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Showing posts from August, 2012

Midnight and a Mini Guitar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKvhvs-QF4k

What can you learn at midnight? A lot if you're willing to keep a playful attitude.

A couple of nights ago my husband suggested going to the basement to "see how the work is coming along." You see, we've been working on it all summer to turn it into a usable space.

Now I've been married long enough to know that "see how the work is coming along" means "see what we can go work on right now." Did I mention it was 11:30 at night?

Despite how ready for bed I was, I followed him downstairs in hopes of making him wrap up this little adventure quickly. A minute in to putting around, he grabbed a box with a light fixture in it. Here we go, I thought.

"Are you really going to hang that light right now?"

"I just want to see if it's going to fit here," he replied.

Sure. As aforementioned I know what "see" means.

He set out about unwrapping the fixture, holding it up to the ceiling, then…

Interview: Rhonda Hopkins

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

This week we are visited by Rhonda Hopkins, a unique writer with a background in investigating for family courts.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I’m wonderstruck by the generosity of other writers. I can always find someone who will answer my questions and support whatever I’m doing. I am amazed by how thoughtful and kind everyone is. It makes me want to do whatever I can to help them as well. After all, we’re all in this crazy wonderful world together.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for the time I get to spend with family and friends either in person, on the phone or online. I love to connect with them and find out how their day has been and what’s going on in their lives. That sharing of time is very important to me.

What part of your day is tough? How do you …

Fixing the Little Irritants

[caption id="attachment_477" align="alignnone" width="500"] My freshly cleaned oh-so-usable kitchen counter[/caption]

You know how sometimes everything seems to go wrong at once? For me, last month it was the air conditioner that died, the front door that stopped closing, the piece of roof flashing that blew off the house, and the freezer defrosting in a power outage.

Sometimes it's like that.

Sometimes, though, it's more subtle. Sometimes it's the little things piling up around you that throw your life in disarray: clutter, bills, errands, or maybe even too many things on the calendar.

Yesterday, I tackled some of those little things and you won't believe how big a difference it made in my comfort level.

I started by tidying the bedroom- making the bed, picking up clothes, putting The Little One's toys in a box. (We keep a few toys in the bedroom to keep him entertained if we're still getting dressed in the morning. Strategically place…

Inspiration for Counting Gifts

From my list of gifts:

#63. Fresh breeze blowing sheer curtains

I referenced this in my post earlier this week, Counting to 1,000 Gifts. As you can see in the photograph, I'm not the only one who enjoys breezy drapery.

To close out this week, I thought I'd offer some more inspiration for counting gifts. This time the words are not from me.

In the words of Abraham Tucker...
Dwell upon the brightest parts in every prospect ... and strive to be pleased with the present circumstances.
Henry Ward Beecher...
The unthankful heart ... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, s the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
e.e. cummings...
I thank You God for this most amazing day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes.
Robert Louis Stevenson...
The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers …

Interview: Liz Jasper

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

This week we are visited by Liz Jasper, paranormal writer who, according to her website, is "fueled by birthday cake." Love that.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

The smell of trees. I've been very busy with work and studying and writing of late--and sometimes I forget how much I need to recharge by going outside. Last night I drove up to the mountains and when I rolled down the window and got that first blast of cold, piney air, I got this incredible burst of joy and relaxation.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I really like twilight. I love that flat light that makes the colors of the flowers and trees pop. And I like how the damp air makes everything smell. Here in California, there's a particularly wonderful smell that I love: the sweet scent of the golden…

Counting to 1,000 Gifts

If I said to write down 5 wonderstruck moments, I bet you could, right? What if I said 100? Could you do that? There's no time limit. You could collect them over days, weeks, months even. Now imagine listing 1,000 wonderstruck moments. Again, no time limit. Just an ongoing list of wonderstruck goodness. What a list that would be!

I just finished my second reading of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts in which she describes her journey of thanksgiving. A friend challenged her to find 1,000 gifts from God... and she did. In fact, now she's several thousand deep. Ann's book follows her practice of giving thanks in good moments as well as hard moments, and what she learned about grace in the process.

After reading One Thousand Gifts the first time, I became more mindful of my surroundings and my attitude. I even started my own list of gifts, though I wasn't great at keeping it up. I chose a separate journal for my gifts, but it never seemed to be conveniently located.…

100 Pounds of Tomatoes and 7 Hours Later...

Wonderstruckness takes on a variety of formats. Sometimes it comes from seeing something beautiful. Sometimes it comes from experiencing a special moment. This week it came from learning something new.

My husband and I have been trying to learn more about storing food (stemming off our attempts to learn more about gardening), so when some friends said they were learning how to make and can tomato sauce (from their visiting Italian mother, no less), we jumped at the invitation to join in.

The first hurdle for all of us, though, was an obvious lack of tomatoes. I only grew one tomato plant this year, which didn't do very well. We started calling local farms, none of which had ripe red tomatoes yet. As we learned, you need super red ripe tomatoes for the sauce- no orange or yellow spots.

With no time to wait, we found a Whole Foods with a huge shipment of perfectly red tomatoes. Off I went feeling a bit like a crazy person asking for 100 pounds of roma tomatoes. They gave us a 10% disco…

Interview: Sharon Clare

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

This week our interviewee is paranormal romance writer Sharon Clare.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

Last fall, I held a writing retreat at a lovely guest cottage up north on a lake. To get some exercise and stimulate the mind, we visited an abandoned mica mine. The ground sparkled with flakes of mica that glittered in the sun. It was like walking over tiny mirrors—quite spectacular. I pick up stones when I travel. Pink-streaked granite from the Algonquin Highlands, smooth water-worn, brilliant orange and yellows from Costa Rica, pure black and white from the Baltic Sea. They sit in bowls around my house. I am constantly awed by the beauty of the natural world.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I used to be a night owl and had a hard time waking in the mornings. As I’ve gotten …

The Magical Moment of Actual Conversation with a Teen

Teenagers aren’t the easiest people to talk to. Understatement of the year? Maybe.

There’s the mood swings that keep you wondering which side of your child is about to respond to your question. There’s the testing and pushing of boundaries. And when you say no to something, there is always a compelling, eloquent response like, “Come ONNNN... .”

Then there’s that moment. The unexpected moment where you worry you might be dragging your teen to an event where they will be miserable (which may, in turn, make you miserable) and instead they LIKE it.

Magical. That is the only way to describe it.

This weekend I went to a country concert with my husband, my friend, her daughter, and my fifteen-year-old stepson. I almost didn’t buy my stepson a ticket because country isn’t really his thing. Rap and hip hop are cool amongst the teenage set these days.

Anyhow, when I bought his ticket last month I thought this would be his first concert, so at the very least I figured it might be an interesting ex…

Renewing, Refreshing Rain

The falling rain outside my window quiets me. The world closes in and brings my focus back to home. Back to here. Back to now.

When it rains I don’t feel pressure to get out and run errands. The rain reminds me that there is much I can do right here.

Such focus makes me feel like I am capable of more.



I think of the garden drinking up, soaking in, then bursting forward with the next sun. I think of the meals I’ll be able to prepare. Fresh, grown from love meals. That’s the best kind, yet unfortunately not the norm.

But what if we all felt rain the same way? Drinking up, soaking in, and bursting forth with new energy.

Imagine the possibilities.

Interview: Tami Clayton

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

This week our interviewee is Tami Clayton, a writer of young adult and middle grade novels and an avid traveler. 

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

While there are things out in nature that always amaze me, I am constantly wonderstruck by the things people say to others and do for others. The generosity and kindness given so freely often brings tears to my eyes. Recently, a friend I've known since high school said the most touching thing to me over the phone. I, of course, cried. It totally made my evening. I've continued to reflect on it since and am so thankful for her friendship.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

It's difficult for me to pinpoint just one part for which I'm grateful. I love that first sip of coffee in the morning. I love seeing the sweet, innoc…

What happened to this blog?

I don't know if anyone still comes here anymore. If you do, you may have noticed the silence.

This blog was a beautiful writing home for me for four years. I explored many topics and even made a few friends.

Now I have a new blog home at livewonderstruck.com where I am exploring what it means to be wonderstruck and how we can all bring a little more wonderstruckness to our everyday lives.

It's not just me that you will hear from. Each Wednesday brings a new wonderstruck interviewee. Someone else whose perspective may give us something new to consider.

You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/smhutchinswriter. Click the "like" button for bits of wonderstruck inspiration and to get the latest from my blog.

I hope you'll come visit. Wishing you a wonderstruck day!

Being Genuine

A couple years ago, on a blog far, far away, I wrote a post called "Being Genuine." I recently stumbled across that post and was struck with a variety of emotions.

I felt proud of having written something so honest. I felt sad for that sense of being lost because it still creeps up these days. The best part was I felt clear.

I thought I had been feeling lost lately, but in reading that post, I realized how far I've come. For example, now I know I am here to help spread wonderstruckness (at least for now). I realize that I am here as a storyteller, a communicator.

This is a wonderful feeling. Now on days when it seems like I'm spinning my wheels, I will come back to this post to remind myself of how far I've come.

How far have you come? Think about where you were a year or two ago. What is different now? Take a few minutes today to revel in your growth.

Following is my original post.

The Original "Being Genuine" Post from April 19, 2010: 

Throughout my life I&#…

Ducks Make Me Happy

There is something about ducks. I don't know what it is, but they make me really happy.

It could be the way they swim gracefully on the water, appearing calm as can be, even when their feet are paddling away like crazy beneath the surface.

It could be the plucky little way they waddle when they walk.

It could be the way they walk right up to you at a vacation spot we like in Florida and wait for you to marvel at their amazing duckness.



I realize they look a bit like statues in this picture, but those are real ducks that wander around the Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando.

They are just so silly and happy looking. I can't help but smile when I see ducks.

So, this morning I popped on Facebook real quick and the first thing I saw was a chipper, fluffy, little, yellow duckling paddling in the water with the most adorable happy beak face. A friend of mine shared the photo from a place called "The Happy Page." (Thank you, Marla, for the giggles!)

Oh, yes. That is my kind of place. …

Interview: Rabia Gale

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

This week our interviewee is writer Rabia Gale. 

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I am constantly amazed by my children’s capacity to learn, and to do so with joy. Whether it’s teaching themselves how to play cat’s cradle out of a book or making the huge leap into reading independently, my children show me every day how to try, fail, and try again—and to do it all with a smile and utter unselfconsciousness.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

The post-lunch Quiet Time, where we all have a chance to wind down in the middle of our often-busy days. This is the time for journaling, reading, writing, doodling, quiet play, and recharging for the evenings.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

The evenings! A lot of activities are crowded into the evenings, along with…