Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Journaling: Prompting You with the Power of 3

Sometimes I very much doubt whether in the future anyone will be interested in all my tosh. “The unbosomings of an ugly duckling” will be the title of all this nonsense.
~Anne Frank

Ever at a loss for what to journal? Do you tend to write the same ol', same ol'..."Yesterday, it rained and I sat around wishing it was sunny. " As you journal, do you hope no one ever reads it? Well, this week, if you answered "yes" to any or all the above, get ready for a push in a new direction.

First: Here is your prompt for your "journal entry" : The Power of Three

Second: Pick one to write about
  • Three things you can’t go without.

  • Three countries you'd never live in.

  • Three favorite book characters.

  • Three favorite things to wear.

  • Three things you want in a relationship.

  • If you had to evacuate your home because of a natural disaster, what three things would you take with you?

  • Three pet peeves.

  • Three things you’d do if you weren’t so afraid.

  • Three favorite TV shows.
Three: Post it on your blog by next Monday, send the link to me at editor@womenoftheharvest.com; in the subject line put "Power of Three." I will publish your blog links in next week's post and off we all go visiting each other's blogs to read your journal entry.

No blog??? Send your journal entry to me directly, and I'll post it with mine, here.

Gentle Reminder: The only way this works is if we are all courageous!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Journaling Travels with Our Senses

I enjoyed the contrast of “historical” vs. “insightful.” I’ve attached a travel blog that I think combines the two into what I would call “sensory.”
~Elizabeth Givens

Xing Ping

We gather at the bus depot down the street from school at 8 am and all pile into a small blue bus headed to Xing Ping, a town up the river. The drive out is through classic Chinese countryside. Water buffalo and red Brahmin oxen plow fields alongside harvesters. A time to plant and a time to reap are side by side. Women with bare feet pound the mud in other fields.

Little clusters of houses dot the side of the road, combinations of old yellow brick, wood and metal windows and newer red brick. Homes are works in process, rarely finished. Grapes grow in gardens along with beans, pumpkin, corn, and groves of citrus trees are heavy with green pomelo and oranges.

At Xing Ping we walk to the only flat field in miles for a morning of water games. English is the language of instruction, of fun, and of learning. A shallow river runs alongside and we share the field with several water buffalo and their calves. A lazy truce separates us.

When the water games end we splinter into small groups and walk into town. The main street is lined with houses and shops dating back a hundred years. Deliberately kept historical, Xing Ping is a tourist dream, but there are few tourists on a Monday morning. A group of teen boys are clustered at one end of the street with large sketch pads, capturing the details of the ancient buildings.

The buildings have wooden fronts, unpainted, and weathered. Doors are open to small shops of carpentry, bicycles, treadle sewing machines. Through the open doors comes a hum of voices, largely the elderly men and women who don’t bother to leave the village and who are too old to work the fields. On either side of the open doors are the tattered red banners left from Spring Festival, guardians for the year of the rat.

We grab lunch at a little cafĂ© – a hot spicy beef dish alongside a mild chicken. English patters across the table. A leisurely walk brings us to the river where some of the students and teachers have decided to swim.

About three a group of us head back up the little village road, through town, and to the other end where we wait for a bus. The students know which bus to catch so we simply tag along. When we board, it is another small bus with about 25 seats, but easily 50 people are inside. I grab a plastic stool on one side. A young mother with little girl sits on another stool directly in front of me. Her long dark hair is pulled into a thick braid that I long to touch. My husband, sitting to her side, makes small talk with the child, finally winning a smile.

The bus stops often on the way back to our town, picking up more passengers, and occasionally dropping one off. No one seems concerned with the crowding, the helter-skelter speed of the bus, the loud horn blaring when an oncoming truck tries to hog the road.

We pass the same fields and planters and harvesters. The cattle and water buffalo are heading home, led by strings through their noses. Many passengers nod off to sleep. The day is waning in south China.

At the depot we bid our students goodbye. Hand shakes and thank you’s all around for picking up the tab on the bus fare -- all of 60 cents for each student.

We’ve been to Xing Ping, and it was good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Journaling Our Travels: 2 Examples

How do you journal your travels?

One way to do it is descriptively:
"Went to Nairobi with Jill, Nancy and Julie in a Toyota station wagon; Moses was our driver. He was tall, lean, wore a blue dress shirt and brown leather shoes that would later get a little mussed after changing the tire. We are all good companions.

Nairobi...lots of traffic--jockeying for position but for the most part, cooperation. The roads are congested; people on the side of the street, crossing the street, looking in our car. I feel somewhat threatened every time we stop--too many thievery stories from missionaries.

Patty's house...Masai guard opens the gate to a beautiful green lawn. Three houses in this compound. Her's is glorious and beautiful. Words to remember her by: photo albums, people pictures, Zambia, Land Cruiser, red kitchen walls, African fabric, loft, Karl Larrson pictures, Dixie Chicks, kindness, coffee talk, lunch on the back porch, a beautiful moment in time.

It has been good to see a facet of missionary life and how ordinary it can be."

OR it can be insightful:
"It happened on day 2 as I exited my comfortable hotel onto a street filled with men. My heart was racing—so uncomfortable, so completely other. My eyes were trained to avoid eye contact with men. Look down, I repeated over and over.

And then I saw it. There it was…beauty—roses embroidered along the bell-shaped sleeve of her black covering. I looked down a little further and noticed the color of her shoes matched the color of the roses. And there you had it—I knew it was universal: Every woman everywhere desiring to create beauty, to be known and seen.

Fashion, in my mind, is not about stuff or status but about art. Admittedly I see life most clearly through metaphor; however, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe women aren’t as hidden as I first thought in this culture. Their eyes, hands and feet are adorned. Is that any different than what I want to be most beautiful about me? Is beauty everywhere—even in the darkest places? I am beginning to believe it—but only if I keep my eyes uncovered."

Or it could be... loved to hear how you do it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Journaling: Documenting Our Travels

Well, I am presently out of the country, documenting my travels in my journal. I will not have access to the blog for the next two weeks, so please join me on March 15-- we will pick up on the topic of journaling then.

Assignment while I'm away: Peruse your journals for a great travel entry, send it to me at editor@womenoftheharvest.com and I'll post it. I know you all have been to some very remote and seldom seen places, so please let us in on your global experiences.

I have loved your comments on "scribotherapy." Thanks for joining in.
Bon voyage! Cindy


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