Training to be a Border Control Guard

IMG_0186Even though my ticket said TSA Pre-check, I was stopped by airport security for unintentially trying to pass through the “border patrol” with a contraband bottle of water.

“For your own protection, Mam.”

That made me think of something I learned at this week’s Beyond Walls Writing Intensive Course.  Rabbi Brad Hirschfield reminded us that we have choices to make when we come to a wall or border in our life.  One way to respond is to become a Border Patrol Guard, whose job it is to monitor who is allowed to cross the border and who is kept out.

At first I thought:”I do not want to be like a Border Control Guard.”  But the more I thought about it, I thought my life would be better and more productive and satisfying if I used the skills of being a Border Guard, especially when it comes to writing.

For years I have said that I want to spend more time writing, but I don’t guard the time I need because I allow so many distractions and interruptions.

Even here at the airport, after I passed through security, I ran into one of my writing professors who was headed to the gate next to mine.  It would have been so easy to fall into a conversation with him about the workshop and our love of writing.  But I amazed myself and said:”I am headed to find a quiet spot to write today’s blog.  Have a nice flight!”

Wow!  I amazed myself.  I was actually putting into action Rabbi Hirschfield’s teaching that we have a choice as to how we want to relate to any person or event in any given moment.

There would have been nothing wrong with chatting away with my professor about the workshop.  But if I did so, I would have let myself down because I had made myself a promise to write a blog today during my three hours at the airport.

I do want to be a Border Control Guard, especially when it comes to blocking out times to write.  I hope I learn my lessons well.  Thank you, Rabbi…Shabbat Shalom.

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“A Life Without Walls is not a Life Well Lived”

Last night we listened to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield speak to us about walls.  We all have Wall Moments in our lives…when we come to a wall and choose how we are going to relate to it.  He gave us four images.

1)  Acting like a border control person, monitoring who comes in or out.

2)  Being a missionary, going out to bring others in.

3)  Helping people like a crossing guard, managing the flow of people traveling in and out.

4)   Moving out as a scout, boldly going out into the unknown, perhaps never returning again.image

Over the next four days, I am going to challenge myself to write a story that will illustrate how I have related to walls in each of these ways.  Stay tuned!

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The Writing Group from “H”

I was assigned to the writing group from “H”….

For three days now, we have been rotating among the teachers assigned to help us learn to blog, use social media effectively, and to write essays and epistles and ethical wills, and even poetry.

Our classes are spread out in various buildings across the campus of Kenyon College.  To be honest, I am having a hard time tracking where I am supposed to be, and when.  It didn’t help that I lost my map early in the week.  Even when I had it, it didn’t help me that much anyway.

I must say that when I see a member of the group from “H”…especially at mealtimes…I rush to catch up with them…and then tag along to class, I always get where I am supposed to be.

In the next few days, I will say more about the writing adventures we are slogging through together.  Suffice it to say that I am very grateful for the group from “H.”  They are the support team I have always dreamed of having next to me.

They patiently answer my technical questions, give me helpful advice and support…and they even laugh at my jokes!  What more could a writer ask!?!

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Stay Tuned for fun and inspirational stories!

imageThis is Day Two of my writing class.  This morning I was given the assignment to figure out a strategy to lure my friends and followers on Facebook to check our my new blog (which I just started on Day One…yesterday)).  Stay with me people!  I plan to upload some fun and inspirational stores once I have figured out how to do that.

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Sharing Everyday Blessings

I have often asked myself the question: “Why would anyone want to blog?”

When I signed up for an interfaith writing intensive program called “Beyond Walls: Spiritual Writing at Kenyon College,” I didn’t realize my first class would be about blogging.

Now, here I was in a room full of students, ready to take the big plunge.  A show of hands revealed that half of them were already bloggers, and the rest of us would be encouraged to give it in try.  We plunged right in with four actual writing exercises.  Then the big reveal.  Our overnight class assignment was to start a blog and to focus on introducing ourselves to our readers.

We were told that the first step was to choose a name…something simple and reflective of who we are and what we want to share with others.  After checking a few websites about choosing a name for your blog, I decided on Everyday Blessings because I feel that often we overlook our everyday blessings while waiting for something spectacular to happen.

Then it was time to go to Word Press to initiate a Blog.  Easier said than done.  I didn’t bring my big laptop along to the week long writing intensive, so here I am typing away on a wireless keyboard while squinting to see the tiny letters on my mini iPad.  A few of us decided to meet with one of our classmates before dinner so she could help us get started.

Of course, there were glitches.  My husband always says that I should test all hardware and softwear to see if it is really consumer friendly.  Of course, I wanted a beautiful opening page to impress everyone with my gorgeous website.  After a few tries, I was encouraged to get just started with the initial blog and worry about prettying it up later.  Oh, well.  I tried to name my blog “Everyday Blessings” but, of course, that was already taken.  Good thing I had done my research.  They said just to add an extra word and you could probably make it work.  So that’s how my blog got the name “Everyday Blessings Plus.”

The rest of our assignment was to tell people about ourselves…choosing from the following prompts.  1)  Tell about about the religious seasons that you observe, and invite people to go through the church year with you.  2) Write a short spiritual autobiography so that people knew of your religious experience or beliefs.  3)  Share ten things that I would like someone to know about me.  I went for option three.

Ten Ways in which I Feel Blessed:

1)  Being a wife, mother and grandmother.

2)  Living out my vocation as an Episcopal Priest.

3)  Enjoy reading and being a part of two fantastic book clubs.

4)  Having the ability to write and to share my stories, sermons, reflections and now blogs.

5)  Being a contemplative photographer and hopefully posting photos to go along with my blogs.

6)  Living in Florida…the Sunshine State.

7)  Sharing a love of world travel with my husband.

8)  Enjoying the freedom that retirement brings.

9)  Discovering a new joy in the creative arts.

10)  Sharing thoughts and ideas with family and friends near and far, and meeting new people through my blog.

So here goes…I’m ready to hit “publish”!  I’m counting on your feedback.  Be kind.

Love and Blessings, Mary Anne+

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