Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Happiness Project

A couple weeks ago my mother-in-law passed away. Helen was a lovely woman who made a real mark on her community and her family and friends. Her boxes of pajamas for the kids every Christmas as well as her bright smile and love of dessert before (a tradition we already carry on some weekends) will be sorely missed.

In the midst of our mourning, the kids and I walked into an Indigo store and browsed. It was here I came across The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin . In need of some happiness, I bought it. I have to say I'm only three chapters in, but find it an interesting read.

Chapter One talks about clearing clutter from our lives. Okay, I've tried this before. It reproduces. As fast as I clear a table or a counter, the next generation of debris settles in. Ugh! But I've managed to clear a desk top and the coffee table (already reproduced!) and a dresser (now covered in cards and mail.) No problem. Not giving up.

The clutter is only a symptom of the busyness of our lives. Work, school, activities...we're always on the go and find a convenient place to drop things with the half-hearted intent of putting them away later. It's when later stretches into a week or two that it becomes an issue. One of the worst places for clutter in the entire house is my closet. The catch all space. Forget a little drawer, I go big! The kids already know that's where the Christmas gifts lurk, but never snoop for fear something will fall on them!

The plans for clutter are simple. Go in, clear it all out, and live in spacious peace. Uh...but, I can't get rid of the jacket my mother-in-law gave me that I've never worn. Or the blouse from my mom because I wore it...never. Or the shoes I used to wear to my old job at the bank. Or the mounds of binders I keep my manuscripts in since I don't have a real office space, I work out of my closet. Literally. Or...(insert other odds and ends here). The point is, we all have things we keep for sentimental value. Some things fill space in our hearts, some just fills space.

So, onward with my own Happiness Project.
Month One, November, will be about clearing the clutter and finding some much needed energy.
Let you know how that goes!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Round Robin October 2013

We are back with another adventure with the monthly Round Robin! Check out what I wrote then follow the links around the world to see what other writers think!

Paranormal themes run rampant through fiction across many genres. Are you a believer in the paranormal or a skeptic? Have you ever experienced (or known someone who had) a paranormal experience?

I know many people who are firm believers in paranormal and have had experiences they can't explain. One of my favourites actually happened to my oldest son in October 2012.

We had our black and white cat Oscar from the time he was 6 weeks old until he passed away in September 2012, a month shy of 19 years of age. Our kids grew up with him always around, sleeping on their beds and following everyone through the house. He was never a real cuddly cat though, not until his 18th year. Stricken with arthritis and other health issues, he suddenly wanted to spend time with each of us and eat anything that smelled good and try anything that looked like fun. Like the doting parents we are, we carried him up and down the stairs when he struggled and made sure he was warm and comfortable.

While it wasn't a real shock when he died peacefully on a Sunday morning, it was difficult for all of us. He was family. Not long after Oscar passed, my oldest son Nick was sitting on his bed with our younger cat Jazz sound asleep at his side. Nick was startled when something cold brushed past him and touched his hand. Jazz, suddenly alert and on his feet, looked around like he'd sensed something. When Nick told me about the incident a few minutes later, he was a bit spooked, but also relieved. Wherever Oscar was, he was happy and able to get back up onto his bed again.

And now off to Connie Vines to find out about her paranormal perspective.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stop by and visit me on tour!

I will be part of Patricia Gligor's "Getting to know you" post that goes live Sunday morning Oct 13 and will run through the following Saturday. Here's the link:
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pondering among the leaves...

Such a lovely morning this morning, I decided to take a walk in the leaves. Granted, my pace has been slower than normal lately due to a cold, but sometimes slowing down is what helps us see the trees rather than the forest.
I love autumn. As a kid, I had a long driveway to walk down to get to the bus stop. Shuffling through the leaves and warming the frost on my nose, was actually one of my favourite parts of the day. Still is! I have a natural affinity for both paper and the trees it comes from. The one in the picture resides across the street from me. Our tree is smaller and more spindly, not a climber and covered in kids all summer long!
 Yes, I do still shuffle through leaves. Living in the Eastern part of Canada, we have such a wide variety of them. Maples, oaks, chestnut...the colours are breathtaking and the photos we get while hiking are amazing.
One of my favourite memories of fall in Ontario is when my brother and his wife first came to visit us for Thanksgiving and we took them hiking. My sister-in-law had never seen a real maple leaf (in her defence, neither had we before we moved here. There's just no such thing in Alberta!). Her excitement when she found a perfect red maple leaf lying on the ground was contagious! Then the kids pointed to the thousands of maple trees that surrounded us. She was a bit sheepish, but thrilled to see so many lovely leaves of every autumn colour. We still joke about that first maple leaf, but it's a memory that will live on forever!
Autumn is also the best time for me to dive back into writing. The kids are at school, the air is crisp in the morning and warm come lunch and going for long walks not only rejuvenates my soul, it stirs something in my brain that gets me primed to sit and write.
Where September is a rush of back to school, seminars and signing new students at work and constant stress, October is more laid back for me. Routine is setting in and I can focus again. It's when I am the most productive.
This fall, my oldest son has Reading Week at the end of October. I'd never heard of that before, but I'm glad for the opportunity to spend time with him and get in a bit more hiking. And, since he is a writer as well, a lot more brainstorming!
Have fun shuffling in the leaves!