Endurance by Scott Kelly




Endurance. The word should be emblazoned on my forehead. I feel like it says everything about 2017.  I endured.



ENDURANCE by Scott Kelly won’t go on my list of best books for 2017, but it held my interest. I love space books (and mountain climbing books, and shark books, and just about anything that takes me someplace I’ll probably never go and could never do….really, I’m wimpy). But I love reading about all that stuff, and this one didn’t disappoint. It tells the story of US astronaut Scott Kelly and his journey to spending a year on the International Space Station.



If you’d like to know what it takes (if you have the Right Stuff, so to speak) to become an astronaut, and to excel, at that, then this book will give you all the feels. It wasn’t easy for Scott, and the title ENDURANCE adequately reflects the struggle. The book reads as an astronaut’s life should—full of confidence, swagger, and accomplishment. Would any other career read quite the same?  Hmmm…




But, seriously, isn’t endurance what we should ALL strive to achieve in our lives? Endurance isn’t just about enduring something, or getting through it…it’s about standing our ground and coping/working hard to come out on the other side, building up stamina to make it to the end. Working hard is good. It brings a sense of satisfaction, even if it doesn’t bring the “end goal” you’d like. Endure. Endure. Endurance is the art of enduring. She endures. I can work with that.



(If you came here looking for a book review of ENDURANCE, you can find it here on Goodreads.)


Maybe endurance should be my word of 2o18.



heidi sinnett

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planner notebooks




2017 was rough.



Like, barreling-down-the-highway-at-the-speed-of-light, jamming-on-the-brakes,hurtling-through-the-windshield rough.



But I survived, and 2018 is a chance for something different.



After a lot of reflection, I realized I haven’t been doing things for ME.



  • My library job fills a huge creative element that I need in my life. I love prepping for programs, doing crazy art displays, taking fun photos and doing social media…for work. It feels light, fun, a good reflection of me and how I want to do things.
  • But my personal creativity is at the other spectrum. It often feels forced, required, dark, made for the wrong reasons, and all about recognition. (Gotta get those likes/follows!)


My husband–the sweetheart who listens endlessly to me moan about this failure or that–gathered me up so many times this year and set me back on the right track. But after the umpteenth time, I think I really listened to what he was saying.



Do the thing that makes you float.



I wasn’t floating, not with my writing, or my crafts, or anything that was supposed to give me joy and relaxation and inspiration outside of work. I was just dragging on the ground. And then I came across this great quote from creative guru Austin Kleon:





Read his blog post–it goes into a lot of detail there as to how he started with this statement, but the idea is…if you need to make a decision, ask yourself the question, “What do you want your days to look like?” and figure out how to get there.



I thought this might be a simple idea. I started with wanting my days to be bright and sparkling. So, I bought some beach water blue sparkly paper, and thought I’d do something around that. I could:



  • take photos on it
  • use it as a background for a giant paper fishtank that I hang on my wall in my creative space
  • make things out of it, like crowns, or paper dresses, or…fish
  • cut letters out of it and post a big, sparkly quote on my wall


I can do all of those things, but it’s not the bigger picture I’m looking for. What do I want my days to look like?  I want to go to work inspired. I want to come home feeling like I’ve accomplished something. I want to have energy in the evenings to do things that fill me up and enjoy the few hours that I do them. I want to stop feeling tired and uninspired and stuck—and dragging on the ground. I want to make things that I like, and not care about what others think of them. I want to do more than one thing—that’s a big one.



Can I do this? No idea. But I have these little notebooks to help me start. Lists, ideas, exciting things to think about, what I read, what I watch, places I go.



Day one….I’m thinking about things, trying something new with what I’ve propped up behind me, and actively moving forward.  Goals. I need goals…..and a new glue gun.



heidi sinnett

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Betsy and I couldn’t let this day go by without saying a few important things about our Mom.


While many didn’t know that her struggle was ongoing for the last twelve years–more predominantly the last two–we were the lucky ones to be able to spend this time caring for her, preparing for the inevitable, but enjoying every single minute we had with her. She was our whole world, and we were hers, and she never let her illness override that fact.


She loved her life—her home, her family, her church, her music, her work, and her friends. I’m sure every person who was touched by her generosity and love was better for it. I know we were. And even during this last week together, when it was darkest for all of us, she always greeted us with a smile and a warm hug and kiss (and usually dressed in a sparkly sweater, lipstick, and earrings–that hospital room will never be as glamorous again!)


We’re all doing okay—Dad, me, Todd, Betsy, Melody, Andre, and Carole. Today is going to be a rough one, but we’ll get through it together like we always do. We’ll probably have a snack (or 5) sitting at the kitchen counter together later, and yes, Mom, we’ll sweep the crumbs up off the floor.


Love you so much.




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I’d like to have the luxury of writing all day, but as Elizabeth Gilbert says in BIG MAGIC, you can be childish, or childlike when it comes to your creativity. I choose to be childlike.



What’s the difference? When you’re childish about a creative endeavor you absolutely must follow, you sacrifice everything in your life to do it, and that often means giving up the safety of a job to keep your dream alive. Of course, anyone who has a joyful relationship with creativity would love nothing more than to simply do that thing all the time—write, draw, dance, whatever. Can you imagine getting up each day with nothing ahead of you but the opportunity to do that thing? But to do that full time, you give up the security of knowing you can pay your bills, or you must rely on someone else to do that for you, which can put a real strain on a relationship. It’s like being a kid all over again—enjoying whatever you want to do without any responsibility, no matter what. Personally, I think that’s a terribly stressful way to live.  I choose to be childlike.



Being childlike in your creative pursuits is about enjoying what you love to do creatively, but having the means to support that effort, too. Yeppers, that means having a job. You don’t have to love that job–you just have to have it. It will be there to pay for food, buy you some new supplies, keep a roof over your head. It’s a security blanket, in a way. And it will allow you to enjoy the time you have for creating in a way you never could otherwise.



I’m lucky enough to love my day job as well as my writing life. I work five days a week, 8 hours a day as a children’s librarian and assistant librarian, and carve out time in between for everything else, including writing. My job is hectic, active, stressful sometimes because I deal with the public most of the time, but also creative, satisfying, and really interesting. I’m excited to go to work each day, but I’m also actively thinking about my other work, too. Having a job makes the time I write really special, because it’s all for me, and it feels like the dessert at the end of a meal.



So, what’s a typical day like for me?

  • 6:30am: Wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for work, clean kitchen etc.
  • 8:30am: Do any possible short errands before work. And if it’s Friday, I stop at Starbucks for a morning latte.
  • 9-11:30am: Run children’s programs, catch up on library emails, answer phones, update computers, print posters, send out advertisements for programs, visit daycares to do special storytimes, work on new library displays
  • noon-1pm: Run errands, grab a bite to eat, work on latest writing project for 30 minutes
  • 1-5:30pm: Run programs, prep for other programs, work on the main desk at the library, catalog books, weed the collection, answer/send library emails, supervise students, write reports, do program statistics and assessments, do outreach to schools or daycares
  • 5:30-7:00pm: Dinner, time with family, prep food, lunches for following day, special meals, clean
  • 7-9pm: Write/revise/plan
  • 9-10pm: TV
  • 10-11pm: reading, prepping clothes for next day, bedtime…..


I stick to a pretty similar schedule most days. While there are other days of the week that are very different (weekends, evening commitments etc.,), this is an ideal run down of a day. That’s not a lot of writing time–2.5 hours if all goes well, but I need the consistent schedule to allow me to function in a busy environment the next day, and still have enough energy to do the things I want to do. (Oh, to be 25 again!)


But I feel good about getting it all in. And I miss the writing time SO much if I can’t make it happen. It feels like a good balance to everything when I’m sitting at my computer pounding away on the keys, dropping into a world I’ve created. Hopefully, one day, you’ll get to see what I’ve spent all these years working on.



What is YOUR schedule like during the day?



heidi sinnett


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Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

I have ‘unfollowed’ a lot of friends on Facebook. (No, not you, of course!) But my newsfeed can be pretty slim some days because of it. On a good day, there might be a few vacation photos, someone might announce an engagement or baby news, and there are always the tried and true news reports and weather posts. Mostly, though, there are motivational quotes.

Why not unfollow those people who post motivational quotes, you might ask? Because honestly, I’d have nothing left to look at. But what exactly are those uplifting, witty, wise snippets of prose supposed to accomplish? Should I suddenly feel better about myself and the world? Does the person who posts them feel inspired? Will I soon be inundated with more of these words of wisdom until I rise up off the couch and launch into song? Nope, nope, and nope. More likely, it means I’ll scroll past those posts as fast as I can so that I can find out what the forecast is going to be.  I know. Just unfollow.



But why do people post motivational quotes? Come on! Most times, they aren’t even motivated enough to actually find the quote, create a unique display, take a nice photo, and tag a few people who could really use some support. Most of the time, people just Google and post.  Or worse–they just repost. (Isn’t that the opposite of what they’re trying to accomplish??)



For this post, I didn’t even have to make an effort to find a quote. I went to Unsplash (my favourite photo stop), and searched for ‘quotes’. Someone did all the work for me. Easy, peasy. No motivation at all required! It’s beautiful, and it reminds me to stop and smell the roses. I guess it worked. I didn’t have to waste a lot of time finding the nonsense quote, and was able to fully get on with my life with very little hassle.



I want to stop and ask my friends why they’re posting drivel like this.



And then…I realize something. The reason I’ve unfollowed so many people on Facebook is because they rant, or they brag, or they post every single thought and action all day long, until I lose the will to live. But maybe these regular motivational posts–inspired or not–are the bright lights that someone has chosen to shine on the world. These days, there is too much of the dark stuff. We don’t need hatred. We need positivity. We need motivation to do good when everything around us seems bad. We need a reminder on a coffee mug to love each other.



So go ahead and post. Fill up my newsfeed with jaunty little coffee mugs, and ice cream coloured cookies, and babies dressed in adorable clothes. I want to see them all. And I promise I won’t unfollow any of you who do so. (I’m really tired of the weather….)



heidi sinnett




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