Fine, Fine Professional Development and Llama Tuesday

Better Conversations – Jim Knight

I have been wowed this year by some amazing PD. The Better Conversations workshop was a full day. The participants found clock partners from the room which was filled with Coaches from my district and 3 surrounding states. We all stood up and found 12 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 8 o’clock partners and wrote their name down. We found them later for each section of the workshop as directed by Jim.

Jim joked that he is from Canada and he wouldn’t do anything goofy. It was a well-run workshop that was worthwhile and life-giving. 

One of the activities centered around 5 questions that I have been using since that Thursday of training. They seem simple. The exercise we used was to ask our partner the question and then give them 1 minute to answer and we could not talk. It was eye-opening.

Communication is essential for a fulfilled life yet we are all so bad at it sometimes.

Bungay’s 5 Coaching Habit Questions

  1. What’s on your mind?
  2. What’s the real challenge?
  3. What else?
  4. What do you want?
  5. What was the most useful from this conversation?

It was odd how personal and intimate the conversations became with a stranger – even though the thinking before the exercise was to not get too personal in many of the pairs. I still plan to use the exercise with my teachers at a Workshop Wednesday. Conversation is supposed to be nourishing for both parties. These questions are helping me use my #oneword for the year – CONNECT.

It is Llama TUESDAY!!!

#SOL19 Simply Tuesday

Today is Tuesday. The day that The Two Writing Teachers host the weekly Slice of Life Challenge that teachers around the world participate in to write alongside their students.

Every Tuesday there is a post on the Two Writing Teachers main page where you can link your Slice of Life story post and read other people’s Slice of Life stories.  All you have to do is leave the link to your SOL story blog post as a comment inside of that Tuesday’s post.

I thought a lot about what I wanted to write this Tuesday.

Do I write about my new health routine commitment and intermittent fasting? I have more energy and have gone back to feeling how I did when I was in major training for marathons and ultras.

Do I talk about how much I loved reading Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen and how I want everyone who believes in everyday magic to read it?

Do I talk about how I printed my manuscript for my NANOWRIMO novel and am petrified to read it so that I can move forward?

Do I talk about the podcasts that I look forward to every Tuesday morning? Do I talk about the Next Right Thing I need to do? Or the literary society I want to start now?

I think the best choice is to sit with these questions and read other people’s blogs today!

Happy #SOL19 everyone! It is the year of #CONNECT for me so comments will flow from my fingers today.

Welcome 2019

This year’s word is CONNECT.

I will reflect on this word a little differently than I have in the past.

I have a list of 5 action steps directly related to the word for January.

I also have some reflection questions that I will journal with at the end of the month. The plan is to record experiences when I CONNECT so I can keep track.

Happy writing everyone!

The Real Neat Blog Award!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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Thank you to for the nomination!

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)


My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

WordPress reader and Twitter

2. What is your favourite sport?


3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2018?

Our family rented a boat and went tubing with the kids. It was a great day on a lake near where we live.

4. What is your favourite quote?

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

English – hands down. Reading and writing – oh yes!

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

That IOWA was the mecca of MFA’s …and what an MFA even was!

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

The violin! I played from 6th grade to 12th grade. I almost played in college but intentionally chose different activities in my college experience.

My nominees are:

Melanie At Home

My Best Friend Adeline


FMF Challenge: WHEN



The word for today is WHEN.


I am tempted to think of this word and write:

When is it my time? I already know that the time is NOW.

More questions come to mind then answers today.

When am I going to feel comfortable and at home in my house?

A decision seems to be on the fringes of my life. When is it going to be revealed to me?

When is my season of thriving rather than obstacle?

When indeed?


If you would like to read more posts from this series click here.

Weekend Coffee Share



It is Sunday! I am so glad we are meeting for coffee again! Two weekends in a row and I am looking forward to a lovely time.

It is October so I think my first coffee will be a pumpkin latte just to celebrate the season! I will have dark black coffee after that. I imagine our conversation will be at least a 3 cupper today.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I really miss the Chile Mocha from Starbucks. I have put the drink in a couple short stories too! I know it is discontinued but I wish the company would bring it back.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have been able to sleep a little more this week. I am getting used to the new house. It is slowly becoming more like home. I was struggling with this a bit this week and my husband reminded me we did a lot of work with the other house months before we moved in. We removed carpet, tile, wallpaper, and junk. We tended to a garden before the renovations were complete. We did have lovely tomatoes and lettuce that year!

If we were having coffee I would ask if you heard Kelly Link was awarded a MacArthur Fellows grant. I am so excited she is honored in this way! I love her short stories as you know. I found out you cannot apply for this award.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I had to replace tires AGAIN on my car. The tire place was quick about it and I didn’t have to sit there for hours so that was a nice surprise. I have to get them aligned now next week.

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Photo by samer daboul on

If we were having coffee I would ask you what was the most surprising thing for you this week?

If we were having coffee I would ask you what you are looking forward to in the coming week? My fall break is coming up and I am excited to be able to stay at home. No work means no driving. That makes me happy.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am writing every day. I am working on a loose outline for NANOWRIMO. I have been writing every day for the five-minute challenge. I have obviously not been posting my end piece on the blog but I assure you it is insightful and worthwhile.

I am glad we met today! I am looking forward to hearing your surprises and what you are looking forward to.


10 Fall Questions

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Photo by Vali S. on

Thank you to Rambling Woman for the nomination! She knows I love a list…especially a list of questions!


1.  What is one candle you MUST light every fall?

Apple cider candles! I recently found out about roasted marshmallow scent which I will be picking up.

2. When you think of fall, what does it remind you of?

When I think of fall, I think of cooler temps so I can wear sweatshirts! They are my favorite especially right out of the dryer.

3.  What is your all-time favorite fall/Halloween movie?

Hocus Pocus. Yes, I’m definitely following the masses with this one.

4. What Halloween costume do you have in mind?

I think that I want to be a classic witch this year!

5. What is your favorite fall trend?

Boots and long sweaters with jeans.

6. When you think of fall, what drink comes to mind?

Hot coffee – always. There was a Chili mocha drink at Starbucks last fall I adored. I need to check if they are bringing it back!

7. What is your go-to fall beauty product? A must-have staple!

Vaseline – for extra dry spots and for chapped lips. It is simple but necessary.

8. Do you prefer apple pie or pumpkin pie?

Pumpkin pie! I love the pumpkin pie Blizzards from Dairy Queen too!


9. Do you have any fall traditions? If so tell us all about them!

Going to the local apple orchard and eating many (probably too many) apple cider doughnuts. I also love to take runs down the trail where all the leaves are changing.

10. The moment of truth, is fall your favorite season?

It is not. Winter is. I love the snow outside and sitting in front of the fire.


Tag 5

The second step to this post is to tag five fellow bloggers to tackle these questions if they choose to do so. Here are five blogs I enjoy reading:

Therapy Bits


Sparkle and Style




Follow the White Rabbit #SOL18

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Photo by Tejas Prajapati on


One of the philosophies I try to live by is

Follow the White Rabbit: Be Brave.

What does this mean to me?

It means that I need to allow myself to follow the unknown even if it takes me into Wonderland.

It means that I need to move out of my comfort zone INTENTIONALLY.

I believe that fear is somewhat imagined. Our brains like to work ahead about what MIGHT happen. It is the same rabbit hole we can go down with the idea of what we SHOULD be doing. I have to not allow this thinking to stop me from experiences and knowledge that will make my life richer.

Great moments cannot happen if I refuse to experience them.

Yesterday I was interviewed for a podcast I listen to regularly. It is going to air in February so I will be posting that information later but it was a white rabbit moment for sure.

I am starting several programs at work that I am excited about but there is an element of the unknown. The potential for greatness is vast.

Following the white rabbit means I have to pay attention to opportunities that are presented to me – I cannot let them pass me by because I hesitated.

Where will you follow the white rabbit?







Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month! Today is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day! The question posed for today is:

October 3 question – How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Writing has always been a part of my life. When I have taken the time to look back through my journals, morning pages or other writings, the bulk of words get on the page when my days are dark.

Writing helps me cope. It is my escape. This last 3 months I have moved 3 times among other personal ups and downs. I wrote every day. I gave myself the challenge to write a short story every day in September and accomplished more than 30. The challenge gave me a focus every day.

I have the advantage of technology now and the ability to dictate into my phone. I have always carried a notebook with me but am diligent about writing in it now. One of my favorite activities is to write down conversations that I overhear.  A major change when I started working at my current job was a 2 hour total commute in the car. It is almost impossible to write in a notebook while driving but dictating and listening to writing podcasts help reframe that time into something productive.

I know what I think by writing it out. It helps me work out what is happening in my head and helps me to not overthink. My brain function and my thinking are fast-paced and writing helps me slow down, especially when I write longhand. I like to play with different style pens and notebooks. As a type of therapy, I play with various outcomes and actions to different circumstances.

Writing is my lifeline and I am grateful for it!

Grateful Tuesday

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Photo by Pixabay on

  1. Writer friends that talk writing

Superstars from Storyaday

My real life group that meets at the library

Other writers that are not connected

2. Beta readers

It is nice to have someone to trust

3. Skype and Zoom

4. Fall flavored coffee – Starbucks Fall Blend – Hearty with Spice Notes

5. The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

6. Writer notebooks

7. Stories

8. Cooler temps – thankful it is October!

9. Libraries

10. Love and acceptance


What is something you are thankful for today?