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Written Word Wednesday: Make Me Flourish,Teach!

When one hasn’t written in a long time, like I haven’t, one tends to rely on prompts to get the writing going again. So that’s what I’m doing today.

I’m actually combining the “Flourish” prompt from Daily Post with the first prompt in the book “642 Things to Write About Me” that I picked up from the bookstore several months back but never got around to filling out. The prompt reads,

Write a letter to the teacher (or coach) who made a difference in your life, asking him or her for help. What are you asking for? Why?

With respect to time, I’m just going to put down what comes to my mind first. I could literally spend hours thinking about all the teachers and coaches that have made a difference in my life, and for that I’m thankful. In fact, I may just take a journal day one of these days and write them all down and see exactly which one I want to focus on.

But for right now, I’m going to focus on an English professor I had at university. I had him for several classes–at least four, I think. He always had innovative writing exercises and projects for us. It wasn’t really until I took his classes that I realized how much I loved writing nonfiction pieces about my life.

What struck me the most was at an end-of-quarter review at his office. He was curious to know if I ever considered getting my writing published. I told him that I never have, because–and this is still the case today–I’m terrified of putting my opinions and mind musings out there for everyone to read or judge. I feel like my writing is such a personal, private thing (yes, I see the irony in keeping a blog here). I told him that as much as I loved writing, my personal goal when it came to writing was to encourage someone else to write and possibly get published (okay; in hindsight, I also see the irony in THAT).

He told me I should strongly reconsider my stance, because he thought I had really interesting and intelligent things to say (since he had read at least 4 quarters’ worth of my writing, it was safe to say that he had a good collection to go by). I was flattered and honestly a bit emotional with him saying that. I never thought of the things I had to say or thought was ever worthwhile, let alone interesting. I didn’t think anybody cared or paid attention to what was on my mind. The whole thing felt overwhelming, to say the least.

I told him I didn’t think I’d reconsider anytime soon, and that’s when he asked if I’d ever consider teaching at the college level. He told me that a lot of the English faculty respected me (again, news to me!) and that I’d make a wonderful colleague. (Don’t worry; it wasn’t flirting or anything like that–get your minds out of the gutter, people.) I said it was funny that he mentioned that, because he wasn’t the first person in my academic career that said I’d make an outstanding educator. I took this information, tucked it away for later, and left that meeting/review with him insisting that I keep in touch should I ever need a reference.

*~*

Stupid me, I never took him up on it. Flash forward more than a decade later, and I’m still determined to help someone else get their voice out for the world to hear. I got attached to poetry therapy, made steps to becoming a Registered Poetry Therapist, went to a few National Association of Poetry Therapy conferences, and did a few after-school programs where I’d help to foster the love of writing in youth, most of the time at-risk ones.

But where has that taken me? I’m still not a Registered Poetry Therapist, and I still haven’t really helped anyone get published. I’ve started the path many times, but I have yet to reach the end. So that’s where I need this professor’s help. For the sake of semi-anonymity, I’ll call him Dr. P.

Dear Dr. P:

What seems like a lifetime ago, you helped to convince me that what I wrote was something that mattered. You gave me confidence that I could achieve great things, which I think all teachers should do. You gently pushed me to go beyond my comfort zone and while I didn’t do it, it’s nice to know that someone believed that I would not only succeed, but thrive outside of that comfort zone.

I took off running after graduating, but it seems I have run out of gas. I’ve stopped thinking that what I say matters, and I’ve become unsure that I’ll be able to achieve my dream of helping others find their voice.

So what I’m asking of you is to help me flourish once more. To point me in the direction of the environment that will be best for me. I’m a little lost, and I guess I’m asking you to be my compass, as you have been in the past.

With Sincere Thanks,
Violet

To Finding a Way to Flourish in Life,

Violet

 

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Ta-Da! Tuesday:A Flame of Inspiration

DSCN5167Begin to believe in myself again.

Do you ever get into a cycle of thinking you’re not good at anything? I know that’s where I’ve been for the last several months. Today, though, came a success that may look minuscule to most, but to me it worked to restore my faith that maybe I CAN do something right. So for me, this success is immense. Here’s a preview of my awesomeness returning:

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Before
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After (though it looks like it’s a different candle, I guarantee you it’s the same one. It’s just that I turned off the “vivid color” filter on my camera.)

Money has been tight lately. Over the holidays I was able to find part-time seasonal work to help offset some bills. I allowed myself a little bit of spending money, and even though hubby reassured me that I’d earned a treat for myself, when I went to spend it, I still felt extremely guilty.

Anyway. I guess that’s neither here nor there.

In the last weeks of winter, I decided to purchase a lovely candle that I’d been eyeing for myself, in the scent of my very favorite flower (daffodils) to welcome the coming spring.

Once March 20th rolled around, I excitedly started burning the candle as I usually do: without any rhyme or reason. Just light and enjoy.

About 4 or 5 burns later, I looked at my candle, a bit dismayed. The candle didn’t burn all the way to the edges. While I’ve had many candles in the past that had the same problem, this time the concave center seemed especially pronounced. My “treat myself” candle wasn’t cheap, and I didn’t want most of the wax to go to waste.

So I Googled “candle won’t burn to the edges” and came upon the actual phrase for it: tunneling. Yay for learning!

A few YouTube videos later, I felt confident enough to try the foil trick on my own.

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The top picture I tried crinkling it just around the edges like one of the videos, but it still didn’t burn all the way to the edges, even after about 3 hours, so I felt a bit discouraged.

Full disclosure: my success took about 4 or 5 tries, but I was determined.

I played around with different foil techniques: bunching, tenting, pinching. Doming it low, doming it high. Double-insulating, single-insulating. All tries turned out to be the close-but-no-cigar variety.

Until today. Today I did just a bit more research, looking up images of the foil trick. I came upon one where the foil didn’t cover the entire base of the candle; rather, it only covered the top part. Eureka! I adjusted the foil, and after only half an hour, I felt the (covered, therefore unseen) sides of the candle and realized it was much hotter to the touch than it had been in previous tries. I had a good feeling about this. Tentatively, I lifted its foil cover to find this beautiful sight:

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My Delightful Daffodil candle is much more delightful when it has a non-tunneled top.
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So pretty and satisfying. I’ve never been able to see the wick through the liquified wax!
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Flame blown out for a better view.
Even 2
Top view of the beautifully even burn all the way to the edges! Bliss.

So this is what has had me so excited that I had to go and bring this blog out of hibernation. I’ve been looking for some life motivation lately–as cheesy as it sounds, a sign of sorts–that I will get through this rough patch of feeling wholly inadequate. There may be no better sign than a flame being kindled.

So watch out, world! Today, an even burn has been accomplished. Tomorrow, I plan to actually contribute some writing to Written Word Wednesday. After that? Greatness, dear readers. Greatness.

Or at least one can hope. Because I need it, and I’m tired of feeling less than great.

To Bright Signs That This, Too, Shall Pass,

Violet

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Friend Makin’ Monday: Would You Rather…

After lots of tinkering, I think I’ve finally nailed down the new look for my blog, so I guess this is the unveiling of sorts!  Yay!  Welcome to the remodeled listlovelaugh!  🙂

This week’s goal for me is to post every day.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted consistently, so I’m officially making this a new item on my to do list, to be graced by a big fat checkmark (something else that’s been sorely lacking on my blog) at the end of the accomplishment.

How has your weekend been?  Mine has been surprisingly busy!  The hubs is out on his annual backpacking trip with his mom, so it has been me and my handsome doggie for the last few days.  I thought originally that I would’ve used that time to hole up and get some reading done (which I HAVE done, just not to the extent I thought I would), but I’ve been out and about completely indulging in window shopping.  It’s something I haven’t done in a long time, and I love doing it by myself sometimes, without anyone else to hurry me along.  I want the opportunity to stop and linger at anything that catches my fancy, and when you haven’t gone shopping or anything mall-like in months, I would have to say that pretty much everything catches my fancy.  Today I spent 4 hours at the bookstore.  It would’ve been more, except I got hungry and needed to go home and cook myself dinner.

Okay, I guess that’s enough for today with my stream of consciousness!  On to this week’s questions for Friend Makin’ Monday!

FMM

If you’ve taken part in Friend Makin’ Mondays before then you are familiar with the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then go on over to Sarah’s blog and add your link in the comments section here so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to read and comment on a couple of other posts.

This week’s questions ‘more randomness’ come from Tyra at Random Acts of Snark. Thanks Tyra.

WOULD YOU RATHER…

1. Would you rather visit the doctor or the dentist?

Oh man.  I tend to avoid both like the plague, but I guess if I had to choose, I’d say doctor.  I’m thinking about just general checkup–doctor checkups tend to be less invasive.

2. Would you rather eat broccoli or carrots?

I’m looking through some other answers, and it seems as if I’m in the minority, but hands-down I prefer broccoli.  I’ve never been a big carrot fan.  I’d have to say it’s one of my least-favorite vegetables (and that’s saying a lot, because I love veggies).  I’m okay with them cooked, but can’t stand them raw.

3. Would you rather listen to music or watch TV?

Listen to music, for sure.  I can always get stories through books.  I do have my favorite TV shows that I’d miss, but it’s hard for me to go an entire without any kind of music.  I’m pretty sure there has never been a day in my life where there was no music whatsoever.  Hm.  Except for maybe when the power went out, but even then, I’d sing or something.

4. Would you rather own a lizard or a snake?

I actually like both.  My hubby has had a snake as a pet two different times and my roomie in college had a gecko.  I guess I’d rather have a lizard.

5. Would you rather have a beach holiday or a mountain holiday?

I’m SUCH a winter girl and get cranky in the summer.  I do love beaches in regards to combing (I have a collection of rocks and shells I’ve collected from vacations and travels) and wading and other things, but I’ve always dreamed of cozying up in a ski chalet in the mountains, playing in the snow by day and relaxing by a fire with a snuggly blanket and hot chocolate when done.  Sounds so awesome.

6. Would you rather BE an apple or a banana?

Hahaha!  I’m trying to think of my face on either an apple or banana and it cracks me up.  I guess I’d rather be a banana–tall and lean and hanging out in a bunch.  I’d imagine that’d be an interesting life.  It’d be completely different from the life I have now, that’s for sure!

7. Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?

As long as I could turn the power on and off, I would say read minds.  It would make relationships so much easier, don’t you think?  But I wouldn’t want it to be like voices that I always hear swirling around me all day.  That would drive me nuts.

8. Would you rather be hairy all over or completely bald?

Oooh, that’s actually a hard one!  I think I’d go for completely bald.  Much less maintenance and then I’d never have to shave again!

9. Would you rather be the most popular or the smartest person you know?

Most popular, in the “most-liked” definition.  Doesn’t everybody just want to be liked for who they are?  The smartest people in groups, at least in my experience, tend to also be the most annoying, egotistical, and condescending.  If I could be the smartest but also be nice about it, then I’d choose that.

10. Would you rather make headlines for saving somebody’s life or winning a Nobel Prize?

Winning a Nobel Prize.  That’s a pretty amazing feat!  And there are many categories for Nobel Prizes, so who’s to say that my Nobel Prize wasn’t, like, a cure for cancer?  That would save LOTS of lives!  🙂

I hope you all have a fantastic week ahead of you!

To Making Fun Decisions!
Violet

Posted in Uncategorized, Written Word Wednesdays

“Written Word” Wednesday Twofer, Part 2: Songs from the Unknown

The second part of my twofer, as promised, is much more fun than my unknowingly-therapeutic first part.

Remember when I said I was going to try to reach out more, and that I found some great link ups?  Well, here’s one of them.

Elizabeth at Southern Finesse (isn’t that a great name for a blog?) came up with a series called “Songs From the Unknown”.  Being someone who usually ends up liking songs from an album that aren’t singles, I thought this was the perfect link up.  I found some fun new songs to add to my iTunes wish list through this link up too, so that was pretty cool.  Anyhow, let’s just jump right in, shall we?

unknownsongsbutton-linkupBasically, these songs are hidden gems that were never released as singles.  I checked to make sure by Wikipedia-ing the discography for the artists.  Other than that, no other rules.  I’ve found that the others who’ve linked up chose to do relatively well-known bands/artists.  I think that’s mostly because it’s one of those things where you can say, “You know them for THIS song, but have you ever heard THIS one?  No?  Then check it out!”  But I don’t see why you couldn’t do relatively-unknown artists, too.

Unfortunately this link up closes in about an hour, but I did happen to fall in love with her blog just by browsing through it, so I’d recommend following her blog if you like it, then maybe linking up your own songs from the unknown as comments on my page?  Just trying to share and be fair in all this.

Also, since it’s technically written word Wednesday, I’ll include my favorite lyrics from these songs.  I have to warn you, though, some of these I like because of the melody, not the lyrics.  So they may not be your usual introspective stuff.  🙂  Enjoy!
(Oh, P.S.?  I don’t know how to embed little players and I don’t have Spotify, so I’m going to have to bombard you with YouTube videos of these songs.  Sorry in advance.)

Format:  Arist~Song Title (Album Title)
1) Brad Paisley~Somebody Knows You Now (Mud on the Tires)

I love me some Brad Paisley.  Though I do enjoy his “sillier”, laidback songs (“I’m Gonna Miss H~r”, “Camouflage”, “Ticks”, “Online”, etc.), I generally love his “serious” songs more (all time favorite is “We Danced”, but I also love “Then” and “Letter to Me”, for example).  I’m surprised this one never made it as a single.  Also, there are two more BP songs since I love this guy so much.
Favorite lyrics:  “I can finish your thoughts / pick the right restaurants / even order for you ‘fore you sit down.” I love good wordplay!  🙂

2) Brad Paisley~Something About Her (???)

True story: this song was Trista & Ryan Sutter’s first dance song (of Bachelorette fame…they’re the original–and first–married couple from the show and they just celebrated their 10th anniversary!  Congrats Trista & Ryan!).  Before Brad Paisley was famous, he was commissioned to put a melody to the poem that Ryan read to Trista at Sea World.  I think this is the sweetest thing ever, and the melody’s so catchy!
Favorite lyrics:  “She’s every star that’s in the sky / every glimmer in my eye.” Really, though, the whole song is a win, because a guy that writes poetry just rocks in so many ways.

3) Brad Paisley~Time Well Wasted (Time Well Wasted)

Another “serious” Brad Paisley song that I love, with a wonderful message.
Favorite lyrics:  The entire freakin’ chorus.  Words to live by!  “It was time well wasted / and there’s no way I’d trade a few more dollars in my pocket that I could’ve spent / for a day that I’ll never forget / no, I didn’t get a thing done / but I sure soaked up every minute of the moment we were makin’ / and I count it all as time well wasted.”

4) Dream~How Long (It Was All a Dream)

Let’s move on to another group, shall we?  Do you remember the one (okay, two)-hit wonder that was Dream?  A girl group founded by Puff Daddy?  Better known for their singles “He Loves U Not” and “This is Me”?  If you don’t remember them, you’re probably not alone.  Blink and you miss them.  That being said, I was a very impressionable youth in 2001, and I snatched this album right up when it came out when I was in college.  I was ADDICTED to this particular track and would find myself singing it over and over again to myself as I walked between classes and sometimes in my head before I fell asleep, wondering where my true love was.
Favorite lyrics:  “I sit every night by my window just wishing / and searching for one perfect star”

5) Aaliyah~Turn the Page (Music of the Heart soundtrack)

Rest in peace, Aaliyah.  An enormous talent truly gone too soon.  I loved her voice and so many of her songs.  I have to admit I originally got this album because of *NSYNC’s contribution (yeah, I was THAT girl.  Shut up), but I fell in love with this song the moment I heard it, and it remains my very favorite song on this album.  Nice and introspective and somewhat haunting knowing this song could’ve been appropriately played at her memorial/funeral.
Favorite lyrics:  “When I look back, you’re everywhere / turn the page, you were there.”

6) Jessica Andrews~Fall Like the Rain (Ain’t That Life, unreleased album)

I’m a huge Jessica Andrews fan.  Most people know her for the single “Who I Am” (about being Rosemary’s granddaughter and such), but I also loved “Unbreakable Heart” and “There’s More to Me Than You”.  I was really bummed to find out that she had a falling out with her record company and hasn’t (to my knowledge) released another CD.  Back in the myspace days, I followed her page and saw that she had samples of an album that was never released.  This one just one of the many amazing songs on there.
Favorite lyrics:  “Fall like the rain, let it flow ’til we wash away / soaked in emotion, I drown in your touch.”

7) Jessica Andrews~Ain’t That Life (Ain’t That Life, unreleased album)


If I hadn’t mentioned it yet, this girl can saaaang!
Favorite lyrics:  “Roll the dice / it’s a comedy or tragedy / what a ride / it’s Shakespeare in the park / I love you whispered in the dark.”

…this nicely transitions into…

8) Sugarland~”Take Me as I Am” (Love on the Inside)

Man, this whole song is so amazing that I don’t know how it never became a single.  I love how, like “Ain’t That Life”, it paints such a great picture of environment.  Such an empowering song!
Favorite lyrics:  Probably some of my favorite lyrics of all time because it rings so true to who I am.  I strongly considered turning it into a tattoo or putting it on the cover of one of my journals.“Slow to trust, but I’m quick too love / I push too hard and I give too much / I ain’t saying I’m perfect, but I promise I’m worth it.”

9) Taylor Swift~”Untouchable” (bonus track on Fearless Platinum Edition album)

One of the few songs that Taylor didn’t write herself, this is a cover of a Luna Halo song.  I love both versions, but I think in this version you can hear the words better and the whole thing seems more poignant somehow.  I remember hitting replay several times after I heard it on the CD for the first time.  It’s catchy.
Favorite lyrics:  “In the middle of the night when I’m in this dream / it’s like a million little stars spelling out your name.”

Well, that’s all for today!  Have you guys heard any of these songs?  What’s on YOUR Songs from the Unknown list?  I’d love to know in the comments below.  And if you’re feeling nice, please follow Elizabeth’s blog.  Good karma and all.  That, and it really is an awesome blog to read!  🙂

To Bringing the Unknown into the Light!
Violet

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Friend Makin’ Monday: Have You Ever?

I haven’t done this in awhile, but it’s late so I’ll get right to it.  🙂

friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: http://www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 

Have You Ever?

 

1. Jumped out of an airplane?  No, but I want to!  There is a place near me where you can do it virtually, so I think that would be a fun alternative.

2. Lived alone?  I guess it depends on what you mean by “alone”.  The closest I’ve been to living alone is having my own room in college in a suite-style dorm.  Does that count?

3. Met a celebrity? Nobody super-famous.

4. Said something to someone that you immediately regret saying? I’m sure I have, but I can’t think of specifics.

5. Had a manicure/pedicure? Yes, but not often.  Probably have only had 4 professional ones in my life.  I do my own mani/pedis pretty frequently, though.

6.  Gotten a hickey? Nah.  Not really a fan of them so I try to avoid it.

7. Owned a pet that was not a dog or a cat?  Yes!  I’ve had a rabbit and have had fish and hubby had a couple of snakes when we first started dating, but I guess that wasn’t officially mine.

8. Been outside of your home country? See, I don’t really know what my “home country” is because I’m an army brat, but I’ve been to many different countries, so I’m sure I have.

9. Kissed your best friend? Hm.  Well, no.  Unless you take the whole “my husband is my best friend” approach.

10. Eaten food that fell on the floor?  Three-second rule, baby!  LoL.  Only if the floor looks immaculately clean, though.

11. Met someone online? Yep.

12. Been on TV? I don’t think so, but I’m sure I have been briefly like in the background or something.

13. Had braces?  No, though I was told when I was a kid I’d probably need them.  And now that I’m an adult, many people ask me if I’ve ever worn braces ‘cuz I guess my teeth are straight.  (They’re not.  I have an overbite and my bottom teeth are crooked, but I do like to smile.)

14. Gone skinny dipping?  Yes, but I didn’t enjoy it.

15. Been to the opera? Yes!  Lots of fun.

16. Been caught making out by a policeman?  Can’t say that I have.  Not much of a PDA girl, I gotta say.

17. Sung in public? Nothing big; just choir concerts and karaoke nights and stuff.

18. Handed out candy on Halloween? Yes!  I love doing it, though nobody goes trick or treating in neighborhoods anymore.  So disappointing.  Every year I get all excited and stock up on candy and then NOTHING.  Hubs and I resolved to have our house totally decked out for Halloween this year and be a beacon for kids so there would be no mistaking that we have goodies to give out.  We’ll see how that goes.

19. Been snowed in? Not technically, but I’ve had snow days.  A couple of winters ago we didn’t feel like taking our car anywhere, and the power had gone out due to the snow, so we walked everywhere.  That was fun.  I heart snow.

20. Fallen in front of other people? Oh, I’ve lost count how many times.  🙂  All a part of my charm.

21. Cheated on a test? Not that I remember.

22. Regretted saying “I love you” to someone? Never.  I’m picky about who I say I love you to, so every time I’ve said it, it meant a lot, and it’s nothing I regret.

23. Finished a meal in a restaurant and realized that you didn’t have your wallet? Oh that would be so horrifying!  But no, I don’t think so.

24. Shot a gun? Went to a shooting range with a friend and it scared the living daylights out of me.  He took pity on me and took the gun from my hand and shot off the rest because he could tell how freaked out I was.

25. Heard a song that was written for (or about) you? No, but that would be so cool!!!

Can’t think of any clever way to sign off today.  Too tired.  So I’ll just bid you all a good night and sweet dreams!  🙂

Violet