Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blogoversary! A Year in Review

Hi there,

It's my blogoversary today! I've been blogging (with increasing discipline) for one whole year! Here are 5 snapshots sampled every 50 posts:

  • My first post was about the Golden Gate Express Special Exhibit at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. (Blogging got me back into photography.)
  • By the 50th post, I was on Day #11 of the Build a Better Blog series, learning more about blogging, an endless process.  
  • The 100th post, Pillar Point, was a meditation on photography and faith.
  • The 150th post, 10 Pebble Principles of Innovation, extended my blogging skills into live business event coverage. I'd like to do more of this next year.
  • Lastly, my 200th post for the year, Signs of Recovery,  was a review of two autobiographies of runners building on my love of books and running. I've got 2 book reviews in queue for next year, Widow Clicquot and Coco Chanel.
A few things get lost in translation when you look at it this way. Namely:
It has been a great year! Thank you for reading, commenting and tweeting!  

See you next year!
Jennifer

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where's Your Pencil?


My productive working time for rough hewn is before and after to do lists, on the edges of sleep after the lights are out or before my first cup of coffee.  Then I'm particularly receptive to shapes in the mist, things become, they step forward to be recognized, listened to, honored, to be pulled the rest of the way into the lamp light. If I go to sleep or sally forth into my day without writing these shapes down, they are lost, doomed to the eternal in between.

Twyla Tharp, in her book The Creative Habit tells a story about a young boy who finally got to meet his baseball idol and asked for an autograph....only there was no pencil to be found. She advises that to capture our creative genius, we need to be equipped at all times for opportunity.

Going to bed with a pen and journal by my bed are my equivalents of having a pencil ready in case I get an autograph opportunity. In fact, this post is entirely due to this practice. And traveling around with my camera in  my car is another equivalent.

What's your equivalent?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Signs of Recovery


Haruki Murakami, a prolific Japanese fiction author, is also a runner. His book, What I talk About When I Talk About Running, is non-fiction. It's not a Garminesque recitation of miles, average and max heart rate, GPS route, comparison to last time but more like an engraver's plate designed to leave a pointilist impression.

Writing and running are alike. Each requires, word after word, step after step, over and over and over. Each requires stamina. The same things that make Murakami a consistent runner are what make him a good writer. At least, that's the impression I'm left with months after reading the book. Show up a the desk for a certain amount of time, put in a certain number of miles with the pen.

Bart Yasso's book, My Life on the Run, is completely different (and a surprise gift for Christmas - thank you Paul and Kathryn!). Whereas much of Murakami's story is solitary, most of Bart's is spent in the company of other people. He developed the Runner's World Sponsorship Program which is probably not suprising for such a people person. Yasso also invented the Yasso 800's, a complex equivalence between 10 repeats of 800s with a 400 jog in between and predicted marathon time. Consistent 5 minute 800s mean a 5 hour marathon time, give or take a hill or heat.  From his autobiography, I was astounded to learn that such a devoted runner of all kinds of races including ultras has had Lyme's disease for much of his career. Yet he persists.

My recent injury has shown me that I'll never be fast but with healing, Murakami-like consistency and Bart's persistent example, I can finish with gratitude that amounts to worship.

Monday, December 28, 2009

December IComLeavWe

IComLeavWe

Today is the close of December's IComLeavWe, one week a month dedicated to building relationships among bloggers by commenting and responding to comments.  The moniker stands for "I come as one and leave as a we". There were 134 already busy participants this holiday season. Out of them I read posts on 35 blogs. For November IComLeaveWe,  I gave a list of the blogs I found by participating. Here's the list for December:

1. On Blogging Well - this has a lot of good blogging tips on a daily basis.
2. Sister Village - a mentoring site for women, catalyzing support
3. My Walking Path - Gerardine Baugh takes a macro lens to her daily walks and shares the written results. She's a fabulous and thoughtful commenter as well.

There were many wonderful commenters as well from many of the bloggers. Participating in this event organized by Stirrup Queens really gives a sense that "comments are the new hug."  Hope to see you in the January comment leaving week!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

December NaBloPoMo



As part of my plan to make December The Best Month, After 11 months of blogging, I decided to try National Blog Posting Month. Every day, for one month, you make a post. The first week I was jamming with every post written the night before and scheduled to publish at 12:01am the next day. The next week I was writing posts the same day. The next week, I was writing the post of the day just before I went to bed. This was the point at which I seriously said, "Can I really do this?"

I kept posting, kept the creative habit, forced myself to face the blank page and lo and behold, around the 4th week, it got mostly easier. I have 4 days left and maybe, just maybe, I'll like this so much, I'll keep doing it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Creed


Rich Mullins, an American singer and song writer,  had a great song called "Creed" in which he articulated his beliefs or  creed. As this year comes to a close and a new year represents a chance to start anew, his lyrics have been wafting through my mind.  


"I believe in God the Father
Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried 



According to Wordnik.com, a creed is a formal statement of religious belief, a confession of faith.  This song seems aptly named as he lists off what he believes to the striking tones of the dulcimer.


And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am 
I did not make it no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man 


Rich's recital of facts that he believes, a system of beliefs, an architecture, is something that holds him up, without which he would be a different person altogether.  And yet, that system of beliefs is not self-created, not a smorgasbord or a potpourri insofar as he is able.


I believe that He who suffered was crucified buried and dead
He descended into hell and on the third day rose again
He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God's mighty right hand
I believe that He's returning
To judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men 



Rich died in a car crash in 1997 but his lyrics live on.  They remind me of a passage in Ephesians 6: 10-18  that admonishes Christians to pick up certain equipment to be strong. Two verses in particular stand out as being relevant to the idea of a creed.


10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.....14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist....16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.


So if creed is essential equipment, what creed do I have for 2010? I cannot argue with Rich's creed at all. But perhaps I can add to it where my experience of God and his character has been personal, where the type ceases to be font and becomes squishy with tears and pink with healing.


We might be reading forever if I tried to do all that here now. But I can start with 1 piece and add other pieces over time. The one most on my heart


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)


The story of Joseph, favored son of Isaac, sold into slavery, promoted to administrator over Potiphar's household, unjustly accused and thrown in jail, promoted to administrator in jail, forgotten for years there, then promoted to Pharaoh's right hand man to prepare a way for Israel to live through famine is one of my favorite stories. It shows that even when really bad things happen to Joseph, God works them to Joseph's good and to His people's good.


I have seen with my own eyes this come true over the last 18 months as I have battled setbacks, part my own fault and part due to other's bad intent. As a result, this is part of my personal creed. That even when bad things happen to me, whether through my own fault or other's intent, God can work it to my good.  Having experienced this with my own tears, I can look at the things I fear in the future and remind myself, even if this bad thing happens, God can work it to my good, to our good. This creed is part of my equipment for life. It's part of what makes me what I am.


I did not make it, no it is making me.


What's your creed? What holds you together? What makes you what you are?



Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you! May your day be blessed and full of thanksgiving. Keeping it short and sweet. Jennifer

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Wishes

On this Christmas Eve, whether with family, friends or by yourself, I wish you a blessed evening.

may your brisket be tender and moist
may your heart be quick to rejoice
may every tear be shown to have a purpose
making you every more a rose
may you fall asleep still counting your blessings,
the biggest one the Lamb who was slain.

Merry Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Did You Convert?

Copyblogger recently came out with an article titled How Your DIY Attitude is Keeping You Poor discussing, among other things, conversion from Blogger to WordPress (and paying someone else to do it for you).

Blogger is often written off as being for amateurs. I'm not sure, besides selling and advertising, what separates "amateurs" from the more professional pool on WordPress. One of my goals is to make my blog look better in 2010 and I'm wondering if you can help me sort out these questions:

  • What's important about changing to WordPress from Blogger? 
  • What did it enable for you?
  • What can you do now that you couldn't do then?
  • Is this conversion hard enough that you would pay to have someone else do it?

I appreciate any and all insights. Thanks for sharing your expertise and experience!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Calculate Your Digital Brand

With all the personal branding info out there you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out in what direction to productize your name and make it into a brand. Well, it's hard enough to figure out what the goal is. To get there, you also need to know where you are right now.

What is your brand right now? Independent of what you want it to be? Well, brand is in the eyes of the beholder when it comes to Google. I found a cool gadget that measures your digital brand. It's an Online Identity Calculator. The calculator takes a look at volume and relevance and plops the results into this quadrant map:




The creators of this handy dandy scorecard are William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson, authors of Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand. I haven't read it yet, but after running the calculator, I'm seriously considering it!


What's your digital brand right now? Where do you want to take it in 2010?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Round the World

Here's a cool tool. You check the boxes of countries you've visited and they show up in red on the map.


visited 22 states (9.77%)
Create your own visited map of The World




Sunday, December 20, 2009

6 Things That Changed My 2009

Looking back over this year, there are some things that had really changed my year.

1. hulu.com - I haven't had a tv for decades, no cable, no satellite, etc.  A few years ago we started Netflix subscription and began to see more movies. This year, we found hulu.com and finally joined the mainstream tv set just at a time when many people are saying they're trying to quit. Bones, Jericho, Lie to Me, Castle, Warehouse13 and White Collar all made it into our repertoire changing the way we spend at least 5 hours a week.

2. injury - almost a year ago I became injured and had to stop running due to ischial tuberosity bursitis - just call it butt bursitis for short.  I went from a 35 mile a week runner to 0, freeing up at least 6 hours a week. I used this time to start blogging.

3. blogging - I had cauterized my love of photography about 6 years ago to devote myself to full time work. For my first post a year ago, I needed a photograph, and suddenly, I had a reason and desire to photograph again. I straightened out my inaccessible Flickr account and got a pro subscription.

4. Project 365 - Late this year, I joined Blissfully Domestic's Project 365 on Flickr. The goal is to shoot one photo a day for 365 days.  This turned an as needed activity into more of a proactive discipline. So far, I have 72 more photographs than I would have otherwise and have seen a lot of great work by others and met a lot of great people through the Flickr-sphere practice of commenting.

5. blogging - the skills I exercise while blogging have helped me develop and articulate opinions. Women's Wallets and World Hunger is probably the best example of that and something I've been working towards.

6. Julie and Julia - Cooking has never been my thing but this movie inspired me to get my knives sharpened, my 30 year old non-functioning stove replaced and Vols I and II of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I now put together weekly menus frequently and cook to them.

What changed your 2009?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Le Menu for Week of Dec 19

I have hopes for a more moderately paced week that will allow me to cook. After a little while nestled among a stack of cookbooks, I've settled on the following:


Le Menu

Roast Chicken with Roti d’Abat (Simple to Spectacular, p 243)
Asparagus with Mushroom Cream Sauce (Simple to Spectacular, P 152)
Caesar Salad (Salads: Food Writer’s Faves, p 22)
Polenta

Kefta Kebab (Arabesque, p 99)

Couscous

Steak au Poivre (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1, p 296)
Sauté de Brocoli (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 2, p 341)
Pommes Anna (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 2, p 391)

Friday, December 18, 2009

6 Weapons of Influence


Cialdini's book on Influence offers some short-cuts to understand how others try to influence you and what you can do to defend against that. Here are the 6 weapons and the armor you need to defend against them:

Reciprocity - If someone does you a favor, you owe them and in order to not look like a moocher you need to return it or be willing to return it. Defense: Accept favors in good faith but if they turn out to be tricks, redefine them in your mind as a trick and no longer subject to the reciprocity rule.

Commitment and Consistency - People want to act in a manner consistent with their own beliefs and attitudes.  Decisions to commit to some course of action, even if wrong, can grow legs and justifications of their own because you feel the need to behave consistent with your commitment. Example, bait and switch. Defense: Listen to your gut when it says no. Listen to your hear too and ask, "Knowing what I know now, if I could go back in time, would I make the same commitment?"

Social Proof - monkey see, monkey do. When people are uncertain they look to the actions of others to guide them. Defense: Be sensitive to counterfeit evidence from similar others.  Don't just look to others to decide what to do.

Liking - people like those are are like them. People like attractive people.  People like people who flatter them even if they know it's flattery. Defense: be aware when undue liking is created.  When that happens separate your feelings about the requestor from the request.

Authority - we respond unthinkingly to even the appearance of authority in the form of titles, attire, prestigious employer name.  Defense: Are they truly an expert? Look away from the symbol to the evidence

Scarcity - of information through censorship, time-limited special offers. Defense: Remember what the thing you want is for.  Scarce cookies don't taste better.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Insecurities

Some studies that my husband was telling me about show that if you're insecure and you have power, that you abuse that power.  So it's doubly important, as you grow in responsibilities, to take those insecurities out and slay them.

For me, the best insecurity slayer is to know that God loves me, cares for me and even when bad things happen to me, He can work it to my good.  He has blessed me so much that I must, must rejoice in others successes and enjoy the unique way He made them.  Probably not perfectly said nor precisely accurate, but one thing I'm sure, is that I must, in 2010, slay my insecurities.  The Proverbs 31 woman smiled at the future. She was secure.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In the Captain's Chair

Over Thanksgiving vacation we went to see the Star Trek Exhibit at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.  Costumes, props, set designs, episode timelines, collected nebulas and galaxies....it was all there. Not only that, but you could actually get your picture taken in the transporter room and.....in the captain's chair.  I couldn't resist!



It was such great fun not only because of the reminders of my childhood but also because after waffling for 15 minutes, I found I was willing to own wanting to be in the Captain's chair.  It felt immensely freeing.

Have you found yourself willing to own something about yourself? What was that like?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Award Yourself

Today was a crazy day.  I know you've had them too.  Lot's of people wanting last minute help, things trapped in the wrong loop, etc, no time to work out or go to the grocery store for dinner.....

Well, I awarded myself for making it through today, a nothing special day, just the everythingness of an ordinary busy day.

What do you do to recognize yourself for getting through one of those days?

Monday, December 14, 2009

10 Things I'd Like to Build in 2010

I'm about out of gas tonight but The One Minute Writer got me going just a little further with the challenging question, "What would I like to build in 2010?" The possibilities are endless but time is finite

1. a more beautiful blog template customized
2. a personal website for my photography and artwork and publications
3. a wonderful kitchen for entertaining and preparing food
4. stronger relationships with friends and family
5. a fruitful ministry
6. a stronger marriage
7. an amazing ability to run and remain athletic
8. thought and people leadership at work
9. a stronger relationship with the Lord
10. a better memory of the Bible

What would you like to build in 2010?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CORRECTION: Paden City Pottery Co

In my previous post I said that this was from the Garden City Pottery Company. Well, I should have looked at the saucer and not the photograph of the saucer. The stamp on the bottom actually says Paden City Pottery Co.

After doing a little research I found that this pattern was called Rosalee and was discontinued in 1941. I found a source for replacements at Replacements.com. A cup and saucer set costs $17.99 and the cup I'm missing is $16.99.

Paden City was established in 1914 in Paden City, West Virginia and closed in 1963.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Garden City Pottery Co


The Garden City Pottery Co
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

This reminds me a bit of a postcard from a far away place sent by an old friend. In reality, this is the back of a saucer of my grandmother's covered by a doily that she crocheted.

I had never examined the origin stamp on the bottom. My grandmother lived in Kansas and this plate was made by the Garden City Pottery Company. Their manufacturing facilities and offices were located in California, near downtown San Jose. So funny that her dishes came from a place near where I now live and that her dishes, at least a saucer, are back near where they were made.

CORRECTION: Paden City Pottery Co

What goes around comes around.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rainy Days


Rainy Days
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

We are in for a long weekend of rain after a Friday full of rain. So, that means lots of indoor activities. Rainy days are great for rumination over a cup of tea and a good book or 3.

I've just finished The Accidental President of Brazil, the seemingly languid memoirs of former President Cardoso which actually covered in depth critical milestones in the last 125 years.

In my reading pile next, I've got some useful but perhaps not leisurely reads; Cialdini's Influence and Deluca's Political Saavy. May need an extra pot of tea for those but I've had a crack at both of them and they begin engagingly. Or I may veer away from productiveness altogether and indulge in The Best Food Writing of 2009!

Truth be told, once I get the pile of books by the sofa, no matter what the topic, I usually manage about 10 pages before I nod off:) Makes for a great weekend. Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Keep Your Light On


Keep Your Light On
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
In the mornings this week, snatches of a song run through my mind:

Speak to me, speak to me, through your Word, through your spirit, through the storms of life.
Speak to me, Lord speak to me....

I feel like after several years of storms I have entered a period of blessing. I'm reminded of Matthew 6:31-34:

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

About a 21 months ago, I started praying and spending time with God every morning before I went to work. One day at a time it's hard to see what changes are happening. But almost 2 years later, looking not back but at where I am today, it's clear that the blessings that I'm experiencing today are from spending time with the Lord and in His word.

When you feel so discouraged like it's taking forever to get to the other side, keep your light on. It's there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chanel Pillow Stitch Eyeglass Case

I promised I'd follow up to a previous post on the topic with the next installation of this lovely little Chanel Pillow Stitch Eyeglasses Case. I bet if I bought these for $5 I could sell them for $20. The smooth texture of the shell is broken by the stitching, the roundness of the Cs contrasting nicely with the right angles of the stitches. The slight curvature in the case lines heightens the drama.  The interior texture (visible here) is both rough and smooth like a golf course.

Some days, it's the simple things:)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Death of a Blonde


After being born a towhead followed by decades of being blonde or making my hair Marilyn Monroe blonde, I've finally given up the platinum look....for chocolate.  My hairdresser calls it gold...but I think it's precisely 72% cocoa.

A few months ago I was inspired by a before and after picture that I no longer have of a woman with formerly black hair dyed platinum who decided to go to a more orange blossom honey color that favored her skin tones.  She looked so much more integrated and dimensional.  In her interview she talked about how people now responded to her as a person, not as a stereotype of hair.

Now, there's a lot to be said for hiding in stereotypes.  It gives you the advantage of surprise for one thing and predictability for another. But my blonde hair seemed to be constricting my expression of me in some way.  Now that I'm no longer blonde, I'm still me, but I'm also someone different, because people see me differently, respond to me differently.

I can see the re-evaluation flickering across faces and in most cases, I can see a decision to go deeper with me.

As for myself, I feel freed...and more whole.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Grandma's Doily and Chanel


Grandma's Doily and Chanel
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

My grandmother probably crocheted this doily about the same time that Coco Chanel returned to fashion in the 1950s. Crocheted doilies and eyeglasses cases are packaging that have the same basic function - to protect from scratches, but they can accomplish this function is a plain or decorative manner. Here you see two examples from the decorative category.

Today, I wore my new Chanel eyeglasses for the first time. You may say, "How can she square that with her post on Women's Wallets and World Hunger?" Well, remember... I said I believed in both taking care of yourself and helping others.

Besides, my last pair of eyeglasses lasted about 10 years and cost about .13 cents a day. If I am as fortunate over the next 10 years to have my eyesight remain stable, these will cost about .12 cents a day.

All I can say is that the packaging is the highlight and only cost $5. I'll be taking a few more photos over the next few days in an attempt to show how incredibly beautiful the case and glasses "sock" is, as crazy as that may sound.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Menu Report!

I owe some updates on recipes!

From this week's menu I've made PW's Comfort Meatballs twice.  I use half the sugar.  They are extremely comforting - I think it's the ketchup.  PW's Fried Chicken recipe is divine.  Tonight I cooked that the second time and marveled once again at the brilliance of finishing the bird off in the oven to keep the fried outside from burning.  Love the seasoning which includes one of my Father's favorite ingredients....Lawry's seasoning salt.

You already know about the fun I had with PW's Cinnamon Rolls.  Not being able to handle much sugar, next time I would 3x the cinnamon, 1/2 the sugar and 1/2 the frosting.  That's the hypoglycemic version:)

Happy cooking!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Women's Wallets and World Hunger

After several years of using dye-in-a-box hair color at roughly $10 every 60 days or $.17 cents a day, I finally went to a salon and had it professionally done. While the end product looks really good, the resulting sticker shock got me thinking about the competition for women's wallets and world hunger.

Magazines like Cosmo tell you HOW TO be beautiful.  Most solutions are aimed at individual externals and include things like manicure/pedicure, hair style/hair color, skin care, hair care. All these things need regular upkeep whether daily, weekly or monthly. The business models for them are to pay per unit or service.  Let's take a look at 2 ends of the spectrum.

Let's say you're a high maintenance chic living in a high cost city.  You're wallet would suffer at least the following:
  1. Hair cut/ color: $250 every 6 weeks
  2. Nanotechnology shampoo and conditioner: $110 every 3 months
  3. Microdermabrasion Facial: $130 every 4 weeks
  4. Cosmeceutical face skin care: $78 per month
  5. Designer Daily makeup: $200 every 60 days
  6. Mani/pedi: $50 every 4 weeks
  7. Deep Tissue Massage: $85 every 4 weeks
  8. Gym membership to keep it hanging together: $79 every month
That's $25 per day in maintenance. World hunger statistics show that 982 million people live on $1.25/day or less.  This maintenance regimen equals the income of 20 of those people.

Let's say you're a DIY girl who knows where Super Cuts and Target are:
  1. Super Cuts Hair cut/ home box color: $22 every 6 weeks
  2. Clairol shampoo and conditioner: $10 every 2 months
  3. In home egg facial: .03 cents every week
  4. Target face skin care: $49 every 6 weeks
  5. Almay daily makeup: $39 every 6 weeks
  6. DIY Mani/pedi: basically free
  7. Foam Roller Tissue Massage: basically free once you buy the $10 foam roller
  8. Run outside for free: .69 cents a day for the shoes
DIY girl's daily going rate is $3.29. This maintenance regimen equals the income of 2.6 people who are living on $1.25/day or less.

I believe in BOTH taking care of yourself and in helping people.  This isn't an anti-skin care or anti-makeup diatribe. As a woman, looking at my own priorities, I think it's fair to ask myself what share of my wallet is going to support what priorities? Where can a share of my wallet make the biggest difference? Do I really want Cosmo influencing where it goes that much?

Whereas a $1.25 spent on beautification may not improve things noticeably, that same amount spent helping the poor can make a powerful difference. And helping out doesn't have to hurt. Small changes can make a huge difference. For example, by just adding 12 days between facials, high maintenance chic can give $1.23 per day.

Make your wallet more powerful than your face.

If you don't know where to start, here are a few of my favorite non-profit organizations serving the poor

City Team Ministries - urban and global poor
One Day's Wages - developing countries
World Vision - developing countries
Open Door Ministries - urban poor

Friday, December 4, 2009

God's Grandeur


God's Grandeur
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

Quite possibly you're wondering what I'm doing since this is such a departure from my usual imagery.

I shot this construction site under cloudy foggy moonlit skies on the drive in this morning. I was sitting in my car waiting at a stoplight at the end of the highway off ramp and this scene of torn earth under gray skies reminded me of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins called God's Grandeur:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell:
the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah!
bright wings.

I wish for a day filled with "the dearest freshness deep down things" and am thankful for a morning where "the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and ah! bright wings."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blogoversary in 29 Days

I cannot believe it.  Almost 1 year ago, I decided to start blogging, just to see what it was like and to see what I would learn.  Now, almost a year later, I can say that this has become one of my cherished creative outlets and that there are several blogs that I follow and really enjoy, more than a morning newspaper. My Blog List to the right shows a few of these.

I'm thankful to Blogoversary for making it easy to track when this anniversary happens.  You enter the date of your first post and they calculate it from there.  

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Unbearable Lightness of Being


The last few days I've been torn by all the photos I see to take on my way to places. If I wasn't on my way somewhere, I wouldn't see the opportunity, but because I'm on my way somewhere, I don't have time to stop.

This is a dichotomy that I find mostly insoluble. But some days, I remember to take my camera with me, and even take time to stop, and sometimes, I even get a good pic.

But the lesson I learn each time is that just by taking the time to stop and shoot a pic, that I feel better, whether the photo is a good one or not. I feel like I've done more justice to my day.

This pic is one of those days when I stopped, ran got my camera, and photographed for a bit.

Make December the Best Month

December is often a month of fear, guilt and procrastination, welcomed with equal amounts trepidation and joy.  More of it can be joy if we just have a plan.  Thanks to The One Minute Writer for the idea, here's my plan for making December the month I want it to be:

  • Crazy maybe, but I'm going to participate in NaBloPoMo - if that confuses you, don't worry.  It has taken me a year to make the plunge.  It stands for National Blog Posting Month.  It means that you commit to post every day for a month.  Why December?  Well, I thought things could be busier:)
  • Ask people what they want for Christmas and get them that.  I don't have the gene that enables me to select the perfect gift for someone AND surprise them with it. I did read somewhere that I must not be trying hard enough.  Quite possibly but honestly, I want to get folks something that they really want.  They probably don't know what would delight them, but at least they know what they would like.  That's better than a white elephant gift.
  • I'm not waiting for New Year's resolutions. I'm going to exercise in December.  It clears my mind, my pores and a few calories and keeps things from falling, at least too far.  

What are you going to do to make December the month you want it to be?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

42 Daily Questions

Sunday, I posted about the practice of Daily Questions as a way to plan, manage and evaluate your day. Gerardine commented sharing her rituals and asking if I had my list of 42 DQs posted somewhere to try out. (Thanks for the idea Gerardine!) 

Here 10 from my list of Daily Questions that I use to help keep me on track and the categories that they belong to.  I have the whole list in an excel spreadsheet that I look at twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. If the answer is yes or no, the score is a 1 or 0. Some are a count and more is better.

Spiritual

  • Did I spend time alone with God seeking his face?
  • Did I invest time serving other Christians?

Relationships

  • Did I do something special for my husband today?
  • How many people did I make a positive difference for today?
  • How many compliments did I give today?

Creative Care

  • Did I make a photo today?
  • Did I make a blog entry today?

Physical

  • How many miles did I run today? (If actuals = plan, score = 1)
  • How many servings of veg did I eat? (Goal is 5, score is a count of servings)
Home
  • Did I scoop the catbox today? (I'm off to do that now!)

What Daily Questions do you use to guide your day?