One of My Favorite Introspective Practices

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Well, I’ve talked about it in passing before, but I’ve decided to finally make the leap: I am now offering card readings.

For more than 15 years I’ve used medicine cards, oracle cards, wisdom cards, and the like to learn more about myself. If I’m feeling confused, lost, or even curious or excited, I often pull a few cards as a way of pulling myself out of my own head and thinking about life in a different way.

It’s a practice that has been calming, enlightening, and sometimes clarifying (especially when I pair it with journaling).

Outside of myself, I have read cards for a few close friends, but haven’t talked about it much outside of what you might call my inner circle.

This summer that changed when I offered a reading to someone I met in an online writing group, someone who lived in a different hemisphere, someone I may never get to meet in real life (though I hope I do!).

Then she told a friend in a completely different country, so I did one for her, too. Then I did a reading for a fellow mom, followed by one for my own mom. And so on.

So now the timing feels right. I’m offering this card reading practice to you.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you are familiar with my card of the day. If that resonates with you, then you might like a personal reading.

Check out the Card Readings page (found in the top menu and also the right sidebar) to see how it works. I hope you will enjoy this as much as I do.

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I’m a Thing Doer… or something

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Last weekend I did a job I’ve never done before. My father-in-law was producing the annual Doo-Wop concert in Bristol, Pennsylvania. I’ve worked this show in years past as his photographer, but haven’t been to the show in the last few years.

This year one of his usual helpers was unable to attend, so he asked me to fill in. My job, he explained, would be to drive the stars from the hospitality building to the stage and back again. So over the course of the day I drove them back and forth a few blocks for soundchecks, then showtime. I was outfitted with a two-way radio and a flashing red light for my truck.

The talent, as my father-in-law calls them, were the Street Corner 5, The Excellents, Charles Thomas and The Drifters (in the photo above with me and my stepson’s friend), Shirley Alston Reeves of The Shirelles, and The Happenings. All are comprised of marvelous people. We talked, we joked, we laughed.

Charlie Thomas greeted me with a hug. Ms. Reeves said, “Thank you, baby.” The Street Corner 5 (an accappella group) sang me two songs while riding in my truck. The Excellents gave me a CD and a signed photo. The Happenings looked for me in the crowd while singing “Sherry Baby” (because, you know, I’m Sherri). See what I mean? Really stellar people.

When all was said and done my father-in-law praised my professionalism and joked that I could add this to my resume.

Which got me thinking.

For all the time I’ve spent over the years trying to affix myself with a nice, neat title – something that tells the world what I do – maybe I’ve been missing the point. Because I don’t do just one thing.

While working with the awesome creative living coach Jamie Ridler several years ago she said, “What if your thing is not a thing, but things… plural?” It felt so messy, so ugh-how-am-I-supposed-to-explain-that-to-anyone.

But here I am…

  • New farm owner (Oh, I haven’t really mentioned this yet, but I will soon. Surprise!)
  • Wife/mother/stepmother
  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Web coach
  • Oracle card reader (I’m adding this offering to the site as soon as I get my Paypal buttons worked out. If you want a reading sooner, send me a message.)
  • Functionality curmudgeon (I like things to work in a way that is useful and simple.)
  • Amateur photographer
  • Home and community gardener
  • Fast typist
  • Watercolor newbie
  • Introspective explorer
  • Self-improvement reader
  • Driver to the stars

That’s probably not a comprehensive list either. It doesn’t take into account that I get all giddy when I see a butterfly, that I used to have a conversational level of sign language that sometimes comes back to me in little bursts, that I can write one heck of an instructional document, that I can make hot chocolate at a perfectly drinkable temperature, or that I most definitely cannot be trusted with glue.

I don’t do just one thing. I do things. I do them well (except glue). So maybe my title could be “thing doer.” Hmmm… still needs work. The problem is that social media almost demands a short and snappy role. LinkedIn wouldn’t accommodate my list above. It’s definitely over the 140-character Twitter limit. Facebook provides just one line to say who you are.

So who am I?

I just don’t know how to label myself on these platforms. I purposely left a title off my business card. “Oh, you need help with a website? Here’s my card.” Or “you want a card reading? Absolutely. Here’s how to reach me.” Or “sure I’ll look over that document. Send it here… .”

How do you put a title on things… plural? Can we have a brainstorm session? What would you suggest? Also, I’m curious how you explain yourself to others. What is your title or elevator pitch or 10-second overview?

By the way, if you want to work with me in any of the ways above, email me at smhutchinswriter at gmail dot com. I’m sure we could work something out. I’m a doer of things, you know.

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Summer Magic

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Hi. One little word. Two letters. The easiest of words to begin with and the only place I can think to start after my long pause from blogging.

As you may recall, toward the end of May I announced that I was taking a short hiatus. Definitely through the end of May. Perhaps into June depending on what felt right. It turns out what felt right was most of the summer.

For a while I pulled away from most social media and websites. During that time I began to remember what it was like to live untethered. Free from checking my phone mindlessly every five minutes. Free from the time-suck that is Pinterest. Ignorant to the mutterings of Facebook, the chatter of Twitter, and all the noise that I previously allowed into my days.

The break was just what I needed. And as I slowly returned to certain platforms, I did so mindfully. Careful not to allow it to take over. I found where my interests and my limits were. I learned that I love Instagram for its simple visual stories. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

As for real life, it’s been busy as it often is. Baseball tournaments, visits from friends, my best friend’s wedding, and significant progress on potential next steps.

Summer has been full. Sometimes I think too full. Often in the moment when things feel unnecessarily troublesome or time consuming. But when I look back I feel happy about it. Something about memory hides the stress and puts a shiny glow on everything.

When I sat down at my computer this morning, I had no idea I would write a blog post. In fact, I thought I’d probably wait until September to jump back in. In this moment, however, the time feels right.

And as I’ve written this from my kitchen table, I’ve watched a family of deer meander through my backyard and a hummingbird hover above a feeder that needs to be filled. Everyday magic is all around.

Below is a glimpse of just some of the magic I experienced this summer. How has your summer been? What magic have you found?

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Pausing

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Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
~ Guillaume Apollinaire

This is a quick post to let you know that I am taking a short hiatus from blogging.

Don’t worry. Nothing is wrong. I’m just feeling the need to back away from technology and really sink into the world around me. To experience it with all of my senses.

What have I been up to?

I’ve been working on my garden. No, working isn’t the right word. (My husband recently told me he’s trying to not use the word “work” when he isn’t talking about his actual job. He’s changing his mindset. So let me try again.) I’ve been spending time in my garden. Moving rock, loosening soil, and planting vegetables.

I’ve also been serving with some other people to set up a community garden. The kale sprout shown in the above photo is from there. I’m really excited about that project.

I also recently finished my first ever painting class. It was a watercolor class offered through my town and it’s the first time I have ever painted (outside of middle school art class where we got to paint for probably a week each year). I’m really proud of my painting, and I still have some more to do on it. I’ll share it with you when I return.

So while I experience life and refill my soul’s well, I’ll be absent from here and probably quiet on social media all around. I suspect I’ll stick around on Instagram (find me as @smhutchinswriter). I may be on Twitter (@smhutchins) or on Facebook (smhutchinswriter) a little bit.

The newsletter will still go out on the first Sunday in June. If you’re not already signed up, you can do so by entering your name and email in the fields at the top of my sidebar.

The “card of the day” will still go out on Facebook and Twitter each morning.

How long will this pause be? At least through the end of May. It could extend through the first part of June. I’m not sure yet. I’ll take whatever time feels right.

In the meantime, I wish you all sorts of wonderstruckness and ordinary magic.

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Flecks #25

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As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I’m learning and celebrating.

So, let’s talk about this week.

Things I learned this week:

  • I can shovel rock. It made me feel a little badass.
  • Working with other people toward a community goal feels good.
  • To keep my mouth shut. Unfortunately this lesson comes after not having done so.

Things I’m celebrating this week:

  • Progress.
  • Abundance.
  • Badassery.
  • Community.
  • New offerings. (If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed in the web world, let’s work together to get you calm, comfortable, and empowered. You’ll find details by clicking “Web Work” in the main menu.)

Things that are resonating with me this week:

What If the Fear Isn’t Going Anywhere? by Victoria Brouhard with this wisdom:

If I wait for the fear to leave, I will never do the thing my heart wants, the thing I believe I’m here to do.

I’m left with two options:

1. Abandon my dream

2. Figure out how to step forward despite the fear

How to Access Our Inner Wisdom by Susannah Conway wherein she says:

So if we translate that into journalling, first you get everything out of your head onto the page. Concerns, worries, half-baked ideas, preoccupations. He said this, she said that. The what ifs? The resolutions. Get it all out. And then keep writing. Start asking the questions and see what you come up with. Once I’ve dumped everything out of my brain I find it’s much easier to start looking at things from a different perspective. Sometimes I’ll keep my notebook by my side all day, adding more notes as they occur to me. What started as chaos in the morning might look very different by the evening.

Your turn:

What did you learn this week? What are you celebrating? Leave a comment and I’ll share a “Woohoo!”

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For Moms of All Kinds, Sizes, and Shapes

I wrote this a couple of years ago and it still stands true, so I’m re-running it for Mother’s Day today. Enjoy the day, everyone!

Mothers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are biological, some are stepmothers, some are adoptive mothers, some are mother-like figures for children’s friends, and some are a combination of these.

Mothers hug and heal. They bend down and lift up. They teach and they listen. They know when to hold tight and when to let go.

As a mama and stepmama myself, I understand how hard it is. You don’t always know what you’re doing, yet there’s pressure to appear that you have everything under control. So, you do your best and hope your children are better for it.

In the book The Middle Place, Kelly Corrigan explored the dichotomy of being a parent while also still being your parent’s kid. After publishing that book she created a video with Borders (so sad they are gone!) sharing a story about her own mother. I watch it every year and every year it makes me laugh and tear up at the same time. Today, I’m sharing it with you. It is still my favorite mom story.

To mothers of all kinds (including my own mama and stepmom), Happy Mother’s Day!

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Flecks #24

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As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I’m learning and celebrating.

So, let’s talk about this week.

Things I learned this week:

  • Advanced preparation makes almost all things better (or easier or less stressful).
  • Time alone wandering a bookstore, then sitting in the cafe with hot chocolate and my journal is restorative.
  • Happy faces are beautiful faces.
  • How to assemble a kite. It came with instructions which were completely unhelpful to me because I didn’t understand the terminology. For example, I’m pretty sure a “bridle” is something you put on a horse and I don’t know what that has to do with kites.
  • I love apple trees and apple blossoms. And the smell of apple blossoms.

Things I’m celebrating this week:

  • My birthday!
  • This blog’s birthday!
  • My newsletter launched!
  • My first program (the Wonder Seeker 3-day photo challenge) launched! (I like to launch things the week of my birthday.)
  • New possibilities
  • Beautiful weather- the sunny days, the gray days, all of them. Temperatures have been wonderful.
  • My teenager found, interviewed for, and got a job- all by himself. Yay for him! (He’s totally psyched about it.)

Things that are resonating with me this week:

Show Me Family by Amanda Magee at Brain, Child.

Creating a Community When You’re a Lone Wolf by Teresa Reed (aka The Tarot Lady).

Your turn:

What did you learn this week? What are you celebrating? Leave a comment and I’ll share a “Woohoo!”

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I’m 37 and Live Wonderstruck is 2!

It’s a big week here. Lots of growing milestones. Okay, really just two. Or maybe three. Or four. I guess it really is a big week.

First, my birthday was this week. I’m now 37 and I feel really good about that. I’m not even sure why. There’s just something about that number that feels right.

As has become my custom for the past five or so years, I held a self portrait session in my backyard. This year instead of battling with the timer on my camera, I let my three-year-old stand behind the tripod and click the button to his heart’s content. (I highly recommend this method, by the way. He was super excited to take pictures. Who cares if some were blurry or aimed wrong? That happens when I take them with the self-timer, too.)

Actually, I guess that means it wasn’t so much of a self portrait as just a portrait. You get the idea.

Anyhow, this is what 37 looks like. Unfiltered. Un-retouched.

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But I wasn’t the only one with a birthday. Live Wonderstruck turned 2 this week! HOORAY! (*Cue confetti and dancing and sparkles and whatever other merriment you think of.*)

I started blogging in 2007 quite randomly and haphazardly. I dabbled here and there in different topics. But it wasn’t until 2012 that I narrowed in and the idea of seeking wonder in everyday life. Thus began my Live Wonderstruck journey.

Let’s review some of the most visited posts during those two years.

My Pinterest recipe reviews make quite an appearance in the top ten including: apple cider sangria, cookie dough balls, cherry pie poppers, and blackberry cider.

Some of my most visited posts are older posts like Happy? I’m Too Tired to Be Happy, When You Don’t Have Anything to Do On a Friday Night So You Buy Ducks (that’s one of my favorites, too), and The Best Part of Pink’s Concert.

But some of my most recent posts are also among the most viewed: Inked and What Makes a Long Marriage? No really, I’m asking.

Then there’s the interviews. The most viewed are from addiction expert Veronica Valli and middle school teacher and writer Alina Sayre. This is probably a good time to say thank you to all of my interviewees over the past two years (and there have been many!). Thank you so much to all of you who said yes and took some time out to answer my questions. Thank you.

In related news this week I launched my very first newsletter! Did you get it? Make sure you’re on the list by entering your name and email at the top of the sidebar. You’ll get wonderstruck inspiration right to your inbox on the first Sunday of every month.

Also launched this week… my very first Wonder Seeker Photo Challenge! We wrap up today. It’s been fun coming up with prompts and seeing what we find out in this world that maybe we hadn’t paid much attention to before. I’ll be running a week long version of this program toward the end of the summer. Make sure you’re on my newsletter list to get early details!

Now it’s time for me to thank you. Yes, YOU! In these two years you all have supported me and showed up, read and commented, emailed me and shared some link love. Thank you for that. I so appreciate it.

Thank you for making my life a little more wonderstruck. I wish all the same magic for you.

 

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You Are Taking Steps

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No matter how small and unimportant what we are doing may seem, if we do it well, it may soon become the step that will lead us to better things. ~Channing Pollack

Your work is important. Whatever it is you do with your day – bookkeeping, managing, selling, healing, driving, cooking, laundry, hugging – your work is needed.

Do it well. Be proud of it. Know that you are making a difference.

And if there’s something you want to be doing that you’re not, take a step toward that today. It can be small. It can be for only 5 minutes. But step into it.

Step into yourself and own who you are now as well as who you wish to be.

You are important and your work is needed.

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Flecks #23

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As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I’m learning and celebrating.

So, let’s talk about this week.

Things I learned this week:

  • Just when you’re getting back into routines and carving out time for work, life will throw curveballs to disrupt it all.
  • Even though I am extremely perturbed by the curveballs, things will get done.
  • I’m grumpy in the mornings. (This is nothing new, but I am rediscovering it about myself this week.)
  • To leave white space on my watercolor painting as highlights.
  • That excitement and anxiety can coexist.
  • That I love my husband. (Also not new, rather another rediscovery that I hope to rediscover a gazillion more times in this life.)

Things I’m celebrating this week:

  • Love and partnership.
  • Day-to-day life works out one way or another.
  • Snuggles.
  • My second watercolor class.

Things that are resonating with me this week:

Overwhelm – It’s an Epidemic by Ginny Lennox in which she practices changing the thought. “I am so overwhelmed” becomes “My life is really full right now.” I’m saying this to myself over and over in these last few days.

10 Habits You Must Quit to Be Happy like procrastinating, making excuses, trying to control the uncontrollable… guilty, guilty, and guilty. I have some practicing to do.

In case you missed it…

I wrote two new articles for Simply Happy Me. Check them out here:

Developing Good Eating Habits for Kids

Active Kids are Healthy Kids

Last chance:

wonderseekerHave you signed up for my new monthly newsletter? It starts Sunday and if you sign up before then, you get my brand new Wonder Seeker photo challenge (running next week) for free!

Sign up for both by entering your email in the box at the top of my sidebar OR on the Wonder Seeker details page (one sign up gets you both).

Your turn:

What did you learn this week? What are you celebrating? Leave a comment and I’ll share a “Woohoo!”

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