The Keys to Traveling with Pets

Tags

, , , , , , , ,


I was recently approached by a fellow writer named Kendra who wondered if I’d collaborate with her on a project to share tips for traveling with pets.  If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know my Kloë is very important to me, so naturally this appealed to me, because I’ve got a pretty standard set of routines for when she and I travel together.

I was surprised to find though that Kendra’s (check her out on Twitter at @KendraThornton) routines are completely different from mine.  Check out what she has to say on how to travel with pets.

Going places with pets is a great idea especially if you love bringing your pet along. However, a good amount of planning is necessary to ensure that your furry friend has a fun trip too. I always go through a checklist to ensure that our dog has treats, water, food, treats, favorite toys and blankets so that she is always comfortable. My extended family is planning a trip to Chicago at the moment, and so it’s very important to me to get things all planned out before they leave as they will be bringing their dog. These are some of the best tips for traveling with pets that I have found.

Bring a Crate

Even though you may not want to crate a dog, I have found that they really like to be in a crate on vacations. It’s a familiar place, and it makes them safe no matter where we go. I bring along toys and blankets that are familiar to our dog so that she has the same scents and touches of home that make her feel safe. Before putting her in a crate, I always take her on a long walk for exercise just so she wants to rest in her crate when we get back.

Finding the Right Hotel

Some hotels out there have wonderful pet policies and even some amenities for pets. Whenever we travel with our dog, I pick a hotel that offers some kind of doggy breakfast or play area just for pets. If she starts to bark in the hotel room, I always take her out right away and burn off excess energy with a fun run around the hotel grounds. I suggested my family stay right in downtown Chicago, not only are there plenty of places to stay, but they are close to all the sites and are pet friendly too!

Staying Safe

Whether you plan on traveling on a plane or going out on a boat, it’s important to take the necessary precautions. Dogs and planes don’t really mix, but if you do plan on flying with your pet, always bring their favorite toys and follow PETA guidelines. If going out on a boat, make sure that pets have a flotation device on at all times.

Keeping Dogs Calm

One secret to ensuring that my dog is comfortable in new places is to bring along lavender oil. I find that just rubbing some on my hands and petting her will relax her even when she is frightened or not feeling well on long road trips. In addition, we take frequent stops so she can get out and look around while we are driving.

It’s important to plan ahead when bringing your pet along on any vacation. It will make their vacation just as fun as yours.

So my thoughts are as follows… I think Kloë would lose her mind if I crated her.  I have a hatch back so I lay the seats down and pad the back with a nice blanket, which gives her space.  I do this if I have little enough stuff that she’s ok back there sharing space with my stuff.  Otherwise, I leave the seats up, and she snoozes in the back seat on a hammock that prevents her from falling in between the seats into the foot room.  Mine looks about like this, though I bought it at Wal Mart for $20.00.  It’s lasted since she was super little, so it was a great purchase.

I have never taken Kloë on a plane, train, or boat.  If I do, however, I’ll be sure to take Kendra’s advice to heart!  Very good tips.

Lastly, I am totally going to try the lavender oil.  Kloë has taken recently to absolutely freaking out when we set out on car trips.  She doesn’t get sick or anything, but she cries for probably half an hour until she gives up the fight and stops the flip out.  When we head North for the summer, I’m going to try it.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

 

Do you have any tips for traveling with pets?  What do you do?

This too shall pass…

Tags

, , , , ,


It was hot today… but… Canada hot.  And I know I’ve never really been anywhere that has real hot.  Washington, DC on the 4th of July might count, but I don’t know if it does.  I’ve never been anywhere near the equator, a desert, or a jungle.  I’ve only ever experienced Canadian hot.  So take my assessment with a grain of salt…

Allow me to geek out for a moment when I say that my favourite part of this part of the year, this mid-May mid-Springtime bliss, is the thunderstorms.  Cold fronts meet warm fronts.  High pressure systems meet low pressure systems.  The battle lines get drawn in the atmosphere and we get to watch the spectacular fight to see who wins.

Today was one such day.  I was sitting in my basement watching the finale of The Voice after work.  I had a very, very hard day and getting through it was enough of a chore that I just wanted to turn my brain off.  The trouble was though that I didn’t turn off my brain at all, because it was the first time I’d been able to sit down at my computer for longer than 10 minutes in a little over a week, which left me with almost 100 new emails to read — mostly blog posts from other bloggers I love.

The utter difficulty of pretending to hold myself together through this day, and knowing that there are others just like it coming, made the idea of cooking myself my own dinner sound really unappealing.  Remembering my colleague’s leftover Chinese food today at lunch, I caved and I called my order in.

You see, from my basement, the world outside looked peachy keen.  It appeared to be sunny and I knew it was warm.  I stepped outside though to go pick up my dinner, and because this was a rare occasion that I forgot my phone, I can’t show you what I saw from the parking lot.  I’ll have to tell you.  There had been thunder rumbling behind my house to the South West, complete with the blackening sky and the ominous calm stillness to the air.  The thunder rumbled low and constant, maybe 15 seconds at a time.  I just stopped and listened for a moment… while to the North and the East, the sky was blue, the clouds white and puffy.

Parking lots haven’t been my friend these last 24 hours, so being stopped in my tracks in sheer awe while standing in the middle of one wasn’t what I expected this afternoon.  But that’s precisely what happened.  I got out of my car to run in and pay for my dinner, and I literally stopped and stared.  I’m mad that I didn’t have my phone.  To the East, a beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds was arced with a vibrant rainbow.  To the South and West, the sun fought hard to pierce through the darkness threatening to engulf it, and the rays shone through, but only a few.  To the South West you could see the shelf lines – the lines where cold meets warm and high pressure meets low.  The front had drawn its battle lines.  It seemed like it wouldn’t be long before the sun was swallowed by the ominous looking thunder clouds.

This whole analogy feels kind of like my soul.  The light is trying to pierce through.  I’m trying to shine my way through darkness that threatens to swallow me up, and right now it feels like the darkness is going to win.  Those thunder clouds are going to get my sun.  But that rainbow reminds me of a promise made so many, many years ago…. and I know that the sun never loses the battle for long.  And I can cling to that.

I got home and grabbed my phone, and took a stroll up and down my street.  As I walked for just a few minutes, I once again heard the constant rumble of the thunder, but at the same time I listened to the birds chirping and the mourning doves singing their sorrowful song.  I love mourning doves.  And I wonder… the birds have to know that something’s brewing up there.  Animals sense things much better than we do, and I could sense it.  Did the birds know it wasn’t going to be as bad as it looked?  Is that why they were still being brave and carrying on with their day?  Do they know a secret that I’m not in on?

photo 4(2)photo 2(8) photo 3(6)

All of this reminded me of that saying — Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.  Normally, I’d say I agree with that statement, but in this case I just don’t.  I can’t get behind that this time around.  And so in this stormy season I may not be dancing, but I will be clinging to the promise of that rainbow.  This too shall pass.

Cuz the funny part….. it didn’t rain until 6 hours later than expected, and the severe warned storm just never showed up.

 

On Mentorship

Tags

, , , , , , , ,


I’m not sure when I got old…. but somewhere along the way I guess I sort of did.

It doesn’t feel like it was THAT long ago that I was in teacher’s college, trying to get my feet underneath of me in a pretty challenging world.  I was trying to learn how to teach.  I was trying to learn how to take the stuff that I knew — mostly a compilation of useless random facts that have been filed and categorized into something somewhat mildly useful — and impart it to rooms full of young, mostly only semi-interested minds.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been THAT long since I sat down at my kitchen table in a small little farming community in the Niagara Region, poring over applications to teacher’s college and wondering where I was headed.  Would I be accepted to Western, and move to London?  It was what I wanted.  Would I be accepted to Nipissing, and move to North Bay?  Would I be accepted to Trent, and move to Peterborough?  Would I be accepted at all??  It became this kind of existential crisis where my entire future (or at least, what I thought I knew of it) started to hinge on the essays, the grades (which weren’t great, hence the existential crisis), and the shoddy list of volunteer experiences.  I was afraid I’d end up moving to New Zealand to get my education (because Christmas on a beach), and my Momma was afraid I’d leave and meet a guy at the beach, never to return.  Luckily (for my Momma I suppose), this was not the case, and to Peterborough I traipsed off… flung very quickly into placements where all of a sudden, I was responsible for the learning of teenagers.  Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to teach 14-18 year olds… my how times have changed — My most popular Facebook posts are quotes from my Kinders and my Grade 1s.

Because I went to teacher’s college in what’s called the Consecutive route, I just did one year of schooling focused solely on teaching.  There’s also this deal called concurrent education, where students take education courses interspersed through their undergraduate work, and do placements on Mondays until the end of their time in school, when they start to do multiple week blocks instead.

My first placement was a tutoring block where I spent 3 weeks working daily with a few different kids, pulled out of their classes, to focus on reading skills and help them with writing.  I was privileged enough to work under an amazing mentor.  She was my first associate teacher, and she and I developed a solid mentor/mentee relationship in just under a week.  It was Cindy who I felt was the only one I could go to to ask questions like “how do you be a Christian and work in public schools?” when all my professors were making it sound like it would be impossible.

My next was teaching Grade 9 Core French.  My associate teacher in that one helped me SO MUCH in understanding that there’s more to teaching French than being able to speak it.  She gave me the skills I needed in three short weeks to help translate more than the language — she showed me how to translate the passion I had for kids to learn it, both in how she taught and in the feedback she gave me.  I truly valued her mentorship.

Being in a consecutive program, we had “extended blocks.”  I had 10 weeks in one placement.  Over an hour from my house in Peterborough.  My associate teacher and I clashed in nearly everything we talked about.  Her ideas about how I should be teaching were not mine, but I assumed I just didn’t know better.  After all, my knowledge base in Grade 11 Anthropology and Travel & Tourism was non-existent, so I assumed I just didn’t know what I was doing.  I felt like I tried to be what I was being asked to be, and it wasn’t working.  I was miserable, and I almost dropped out of teacher’s college during that 10 week placement.  It took many, many tearful conversations with my Mom on the phone to convince me to just stick it out and if it wasn’t what I wanted after all, I’d at least have my expensive piece of paper.

I didn’t realize it then… in fact, I didn’t realize it until last year… but our mentorship relationship was not well suited.  We didn’t fit.  While she was a fantastic teacher, she wasn’t the teacher that I saw myself being, or that I thought I even could be because our personalities were so different, and so I had a difficult time learning from her.  I had the feeling that she expected me to teach like her.  That may not have been her intention, but I felt intimidated.

Fast forward a few (*cough* 6) years, and now all of a sudden, somebody somewhere considers me old enough, experienced enough, and mature enough to mentor others.  I started last year with my first student teacher, and it took me a while to feel comfortable in that role.  Mentoring someone else… teaching someone how to teach…. when did I become responsible enough to pull this off?

At 3:30 this afternoon, I said goodbye to two more student teachers.  I took on a 3rd year student teacher in October, and then when the opportunity arose to take on a first year student who would be mentored by the third year (and by me), I signed up.  It was an incredible opportunity for me, and, judging by the difficult goodbye the three of us experienced this afternoon, I suspect it was meaningful for them as well.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on the value of a solid mentor in the last few weeks, but particularly in the last week as they finished up a solid week block (instead of just being in on Mondays).  It just hadn’t occurred to me that I could be seen as a solid mentor.

I don’t feel old enough, responsible enough, mature enough, or experienced enough for this to have happened…. but somewhere along the line it seems to have.

What about you?  Have you ever found yourself in a spot where you were mentoring someone?  Have you been mentored?  How was that experience for you?

photo 3(5)I nearly wept…. couldn’t even handle it… I’m gonna miss those girls.

 

 

Meet Manira (Why I won’t give up my World Vision Sponsorship)

Tags

, , , , , ,


I sponsor a child through World Vision.  Her name is Manira, and I love her.

She lives with her parents, her brother, and her sister in a French speaking country in Africa (Score:  I can write to her in French!), and I’ve been sponsoring her for 5 years.

Allow me please to tell you a little about her.  She’s 10, in Grade 5, and her favourite subject is biology.  She’s a beautiful girl with a gorgeous smile.  She told me once in a letter that when she grows up, she wants to be a nurse.  The fact that she is even in school right now, learning and loving biology, warms my heart right up.  She loves to dance and sing, and being the oldest child, she does a fair bit of babysitting while her parents work.

Five years ago, I had no real inkling to sponsor a child, but World Vision literally came knocking.  They showed up at my apartment door and asked me to consider sponsorship.  The representative showed me pictures of kids who needed help, and she explained that for $35.00 a month, I could provide benefits not just to this beautiful girl and her family, but to her community as well.  In my profile on World Vision, I can look at a community report along with updates on Manira.

Look at the things going on in Manira’s community (pasted verbatim from my World Vision profile).

Education

  • We helped build and equip four classrooms at a primary school, easing overcrowding and improving the learning environment for children.
  • 14 literacy centers are offering basic classes in reading and writing for adults and young people who did not have the opportunity to attend school, equipping them with important skills for everyday life and making it easier for them to start small businesses and manage their households. 350 people attended the literacy centers.
  • Teachers were trained in new teaching methods to strengthen the quality of education.
  • Awareness campaigns were held on the importance of education for all children, including girls, who are often kept home from school to do chores and married early.

Health and Nutrition

  • More than 2,500 malnourished children and nursing mothers were treated at nutritional recovery centers operated with World Vision’s support.
  • We partnered with the Ministry of Health to hold immunization campaigns, helping them reach more children with life-saving vaccines.
  • We supplied two health centers with antimalarial medication, distributed 2,025 mosquito nets, and organized two malaria-prevention campaigns. We also facilitated training in malaria prevention for 16 health officers.

Agriculture and Environment

  • A veterinary store was opened to improve availability of feed and medicine for livestock, which are the primary source of food and income for many families.
  • An assessment was carried out to determine the status of 25 community grain banks. We followed up with training for the committees who manage the grain banks and stocked them with 63 tonnes of millet to reduce families’ vulnerability to drought.
  • We worked with community partners to restore 108 acres of environmentally degraded land.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Eight borehole wells were drilled to decrease the prevalence of waterborne illness. Children can now attend school instead of fetching water and women have more time for business activities and to care for their families.
  • We contributed materials to help 53 families build latrines, improving sanitation.
  • 60 women have formed volunteer groups to promote healthy hygiene and sanitation practices in the schools and the community.

Economic Development

  • Two vocational centers were established to train women in sewing so they can provide for their families.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about Manira in the past 24 hours since the Internet exploded with news of World Vision (US) changing their hiring policy twice in rapid succession to accept and then reject those in same-sex marriage relationships in their hiring process.

My opinion on the actual mechanics of that decision isn’t really relevant here for a couple of reasons.  First, World Vision Canada is a separate entity, and I actually kind of liked their statement in response to it all.  Second, I truly believe that my need to continue giving sponsorship to this child is so much more important than any of the kerfuffle that’s gone on the last couple of days.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours sifting through mainly reactions to the events that have transpired, though I will admit there were a few well crafted responses.  Jen Hatmaker’s is one of them.  I really resonated with hers, as I do with pretty much everything she writes.  I think she and I would be good friends.

What broke my heart while I was reading was the sheer number of people who have decided that, effective immediately, they needed to withdraw their support of children who so desperately need that involvement in their community.  I mean, do what you gotta do I guess, but I immediately pictured Manira, who’s able to go to school along with many other girls in her community.  She’s able to just love biology, and her dream of being a nurse has a chance at actually happening.  I know I’m not solely responsible for those things, and it would be naive of me to think so, but the thought of withdrawing my support from her over a decision made at the administrative level made me kind of sick to my stomach.

My thoughts on anything else, right now — they’re completely irrelevant…. because I feel so strongly that my support needs to stay with Manira, not with a side on the issue.

Are there other charities doing equally great things in communities around the world?  I’m sure there are.  But if I just threw in the towel because I didn’t like an administrative change, who would explain to Manira why she had support one day and then didn’t the next?  I sure wouldn’t want to.

In fact, you know what?  I’m currently prayerfully considering sponsoring a second child, because I think that the needs of the orphans, the marginalized, the poor, and the disenfranchised are bigger than administrative decisions that impact offices in corporate America.  I have an opinion on the right vs. wrong side of the debate itself, but that’ll only detract from my point here.  It’s not important what I think about gay marriage.  And while it IS important what scripture says in every instance in life ever, about everything, I can’t help but think that for me, it’s more important that I love Manira than that I get up on my soap box and start to preach, one way or the other.  After all, I think the greatest commandment is love, is it not?  Yeah.  Love.

 

Where I’ve Been: Why I’m Abandoning NaBloPoMo

Tags

, , , , , , , ,


I am a writer.

I’m a writer because I write.

But it has occurred to me lately that I should occasionally ask myself why I write

To put it incredibly simplistically, I write because I don’t tend to know what I think until I’ve written it.

It makes me wonder then — why do I feel like I need to write every day, if I don’t have anything of value to say?  Why do I just spew words for the sake of spewing words?  Why?  Is there value in self-reflection?  I would argue that there is.

The last few months, I’ve been desperately trying to garner more followers to this here blog, and I suppose I’ve succeeded in that aim, but I’ve noticed a pattern.  The days I gather followers are the days when I’ve posted something that I thought up myself, or at least when I’ve taken a prompt and run in my own direction with it… not the days I’ve taken a mindless prompt and hardly given it any original thought — writing just for the sake of writing.  Is that any different from talking just to talk?  Should I be writing just to write if I shouldn’t talk just to talk?

This is the reason I’ve written nothing since March 7th.

This is the reason I’ve abandoned NaBloPoMo altogether.

Writing should not be a chore.  I love writing.  I write to think.  Some things, I guess…. just don’t really need to be thought about?

I’ve been pondering something else alongside all of this…. You see, if I truly do write to think and process ~ and I believe that that’s true of me ~ shouldn’t I be using this craft for something deeper and more substantial?  Could the words that spill out of me so effortlessly using a keyboard or a pen not be used to Worship and glorify my Creator when the words I speak so often get ixed mup and tangled so badly that I forget what I was talking about?  I know, I know… this doesn’t happen all the time.  I’m pretty well spoken verbally as well, but I find that when I pray I am so easily distracted that I’m talking to God about something and SQUIRREL!  Yeah… that’s about how it goes.  I teach like that some days, too…. it’s pretty fun when you have to rely on students to put your train back on its’ track.

But if my brain processes better while I write, if I focus better while I write, and if I’m better spoken and far more eloquent when I write than when I speak, why wouldn’t I talk to God like that?  I must admit, I’ve never written a prayer.  I know many people who have.  I know many people who admit that it helps them focus, because it’s like writing a letter to a dear friend.

So I’ve abandoned NaBloPoMo, for March anyway.  I don’t think I’ll go back to it for April.  I haven’t given up anything for Lent, mostly because I was afraid I’d fail…. but maybe even though I’m late I can add something in.  I have a blank journal beside my bed, and I’d like to pray with a pen in my hand from here on out.  I’d like to see if it can add some focus to my conversations with the One who matters most, since, you know, SQUIRREL!

I’ll keep you posted.  Until then, though, I hereby announce that I am no longer committed to blogging every single day, lest feeling like I’m forcing myself to do it sucks the joy and the life out of it.  I will still continue to receive all of the prompts into my inbox from The Spin Cycle, Mama Kat (check out her Writer’s Workshop, too), Holley Gerth (check out Coffee For Your Heart), BlogHer’s prompts, and The Daily Post, but I reserve the right to pick and choose the ones that I tackle, if I choose to write any at all.

And who knows what kind of gold I’ll crank out now that I’ve relieved my own source of pressure?

Traditiiiiiiooooon! TRADITION!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,


(so this title only works if you’ve seen Fiddler on the Roof.  If you haven’t, please stop reading, go watch it, then come back.  Ok I kid… don’t leave, but at the same time, it’s great.)

Alright, so WordPress’s Daily Prompt today is to talk about traditions, and with March Break so close I can taste the freedom, I thought I’d talk about my March Break traditions.

I don’t have tons that are set in stone, but I couldn’t come up with anything else to say tonight rather than to talk about the excitement that will befall me around 3 pm tomorrow.

Every March Break, though, I go do something.  What it is that gets done is never set in stone.  A couple years I’ve gone on vacation, one year I just went to my parents’.  Last year I went to Savannah, Georgia with my Mom.  The year before that I think we went to Niagara Falls — it was the year that March Break was like super hot.  It was fantastic.

This year, however, I’m decorating my kitchen, living room, and mud room.  It’s a huge undertaking.  Lots of paint, new counter tops, some new furniture… epic.  I can’t wait to do before and after pictures!

For now, you can see my colour palette.

photo(20)

Why I Don’t Toboggan ~ Weekly Writing Challenge

Tags

, , , , , , , ,


Every time I go tobogganing (I think this term paints a gigantic maple leaf on my forehead, haha {check out some Canadianisms here… I found them entertaining}), I get completely wrecked.  Legit.  I can’t remember the last time I went tobogganing where I wasn’t completely destroyed when I was finished.

Oh that isn’t true… I went down the hill at Camp twice in February… once with the dog on my lap, haha… sadly there are no pictures of this.  It was epic, though.  We were ‘breaking the trail,’ so to speak.

At Camp (aka my second home) is where I’ve done most of my life’s tobogganing.  I can think of two very memorable experiences, one of which I was reminded of by these pictures for this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge — Threes… by WordPress.

dscn7232-2sm dscn7240-2sm dscn7219-2sm0

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit (all three pics):  Driveway Sledding by Jessie at Behind The Willows

The first incident I’ll tell you about was in high school (actually, I think they both were…).  This particular winter, it had been cold enough that the lake was frozen solid, and we were therefore able to sled down from the chapel at the top of the hill, and ramp off of the dock platform onto the sheet of ice that was the lake.  Of course, it was covered in a rather deep blanket of fluffy snow, so the landing wasn’t supposed to be jarring.

However — right to the right of the dock platform are these sharp, pointy, very hard rocks.  You see, that day… it was about -40 degrees.  Celsius or Fahrenheit, you ask?  Doesn’t matter.  They’re the same at -40.  So when I sat down on my crazy carpet (… aptly named, no?), I breathed into my scarf, which was protecting my face, and my friend pushed me down the hill.  My breath instantly fogged up my glasses, which at -40 froze instantaneously.  I couldn’t see where I was going at all, and I ended up going backwards.

You can probably see where this is going.  There’s been foreshadowing.  I didn’t ramp off of the dock platform as I was supposed to.  I crashed into the rocks to the right of the dock…. with my tailbone.  It HURT!  I laid on the frozen lake, probably motionless, because from the deck overlooking the lake (which is no longer there), my Dad yelled “if you can move, get UP!!!”  At the time, it seemed pretty mean, but now when I look back as an adult, I know that if it happened to any of my students, I’d be concerned first with whether or not they were paralyzed, and THEN I’d be concerned with how much it hurt.  I sat up, gave a solid two thumbs up, and dragged my very sore body back into the main building.  You know you’re gonna hurt when it hurts instantly.  This was Friday evening of an entire weekend away.  I did not go back outside the rest of the weekend.

The second incident was far less scary.  You see, in years where the lake hasn’t been adequately frozen for it to be safe to toboggan onto, we toboggan from the driveway.  In Grade 12, I had some crazy long hair (well, about as long as it is now, haha… just fewer gray ones…).  I had it braided into pig tails to go tobogganing so that it would fit under my tuque.  I was there with a bunch of friends from my youth group, and all of us decided to try this brilliant plan.  Let me tell you, nothing good ever comes from “hey, I got an idea!” when it’s coming from a few 16 year old guys.

We piled onto the inner tube of a transport truck.  Four guys on the bottom.  Four girls in row two (I was one of them), four more girls on top of us (they were probably grade 6-8), and four little kids on the top row.  It took three grown men to push us to give us enough momentum to get started down the hill.  I was on the outside of my row.  Well…. remember those crazy long pig tails I told you about?  One of them went under the inner tube while we were going down the hill, and literally pulled me out of the pile of people… three rows down, sandwiched on the boys, and under literal piles of girls, I got yanked out by a pig tail.  Everyone else got to the bottom and wanted to know why I bailed.  With tears in my eyes, I told them that probably a bun would have been a better option.

Long story short:  I prefer to play it safe when it comes to tobogganing.  Golf courses, previously unbroken trails, etc… those are safe.  Those kids in Jessie’s pictures look like they had a wonderful time tobogganing down their driveway, but I don’t toboggan down the driveway any more.

My Writing ‘Voice’

Tags

, , , , , ,


It’s funny, that as I sit here watching The Voice… I’m being asked to write about my writing voice.  Many of you … most of you … have never heard me speak, before.  If you have, though, you know that I write how I speak.

My writer’s voice is not dissimilar to my speaking voice.  Granted, when I write, I tend to throw in a slightly more flowery vocabulary, probably because I have the time to think through what I’m writing and while I do type with great speed, I speak much more quickly.

That said, I’ve had many people comment that after the first time they’ve read something I’ve written, it’s very easy for them to hear me reading it in their heads while they read the pages themselves.  This strikes me kind of like all those memes where something random is written but it’s pasted on a picture of, like, Morgan Freeman… and I don’t know about you, but when I see words written on a picture of the likes of Morgan Freeman, or James Earl Jones… I can’t help but hear them reading it in my head.

Granted, there are tools that help me accomplish this.  I am a huge, huge fan of two major punctuation marks.  The ellipse ….. and the comma.  They accomplish for me the pauses and effects that I use in every day speech.  The ellipse especially, if you’ve been reading my stuff for any length of time, you’ll know I use frequently.

I love my writer’s voice.  That’s probably best since it’s so similar to my every day speaking voice.  The only (small) issue is that given how similar my writing and speaking voices are, I find that when I try to write in a voice other than my own, it’s so deeply engrained that it’s very difficult.  It tends to be why (I feel, anyway) I excel in my own ramblings, and less in fiction.  I struggle to separate myself from individual characters when I try to write fiction.

And there you have it, there’s my writing voice!

This post was written for BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo, which, for the month of March, is focused on ‘self.’

5 Things About Me

Tags

, , , , , , ,


This feels a lot like those American Idol “5 Things About You in 20 Seconds” dealies.  So… here it goes.

Five Things About Me:

  1. I love music.
  2. I believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
  3. I want to write a book.
  4. I speak, read, and write French fluently — and want to add to my language arsenal.
  5. I am addicted to hash tagging and selfies.  #legit.

Keep tuning in in March through BlogHer’s March NaBloPoMo, and you can learn lots more about me!

Also — this took far longer than Idol’s 5 in 20.  I’d have been buzzed out with a giant x for sure!

IMG_3017

The Things I Can/Can’t Live Without

Tags

, , , , , ,


So I’ve dropped the ball.  Another NaBloPoMo started yesterday, and I didn’t figure it out until yesterday at like 11:45 pm and by then I was tired, so I didn’t write.  It hadn’t occurred to me that it was March 1st.  In theory, I should’ve been writing anyway because I did sign up for February’s NaBloPoMo as well, but I guess I dropped the ball on that one, too.  March 2014’s theme is Self.  I actually had a conversation with a good friend tonight about how I don’t like talking about myself with complete strangers — I tend to clam up.  But give me a keyboard?  Watch out.  I realize that in actuality, this means even more strangers read the deep thoughts that spill through my fingers — but that’s just it — they spill much more freely through my fingers than they do from my mouth.  So if you don’t know me very well yet, prepare to learn new things about me through this month’s Self blog.

There’s no prompt for today, so I guess I’m left to my own devices right now.

But I was struck with an original thought this morning!  Sometimes I have those.  I was sitting in church listening mostly intently to the sermon (I could summarize it for you, I was listening, but it’s about to sound like I wasn’t).  I was sitting with a dear friend, her husband, and her three girls.  After the younger two had disappeared off to Junior Church, it was us three adults, and my friend’s 9 year old, who was scribbling furiously in a notebook she’d brought with her.  Curious, I glanced over.  I noticed a couple of things.  Firstly, I noticed how neat her printing is.  She’s a Grade 4 teacher’s dream.  Lovely penmanship on that girl.

But then I saw what she was writing.  She was writing lists of things she can and can’t live without.  At that point, I stopped being so snoopy and I let the girl write.  Her Momma peeked at some of them, and shared some of them, but I turned my attention back to the sermon and tried not to let the now-mulling blog post inspiration (gleaned from a 9 year old… maybe she’s 10… anyway) distract me from the deep meaning that was in this morning’s message.

But now that I’ve had the afternoon to think this through, please enjoy getting to know me by experiencing the top ten things I can and can’t live without.

I Can Not live without (only a couple of them are in order — for example, Jesus is definitely number 1, but peanut butter isn’t the second most important thing in my life):

  1. Jesus
  2. Peanut Butter
  3. The Bible – every inerrant word of it.
  4. Music — all of it.  Mostly the fiddle though.  And country.  And…. ok Music.
  5. My fam jam.
  6. My dear, dear friends.  The ones right here in my city, the ones I only see at Camp, the ones I left in Niagara when I moved away from home, the ones all over, and that random one in Wasaga Beach whom I think I’d miss even if I’d never met her :P  You know who you are.
  7. The dog.  This face.
    photo(9)
  8. Carbs.  It’s been a proven fact.  Science! :p
  9. My cognitive ability to express myself through the written word — even if it comes at the expense of my willingness to be verbally expressive.  Oh, and books.  This has to go here or I’ll go over ten… and I know I make the rules, but top 11 lists are just bizarre.
  10. Facebook.  Legit — think I’d perish.  Social media in general.  Maybe this is bad?  I dunno.  I refuse to buy into that.  Probs my phone, too… let’s be real.
  11. I caved.  Had to go to 11 anyway.  Disregard the rant in 9.  Movies.  They can’t go away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now, before I snooze, the 10 things I most definitely CAN live without:

  1. Mean peeps, and general awko taco situations.
  2. Snow.  All of it.  Be gone.  (except on December 24-25)
  3. My slow metabolism and the resulting occasional bout of low self-esteem.
  4. Math (this probably isn’t true, though it’d be fun to try)
  5. Report Cards.  Gosh.  You’d think as a writer I’d hate these less, but… not true.  Loathsome things, they are.
  6. Going to the dentist.
  7. The sense of entitlement that is so prevalent in many of the kiddos I teach right now.  Note:  I am not saying I can live without the kiddos.  I love them.  They just need to understand that they don’t just deserve stuff… not just because.
  8. Staff Meetings.
  9. Car and House Maintenance — things need to quit breaking.  For real.
  10. Bathing Suit shopping.

 

Get ready to learn lots about me this month!  It’s gonna happen!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 506 other followers