Stepping Stones Blog

Sunday Salon: November 16, 2014

Well, the meteorologists were 50% correct:  they predicted cold temperatures and 2-3 inches of snow this weekend.  It is now 17 degrees and I can count the number flakes that fell.  Those of us who enjoy the white stuff are a bit miffed, but at least we feasted on homemade Chicken Pot Pie soup and enjoyed the cozy warmth of a fireplace blaze.

Reading:  I am tired of reporting less-than-lackluster reading updates.  So this week I tried to analyze the problem, and I have come to two conclusions.

  1. By postponing reading until bedtime, I have inadvertently set up a Pavlov’s Dogs response.  Anytime I open a book I instinctively think it is time to sleep.  I can stay focused for a few pages, an entire chapter if it is riveting, and then I simply cannot keep my eyes open.  SO… I have decided I need to make the time to read other than bedtime in order to reprogram my brain.  Perhaps I will try reading outside the home first, and once I have broken the sleepy habit, I will begin to read in the nook again.
  2. I am distracted by too much choice; I perform better if I am limited to one or two selections.  While I do not plan to do anything so drastic as to give away my stacks of unread books… I do plan to limit my library borrowings.  My habit has been to immediately put on hold a recommended book, even though I know I will not have the time to read it.  My new routine will be to add a recommended book to an ongoing list and limit my library check-out to three books at a time.  I am hoping this will help me focus and actually finish some books that I desperately want to read.

once upon a timeI did, however, read another Debbie Macomber non-fiction book this week, Once Upon a Time.  While I am not sure I will add this to my personal book collection, I did find the content enjoyable and thought-provoking.  This instructional book teaches the reader how to write her own life story using the same elements to write fiction.  While the author sometimes overly promotes her own novels as examples, I did find the writing prompts and the conversational tone to be of value.

Writing:  I have recovered from the overly extroverted activity of the writer’s conference, and have had time to reflect and ponder all the information.

While the conference caused me to question my writing dream, I now know I can never truly quit – it is a part of my DNA.  I am beginning to focus my writing efforts, and am challenged by the idea of developing a platform.  Writing middle grade fiction will provide some fun projects, but it will not be a primary purpose.

I am continually drawn to the mission of:  Everyone has a story to tell.  This is my passion, and I cannot deny it any longer.

So I need to start writing my story if I ever hope to convince others to write theirs.

Blogging:  The title of this week’s post, The Power of a Prepositionis in keeping with the Wednesday writing theme, although the message is more personal in nature.

I have also continued the 30 Days of Gratitude.  I have not posted every day, although I have most, and I am discovering it is a great way to reflect on the blessings of life prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Exercise:  While I am willing to walk the basset in the freezing cold, I am most definitely a fair-weather exerciser.  And I have learned that I do not enjoy going to the gym – I feel as though my walking form is on public display.  So yesterday I received an early Christmas present:  a treadmill.

I did not want anything fancy or professional.  Just a reliable machine that would easily fit in our basement and allow me to continue the routine that I worked so hard to establish this summer.  I am anxious to return to my morning walks … in the warmth of my own home.

Creative MemoriesA return to the past:  Last Sunday I became a Creative Memories advisor – for the second time.  And on Thursday I received my first order.  Opening that box was like hugging a long, lost friend.  It is not the material products that I have missed as much as it is the mission:  to preserve the past – enrich the present – inspire hope for the future.

While this may appear to be a deviation from my writing goals, in all honesty, I see these two passions very much entwined.  I have some ideas for adult education classes that would focus on spiritual journaling and memoir – using spiral bound notebooks, accessible software, and/or personal scrapbooks.

I also want to develop an idea I birthed five years ago:  complementing one photo (which we all know is worth 1,000 words) with a 500 word story to yield a 1500 word personal essay.  These essays can then be collected in an ebook, a self-published paperback, or a keepsake album.

My life has come full circle, but I am no longer on the hamster wheel of productivity.  I do believe I have found my niche, and it feels so very right.



  1. As I work at a library, I know about having too many books out. Right now I think I have seven, but I’m considering books for my Thanksgiving vacation so I know some will go back. I mostly read on the weekends, especially Sundays, some Mondays and Wednesdays when I don’t have to go to work until later in the day. I have to have long stretches of time to read. Otherwise, I just can’t seem to focus. I’m a bit of a squirrel when it comes to that kind of reading. “Ooh, look, a leaf…a snowflake…a nut.” Um, yeah.

    • Yes, Bryan — it is exactly like the proverbial puppy: “Look! Squirrel!”

      I think you have hit upon something here…
      I think I might be need long stretches of time as well. The problem is, I never allow myself that luxury. I create other projects that “need to be completed”, rather than giving myself permission to just sit and read.

      I shall review my weekly schedule and then make an appointment – with myself – to sit and read 🙂

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