First There is Grattitude in 2015

for Julie Hedlund’s short program The12 Days of Christmas. The videos are archived and enabled me to participate. One suggestion was to write this post on gratitude. THANKS, Julie.

for TIME spent with family. It’s the real gift that keeps on giving, especially when I’m with any one of 10 grandchildren. The youngest begins pre-school. He has left his presence in my heart and home; thus, this arrangement of the manger scene on 2014 Christmas Eve.

Manager Scene

Manager Scene

for overall good health, in spite of having to continue exercising one knee and reinstate my exercise habit of many years, after repairs this past year.

for my writing habit that continues to prepare me and push me closer to my goal of publishing children’s books.

for travels with spouse to California and Maine.

for new friends and old friends who lift my spirits and who, in SCBWI and 12 x 12, critique my manuscripts.

for faith that holds steadfast, telling me I am not alone, and brings a little magic into the world at Christmas. (See my Christmas poem on my Poetry Page.)

for a sharp physician who confirmed that I need less medication now. YAHOO!

for money – the lack of it shall not, solely, determine my goals.

for a habit that I developed while working under a leader and friend, Pat Easterling, who said to write my to-do list before I go to bed. When I awake, I’ll know what I have to do, even before I make the coffee.

And, on these chilly days, I often think of my mother and grandmother who taught me to cook and clean. I am thankful for choices and opportunities they weren’t afforded. I’m thankful for my cozy home, favorite recipes, and my husband who love my cooking.

The Right Writing Place

Not every day is a writing day, although I agree this is the best way to form such a habit. Thoughts swirl in my mind, a to-do list seems to grow by the hour, and 10 minutes doesn’t seem long enough to compose a single sentence. But today, 10 minutes was just enough to get two ideas down on paper as a “note to self.”

Today is my effort to fashion a writing time again (after surgery, recovery, a long-weekend in Maine, online learning in two great programs, and an excellent SCBWI meeting, and “school’s starting” fun with my grandkids claimed my attention). I make coffee and take half a cookie into a room where music plays low to occupy the side of my brain that is thinking about the carpet, the laundry, the dinner that’s planned out, but will soon need started.

I actually get focused more quickly when my grandson stays the day. By his nap time, my brain is too tired to multi-task. The birds’ conversation out back on the screened-in porch helps, unless a close mower tops the chirping. Sometimes I read a bit first or work on last week’s crossword puzzle.

So, if this is your time, pick up a pen, paper, water or other, and get to your “supportive place” (chair/room/porch). Begin with something you know: the past, family, an issue, a new word (look it up), or the color ____, and describe it using the five senses. You are on your way. From your writing habit, you will develop a strong voice. And, that voice will take you where you need to be.