Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

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The Tao of…Me

What is Tao? My understanding comes only from my initial reading of The Tao of Pooh, so it’s pretty limited, but Wikipedia says, “Tao is the natural order of the universe whose character one’s intuition must discern to realize the potential for individual wisdom, as conceived in the context of East Asian philosophy, East Asian religions, or any other philosophy or religion that aligns to this principle. This intuitive knowing of life cannot be grasped as a concept. Rather, it is known through actual living experience of one’s everyday being. Its name, Tao, came from Chinese, where it signifies the way, path, route, road, or sometimes more loosely doctrine, principle, or holistic belief.”

I can be translated as “The Way” and I find it fascinating.

Yesterday’s epic adventure was unexpected, but highly satisfying. It started with a simple breakfast date and Target run but ended up with seeing my boys again, experiencing a bit of engine trouble (no worries, we got this), and getting home FAR later than expected. That last part, the driving home in the dark part, needs to not happen again until I get new glasses. Yikes!

The best part was…

Wait for it…

I have found my purpose!

Let me tell the story. Short version? Sure.

My son needed me, and I was available. That’s it. As we sat there in their kitchen eating burritos we’d picked up across the street, I told them, “I found my purpose.” My oldest chimes in, “Your Tao?”

Hmm…yes! I’ve been wondering for years, maybe my whole life, floating from one thing to the next, not really seeing the big picture. But yesterday, when my son called and I offered to come down and lend moral support, all the pieces fell into place.

I’m the friend that hosts the party. I’m the one that calls and texts to ask what you’re up to and if you’d like to meet for lunch or a hike. I’m the one that picks up the phone when you call and drops everything to make some cookies and visit. I’m here.

My youngest son says, “You’re Pooh, mom. You visit.”

I sighed and smiled. I guess I am. My copy of The Tao of Pooh that they had borrowed was sitting on the table nearby. They’d been reading it.

You’d think that wouldn’t be much of a purpose, but it is. It’s very important. And from now on, instead of grumbling that I have no real mission in this existence when I’m at home alone reading a book or working in the yard, I’ll sit back and realize that I’m resting between projects. At any moment, I may be called into action.

And what about this blog? Is it part of my purpose?

Yes. Listening to The Knowledge Project podcast on the way down to my breakfast date (which is a regular thing I very much look forward to), I heard Sarah Jones Simmer interviewed. I had such a plethora of notes on this podcast, but there were three that stood out to me as somehow connected. Before I went inside, I took a moment to capture the idea with some added commentary.

Note #1 “Just because you question things, doesn’t mean you have the answers or think you know better than others.”

I’ve withheld my thoughts, limited what I write here, because I don’t have the answers, but I question things. Curiosity and questioning (contrary to popular opinion right now) is a good thing. Gender identity, politics, war, public education, Covid…the list goes on and on, I have questions and concerns. Asking out loud things like, “Why are we doing this?” “Is this right?” “What will be the outcome of this kind of thinking?” “Is there some other way?” is not a subversive or malicious activity. The day we all just go along with everything that is happening around us and NOT question it, is the day we begin to lose everything.

New slogan: “Questions and curiosity are not a crime!”

Note #2 “Let’s not let the craziest and loudest of us take over all the conversation in the world. Keep speaking your thoughts and quit hiding your light.”

It’s terrifying to speak your mind (especially online) these days and more of us (including myself) need to start facing our fears. We cannot let the lunatics run this asylum.

Another podcast I was listening to last week mentioned “fringe ideas” and related them to garage bands. 99.99% of garage bands suck, but garage bands are where the great new music comes from. It’s the same with ideas. If we ban them, silence voices because we disagree, shut down people we don’t like, we miss discovering the .01% that results in awesome innovation. We need to allow people to speak their minds, throw ideas around, and be crazy, but we also need to know most of those ideas won’t work, they may even be really bad ideas, but if we ban them, ban books, ban speech, ban blogs, we end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I speak/write from a place of curiosity, empathy for others, and with positive intent to understand and respect others. Yes, sometimes I’ll hurt feelings, make someone mad, or even make a mistake in judgement. I am still a good person, and so are you.

Note #3 “Do I have coaches? Coaches help you arrive at your own decisions and create a safe space to talk thoughts and ideas out.”

If coaches can be books, magazines, blogs, and podcasts, yes, I do. For me, this blog counts as a relatively safe space to talk out some ideas. And I have a few very close friends and family that I can bounce ideas around with face to face and they mean the world to me.

These ideas are in no way fully formed, but they led me closer to understanding my Tao, my own personal way of taking up space in this world. So, even though things did not go as I had expected them to yesterday, it ended up being a very productive day and all because my son needed me.

Before I get the look from people about kids becoming adults… He didn’t call me because he isn’t smart, mature, or capable of taking care of himself, but because together is always better than alone. Interdependence is what works best. Community is more efficient. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Today I’m relaxing in the peaceful quiet of home and reading more of Disneyanity by Douglas Brode. I may even watch a Disney movie!

Who Am I? Still Searching

It’s Sunday! And that means a “Blast from the Past” repost from my old blog! Are you excited? I am, I think. I scrolled through old posts this morning, pulling up lots of angry words about wildfires, politics, and rants about Facebook, wanting to use my time machine to give myself a big hug. There was so much fear behind those words. Then I pulled up a post with the title, “Who Am I?” from August 3, 2015.

About halfway through reading it, I was reminded of the Zen koan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” I had it written in my journal in bold letters just this past week, along with the words, “OH MY FREAKIN…I GET IT!” Deep stuff, you know? Full of insight, my journal is.

who am i

Something other than politics and social media angst was driving my stress train in 2015. My sons were 13 and 14 at the time, my homeschool “career” was quickly coming to a close, changes were coming, and I wasn’t sure where I’d go next. I didn’t know who I was going to be without the title “homeschool mom.”

Sidenote: I’m still working on that. It’s a big part of why I started this blog.

On with the post!

Did anyone else read that title and think it in Jean Valjean’s voice? Am I the only one?

Why am I here? Why do I post publicly instead of in a personal journal? Much of what I write on my blog is about what I’m thinking. It’s what I would talk about if I were sitting among a group of friends, but hopefully more thought out and prepared. I read a lot; books, articles, blogs, newspapers, the dreaded Facebook post. I have thoughts I would much rather process out loud but when I talk my thoughts tend to get scattered and forget the words I would most like to use. When I’m writing, I can go back and edit a thought or find a kinder way to say it. And sometimes I’m not as kind in my writing as I would be in real life. Sometimes I just want to get an angry or dissatisfied word out.

But why not just write all that in my journal, close it, and move on? Why post it here for the world to see? Connection.

Out here in the desert you are alone a lot. It’s not necessarily lonely. I have a group of friends and very dear family. But the group is small and to continue to move in social circles you need to reign in the talk of politics and religion. Also, few people in my social circles read as much as I do, and I don’t know any that read the same books. There isn’t much of an outlet for discussion. It can feel like I’m the only person out there trying to put thoughts together, trying to make sense of the world around me instead of just marching on.

I post it in the hopes that there is someone out there doing the same. My hope is that my posts aren’t just rants and raves. Someone might read it and want to chat about it, politely challenge my choice of words or point of view. I know that isn’t likely. In the current online climate, I’d expect more people at best to dismiss what I’ve written, at worst to pass it around and ridicule me personally, maybe start a protest about what kind of an awful person I am because of my post. But I will still take that chance.

This is my second blog. My first was more of an online journal of our family’s adventures in homeschooling. It was there to entertain and inform my long-distance family of what we were up to, maybe even convince them we weren’t isolated and watching TV all day. Hopefully, somewhere along the line we inspired another family to investigate homeschooling the way we did. It changed our lives for the better and I’d love to spread that around! I’m working on another blog that will do that as well but not as personally as we used to.

This blog is only a few months old. It won’t be about my family or lifestyle really, although that does come into it a bit. It’s more about my personal journey, a search for intelligent life so to speak. My hope is that through writing my ideas out and sharing them with others, I can expand my world beyond my own backyard and share that experience with my family.

So here I sit after a long hot day, re-reading and editing this post with what we might have for dinner rolling around the back of my mind. Should I wait a few hours, read it again, and then post it? Or should I just go for it and set it free?

I think I’ll let it set sail and see where it goes.

What is the sound of one hand clapping? Perpetual solitude. To me, the point of solitude is to recharge and connect with yourself so that you can come back and move in the world in magical new ways. These ways cannot be created alone. They need connection and collaboration to take off.

I’m having a hard time putting it into words. It’s too big. I’m going to have to ponder this longer. But it has to do with why I write here, instead of simply journal in a book. I set my thoughts free into the world and see where they go. The magic doesn’t work in secret, alone, locked up on a shelf in my mind.

Yeah, I’ll be driving today thinking about it.

Rabbit Trails: ADD & Social Media

I spend my mornings on the couch. It’s still dark, very dark, unless the moon is out full and then that blue tint across the desert attracts my attention. By attention, I mean irritation. I’m trying to sleep and that moon shines right in my window at times, makes me think someone has turned on a searchlight. I sit up in bed and stare out at the night.

“Who has disturbed my dark slumber?!”

Realizing it’s the moon, I grumble about curtains, and pull the blanket over my head.

But all those other mornings, when the moon is not harassing me, it’s dark. So dark that I can’t see beyond the limits of my porch. I close the curtains over the kitchen sink in the dark, avoiding a direct look out into the darkness. An ancient fear. What if I see something I shouldn’t?

A cup of coffee, my journal, my book. I snuggle into the couch, cover up with a blanket, and say hello to my husband. He’s been up for an hour already, one of those strange people that sleeps less than I do.

The dog eats her breakfast, runs outside quick, and then runs back in to take her place in the blanket beside me. The cat meanders across the coffee table, over my feet propped up in the recliner, and into the blanket opposite the dog. I’m surrounded.

For the next hour or so, I read, sip my coffee, pet the animals, and watch the sky lighten. It’s my favorite time of day. Magical.

What happens after that is a crapshoot. You never know. I have a list of morning tasks, but they are rarely in the same order. Journal, yoga, breakfast, meditation, write, read more? It depends on my mood and my plans for the day.

Today, I went right from reading to writing here. The sun warmed up the curtains and I wanted to share it with someone. Is that so wrong?

Yesterday, two different conversations with friends got me to thinking. Do I have “have ADD?” And is my use of social media (or this blog) healthy for me? I spent most of my afternoon thinking about it and then rushed to finish dinner (I forgot I had to add the potatoes and carrots to the crock pot), make the cheesecake my son requested for his birthday dinner tonight, fold the laundry from the dryer, and do the dishes. Where did my day go?

ADD? Probably. Do I consider it a problem? Only sometimes, like when I’m trying to make something from a recipe and there are people to talk to. Lately, I’ve been craving more focus time but not finding a way to practice. Meditation is helping. I find my mind wandering most of the day, thinking I could probably get more done if I could focus on one task at a time.

My biggest distraction is my phone. Friends and family text and call, and I’m always available to answer. I consider putting my phone on my desk and answering later, but that makes me sad. It seems to be my life work to answer people and talk with them. It makes me happy. A phone call can recharge my batteries and motivate me. I don’t want to miss that connection.

Is social media healthy for me? I’m not sure. If you know me, or read here often, you know I fight about this all the time. I love it and then I hate it. There’s a nasty breakup and then I come crawling back. I’m social. I don’t want to be alone. I want to share my world. It’s the same reason I write here. Some people don’t have that need, but I do and sometimes I start to feel guilty about it.

I’m struggling this week. Not sure if I should be writing at all, not to mention what to write. Sometimes it feels like I’m burdening the world with all this, adding to the noise. Rethinking…again.

And why do I read so much? What’s the point? What else could I be doing? There’s yardwork, quilts, housecleaning, and other projects I could be doing.

Am I missing some big turnoff along this highway? Am I focused in the wrong direction? Is this all there is?

One of those weeks, I suppose.

It happens often and sometimes I share it here, like back in July last year with my post Mental Minimalism: Taking a Break. Why share the malaise? Because someone out there may be feeling it too, and then at least we’re not alone.

At A Loss For Words – Repost

At a loss for words this morning. Don’t laugh. It happens, even to me. So, I thought I’d search through my old blog and see where I’ve been.

The following post was entitled “Involvement” and was posted back in January 2017. It’s one of those posts or journal entries that makes me wonder if anything ever really changes.

Sometimes I feel as if the world is running around me in madness. If I “stop to smell the roses”, if I turn my focus inward, if I live to make my family’s life more pleasant, am I neglecting the good I could be doing outside my home? Is there something else I could be offering? In my heart, I know the answer is no. But sometimes the pace and frantic call of the world around me unsettles my soul. And to them, I only want to say, “Stop. Read. Write. Reflect.”

We should take care of ourselves and the people around us. Be kind and spread that love to others. Peace will spread even though we do not actually attempt to “end evil”. To pursue that is futile.

I don’t need to be directly involved with “them”, “him”, or “others”. My influence is felt through my kindness to those nearest me and continues to spread when others do the same.

Some things change and some don’t. I know why I’m at a loss for words today, I’m feeling rushed. I’ve written a long crazy rant that I want to share with you but it needs more time. For now, I’ll leave you here with this:

This moment where we are right now will never return. We will never be here again. Take a breath, really see it, take it all in.

One Big Life Lesson?

It’s Saturday morning, my dear readers, and I get to participate in another Bloganuary post! Yeah, I made my own rules and am jumping in where I can instead of every day. Sorry!

AND I have wonderful news! My husband fixed my WordPress problem…that is, after I decided to stop acting like an exhausted child and use my words, I asked him to take a look at it when he had time, and he did because he DOES love me after all. It turns out that he’s not a mind reader. We’ve been married 23 years. How could I have missed this fact?

life lesson

What is a life lesson you feel everyone can benefit from learning?

How about this crazy idea? There is no lesson that everyone can benefit from learning. Sure, there are wonderful things we could each be doing, lessons we can take to heart: be kind, don’t eat yellow snow, put your grocery cart back, don’t follow so closely on the road, etc. But not everyone needs to learn every lesson. Many of my vital lessons may not apply to anyone else.

But then, hold on…isn’t “there is no lesson” a lesson? It’s one of those contradictions like, there is no wanting “nothing,” wanting nothing is wanting something.

So, there’s the lesson we can all learn. Leave people alone to learn what’s important and beneficial to them specifically. Your needs are not theirs.

A small side note: In response to my statement over lunch that I was certainly NOT a people person, a close friend told me that she thinks I get so upset with people because I love so much, and I get disappointed. I rolled my eyes at her and changed the subject.

Thinking about it more (because that’s what I do, I repeat conversations in my head over and over and over again until I die), I’m starting to see her point. I do have high hopes for almost everyone I meet. I think everyone has this awesome potential and to think otherwise is just cynical and mean. And then they do things…and I get mad at them. How could they not be what I think they should be?!

Which leads me to that lesson I mentioned above. It’s something I need to learn. Everyone is on a different timeline toward different goals. My place is not to judge them, but to let them be. I feel like I do that, in general, most of the time.

But if I’m honest with myself, really take a good look, I judge people. You didn’t return my phone call the way I wanted you to. You didn’t read that book. You didn’t watch that movie. You didn’t make the same choices I would. That leads me to believe that you’re clearly not doing life right. What’s wrong with you?

I’ve got work to do, haven’t I? Good thing, too. If I didn’t, I’d be dead, right? The price of life is growth.

On another note, I’m still reading The Vanishing Hitchhiker by Jan Harold Brunvand. You’ll hear more about that when I finish it tomorrow.

What five things are you grateful for today?

#bloganuary Day Ten? Where have I been? Can I join in late? Since I’m the boss of me, I’m going to say, “Yes, you can, young lady. Better late than never!”

What are five things I am grateful for today? Only five?

I can get crazy, so I think I’ll stick to the physical things I can see right now.

grateful

My leather sofa. It’s been almost two years since this beauty arrived from Costco. it’s beautiful and comfy. This is my office. I spend my morning here, reading, writing, and harassing people on Facebook. My feet are up, my head is supported, my butt is warm. I’ve rarely been as happy with a purchase as I have been with this chocolatey sofa recliner.

The green blanket. Technically this belongs to my eldest son. He got it as a gift from my friend’s daughter about…wow…fifteen years ago. It’s a fleece blanket, one of those no-sew, cut and hand-tie things. It’s big and super warm. It covers me every morning and I can’t live without it.

The laptop. A gift from my husband because he believes in me. He gave me this so that I could take myself wherever I need to be to get focused and write the words. He knows that’s one of the things that fuels me and was worried that I was too tied down to my desk, which it not always the best place to work.

The wood fireplace. Ahh…nothing like a woodboring fireplace, right? This one doubles as a stove. You can’t see the fire in it right now because the glass it blackened with use this winter, but it’s super burning and has a fan the recirculates the warm air into the house. I can get this living room up to 85 degrees, easy. I won’t, don’t worry. I don’t like it that hot. How can I use my snuggle blanket if it’s too warm?

My reading glasses. For some reason, I accepted my graying hair long before I believed I really needed reading glasses. I insisted they were printing words in books smaller and smaller. Now that I have embraced the spectacles, I have a pair in every room. I’m looking for a chain to keep a pair around my neck like a little old lady in a movie.

They sound superficial, but if you can’t be grateful for the little things, how can you even start to see the big things!

Thanks for the inspiration LA!

Writing this post reminded me of my “Why I Get Up in the Morning” grateful posts. It’s been almost a year since I made one. Maybe I should bring that recurring post back!

A Blog Journal? More Like Free Tangled Thought Therapy!

Another journal post? Yes. I told you there would be, but it’s not in the direction I thought it would take. Instead of continuing my journey back in time, my mind went to this “book blog,” more like blog journal really. But that seems to be where it needs to go.

I’ve spent the last couple hours sitting here wondering if I should write anything at all, let alone post it. I don’t know what to say. And then, for some weird reason, I opened my WordPress reader and found “Something to Ponder About” wrote a post just for me, “Is a Blog an Online Journal?”

This line specifically spoke to me:

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”Barbara Kingsolver

I have a lot to say. I’m never at a loss for words. I’m triggered to speak a thousand times a day, and when I can’t speak because no one is around to hear it, I write. I make notes in a journal to remember my thought and express it later.

Lyrics to songs, quotes from interviews, billboard slogans, and encounters with people are all noted down for future use.

So, the real trouble is not that I don’t know what to say but that I’m not sure if I should say it.

I’ve billed this space as a “book blog” of sorts, but it’s clearly more than that. Books are usually what inspire me to write, but it’s not necessarily about the book itself. I don’t do traditional book reviews. I’m thinking I need to update my home page to tell you that but I’m not sure how just yet.

The quote from Barbara Kingsolver is exactly the trouble I’m having. I’m puzzling over trying to write what a reader might want to hear. I’m following the advice of bloggers that make money and have hundreds of millions of followers. They sell something, a product or system. I don’t, I’m an artist not a business. When I attempt to follow their advice, when I look for the best way to get eyes on my page, I end up in a tangle of “shoulds” instead of sifting through my thoughts and untangling ideas into sentences and paragraphs.

My recurring thoughts go back to taking a break from posting at all, but then if I’m not posting, I’m not writing, and not writing is like not breathing. I can do it for a little while, but I have to get air somewhere.

My thoughts on the world around me are a like a hank of yarn that was snatched up by the dog and then batted around the floor by the cat while I was at the grocery store. It’s good yarn, expensive and fine. I can’t just throw it away. The only thing to do is slowly untangle it, wash it up, and roll it back into a ball for future use.

That’s what this blog is to me. When I write I’m quiet and focused on a note I took or a quote from something I’m reading. That triggered thought is running wild among the others, so I put it down on the screen and start to comb it out into a straight line. One line after another into a paragraph, and then a page.

This blog journal is that cleaned up ball of fine yarn for future use.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but it’s there waiting and just the process of gathering it together and knowing where it is has made my world a better place.

The purpose of my posting here is clear to me at the moment: to keep collecting, combing out, and cleaning up my thoughts, all the while watching them to see if they ever lead in a consistent direction. The process is what I’m aiming at, not an outcome.

Come to think of it, that’s the story of my life. It’s worked well so far.

If you missed yesterday’s post, jump back to “Can Personal Journals Lead to Better Days?”

Mid-Life Crisis or Existential Crisis?

Is this what a mid-life crisis feels like? It’s not quite an existential crisis, but I feel that something does need to be done.

I’ve been sitting at the corner of “The Past” and “The Future,” wondering what I’m supposed to be doing for quite some time now. I’m sure you’ve been there. You may be there right now. Life is just full of these intersections. Some of them have nice rest areas we should take advantage of before we move on.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been heading down one street and coming back, then heading down another, circling and ending up in the same place. I sit down and think, try to group my thoughts, and head off in another direction, only to feel like I’m still headed the wrong way and stop again.

This morning I was chatting with a friend and grumbling, not in a sad or frustrated way, just in a curious way, about what was going on in my head. He listened, threw out some suggestions, and virtually gave me hug and a “it’ll pass” pat on the back. That’s all I needed really, just to be heard.

At the end of the conversation, I decided not to write anything at all and got up to get in the shower to do some thinking. That’s where the best thinking happens. Right? Side note: I really need to start bringing my notebook in the bathroom with me to write down my idea before it gets whisked away by distracting chores. I held it in my mind this time though. It must be a good one.

When I was child, I didn’t give a flying leap about the future, and I had no past to ponder. All I cared about was if my mom would make cookies, if my dad would take us to the movies this weekend, and if there was going to be someone to play with at the park. Right now, right in front of me, was all that mattered.

Then adolescence came. Stupid teenage angst: wondering what I would do after high school, if that person liked me, who I would become. Soon I’d have to make it on my own, get a job or go to college, find an apartment, make my own dinner. And I wanted to, desperately. If I were on my own, I’d be in control of my destiny. No one could tell me no.

My young adult life proved that to be a false dream. Life tells you no all the damn time. But I was still happy. I had my own apartment, a great job that I thought I’d have forever. I was dating a lot, had a few good friends. The license plate frame on my truck said it best, “Part of the Magic.” I was a part of something bigger than myself.

Life snowballs. Did you know that? Sure, you did. Everyone knows that. Dating turned into serious relationships that in nasty, mean break ups. Jobs turned into careers. Debts were incurred and paid. Marriage. Kids. House. Car. Playgroups. Arrest. Yes, you read that right. I’ve written that book, but I’m afraid to try and publish it. Homeschool. Moving out of the city. Motocross. Eventually, the kids grew up and started their own lives. I know you’ve heard me tell that bit before.

And here I am now with that “Now what?!” feeling, that endless song loop playing in my mind.

I started reading more, writing this blog. I volunteered a bit. I’ve made some new friends and gone on a few adventures. But nothing seems to feel like it used to. I’m not part of something. I’m not going anywhere. I’m just wasting time and energy in the wrong direction.

This morning, it dawned on me. Could it be because I AM heading in the wrong direction?

The one thing I know for sure is that nothing is certain in the future we have coming to us. Just about everything is up in the air, anything can happen. My job right now is to get my own shit in order. Do the repairs that we haven’t had time for in the past. Save the money, pay off the debts. Clean up the stuff that has accumulated over the years and regroup. Reading, writing out my thoughts and posting them to this blog, meditation, and podcasts are part of my own preparation for what’s coming.

Life, right now, is preparation for what’s to come. I didn’t know what it was when I started college. I didn’t know what it was when I was building a career or my marriage and family. I don’t know what the future holds now either. All I know is that I’ve learned in the past to trust my gut and listen to myself. My place right now is making space, getting ready, building up skills to deal with whatever comes my way next. And I’ve never been very good at staying still and waiting.

What does that mean for this blog? It means that I’ll keep writing about the things I find when I find them. I’ll be making time to write and re-write, put my thoughts in order and post as often as I can. My hope is daily…unless I can’t, at which point I will not be freaking out and throwing things at myself because I’m such an awful blogger.

The point of what I write here is only to show someone else what I’ve learned. Teaching/showing is the best way to learn. I’m not telling anyone how to live their lives, what they should do, or how things should be done. I’m just here marveling at the world around me, the same way I would if you and I were on an adventure together. Yeah, I probably talk too much. I have a lot going on in my head. I get very excited about strange things, like this dwarf mongoose I saw at the zoo.

Mid-life crisis is not a thing for a mongoose.
He jumped up there so I could take a picture!

But I hope you’ll stick around. Adventuring alone isn’t any fun. Who would I look to and scream and point at things if you weren’t here?

Blogging: A Message in a Bottle

I just don’t know, you guys. Maybe blogging isn’t my thing after all. I’ve sat and thought about it, wondering what it is that I offer. What is it that my writing can give you that no one else’s can? Nothing. But I still can’t help but write things down, tap them out on a screen. I have things to say, things I want to share, ideas, thoughts, recipes, important things that fill up my mind and spill over. Where else can I share them but here?

You would not believe how many pages of notes I took while driving the eight hours up to my mom’s house and then back a few days later. Nine pages seem like a lot, but it’s a smaller notebook and the writing is crazy big and all over the place since I’m writing while driving. I only glance down to put my pen in a blank space, my right hand scrawling blind.

I’m glad I took up this practice. It really helps remind me what it was I was listening to. I also jot down funny ideas and things I see along the way, like the girl in her soccer uniform lying on the side of the highway in the dirt under a tree looking at her phone in one of the small desert towns I passed through. You’d have thought she had been transported from some suburban park, it seemed so out of place. If I hadn’t noted down “dirt girl under tree lol,” the scene would have been lost forever.

The first thing I heard as I started my journey on Monday morning was from Secular Buddhism. He said that he isn’t teaching on the podcast, he isn’t telling you what you should do or believe. He’s only sharing his own path, his discoveries, and interpretations, as he goes along through this world. It made me smile and I made a note.

That’s what I want to do here. It’s what I crave to do. And why I keep blogging, even when it seems random. No, this blog doesn’t have a theme and I’m not writing to teach you anything. I’m simply sharing my experience of the world around me.

If we lived in a world without the internet, I guess I’d have to find another way to pour this stuff off, but we don’t. I can share my thoughts with the world. I’ve mentioned a message in a bottle before, and that’s still exactly how I feel about writing here. I spend some time each morning writing out what I’m feeling, experiencing, reading, learning, roll it up, stuff it in a bottle and cork it. Then I throw it out as far as I can and hope the current catches it and brings it to you. If you like it, if you find value in it, share it with others. That’s why I keep blogging.

The Way Back Machine – An Origin Story

You know about the “Way Back Machine,” don’t you?

The Way Back Machine
Set the Wayback Machine to…

When I did a search for “way back machine,” looking for Mr. Peabody and his boy, I found out that others are using the same words to refer to internet archiving. Internet Archive Wayback Machine is just one of them. The fascinating things you learn when you simply type a few words into an internet search engine!

It all started when I didn’t think I’d have anything to write about today. I thought, “You know, I should go back to my old blog and look around, see where I’ve been.” I did, and I found something interesting. I decided to use some of it as a post here, so I copied and pasted a few things together. It wasn’t that long ago, only 2015, that I started that blog. It wasn’t my first.

My first was pre-social media and consisted mostly of what my kids were doing, where we went, what we were reading, etc. I’d read in a homeschool forum (you remember forums, don’t you?) that blogging was a great way to document the journey if you weren’t using a traditional curriculum of textbooks and written tests.

It certainly was that and a great way to show friends and family what we were up to since we didn’t have school functions to go to or report cards to brag about. I enjoyed doing it and it brought me much peace of mind in those moments when I felt like we weren’t really DOING anything. I just scrolled back through those posts and could see all the places we’d been, all the books we had read together, and the conversations we’d had.

As the kids got older, and Facebook took the place of my blogging, I used that to communicate more often and lost interest in blogging. Most people these days don’t read anything more than a few words anyway. Paragraphs on Facebook were a waste of my energy. I posted pictures and quips instead, to document where we’d been and what we were up to.

But then something else happened. My sons were growing up and moving on to their own lives, undirected by me. With all that spare time, I began to broaden my own education, reading and studying more myself, and I felt like I needed a place to share more of that journey instead of my kids’ homeschool one. I decided to go back to blogging. That’s when I started Roadrunner Musings.

Here’s my first post from there.

April 29, 2015
What am I doing here?

Simply, it is this. I read a lot. I think a lot. I don’t get a chance to talk a lot. I use my personal Facebook page as a scrapbook and have it printed at the end of each year, so I don’t want a load of political and philosophical ramblings all through it. Besides, sometimes I’d rather not know if my friends and family disagree with my thinking. I think I’ll just post it here…sort of anonymously…and see where it goes.

I’m not much of a writer but I do have somethings rolling around in my head that I’d like to get out to the world, not just in my journal.

Let’s see what happens.

And here we are over six years later and not much has changed. Well, yes it has. My new blog, the selfhosted one you are reading now, was started in 2018. At first, I continued with the theme of “random thoughts,” but it quickly evolved itself to focus on the books I’m reading, and my thoughts and ideas connected to those books. I wouldn’t exactly call it a traditional book blog, but that’s the general idea.

I still enjoy writing about what I’m reading and sharing it here. It helps me keep on track, remember what I’ve read, and connect those books with other ideas. I feel like I’m become better at it. And I’m beginning to get better organized at posting. As a retired homeschool mom and housewife, it makes me feel more connected with the world. And before you start to think, “You should actually connect with the world, Michelle. Get a job, join a club, something.” That’s just not my style. I’m happiest and most productive with fewer group activities, less social obligation. It’s taken me a long time to realize and accept that and I’m not going back.

One more positive outcome of the Covid pandemic is that more people are accepting of my decision to stay at home, away from people. That reminds me that I need to write a post about THAT! “Top Ten Positives about the Covid Pandemic (no matter where you are on the political scale)” That will have a link next week. I promise you that!

Using the way back machine (my old blogs, journals, photos, etc.) has helped me make a little sense of where I am right now. It’s put some things into perspective and eased my heart and mind a bit.

What’s up for the next half of 2021? I’m not sure. For now, I’ll keep posting about My Precious, I mean my reading. And I think I’ll be going through and sharing old posts with some commentary updates in the future as well. It’ll be a combination of the old and the current. Maybe it will help me evolve into the next iteration of this blog.

Like the Buddha says, “Nothing is forever, except change.”

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