Sibling Assignment #157: The Pinterest Friends I Have Never Met

Brother Bill gave the sibling assignment this week. "Write a piece about Pinterest.  What do you value about Pinterest?  How has it made a difference in your life?  Can you tell a story about a particular thing you did at a particular time that went really well because you are a part of Pinterest?  On the flip side, is there anything about Pinterest that disappoints you?  " I will link the siblings' posts when they are posted.

When I began blogging I was soon connected with a circle of friends that shared common interests. One had taught in my same school, but moved on before I met her. We share interests in recipes, decor, photography, and life in general in eastern Washington. Another also grew up in another part of Idaho and we learned we shared a love for vintage art, photography, writing, and blogging. Another moved from Oregon and we love to share books we love and recipes. Another teaches like me and has moved to the west recently and we share the love of literature, teaching, family, and photography. There were northern Idaho friends.  There are more online friends that share similar interests. The other common thread with all these women is we have never met. 

We met as blogging buddies, but now we are on Pinterest together. This is one thing I love about Pinterest. Not only do I have another way of connecting with all these online friends, but I learn more about what they like in the world of Pinterest. When any of the members of  this group of friends posts a recipe, book they have read, or a home decor idea I jump right on it because I know I will like it. I repin what they pin. This has been one joy of Pinterest.

 It has been my dream that one day I could meet all these friends face to face. They have inspired me, challenged me, and made me think. They have shared recipes, tips for the home, photography inspiration, and book recommendations. They had been there as kindred spirits and I have often appreciated them and needed them. 

Sibling Assignment #156: Hearts, Flowers, and Good Old-Fashioned Love

Sister Carol gave the sibling assignment this week which was timely for Valentine week-end. "Think back to celebrating Valentine's Day in elementary school, and share about any memory or memories you may have from one or more of those celebrations, and how it made you feel." Bill posted his here  and Carol here.Like brother Bill, I am going to "go my own way" a bit on this assignment.

Valentine's Day has always been my favorite holiday. When I was in school I loved taking time to pick out special valentines for each classmate on my list each year. I was enthralled with decorating my special valentine box or envelope that sat or hung on my desk. Teachers involved us in creative art projects that included doilies, hearts, and cupids. I found one at my mother's house this week-end, created in second grade.  We sang "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" in music and copied famous love poems in class.

When I  became a teacher I loved the holiday even more.  What was better than a room filled with pink and red art projects, silly love poems,  heart shaped cookies, conversation hearts, decorated envelopes, sappy valentines, and boxes of candy? That time around Valentine's Day was that time when students were so sweet to each other. It was a day everyone was included. Everyone wore smiles on their faces as they carefully read each Valentine. There were blushing faces, shy glances, and laughter. I did sentence writing activities with the goofy sayings on conversation hearts. We created homemade cards that students could take home to their mothers. Good feelings and kind thoughts were in the air.

Outside of school I even love Valentine's Day. When the stores fill with heart shaped boxes of candy I always love observing the older gentleman that carefully picks out the perfect box for his wife. Friday a man pushed his walker up to the card rack at the grocery store and read each card message carefully to find a special one for his wife. I couldn't help but wonder how many times he had done this. I also loved observing the innocent teenage boy shyly asking for help from the worker in the florist department as he attempted to pick the right rose, teddy bear, and balloon. As he exited ahead of me, he seemed to be walking on air.

The best part of Valentine's Day is the explosion of flowers everywhere. It doesn't matter if you walk into the finest florist shop or the gas station convenience store, flowers are everywhere. The colors, arrangements, and scents surround you with a reminder of kind words, a way to show love, and the message that spring is around the corner.
When I returned to my childhood home this week-end I told my own sweetheart not to worry about celebrating ourselves, We focused on Mom with all my favorite Valentine traditions. We carried in an arrangement of flowers, her favorite candy, and a valentine card signed and sealed in love. When family gathered there were more flowers, Red Velvet wine, strawberry dessert, and more valentines, Shelby and Annie even got special valentine treats. The house was brimming with good old-fashioned love and good will. My sister and mom were even dressed in valentine colors.

I can't wait until next year.

Sibling Assignment #155:My Corner of the World

I gave the sibling assignment this week. You find Carol's here and Bill's here. My corner of the world is a beautiful one. Growing up I never traveled north of Spokane on Highway 395. It was not until I interviewed for a job in Inchelium the summer of 1994 that I saw any part of northeastern Washington. Discovering all of it has been pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise.

My corner of the world has a milder climate because we sit close to Lake Roosevelt. Because of the mild climate orchards surround the lake on both sides. In my corner of the world you can find lakes, rivers, streams, evergreens, waterfalls, and amazing views. I have discovered more than I ever expected.

My corner of the world brings the beauty of four seasons. I still love autumn the best, but each season has its own beauty. Today  the winter morning with the foggy mist and sun shining through was pretty.  When spring wildflowers bloom along the back roads there is nothing nicer. The clean lakes shimmering blue in the summer provide an invitation to jump in. Autumn shows a whole palette of new colors with orange, red, and yellow dominating.  Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular.
My corner of the world is quiet. We don't have a lot of traffic. You can visit lakes, campgrounds, and  streams nearby and not be overun with people. At night we may hear a dog or two bark or the coyotes further away, but mostly it is the sound of silence. So peaceful.

My corner of the world has helped me heal. The beautiful surroundings,wood fires, the changing seasons, and the quiet space have provided a place for me to fix a broken heart, grieve in quiet, fall in love again, enjoy Sunday drives, and read and write. I can even ride a free ferry.

I love my corner of the world.

Sibling Assignment #154: Please Understand Me

Brother Bill gave the assignment for this week. " Please reflect upon introversion....your own, your experience with introversion.....Carol posted about we can all include what we've read.....whatever you'd like to do...but focus on introversion and your own experience as an introvert ." You can find his here and Carol's here.

In the mid-eighties I jumped on the self-help/personality tests/ please understand me bandwagon. My friend Tracy and I used to head to our favorite bookstore The Bookworm in Kennewick on a Saturday and the owners would laugh and point us to the self-help section. We always said it made us healthier just to stand in that section of the store.
 We had get-togethers where we took the Keirsey and Bates test then all analyzed each other. We even discussed the book Please Understand Me at book group! We found other personality tests to dig deeper into "who we were." I dusted off my old copy this morning with the stamp from The Bookworm still inside. I found test result sheets inside that family members had taken at some gathering. 

Why did we do this ? Some of us were searching and trying to figure out who we were. I was trying to be a person I really wasn't.  I wanted to be a ENFJ (Extrovert, Intuition, Feeling, Judging). Maybe there was a time in my life that I was that person. Not now.
Switch the E to I. I am an introvert that often is put in a world that requires extroversion. 
I am an introvert that thought the "cool kids" were the extroverts. I am an introvert that hung out with loud, gregarious extroverts and wanted to be just like them.

Slowly things began to change. I began spending much more time alone with reading, thinking, writing, and just being.  I didn't like to answer the phone. I would travel alone.
  When I was thrown into an extroverted role, I could do it and enjoyed it, but often paid the price. I was exhausted, and sometimes needed a long nap or quiet time to recuperate. 

For an introvert that leads a life away from required meetings, workshop presenting, inservices, teaching, speaking engagements, and required social gatherings, they don't understand how taxing it can be for an introvert placed in the position of doing all this. A wise counselor led me to the activities I enjoy now which include gardening, writing, photography, and creating to help me balance my life in an extroverted world.
These are all things I could do alone and stay the course until a task was done. It
helped my anxiety. It  pulled me out of depression.

I wanted to like health clubs, exercise classes, Superbowl parties with fifty people, a cruise,or a group camping adventure. I did it over and over in my younger days and would still do it, but know I would need down time afterwards. Now I am much more content watching the Superbowl with my husband today, walking alone or with him, camping together without too many other people, and enjoying silence every day as I wander around and snap photos.

One of the things that defines an introvert is the idea of having a smaller group of close friends rather than lots and lots of acquaintances. Now I understand why I surround myself with a group of people in which I have deep, lasting relationships.Please understand me. I am an introvert.