Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Let Your Surroundings Inspire Your Writing

Where are you right now? Can you describe it? What sounds surround you? Does the air have a particular smell? Can you see the clouds, or are you staring at wallpaper?

Or… are you completely oblivious to your surroundings, too caught up in what you’re doing to just be?

Sadly, for many of us, the latter is true. We don’t pause to appreciate where we are and the beauty around us. Let this be your warning: Your surroundings matter. More than you know.

So pay attention. You may not get another chance to notice them.

Surroundings

Photo credit: Jen Robinson (Creative Commons)

The other day, I wrote about my surroundings, what I was doing in the moment. And I found the experience to be completely cathartic. I didn’t know how busy I’d become, how much I needed to just stop and take notice of my settings.

It’s a reflection that describes a Saturday afternoon, one that I wish was more typical in my busy, hectic, over-scheduled life. Here it is:

Saturday Afternoon

Coals are on, steaks prepared. Our kitchen welcomes the sound of raw potatoes being chopped. I never get tired of home-made fries. It’s part of my Irish roots maybe.

Grill is hot and ready, but I am not. Still chopping. Still preparing. Coals turn chalky white, and finally I drop the sticky, raw meat on the grated grill.

It sizzles. I wait. This is why I don’t cook much food at home; it’s the waiting I can’t stand.

Somewhere, a neighborhood dog barks — I’m not sure where. The sound is above and beyond right now. It is an icon, that bark, a reminder of a simpler life.

Meat is done — sooner than I expect, unfortunately. Frantically, I crank up heat on stove. The corn cob water boils over, and froth hits the burner, sizzling and snapping.

I step outside again. Flip steaks. Wait. Stare into space. Flip again. I’m in a daze, unaware of what (if anything) is happening in my own back yard.

Stopping, I look around. I finally breathe and listen. I don’t do this enough, I think. I never have. I’m always waiting and wishing for the next thing.

But in this moment, I feel perfect. Not me, of course. But this — this space, these smells, this perfection. Something about the blip in time feels sacred. Maybe because I am still, detached from email and smart phones and meetings.

Those things still exist, but they’re inside. Somewhere I can’t see — buried beneath a mountain of paperwork. But I am out here, and here I am myself. Quietly, I whisper a prayer of thanks, hoping Someone is listening.

Dinner is served.

This is a job we must take more seriously, especially those of us who are writers. We must take our surroundings in, inhaling them deeply, and then exhaling them out for the world to see.

We must relish every moment for what it is. Because this is where we find our inspiration, not in grandiose tales of travel and conquest. But in the small, frozen moments. The ordinary.

Let’s do an exercise

I shared my moment with you. Now, it’s your turn: Describe your surroundings right now. Stop doing whatever you’re doing and spend a few minutes, writing what’s around you.

Have you noticed the squirrel outside your window? The way the pens are arranged on your desk? The beauty of that mess on your dining table? Write it all down.

What do your surroundings look like? Share in the comments. And if you like this sort of thing, subscribe to my friend’s blog: The Write Practice. They do these exercises every day.

*Photo credit: Jen Robinson (Creative Commons)

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

Ever Wonder If Your Blog Post Is Good Enough?

We built a free tool so you don’t have to worry about that ever again.

1. Pick your goal of the post
2. Answer 5 basic questions
3. It tells you if it’s good enough and how to make it better

Click here to use the tool.

  • I’m at my desk with early morning shafts of  light shining through the blinds, leaving their reflection on the nearby wall. A train whistles in the distance. I love that sound. My husband’s on again off again snoring makes it past the bedroom door. Truth be told, I’m not crazy about that sound. But it’s part of our lives, and we deal with it.

    Four different stacks of papers look back at me from my desk. Projects in process or waiting to be done. Some needing a simple read-through, others needing heavy work or development. Always more ideas and projects than time.

    Pictures of loved ones look back at me as well, filling me with gratitude for the love we share. Making me wish my grown up girls were here this weekend. Hoping they are enjoying life today.

    The duties of the day nudge. Time to move on. These quiet moments are so important, though, especially the ones with my God. Time to go meet with Him on my back porch, to soak in His beauty, His love, His care.

  • My post today was about doing just what you describe.  It is good be alert to what surrounds you.  As ususal, always enjoy the way you make us think, be better.

  • Anonymous

    I am sitting at my desk at my computer, having just downloaded some more music onto my i-pod and spend some time chilling on social networking sites, reading some great blog posts which have inspired me, and taking a break from the world. I can hear a car speeding outside my open lounge window – the next room – and then suddenly it all goes quiet outside again, apart from the occasional noise. I hear the mumours of life outside, people going about their regular weekend busyness, and then out of the blue a car honks it’s horn  – at what I have no idea, it’s not like it’s a busy traffic day. I then hear from behind me going around the side of me another car. It’s strange sitting in your office, seculded from the world. All the noises around you suddenly take on their own dimension, their own place in time and space, which probably echoes a bit where they are but probably has no sense of proportion, as you can’t see the vehicles. I’m about to go out and get my dinner and a dvd to watch this evening, so I’m going to go and see this outside for myself once again. It’s a strange experience analysing all the noises around you, and what’s going on, and listening in to other people’s lives. I can hear voices, car horns which are all pretty close, but at the same time hear a plane going past high in the sky. Bizarre, but very interesting. Thanks for getting me to do this Jeff.

    • Thanks for participating, James. Nice job, too. Very Faulkner-esque.

      • James P

        Faulkneresqe? Thanks for the compliment. However, forgive my lack of knowledge, but who is Faulkner?

        • William Faulkner – famous American author. Google him.

  • Three papers graded, nine more to go, and I’m losing focus again, thanks to that Goins fellow who insists I pay attention to what’s really going on here. I look out the window, at these half-harvested Iowa fields. The sun is pushing back a white duvet of clouds, waking up Earth with its good-morning greeting. I see it now, how that sun spills light over these fields, all of them waving golden as a lion’s mane, golden as a cup of broth.

    I want to play. I want to walk between the row of poplar and maple, undressing in their annual, autumn striptease. Some wild wind came through last night, leaving them mostly naked last night. A row of skeletons, it seems, standing up against that gentle, duvet backdrop.But I cannot play, not yet anyhow. These papers hold me hostage. >>>

    Fun exercise, Mr. Goins. I like this place a lot.

    • “Autumn striptease” – love that phrase.

  • Nancy Cameron

    As an interior designer, I can tell you surroundings mean everything to me. Smells, sounds, light, temperature. Right now I feel inspired with the morning air rushing in through an open door, quiet acoustic music playing, coffee brewing, white sheets in the bed all crinkled from the night before, my Golden Retriever snoring on his bed next to me. I am, inspired to write a novel at this moment. Only thing missing are some surf waves in the background.

  • I’ve got a million and one things to do today, as always.
    But I’ve stopped to take up Geoff’s challenge to write about my surroundings.

    The grey clouds overhead threatens to open and pour down
    rain this afternoon. I open the back door and enter my small overgrown garden.
    The crisp, cold air envelops my body. My toes, exposed in a pair of toeless
    slippers crave for the warmth inside my house. Quickly, I empty the plastic bag
    full of papers, bottles and tins into the recycling boxes. I do my part to
    support the green campaign, as we endeavour to care for our environment.

    I glance through my abandoned garden and feel ashamed that I’ve
    neglected it for so long. The weeds are having a picnic with their friends and
    family in my garden. They’ve out-numbered and threaten to suffocate my few plants.
    The grass lies flat, pulled down by the weight of its length. I must remember
    to cut it before winter sets in.

    Back inside the house, my cat follows me around like a bee
    swarming around the garden, looking for pollen from its favourite flowers. I
    feed him some biscuits. He eats and contented with a full stomach, curls up on
    the floor for his afternoon nap.

    I walk into my kitchen, look around and wonder why I’m
    always greeted with cutlery, plates, glasses and cups to wash. Meanwhile my
    teenage daughter sits in her bedroom, chats on her BB messenger and stares at
    the TV.  That is the only multi tasks she
    has perfected.

    I remove some towels from the washing machine and hang them
    on the clothes horse in my small dining room. I promise to buy myself a tumble
    dryer when I get some spare money one day soon. I live in hope!

    I can now cross off two jobs from my list of ‘to do things.’
     

  • I’m sitting at my kitchen table in a pool of sunlight that’s streaming in the sliding glass door.  The marimbas are practicing their scales at the high school, and the sound bounces through the screen.  A car passes by, and I can feel the thumping of a reggaeton bass line.  My deaf dog is looking at me, trapped in her own quiet world.  She wags her tail, then turns and slurps up half a bowl of water.

    • “A pool of sunlight” – beautiful word picture.

  • I’m sitting at my dining room table, it’s 11:20 AM. The near noon sun is hitting the lacquered wood. Windows wide open, it’s a perfect October day. The shadows bounce across the room giving this space a whimsical feel. There’s a bustle across the street at the local Liquor Store, and the construction workers are noisely chatting away on a nearby rooftop while they take a midday break at the corner. Despite all this city noise, the hum of streets gives me comfort.

  • Lynne Holder

    The house is quiet, except for the sounds of a fall morning in the suburbs. The breeze blows through the windows and the birds chirp. With each gust of wind, the drying leaves rattle on the trees. My hands are wrapped around a warm mug of pumpkin spice latte that I made from scratch this morning. With each sip, the foamy cap bubbles and dissipates in my mouth and the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves linger on my tongue. The neighbors are stirring, calling to one another from across the street. The world begins again.

  • Lynne Holder

    By the way, I am offering you free nutrition counseling. 🙂

  • I’m sitting in my office in front of my computer. I face a pair of windows that let me view the morning sunshine and green lily pads of neighborhood lawns. It’s going to be another windy day as the lone tree in my yard takes a bow.I take a deep breath and settle back into my chair, average black office chair to most, reliever of constant back pain to me. I look into the open closet door stacked high with youthful treasures and a reminder of what this office used to be. I miss her again and hope she is happy. The silence is very loud in the house now, just the hum of the fan to keep me company. I start the coffee and he stirs in the bedroom. And so we begin our newly quiet days.

  • Deborah Karns Iliff

    I’m sitting in my
    double wide overstuffed chair.  The front
    door is open and the breeze is coming through, making the wind chimes tinkle.  My lazy Great Dane is sprawled on the floor
    in front of me.  Out the front window I
    see a brilliant blue sky and trees turning all shades of fall colors, gold and
    brown and red.  The corn is dry on the
    stalks ready for harvest and I hear their crackly sound as they reach one last
    time for the sky.  Once in a while a
    vehicle will come by, crunching gravel and raising dust.  I’m wishing these sort of days could last
    longer.

  • I love you post; I could just imagine what was going on.  Here’s mine – https://sandysandmeyer.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/anticipation/

  • Sun pours through the east-facing windows, especially welcome after the storm of
    this week. In San Diego, a few days of misty rain and whipping wind can be
    counted as major weather.  It was enough to sprinkle the patios with browning leaves, so today I will have fun sweeping them up — one of my favorite around-the-house chores.

    My tuxedo cat lays sprawled in a patch of sun on the soft rug, relaxed and content
    after his breakfast.

    My eyes fall on the tall Murano glass vase that graces the piano. It’s a pale
    yellow with swirls of grape color and is breathtaking. I think of the music student
    who showed up on my birthday bearing a large white bag with this gift carefully
    wrapped. He would usually be here for a lesson at this very moment, but he’s on
    a trip to New York. So I have this morning free today to savor my coffee. I’m
    thankful for the time but more thankful for students who want to learn music, who
    want to enlarge life with art, and who enrich my life by being here.

    My husband comes in to say good-bye. He’s off to paint my mother’s house. He’ll be
    putting in hard work up on a ladder all day. I’m struck by his genuine smile.
    He’s excited to do something helpful. His smile radiates love for me, love for
    my mom, love for life.

    The room is empty now except for my cat. But echoes of the people who come in and
    out here fill my mind.

    • Lia London

      Thank you for calling it a tuxedo cat.  That’s exactly right.  😀

  • Fabulous exercise Jeff! Thanks so much for sharing this. Here’s mine… https://www.livesimplylove.com/saturday-morning/

  • Carla Lokelani Forrest

    Since discovering your blog I have been religiously following you.  I enjoy writing and find your tips and articles very helpful.  I also have a blog to showcase my paintings.  This week I did something different after reading this post…I wrote about my surroundings.  I linked your site in my writings.  You can read it at https://lokelaniforrest.blogspot.com/2011/10/surroundings.html

  • Wesley Harney

    Sitting in the back corner of the East Howard County library I can watch the cars driving by outside. The grass outside is still, miraculously green but the on coming hint of fall is seen in the magnificent golds and browns of the trees. The library is busy today and I’m sure that the group of middle school girls playing by the computers are loud and obnoxious but I have drowned out the sounds with the sweet crooning of Leonard Cohen. This is how I like to write, on the borderline between intellectuals and nature.
    The library’s ceilings are high and the architecture is modern, and my old soul misses the smell of dusty books, red brick walls and high windows. The quiet study zone with its blatant “no cell phones” signs is anything but quiet and it seems, that in this age everyone is on their cellphone. Between the song changing from Cohen to Adele, the silent library blares almost bare naked and the low buzzing of florescent light bulbs is a prominent sound track. 

    • Lia London

      Love that last line especially.  So true!

      • Thank you, I’m glad it clicked with someone else as well.

  • Can I offer some constructive criticism?  And I realize I may be out of line in doing so, but I give it in the spirit of kindness. 

    I don’t know where you are in this piece.  Are you inside?  If so what are you cooking on?  Or are you outside cooking on a barbeque?  I’m guessing it was both.  But I want to see what your garden and kitchen look like.  The details about cooking and your feelings are great.  But I couldn’t visualize where you are and how you are cooking.  You also jumped from chopping potatoes to grilling meat, which left me wondering if the potatoes made it to the oven?  Details about the other people there would also be good, or were you by yourself? 

    I love the emotion of a peaceful afternoon.  And this is definitely a great writing exercise.  I was just confused a little too early on about some of the details. 

  • I just read your original (?) take on the exercise on “The Write Practice” site.  The sentence you left out from the beginning answers some of my questions!  Why did you cut that sentence?  Actually I think the version you posted over there is stronger. 

    On a side note, I’m not sure the dropping the articles thing really works.  I would say you need a very, very good reason to mess with standard grammar.  In this exercise there is no reason to do it.  Have you read “Room” by Emma Donoghue?  (My review of it is here: https://kamsinkaneko.com/2011/06/29/room-by-emma-donoghue/).  She drops articles from the names of household objects like stove, so I was reminded of that in your piece.  But she does it for a very real reason, which is slightly too complicated to go into here. 

    • Interesting. Thanks for the feedback. I dropped some articles for a reason — to evoke sentiments of universal concepts (e.g. “kitchen” evokes images of what the concept of kitchen means for each reader).

  • Lia London

    The house is finally quiet except for the patter of the kittens’ feet as they chase a crumpled ball of paper.  I’m still in my uncomfortable clothes, but I love the feel of the dining room table at night.  If I go change, I’ll stumble into bed and miss this peaceful time.  Outside, a perfect circle of white keeps trying to smile from behind a veil of wisping grey clouds.  It stands in stark contrast to an inky sky and beckons me like an old friend.  I love the moon.  I hear the kitchen clock tick and decide to open the window for a breath of night air.  I linger in the solitude, intoxicated by the rich aromas of pine trees after rain and wood stoves burning.  At length, a pinpoint of red light scrapes across the night with a distant roar.  A plane approaching PDX.  Stupid plane.  For a moment, I was nowhere and everywhere and time didn’t matater.  Now I’m just in a suburb and it’s almost eleven o’clock.  Back inside my son calls for toilet paper and the dog whines for one more bowl of kibble.

    Time for bed.  If I hurry, maybe the smoky wet scents will inspire an interesting dream.

  • I am a first time reader of your blog.  Came over here from This Is Me Thinking.  Really like what you have going on here.

    • Hi Jason… I discovered Jeff’s blog a couple months ago and am now a subscriber! Everything he writes is quite useful and I never want to miss a thing!

  • Softly caressed by the wind
    as it whispers through the trees
    The brightly coloured leaves gently wave to me
    I wave back and I smile
    The sunlight sparkles through
    Dazzling me with its diamonds
    And I hear the brook just behind
    Babbling on its way by
    Wishing me a wonderful day
    The squirrels and chipmunks
    are playing a lively game of tag
    as they leap from limb to limb
    while bluish purple petals
    of the rose of Sharon
    reach up to join in
    And the glass balls twirling in the trees
    Perform their pirouettes perfectly
    And I sip my morning cup of tea
    Thankful that this is home.

  • Sorry… not sure why it double-spaced.

  • Bright clustered lights fill the stadium. 
    A dark chilly night is greeted with blankets, scarves, jackets. 
    People busy, sitting, eating, waiting. 
    Lots of cuddles. 
    Scores are plenty. 
    Love is spread. 
    Ears are hopeful of what will come As the last one takes the field.
    Our entire beings are filled with the stimulation of the high school marching band.

  • Alice5403

    Sitting at my kitchen table in the warmth of the cooking, my daughter busy chopping, stirring, baking with love. Unhurried rhythms of of a Sunday afternoon. Chills of autumn blowing leaves against the door. Peaceful, grateful for home, for love, for life, for this brief pause in the maelstrom of my busy life. 

  • I’m not the most descriptive writer.  I need to work on that.  I remember reading Joe’s post where he described his morning and was so impressed.  It made me want to wake up early to simply do just that.  Pay attention to my surroundings.

  • I do this all the time in my head – putting on makeup, cleaning the house, helping customers at work.  Thanks for reminding me that writing them down IS a useful exercise.

    Today I sit in ‘my spot’ on the couch – we need a new couch so terribly bad, the cushions are coming undone and spilling stuffing everywhere. Again. It’s a beautiful day out but all I want to do is sit in this uncomfortable dent, why? For one, the house needs cleaning – you can’t see the carpet for the dog toys and the laundry is piled to the ceiling. Instead of cleaning  or doing homework or enjoying the fall weather, I am listening to new music and playing a game. Today is my off-day. And now, look – I have written something, so all’s not wasted.

  • Anonymous

    Sitting in a new office. Empty. Surreal.
    Papers scattered around. It seems as though thousands of post it notes line the cabinets.
    Unwritten song lyrics, an unwritten book, and unwritten blogs float through my head and scatter around this mess I call my workspace.
    It’s cold today. The voices outside my door speak illy of others, even through the closed wood door I still hear their negativity. 
    Cup o Noodles instant lunch gets cold as I’m distracted from my meal by blogs and shiny internet musings.
    The walls are white in here, more of a beige. There’s no color but the sticky notes. 
    Files full of music yet to be played, and 3 computers all doing something else distract my thoughts and make me so much less productive than I would like to be.

  • Sherri Strickland

    Blackness through the windows.  Nighttime. House sighs its last breath of the day, rests in quietness.  Children in their rooms – asleep?  I think not, teenagers.  Husband exploring new work venues out of town.  Fingers tap keyboard, computer exhaling its warmth.  Small lamp beside me, scavenged from another part of the house; starting to get older, need more light than that proferred by the screen.  Tiny thrills rise in my heart as I write, sending praise above for this gift.

  • Crissy Wagoner

    Sitting in my bedroom on a straight back chair that I hate now because my dog chewed on it. The glare from the computer screen makes me squint. I’ve been up all night in this dark room worrying about things I can never change. The light shines through my empty pop bottle and I wish I had some caffeine. The numbers on the alarm clock are lime green and in one minute it will blare the time is 6:00 am. My son on the couch,all safe and warm,the small,brown dog right beside him. The short blue leash lays on the worn out brown carpet.
    Opening the squeaky back door I notice it is still pitch black,foggy, and beautiful. 

  • Tony Vahl

    “Vegananish!”

    It means “Don’t move!” in Creole. At least that’s what my 9-year-old son said. My 7-year-old daughter keeps freezing in place every time her brother says this. After being frozen several times walking away from the dinner table, she calls time out so I can put a white beaded necklace on her Baby All Gone.

    • love it. so fun. thanks for sharing, Tony!

  • Alane Elevado

    Sitting in my yellow bedroom. I have been trying to finish two different articles, but I always stopped short. I always welcomed new distractions and forget about finishing the articles entirely.

    In front of me are my cork board and my white board, both tools during my college days. On the white board now: “Surrender, Noob!”, a threat to my brother written nearly a year ago. And on the corkboard: some photos with my college friends, with a note of thanks from a friend who came over for a sleepover a month ago (she was here again just this afternoon). Also, a recipe of ‘Butterbeer Latte’ and old notes, plus the envelope from an architectural review center. 

    I shift my gaze and looked around the rest of my bedroom. Apparently, there was too much to see in here. So many patterns, so many colors. A bunch of papers, folders, files, magazines and books. Most of these I don’t really need anymore. I don’t know if I’m just a sentimental person, or somewhat of a coward, not wanting to throw, or let go. The room is a clutter. The room is a mess. But it’s a wonderful kind of mess.

    This room is screaming “me”. Apparently, it has absorbed my scent, my personality. There was chaos, but there was also order. More than meets the eye, this room has shared imaginings, and realities. The room had stories to tell: the leaking ceiling, the mushroom, the occasional flying roaches, the lizards, the ants, the earthworm from the high window. Yes, it indeed is more than what meets the eye.

  • Amalina

    Hey Jeff. I am a 16-year-old Malaysian who loves English language so much. But since English is my second language, my writing is not as great as my Bahasa Melayu. I write simple essays and I’d like to be given comments or even advice from someone professional- like you, so that I can improve my writing as well as my English. I’d like to send you my very simple descriptive essay that I wrote myself as homework. But the problem now is, I don’t know how to send you the attachment. This is my email; amalinajamal90s@yahoo.com. If you happen to read this, please send me an email, and I’ll send the attachment. Thank you sooo much. I appreciate it. 

  • I write in the room my uncle used to call ‘the looky-room’ because my aunt felt that anyone who ventured into it should only look, never touch. The walls sport soft sea-green paper, with an intricate, formal design, in slightly deeper green, of Jacobean flowers and plumes that I would never have dared to choose, but she did and I’m glad! I face the wall with recessed, pale green painted shelves for the books and items most meaningful to me. In the mirror above and to the left of my computer monitor, my most favorite oil painting of all time, a large seascape painted by my best-loved artist,  is reflected.  A mug of hot, green tea sits on my desk. The mug has a downeast Maine scene of lupines, and a bay, with a town beyond. Behind the mug is a narrow shelf with a printouts of two  pastel paintings from a blog I especially like; a flowered china mug of pens; and two Page-Ups, one aqua and one dark blue. I like Page-Ups because they hold pages I need to work from, right up straight so they’re  easy to read.

    The clean surfaces of my writing area stretch to my right; to my left, beyond the doorway to the hall, is a six-foot-long standing book case with five shelves not counting the top. Art instruction books line the first two shelves. On the next three are a combination of favorite fiction and nonfiction horse books,  and my horses,  all collected from the time I was 11. The larger horses, including two Breyer models of Brighty of the Grand Canyon, also line the top of the book case. My four children’s graduation pictures, on the fifth shelf, and dating from 1980, (current photos are on shelves in the living room) are easily seen behind my four oldest Hagen Renaker ceramic horses.  The room has been this way since I moved in, five years ago.

     Strange as it may seem, all of this helps me to write. There are windows on three walls of this long room. Lots of light. Near one window behind me, is the bird cage where my two lovebirds live. They enjoy morning sun,  a good view of two streets, lawns and maple trees,  and right now a stack of lp’s is playing for us all. When they see me loading the spindle, they say, “Records!”  Their contented chirrs and peeps add to creativity. When I prepare to play CD’s or the radio, they say whichever word suits. There is a broad space where they come out to enjoy their play gym.

  • NolaLola

    It’s the Saturday before Mardi Gras. Rain has canceled all daytime parades, and Mid-City residents are waiting to learn if our prized Endymion will roll tonight, or be rain-delayed a day, meaning it would be snatched from its position as the last remaining neighborhood parade and exiled to the Uptown route of all the other parades.

    I am in bed, reading online newspapers, watching Bridesmaids, listening to NPR–a typical morning of multitasking. Across the room my phone dangles from its charging cord. In the second outlet is my laptop charger, and as my eyes follow the cord to my lap I notice the green light: I am fully charged. I unplug the charger; I’ve heard it’s bad for the battery to remain plugged in all the time.

    My phone rings. I don’t answer. I think it’s Melissa–I told her to call me if she wanted to walk around the French Quarter. After all, it’s Mardi Gras weekend and there are no parades Uptown; the French Quarter will be full, even with the rain.

    But I do not get up to answer the call. I’m sitting in bed with my dogs and one cat, all of them lying in various locations to my left. Bosco is lying on his left side, his head pointing toward the end of the bed. He’s a big brown and white dog, with a skinned-up nose and floppy ears. He’s 11, and his eyes are cloudy now. But they are always full of love, every time they look at me. Of all my pets, I am certain Bosco loves me the most.

    Pip is pressed against my hip, a tiny ball of wiry buff-colored hair with giant ears. He appears to be part terrier, part chihuahua. I tell people he’s a terijuajua. A neighbor found him last winter, running the street terrified in the freezing cold, and after a month of setting cat traps she finally caught him. I said I’d foster him but that she had to find him a home because I had too many pets already. She found two; the first fell through, and and when he flunked out of the second–for not being house-broken–I realized I felt relieved, and knew I had a third dog.

    Lola is next to and above Pip. She’s a brindle pit bull mix, black and gold. I call her my Saints dog, and just bought her an NFL nametag with the Saints fleur-de-lis logo on it. Lola is 12 but still energetic, and easily distracted. Lola loves me, but I believe she would be happy with any owner. When she meets new people, in the park or on the street, she gives them a hug. I’ve tried to break her of the habit–kneeing her, spraying her with water–but she cannot resist a new lap. She loves people.

    At 13, Ruby is my oldest pet. She’s orange, and her long hais ir marked with swirls instead of stripes. I think she looks like a creamsickle. She’s curled up next to Lola, her tail draped casually across Lola’s neck like a boa.

    This is my Saturday morning, and it is why I did not didn’t move when my phone rang, with the invitation to join the world outside bed and my fuzzy  family.

  • This is a brilliant example of mindfulness, Jeff. I’ve just posted a link to this on my blog. Hope you’re having many more moments like this

  • The soft exhale of a beautifully pink baby whispers beside me. She stirs, settles, sighs. My momma heart is always comforted by my kids’ rhythmic breathing.

    I hear the heavy, slightly clumsy clomp, clomp, clomp of pre-tween shoes hit the pavement outside. Neighborhood kids take advantage of a warm weekend day free of school responsibilities.

    A cherry blossom tree waves its darker than red leaves in the wind. I could watch limbs and leaves dance all day. 

    A tall tree moves, catching my attention. A maple, or oak, perhaps. The skinny pine next to it doesn’t move at all. Interesting. Clouds cover most of the sky, but I can sense blue trying to peek through.

    Books on the dresser remind me this is home. Some books lean left, some lean right. Some books I’ve read and love. Some I haven’t read yet and still love.

  • Heathercwalker

    I am at my laptop opposite the wall in the dining room.  The yellow wall has grey smudges where the heat from the radiator leaves its mark and I remember how nice it looked when I first painted it and wonder how those marks appeared again without me noticing.
    The noise from the bypass drones on.  I tend to block it out but now I am aware of it. The table is scattered with poetry books, bits of paper, a fruit bowl and a box of bits and bobs that never seem to get sorted.
    To the left the patio doors look out onto a dull day but various flowers in pinks, purples and yellow colour the scene/ The grass looks tatty since we cut it.  There are more weeds and bald patches than grass.  

  • sandi

    The ending of the holidays are making its way into my house. Little by little the lights and decorations are coming down. The tree is outside. I scooped the tiny needles that left the tree up with a broom and put them in the garbage. SIGH…. Candles still flicker. The smell of candy cane and pine will still flow through the house for months to come. The days which indicate the specific time for this celebration may be slipping away . What remains? The Creche and Santa or stockings need to be put away. The snowmen can stay. The snow is on the window piled high on the deck so we can keep the snowmen as decorations in the living room. We do not need to worry about melting.

  • Vilgot Larsson

    I’m tired. I slept four hours last night. I’m hungry as well, I haven’t eaten a thing since i woke up. Now I’m starting to reflect about myself reflecting about myself and it all just goes around in a loop. I’m reflecting about why i might be addicted to technology myself. I only slept four hours last night because I didn’t egt tired. I rarely get tired when I’m supposed to these days. I’m not using enough of my energy during the day becasuse I’m just constantly sitting infront of my pc.

    My eyes hurt, it’s to bright. I yawn as I cantinue to think what I’m currently reflecting on in the room.

  • A lone hummer hovers at the window. The dog lays, legs splayed open and ready, behind my chair. A train whistles, its wail is muffled by the dense woodlands. The morning sun dots the still canopy of the forest, its white and yellow rays offer up a salutation to another day.

    My black coffee is bitter this morning because we mixed Gevalia and Starbucks beans. I didn’t want to make a second run to the grocery yesterday.

    My Word doc is blank, but my mind whirls with words, errands, lists, deadlines and anxiety. It’s Monday.

  • Angelo Gustavo

    my assistant needed to fill out BNI Form 0129 recently and was informed of a great service that has a searchable forms database . If people are interested in BNI Form 0129 as well , here’s a https://goo.gl/5pqB0S

  • Baroness

    My story of “miracles”
    Every day one hears of personal stories of miracles…
    Is there room for one more?
    I say: ” Of course !”
    Just about every story that came into my life I chose to read… many tears later- I so understand. Beautiful! Life changing!
    So- with every story there is a beginning.
    Once upon a time…
    Sigh- this is not a fairy tail!
    I have to laugh at myself, I am not a writer but a good story teller… at least I have been told that.
    I loved movies and books that started- “Once upon a time… ” I would get so excited, I guess that’s the kid in me.
    Ok- deep breath, I’ll start in my mid twenties.
    Yes! That’s a good place to start!
    Before that time will take another story to write…
    Yes! We all have stories to tell and crosses in our closet.
    Oops- did I just write that? Yes indeed!
    Something in my heart compelled me to write this… so after I write about my miracles I will share my personal memoirs.

    Ok- where were we? Oh – yes.
    I have to get comfortable.
    I’m sitting at my patio table surrounded by my pretty flowers and shrubs, with some, well, gone- the deer decided to enjoy a lush dinner…
    I used to get so upset- all this work and passion of planting to enjoy…
    I’ve learned to plant mother natures beautiful plants that the deer do not like.
    One time they ate some while still in their containers I bought them in- really?
    We learn…
    I breathe in deeply and enjoy my surroundings. I take a sip from my glass of water and my eyes stroll down my yard…
    Oh- the beauty of Mother Nature, there is no better artist than her!
    I picture my first encounter…
    I’ve been given the gift of recalling certain moments in my life in pictures, vivid pictures.
    I love to take you there.