Posts Tagged: writing

I’ve Forgotten How to Blog

It’s been so long.  So long.  And, I think I may have even broken my blogging bone.  I’ll give it a whirl, though….
Life.  It’s been extremely busy.  It’s also changed so much this past year.  And, it’s changed for the better.  No, dare I say, changed for the best.
My job is going super well.  I love what I do and I’m pretty damn good at it.  My co-workers are all astounding women, and I am proud to call them my friends.
The gym, even though it’s been hit or miss the past month with all the sickies floating around, has been an amazing influence in my life.  I’ve not only improved my body, my strength, and my stamina, I’ve made more friends; it’s been a wonderful blessing.
My online, social media, life has shifted, too.  These days I’m all over Instagram (@secretagentmama – find me!), and my true socmed love is Facebook.  I love that there are so many different people from my life congregated in one place.  My family (parents, kids, aunts, uncles, cousins), my childhood friends, people I’ve known all my life, old high school chums, social media friends, co-workers, and so many more are all there for me to interact with and share the stories of our lives.   I also love the new time-line, but that’s just me, I’m a sucker for a nice cover photo!
Mine Craft Strawberry Cake and Grass Block Brownies
The biggest thing that happened in the past month is we now have (not one, but) TWO teenagers in the house.   Mikey turned 14 and Livey turned 13.   Mikey had a buddy spend the weekend with us, and it culminated in a Minecraft cake extravaganza.  Olivia had a special couple days out with me.  She got a feather in her hair, we went out to lunch a couple times, and we went girl-time shopping.  In a couple weeks she’ll be having all of her closest girlfriends over for a Just Dance Wii Party, complete with pizza and pop and chips and dips!  Invitations are going out tomorrow.
There are a few things I’ve been meaning to blog about, and I have vowed to come back and start telling stories again.   It’s important, and I really do miss it.  I’ve actually been scared to open up this blog again.  I think that silence can do that to a blogger.  We grow silent and it perpetuates, and after a while it’s just not important anymore.   That doesn’t sit well with me, though, because I love to share.  I’m a self-proclaimed over-sharer.  I need it.  I crave it.  I must do it.
So, starting tonight I am going to take the plunge.  I’m going to over-share and I’m going to like it.  *You might, too.
*Three out of four of my biggest blog fans are pictured above.  Someday it’ll be four out of four, but the littlest of my fans is only just learning how to read.



Tending a Garden of Dreams

When I was a little girl I used to say that I wanted to be a dentist.   I don’t even know if I wanted to be a dentist, I think I just had a crush on my dentist.    

Because, really, I was content to write poems in my bedroom while letting lyrics swirl in my head.   Though, some of my favorite memories are those that involved country drives where I would get lost in the trees, watching them zoom past the window, varied colors and intensities; they brought dreams without my knowing.

Years later, a woman grown, I would find myself holding tightly onto the love of life, on the back of a motorcycle with a “Mean People Suck” sticker on the back of my black helmet.   Too noisy to talk.  Too noisy to hear.  I was content to visually wander into the woods as they zipped by.  Each leaf seemingly etching itself on my heart.

When I was a little girl I never believed in cities such as New Orleans or Atlanta or Seattle.   Sure I knew about them through my schooling, but knew not of their ability to feed a creative soul.

Many years after paper studies, my life would take me on literal twists and turns.   U-haul trucks and tears would lead my way, and, oh, how I’d grow during these times.    Experiences would gather at my feet, like sturdy shoes, each carrying me, making me who I am with little regret.   There shouldn’t be regrets on the path of life; for when there are regrets there is sadness which begets darkness.  I’ve come to know that it’s in the light when [you] feel warmth and love—without constraint, judgment, or worry.

Traveling and living in different and new places has supplemented my life in ways that I’m still trying to put into words.  But, there’s something to be said for getting on a Greyhound bus, an airplane, a train, or–even–in a van full of loud and mess and chaos for over fifteen hours, that makes your dreams soar to see the places where you can  Just. Be.

Which leads me to this space where I write and spill dreams.  Most of them recur after seeing something my children do, or when I hear an old song, or smell something familiar.   Locked are they in my heart vault, locked away, begging to come out and play.   With each word.  With each click.  With each foot in front of the other.  They beg to come out, as often they do.

I had no idea that while I sat on my childhood bedroom, writing in various notebooks, dreaming about days to come, that they would come so quickly.  I had no idea that the days would pass almost supersonically.   After all, I thought I wanted to be a dentist.

Dentist? Me?  As if.   More like Dreamer, and a Wife, and a Mother.   A lover of words, and–more importantly– a lover of seeing.   Hoping that no matter what I dream, no matter what I do, that I do it and Live It To The Full.  

Join me, Michelle Ensminger, and Kelly Barton in October 2011 for Dream Tending, a four-week, online workshop.

Class price is $49 and includes daily posts  (Monday through Friday) and weekly activities in multimedia art, storytelling and photography to tend your own dreams in times of transition. In addition, there will be a creative toolkit section included in each week’s lessons.  Class begins October 3.

Course Description

Life is a series of transitions, and navigating through those transitions can be tricky. Tending your most precious dreams in the midst of life’s transitions is trickier still. How do you learn to honor where you are and practice self-care, while at the same time maintaining focus on your dreams?

During this course, we’ll provide helpful tools you can use to nurture your dreams as you wade through life’s transitions. We’ll share our personal perspectives of transition and discuss ways you can keep your creative life fertile. Utilizing photography, art, and writing exercises, you’ll open yourself to the constancy and flow of dream tending  and discover that the fruit of dream tending is an enriched, meaningful, and awakened life.

My Fellow Instructors

Kelly BartonKelly Barton is a mixed media artist and graphic designer from her home base of middle Indiana. She is inspired by the inner-workings of a girl’s nutty mind and believes that growing up girl is enough inspiration for any artist. She features her artwork in her eclectic mixed media art pieces, funky notecards, spunky jewelry baubles, and fun tee-shirts available on her Etsy shop. Kelly created Kelly Barton Art +Design to remind people that we’re all connected, and because she believes we all need a bit of happy.

Kelly’s art has appeared in several national shows, including CORE: The Art and Design of the Torso (2009),the Enormous Tiny Art Show (2008), and Visions of Squam I and II (2009, 2010). Kelly’s work appeared on the cover of Underwired Magazine in March 2008, and she is a contributor to the book Inner Excavation: Exploring Your Self Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media (published by North Light Books).


Michelle EnsmingerMichelle Ensminger loves poetry, photography, and dates with her 8 year old son. A West Texas native, you can often find her curled up in a makeshift fort writing her way through the messiness of life. Michelle always strives to nurture her creative spirit and pursue an authentic spiritual path in the midst of motherhood and working an 8-5 job. She believes writing can heal and awaken us to life, that stillness holds great power, and in the sacred act of honoring the present moment.  She is currently taking a hiatus from blogging, but she is a regular, monthly contributor for Wish Studio. You can find more of her on Flickr and Facebook.



The Bell Ringer

“Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!” I exclaim with a ring, ring, ring of the simple, yellow bell in my red gloved hand.

“God bless you, God be with you, Merry Christmas,” I go on as people shuffle by.

Then the little girl, with the handful of pennies, apologizes for not having more to give. Her blue eyes shine so brightly in the early winter sunshine.  Her mother watches as every penny dings the walls of my red, metal bucket.


“Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!” I continue with a ring, ring, ring of my unmistakable, yellow bell.

People grumble past me into the store.  Most do not even make eye contact.  I watch as children are scolded, as men sigh knowing they will be tortured upon entry, as babies cry in their carriers, as old men snort—all the while I continue to ring my precious, yellow bell.

“God bless you, God be with you, Merry Christmas,” I carry on.

Then the old lady, with crumpled dollar bills in her frail hand, approaches.   Her eyes shine just as brightly as the little girl before, but with a depth that was a result of a lifetime of memories captured. As she puts the dollars in she smiles warmly at me.

“My daughter always made sure that we put something in the bucket.  She was a special child, that one.  Even when she had nothing, she would search the car, my purse, her coat for something, anything,” she conveyed with an apparent heavy heart.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, I’m so sorry for your loss,” I offer as if I know the story.

A thank you escapes her wrinkled lips as she carries her old, tired body into the store.  Before she is swept into the sea of chaotic shoppers, though, she turns and smiles; her eyes bright and cheerful.


“Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas one and all, young and old, happy and sad, Merry Christmas to you! Merry Christmas,” I say as I let my voice become a sing-song out into the crowd that bustles by.

I see them all.  Some cannot be bothered.  Some don’t want to hear me.  Some apologize. Some wish me a Happy Hanukkah, which I am more than alright with. Some say nothing while they stare down at the ground. Yet I continue to bless them with the ring, ring, ring of my humble, little bell.



This piece was written as part of this week’s prompt from the awesome group of bloggers who have come together to practice the craft of writing well.  {W}rite of Passage is the brainchild of Leslie “Mrs Flinger“.

Time After Time

Baroquely Bereft

As long as I can remember I have been drawn to abandoned buildings, corroded weed-covered cars, churches whose bricks have crumbled upon each other, dilapidated barns, and houses that have been left to ruin. I look at them and wonder. Who worked there? Did they drive that car to the prom? Where did the people who prayed there go? And why aren’t they praying there anymore? What kind of animals were tended to in that barn? How many kids played in the yard of that once inhabited house?


I have my parents to thank for this, I believe. Many of our family excursions consisted of getting some ice-cream and taking long drives into the hills and ridges of the towns south of ours. I’d sit in the back seat, looking out to find these old dwellings, and I’d make up stories about them. Being an only child I had a vast imagination, so this was something I did often.

Luckily I met and married a man who shared my love and appreciation for long country drives. Often times we’d take off, on our motorcycle, zooming through the Allegheny Mountains. I’d be on the back of the bike, looking around, taking it all in, finding beauty everywhere and in everything. In the trees, the weeds, the dirt roads, the broken barns. Then we moved to New Orleans for a couple years. That place is one of insane history and beauty. Everywhere I looked there was some sight to behold and some story for me to happily concoct.

New Orleans

We have since passed along the tradition of the country drive to our children. We pile into our van and head out to explore the mountainous region that we live so close to. Being at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains there is much to see and it seems that there is an abundance of old and broken-down places. Sometimes we hear complaints about the rides, but the promise of an old-school bottle of Orange Crush or Grape Nehi will usually quell any grumblings.


This past New Year’s Eve the kids and I set out to run some errands. We grabbed some lunch and after our bellies were full, and we had our movies and snacks picked for the evening, I turned down the road that would take us the long way home. We ended up on a little dead-end street that we had never seen before. At the beginning stood a what-used-to-be-white little shack of a house that had a ‘for sale by owner’ sign on it.

“Mama, it looks like there’s some cool stuff in that place. We should stop,” my eldest son, Mikey, said to me.

“I see that, big boy. Let’s go have a look-see,” I replied as I prepared to make a three-point-turn.

I got out and approached the little dwelling, but I didn’t expect to see what I saw. Inside it was as if time stood still. Everything was in it’s place, and it wasn’t of modern time. What was this place? A little restaurant? An office? Who worked there? Who sat smoking at that desk? What kind of cigarettes did they smoke? Was it hot the day they laid the horseshoes in the fresh cement? These are the questions that raced through my mind. Inside and out there were remnants of something different. That “je ne sais quoi” that makes up the beauty of time and space.




Time stood as still
As the gourds and Indian corn

The once occupied desk empty
Unlike the ashtray and walls

Drinks are no longer cold
And the snack bins are void

Only a rust and dust cover
Can be found

Upon the place where time stands still
Where the clock reads 10:23

©Mishelle O. Lane
January 1, 2009

This post was originally written as a guest post over at Lotus’ blog.

Tuesday Morning Grind

55: Music, Coffee, Keyboard, Thoughts

I stayed up too late last night. Chatting, writing, emailing, tweeting, blipping, working.  I am a little bit closer to the end of a project that I’ve been working on.  And, it’s actually not as hard as I had originally made it out to be. I think one more late night and I will be happy with the end result.

When [you] look at life, in retrospect and as an adult, it is amazing what you see and how you feel.  My writing piece is not as riveting as some I’ve heard about or read, but it is part of me.  The tale has made me who I am today; it has made me into a lover, an artist, a dreamer, a mother, me.  I look forward to sharing it.

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