Inspiring Beautiful Stories


Day Seven: Let Social Media Inspire You 

Oh dear, I’m really not keeping pace with these assignments for the #everydayinspiration course; never mind every day, my posts are more like every week!  I am inspired, really I am, it’s just that on a practical level I don’t have the time to write and publish a post on a daily basis. Still, I aiming to complete the course but it will have to be at my own pace.

So, Day Seven, and our focus is directed towards social media. I’ll hold up my hands and say I love social media. I have active Twitter and Pinterest accounts but my favourite site is Facebook. I love Facebook! When I read this assignment for today I immediately turned to Facebook for inspiration.

I follow a page on Facebook called Rantings of a Beautiful Mind and it often inspires me. The description of the page is simply ‘word art’ and it consists of just that; photos with words to inspire in the form of poems, quotes or just simple writings. For this blog I have picked two photos from that page that for me connect with the blogging experience.

1. ‘ Your story makes you special.’  This is so true. As I read more and more blogs here on WordPress I am struck by the uniqueness of each and every life story and by the rich tapestry of life created by so many different stories. Each of us has a different story and each of us has something to learn from sharing and hearing those stories.

2. You never know what light you might spark in others, just through your kindness and your example.’ ~ Jennifer Rockwood.   I assume this quote is meant about life in general but I like to think that it is also particularly applicable to blogging. When I started this blogging journey I wasn’t prepared for the meaningful and often heartfelt comments left by readers on my posts, or for the way in which other people’s blogs could resonate so strongly with me. In the WordPress community I have stumbled upon so much kindness, and light in the way of inspiration.

I think a fusion of the above two quotes could perfectly embody the blogging experience: ‘You never know what light you might spark in others, just through sharing your story and your kindness.’ ~ Don’t Puzzle It



 

The Space to Write


Day Six: The Space to Write

Today’s assignment for the #EverydayInspiration course is a straightforward one; the question posed is where do you write? 

I’m not sure that this makes for a very interesting post for readers. I did consider just completing this task privately and not posting it here on my blog, but I guess there’s no harm in sharing it here.

I don’t have a specific place where I write. For me the key element I need to write is solitude. I write in different physical locations; at my desk, at the dining table, sitting in the garden, in bed, in the car (not whilst driving obviously! but as a mother of three children I do spend a lot of time waiting around in my parked car)……you get the idea, the location doesn’t really matter to me.

What does matter to me is that I need to have the mental space to be alone with my thoughts and inhabit a bubble of solitude in order to write. I can’t seem to do this when my family are around, somebody always needs to ask me something it seems and that distracts my flow of thoughts, so at home I either write when I’m alone or I try to seek out a quiet space and hope noone finds me there! 🙂  I can however ‘switch off’ and ignore people in public spaces. I can sit in a cafe for example and inhabit that bubble of solitude to write. Alas, I don’t often find myself alone in cafes to write though.

Similarly, I don’t have a regular writing routine or a time of day that suits me best for writing. I tend to write at random times when inspiration strikes or a line of thinking occurs to me. Of course more often than not this happens at inconvenient times and I find myself grabbing the nearest scrap of paper (think receipts, shopping lists, back of car park tickets –  I have a lot of my ‘best’ thoughts whilst driving!) to jot down key points so as not to forget what I was thinking. I’ll then use these notes when I have the time to write more fully. I find this system of writing, as and when the mood takes me, to be much more productive than if I made myself write at scheduled times. I spend my life thinking, observing, listening and reading and I never know when something will inspire me to write.

In an ideal world I would write everything the old skool way, i.e. with pen and paper. Somehow I find that typing stilts my creativity, most likely because I have never learnt to type properly, whereas handwriting is completely intuitive for me. For my own personal ‘writing’ I always hand write in notebooks but for blogging purposes I am finding myself typing directly on my iPad more and more just to save time.

And there you have it, there’s really nothing more to the where’s and how’s of my writing than the above mentioned.

The Perfect Quote (Ironically!)

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Day Five: Hook ‘Em With a Quote

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.  ~ Mark Twain

You may have noticed that I am running a good few days behind in these my daily assignments for the BloggingU course #EverydayInspiration. The Day Five assignment was to use a quote to introduce a post.

Now, the thing is that I did sit down and think about this post actually on Day Five and I did have a quote in mind to use and I was excited about the post I was going to write around that quote. So, what happened? Well, the post introduced something that has been in my head to blog about for a while but it’s a post that I want to get ‘just right’ and for the past few days I have been grabbling with a feeling that I haven’t yet done enough research and thinking to write the post in the way I want to write it.

I took this course because I have a bit of a weakness for on-line courses, if the truth be told, and since blogging is new to me I’m eager to learn anything I can to improve my writing. The course looked like a lot of fun too, and indeed it is, but I wasn’t expecting it to cause me to self reflect quite so much as I have done. My need to do things ‘exactly right’ has become glaringly obvious to me this past few days as I’ve been thinking about this assignment. Of course, all the while I’ve been delaying on this the Day Five assignment, I’ve been falling behind the course schedule which is giving me further ‘perfectionist angst’. Posts for subsequent assignments are circling in my head like aeroplanes in a holding pattern waiting for the all clear to land (because my perfectionist self won’t let me proceed with the next assignments until this one is done, of course!)

Today I had a good talk with myself. “This is silly” I said “for goodness sake just choose a different quote, get something written down and move on. You can always write the ‘just right’ post another time.”

So that’s what I have done. For the sake of moving on with the rest of this course, today I am posting this ‘not at all right’ post, and I think you will now see why the quote I found to introduce this post is perfect, ironically!  🙂

Can’t See the Wood for the Trees?

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Day Four: A Story in a Single Image

 

For this exercise, use one of the images above as the creative spark for today’s post. You might use it as the setting for a story or poem, write about how it makes you feel, or describe the memory it conjures.

 

I’m finding this assignment a little difficult. In fact, this is the first time that I have started typing a blog post with absolutely no idea of what I am going to say. Using a visual prompt has left me a bit lost. Is the woman in the image lost too I wonder?

Sure I can tell you how the image makes me feel but I don’t think I can make a nice, constructive post about autism out of those feelings. This is going to be a complete free write of my thoughts in response to the image, a spilling onto the page of whatever comes into my head.

It could be that the woman in the image is alone and afraid and she is standing still in the forest paralysed by fear. But that’s not what I feel is happening when I look at the image. I think that this woman is in control of her situation. I feel that she is looking straight ahead of her with purpose and conviction.

I think that she has a journey to make and it might be a difficult one but she can handle it. I feel like she has stopped on the edge of the forest to take stock and mentally prepare herself. She knows where she wants to get to and she knows there will be unexpected obstacles along the way. Some of these obstacles she will be able to simply climb over, some she may have to find a way around and others might make her bang her head against, well a tree I suppose! But she is prepared to take this journey on anyway. She is a little fearful, naturally, but she can talk herself through this fear and stay strong. She knows she can do it. She trusts in herself and her capabilities. She just needs to take a minute before she begins to take a deep breath and prepare herself and then she will set her focus and go for it. And she will find her way through the forest. Of that I am certain.

Well, I don’t know what all of that means, if anything at all. I suspect it’s subconciously some kind of narrative on my own life or maybe it’s the more specific narrative of my journey with my autistic son. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I kind of like what I’ve written. What is your interpretation of either my words above or the image itself? Feel free to comment!

I write because….

I have signed up to a Blogging U course called Everyday Inspiration so the majority of my posts over the next 20 days will be in line with the course assignments. I fear that I might stray a bit off topic (i.e. away from autism posts) but I hope you will bear with me if I do!

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Day One: Why do you write?

 

My initial reaction to this question is “do I write?”

The term ‘Writer’ feels like too grand a word to use in relation to myself, I don’t think of myself as a Writer or indeed as someone who ‘writes’. I’m a relative newcomer to the whole world of writing. I started my first ever journal about 18 months ago at the age of 41 and I only started this Blog in January of this year which together don’t exactly add up to a wealth of writing experience.

I guess my writing, such that it is, is really a by product of various other labels that I definitely can apply to myself. First and foremost I am a Thinker, I mean I think and think and think, over anything and everything, and I can’t stop myself. When it comes to thinking, I have no OFF switch. But I’m also an Observer, a Reader, a Listener and a Learner. I think that years of being all of these things have ultimately lead me to writing if only to try to get thoughts out of my head and free up some space in there!

I’ve found journalling to be a great way to quieten my whirring mind; I think my thoughts, I write them down in my journal and then I can leave them be. Writing just for myself in a journal is one thing though and writing more publicly with a Blog is quite another. I don’t think I would have thought to write more publicly if it wasn’t for the advent of Facebook. As I’ve said already, I don’t and never have thought of myself as a Writer but via Facebook I seem to have inadvertently stumbled upon a writing voice I never knew I had.

I write often about my children on Facebook. I like to turn the everyday happenings and conversations I have with my children into little stories. I like to show the humour in the frustration that can be parenting and I like to inject interest and sparkle into the mundaneness that can exist in routine family life. I think for me it’s therapeutic; to find a lighter side when life feels overwhelming. But it also acts as a reminder not to lose touch with what’s really important and to be grateful in my life.

I’m a classic introvert by nature and can often be ‘the quiet one’ in social situations. Facebook, it turned out, has been a great social vehicle for me. On line I have a voice that isn’t hindered by the shyness that often accompanies me in the real world. And what has been most surprising to me is that other people find what I have to say entertaining. I have had numerous comments from friends of “I only go on Facebook to read your posts” or “You should write, I love your Facebook posts”. Of course, the more people said these things to me, the more I started to think ‘perhaps I should write’.

Really this Blog is my first foray into the world of writing for a wider audience. A friend encouraged me to start this Blog with WordPress and follow a Blogging U course in tandem with her so that we could encourage each other. When I considered what I was going to blog about, Autism seemed the natural and obvious choice. I have a teenage autistic son and over the past ten years or so my understanding of Autism has gone from zero to very comprehensive. I’m at a point now in our journey with Autism where I want to add my voice to the debate and bring my perspective and insights to the table. I also feel passionately that I have a responsibility to further awareness of Autism and introduce it in an accessible way to people who don’t have any personal connection or experience of it.

My life and that of my family is more than just Autism. There are any number of other things I could happily write about in my blog but I suspect those posts would not be terribly interesting to others!  When I write about Autism however I feel that I am writing with a purpose and a passion and these things give me the confidence to believe that there is a value my writing.

Well I think I will wrap up this post here before I over think the assignment. 🙂 This has been a fun exercise into a bit of self reflection and I’d love to extend the same question to you; why do you write?

 

 

John Boy et al


If we were having coffee I would say this weather is too nice not to sit outside, come and join me in my garden and shall we make it iced coffees today?

Next I would apologise for not having coffee with you last weekend. It’s holiday time in my part of the world and I took a short trip to England with my children to visit family and somehow my intended blog post just didn’t get written. But never mind.

This weekend my thoughts have inevitably turned to Mother’s Day. This is going to sound an odd thing to say, I know, but tomorrow’s Mother’s Day will see me in something of a cultural limbo. I will explain – you see, I am British and in Britain Mother’s Day (the ‘real one’ as I like to think of it 😉 ) falls in March; but I live in The Netherlands where Mother’s Day is celebrated in June, the same day as it is in the USA and other countries.
Now personally I don’t see why I shouldn’t have two Mother’s Days a year but apparently (so says my husband) I’m still only entitled to one a year. I choose to celebrate Mother’s Day on the British date so, for me, this Sunday isn’t exactly Mother’s Day but I’m thinking about it none the less because it is Mother’s Day for so many others.

Yesterday I was reflecting on the differences between the life I thought I would have as a mother (before I was one) and my life as it is now I actually am a mother.

I don’t remember ever not wanting to be a mother. Throughout my childhood and early adulthood it was the only constant and unwavering goal in my life. I just always knew that I wanted to have children.

As a child I used to love the TV show The Waltons, you know, the one with John Boy et al?! Something about a family with lots of children and their kitchen table with all the girls seated on one side and all the boys seated on the other totally enchanted me. I would watch the show and dream of someday having lots of children myself, I mean I was thinking of numbers like ten or maybe twelve children and I’m chuckling to myself now as I type this and remember those kind of thoughts.

Fast forward thirty plus years and I am a mother with three children. (It turned out that three was just plenty! 🙂 ) The funny thing is that whereas I used to have a singular idea of myself as a mother, most days I feel like I am three kinds of mother rolled into one person. I have a seventeen year old daughter, an (almost) fifteen year old (autistic) son and an eight year old son. Of course all children are uniquely themselves, but with my three children there is very little overlap of similarity in any respect. They are at different life stages to each other, have very different personalities and interests and need very different things from me as a mother.

It’s a challenge and hard work and some days, I don’t mind telling you, I fear I’m not up to the task of being their mother, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This (sort of for me) Mother’s Day and every other day I am forever grateful that I was able to have children and I feel blessed to be able to call myself a mother.

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Diana here on her blog Part Time Monster.

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