I wouldn't change it! You're quite busy too, I imagine.

I do miss you. Sometimes, in the midst of having fun doing what I love, it would be nice to have you at my side enjoying it too. Or even when I'm having a great time, occasionally I'll pause, savoring the moment like you told me I should, and soak it all in, then mentally write it down and send it to you in an invisible letter. Day-dream letters, I call them. Have you received any yet?

Right now the lunch dishes are still on the table, I'm shivering because the temperature has fallen to below fifty degrees and I need a sweater, errands still need to be run, and I think Harmony is creating a water scene with the bathroom sink. Sigh. At least she's happy and learning to play independently, right? I just finished my emails for the day (they take forever sometimes!), and finished an editing job that I volunteered to do. A friend and her toddler came over this morning to play. We're going over to my folks' tonight for dinner, and then trick-or-treating.

If you were here right now, I'd wait until Harmony went down for her nap, then I'd make us some hot tea, and we could sit in the den in front of the two huge windows that look out into the yard and just drink in all the gorgeous autumn colors that decorate the trees right now. It's like a constantly changing painting, with all the red-orange-yellow-brown-purple beauty to be seen and the sunlight scattering pale gold across the grass. The wind has brought the cold that will welcome November with a proper chill. I love it.

I'll be handing out Christmas music to my guitar students this next week. I don't like to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but you know how it goes... the musicians have to learn all their music before the season, so that when December hits (or for my house, the day after Thanksgiving), they can pull out the carols all ready to perform. I enjoy the enthusiasm of my students as they learn to play these well-loved tunes, so fortunately there's no "bah humbug" about it.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, it will be here before you know it! November will be filled with music rehearsals, writing my novel during NaNoWriMo, and enjoying the last of the warm weather before real cold sets in, so the weeks will fly fast. I doubt I'll be able to send you this unfinished letter sitting on my desk before then, but let me tell you now, even though you already know it, that I am so very grateful for you, my friend, and you bring light to my life through the memories we share and the lessons you have helped me learn.

Much love,


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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Published 8:25 AM by with 0 comment

Thoughtful Thursday: Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It's taken 
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before—"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,

Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

~ “Now I Become Myself” by May Sarton, from Collected Poems 1930-1993

A thoughtful quote can help us understand more about ourselves and the world around us.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Published 8:53 AM by with 2 comments

Weekending: Music and Dancing


A performance with a classical guitar ensemble,
a small contribution to a friend's concert.
It's nice to chat with fellow guitarists
backstage in the green room! 

Music on the mandolin follows,
"I'll Fly Away" with cello, guitar, slide guitar
and singing.

Teaching many music lessons
as make-ups for when I was ill last week,
teaching the children's lesson
during worship at church,
watching lessons from a master teacher
of the guitar as he teaches others
how to become better musicians.

Early mornings with my family.
We eat breakfast,
read books,
draw pictures,
talk with each other,
joke and laugh,
savoring this time.

And a record seven flashmobs
in one night, followed by dancing
until my feet hurt with fellow zombie friends,
getting home very late to eat spaghetti
with my Love, curled up together
past midnight watching Star Trek.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Published 8:19 AM by with 2 comments

Thoughtful Thursday: If Little By Little You Stop Loving Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

~ Poem from Selected Poems, by Pablo Neruda

A thoughtful quote can help us understand more about ourselves and the world around us.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Published 1:41 PM by with 5 comments

Weekending: Autumn Enjoyment


My sister is gorgeous.
She dyed her hair recently,
and I think it's beautiful.
She rarely lets me take pictures
of her. So this first 
up above is a treat.

Carousel rides, 
mornings and afternoons 
outdoors in the glory of autumn,
cozy sweaters to wear
at the park at dusk,
bonfire with laughter
and games on a chilly night,
guitars on the porch,
creating fall crafts
to decorate our home,
music master classes
taught by a master teacher,
enjoying St. Louis and nature
with beloved family and friends.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Published 8:11 AM by with 11 comments

This Moment: My OTHER Part-time Job...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no a few words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special crazy, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. ~ Amanda

As I've written before, I am part of a professional flashmob group. We dance Michael Jackson's "Thriller" at various events before Halloween, getting paid for weddings. This year my costume is supposed to be a zombie mime. I'm still working on the make-up, but this is how I looked for my first series of events this season! We have a ton of fun : ) I'll be spending time over the next few weeks in this outfit with twenty-five to fifty other flashmobbing friends, thrilling St. Louis!

And yes, my two year old has seen me like this, but she doesn't freak out as long as I put on my make-up in the bathroom with her watching. If she sees the process, then she understands it's just dress-up! My mom helped me figure out and put on the paint. Harmony cheerfully waved goodbye to me right after this picture was taken, happily ready to play with grandma for the evening. 

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Published 8:02 AM by with 0 comment

Thoughtful Thursday: He Was Brilliant in HIS Way

"Why doesn't Dad understand?" Blade burst out. "He let Shona go to Bardic College. Why is he so set against me going to the University? I've told him and told him that I need to get there and get some training NOW in the junior section if I'm going to be properly grounded, and all he says is that he'll teach me himself. And he CAN'T, Mum! You can't. The things I can do are all quite different from yours or Dad's. So WHY?"

"Well, there are two reasons," Mara said. "The first is that the University didn't understand Derk, or treat him at all well, when he was there. I was there with him, so I know what a miserable time he had. Your father was full of new ideas - like creating the griffins - and he wanted nothing so much as to be helped to find out how to make those ideas work. But instead of helping him, they tried to force him to do things THEIR way. It didn't matter to them at all that he was brilliant in HIS way..."

~ Excerpt from Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones

A thoughtful quote can help us understand more about ourselves and the world.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Published 8:29 AM by with 5 comments

NaNoWriMo 2014: Invoking the Zokutuo Clause

Last year I participated for the first time in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which happens every November. I "won", which means that I managed to get 50,000 words down onto my computer and verify it with the word-count application on the NaNo website by midnight on November 30th. It was GRUELING! It meant super early mornings, a bunch of late nights, extra caffeine, and a lot of day-dreaming. It was also one of the most exciting, interesting, adventurous, creative projects I've ever done.

This year, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again, but it will be a little different.

I'm invoking the Zokutou Clause. 

In essence, this means that since A) I have already done NaNoWriMo once before, and B) I have already completed 50,000 words of my novel, I am going to refrain from beginning a new story this year and instead attempt to either A) add 50,000 extra words onto this existing story, or B) complete the novel's entire first draft, whichever comes first.

It's just as daunting a task as writing a completely new storyline, believe me! I'm a little terrified. And terribly excited.

In honor of NaNoWriMo being only half a month away, I'm resurrecting the 2013 page here on my blog, if anyone is interested in checking out what last year looked like. But I'm also beginning a new page where I will write solely about 2014's endeavors, as well as share awesome links to help fellow writers with the entire NaNoWriMo process.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo '14? Let me know in the comment section! My name is Lyssagirl on the NaNo site, so feel free to add me as a writing buddy, too.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Published 7:51 AM by with 2 comments

Weekending: 10,000 People is the Largest Crowd

Chris goes to a retreat
with other men from our church.
Harmony and I
stay cozy at the house
as I fight off a cold,
but at night the lonely-blues
start playing.
My sister's cat
keeps me company
while I eat a late snack
then fall asleep
reading "Walden's Pond".

Woke up feeling much better, thankfully!
Harmony plays with grandma
while I zombie myself up with flashmobs,
dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
Our biggest crowd
is in a huge arena
in front of 10,000 people.
To use a quote from sweet Carly, "oh my butterfly,
it was AMAZING!"
The thrill of dancing
on a catwalk with strobe lights,
stage smoke, cameras,
and thousands of screaming, cheering fans
is incredible.

Drag myself home very late
to scrub scrub scrub
my zombified face off in the shower
and eat toast
because I'm too tired to make any real food.

We cave and turn
our heat on.
Made it to October 12th!

Harmony attends
her first birthday party
for a young friend turning three.
Balloons, sugar, the excitement
of ecstatic youngsters,
owl stickers in the goody bag,
and her day is made.

Now on to preparing the house
for out-of-town guests arriving today.
Life never stops!

P.S.  If you haven't checked it out yet, I'm giving away cool things here and here : )

Photo of the flashmob taken by "Aunt" Gen K.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Published 2:58 PM by with 3 comments

Giveaway: KIND Soaps!

As a celebration of writing three hundred posts here on this blog, I'm giving away one of my favorite local products: two bars of hand-made soap from the St. Louis-based company, KIND! They strive to be kind to the earth, your body, and others with their products.

I had a generous gift card to their shop near my neighborhood, so I thought I'd share the goodness with you : )  Harmony held the soaps in her hands all the way home and kept saying, "Mama, smell this! Sooo nice to smell! I like it!"

To enter for these amazing soaps, just leave me a comment below. I'll close comments and choose a random winner by Friday, October 17th, who will receive a sweet-scented package in the mail!

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Published 12:23 PM by with 4 comments

Giveaway: Free Books!

As a celebration of writing three hundred posts here, I'm going to give away some of my favorite books, because words and story mean everything to me. They're from my own collection and are beautifully worn from years of loving. There's nothing to compare to the smell and feel of a real paper book. I want to share these beauties with you!

I also brought back up one of the other pages of my blog, where I've posted the list of all the books that I've read so far in 2014. I keep updating it as I read more; I think I missed one or two books that got lost in the mix, but most of the titles should be there! Books are one of my favorite things in the world.

Leave a comment on my blog telling me which TWO books you'd be interested in reading. I'll close comments and choose one random winner (or two, depending on how many people respond) on Friday, October 17th. 

An incredible non-fiction work about what children need in order to succeed, both in school and with their caregivers. A must for any parent or teacher to read. I go through this book and its companion, "How Children Learn", every year! 

One of my favorite books of poetry by my favorite poet. We read his poetry in a college class and I've loved it ever since. They give a new way of looking at common life. 

One of my favorite classic novels. I am not a fan of romance, but this kind of old-fashioned love story that builds deeply on character is great.

Technically, this is a children's book. In actuality, I still enjoy reading it as an adult. Nesbit reminds me that there is magic in the world that can come right down to surprise us if we're willing to look up and see it! My mother first read these stories out loud to my sister and I when we were in elementary school, and I can't WAIT to read it out loud to my daughter in a few years! 

So there you have it. Let me know which ones you would like to read!

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Published 8:57 AM by with 2 comments

Happy 300th Post, with Giveaways!

 I can.... now celebrate the 300th post I've written here. That's a lot of words! I also updated my blog look, as you can see, and changed my URL, so you might need to update it in your feed if you're a follower here. It's now instead of playguitar4him like it was before.

I want.... to finish my novel I began last year during NaNoWriMo, "The Naming of Fio Re". 50,000 words of a very rough draft are written, but the story was never finished. I have big plans for what to do during NaNoWriMo this year, though. You'll see a post here soon about it!

I should.... not keep eating the 1,197 Skittles in the jar next to my computer that I won at a family reunion. They are my favorite candy besides Butterfingers, but there is just soooooo much sugar!

I have.... a weird left hand thumb. It's been that way all my life. There's either a ligament too long or missing (or something) so it doesn't stretch out or bend well or do what I want it to do. It used to really frustrate me when I would play my guitar but over the years I've learned to work with it.

I would.... appreciate it if someone could discover/invent the 25th hour of the day. I vow that it would only be used for practicing music. Promise.

I like.... coffee-flavored drinks. In other words, drinks involving coffee, just not straight coffee.

I love.... autumn. It's my favorite season.

I have.... worn make-up only twice over the past year. My skin is not perfect, I often have shadows under my eyes from lack of sleep, and my cheeks are pale instead of pink, but I don't care enough about what other people think to wear make-up! I'll stick with what I've got, warts and all (or in my case, pimples, because my skin seems to think that I'm a teenager still). At least I always try to be clean, wear only clothes that I like, and make sure that I'm not a mess!

I need.... to learn how to bake better. All my cakes are near-disasters. So sad. I won't even attempt any pie except pumpkin, although I can make a decent cheesecake for some bizarre reason.

I get.... a thrill out of little traditions with friends, like going to the same mom-and-pop burger joint to drink home-brewed root beer, or visiting a favorite coffee shop together, or watching a beloved movie as an annual treat, or giving the same gift of a great new book every birthday, or going to a favorite park to sit on "our" bench.

I can't.... go outside at night without looking for the moon and stars. They're beautiful. I can lie outside for hours just watching the night sky.

I don't want.... people to freak out when they realize how much I actually notice. Sometimes I even pretend that I don't notice something, in case people would think I was weird, like instantly seeing the only familiar person I know out of a crowd of hundreds at a concert on the opposite side of the venue, or recognizing the grandmother of one of my students who stopped taking lessons two years ago. My memory is strange, unpredictable, and mostly remembers stories, faces, and music.

I don't like.... math. It's my biggest academic challenge.

I don't love.... parents who ignore their children who are being too wild or inconsiderate on the playground. Seriously, lady, this is the third time your kid has knocked someone down because he wasn't being careful when he barreled up the stairs to the slide!

I don't have to.... be anyone except myself. I'm far from perfect, but I am who I am, and as long as there's a new day, there's a new chance to love and learn. I'm blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who support me. And I'm so thankful for my favorite guy who is crazily himself right along with me : )  Throwback picture time to when we were still dating in college!

I don't need to.... tell you that I absolutely love to write! Besides writing on this blog, I also write about education for children on my other blog, Life is the Teacher, and I write privately in my journal, and send hand-written letters and postcards to awesome people all over the world. I also love reading what other people write; you can find a list of bloggers who I enjoy on the sidebar! And if you'd like to exchange a postcard, send me your address in the "contact me directly" box on the sidebar way down the page.

This list is taken from Steph over at Misplaced Brit!

As a mini-celebration of writing three hundred posts here, I'm doing two giveaways today. The first one is up: come check out these books I'm offering! The second giveaway: go here for amazing-smelling soap!

*I accidentally screwed up the comment form for about twenty-four hours, so I apologize. Everything should be fine now!
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Published 7:54 AM by with 2 comments

Eat These! Or At Least Cook Them.

For the second time ever, I revamped my blog, so welcome to the new space! It was time for something fresh. I'm terrible with technology so everything is going to be pretty basic around here. But I do enjoy the new look : )  I hope you do too!

Today I'm drooling over some great recipes. Here they are, if you'd be interested in making them along with me. Tomorrow there's going to be some special stuff coming here on the blog, so stay tuned!

I adore corn dogs, so I'm totally going to try making my own at home.

I met this awesome lady at the Strange Folk Festival with her I Scream Pies, which look delectable! Want to make her famous Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie?

This crustless apple pie is on my list of things to make next week, for sure.

Quick and Easy Nut Butter Freezer Fudge? Yes please!

I'd eat this special Kale and Eggs dish for breakfast, brunch, dinner, or supper, it looks so yummy.

My mouth is watering just thinking about these goat cheese sugar cookies!

As the weather gets cooler, I begin thinking of more hot, filling breakfasts to make, like overnight oats. I made them last winter and they were a big hit.

Some people get super creative when it comes to creating their kid's lunch. Here are some awesome pictures of bento boxes!

Do you have any yummy recipes to share?

The amazing goat cheese sugar cookies, photo credits to Sauce Magazine

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Published 10:38 PM by with 0 comment

Thoughtful Thursday: True Love is Never Concrete. It is Always Unfolding.

The hard part is trusting in a God who loves us better than we can love ourselves, but whom we can’t seem to get to the bottom of. We think in order to love Him, we must know Him fully in a way that is concrete.

True love is never concrete. It is always unfolding. It’s why we awake to a new day and can think, I love my husband more today than I did yesterday, or, My heart could burst for my kids. I love them even more today than the day they were born. It is also why our hearts jump when we see our spouses—after years of marriage—make decisions that are different from their usual routines. Who is this man I thought I had figured out? I think of my own husband. Who is this man doing his own laundry? Who is this man disappearing for hours on end to ride his bike? Who is this man reaching out to hold my hand more often? 

We really can have two responses to such changes. We can be alarmed, reeling a bit in fright of a relationship we are far less in control of than we first assumed, or it can invigorate us, fanning the flame of love as we realize there is still more left to discover in our partners. What once seemed commonplace now has a spark of mystery. We are intrigued. 

The same is true of our interactions with the Divine. Will we grow fearful and suspicious, or will we be projected into a new spiritual dimension, a new awakening, a new relationship with the One we thought we had figured out. Are we willing to be surprised? Or, the even bigger question is, are we willing to wait for the next surprise without floundering and flipping out in the meantime? 

I think it’s the times in between revelations that really test our faith. I’ve experienced this with God. Faith has become dead or commonplace. I have simply lost connection with “It.” Can I have the peace of mind to wait for my next encounter with Him? To know that even though I don’t feel Him now in my life, His presence is just as sure as it has ever been. Can I trust that He is just arranging His next surprise? I must simply wait for the breathtaking unveiling.

~ Excerpt from Thrashing About with God: Finding Faith on the Other Side of Everything, Mandy Steward

A thoughtful quote can be the path that guides us into better understanding of ourselves and the world.

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Published 8:16 AM by

7 Ways for Mamas to Find Time to Be Creative

Sometimes I have so many creative ideas running through my head that I think I'll explode if I don't get some of them out! As a mother of a toddler, and a music teacher, my time is fairly well booked, and then when I do have some freedom I have to decide whether I should play one of my musical instruments or write. Or knit. Or edit my book. Or make some postcards.

Here are the seven ways I've found work best for a busy mama to get in some creative time!

~ Get up early!

By early, I mean as early as you need to get done what you want. If your family wakes up around 7:00, get up at 6:00. Last year I woke up at 5 a.m. every day so that I could have an hour and a half to write my book for NaNoWriMo before my one year old would get out of bed to ask for breakfast. It worked well! And I'm pleased to say that I did it mostly without any kind of caffeine, just copious amounts of herbal tea.

The downside: You have to go to bed early, too, or risk being a sleep-walking zombie all day long, or have an i.v. drip of coffee constantly running through your veins. Anyone can adjust their sleep schedule to make this work, even if you don't consider yourself to be a "morning" person, but it does take effort and adjustment. 

~ Stay up late!

Your usual bedtime is 10:00? Try staying up an extra hour just to work on a creative project. Or stay up until midnight, if you're really gung-ho. The house is peaceful and quiet! That's what I've been doing lately.

The downside: You have to sleep in late, or risk being a sleep-walking zombie all day long, or have an i.v. drip of coffee constantly running through your veins. Also, you have to be super quiet because everyone else is trying to sleep, so that pretty much rules out any project involving music, unless you have a sound-proof room (I don't). 

~ Schedule half hour quiet times for everybody!

Either in the morning or the early afternoon, have everyone in the house take a mandatory "quiet time". You go to your own room (or a designated space) and each person, no matter what age, gets to entertain themselves quietly for half an hour. Even toddlers can learn to do this! Have a special box of games, or special books, or special toys or puzzles, available just for these times. Then you can have that half hour to get out some creative ideas.

The downside: It's not a long time, even if you extend it to forty minutes or an hour (most kids won't last longer than that on their own) so you have to do things in little bits and can't get into a groove. Just when your fingers are warmed up to your instrument or you're feeling like the words are starting to flow onto paper or your painting is going somewhere, the timer goes off and the quiet is gone.

~ Have "Creative Family Time" as part of your weekly or daily routine!

If you home-school, this can be part of your regular day! For a designated period of time (forty-five minutes, an hour, etc.) everyone works on a creative project of their own choosing, together or separately. Toddlers can be glueing or cutting paper to make artwork while older children sew or craft or build something while mama gets to work on something creative too. It's encouraging for everyone to participate in this kind of thing, because you ALL get to benefit from exploring what it means to create! If your kids are in school, maybe you can have Creative Family Time on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon together.

The downside: Mama doesn't have a lot of attention for her own project because she is constantly assisting or helping with everyone else's projects. This may or may not be an issue for you, depending on what you're trying to accomplish and the age of your children, but you definitely can't get into a groove very easily this way

~ Just DO it!

In the midst of the chaos around you, children playing, housework calling, phone ringing, just sit down at whatever crafty/artistic project you're on and do it! Five minutes, ten minutes, however long you can, keep at it. Those moments at your work will build up if you have a few of them every day.

The downside: It's unpredictable, messy, and frantic. No groove, probably a lot of interruptions.

~ Schedule an "Artist's Date" with yourself!

Weekly or monthly (I'm more a fan of weekly, because monthly doesn't give much consistency) you schedule a deliberate time to work on your creative ideas, by yourself. Try to go somewhere where you can have the freedom to do your stuff, but won't get too distracted by what's going on around you. Some people love coffee shops, others don't like the loud environment. The library, an outdoor area, or a local hang-out like a bookstore would be a good place to start. Many libraries often have rooms that you can rent or reserve for cheap or free, if you'd like extra privacy! 

The downside: You have to go out of your way to lug all your stuff to wherever you want to go. And find a babysitter. And find a good time for yourself to get away for a few hours. There's a lot of coordination that needs to happen. And if you play something like the drums, or want to work on your gigantic quilt, then it may not even be feasible to go out of your home to do these things. Hence the next option...

~ Exchange "Artist's Dates" with a friend!

Bi-weekly or monthly, you and a fellow mama exchange times where one of you watches all the kids while the other goes on an Artist's Date by themselves. Better yet, your kids all play at one house while the creative mama gets her time at her own house! The kids have fun, you have hours of uninhibited time to create, your friend knows that her time to create is coming soon, and everyone's happy.

The downside: You're at your own house, where the stacks of bills, unanswered emails, piles of laundry, dirty floors, and unmade beds can silently taunt you. The temptation to just get your house clean while the kids are gone may be too strong to ignore. But don't give in!!!! 

There you have it! All of these ways require some kind of sacrifice on your part, and most need the cooperation of others as well, usually your family. It all boils down to how much you truly feel that your creative endeavors are worthwhile, and if you're questioning that, I can tell you right now, "YES, YOUR CREATIVITY IS WORTH IT"!

Yes, mamas can be very busy. Yes, your family and home and friends and job have needs to be met. But as I wrote before, it's very important that you care for yourself so that you can properly care for the other priorities in your life, and if one of your deepest loves and desires is to CREATE, then surely you can find a way to make it happen!

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Published 2:12 PM by

Weekending: Family Reunion, Road Trippin'

Early, early morning,
driving through the dawn
across the states.
Beautiful autumn
transforming the trees
as we head northeast.
Family! Hello!
Good to see you,
nice to meet you,
family reunion style,
the first for me
with my husband's folks.
Harmony waltzes off to play
with her third (or is it fourth?) cousins.
I win a huge jar of Skittles
with my guess of 1,150.
Origami fun with happy chatter.
Sleet speaks of colder weather coming;
we stay indoors, drinking coffee
and eating potluck treats.

A blur of meals on the road,
sister-in-law's lovely new home,
brunch together,
outdoor play for the Bug,
indoor games for the car,
reading Dr. Seuss aloud for the dozenth time,
yet another rest area
where she runs wild stretching
her legs and lungs.

I drive for hours straight
on the magical powers
of caffeine and techno.
The deer blink
at me, eyes glowing
on the sides of the road.
I am not tired
when we reach home after dark.
We curl up together
in our warm bed.
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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Published 8:57 AM by with 0 comment

Haiku for Two and Nature

Lying on the grass
in silence we looked at stars;
you reached for my hand.


Clouds below; above,
blue sky: our breath together
making window mist.


Sun burns your bowed head.
How salty these hot tears taste,
dripping on my arms.


His anger ripples
to me like thunder after
lightning. The storm grows.


"I feel at home here."
Your joy: sky-rimmed fields. But I'm
in love with mountains.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Published 2:14 PM by with 0 comment


Welcome to October! Warm weather may still hang on for a little while longer, but autumn is certainly here, in the air, the night smells, the fading leaves.

Summer begins to meld into memories. I look back on everything these past few months brought. They have certainly changed me, for the better, I hope.

A particular piece of music always brings peace and thankfulness to my heart at this time of year. Do take a listen to it below. It fits right in with the first prompt for the beginning of October at Write Alm: Nostalgia. I was privileged to perform this piece in the video many years ago; you can hear me and my friend Catalina performing the duet at the beginning. This music has stayed close to me ever since then.

May you too look back on your summer with happiness and enjoy the changing of the seasons!

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Published 8:54 AM by with 0 comment

Sometimes I Dream

A huge mansion, as so many of my dreams begin. Overcast skies. A group of younger folk. We begin a tour as a guitar ensemble. The guitars are light as we carry our cases down long corridors out to a red bus. Are we in London? I recognize my friend Tyler. There is a blond-haired girl that often appears when I have a dream about music.

It is raining. We enter concert halls several times. I do not remember our performances, but we are clearly doing well. Cheerful chatter. Back into the mansion. Or maybe it's another mansion. Friendly welcome to our rooms by firelight and candle light A goodbye hug that fades away as I wake.


With my family in a house with many windows, right on the edge of a beach. Bad people are looking for us. The house keeps us safe. We can see a huge, futuristic city in the distance. Last week I traveled to that city in a sky-taxi, a small metal oblong-shaped car that flew through the air along with many others, kind of like a ski lift. I wonder if the city is still as crowded now as it was then.

My sister and I try to play in the ocean, but the water, controlled somehow by our enemies, attempts to sweep us down the steep beach. I am stronger than the water; I pull us both away to safety. We return to the house.

Why is there a talking duck in the house? Quite puzzling. We make plans to escape, hoping that the enemy will not notice. The duck nonchalantly wanders through the rooms. I think it is a friend. I am excited to leave the house, but I don't get a chance to see what happens next.


I am observing a story. These dreams are always super interesting. I settle in for a good time.

The companion Clara from "Doctor Who" is a freshman at a private school. A future incarnation of the Doctor discovers that an unknown enemy is going to try to kill Clara there, because then *spoilers!* she won't be able to help save the Doctor in her grown-up future. The Doctor takes a job at the school as a science professor to find out who the enemy is and protect Clara. {I promise I dreamed this before the most recent episode of this season came out, which is weird.}

But she had already discovered two aliens, a huge giant posing as an over-sized teenage boy, and a young girl who was in "egg" form (looked like a human, was mute, and a little weird). Clara was trying to protect them from an unknown enemy by hiding them at the school. Clara received memories and directions from the boy that would help her when she grew up. The little girl, when she "hatched", turned into a being of Light, showering Clara with a protective energy that would keep her safe from any alien technology until the time when she would meet the Doctor in the future.

Clara also deals with a group of older school girls who were trying to haze her, making friends with a young freshman boy who helped her, and in return helping him deal with other bullies. Awesome.


Searching through a mansion for a clue to $30,000 worth of treasure that was supposedly hidden somewhere. A small boy, possibly a neighbor I used to know named Thane, is with me, helping look in tiny tunnels and crawling into places adults couldn't reach. In a costume room we find a vent under a rack covered by old clothes, just small enough to keep people from seeing it, but we get in. It leads to a kitchen, lit up as we enter with eerie fluorescent lights, but obviously deserted long ago.

The main clue to the treasure will be found here, we realized. So we invite more of our friends to help us search the room. I am drawn to a metal drawer, open it, and find a piece of paper with writing. What does it say? Arg arg arg I always wake up before I can find out the interesting parts...


In my old friend Lindsay's house, at twilight. Why do so many of my dreams happen at twilight? Is it because it's my favorite time of day? Fading sunlight streams in the windows. The floor is cool under my feet. Lindsay makes a brief appearance, walking down a hallway, then is gone.

I ask my mom if I can go hang out with my friend Shaye. She agrees. I seem to be young and old at the same time. In the mirror, I look like I am a young teen, but I know that I must be at least mid-twenties because my mom says that she will babysit my daughter for me. Shaye comes to the house and offers to drive my car so we can go somewhere.

Our trip is crazy, all over the road. We almost crash several times, and other cars swerve out of the way. I can tell by her driving that she is upset about something. We stop at a mist-covered park, get out, and sit in a tree. "What's wrong?" I ask. She hesitates, then tells me, "All I want to do is help people! I want to be a nurse." We talk for a long time, but I don't remember anything else. 

Our drive back to the house is much more calm. I enjoy the night breeze in my hair, as the roof to the car has disappeared. I am happy that Shaye is feeling better. My mom asks what took us so long. I don't know what to say. Instead, I feed the cats. 


Another one of the houses popular in my dreams: it has walls, doors, and windows, but no roof, and rambles everywhere in a huge sort of way, almost like a maze. Nature grows in it and out of it. I am content here.

I wander into a room where I am told that there is a meeting to attend. After a long walk through tree-filled corridors, I find what appears to be a huge shower room. Why are we having a meeting in the shower? Someone tells me that everyone has their best ideas in the shower, so where better to have a brain-storming session? Oh. I guess that makes sense. Are we supposed to take off our clothes? I never get an answer to that, so I leave mine on. 

The water is warm. It is almost like a sauna. Water drips from steaming green leaves and from showerheads in the walls. People sit in pairs talking quietly together. I talk with someone I don't recognize. Our conversation feels intelligent, but I don't remember what we said. 

Suddenly I realize that I am alone in a regular shower. Pushing the black and white checked curtain aside, I wonder where everyone went. A person enters the bathroom and hands me a red towel {there's the color red again}, saying that "it" is coming, and I need to figure out what to do. Then they disappear. 

Uh-oh. I don't like dreams where "it" appears. Usually that means I'm going to be chased by something scary. I cautiously peek out of the bathroom to discover that I'm back in one of the mansions now. No way! I don't want to be here. 

I open a wall, willing forcefully to be back in my nature-maze-house, and it obligingly appears in front of me. Thankfully I walk through into a grass-covered room. The air smells more fresh and lovely already.


These are my dreams from the past week. I usually remember my dreams almost every night, and they are almost always quite vivid. Ever since I was nine or ten years old, I have been practicing dream control, recall, and lucid dreaming. I often write down my dreams, too. It is a fascinating realm that will never get old!

Weaving words along with everyone else with Write Alm's September prompts even though this entry is a little late.
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