#FMF City

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

City

Chicago is a city full of hidden gems that people are either trying to find or to keep secret. 

Chicago is a place I have run, visited, shopped, attended field trips and each time I discover something new. I have seen the Harry Potter exhibit at Science and Industry, Monet at the Art Institute, had dinner at fancy restaurants, been to Second City and the Chicago Symphony. 

I have ridden rented bikes on the streets, got lost and carried the bike up three flights of stairs from lower Wacker trying to get back to where I started. I felt like I would be wandering forever.

I ran the Chicago marathon during an anniversary year when I vowed I never would. I should have stuck to my guns in that case.  It was a terrible race for me. I had to walk so many miles just to get back to my car and my stuff. 

I have taken Ubers, driven my own car,  and walked the concerte. I have eaten at Ed Debavacs, which is no longer there in physical space; only memories. I ate at Beard Award winning chef restaurants with friends. I have shopped the magnificent mile and frequented the Hard Rock Cafe. 

In what feels like another life, I saw Wicked, Grease and several other productions. I have taken pictures with the Bean but never ice skated. I have eaten Giordannos pizza.

My first half marathon was in the city. It was the Rock and Roll Half and the pictures only show me having fun, not racing yet. I would take it more serious after that when I got the taste of the thrill.

There is more to explore with each visit. The last trip we ate outside, found a hidden Tiki bar and stayed at a hotel that used to be the Playboy Club.

There is more history to find there and sparks to inspire my writing.

#FMF Accountability

accountability

There are 141 days left in 2021.

Do you have a plan?

The amount of accountability professionally raises on Monday for me. This is the first wave and then on the 23rd another professional wave of the writing variety is added. I am excited for both of these opportunities and I predict many changes in the next coming weeks and months.

I am accountable to myself more so than anything else. I have strong intrinsic motivation, but also am a rebel if you follow Gretchen Rubin’s 4 tendencies research. I sometimes do not even follow my own plan. I have learned to listen more to my intuition and follow what lights me up. I have found this summer that means NOT doing something rather than forcing myself.

If I say I am going to do something, then I typically do it. There are cases where modifications need to be made in order for a better outcome of course.

I use a lot of lists and two planners. One planner is paper and the other digital. There is delight is checking items off a list and seeing the progress.

I keep myself accountable in writing by having a daily practice. I also give myself challenges that I have been sharing more in the last year. Almost every month has a theme in order to keep me on track and moving forward. I will be planning a 100 days project for the remainder of 2021 and am still contemplating what I want to pursue this time.

I do have to be careful to now get caught up in only wanting to check off items rather than being all in to a project. This happened with counting how many books I read in a year. I was just reading to check them off and not enjoying or immersing myself in them.

There is a small group of people I am accountable to because I respect them.

#FMF Summer

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

Summer

There is an ease and magic to summer like no other season. Winter is my favorite with its cold and idea of being wrapped in blankets and the heat of the fire. The heat of summer blazes onto my skin as I walk through the trees and the fields logging the sounds of red winged blackbirds and horses as I pass. But summer is the time for iced drinks and watermelon too.

There is time in the summer for flow. The flow of writing and water. The flow of time. June went so quickly this year. It always does but now we are almost halfway through July and I am not ready. The two big trips happened already and there is a small excursion again next week. There are many things to still look forward to but I am trying to savor each moment and it feels like it is on fast forward.

The summer schedule is ideal for me. My writer’s agenda for the day starts with coffee and words in the morning, then a walk, good food plus inspiration. A simple existence which I crave. Scheduled meetings for talking to friends but minimal each week. Input of all types with reading, conversation, tv, and podcasts.

This summer is about work with my subconscious. The dreams and what I hide from myself. There are essays to write and notebooks to transcribe. There are stories to revise and workshops to plan. Morning pages have started again in preparation for The Artist’s Way group I am running in September. 

July is for hosting a 10 minute daily challenge. I inspire others to have a daily creative practice. It helps align me so I hope the same for others.

I am thankful for abundance and what is next. But mostly, I am savoring this moment.

#FMF Observant

observant

Every Friday I write for 5 minutes using Kate’s Prompt. You can find her here.

Sometimes I post my words.

Observant: Set the timer and GO

When am I observant? Always. I am always looking for details and patterns. It is the way I am designed. I love the nuance of people, even though I struggle with the time I am around them sometimes. I am continually making notes and saving them for later. I have notebooks of saved ponderings. Sometimes I have done since I can remember. I record how people speak and stand. I notice how the lists come out and in what order. I log the taste of coffee and how close cars get to me on my daily walks. I think about the scratch of the pen and how a student chose Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in class the day before.

Lately I have been observing myself. Examining why I react now at 46 how I do. Some behaviors I have traced back to single digit ages. I am suspicious of compliments and questions that have no context.

I am observant of dreams. A new process brought to me that I am unpacking the symbols and what associations I have. I observe to construct my own understanding.

I have been observing that I am processing out loud much more often than normal. Is this partly because of the pandemic? I am uncertain yet. I will keep observing and see what emerges.

After all, I can’t help myself.

#FMF Sunrise

sunrise

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday hosted by Kate Motaung at Link-up – Five Minute Friday.

Beginnings repeat in the colors of pink and orange smeared across the sky. It is the colored creme filling in between the clouds. A morning dessert. This personal painting in the gallery of my home framed by the sliding glass. The exhibit changes by the quarter of the hour. I sip my coffee and settle in between the moments.

My preference is to be here. To not see the display through the frame of the windshield. The art gallery moves with me.  It is a process of adjustment and a constant pivot of perspective. The mornings are hazy through blurry dream filled eyes. Color helps me focus and crisp the edges.

This space is invisible to everyone else. My watercolor sky with blackened trees. Sticks and lines that become so much more. They are the jewelry of the horizon just for me. 

Time is different in the morning. The minutes change for the sunrise and transform me in the process.

#FMF Smile

smile

Every Friday, Kate posts a one word prompt for the community to write whatever comes to mind for 5 minutes.

Join me, set the timer for 5 minutes and …..GO!

I read the word and smile automatically. There are so many aspects of my life I am grateful for. My family makes me smile. I laugh when my 9 year old says crazy things like, “Look how tall my feet are!” We create family Jeopardys and play them. The categories get silly and we good naturally make fun of each other. I smile when I think about how ideal my life is right now. I live in a place that is beautiful and I adore. My job is amazing, I have wonderful friends and I write every day. The library is my town is awesome. I have read some amazing books the last 6 months.

After 57 days of my Back to Zero program to get myself back to its true form, I was able to wear two dresses that didn’t fit 2 months ago. Everything tastes better in Wisconsin especially sweet corn.

I finally have figured out a way to revise my novel and am thrilled. It finally clicked after an amazing conversation with my friend Jamie. I am always learning and am thankful for all the opportunities that come to me.

There is a lot to be grateful for and it all makes me smile.

FMF: ENDURE

endure

Directions: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write. 

Endure

What do I endure? Many things, but it means you get through the suffering. I like to reframe this idea and think about it as learning, growing, and becoming a more evolved human.

I endured Zoom calls this spring.

Endurance. I have cultivated a lot of endurance. I endure longs runs. In the past, I punished myself with daily runs that got longer and longer. I told myself it was in order to train for the marathons, then the 50Ks, and then the 50 mile. The 50 miles almost broke me, but I did it and I am proud.

The mental toughness I learned through the long runs and the high mileage weeks helped me endure obstacles thrown at me. Looking back now 5 years later I wish I would have done better.

I feel like I am coming back into myself now which is a relief and a welcome change. Part of that change and why I can endure more is because of the friends I have surrounded myself with as well. I have a strong group of women in my corner. Women who are strong and that I learn from.

I start to write that I endure my fasting windows, but honestly, my body likes this way of eating and not eating. It is natural and comfortable. The outcome is feeling better and more effective use of my physical form. I feel I need to reflect on this idea a little more to be sure.

Challenges help me grow and I am not a good human unless I am striving to be better.

+++

My First Collection of Short Stories is published!

You can check that out here. 

It is time to listen to Episode 10 of The Accidental Inspirationalist! 

You can listen here.
Or on Spotify.

FMF: Worth

A One Word Prompt with a 5 Minute Time Limit

worth

How much is something worth? How much am I worth? Is there a dollar amount that equates with a human? I prefer to think of value rather than worth. I trade money for material items and experiences. It is an exchange. What I am willing to pay and the value I receive sometimes creates a gap. Increased value is always preferred. When you feel you have received more value than you paid you can feel powerful and smart.

One of the things that I started to place more worth on within the last 6 months was my time. All the humans of the world start with the same amount of time: 24 hours. As cliche as it is, the value is how you spend it. What I find worthy of my time may not be what you deem worthy. We are all unique.

I spend my time pursuing input and learning. I am evaluating my goals and beliefs. I write, I read, and I run. There are people I deem worthy of my time. There are regrets of time spent that I can never get back.

Material possessions do not have much worth to me anymore. There are a handful of things but I have lost so much over the last 5 years. The special bowl that held my potato salad for holidays was dropped during the most recent move. There was an emotional value attached to it. I cried when I saw the pieces on the long counter in the old kitchen. Some things of worth and value cannot just cannot be replaced. It couldn’t be glued and be the same. I cannot run out and get a new one. It was a sign that that part of my life I needed to let go.

Letting go is another lesson I have been learning. I hold onto things to tightly and squeeze them till they are comatose or broken in pieces on the counter.

I am not sure I will ever learn, but I keep trying.

#FMF NOW

Every Friday I set the timer for 5 minutes and write what the word Kate chooses spurs in my mind.

Ready….set….go:

Everyone is using the word NOW during this crisis. Funny that it took a pandemic for people to focus on the present. People are worried about the future in a whole new way with a special tint of darkness — but, is it really all that different?

Humans like to fancy themselves predicters of the future — just look at the calendars we kept before we were forced to stay at home. Fear is the anxiety of what might happen that we conjure up in our minds.

The bottom line is we don’t know any more now how the future will look than we did before the pandemic. There is still uncertainty. There is always uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen anymore now than we did before. Some people deal with this feeling every day because of the hardships and obstacles they have in their lives.

We have to just control what we can. We have to pivot when we get new relevant information.

Mother Nature has put us all in a collective time out to think about what we have done. We have all been sent to our rooms. Some people still do not get it. They haven’t changed their behavior, they are still having parties, they are still standing super close and chatting. Will they be the ones that get sick? Maybe, maybe not. There is too much unknown to predict and it doesn’t matter anyway. We cannot control that aspect of the scenario.

Appreciate what you have. Pivot and reflect. Journal, read, write a list, call a friend, make a flexible plan for the next two weeks, but please STAY HOME.

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

Photo by La Miko on Pexels.com

Welcome back to Sunday! A lot has transpired this week!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am off school for now for 3 weeks. We will see if it is extended after that time. There is much speculation. I am taking the time as a gift and time to relax and take care of myself and my family.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I read more this week. I need to read more now. It is how I cope with stress and also fuels my writing. I read the newest Paris Review yesterday notably a story by Jesse Ball about turning into a mouse. I read several poems too. I have been able to put holds and pick up books I have heard about on my favorite podcasts. One book I picked up is Meander, Spiral, Explode recommended by Kathy Fish during a writing class last year. It is a dense book but smart.

Do you need a refill? Maybe some water? What books are you reading? Do you turn to reading when you are stressed? I am curious.

Please read the rest of this post here:https://medium.com/the-partnered-pen/weekend-coffee-share-b3508bfd5ca0

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