The Power of Words

 

Words

A while back I posted on this topic and this morning it was brought to my attention again.

While I was on my morning run, enjoying some moments strung together without rain or snow, I met up with an older couple, each with their own garbage bag, picking up trash along the river trail. The river trail is my favorite place to run–when I’m not being attacked by big dogs–because it’s serene, lined with green trees and the river on one side, and wildlife from turtles to turkeys to coyotes. When I saw this couple I stopped, took out my ear buds and told them what they were doing was so nice and thank you. They stopped and looked at me, the woman sighed and smiled, her eyes bright. She said:

“That’s the nicest thing you could have ever said to us, is thank you.”

Wow!

The power of words. How easy it would have been to keep in my own world, listening to my music, being absorbed with me. How many times do we get busy living life that we forget to notice others around us. I know I do. The janitorial staff that comes on shift as I’m leaving the office, the paper delivery boy, the person who has a cart full of items at the grocery store and yet gets in the twenty items or less line and lets me go ahead when s/he sees I only have a few items. How easy it is to scowl that they’re in the wrong line anyway.

What I’ve learned as I travel my journey is that what comes out of my mouth affects the listener as much as the speaker. Not saying thank you to the person in the grocery line leaves my heart hard and burdened, my attitude dark, as self-righteousness grips me. That, in turn, shapes the way I treat others the rest of the day. When I say something kind, regardless of whether or not the person is doing something I perceive as wrong, it makes the person experience joy and it lightens my own heart. It feels good from the depths of my soul to be kind to someone.

When I carried on with the rest of my run after my encounter with the couple, my steps felt lighter, my heart glad, the day brighter.

Whether spoken or written, words carry enormous power. How easy it is to fire off that email or snail mail letter. Or how easy it is to speak something negative or derogatory about someone in the name of defending yourself after they’ve wronged you. I used to tell my kids when they were growing up, “Choose your words carefully. Words are like toothpaste–once it’s out you can’t get it back in the tube no matter how hard you try.”

Those are words I, as an adult, need to remember.

This week as I communicate with others and as I work on my writing, I’m going to work on remembering the power of words. Especially the two seemingly small words that carry great weight–“Thank You.”

And now I’m back to using my words at Camp NaNoWriMo. 🙂

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” — George Orwell, 1984

Bonfire-Brainerd

 

 

 

April (Word) Showers

I’ve temporarily changed the old saying, April Showers bring May flowers,  to April Showers Bring Lots of Writing Hours.

images[3]

Last April I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge,  and this year I’ve decided to head to Camp for the month of April. Camp NaNoWriMo. I will still be reading the blog posts of those participating in the challenge, however, and I encourage others to as well. There are such amazing themes by such creative minds, and it’s fun to be part of that community in any way I can. After all, supporting each other is what the blogging community is all about.

The past couple of weeks I’ve allowed myself to become somewhat lazy–okay, very lazy–in the writing department. I finished the 2nd edit of my mystery, Shear Madness, and along with it came the whole self-doubt crash. While it’s something every writer experiences, it’s hard to remember that while in the thick of it. So I’ve decided to let my manuscript cool a couple of weeks before beginning the next edit.

I’ve been wanting to write some short stories for a long time now, something I haven’t written for many, many years (we won’t say exactly how many 🙂 ) I’ve jotted ideas, plots, etc, but have continually put off the actual writing part. Until now.

For April’s Camp NaNo I’m going to let my hair down–or pull it up in a pony tail–and let loose the words to short stories I’ve been thinking about. I’m going to actually write them on paper–or computer–and have fun doing it. I’ve got my notebook, colored gel pens, computer, Camp NaNo coffee mug, my lantern, and the ingredients for s’mores set and ready to go. Heck, maybe I’ll even pull out a sleeping bag. 🙂

NaNo Coffee MugS'mores

It’s not too late if anyone wants to join in the camping experience. It’s among the most fun campgrounds I’ve ever camped. And rather than getting wet by rain showers, we get productive with word showers. That being said, it’s not necessary to commit to 50,000 words as is the case in November’s NaNoWriMo, but rather you set your own word count. While mine’s not set at 50,000 due to April being a busy month, I still set it high enough to challenge and stretch myself as a writer.

So–if anyone wants to join and has questions, head on over to the Camp NaNo website, or simply ask me in the comments section. I would love to help anyone get going on setting up a project. The more the merrier in this camping experience. And it’s one you’ll find yourself looking forward to every year. It’s too late to plan it at this point you say? No worries–and no excuses–there’s another Camp NaNo in July. 🙂

See you at Camp!

 Bonfire-Brainerd

Carpe Diem

 

The Late, GREAT Robin Williams

Robin Williams

My heart is absolutely shattered at the loss of this talented man. In fact, when I heard the news my breath caught and my heart stopped for just a moment. Today I’d like to honor him by sharing some powerful words he shared with us.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”  -Robin Williams

Today, let’s be sure the words we use, verbally or written, make a positive difference in the world.

Write on.

 

 

 

Powerful Words

al-inspiring-quote-on-listening

In the Parade Magazine that comes tucked inside my newspaper, there was an article on how to make a marriage last. A couple who had been married for twenty years had words of advice that not only applies for marriage, but for all relationships, and I thought it so profound that I wanted to mention it here.

“Listen twice as much as you talk, and before you speak, consider: Is this true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”

WOW and AMEN!

Have a beautiful day!

 

Healing Words

Today, July 8th, marks eight days of celebrating life, and each day hereafter, yet another.

A year ago, I posted a blog entry on life circumstances that have made July a very difficult month to get through. I had mentioned how each year I would find myself holding my breath just waiting for July to end, giving birth to August, and I never quite released that breath I was holding until 12:01 a.m. when August was fully born.

This past year has reaped so many blessings and stitched so many miracles through my silky web, that I feel like my soul has been given new birth. Not once have I measured the minutes in the day by the pain I’ve endured, by the “almost’s” that nearly happened, nor have I x’d out each day before it ended, eagerly waiting to ‘x’ out the next–and the next.

Pen

I’ve traced the beginning of the real healing to writing. Writing has released repressed emotions, thoughts, and ideas that have led to newness and wholeness, and a brand new life.

Writing brings light when the day begins dark; when sadness strikes, it brings a glimmer a joy; it brings clarity out of confusion, and draws gratitude out of the simplest things; when isolated and alone it brings company through blogging friends and make-believe characters.

Writing pen to paper – or fingertips to keyboard – has facilitated healing and freedom from the traps the enemy has tried to catch me in. And what a blessing that is!

“It’s ironic that poets use words to convey what lies beyond words, that poetry becomes most powerful where simple language fails, allowing one to bridge the conscious and unconscious.” – Diane Ackerman, author and poet

This month, as I’ve mentioned in my post last Friday, my son was married, which brought joy to soothe a lifetime of pain. Chalk up another July bonus.

wedding-11

The happy – and gorgeous – couple.

This is one happy and proud mama!

This is one happy and proud mama!

And now, my friends, it’s back off to Camp, another July bonus, where I’ll be mixing fun with healing in one neat little package. Well, okay–I guess it could turn into one sticky little package if I get carried away with the marshmallows and s’mores. And what is camping without that? 🙂

Back off to the wilderness.

Back off to the wilderness.

All truly is grace.

The Power of Words

This has been an interesting week for sure. Amidst all the excitement I was feeling about my book being published, I hadn’t even thought of the possibility that others wouldn’t share that joy.

While I don’t believe, for the most part, that people intend to be hurtful, that doesn’t change the fact that words can sting the heck out of someone.

Words

I work in a place that can be fraught with negativity on any given day, and I truly try my hardest to make the room I walk into a better place when I leave than when I got there. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, as some words can suck the breath right out of me.

Like the first time I got an “exceeds expectations” on my annual evaluation and I felt led to share it with a “friend” that also works there. Her words were, “I don’t want to bring you down, but it doesn’t matter what you do around here, it’s whether they like you or not.”

Ouch!

And the first time I received the employee of the month award, and a co-worker stated that it’s only a popularity contest.

Again…Ouch!

Ouch

This past week I hung a flyer up on the refrigerator door in the break room about my book being on Amazon and that I will have copies the week of the 23rd should anyone desire to buy one, well…

Conversation #1:

Co-worker: “So I hear you’re a writer. I read what your book is about and you do know there’s a book/movie with a similar plot line. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.”

Me: “I don’t think I have.”

Co-worker: “When I think of the name I’ll let you know. I’m sure you know it.”

Me: Nothing. Sometimes there simply isn’t a suitable response.

Conversation #2:

Co-worker: “I heard you published a book. How did you do that?”

Me: Nothing.

Conversation #3:

Co-worker: “So I see you published a book. Congratulations.”

Me: “Yes, I have. Thank you so much.”

Co-worker: “I don’t know how you can have the time. I would never have the time to do something like that.”

Me: Nothing.

While the words themselves don’t appear too hurtful, the tone and body language that accompanied them were.

I also received supportive, positive  comments like:

“I like to have friends who are ‘doers.'”

“You really are my inspiration.”

“I’m so thrilled for you!”

In fact the supportive comments were much greater in number.  But negativity can carry quite the punch, leaving the soul battered and bruised without knowing what even happened.

Said flyer came down until my thin skin grows a bit thicker, and I can sift out the harsh criticisms from the kindness.

In the meantime, I pray I’m aware of my words–and the way they’re conveyed–as I write and speak; that my words build another up, rather than tear another down. That they help rather than hurt.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Ephesians 4:29)

And I pray I use the negative for positive, not letting the enemy get his foot in the door. I have stories to tell, and I’m going to tell them. After all, isn’t that what we writers do?

Write on, my writer friends. 🙂

Here is a short video that proves the power of words and is well worth taking a moment to watch.  🙂

 

 

Vacation Highlight

Last week I disappeared off of the blog radar for a spell while I went on vacation. When I went back to work this past Monday I had three people ask me what the highlight of my vacation was.  The same answer to all three people resulted in the same response from all three.

Clearly these were not writing co-workers who asked me the question.

As we were walking on the sidewalk in Taos, taking in the sights–and there are a lot of sights in Taos, many of which involve people–I saw a sign propped on the sidewalk in front of Brodsky Books bookstore – Natalie Goldberg was to appear there that evening from 4:00 – 6:00.  I stopped dead in my tracks,  grabbed my husband’s arm to stop him from walking any further and tried not to trip over my jaw that hit the ground. That couldn’t possibly be THE Natalie Goldberg, could it? The one who’s books Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones offered validation to my love of writing?  And what about Old Friend From Far Away that is now assisting me in writing my memoir? Oh Man! I seriously could not contain my excitement! And thank goodness my husband knows me well enough to allow me a moment to catch my breath before expecting to know the reason for my “crazy.”

 

The rest of the afternoon I checked my watch every few minutes to be sure I wouldn’t be late, and when I got there I unashamedly squished myself into the already packed room. My husband, bless him, walked back to the lodge where we were staying and left me there to bask in the glow of the writerly atmosphere, surrounded by books, people who love words and story, and  listen to Natalie read her work.

After I floated dreamily back to the lodge–no joke–I thanked God for being with me on that vacation, because that was no coincidence.  That was a gift from my Father. And then I wrote.  I wrote with renewed passion and enthusiasm fueled by that blessing, hoping I was blessing my Father.

And Taos? The artistic vibe there was amazing. It bred creativity like no place else I’ve ever been.

“Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make it so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, or drop a jar of applesauce.”
Natalie Goldberg