How to Care for Introverts

April 26th, 2013 § Comments Off on How to Care for Introverts § permalink



I love this visual about Introverts. Since I have a son that is a true blue introvert, I have learned to interact with him in all of the above ways.

Introverts are such special and gifted people. They usually think long and hard before acting. They can figure just about anything out, given the time and space to do it. When they find someone that is their true friend, they will honor that friendship like no other. They usually don’t like crowds. When they DO speak, they like to be really heard, so pretending to listen doesn’t work with them. THEY DO notice when you’re not really present.

They NEED alone time, much more than an extrovert does. They NEED quiet. They really do need to be given lots of transition time from one activity to the next. When they are rushed they are stressed, more so than the rest of us.

Introverts DISLIKE labels. Don’t label them. Empower them to be exactly as they are.

Honor the introvert in your life by respecting his need for solitude and quiet spaces. Honor him/ her by being ultra respectful of his/her needs. If you do, you will have a confident, loyal and thoughtful person in your life. One who might change the world with his introspective nature.

Awesome Art

April 24th, 2013 § Comments Off on Awesome Art § permalink

near_for-painting_crop-FLAT copy

Graduation from the LongRidge Writers Group writing program

April 4th, 2013 § Comments Off on Graduation from the LongRidge Writers Group writing program § permalink

2013-04-04 09.01.42


Well, I finally did it.  I have been taking a writing course through the LongRidge Writers Group called Breaking Into Print.  I started in late 2010 and just finished – BUT I did finish and I am thrilled.

The course is a self-paced writing course to prepare you for submitting articles and short stories to magazines and online publications. I have always loved writing but I learned so much about query letters, submitting various manuscripts to magazine markets and more.

Plus, I honed in on some writing techniques that have become great tools in keeping my writing tight and to the point. (As I sometimes have had trouble with).

You can receive college credit through this course, however I didn’t need the credit so I did it for my own enjoyment and learning.

In my busy life, finishing this course was quiet a challenge. All you writers out there know that in order to write and write well a time must be set aside every day for writing. I struggled tremendously with this and thought about quitting the course countless times. Between spending time following the boys and Jessica’s passions, building an enourmous  garden in my backyard, attending Master Gardening requirements, taking care of my step father and cooking, cleaning and general mom duties, finishing this course at times felt like and impossible goal.

Thanks to the very relaxed due dates, I persevered and finally finished last month.

For anyone wanting to hone their writing skills and learn more about the business of writing, I highly recommend this course.

Here are a few facts about LongRidge Writers Group – Breaking Into Print

  • You must first submit a writing test provided by the company.  Based on your sample writings they will make a decision on whether you are ready for the course or not.  You must be approved by submitting writing samples and answering some of their writing prompts.
  • If accepted, you will be assigned to your own published author, who will be your mentor/instructor through the duration of your course.  I’ve read that if you don’t click with your instructor, you can request a new one.  My instructor was WONDERFUL so this wasn’t a problem for me.
  •  You can receive 7 hours of college credit by completing the course. There is no time limit to finishing.  This was such a PLUS for me.  If I was going to be late on an assignment, I simply emailed my instructor through the website and was granted more time.
  •   You have online support after you are accepted.  There is an “extra help” section for each assignment that you can access 24/7.This helps you navigate and trouble shoot when you have questions about an assignment.  There is an online writers support group as well.
  •  While you DO learn a lot about grammar and punctuation, the focus is on WRITING!  Getting ideas down into a clear, easy to read, organized format.
  • You can choose to write short stories or articles or switch back and forth between the two.
  • There is a monthly payment option – which I took advantage of – or you can pay the full fee up front.  I got mine paid off well before I finished the course and that was no problem.  I had all the support I needed to the finish!
  •  Once you are finished with the course you continue to have full access to the website tools for LIFE.  Yes, if I’m having trouble with any aspect of writing, I can still utilize the website and support groups.

For anyone looking to gain confidence in their writing skills, this is such a TERRIFIC option.  It helped me build confidence in my writing, assisted me in learning more about editing my own manuscripts, got me thinking about submitting my work for publication and gave me loads of experience in writing query letters, introduction letters and bios.




The Backyard Farmer

April 1st, 2013 § Comments Off on The Backyard Farmer § permalink

Even though I live in a suburb of a very large city in America, I think I’m a farmer girl at heart. I wouldn’t have believed I had it in me a few years ago but the more time I’ve spent in nature, the more I’ve realized how much I love growing things.

Six years ago, I lost my brother unexpectedly. That same year both grandparents passed away as well. Three years later my mom died at the age of 63, also unexpected. The loss of these people in my life had a profound impact on the way I viewed the world. I started to GET how fragile life really is. Here one day, gone the next. Gone forever. Done. Finished. Over. Never coming back. The loss of my brother and mom was so final. At any moment, death could claim my children. My husband. ME. And while I’d done all the things to keep myself and my family healthy, I realized I didn’t have all THAT much control over it.

I started sitting outside in my  backyard a lot rather than rushing around every minute of the day. Our house backs up along a large drainage ditch that we call the bayou. All manner of wildlife live there. I would watch the birds dip and swirl and play in the sky. I would gaze at leaves on the tree, rustled by the gentlest of breezes. I would see a flower in the process of dying only to notice a new one springing forth just next to it.

crane 2

Slowing down and sitting in nature taught me about change. It taught me about gratitude and love. It taught me to be in the moment.

The more I sat, the more I realized how everything, in every moment is changing. All living things die eventually. The seed becomes a bud, a flower. a dried up flower falling off the stem and then mulch for the soil. Nowhere in nature did I see fear about this never ending change. I never saw the tree fighting to keep it’s leaves.  I never saw birds beating themselves up for not being more active or too noisy or  not flying high enough. I saw tranquility in nature and lots of dying and changing and shifting and renewing. I saw connection everywhere.

Of course, this changed me. I slowly started finding gratitude in this moment. Meaning, in the NOW. I saw that to hang on to things or situations in an ever changing world was to suffer. To spend time in suffering is to give up this moment where gratitude and peace can be found NOW, if only I will look for it.

purple-cauliflowerThus began my love affair with gardening. One day, I realized I AM part of nature. I’m not separate from it. So, I got up and started working alongside the birds, bugs and soil. I started planting things.  Plants that would attract bees and butterflies. Plants that would provide food for my family. The more I connected with nature the more I noticed nature working for me. While doing the work that needed to be done in the garden, I wasn’t feeling that old rush and get it done and over with feeling. I was feeling the surrender, acceptance and connection of all of life.

The yard that once embodied a full landscape of mostly grass has become a yard that is mostly edible.


I’m no longer frustrated by the death that takes place there.  I have learned that even in death, the plants become my mulch, compost and food for the living.  I’ve planted apple trees, satsumas, blackberries.  I’ve planted seasonal veggies, which right now includes onions,potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, peppers, carrots and a lot more. Six raised beds and a 20 x 10 foot area of rows are homes to most of the veggies we eat and share with neighbors.

Those seeds of sorrow planted by the deaths in my family became the compost for my soul.  I miss my brother and mom, don’t get me wrong, but their deaths brought to me a sorrow so deep that I was forced to sink into it, to sit in nature and observe. Just like in nature, that sorrow shifted and became a gift and a renewing of my own perspectives.  And…it molded me into a backyard farmer.

Navigating through the Information Age

August 21st, 2012 § Comments Off on Navigating through the Information Age § permalink


I find it so amazing that information is only a click away these days.  If I need a recipe, want to learn how to save seeds from my garden or help my kids with their latest video game, all I have to do is hit up Google and I have an instant answer with videos to show me exactly how to do what I want to do.  My computer and iPhone have become my best companion and I carry one or the other to every area of the house I am working in.

Gone are the days that I have to go to the library to pick up  an outdated book on a subject.  Gone are the days that I have to just live without an answer.  It really is remarkable that we have so much information at our fingertips.  I really don’t know how I ever lived without it.  How did any of us every get anything done?

But with this great technology does come challenges.  Yes, I can find out about anything I want to find out about right now, even at midnight or two in the morning.  Yes, it has helped me tremendously.  But. . .my challenge is. . .I get so darned distracted!

Yes, I get very distracted by the computer.  With instant text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest,Skype, Google and email, it seems I lose my footing and I lose it often.  For instance, I will be looking up how to save the seeds from the tomatoes in my garden and then I get an instant text message asking about that tortilla recipe I have on my blog. It only takes a moment to send the link to my friend right?  Wrong, at least for me.  While I pull up my blog to email to the link to my friend, I see there are a couple of comments on my new post that I want to check out.  So I go to email to send the link and see I have several interesting emails waiting for me.  Ok, I’ve sent the link, so I think I’ll just take a peek at some of these emails and weed out the advertisements and such. One of the emails is a post to Pintrest with some good ideas for a wedding shower I’m planning in a few weeks.  Need to repin that before I forget. Then I see some other things on Pintrest that I want to repin.  Oh, yeah, I noticed when I was in my email program that I had some comments on Facebook as well.  I jump over to check those out.  Half an hour later, I remember I have some comments I want to check out on my blog.  While there, I see there is a draft of a post I forgot to finish last night and pull it up to reread and add a few lines.  Then off to see the comments.  An hour later, I get up and wonder where I was in the first place.  Ah, yes, my tomato is sitting on the counter waiting to be deseeded.

For a while I just unplugged and only used email and Google.  I didn’t even want to bookmark websites, afraid I would get too distracted.  But the pull to Facebook and Pintrest and all the other incredibly wonderful sites just couldn’t be ignored for long.  What was I to do?  How could I manage my life and still be inspired by all of this wonderful information floating around in cyberspace?

Well, unfortunately, I haven’t figured it out completely yet. I know lots of people that can totally manage their lives and still bounce around to all of the incredible tools available on the internet. In my attention deficit mindset though, I guess I’m not one of those people.  So I devised a plan that is working for me (somewhat) and I wanted to share it here.

First, I decided to figure out what areas of life I was completely passionate about. What things do I like DOING that I want to either learn more about or share with others?  For me, this is Gardening, Writing, Cooking, Spirituality, DIY projects and Unschooling.  Other categories are great, but these are the ones I get super excited about.

I have a beautiful backyard garden and I love to come in and cook with all of the ingredients that I grow.  I love to write on my blog and for my writing course, I love everything about spirituality and personal growth, I am learning to make my own cleaners, moisturizers and soaps.I absolutely love my family’s journey with unschooling and learning and sharing about that.

So, there.  I have identified my passions and have written them down on paper.  My next step was to try and limit the activity on the computer to these things. When I see something on Pintrest or Facebook that looks interesting I ask myself (quickly) does this fit into one of my Passion categories or is it something that has the potential of taking time away from the things that I really WANT to be doing?  Will following this link, conversation, comment on Facebook, email or whatever contribute to the things I am doing in my life that I am passionate about?  If it doesn’t make the cut, I don’t follow it and YES sometimes this is very hard and sometimes I just ignore the question and follow it anyway.

One thing I’ve learned in this life is that I LOVE learning new things and that when I stick to the things that really bring me JOY I am much happier and much less distracted.  There is no way I could ever DO EVERYTHING in one lifetime (as much as I would love to experience almost everything), so identifying those things that I am good at and that I truly enjoy  has been key to navigating the new information age.  Truly, I will never stop learning.  Truly, I would love to learn it all.  But being realistic about it has greatly helped me to stay focused on the things that I love to do and saying no to myself when I’m on Facebook, Pintrest,Skype, Google and email.

I guess it’s about setting boundaries.  I’ve never been good at this, especially boundaries with myself.  But practice makes perfect and boy am I getting a lot of practice.  With so much information available with the click of the mouse, I am learning to set those boundaries and I’m all the better for it.  It keeps me focused on what I truly love and helps me to be more efficient in my life. I still get distracted, usually daily, but I always forgive myself and then move on to those things that fill my moments with joy and happiness.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Expanding Awareness and Self Growth category at Michelle Conaway.