"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." — Laurie Buchanan

A Bend in the Sidewalk

While Idaho is considered the “Gem State,” its capital — Boise — is known as the “City of Trees.” An unapologetic tree-hugger, I adore living in one of the historic preservation districts where trees are worked around, instead of cut down. Take this sidewalk for example:

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Talk about forward thinking! From my perspective, this is planning extraordinaire. Where tree roots might potentially cause a sidewalk to buckle, they swerve around the base, giving the roots a wide and healthy berth.

Even where trees sit much further back from the sidewalk, they take root growth into consideration.

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And so it is in life. With forethought, we too can offer healthy growing space to people, places, things, events, ideas, and opportunities.

What have you made room for?

© Laurie Buchanan

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…stuck in your teeth, (or whiskers, as the case may be).

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This is my dear friend Willa. Not only do I tell her when she’s got something stuck in her whiskers, I help her get it out. In turn, she cleans my face by getting in as many licks as she possibly can.

True friendship between humans has many components:

  • We tell the truth, even if the message is uncomfortable to deliver.
  • We say pleasant things behind each others backs.
  • We actively listen to each other.
  • We hold each others secrets in confidence.
  • We extend mutual respect and value each other’s individuality.
  • We inspire each other and support each other’s dreams.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin

What defining quality do you look for in a friend?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Sheltering the Heart

A recent walk took us past dozens of picnic tables leaning against each other — upright on their sides — to wait out winter.

When I lean physically, I have the sense of being off balance. Mentally it’s much the same:

  • When I lean back mentally (dwell on the past), I’m not fully present.
  • When I lean forward mentally (dwell on the future), I’m not fully present.
  • When I lean into center — now — I’m in the present moment.

In Chinese calligraphy the word mindfulness is expressed by two characters: The top character (a shelter) represents the word now; below that is the character for heart. The literal translation means bringing the heart into the present.

 

Does your heart reside in the shelter of now?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Credit: The Chinese symbol for mindfulness used in this post was created by Japanese-born calligrapher and writer Kazuaki Tanahashi.

The Sweet Seat of Serenity

Located less than a half mile from our door, I’ve come to think of this bench as my serenity bench. A peaceful location to lift lids and check the progress on various pots simmering on the back burner of my mind.

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In front, the Boise River moves languidly, dotted every now and again with Canadian geese and mallard ducks. Behind, I hear the chick-chick sound of birds and squirrels rustling for food; nature’s addition to the hushed steps of walkers on the Greenbelt — a peaceful serenade.

This serenity bench is my go-to place for plunging into some of the deeper pools of thought, and letting go of perceived control — allowing myself to be breathed by that which is greater than I.

Where is your “serenity bench?”

© Laurie Buchanan

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The Art of Sowing Seeds

In the driveway area, we noticed a small evergreen growing smack-dab along the fence line. Wind must have carried the seedling to the fertile soil and now it’s thriving. Not healthy for the fence as it continues to grow, we’ll relocate the sapling in the spring to a spot that has plenty of elbow room.

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Intentional — like Johnny Appleseed — or not, each of us sows seeds along life’s journey.

What’s sprouting in your wake?

© Laurie Buchanan

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WIP Tag!

“You’re it!” Marian Beaman said as she tagged me in the 2014 Work in Progress (WIP) Blog Tour, offering authors the chance to share a small, but tasty morsel of their Works in Progress. “It’s really simple,” she continued, “there’s just three rules:”

1. Link back to the post of the person who tagged you (in my case, Marian Beaman).

2. Write a blurb about — and type the first sentence of — your next book’s first three chapters.

3. Tag four other writers to do the same.

Blurb
Typically, my writing is in the non-fiction arena, but one of the books I’m currently working on is Creative Quill, a work of fiction in the mystery/thriller genre. Intended as a series, the setting is a writer’s retreat where each month four different authors arrive and stay in individual rustic cabins to work on their manuscripts. In the first book, one of the guests is a psychopath posing as an author. Why? You’ll just have to wait and see…

Chapter 1:
Like a brilliant, multi-faceted gem nestled snugly on the ragged hemline of the northern Pacific coastline, Creative Quill—a wooded retreat for writers—sits zen-like overlooking Bellingham Bay in Fairhaven, Washington, holding space to unleash possibility.

Chapter 2:
Arriving at the baggage claim with time to spare, McPherson’s piercing green eyes drank in the details of his surroundings, a habit he’d picked up on the force; a habit that had kept him alive.

Chapter 3:
Having parked in the area reserved for handicap pickup, Mick didn’t have to jockey for position as he deftly pulled curbside, both side panels of the van silently slid open for the waiting guests, one of whom was in a wheelchair.

“Life is about showing up, so is writing. That’s why I sit at my desk every day and dance my fingers across the keyboard.” — Laurie Buchanan

Now it’s my turn to tag four writers for the 2014 WIP Tour. Please check their websites, you’ll be glad you did!

Julia Munroe Martin lives in southern coastal Maine and loves to get hands-on with a camera. When she’s not out taking drop-dead gorgeous photographs, you’ll find her at her dining room table, where she’s happiest and most comfortable with her family — including black Lab Abby — or when writing or researching her next story.

Christine DeSmet (my writing mentor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) writes mouthwatering mysteries featuring fudge or fowl (two different series). She mixes in fun, little-known facts, recipes about fudge, a bit about Belgians and the culture of Wisconsin and the Door County Peninsula.

Melissa Crytzer Fry steps outside her front door smack-dab into southern Arizona’s breathtaking Sonoran Desert, often with camera in hand. A full-time freelance writer and novelist, she was a 2014 semi-finalist in the William Faulkner William Wisdom Writing Competition for her novel, The Quickness of Life.

Dorothy Sander orchestrates Aging Abundantly where she brings the wisdom of women together in one place, offering insight, support and a helping hand to people wherever they are in their journey. Her focus is on transformation and metamorphosis at midlife and beyond. Her most recent work is, Finding Hope: Inspiration for the Midlife Journey.

And though none of these authors are under any obligation to play tag, I sure hope they will because it’ll be fun to sneak a taste of what they’re cookin’ up next!

Book or otherwise, what’s your current Work in Progress?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Got Moxie?

Our walk to the dog park takes us past a place where people can safely leave their bikes. Clearly, one of the bicyclists marches to the beat of a different drummer. In other words, they’ve got moxie!

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Moxie: noun
Force of character, determination, courage or nerve, savvy, know-how.
Example: “She showed a lot of moxie in questioning the policy.”

We’ve all got it — moxie — yet often hide it under a bushel basket.

When was the last time you showed your moxie?

© Laurie Buchanan

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