On Saturday I hiked La Luz Trail.
A 3,300-foot elevation gain.
Then back down on the Sandia Peak Tramway.
A bucket-list moment attained!
Life is learning. Learning is life. Here are a few new things I encountered in the last few months — the silly, the serious, and everything in between.
Present Over Perfect served as a Pilgrim at Tinker Creek for my soul, an invitation into “… the sacred risky act of being exactly who you are — nothing more nothing less.” I took pages of notes and plan to re-read it next fall as a marker to see if I’ve grown a little more present, a little less anxious.
This chicken tortilla soup recipe is a new favorite around here. Quick, easy, super tasty, and Crock-Pot-able.
Speaking of recipes, this is the one I used for my turkey on Thanksgiving. It was the fastest, easiest, moistest turkey I’ve ever made. It freed me up to run a 10K at 9:00am, get the turkey in the oven at 11:30am, and have the food on the table at 3:00pm.
Over Thanksgiving break, I took my boys to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, an “immersive art experience… a unique combination of children’s museum, art gallery, jungle gym, and fantasy novel” set up in an abandoned bowling alley. There’s a kind of “don’t talk about it, you have to experience it for yourself” vibe around the place, so much so that before we got there, the boys and I discussed what we’d heard about the refrigerator inside. All we knew was you could walk through it. There’s a story to discover and explore — kind of like a mystery to solve, but one that’s open-ended. If you go, be sure to check out the mailbox, read the newspaper in the kitchen, and look in the toilet on the second floor (!). Oh, and find Emerson’s will in the study nook. I just discovered this fun website connected to the story. Santa Fe artists, you are one of a kind.
I love this idea that a main character’s mistaken belief drives plot. I checked it against my three novels, and yep. It’s there, without me realizing it.
I think too much. My personality type describes it as “the relentless tug of self-absorption.” When applied to my writing, it freezes me. Thanks to Valerie Geary (who’s always teaching me something) for encouraging me to set my thoughts aside and get to work.
We had a very dry, very hot summer. Seeing little blades of grass sprout on our lawn’s burned patches makes me over-the-top happy, like a proud mama-gardener-farmer.
I’ve never understood the idiom “whole cloth,” but after encountering it a couple times this fall, I figured it was time to finally look it up. It means “A complete fabrication. A lie with no basis in the truth.”
What have you learned this fall? Click through to Emily P. Freeman’s blog to read more.
Tomorrow I head out on my annual critique-group writing retreat. I thought it would be fun to re-run a post I wrote earlier this year about a stay-at-home retreat. Happy writing!
Last week my husband took the boys to the Mountain West Basketball Tournament, giving me four days with the house to myself. I planned to use the time as a stay-at-home writing retreat, just Boo and me and fiendish typing.
It was spectacular.
I decided I needed to be prepared but open when it came to this writing time. While I hoped my Klondike manuscript would be back in my possession, I couldn’t plan on that happening (It wasn’t. I worked on it anyway and am thrilled with what I’ve accomplished). My goal was to have a sense of how I wanted to use the four days, but not be so rigid that I missed a creative opportunity. I ended up splitting the time between two projects, one in its very beginnings and the other nearing its end.
I planned ahead about regular commitments and how I’d handle them. For example, I got up at roughly the same time I would have had my family been home. I kept my Thursday running date and attended church on Sunday. But I made room for flexibility, skipping the gym on Friday and going to a book signing Saturday afternoon. As for meals, I pulled a few things out of the freezer, cooked twice (with leftovers for when my family returned), and even ordered pizza one night.
Most importantly, I knew I needed to have realistic, relaxed expectations while still committing to hard work. I am not a fast writer and never will be. With four days stretching before me, it would have been very easy to convince myself I’d do super-fantastic, out-of-character things, like write 10,000 words a day. Not happening, ever. Instead I focused on these things:
If I ever have the opportunity to do this again, I hope I can enter in with the same mindset and experience the same satisfaction. The writing life is one pretty wonderful thing.
One of my greatest joys as an author is to meet with young readers. I get to pretend for an hour or a day than I am still teaching and that these students are mine.
Add to that joy the opportunity to travel to corners of New Mexico I’ve never seen before, and I’m a happy author indeed.
Last week I went to Mosquero, NM, a village ninety-three people strong, and one of the two communities in Harding County, NM (the other village, Roy, has a population of 234). The visit came about as a result of my postcard mailings last fall.
I met with the entire elementary school (pictured above). What a fabulous group of kids! For you to get a sense of all the wonderful things happening in this community, I’m adding here something I shared on Facebook last week:
I want to take a moment and brag on Mosquero Municipal Schools of Mosquero, NM. This tiny town (population 93) has one of the two school systems in Harding County, NM. I spent yesterday with the elementary school (an engaging, hardworking, sweet group of marvelous readers) and interacted a bit with the high schoolers, too.
Here’s a glimpse of what these kids do: Seventh and eighth graders work on the Mi Familia project, which is committed to recording the history of the people of Harding County. Since 2008, the high school has been working on Main Street murals, their first experience with art class (a mentor was hired to teach the students, but all the work is their own). They write, print, and distribute a quarterly newspaper for the entire county. Not only do they shoot all the school photos, they open their studio to the public. One student who decided the school should have a yearbook has made it happen on her own.
New Mexico’s educational system often gets bad press. We’re at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to national ranking. But I want everyone to know there are important, exciting, vital things happening in this place. Kids are doing marvelous work, work worth celebrating.
Hats off to the students and teachers of Mosquero Municipal Schools. It was a privilege to spend the day with them.