A few worldly words that have caught my eye while I’ve had my camera handy.
Be present ~ Be inspired ~ Be aware of your surroundings ~ Be motivated
Enjoy your weekend.
Cheers to you!
A few worldly words that have caught my eye while I’ve had my camera handy.
Be present ~ Be inspired ~ Be aware of your surroundings ~ Be motivated
Enjoy your weekend.
Cheers to you!
Good morning! I’ve guest posted over at Sincerely, Paula and am giving away 2 SIGNED COPIES to 2 lucky winners!
Follow the link to check out my guest post, “Don’t Drink, Don’t Smoke? What Do You Do?” and enter to win!
Share the love and let your friends know about it!
Previous Posts by Little Miss Wordy:
This week’s writing challenge: The Best Medicine is an invitation to “Poke fun at yourself, write a limerick, find the absurdity in a real-life situation, come up with some groan-worthy puns, sketch a comic, put some fictional characters in a farcical situation — all’s fair in comedy.”
Obviously I don’t have a humor blog, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use this photo I took on my recent trip to The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C.!
New to the neighborhood, walking down the street
Wondering ’bout the neighbors I’ve yet to meet
Got my dogs on the leash, poop bag in hand
My sneakers on my feet, to avoid the sand
Loving the weather, loving the breeze
People so friendly, bless you when you sneeze
Pet owners walking toward other owners
Business suits, runners and even stoners
All give the nod, the slight shake of the head
Says it’s damn early to be outta bed.
Size doesn’t matter, we’ve all heard it
‘Cept when your dog drops a tiger sized sh*t.
Pooping tiger released the dragon
Looks to me like you shoulda brought the wagon
No worries, no laughs, wait a minute ’til it’s cooled
All us dog owners have been schooled
By the big breeds, small breeds, the growlers and the barkers
The shy types, sweet ones, and even the stalkers.
We all bow down to our four legged poopers
Embrace our role as human scoopers
Scented bag in hand no match for this steamer
We just keep smiling like we won a Beemer
Well behaved, highly trained, Chihuahua that goes insane
The mangy brown one or the golden-haired mane
The executive, the artist, the homeless man
The bus driver, the banker, and the UPS man
The competitive show dog or the lab who farts
We immediately connect cuz they’ve stolen our hearts.
Here’s what she had to say about it!
It has been months. Maybe even a year. But I’ll never forget being moved to tears over a blog post, and leaving a comment begging the author to write a book because her words were so beautiful, so poignant. I wanted more.
Is it any surprise that the author bought a sponsor ad here on WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion, became wildly popular, and published a book?*
*Events may not be listed in sequential order.
Leah Vidal’s work appears weekly on her blog, Little Miss Wordy. Her writing covers a range of topics including current events, health and wellness, parenting and daily tribulations. While she enjoys writing about each of these, she is most at home when adding a personal element to a broad topic by sharing life’s little moments…those that plant the thought-provoking seed of self discovery. She believes it is these moments that are life’s biggest lessons.
Enter: Red Circle Days. I downloaded Leah’s book on a flight to North Carolina a few weeks ago and knew immediately it was a bad idea. I don’t like to cry in public. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
The book is a perfect quick read as it’s less than 100 pages and written in vignettes of all different topics. But much like my toddlers have proven, little packs a bigpunch. Red Circle Days is a culmination of the dates that remain despite the waves of time eroding other memories. Birth of children, death of loved ones, holidays. Leah eloquently muses on all this and more, and at the end of each passage, engages the reader by asking her to connect with the piece: do you have a special place for photos? Is there a superhero inside you just waiting to come out?
My favorite vignette is on a subject that comes to the surface several times over and, in my humble opinion, is where Leah’s writing and heart shine: her dad. He passed away when she was in her early twenties, but regardless of the years that have come and gone, Leah remembers with clarity and the stinging kind of love reserved for those we miss terribly the “Milk Duds on Their Pillow.”
You see, her dad would put Milk Duds on her pillow to “…remind her of her strength at the end of a tough day, willed her to work harder when a particular grade needed improvements and comforted her through many a broken heart” (12). I like the guy because he obviously knew chocolate can fix everything.
“My Summer Valentine” is quite possibly the sweetest love story I have ever read, like EVER–and it’s true story. Leah’s parents were an unlikely couple from the start, but undeniable love overcame age difference and geographic distance. You have to buy the book to read the rest and have your heart swell and come *thisclose* to bursting. It’s worth it, I promise!
In addition to her novel dropping recently, Leah’s Memorial Day piece Soldiers of the Same Name was featured on BlogHer just this weekend, and her blog has been Freshly Pressed on WordPress and featured on Fitness and Parenting sites. She’s pretty bad ass and if you haven’t already, connect with her on her blog Little Miss Wordy, Facebook page, or Twitter @LeonyVidalCarr.
So add these things to your to-do list today:
1. Buy Leah’s book Red Circle Days
2. Purchase a sponsor ad here on my site because you’ll become rich and famous*
*Rich and famous are relative terms. BUT I do write a dedicated post about something I love about my sponsors, so seriously, buy one.
Leah paused her career in Public Relations to raise her two children and has never looked back, except on the days when it would be nice to have an office to escape to or at least a desk to hide under. Her family currently lives in Puerto Rico, where she is a fitness focused (physical, spiritual and mental health), homeschooling mom of two, and wife of one, who enjoys combing the beach for sea glass, avoiding the kitchen, and making words come to life.
ESCAPE: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE DISTURBING
Escape. A word that stirs up an endless array of meanings, both at a standard level and a deeply personal one. The mere sound of it whispered softly in one’s ear can ignite the senses of sight and sound propelling us down a road of movie credits, song lyrics, and novels – each a story all its own.
EACH A STORY ALL OUR OWN.
As I sit here eyes on my computer screen ready to share my thoughts on this week’s photo challenge: Escape, I realize for many the computer screen is a form of escape…a portal by which we connect with others through a social media peephole of photos, status updates, pins, blogs, and tweets.
For myself as a writer it is a common means of escape. The irony isn’t lost on me as my fingers fly across the keys, rushing to free the words in my head.
My own surroundings – ocean waves crashing the shore and a vision of blue waters as far as the eye can see – there are those who would consider this very setting an escape.
The runner whose escape begins the moment she ties her running shoes and heads out the door, each mile taking her across more than just a physical distance.
Images flood my mind of prisons – the physical, the mental, and the emotional cells that hold us prisoner against our will.
A former athlete confined to a wheelchair.
An addict held hostage by the blinding need for another hit.
A young mother trapped in the vicious cycle of an abusive marriage.
A mental health patient stuck in a system of doctors, diagnoses, treatments.
A celebrity smothered in the adoration and attention of overzealous fans.
And, then there are those images that need no words…themselves a disturbing depiction of the word ESCAPE.
If I haven’t scared you off, tell me what good, bad, or disturbing comes to mind when you hear the word escape?
There are moments in our lives that are imprinted into our very soul. Moments that don’t require a photo album or memory book for us to revisit them time and time again. Some may bring to life the very feelings of sheer happiness they brought the day we experienced them. Others bring the heart wrenching sorrow we spend years trying to erase. These are moments that don’t need a reminder or a red circle on a calendar date, our hearts wrapping around them much like the tiny box on a calendar, keeping them contained only to bring them to the surface each year. Red Circle Days is a collection of those moments that I will forever carry with me, thought-provoking moments and stories which have left an indelible imprint on my very soul.
Book signing dates and locations will be announced shortly!
A huge thank you to all, from WordPress for the user-friendly platform to showcase and challenge my writing, to friends and family for the endless support, to the many followers who have liked, commented, and cheered me on from a distance. You have ALL encouraged me on this journey. It truly is a dream come true and a red circle day for me!
I’m sorry I almost killed you.
It was never my intent.
As I sat watching passengers parading up the aisle, and worrying over who would occupy the seat between myself and the man in 14A, you stopped just short of our row and ever so politely asked me if I would mind letting you get to your seat. I practically jumped with joy out of 14C feeling like I had won the travel jackpot to rival all jackpots. You were of average weight and height, had impeccable manners, minimal perfume on, weren’t carrying a bag of Fritos, corn nuts, a tuna sandwich, or a screaming toddler to sit in your lap.
It’s not that I don’t like Fritos or Tuna though I’ve never had the two together. I do hate corn nuts, but I am a mother of two so I get the screaming toddler traveller…been there done that. It’s just while my husband sat in a different row with our two children, I planned on pulling out my brand new MacBook Air and pretending I was some important business woman traveling to a conference on the latest in smart phone technology or an experienced journalist on her way to catch the big story. What I wasn’t pretending to be was a doctor and keynote speaker at a Doctors Without Borders Conference. I had spent enough years playing doctor so to speak, though not with the boy next door so no worries mom.
Since the age of four, I walked around fashioning my plastic stethoscope around my neck. Fisher Price medical bag in hand, I told anyone and everyone that I wanted to be a doctor someday. It is all I ever spoke of, and all I ever imagined becoming when I grew up. It was my third year in college when my dad died. His death opened my eyes to the fact that I was on a path I didn’t really want to be on but stayed true to because I had never considered anything else. I had no Plan B. Kids, always have a Plan B. My dad’s death made me realize that life is too short to do something simply because it is expected of you, so I changed my career path and have never looked back.
That is until you Ma’am. When you started to complain of a headache, and asked if I had any Tylenol (I didn’t) we were still good. When you started to complain you were feeling dizzy, I was happy to ring the button for the flight attendant to bring you some water. I was even okay holding a wet cloth to your forehead when you said you were feeling faint. The problem started when you started to shake, closed your eyes, and became unresponsive.
As I stood in the aisle, amid the flurry of flight attendants and those who had answered the call for a doctor on board and ultimately in life, I knew without a doubt that my playing doctor all those years ago was just that. I suddenly had no need to pretend to be anything other than what I am today…a homeschooling mom of two, wife of one, blogger, and soon to be published author.
I am so glad you were feeling better by the time we landed. I meant you no harm, and if I could I would take back the thought that popped into my head as the plane lifted off…
“Man, do I need something exciting to happen so I have something to write about.”
From the bottom of my heart, thank you and I’m sorry.
We’ve all met at least one person who treads a little lighter than the rest of us, who grabs life with both hands, experiences it to the fullest. It’s not that they are irresponsible adults. It’s just that their approach to life in general is different from most grown ups. They don’t allow themselves to get caught up in the details. They don’t over think. They just breathe in life’s moments, filling their lungs with each experience, and letting every inch of their body feel the joy life offers. Is it a personality trait inherited from some gene passed down to them from a life loving parent? Or, is it something they learned along the way?
As a kid, I remember being fearless. Yet, now I over think riding a Roller Coaster as I imagine endless frightening scenarios all of which leave my two children motherless in the end. As I climb aboard, buckle my seat belt, then check and double-check it, I’m silently berating myself for being so careless as to agree to this irresponsible joy ride. I am a mother for goodness sake, not some free wheeling teenager doing pop-a-wheelies on her mountain bike (ah those were the days). Nevertheless, I settle in and after a quick
plea bargain prayerful talk with the man upstairs, I make a conscious decision to enjoy the ride. It isn’t long before the cars pick up speed, I feel the wind in my hair, and the sheer exhilaration of feeling free! In that moment, nothing can stop me and I feel like I can take on the world!
Do you remember the first time you learned to ride a bike? It’s that same feeling I’m referring to here. No matter how we approached that bike for the first time, the end result was the same. Once we got going and felt the wind in our hair, we could take on the world. There was no hiding our smile as it traveled from our mind to our face, until it took over every fiber of our being and shone like a Fourth of July sparkler beckoning the world to smile with us! Why do we reserve that full body joy as something to be experienced only by a carefree child?
When I taught my oldest how to ride a bike, her little brother was her biggest cheerleader as she fearfully gave up her training wheels. Olivia approached this challenge in her usual fashion. With much detail, she proceeded to delineate each and every way she could fall off her bike, and each and every injury that was possible. I gave her some space, addressed her concerns accordingly, and eventually she faced the latest challenge in the life of a six-year-old — with determination and a few meltdowns. On the other hand, Evan watched Olivia the first day as he circled her on his Spiderman bike WITH training wheels, and like a good brother and little knight, cheered her on at the appropriate moments. However, on day two he adamantly demanded I take his training wheels off.
Evan’s approach to learning to ride a bike was much different from his sister’s approach. Fearless and with complete faith in his abilities, he not only wanted to go fast but didn’t want me to hold him back. Not a single thought to consequences, injuries, etc. he quickly progressed to riding without assistance in a mere thirty minutes. Their approaches were different, but their end result was the same. They both experienced the same sense of freedom, wind blowing in their face, head tilted back, smiling with their entire body.
This left me thinking about how we approach life. What are our “training wheels” and how much do we depend on them? Training wheels aren’t a negative thing, but definitely aren’t meant to permanently carry our weight. Do the training wheels in our life show up in the form of our friends, our family, our career, our doubts, or the dreams we’ve put on hold? Why do some of us hang on to our training wheels longer than others? Is it because they’ve become so much a part of us that we don’t even realize we’re leaning on them? Are we too afraid to remove them even for a moment for fear of failure? Are we allowing our training wheels to hold us back from that sense of freedom?
Wouldn’t it be great to experience that smile from the inside out…the kind that makes you literally jump for joy just like when you were a kid? Whether it’s a roller coaster, a bike, or life, inevitably the moment arrives when we have to ride all on our own, feel the exhilaration as we pick up speed and confidence, tilt our heads up to the sky, and welcome that cool breeze on our face.
My children are both obsessed with a game called Mindcrap…I mean Minecraft. If you aren’t familiar with it, lucky you. No seriously, you have no idea what you’re missing. It is a cross between playing with a box of blocks and playing with a box of blocks…just on your laptop, iPod, iPad, Xbox etc. According to Wikipedia, Minecraft is a sandbox indie game originally created by Swedish programmer Markus “Notch” Persson and later developed and published by Mojang. Wikipedia also goes on to state, “Minecraft is an open world game that has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game.” And herein lies my main problem with this game. It has no specific goals!!! When my children were toddlers I encouraged them to play with a box of blocks for hours on end with no specific goals. They are now seven and ten years old and these new Minecraft blocks and the “box” they come in aren’t cheap.
I’m all for being creative and allowing time for free play. I have purchased many a Skylander (giants included), and spent countless hours with Super Mario and Luigi, both of which send you on a mission, encourage you to strategize or at the very least work toward gaining access to a new world. It seems to me that Minecraft, with its ”no specific goals” theme isn’t much of a challenge. I don’t claim to be an expert, and am only basing my experience on the times my children have subjected me to an eternity of walking me through their world of pixellated blocks. Seriously, as far as the video game industry has come I expect more than fuzzy blocks. They have taken me through stacks of brown blocks that are supposed to be a building of sorts, then green blocks that represent grass (genius I know) and then the creativity really kicks in when they show me their light blue blocks representing…you guessed it…water. They have created entire worlds with these fuzzy blocks, furnished homes equipped with beds, entertainment centers, and even bathtubs. Their tours actually make me a bit dizzy, but I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t get this game. An article at Geek.com reports that as of October of 2012, Minecraft was more popular than Call of Duty on Xbox live and the game actually made a profit within its first hour of release. People are flocking to the game in astounding numbers. PC Gamer reports on the game’s performance. “4,177,843 people bought the game in 2012, accounting for a massive 47.3% of the game’s total PC sales. It’s not just remaining popular, Minecraft’s audience is growing faster than ever before.”
Even if you’re not a huge gamer and just a mom of two mini gamers, you know this is big news. I struggle to find the allure of this box of building blocks, but for the sake of this post not stealing any thunder from Ben’s Bitter Blog or The Word By Mike Ballenger, I will list the few positives I’ve witnessed. You’re welcome guys!
1. It keeps my kids focused and quiet for hours on end. Never a bad thing!
2. I have witnessed first hand my two children sitting side by side, comparing pixellated block creations, and giving each other building tips to improve their world. If they figure out how to clean up the graphics, I’ll let you know! In the meantime, I’ll keep snapping photos and adding a caption about them enjoying their reading time together. That’s really what Kindles are for isn’t it?
3. They have taken their building skills out of the game and into the real world. I’m hoping they can have that deck I’ve been wanting finished in time for summer!
What am I missing? Please enlighten me!
It was a hot, blustery day and his penetrating gaze was making me even more uncomfortable. I saw him eyeing me the moment I arrived, but dismissed it as curiosity to see someone not of his kind around these parts. He dared to make eye contact with me, and I took that moment to take him in as well from his large eyes not seeming to miss a single detail to his leathery skin and slow manner. I spent the morning slowly wandering the neighborhood, his neighborhood, taking in every detail of his environment. I felt the heat scorch my skin with every calculated step I took as I tried to place a comfortable distance between us. I was definitely a foreigner in these parts, and not accustomed to his forward ways. No matter which path I took it wasn’t long before I felt a presence, and turned to find him mere steps behind me once again. Did his kind not understand the concept of personal space? Every step forward took me down another path of beautiful scenery and a newfound appreciation for my strange follower’s home. There was a calm and beauty all around me, one only experienced when nature surrounds me. I got caught up in the scenery, only realizing he had closed the gap between us once it was too late. I panicked and dropped my purse. A true gentleman would have picked it up for me, but this was no gentleman. I reached for the bag, and as I rose I realized I couldn’t move. He had me caught in an animalistic embrace common to his kind. I was taken aback until I realized he meant no harm. His actions might have been quite forward of him, but he only meant to welcome me to his home…the zoo.