Do you keep a journal - or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.
Three times a month, I'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation - just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.
And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you'll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you'll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.
One winter afternoon, my husband's grandmother tried to teach me how to knit, but it was obvious after about 10 minutes that the timing wasn't right.
"Just watch. You'll get it," she replied when I complained I was confused. But, her fingers held 70-plus years of experience and moved automatically. She didn't need to concentrate or to whisper "over, under, through" in order to complete each stitch. And then, there were my three children. They sat at my feet, watching. They wanted to hold the yarn; they wanted a turn with the needles; they wanted me to be done.
A few years later, my church started a prayer shawl ministry, and the knitters offered to teach anyone who wanted to learn. I decided that this time, no matter what, I was going to learn.
"We'll start with this scrap yarn before we go to the good stuff," my teacher, Ethel, said. "OK, now watch. Under the loop, around the needle, and back through the loop. Under, around, and back through. Under, around, through. Here, you try."
I grasped the yarn and attempted to weave it around my fingers, but the yarn snagged and the needles dropped to my lap. I picked them up and tried again. And again. And again. For an hour, Ethel sat next to me, guiding the needles when my fingers got in the way and encouraging me to keep at it. Gradually my clumsiness disappeared, and I completed 20 stitches. Then, two rows.
Ethel and I talked several times during the following weeks, while I continued to practice. Finally, I felt confident enough to use the good yarn.
The prayer shawl was a bigger project than I expected. I stitched while I waited for kids after school and in between conversations at their Saturday morning basketball games. I worked on it, snuggled between children and husband, during our Friday night movies. My family teased me with silly songs they made up that combined the hard-k sound of my name with the soft-k sound of "knit," but I kept going.
And then: Six months after casting on my first stitch, I bound off my last. With three skeins of yarn, I'd created a fringed piece that was five feet long and 22 inches wide. I knew it wasn't perfect, but Ethel was full of compliments.
"I can't believe how nice it looks," she gushed. "Whoever gets it won't notice that you added a few stitches here and there. They'll appreciate your effort."
My kids were proud, too: "Wow," said one.
"Cool," said another.
And then, the praise that pleased me the most: "Can you make one for me?"
Journal Entry: What new project have you attempted since becoming a mom? Write about the challenges and the rewards of learning a new skill while your family watches.