A Few Things I Learned In November

One of the things I love about blogging is writing in community with  writing friends. One of my favorite “writing groups” is over at Chatting At The Sky where Emily Freeman just comes up with such clever ways to write in community. For a few months now I have been participating in her monthly wrap-up where we share “A Few Things We Learned…..” during the previous month.

Here is my wrap up. I may have more fun here than you. So if you don’t have a hankering (great Southern word) for random things, or if you don’t like lists, step away from the computer now. Or stick around and see if you are up for a little November list of what I learned in the last few weeks.

1. I may learn more about humanity, spirituality, kindness, the human condition and what it means to be part of the “sea of humanity” when I visit the Dollar General than anywhere else. I have seen, heard, and witnessed some amazing things in this little place. And I  have written about some of it here.  I am very likely to write more about it in another post. It is where I am getting some of my best “writing inspiration” as well as where I meet some really neat people.

2. Sometimes you can touch a soul by “paying it forwards” or “sideways”.  After lunch after church last week, as we were checking out of another little store in our little town, we noticed an elderly woman had forgotten her money and was unable to complete her purchase of an allergy medication. She left the store without her medicine so  we picked up the tab in an effort to help. My daughter ran out to the parking lot, gave her the package and told her we understood as we have allergy sufferers in our family. That one small moment reminds me to pay attention, to be available in the small things, and some of life’s sweetest lessons for our children are taught in the classroom of the real world. True that? And that her gratitude and reaction will never be forgotten by one teenage girl.

3. Sometimes you cannot fathom in your wildest dreams (well that is a bit of an exaggeration but hey, I am going with it) that you would get a song stuck in your head repeatedly. Well now said song has a new version which is on you tube which now allows you to have the song stuck in your head 23/7 and the cool video version from the Florida State Accabells. See what you think. And tell me how many times you want to watch it. Be honest…

4. True Confessions….this little girl has stolen my heart. I love the look of the little boy beside her who doesn’t get a word in edge-wise, not one, because she totally steals the show. I learned that there are some advertisements that just totally knock it out of the park and I might stay in the room, and turn up the volume and  enjoy the ad more than some slash most television shows.

5. I have just finished a 12 week writing workshop over at Tweetspeak PoetryIn the
“The Writing Life” my expectations were surpassed ya’ll. In every way. And I met some of the most amazingly talented writers. Trust was developed, friendships made, and a writing group was formed, consisting of women spread out all over the country. From coast to coast, literally. On those days when I want to throw the internet under the bus, an opportunity comes along to provide me with a virtual classroom and the internet is redeemed. I am once again amazed at the ability it has to make my world better and smaller. On a good day. As in the last 12 weeks. I am a believer. For now. I am also apt to change my mind. Ya’ll if you have an opportunity to join a workshop at Tweetspeak, go there, do that, and then come back and tell me how over the moon you found it to be.

6. Have you ever heard a word cuter than peabiddie. Yeah, me either. My good friend Shelly Miller, who blogs at Redemption’s Beauty sent me a message last week in which she recommended a read a book by Flannery O’Connor entitled “Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose”.  Shelly,  who lives a hop skip and a jump from me, knows my love of “Southern voice”. She may not have known that I have a mild obsession with peacocks, which paired with my obsession with words is a match made in heaven when you stumble back on the word “peabiddie.” Ya’ll it is too precious. I learned when a friend, especially a writer friend suggests you get your hands on a book, get you hands on that book. And discover how well you are known.

7. The night that you want to skip your new “bible study” which isn’t a bible study but rather a couples group which is studying a book on simplicity is always the night you were meant to be there. So I learned again that your internal desire not to so something will align in direct proportion with the ways you will be touched and impacted and changed.

8. Many slash most experts recommend blog posts not exceed 500 words. That means I may have just lost many of my readers back up there on an earlier number and so I should wrap things up here.

9. I need the “bible study” I am taking on simplicity.

10. And I am reminded again of my love of poetry which may help my prose in terms of brevity and word economies. Just saying.

11. People never really grow tired of being thanked properly.So…. Thank you for being here. You have a hundred and one things you could choose to do with you time. Thank you for choosing to be here.

12. If your husband invites you to go for a walk in the mountains, down a road that you’ve never been down because you are guests of friends at their mountain home which you have never been to, GO. When he says he wants to show you the rabbits he found on this road, he meant it. He means it. And you will have the beautiful opportunity to feed a rabbit the carrots you brought on the “rabbit” walk.

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A Few Things I Learned In July

Now this is really fun to write. I do hope it is fun to read. You have been warned that extreme randomness fills the lines of this post. I do  love joining Emily P. Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky, her beautiful blog home. I especially enjoy the series “What I Learned…..”. You may want to visit the others who have linked up  at Emily’s with what they learned this month. Some things are serious and educational, others are humorous and reveal a little  of life’s craziness and/or the writer’s personal nuances. You may even learn something new about this writer.

I will say, I may take creative license and include some things I have learned NOT in July but in general and about which I  feel  utterly compelled to share. You can try to figure out which item falls into that category. You may want to get out now. You have been warned. 🙂

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1. I learned not to judge a writer by her writing. Well by that I mean this. I had a lovely meet up with two bloggers this week. Up until this point I only knew them by their blogs and social media. Amazingly they have two legs and two arms each and in this case they are both funny as all get out. I almost said something else but I didn’t. Self editing helps. I met Kendal Privette and Amy L. Sullivan for coffee at the quintessential coffee house, The Dripolator. These two women are the realest deal and both have hearts spun from pure gold. They drove out of their way to meet me. I am grateful. Thank you Kendal for the poetry book. I cherish it.

2. If you are leaving church,  pulling out into traffic from said church’s parking lot OR if you have a sign of the fish on your car, be nice. I am just saying. That may raise the bar on your driving etiquette but people, this is the time to raise the bar on yourself.  It is a good time to defer, slow down, pay it forward and just kill  ’em with kindness. There will be plenty of sweet tea at the after church buffet when you get there.

3. Editing is hard work. Well, proof-reading is hard work. My father and I are editing my mother’s book (twenty chapters long). Let’s just say it is not as easy as it looks. The next time you read a book and you find a typo, try not to be all, “Wow how did this book ever get printed and distributed, I mean with typos and stuff.”  We are proof-reading behind several people, at least one of which was paid to find the errors. To forgive is divine.  And I am convinced the eye reads what it thinks should be there,  we  often miss our own typos even after proof-reading five times or so. And thanks for grace here. I have had my few…..hundred myself.

4. One of the best places to dine out of doors is in my summertime back yard. Run don’t walk to The Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Well don’t run, just call and make  a reservation if you are anywhere near Western North Carolina. And don’t quote me. I just happen to have had a wonderful experience there. Who knows, maybe you will too. The sunset over the valley and the Asheville skyline are beautimous.

5. Walking through life with an aging  mother is filled with intrigue and wonder. I learned this in July and I am learning it in August and hopefully will continue to learn from it for the rest of my life. I will definately be writing more about that and Dementia here.

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6. I am obsessed with Instagram and with taking pictures of food, seeing it increasingly as  art. Instagram is like an art gallery of the lives and art of folks I seem to be following– mostly family, friends, bloggers and magazines whose work I love. I am there at @graceappears on Instagram. It seems like a quiet place to be in  a very loud world. And yes, I realize that I contribute to the noise. Should I be following you.

7. Poets are some of the funniest people I know. At least the folks at Tweetspeak Poetry are. I recently participated in their “Take A Poet To Work Day.” Man that really caught on, like all around the globe. We started with flat puppets like flat Stanley. Whoever that is. And the rest is too hard to explain so I recommend you head over there and read the recap. It was a day of wit and whimsy and child’s play. Which takes me to my next point.

8. I am enjoying this summer almost more than I did when I was a child. And I am learning to play again. Though I am not quite there, I am making progress with becoming reacquainted with channeling the inner child. (see Instagram for examples of summer fun.)

summer picture JULY

9. When I make a salad, I am at my easel with paints and brushes and a blank canvas. One of my new favorite “paintings” is a peach salad. Here is the recipe. Fresh greens (I used red leaf which is not always a favorite but it was perfect here.) Fresh Peaches ( I like the peel on) sliced thinly and then cut bigger than bite size. I know I am weird that way. Blue cheese or gorgonzola crumbes. And candied walnut pieces.(I found them in the produce section. And then a vinegar and oil dressing. I added rotisserie chicken. Yummers. A meal.

10. I am thinking of and dreaming of two things. (Well more than that but…..you know what I mean.)  I am going to begin to look for a publisher for a poetry book and I am dreaming of collaborating with another writer or musician on some song lyrics. Let me know if you know anything about either of these so that I don’t spin around in circles endlessly dreaming and scheming. Who knows, maybe by August’s list of “A Few Things I Learned in August” I will be able to report what I now know about dreaming of writing and publishing a poetry book.
trio in nature

11. I am amazed at the quality of my camera phone. #oldschool not an #iphone.  And I am still using and totally  obsessed with Pikmoney. (pikmonkey dot com) I don’t always photo edit, but when I do it is with Pikmonkey. Instagram has it’s own fun filters. But you already knew that.

See you in August. Wait. No. I hope I will see you around here before then. Poetry is popping up all over and almost daily. Sort of like the mushrooms. It is like the summer of mushrooms with all the rain, they are taking over. I digress.

The Night The Poems Came Out To Play

I told the poems to go away. To play outside and kill some time.
They shouted rhymes and phrases, pulling off the cloak of sleep
Hankering, hungry for attention in the mid-night hour.

poetry roxI told the poems come again, today is not the time.
If you must know I need sleep and you must get some too.
They huddled around the mind’s blank page and
Staged a sort of coup.

To keep me wide awake at night, playing poetry in my dreams.
The day is yours the night is mine
I tell them rather sweetly
Tomorrow we will write and play, you may not disturb my sleep.

It’s not that I am ungrateful
That you want to be with me at night.
Your lines and rhymes are truly keen
Just hold them over till the light of day. My pen, my mind, my soul needs sleep.

I told them that tomorrow would work well for me
Promised I’d be fresh and playful then,
That if they could just hold that thought
We’d have the light of day in which to play
With words and poetry.

But now it is the day all new, the sun is up and shining
And trouble looms and roars and howls
The cares and troubles crouch and wait
I wish my poetry’d come back
The ideas from the night.

Where laughter, rhyme and whimsy
Were there to calm the storm
And art was there to ease the pain, apply the balm
To all that thunder in my day.

So if you come back again tonight
I promise that I’ll play.
I’ll grab my pen and write you down
I’ll thank you for your playfulness and all you did
To ease my worried mind.

If I could write my nighttime cast of characters for my dreams
I’d invite, you every time
To be with me while I  sleep,
Resting peaceful, patient, by my side
A companion in the rocky night, a safe harbor in the thundrous storms of life,

Sweet Poetry,

Now good night.

Joining Heather for Just Write.6144223072_aba44084aa_m

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