A Summer Adventure

Something about the word Adventure has an exciting ring to it. It sparks a fire of anticipation. Yet just like in the stories, adventures seldom turn out quite the way the participants expect. Such, has been my summer.

Originally, I would have to say my own adventure started in the spring of 2017 when we decided to sell our house and move into my parents’ home, so we could buy some property and build our own home. But that is not the part I’m going to write about. This journey began as we began the process of moving from my parents’ home this last June. Our destination . . . the property that our house was going to be built on. Amenities at the time: a well with a generator to run the pump, an outhouse, and tents.

As I was preparing for our move in June, I spent countless hours thinking about how we would live out of tents. There are six of us. My four youngest and Todd and me. I love camping but usually don’t sleep well, which was not going to work long term. So, after much thought I decided we would all sleep on cots in a tent we bought from Costco. As big as the tent was I knew it would fit little else then our sleeping selves. So, what was I going to do about all of the clothes and other minimal things needed to live. This took a lot more imagination and thinking hours.

Finally, I came up with a plan to use another large tent filled with plastic containers for each of my kids.  Along with an item found at Walmart that would allow me to hang some clothes, suits and dresses. Also, a couple of shoe racks and a shelf to hold plastic containers for each child to put bathroom things in. Filling very excited about my idea I started spending hundreds of dollars on containers. Even the cheapest containers add up when buying them in large quantities.

Armed with great plans and excitement about how it was going to work we started packing up what we wouldn’t be using and making the many trips to move things to the property. It took me all of the month of June to tackle such an undertaking but finally we were ready to move ourselves to the mountain.

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Busy Times

Well here it is another week gone by and hardly any writing completed. It’s been the end of the school year, which means multiple band concerts and last minute homework cramming. Of course because we’re moving there is the additional stuff like getting the kids registered and trying to determine what things need to be packed away for several months and what they need to leave out.

I was very excited to get my chicken coop completed. It took me all day but it had to get done. The chicks needed to sleep in it that night.IMG_9459

Summer break is officially here and I’m getting excited for our next big adventure. Next week I will be flying out for my oldest son’s graduation from boot camp in South Carolina. That will be an exciting week. I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done while I’m flying.

So until next week . . .

Time

Time is such a mysterious thing. According to our clocks it moves at a constant pace. Ticking away the seconds minutes and hours of our day. Yet in its mystery it can speed up and slow down. As a child, I used to wait for Christmas and in frustration exclaim that it was so far away. Now at summers close I stress because I know that in a blink of an eye it’ll be here.

Managing time is a constant process. My Life changes, my plans are readjusted and time seems to slip through my fingers. I try to prioritize, making sure that my time is spent in the most meaningful ways possible and yet minutes still slip through the cracks unaccounted for and impossible to reclaim.

I second guess myself, “should I have spent my time doing that.”  I reevaluate and then move forward only to question myself again. Being busy isn’t a bad thing. But it could be if I’m filling my time with things that don’t matter in the end.

So as the seconds tick I hope that at least my progress in managing something as precious as the time of my life is getting better. I hope that in the end I’ll be able to look back on my time, smile and be able to say “I did alright.”

Beauty

As a mother I have watched each of my children learn to create. They play with play do and color amazing works of art and then comes the sad day when they start to notice art created by siblings, friends and parents and everything changes. They stop believing me when I tell them that what they have made is amazing. They get frustrated with themselves and crumple up their drawing after seeing something they assume to be better.

I have reflected many times to my own youth. As a child I loved to draw. My parents always encouraged me, they even signed me up for a drawing class. I loved that class and at its conclusion I had a finished drawing of a tiger in charcoal. My parents were very proud of that drawing. Then came the day in middle school when a girl sitting next to me showed me a drawing she was working on. I don’t remember anything about her picture but my thoughts I remember with clarity.

I can’t draw. My parents were just being nice, because I’m their daughter, but I have no real talent.

I’m sad to say that I gave up drawing after that. Now when I look back I see the folly in my thinking. But even worse I watch my own children come to similar conclusions. Nothing I say seems to convince them otherwise. One day I was holding my sons bearded dragons with my daughter. She commented on how beautiful they were and I agreed with her. Then a thought entered my mind and I knew I had an opportunity.

I explained to her that many people detest lizards and don’t see them as beautiful. I then explained that God is the best creator. Yet not everyone appreciates all that he has created. He knew that some people would see beauty in some things and not in others. We are all different and knowing this he created a very diverse world so that all could enjoy it and find beauty in his creations. I then explained to her that if someone doesn’t like her art don’t get discouraged. There will always be someone that appreciates it. She just needs to keep working and improving.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered that I’m my own worst critic. I have learned to handle criticism from others but still struggle with outing the critic in myself. My own doubt cripples me. It is my own voice that tells me that what I’m doing doesn’t matter and that no one would appreciate it. It’s an ongoing battle. Time is precious in my busy lifestyle and I tell myself that writing takes too much of that time and I’m really not that good anyway. So I put it aside for what I deem to be more important tasks. Then something inside pulls me back. I love to write. It fulfills a certain part of me. The battle is constant, but I’m beating the critic within, because my unique ability is worth sharing, even if it doesn’t compare in context or quality to someone else’s. There are people out there that will appreciate my work for what it is. A unique work of art. And art is meant to be shared.

Characters

I had a conversation with my son today about how I develop my characters. It was an interesting discussion. Every writer does things a little different and it’s interesting to see different ways to do the same thing.

My characters always just appear in the story. As I start daydreaming or writing the story they’re just sort of formed. I know how they’ll act in any situation I put them in. I have occasionally had characters confront a situation in my story and find that it doesn’t feel right for this particular character. At that point I’ll backtrack and make it right.

I do have character cards to help me keep track of my characters. They’re really not so much cards, as they are a word document with the characters and their names. The facts I keep about each of the characters has much more to do with details of their past, their family and their description. Their is almost nothing written on their personality. This is because I intuitively know each character and what they’ll do.

I’m curious as to how you develop your characters? Please comment and let me know.

My Box of Dreams

I love this quote from Erma Bombeck:

“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, ‘Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams.’ Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a while to look in it, and yep, they’re still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box.”

I’ve accomplished many of my dreams. Yet there are still many in my box. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should always have dreams in our box so that when we accomplish one we can work on another. The problem occurs when we think some dreams belong forever to remain in the dark secret inclosure of our little dream box. So why do I let some dreams escape and others stay hidden.

Here is my theory. Fear. If I take my dream out, then others can see it. It leaves me open to criticism. Fear of failure is another big one. What if I don’t succeed? I tell myself the big fat lie that not trying is better then failing.

Strangely another one of my fears is success. Why, you ask, would I be afraid of success? Because success would bring with it responsibilities, growth and new challenges. I tell myself that I’m satisfied the way I am. What a fool I can be. A caterpillar that told itself the same thing would never know the beauty and wonder that awaits it as a butterfly.

So here I am taking out a dream that was hidden for years. Attempting to do what I thought was too hard, so that my dream has a chance of coming true. Will there be criticism? Absolutely. Will there be failure? Of course. Will there be success? Only if I try.