20 Little Joys

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com
  1. Blogging and connecting with people
  2. Cheap materials for at home games – amazing what you can do with a bunch of SOLO cups!
  3. Running outside in the fall
  4. Hot dark coffee
  5. Fresh baked bread
  6. Twitter community
  7. #NANOWRIMO
  8. The Next Right Thing podcast from Emily P. Freeman
  9. Clothes that smell like fabric softener
  10. Chicken pita for dinner with cucumber and garlic herb chicken – YUM!
  11. SmartWool socks
  12. Doc Martin shoes and boots
  13. A surprise 2 hour delay!
  14. A bonus or new episode on your favorite podcasts
  15. My fountain pen
  16. Jokes among a small specific group of friends
  17. Sharing your writing and having people respond positively
  18. The possibility of getting into a writing class you REALLY want
  19. Minnesota
  20. LOVE

What brings you joy?

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#Everydayhappy Slice of Life #SOL18

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Thank you for Two Writing Teachers for sponsoring the SLICE OF LIFE challenge every Tuesday!

This week when I was listening to my normal podcast queue I clicked on Jenny Blake’s PIVOT podcast. This week was especially inspiring and I was super excited to listen. I made a bunch of notes for writing and for projects for students when I go back to school in August. I even started listening to the podcast again which is something I rarely do.

The guest for the interview was Dev Ajula who wrote the book 50 Ways to Get a Job. It isn’t just a book about finding a job but seems to be an inquiry into who you are. I have a reserve on the book at the library and have checked out the website that goes along with the book.

Jenny Blake is also an author. Her book is also called Pivot like the podcast. She has a great newsletter.

There are lots of great parts but one in particular is when Dev is talking about his apartment and making it personal just for him. He had visited other people’s spaces and thought it was appealing because it was more sophisticated or bigger but realized it was fine tuned to the owner. He wanted to emulate this practice so he put his chair in a space where it sits in the sun at 3 pm and sits in it. He also painted all his radiators white. Small things that made a difference to him.

On my blog I write about #everydayhappy. Those little things that just make your day but are uniquely your own. These items or actions spark joy for you.

I asked from friends this question: What makes you #everydayhappy? Little things that spark joy for you? A certain coffee mug? A certain pen?

#Everydayhappy things for me are a favorite coffee mug to drink my coffee in. I also have a certain fountain pen I adore. I love the feeling and writing in a new notebook. I also moved my coffee pot into my bedroom instead of the kitchen.

The List

Carrie: Opening up the windows in my house to enjoy the fresh breeze

Marta: My husband making coffee for me. The dogs resting in the sun. A joyful laugh.

Eva: Perfect song to match my mood coming on, more coffee left in the pot when I thought it was gone, red lipstick

Sarah: Great day texts from co-workers

Rachael: My dog leaning on me as I write

Julie: Sitting under a tree looking up through the leaves at sunlight preferably with a stream running nearby. That or a fresh notebook page…

Marian: calls the pecans out of the mixed nuts “happies”!!!!!

I am @tlbreit on Twitter and you can respond there with your own #everydayhappy ideas or in the comments below.

What are the things that spark joy for you that are personal to you? I would love to read them! I bet some of your are so good I would want to borrow them and add them to my own list.

#everydayhappy

Link to other blog post

What I Learned from Story a Day May

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I did it!!!

31 stories in 31 days!!!

It was one more than my goal. I figured I would give myself one off day. I had so much fun I didn’t use my freebie.

What I Learned From Writing Everyday…Again

I participated in StoryADAY May 2018 hosted by Julie Duffy from storyaday.org. This is not the first writing challenge I have particpated in this past year. For those who do not know, November is not only known for Thanksgiving in the US but also for NANOWRIMO — National Novel Writing Month where thousands of writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in the 31 days. There are days that word count is easier to achieve than others.

Storyaday has the advantages of a Superstars forum (for a small fee) and daily prompts (for everyone). The Superstars have the bonus of videos from the creator with some further explanation.

  1. The Superstars community and writers that commented on the daily posts were great. The camaraderie was amazing and there is a bond with people who you are accountable to everyday. There is a warm fuzzy feeling when you know other people are in the same situation as you are.

The idea that others were in the same routine as I was helped to motivate my writing the couple days I was reluctant to put pen to paper. There is comfort in the idea of other people following the same crazy plan that you are!

2. I like having conversations about writing. I seek out other Storyaday writers, Twitter writers and recently joined a real life writers group. Critique is nice, but not always the conversation I want to have. Through Storyaday we had three Zoom chats with Superstars and we talked about how we write and why. It was quite enjoyable.

3. Establishing the daily writing habit is good for me and my practice. I am more creative when I do a little per day. It is thinking and planning that helps the juices flow. I was always looking for a story spark and that habit has continued past the challenge.

4. I love monthly writing challenges! I participate in the TwoWritingTeacher blog challenge in March, Storyaday in May and NANOWRIMO in November. There is also CAMPNANOWRIMO in April and July!

5. The Storyaday prompts required me to plan more. I am usually a pantser — I write from the seat of my pants. I sit and write and just let whatever flows out materialize on the page. I thought about the prompt thoroughly before diving into the actual writing which made the words flow faster. With my long commute to work, I was able to listen to the prompt direction video and then think about my story beats and write it later in the day. This method worked well even if I just constructed the first couple of sentences.

6. A joyful part of the writing process for me was being able to combine ideas for stories I wanted to write with the prompt most days. It was satisfying to take a spark I had and mold it to the prompt idea which made it more layered and interesting and therefore a better story!

7. Many prompts were so much fun or effective I will come back to them again and again. I will also use some of them with students.

  • I love the idea of taking a random list of words and constructing a story.
  • I also enjoyed telling a story from 3 different perspectives.
  • The MICE prompt was new to me and I did some extensive research for this day.(Check out the Writing Excuses podcast for a great explanation)
  • One prompts was to take a story from earlier in the month and rewrite it from a different perspective. This prompt was surprising to me. I learned so much about the secondary character! I don’t normally gravitate toward this type.
  • Using prompts is not always a “writers block” solution for me. Just using them to start writing is a favorite practice of mine.

7. The StoryADay writing podcasts are awesome and batch listening to them is inspiring. They are the only writing podcasts I listen to over and over.

8. Morning writing is more effective for my personal routine. I could write later in the day but it was slower and felt more laborious. The flow was pretty steady in the morning but I believe coffee had something to contribute.

9.Most of the month I wrote on the computer. When thinking or planning to figure out what to say, I wrote longhand or sketchnote. To get words on the page and not overthink it, I type.

Writing Goals Moving Forward

  • Continue to write daily
  • Complete at least one short story a week
  • Visit the Storyaday.org website for Wednesday prompts
  • Submit 3 pieces monthly
  • Revise at least 2 days a week to prepare stories for submission
  • Remember the conflict!
  • Revisit all the prompts from May 2018 and rewrite all new stories. It is a writing experiment to see how different the stories would be!

Simply Tuesday Thoughts…on Thursday

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I am reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P Freeman. I love her podcast the Next right thing which is what brought me to her books. I read and I hear her voice in my head which is a very good thing. There is a soothing and calming effect of her voice which is wonderful. Many of the ideas she talks about hit home for me. She is a Christian writer and so some of the “God speak” I gloss over. It is a bit much for me in spots.

In the chapter titled Community and Competition, she has a delightful story about her reaching out for some fellow creatives to meet with. She was feeling lonely and wanted some connection with real people. She formed a small group of 3 and they are called  The Artists Circle. They get together monthly at coffee shops or their houses and answer three questions:

What are you working on?

What is inspiring you?

Where do you need prodding?

This is appealing to me as such a delightful notion and I love the simplicity of the questions. These questions can also translate to so many areas. They immediately were written down into my notebook. The questions come from Todd Henry who wrote The Accidental Creative. They really hone into the springboards of a deep creative conversation.

I love when books and authors I love,  recommend books and authors they love. I have a new rabbit hole to go down now and I couldn’t be happier. Plus I have new questions which always makes me happy!

 

Come back tomorrow! I will be reflecting on my 31 Story A Day challenge and what I learned.

Fun Friday List

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Photo by Jakob on Pexels.com

Jobs I Have Held that Aren’t On my Current Resume

In no particular order:

Lifeguard

Hotel desk clerk

Residence hall desk clerk

Babysitter

Gas station cashier

Yoga instructor

Running coach

Fun Run leader

Event/Program  planner

Professional development coordinator

Bootcamp instructor

Pampered Chef consultant

Making this list was an amusing trip down memory lane! Are there jobs you have held, NOT on your resume?

Share in the comments!

Favorite Writing Advice

pexels-photo-891674.jpegMy writing group met twice this week over Zoom. I have participated in several group meetings now with this App. As long as everyone’s sound works,  it is quite effective for getting together with people, especially for introverts. I don’t have to leave the house.

The question of writing advice was part of the homework for the second meeting. My piece of go-to writing advice is you cannot edit a blank page. I tell this to my students all the time. Reading is also important especially the genre or type of writing you are trying to create.  This quote is one I have heard from many authors but if you Google it, Jodi Picoult gets the credit.

Another piece of advice is from one of our favorite writers, Ray Bradbury:

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.”

― Ray BradburyZen in the Art of Writing

 

This advice was another brought up.

Another favorite quote and piece of advice is:

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

― Ray Bradbury

I continue to write everyday. Knowing I am writing a short story everyday has me constantly thinking about ideas for stories. It is a great creative place to be in!

 

I will use these quotes as springboards for writing in my journal to explore it a bit more.

My New #1 Quick Dinner

Have you been to the Food Charlatan website? Oh my goodness! If you love great food and easy to follow recipes with great photos then you need to click here.

I have made several of her recipes,  but last night I tried the Pesto Penne Pasta with Chicken. It was simple to make with great taste! The picture below is the Food Charlatan’s from her blog post with the recipe.

 

penne pesto

A new technique I learned was to boil the pasta for 5 minutes and then add the frozen green beans to cook with the pasta for the last 4 minutes or so. It turned out perfectly.

The seasoning combo for the chicken I was a little leery of but it is delicious. It is served warm. It is all on the stove top too so it is great for a warmer day. I did use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. It is just the preferred cut in my household.

Next time I think I will add mushrooms for sure. I also thought about asparagus and peas.

I have leftovers for lunch and am looking forward to eating it again!

I am wanting to cook some more over the summer break when I have a little more time. I have several recipes from the site in the queue to try next!

Happy cooking!

9 Read Aloud Guidelines for Parents and Teachers

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  1. The story needs to be read at different speeds depending on the content. Sometimes a book needs to be read slowly or very fast! Pay attention to the punctuation and word placement on the page especially for picture books.
  2. If you are reading to a class it is usually a good practice to read the book to yourself first. Don’t just grab one off the shelf.
  3. A cold read can be valuable to have some teachable moments when you encounter unknown words, misread sentences and then teach the students how to deal with it.
  4. Children are never too old, or to young, to read aloud to.
  5. You can always come back to a book. There are many reasons to read. The brain loves pattern and many children enjoy hearing the same story over and over and over…even though we don’t always like to read that many times!
  6. Find spaces to read where you are less likely to be distracted.
  7. Having a set read aloud time establishes a pattern.
  8. Books can go with you anywhere – especially if you are reading to your children you can read in the car while waiting, or in line.
  9. Choice is important! Let your child, or the class, choose what to read. Modeling the choice will help when you want them to choose books to read independently.

#SOL18 #EVERYDAY HAPPY

db4de-slice-of-life_individualBig Concept that makes me happy: Nourishment

Micro-action to lead to the BIG CONCEPT: Good FOOD every day!

Result: HAPPY!

Delicious food is important to me. Luckily, my husband is a great cook and takes great care of me in this way. (one of many of course!)

One particular thing that makes me happy is a lunch for the work day. Sometimes my hubby packs my lunch and sometimes I take the time to pack it myself.

I thought about a friend I worked with that packed her lunch every day when I taught with her 10 years ago. I admired the self-care that she took to make her lunch special every day. It was always balanced and she often packed some type of delicious looking fruit along with her sandwich. It was the type of lunch I would have traded for when I was in elementary.

Today my lunch makes me think of my Oma. Oma is the German word for grandmother but for my Oma, it was her name, not just a label. I heard a little girl call out “OMA!” in IKEA once and I automatically looked for MY Oma even though years had passed since I lost her. Everything about Oma memories are surrounded by food. She loved to cook and was excellent at it. Scrambled egg sandwiches are always comforting food as well as bologna and cheese with Miracle Whip!

Today my bologna sandwich nourishes me emotional and physically. It keeps my hunger at bay and also floods me with memories of my childhood! What more can you ask for from lunch?

#everydayhappy #SOL18