Letters to Myself

Letters to Myself

This week’s topic for Think Write Thursday is: what piece of advice would you give to the five-year-old you? Sixteen-year-old you? Twenty-one-year-old you? Right now?

This topic was my idea and as I began to write this post, I was amazed by the range of emotions I had. I expected this to be an easy post to write, but it turns out this is more challenging than I thought. So, here is the advice (and encouragement) I have written to myself:

Me at age 5 (really, my fifth birthday)

Dear Five-Year-Old Me,

You have the best imagination! It’s really okay to pretend, no matter what anyone says to you. Sometimes life is scary, and it is perfectly okay to pretend it is not! And, sometimes the best thing ever is going to work with your grandpa and learning how to hammer nails into scraps of lumber. These times will be some of your best memories.

Okay, not quite sixteen – I counted the candles and I think this was 15…

Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Me,

It’s totally okay to feel awkward at times – unsure of whether you want to be on your own and making your own decisions or wishing someone would just tell you what to do! It is also okay to try ideas on and see how they feel and then change your mind! But, the reading… don’t ever stop reading!

Dear Twenty-one-year-old Me,

Bravo to you for getting through this year. It was not easy. And learning that being “grown up” and making “grown up decisions” are not the same thing. However, even though right now it does not feel like you made the right decision – I promise you that you did. What you learned is that you can trust yourself to make the right decision even if it hurts. And, what you hoped for did come true – sometimes good things do come to those who wait!

Me… yesterday.

Dear Kat,

It is far too easy to be critical of oneself, and incredibly difficult to love oneself exactly as you are. Today, I would like to remind you of things past and show you how much of the younger you still is a part of you now. You have learned how to direct your imagination into creative pursuits. You are comfortable with being awkward now and you no longer wish to be told what to do. And, your love of reading is still a vital part of you. You know that sometimes the best decisions are also the hardest to make and that while those decisions can be unbelievably painful – you know that you can survive – and more importantly, thrive! So, dear Kat – I would like you to spend more time loving yourself and less time being so critical. You really are worth it.

If you would like to see what others had to say about this week’s Think Write Thursday topic, you will find them here. If you would like to join Carole and me for Think Write Thursday, you can sign up here! We would love to have you!

In a Perfect World

In a Perfect World

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write a post describing your perfect day.

Last week, Carole and I received a couple of texts from Kym with some absolutely awesome ideas for Think Write Thursday. This is the first one, and I confess, it was not my first choice.

Perfect is just so impossible, you know?

I thought about this long and hard and no matter how I thought about it, Salvador Dali’s words of wisdom kept ringing in my head, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

If that doesn’t smack a body down, I don’t know what does.

So, how do I wrangle this around to work in my very imperfect world.

By accident, I stumbled across this: Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection. Whoever Kim Collins is, these words are just what I need. And, in fact this is my focus for everything in life – to continuously improve. It is the ruler to which I measure my days – was there improvement from the day before? And, honestly – some days there is none. No steps ahead, but LOTS of steps back.

But, all that makes for a very disappointing and uninspiring blog post to share, right? So, how do I inspire myself and in doing so, hopefully inspire you? While, my life is not perfect – each day I am working on improvement. And, if I achieve improvement I end the day better than I started and if I did not improve, what did I learn?

So, for me, the ‘perfect’ day is one with a balance of improvement and learning. And, if there is both, then it is the best possible day ever!

If you would like to see what others had to say about their perfect day, you will find them here. If you want to join Carole and me on Think Write Thursday’s you can sign up here. We would love to have you!

May The Forth…

May The Forth…

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write a post about Star Wars. Do you love Star Wars? Hate Star Wars? Have you seen them all or none? What are your Star Wars stories?

A long time ago, in a place far, far away lived a girl. The year was 1977 and a movie came to the Holland Theatre and though the lines were long, she waited patiently. So patiently.

And, the lights went dim, and the movie started. And, from this very opening sequence, she was enthralled.

It was quite simply love with everything. Obi Wan, Young Luke, Han Solo, Yoda, and Princess Leia.

Fast forward a good number of years, just before the Episode 1 of the prequel was released. They showed Episode 4 in the Holland Theatre and I took my kids to see it in the same place I had more than 20 years before. The thrill I felt was still there but it was somehow even better at seeing the joy on my kids faces, especially Sam jumping up on the seat to fight with Obi Wan against Vader.

Each episode has been much loved by me, but my favorite will always be the first.

And, yes Yoda – may the force be with me always.

Would you like to see what others had to say about this galactic day? You will find them here. If you would like to join Carole and I for Think Write Thursday, you can sign up here.

Remember

Remember

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write a post that begins with the words, “Remember the time . . . “

Memories are curious things. The strangest things can trigger them. I showed you those hankies I found, the memory it triggered was doing this as a child. I could not remember exactly how to do it though, so I am thankful for YouTube which has videos on all things, even babies in a cradle!

But, in thinking about this post, there were lots of Remember the time moments…

Here are some of my Remember the times:

  • Remember when spring actually was spring and there were not numerous days when it got to 90 out? We are slated to be near 90 today. In April. This worries me greatly.
  • Remember when we had a president we could be proud of? Yeah, me too and most days it seems like a lifetime ago.
  • Remember when I had a “real job” and actually had to leave the house to go to work? Some days I really miss having a “real job” with interaction with co-workers, regular hours, etc. Thankfully, these are fleeting moments – but they do happen, sometimes frequently – like this month. Yeah, even staying home to work has its ups and downs.
  • Remember when gas used to be 25 cents a gallon? I do…especially when filling up the car now costs $55. Ouch.
  • Remember when spending the night at Nana’s house was the best thing ever, staying up late to watch Charlie Chan in black and white, eating “Denver Omelets”, playing solitaire with Grandpa, and sleeping under this quilt.

Those are some of my Remember the times moments, what are yours?

If you would like to see what others remembered, you will find them here. If you want to join Carole and I for Think Write Thursday’s, you can sign up here.

 

An oasis in the trees

An oasis in the trees

This week’s Think Write Thursday prompt is to write about a tree house hideaway.

I am not sure if any of you have seen any of Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet, but I have watched occasionally. Pete Nelson is a creative soul who brings to life a person’s dream tree house.

And, really – who did not dream of a tree house when they were a kid? I sure did! There was a sassafras grove in the woods behind the house where we lived and my sister and I spent hundreds of hours there. I wished for a tree house in that very spot! It would have been perfect!

However, if I was going to have Pete Nelson’s team build me a tree house today – I want it to be modeled on those childhood dreams but with a modern amenity reality that really would make it an oasis.

I know that space would be at a premium in a tree house, so an annex for crafting would be necessary – I mean I am not going to my tree house to get away from the things that relax me most!

But, in the main house, I want there to be windows… so many windows! I want to see the view that the birds and the squirrels see! And, it would need a small kitchen because happy hour and snacks in the tree tops might be the best thing ever.

A loft with more windows and a bed would make it the perfect ‘camp out’ place, don’t you think? Oh… and it would need a bathroom, thank you very much!

A hideaway in the trees might be the best place in the world to spend time!

What about you? Would you like a tree house?

You can see what others have to say about their hideaway in the trees here. If you would like to join Carole and me in these Think Write Thursday journeys, we would love to have you join us! You can sign up here!

The Wonder of Reading

The Wonder of Reading

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to tell you about a book I wish I could read again for the first time.

Well…. really? Where do I begin. Perhaps at the very beginning of my reading life. I would love to go back and experience anew that incredible sensation of the words on the pages making their way into your brain, making sense, and drawing you into the story. For me it happened in first grade – we moved from the City of Holland (and Holland Public Schools) to the “suburbs” (and West Ottawa Public Schools). In Holland, they were using a phonetic reading approach – sounding out the words, which did not work at all for me. I struggled mightily with the process (as curiously did my Heidi as well as many other children around the world).

So, new school and all my class mates are reading and me??? Not so much. Enter Mrs. Hayward – she gathered me up each day and off we went to a little room by the gym and together we would sit and read. I believe the method West Ottawa was using at that time was the “look and say” approach. Where phonic did not work, having someone tell me what a word was did. Soon my reading memory held dozens and dozens and dozens of words. But, I would love to go back in time to feel that excitement that first time reading Fun with Dick and Jane became a story I read that made sense!

Maybe Dick and Jane was not the best book I have ever read even if it was first! Perhaps, the best book would be to go back to Little House in the Big Woods – my first introduction to Pa, Ma, Laura and Mary (and Jack the dog!). The Little House books most certainly hold a special place in my heart. They filled an entire summer reading program’s worth of reading! I devoured them voraciously and read each more than once.

Perhaps, the best book would be Night by Elie Wiesel. I read this in high school and was horrified by man’s inhumanity to man. And, as painful as the reading of this book was – I could not put the book down. Elie’s words made an incredible impact on me and through the reading, I understood that being silent is not always the best thing. Making the right decision is not always the easy one. Powerful lessons for a hopeful teenager…

Perhaps, the book I would like to go back and read for the first time is Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. This was a passage book for me – the first truly adult novel I had ever read. I had graduated from Harlequin Romance novels and moved in the world of meaty reading. It was gritty and descriptive and evocative. It opened my eyes (and mind) to reading that grabbed you and carried you along to the end and left you wanting more!

Or maybe it would be any of the dozens of Dr. Seuss books I read to my children – books they loved so much and were part of our daily lives. Were they my favorite reads? Perhaps not on the millionth time, but the words on the page brought reading alive for my children.

So, you see, I really cannot pick just one book I would like to go back and re-experience – there are far too many to choose from!

But, how about you, Gentle Reader – what book would you go back and read for the first time?

If you would like to see what others had to say about reading you will find them here. If you would like to join Carole and I on this fantastic writing journey, you can sign up here! We would love to have you!

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