On Writing and editing

I’ve volunteered to write something for another blogger.  Someone who actually gets paid to be a blog writer. It’s, like, his job.  No pressure, right?

The challenge is to write about something specific that I did last year, gather quotes from others who did the same thing, and keep it under 800 words.  For someone who likes to talk, and to write, that’s a challenge.  800 words isn’t really that much.  The piece that I wrote on my own, without the quotes, climbed pretty close to 800 words.

I’m now at about 1300 words. Oops.

So I sit here, staring at the screen trying to figure out how to cut and edit, shave and shape, the work.  Funny thing is, I remember writing almost 8 years ago on another blog about how writing and editing is like forging a knife from steel.  There’s a delicate balance of what you want to edit and change.  If you remove too much, it changes the shape of the blade and becomes something different.  If you don’t remove enough, the blade is dull and ineffective.

Sadly, I can’t find that piece I wrote.  The blog isn’t there any more and I didn’t save it on my own.  I was hoping it would inspire me.

Here I sit, staring at the screen, looking for that elusive inspiration.  I could edit the quotes, but I’m even more hesitant to audit someone else’s thoughts.  I’m great at proofreading and finding errors, but I’m not a fan of copyediting.

I’m tempted to let him edit the rest – shave off those 500 extraneous words and get it to something more concise and to the point.  And I’ll probably post my original one here, without the other quotes.

Until then, I’ll just sit here and stare at the screen….

New Year, New Me, New You

Happy New Year!

After almost a 6-year hiatus, I have decided to try and resuscitate my blog from so many years ago.

A lot can happen in six years.  My sweet little daughter has turned into a teenager and is almost unrecognizable at times.  My sweet toddler boy is starting to require showers on a daily basis because, well, he stinks.  At least he’s not eating me out of house and home.  Yet.

But that’s what happens when kids grow up.  They change.  Usually for the better, thankfully.  It’s a rocky time, though, and it’s by far the most difficult challenge I have faced.  And I’ve managed to throw myself at some new challenges in the last few years, too, including finding a new desire for health and fitness.  In 2013, I started taking a class with some friends to get in better shape and lose weight.  I lost a total of 30 pounds, although since then I have managed to gain back some of that.  Maintaining a workout schedule, as well as the challenge of changing a diet for the better, has proven to be significant challenge for someone who loves junk food and being lazy.

But my road to fitness has led me to new friends and new adventures.  2015, I completed my first Spartan Race – a sprint.  2016, I completed my first Spartan Trifecta – a sprint, a super and a beast.  I also finished two laps of a Warrior Dash and a couple of other Spartan sprints.  My daughter completed her first Spartan Sprint, and my son completed his first Spartan Kids Race.  2017, I have a goal of two trifectas, possibly 3, another Warrior Dash, a Savage Race, and it looks like a Ragnar Trail race.  It’s gonna be a busy year.

 

Midwest Homeschool Convention – day 1

First of all, let me say YAY for a gal’s weekend away!  A dear friend of mine and I drove up from TN to attend the MidWest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati.  This is exciting!

We’ve already had an afternoon of workshops and both L and I have felt convicted by what the speakers have to say.  In essence, we are ruining our kids – BUT IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

The first woman we saw was a workshop called “Confessions of a Disorganized Homeschool Mom” and it was like she was speaking TO ME.  Yes, I knew I was disorganized but she made me feel normal for being so.  It was like a weight was lifted off.  Some of the ways to help stay “on track” in our disorganized world are things I’m already doing, but there were other ideas that were totally new and refreshing that I will definitely be incorporating into my home.

The next workshop was on Unit Studies.  I love this concept on paper, but putting it into action is fearful for me.  The speaker, Amanda Bennett, talked about the benefits and rewards related to unit studies and this is the part where L and I were sure we’re ruining our children. Instead of discovering the gifts God has given them to succeed in ways THEY were meant to, we’re making them fit into our expectations of how they are to learn.  Wow.

Lastly was a workshop on writing and helping a reluctant writer.  Since we don’t follow a writing program, per se, this was very interesting with even more nuggets of inspiration.   The speaker, Julie Bogart, is a ghostwriter by profession and just started teaching writing to her children the way she worked writing.  While doing so, she discovered that the “educational” way of teaching writing isn’t the same as the “professional” way of writing.  This lead to her developing her own curriculum called Brave Writer which seems to be very interesting on the surface.

I see some research in my future.

Oh, and did I mention the vendor hall??  There is a ridiculous amount of companies related to homeschooling down in the exhibit hall.  We were in there for an hour and only saw half of what was there.  I can’t wait to get to the other half!

 

 

 

 

Unsocialized Homeschooler?

One of the things I remember hearing about (and I still do hear it) is that homeschooled children need to be socialized.

Hmmmm…  I wonder just what that means, sometimes.  I read a recent post on The Pioneer Woman about socializing and homeschooled children and the comments (current count around 260) were eye-opening about the differing opinions and thoughts on these children and their social behaviors.

There are threads about it all over different homeschool forums; How do you socialize your child?  Where does your child interact with other children?  How does he/she do in public?  I’m guessing each family knows their child and what they need best.  That’s certainly true in our case.

Monkey is a social machine.  She loves being around other children – as long as it’s not her brother.  Don’t get me wrong, she does love her brother, but they do fight as siblings do (and it makes a momma crazy, for sure).  Being homeschooled, though, hasn’t changed that.  Thankfully, with my job and our family activities, she’s still around other children almost every day.

Just last week, she had her standardized testing for three days.  She met a girl and made a friend on day one.  On day two, that friend invited her to a birthday party on the weekend.  On day three, her friend is introducing Monkey to her mom and making sure it’s ok that Monkey can come to the party.

The party was on Saturday and we went (and it was about 30 minutes away – one way), not knowing a single person there but the birthday girl.  Monkey was a little shy at first, but her friend took her to each girl and introduced her and within a little while, all the girls were dancing and playing around (it was at a karaoke cafe; a unique torture for the parent that will be written about later).

There’s no unsocialized homeschooler in this house.

On being a digital packrat

OK, I have a confession to make.  I’m something of a packrat.  I’m not yet ready to be featured on an episode of Hoarding, thankfully, but I do tend to hang on to things “in case I might need it later.”

 

But I’m working on purging my belongings.  It’s a slow and painful process because I’ll make good progress and then I’ll come across something that I just know I’ll need again someday.  It all goes downhill from there.

 

I’m not here to talk about my struggles with physical things, however.  I’m talking today about being a digital packrat.  Yes, there is such a thing.  Last week, I started with 6,782 emails in my inbox, dating back to 2007.  Yep.  I know, sad, isn’t it?  So I have started deleting them.  I don’t try and  delete them all in one day (cannot possibly imagine how long that would take) and some I have to look at again because, really?, there might be some important information from 2008 that I might need again this year.

 

Today, I’m down to 4,677 emails in my inbox.  Maybe once I get that down to a manageable number, I’ll start looking through my digital photos because I’m sure there are some that should be deleted.

 

I have 12,967 pictures, after all.

Open Letter to a Friend

About a year and a half ago, I posted this to my blog.  It has proven to be my most visited post since then.  Even though it’s as old as it is, it’s still as prevalent today as it was then.  I hope you don’t mind a re-do.

 

My dear friend,

I’m so glad we met those many years ago.  You are my oldest friend, even though I’m older than you.  I can’t even begin to list all the things we’ve done and learned and experienced in life together.  It’s good to know we still have that connection, even if we don’t talk for a while.

My dear friend, I know we haven’t talked in years, but you’re still on my mind.  I remember those times my sophomore year in high school when the four of us would hang out at lunch.  I never laughed so hard, careening through stoplights to get to Burger King and back in less than 30 minutes.  I think we are the reason they closed off-campus lunches.

I remember slumber parties and sneaking out of the house and I laugh to myself; I look back on groups of us going to the old abandoned meat packing plant and I’m thankful none of us got hurt – but boy did we have fun!  Then you moved away and we kept in touch only occasionally for a few years, then not at all.  I ran into one of our group not too long ago back home.  He hadn’t changed a bit and it brought back fun memories.

My dear friend, my roommate in college, I wonder how you are.  We lost touch when our life paths meandered in different directions, but I still think of you.  We saw each other through good times and bad and I find myself hoping your life has more good than bad these days.  I wonder if you’re still chasing your dream of Hollywood and being a makeup artist or if you caught that dream and I look for your name in the rolling credits.  But then I think maybe you found a new dream and I wish I knew what it was.

My dear friends, the “great wall of China,” Woodstock ’94, and my fellow Pirates grads.  You were also there through good times and bad and even better times.  You were there for my wedding; some of you met my daughter but only one of you know my son.  Such is life when you live in different states.  Even if we don’t talk much, I still think of you often and chuckle to myself.

My dear friend, I know you are struggling now, but I am here for you.

My dear friend, you’ve traveled the globe and I am so envious!  I haven’t seen you since our girls were small but the pictures you share are great.  I look at your faces and I’m thankful you have a life full of love and happiness.  I only wish we could have visited you in New Zealand!

My dear friend, I miss your laugh and your quirky sense of humor.  We hit it off after a short time and our kids played well together.  I wonder if my daughter and your son will still get married, like they planned.  What fun that would be – to call you family!  I’m glad we still talk on the phone, even though we haven’t seen each other in years.  Let’s get that girl’s weekend on the calendar!

My dear friend, I wish you took my calls.  I know it was hard on you when I moved, but I’m still here wishing I could talk to you.  We don’t have to see our faces to call ourselves friends.  You held my infant son, took care of my daughter and shared in some of the most funniest moments of my life.  I can’t imagine how big your boys are now.  I hope you are well and I think of you often.

My dear friends, too many to mention, that I see around me now.  You are an amazing gift and I’m so thankful for all the friends I have been given in my life.  Friends have changed me, molded me over my lifetime into who I am today.  I have angels in my life today and it’s amazing to watch our children become the friends that we are.  It’s my hope and prayer that my friends – all of them, old and new – know what they mean to me and continue to mold and shape the lives of those around them.  Friends are special and we should treasure them always.

My dear friend, I love you.