Category Archives: Writing

Contentment

Every week, Charli over at the Carrot Ranch creates a prompt for 99-word flash fiction. This is my contribution for the week of June 6.

I hope you’ll hop over on Tuesday, June 7 for this week’s compilation about contentment.

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She was sitting on the deck listening to her children play while holding a steaming cup of coffee as the morning sun shone down as she closed her eyes, drinking in the sensations surrounding her.

“This is what perfect contentment feels like,” she thought.

“Mama, look!” Her toddler exclaimed excitedly.

She expected to see something remarkable. Maybe a butterfly or a squirrel scampering across the lawn.

She was not met with beauty, but danger! The baby had been trying for weeks to pull herself onto the ledge with no success. Today was the day the season of contentment ended.

 

 

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Synthesis Paper #4

As the Spring 2017 semester is over and I’ve launched into my Summer 2017 course, I’ve been trying to synthesize the experience and come up with some deliverables that I can share with you.

It hasn’t been easy.

I’ll start by inviting you over to my LinkedIn profile to check out my final paper and presentation, Responding to a Changing Labor Market: What Can We Learn From the Past?

I somehow managed to earn an “A” in both my classes, a fact that I am extremely proud of. I worked really hard and I’m glad my hard work for my first semester has paid off. My professors were all phenomenal and I learned so much from them!

In terms of what I can share about being successful inside and outside the classroom, I think there are some lessons I’ve learned that can be broadly applied.

Refer to Subject Matter Experts

As I worked on my projects, I found myself often going back to presentations that I have been on the receiving end of. As a member of the school board in my community, I am surrounded by people who have invested a lot of time, money, and effort into understanding the public education system in the United States. As my research led me more and more toward recommending that we need to invest in public education I was grateful for their thorough presentations and expertise.

This, of course, can certainly apply in so many areas. You may not know the answer to the problem you are facing but someone else does. Ask them for help! If you don’t know who to ask, just start asking. Someone is bound to know someone and “we all do better when we all do better.”

Accept Yourself

As I was preparing for the semester to begin, I somehow managed to develop this notion that I could just do all my homework in the evenings and I would almost never have to do anything on the weekends. In hindsight all I can think is “Rachel, have you met yourself?”

My peak time of day is 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. You may notice this is squarely in the middle of a standard work day. By the evening my brain in friend and intellectual pursuits are, by and large, off the table. Once I realized that and started working harder to do homework during my lunch break and sacrificing my weekends I felt a lot less overwhelmed.

My big take-away from this is that it doesn’t matter what you want to have happen. Certainly we can change, but sometimes we have to take ourselves as we are and work everything else around that.

Prioritize

This goes hand-in-hand with accepting yourself. Decide what your top priority for the day, week, month, or year is and then order things after that. Does Nateanite do laundry the way I do it? He absolutely does not. Did we have clean clothes to wear over the course of the semester? We absolutely did. Household work is something that fell solidly by the wayside for me, and it continues to be solidly on the wayside. I think it will be until at least May 2019.

 

Courage

#LinkYour Life Community Roundup

When I signed up to host the #LinkYourLife Community Roundup right before Christmas, I had no idea how much I would need it. What started out as a selfless act to help my friends and tell more people how amazing I think they are has morphed into a selfish act.

This past month has been emotionally and physically fraught. The results of the United States election were completely not what I was expecting and I have spent weeks trying to calmly convey that I am not upset because my guy (okay, lady) lost. This is not just a case of sour grapes. I am distressed because someone who spoke about many of my friends and allies as though they were the enemy. I am distressed because someone spoke about women in the most degrading way possible is our commander-in-chief elect. I am distressed because others who I love and respect decided that these inflammatory actions did not matter to them.  And yet, I still love them.

I may still be coming to terms with the whole thing.

In addition to this, our little family has been experiencing some pretty significant health problems. Without getting into it too much, dealing with health problems – physical and mental – can be very challenging.

With all of this, it is my pleasure to introduce the first post in this roundup.

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Shawna, who makes her virtual home at The Honeyed Quill, has written a beautiful piece about self-care during this holiday season. While self-care is crucially important, during this season it is particularly important. As an introvert, Shawna’s reminder “that holidays and gatherings are about connection, not production” is so important. If you are too tired to connect, step back and take care of yourself first.

 

 

 

 

 

fire-december-23Thomas, who encourages us all to #ShareInspireConquer, reminds us all with some powerful poetry that “it all starts with a spark” and that truth, any truth, “is found within the light.” This made me think of The Hobbit when Gandalf says to Galadriel (not an exact quote here) that it is the small, everyday acts of kindness that keep the darkness at bay.

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I was a first-time visitor to Jsack’s Mom’s  and all I could think while reading her Monday Musings was “Where have you been all my life!?” The changing Christmas traditions, the family member with food texture issues, and the realization that self-care (even if that means not traveling) really rang true to my own life. Also, am I the only one that thinks the couch appearing in their Christmas tree picture looks pretty dang comfortable?

 

 

 

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Our gal, D. Parker over at Very Me has me rethinking all of my Christmas giving so far. The Roaring 20’s are the cat’s pajamas when it comes to gift giving! I am also very appreciative of her attempts to try, which seem to greatly mirror my own attempts. Yoda didn’t have a clue what he was talking about in this case. There is plenty of trying in between the “doing” and “doing not.”

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  Urszula Humienik, makes it super easy for us to put our money where our mouths are and direct our holiday giving toward making a positive difference in this world of ours. Whether you want to support change internationally or domestically, she has some really incredible suggestions.

Charli, who “lives” over on the Carrot Ranch, and has a fantastic collection of short stories called “What’s in a name?“. I was reading these out loud to E and A and read “Naming a thing gives it life!” “Life, what that mean?” E demanded to know. 

Last, but certainly not least, is Elaine Mansfield. Elaine writes about dealing with grief at various stages. I love her ability to make it seem completely normal and dignified to have your grief coexist with a variety of other happy emotions. Her Solstice post is no exception. I find it to be fitting that as I was reading this post with my girls E said “Captain, I’m sad. No presents, cookies, or songs right now.” Although this sadness is different from what Elaine experiences, this post was a great way to talk about E’s sadness and how we will have presents, cookies, and songs too in just a little while.

 

Whether you’re celebrating the Emperor’s Birthday, Festivus, Christmas, Hanukkah, St. Stephan’s Day, Boxing Day, Synaxis of the Mother of God, Day of the Innocents, New Moon, Rizal Day, New Year’s Eve, St. Sylvester’s Day, none of these, or all of these, I hope you have a fabulous end to 2016 (maybe ‘in like a lion, out like a lamb’ applies here?).

 

I Will Not Be Afraid

One of my favorite things about my #LinkYourLife community is how we all lift each other up. It keeps me coming back, even when I end up taking an accidental break from writing for a month.

Shawna over on The Honeyed Quill posted an emergency writing prompt to help out a member of our community and I am so happy to dive in!

We have all been hurt. Write the hurt.

We’ve all had a moment of regret. Write the regret. 

We have all triumphed. Write the triumph. 

How are you stronger? What have you learned about yourself? How is your life changed?

The experience I am going to be sharing may have some triggers for survivors of sexual or partner violence. Please proceed with caution.

I struggled with what to write for this prompt. Shawna is absolutely right, we’ve all been hurt and triumphed over the experience. But what experience can I share?

Then it came to me – an experience I had during the Spring 2011 semester. It was my third semester at Metropolitan State University and I was enrolled in GNDR 345: Global Perspectives on Gender.

It was a wonderful class and I learned a lot. I worked hard, did the work, but about half way through the semester I hit a wall. Not an academic wall (okay, not only an academic wall. Midterm is usually when I start experiencing extreme mental fatigue) but an emotional one. We were going to be talking about groups that use rape as a tool of war. There was a member of my class who had previously displayed a pretty misogynistic attitude and I felt extremely confident that he would be pretty vocal in saying that the women experiencing such horrific crimes were actually having the best sexual experiences of their lives.

I didn’t go to class. I couldn’t go to class. This class mate of mine had already provided some fairly triggering commentary and he didn’t seem to care.

According to the syllabus, we were going to be talking about that topic the next week, so I didn’t go again. After the third week of not attending class, and not communicating with my professor, I knew I needed some help.

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I had decided to pursue a B.A. in Gender Studies so that I could help other women like me.  How could I do that if I couldn’t face the course work required?

I went to my University counseling center and started seeing a therapist. After our first session, I went back to class. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I do remember how incredible my professor was (I never did tell her what happened). She didn’t fail me, despite the fact that I had missed more than the two allowable absences. I got a B in the class, a fact that I am very proud of.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gender Studies in August of 2012.

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My journey isn’t over – I still need to figure out what the next step is for me. But now I know that whatever I decide to do, I will be able to help women like me who have experienced abuse from their loved ones.

 

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

It has been quite a year! As the year ends I find myself evaluating my life, both from a professional standpoint and and personal one. While I’ll do a full post tomorrow on my own evaluation of the year I’ll post a few stats now.

– As I await my W-2’s for tax season I am reminded that this year I can expect to receive five W-2’s. I’ve had a total of seven jobs this year, four of which I still have.

– I’ve been patiently plugging away at “Paisley Tines: Grade Nine” and there are a total of 3,239 words in what I hope will be a 20,000 word novel. Clearly I still have a ways to go.

– I am hopeful that I will finish my book this year, potentially apply to graduate school, and go from four jobs to one job.

Have a happy and safe New Years Eve!