Pondering on Four Big Questions; And A Showcase of Four Amazing Friends


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 A dear writer-thinker-lady-friend kindly invited me to join in a blog hop and to ponder a few questions in where I am at in my journey of writing, creating, breathing and just being human. Well, of course, without a hesitation, I said yes ~ not to promote myself, but to make myself create some space to actually reflect on where I am right now, and where I might be headed. AND, I wanted to have the chance to shout out to the world some of the most amazing friends I’ve made out there in the writing, creating, heart and soul seeking world.

Jeff Goins, a writing teacher I’ve learned so much from, writes that “content is not king ~ it’s all about relationships.”  Well, we know we need to have something worth saying for someone to spend time reading it, BUT, if we don’t have others to share with, it’s only helping ourselves.

 So, here are the Four Big Questions ~

 1.  What am I working on?

 I love how Laura Risser Moss, in her blog, gratefulamazement,  writes that at this time in her life “the curtain on her Second Act is rising”.  I could not find more perfect words to say this is where I am as well.  My children are emptying the nest.  I’m having more time to discover who I really am – other than, wife, mother and teacher of children.

 I’m learning to listen to my body, heart and soul more, as my mind is being ordered to take more time to sit on the bench, or riding the pine, as my husband used to say during basketball season. It’s pretty hard to quiet a voice that’s been leading the parade for so many years, but my heart and soul are pretty pleased.

I’m in my bliss when I’m writing, teaching, creating, learning, helping or guiding others in finding their own true self, but also in helping others to speak and to trust their own voices.  I am working on a hodge-podge of projects right now to live out this bliss.

My bravest step begins August 1st, as a 28-Day Living the Writerly Life E-course.  I began writing this several years ago when I took an online course, called Flying Lessons, by Kelly Rae Roberts, but fear kept showing her scary face and I’d tuck it away.  Well, one day, when the scary monster was out barking at someone else, I hit publish and out to the world the course flew!  There was no turning back.  I can not contain the excitement I have bubbling up inside me to begin this journey guiding others in living like a writer and into hopefully believing that they truly are writers as well.

 In 2012, I vowed to listen to my soul and instill more creativity in my life.  Jeff Goins, was offering a free writing e-course at the time called, You Are A Writer, and this course became the door I entered that opened up an entire world of possibility.  I began two blogs, islandsofmysoul.com and theliteratemind.blogspot, joined a few writing groups, one called Tribe Writers,  and am now working on a book about listening in education.  It’s a timely book due to the increasing use of technology and lack of face to face communication.  This book was born two years ago, so I need to do a giddy-up on it before something more attractive diverts my attention.  It usually does.

I also have two other E-courses marinating in my brain right now as well.  One revolving around writing through our brokenness and the other, a course designed to heal ourselves while taking a journey through our mind, body, heart and soul.  I’m hoping to invite some other fabulous women into this e-course.  These courses came to me during my own writing and through a need.  Our world is going through a huge shift right now.  I’m feeling so much pain and brokenness “collectively”, as my friend Bridgette says, and my soul is crying to help do some healing in any way I can.  Perhaps this healing will take place through writing.

Julie Cameron writes that we need other creative sources besides writing, so that when writing feels stagnant, we can switch gears to another medium and that restocks the writing well.  Art journaling is this other passion.  While painting and using mixed media, messages of encouragement, inspiration and guidance fill my pages.  To keep my art journal girl happy, I participate in the Life Book 2014 online community of art journalists.  Each week is filled with a new lesson by an amazing artist and energetically filled connectedness with others.  Almost by magic, my art journal images often fit perfectly with my blog post writing.  Funny how that works.

 More recently, I’ve been nudged towards making Spirit Dolls. These are dolls created by a its maker to hold energy or an intention, lead one to a dream or to guide one in their path.

I’m not sure where these creative parts of my being will lead me, but for now, I’m just feeling the flow and enjoying the journey.

In August, I go back to my full-time job of being a literacy coach at a K-5 elementary school, so I fear writing and creating will slow down.  I am vowing not to let that happen this year as my artist self begs me to integrate creativity into my work wherever it’s possible.  Working with teachers and children, there’s plenty of room for this if I just pay attention.

2.  How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

 Well, I’m not 100% positive as to what my “genre” is yet.

What I do know, is that my writing flows from my heart and soul.  It’s not always me putting those words on the page.  It might be poetry one day.  Another day, it could be a short narrative or reflective essay.  I’m still searching for my voice and theme, yet, I like to believe my words are healing and filled with an energy that radiates light, love, and hope.  Sharing my vulnerabilities and my own brokenness has connected me to others that feel pain, too.  If I can help others, even if only a few, to heal through the use of tools that have worked for me, then I am grateful.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do in order to live.  If I neglect writing, the rest of my life begins to get muddy. Foggy. Unclear.  Depression seeps in.  Writing gives me clarity and direction.  It clears the cobwebs and allows my soul to speak.

Most of my writing remains in notebooks.  I am faithful to Morning Pages each and every day – at least a full 3 pages of whatever comes out of my flowing pen.  Sometimes, words from these notebooks find their way into my blogs, but often, they remain in my notebook as answers to my wonders or lessons learned.

I write what I do on my blogs as a way to reach out to others who may be wrestling with what I wrestle with.  Perhaps they have tools they can share with me, as well.  But, mostly, it’s to share what has helped heal myself in hopes to help others.  It’s a way to build community and affirm to us all we are not alone and that we all share the same humanness.  I’ve learned that writing is one tool I can use to share my gifts of teaching and helping others heal ~ through words.

4. How does my writing process work?

Not very well.

Like I said, I am faithful to my Morning Pages every day, but beyond that, it’s a circus.  Writing for my eyes only are like breathing.  Once I desire to put something out there for the world, my hands hover over the keyboards for a lengthy period of time.  My fingers often weep at what comes out.  It can take me all day to do a blog post as I am also a bit of a researcher and feel obligated to have some valid words from others to support my own opinions.  I am critical of my words and attempt to weave in craft, trying out different leads and structures.

Once a blog post is written, I leave it sit for a period of time and come back to look at it with new eyes.  Of course, I won’t like it.  And, chances are, I’ll change the whole piece or choose just to chuck it.  If it doesn’t feel like it came from my heart, I can’t send it to the world.

One of the biggest roadblocks that hinders my process is the fear of ever sounding expert-ish, know-it-all-ish, self-promoting, judgmental, critical or laced with ego.  I scour my words for any evidence of these demons.  Often times, even when I know my words are written with love and compassion, my fear will tell me otherwise and the words will sit in my draft box indefinately.

My writing process truly is a love/hate relationship for me.

Wow. . . those were some pretty thought provoking questions.  The answers are true for me today, however tomorrow they might be totally different.  These four questions might be path unfolding for anyone to ponder on.

Now ~ here are some amazing writer-artist-healer-people, that I call my friends~

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Laura Moss is beyond grateful to be able to say she has survived being Mom to 4 spirited girls, a battle with aggressive breast cancer, and some difficult seasons in her almost-25-year marriage. She calls herself a Creative, is drawn to beauty in all its forms, and loves loving on people. You can find more of her musings at gratefulamazement.wordpress.com.

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 Leslie Molen is a doll and textile artist.

I have been a full time artist for over twenty years, specializing in dollmaking and textile arts. I have had discussions with friends about what keeps me going, the drive to continue onward.

 Many comment on how I nice it is that I have found my passion…

pas·sion

noun \ˈpa-shən\ : a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

I tell them it is my calling, I must do this- create in cloth.

call·ing

noun \ˈkȯ-liŋ\

: a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work or impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.

And so my journey to create in cloth continues…this past year I have taken a step back from teaching so that I may start to work towards focusing on my personal art. It is a slow endeavor that will take time to nurture into existence! Stay tuned!”

You can visit Leslie’s page at Rootie Studio and her blog at from these Hands.  Prepare to get lost in her studio!

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James Prescott is  a writer and author from Sutton, near London in the UK.  He loves writing, encouraging people, and seeing people discover their true identity.

“My life journey keeps on teaching me lessons about discovering hope in an imperfect world, and how we can discover our own unique stories in the the midst of this. I share those lessons here in all their brutal honesty.

I’m believe deeply in the power of encouragement. When I was only 12 years old my Dad gave me the opportunity to help him write a major newsletter – which set me on a writing journey. That journey has led me to create this blog and author three books.

If you’re interested in discovering your true identity, if you have a passion to make a difference in the world, if you know you’re broken but are looking for hope, you’re welcome here.

If you want open and honest discussion about issues which matter, or like facing up to the important but difficult questions of life, or you’re a human being, this blog is for you too.”

Early in 2015 James will be releasing his first full-length book, ‘Mosaic of Grace: God’s Beautiful Reshaping of Our Broken Lives’.

To read James’ written words, visit him at jamesprescott.co.uk, or read his bi-monthly posts over at digi-disciple, run by the Big Bible Project, and he also guest posts for prominent authors and bloggers Sarah Bessey, Jeff Goins & Mary DeMuth, amongst others.

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Bridgette Doer connects others to their inspired intuitive life.  I’ve worked with Bridgette and she is the real deal.

“I am overflowing with creative, empowering energy with so much anticipation for what is possible for all of us. There is so much untapped potential, so much capacity. We are much more than we believe we are at this moment.

When I accepted the invitation to be a channel for empowering women by inspiring intuition, the fun energy of the Fairy Grasshopper was created. It is my mission to activate hope, inspiration, and POWER  to help to you grow and glow!  I am in love with my Inspiring Psychic and Soulful Women Empowerment work! It’s not just my job- it is who I AM. I look forward to connecting with you, to cheering you on!”

Bridgette’s website and blog is at fairygrasshopper.com.  She is one amazing woman.

Arriving at My Place of Peace

I was spent.

As I usually am at the end of a school year.  This one, more so.

I am a literacy coach at an elementary school for students from Prek to grade five.  We have five to eight sections per grade – about 800 students.  This is a large school.  I am the only coach.

I have been in education for over twenty years, my first job as a first grade teacher in 1987.  Education is changing.  Students are changing.  Society is changing.  New teachers coming and others leaving.  Holding on to a vision is sometimes daunting when so many changes are continuous in our profession.

My job does not end when the students leave.  I continue to work through the summer, compiling data, working on curriculum, ordering materials, planning for new teachers, reading new research and keeping abreast of new literacy practices.

Added to the load of my job was the fact that I was finishing up my Masters.  Because I am a perfectionist and overachiever in some areas, my final paper ended up being a book.  A blessing and a curse.

I also have four wonderful children, the ages of 17, 19, 20 and 22. All of them. . . at home with my husband and I.  Just when we thought the nest would be emptying, they started coming back.  Sleep was something I was lacking and my edges were frayed with constant stints of worry at night.  They are all normal kids who like to have a good time.  I, the parent, that just prays for the angels to guide them home safely at night.

My husband, we’ll call him Sporty, was in full force with fishing, golfing and running down to the hunting land to farm some food for deer, fall just around the corner.  His agendas after work are full.  Married for 24 years, I’ve accepted that this is who he is.

My life is one that 98 percent of the world pray for.  I’ve been so blessed, too blessed.  Yet, it was also overfull.  I had been scattered and strewn about.  Pieces of me were everywhere, but not really there.  I needed to get away just to figure out if I could keep going at this pace and in this path.  And just to remember why I was here in the first place.  I was losing meaning and purpose in all that I was doing.

July is my month of freedom.

So, the end of June when I was able to attain a small cabin for two weeks beginning July 1, I was as giddy as a school girl could be.

I had the car packed up in two hours.  Sporty came with to help set up camp, but he could not stay as work was calling his name, having just had vacation time for a Canada fishing trip.  I was at ease with this, as I craved aloneness.  I think he had mixed feelings.  I could feel this, but we didn’t talk about it.  The kids planned on coming and going when they could, being only an hour away.  Honestly, I was not planning for anyone. . . but myself.  A strange feeling, selfish, yet a desperate attempt, like I was running away from my life,  in order to save myself.

Upon arrival, I unloaded food, checked out the facilities and immediately drug my chair down to the water.

I climbed into my resting place and closed my eyes and I just lay there.  The air moist, the sun embracing me with warmth and the sound of the waves lapping.  This is heaven.  How can heaven not be like this? All I could verbalize over an over in my mind was,

“Thank you, God.  I am here now.  Let me rest.  Please, please, bring me peace.”

Tears were already welling up and I hadn’t been there for more that an hour.  I had to hold them back as I wasn’t ready to face all that God had in store for me here just yet.

The breeze gently caressed my skin.  “Yes, I know you have something to say,” I replied to it.  “But, not now. . . I just beg to lay here and disappear into this landscape and forget who I am for now.”

It wouldn’t listen and I smiled just knowing there was so much here for me. I would try to be patient toward all that was unsolved in my heart, just as Rainer Maria Rilke starts out her poem,  LETTER TO A POET.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart

and try to love the questions themselves.

do not now seek the answer, which cannot be

given you because you would not be able  

to live them.  And the point is to live everything.

Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then

gradually, without noticing it, live along some

distant day into the answer.

I prayed to live my questions.  First I needed to articulate them.  In this mess of who I was at that point in time, would I even be able to figure out what my questions were?

And how do you live a question into the answer?

I would let the breeze teach me.

Today though. . . I just rest.  Just rest my weary bones.

How Many Times Must We Transform?

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I had a dream that I was a butterfly.

I was fluttering up to the sun and all of a sudden  . . . . . I burst into flames.  That’s all I could remember upon my awakening.

This was during Fire Month, of my Soul Coaching Journey, with my niece, Micara, which makes the dream even more thought provoking.

Butterflies and Fire symbolize transformation, renewal and rebirth.  I thought I had already done this.  All that bolted through my mind was:

“AGAIN? How many times must I go through transformations???????”

My subconscious calmly reported “Many times.  You’re not done, Shar.”

Good Lord.

I’ve come to understand (from having to continue to renew my spirit) that we are in a constant state of transformation.  My mind, body and soul will hover in a superconscious state for only so long if I fail to nurture my spirit on a daily basis.  My body absorbs the pains of others and this world.  So much so, that if I don’t pull away and recenter, I’m left with a couple days in bed nursing by achy joints, muscles and fatigue.

This is sign that I need to transform AGAIN.  Butterflies arrive.

I wonder if everyone has signs that renewal time is in order.

Shari 🙂