Posted in Challenges and Contests, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, My Poetry, OctPoWriMo Challenge

Full Moon Clouds for OctPoWriMo Day 1

If you love to write poetry, you love a good poetry challenge, and you are missing April’s NaPoWriMo then you are in the right place. There are now multiple Novel writing months it is past time we added another Poetry month. October is a great time to challenge poets to a poem a day for thirty one days.

This October, I’m also focusing on gratitude, so each of my poems will use the daily prompt, and deal in some way with thankfulness. Come join me on this poetic journey – and feel free to comment, or link your own poems.

For October 1st, the prompt is “Clouds”. My poem’s subject is the nightly walks that my daughter and I take – specifically, the walk we took last week, just following the Super Blood Moon full lunar eclipse.

Full Moon Clouds

We step out the door,

My girl and I

for our nightly walk.

Full moon night

After an eclipse

And a skyful of clouds.

The silver moon

Glows like a nightlight

Seen behind frosted glass.

We walk and talk

My girl and I

Illuminating spirits.

We sit in the front yard.

In our camp chairs

And watch the clouds.

“They look like snow

When the wind’s blown it

Into little hills and valleys.”

“Or the surface of a brain

If you flattened it out

And it was white, not grey.”

It’s about more than clouds

This time that we share

More than full moons and walks.

It’s about connection

Little moments holding hands

And sharing secrets.

She’s growing up fast

This girl of eleven

Will soon be a woman.

She’ll live her life grown

On her own terms

With clouds we don’t share.

Our walks will be memories

These hand in hand times

Sharing secrets beneath cloud blankets.

What we’re weaving tonight

While clouds roll above

Is the fabric of her future self.

Return tomorrow, for my next poetic thanksgiving….and, until then, maybe you could share what you’re grateful for today!

If poetry happens to be on your gratitude list, you can find more cloudy poems at the OctPoWriMo Day One  list, or visit the #OctPoWriMo hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

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Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, NaNoWrimo, Parenting, Round 4 2014, Unschooling

Thankful for my Wordy Nest: November 26, 2014

Wanna ROW with us?

Have you ever been so wrapped up in your own imagination that you feel a little disoriented when life pulls you out? Like real time is the fantasy, and story time the reality?

I’ve always been something of a dreamer – a “what-if” kinda girl. And right now, the flow of my wondering wanderings is swift and sure and strong – and I feel a little tossed about and bereft when I emerge from those depths, and see my external life around me…

Maybe that’s one reason why we unschool – because this is a home made for imagining, noodling, and what-iffing. I fit right in here, in a way I never did in my childhood home, or my family of origin, or at school. And my imaginative, what-iffing, noodling Accomplice and the two imaginative, what-iffing, noodling people we made together fit right in with me.

And, as NaNo winds down, and the reality in my head blends with the reality of my life, I am very thankful for that!

And for fellow readers and writers, imaginers, what-iffers, and noodlers around the world who understand what the bleep I’m talking about! =D

How about you? Is there something you’re especially thankful for?

Noodling with Shakespeare and a pink mustache!

November Focuses:

  • Complete rough draft of The Earth Doth Move (NaNo 2014). Goal being adapted; see below.

  • All fitness and nutrition goals.

  • Maintain blogging goals.

Target Attained:

2014 Hometending:

Maintain email Inbox at a manageable level (below 333 for November, due to NaNo).

  • 237/333.
  • Not so much the last few days; things have been busy in other ways.

Continue using calendar app to manage my time.

  • Reviewed and adapted November blogging plans.

2014 Lifetending:

Return to exploring Play Jar slips in a playful, FUN way!

  • Took Annalise swimming, and, well, the other one is private!

2014 Fitness:

At least one strenuous home/yardtending activity each week.

  • Spent time in sprucing up the house Sunday.

Dance, swim, or play physically with kids at least once each week.

  • I took Annalise swimming on Monday. I was her Mommy horse in training, and I got a GOOD workout!

Plan at least two monthly excursions that promote physical activity.

  • Swimming with Annalise.
  • 2/ 2 excursions complete.

2014 Nutrition:

  • Drink one glass/bottle of water each day.

Maintain existing nutrition goals ( yogurt; soup).

  • 2/2 Greek yogurt.

  • Vegetable pesto soup.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

  • Visit my “team” twice weekly.

  • Visit other ROWers as time and energy permit.

Noodling with a horse skull…

On Target:

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, answer comments, and share diversely.

  • These have been sporadic, and will be until NaNo is finished, I think, because the story owns me, at the moment, and my family has dibs on my physical presence and what’s left of my mind…

  • I “owe” a C and C post, which I plan to write later today.

2014 Writing:

Complete first draft of The Earth Doth Move, as my November NaNo project. Adapting goal.

  • Current Chapter: 9/20

  • Current Scene: 33/60

  • Word Count: 127,838/~200,000

  • New Words: 22,354

  • New Pages: 41

  • The story keeps stretching. I’m past the 125K I thought it would take; and only just past the halfway point. So, a new goal:

  • Complete first draft of The Earth Doth Move by December 31, and writing at least 2,000 words daily.

2014 Hometending:

Continue cleaning and organizing my study.

  • Much magnet progress; some general stuff.

2014 Lifetending:

Read 2 of the 8 TBR books on the bookcase by my bed.

Continue my FutureLearn class, Exploring Play, until finished.

  • Still at 38% complete. Week 3/7. Class ended; nothing new.

2014 Fitness:

Weekly workout at the Y;4 weight-bearing exercises/machines for arms/legs/core weekly.

  • Not specifically, but I did carry a 100 plus pound girl on my back for 10-15 minutes, making several laps of the pool.

Treadmill: 18 minute mile, walking/jogging; using “Rolling Hills” Program.

  • 19.27 minute mile. A little ways to go…
  • Still standing at this marker; no treadmill this week.

Build to one half mile walking/jogging on the track each week.

  • Skipped the track this week.

Recumbent bike: 8 miles in 30 minutes, using an interval program.

  • Skipped.

Add time on elliptical, arc trainer, and/or rowing machines: goal is 10 minutes on each, at least twice monthly.

  • Skipped these this week.

2014 Nutrition:

Maintain existing nutrition goals (nuts; grains).

  • 1/ 2 nuts (macadamias).

  • 2/3 grain (whole grain bread).

Maintain existing nutrition goals (smoothies/salads).

  • 4/5; 3 salads; 1 blueberry/pomegranate smoothie.

Eat fresh vegetables other than salads (raw or cooked), and/or fresh fruits at least 3 times each week.

  • 5/3; extra veggies on a sub; romaine and avocado on a BLT; clementines; banana; raw carrot/ranch dip.

Noodling with the laws of physics; for fun.

Not Yet:

2014 Blogging:

  • Build blogging queues.

2014 Hometending:

  • Complete the family room reset.

  • Continue the massive kitchen reset.

  • Take time at least once a week to simply be in my study.

2014 Lifetending:

2014 Fitness:

  • Work up to 2 miles, at any speed for the second mile.
  • Use Wii Fit at least 3 days weekly, for a minimum of ten minutes.
  • Maintain or reduce body weight – monthly checks.

2014 Nutrition:

Noodling with history through fashion.

So now, it’s a snowy Wednesday, and my Accomplice has an extra day off, because we’re expecting several inches.  It feels like a mellow, restful day of imagining, what-iffing, and noodling.  Tomorrow, we’ll head out to a buffet, and have another playful day together.

May you have many things to be thankful for, this week and always. If you’re so inclined, drop me a line and don’t forget to   cheer on other ROWers here!

Assorted Noodling, Simultaneously.
Posted in Blogfest Entries, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Parenting, Unschooling

Who’s Your Hero Blog Hop: Whatever Happened to Barbara Leonard?

Today, I’m joining the Who’s Your Hero Blog Hop, to honor a long-lost more-than-friend…

Her name is Barbara Leonard – well, it was, when I was in my early 20’s, over two decades ago, now, when she became my hero.

Barb was about ten years older than me, and, from my perspective, she had her life pulled together while mine was falling apart. She had a good job, her own home, a car that didn’t break down more often than it ran, and two great dogs.

And, although she didn’t need to, she took me under her wing. She fed me, took me to an Al-Anon meeting, let me spend a week at her house – even when she wasn’t home! – talked with me, and told me stories of her life…and how she had been in similar straits to my own, when she was my age. She gave me ideas on how to scrape by until I could figure out how to thrive.

She was a friend – and more. She was inspiration, knowledge, kindness, and hope. She believed that I could be better than I was. She had a magnet on her refrigerator that read,

“After the rain, the rainbow.”

I would ponder that message while she added fresh vegetables to our boiling pasta.

Our paths diverged, and, eventually, we both married. I don’t know her married name, she doesn’t know mine.

I miss her.

I want to show her what her friendship meant to me.

Because my life is beyond good in so many ways – and it would be less so, if she hadn’t been in it.

Wherever you are today, Barbara, thank you! ❤

So…who’s YOUR hero? And have you seen Barb?

Barb helped me to become this mom! ❤
Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, Life Writing, Round 3 2014

Stretched Between… – ROW80 Update, July 13, 2014

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Have you ever been stretched between joy and sorrow, light and shadows, sweetness and sadness?

That’s what July is for me. Tuesday, as I mentioned in Wednesday’s update, was Annalise’s tenth birthday- a day of fun and celebration, where I celebrated this daughter I never thought I’d have…

Because, you see, we were only planning to have two children, and she is our third.

And today – July 13 – is our second child’s birthday…and the beginning of the twelve-day stretch I call Elijah’s Days – the days that mark his very brief lifetime, all of it spent in the NICU, mostly in a coma from which he never woke. July 25 will mark the end of that lifetime, and, four days after that, I turn 45.

July is tricky. Elijah would be elven today, if he had lived – and Annalise wouldn’t exist. Our family would be different in ways too numerous and profound to mention here. I plan to take that on tomorrow, in my Coffee and Conversation post.

What I’ve found is that sorrow can coexist with grief. They’re interwoven, for me, forever. There’s no “getting over” the death of that sweet baby who lived only 12 days, but will forever be a part of who I am. The best I can do is to accept that it is as it is, and give love to those I can, and remember a small, perfect little person with an irreversibly injured brain, who was gone so long before I was ready to part with him…

In honor and remembrance of Elijah, I’m asking that, over the next 12 days, you lavish your beloveds with love. Life is brief, and uncertain, except for one thing…we are all going to die, someday. I’m not trying to be morbid, only realistic. Our time here is finite. Pretending it’s not, changes nothing.

Will you do it? Can you make life sweeter for those you love? Can you include yourself? If you do, I would love to hear about it in the comments. It would be a note of joy and hope to balance those lower emotional tones…

Elijah James Burton, July 13-25, 2003.

And now, on to the update, because, as always, writing helps!

July Focal Areas:

  • CampNaNoWriMo Target attained!  (50,115 words).

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Blog Maintenance and Exploration

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule;queue one post for each regular feature.On target.

  • All regular posts done.

  • Sunday Post for July 13.

  • Gathering mental ideas for queues. This will not apply to SoCS posts, since those are prompted weekly on Fridays.

Develop a sharing strategy that feels natural; incorporating input from Kristen. On target.

  • No Kristen yet, but I’ve put a couple ideas into experimental use; more on them later.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. On target.

  • Again, I’ve put a couple new practices into play; more on them later.

  • Comments are being answered, but so many lovely folks have things to say that I’m a little backlogged! If I haven’t gotten to you yet, I am on my way! =)

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

Continue drafting Perchance to Dream during July NaNoWriMo. On target.

  • 19,409 new words! WHOA!

  • 50,115/50,000 NaNo Words

  • 113,551 WIP words.

  • 35/60 scenes.

  • NaNo is won; but I’m continuing on at a slightly more relaxed pace for the remainder of the month.


2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Clean out email files. On target.

  • A few more done, but now there’s more…

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames from Round 1.On target.

  • I’m paying attention to the flow of days, and what I tend to do with them. It’s early days, yet.

Develop Daily Hometending Frames. On target.

  • Same as above; paying attention.

Set aside time weekly for administrative stuff (Adminstrative Frames, maybe?) On target.

  • Same as above…

2014 Lifetending:

Continue exploring fitness goals – more on this throughout the round.

Nutrition goals for July:

Acquire Intuitive Eating ebook. Target attained!

  • Book is waiting in my Kindle.

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. Target attained for this week.

  • 3 salads; two smoothies.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. Target attained for this week

  • Twice for each.

Sponsor Visits:

  • Yes, I visited…adding them to Wednesday’s post…time grows short to post before midnight!

Come ROW with us!

Posted in Life Writing, SUnday Post

Welcome to My Sunday Post for July 13, 2014


Have you ever had the best of intentions, but found yourself spread just a bit too thin to manage everything you’d hoped to do?

Yes, that’s me, over the last two weeks. I meant to do a Sunday Post, both weeks, but…

Well, I was writing, and reading, and celebrating, and, today, I’m mourning when I might have been celebrating. It’s the eleventh birthday of our second child, Elijah…and we are now twelve days from the eleventh anniversary of his death.

What makes it even stranger is that Tuesday was our daughter’s tenth birthday, filled with all the goodness a birthday should have.

For me, July is just like that. Four days after that anniversary, I will have a birthday, too. The entire month is something like surfing, trying to balance on the surging and ebbing waves of emotion.

I am a person who prefers an optimistic outlook. I choose to be grateful for the twelve days we had with our beautiful little boy, and the profound affect he’s had on the course of our life as a family. I choose to allow the grief to wash through me, but not to wallow in it. Death is an inevitable companion to life, like the shadows are to the sunlight.

Elijah James July 13-25, 2003.


That being said, here’s what’s up in my little corner of the blogosphere

Recently at shanjeniah:


Coffee and Conversation:

  • And Then She Was Ten… A celebration of a decade’s worth of my daughter, and some musings on the experiences of the day.


WIPpet Wednesday:


SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

  • Are We Getting Away From Getting Away?, in which I explore whether we will be taking a planned camping trip, or bowing out in favor of the comforts of the little cocoon called ‘home’.
  • Body Language, a Star Trek fan fiction excerpt, written stream-of-consciousness style, with the theme “body”.


ROW80 Updates:


I can’t imagine life without her in it!


What’s Next:


I’ve completed the rough draft of my first July CampNaNoWriMo WIP, The Stars Are Fire. This week, I’ll be continuing with my second WIP, Perchance to Dream, a Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprise fanfiction novel, and the other half of this duology.


In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Life Stuff:

  • It was a busy “weekend” – ours is Monday and Tuesday – since I squeezed my workout in a day early, so that I could take my daughter out for a Girl’s Day to celebrate her tenth birthday. We took in a movie, did a little shopping, and went out to dinner. =)
  • I completed July’s CampNaNo challenge.
  • I pinned to my Pinterest boards for the first time in months!


Want to join the Sunday Post fun?


Posted in Coffee and Conversation, Life Writing

Coffee and Conversation: Who Mowed the Lawn, and Why?

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own…

I know, it’s a day late for a Coffee and Conversation post. I’ve been rather lost in my Story A Day May Challenge, and I just didn’t get to this yesterday. So here it is, belated, but heartfelt…

On Sunday, my 12 year old son mowed the yard.

My guess is that he was far from the only boy in America that could be said of, on any given spring weekend when the weather is cooperative. It seems to be a traditional chore given to boys large enough to handle some adult jobs, but who haven’t yet reached their full strength, growth, or perhaps ability to resist…

Because, on a fine spring weekend at the end of a long winter, and approaching the end of a long school year, it’s conceivable that a boy might begrudge that time spent on lawn work; that he might have some other idea of how to spend those few precious hours of freedom…

But, because kids must learn responsibility, and chores are a means to that end that also shifts some of the burden of yard maintenance from adult shoulders, the boys (and, I imagine, in our current climate, some girls as well) are sent out to mow.

But that’s not how things are, at our house, and not at all why Jeremiah was mowing the yard this weekend.

As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t assign chores in our home. Both my husband and I grew up with gender-specific chores, and neither of us felt that these helped us to learn responsibility as much as they built resentments at the unwanted workload, the time away from the things that fired our passions and spoke deeply to us…

Chores stole from my life, far more than they added to it. That isn’t to say that I begrudged my family my help – only to say what I suspect is true of most people, whether children or adults.

I wanted to choose the ways in which I helped, to give my help freely, and to have it appreciated without being judged.

There were things I did happily, without being asked. Yard work was one. None of my three siblings seemed to enjoy it as I did, and so, more often than not, I would do it alone. In the house I grew up in, alone was a rare and treasured state. Alone meant that the stories playing out in my head, the deep thoughts waiting to be explored, at last had a little space, a time to unfurl without interruption. The repetitive motions of raking or weeding provided a rhythm, and there was pleasure in both the physical exertion and the creative introspection.

Chores, though, were assigned labor. In our family, there was no thought given to whether the chore suited my nature and talents; I was expected to do as I was told. And, to me, that seems unfair to a child. Children are already smaller, more dependent, less powerful, and too often disenfranchised.

And so our children help when and as they choose.

And, on Sunday, after both my husband and I had mowed portions of our steeply sloping yard, and after hinting a time or two that he might, Jeremiah asked if I minded if he did some mowing.

He mowed for hours. When the mower clogged, he turned it off and cleared the blockage – safely. When he ran out of gas, he told me, and I showed him how to refill it. When he got tired, he took a break.

After, as I looked out upon a sweeping expanse of freshly mowed and fragrant grass, I asked him what he’d been thinking while he mowed. He said he’d been thinking of stories he’s read, and ones he’s been attempting to write for the last few months.

He enjoyed the mowing so much, he said he needed to find a way to pay people to let him mow their yards. When I told him people might willingly pay him to mow for them, his grin took over his face (he likes earning money!).

Today, he went to work at his grandparents’ house, and learned how to drive a lawn tractor.

Will he mow again, with the same enthusiasm? Maybe – or maybe not.

But I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t have quite the same joy in it, if we assigned it as his chore.

I like it this way. The lawn looks lovely, and, rather than a grumbling child who feels his life is being measured out for him, there’s a boy here who’s gained some confidence in his own strength and abilities, and had all the time he wanted to think big thoughts while the rest of the world was shut out by the sound of the motor. He’s accomplished something useful and easily quantified, and fulfilled deeply personal creative impulses. He’s helped his family, and himself, just because he wanted to.

And I’m not the only one smiling about that!

How about you? Did you have chores? Assign them? What did you love, or hate, to do as a child? Is there some “chore” you still love today? Have a cuppa, and tell me all about it!

Last year’s lawn…shadow-dappled, A perfect canvas for dreaming.

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Round 2 2014, Story a Day May Challenge

Creativity, Multiplying: May 11, 2014

Curious? Click the icon!

Well, hello there! A happy day to you, whether you’re a mother or not.

Have you ever had that feeling that things are a big scramble – only to realize that you actually did a lot more than you realized?

Yup. Happened to me this week – and then, while preparing my Sunday Post, I tallied 14 blog posts (and there’s actually another 7 bare-bones posts at my Story-A-Day blog…oh, and writing those stories, visiting and commenting, hometending, time with people I love – even mowing a bit of the lawn.

I’m aswirl in creative energies. They’re pulsing through me, and the best thing I can do, right now, is to give this surging the space and time it needs. Eventually, the ebb will come, and things will slow down again…until then, I’m riding the wave!

And while I’m riding, this week, I intend to refocus on a couple of playful aspects of life I’ve set aside a bit more often than I’d like, of late…more on that during the next few weeks! =D

I hope this post finds you well and engaged in joyful pursuits – whatever those might be, for you!

May’s focus areas:

  • Story-a-Day May

  • Homeschool reports

  • Guest post

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Continue posting on my regular schedule; share on Sunday Post, weekly.Target attained!

Complete and post 31 Story-A-Day May Enterprise fan fiction stories, following prompts. On target.

  • 10/31 Completed.

  • 22/31 In development.

Respond to comments, and return visits.On target.

  • Did on scheduled days. A bit behind, due to increased volume.

Visit threeStory-A-Day blogs each day, on average.On target.

  • Wed-Friday, none.

  • Saturday, 7. I seem to go in streaks.

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

The Stars Are Fire: Draft one scene each week.On target.

  • Reread 3 scenes. 1 to go before I can plan the next.

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Complete 31 Stories for The IDIC Romance, using prompts wherever possible.(2014 Story-a-Day May).On target.

  • See Blogging, above.

  • 12,045 words to date.

Prepare Scrivener files for the writing process. On target.

  • 10/31 scenes prepared.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Chameleon’s Dish: Revise one scene each week.

  • Began freewriting new scene; 9/60.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.

For April:

Get the computer desk and moved out of the room.On target.

  • I got back into digging out the very messy enclosed porch, where the desk will go when there’s room.

Continue claiming my study.

Clean work surfaces.On target.

  • My hoosier cabinet/desk is clean again!

  • Next up, the tabletop…

Other things:

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Contact one person from my People I’d Like to Meet list. Target attained!

  • I’ve contacted three.

  • Getting together is the next step.

Tweet during one show per week, using appropriate hashtag.Target attained!

Eat salad and/or drink fruit or vegetable smoothies at least 4 times a week. Not this week.

  • One salad; one “breakfast” smoothie.

  • 2/4 attained.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Choose two playful actions for each day; do several times each.Still meh.

  • Still slow. I’ve been doing a lot of hometending, but forgetting the playful motions.

  • Recommitting this week! =)

Sponsor Visits:

You can check up on the other ROWers, and their plans for Round 2, right here!