Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ice bucket

This is a kiddie pool.

My two young charges and I have soaked ourselves in this pool at least once a week for most of the summer.

By soaked I mean, a 1-year-old vigorously splashing hands and feet in excitement (or sometimes frustration, when he got too cold) and chucking water toys all over the place, and a six-year-old slipping down the small slide to create waves, spraying me with water guns (yes plural, a small and a large), and dumping buckets of water over my head.

And did I mention that with only one exception, each time we went out to use the pool it needed to be filled up. You see that hose in the photo below? We used that to fill the pool. Guess how warm the water coming out of there was? Cold, you think? Try ice cold.

Yeah, pretty sure I've already fulfilled the challenge... Beat you to it, Jodi!

Oh, and by the way, we had a blast!

*Pool in photos is upside-down and empty because I didn't take a picture of it other weeks (remember all that splashing?)
and this week it was emptied in preparation for the beginning of school and autumn.

Details: I was nominated by a friend. I am not officially nominating anyone else by name, but if you, dear reader, have not done the challenge yet and would like to be involved with cold water in some way, please do so with gusto and much creativity! (More info here.)

FYI - I do understand what the challenge is all about. I do think it is a worthy cause. I don't, however, believe in peer pressure, in relationships, society, or social media. For the record, I did not do the real challenge and I don't intend to (dunking in a pool of cold water multiple times a summer is more than sufficient :) ). I did not donate any money at this time, although when my husband and I are actually bringing in money rather than pouring it out to schooling, we may do so. We also may donate to other organizations instead that are dear to our hearts. Who knows, we may donate to both. In any case, if or when we do, it will be after much research has been done, and we probably won't let you know about it. Just thought you should know the truth about the details of my "doing" the challenge.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Change

Change is hard for most humans, although moreso for some than others. I am part of those who have a harder time with change. Curiously, I have a harder time with small changes (setting up and sticking with a new routine, or trying out a new way to do something that I've always done differently, for example) than with larger ones (such as moving to another country for months, or making a big life change like getting married).

Within a few months, Jonathan and I will be in the midst of a change. He is set to finish his master's degree in December and we will most likely be moving to wherever he gets a job. This coming change is already affecting me mentally. Although I am glad he will be finished his schooling and moving into a new chapter of his life (and he is probably much more excited about it than I am!), I'm apprehensive about picking up our lives here in Maine where I'm finally becoming fairly comfortable and moving to a new place where we'll have to start all over again in finding a place to live, a new church family, new friends, new favourite places to explore, etc.

Change can be rather daunting (especially for an extreme introvert like me), but I must continually remind myself that change in life is good. Change keeps us from growing stagnant and set in our ways, change can invigorate us and help us to see things in a new light, and change can rekindle our lives spiritually as we learn to let God lead us to go where He wants us to go and to do what He wants us to do. And that is what I'm going to focus on for the next few months as we get closer to another big life change.

My musings on the prompt 'change' for Five Minute Friday. Join in next week if you feel inspired!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Tell

Ty and I hanging out on a Provincetown, MA beach

My younger sister and brother and I decided to spend our 2009 spring break in New England to take in all the Northern states we were missing from our "States We've Been To" count. (At that point we needed all of New England (excluding Maine), Delaware, and Louisiana. We got all except for LA on that trip.) We based ourselves in southern Rhode Island and took day trips around the area to experience as much of New England as we could get to in seven days.

One day near the end of the week we drove to Provincetown, Massachusetts on the tip of Cape Cod. After exploring the beaches and town, we headed back in the late afternoon. And on our drive back our conversation led my brother Tyler to suggest we give mini "eulogies" to each other. Although that may sound creepy and weird, it wasn't. It was beautiful and a really special time of sibling bonding where we told each other all the things we loved and appreciated about each other. We spent the drive telling each other things that might have otherwise only been said about the person at a funeral -- rather than to the person while they are living.

This idea had been brewing in Tyler's mind since the summer before, when one of his high school buddies had died in a terrible motorcycle accident. That incident had made Ty realize how important it is to tell people, while they are living, why you appreciate them, how they've made a difference in your life, and, above all, what they mean to you.

And that simple but heartfelt conversation in a 1989 Honda Accord with no heat on a drive from Cape Cod to Rhode Island will never be forgotten. Sometimes, or more like, often, it gets pushed to the back of my mind when other "more important" things crowd in the way. But when all the other distractions are cleared away again, I remember that the most important things in life are relationships, and that one of the most precious things you can do to maintain and grow a relationship is to verbally acknowledge it to the other person.

I'll let a few paragraphs Tyler wrote finish up this post for me, because I could never write these thoughts out as well as he already has:
"Scott's death was painful for me, but out of it grew something beautiful. While Scott's death took away my chance to express my thanks for his friendship, it also gave me thousands of new chances. His passing made me realize how many people in my life are constantly making a positive impact on me, and how few of them are ever thanked for it. As a result, I've thought long and hard about these opportunities, and how I can make the most of them."   . . .

"You see, I believe that there are incredible possibilities right at our fingertips. Thousands upon thousands of human beings are within each individual's sphere of influence, and if we work at cultivating this potential, there is no telling what we might be able to achieve. Appreciation is key. Simple affirmation of a person's positive abilities and tendencies makes them want to continue doing good. Expressing your love and thankfulness of another individual causes them to be uplifted and proactive in doing the same to others."
~ Tyler
Take time today to tell the people you love and appreciate why they are special to you. And tell them again and again, whenever you think of it, as much as possible. Because you never know what effect your words might have on them.

My thoughts on the prompt 'tell' for last week's Five Minute Friday. Please read the link for more information on why the word 'tell' was chosen. And, of course, join in tomorrow if you feel inspired!
It took me a while to collect my thoughts on last week's prompt, but late is always better than never. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


For the past couple months I've had posts percolating in my mind, but severely lacked the motivation to actually get on my blog and write them. Some of this is because I traveled to Alberta and BC in June/July and since returning to Maine have only had one weekend at home. But most of it is because of the asthetics (or lack thereof...) of my blog.

I am an extremely visual person. When my home or work space is messy, cluttered, or otherwise unappealing I am so much less likely to enjoy living or working there, and will try to avoid the areas that give me mental unrest. This is true of both the real world and the virtual one. For a while now I've been wanting to update and refresh my blog. I've tried out all kinds of different templates and backgrounds, but none were quite what I was looking for. So, frustrated by my lack of success, I gave up trying for the time being and just pushed the blog refresh to the back of my mind.

Then last week my Mum asked me if I could do a bit of work on her personal blog to take out old, unused links and get it looking a bit more up-to-date. I told her I would think a bit and try to come up with something that fit her personality, her photography, and would kind of coordinate visually with her professional photography blog. I looked around the Internet for some new template ideas and came up with a few.

This morning I woke up early and decided to take the plunge. Suddenly inspired, I tackled my blog first. After trying quite a few of the new templates, I decided that I really did like my old tried and true favourite Blogger template the best. So I set my blog back to that and looked for a nice, subtle background image to base my redesign around. In the past I've tried to use a spring-green theme for my blog, a colour both energizing and rejuvenating, but recently I've noticed that most of the blogs I find the most visually attractive incorporate a lot of white, which makes for a bright and fresh look. I happened to find a link to that I saved a while ago, and while perusing there found a set of backgrounds tagged 'subtle patterns,' exactly the sort I was looking for. After trying a few, I settled on this subtle floral pattern. Clean, bright, fresh, with just a tad of cheery whimsy. Just a few adjustments to the blog template's colour scheme and I was thoroughly in love with the new design!

I quickly moved to my Mum's blog, hoping that my inspiration would hold. After trying out just a few new templates, I found one that met all my criteria, then customized it to look and feel Glenda-like. Now, with the two blogs fully refreshed and back in good functioning form, I am having a hard time keeping myself from switching back and forth between the two just to admire them. :) Ahhhh, it's like a breath of fresh air entered our little spaces of the Internet and revitalized them!

I still have a few things I want to tweak on my blog, namely the name and URL. For the past couple years I have settled with The Write Life as the name, but every time I see it, I feel a little bit guilty. I know that "write" is a play on words, but when I read it on my blog header, I feel like I'm backhandedly saying that my life is the only right one. This is not at all what I believe, nor what I want to portray on my blog, so I'll be working on coming up with a better blog name and a matching URL. Since I have a portfolio website that incorporates my own name in the URL, and I want my personal blog and my work life separate, I would like to use something a little more private for this space. I still have some work to do, but at least, finally, it's coming together!