June’s Reverb 11 Prompt

What can you let yourself off the hook for?

Today I promised myself that I would make the time to write. I originally planned to publish a Foodie Friday post, seeing as how I had a recipe and pictures all set to go. This perfect prompt found me this morning before I received heartbreaking news from a friend this afternoon. I almost considered voiding that promise to myself because that heartbreaking news has been so devastating — and as devastated as I am for my friend, I can’t imagine just how deeply her pain must sting. Sitting down with my laptop this evening, reviewing tabbed windows, I knew exactly what I had to let myself off the hook for. I’m letting myself off the hook for writing what I planned to write. No amount of words I could write here would change past events. So I’m letting myself off the hook. I don’t need to show off what I made for dinner Monday night, nor do I need to be a creative genius right now. Instead, I will grieve the loss of someone so small, so fresh, so new, and so innocent. I will send my thoughts and prayers to my friend. I will make myself available — because that’s what I would want if I experienced that same pain. I would want to know that someone was there, even if it was 3am. I would want to know that I could cry with someone over what I fought so hard for but would never get to cherish. No mother should ever have to experience such a soul-shattering pain.


May’s Reverb 11 Prompt

If you participated in Reverb 10 during December of last year, are any of the things you wanted to manifest in 2011 revealing themselves?

Write your responseprivately or publicly. Tumblr it. Take a photo and post on Flickr with the tag “reverb11.” Draw it out. The prompt is yours to flip it on its head, answer it as-is or make up your own prompt.

Cali Harris of Caligater fame inspired me to dive deeper into my reflections, which lead to reviewing several reverb posts, answering questions, and noticing patterns. Last night, armed with a bright green pen and my trusty notebook, I jotted down my thoughts as I sat with my thoughts and creativity. Here’s what I uncovered:

I had wanted to manifest a life worth living. I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to take better care of myself and my family. I wanted to stop dreaming and start doing. Well, that’s a lie — I’ll still dream, but the point stands that one must do in order to achieve. Thus far, I’ve made time to walk, dance, practice yoga, and attempt to tone and strengthen my muscles. I haven’t answered to a boss, but that’s mainly due to my continued unemployment. This does not translate to being a successful entrepreneur, and I’ve spent much more time in quadrants 1, 3, and 4 in the importance/ urgency matrix. By the time I’ve finished with everything that’s urgent, I’m left with little energy to do much more than escape to trivial activities. In my response to the February prompt, I asked where this year is going. Gretchen Rubin’s observation that the days are long but the years are short has rung all too true for me during the first five months of 2011. I need to make more time to follow my dreams, or I need to make peace with the status quo. There is no excuse for sitting in a puddle of unhappiness day after day.

But where would I like to go? I asked this both literally and figuratively back in March. Literally, I’ve begun to appreciate the area we have moved to. I bore witness to the beautiful snow-covered mountains and the flowering trees. So, I decided to search around and see what the houses around here look like. I stumbled onto this “unusual find” and realized the dream could in fact be had here. I’ve also become enamored with the locals and their ties to an era of which my ancestors missed prior to immigrating. Alternatively, I’ve discovered that this area — like any — has its own issues and flaws. Politics inflame the locals, and I imagine home-ownership would remove my sheltering from said issues at hand. Still, I simply want the house, the land, and the views that feed my body and soul so that I can live the dream. I haven’t stopped dreaming of New Hampshire just yet, but I have been challenged to review my reasons for dreaming about it. Given the current circumstances, I’m just more concerned with the next step and less with the end goal. Of course, it’s really all about the journey, NOT the destination anyway.

I still ask myself where life is taking me and what the future holds in store. I still ask myself daily if I’m doing the right thing. I’ve realized to an extent that current discomforts will fade into unpleasant memories. My gardening endeavors resulted in a few tomatoes and sugar snap peas getting planted — and so far I’ve only seen half the garden grow. It’s like an external manifestation about how I feel in life right now. I have several packets of seeds that may never know the soil’s richness, and only about half the seeds I’ve planted seem to be thriving. The harvest looks grim, which is to the advantage of the grocery store. I have identified several personal factors holding me back. Said factors lead me to drift through life, and I’m working to identify ways to overcome these obstacles.


April’s Reverb 11 Prompt

What’s blossoming?

This prompt is yours to use as you like: answer it as-is on your blog, create a vision board, share your response in conversation with a loved one, make a short film. Get creative. Change the prompt as you like. Enjoy.

Peach blossoms. Cherry blossoms. Red buds. Wild flowers. Azaleas. Roses. Gorgeous landscapes. Alas, I wasn’t swift enough to capture the beauty that blossomed around me. However, I did manage to capture lush, green landscapes — sans any tropical foliage. I’d become accustomed to the palm trees, the live oaks, and the cypress trees. It was pedestrian. For most, it’s a dreamy landscape made of dreams. For me, it was the same old, same old. I missed the splendor of spring. I missed how a cold, barren landscape (I’m repeating that word a lot, aren’t I?) would bloom into vivid, vibrant colors. You know that spring green crayon in your box of crayons? It’s aptly named — the fresh, new leaves have this gorgeous shade of yellowish green that seems to signify the start of warmer weather, longer days, and fresh fragrances wafting through the air.

But the local flora wasn’t the only thing blossoming. Oh no — spring is a time for flora AND fauna! The horses down the road added a couple foals to the herd. Those quarter horses and saddlebreds consistently fool me into thinking they’re Chincoteague ponies with their gorgeous (another repeated word here) markings. The filly — or so I can tell — has gotten her land legs, but she’s still a bit wobbly. Why, just the other day she finally came up to the fence and sniffed my hand for the first time. Her warm breath gently tickled the back of my hand as I stood motionless, softly assuring her that I meant her no harm. Her mother took some long stalks of grass from my hand this time, too. The filly wouldn’t bite, but it’s to be expected. She’s still learning about the world around her.

And now for some unedited photographic illustrations!

(Okay, so this last one required some cropping to remove address identification…)


March’s Reverb 11 Prompt

If March 2011 was your last month to live, how would you live it?

This prompt is yours to use as you like: answer it as-is on your blog, take a series of photos that represent your response, get out finger paints and go crazy, write a poem, or reflect privately in your journal. Be as creative or as simple in your response as you see fit.

Spring arrived in Northwest Georgia early this month, bringing with it beautiful, blossoming trees and pale, tiny spring green leaves. I missed my opportunity to capture the beauty of the peach blossoms, but I still managed to capture some white cherry blossoms and fuchsia dogwoods (or perhaps they’re redbuds — but I’m not sure). Seeing these deciduous trees coming back to life with such vivid, lovely colors.

(Please note: I have no idea whose houses I’ve photographed, but I either thought the house was beautiful or the trees were beautiful.)

If tonight were to be my last night, I admit I’d go to the grave filled with many regrets. However, I could find solace in the beauty I’ve witnessed spring back to life during this month.


February’s Reverb 11 Prompt

One month into 2011, what question(s) are you living?

  • Am I doing the right thing?
  • What do I need to be doing in order to achieve my goals and dreams?
  • Where is life taking me?
  • What does the future hold?

Are there any prompts/questions that arose during #reverb10 that are still resonating in your life?

I’m still living with my defining moment, achievement, ordinary joys, travel, avoidance, appreciation, action, 11 things (decluttering), beautiful differences, community, making, letting go, writing hindrances, and one word. I know, that probably looked like a run-on sentence with a bit of grammatical inconsistencies. To start, my disappointment with 2010 has thus far carried over into 2011. It seems like nothing is going right, and the first two months of 2011 haven’t been captured by success as I’d hoped they would be. I’m still in the same situation in regards to my writing that I was in when I responded to that prompt. Letting go in general has been a theme thus far. In regards to making something, I plan to plant a fruit, vegetable, and herb garden – granted, I have been planning this for a few weeks. I really must get some potting soil so I can begin planting the seeds indoors before transferring to the garden. The sooner we can reap the benefits, the better.

I live in a new community in which the people are so friendly. The expression of “southern hospitality” is not dead to this community. Additionally, I’m unique in this town – incredibly unique, in fact. I’m not southern. I don’t identify myself as southern, nor do I identify with the subculture. I’m a New York born woman with a flair for flower hair clips, glittery eye make-up, rock and techno, and some progressive ideas stereotypical of liberalism. When the locals in their baseball hats, boots, dirty jeans, and camo jackets see me, I can feel them mentally scratching their heads.

Decluttering, and the need to do so, still very much presents itself in my day-to-day routines. My days feel marked by lack of progress and inaction. We were asked what our next step was. Indeed – what is my next step? I’ve realized that some of what Gretchen Rubin says about good enough being better than the perfect that never manifests is incredibly relevant to my personality quirks. I still avoid doing a lot, and I’ve been avoiding writing because some days I feel like I’m not worth reading. Ordinary joys are the things carrying me through life right now because without them life looks dark and bleery. Appreciation ties in with ordinary joys. I have a strong appreciation of ordinary joys, for example.

I still really want to achieve my goals and dreams of becoming an English consultant, tutor, writer, and editor. I’m still not working towards it as much as I should and wish I could. I’m having less worries about last year’s failings and woes while becoming much more involved and concerned with the present’s problems. I’m hoping to plan trips to Florida for two different 10 year high school reunions, and I want to begin plans for a 10 year anniversary trip to the Keys. I really want to visit Chattanooga and Atlanta.

Are you living new questions?

  • What’s holding me back?
  • Why am I allowing myself to drift?
  • How can I overcome the obstacles in my path?
  • Where would I like to go?
  • Where have the first two months of 2011 gone?