More Words Please!

I’m in love with books. And the words that make up the stories, facts and inspiration within.

Big words, small words, each has a meaning.

Each has the power to evoke a memory or feeling.

Increasing my vocabulary has always been a game to me. I challenge myself each day to find at least one new word in the articles, novels, inspirational, motivational, or fact based books and yes, blogs I consume.

I love crossword puzzles. They help keep my brain sharp, exercise memory skills and teach me new WORDS!

Today’s new word is: Sumismatics, the study of change.

And I love to write. With words. Words that hopefully work some magic for the reader.

I want them to see vivid, colorful images, smell wonderful smells that bring warm memories to mind, even bring a tear to the eye, or a smile to the lips.

My curiosity is insatiable. At times I am unable to shut my brain down to sleep. That’s one of the times when meditation comes to my aid. I focus on my breathe until my mind is quiet. I practice compassion for myself instead of judgment and soon I am asleep.

Usually with a cat wrapped around my head or tucked behind my knees and all is right with my world.

Our Cookie Cutter Society

On the drive into Twin Falls yesterday, my mind was at rest, simply taking in all the images that passed my window.

As I live 5 miles away in Kimberly, the first few miles we passed were lush with crops- corn, potatoes, sugar beets, alfalfa and newly harvested wheat and oat fields. Between the fielids were homes, some with horses in corrals and RVs in the driveways.

Soon the view changed. As we entered the outskirts of TF, businesses began to pop up. Farm equipment and truck sales lots were prominate here with related shops interspersed between them.

We passed the Chobani plant, the largest yoghurt producer in the world.

Soon the view changed to a mix of independent businesses among neat, landscaped neighborhoods and schools. One of the first things I noticed about Twin Falls was the amount and variety of planted trees.

Then came the dedicated commercial area, packed with big box stores, chain gas stations and fast food places, car sales and cell phone stores.

As I awaited my appointment at the modern St Luke’s Magic Valley Hospital and Medical Center, all of these images and impressions began to form a conclusion in my mind.

While Twin Falls was unique in many ways; the area was truly blessed by it’s agricultural economy with abundance and a 3% unemployment rate, it is just like every other American city in many ways. I have noticed there are 3 ways that are the most prominent.

The first is that 98% of every new or fairly new vehicle on the road is painted one of 5 colors, red, white, blue, black, or gray, with a few gold ones thrown in. This is due to the fact that this is all most new car dealers carry, and to the economic abundance of the area.

The second is the sheer volume of fast food franchises, and the third and most disturbing is the rarity of seeing someone who isn’t staring at or talking into a cell phone.

“…mindfulness, is actually a practice rather than merely a good idea or a clever clinical technique.

It is thousands of years old. It’s essence, being about attention and awareness, is universal.”

Jon Sabot Zinn , in the introduction to “Mindfulness, finding peace in a frantic world” by Mark Williams and Danny Perman.

I have told others “I never get bored” most of my life, when in actuality what I do is divert my attention to one or more of my many interests. This may be responding to emails, reading on Kindle or a printed book, watching a movie or TV show while knitting, checking my to-do list items off or creating new ones, etc.

On the outside, it may appear that I’ve conquered my lifelong anxiety, but nothing could be further from the truth. When I took an honest inventory of my thoughts and behavior, I was stunned to discover how many of these were rooted in anxiety.

In the first chapter of “Mindfulness”, these is an exerpt on performing a “one minute meditation”. Surely I could quiet my thoughts that long.

Mindfulness, I realize, must be practiced on a regular basis. You must desire the peace and clarity it brings. But once you experience it, you won’t be satisfied with anything less.

Thank you, My friends!

Today my blog reached 100 likes! My first milestone. I started “A Walk in the Clouds” three months ago knowing I just had to put my thoughts on paper. I had no idea how it would be received or even if I could create a community. Secretly I hoped it would, but that wouldn’t have stopped the words from flowing or crushed my desire to be better.

And thank you for your posts and comments that encouraged me and fueled the fire.

I have uploaded more of my photos to be available on the customizar and learned bow to use the edit feature better. This morning I updated 2 of my recent posts with feature photos that had both a personal connection and conveyed the message of my words.

I hope my readers will visit “Oh Willow: A Poem” and “Who is This Chris Columbus Anyway?” and let me know what you think.

Who is this Chris Columbus Anyway?

And why do we honor him with a holiday every year? He never even visited North America, for God’s sake!

What he did do was land in the Bahamas and proceed to inflict atrocities upon and initiate genocide against the indigenous peoples who lived there.

There has been an ever expanding movement in The USA and Canada to change today’s holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day. North Dakota was the first state to ratify this. To date, a total of 10 states and 100 cities have followed.

I, for one, think that it’s about time! This is nothing against the Italian people. There were explorers from other nations who perpetrated the same violent, hateful actions that Columbus was guilty of.

As I an part Chippewa, this issue is of particular importance to me. But you don’t have to be Native American to be a supporter. There is much information on the internet where you can get more facts. http://www.npr.org has an excellent article on the subject.

So enjoy your holiday, whether you get a day off work or not, and think about the ancient civilizations that came before us and the history and culture that deserves our respect

Oh Willow:a poem

Please read “Sovereign”, a poem written by Roxy St. Clair at http://Roxy St. Clair.com

I once knew a tree that moved me like this Oh willow, Oh willow, you gave me your gifts.

So stoic, so sad, yet joyful your call. We rejoice in your presence, shed tears when you fall.

Our shelter, companion, our home and our berth, you cleanse the air and feed the earth.

You open your arms, embracing us all. Take comfort, my brothers… The willow stands tall

Nature Speaks to Me

janbeek

Autumn’s Here

fall colors-bathroom

Sitting on toilet
Looking at the bathroom sight
I see Autumn’s here

Fall Too Soon

It’s only mid-September. Summer didn’t come ’til  late June. I’m not ready for fall already! But, look at those orange leaves. They are speaking to me. There’s no denying it. Autumn is here!

Get Ready

Get ready for four-wheeling trips on our favorite mountain trails. I’ll let you go vicariously with me as we revisit this season of change in the Rocky Mountains – the Tobacco Root Range to the west of us and the Gravelly Range south and southwest of us.

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What speaks to you during this season of change? Add your own thoughts to the following prompts:

  • the beauty of the _
  • the softness of the _
  • the fragrance of the _
  • the rhythm of the _
  • the faintness of the _
  • the freshness of the _
  • the strength of the…

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Less is More

Minimalism is about unburdening your life from unnecessary possessions, obligations, and distractions.

But it’s about much more than that. It’s about freeing up space and time for the really important things.

Clear your clutter, clear your mind. We’ve all heard that before, in one form or another. But it works. (I’ve done it. More than once.) Not only for your mind and your space, but for your time and your finances as well.

Your excess “stuff” requires a much larger investment in money, time, commitment and peace of mind than you may realize. I’ve been practicing simplicity for some years now, but for me it’s a question of survival.

Growing up, I always felt that something was wrong with me, but I didn’t know what. Only that I was tense, restless, and unhappy 90% of the time.

Growing up in a family of nine children was extremely painful for me. To protect myself, I spent as much time in my room with my books and hobbies, or outside with my animals as I was allowed. I didn’t do as well in high school as I could have (my full brother and sister were both valedictorians), and though I had girlfriends, I never dated. I was always my own best friend.

When I left home and began a life of my own, I began to see that too many people, too much noise, too many obligations and too much clutter would trigger feelings of anxiety in me and block my creative voice.

Wanting to do more, to know more, to be better allowed my activities and commitments to snowball until I was overwhelmed and something had to give.

Practicing minimalism is work, sifting through each area of one’s life until the dross is separated from what’s necessary and important. But what is gained in the process is invaluable.

Craft me a List

I’m a consummate list maker.

It’s not so much a compulsion as a need to categorize the vast amount of information stored in my brain.

It is done with pen and pape. Firm and soft. The feel of these two items in my hands comforts me, while the simple act of combining their functions is pure magic. It stills my rracing thoughts and brings order once again when life turns chaotic.

The first list is an outline for goals in every area of my life, with steps to accomplish them. Other lists include passwords, phone numbers, books I want to read, movies I want to watch.

I even have a list of the next few knit or crocheted projects I want to make. This keeps me from getting distracted or over- whelmed by the myriad patterns and designs I view online each day.

All of these are kept in a spiral notebook with 3 sections. The last section is entitled “finances.” The first page is a list of the current month’s expenses, which lets me know if I’m sticking to the 50-30-20 budget plan or not. Next are the proposed expenses for the following month where I can make adjustments and hopefully do better. And so on…

These are only examples. A list can be practical or fanciful. It can have whatever purpose you choose, or no purpose at all. Your favorite words or your least favorite foods. A brain test or a brain tease.

The important thing is that it makes you think. And you have complete control.

I keep my to-do list in a 3×5 inch notebook, small enough to have at my elbow or to take along to an appointment. Big enough to jot down blog post ideas, quotes that inspire me, a pattern, a recipe, a dream…

Now go make your list, and I’ll make mine.

How to keep your to-do list short and still be insanely productive.

Salted Caramel

A to-do list forms the basis of every life skills, personal development, or productivity enhancing course.  Self improvement, self help, and time management advice always begins with a list. Blog posts, articles, audio and video life coaches all emphasize the importance of a to-do list. A list of goals, aims and objectives is considered a pre-requisite to organise your day and your life.

In the 21st century, a to-do list does not require paper and pencil. It can be made on a desktop or laptop computer. You can make it on the go on your tablet or smart phone. In this digital age, surprisingly, there are people who prefer to map their day on paper. Special printed notebooks and notepads, journals and planners, are even more popular today than they were before the advent of electronic devices. People (especially young people) love to fill them with monthly, weekly and…

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On Writing

I’ve always loved to write. First it was poetry, stories and writing assignments in school, interspersed with a need to journal. Now I’m writing a blog.

Blogging is different from journaling. Writing for others forces you to think seriously about your subject as well as your audience before you publish. Is it factual, entertaining, educational and/or thought provoking?

The mere act of writing a post makes me look deeply within myself, examining the experiences and attitudes that make me who I am today as well as those which have been holding me back.

For me, writing is both cathartic and life affirming. It clarifies my passions and nourishes my spirituality.

I would love to hear your own perspectives on why you write.