Day 31: ONLY – 31 Days of Writing

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Hard to believe it is the last day of the 31 Days of Writing. Although I still have several prompts to finish and journal pages to complete, I felt this round went well. I still need to explore many of the other bloggers who participated and hope to do so through November.

But November brings NaNoWriMo and I am planning to participate.

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The last prompt for the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes is ONLY.

I think I spent almost all of my time thinking of and rejecting ideas. So my piece is shorter than usual.

 

IF ONLY….

How often have you said that?

If only I had enough money?

I only I was older/younger?

If only I had finished school?

If only I had a bigger house/car/different job?

But the trouble with “if only” – you are looking at the future , seeking something different, and not living in the present, accepting what your life is in the here and now.

We need to stop wishing away our lives, accept who and where you are and move forward.

Day 30: Cut (& Day 19:Notice; Day 22: Off) – 31 Days of Writing

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Today is Day 30 of the 31 Days of Writing challenge. For 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes, the theme is CUT.

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Cut it out!
Cut!
Shortcuts
Make the cut. You didn’t make the cut.
Cut class.
Cut in.

We use the word cut in so many ways.
We can cut paper with scissors and cut people out of our lives. We cut in front of people in line and end a scene during filming with the word “Cut!”.
It seems so final – cut – and even a bit aggressive.
I use scissors a lot when I create a collage. The act of cutting is precise, gets the job done and is enjoyable as I create. I have the piece I need, in the size and shape I want, to place on my collage.
Too many do cutting in a more horrific way – to cut themselves, to ease the pain.
We can take a shortcut on our way home, but can we take shortcuts when trying to do a good job?

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For Day 19 for the 31 Days of Writing challenge, the prompt was NOTICE.

To see (notice) a world in a grain of sand
And Heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour

These words by the poet William Blake have always struck me as impossible – but so beautifully written.
When you look closely and really think about the words on a deeper level, we have the opportunity to see so much more if we only notice the world around us.
Each day there are miracles all around us – the beauty of a glorious sunrise, the blossoms in our gardens, the delicate wings of a colourful butterfly, the smile of a young child. We are witness to so much if we only take the time to see, to hear, to feel. We need to stop and smell the roses over and over again – to notice our world with new eyes each day.

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The prompt for Day 22 of the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes was OFF.

On/off
Run-off
Off kilter
Off to the races
Feeling off

When I read the word for today, the phrases above came to me first.
Switch on, switch off. This makes me think of how easily some people are able to switch their feelings, their thoughts, even their beliefs. We seem to switch on when we are in company and then switch off when we’re alone.
Why does it take others to change our feelings, change how we act? Why can’t we just be consistent – whether alone or in a group?

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Day 29: Date – 31 Days of Writing

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Today is Day 29 of the 31 Days of Writing – with the prompt from 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes – DATE.

20-2-e1473705920896In early 2000, I met my present husband through ICQ. After several months of emails, separation and then phone calls, we finally arranged to meet for a first date in Lindsay. It was the half way point for the both of us and a neutral spot. I figured a big mall was a safe bet, especially at noon.

I was nervous, and a bit late, even tho we had gotten to know each other quite well by then. I believed he had been truthful and I know I was. We had shared pictures so I knew what he looked like.

As I walked through the mall, I saw him sitting on a bench, with his back to me. Yes? No? I hesitated briefly and then moved forward. We greeted each other and then went to the restaurant, where we ate and talked. All these years later I cannot remember our words, but I do remember feeling safe and appreciated.

I had to get home but had some grocery shopping to do. Bill went with me and at the checkout, he paid for my groceries. A thoughtful act indeed, for this single mom.

I returned home, thinking about the gentle, kind man I had finally met.

Though I had been firm to tell him I was not interested in marriage (and neither was he he said), here we are 16 years later, married for 14 years and still together, supporting and loving each other.

 

Day 27 – 31 Days of Writing : Bouquet, Study and Neighbour

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Today is Day 27 of the 31 Days of Writing.

I was past the mid-point of the challenge when I stopped – I was writing a couple of reviews for WOW! and felt I needed to leave my blog open only to those. Trouble was, I stopped writing as well

I need to get back to the practice of daily writing as I am taking part in NANoWriMo. But I also want to finish this challenge – not just for the writing but for the art I create with each prompt. So, for the next few days, I plan to catch up, so that each day, there may be 2 or 3 or more prompts shared.

Today for the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes, the prompt is BOUQUET.

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My first Valentine’s Day with Bill, he sent me a box of long-stemmed red roses to the school where I was teaching. Talk about exciting and embarrassing. I was called to the office and had to carry this long box back to my classroom where all my students oohed and ahhed. Yes, I did feel special.

I had never had such a bouquet of flowers before and had never had long-stemmed roses. I had no large vase for them and Bill wouldn’t be arriving til the weekend. Being practical, I cut the long stems so they would fit in the vase I had.

Bill noticed when he arrived Friday, but he never said anything about the cut stems til long after. In fact, it was his mother who was aghast that I had actually cut the roses.

We still joke about it – and Bill has never bought me long-stemmed roses again – at my request!

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Day 17 of the challenge was STUDY. I had written to the prompt but had not posted it. Here it is:

I spent so many years in school and of course, time was spent studying. Tests and exams were regular occurrances, especially in high school and university. I did well on tests but I still needed to study. I often rewrote my notes to help consolidate information.

Forty years after graduating from university and I am still studying and taking courses. I still take notes and highlight facts in books.

I just finished a book on journaling and another on writing. I aqm taking 2 writing courses and doing a book study of a middle grade novel.

We are never too old to study, to learn, to grow.

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Day 18 of the challenge was NEIGHBOUR

Love your neighbour as you love yourself. We have been brought up on this biblical verse from Christ. Yet, the news today is filled with attacks on others who are different, wars over religious beliefs and an election in the US that is so divisive and ugly.

Respect and decency seem to be in short supply. Yet, no one is any better than anyone else. We all bleed red and our hearts beat the same. Colour, race, religion, sexual orientation should not divide us. Too often they do – unfortunately.

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This should be how accepting we should be.

Day 16: LITTLE – 31 Days of Writing

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Today is Day 16 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge. The theme for 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes is LITTLE.

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Little things add up. A little kindness every day can do as much for you as for the recipient. Buying someone a coffee, giving up a seat on the bus, letting someone in front of you in line – these are all little things yet really morph into bigger things.
The whole pay-it-forward movement started with a small act but look where it has grown now.
Yes, little things add up. As a writer I know that when I write every day the total adds up over time. That’s why NaNoWriMo is so effective. Writing just over 1600 words a day for 30 days adds up to a 50,000 word novel at the end of November.
Yet, we also need to take care of the little details. Little things have a way of piling up – for both good and bad.
When we join together, our little efforts can become huge. Look what Canadians did last year to oust Conservatives in the 2015 election. Sunny ways, kindness and respect won out. (Can we only hope it will happen in the U.S. election??)

I found several quotes and could only use a few for my journal page. Here is the list:

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.    Desmond Tutu

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Marcus Aurelius

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. John Wooden

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.

John Ruskin

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Day 15: MOVE – 31 Days of Writing

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Today is Day 15 of the 31 Days of writing challenge. The theme for 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes is MOVE.

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That is a word I heard often as a child and came to hate. But as an adult, I continued to move – from province to province, from city to city.
One day, after I had settled in one place, I actually made a list of all the moves I had made in my life. The number was well over 30.The longest place I lived in as a child was 5 years – most times we moved after two.
I have lived in many provinces and in many different towns and cities. I have moved from Manitoba (age 1) to Quebec to Ontario to the NWT, back to Toronto, to Alberta, back to Ontario.
As a child, I hated moving. A hated having to make new friends, only to move again.
When I left home for university, my moves became necessary as I went to school and then sought teaching jobs.
When I separated from my ex, I decided not to move my children to the city where I taught but to move into the village near where we lived so my children wouldn’t have to change schools or lose friends. I knew what that was like. But my daughter still hated the move a she had to change buses.
I am now living in a city that is the same name as the street I lived on when I was born. Full circle – eerie!

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Day 14: MAIL – 31 Days of Writing

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Today is Day 14 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge. For Five Minutes Free Writing Friday the theme is MAIL.

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I just picked up my mail and found two cheques (small – rats) and two magazines. No letters, but then, no bills either. So a bit of a balance.
I love getting mail and always have. Sometimes I will check our mailbox three or four times to be sure I didn’t miss it.
I send cards at birthdays and Christmas and newsletters with those cards. I also take part in ATC swaps so art cards are sent out, and received, regularly. Email and texts just seem so impersonal. What will happen in a hundred years when historians look for treasured letters and there are none to be found?
There is something to be said for putting pen to paper, sharing our thoughts, and sending it to a friend. It is so much more personal. We recognize a loved one’s handwriting easily and can often tell how they are feeling by the way letters are formed.
I treasure letters and cards – in fact I save most that I receive. I especially treasure my mother’s – she has been gone now eight years. Seeing her writing, reading her cards soothes me. Special memories indeed.

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Day 13: AWARE – 31 Days of Writing

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Today is Day 13 of the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes – with the theme AWARE.

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We are always being warned to be aware of our surroundings, especially at night or if we are alone – to always look out for dangers.
Yet this warning should also apply to our everyday surroundings. To be aware of what is around us – to actually “stop and smell the roses”.

Too often we rush by and miss the beauty that is around us, as well as the unusual and even the ugly. There’s beauty in even those ugly spots, if only we had eyes to see.

How often do you stop and notice a small flower growing from a crack in the sidewalk or a nest in a tree or a spider web sparkling with dew?

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Day 12 : SKY – 31 Days of Writing

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Today is Day 12 of 31 days of Free Writing – and the theme is SKY.

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Where ever I go, one of my favourite subjects to photograph is the sky. Other than perpetual blue in the south, clouds can so change the sky.

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Sunsets and sunrises can be so varied as well. Red to orange to yellow.

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Storm clouds add so much drama. I love to watch the clouds roll across the sky as a storm comes in.  Dark, angry clouds, rain, and bright lightning bolts. So much power on display.

 

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To lie on the grass and look up, to find shapes in the clouds was a favourite activity as a child. I still catch myself looking for something in the clouds.

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A fish looking for food?? What do you see?

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Day 11: THANKS – 31 Days of Writing

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Today for 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes , the theme is THANKS.

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This word is appropriate as Canadians just celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend. I certainly had lots to celebrate :

~time with family

~a big turkey dinner, with all the trimmings

~and especially pumpkin pie with whipped cream

~lovely weather

~and of course, leftovers!

Giving thanks is something we all need to do every day. When I spent time every morning writing out what I was thankful for, I felt more positive and accepting.

An attitude of gratitude certainly changes our lives – for the better.

When we count our blessings, we see an abundance in our lives, rather than a lack.

Gratitude really does change everything.

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