The Delight of Swings

One of the delights of living somewhere new is all the fresh running routes you get to embark on! Thanks to my husband, I was able to walk/run on a new route with wonderful hills. (See the tall one pictured above.) The weather was much less humid and was overcast yesterday so overall it was a pleasant session. I also saw my assistant principal and we were able to chat for a few minutes as well.

Along this route there is also a playground in one of the neighborhoods. I could not resist the delight of swinging for a few minutes. The smile on my face was wide and I felt like a kid. There also happens to be a free little library there as well.

One of the focuses for this week has been centered around play. I want to take advantage of the small opportunities that bring me joy. I have always loved swings, and I do not know a child that doesn’t like them either. We used to have jumping contests and height contests in elementary school. For a short time I thought about putting a plank swing in my living room in one of my apartments! I am certain that wasn’t practical and it would cost me my security deposit for sure.

What opportunities for play have you taken advantage of lately? What has been bringing you joy?

I would love to hear in the comments.

Monday Morning

A Story and a Prompt for You!

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It’s Monday. It’s summer. There is a laid back feeling even in the times of the Corona virus.

Yesterday was filled with writing, running, a coach session, and great conversations. It was also a reminder that I am too hard on myself and I am impatient.

One of the takeaways from my coaching session yesterday was that I light up when I talk about the workshops that I teach and the adventures with my kids. I will be sharing more about those two areas of my life in my newsletter and this blog in the coming weeks.

If you still need to sign up for my newsletter, you can click here!

This week we are taking the kids canoeing on the Wisconsin River. We have tried to go before but have run into obstacles like a too high river in Indiana. Hopefully, no issues this time.

One of the best parts of the adventures with the kids are the crazy things they say that I write down. Every Christmas, we make a photo album of the year’s adventures. These are not always trips either. We play games and create things inside the house as well. The book is also filled with fun things everyone has said. Often you will hear someone say, “Put that in the notes!”

While in the car last week my youngest said randomly from the backseat, “It illegal to die in some places.” Which, of course, was met with, “WHAT?” In fact, this is true, and he learned it on YouTube. Someplace they were running out of graves and made it illegal to die, at least on the books. Then he called the graves, “grave houses.” This comment led to a discussion of how in New Orleans they bury people above ground.

I have a writing prompt for you today.

I have a book I ordered during the lockdown called Now Write! Fiction Writing Exercises From Today’s Best Writers and Teachers. I finally cracked it open last night and dove into an exercise. Every couple of pages there is a new prompt. I did one pertaining to surrealism by Laurie Foos. It is noted you can do this exercise with a group, or alone.

If you do the prompt on your own, you are not allowed to look ahead!

Choose a verb that ends in -ing, then a body part, and an inanimate object.

Go ahead…I’ll wait. Now write them down before you read on!

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Now, put your words into this sentence: After a long day of verbing, he/she discovered that his/her body part had grown insert inanimate object.

I had fun with mine and after a long day of transcribing my character had a mirror that had grown out of his arm. It led to a weird little story about being to infinitely able to see into illusions and dreams.

I have published my book on Amazon. You can check that out here.

Sunday Delights

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There is delight in Sundays. Even during the quarantine, Sunday feels different. Time is a unique component to life. It flows or it stalls.

Sundays are for looking forward and looking back. These are things that happen no other time of the week. Sundays used to be for running long with friends. It was my worship. Now it is a time for reflection.

Sundays are for being outside in nature. Today I went for my walk. I didn’t worry about running today. I enjoyed the sun on my face. The feeling of health and being smaller. Today marks day 24 of my health program “Back to Zero.” I need to get back into a size zero which is what this means. I am in the process of losing the weight I have gained over the last couple of years and the quarantine.

But on my walk today I felt tired. I had thought if it had rained, I would have not gone. I actually went the longest mileage I have all week today. A friend reminded me, “You’re waterproof, you know. Rain is no excuse.” I remember after she types this that I have run most of my running races in rain. In fact, a half marathon was delayed for rain. It totally messed my race up.

Sundays are for reading. I look forward to the Sunday newsletter from my friend Jenna. There is always thoughtful and insightful sentences from her. It makes me think. It often inspires my own writing. I am also reading Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins, and Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

Sunday is for planning for the week. I do my Janning (journaling and planning together). I look at the items on the calendar and write about how I can make them all level 10. I anticipate the things that can mess it up and formulate a plan. I make an action items list.

Sundays are for writing. Every day in my world is for writing but Sunday is the day I write my weekend coffee share. It is my virtual cup of coffee with my friends. I reflect on the week I have had. Sometimes it is just a list of the things I have done and want to remember. Sometimes I share insights that I make.

Sundays are for getting ready for the week. Today is special. It is the first Sunday in a long time that I do not have to get ready for work and school on Monday. There is a weight to that emotion that is unexpected.

Sundays emit different feelings. It used to be the day to go to my Oma’s and have dinner. It used to be the day I visited friends.

What do Sundays mean to you?

Back to Zero

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Fourteen days ago I made the decision to take back my health. I know how to take care of myself. Many times we know what to do, we just choose to not do it. There are short term and long term consequences to this thinking.

Now taking back my health is a true statement, but a consequence of this idea is also weight loss and that is on purpose. This is the heaviest I have been in years. As someone who prides herself on her appearance, looking in the mirror 15 days ago was a hard pill to swallow. I have allowed myself to emotionally eat. I have allowed myself to think, “Just one more piece won’t hurt.” Let me tell you – it hurts.

One decision I made was to drink at least 64 oz of ice water a day. We are White Sox fans and have souvenir glasses so that makes it easy to measure. Two of those babies filled up do the trick. Once I made the decision, it was easy. My brain knows when I make a decision that is what we are doing. The weather here has been hot so drinking the water has been simple. I also choose water over any other drink.

I also decided to go back to intermittent fasting. This works for me. I know it because I ate this way before I knew it had a name. I am going to play with the different types of timing schedules. I typically do the Warrior schedule which is 20 hours of fasting with a 4 hour eating window. I am intrigued by the 24 hours of fasting 2 days a week.  The last 2 days I have waited for the 24 hour mark since I last ate and have noticed significant body changes. I am uncertain if it is due to the 24 hours or just that I have been fasting for 2 weeks!

I have weight to lose from the stress of the last couple of years , major transitions, and the coronavirus sheltering.

I am moving everyday as part of this plan. I run and walk. I have affirmations I write for myself everyday. I went through Tony Robbins’ The Body You Deserve Workbook. I also have habit stacked push ups and movements from Chalene Johnson’s workouts. I do these several times a day.

I was too embarrassed to weigh myself. I have a number from the health check as part of the requirements for my new teaching job. I have pants that didn’t fit two weeks ago.

I am making progress and am happy. It is working. I feel better and have more energy. Soon I will be back to the size I am supposed to be and all those pants in the closet will fit again.

It’s not easy, but I know I will never go back to where I was.

10 Things I Noticed on My Run

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  1. The smell of my fabric softener on my sweatshirt
  2. Running on the bike trail and how the sun is shining bright
  3. The pushing and pulling of my relationship with running- Knowing my body remembers how to run and feeling it
  4. Green trees finally with the swell of a rain filled dip that looks like a creek now
  5. Groups of men playing Frisbee golf with their special duffel bags
  6. a lone fisherman trying to escape his work week with the NOTICE: No Swimming sign to his left
  7. A tan colored German Shepard walking his people
  8. Wooden benches that invite sitting but no one does
  9. Wooden fences that provide the illusion of protection
  10. 2 friends strolling with a baby

10 Things I Have Learned About CONNECTion

#oneword

Connect is my one word for 2019


The question I asked myself was: How do I plan to intentional connect in January? I could just log activities randomly if they happen to fit the criteria, but I wanted to make this years’ word more of a goal. I did not want it to be an afterthought.

I want to live the word, partially because I NEED to.

Initially, the list held:

  1. Go to one Write on Hoosiers meeting – This is my in real life group that meets twice a month at a local library.
  2. Participate in my online writing group at least once a week – This is usually once a day honestly. We have a slack channel which makes it really easy.
  3. Participate in my editing class (amazing experience – I will sign up again.)
  4. Email another writer I connected with on Twitter – we talk about writing and check-ins.
  5. Blog once a week and make 10 comments/week to other writers
  6. Submit at least two pieces of writing
  7. Order business cards.

10 Things I Learned

  1. Being open to connections means I hear differently. At the Write On Hoosiers meeting, one of the other writers talked about a retreat she attended at a local Buddhist temple. I signed up the next day for the one in Feb. I have committed to work on the novel revision.
  2. I connect with writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog and the Five Minute Friday site link up and WordPress reader. Making an effort for new blogs works for Twitter too, but there are some games on there that I try not to take personally.
  3. Once I was in submission mode I sent quite a few pieces in. I also contributed to several blog based writing contests which was fun and got my writing out there. It helped make a connection with another writer as well who reached out and sent an email. That was AWESOME.
  4. With the idea of reflection already a part of the process, I felt tied into the concept of connecting with people more. I sent specific tweets to authors I admire and wanted to make sure I told them.
  5. I am more visual than I thought. Using my graphic I created for my #oneword is fun to use in blog posts and social media.

6. I participated on a TEACHWRITE Zoom call and was able to talk and see Jennifer and Amanda.

7. I supported a writer friend through Ko-Fi.

8. I was the book fairy at school and gifted stacks so teachers can get them into kids’ hands.

9. I reached out to another teacher writer about IF – Intermittent Fasting.

10. Be persistent- I got into Kathy Fish’s Fast Fiction Class. I am so excited for it – in July.

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Moving Forward to Feb:

+I need to connect to more books next month and then reach out to more authors of the books I love.

+Connect with my body more. Yoga, intermittent fasting, running outside, and walking with the incline is how I am doing this.

+Write real letters and participate in a letter writing challenge.

+ Interact with the new “10 things to tell you” podcast recommended by Emily Freeman

+ Continue to marinate on creating a magical gathering. My thoughts are hovering around my Workshop Wednesday concept. A reading literary society?

+ Every day Writing – of course!

How is your #oneword process going?

#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.

Running and Mileage

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Running for Life

I have stopped logging my miles.

I used to run between 60-80 miles a week – for fun. Part of the fun was to see the number increase daily. I used to say I was a happy girl if I could run 10 miles a day.

My life does not allow me to run that many miles now, nor do I want to. It is a different season. I am not training for Boston, or a marathon, or an ultra. I now run to move my body, fit into my jeans and live a lot more years so I can spend them with my husband.

Miles are easy to track, even just on my calendar but I am not. It is not a part of my life that needs measurement and numbers now. There can be no comparison or guilt then either. I can focus on the goal of keeping myself healthy and enjoying nature. I can focus on how I feel.

I run outside when I can. If I workout inside in the treadmill I walk and use the incline function. I hate the treadmill and will not punish myself with it. Running is still in my life but there are new rules and I am sticking to them.

I Wish I Could Remember

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I wish I could remember more details of my foot races. They are hours of pain, images, and exhaustion. I scan the few photos and remember snippets but not a whole story. Lines and phrases only.

Boston should have been joyous but my Opa (German grandfather) had just died, I was written up at work for going to the Boston Marathon because it wasn’t an appropiate use of my grieve time according to the school. Ironically, a couple of months later the teacher across the hall went to Disney when her dad died,  but that was appropriate.

I remember the feeling in the first Marathon in Indy. I looked at my watch and knew I would finish with a time I didn’t think was possible.

So many hours I have run. Many to escape where I was. The time gap causes more memories to be forgotten than remembered. I read back to my notebooks and blog posts and the memory is restored for a few moments and I smile…again.

Lately,  I have been having trouble running joyously. I go out and move my feet.  I am tired all the time. It is painful but in a different way. My heart isn’t in it.

My soul and my body argue on a run now and it isn’t pleasant. They are at odds.

I read the other day if you don’t have inner peace then you will never have happiness. Outside sources cannot fuel it. I believe that to be true. Outside stressors especially are wreaking havoc on my inner peace. The running used to help and now I am evaluating if it has become a stress rather than relief.

Is there something in your life that used to help you that you feel is holding you back now? I would love to hear about it.

April Reflection and Next Steps

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1. Camp NANOWRIMO

Camp NANOWRIMO is a month long challenge to tackle a writing project in a month. For Camp you set your own word count goals. Regular NANOWRIMO is hosted in November where the goal is to write 50,000 words.

I did not win CAMP this year. It was my first go around with CAMP. Regular NANOWRIMO in November was successful but I discovered through writing and gathering my research to write my professional teaching book I need more time. The format still doesn’t seem quite right. The next step is to use the content as blog posts. It will serve the purpose better at the present time. I am still moving forward with the project but it will look different. I am wondering if I should start a separate blog just for the teaching/coaching pieces of my life and keep the writing and reading blog.

2018StoryADaySidebar500.pngI am not gearing up for STORYADAY May and am super excited to have joined the SUPERSTARS group. I am hoping to make some real connections to some other short story writers. I have been collecting story sparks – as always and thinking about the excitement of having a stack of short story drafts by the end of the month.

 

2. Mindset Matters

Winter is still here in Northwest Indiana. I had to shift my mindset when it came to running this month. I kept getting myself excited about running outside and then the weather would not cooperate. Finally, I had to decide that my running routine will be sprints and HIIT workouts on the treadmill. If the weather is pleasant then I would run outside, but I would look at it as a surprise or a treat rather than the expectation. This has led to much more pleasant gym visits and the workouts are consistent rather than all over the place and me being angry about it.

 

3. Reading RunDown with Links!

The Hazelwood

The Hazel Wood: A Novel by [Albert, Melissa]

Written on the Body

Ghost

Long Way Down

The Rules Do Not Apply

The Year of Less

Betwixt and Between Essays

Lillian Boxfish Goes for a Walk

On Being a Writer

Stranger in the Woods

 

4. New Podcasts with Links!

Real Talk Radio

Don’t Keep Your Day Job

Earn Your Happy

Being Boss

That What She Said

5. Favorite Podcasts with Links!

Emily P Freeman’s The Next Right Thing

Julie Duffy’s Story A Day

Rachael Herron’s How Do You Write?

Looking Ahead:

There has been a lot of planning for PD and formats for next school year. All the planning makes me excited to get started…but I have to wait. I finally had to break down and start a 2018-2019 notebook to make notes for next school year. It is going to be a great year!