Tag Archives: passion

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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Retreat Goals

Despite the turmoil of the months leading up to this weekend, my goal in going is to get away from the overwhelming every day – to focus on some of my own writing. I brought with me several projects to follow up on, which will include editing, designing, formatting. I hope to finish a few things so that I might move past this block that haunts me. Another novel to be done – An Italian Son – and my first kid’s picture book needs drawings. Can I determine the style I want to use for the illustrations?

I have also a company project in tow that I want to finish editing – it is in layout format so working through the reading achieves more than one end.

I am also hoping there’s a poem or two to be had – I will try to force the stoppage in order to free some words into a composition I will be happy with – I used to be so connected to poetry. What happened? Did it abandon me or did I abandon it? I know it’s not lost forever… just temporarily misplaced.

My camera is also my constant companion – there is always visual inspiration around, especially here: the birds are welcome subjects, trees and greenery, wood structures and pathways, squirrels and other wildlife supposedly around out there somewhere. If only the rain would let up. I will go out for walks to get some fresh air and connect with nature. It’s cooler, though, and cool, wet weather is not my friend.

Sidebar…

I wrote my goals at the beginning of the weekend – it was gloomy when we arrived but soon gave way to rain for the past couple of days. We definitely need the rain and would happily send it up north to the forests. In truth, we couldn’t have a fire inside in the fireplace the first couple of nights because of the dryness here at the Creek. Finally, the rain gauge showed enough moisture accumulation and sharing alongside the fire was a possibility the last two nights of our stay. I love warm spring weather, though… Sunshine – the one from the sky – why have you abandoned us this weekend?

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Strawberry Creek Lodge – Writing Retreat – Spring 2016

Blog 1 – The Retreat

Anticipation.

It’s been building since the day we left last year, brought on and encouraged by the positive results and the lasting effects of concentrating for days with one’s own muse. More time! So in answer to that request, we extended the trip one more night on the long weekend, which gave us one more full day of retreating to write. It’s funny that we need to retreat in order to bond or reconnect with our inner creativity. It’s the way life is, though – fast paced and loud, demanding and insistent. Surely a retreat is not always necessary – it’s a mini vacation for the mind and soul. If one truly takes the time to focus on “self”, while appreciating others’ need to do the same, the results are amazing and the argument for retreating is unarguably natural medicine for the ailing spirit.

Commitment.

Planning and soliciting attendance isn’t necessarily difficult or anxiety building until you get closer to the day and unanticipated events happen to cause holes to appear in your apparent flawless and effortless planning. Life happens – things come up that you cannot possibly foresee over the course of a year. The need to have minimum numbers causes the added pressure to ensure all the seats are filled. We are all thankful that a distress call put out there attracted the attention of like-minded individuals who could make the weekend getaway. Financial strains this year had me even questioning my spending; however, the benefit to my mental well-being far outweighed any other argument. It just means more work upon returning home.

Benefits.  

Nature. Focus. Amazing surroundings. Like-minded souls sharing your love for words. Ability to socialize, materialize, compromise – or just disappear into your own world, as needed. As a writer, the solitude is a blessing and it is made even more inspiring by the beautiful setting and lodge.

No – you don’t have to go away to write, but a retreat is an experience every writer should try during their writing journey. Most will go back for more – year after year. Others will savor the experience and move on, knowing they can always go again when warranted. For me, it is a place I could imagine retiring to in order to write to my heart’s content for the rest of my life… the whole working for a living thing-money and paying bills- thing that stops me for now. Every trip produces more work and creates memories shared with writing colleagues. Fellowships are forged – friendships are solidified. The wonderful thing about Strawberry Creek Lodge is the myriad of delightful nooks and crannies where one can hole up for a time or stake out for the duration; the rooms are wonderful sleeping and private working quarters to spread out your tools and prepare to produce; the meals… the meals are marvelous. Imagine being called to the table by the cowbell at set times to enjoy amazing meals with your retreat pals. No cooking. No dishes. No cleaning.

Pitfalls.

None. Unless, of course, you count the fact that you won’t want to go home and you might attempt to kidnap Brenda, our awesome host/cook, because you never want to have to cook again… ever…

As a dedicated writer, invested in your passion – you will utilize every moment possible to focus on your words; be kind to yourself with rest and relaxation; socialize at appropriate times; connect with your inner creativity and nature. For those who couldn’t go – there is sadness in what life brings – but there is always next year.

A Writing Retreat. It is not something that is necessary – but it is something life-altering to those with a serious passion for word creativity. The retreat is a great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of solitude away from every day distractions to focus specifically on writing. It’s a recharge for the creative battery.

See you next year – keep on writing!

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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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January 6, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

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

Day 6>> Obsession

Day 6 Blog image Obsession

I have a confession – I have an obsession … or perhaps even two, or three…

Thesaurus: mania, fascination, fixation, passion, preoccupation…

The definition of obsession in one dictionary indicates that it’s “a state in which someone thinks about someone or something constantly or frequently especially in a way that is not normal” or “it is the object of that attention, as in, an obsession.”

Other variations in defining this term take it to the lesser extreme of “an activity that someone is very interested in or spends a lot of time doing” to a full definition claiming “a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling.”

If I considered the things that are my obsessions, I would not describe them as “disturbing” or “unreasonable” but I guess that could be the case, depending upon what your obsession is. When a writer talks about being obsessed with words, it is because there is the realization that words are a deep part of who we are and what we need to do. It is a passion. A visual artist could be obsessed with the effects of their work and manipulating their work to present something totally different and original. I like using the special effects on my phone or on my computer programs to change the photos I take – sometimes. Most times I choose not to manipulate images, preferring to catch the picture in the moment. Other “obsessions” for me are ones recognized by others, such as the lovely Shakespeare mug, a horse calendar, and horse pocket watch – all received recently from dear friends. Thank you for accepting me and my obsessions – it is what makes me, “me.”

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2014 comes to a close…

The end of another year… it seems to be the place to look for new beginnings. The year ahead may hold major change, needed adjustments, or an unknown future. In this moment, we may just be looking forward to an evening with friends or one in quiet contemplation… no matter which way you decide to usher in the New Year, I encourage you to look back over the last 12 months with positive reflection. Take note of the good things that happened, these are the memories that will carry you through into 2015 and beyond. To all my writing friends and readers of my blog, I thank you for your never-ending support and appreciation. I look forward to the New Year with a renewed commitment to my writing and creativity. Happy New Year everyone and here’s to another awesome year in this amazing journey!

2014 personal recap for FB

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Recognition – thank you!

lighthouseawardI want to thank my dear friend and colleague, Mandy http://www.mandyevebarnett.com for bestowing upon me this Lighthouse Award. I appreciate her kind words, her friendship, and the work she does to inspire other writers. Here are a few rules to follow:

  • Display the award certificate on your blog.  Check
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations.  Check
  • Share three ways that you like to help other people. Check
  • There is no limit to the number of people you can nominate. Check 
  • Don’t forget to have fun!

My three ways I help others include my triad for the writing life:

1. Learn. Others have a wealth of knowledge and experience from which you can learn. I give respect to that value and, in turn, teach what I know to others. Pass it along.

2. Create. Others have gone before you but you must use your gift to contribute to the beauty of the creative world. I appreciate the ability I have, strive to do my own work, yet respect others’ work. Give credit where credit’s due!

3. Share. Be there to mentor, encourage, inspire, promote, support, engage, network, participate… you get the idea. I am there.

My nominees are:

http://www.kelseyincorporated.com/lets-talk.html  Although business oriented this blog/forum/discussion is inspiring and supports community leadership through exemplary work and entrepreneurial example!

http://www.whisperofwords.com/index.html What does inspiration sound like? It sounds like the wind through the pages of time, through the words of this blogger – awesome!

http://darrelsmom.com/  It’s pink and pretty but, oh so passionate – visit this blog to experience the never-ending inspiration and courage that is Glenda.

Thanks again for stopping by my blog and sharing my writing journey ~ Linda

“A good book is a lighthouse; a wise man is a lighthouse; conscience is a lighthouse; compassion is a lighthouse; science is a lighthouse! They all show us the true path! Keep them in your life to remain safe in the rocky and dark waters of life!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

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Writing and planning and all that goes with it…

To me, the statement “life goes on” is such a broad and general expression. It is a phrase comprised of words said as confirmation, in consolation, or for situations where we don’t know what else to say except to state the obvious… but it’s the truth and it does go on even if in a different way or a dramatically changed manner. We all have, at one time or another, experienced events that rock our world and change how we forever view it, leaving only memories, if we are so lucky. So as I move beyond the hold of raw grief into the confusing realm of memories and newly discovered freedoms, I work through the debris in the best way I can, dealing with the uncontrolled emotional outbursts and equally disturbing contented quiet, grasping in both instances, tangible objects for grounding or intangible feelings for comfort. I continue to do what I’ve always done – take on too much, keep too busy, and devise and  dream of all kinds of plans. It is the opposite of depression where one wants to do nothing… instead, I want to do everything. I want to feel happy, I want to experience the depths of love, the heights of exploration, the vastness of this journey – I want it all; I want to live. But, as with most things, even life takes some modicum of planning unless we are drawn to the up and whatever of spontaneity – totally acceptable, yes, but a scheduling nightmare when one is working, running a company and a volunteer organization, entertaining a renewed relationship, freelancing, connecting with friends and family, and spending valuable time with a daughter who will be moving out of town.

All acceptable. But all need planning and juggling (see this blogger’s post for more on the coping with the overwhelming as a writer). Even though there is an emptiness that will persist, I feel as if I can move beyond the past year’s stress and emotional strain, to look at having some fun and creating happiness for myself. The planned writer’s retreat in May was decided in the fall and looks to be a wondrous 3 day delve into writing and relaxation and inspiration. The getaway in April (Easter long weekend) is something that has been brewing and stirring inside of me… growing over time, spurred by need, driven by passion… and as if the gates were opened and I was offered the open field, my spirit will venture to the place where the wild horses run. Finding and booking accommodations in a B-and-B in the exact area was like serendipity – synchronicity at work. I always contend the things that work in that way were just meant to be… timing, it’s all about timing and taking time.

I know that accomplishments lie ahead – I welcome them and strive toward them. But I also know, many of those achievements will be bittersweet as I share silently with one who will be forever missed. I think about how she would have loved to hear about all these adventures and how she would have worried as we ventured off on each and every one of them – she was like that and it is something I try not to do when my daughter is away, despite her claim that I am always worrying… (I’m not. Really. Do I?)

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ~ Oscar Wilde 

Photo: Wild horses near Socorro, N.M. Credit: Associated Press

 

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Chasing Wild Dreams

It is 10:57 pm on the evening of March 11th and it is +7 degrees. The window is open and a gentle March lamb breeze bleats through the screen, shuffling the shell chimes as it passes through – a shy melodic ripple that stirs my sense of freedom and imagination with its soft, beautiful sound. As I finish my posts for the night, I last perused the many pages of wild horse pictures. I scrolled, amazed and awestruck, through the slide show from a photographer recently at the William’s Creek capture point. The corral is to be taken down; this season’s cull now over. I read that only 15 horses were captured and that, to me and many through the province, is 15 too many. Why they are not protected is beyond me… see the pictures, look into their eyes, feel their essence, and then tell me you don’t sense their magnificence and harbor a rising need to protect and respect that spirit.

It’s now 11:32 pm and +6 degrees… cooling off over night but there are warm temperatures in store for Alberta – we wait the spring with bated breath, tired of the too long, too cold, too much winter. It is no more or no worse than any other but we were teased in January and need this to be done so we can move on. Other things are soon to be done, too – to move on and close this chapter; however, remembering forever the story upon its pages. It is a bittersweet week as things come to completion in some respects, and remain forever incomplete in others. It brings me to the closure of exposure yet the openness of vulnerability as my heartaches, my body aches, and my mind tries in vain to justify the extremes. I feel accomplishment yet know there is so much more ahead to be done.

While chapters close, like in writing my novels, I am thinking ahead to what is to come, what is yet to happen, and what purpose drives my character to those ends. I read many quotes and wisdoms posted each day in an effort to inspire change, encourage improvement, create thought, etc. Today, the following quote resonated with me:

“Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.” 

                                                                                           ~ Dalai Lama

I am in the planning stages of a personal trip that will see me go to the wild horses of our province. I am hoping only to take pictures and experience their freedom first hand. I want to look into their eyes, hear the wind as it whips through their mane, watch as they graze upon Alberta’s foothill grasses. I do not want to disturb them as that would go against all my beliefs, all my respect for their need to just… be… To be close enough to feel them with my very soul shall be complete.

It is 11:52 on March the 11th and it is still +6 degrees… as I turn in for the night and look forward to another day, I am thankful for the things in my life, the people who make it worth living, and the passion I hold in my heart for writing, horses, and freeing the creative spirit. 

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Asking Myself Questions

Twenty seven days into the New Year – what have I learned? Nearing the end of the first month of 2014, what have I accomplished? Did I make resolutions to be broken or did I promise to make good on dreams that can be fulfilled? These are questions I am willing to ask myself and I hope you will take them to heart and ask yourself, too.

I cannot separate out that I am a writer and expect the outcome to be different from my everyday life. My writing journey IS my life – it’s my writing life and the one I cater to because I have to, I need to, and above all, it’s a part of me that must exist for me to be whole. Writers will nod as they read this, knowing what I mean. Readers will respect there are writers out there to provide them with words to which they can connect. Others – please think of something that means so much to you, you’d be unwilling to give it up, no matter what. That is of what I speak. Passion. Your very soul. The reason for being.

True, there is a scale that tips its balance as life’s events happen, as people need you, and as there are things that have to be done. Most of the time we can ignore a slight imbalance when things aren’t really all that important, they’re not life threatening, or detrimental to our very survival. We can react when we are so inclined to respond. People should always come first, but in that same breath you should never let anyone take your passion from you. It’s up to you to protect that piece of you, as you would your health, your heart, your hope.

This past weekend I spent the day at a women’s conference with several good friends. The event was a charity fundraiser for the Edmonton Dream Centre – a place that helps women in transition through education, self-discovery, and realization. A place that offers hope to those who need help to rediscover their dreams. It was awe inspiring and educational, it was a way to connect and network with those around you, but more importantly, it was a way to reconnect with yourself. Many of us cannot feel from experience what some of the women have gone through, but we can all feel through compassion and empathy based on our own life’s references. I will repeat a post I made that evening after all was said and done – if you do not believe that helping someone achieve their dream is fulfilling – try it.

January has not been a slow month and I am thankful for the weather of late – it has been unseasonably warm, with lots of snow melt, and although icy conditions prevail, I have been able to get out to events and meetings without too much problem. Today is colder, but after all, it is still winter! Work is always busy as we plan for our February annual general meeting and conference – my position means I usually do most of the writing, the speeches, presentations and reports – I even present at breakout sessions. It keeps me busy in my day job capacity. My own company, Dream Write Publishing, is growing. The workload is phenomenal for this time of year – the launch of an important book and teacher’s guide addressing bullying, the completion of an amazing cookbook layout for a local restaurant which is now at print, signing an Australian author for the release of his historical novel in EBook and Print-on-Demand, tentative clients and meetings, scheduling illustrations for upcoming children’s books, preparing royalty summaries, reports, and tax receipts, compiling silent auction donations and door prizes, etc. etc. etc… Looking ahead, just one short month, February is shaping up to be just as busy.

My own fulfillment comes from contributing to others’ dreams. It also comes from my need to write and publish my own work. My involvement with the local writing group fuels my community connection, keeps me connected with my writing friends, and inspires me to do what I love – write. I am nearing completion of my nearest and dearest work – one that has become a part of me over the years. Writing a pivotal scene made me very emotional last night – I felt its end nearing as the characters lose their connection, one I was so involved in and a part of, one I could not bear to let go of…

My own fulfillment comes from making promises to myself that I am able to keep. When asked to make that big commitment for one thing I wanted to do for sure this year – it was to finish and publish that very novel mentioned above. I am planning a writer’s retreat for May. I also took steps toward bettering my health, at least in a small way, so I can continue to enjoy and do all I am involved in. Nothing will get done if I am not healthy. I stepped out of my fears and into the pool to aquasize once a week.

This year so far I find that my emotions are more intense, my dreams are more defined, and my commitment is better outlined. I feel the deep loss of my mother, I feel for friends who have experienced the same, I managed to tackle chores left undone yet I don’t fret about others and just do what I can. I want to love and feel strong. I realize who is important and deserving of my time, I promise to make time for those people always, and I am trying to remain positive and active. In all this consideration, however, I am not saying I won’t overload the system – sorry Mandy – but I will certainly take a second look, apply all that I have learned so far this year already, and still remember to … breathe.

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