Posts filed under ‘Writing Challenges’

Friday’s Fave Five – November 3, 2016

fff-delicate-leavesIt’s the beginning of November and gratitude is in the air and in my heart. I am joining in with this meme (Friday’s Fave Five) to make sure that the gratitude stays in my heart. Feel free to join in the meme or in the comments with your gratitude list.

Blessing One – Shoe and Sock Drive and Food for Neighborhood Meals. Once a month our church provides a yummy dinner for people (homeless, lonely, low-income). This month the Women’s Ministry from my church recruited folks to make meatloaf and brownies. And we had a successful sock and shoe drive. I am grateful that Cheryl took oversight of this project.

I had dinner and a chat with one of our guests. He told me,  “I can’t believe that I got new socks and a pair of shoes that fit! [He is a TALL gentleman.] AND I got this hooded sweatshirt that FITS as well. I am so grateful.”

I am grateful that someone came to the church while we were setting up and donated a BIG plastic tub FULL of things like that hooded sweatshirt. And I am grateful that despite a rainy afternoon (but dry evening), 90 folks received the blessings of a home-cooked meal and footwear.

Jeremy, Bip and Susan (me) showing off our carved creations.

Jeremy, Bip and Susan (me) showing off our carved creations. It was easier using tools from a carving kit

Blessing Two – Carved real pumpkins. Last week I decorated faux pumpkins with my grand daughter and her great aunt. This past week I carved a real pumpkin with Bip. She told me she’d never carved a pumpkin before and I thought we needed to rectify that.

I finally learned how to take a photo at night. I don't know why it took me so long to learn.

I finally learned how to take a photo at night. I don’t know why it took me so long to learn.

I provided the pumpkins and her husband, Jeremy, provided the toolkit. I don’t have a lot of patience for carving so mine is always basic. But this year I did the eyes a little differently. And I think it is just right for being in the middle of this set of 3.

I am grateful for the friendship and company of these two folks who are also ministry partners. And I am grateful that we got to make some fun memories together.

Blessing Three – Watched a movie after I read the book. This year one of my book reading goals is to read books that were made into movies this year. So far I’ve read the following:

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
  • A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The First (of Three) Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Children by Ramsom Riggs
  • Silence by Shusaku Endo

And on Tuesday (movies are $5), Bip and I watched Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was a good portrayal of the book.

Going to the movies was our reward for doing some things for our Saturday morning Sisters in Prayer Reveal.

3-pumpkin-centerpieceBlessing Four –  Fall Crafting. Seems like this time of the year, I HAVE to take time to do some crafting. This past week I made two fall centerpieces. I craft not only for the finished product, but also because it is so relaxing.

Ths is one of the projects. The “pumpkin” on the bottom is really a yellow and green squash. I sponged orange paint on all three vegetables before inserting toothpicks and hot glueing them together.

I will make another centerpiece. I will use a bigger pot next time as I think this one is a little on the small side.

Big sister dressed up as a butterfly for Halloween. In this photo it looks like Sissy is surprised at her older sister's costume.

Big sister dressed up as a butterfly for Halloween. In this photo it looks like Sissy is surprised at her older sister’s costume. When you take LOTS of photos, you can often luck out on a great one.

Blessing Five –  Halloween. I worked in the morning. And while there, we had 20 Trick-or-Treaters. 3 days a week there is a memory care day group at our church. Every year they come to the office to get sweets and they always give us a decorated bag of sweets. too.

Then I drove to my son’s home. I got to  Trick-or-Treat with my grand daughters. I spent the night so I had extra time to apply faux tattoos, bake pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, read, and  do some crafting.

I had a blessed week. I hope you did ,too.

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Five Blessings and No Complaints

fff-delicate-leaves

Time to remember and share another five blessings from this past week. Doing this helps me stay on target with no complaining. I am doing this gratitude exercise and linking up at Susanne’s blog, Living to Tell the Story. Join us in this weekly meme. There is plenty of room.

I am on Day 19. My goal is 21 days in a row of not complaining.

Blessing #1I made it through another week of not complaining. I almost lost it on Day 17 but I remembered in the knick of time to ask for what I wanted. Asking for What You Want Is Scary But It Stops Complaining. On Day 18 I was able to stop my complaining mid-sentence. Adding a “BUT” Turned Situation from Complaining to Resolved.

grandma-with-2

Blessing #2 – I spent the day with my grand children on Saturday. We hugged and talked. We walked to a harvest festival where we ate pizza with cheese and basil, walked through a HUGE bubble and petted a goat and bunnies.

pensive-with-pumpkins

Blessing #3 – I had creative time. I was at a team meeting tonight and one of the ladies said, “If Susan is involved in something there will be a craft.” Yep, and even when I visit my grand kiddos there will be a craft. Saturday night we decorated faux pumpkins from the Dollar Store. The medium choices were paint and/or gluing on torn bits of construction paper. I did only gluing. Sofia chose to glue on paper and paint. Tia chose the only painting option. That one was given away to a friend.  . . . The pumpkin on the far right is melted crayons. I made it two weeks ago and when I showed Sofia (via FaveTime) she asked  if she could have it. Of course, sweat pea. Of course.

Blessing #4 – I had a healthy and tasty snack 3 days last week. It was an easy to prepare, old-fashioned snack of cold, fresh celery logs topped with almond butter. Yummm. I cannot remember the last time I ate that. I need to buy more celery and almond butter.


bannerBlessing #5 –
I have a photography app on my iPhone that I’ve had forever and I just started using it this week: PicsArt. It is so fun. It turns photos into watercolour, deco art and so on. This is the photo that I doctored.

I love the quote, too: “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” I want to live my life this way.

Your Turn . . . 

  1. What is your easiest, favourite, healthy snack? Do share.
  2. How do you release your creative juices?

fruitfulwords125Related Resources . . . 

Read about two folks who took this challenge and the impact it had on them.

I am joining 100’s of others at #write31days to write every day in October on a single topic. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words. The category is Personal Endeavors. I will spend time each day on this topic to improve the quality of my thinking and the words coming out of my mouth

I am committing to this online writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016

Today is Day 21 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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Asking for What You Want Is Scary But It Stops Complaining

fruitfulwords1Yesterday I was told to hush and stop sharing my opinions on my Facebook page. This is what I naively shared . . .

“A measure of any society is how it treats its’ women and its’ girls,” Michelle Obama. . . . Women/girls being treated poorly, bothers me. . . . . “This is disgraceful and intolerable. It doesn’t matter what party we belong to. This isn’t about politics. It is about right and wrong.”

The conversation took on a life of its own. So I took the conversation to the private arena of Facebook Messenger with one person. That person told me (among other things) that I should hush as my views were contentious, disingenuous, a disappointment and flat-out wrong.

I felt dismissed and bullied and let my feelings get hurt. Because of past situations I let my reaction be bigger than was called for. Instead of talking to the person, I complained to my sister.

I had good reasons (I thought) to not talk to the responsible party.

  • I was afraid of her response back to me.
  • I don’t like confrontation.
  • I am not good with words.

But this morning I did. I thought and thought and then wrote how I felt and why. I wrote to her because we have good history (I thought) and because I would no longer be dismissed and silenced by others.

I asked for what I wanted.

I’d like to think we could agree to disagree concerning how we express our views. I respectfully give you space to do as you feel led and I’d like the same respect back.

And if we can’t, then we part ways.

Complaining made me feel … yucky … a victim … hopeless.  . . .  And there was no resolution.

Because I choose to take positive action, I feel  . . .

  • Yucky. I still feel this way because I have high regard for this person and this may truly be the end of the relationship. And I am still wounded by her words.
  • Empowered. It felt good and strong to express how I felt as a result of her words and attitude.
  • Proud. Like I said, I don’t like confrontation. But saying something is the only way through to us having an equal, respectful and honest relationship. And I am proud I showed enough respect for myself to say anything.

And while the situation is not resolved regarding our relationship, it is resolved in that I took the steps I needed to take.

F.Y.I – My sister is good about listening and then pointing me to taking a positive step to rectify the situation.

Today is Day 17 of my No Complaining Challenge. . . . I’ve discovered that a reason I complain is because I am too fearful to politely speak up and ask for a positive resolution. Today I took action and asked.

Your Turn . . . Does fear of confrontation lead you to complain instead of positively addressing the situation?

Related Resources . . .

  1. Goal: Complaint Free for a Whole Month
  2. You Just Might be a Potty Mouth
  3. 31 Days of Finishing (2014 #Write31Days series)
  4. Finding Laughter (2015 #Write31Days series)

Today is Day 19 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts from this series.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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Adding a “BUT” Turned Situation from Complaining to Resolved

fruitfulwords125

I don’t normally drive my older car because it has a (new) history of wanting to die. It has been in the shop a couple of times and we can’t figure out why. However, yesterday I drove it to work to make sure the battery got enough of a workout. I had no issues going to work.

But on the way home the engine kept sputtering like it was going to quit. I hit every light. I was getting more and more agitated as my car kept getting more and more agitated.

I was afraid. At the next to last light before my home I cried out loud,

“Oh, NO! I can’t believe it, This car is going to die on me.”

I realized I was in full complaint mode.

Here I was on day 16/21 of no complaining.  And now because I was complaining I was going to have to change my bracelet to the other wrist. Then in the midst of my distress I remembered how to choose the complaint that brings peace.

I added a “BUT” to my sentence. I added words of a positive solution.

“Oh, NO! I can’t believe it, This car is going to die on me.”

Then I continued speaking out loud with these words . . .

“BUT if it does die, I will be okay. I can coast to the side of the road. I have a towing package. I can call for help. This is not the worst thing that can happen. I am safe.”

And you know what? I calmed down. It was okay. And luckily the car didn’t die. 

Even while stressed OUT, I really was able to go from a non-productive compliant to a solution-oriented response.

Adding that BUT turned my attitude and thinking around. It helped me with my fear. And because I was calm, I was able to find a good solution. High Five!

Your Turn . . .

  • When you find yourself mid-sentence in a complaint, how do you turn that around?

Related Resources . . . 

Today is Day 18 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts from this series.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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Do More Than Count Blessings, Be a Blessing

fruitfulwords125

Do you count your blessings on a regular basis? Many, many folks do including me. This practice helps us look for the good in our lives and reminds us that there is a LOT of good there.

Weekly I compile my five favorite blessings from the past week. I even try to link up on Fridays at Living to Tell the Story with others who are doing the same. Reading their 5 favorite blessings reminds me that I have similar blessings in my life. And so my list grows bigger. My gratitude grows bigger.

I thought this was the best way to grow my gratitude. Then I read the following:

After several days of writing down my blessings, I read the lists and realized everything was all about me. Shouldn’t I be blessing to others?

After that realization, my journaling changed.

Not only did I list five blessings that happened for me, but also five ways in which I had reached out to bless others. . . .

By hunting for the blessings in my day, my mind was focused on the good, not on the disappointments.

By thinking of ways to reach out and help someone, my mind was focused on others, not on my own little problems.

~ Helen F Wilder ~ Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude – 101 Stories about how Being Thankful Can Change Your Life

 What a great Idea. I know that I do kind things for others. I enjoy doing purposeful,  random acts of kinds. But I never thought to make this a daily practice.

I am going to do this and will start with one thing. I am a gung-ho- kind-of-person. I start projects, new habits, and goals at the Expert Level instead of starting at the beginner level. And too many times I quickly burn myself out.

Also I will include that one thing I do in my daily  journal.

Your Turn . . .

  1. What is your experience with counting your blessings?
  2. How do you pace yourself when starting new things? I can use some tips here.
  3. Is the idea of being a purposeful daily blessing new to you? If it is, will you try this with me?

Related Resources . . .

No Complaining Update: I am now on Day 15/21 of no complaining. I am going to add today’s idea, being a blessing, in addition to not complaining.

Today is Day 17 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts from this series.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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I am Not an Equal Opportunity Complainer

fruitfulwords125

Do you complain in all negative situations?

I realized today while doing a Bible study that I am not an equal opportunity complainer. I don’t complain in front of all people and in all negative or frustrating situations.

I complain when my expectations are not met in several areas: traffic, poor service and when technology is s….l…o…w… or not working.

Traffic – I realize that too many times I am in a hurry even if there is plenty of time to get to where I am going. I just want to be there NOW. So I complain about the driving about me. I do not give them the benefit of the doubt when they cut me off. This is plain ugly.

Antidote to Traffic

Live in the now. Enjoy this moment. To enjoy the moment-to-moment driving experience I can do the following: …  pray … sing along with upbeat music … listen to an audio-book … look for ways to bless other drivers … Decide to NOT take any bad driving around me in a personal way … Give drivers the benefit of the doubt.

Poor Service – I feel justified in my complaints since I’ve paid for this. However just complaining to complain gets me or the situation nowhere. However I can complain in a way that brings me peace.

Antidote to Poor Service

Solution Oriented Complaints. Assess the situation. Determine what a good resolution is. Ask for it in a calm, polite manner. Keep asking in a calm, polite manner until resolution is achieved.

However, if there is truly no way to rectify the situation, then accept it.

S….L…O…W… or non-functioning Technology. These situations exasperate me because I feel helpless and stupid, but mainly stupid. I will SIGH and mutter complaints. This always makes me feel worse.

Antidote t S….L…O…W… or non-functioning Technology.

Tell the Truth. Why I think and feel like I should know how to handle tech issues is beyond me.  I need to tell myself the truth. I am not stupid. I can get people to help with these issues. And the reason they can help is because they’ve studied and been trained.

Your Turn . . .

  1. Do you complain equally in all situations? If not, where do you tend to complain?
  2. If you tend to complain in the same sorts of situations, what can you do to counter your complaints. What is your personal antidote?
  3. Is there anything you would add to make my antidotes more effective?

No Complaining Update: I am now on Day 14/21 of no complaining.

Today is Day 16 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts from this series.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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Using H.A.L.T. to a Complaint-Free Life

fruitfulwords125

Our internal world influences how we see the external world. Some folks are better than others at handling their internal world. What is negative to one person is merely an annoyance or even a non-issue to others.

Have you heard of the acronym H.A.L.T.? These are internal influences I first heard about several years ago from a friend who has been successful in recovery for years and years and years (from alcohol). She said that H.A.L.T. is talked about in A.A.

When we experience certain internal “conditions” we find it harder to calmly address external situations. If we are unaware of their influence, we tend to act out. And in my case, I tend to complain instead of making choices that bring peace.

Because I know about H.A.L.T.’s influence, I can make sure I DON’T let myself get to H.A.L.T. But when I do, I can quickly take the proper steps to address these.

What is H.A.L.T. and what can you do?

Hungry– Eat protein as soon as possible.

Angry – Take deep breaths. Pray. Asses the truth of the situation. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Ask for what you need in a calm manner. Come up with solution oriented answers to what has angered you.

Lonely – Connect with someone. Contact a good friend and talk or put a date on the calendar for a “date.” Execute an act of kindness. Pray. Read something uplifting. Write a letter. Learn to be content.

Tired – Take a nap or go to bed for the night. Eat a healthy snack. Drink a glass of water. Meditate. Lighten your to-do load for the time being. Ask for help.

Another “H” that needs watching out for is Hormonal. Now that I am past menopause and don’t feel the ravages of hormones, I realize how many times I was affected by them. And I realize how many times I complained while under their influence. This is not to say the issues weren’t issues, but sometimes my reaction was stronger than the situation called for.

What I Learned From H.A.L.T.

  • Help myself live a positive life by being aware when I am hungry, angry, lonely, and/or tired.
  • When I am in any of these states, take quick, positive action.
  • Postpone any complaining until after the internal situation has been dealt with.

Your Turn . . .

  • How have you used H.A.L.T. to your benefit?
  • Are there any other internal situations that lead you to complain? If yes, what can you do about it?

Related Resources . . . 

No Complaining Update: I am now on Day 13/21 of no complaining.

Today is Day 15 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts from this series.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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