The Creative Year: 2016’s Resolution

Looking back on past blog posts, the ones that I liked best were the 2013’s New Years Resolutions of twelve 30-day challenges. In that same fashion I’m challenging myself to become a better writer. My friend, Elizabeth McKetta, is a writer and teacher. She’s written a book called The Creative Year which is meant to inspire and prompt people such as myself. Working my way through this book is my plan for 2016 and I’ll be sharing it the whole way right here.

This piece is largely unedited. It felt good to relive this experience and remember it with warmth and happiness. Without further ado, here’s the first prompt:

The Creative Year
#1 Prompt “It was my ignorance that saved me.” (write for 6 min.)

Since I really only remembered my first experience through the stories I’d heard, I pointed my skis downhill and made it happen. My ignorance of what pain I might inflict upon myself saved me. Saved me from never learning to ski, and from whatever my inner voice might have told me about my ability (or lack thereof).

The first time I tried skiing was when I was 15. I had been once before, at four years old, and screamed down the entire hill while standing in between my dad’s legs. I vaguely remember this. So when Denise took me to the top of the main hill at Northstar in Tahoe, and the only way down was to figure it out, that’s what I did.

Pretty quickly I figured out how to shift my weight from one side to the other, and slowly flung my ski-tethered form from one side of the hill and back in long downward S’s. My body, being athletic, coordinated, and strong did everything I asked of it. Oh how I took that for granted! Now that I know how easy it has been, when I ski now after many seasons off, I am no longer ignorant of my body’s ability. Like riding a bike I can still ski, but my legs get shaky sooner. I know the pain of falling won’t be so easily brushed off as it is in youth. More so, I know the distress of weakness in trying to get back upright and continue down the hill on tired out of shape legs and a core that has been corrupted by pregnancy.

That first time down the hill, though, was a thing of beauty. I fell once, in such a dramatic fashion, that people stopped to ask if I was ok. I was! I made it down that hill out of ignorance, totally taking my body for granted, and it was wonderful.

& & & & & &

Now some cute pics for posterity. To see more of them find me on Instagram @meganalton

   
    
        
   

Photo & a Quote: Snowflake

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes it’s fashioning hands. ~Thoreau    
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Snow in Boise, right where it belongs – on the hills!  

Penny For Your Thoughts

Do you suppose a moment captured in a photo can portray a person’s truth in that moment? Or does a persons truth take more than a photo moment? This picture of Keala makes me wonder this. I wish I remember what was going on that got her attention, maybe her big brother getting ready for school. She most certainly loves to watch him, that’s for sure.

  

Time Flies

Time flies when you’re having fun.
Fruit flies like a banana.
~My dad

Long time no see! We’ve moved across town, had a new baby, and grew up a little. That’s pretty much the gist of it. Let’s get back into the swing of things with some pics, shall we?


  
  

Total Immersion Into Body Gratitude

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This pretty much sums up how I feel on Tuesday nights.

Tonight after Body Jam (dance) I experienced about two minutes of total immersion into gratitude for what my body is capable of and what my body does for me. It was kinda surreal.

It is so easy to disconnect from my body, to think that it is another being that either does or doesn’t do something for me. But what I am, maybe, beginning to understand is that my body and I are the same thing. My mind and my body are always connected whether I’m conscious of it or not.

Note to self: Remember this feeling of knowing what my body is capable of. The immense joy that moving my body brings to me.

It’s so much easier to practice extreme behaviors and attitudes about my body, rather than find a consistent happy middle ground. It’s easy to either binge on exercise and food and self-doubt and negativity. Or go the other way: starve, be lazy, or push too hard into self-acceptance.

I think a life goal for me is to find a place for continuity, routine, and satisfaction. For both my mind/body and my day-to-day existence.

Step one is to start eating regular meals on a regular basis at the same time every day. Next is to start consistently getting sleep at the same time every single night. Then start getting 10,000 steps on the Fitbit every day. Eventually, adding more vegetables and superfoods, and eating less meat. And finally get to a place where I can five take five minutes every single day to sit in silence and observance. But, no matter what keep dancing.

If you’re wondering what it is I do on Tuesdays that makes me so extraordinarily happy, it looks like some version of this:

Goodnight Prayer

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Growing up we didn’t have a specific religion. It was more like a buffet of world theologies. And that was nice. I went to church occasionally with my godfather Brian, who took that role seriously. I am certain that this is where my love for choral singing began. It was also an amazing feeling once I actually figured out how to read a hymnal. Seriously, it took forever.

For all of these experiences I’m so very thankful. I have a keen understanding of the Christian faith and can communicate easily with people who practice religion. Which is a super bonus because I live in a highly Christian locale.

I remember watching children on television kneel next to their beds at bedtime, clasp their fingers, close their eyes, and offer up daily prayers to God. Before prayer became so culturally blasé.

And then there’s always this little gem from Shel Silverstein:


Prayer of the selfish child

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

And if I die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my toys to break.

So none of the other kids can use ‘em. . . .

Amen.

 

Knowing that my mom was raised Catholic, and would clearly know how to fashion a prayer off the cuff, I told her that I too wanted to say a prayer before bedtime. This prayer became part of our bedtime routine for many many years. Along with the final words of the day, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite!” Luckily, if you were concerned, there were no bugs and I was always awakened by my mother chiming, “Rise and shine!” In hindsight they were wonderful bookends to my childhood days. One day, when Porter sleeps past 5:45am I’ll wake him the same way. Someday.

I digress. I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to pass the tradition of a bedtime prayer onto Porter. He’s still learning it and we get to talk about who all of the people are in his life that we are sending blessings to. I love when he asks to say a blessing before we cuddle in bed. It goes like this:

Please bless
Mommy and Daddy
Uncles and Aunts
Friends and Cousins
Sisters and Brothers
Grandmas and Grandpas
All the world
Amen.

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Holding up 5 fingers, because he’s 2. Naturally.

 

Treasure Hike

We are looking to move closer to the foothills and to Luke’s work. We’ve put an offer in on a great house and in an attempt to create some good juju we went to explore the neighborhood. A few blocks from what will hopefully be our new home is a trail head into the foothills. What better way to explore, and get out into nature, than to go on a pirate treasure hunt and to save Bucky the (bath time) ship, swords and all.

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Little Naturalist

It’s true, I’ve been an arrant blogger. So let’s not skip a beat and we can all pretend that months haven’t gone by without a post and jump right back into it, shall we?

For awhile now I’ve been doing social media marketing, which I enjoy immensely.  Part of why I love it is that I get to work with some amazing people and companies who are truly do good in the world. One of these people is a holistic doctor and you can find his book here.

One of the necessities of true health is quality time spent in nature, for both children and adults. I’ve always been a fan of spending time outdoors, preferably without shoes. Working with this client totally validated all the good feelings that I get from spending time in nature.

On another note, in my world we are leaving the hot days of summer, where running around shoeless (and without clothes for some members of my household) are coming to an end. The air has chilled, trees are changing colors and I feel the season of hibernation quickly upon us.

Spending time with Porter outside this year has been awesome. He’s into exploring and loves being outside. I’ll leave this short post with photos of our adventures and with a quote from Dr. Scott the paleontologist (host of a favorite show, Dinosaur Train), “Now get outside and get into nature!”

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“Fishing” in the Boise River
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Flying kites in Ann Morrison Park, Boise
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Wildlife viewing at the Boise River
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Hiking with the fam in the foothills
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Putting the zoo membership to lots of good use
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Hiking near Exit Glacier in Alaska
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Viewing Alaskan wilderness by train. There is no thrill quite like standing next to the open windows and letting the rushing air literally take your breath away. Porter and I spend 30 minutes, freezing, so we could be pummeled by the fast moving, and fresh, train air.
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Fishing in Denali Nation Park, Alaska
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More Alaskan fishing
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The joy of no media whatsoever at Denali Park Lodge, Alaska
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Picking wild blueberries on our hike up Blueberry Hill, Alaska
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Exploring Alaskan backcountry
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Visiting Malheur River Meats in Vale, Oregon. Where all the animals are raised in natural habitats. Oink!
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Viewing piglets in their shelter
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Peddle boating in Julia Davis Park, Boise
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Rafting the Boise River
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Soccer with friends at Municipal Park, Boise
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Love the irrigation canals in our neighborhood, and the flowering cactus plant
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Celebrating Boise’s 150th birthday at Julia Davis Park, Boise
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After dinner family walks to Payette Lake, McCall Idaho
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Appreciating the garden art at Ann Morrison Park, Boise
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Make Way For Ducklings in the Boston Public Gardens
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Hiking the Boise Foothills, Highlands Trails
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Breaking mama’s back, hiking the Boise Foothills
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Tree climbing with the big kids at Camel’s Back Park, Boise