Another Laura

Does it catch your eye to see another person with your same first name? I always feel curious to know a bit about them, wonder if we have anything in common. Is there something to all that theoretical predictions about people’s names, their lives and their personalities?

Today I found a post about a Laura. She’s deceased and she liked shells and beach glass. I like walking along the beach and looking for those little, unique treasures too. I pick up small fossils as well. This Laura was born in February, not my birth month but she is close to my date. I’m the 19th and she is the 18th. Her year is 1967 so she is younger than I am and already dead for five years. That’s sad.

A quote from James, who was writing about Laura:

I’ve thought of using the Oscar Wilde quote, “The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.” But, I don’t know. Love for Laura wasn’t that great a mystery. She was pretty easy to love.

That was a nice thing to have said about another Laura.

Try looking up people with your same name online. See who you find. Anyone you would enjoy getting to know? Anyone interested in things you would also like to know more about? Maybe someone near enough to meet for coffee? Maybe another writer?

Successful Momentum

For the A- Z Blogging Challenge… M is for Momentum

Rich Fettke, author of Extreme Success, has 10 tips for maintaining our momentum:

1. Take some time to clarify your desired future outcome. Success is seeing what you want and moving toward what you see.

2. Use visual reminders of your intention. Get some magazines and cut out pictures and words related to your goal. Put them where you’ll see them on a regular basis, like on your bathroom mirror, in your wallet, next to your computer screen, or on a poster board.

3. Set clear goals with clear timelines.

4. Be action-oriented.

5. Ask yourself, “How much and what kind of fun will I have with this project?” This will help raise your energy. If you’re dreading the process there’s a good chance your momentum is going to get stifled.

6. Fill your mind with inspiration. Read books, listen to audio programs, and watch videos that educate, uplift and inspire you. Go to seminars and attend conventions related to your goal. Read about and learn about people who have done what you want to do.

7. Take a Risk a Day. So often to move towards what we really want requires us to get out of our comfort zone. By getting into the habit of taking a risk a day you will strengthen your courage as you take those important actions that can lead to your greatest opportunities.

8. Create a support team. Ask a few of your friends to form a group to support each other on your goals. Find a mentor, someone you think would add input, support, advice, feedback, and/or accountability to help you keep your attention on your intention.

9. Consistently review your top three intentions. This will add fuel to your fire and will help you focus your attention on what matters during your day. It will also help you recognize the opportunities that might help you move toward your desired future outcome.

10. Clarify how your intention also helps others. The fuel that can come from helping others can inspire you to take action and stay focused on your goals.

On his Facebook page I read a great quote from his wife, Kathy Fettke.

“Think about what you would die for; then live for it.”

On Twitter (which isn’t much used) he has a post I like:

My goal is to do today what will feel good tomorrow.

That works in so many ways. It doesn’t seem like much if you just skim/ read it. But then it sinks in a bit.

Prepare for Words Matter Week

Words Matter Week – March 6 – 12th.

Try the Blog Challenge Questions. Answer each in your blog on the day they begin.

  • Monday, March 7 – Is there a word that has changed, or could change your life? What is it, and what difference would it make?
  • Tuesday, March 8 – Words can change history. What speech or document do you believe to be most important. Why?
  • Wednesday, March 9 – What is your favorite quote about words. Why?
  • Thursday, March 10 – Words can be mangled, misused, or misunderstood. What is your funniest example of mangling, misuse, or misunderstanding?
  • Friday, March 11 – Words, like moths, are captured by writers who pin them to the page in various forms. What writer’s work most deftly captivates you? Why?

Letter Writing Fading to Black

When did you last write someone a real letter?

This is what my nephew, Zack, asked me last week. One of his friends said she would really love to get a letter in the mail. So Zack wrote her a letter and sent it to her through the mail. It will be a very nice surprise for her one day this week.

I used to write letters to my older relatives, the Grandmothers and their sisters (my Great-Aunts). The last of them have been gone for years and it’s been about that long ago that I wrote a letter. Unless letters sent with Christmas cards count, I haven’t written a letter just for the sake of writing a letter in seven years I’m guessing. Kind of sad.

I know my nephew and nieces would love to have a letter arrive in the mail, kids always do. But I probably won’t write one. Email is so much easier, takes less time and doesn’t require postage or stationery.

The loss of letter writing is something we shouldn’t take too lightly. If you think about it, when was the last time you wrote anything by hand? A list doesn’t count. I wonder if someday penmanship, cursive writing and just plain handwriting will become something no longer taught in schools, no longer thought of as mainstream or of much importance at all. We type things far more than we write them out in long hand. This is good for some things, it is more accurate, less likely to be misread. It’s faster too.

People talk about print becoming something in the past. But, I take it a step in another direction and I can see handwriting becoming a lost art, a forgotten skill.

By the way… do you know which is which between stationary and stationery? Stationery, with an E, is the one for letters and envelopes which tend to come in pretty patterns in a pretty pattern box. Just think of the E which is also in letters and envelopes. Stationary with an A is about staying still.

I like this quote from The Art of Manliness, about letter writing:

The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you’re eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why? Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door.

Extra Resources:

365 Letters – A blog about letter writing, mail art and postcards. Carla says: I’m a writer who has taken on the ambitious project of writing a letter every day in 2009 as a way to keep in touch with all of my friends and family.

Letter Writers Alliance – An organization dedicated to keeping the art of letter writing alive. World wide membership.

The Modern Letter Project – “It is our hope that, at end of the year each participant in the project will have a network of new pen pals, friends, and a collection of letters to treasure, and as a group, the art of letter-writing will explore new intersections between letter-writing with art and technology.”

Flickr: The Art of Letter Writing

Flickr: Letter Lovers

Write Up

“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever that is. Who am I? What right do I have to speak? Who will listen if I do? You’re a human being, with a unique story to tell, and you have every right. If you speak with passion, many of us will listen. We need stories to live, all of us. We live by story. Yours enlarges the circle.” – Richard Rhodes

This quote was found at The Write Idea on Tumblr.

Ideas for Writing Christmas Cards

We send out Christmas cards each year, sometimes we get them done with enough time for them to be mailed and even arrive by the big day (sometimes I don’t). One thing I wish I had more time to do was actually write a note of some kind along with the card. So, I went looking for some ideas I could use. I wanted something more interesting than the typical newsletter style. Though that can be fun too if you design it like your own zine. A zine is a non-professional (amateur/ indie) magazine, kind of a retro thing.

Anyway, here are the ideas that appeal to me (along with some of my own ideas). I have written this for people with family but these could all work just as well if you are single and have only yourself to talk about (as I am myself).

  • Change perspective. Write as if you were someone else. You can go so far as to make it a True Confessions type of thing, telling all the comings and goings as reported by your babysitter or the neighbour across the street with the really big binoculars.
  • Pick different characteristics about yourself or each family member and write a list of the geekiest thing I did this year, or the most romantic thing that happened this year, or the most carefully planned and organized thing I did this year, or the most stubborn, the most optimistic, the most creative…
  • Write it as if you are a year in the future, or ten years in the future, looking back on this year. I remember that year…
  • Make it all up. Go all the way. Put in a note saying it is all fictional at the end or the beginning, if you desire. (Though you may want to not send anything too elaborate to relatives who tend to be gullible or need things explained, slowly).
  • Use the alphabet or the letters of a word (Christmas for instance) and write a point about something starting with each letter.
  • Write the family news as if it were an ad for something: a new car, laundry soap or a movie coming to a theatre near you! Make it exciting, give it a commercial spin, sell it!
  • Write it all as a poem, rhyme it. Or use some style of verse, like haiku. (Haiku may take some thought and planning but it is short to write out if you are working with pen and paper rather than using a printer).
  • Give them a test, try a quiz about your family or Christmas itself. See what they know about the old, traditional holiday. Stick in some family news here and there, where it has some relevance to your quiz question.
  • Get inspired by Talk Like a Pirate day and write the Christmas card in Pirate speak, in the style of a Borg or some other character from history or fiction.
  • Make a top ten list. Go through the family news from the past year and pick out ten things you really want people to know. Turn them into a list. Or be a bit silly and go with something like the top ten things the members of your family don’t want for Christmas, etc.
  • Create a timeline of things that have happened in Christmases past in your family and your extended family. Christmas is a nice time to remember things everyone felt happy about in the past.
  • Send some heart warming quotes about family, holidays and the good times and things in life. You can even get each family member to think of a quote (their own words).
  • Get each family member to pick something that happened in the year past and write about it themselves. Then add all the notes together to go out with the cards.
  • Use this as a mass thank you note to family members who have helped you and your family. Give credit for small and big favours in a way that everyone can read about how you appreciate the help given. Let family know if you still need help or not. Or, ask if others need help, pass along the goodwill.
  • Personalize each card with a short note. Kind of getting back to the newsletter idea but it does give you a sincere connection to each person you are writing to. Of course, you may only see some of then once a year and not really have much of a personal nature to write about.
  • If you have children get them to draw Christmas artwork which can be mailed out with the cards. This is a nice way to get the kids busy and yourself off the hook for writing anything more than “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” in each card.
  • Send a postcard, or print a family photo and send that in the card instead of written contents. You can also do something with scrapbooking, graphic arts or drawing – as long as it will easily fit inside the envelope. Try some mail art on the envelope too.

If nothing on my list really works for you, at least it may give you inspiration for ideas of your own. Let me know what you think of in comments here. You may have just the right idea for someone else.

Better Things Fall Together

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

– Marilyn Monroe

Kind of bittersweet and yet it seems optimistic to me. What do you think when you read this quote?

Hope Waits to be Born in Unlikely Places

I especially like the first line of this sentimental poem which came on the backing of a butterfuly lapel pin which I will give to my niece. She will lose it and forget all about it as soon as the butterfly leaves her hand. That is how they seem to be about things. I mainly bought it so I could bring those words home with me. I read them last week but could not remember how it went by the time I got home again. So, this time I have them right from the source.

Butterfly Kiss of Hope

Never give up on hope, for hope waits to be born in unlikely places.
Hope is everywhere, you’ll find it in the flowers, in the air,
It’s delivered to you by butterflies wearing different faces,
When one softly brushes your cheek with a kiss, you’ll know it’s there.

J. Hinkle, Thoughtful Angels… and Friends.

I’ve come to think that hope is one of the most important things. Even more important than love or compassion. Without hope you can’t find anything else that could be good in your life. Once you have love, success, family, friends, etc you don’t need to hope for them.

If you have a favourite quote about hope add it to comments here. I’d like to read more.

Not a Follower Nor a Leader Be

I don’t like following someone just because they succeeded, doing it their way. – Me.

After reading (trying to) the discussion for #BlogChat on Twitter, joined by @ProBlogger I felt I had just attended a religious gathering. I didn’t like it.

My overall impression was of information I already know from reading ProBlogger, CopyBlogger and etc. Mostly information I know from my own common sense and experience.

What I realized, at some point, was that mostly everyone there was a follower. Maybe there were a few who kept quiet rather than post the same party line over and over again. I don’t like that feeling of everyone agreeing with someone just because they are seen as an authority, or someone with power. There should be more individual thought than that. I wish.

It’s not that the information about blogging was wrong. It’s just that no one said anything new and most important, no one said anything different. There was no difference of opinion. There was no discussion of other ideas, other options. It felt too much like ProBlogger was god. That bugged me. I posted some disagreement but it was swallowed up. I couldn’t become a total rebel and post something guaranteed to start a disturbance. I’m still a nice Canadian grrl after all. I did post that email newsletters were dinosaurs when ProBlogger posted his link to a post about the great usefulness of email newsletters. He agreed that he finds them only preferable to RSS feeds. (When did you last read an RSS feed or an email newsletter?)

Anyway, at some point in my reading, listening, thinking and clicking the quote that started this post came into my brain. It is true. Very much how I feel. Someone accomplished, successful could be doing things right and well. But, that doesn’t mean everyone should jump into the boat and follow along as if that were the one right way. Maybe in get-rich-quick types this is what they latch onto because they just want to get money and then move on. They build nothing that matters and they care not what they leave behind. Also, they don’t really want to think for themselves, not really. They just want to follow something that worked for someone else and they expect to get the same results. Isn’t that a sign of insanity?

I like my thoughts about this. I want to keep them. To remind myself that I don’t want to be a follower, even if that means I don’t get the success, fame or fortune I’d kind of like to have.