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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

fortune cookie

Years ago, I received a fortune cookie that I’ve read countless times. It resides in my bathroom, water-spotted and almost unreadable now. But I know what it says:

“Your love of life will carry you through any circumstance.”

Yes, indeed. It has helped me get through some tough situations, inspiring my zest for life. Just a few words that help me feel strong.

What else inspires me?

As a writer, workshops and the people who populate them inspire me. I love that my teachers and fellow students care enough about my writing to provide valuable feedback and suggestions. And so, I continue to work on my first novel.

Young women inspire me. I love their energy and authenticity. Letting their individuality show, accepting themselves and others. Embracing diversity. Making a difference.

Recently, I felt challenged by the task of taking notes and writing minutes for an important meeting. I made too big a deal about it, perhaps, but I fretted over doing it well. Imagine my surprise when, after the fact, I received two phone calls just to tell me what a good job I did! My perspective on the task changed. Well, maybe that wasn’t too bad, and maybe I’ll do it again. Thank you to people who take the extra effort to compliment someone. Hopefully it will inspire me to commend others.

There’s more, of course. But now, I’m wondering: what inspires you?

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1. Look at the big picture. Remember you are in this life together – you are each other’s best ally to navigate this crazy world.

2. Treat your honey once in a while – bring him/her a glass of wine or cup of tea, draw a hot bath or offer some bodywork. Mmmm… give your spouse a reason to feel lucky to have you!

3. Got a beef? Speak up, solve it and move on. Get over the hurdles and back on track. (But don’t disagree on an empty stomach – eat, relax, then discuss).

4. Compromise. Easy to say – hard to do, but worth the effort.

5. Spouses deserve the best of you, not the cranky part that can come out after a hard day. If something is making you cranky every day, then that is what you need to look at.

6. Make the effort to be mentally and emotionally connected even if you are physically apart.

7. You don’t have to ask your spouse for approval on decisions you can make for yourself, but discuss the big stuff and make joint decisions together.

8. Always keep your spouse courteously informed of your whereabouts and future plans.

9. Don’t cheat – not even once. Deceit causes lack of trust, which can sink a marriage.

10. Don’t say things behind your spouse’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face. If your spouse gives you a reason to do so, consider that a clue, and deal with it.

11. Travel together on this journey of life. Sometimes you can travel independently for a little while, but always go back to finding each other as a couple.

12. Remember the Golden Rule – Do unto others (including and especially your spouse) as you would have them do unto you.

I love and appreciate my husband Cliff more than words can say. I am ecstatic to be celebrating this milestone of a 30th Wedding Anniversary with him.

If you are curious about the early days of my relationship with Cliff – how we met, fell in love and navigated our life and motorcycle trips together, it is all in my ebook, Traveling Together: Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Makes Three. Take a “look inside” the book here. And yes, that is us on the book’s cover, on September 25, 1982.

To the left is a photo of us taken last weekend. We are still traveling together and enjoying the journey.

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At the “Writing in the Garden” workshop. I’m the gray-haired lady with my back to the camera.
Photograph is courtesy of Blue Cottage Agency.

It is inspiring to spend time with people who are fulfilling their passions for creative expression. I am fortunate to be experiencing more than my share of art immersion this week.

I am still pumped from spending yesterday at the 3rd Annual Writing in the Garden Workshop in Minnesota. It was attended by writers of various interests and genres.  Some are working on a project – others are published authors.  Everybody was friendly and eager to learn.

The workshop was led by writer and teacher, Angela Foster and historical fiction author Candace Simar.  Check out Candace’s recently published book, Blooming Prairie, Book Four of the Abercrombie Trail Series. 

On Monday this week I joined some other members of the Kanabec County Art Association at a weekly get-together, where we work on our art projects or just enjoy each others’ company.  I have found that artists are generally sociable and knowledgeable because they are interested in so many different subjects.        

Are you realizing your dreams for creativity and personal expression? It is not difficult or expensive to seek out camaraderie and educational opportunities with like-minded creative people.  If you need a pick-me-up find a class, workshop or organization that appeals to your interests and check it out.

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Here is the guy I fell for! This photo shows Cliff on his bike, with our travel trailer, taken in the early 1980s.

I am living in the 1980s, as I remember my past in order to realize my dreams for the future.  I am writing my first travel memoir.

Traveling Together: Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Make Three is about the journeys I took with my husband which generated stories of love and adventure.  During the past few years I have been composing my account of these stories during writing classes. Now I am putting the chapters together to become my first e-book.

I am well on my way to completing this memoir. My plans are to publish this as a Kindle e-book before I publish the book I have been working on: Realize Your Dreams: An Action Plan for Life Transformation.

Last week I had the great privilege to participate in a writing workshop called Pilgrimages: Mindful Travel Writing & Memoir at Madeline Island School of the Arts, where I worked on this memoir.  It was taught by Catherine Watson, an accomplished travel writer and inspiring instructor and mentor.  I was part of a small group of students who poured our hearts out, writing in a supportive environment. My thanks to all involved. Did a mention that it was a fantastic experience?

The reason I was able to participate in this workshop is because I was the recipient of an Individual Artists Grant, which I would like to acknowledge with gratitude: “This activity is made possible by a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council with funds generously provided by the McKnight Foundation.”

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What have you failed at today? Did you go outside your comfort zone and try something new? Then celebrate your failures!

If we don’t make the effort every day to choose actions that will bring enjoyment into our lives, the moment will pass. Then we are just another day older and no closer to realizing our dreams. What stops us from taking action? Is it the fear that we could fail in our efforts?

Recently Sara Blakely, the young billionaire who created the Spanx shapewear enterprise, appeared on the CBS morning news show. She said that while she was growing up she was expected to fail at trying things. At dinner conversations her father would ask, “How did you fail today?” She might reply, “I tried out for cheerleading – I was terrible at it!” And he would cheer her on. She became comfortable with failure, and certainly wasn’t afraid to try something new!

True confession: One of my biggest failures happened a few years ago when my husband and were traveling in Italy (I was the trip planner). We purchased train tickets with our destination being Cortona in Tuscany. We ended up in Crotone, located in the instep of the boot-shaped Italy. Ooops. I celebrate this mistake because we were traveling on our own, not part of a tour group, we were out of our element and loving it, and we saw a part of the country we otherwise would not have visited. I will be writing about this adventure–and many others–in a future travel memoir. If we hadn’t been willing to risk failure, we never would have had the experiences we did!

I look to other writers for inspiration and valuable information. Today I read a posting titled Why It’s OK to Be Naive  by Nick Thacker, who was the guest writer on Jane Friedman’s blog. He writes, “Our fear of failure leads us toward procrastination, lack of motivation, and, well, failure. But by being naïve and reaching for the most out-of-reach goals and successes we’ll at least be motivated by the fact that we’re part of the few who can say we’ve tried it.”

Want to realize your dreams? Then go for them! Success or failure–either way, celebrate the outcome.

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The theme of my blog is “realize your dreams.”  I hope that does not imply that when a specific aspiration is fulfilled that the quest ends, and now we can stop and stay there.  I believe the journey toward our life transformation will always lead us to new places, if we allow ourselves to keep open to the possibilities that are before us.

I recently discovered the blog Aging Abundantly, written by Dorothy Sander. I love her message, and the way she expresses it.  I was especially moved by yesterday’s entry: What Do You Long For?  Read it and take it to heart, as I did.

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Cheers and a standing ovation for people who share their passion for dance, music, and theater by putting on a live show for us!  Yesterday I was delighted to be in the audience of an entertaining performance called Reflections on the Danube “from the Black Forest to the Black Sea.”

Ethnic Dance Theatre, a Minneapolis-based dance troupe that has been creating great experiences for performers and audiences since 1974, brought us along on a journey through the countries of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. It presented the history and culture of these countries in song, dance, and swirling colorful costumes of embroidered aprons, vests, ribbons, and jaunty caps.

 The show tickets were my gift for my husband (happy birthday, Honey!)  Our friend, Kathryn-Sonja (pictured with me in the lobby after the performance) is one of the dancers.  We love to see the skill and exuberance she brings to the performance.

During the show I was fortunate enough to be seated by a young girl who was bubbling over with excitement as she whispered to me that her mom was one of the singers.  She joyfully sang along under her breath to the songs she had heard her mother practicing at home.  I asked the girl if she was a singer too, and she told me she performed in the children’s choir at a St. Lucia festival in December.  Here comes the next generation of performing artists!

One of the best things about live shows is the interaction between the performers and the audience.  We are in it together!  I encourage those who are interested in the performing arts to indulge their passion—learn it, do it!  The rest of us?  We can support the arts by enjoying a show and cheering on the performers!

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