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Showing posts from October, 2013

A Halloween Poem

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"Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand"
~Thriller lyrics

* * *

The pumpkins are set.



The door stands ready.



Got candy? You bet.



Fireman, hold steady.



Halloween is here,
Let fun times abound.



Watch for magic,
life is spellbound.

* * *

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wishing for Happy Surprises

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Once again it's time to cast wishes with Jamie Ridler. This week she asks: What treats do you wish for?

I wish for simple, happy surprises. For smiles and hugs from loved ones. For fresh flowers to brighten my kitchen table. For quiet moments to write.

I wish for a "thank you" or "good job" or "atta girl." And I wish to give those (or "atta boys") as treats for others.

I wish for plenty of moments to giggle and laugh heartily. Lots of snuggles.

Love in the everyday is a treat. I wish for more of that.

How about you? What treats do you wish for?

I Stepped Off a Perfectly Good Platform to Glide through the Air on a Small Cable

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"You are ZIP READY!"

BS! I call BS.

Let me backtrack. For Christmas last year, my husband got my stepson and me (and my husband) gift certificates to go ziplining at Hunter Mountain in New York.

Being procrastinators as we are, and with all the baseball we have between April and October, we finally got around to scheduling that trip for this weekend.

And because we procrastinated, only the Sunday morning 8:30 a.m. time slot was available. After this weekend, the ziplines are closed for a while until the chair lifts open for skiing (because they won't be able to drive a small bus up the ski slopes once they start making snow).

It's about a 3 hour drive, so we left Saturday night and stayed in a hotel near the mountain. Sunday morning, we only had to drive 5 minutes to get to the Zipline Adventures office.

It was a crisp 35 degrees, so we bundled up in layers upon layers. For me that meant long underwear under jeans, two long sleeve shirts, a fleece jacket, my ski coat, thic…

Flecks #3

As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I'm learning, celebrating, doing.
Things I learned this week:

If you don't start the dryer, the clothes inside stay wet. Also, if you leave the clothes (or sheets) there not drying long enough, you will have to rewash them. (This happened to me twice this week.)
If you think the world is magically projecting calming meditation bells at you, it might be coming from your phone. (The Intention Reminder app for iPhone is reminding me to pause, breathe, and reflect.)
Some big themes for me right now are compassion and loving surroundings. I am trying to find ways to make them more present in my own life and work.
When I make collages, I prefer the images to be torn from the magazine rather than cleanly sliced with scissors. I like the rawness of it.

Things I'm celebrating this week:

A great Pearl Diving session with Jamie wherein I identified those big themes mentioned above. I have a lot to think about.
Allegiant came out! It's the th…

Practicing

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I'm still feeling a little angry and overwhelmed by things that creep up and infringe on my time. It seems no matter how much I try to plan, something will pop up that takes over.

On top of that, communication at home is stressful right now. Somehow we're misunderstanding each other, saying the wrong words, or maybe hearing the wrong words.

So, I'm practicing patience. I'm practicing not overreacting. I'm practicing clarifying the message.

I'm still struggling at times. But I'll keep practicing.

This too shall pass, and I don't want to miss beauty while reaping stress. Instead, I must harvest beauty, harmony, and serenity.

It takes practice.

Claiming My Own Contentment

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Once again it's time to cast wishes with Jamie Ridler. This week she asks: What Do You Wish to Claim?

I wish to claim my own inner peace and sanity. I wish to claim the time, space, and energy required to maintain my own contentment.

This may require setting boundaries. It will definitely mean making time to write because I feel better when I write. Writing helps me make sense of my thoughts.

It might mean saying yes or saying no. It will require the courage to speak up and say, "this is what I need right now."

As a people pleaser (and a mom and wife), it's hard to claim what I need. But there's this old saying that if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, so I guess it's kind of important to keep myself happy first.

How about you? What do you wish to claim?

Attitude Adjustment

I've been kind of a bitch lately. Overstimulated, overtired, cranky. Overwhelmed by bad news in the world, which I have been hypersensitive to ever since my two-and-a-half-year-old was born.

What a crazy, messed-up place our world can be. So many people are hurting. And I mean that in two ways: hurting = feeling physical or emotional pain, but also hurting = causing physical or emotional pain.

I want to expect better of people. I expect people to be kinder and more helpful. I expect people to do the right thing and to speak from love. But we don't.

And yes, I said "we" because I'm failing at it, too. If I don't come from a place of love and respect, how can I expect that from others? What right do I have to teach that message here?

It's not that I'm expecting myself (or others, for that matter) to be perfect. But in the day-to-day, I need to be kinder. I need to come from a place of love.

I need to stop rushing from one task to the next and snapping replie…

Things You Can Do with Your Teenage Kid or Grandkid

And no, I don't mean metaphorically ringing their necks, nor grounding them until their 30. We're talking activities and togetherness.

That article is on Grandmother Hen (written by yours truly). I hope you'll pop over and have a look.

And remember, you're making a difference in the lives of your teenagers whether you think so or not.

Flecks #2

Flecks, as in flecks of reflection from the week. Here we go.
Things I learned this week:

Time with friends can be restorative. (This is one of those things I've known, but was reminded of this week.)
That I am capable of a lot, and I can serve myself better by not procrastinating.

Things I'm celebrating this week:

Being finished! I turned in a massive editing project consisting of 1,700 pages of coding and 650 pages of copyediting. It was, by far, the biggest editing project I've taken on and, honestly, it was exhausting.
My stepson cleaned his room. All by himself. Of his own volition. He threw stuff out. He folded his clothes and put them in his dresser. He vacuumed. (I know. I'm baffled, too.)
My parents are visiting tomorrow. Yay!

Things I'm still learning:
To listen. "Listen" is my word of the year. It seems like it should be easy, but it's surprisingly tricky to truly listen- without thinking of what you'll say next, without multitasking, without ge…

Woman at Work

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The blog will be a bit light this week as I keep my head down to work on a big editing project.

So, in lieu of polished words or crazy life stories, I offer you a picture from this weekend of me in a super-stylish plastic construction hat.

Woman at work.

I'm not great at fashion, but I think this baby will go with anything- dress up or dress down.

Now, please excuse me while I get back to it. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Flecks #1

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Alright. I'm trying something a little different with these Friday posts. I'm calling it Flecks for now. As in little flecks of reflection from the week. Let's see how it goes.


Things I learned this week:

how to make apple butter and apple pear chutney
that I am not good at making apple crisp (Some of the apples burned. Some of the top didn't cook at all. The brown sugar is lumpy. Yikes!)
a peacock's call sounds a lot like a cat's yowl (also, I now have a fantasy of adding a peacock to our little homestead)
that I am a procrastinator extraordinaire (okay, I knew this already, but sometimes I am reminded of it again)

This week's celebrations:

I spoke my work desires. I took ownership of what I am looking for.
I ate eggs laid by my ducks (and lived to tell about it).
A harvest! Two tomatoes (from a surprise tomato plant that sprung up all on its own), two of the smallest green bell peppers I have ever seen, and seven serrano peppers.


Things I'm still learning from …

Live Wonderstruck is Now on Bloglovin

Some of the blogs I read are now on Bloglovin, an online blog aggregator of sorts where you can create an account and set up all your favorites to read in one place.

I'm giving it a try myself, particularly because I like that there is an app for my phone. There was just one small problem. My blog wasn't on it.

Well, now it is. So, if you would like to follow Live Wonderstruck on Bloglovin, click this link:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

And no matter where you read this blog, I thank you. Thank you for spending a few minutes here with me. Thank you for showing up. I appreciate you.

Holy Crap... I Just Took the Risk

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Once again it's time to cast wishes with Jamie Ridler. This week she asks a bold question that scares the hell out of me: What Risk Do You Wish to Take?

Ugh. I hate risk. I like safe. I like secure. I like comfortable.

And yet, I want to grow and stretch and try. Things that are really tough to do from the same old comfortable mindsets.

The risk that I wish to take has to do with my work. For five years now, I have freelanced. (Oddly enough, a huge risk that I took when the stability of a day job turned into the closing of a company and losing said job.)

I thought I'd try it for a while because, after more than a decade, the security of the work world had turned upside-down on me. My beliefs about what is stable began to change. So, I stepped out on my own.

And it worked.

People I had known and worked with previously began hiring me- some web project management, some technical writing. The work opportunities flowed steadily enough that I was able to maintain a "freelance career…

Turning 20 lbs of Apples Into Yummy Canned Goods

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Well, I finally started using all those apples I picked last week with my toddler. (20 lbs worth which were still sitting on my kitchen counter in the bag I brought them home in.)

I started with the easy part: picking out some apples to put in the refrigerator as cool, healthy snacks.

Then it was on to cooking and canning. I learned how to can last year (tomatoes and tomato sauce) and tried it again early in the summer (strawberry syrup and blueberry butter), so I decided to keep learning.

First up: apple butter. I followed a recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (also online: Apple Butter Recipe, although I didn't use allspice or cloves in mine).



It is smooth and sweet and oh-so-yummy. One recipe gave me seven small jars plus a little leftover to use now.



While the apple butter went through it's final processing in the water bath (look at me using canning terminology!), I got to work on Apple Pear Chutney. (Some of those 20 lbs of apples were actually pears which I pi…

I Ate Duck Eggs (and lived to tell the story)

I did it. I finally tried the duck eggs.

Buttons started laying eggs early in September and I've been too scared to try them. Part of it was worry over whether I'm collecting/cleaning/storing them properly. Part of it was the gross factor.

I'm a little weirded out by eggs as a concept ever since Buttons started laying them. It just seems more ewwwwww now.

On top of that, I am NOT an adventurous eater and I'm not even a big egg person (I have to be in the mood for eggs) so being adventurous with eggs is frightening.

Nonetheless, I decided that it was time to try them. (I've been collecting them for a month.)

So, this weekend I made scrambled eggs for breakfast. I pulled out two pans and made store-bought chicken eggs in one and home-plucked duck eggs in the other.

I wasn't sure my husband and stepson would be keen on trying them, particularly before their morning baseball game, so I made enough chicken eggs to feed them and enough duck eggs to feed me, plus some extra…

Inspiration for the Weekend #3 (the editing edition)

I am in editor mode this week. With a huge copyediting project going on for the next few weeks, I'm spending a lot of time on my computer.

And because I've been reading a manuscript, I haven't read many blogs this week. However, there are two posts I read that spoke to me. Coincidentally, they are both about editing.

One is about editing your life and the other about editing your writing. These are both things I'm working on right now, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Clear & Claim
by Jamie Ridler Studios

In this post, Jamie talks about editing your life. Claiming what works and clearing what doesn't.
We all know the value of decluttering, how good it feels to clear out what no longer serves, whether that’s shoes that hurt our feet or relationships that hurt our hearts. It is a powerful practice to clear our homes, our schedules, our hearts and our lives.
On Editing, Heavy Lifting & Great Writing
by Shauna Niequist

Shauna talks about the "invisible wor…

What is Your Favorite Apple Recipe?

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It's one of those days where I have a lot of things to do and don't know if I have anything in particular to write about.

What I do know is I have apples. Lots of them.

I took Jonas apple picking earlier this week and all 20-some pounds of apples (and some pears) are still sitting in the bag I brought them home in.

Last year when I picked apples, I made applesauce. It was a really efficient way to turn a whole bunch of apples into one jar of applesauce. It was good applesauce, but highly disappointing when I spent an entire day making it and it only filled one jar.

I'm not a big apple pie person, so aside from eating a few of them as they are, I'm thinking apple butter. (Blueberry butter earlier this year was successful.) Maybe throw a few slices to float on some apple cider sangria.

Do you have any other ideas? What apple recipes do you love?

It's probably important to note, that I don't know a lot of fancy cooking terms, and I like things that are simple. Please do…

Clearing Out

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I adore the Wishcasting Wednesday prompts posed by Jamie Ridler. She has a way of getting me to think in a way that cuts right to the heart of things. This week she asks, "What do you wish to clear?"

Short answer: so much.

I'm feeling cramped. Overwhelmed by too much stuff and too long of a to do list. If you read my Wide Open Spaces post on Monday, you already know I'm craving room to grow, stretch, and move freely.

Maybe the season has something to do with it. Now that we're in Autumn, I may be preparing the Hutchins cave for winter. And the thought of being crowded in the cave all winter makes Mama Bear grumbly.

So here are some of the things I wish to clear:

Unloved toys
Unnecessary paperwork
Unused kitchen tools
My email inbox (both of them)
Excess furniture
My teenager's too-small clothes and my husband's old clothes (I've recently done this for myself and the toddler)
My old computer (which is still tucked away 6 years later because I need to remove pictu…

Target and Toddlers... A Wicked Combination

I am Suzanne. (I'm not, really. Suzanne is not my name. This will make a lot more sense if you read Glennon's post at Momastery.)

But that's what I said to myself in the Target parking lot. Then I giggled. (Okay, I know you're busy, so if you didn't read Glennon's post - and you still should - the short version is that she spent all summer saying, "I am so zen," and her daughter spent all summer thinking her mom was saying, "I am Suzanne.")

So yes, it was a rough Target day.

We were running out of household things like toilet paper and shampoo and, on top of that, we had a birthday party for our friend's two-year-old for which we needed a gift and a card.

No problem. A quick trip to Target can solve all of that in one fell swoop.

Unless you have a two-and-a-half-year-old, whose new favorite word is "mind!" (He means "mine," but whatever.)

It started simply enough. Down the pet aisle for cat food and litter.

Toddler: "We…