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 The Journal Dilemma

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The Journal Dilemma

I have an end of the year ritual that usually happens every December 31. I must select a new journal for the coming year. It is a dilemma! I have several empty ones on my shelf right now. I have some that I love, and I have others that I like. It may not sound like a big deal, but I will have a relationship with this book for the year. It will meet me every night when I go to bed, and it will travel with me wherever I go. This book will hold my thoughts, my wishes, as well as my hurts and disappointments. It will be my companion. My new journal needs to feel good in my hands, and it needs to be beautiful; worthy of the secrets I will tell it.

Here are some of my choices. My daughter and her husband gave me two new journals for Christmas, and they are lovely books. They both have sweet sayings on the cover. One says “Brilliant ideas,” and the other says “Leave a little kindness wherever you go.” Perhaps one of these would be my secret keeper for the year. Another one from my shelf is black leather with a tree carved into the cover. I have great admiration for trees and leaves (that’s another blog for another day), maybe this should be it. Then yet another, light brown leather with a Celtic tree of life on the front and Celtic knots surrounding the border. It has the rustic paper with no lines on the inside; this would be sweet to write in with fountain pens. Another lovely journal to consider is one that is a deep purple color with lovely delicate flowers. I love to garden and plant flowers. There is another that a friend gave me. It says, “A gardener’s journal” on the cover and it has a vintage look and appeal about it. This takes much pondering because I genuinely love them all.

As I write this, it is December 31, 2018, and I have made my decision … but I will very likely change my mind come the evening of January 1, 2019. I’ll let you know what I decide. In the meantime here are pictures of them. Do you have a favorite?

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Wishes – Goals – Action Plan

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Wishes – Goals – Action Plan

Here we are, December 26, the day after Christmas. It seems to me that the next 5 days are when we hear a lot about New Year resolutions; you may be making some of your own. Many times we are not making resolutions as much as we are making wishes. We state things like, “I want to lose 20 lbs this year”, or “I want to be more organized or make better use of my time.” I think a wish is a good place to start, but an action plan is needed to achieve our wishes, breaking things down into smaller bits so we can get there. This turns a wish into a goal. I’ve got a composition book and at the top of a page I write down what I want; the next step is to create a plan of action to get there. It looks a little like this:


GOAL: Make better use of my time this year.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Use a timer and set limits so I am aware of how I am spending my time. This will also help me keep focused on the task at hand.

  • Get my clothes ready the night before, so I am ready for the next day.

  • Go to bed 5 minutes earlier each week until I reach 10:00 pm. (I have been going to bed way too late this year.)


I can adjust these at any time, but right now this is my action plan.

I have found that the weight loss plan doesn’t work for me. So instead I have decided my real wish is to be healthy. To make it a goal, I examined what healthy meant to me. I’ve heard the proclamations of, “I will not eat sugar for the 2019 year!” Nope, that will not work for me because healthy (to me) also means happy mind, body, and spirit. I like cake, cookies—and I adore chocolate— so now what? It would make me sad not being able to enjoy a cookie with my great nieces and nephew; however, I can eat fewer. I can slow down and savor what I am eating. I can also move more. I started this plan about 18 months ago and have become more aware of what I am eating. I also bought a Fitbit to help stay on track with how much I am moving. I’ve shed about 20 pounds in those 18 months. It is very slow, but I continue to progress. Slow progress is still progress!!

I have stories that I want to write this year, too. I got out a second composition book for stories. Once I set up my action plan steps, then I will chart it on my calendar with sticky notes. This way if I run into a life situation I can easily reschedule the plan.

I expect that this plan will work and I can tweak it at any time. The only cost to get started is two composition books and the time to write down my wishes, goals, and action plan.

What wishes are you turning into goals this year? Make sure you set up an action plan to get there.

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We Remember

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We Remember

At the beginning of November this year I was performing in Tucson Arizona. While I was there Margy, my host, took me to the Day of the Dead celebration. It was an amazing experience for me. People were dressed in costumes and decorated their faces with white, black, and red makeup to look like skeletons. Others brought pictures or mementos of loved ones who have passed on. It is a celebration of remembrance for those who are no longer living on this earth. November is nearly over but when I woke up this morning this celebration was on my mind. It is my understanding that the whole idea is that so long as you speak the name of those who have passed they are never really gone.

Here at the end of the year, we celebrate the holidays. I realized this morning that this is my time of remembrance and it very likely is a time of remembrance for you too. My family celebrated our family holiday together in the middle of November; it lasts for about 3 days. As we all prepared our traditional meal, my sister and I taught our children how to make some of the regular dishes enjoyed on the table. Throughout the weekend we often said, “Do you remember how Daddy…” or “Mom used to …”. We always look at the tiny ones and take note of how much they look like someone who came before them. We remember.

I look around my home and smile as I admire furniture that once belonged to my Grandmother. There are quilts my mother made from clothing once worn by family members. My father’s hat hangs on a hook in my living room, a lamp once owned by my aunt illuminates the pages of my book, I make homemade rolls from a recipe that was created by my husband’s grandmother, we call them Grandma’s Rolls. I often hold a pen or pencil in the unique way my father did to write. My sister’s house is much the same, and she makes homemade noodles from a recipe that belonged to her mother-in-law. We remember.

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There are remembrances and a story of those who have passed everywhere. My husband and I were traveling, and at a rest station, there was a memorial with individual names of police from the area who died in the line of duty. Consider all of the war memorials that carry the individual names of those who have passed, monuments stand strong and tall to remember, auditoriums and parks are often named for those who have gone on…I could continue, but I think you get the idea. We remember.

I tell stories on stage, and at nearly every performance someone comes up to me and tells me about a chord of remembrance that was plucked. We remember.

What fond memory do you have? What story do you tell as you remember loved ones who have passed? Leave me a note, tell me about it. We remember.

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Something Fowl for Thanksgiving - Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

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Something Fowl for Thanksgiving - Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

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I stopped by a local shop called Backyard Birds a few days ago. When I got there, Carolina Waterfowl Rescue was there with chickens. I grew up on a farm, and we had chickens, but I’d not held one in years!! Living in the middle of Charlotte, NC means I am not around livestock much anymore.

The volunteers were walking around cleaning up the residual effects of having chickens in a public place. I chatted with them (the Waterfowl volunteers, not the chickens) for a few moments and found out that a percentage of the sales in the store that day would be donated to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. They are an animal rescue and, even though their name does not mention it, they have rescued more than just waterfowl. It is my understanding they have an interspecies love affair between an emu and a donkey happening on their grounds right now. (I suppose anything is possible and who are we to judge?)

I am glad there are those who take care of the animals of the world and have compassion for them. I wish I had the ability of Dr. Doolittle and were able to talk to the animals and have them talk back to me. The stories they could be telling, I believe, I would find interesting.

As we are celebrating Thanksgiving, let us be thankful for those who take the time to care for the world around us. No one can do everything, but we can all do a little bit to make the world a kinder place.

Have a wonderful holiday!!

For more information on Carolina Waterfowl Rescue click here!

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 A Halloween Story

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A Halloween Story

Today is Halloween, when October 31 rolls around I sit on a lawn chair in my front yard, a puppet in hand, handing out treats. A couple of years ago I was doing just that when a young woman, a college student, came by with a younger sibling she was overseeing for trick or treating. She looked at me and said, “Oh my gosh! You’re the puppet lady. I am sure you don’t remember me, but I was in your residency when I was in 2nd grade. You’re the reason I decided to become a teacher. Do you remember telling us that you had been a classroom teacher?”

For more than a decade I worked with a local school teaching puppetry and storytelling for their elective program and, yes, they called me the puppet lady. I cannot tell you how many students I worked with in that school, but I know I had a great time with each and every one of them. This moment in my front yard really touched me. You never know when you are going to influence life, touch a heart, encourage a mind, or help someone to make a decision.

Live a great story…it will likely become part of someone else’s story too.

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