Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?

Stones can take us the distance, especially when they keep us out of the current in a running stream as we try to cross it. I live next to the Boise River. I know this to be true!

A boulder on our path can either be an inconvenience or a platform. Stepping on a boulder allows us to get a better perspective of what’s ahead.

Interestingly, what some people see as stumbling blocks are perceived as “normal occurrences” by others. Our attitude can either be a stumbling block or a stepping stone.

When you encounter boulders, do you see stumbling blocks or stepping stones?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Hackles Up!

It’s rare for me to despise something. That’s a strong word, a strong feeling—contempt, deep repugnance. But it bubbles to the surface when I encounter indifference, a complete lack of interest, concern, or sympathy for anyone or anything. 

In researching why I feel this way when I encounter it, I came across many quotes, one of which I share here. No wonder it raises my hackles.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. ” —Elie Wiesel

Does anything raise your hackles to the point of contempt or deep repugnance?

© lauriebuchanan.com

In the Moment

I enjoy writing and photography (and of course, I love red licorice).

My next book, Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One, takes place in the Zen-like wooded acres surrounding Pines & Quill, a writing retreat in the Pacific Northwest. And while Pines & Quill is fictitious, the historic Fairhaven district of Bellingham, WA, where the story takes place is very real. In fact, we took a trip there to take photographs for book promotion purposes. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen some of them.

While watching a video of Zen Master John Daido Loori, an incredible photographer and author of Hearing with the Eye: Photographs from Point Lobos, he said: 

“The moment is where our life takes place.
We miss the moment—we miss life.”

I realize that the “big picture” is important too, but in my experience, the moment is essential.

Are you more of an “in the moment” or “big picture” person?

© lauriebuchanan.com

King of the Hill

Walking out the door one morning, I heard a chorus of cooing. Looking around, I located the source of the birdsong on the roof of the neighboring house. A trio of birds was amicably roosting. One of them was clearly the king—or queen, as the case may be.

It brought to mind playing “King of the Hill” when I was growing up. A group of neighborhood friends would find a mound or hill, and whoever got to the top first would try to maintain their position—unfortunately, by pushing opponents back down.

As an adult, my only “opponent” is me. I compete against myself. Sometimes I’m “queen of the hill,” other times I’m in a slipped-down position, waiting for the right moment to recapture the hill.

If you were playing king/queen of the hill, what’s your current position?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Line of Sight

When I hopped out of the truck in Sisters, Oregon to take this photograph, my immediate thought was “line of sight.” I wanted to write about unobstructed vision, and how very few things we actually see that way. Easy peasy, right? Not!

I started my online research. As a suspense/thriller novelist (#seanmcphersonnovels), I already knew about line of sight as it relates to firearms.

I didn’t know about:

Line of sight in electromagnetic radiation

Line of sight between missile and target

Line of sight as it relates to mental illness, particularly schizophrenia

Line of sight in the world of gaming (who can see what)

Line of sight in mathematics (projective geometry)

Line of sight as it relates to the production of pipelines

Line of sight in art is when an artist uses a horizontal line that runs across the paper or canvas to represent the viewer’s eye level and delineate where the sky meets the ground

Who knew?! Clearly, line of sight is more than meets the eye.

What do you see clearly?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Getting it Done

Fastidious by nature, I’m one of those people who thrives on lists—especially checking items off.

Humor, laughter, and having fun is of equal significance to me. When it comes to getting things done, I want it to be as much fun as possible.

Instead of a “to do” list, I have a Ta-Dah! list. This tiny shift in perspective makes me feel like I can take on anything. 

How do you accomplish the must-dos on your list?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Cairns

While walking Willa in the Laura Moore Cunningham Memorial Arboretum, I saw this small cairn. 

Used by people around the globe, cairns—a human-made stack of stones—serve many different purposes:

Utilitarian: to mark a path, territory, or specific site

Spiritual: inviting passersby to stop and reflect

Ceremonial: when placed within a circle of enclosing stones

Memorial: when friends and family members voice a fond remembrance of a loved one while adding a stone

Symbolic: the uses are endless including love, prayer, and artistic expression

In Scotland, it’s traditional to carry a stone from the bottom of a hill to place on a cairn at its top. In such a fashion, cairns grow ever larger. An old Scottish Gaelic blessing is Cuiridh mi clach air do chàrn — “I’ll put a stone on your cairn.”

Have you ever built a cairn?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Little Free Libraries

We’re fortunate to live in-between two Little Free Libraries. They’re situated about a half-mile apart. 

All I have to do is walk a quarter-mile in either direction. It’s like having a blind date with a book—you never know what will turn up!

My favorite book find so far is The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

Do you live near a Little Free Library? If yes, what’s your favorite book find so far?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Let there be Light – Not Heat

There are five windows in my writing studio: three of them face east (for the most part), and two of them face north. 

The east-facing windows used to let in heat—a lot of it! That is, until Len installed a translucent film designed to let in light, but not heat. We left the north-facing windows alone as lush trees shade them, and they provide an inspirational view.

There are many things we want/need, but not too much of. The first thing that comes to mind is food. We need it to stay alive and most of us enjoy it. I, for one, consider myself a “foodie.” But too much of it—without exercise—and we gain weight.

What is it that you want/need, but Goldilocks style—in just the right amount?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Any Way the Wind Blows

Depending on the route, I pass this beautiful weathervane a few times a week on my daily walks. Without fail, it brings to mind the saying: “Any way the wind blows.” 

To my way of thinking, that means to be easily persuaded, not to stand firm.

Similar, many people “go with the flow.” In my first book, Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth, I wrote: “Don’t go with the flow or against it. Create your own.” 

A friend of mine took a stand to not go with the flow, not go with the wind. She opted not to gather with a group of friends (many of them at risk) because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Will there be friendship fallout from this stand? That’s yet to be seen. I respect that she stood firm in her convictions.

Do you go with the flow, any way the wind blows—or do you stand firm?

© lauriebuchanan.com