Posts Tagged With: Life

Our Scars Are Our Stories

Do you honor your scars?

We all have scars, some more visible than others. Dog bites. Skinned knees. Surgery scars. Stretch marks. Broken hearts. Cuts and scrapes, physical and emotional.

So often we hide our scars, ashamed to let them show. As if they make us less, mark us down like bruised fruit.

But our scars are part of who we are. Each on is a piece of our story. They are mementos of what we’ve survived, of how strong we are. We shouldn’t be ashamed of them. We should wear them proudly.

This video really touched my heart. The artist creates art from scars, which is not as weird as it sounds. Just watch.

Do you carry your scars as badges of honor or are you still struggling to accept them? How do your scars tell the story of you?

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Afraid of Falling Through the Cracks?

Facing a Big Project Turns Us into Little Kids Again

…in a Bad Way

pg pier by mike138 on FlickrWhen you were a kid, did you ever walk across a pier, look down through the narrow cracks between the planks to the ocean below and become convinced that, if you made the slightest misstep, you were going to fall through the cracks and drown? Or maybe you crossed a bridge, clinging to the side or staying steadfastly in the middle because it seemed like you might be easily swept over the side and plunge to your death, that you might even be compelled to jump over?

When we got a little older, we realized how irrational, how insane, those fears seemed. We could laugh them off because we knew, duh, people can’t fit through the cracks in a pier nor easily be swept over a bridge. But it seemed so real back then.

I think the same thing happens when we face a huge project, whether it’s getting fit, making a life change, writing a book, joining NaNoWriMo or learning something new. Every step along the path to our goal seems treacherous.

Maybe we can’t even admit we’re afraid.We’re adults. Adults aren’t afraid of falling through cracks in the pier. That’s just nuts.

And sometimes those fears stop us cold. We can’t fight back because we can’t even admit we’re having them. We make excuses. We get busy. We forget. We tell ourselves, “Tomorrow,” and every day is today.

Of course, once we screw our courage to the sticking place or drag ourselves kicking and screaming onto the path, we realize what we realized when we were kids: just keep moving, one step at a time and you’ll make it to the end just fine, even if you have to hold the rail the whole time.

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What irrational fears crop up for you when you’re facing a big project? How do you handle them? Do you have a funny irrational-childhood-fear story to share?

For all my fellow NaNos, how’s it going for you so far?

Photo Credit:
p.g pier by mike 138 on Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why You Should Punch a Time Clock…

… Even if You Don’t Have To

Some folks are naturally organized. Their junk drawers resemble a photo from Martha Stewart’s website, they’re never late and they always remember Great-Aunt Louise’s birthday.

I am not one of those folks.

My regular drawers look like junk drawers. If I shoot for being early, I stand a good chance of being somewhere on time…usually. And I can barely remember my birthday. So, for folks like me, some kind of time-management protocol is a must. And, if you can’t afford or don’t want to hire a personal assistant, something like Toggl might do the trick for you.

Toggl

I started using Toggl for web design projects because I wanted to see how my project estimates matched with the actual time spent so I could give better estimates. Very quickly, I figured out that I could track my whole day (yep, as disorganized as I am naturally, I love, love, love lists and spreadsheets). How much time was I spending writing (or, often, not writing)? How much time did I devote to social media? How long did it take me to write a blog post? At a glance, I could see how my days broke down over the course of a week, month or even a year. I could see where I spending too much time or not enough. And I started to get a little more organized.

Now, I find myself wanting to make my daily charts look pretty and balanced. If any one element grows too far out of proportion, I can rein it in (that includes work).

And I can see, before I try to tell myself I don’t have the time, whether I really have the time or not. Like, for exercise.

You can find the time-tracker online and they have desktop and app versions. The app is one of my best friends.

All in all, very nifty.

Also, I have to give a shout-out to Jeffrey McChesney, a fellow writer, whose post Time reminded me to share the goodness that is Toggl.

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What are your time-organizing tricks? 

 

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

What Happens When You Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone?

I’m a fiddler.

No, not the kind that inspires the Devil to bet a shiny fiddle made of gold against my soul.

I just can’t seem to follow directions, recipes or plans without giving them a little tweak. This is almost compulsive in the kitchen. I’ve only ever met a few recipes (all of them involving baking…which apparently has some “delicate” chemistry requiring one to pretty much stick to the recipe…but I often manage to still throw in a little something different) I couldn’t fiddle with a wee bit.

It used to drive my husband nuts that I couldn’t seem to follow a recipe. He’d tell me that recipes were there for a reason and that somebody else had already worked out the kinks. Fair enough but I’ve always considered recipes more as a general guide to the territory and not a strict itinerary. He’s since come to accept that I’ll probably never be able to leave well enough alone, especially in the kitchen.

And some of our best meals have come from those experiments.

Also, some of our worst. Just ask my husband about the Thai red curry incident.

But, you know, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

So, why is it that I can’t just follow recipes as is? I’m sure part of it is that I’m stubborn (I always want to have things my way…my mom always said so). But I think the biggest part is that I love to play, I love the joy of trying something new, not knowing how it’ll turn out and having it turn out beautifully. I love getting an answer to “what if” even if that answer is a ginormous “yuck.” It makes cooking and everything else fun.

Most everything, anyway.

Of course, sometimes it’s better to stick to the recipe, at least the first time around. You have to know how something’s supposed to work before you start making variations on it. This is actually something I’ve only discovered in recent years (I did say I was stubborn, didn’t I?).

All of this compulsive fiddling is probably why, as a writer, I’ve always enjoyed going at it by the seat of my pants. And, once I discovered there is a recipe of sorts to good writing, I wanted to play with it before I ever tried actually following it to the letter. However, I’ve discovered that writing is a little more like baking than making curry; there’s some delicate chemistry at work. Oh sure, there’s room for endless variations but only if you know the how the recipe’s really supposed to work.

……

Mrmph…sorry. I was thinking about curry. And brownies. I completely forgot whatever else I was going to say.

***

What about you? Do you like to follow a plan or blaze your own trail? Are there some areas in life where we simply must stick to the recipe or is everything an opportunity for variation? If you like to do things your way, what’s the funniest mishap you’ve had with that?

 

 

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

What Do You Do When You Fall Off A Horse?

A few weeks ago, my daughter was riding horses with a friend and trying to learn how to jump. After a few misses and a couple of almost-got-its, the horse had enough and unceremoniously dumped my daughter on the ground. As I saw her falling, my heart stopped, I held my breath and ran for her. But, before I could even get halfway there, my daughter popped up, said something like, “Well, that was rude,” and got back on the horse. She didn’t even dust herself off first.

She’s totally my hero.

And she did manage to get the horse to jump with her later that day.

My daughter’s a lot like me (remember how your mother used to say, “I hope you get one just like you,” and that was supposed to be a curse?). She’s persistent (stubborn), opinionated (hard-headed), passionate (moody), quick-thinking (reactionary) and tender-hearted (sensitive). Just like me…you can imagine how that goes in our house sometimes. So, it might have gone either way with the horse. She might have been discouraged, having been dumped on the ground after struggling and failing to jump the horse, and given up. She might have gotten mad and given up. She might have taken some time to consider what had happened and waited to get back on the horse. Instead, she got right back on the horse, as all the good theys say you should (as in, “they say you should get right back up on the horse after you fall off,” or “they say you should have a little hair of the dog that bit you,” or “they say you should always cut the head off a zombie to make sure it’s dead”).

Recently, I got some feedback for my novel-in-progress that was, shall we say, less than stellar. But the giver of the feedback is truly an expert and I can’t deny, as much as I’d like to, he’s on the money. It’s so tempting to give up (that’s my reactionary side talking) but I won’t (stubborn, hard-headed side). The question is will I jump right on the horse or take a little time to dust myself off?

If I jump back in, maybe it’ll ease the pain of rejection under loads of work. Then again, maybe giving myself time to mull things over would allow me to start again with a clearer head…unless that “time to mull things over” goes on forever…which, with me, it might.

I guess I should take a page from my daughters book.

Sometimes I think our kids teach us more than we teach them.

How do you deal with set-backs? Do you get right back on the horse or do you take some time to dust yourself off first? What do you tell yourself when you’re tempted to give up?

 

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

When You Text the Wrong Person

When Texting Goes Wrong

I can’t believe I just sent that to Mittens. Awkward!

Remember passing notes in high school? (If you’re about to say no because you had cell phones in high school… just stop. You’re making me feel old). Did you ever have that awkward experience of dropping the note and having the wrong person pick it up? The right note in the wrong hands could have epic embarrassing consequences.

Now that just about everyone and their great-grandma has a cell phone, we can pass notes via text message. While it might be faster and vastly more convenient, it certainly opens up a whole lot more opportunities to embarrass ourselves. This goes for email too.

It’s just soooo easy to hit “send” before we’ve double checked our messages. But the wrong name in the “to” field can lead to disaster or just monster embarrassment.

Recently, I received a text that was definitely NOT meant for me (No, I won’t share the text here as this is a PG blog…mostly). I’m a good-humored person (okay…maybe I just enjoy other people embarrassing themselves instead of me)  and I made a pleasant reply. Some joking ensued and I hope the other party went away feeling decent about the exchange but intending to be a lot more careful in the future.

It certainly made me think. Now, I’m triple checking the “to” before I hit “send.” Of course, I don’t have a very exciting text or email life, so I really can’t embarrass myself. If I have to say something potentially embarrassing, I’ll just say it in person (you know, plausible denial and all that).

But have sent the occasional “I love you” or “Pick up some milk, please” texts to friends instead of my hubby. My friends, being the awesome folk they are, have usually replied “I love you too but only as a friend,” or “Sorry, I already left the store,” or “Pick up your own d*mn milk.” (Okay, none of my friends have actually replied with that last one…yet).

Then again, maybe some texts are sent to the wrong person accidentally on purpose.

What about you? Have you ever gotten a text meant for someone else or sent one to the wrong person? What about sending a text to the wrong person accidentally on purpose?

 

 

 

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Is Patience Really a Virtue?

Merlin the Patient

I AM being patient. Now can I have a bite?

“Patience is a virtue,” I often tell my kids in a sing-song voice, like Rachel Weisz in The Mummy. When they’re asking if it’s time to go to the park yet or “are we there yet” on a long trip, patience is exactly what I need them to have they need. And they happily remind me of that virtue when I’m cursing the internet for being slower than usual or  when I’m telling the driver ahead of me (as if he can hear me) “the speed limit is 55 here, not 35.”

There are so many times in life when we can’t have what we want right when we want it. We have to wait on other people or for opportunities. We have to wait on ourselves to learn what we need to learn. We have to wait till the next season of Walking Dead to find out just how badass Rick has really become or for George R. R. Martin to publish that next A Song of Ice and Fire book already.

And yet the opposite of patience is celebrated far more often in our culture. Go-getters don’t  wait for opportunities, they seize them. Winners don’t let pain slow them down, they pop a [insert brand name over the counter painkiller here] and keep running. Heroes rush in where angels fear to tread.

Of course, inaction can be mistaken for patience. We tell ourselves we’re just waiting for the right time or the perfect chance and we just wait and wait and wait and…

And sometimes we give up before we’ve even begun because the payoff seems so very far away.

So how do you tell the difference? How do you know when to wait and when to act and how to keep slogging when the finish line is still miles away?

I’ve wrestled a great deal with this last one. Everything from raising and educating my children, getting fit and writing my (hopefully) début novel. All of these are works in progress and, sometimes, the end doesn’t seem anywhere in sight. All I can do is keep on keeping on.

And, while patience may be a virtue, it doesn’t come easily for me. Mostly I wind up being impatiently patient.  I promise myself the end is out there, somewhere, but I won’t wait around for it. I’ll go after it…with a machete.

It’s like the Tortoise and the Hare. Anyone else think the moral of that fable is NOT “slow and steady wins the race?” Let’s face it, if the hare hadn’t been sleeping on the job,  he’d have blown right past that sloooooow tortoise and won the race.

Slow and steady only wins the race when there’s no one else faster than you. But maybe the real moral is that it doesn’t matter how fast you go, especially if you give up or lay down on the job. If you keep putting one foot in front of the other with the goal of the making it to the finish line, you’ll get there (unless the zombies get you first…but that’s another story).

And, when you reach the finish line, you win. No matter who else got there first. Because you’re not racing against them. You’re racing against you.

Of course, it’s much nicer when you finish faster.

Just sayin.

What do you think? How do you know when to be patient and when to seize the moment? Do you have any big projects where the end seems almost out of reach? How do you keep at it until you reach that end?

 

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I just had to share this because it made me laugh…and it’s got some useful tips on How to Be Patient in 12 Steps (but I prefer to do it in 6 steps…it’s faster that way).

 

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Embrace Your Inner Doberman and Other Life Lessons from a Tiny Dog

Note: this post was originally shared as part of the Life List Club Blog Hop on Jenny Hansen’s awesome More Cowbell blog

This is Katara.

Katara at approx 6 months old and full cuteness capacity.

She’s half chihuahua. We have no idea what the other half might be, though we’re pretty sure there’s at least a little alien in the mix.

She stands 8.5 inches high, is 12 inches around the deepest part of her chest and 23 inches long. About a quarter of that lenth is tail.

And yes, she is named after the female protagonist in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The animated series, not the movie.

Although she’s closer in size to a guinea pig than a full-grown doberman, she doesn’t let that stand in the way of taking care of her doggish duties. Guarding the property and house from burglars and meter readers. Terrifying birds that have the nerve to land on her grass. And keeping the cats in line. Continue reading

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Do You Keep Cool?

Around here it’s been HOT. Okay, maybe not somewhere-in-the-Sahara-hot. But hot enough.

Actually, right now we’re on something of a cooling trend…only high 90s and just over a hundred on the horizon. I’m pretty sure we’ll be back up to 110 or 112+ before the end of summer though. So it’s imperative we find ways to keep cool.

While I prefer to hang out anywhere there’s a/c, other folks might prefer a little more unusual way of keeping cool… Continue reading

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Are You Your Own Frenemy?

The other day, I messed up.

It wasn’t really a big deal but I immediately started kicking myself in the mental butt.

Later on, that same inner voice talked me into junk food and procrastination instead of a healthy snack and knocking a big chunk off my todo list.

Later still, the inner voice followed up with a whole lot more mental butt-kicking (rather gleeful mental butt-kicking, I might add).

Then it dawned on me: I’m my own frenemy. Continue reading

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

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