So many things to write about today, where should I begin?
Well, first I must give a huge shout out to Sandi Ormsby at That’s Ahhsome! who gave me the most AWESOME blogging birthday present ever. Please check it out and enjoy. One of the things I love the most about it is how happy Sandi was creating it herself, which ties in nicely with what I wanted to write about today–doing things that challenge ourselves and fulfill us in unusual way.
The idea for this came from a number of places, including the post called “Ten Things I Value Most” at Broadside. Caitlin’s post was very touching and made me think about what some of the things are that I value most. I realized that many of the “things” I value represent experiences I have had–experiences that challenged me and forced me out of my comfort zone to some extent. Some of the things I value are just things, but most of them represent something more.
Mementos of Japan
I don’t think I can pick one of these special items as more valuable to me than another, because they all represent my first complete break from my family and move into a world where I function as a strong individual. Although many of them remain tucked away presently, as neither of us felt like this was home enough to decorate completely, they remain significant and always will be. The list of precious Japan memorabilia include:
- The wedding kimono that I got at a bargain price with my own money–perhaps my most expensive purchase.
- The handmade teacups that I bought in Kyoto,
- Chopsticks, well used now, but given to me by various students.
- A beautiful collection of boxes for food.
- The door hanging my parents bought when they visited me, complete with a bamboo pole to hang it on that has been a challenge to travel with.
- The old man and old woman masks that watch over me, promising a long life filled with love.
- A little green monkey named Midori, that a very special man won out of one of those arcade games with the claw. (Yes, Nathan knows about it and I have actually passed it on to Sarah–that way I could keep it without feeling guilty).
- Although I didn’t get this in Japan, the quilt made for us at our wedding incorporates many Japanese symbols and is precious as well. If I had not gone to Japan, I would never have ended up in Hawaii where I met Nathan.
In addition to Midori, I have a collection of special, stuffed, fuzzy friends that represent a lot of different things. They include teddy bears given by special people, including Nathan, and a stuffed dog named Ralph that came from England wearing an anklet around his neck for me to wear. Some of them (in particular Desmond the dog, Marvin the Moose, Clara-belle the pig, and Montgomery the mini moose) have traveled with us to have their adventures recorded in a scrap-book. They even went to Norway with me for a conference (as if I needed the extra weight in my luggage). Desmond has had more adventures than Snoopy, I think, and definitely eaten more food. There is also a tiny pink fluffy lamb that I have carried with me since childhood. I don’t know where it came from or who gave it to me, but I know I can never let it go.
I have numerous scrapbooks, although admittedly many of them are incomplete. I’m not a meticulous scrapbooker, but I enjoy arranging pictures to tell some sort of story. My brand of scrapbooking might be called a creative mess, but they still hold special memories and are precious for that reason.
Speaking of holding precious memories, I still have the very first hard covered journal my parents gave me. It was for a school project, where I wrote my first “book” that is a collection of poems, stories and illustrations all created by me. Little did they know that by giving me that book, they started an obsession with journals that I have had to curb. I have numerous ones–some filled from front to back and some feeble attempts at writing that ended in an expanse of empty pages. Some contain more diary-like entries, some more creative ones. A few contain morning pages when I worked my way through The Artist’s Way. These journals represent many times in my life, but more importantly they represent the words I hid away out of fear of showing them. It has taken me years to overcome that fear, and you read the results today. The steps that led me to blogging daily were, I believe, an important part of my writing journey:
- Writing, writing all the time, but fearful of sharing anything
- Submitting some poetry and getting it published (only to learn later that it was a scam)
- Writing a doctoral dissertation and then submitting it for awards where politics defeated it.
- Deciding it was time to pursue my dream of writing other things and taking a distance learning course through the Institute of Children’s Literature
- Getting a couple of articles published
- Taking the advanced course and then the book writing course through the Institute.
- Writing an actual book, that still has not found a home. Sharing that book Giving Up the Ghost with friends in a writing group, who encouraged me to write a blog.
- Woman Wielding Word history was made
A few years ago, when my daughter was taking Tap and Jazz, I decided it was time to challenge myself and do something out of my comfort zone, so I signed up for Tap. We ended up performing in the same recital together, and we had a blast. The tap shoes represent a variety of activities that I try to challenge myself with every year–things that force me to break out of my shell a little bit more. Those activities included:
- taking the course in writing I mentioned above
- taking voice lessons. Yes, I have been in musicals, but I was always afraid my voice wasn’t good enough, so actually taking one-on-one lessons was scary for me. They ended badly for an unrelated reason that is a story for another time.
- taking a poetry workshop
- going to a writing seminar
- this year, learning how to play piano
- next, taking an art class
There you have it folks, some of the things I value the most. But it isn’t really the things, it is the memories and what they represent in my journey through self-discovery.
What do you treasure? What stories do those things share?
[Note: My computer hates me today, so I will have to add images later on.]