January 22nd – Space (Friday Fiction)

One Minute Writer Prompt:
Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt “space.”

“Why can’t you just give me my space?” He screamed at me, just inches from my face. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see his right hand forming a tight fist. I knew he wouldn’t dare hit me, but still, something inside of me feared him and I took a step backward.

“Alright Greg,” I began with a lump now forming deeply in the back of my throat, “if you need space, that’s what I’ll give you.” Taking another step backward, I eyed him all the while doing my best not to project the tinge of fear that was slowly but surely beginning to overcome my body.

“Good,” he responded, his face still crumpled up in anger and anxiety. He then turned away from me and started going back to the living room.

I just stood there frozen, as though I was paralyzed in that spot. Part of my brain was yelling at me to do something, say something to him before he turned that television back on to the game. That was all he ever did, watch the game. The man worked all day and then would come home, turn on the tube to whatever sports game was on. All I wanted was for the two of us to spend some time together. Greg, on the other hand did not.

Before I could even rethink my original request to him, I heard the sound of the television and the sports announcer’s voice booming. ‘So much for alone time Jill,’ I told myself. My body loosened and I was able to again move. Slowly, I moved into the kitchen to make dinner. There’s always tomorrow…

January 21st – Comfort

One Minute Writer Prompt:
What is the best way someone can comfort you when you are grieving?

This could be one of two ways, and it varies as I go through the different stages of grief. Sometimes, I want to simply be left alone to think and deal with my feelings. Other times, I need to be with close family and friends, as I need that closeness right there. For me, this floats between both needs during my grieving process. It is just a matter of which one I need at that particular time. But, it is always one or the other. I have found with death in the family, being around family is one of the best comforts.

January 19th – Discipline

One Minute Writer Prompt:
In what area of your life are you the most disciplined?

I would love to say writing, but honestly, I would be deceiving myself on that. I write regularly, but definitely not with as much discipline as I should.

For this question, I would have to go with health and fitness. More so, with my eating. I now keep track of everything I eat from the moment I wake up to the time my head hits the pillow on my bed at night. I don’t always keep a list of every food and drink, but I do know how many calories I have consumed throughout the day. This helps me keep on track with maintaining my weight.

Jan 17th & 18th Prompts

One-Minute Writer Prompts

January 18th – Parent
If you are a parent, how did you feel when you first found out you’d become one?
If you’re not a parent, how do you think you’d feel if you got that news?

Well, considering that I am not a parent, the second portion of this prompt applies to me. How do I think I’d feel if I discovered I was a new parent? If I was married and trying to get pregnant, I’d feel great. This would be amazing news for me and my husband. I do want to someday have children, so this day will come for me. I do hope however, that it comes when I am ready and have been actually trying to have kids. Of course, things will work out when the Great One above wants them to.

January 17th – Rest
Do you have a weekly day of rest? Write a bit about this concept.

Ah, a day of rest, that’s the life, eh? When I hear this phrase, thoughts of palm trees and sunny afternoons by the pool cross my mind. Alas, that is just a stereotypical scene. Just like a vacation, it is a vision of what we hope said day or days would be like.
Realistically, a day of rest for me does occur. I tend to utilize most of my weekends for rest. I try to mentally and physically allow my body to relax during that time as much as possible. Even a few hours of rest feels great. For me, an afternoon where I can be out with my camera taking pictures or writing in a quiet place is relaxing and enjoyable.

January 4th – Date

One-Minute Writer Daily Prompt:
Write about a day of the year that is important to you personally (not a holiday or birthday.)

Here is the utter truth of the matter, I love Fridays now more than ever. Now that I only work on every fifth Saturday, Fridays are my favorite days since I know the weekend is right there waiting. There is nothing like that feeling you get when it’s time to punch out for the last time that week and have the next two days free of the workplace, it is a feeling of excitement.

I realize that I sort of took this prompt in a bit of a difference direction. To single out one day of the year less for holidays/birthdays that is important to me right now is almost impossible. As, a day for me other than holidays does not exist. Yes, I’m sure if I really racked my brain I’d come up with something, but nothing came to mind for me when I saw this prompt. Seeing as how the prompt response is supposed to be written within 60 seconds, that’s what I came up with. 🙂

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This blog post is in response to The One-Minute Writer daily prompt.

Best of 2009 Challenge: Catch-up 2

Finally, I’m posting the remainder of the days I needed to catch up on. Here are December 7th through 12th from the blog challenge prompts….



Blog find of the year. That gem of a blog you can’t believe you didn’t know about until this year.

In 2009, I discovered a number of great blogs, so I can’t really single out one particular one over the others. There are two though that I visit very regularly these days and really enjoy. Those are, Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen and Procrastinating Writer.

Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen is a recipe blog for vegans (and those who love veg food). Lots of low-fat and lower calorie recipes are posted each week by author/cook Susan. A great resource for those wanting to eat well, but watch the calories (I still count calories to this day).

Procrastinating Writers is a blog for writers, especially those who tend to veer off track and allow their mind to wander into other things instead of that blank paper sitting in front of them (or blank screen as the case may be). Great motivating and inspirational info posted all the time here, I especially enjoyed the site during NaNoWriMo, which is when I discovered it.

Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

Ah yes, I look forward to this each and every week. My moment of solitude takes place on Sundays. This is the one day of the week where I can sleep in, with no worries of having to be any place at a particular designated time or worrying about that pesky alarm clock buzzing me awake. Sundays are my day of rest both mentally and physically.

Mentally, I allow myself to relax at that time and let all the worries of the previous days and of those upcoming to drift away, as though they were aboard a canoe in calm waters. Ideally, my surroundings during this time are calm and positive. Of course, for now, this means that my real “me time” or “moment of peace” takes place out of the home. Maybe in 2010, this will change once I am back in my own place.

Physically, I work out my body. This means I go out for long walk/runs allowing myself to not only get in some cardio exercise, but to breath in the outdoors. There is nothing like being outside on a beautiful sunny day, just taking it all in. I love how it makes me feel, relaxed.

Challenge. Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

My challenge of 2009 was to be back in a place that I never planned to be back to, and survive. As silly as that sounds, that was sort of the big challenge for me. Of course, entering the year 2009 as an unemployed individual, was a challenge in and of itself. I had never not been employed, at least not since I was in high school. That situation, along with having to move back home with my parents was my challenge. I was grateful that they were and are there for me when I need them, but moving back home after being out on your own is not the same. Things are quite different when you come back and are your own person. Nothing seems or is quite the same at home. While I never felt unwelcome, I have gone through my share of unhappy and uncomfortable moments being back this year. I went from optimistic job seeker and thinking all would be great soon, to depressed and not caring about anything…then, back to happy again. A mental and emotional ride of an adventure (if you can call it that J ).

In the end though, I feel as though it has been a learning experience for me. I have learned a lot, and while I love my family to pieces, I cannot wait to be back living on my own in 2010 back in my favorite place, Asheville.

Album of the year. What’s rocking your world?

Pearl Jam’s new album, Backspacer is probably my favorite of the year. It is the only full album I paid for a download of on iTunes in 2009. Other artists I have enjoyed, but not their entire album. It’s a great album full of music you can listen to in the car while you drive, or is great for adding to your workout mix. I have added a number of the album’s songs to my walk/run mixes.

The best place. A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook?

People have these? Ha, seriously, I don’t really have one best or favorite place. If the location is serene and allows me to sit and write, I am usually happy and content with it. That might be a coffee shop, or a bookstore for me. Also, I enjoy places that I can photograph and feel my creativity pumping. These days, I am more into the outdoors than ever before in my life, so outdoor locations are great.

The only place I have found myself returning to as of late is Celebration. This is a quaint little community near Walt Disney World. It has beautiful scenery and oddly enough, reminds me somewhat of North Carolina in a way. I like how I can go there to merely wander around, check out the Sunday farmer’s market or take a long stroll on their hiking path. Celebration is a relaxing place to spend a few hours or day in just “vegging out.”

New food. You’re now in love with Lebanese food and you didn’t even know what it was in January of this year.

Indian food. Finally bought some and tried it late this year and I am in love. Well, I’m in love with matter tofu at least. I only wish I would have allowed myself to be more open and have tried this culture’s food sooner. I really have been missing out on some good food. Becoming vegan has really helped me open myself to try new things which is nice because I am beginning to have new favorite meals to add to my weekly “menu” for lunches and dinners.

December 28th – Stationery

When you touch the paper, your heart melts. The ink flows from the pen. What was your stationery find of the year?

Ah, stationary, notepads, notebooks, paper, how I adore thee. You are my love, my obsession…no really, this is true. I cannot walk into a store and not look at what notebooks, journals and such that they carry. Some girls have a shoe obsession, instead I have a paper and pen obsession, I am a writer after all.

Did I have a favorite find in 2009 paper-wise? Honestly, I cannot say I did. I still love gel pens when I am hand writing something and not able to simply type into my laptop. And, any good notebook/notepad that is college ruled works well for me. Also, I love legal pads. I must have at least a dozen empty or partially written in notepads all over my room and car. My theory is, you can never have too many writing instruments and writing paper to scribble upon. I mean, when the power goes out and you are sitting there in the dark only illuminated by flashlight or candlelight, you can still write with that pen and paper. Never fails. 🙂

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This blog is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

December 25th and 26th – Gift & Insight

What’s a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?

The gift of better health. I started to approach the getting healthier and losing weight at the tail end of 2008, but it was the first half of 2009 when I achieved this betterment for myself.
By the summer, I was not only 70lbs lighter, but I was in the best health I had ever been in my life. I felt good and what was inside was showing on the outside. Giving yourself the gift of good health is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.

Insight or aha! moment. What was your epiphany of the year?

What was my epiphany…. well, this came to me most recently. I believe that it was lingering in the air above me for awhile before, but I just never saw it. Maybe I didn’t want to see it, or maybe I just couldn’t until I was ready. Irregardless, my epiphany pertains to my writing and photography. The writing of course is something I never stopped doing, as I’m always working on some story or another during any given year. However, my photography did end up taking a sabbatical for awhile. Whether this was because I felt uninspired or what, I cannot say. Doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it though. I feel as though my future involves both writing and photography. This is not a new thought, but something about it now just feels different. I feel as though it is more of a realization now that it has ever been. I plan on focusing more on the two combined loves in the coming year than I ever have before. It just feels right.

December 21st – Project

What did you start this year that you’re proud of?

Well, I have started a lot of new things in 2009. However, most of my new projects are actually beginning in 2010. That said, I will highlight two things that I had going this year.

One thing I took on this year and completed all the way to the end was NaNoWriMo. I took on the challenge to write 50,000 words in one month and finished with over 50k worth of words written and even a day early! I was very proud to have completed that challenge, as I have done it the previous two years and never made it to the end.

The other project I started in 2009 was my goal to move back to Asheville by next summer. In association with this goal, I began a blog to chronicle my journey back to Western North Carolina. This particular project is one that is “in the works.” While I have declared what I am going to do and gotten the gears turning, so to speak, January 1st really begins the “official” countdown to my return to Asheville.

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This blog post is a part of Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

December 17th – Word or phrase

A word that encapsulates your year. “2009 was _____.”

2009 was full of changes. Yeah, just can’t go with just one word there. This was a year that started off as a roller coaster of a ride and has continued to go through the ups and downs of the track along the way.

At the start of 2009, I was unemployed and in all honesty, desperate for work of some kind, anything. I had returned to Central Florida from the beautiful mountains and all I wanted was a paycheck every week or two that would pay the bills and help me get back on my own two feet. Thankfully, my prayers were answered not long after the New Year’s ball dropped. On February 2nd, I started my current call center job.

My weight loss journey was still at the forefront of my mind back in January. I had only just begun my weight loss about three months prior, so I still had a ways to go. By April and my birthday, I was close to where I hoped to be, but was seriously struggling with self-image issues. A great support system aided me in getting over that mountain of a challenge and by the summer, I was 70lbs lighter than I was when I began the journey to better health.

Creatively, I’ve gone through good and bad this year. Thanks to Debbie & Joe’s wedding last year, my excitement for photography had returned while I was still in Asheville. After getting my tax refund, I was able to purchase my first DSLR in late April. It quickly began my new “baby.” I was more than excited about showing it off to anyone who would listen to me ramble about it’s awesomeness. In early May, the camera came with me to Asheville for a quick in-and-out trip to collect the remainder of my belongings that another friend was holding for me in her basement. It was a good feeling walking around downtown Asheville with my new camera firmly in hand, even if it was only for a few hours that sunny Sunday afternoon.

Writing-wise, I’ve been through a number of highs and lows this year. When I first got back down to Florida, I told myself that it was a good time to really sit down and write. That I not only had a lot to write about, but that I need to utilize the free time I would now have until I found a job to do just that. Unfortunately, I did not do this. Instead, I found myself depressed and uninspired. I was waiting for inspiration to walk up to me and punch me in the nose. I now know that not only will inspiration not do this, but that I was naive to even think that it might happen in that way. Inspiration usually does not just jump out in front of your car in the road ahead waving its arms wildly. It comes as you are working and doing all that you can. You need to be open to inspiration, not just sitting there calling out its name. So, after months of excuses and not writing more than I absolutely had to, I had nothing but notebooks full of blank pages. Gradually, I got back on the writing wagon and got my butt in gear. While I had been writing prior to NaNoWriMo, it was this event in November that really got my writing ignited again. I now write something everyday again like I had been doing and I feel like I’m not that lazy, procrastinating writer that I was most of 2009.

Another big change in my life this year is that I went vegetarian in October. After having considered this option in the past, never did I seriously think I could or would do it. But, I decided to give it a go for health reasons. I felt that cutting out meat and making myself try new veggie meals would better my health and maybe help me lose the last few pounds that I had been trying to get rid of. After just a few weeks in, I then educated myself about the treatment of animals in regards to dairy cows and chickens, as I was still consuming milk and eggs. As soon as I took in the reality of how free-range was not the free-range I had believed it to be as well as considering my lactose-intolerance situation, I gave up anything animal derived. I am now a vegan. Admittingly, I am still working on the lifestyle part of being a vegan (getting rid of leather shoes and what have you), but I no longer eat anything that comes from an animal. I am happy about my choice to become vegan and feel better than ever for it. Definitely no regrets in the slightest.

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This blog post is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge.