Mememememememememe…. This post is all about me — and eight other bloggers. One who nominated me for the “Sisterhood of World Bloggers,” Nida S., who writes “on the road to inkrichment.” Seven whom I will nominate for the sisterhood. Nida has been an encouragement to me as a fellow blogger, often commenting on my blog posts. She, like me, has taken the NaBloPoMo challenge for November, which ends today. I have enjoyed perusing her blog; she is a self-proclaimed “reluctant immigrant,” living in Canada instead of Pakistan, her homeland that she loves and misses. She is thankful for the freedoms she is enjoying in Canada but feels a bit guilty having escaped the trials her people are facing. She wants to give back to her beloved Pakistan; I think her blog does that, by expressing her love, her struggles, and her loyalty to her home country. Her blog is a beautiful place.
Accepting this award has its requirements. Those who accept the award must:
- Provide the link to the person who nominated you.
- Add the reward logo.
- Answer the questions your nominator has asked
- Nominate 7 other bloggers and let them know via comments.
- Ask your nominees 10 questions.
(When I explained all this to my husband, he said, “That’s not an award; that’s a chain letter.” Since I have spent two days working on this and still have to post comments on other blogs to alert them to the “award,” I have to say I feel a bit reluctant to put that much work on them. Answering the questions was fun, however, and since I’ve put so much time into this — all while feeling desperately ill — I figure I may as go all the way and complete the tasks.)
Here are my answers to the questions put forward by Nida S. of inkrichment:
1. Your most important ‘health’ rule?
Probably the “health” rule I most consistently live by is that “exercise covers a multitude of sins.” When I was a college student, I became an avid walker, and I determined, even then when I was young and in shape, that “It’s easier to stay in shape than get in shape.” The fact that my exercise time has been a time to pray or a time to engage with friends or a way of keeping mentally sane has added to the value of physical exercise over the years. For the most part, I have managed to stay in shape, as advised by my college wisdom, and also realized that where I fail in my diet I can cover with exercise, making it even more important. If you add prayer, friendship, and mental health to the effects of physical exercise, you can probably agree that “exercise covers a multitude of sins.”
2. A day at the library or a skydiving resort?
You had me at resort. While I love books and reading and learning, the call of the great outdoors would beckon me more (plus you didn’t say I HAD to actually skydive, right? Just be there for a day?). Twenty years ago, I went to a skydive training center to cheer a friend as she took her first leap. I never found the urge to do it myself, but it was exciting to be that close to it and just enjoy the sunshine and the beauty of the wide open fields. Add “resort” to that day, and I am imagining some luxury to go with the excitement of watching others leap. I’m there. 🙂
3. A bad habit you finally let go of?
This is a hard one. Have I let go of a bad habit? I have an ongoing battle with sugar addiction — have even been so moved as to read books and write a research paper on the subject. Used that research paper as an example for my juniors and seniors as they wrote their research papers — even demonstrating an oral report using the topic. But it remains an unbeaten bad habit for me. If I stay off sugar — candy, mostly — completely, I can avoid the bad habit of overindulging on sugar. In fact, I find if I have my sugar habit under control, the rest of my diet is easier to maintain too. But if I have some sugar, I want a lot. At one point in my teaching career, I owned an aquarium called my “sweetwater tank” that students and I filled with pieces of candy. They got pieces from the tank as a reward for a good grade or good behavior. I got candy — by the handful — when they went out to P.E., whether I deserved it or not. For me, sugar is all or nothing; I guess that is why I consider it an addiction, not just a bad habit. For the moment, I have let it go. “Finally” as in “for the final time”? I hope so.
4. What place does writing have in your life?
Before I married and became an instant mother of four children, writing — as in keeping a journal — was a daily event. I have used a journal as a prayer diary, as my own devotional to God, as well as a record of my private thoughts. I pictured myself a John Boy Walton who would later use those journals for writing books that would change the world. But when I became a mother, most of my writing went by the wayside. Once I year I would write a Christmas letter recording the year’s events and shoot a nice photo of my children, which I sent to about 100 families. It always got high praise, and I envisioned myself — one day, when the children were grown and I had time (still waiting for that time) — writing a book or two or three. I figured I could always write a book titled Between the Letters and fill in all the gaps between those Christmas letters. I still may.
As a high school English teacher, I was constantly writing tests and assignments and repairing student work while not expanding my own writing portfolio. In a way, I confess that I envied my students the opportunity to write. It was while I was in graduate school — writing papers and responding in length within class forums online — that a friend suggested I write a blog. I did. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Some days it is easy to write; other days it is a real trial. Sometimes I write about the lessons I am learning; sometimes I write about the humor in the incidents of the day. At times, words just flow as a balm for my soul or an opportunity to be a balm for others — if only offering a smile or a laugh as a respite from this world that can be so wearing. I have hobbies — scrapbooking, jewelry making — that are mostly distant memories. Writing blog posts — always with that dream of writing something that will change the world — is where I spend my free time. I only hope it will lead to something more.
5. If you could go back 10 years and tell yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
“This Too Shall Pass.” That is the advice I would give myself — but in two senses. One, the troubles of this day, this season of life will pass; you will get through it; you will not always struggle as you do now. Two, the wonders of this day, the miracles of seeing children grow and become, for example, will also pass — and you better take the time to enjoy it. One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Elliot, a Christian missionary who was killed by those he came to serve. He said, “Wherever you are be all there…” That quote reminds me to live in the moment, to be fully present — not just to “stop and smell the roses” but also to fully embrace the trials and tribulations and the God who gets you through them. It is this mentality that keeps my camera empty on Thanksgiving day and others — because I am l-i-v-i-n-g the moment, not capturing the moment in pixels. (Another reason why I love writing. It forces me to reflect and capture those moments after the fact.)
6. Describe life in one sentence.
Life is like an onion; you have to peel away the layers, sometimes tearfully, to get to its heart, which might be bitter or strong or sweet, and once you bite into it and truly experience it you can be quite offensive to those who haven’t.
7. What gets you going every single day.
Routine gets me going every single day. The alarm goes off, I get up, use the bathroom, step on the scale, remove my mouth guard and clean it, and then walk down to the kitchen, where one habitual step follows another. (Which definitely includes a robust cup of coffee.) I have made it a habit to not hit the snooze button.
8. Your most favourite word of the English language.
My favorite word in the English language is “persnickety.” It’s fun to say and it describes my modus operandi. I am an editor by nature. I see the type-os in life — the errors in G.U.M. (grammar, usage, mechanics) that others miss. On the one hand I am ready to correct; on the other, I hope to demonstrate grace. I am the “fresh eyes” my work demands, catching the errors and inconsistencies and attempting to make things perfect. Some define “persnickety” as fussy or picky or fastidious or overly concerned about the mundane details. I’m OK with “persnickety” being all of those things — I am, too.
9. One thing about humanity that makes you sick.
Unkindness makes me sick. It might be a small act or an outrageous atrocity. It might be calling names or bullying or raping or torturing or murdering or enslaving or terrorizing. It might be withholding good when it is in your power to do good. Kindness is an attribute of love; unkindness of any sort conveys anything but love.
10. What was the biggest surprise of your life?
Another difficult question. I am difficult to surprise, and so I am thinking my biggest surprise would have to be something God crafted on my behalf. I was surprised to find that I could love again after my first husband died. Just a few weeks ago, while at a wedding reception for my nephew, I was surprised when I told my second husband of 20 years that I would say yes all over again — and it hadn’t been an easy 25 years. My husband looked at me in disbelief and with tears in his eyes, and I knew I had meant that “yes” the first time and that “yes” to him two decades later. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how God can soften our hearts — even those of the persnickety and perfection seeking — and help us see our own weaknesses and need for forgiveness so that we can reach out in love where it can do the most good.
These were some of my thoughts on Nida’s mostly difficult questions.
Now, some remarkable writers who I feel should be fellow sisters in this award.
- Beautiful Life with Cancer
- Peaceful Wife’s Blog
- Rose Red Stories
- Me — Who am I?
- Squared Mommy
Yes, this post does have an end. Finally, here are my questions for the nominees:
- What is the most important thing you do in any given day?
- What is your favorite tradition for the holiday season so quickly approaching?
- If you could travel anywhere today, where would you go?
- What place does writing have in your life?
- If you could go back 10 years and tell yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
- Describe life in one sentence.
- If you could personally “fix” one thing that is wrong in our world today, what would you choose to fix?
- What do you do to relax?
- What is one of your pet peeves?
- What is the most significant life lesson you have learned?