Thursday, January 18, 2007

Inspiration Point

Where do you get your inspiration?

When I was a little girl, we lived for one year in a big white house on an acre of land. Bordering the edge of our property was a grove of miniature pine trees. My imaginative, young mind was drawn to it like a magnet. It was the perfect place to hide out from pesky younger brothers, and the reality of my parents' dissolving marriage. The dense crop of trees were like friends to me. Just tall enough to shelter me from the outside world, and thick enough to make me feel secluded but never afraid of getting lost. Weaving my way through the labyrinth, they tickled me with their soft, prickly branches and tousled my curls. They welcomed me, spreading the floor with a blanket of needles so thick that not an ounce of moisture seeped in.

My favorite tree stood near the middle of the grove. Completely bare on one side, it's destiny was never to be a Christmas tree. But it proved the ideal place to rest my back, knees bent and notebook in lap, and spin my fanciful tales. I called this place my Enchanted Forest, for in it, I was transformed.

That summer was really the marking point for the beginning of my career as a writer. It was then that I fell in love with the written word, and began to venture out into the world of creativity. I filled many a spiral-bound notebook with my musings. I wonder what ever happened to them? The notebooks are long gone, but the stories (most of them, anyway) are still fresh in my mind.

My husband and I took a drive in the country last week and passed that old house. It was the first time I'd been back in all these years, and I was shocked to see those stately pines, tall and regal against the evening sky. Do they even remember me? I pressed my hand to the glass in silent greeting as we drove past. They made no acknowledgement, as far as I can tell.

I wonder, has the magic vanished? Or do they clutch it still, deep inside? I close my eyes and envision them as they were in their youth, when light filled their depths and they freely shared their secrets.

Ah, my Enchanted Forest, the birthplace of my imagination! I shall always hold you dear in my heart.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Getting Into the Grind

At last the holidays are over and I am settling into the daily grind. The gym membership turned out not to be my only gift: my husband got me an adorable little ipod shuffle to go with it. Already I find myself missing it when it is not on my person! Music is a real motivator for me. I must apologize if my "Wish List" post sounded as though I was in any way ungrateful for my husband's gift. He is a wonderful man who knows my heart. My frustration was not directed at him, but rather, at myself for continuously making excuses as to why I cannot seem to do the one thing I long most to do.

At any rate, I am now reaping the benefits of his generosity, attending the gym for two hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday while my oldest is at school. The younger two go with me to the free babysitting facility they have at the gym. The mornings are usually quiet, so they get plenty of attention and the arrangement is working out marvellously for all involved. Working out to the music pumping through my ears keeps me in my own little world, no one to bother me, and few interruptions makes for a veritable breeding ground for creative ideas in my mind.

So far I have tried out a Spinning class (hated) and a Pilates class (loved). I think I will join the Pilates class, which meets for one hour every Monday morning. It really kicked my butt last week, but in that strangly addictive way that has you coming back for more. Plus, it was nice to be part of a group again. Being a SAHM for the last 5 years and moving all around the globe didn't give me many opportunities to make new friends.

Wow! Between the potential to meet some very interesting people and quietly observe others, not to mention getting my butt kicked back into shape, joining a gym may be the best mental and physical health boost I've had in years!

To your health, everybody!

Monday, January 01, 2007

A New Year, A Fresh Start

What is it about a new year that makes us believe we can start anew? A fresh rebirth, a chance to cast off the old, selfish, indulgent persona, and assume a new, more likeable one?

In any case, I too resolve to make a change this year. I have weighed myself in the balances and found myself lacking. And so I resolve just one thing really -- to become a better person in every aspect of my life. Broken down, it looks a little something like this:

10 ways in which I resolve to better myself and in effect, the world around me

1. To find my center. To have an on-my-knees meeting with my Creator and Saviour and together, re-establish my purpose in this life. And to keep my center within arms reach, by consistant, daily prayer and reading of the Scriptures.

2. To open my heart more. To not be afraid to reach out to others around me and to tell them how I feel about them.

3. To shower my loved ones with affection. To keep their needs in my focus, even if it means allowing my own to fall by the wayside.

4. To laugh more, yell less. To be the mother to my children that I never had myself and always longed for.

5. To never again be the victim. To choose not to let the poor choices of others affect me.

6. To respect others. Help out the elderly. Assist the children. Pause and hold that door open for the person behind me. Say excuse me. Don't be rude.

7. To respect myself. To realize that this body is the only one I was given. Accept it. Love it. Care for it. Eat healthier, excercise frequently, get in shape and stay there!

8. To realize that time is money -- or at least, more valuable. Show that you care and that you are someone who can be counted on. Be on time.

9. To listen more, talk less. Allow others the chance to pour out their hearts and be validated. Don't interrupt.

10. To realize my dreams. Stop living the fantasy and start making them a reality. Educate yourself, learn from others, and never stop until you reach your goals.

And there you have it.

Happy New Year, everybody!