June was a bullet train. It was a fun ride but I am looking forward to the slower-paced, long days of summer. I talked to the kids yesterday about ‘the plan’ that will allow me to work and give them some independent free play time, and they seemed excited about it. Mostly I think they are happy that there is so much play in store for them. But I have to give them props. These kids have always been amazing cheerleaders, coming to my poetry readings, celebrating big and little accomplishments and listening to my ideas with such patience and interest, even when I am sure a lot of it was going over their heads. In fact, THEY have taught ME so much about what it means to celebrate someone else; everyday I hope that they feel I am doing the same for them.

When I came to them with the plan and said we would need to work together, I knew they would be fine with it, but still it made me feel grateful…I just don’t take it for granted that we’ve grown together this way.

Looking back over almost 8 years of motherhood, I see such huge changes in me. Maybe you’ve noticed them, too, if you’ve been reading my blog long enough. I used to feel like I was swimming upstream, ‘fighting the shackles’ that were keeping me from being…I don’t know…I don’t know who or what I was trying to be. And I think it was the not knowing that had me feeling like I wasn’t being or doing…anything. When really, what was happening was some of the greatest shifts of my life.

I’ve softened. I’ve shifted focus, perspective. I’m much quicker to say, that’s not as important to me as this moment, right here, with my family. And I am so grateful that this realization has come to me while my kids are still this young and I hope the awareness only grows.

But wait, that’s not what I meant to blog about today! But I’m not deleting it. I am, however, going to tell you about one of the great experiences I have been blessed with on this authentic and creative journey.

For the last almost 5 years I have co-hosted a free, drop-in writing group in the South Surrey/White Rock area. The group is called Word Whips by the Water and is an initiative of Pandora’s Collective. On the first Wednesday of every month, from 6:30-8 pm, at the White Rock Public Library, my friend Karen and I share writing prompts with the crowd that shows up. Everyone has 15 minutes to write to each prompt, after which sharing is encouraged, but not required.

So, for today’s #3ThingsThursday, a linkup hosted by Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch, I’m going to give YOU 3 things to write about! If you’re a blogger and would like to link up, please visit any of the hosts’ websites!

Grab a piece of paper, or open a Word doc, set your timer for 15 minutes and write poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction to any or all of the images below. You don’t need to use the words I give you, but you can if you wish.

1. Palm trees in Anaheim, Californiapalm trees, anaheim, disneyland, california

2. The embers of a campfire

embers, campfire, camping, dying embers, hot,

3. Looking up at pine trees.

pine trees, against the night sky, camping, looking up at trees, trees, looking up