Exploring Other Passions

Wow.  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  Since my last post, I’ve returned to work (teaching), my youngest started school, and life became much busier than it had been before.  And, unfortunately, as things got busier my writing was shoved aside to make room for other things that were work-related or family-related.  But here I am now.  And that’s thanks to Eli Pacheco, one of my blogger friends.  Eli (Coach Daddy) has been a constant support throughout the last few years that we’ve known each other through social media, and an inspiration for many of my posts.  I still love reading every one of his blog posts, and every time I do I think, If only I could have that much creativity running through my veins to be able to write not only so often but so poignantly.  Recently Eli emailed to ask if I would participate in his latest 6 Words post.  I always feel honoured when he asks me to participate because he’s giving his platform to other bloggers so that we can generate interest in our own blogs, which is a pretty generous thing for him to do.  And his 6 Words posts are always thought-provoking for me and fun.  But because I haven’t written a post on my own blog since August of 2015 (I returned to work in September of 2015), I wasn’t sure how to respond.  I didn’t want to say no.  That email from Eli was a kick in the pants to take some time, sit down, and just write.  So here we are.

I have mentioned several times in previous blogs that one of my passions is singing.  I grew up singing all of the time.  I would sing in church, I would sing to my dog, and I would sing in my room, pretending I was on a stage entertaining tens of thousands of people.  In high school I sang in a school play, and after high school I sang with my friends’ band and in multiple weddings.  I was pretty good.  But I never pursued it further because…well…life gets busy.  That seems to be my excuse for giving up my passions.  A number of years ago I set a goal to start singing again, but that idea was quickly shelved and I busied myself with another passion:  writing.  However, at the end of this summer I thought, This is it.  Just do it.  I enlisted a good friend of mine – who happens to be a musician when he has spare time – to play guitar and sing some songs with me.  We did that and decided to record them.  Then, maybe against my better judgement (!), I decided to post them on YouTube.  I’m attaching them here, just for fun.

This is the latest – a “True Colors” cover – which we recorded last week.

This is the second – a “One Day” cover – which we recorded last month.

This is the first one – a “Wheat Kings” cover – which we recorded in September.

Although I feel vulnerable posting these, I’m doing it anyway.  I hadn’t sung publicly since 1999, so doing this first one was pretty scary.  But I honestly feel like that’s part of what life is about:  feeling vulnerable and scared so that we push ourselves to do things that challenge us and enable us to grow and be better.  I will continue to do that with singing…and hopefully that kick in the pants to start writing again will stick so I can continue to do that with writing too.

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If I Had More Time

Taken from a Writing Prompt from Mama Kat: What Would You Change About Your Life If You Could?

If there was something I could change about my life, it would be that I would have more time. Over the last few months (okay, realistically over the last 6 months or so) I have not been keeping up with writing on my blog. It’s definitely a time problem. At the beginning of last year, when I started this blog – inspired by other bloggers whose work I read regularly and who I think are incredibly talented – I had free time. My then almost-3-year-old frequently napped, which meant that I had a few hours in the afternoon to myself, while my hubby was at work and my son was at school. I used that time to feed my passion for writing. It was something I used to do a lot when I was younger – in elementary school I wrote poems, short stories, and even raps (!), and in secondary school I wrote for the school newspaper – but that was a LONG time ago. I loved getting back to it. I even wrote and self-published some children’s books. It had been a dream of mine to create something that I could be proud of and show to my children, as an example of setting a goal and achieving it. (Shameless self-promotion: The Duck Who Lost Her Quack, Sammy’s Rainy Day-And How It Went Away, and Every Bunny’s Different are available at blurb.ca and amazon.com.)

books

But the afternoon naps of my youngest disappeared, and, with them, so did my free time in the day to write. The nights have also gotten busier, with me single-parenting three nights of the week.  So it’s difficult to have any time to just sit and think…and write. I honestly don’t know how the other bloggers I follow find the time to write as much as they do, and I wish I could do the same. The only reason I am able to write this right now is because I am at work…shhhhh…which means I am alone (and I can do this because I’m just a body here in case something goes wrong!).

Of course, keeping up with writing isn’t the only thing I would do with more time. In September, my son and I started taking guitar lessons. It’s something I have wanted to do since I was 14, listening to Bon Jovi and hoping to get an electric guitar for my 15th birthday. That didn’t happen. And I didn’t ever take lessons. So when the opportunity came up months ago, I jumped at it. I loved the lessons, but I started to feel overwhelmed with life a few months later. It seemed we (my family) were always running here and there, though I know we’re not nearly as busy with extra-curricular activities as many people we know. That, compounded with daily headaches and back and neck problems, led to me abandoning the guitar. I jokingly told my hubby he could step in for me for a bit. Now he’s hooked. And I haven’t yet been back to guitar lessons. It’s been four months. I miss it. But, again, I don’t feel like I have enough time to practice as much as I need to. As much as giving it a real try deserves. If I had more time I would definitely continue with guitar lessons, and, in a perfect world, I’d have loads of free time to practice.

With more time I’d also start taking voice lessons. I used to sing. All the time. It’s what I’d do on whenever I had any free time. It was my thing. And I was good. WAS. When I started teachers college, I moved home, leaving the big city and my vocal instructor. That was in 2000.  When I first started this blog, one of my goals for the year was to follow my bliss: singing. I originally intended to start lessons to get my instrument back into shape, and then pay for some recording time and make a CD for me and to have something cool to show and play for my children. That lasted one lesson.

I admit that I feel bad about focusing on myself with my make-believe free time, but I really think it’s important to do what you love and what makes you happy. Obviously my kids make me happy, and I love them more than anything in the world, but I think it’s important to show them that Mommy has hobbies and activities she loves and needs time to do. Hopefully that will also ignite a passion for something in them.

Passion

I have been fortunate enough to have had four years off from my regular job – teaching secondary school – to concentrate on taking care of my family, so I know that the time I have free to do anything “extra” will diminish drastically in September when I go back to work and my youngest starts school. I’m sure I will have a much different list of things I’d want to do with my free time then. I know that I’ll miss spending all of my days with my daughter, having the time to drive my son to and home from school every day, and spending every minute of the kids’ time at home with them. Instead of lamenting the loss of free time to do things for myself, I’ll be wishing time wouldn’t move as quickly as it does, mourning the loss of the time I used to have to just hang out with the kids.

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Time, why can’t you just stop for a bit and let us do all of the things we want to do?

Four Things to do Before I’m 40 (for Ketchup With Us)

It’s day 8 of the Ketchup With Us blog challenge, from Michele at ODNT and Mel at According to Mags. This month they are challenging bloggers to write a numbered post, or, if we’re feeling extra inspired – which I am, thanks to them – more than one. They are writing a post a day, and I thought I’d take that same challenge.

I’m turning 40 years old at the end of July, and I’ve decided to set some goals for myself for that big occasion. Here are…

Four Things I Want to do by the Time I Turn 40

1) Get into better shape, and maybe do some running. I see all these people running half-marathons and marathons, and I think, “I really should do that.” No, I didn’t say, “I can do that.” I should do it though. At least try. I can imagine the feeling of satisfaction having done something like that. Especially because I’m not sporty or athletic in any way. (So I’ll be the one walking most of the way.)

2) Self-publish another children’s book. I have actually written 2 other books in the last few months. I was holding out hope that the one I submitted to a publisher at the end of March would be accepted and published by this company. I still have another few weeks before I can give up hope on that, but if I don’t hear anything, it’s okay. That won’t stop me from publishing it.

3) Book a trip for me and the hubby for our 10th anniversary. I am dying to go on a tropical vacation, for some rest and relaxation. I’m sure I’ll start panicking if this does actually happen, because I’ve never been away from my kids for more than one night. However, I think I’d come back a better person if I got some R & R.

4) Get back to singing lessons. Instead of the plan to record a CD before the summer, it’s now going to be a plan to record a Christmas CD. Recording a CD was something I set as a goal for this year, way back in January, and I have to achieve it. And why not Christmas music? It’s my favourite.

I guess I better get busy. There’s no time to waste. In fact, there are only 52 days. Oh man. Wish me luck.

Why not join in on the fun? All you have to do is go to Mel or Michele’s websites – According to Mags and ODNT – for the details, and to link up your post.