Gathering Valuable Experiences


Wedding Quilt

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.


Wedding Kimono



    Fuzzy Family

    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.








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    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

    Tap Shoes

    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.]

    21 Comments (+add yours?)

    1. Kim
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 09:08:07

      You have a wedding kimono? 🙂


    2. lifeintheboomerlane
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 09:37:47

      I was thinking the same thing: A wedding kimono?


      • Lisa Kramer
        Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:05:16

        It was steal on sale at a “used” kimono sale. Used means it was built for a wedding, used once, probably cost a lot of money, and then was sold for about $125 American dollars. I couldn’t resist.


    3. vixter2010
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 09:50:22

      I love the memories of Japan – as above, I’d love to see some pics – was the kimono a good luck charm that led you to your husband? 🙂 I’m not sure if I’ve missed a post about you meeting in Hawaii but sounds interesting! You should treasure your writing and I hope your book gets published one day very soon. Well done for embracing new things and going to classes, I’d also love to play the piano!


      • Lisa Kramer
        Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:04:06

        I don’t think the kimono was connected to meeting Nathan. I just thought it was beautiful. Pictures have been added, finally! My life’s journey will have to wait for another post. 🙂


    4. Tori Nelson
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:26:05

      Beautiful things and B-E-A-UTIFUL memories! Love this post!


    5. Kim
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:30:22

      Very nice kimono! That went pretty fast!
      Did you get an “obi” with the kimono too?


    6. Sandi Ormsby
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:39:03

      #1) Wedding Kimono, is great & very interesting…but can we talk about that tapistry? The wedding quilt is amazing! I don’t have one, and in fact, isn’t each square supposed to represent something? Didn’t Betsy Ross and girls sit around in quilting circles and each work on a section? So befitting of you and the historical women you’d like to write pieces of fiction. That might be interesting to research and write? I wonder what those women talked about while sitting with needles and thread. My aunts used to take pieces of old baby blankets and blend sections into quilts and give them to the mom. I don’t own anything personal and cool like that!

      #2) Stuffed animal journeys- in kindergarten, each classroom teacher puchases a stuffed animal to represent that class. Our’s was Curious George. Now, George, got to go home with each child for a week. With George came a backpack, which eventually graduated to a wheeling back pack as it became so stuffed with clothes (old baby clothes) and toys and books donated by families…Along with a huge journal. The kids were responsible for spending time with George and taking pictures and writing in the journal. (yes, kindergarten) so we parents were very involved with this. However, it was fun to look over past George and classroom friends antics. He became their sleeping buddy and when Friday came, they got to pick the next student to receive George. Unfortunately, that means someone was last…and I’m not sure if that was the proper process, random selection out of a hat would have been better. But fun- none-the-less.

      #3) Although this post wasn’t intended for me, it seems like you have inadvertenly given me a nudge, like what my husband has been telling me, I need to go to a graphics art class and get proper graphics software. I’m spending too much time with just “paint” and looking for “free” clip art to use. Since I’m a visual person, I quite fancy taking what’s in my head and putting it to vector clip art. (kind of what experienced/gifted writers can do with words- I want to do with pictures.) It’s just finding the class and being able to afford that and the expensive software! Everything goes to the kids for my son’s drawing class, my daughter’s theater class, and now Little League…and I’m not really working so…

      THANK YOU for the shout out and I hope your bday yesterday was enjoyable and all about YOU!



      • Lisa Kramer
        Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:59:11

        1) The quilt was put together by a group of fabulous women in the costume shop from the University of Hawaii, Manoa Dept. of Theater. Each square was made by different friends, and is signed by the creator. The quilt has the signatures of all the guests at the wedding as well. It is pretty spectacular.

        2) My daughters pre-school did a similar thing, and we went to town taking pictures of the stuffed dogs adventures.

        3) Posts are for everyone! I’m glad it is motivating you. Remember, you deserve to spend a little on yourself now and then, plus taking the class could be an investment in future employment.

        Thank you for the lovely gift yesterday. The day turned to be pretty good.



    7. Sandi Ormsby
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:42:12

      p.s. Nothing wrong with keeping the stuffed animals- love them playing scrabble! Too cute!


    8. nrhatch
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 11:12:45

      What do I treasure most?

      (1) My sense of humor.
      (2) My peace of mind.
      (3) My common sense.

      Thanks for a fun post ~ love your wedding quilt.


    9. thepetalpusher
      Mar 16, 2011 @ 21:00:36

      This is a fun post, Lisa. I wanted to take a pic of my kimono from 5th grade and my getas. Let’s see one of my treasured items–and I should blog about this–is also a quilt. Thanks for the idea–a forthcoming blog.You’ve inspired me!


    10. Trackback: A Box of Memories « Woman Wielding Words

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