Monday, August 6, 2012

What happened to this blog?



I don't know if anyone still comes here anymore. If you do, you may have noticed the silence.

This blog was a beautiful writing home for me for four years. I explored many topics and even made a few friends.

Now I have a new blog home at livewonderstruck.com where I am exploring what it means to be wonderstruck and how we can all bring a little more wonderstruckness to our everyday lives.

It's not just me that you will hear from. Each Wednesday brings a new wonderstruck interviewee. Someone else whose perspective may give us something new to consider.

You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/smhutchinswriter. Click the "like" button for bits of wonderstruck inspiration and to get the latest from my blog.

I hope you'll come visit. Wishing you a wonderstruck day!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flash Fiction: The New Kid

The first challenge in the Platform-Building Campaign is here and, even better, I finished!  Woohoo!

The challenge was this: Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.

For an additional challenge (optional), we could do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count) 
  • include the word "orange" in the story 
  • write in the same genre you normally 
  • write make your story 200 words exactly!
Well, I wrote my story and, seeing that it began at 570 words, I trimmed and edited and trimmed and edited some more until I whittled my story down to exactly 200 words.  And yes, I ended the story with "everything faded," included the word "orange," and wrote for children/middle grades (my current genre).  What can I say, if I'm going to participate, may as well take the full challenge.

Now that I'm done writing, I'm going to visit the other campaigners to read their stories.

Here is mine:

*   *   *   *   *

The New Kid

Shadows crept across the wall.  Max pulled the blanket snugger under his chin. His new room was uninviting.
Max was scared to start a new school, especially since he was beginning fourth grade.  Everyone knows fourth graders are the big kids.  Big kids know everything: where the classrooms are, what to wear, and who to avoid.  Max felt unprepared.
            Looking out the window, he could see only a few stars.  The sky was blank.
            What if there was a bully?  He missed his friends.  On their last day together they folded paper airplanes.  Max’s plane had flown far until it landed in the neighbor’s hair.
            Max drifted off to sleep.  The next thing he knew, his mom was waking him for pancakes and orange juice. 
There was a knock on the door.  “Hello!  I’m Kim and this is my son, Joey.  We thought we’d show you to the bus.”
            The moms talked the whole way while the boys shuffled behind. At the bus stop Joey said, “Maybe after school I can show you my treehouse.”
            Max’s mom smiled. “Not even on the bus and already you’ve made a friend.”
            Max’s fears about bullies and not finding his classroom… everything faded.

The End 

*   *   *   *   *
Fellow campaigners: I'm #198 at Rach Writes. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Wish, a Request, and a Challenge

A Wish for the World and a Request


Wishcasting badgeIt's Wishcasting Wednesday so the gorgeous soul Jamie Ridler is inviting us to cast our wishes into the universe. This week Jamie asks, "What do you wish for the world?"


I wish for the world to return to a community mindset.  It really does take a village to sustain life.  Only when we work together do we truly succeed.

Speaking of coming together, I have a special request.  A good friend of mine, Joules, needs prayers, wishes, positive energy... whatever you have to give.  After 6 wonderfully smooth months of pregnancy, she hit a rocky road in her third trimester.

As of yesterday she was admitted to the hospital (nearly 2 months early) and told she would have to stay until the baby was born.  As of last night, it seemed that the baby might be coming early.  Needless to say, my biggest wish today is for a healthy baby and a healthy Joules.

So I'm doing something I haven't done here before.  I'm asking you to send love her way.  A prayer or good thought would be beautiful.  If you want to actually send a note, consider leaving a word of encouragement in a comment on her blog.  If you leave a comment here on my blog, I will make sure she gets it.  Thank you.

Update 2/16/12: I'm happy to announce that Joules had her baby and they are both doing well!  Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes.  It was inspiring to see how many people left notes, people who don't know me and don't know Joules.  You all are amazing.  Please keep it up so mom and baby can go home soon.


A New Challenge


I'm challenging myself.  Since I've found that I work on my writing most when I have a true deadline (i.e. not just one I make up) or if there is camaraderie (we're all in this together... woohoo!), I've decided to join a writing challenge.

Rachael Harrie is leading the Fourth Writer's Platform-Building Campaigner Challenge.  The first challenge will be presented to us on Monday (yikes!  Or, you know, yippee!).  A second challenge will come on March 5th.  The campaign as a whole runs through March 17th.

I have no idea what to expect, but I'm excited to give it a try.  Fellow writers, you can join in the fun, too. Today is the last day so be sure to visit Rachael's site and jump in now.

Friday, February 10, 2012

When It’s Not All Sunshine and Butterflies

Life is not always filled with sunshine and butterflies. Some days are just different. They’re a little rougher. A bit tougher on our soul. And, you know what? That’s okay. Really.

You’re not always going to be perfect. You’re not always going to get it right. The point is that you keep going. Keep trying. Change directions. Take a break. Here are a few links to things I’ve read recently that have inspired me. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration, too.

Ending Something
Sometimes good things come to an end. Brandi Reynolds has been one of my favorite bloggers for the past few years. I’ve read along as she’s explored art, photography, yoga, and life. One of my favorite things about Brandi is she’s never afraid to try something new or change directions if she feels called to do so. This month she has announced she will no longer be blogging. At least for now. It may seem weird that I’m linking you to someone’s final post, but I love it as yet another demonstration of her bravery, her willingness to switch things up: This is me giving up

Parenting
Teenagers. They’re a tough breed. I’ve been studying a little about how to make it through the teenage years and have come across some interesting things, including this article: 11 Mistakes Parents Make With Teen Discipline

Marriage
Marriages, like all establishments, have good days and tough days. Hopefully more good than tough. Ann Voskamp wrote an insightful post about one root message behind our anger: 5 Ways to Fight Through to a Loving Marriage

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feeling Healthy? Give Thanks

I'm thinking a lot today about health.  I am so thankful for my health.

How often do we take time to acknowledge our health?  I tend to think about it only after an illness.  And yes, today is one of those days since a stomach virus took over our house for the last 24 hours.  Yay for us.

So today I'm asking you to acknowledge how you feel.  If you're feeling pretty dang healthy (despite any other woes for the day), take a moment to say thanks.

The rest of my story is at Working Mother today.

Wishing you good health.

Monday, January 30, 2012

How Good Customer Service Became a Connection

Three months ago I was shopping for a birthday gift for a friend.  My basic idea was some sort of barware/cocktail items.  With that I went in to a store known for interesting housewares.

I wandered and explored seeing some possibilities, but waiting for something to really jump out at me.  Then along came a smiling store employee, "Can I help you find something?"

"Actually, yes," I answered as I explained my loose idea of what I was looking for.

She could have said, "Well, you're in the right section so let me know if you have any questions."  She could have pointed to a few options and left me to go it alone.

But she didn't.  She asked questions about my friend's style and the colors she likes.  She asked what barware items my friend already had.  Then she walked around the store with me giving me some ideas.

As if that weren't helpful enough, noticing the stroller I was pushing through the tight maze of their store shelving, she said things like, "Come this way. This aisle is a bit wider," and "You wait here, I'll bring it to you."

She was amazing.

As I was checking out, she was pulled away (an alarm had previously gone off accidentally and the fire department showed up to check that everything was okay).

Later that afternoon, I realized that I never got to thank her for her help.  I could have let it go.  How often do we do just that?  But she provided such good service and I wanted to make sure she knew that, so I called the store.

I explained to the man who answered that there was a young woman who helped me that afternoon who was dynamite.  I described her and he said, "Oh yes, she's great!"  He put her on the phone, I thanked her, told her I appreciated how attentive she was, and then I went on my merry way and she on hers.

I haven't thought about it much until this weekend.  I was back in that same store searching for another gift and when I went to the register, there she was.  I told my husband, "Hey!  This is the girl that was so helpful a few months ago."

She said, "I thought that was you!"  We laughed.  Then we exchanged phone numbers.

The magic here is that I just wrote about connection last Monday, setting the intention to truly connect with the person in front of me whether it is my own family member or a cashier (yes, I actually said that).  At the end of the week, I had a new connection.  Beautiful synchronicity.

Now I have a challenge for you.  (No, you don't have to exchange phone numbers with someone you meet in a store.)  The challenge is this: thank a stranger.  It might be the person who hands you your morning coffee with a smile, the restaurant server who keeps your iced tea topped off, the toll booth worker who makes sure change lands in your hand rather than on the street, or the passerby who retrieves your dropped scarf.

Acknowledging someone is a powerful way to connect.  Plus you get the feel good feelings of doing something nice and they get the feel good feelings of someone being nice to them.  It's a win-win.

Who will you thank this week?





Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wishcasting: Health and Wellness

Wishcasting badgeIt's Wishcasting Wednesday so the gorgeous soul Jamie Ridler is inviting us to cast our wishes into the universe. This week Jamie asks, "What do you wish for your health and wellness?"

Jamie has this way of asking questions that at first glance may seem simplistic, but if you really think about them, you realize how big and revealing they really are.

This week has been rough... and it’s only Wednesday. My temper has been short and my bounce back has been long. By bounce back, I mean that period of time it takes to go from angry to content.

Like the stereotypical woman, I sometimes have trouble letting things go. Once I’m angry, I’m angry about every detail of every past instance of whatever it is.

For example, my teenager has trouble getting through his morning routine on his own. Monday morning was no exception. I’d had it. There was yelling. Lots of yelling. And it wasn’t just about Monday morning, it was about EVERY morning. Further, it was about everything I’d ever had to say more than once in any situation on any given day.

He finally made it out the door and I was still seething. My mind was racing, mostly in expletives. My body was jittery. It was barely 7:00 a.m. and it was a very bad day. Meanwhile there he was laughing with his friend on the way to school, like nothing had happened. The nerve.

And what, you may ask, does this have to do with health and wellness? Everything.

Did you notice how I said my mind was racing and my body was jittery? I had an actual physical response to a situation. A situation that I have relatively little control over. And for what? What good did it do for me to be that upset?

So, I wish to be in control of my own attitude. I wish to not get in the way of my own wellness.

How about you? What do you wish for your health and wellness?