Wet Feet Can’t Diminish the Enjoyment of a Beautiful Spring – Daily Quote

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. Doug Larson

April showers, they say, bring May flowers. But this Spring has been a dry one for my area. The data shows that compared with annual averages for the last four months, we are running at a 4-inch precipitation deficit. That hasn’t stopped my feet. They somehow make it their mission to sink my shoes into every puddle, damp spot, or hidden sloppy mucky area within walking distance. There are few things more annoying than wet, cold, squishy feet.

Right now, I don’t mind too much. Birdsongs fill my daily walks, and tender green shoots, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths make me smile. Lilac, Viburnum, Honeysuckle, and Purple-leaf Sand Cherry bushes provide pleasant scent sensations, and they motivate me to return to enjoy the short-lived fragrances. I monitor the azalea bushes and the dogwood trees as their buds swell and burst into bloom. The slushy swale at the bottom of my backyard always surprises me and sucks me into the muck, even though I know it is there.

Soon, summer blooms will replace spring blossoms, and my vegetable garden’s demand for water will exceed Mother Nature’s supply. Any summer rainfall is a welcome relief, and one less gallon I need to carry to ensure a steady supply of tomatoes, basil, and peppers. The prediction for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday is rain, and I, for one, am happy to endure the showers so my plants can grow.

What is your favorite part of Spring?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Avoid Shortcuts, Refuse Mediocrity, and Sidestep the Wrong Way – Daily Quote

For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. H. L. Mencken

We live in an impatient world. Who doesn’t want everything faster, better, cheaper? And I have a proven track record—I lack patience. I am a rabid proponent of making things simple with an uncomplicated roadmap towards accomplishing my goals. Straight forward, easy-to-understand procedures, logical steps, clear guidelines, and well-thought-out strategies rule my day. Shortcuts, however, are not part of my program. I’ve never met a proposed alternate route that hasn’t cost more money, time, and work than following the intended path. Let’s face it when you watch a movie, and one character proclaims they know a shortcut, we recognize the group is in serious trouble.

The problem with shortcuts is they encourage us to accept speed over quality. Taking the easy way out doesn’t guarantee success, quite the contrary. Opting to short circuit established guidelines puts you on a path littered with avoidable difficulties, annoying problems, and eventual failure. “Good enough” rarely satisfies anyone, and we often spend more effort reworking, fixing, and apologizing for poor outcomes. No one rewards mediocre results. The accolades go to the players at the top of their game, and those who provide exceptional quality.

Blood, sweat, and tears, guts, determination, and a desire for excellence are the mile markers lining the road to success. When it comes to attaining anything worthwhile or meaningful in life, there are no shortcuts, no get-rich-quick methods, no overnight sensations. Businesses take years to reach millions of customers, artists work for a lifetime to hone their craft, and we gain experience in tiny incremental segments with each passing day. Thought, diligence, and sustained effort carry you further than selecting the simple yet wrong way.

What are you working toward today?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Dare Feeling Uncomfortable, Upend Your Daily Routine and Unkink Your Creativity – Daily Quote

If you feel bored or uncomfortable as you're writing, ask yourself what's bothering you and write about that. Sometimes your creative energy is like water in a kinked hose, and before thoughts can flow on the topic

It was an accident—a string of unfortunate incidents leading to my little discovery. Are you ready for a story? Then stick with me. When I started my planning for 2021, I discovered they changed the format of my favorite planner. The changes were deal breakers for me, and so I embarked on an exhausting, pain-in-the-butt process of finding a new planner that checked all my must-have buttons. I didn’t find a year-long calendar to fit my needs, but I found a 90-day, undated version I thought I might like. Apprehensive and not wanting to commit, I ordered one copy.

Q1, 2021 saw me venturing outside my box and loving it until it came time to order the book for Q2. Cue the dramatic music. They listed my new favorite as sold out, with no availability date noted. I contacted customer service, and they said they expected a shipment in June or July. They might as well have told me it was gone forever because I was back to beating the bushes to find a suitable replacement. I settled on another 90-day planner and ordered 4 of them. You understand. I wasn’t going through this chore again, and the company offered a buy 3-get-1 free deal.

Being between a rock and a hard place, I figured I would make it work. Each day is on a 2-page spread. It turns out I like attempt number two, even better than my first trial version. I liked the page one layout, but I was dubious about the second page that they billed as a spot for doodles, overflow information, and—cue more dramatic music—an area to journal.

Yeah, I hate journaling, and I have burned my previous journals in sacrificial bonfires for self-serving vanities. But this is different, and the additional blank space is an enormous advantage. I use it for notes, scribblings of idle thoughts, and random, half-formed mental images, or what I call word vomit. I have learned this insignificant exercise, un-kinks the hose, and lets the words I want to write gush onto the page. It is becoming part of my writing ritual.

How do you start your writing session?

_________________________________________                                                                            

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Face Your Fear, Dare to Create, and Feed Your Soul – Daily Quote

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been. Alan Alda

Yes, Virginia, creativity requires courage and an ample supply of bravery. What other pursuit requires you to bare your soul, put your heart and mind, and your blood, sweat, and tears into inventing every line in a piece? Then when you finish, you must push your baby into the world for the critics to eviscerate?

Courage and bravery are keys to facing your fear. You’ve been there. You’ve stood on the brink, staring at a formidable project that scares the crap out of you. And you wonder if you dare to accept the assignment or if you should walk away. If the soul of a creative person lives inside you, then exercising your creativity is not an option. Your drive to create, to imagine that your dreams and wishes are more than gossamer thoughts, fuels your brave warrior.

The fighter must learn the Litany Against Fear:

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
― Frank Herbert, Dune

A funny thing happens when you face your fears head-on – the situations that scare you contain opportunities for growth, healing, and stunning accomplishments. When you dare to attempt something no one else would consider, you set yourself on a course of acquiring skills, insights, and perspectives that are unique to you. You cultivate rare gifts, and those gifts are more precious than rubies.

How brave will you be today?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Trap of Stressing Out During Your Daily Relaxation Time – Daily Quote

After a week of the contained chaos that is my job, I need some solitary running time. On Sundays, I can unwind and reconnect with the natural world. Linda Jones

The best things about Sundays are the total lack of expectations. It comes with a sense of personal freedom and the license to do whatever you feel like doing. This Sunday morning calls for partly cloudy skies, a chance of rain, and temperatures near 40 degrees. Perfect weather for a long brisk walk to get the blood pumping, muscles moving, and the brain thinking about something other than the ever-present To-do list.

Working from home eliminated my hour-long daily commute and created space in my schedule to get outside and stretch my legs. I didn’t realize how much I missed walking. In high school, I didn’t have a car. So if I wanted to go somewhere, I walked or rode my bike. They designed college campuses for walking, which saved me from the dreaded Freshman fifteen. My first job after graduation required a mile walk between the train station and the office. It didn’t matter if it snowed with sub-zero temps or you sweltered in unbearable heat with no relief from a cooling lake breeze. Classes, jobs, and responsibilities don’t care if you need an umbrella, a change of shoes in your briefcase, or hats, scarves, and mittens.

Somewhere along the way, getting outside became optional and demanded perfect conditions. I fell out of the daily routine and out of practice. There was a time when I could cover a mile in about fifteen minutes, which works out to about 4 miles per hour. But since I restarted this spring, my mile pace is taking almost twenty minutes, or a 3 MPH pace. This will never do. I have a new goal. I can always count on my competitive personality to turn a relaxing walk into another opportunity to measure, record, and monitor my progress.

How do you spend your Sundays?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Risk Unpredictable Elements and You Might End Up Smelling Like A Rose – Daily Quote

nature-is-infinitely-creative.-it-is-always-producing-the-possibility-of-new-beginnings.-marianne-williamson

Mother Nature forges ahead with her own agenda. She doesn’t wait for everything to be perfect before she begins. To herald the season’s metamorphosis, she sends spring flowers. Late snowstorms dump two feet of the white fluffy stuff way past the day the calendar says it should snow. Thunderstorms, torrential downpours, flash flooding, and tornados don’t keep her from coaxing crocus, tulips, lily of the valley, and blood-red peony stalks above ground.

They brave inclement weather and hostile conditions. They may hope for gentle breezes, sunny skies, and tender rain, but life gives them no guarantees. If they have any hope of growing, blooming, and reaching their full potential, they must take risks. Faced with uncertainty, they begin anyway.

Are you dreaming of a beginning?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Drown Your Lemons, Forget Work, and Enjoy Your Friday Night Weekend Kick-off Party – Daily Quote

i-believe-that-if-life-gives-you-lemons-you-should-make-lemonade...-and-try-to-find-somebody-whose-life-has-given-them-vodka-and-have-a-party.-ron-white.

Despite our best planning, brilliant juggling, inspired delegation skills, and a commitment to finish projects, shit happens. Life delivers unexpected challenges, not enough hours in the day, and a boss who feigns understanding but only cares about results. Hectic is an understatement. Coworkers pack your inbox with emergencies, thoughtlessly making them your problem (because you are the expert at finding solutions). When you think it can’t get any worse, a truckload of lemons arrives on your doorstep. This overworked, fresh-out-of-ideas introvert is not amused.

TGIF. I need a lovely meal, preferably one I don’t have to cook, but I dread looking at the same tired takeout menus and waiting for an hour or more for the privilege of microwaving cold food. The best covid inspired delivery service is from my local liquor store. I am glad they have seen the folly of half inebriated people making the perilous journey for necessary supplies. Besides, my anxiety over the bumper crop of lemons diminishes in direct proportion to my alcohol consumption. Hey? Where is my friend with the alcohol? There is nothing better than a quiet drink savored after surviving a hellish week before succumbing to absolute exhaustion.

I am excited for the impending weekend, the promised opportunity of sleeping late, avoiding work-related obligations for two entire days, and the room I need to relax and recover. When I can breathe, I plan to organize and schedule next week. My goal is to get back on track. Is anyone need a few lemons?

How do you recuperate after a busy week?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Don’t Give Up, Patience and Time Sometimes Rewards You with Glorious Green – Daily Quote

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! Sitting Bull

I love starting vegetables for my summer garden from those cute seed packets. Every spring, I purchase envelopes with pretty pictures, consult the Farmer’s Almanac for the last expected hard frost, calculate germination times, and coordinated planting dates with my schedule. This year, I am reworking my landscaping, so, I opted to limit my spring plantings to tomatoes and basil. I have major changes planned in the yard, and I needed to concede to a lack of time and space for a more ambitious undertaking.

The Farmer’s Almanac called for sowing both tomato and basil seeds for indoor germination anytime between March 24th and April 7th in my zone. True to my nature, I pushed the window and delayed setting up my table until the last possible day. Tomatoes typically germinate in 5 to 10 days and basil in 5 to 7 days. But I’m not patient. As soon as I plopped the little darlings into their peat pots, I was looking for signs of life.

So many things can go wrong at this stage. Perhaps the seeds are too old, the soil too wet or too dry, or maybe the temperature dips below optimum levels. I checked my babies almost every hour. Black dirt stared back at me. Turning the tray from side to side, I searched for a hint of green before my logical side kicked in to remind me of the 5-day minimum. I marked my calendar, crossed out each day, and waited. I hate waiting, so I tried to occupy my mind and forced myself to stop watching the clock. Days 5, 6, and 7 passed with no encouraging sightings, and I feared I had overlooked some critical variable.

Yesterday, I looked at them once more before I admitted defeat, chucked the failures, and started over. With a heavy sigh, I lifted the cover, expecting to find sad brown mud. Instead, I discovered tiny flecks of green sprinkled across the dark, moist surface. I think I squealed and giggled, and I might have clapped my hands. Flipping on the grow light, I spoke to my new plants. They say they thrive when they know they are loved.

What are you planting in your garden?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Determine Your Dream Destination, Set Your GPS, and Plan the Trip of Your Life – Daily Quote 

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. Yogi Berra

People who use their car’s GPS for a trip to the grocery store amuse me. The directions couldn’t be easier or more direct—turn right as you exit the subdivision, turn left at the fourth stoplight, and make a right into the parking lot. When I question the logic behind their choice, the typical response is, “Oh, I just what to see where I am going.” I suppose it makes sense.

Yet when I ask them about their plans for the week, next month, or a year from now, I invariably receive a deer-in-the-headlights stare. Answers for the next week illicit expected activities like work, errands, and upcoming appointments. Extend the period thirty days, and you get shoulder shrugs or belatedly remembered mentions of an impending birthday, graduation, or wedding. I assure if you continue the line of questioning and inquire about next year, they will call you a weirdo.

Maybe I am odd. While others associate higher risks in short-term activities, I place my egg in the long-term planning basket. I find looking forward lets me be proactive rather than reactive. I don’t have a crystal ball, but it doesn’t take a fortune teller to predict you will never become a doctor if you are not studying biology, chemistry, or enrolled in Pre-Med classes. Imagining what life might look like in five or ten years gives me direction. Today’s dreams form the foundation of my goals.

Planning where I want to go forces me to assess my current position, establish a realistic roadmap, and set tactics for moving towards my future reality. I can anticipate pitfalls, roadblocks, and hurdles before they happen and devise strategies to avoid or minimize their impact on my progress. I know it works because once upon a time I dreamed of living the life I have now.

Where will your GPS take you?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Paradox of Clean Desk Syndrome and the Mind of a Productive Creative – Daily Quote

If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk_ Laurence J. Peter

Once upon a time, I worked for a boss who held one core workplace belief. He maintained that a clean desk was the sign of a productive worker. He often walked around the office after hours, leaving notes for people instructing them to clean up their act. Thankfully, I never received his scathing reminder. The office manager gave me a helpful heads-up. I’m not a messy, clutter-producing, nick-knack-loving, office supply hoarding type of person. Instead, I tend toward the more neat and tidy side of life. Still, when I am working on various projects, things can look as if they are out of control.

I work on a pile system. Almost without looking, I can locate the exact document I need from the proper stack. Files with essential documents, post-it notes with directions, comments, ideas, and reminders, litter my desktop. My favorite pens, highlighters, markers, paperclips, and binder clips live where I can reach them without thinking. Controlled chaos reigns during my major project sessions. Business means you are working on multiple mission-critical projects every day. When I complete a project, the white tornado rolls through town and puts everything in its place. In a perfect world, I would have left everything where it lay each evening, but that would not have passed muster with the clean desk patrol.

I needed a solution to keep everyone happy and allow me to work in my preferred manner. I opted to enact an elaborate subterfuge scheme. Fifteen minutes before quitting time, I would carefully move each pile and place them in a side drawer, separated by brightly colored folders. My top drawer became the dedicated night-time home for smaller items. Each morning, I spent the first few minutes drinking coffee and resetting my stage. The work-around amounted to two-and-a-half hours of unproductive staging time every week. I wonder if he ever realized he was paying me to rearrange so much paper.

How do you maintain your work area?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer