Writing with Pens and Pencils

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

I’ve been told many, many times that I have lovely handwriting.  It probably comes from learning how to write “cursive” in first grade–Catholic school.  I am often the de facto note taker at meetings, particularly if it requires writing on chart paper or dry erase boards.

There a couple of things I typically refuse to do with a keyboard:  Christmas cards and thank-you notes.

imagesT4XYVNYCI wholeheartedly believe that thank you notes do not get the attention they deserve.  At work, I have a drawer full of note cards.  I write about five thank you notes a week.  Sometimes it’s a few lines and sometimes a couple of paragraphs, but always by hand!  I often see the cards tacked to a bulletin board or sitting on a bookshelf;  leading me to believe that while most of the staff I work with certainly appreciate any acknowledgement of gratitude, it’s the hand written ones that are most valued by the receiver!

So, sharpen your pencils and make sure there is ink in your pen and say Thank You!

Check Out What Other Bloggers Think of Pens and Pencils:


One of the times when I feel “serene” is just after a snowstorm, the deeper the snow, often the more serene.  Everything feels clean, quiet, and peaceful; if that’s not serenity, I don’t know what is!


Find More Serenity Here:

Image Search: Despair

Today’s writing prompt really moved me:  Pick a random word and do Google image search on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind.

Here’s the picture:


Here’s what it made me think of:

My friend, A, is going through a very difficult time in her life right now.  She’s seen challenges, sure, but this time is different.  I was reading her posts on social media and they worried me, a lot!  I’ve been messaging her and getting some response, but even those lead me to believe she is in the darkest place she’s ever experienced.

The only thing that comes to my mind when I read her words is complete and utter despair.  It feels beyond depression and touched with shame and guilt; which is maybe why she is unwilling to talk to me—I know her, well.

Last weekend her posts concerned another friend of hers; so much so, that this friend called the local police to do a well check on her. She was not well, as I knew, and the police took her to the hospital for help.  I messaged “A” and she gave me some of the details.  She will follow-up with suggestions from the hospital to get some support, I hope.

Depression and despair, shame and guilt, are insidious emotions and can easily overcome someone.  I don’t know anyone who’s never experienced this in some for or other.  For those of us who find we cannot do it on our own, worlds of options for support exist.

Today’s thank you goes out to the friend of A’s who had enough presence of mind to call for help for her.  It also goes out to the many, many professionals who support people when they are in crisis, thank you!

Bloggers Image Searches:

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?

I tend to think of myself as a jack of all trades and master of none, as the saying goes; often calling myself a “generalist” in my work life.  I know a little bit about a lot of things, making me an ideal candidate for Jeopardy, but I haven’t taken the test yet (although I often know more than the players I watch on the show every night).

expertBeing an expert in any one skill is not appealing to me.  The focus and dedication it takes to become THE go-to person in the world is remarkable, but can you imagine living with that kind of pressure?  I’m not interested.   I enjoy the fact that I know how to do a variety of things:  to cook and sew and write and use a particular computer program and speak in public without peeing myself.  Somewhere very early in my career I recall someone telling me, “The more you know how to do, the more opportunity you’ll find.”  I’ve taken that to heart.

triviaI also enjoy knowing the bunch of fun facts and tidbits that make for a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit.  I imagine though, being the master of a skill could come with extreme expectations and rewards.  So, for the masters of skill in science and technology and education and culinary arts and the myriad others in the world, thank you.  Without you our lives would be, and have been, dramatically different.

“Master” Bloggers:

This One is Definitely Inspired

My friend Betsy is most certainly living an inspired life!  When I first met her in 1989, I knew she was amazing  when she came running into my office to show me her new tattoo.  I’m not sure she knew just how amazing her life would become as a mom, wife, business owner, entrepreneur.  I love when her posts show up in my Facebook newsfeed!  Rarely is there a negative word or complaint, it’s so refreshing!

Here’s her Facebook post from the other day, and a link to her blog she totally rocks!  My hope for my blog this year is to be as inspiring as Betsy!

betsy inspired

Posts I Liked Today:

My Purpose

To Change a Life

Mission Statement – Or What The Hell Is This Blog About?

Blogging and Peace

Motivation vs. Inspiration

When I was in graduate school one of my advisors would drop little gems into his lectures, some of which have stuck with me twenty-plus yrs later.  One of my favorites, and I can’t recall who he had cited when he mentioned it, was “there’s a big difference between motivation and inspiration.”  Motivation, he said, is something that you have to find or do every day; to lose weight, start or finish a project, clean out the bedrooms that the grandchildren lived in when they were with us…the list could go on.

iInspiration on the other hand, well, that’s something that’s been far more elusive for me in 2014. As my college professor put it, inspiration comes from a very different place.  You don’t need to find it over and over again from somewhere else.  It comes from that still small voice inside; the one we hear when we’re looking at art, or listening to fantastic music or kids laughing, or when we’re sitting alone quietly.

Sometimes we’re inspired by something outside of ourselves, but really, it is that inner voice that is giving us the kick in the pants.  Starting today, the first day of this year, I’ve decided to try my hand at living a more inspired life.  I will take the time to sit and listen and then, to act on what I hear.

In my daily thank you’s this year you’ll see a focus on Inspiration, let me know what you think.

Happy New Year!

Inspired Bloggers