Friday, July 3, 2015

5 Simple Ways To Teach Patriotism


 Please welcome Elizabeth Tatge as a new guest blogger. Elizabeth left the Air Force after a four-year tour of duty to work for Air Traffic Control. She held stints in Las Vegas, Denver, and Wichita. After 20 years, she retired. Elizabeth is active in whatever church she attends. She's directed drama, organized women's retreats, and volunteered to help with VBS. She has two adult children. Elizabeth doesn't refer to herself as a writer, but I hope to change that. She's read to me from her journals. She's a thinker. A reflector. A writer. This is her first post for the blog.



5 Simple Ways To Teach Patriotism by Elizabeth Tatge

After serving a four-year tour of duty in the Armed Forces, in my case the United States Air Force, I came out with a strong sense of patriotism. In Basic Military Training School, aka boot camp, we were taught respect for our country and how to honor the flag.

For me, the American flag translates over to America itself. Love of our great country and patriotism must not be forgotten when it comes to teaching our children the basics of life.

Here are my five tips for raising patriotic children.




One: eyes on the flag

When my children were small, whenever the National Anthem would play on television, I would have them stand in our living room with their right hand over their heart. They kept silent until the song was over.

When I was in the Air Force, we were taught to visually seek out the American Flag whenever the anthem was played. We were to turn toward it, remove our hat, and keep our eyes directly on the flag until the song was overor, if a parade, wait until the flag passed by.

Teaching children how to behave during the National Anthem or when our flag passes by is a simple way to teach a child patriotism. Our actions show children that the flag is important to Americans, and that it deserves these moments of silence, awe, and respect.

Thirty-plus years later, I still practice this respect of our flag. Every time.

Two: attend patriotic ceremonies

Often times, small towns will hold a ceremony at the local cemetery. By attending this and similar events, such as a Veteran's Day parade, your child will learn through others that country and military service is important, and that those who have served, should be honored and rememberedespecially those who lost their lives in the line of duty to their country.

Attending events that honor our military will show your child that it is important to you, and it will become important to them as well.

Three: display the flag

Display an American Flag on the outside of your house or in your yard. If not continuously, then at least on patriotic holidays. Ask your child to help you put up and take down the flag. Children love to help, and this is one way to teach them how to handle the flag. Follow the basic rules of etiquette for handling and displaying the American Flag and talk about them with your children. They will understand the importance of something that is to never touch the ground. That one simple thing is very much on their level. If you treat the flag with reverence, your child will also.

Four: participate in a patriotic parade

Buy all kinds of red, white, and blue paraphernalia. Have your kids decorate whatever they want and march or ride in the parade. Do it every year until they won't do it anymore!

One year, my kids put the bunny cage in their little red wagon, decorated it, and along with the bunny (poor guy) headed off down to Main Street in Cheney, Kansas, to march in our small town parade. They were proud as could be! 

Five: teach patriotic songs

Teach your child the National Anthem and patriotic favorites like Yankee Doodle. When on vacation in a vehicle, sing these songs together. Make it fun! Ask your child to participate whenever there is an opportunity to sing a patriotic song. Encourage your school's music teachers to sing patriotic songs and have patriotic programs, and send them thank you cards when they do.


How do you celebrate our Independence Day? What displays of patriotism or the flag exist in your life? Any favorite July 4th memories?

Credits: all pictures courtesy of Chris Harris of Kansas Wildlife and Nature Photography. Picture 1: Lower Fox Creek School House at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve. Picture 2: A country barn in the Haverhill area of Kansas. Picture 3: Milkhouse Barn near Clearwater, Kansas. 4. Lake Afton Car Show in 2014. Chris' photography can be purchased on Fine Art America.



Sunday, June 28, 2015

9 Tidbits About Stella, born June 28, 1925

Mom would be 90-years-old this June 28. She died over ten years ago. As a tribute, I decided to share nine things about her. My siblings grew up in a different decade, so I enlisted their help along with Dad’s.

One: her family

Mom's dad died when she was 14-years-old. My mom was the youngest of three daughters. Grandma Katie moved Mom and her sister Bina from the farm into Doland after an auction. Her sister Grace was already married to Johnny. Dad told me a lot more about the death of Jacob B, my grandpa on my mom’s side, and the financial hardship it caused my mom’s family in 1940, but that’s for another post.

While still in high school, Mom served as a waitress at the café. After high school she earned a desk job at Northwestern Public Service also in Doland. Ironically, my oldest sister Priscilla held a similar job in Huron years later.

Two: her school years

Mom won the spelling bee when she was in elementary school. One time when we were out in public, Mom had me look over at a woman across the room and then said, "That's the one who slapped my hand with a ruler." Seems Mom got in trouble or the teacher was super strict.

Three: her marriage

Mom was 19 when she married Dad. For more details about their wedding click here to read "What I Never knew about my Parents' Wedding." Mom was instrumental in Dad’s decision to follow the Lord once and for all, but again, that’s a story for another post.

Four: her first-born

My brother Elliott was around four-years-old when he went out to do chores with Mom one time. A barrel with pig slop in it caught his eye while Mom gathered chicken eggs.

Little Elliott, knowing how they’d dip a bucket in there to feed the hogs, decided to take a look, but he bent over the barrel too far and fell in—only not all the way. His head was buried in pig slot. Mom came around the corner and saw only his feet sticking out. Who knows how long he was like that.

Elliott said the next thing he remembers is walking to the house beside her. Mom saved my brother's life that day.

Five: a seamstress

Brenda, my sister, wrote this passage: 
Mom didn't do a lot of sewing, but she made matching dresses for Priscilla and me when we were in first grade. We wore them for school pictures. I wore those pop beads that looked like a string of pearls. That was always my favorite school picture.
I wish Mom would have sewn more dresses, but she had Dad's jeans to patch. That was a never-ending job with a pile always awaiting repair. My hubby teases me about how much money we would save if I could patch his jeans, for I do not sew. I only fix buttons.
I did learn to iron though, by pressing pillowcases and Dad's hankies. To prepare for the task, Mom had a sprinkler bottle filled with water that we would shake over each washed and dried article. We'd then roll the items up and snuggle them in one large laundry basket. The basket was wooden—not the plastic kind of today.
Six: her Saturday routine

Priscilla said Saturdays were for cleaning. “The kitchen floor got washed and waxed. We did it on our knees with a rag—not standing up with a mop handle in our hands. Then in the evening she made sure we did our Sunday school lesson.”

The girls enjoyed tea and homemade buns with Mom when they were done with chores. They'd use Mom's blue tea pot, an item that set around just for looks when I was a kid.

Seven: tutor to her children

Mom helped my sisters study for tests when they were in grade school. Brenda said Mom sat in the black leather chair in the dining room and asked questions. (This was that black chair I wrote about in “Mom’s Pestering Pays Off” and "Easter Tidbits” click here and then here). Priscilla said Mom would write out questions, like making up a paper/pencil test, then they would need to fill in the answers.

Eight: the field work

Mom preferred fieldwork to housework, so Brenda performed the chicken chores, and she said she must have prepared the meals. Priscilla said Mom had special field work attire: shorts that came to the knee, a sleeveless blouse, and a cap. “She’d grab an apple for lunch and would stay in the field until it was done,” Pris said.

Nine: trips to Huron

Priscilla remembered shopping at Farmer's Market for groceries. And Brenda recalled fond memories after piano lessons in Huron. “Afterwards, Mom would take Priscilla and me to the Double H to get a cone. Mom always ordered banana ice cream,” Brenda said.

Final Thoughts

It seems like Mom has missed more than ten birthdays on this earth. Each year it gets a little easier thinking about her on that day, for I know if she could, she wouldn't want to leave her heavenly home. But that doesn't make me miss her any less.



What childhood routines do you remember with a loved one? Do you have any relatives that did men's work and women's? How have your Saturday routines changed since childhood?


Friday, June 19, 2015

Four Little Girl Memories of Dad

It's Father's Day this weekend. Time to reveal fond memories of Dad.

One:
Telling of "The Pig Jumped Over the Sty" story

I'd long for lazy Sunday afternoons when Dad would tell me this drawn out story. Sometimes I'd cuddle with him in his black recliner in the corner of the living room, but most times I'd sit on a nearby chair because he'd get sleepy and barely get the story told. I didn't want to be trapped there in the midst of his nap or wake him up trying to get away. Maybe in a couple weeks when our family gathers to honor his 90th birthday a few months back, Dad will tell this story to his twenty-one great grandchildren, and I'll get to hear it all over again.

Two:
Counting the church offering

This was our Sunday-after-church ritual upstairs in his office while Mom put lunch on the table. Dad's thick fingers thumbed through the bills. He'd pause to face the bills in the same direction. Maybe that's why my wallet has to be organized. Coins got sorted into a white organizer. Sometimes he'd let me do that. If there were enough, he'd blow air into colored cylinders and wrap 'em all up. All the money was placed into the yellow pouch and put in the safe. This memory is so dear to me that I've written numerous creative essays about it.

Three
Making me eat the crust of my toast 

Mom didn't make me eat it, and one time Dad noticed. He told me I was eating it. Can you imagine? I hated that part. Now I had to eat it all by itself without the tasty jam? He spied on me then for the next few breakfasts. Told me to eat the crust first and get it over with. So, that's what I've done with my toast ever since—and I even like the crust now.

Four:
Playing my stupid "Be a Monster" game

This was a game I made Dad play when I was way too old to be playing a game like this (and I even make him do it now—because it just cracks me up). There are two ways to play it. One: put a bag over your head and slowly walk stiff-armed into the room, growl, and head toward the person you're scaring. Second way: no bag needed but smile sincerely and nicely and then just slowly develop a creepy looking face, show the gums of your teeth, and make your hands look like you're going to claw the person. We played variations of this simple game last Christmas with Kassie and Cameron, two of my great nieces. We had to stop when they got truly scared, but then they begged for more. These two stupid monster games, especially when Dad is in the mood to play them with me, give me a good bellyache laugh every time. 

What are the little things your dad did when you were young? Any activities you still share? If your dad isn't here anymore, what fond moment appears in your mind the minute you read this question? Give us some details, please. I can't be the only one out there with some sweet, embarrassing memories.



Writer's Note: To read last year's Father's Day post, click here for "Dollars and Sense: A Lesson in Interest of a Different Kind." For more about my dad, read the three posts I wrote early this year after he turned 90. I wrote in segments of three decades. Click here for "First 30 Years of My Dad's 90-year-old Life." Click here for "The Middle Years of a 90-year-old's Life" and here for "Old Age Creeps in at 70-80-90 Years of Age."


Friday, June 12, 2015

Grandparent Treats: Juicy Fruit & Cherry Pie


Guest Post 
by Amy Wallace
Circle of Life

Growing up, I had fun with my Graber cousins because we were near the same age. Life has taken us down various paths and to different states, so we don't get together as often anymore. But recently we were together and shared stories and remembered. 

1977: Cousins Clark & Wendy, me, & their brother Chad
Grandpa

Our Grandpa Phil was known for his quiet demeanor, outstanding singing voice, and Juicy Fruit in his pocket.

His musical talents served him well throughout his life. In 1942 he joined the Army Air Force.

Part of this time was spent in Special Forces Entertainment. Phil’s love of music and natural singing abilities were to put use entertaining troops.

Bing Crosby had come to entertain the troops and somehow Grandpa Phil got called up on stage to sing with him. 

Throughout his life Grandpa sang in barbershop quartets entertaining audiences and providing music for special occasions.

Phil passed this love and talent for music onto his children and grandchildren. The Juicy Fruit tradition was passed down from his Dad, Ben B, who also always had the treat on hand and passed it out sparingly.

Grandpa Phil holds my brother Jake  ~ around 1981.

Grandpa Phil was frugal. But I still remember clearly the time he got a new red International combine that had a cab with air conditioning.

His allergies and asthma forced him to do it, but I sure enjoyed riding with him after that.

Raised with a strong faith, Grandpa didn’t believe in working on Sundays. Even during harvest time he observed the Sabbath as a day of rest.

Grandma

Grandma Lola was an amazing cook. My cousin Wendy reminded me that it didn’t matter what time you showed up at Grandma’s, she could suddenly whip up a multi-course meal. And she only went to the grocery store once a week. We had multiple courses and dessert. In fact, I can hardly remember a time I was at her house that she wasn’t in the kitchen.

When it came to eating, Grandma rarely sat at the table. She sat off to the side, so she could get up and tend to everyone else’s needs. She always had extra mouths to feed around her table from farmhands to family members.

I never remember Grandma wearing pants—always a dressuntil she was in her 80s. A favorite chore at Grandma's was collecting the eggs. It was exciting to venture into the hen house and see how many I could find.

Grandma believed Vicks VapoRub could cure anything. I was at her house one time and had an upset stomach. She slathered me up with Vicks. I don’t remember if it helped or not.

Grandma was famous for her cherry pie. Once a married adult, my dad encouraged me to have her teach me this art. Although I was reluctant at the time, I cherish this memory. As we were making the pie, I furiously tried to match her “little bits" with an actual measure. She didn’t need a recipe. The recipe card from that day is now stained with cherry juice from my multiple attempts to perfect her masterpiece.

Cousin Chad sits the chair with my brother Jake behind him.
Cousin Clark stands nearby. Seated are my cousins Karen and her
sister Wendy. I'm in the red T-shirt.

Holidays

Holidays at the Grandma and Grandpa's were a treat. We sat around one huge table. My cousin Wendy and I shared the piano bench at the end.

We cousins had contests to see who could make the tallest mountain of mashed potatoes, and then we added gravy and corn. That combination must be the most delicious creation on earth!

Cousin Chad swears that Grandma’s cinnamon apples were the best.

One time all of us older kids were teasing the youngest cousin, Karen. Her brother Chad exclaimed, “Karen! That’s like your seventh piece of chocolate cake!”

She replied, “No, it isn’t. It’s my sixth!”

I remember real candy canes being hung like ornaments on her tree. And on her piano, she hung a stocking for all the grandkids. We could count on finding a notepad and a snow globe inside the stocking each year.

As we got older, our adventures during holiday visits took us outside. We all remembered heading to a pond near the house one time. It was about half frozen with some sort of beaver bobbing its head above water. We'd all gotten cameras for Christmas, so we all snapped about 40 shots each of this animal. As the film was developed (at a great expense), we all got in trouble for wasting so much film.

That same day, we were playing “Tarzan” on some branches. Cousin Clark speculated on how cold the water would be if anyone fell. Well, Wendy was the lucky one as the branch broke and she got soaked.

I hang out with Wendy at our grandparents' in the late 80s.
No worries, though, Grandma fixed her up with some ever-so-fashionable man’s pants and a shirt that were both several sizes too big.

A rite of passage in the family was to play Pitch. As soon as you were old enough to learn, you played cards. And it wasn’t just casual playing—these games were were highly competitive and serious!

Music

In the spring of 1991, Cousin Wendy and I sang “Grandpa” by the Judds at the annual talent show at the high school. The recording of that song played at his funeral in 1997. All of the grandkids have musical talent, something inherited from Grandpa Phil and our ads. 

As we got older we would have concerts—oldest Chad on the piano with the rest of us singing. I imagine a highlight of Grandma and Grandpa’s life was in April of 1995. All the singers in the family (including the grandkids) worked up a couple of Grandpa’s favorite songs and sang them in church. We sang “Inside the Gate” and “Hide Me Rock of Ages.”

In January of 1997, during one of the coldest winters on record, Grandpa Phil passed away from a heart attack.

That spring an auction was held and Grandma moved off the farm and into Kingman. The last photo I have of all of us cousins was taken that day on the farm. See below. Tragically in May of 1998, Cousin Clark was killed in a car accident.

Left to right: my brother Jake, Cousins Chad, Karen, Wendy, me. Behind me, Cousin Clark; beside me, husband Sean.

We continued to sing as a family a few times for Grandma’s birthday and other occasions. She loved that.

When we got together for family meals at Christmas, in addition to a prayer before the meal, she'd request that we sing “Silent Night.” We sang it a cappella with parts—the only way to make real music.

As the Circle of Life goes, in 1998 she was able to experience great-grandparenthood. Before her passing in 2008, there were five great grandchildren born. As of this writing, there are seven. See below, the four generation picture from 1998.

I hold daughter Macy beside Grandma Lola and Jim, my dad.

Macy and I were able to sing together a couple of times for Grandma before she passed away. She left this life knowing that the passion and talent for music would carry on.

Remembering the lyrics to the song we sang as a family that was near and dear to Grandma and Grandpa's heart, my cousins and I find peace in knowing that those who've gone before us are celebrating together "Just Inside the Gate." Click here to hear our family sing that song.


What triggers memories of your loved ones that have passed on? Are there any special talents or traditions your grandparents passed on to you?

 

This is Amy's third Circle of Life segment
for the blog. To learn more about this 
professional woman, wife, mother of three, and the
1995 Miss Kansas Runner-Up, read her
other posts. Click here for "A Musical Round of a Different Kind" and here for "Circle of Life."


Friday, June 5, 2015

Remembering the tragic deaths of 40 years ago

I was eight-years-old when twin girls from my church were killed in a car accident along with their mother and a younger brother and sister.

That was 40 years ago on Friday, June 6, 1975. 


Christmas '72: Karleen, Marce, Stacie, Carissa
Everyone was devastated.

Pat, the mother, was a prominent member of the community and served on the South Dakota Board of Regents, the board that controls higher educational institutions in the state.

As I reflected on this milestone, I realized it was my first experience with death.

The twins were born two months before me, and I often wonder how my life would have been different had Carissa and Karleen been around.

I never played against them in a basketball game. Never sang in the church choir with them. Never told them, “Hey, I finally got my period” or “Mom let me start shaving my legs” or "Todd asked me to the prom."

Would we have drug Main Street in Huron together? Discussed the cute boys at our respective schools? Made the trek to Tabor during our college years?


Marce, Karleen, me, John Wollman, Kristine Wollman (standing )
Stephanie Peters (her birthday party), Carissa

From what I recall, Carissa was loud and blunt; whereas, Karleen was more girlish and quiet. But that’s my eight-year-old mind remembering.

I've never known another Karleen, and had I ever been a mother to a girl, Karleen would have been her name.

The twins usually wore matching clothes. I remember their colorful ponchos and shag haircuts. Their doll house was the size of my dining room table with the leaf in. I wonder whatever became of that. They shared a large room with twin beds. I envied them having a playmate in each other.


my 6-year-old birthday party
I'm seated with Carissa & Karleen standing to my left with Marce in front

I've never known another Marce, their brother. Their little sister Stacie had gone through multiple procedures to correct an issue with her legs. My young mind wondered why God would put her through all that if He was just going to take her home anyway.
 
When I learned about the fatal accident, I was in the middle of the yard playing. Mom came out and said, “Pat and the kids were killed in a terrible accident while on their way to see Don at National Guard camp in Minnesota.”

Just like that. She said it. No beating around the bush. That’s my mom. She said it like it was.

In shock, I responded with, “I said goodbye to them after VBS today.” Then my eight-year-old reasoning mind set in, “They just got that new car.”

The Mendels had driven a tiny, light blue car with a hatchback. It wasn’t really a station wagon—it wasn’t big enough to be called that. I can picture that car now. But they’d finally gotten a bigger vehicle, a regular-sized four-door car. Everybody at church was so happy they had a roomier vehicle. Strange how my mind went there after Mom told me.

On that Sunday, a couple days after their deaths, we didn’t have a normal church service, but the sanctuary was packed. The funeral, held in the Doland gym, was the same way.

Five caskets.

I have a book that Pat, the twins' mom, gave me. She was our Sunday School Superintendent at Ebenezer Church. She wrote a personal message in it to me. Ironically, it’s a book about a teacher. And take a look at what she wrote in it.


Pat's note to me in 1974:
I hope you enjoy this book. Maybe someday you'll be a teacher.

I guess Pat knew something I didn’t. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that I changed my major from mass communications to English. I hope I’ve done her proud. 

God has blessed me with a joyful life and few regrets. Good health, a fulfilling career, a husband, a step-daughter and son-in-law, and most recently, a beautiful little grandson.

As I reach each milestone in my life, I think of the twins in a special way.

Carissa and Karleen. Never to be forgotten.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Reading Journey of a Wanna-Be Author: Year #2

My Kindle is two years old now and listed below are the books I've read since June 6 of last year. All but four were read on my Kindle. I read more because of her. I enjoy the device for all the reasons I wrote about last year in the first blog post. Click here to read that.

I surprised myself with the number of books I read considering I was doing my write-every-single day challenge that I wrote about here. By the way, I still haven't broken my writing string. Am I trying it for another year? Maybe. We'll see.

In November, I had a goal to read five middle grade books instead of participating in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I made my goal and even completed one of the books the morning before Thanksgiving Day. I don't think I've ever read one book in one setting unless it was "The Little Red Hen" or some other childhood text.

My favorite book on the list below was number 10. I bawled during various parts of book 1. I cried with books 3, 7, 10, 12. I enjoyed the nostalgia in book 2, so I will read more of Stan Crader. And I am hooked on the author of books 21 and 22, Jenny B. Jones. I have a couple more of her books cued up on my Kindle right now. I would love to meet her some day. I've linked the authors to their websites, Twitterfeeds, or blogs.

Books I have read from June 6, 2014 until May 30, 2015

  1. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (for book club)
  2. The Bridge by Stan Crader
  3. Crazy by Han Nolan
  4. The Christian Writer's Coach: How to Get the Most out of a Writer's Conference by various authors
  5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1 by Jeff Kinney
  6. Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  7. Almost April by Deborah Ferguson (debut author)
  8. Millicent Marie is Not My Name by Karen Pokraz Toz
  9. Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
  10. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi (for book club)
  11. The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting, and God's Purity Plan by Bekah Hamrick Martin
  12. Somebody Like You by Beth K. Vogt (for book club)
  13. Writing Habit Mastery - How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer's Block by S. J. Scott
  14. The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic by Mark Levin (for book club)
  15. Writing in Obedience: A Writing Skill Reference Guide: A Primer for Christian Fiction Writers by Terry Burns
  16. 31 Devotions for Writers by various authors, edited Susette Williams
  17. Rodrick Rules, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 2 by Jeff Kinney
  18. Christmas Hotel: Book 1 by Saundra Staats McLemore
  19. Let's Write a Short Story by Joe Bunting
  20. Writer's Doubt: The #1 Enemy of Writing (and what you Can Do About It) by Bryan Hutchinson
  21. In Between: A Katie Parker Production, Book 1 by Jenny B. Jones
  22. On the Loose: A Katie Parker Production, Book 2 by Jenny B. Jones
  23. Old Shack Mystery by LeAnn Campbell
  24. Dakota Christmas by Joseph Bottum (a Kindle single)
  25. Emotional Thesaurus A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist
  26. Mystery on Maple Hill by Debra L. Butterfield
  27. Write Your Novel from the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers, and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell


Have you read any of those books or other works by those authors? What was your favorite book to read this past year? What's on your summer reading list?





Saturday, May 23, 2015

30-day Writing Streak Turns into a Year

Last year on May 18, I told myself I had to write for 30 days straight. I managed to do it for an entire year.

Why had I set that goal to begin with?

I had a writers’ conference in a month that I had paid for. It was an eight-hour drive away, and if I couldn't commit to write for 30 days in a row, I had no business investing money in my long-time dream to become published.

When I wrote for just seven days straight, I was ecstatic. I had never done that. Not even in college.

This writing-every-day commitment was more than my usual 5-year-short-diary entry. In that, I mimic what my Grandma Elizabeth and Mom did in theirs. It's a log of what we did, what I cooked, current event info, and the weather. Grandma included how many eggs she got, and Mom referred to work on the farm. I mention school events and Chris’ picture taking successes.

So I defined this writing every-single-day thing. To me in meant deliberate work on a passage in order to make it publishable. Some days I wrote a draft. Others, I revised—which by the way, is the most enjoyable part of writing for me, but that means my drafts are nasty typo-ridden pieces that get all marked up.

One of my many writing spots.
Here was my set-up for the SCBWI webinar with Elizabeth Law on May 2.

There were days that it was a battle, and some days I only wrote a couple sentences, but I still set the time aside to do it. It had gotten too late. I’d graded 50-some papers written by 12-year-olds. I didn’t know what to write about. But I did not want to break my steak, so I forced myself.

The worst and more dangerous excuse? This is a waste of time.

That thought came when I was tired or hungry. I noticed those negative thoughts during other work too, not just writing. It may be common sense to most people, but since I'd developed workaholic tendencies from my mom (click here to read about that), the realization was life-changing for me. It was okay to leave things undone and take care of physical needs.

I actually enjoyed my day job more because I had set aside time for my hobby. I was mentally prepared to return to work because my mind had actually left the place for awhile.

To make room in my schedule to write every day, I had to change some things. I watched less TV. I didn't talk on the phone as much. I didn't micromanage myself at work. I said no to other activities. I cooked bigger batches and fed my husband three days of leftovers instead of two.

I also kept a log with the following headings: date, study of the publishing world, what I wrote today, Damien work (my middle grade WIP about a boy with an imaginary elf on his right shoulder). Looking back at the log and celebrating small successes helped me forge ahead.

Considering this yourself? Click here for an encouraging list of writing memes. It was compiled by writer Linda W. Yezak, one of the first writers' blogs from which I drew encouragement.

This writing-every-day routine might not work for everyone. If you're the persistent type, it could. If the pressure of just one more thing, would do you in, then don't. Consider starting small like I wrote about here in the habit stacking post.

For many years I tried to establish a writing habit, but this write every-single-day thing worked for me. The timing was right, I guess, and I'd invested the money. I knew I needed to take action if I ever wanted my publishing dream to become reality. In the course of my study it, I’ve learned so much, but that’s for another post.

I do know that I will continue to write even if my WIP doesn’t see the light of day. I enjoy it that much.

Did I achieve what my original write-for-30-days-in-a-row commitment intended? You bet. Now the day isn't done unless I have written.


Have you tried doing something everyday? What were your results? Now that summer vacation has arrived, do you have any mid-year resolutions? What plans have you put in place for success?