Tag Archives: challenge

It’s Not Just About the Destination

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“It’s not just about the destination” sums up my thoughts while traveling to escape the noise and fast pace of the city and my work-business life. It is not to escape who I am or what I love to do… my passion and commitment are firm, although, at times, I doubt the strength I have to continue on certain paths. Plagued by self-assessment, as anyone might be while trying to navigate the rough roads of every day, I often wonder if I should just run off on some other trail–change my direction–change my destination. Then, I remind myself… it’s not just about the destination because, in fact, we all end up the same place anyway. It is all about how you see your journey there and I am constantly reminding myself to stay in the moment without worry about what happens in the end. Therefore, I do realize that I see things somewhat differently depending upon my situation and location. This trip was about certain goals, but everything in between, before, and after is up to fate and fortune. What you make of a day is really what thought you put into it and the effort afforded to enjoy every moment. It will all be there when you return, so to worry about “what to do” or “what about” or “what if” is a waste of such a beautiful surrounding.

I am happy I am able to reflect on the time I take away–this time we were really tired at the end of the day and barely had supper and did a few mundane tasks before sleep claimed us. There is something about the mountain air and being out in the beauty of nature that fills you with enough that you are pleasantly exhausted. My knees couldn’t help but remind me that I did more than usual even though I try to do it on purpose, whenever I can, in order to claim every minute of the day in action. To bed early–one would think we’d stay up late writing… however, a tired body won out over a determined mind this week.

Day One arrival was nice and early and we could even check into our hotel room and then go exploring on Wednesday. We took a trip to the Beaver Boardwalk–my daughter recommended it last trip, but we didn’t make it there. Going this time was a treat. What a beautiful nature spot in Hinton! Yes, we have our ponds and walkways here at home, but sorry, Sherwood Park, the most obvious thing missing is setting… I sometimes (well, often) wonder why I still live here with so much soul/spirit connection to the mountains. This park was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours, wandering the boardwalk through the marshes and beaver habitat, traipsing some closer-in trails, and taking a look-out post in the tower to admire the view. I say closer-in because I am not one to wander onto the forest trails–hiking was a younger days sport for me due to my limitations, ones I have accepted, and am able to push to some extent enjoyment of the activities. Also, there’s the fact that we are in wildlife territory and bears and cougars just don’t excite me up close and personal. From the truck window, I am a brave soul – not on foot, however.

Trips away with my dear friend, Mandy, make me appreciate her even more because of the similarities we have –I don’t have to try to keep up and do things I feel out of my comfort zone with… we match in many ways–our appreciation for nature and its fragility to human invasion; yet, the strength and majesty and power of it awes us in the same breath. I could travel the same roads and see the same sights each day or weekend or whatever, and still be in wonder at the amazing embrace of nature–the bold colors of plants, the cuteness of a baby animal, the calming peace of water and wind, the warmth of sun–even if it only peaked through clouds throughout most of our mid-week trip.

We never lost sight of the reason for our trip, although it was in the back of our minds as we connected with the precious moments of each opportunity. The Beaver Boardwalk was more than just walking through a nature setting–it was about stopping and appreciating the finer details of plants, trees, the view, the colors, the sounds, smells, and feel of it all on your soul. Nature caresses one’s spirit with renewing qualities to create a mood of relaxation and connection. There was no sign of any wildlife–other than a couple of birds and fish in the ponds. I wondered about the lack of waterfowl on the ponds… Mr. and Mrs. Beaver must have been relaxing in the shade of their studious home–we saw signs of them being around, of course, but no chance sighting of the animals.

Impressions of the place are best in point form, because that is how they hit you when you are in the moment:

  • The song of the red-wing blackbird
  • The amazing arrangement of wooden walkways over water
  • The variety of flora with bursts of color that stand out so vivid against the greenery
  • The sound and tempo of the wind through the trees as it rises and falls
  • Sun peeking through the overhead canopy in an otherwise dull cloudy sky
  • The man who looked at me funny for taking an overhead picture… yes, look up, too!
  • Wire mesh protecting perimeter trees from industrious beaver clearing crews
  • Signs giving information about the place: make less noise to see more wildlife or be aware and cautious and informed of bears, cougars, wolves… :O
  • Picking up a couple of interesting stones from the rock pathway to commemorate
  • The lookout tower and amazing view of the nearby mountains through the trees
  • Patterns in nature–ripples on the water, long grass blowing in the wind, piles of drift-water-worn limbs

My thoughts may not match anyone else except for those who have the same appreciation for the beauty and magnificence of nature. But, even in that similarity, there are personal differences. The photos I take are not ones that another may take as I look for the shot that appeals to me; I don’t take people pictures; I don’t do selfies. I want the essence of the place where I am–what attracts me, what speaks to me. To each their own.

The take-away for this activity–always invest in the time to enjoy “every precious moment,” as a friend posted. The emotions that grab me in the mountains are awe-inspiring, captivating, yet overwhelming, at the same time. The thought that this glorious world we live in surrounds us for so short a time in comparison to its own life span is one for self-contemplation. No matter what you believe, it’s what adds to a beautiful life–it’s not just about the destination.

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Define Yourself as a Writer

My passion and enthusiasm leads me astray. It will get to a point, though, that I must rein it in and tie it down, despite the ‘no fences’ rule. I wear several hats, of late, and it is no wonder that confusion plays it course upon my condition. I love my company and I love the people who have discovered the amazing way collaboration works. Supporting one another is truly the way to become better at what we do – it is the way to widen your perspective, cultivate new interests, define your goals – all of which allows us to plant sign posts with remarkable achievements along our writing life journey. But, if I do not write, I begin to feel discouraged, frustrated, sad… I need to write. It is as vital as air and as soothing a sunshine upon my face.

I read a great post shared by someone who walks the talk – she supports and encourages and I am so lucky to call her friend and confidant. The Writer’s Digest article talked about the October Platform Challenge… we all know how I love a challenge! So what better way to get myself out of a rut than to revisit the deepest part of my creativity. I am going to rediscover my muse and drag him/her screaming to the surface.

Day 1 Challenge – Define Yourself as a Writer 

This exercise is to identify and lay claim to all the things that make you a writer. Own it.

Name (as used in byline): Linda J. Pedley

Position(s): Owner/President of Dream Write Publishing Ltd * Co-founder/Director/Treasurer/Member/Volunteer of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County * Business Management Coordinator for my day job at the Alberta Federation of REAs * Freelance Writer/Editor * Published Author * Artist & Illustrator * Truck Window Photographer

Skill(s): Creative writing * non-fiction writing * poetry * editing * book design * blogging and web site content writing * social media promotion and platform building * newsletters * business document writing including business plans, reports, business case proposals, government position papers * individual-team-community builder * teaching and mentoring * color and design * photography * art composition and basic lesson plans * computer use

Social media platforms (active): Facebook * LinkedIn * Google+ * Twitter

URL(s): wildhorse33.wordpress.com  / dreamwrite10.wordpress.com  / dreamwritepublishing.com  / strathconaconnect.com 

Accomplishments: BA General – Sociology Major/Political Science Minor from the University of Alberta * Author of several published novels: YA adventure series – A Journey of Brothers/A Journey of Truths/ A Journey of Desires, Power Struggle, Ode to the Bard – My Writing Life, and An Elizabethan Affair * Co-Author of Your Lifetime of Stories and From a Solitary Drop * Contributing Author to several compilations and/or anthologies including Christmas Chaos and Writing Prompt Journey * Awarded the Pride of Strathcona community award in Arts, Culture & History for our writers group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, in 2011 * Awarded the Pride of Strathcona community award in Arts, Culture & History in 2012 for personal work in this category * Certificate in Article and Short Story Writing from Long Ridge Writers Group in the US  * Certificate of Participation in Writer’s Camp at Humber College, Toronto in 2004 * Effective Communications Certificate from Grant MacEwan College * Publisher of over 60 books and 5 years in business with Dream Write Publishing – a creative option for today’s writers to see their work in print.

Interests: Writing – all genres * art appreciation * travelling Alberta and driving in the mountains in my “Sunshine” Toyota FJ Cruiser * truck window photography * all things Shakespeare * coffee with close family members * sharing interests and good times with good friends * horses * spending time with my daughter watching favorite TV shows, drinking wine, or collaborating on work projects * drawing * computers * reading and having lots of books *

In one sentence, who am I? Linda J. Pedley is a writer who works her day job to pay the rent while dreaming of the things she could do if only she could just focus on the passion of creating and working page-deep in books every day.

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Eye … Cannot Live Without – Photo Blog Challenge

 

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Eye Blog image January 14

Blog Challenge – Day 13 Cannot Live Without and Day 14 Eyes

This blog is not going to be long and involved

Thinking through options my challenge is solved

I went through the list of things that I love

I thought of all people near, far, and above

There was coffee, chocolate, and all comfort food

Wine, sunset, and roses to set romantic mood

There will always be words and writing no end

Sunshine, spring, and horses – no need to pretend

But imagine a world where you cannot see

Where things are to imagine what they might be

So when I thought about all without I cannot live

I am blessed for my eyes and the insight they give

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Challenge – Day 11 and Day 12 – Creative License

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 11 and 12 – Something Blue and Sunset

Day 11 and 12 Blog image - Blue and Sunset

The sky was the hue of winter Alberta blue…
If we are fortunate enough during the winter in Alberta, we have many of these days where the sky is crisp, clear, and blue – when sunshine is always a welcome addition, and a highway drive is warranted on a weekend afternoon. By contrast, I shot some pictures on January 1st at Elk Island Park and you will notice the grey winter day where sky and horizon blend where air and ground meet. The kind of day that dawned bright on Sunday was opportunity to obtain clear shots of the Alberta blue skies to fulfill that day’s challenge. The vantage point shifted from the apartment catching one of 3 jet contrails tracking across the sky in a short time span, to the countryside as the sun made its way beyond the day, and back again, to capture similar shots the next evening. The amazing properties of working with light are the shadows cast and the deep blue of snow in the sheltered areas; it’s the background it provides to many objects silhouetted; it’s the variance of color that reflects on sky, trees, snow, and other objects. Something blue… The thing about winter afternoons in early January is that no matter how bright they are they begin to fade by 4:30 with dusk bringing its own lingering beauty to the countryside.

To close out any day, the sky is my view and it paints magnificent scenery for me to appreciate from my 4th floor apartment. This vantage gives me a clear shot of the sky and its many colors as I witness many a sunset. Combining the prompts made sense but would have certainly created a huge challenge had the sky been overcast and grey, or if it had been white with snow. Treasures along our sightseeing journey:

  • Jets with contrails streaking across a clear blue sky always remind me of my mother and I feel her watching with me, commenting on their intrusion.
  • Horses pawing the snow-covered field searching for frozen shoots.
  • A companionable silence while driving a snow-covered country road.
  • Millions of stars in a dark velvet sky.
  • Using GPS and a little bit of intuition to connect with the right secondary road.
  • Arriving home with a loved one after a memorable day.

The day is what you make it… so, remember to always appreciate the little things along the way.

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Challenge – Day 10 on 11 – I will catch up…

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 10 – Childhood Memory

Typically, this is not a place I venture unless invited by something that spurs a memory. I have pleasant and memorable times stored inside to do with my childhood. But what would I take a photo of today? The thought of this challenge sparked many ideas and ‘what ifs’ throughout the day. I was on an early trek with a friend and stopped on my way home to review the prompt for the day so it would be in my mind as I drove home – perhaps, something would come up that would suit the assignment. I thought of a lot of things.

As I drove through the country, where it was quiet, I thought about coyotes. Today was the ignorant and cruel coyote hunt and I just happened to be driving in the county where this would be happening. I am not a fan of hunting – sport hunting or food hunting when unnecessary. The Alberta market produces plenty of food for us and by buying it we support the market. I understand hunting for necessity and if I were living in the back woods I may concede…. maybe…. Then again, I could be a vegetarian, too. The sport of killing off as many of anything as you can turns my stomach. I thought of coyotes and thought of my on farm experiences. Now as most of you know, I was born in Edmonton and, by rights, am a city girl with a country heart. I remembered with a smile the time I squealed at my mom to roll up the truck windows because there was a coyote in the field…. way … over… there… Needless to say, no coyote ever threatened us in an enclosed vehicle, and none came out to humor me with their picture.

I talked with my dad today, too, and the conversation involved cousins. I don’t really know my cousins and mostly hold the feeling that just because we are related, it doesn’t mean we have to be friends. The talk wasn’t about anything to do with childhood memories, specifically, but related wholly to memories as it involved the passing of my dear mother and the thoughtlessness of sharing information among st family members. Again, it was something that just happened – how was I to take a picture of that?

As a family, we don’t have a childhood home that I could drive by. I don’t have a doll or teddy bear or other memorabilia that I packed around with me all these years. In fact, most memories just stay in the treasure trove safe and sound. It was coming down to a find “another archive” moment, or “just make an excuse moment.” Then it happened.

I was making supper – spaghetti and sauce with meatballs. Ray was on his way over. I put the desired amount of pasta in the large pan to boil and tucked the rest of the package back into the cupboard. I was not diligent in replacing it flat or with the closed side to the back. As I let the package go, the spaghetti noodles started sliding out onto the counter, spread haphazardly in front of me. Despite my yelling “stop it” they continued to pour out (stupid noodles). There they were in front of me and there was my answer. I just shook my head and laughed at the absurdity.

Day 10 challenge - pick up sticks 2 Day 10 challenge - pick up sticks 1

If you never played Pick Up Sticks as a child, I believe the game is still around. If you cannot find it, just make do with some renegade pasta. The day is what you make it, despite being waylaid, delayed, off course, and late…

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Day 9 late, but here :)

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 9 – Someone You Love 

Day 10 - photo challenge - Someone You Love

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Day 8 – Routine, routine, routine…

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Routine… sometimes I am consumed by it and others times it allows me to breathe easier… Day 8 blog image - Routine

The concept of routine can be diametrically opposed to a creative mind although it guides our everyday life. The familiarity keeps us in a place where we feel at home. We can feel confidence in that knowing. On the other hand, the repetition can be a detriment to free thinking. After doing something for a number of days, it has become routine, habit, the norm… but it also drains on the thought processes, to a degree, forcing me beyond what I expected to be easy, comfortable, and second nature. That expectation can cause disappointment and frustration until an idea bleeds through, prompting an attempt. It does not matter with a challenge to what extent you push yourself, it just means that you are at least making an effort. I appreciate routine. I loathe routine.

For the photo today, I decided to go for the #TBThursday and posted a find from another day – one that I found while taking a break from routine. And I added the special effects that I love to do to alter the already interesting shot. A throwback adheres to the routine of collecting favorites and remembering them when times are strained. A throwback is a tribute to something that was while you are considering in the moment what is. It is a comparison. It is unique. The directional finders above are indicative of my journey, which can go in any direction depending on the wind, with precision or precariousness. As long as I move forward, routine is fine.

The day is what you make it… follow along or change it up if you don’t like routine.

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January 7th, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 7 – Change to Come

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of…” ~ Jim Rohn

When I checked the list today to confirm my challenge, I just accepted the words as I would any other normality in my life. As I look ahead, I see 2015 as one of increasing magnitude in all areas of my life; hence change to come is inevitable and so appropriate. I have claimed over the years that I am not afraid of change… but, as I grow older the ability to implement some changes just takes a little more time. I know that moving ahead and leadership involve change all the time, whether in life, love, or business. Again, as with the other challenges that were not so obvious (i.e. clouds) I was moved to think of the options during the day. I came up with a couple of choices while assessing my own life – move to a bigger residence, move to sharing a residence, perhaps own instead of renting… hoping to focus more on my own writing while still coordinating the publishing dreams of my authors and valued clients.

Then! Oh, the humor hit me. Change to come. Change the channel. Change one’s attitude. And as I counted change for the set up shot, there in front of me was the pile of paper on my desk that might be change for everyone in Alberta. And the weather changed… swirling and blowing to just hit everyone. There are many changes in the works and I hope this little composition finds my readers well and entertained, sympathetic and supportive.

The day is what you make it… embrace the changes.

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January 4, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge      

Day 4 >> Something Green

Day 4 - 30 day challenge Something Green

“It’s not easy being green…

Or so the frog lamented. Green is the color of the earth and environmental responsibility. Its reference to money has increased 20 fold over the years with the demise of the Canadian dollar bill. It is jealousy, and newness, and it’s raw and life-giving. Moving forward into the New Year, the Christmas lights are put away and the decorations packed for another year. The bow of sparkly green makes its final debut in my 30-day challenge – a close up on texture, light, reflection, and color.

Green… one could say this is my favorite color by the way I delight over things of green – especially shiny green things. I have always been a ‘blue’ person moving from turquoise to soft country blue to vibrant cobalt. But green is special… green is life. And just look at how the colors of cobalt blue and lime green make an amazing creative match!!

January 4th – Sunday… the last day of the holidays and it’s frickin’ forty below – there is no green to be seen anywhere under that layer of frosty white! To say the day was cold would be an understatement. It was bright and cloudless again, but too many deep breaths and one could freeze their lungs quite promptly. Exhaust billowed and hung ghostlike in the air. On a day like this it is especially nice to be close to those you love.

Life is always greener on your own side of the fence.

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January 3, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge     

Day 3 >> Clouds

Oh, the irony…

Day 3 - 30 day challenge Clouds

It was a fluff of white against the sky, floating magically from west to east across my vision. I pulled the telephoto lens out to get a strategic shot from the balcony of my 4th floor apartment. The air was cool as the temperature dropped to winter norms overnight. The snow shone like glistening diamonds, little sparkles of bling in the bright mid-day sun. Now… if you have followed my photography over the years you know I am a big fan of clouds. And as I looked out over the distant sky, I laughed. Oh, the irony…

Clouds… they are so much more than just their scientific explanation. They can be amazing, overwhelming, poetic, artistic, frightful, or even downright scary. If one were to single out the little specimen above, it could be confused with fractus clouds developed readily in nature. Its apparent light form reflects light through the water droplets in its formation; it floats and moves with the air currents – its edges have been described as torn “cotton candy.” The irony of my assignment for today’s 30 day photography challenge was that there was not a cloud in the Alberta sky – at least, not from my locale and vantage point. The clear sky was mocking me – let’s see how you get out of this one without killing off your muse! The good thing about prompts is that no matter what happens there is always a way to interpret them – all it takes is a little bit of inspiration, some ingenuity, gnashing of teeth and guttural waling… and a lot of creativity.

January 3rd was colder, but the day shone bright and beautiful. There was no need to “seek the sun” as it displayed prominently throughout the day and it was followed up at sunset with an almost full moon. The series of shots today allow you to view my world as I determined the focus of my blog and camera. Sometimes things are not always what they seem. We can be mistaken in believing one thing even while we attempt to keep a clear mind and sharp eye. It is easy for our judgement to be clouded if we do not take the time to research and find the right answers to suit our assignment.

Carpe Diem ~ Life is what you make it ~ even while searching for clouds on an afternoon in Sherwood Park and finding only man-made industry generated doppelgangers.

 

 

 

 

   

 

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