Wednesday Wonders: A CT Scan to Diagnose and Treat Stuck

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I am stuck. I have a deadline of May 19th to finish revising my novel and it won’t let me move forward.

Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten side tracked with writing for the band I play with.

Maybe it’s because the day job has been especially demanding lately.

Maybe it’s because the cottonwood covering the air and earth with it’s gorgeous white balls of fluff causes my throat to close up and my voice to turn husky. (The husband likes the sound of it, but now it’s veering toward a whisper which I don’t think is all that cute.)

Maybe it’s because I got a rejection. (Good grief, I say to myself, one rejection should not stop you!)

One of my wise friends tells me to set the novel aside and come back to it later. I can’t even seem to do that.

So instead I am trying a technique I heard from Elizabeth Gilbert, that guru of creativity and giver of artistic permission slips.

I am running a reverse CT scan on myself. To do this, I slowly scan my consciousness to see if some glimmer of curiosity for my book still exists in the tomography of my creativity. (It’s a reverse scan because I am searching for goodness instead of the disease that the medical world tries to find.)

If you ask, I will let you know if I find any sparkles. I may not. It may be time to let this novel go and move forward.

I’ve got until the 19th to finish scanning.

In the meantime, here are the sparkles of wonder I found while keeping my eyes open in the everyday.

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A great day out with the boys at our favorite after-the-beach dinner spot The Spar. A restaurant with Duplos and chess sets can’t be beat. 

 

Of course, the flowers in my yard and on my walks sparkle. Even though spring is biting me in the nose, I adore it as much as ever.

 

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A clarinetist I am sorry I never got to meet. Dr. Michael Lovezzola’s daughter sent me this to go with the piece I wrote recently. I can feel how much she misses him in her photos.

May you find your sparkles,

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And one more…

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The long legs of my five-year-old when he tries to sit on my lap. His are the bruised legs on top. Mine are underneath with the mismatched socks. I think I’ve got two years before he outgrows me.

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How to Find Hidden Treasure in a Parking Lot (Without Squishing It)

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My surprise treasure for this week came from driving my mom to and from her cataract surgery.

I took a day off about a month ago to help her get a new eye lens surgically implanted. We both hope this will help her see colors again and do her work as an artist better.

I had waited at a coffee shop for an hour or so in town and was driving back to pick her up from the opthamologist for the drive home when I took a wrong turn into the nearby Fred Meyer parking lot.

I smacked my head with my hand and then told myself that she probably wasn’t ready yet and there really was no hurry. I am glad I reminded myself to slow down.

As I drove around the concrete island, a small fluffy waddling caught my eye just at the front corner of the driver’s side tire.

I stopped.

At first I couldn’t see the mother duck because she had, for some crazy reason, taken her charges directly in front of the wheels of my fat red mini-van.

Then I had the attack of cuteness-overload that comes with seeing baby ducks following their mother.

I jumped out and tried to get their picture without scaring the fluff off of them. While I don’t think I scared them too badly, my pictures are a little less than I would like.

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Still. The waddlers were a treasure.

Later, while waiting on mom for another appointment, my young son and I found an entire duck-filled park hiding behind the Fred Meyer that I had never seen before in all the years of visiting that parking lot. Apparently that was where the van-dodging mother duck was headed.

May you find your own surprises this week and notice them before you squash them.

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Lesser Known Holidays Part Two: The Everyday

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I know it’s a bit of a cheat to call The Everyday a lesser known holiday, but I’ve been turning over which holiday to write about for weeks.

At the same time, I’ve been taking Rob Bell’s eCourse called Practical Guide to Finding Joy and Meaning in Everyday Life and soaking in the notion that each moment we live in is filled with the miraculous.

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I am hoping he won’t mind if I share a piece of his message here. I am betting he won’t even notice. And you may want to check out what he has to say because hearing it second hand won’t be as good as the real deal. Bell has a fabulous way with words that rings in my heart and mind long after I’ve listened to him.

One of the best messages I heard in his six week course was  that what I am doing does not equate to the importance of the moment. Bell says, “Task does not equal depth.”

To illustrate, he described a monk who peels potatoes with such prayerful presence that people came from miles around to watch him.

Now, when I am sitting in traffic or trying to wrestle a shirt over my son’s head or counting my students’ attendance hours, I often pause to think about the miracle of what is happening in that second. It feels like I wake up from a dream and open my eyes to how amazing each moment can be.

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Sometimes it’s exhausting. Maybe that’s why we so often don’t. Really peeling those potatoes or tallying hours prayerfully takes focus and energy. But it is so worth the effort. 

This small pause at the wonder of life in the everyday has been incredibly powerful.

This week, I stopped again at Seymour’s Conservatory to take pictures of the flowers, pick up a fallen bud from a tree and look closely at the apple blossoms. I’m so glad I noticed those glorious moments even on the road where they have taken down the blackberries.

(I didn’t take a picture of my attendance spreadsheets but those were honestly beautiful, too. Each name on them represents a person with hopes and dreams.)

Wishing you all the gift of seeing the beauty all around you. It’s not a new message by any stretch. It’s just one I need to hear over and over again.

Happy Everyday to you!

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