Quotable Friday Fun

Happy Birthday, Winston Churchill!  The formidable Brit was born on this day in 1874, and today’s Friday Fun is in his honor.  Churchill once said, “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”  While that’s hard to top, that is your writing challenge today.  Complete the sentence your way!

When you’re going through hell……..

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In Praise of Grammar

I may be dating myself here, but I remember diagramming sentences back in junior high. . . and liking it.  The logic and organization of it appealed to me, and I loved the challenge of untangling the grammar puzzle.

No doubt I am in the minority on this one.  But bear with me while I make the case in support of grammar for all Wisdom Warriors.  In my opinion, proper grammar facilitates learning by ensuring that ideas are expressed clearly.  And isn’t it the job of the Wisdom Warrior to learn?  Plus, I like the idea of holding myself to a higher standard for communication.  It’s easy to cut corners and be sloppy, but a real Warrior would “do the right thing, do the thing right.”

Here, then, are a few rules to help you walk the Grammatical Rice Paper without tearing it:

  1. COLON.  Poor misused and misunderstood colon.  I rarely see this guy used correctly.  In general, what comes before a colon must be a complete sentence.  What comes after it can be either a list or another complete sentence.  Therefore, when you see something like “This product contains no: blah, blah, or blah” you have just witnessed Colon Abuse.  The phrase “this product contains no” is NOT a complete sentence.  It is, however, easily corrected by writing “this product does not contain the following” instead.
  2. APOSTROPHE “S.”  Apostrophe Abuse makes my skin crawl.  There are a couple of easy rules for Happy Apostrophication.  Use an apostrophe “s” to show possession, as in Ted’s phone.  You do not need to use an apostrophe “s” if it is a possessive pronoun, though (e.g. his, hers, its,  yours).  The only time to use an apostrophe “s” with the word it is when you are writing a contraction for it is or it has.  For example, you would write “it’s a nice day” or “it’s time to go.”  But you would NOT write “the dog chased it’s tail.”  That would mean “the dog chased it is tail.”  And you do not need to use an apostrophe “s” with plural names, capital letters, or numbers.  So “she was popular in the 1990’s” is incorrect.  You simply need to write 1990s.
  3. QUOTATION MARKS.  In general, periods and commas go inside quotation marks.  In some cases, this rule can make your sentence look funny, but it really is the right way.  If I were to refer to the book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, I can’t write it the way I just did here.  I would need to put that comma directly after Hallows and inside the quotation marks.

Happy Writing!

Learning

I’ve really been enjoying this blog. This particular quote is especially good. Hope you enjoy it too.

Aimee

It Started with a Quote

hand holding spark

Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing.    Thich Nhat Hanh

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Tradition or Change?

On this date in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill making the 4th Thursday of November the official date for Thanksgiving.

I read that history fact this morning, and it struck me that something we Americans embrace as “tradition” is actually a fairly new event.  As human beings, I think most of us are more comfortable with routine and habit.  In our minds, change is associated with discomfort and a scary unknown.  But what’s the saying?  “The only constant is change.”

If you accept that we are currently in the Age of Aquarius (there is debate among astrologers as to the exact start date), and if you accept that Aquarius represents a New Age, then apparently we Earthlings are in for some changes.  The ending of the Mayan Calendar on December 21st of this year also signals a transition; according to that theory, we are wrapping up one phase (of over 20,000 years) and beginning a new one.  With several symbolic indicators of “do over” in the air, I’m guessing that we’d all better buckle our seat belts and get ready for a bumpy ride.

How do we decide which habits to keep and which ones to ditch?  Which things are beneficial and which are no longer serving us?  Aquarius represents the individual within the group, so one of the things we will have to figure out is “where my freedoms end and where yours begin.”  It will be curious to see how we individually change and evolve, and how we integrate those shifts into the big picture of society.

 

Being Thankful in Messiness

Happy Thanksgiving!

Often, our circumstances don’t synch up perfectly with life.  Perhaps it’s a holiday, but you are blue.  Or you have to give a big presentation, but your laptop has crashed.

Today, I am wishing for a small, safe place for everyone to find peace and thankfulness, even in the messiness that inevitably happens.

All Life Is Workable

Saw this great blog post, and I just had to share…..

It Started with a Quote

To bow to the fact of our life’s sorrows and betrayals is to accept them; and from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable. As we learn to bow, we discover that the heart holds more freedom and compassion than we could imagine.   Jack Kornfield

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Pop Culture Friday Fun!

On this date in history, the first Harry Potter film debuted (2001) and “The Sound of Music” hit the boards on Broadway (1959).  In honor of two of my favorite pop culture phenomenons, start a story using the words wizard, nun, and mountain.    What can you write in less than three sentences?

Happy Friday!

Thoughts on Communication

The art and science of communication is always on my mind.  In my own natal chart, I’ve got Mercury Rising, the planet Mercury representing communication in astrology.  Plus, as a writer, coach, and mama, I’m always striving to find better ways to teach and learn.

As I write this, we are smack-dab in the middle of a Mercury Retrograde, and while that arrangement doesn’t usually trip me up too much, this one has proved to be a little challenging.  I’ve really had cause to re-examine communication styles.

In a natal chart, the placement of Mercury describes the person’s communication style.  Since there are twelve zodiac signs, and therefore twelve possibilities for Mercury, there are twelve different communication styles.  No wonder we have trouble understanding each other!  It can be tricky to remember that not everyone will hear, speak, and process in the same way.  One person might focus more on the emotional aspects while another only sees the facts.  I suppose a truly great communicator would be able to speak and hear in twelve different styles.

As a parent, I’ve found a great resource in Thomas Gordon.  Dr. Gordon is a psychologist who created several models for group leadership skills and who wrote a terrific guide called “Parent Effectiveness Training.”  This book describes great techniques for ensuring that both parent and child feel comfortable talking and that both are heard.  (Check the website for more details:  http://www.gordontraining.com/.)

As a coach, I find myself constantly learning and adapting.  The makeup and goals of a team are always evolving, and a good coach needs to be able to read both the individuals and the group.  Personally, I believe that a good coach needs to be (or have been) a competitor also.  It’s the old “walk a mile in my shoes” concept.  How can I teach you what it feels like to have a rival breathing down your neck at the finish line if I haven’t been there myself?

As a writer, I think there’s no better mindset to have than that of the student.  Reading, paying attention, learning, thinking, applying–these are the most important tools in a writer’s toolbox, in my opinion.

What do you think?  Have you had any communication challenges in the past few weeks?

Workout Challenge

As a personal trainer and coach, I often hear people say they are hurt, bored, or plateauing in their workouts.  These conditions can all be signs of over-training or improper training.  Changing up your routine can make all the difference.  After all, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is, well, you know. . . .

Simply adding more weight or increasing reps is not the answer.  Variety is.  Choosing different exercises to challenge different body parts is much more effective.  Resist the temptation to work only on your strengths.

Here are three exercises to try.  You will need a stability ball and a medicine ball.

MEDICINE BALL SQUAT TWIST

  • Hold medicine ball at chest height.
  • Lower down to squat position.
  • As you return to standing position, twist at core and lift ball over right shoulder.
  • Squat down again; repeat stand and twist to left side.

 

Medicine Ball Squat Twist

 

STABILITY BALL LEG RAISE

  • Lie on stability ball, with hip bones on ball.  Support upper body by keeping shoulders directly over hands.
  • Lift both legs together to height of stability ball.
  • Hold briefly at this position.
  • Lower legs together.

Stability Ball Leg Raises

 

 

PLANK SIDE RAISE

  • Get into side plank position (either resting on elbow or hand).  Keep hips stacked over each other; don’t let yourself roll forward or backward.
  • Maintaining a straight body, lift hip from the floor until body is in a straight line.
  • Lower hip back to ground; lightly touch floor with hip but do not rest here.

Plank Side Raise

 

 

Try 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise.  Enjoy the variety of adding new exercises!