Just Frances

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All entries tagged with “inspirations”

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    Caching around Rosshall Park - Apr 8th, 2017
    I’m in Glasgow for a much-needed writing retreat (and a bit of cat-sitting). And one of the things that helps to keep me going on writing-intensive retreats is getting out for mini-adventures. So once I finished today’s to-do list, that’s just what I did—I went on a mini-adventure! [more...]

    Thesis writing season - Feb 1st, 2017
    I am entering thesis writing season now and am really looking forward to the stress and excitement that it will bring. I am not sure how long this season will last, and I’m not sure how my well-being will survive it, but I am really looking forward to it. Not because I’m looking forward to experiencing the stress, but because getting through this season is a massive part of getting to the Doctor Ryan bit of these PhD Dreams of mine. [more...]

    Dangerous widows - Jan 25th, 2017
    When the Dangerous Women Project was launched last year, I immediately found myself wondering if I was a dangerous woman. I wondered if there was anything about my life that could be construed as “dangerous”, or if I was just your average, run-of-the-mill woman. Of course, I knew that just the act of being an outspoken woman who would dare to live an independent life, doing as I pleased, made me dangerous. In that respect, most western women are dangerous—but is that dangerous enough to be called dangerous? (I don't know.) [more...]

    The plastic planet predicament - Jan 15th, 2017
    Anyone paying attention should know by now that the gloriousness of plastic is less than glorious. And, in fact, our planet is in quite the predicament because of it all! Sadly, part of the predicament we’re in is that we can’t really live without plastic in the modern society. Not, at least, at the present. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Right? [more...]

    2017: The year of doing - Jan 1st, 2017
    Welcome to 2017. This is the year. This is the year that so very many very wonderful things are going to happen. This is the year of greatness. This is the year of doing; of getting things done; of success and joy and everything else wonderful. [more...]

    Just published - Dec 7th, 2016
    One of the cool things about having your own blog that is just about you (as Just Frances is) means that I get to shout from the keyboard when I’ve managed to reach a personal goal. So, here goes: This week, I had an academic paper published! (Yes, a successful academic career is a personal goal!) [more...]

    Finding calm - Oct 10th, 2016
    My time at Serenity Lodge is coming to an end, and I am finding that the calming serenity I found here is starting to fade away, too. Not because this has become a less calming place, but rather because I know that the calm will (mostly) end when I re-enter my reality later tomorrow. [more...]

    Serenity now - Sep 29th, 2016
    I’m writing this post from Serenity Lodge, my home for the next two weeks. My view from the deck overlooks the River Devon as it flows through Clackmannanshire on the outskirts of Dollar. It is peaceful, despite the three Labradoodles and chatty parrot I’m sharing the space with, and I am sure the location will help me find a bit of my own serenity! [more...]

    With love from Zadar - Sep 24th, 2016
    I love Zadar! I really do. I arrived here last Sunday for an academic conference and I will be travelling home tomorrow. But in this one week, I fell in love with Zadar. [more...]

    Fostering love - Aug 14th, 2016
    My life was forever changed six years ago, when I opened up my home—and my heart—to a young girl who needed me. The year that followed was filled with the ups and downs of foster parenting, all while still adjusting to my life as a widow. [more...]

    Thesis summer - Jul 1st, 2016
    This summer is Thesis Summer for me. It’s the summer when I must, without excuses, get my head down and write, write, write! Luckily, July and August are two months devoid of conferences, training events, seminars, and other activities that take me away from my focus. So I’ve decided that I will devote them to my thesis; I will devote them to my PhD dreams. [more...]

    Representations of me - Jun 22nd, 2016
    I attended a PhD workshop the other week. It was one of those touchy-feely things where they wanted to talk about coping strategies for balancing life and a PhD. About half-way through the day, we were all handed a lump of grey clay and asked to make a representation of ourselves out of it. And that’s when I realised I really didn’t want to be in this workshop! But I was there, so I had to play along. [more...]

    A letter challenge - Jan 31st, 2016
    It’s that time of year again, so dust off your quills, fill up your ink wells, and grab your parchment—or at the very least, find a Bic and a bit of loose-leaf! Why? Because the annual “A Month of Letters” challenge starts tomorrow! [more...]

    Happy hills - Jan 24th, 2016
    One of my hopes for 2016 is that I can keep myself motivated. Motivate to succeed. Motivated to stay active. Motivated to work harder. Motivated to accomplish many, many goals. And motivated to be happy. [more...]

    Happy milestones [or not] - Jan 21st, 2016
    I have decided to finally read “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar. It’s a book I acquired nearly two years ago, but I’ve never quite got around to really reading it. Instead, I’ve just flipped through the pages from time-to-time. I think the reason I’ve never really read it is that I have always felt odd passing by the self-evaluations (called “time-ins”) and personal exercises. [more...]

    Hopeful butterflies - Jan 10th, 2016
    I want to fly. I want to soar into the sky and touch the Heavens. I want to reach all of my goals; I want to succeed! I know I have it in me, but I often allow myself to let my fears and insecurities take over, preventing me from spreading my wings; preventing me from realising success. [more...]

    Starting 2016 - Jan 1st, 2016
    I woke up this morning ready to start the New Year with hope and faith for a good 2016. Not with the naive notion that this will be the best year I’ve ever had, nor with the belief that it will be a year of nothing but joy and happiness. No, I don’t dream of a perfect year, as I know perfection is a myth. Instead, I simply dream of a year where I am more happy than sad; more healthy than ill; more productive than lazy; more optimistic than bleak. I pray for a year that starts and ends with laughter and friendship. [more...]

    Wrapping up 2015 - Dec 31st, 2015
    With 2015 quickly coming to an end, it’s time for a bit of reflection. And as I look back at my hopes for the year, I am pleased to say that I’ve succeed in all but one of my hopes—the desire to learn how to sew a skirt. But I didn’t even attempt that one, as I realised it isn’t a truly important goal for me. And so, I’m calling the year a success! [more...]

    The holiday hush - Dec 23rd, 2015
    The holidays are here again, and that means I’m facing an extended period of holiday hush. “Hush” because, like most years, I will be spending Christmas and New Year alone again*. Only this year, I’m going to work really hard at not being too hushed. [more...]

    Training month - Aug 1st, 2015
    As September is a month of races, I’ve decided that I should probably make August a month of training for races. And so, I’ve started the month off with a seven mile run and I’m looking forward to increasing my mileage throughout the month. [more...]

    Journaling July - Jul 1st, 2015
    Regular Just Frances readers may have noticed that I haven’t been writing on a regular basis lately. In fact, they may have noticed that I’ve had a couple of irregular writing periods over the last year or two. But I’m going to change that this month by journaling the entire month. (Subscribers, you can unsubscribe if daily posts are too much for you!) [more...]

    Adventuresome - Jun 29th, 2015
    I want to have adventures. Ideally, I want to have some of those adventures with someone I love. Or at least I’d like to have some of those more of those adventures with friends. But since I’ve managed to be an absolute failure in finding new love, and the vast majority of my adventure-having friends are loved-up (or have children or are very busy or all of the above), I only have two choices: Skip the adventures or go on adventures alone. [more...]

    Looking for love - Mar 4th, 2015
    Dating is hard. Dating in your late 30s and early 40s is hard. Dating as a widow is hard. And trying to do all three at once is a massive challenge! (I imagine that had I been blessed with children, dating would be nearly impossible!) [more...]

    Focused in February - Feb 1st, 2015
    I’ve decided to dedicate February to getting back into a good, healthy routine. The idea is this: If I can re-focus enough of my energies, I can spend more of my days feeling accomplished and less of them feeling scattered and lost. [more...]

    Every penny counts - Jan 7th, 2015
    What’s a penny worth to you? Is it worth stopping what you’re doing so that you can bend over and pick it up? What if I told you that one penny could make a real difference in someone’s life? [more...]

    A hope-filled start - Jan 1st, 2015
    Welcome to 2015! It’s a new day; a new year; a new opportunity for happiness and joy! And as always, I’m choosing to start the year off with hope! [more...]

    A year of PhD dreams - Nov 16th, 2014
    Yesterday marked one calendar year since I matriculated as a research student in the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University. It’s hard to believe that more than 15 years after first thinking about a PhD, I’m finally making progress on one! [more...]

    I am; I want - Oct 26th, 2014
    Yesterday’s writing prompt was to write “I am” ten times, then fill in the rest of the sentence. Today’s was to write “I want” ten times, then again returning to fill in the rest of the sentence. I decided to combine the two prompts into one post, as they are ever-so-slightly related. [more...]

    A flourish of hate - Oct 12th, 2014
    Today’s creative writing prompt was simple: Craft a story or a poem based on the metaphor “A flourish of hate”. Only it wasn’t actually simple at all. In fact, it was pretty harrowing. [more...]

    Pride to the power of 10 - Sep 24th, 2014
    My friend, LA, introduced me to The Bliss Scandal so I decided I’d sign up and see what it was all about. To be completely honest, I wasn’t interested in taking most of the challenges. But that’s OK because I think that’s part of finding your bliss: Knowing when to say “no”! Anyhow, today’s challenge was one I was excited about because it was one I needed. And I needed it because it gave me an opportunity to think positively about myself. (Something I’m struggling with right now.) [more...]

    A silly challenge - Sep 23rd, 2014
    Confession: I am a bit of a silly person. And I enjoy being silly. I think being silly is loads of fun! OK, I suppose I didn’t really need to confess that, because I imagine that most people already knew that about me. But in case there were one or two people who didn’t know … it’s been said now. [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: A brave child - Sep 13th, 2014
    [Guest post] It all started when we got back from our family vacation last year. I was getting my then-five-year-old daughter, Destiny, to bed one night when I noticed a bunch of red dots all over her stomach and legs. I asked my partner to come look at it and she said it looked like it could be heat rash, so we decided it was nothing to worry about. A couple days went by and we saw even more little red dots. [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: ITP positive - Sep 11th, 2014
    [Guest post] My ITP adventures started on Friday, July 28th, 2006, and my life changed dramatically from that day. Probably like many other ITP sufferers, I had never before had any serious illness. The diagnosis of ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) was a complete shock. For ages I could not correctly pronounce it let alone understand what it was—but looking back I had probably been suffering from it for about a year before diagnosis. [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: An iceless challenge - Sep 1st, 2014
    Right! It’s ITP Awareness Month again so let’s start raising some awareness! I decided to tackle awareness month differently this year, because I think we need to start shouting a bit louder. After all, sometimes you have to raise your voice to raise awareness. [more...]

    Escaping the comfort zone - Apr 23rd, 2014
    Life begins where your comfort zone ends. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Success, happiness, excitement, love … it’s all found outside of our comfort zone. [more...]

    Your challenge: Build up, don’t knock down! - Mar 27th, 2014
    I woke up this morning and checked my Facebook feed whilst waiting for my snooze-cycle to end. Only what I read angered me so much that I couldn’t stay still for the full 10-minute “bonus rest” and I found myself getting up and pounding out a quick-and-angry reply to the poster. But the anger and rage remained as I went to the kitchen to make my coffee. So today, you get to read a rant. (Yay!!) [more...]

    40 days for my soul - Mar 4th, 2014
    Tomorrow is the first day of the Lent and I am once again finding my soul humbled at the grace of God and my Lord Saviour, Jesus Christ. [more...]

    Keep living until you feel alive again - Feb 23rd, 2014
    “You will feel better than this. Maybe not yet. But you will. You just keep living, until you’re alive again." I heard this quote the other day and it struck a chord with me. The words were spoken on an episode of Call the Midwife by one of the nuns who was offering comfort to a young woman who had just lost her boyfriend and was going away to grieve. [more...]

    Just four years - Feb 15th, 2014
    Just Frances is four years old. Wow! Can you believe that I’ve been spewing this utter nonsense for that long? And if you thought I might be nearing the end of rubbish things to talk about, you’re wrong. (No apologies. If you don’t like it, you can just stop reading!) [more...]

    Prioritising me - Jan 31st, 2014
    When I wake up tomorrow it will be February; the shortest month in the calendar year and my birthday month. Yes, by the end of the month I will finally be a 40-year-old woman. I’m not freaked out about that (yet!) because age is only a number, but I do admit that my birthdays have been (in general) times of personal reflection in recent years. Only this year, the reflection has begun a bit early. [more...]

    Inspiration from writers - Jan 4th, 2014
    Tucked away in a wee close off of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is one of my favourite museums in the city. It’s the Writers’ Museum in Lady Stair’s Close and despite the fact that it’s small and the exhibits don’t change, I find it to be a place of inspiration each time I go. [more...]

    2013: A year in (distorted) review - Dec 31st, 2013
    As 2013 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year’s ups and downs. I’ve been thinking about the good points and the bad points and all of the points in between and I’ve been trying to think of how to recap the year. [more...]

    A little bit of soul - Dec 14th, 2013
    When my friend first invited me to join her for the Edinburgh’s Got Soul concert at The Queen's Hall, I really only agreed because it was a great excuse to see my friend—and because my late husband always said you should never turn down an opportunity to see a live music performance. [more...]

    Am I an imposter? - Dec 4th, 2013
    Last night I went to my first Connect talk, and I was left feeling that I certainly need to connect with Connect a bit more! Connect is for women studying computing, engineering, and the built environment at Edinburgh Napier University and, as I am doing my PhD in the School of Computing, I get to be a part of it. [more...]

    PhD dreams: Week 1 - Nov 22nd, 2013
    It’s been a calendar week since I formally matriculated as a PhD student and a “work” week since my first day as a PhD student. So—as promised—here’s a wee recap! [more...]

    Modern conversations - Oct 20th, 2013
    This evening, I had the awesome privilege of going to a high school play with my way-cool niece (and Goddaughter!) Felicity. And because she thinks I'm way-cool, she let me sit with her and her friends. [more...]

    Falling words - Sep 27th, 2013
    I went to Snoqualmie Falls on my way home from my Olympia/Portland journey and was amused when I noticed words embedded into the steps and sidewalk around the visitors’ centre. I couldn’t find anything about them on signs, so I don’t know if they are meant to form together into a poem, or if they’re meant to spark the imaginations of others—or if they’re just meant to be random falls-related words. [more...]

    Education is Central - Sep 20th, 2013
    I spent a lovely day on the Central Washington University campus today with my lovely niece, Virginia. It was so wonderful seeing the campus all spruced up and ready for the new crop of students (classes begin next week) but it was also wonderful walking around my alma mater more than a decade after graduation. [more...]

    The life of a character - Aug 30th, 2013
    A few weeks before Paul died I began the outline of a book. I was excited about it; Paul was excited about it. He was, after all, the inspiration for the story’s hero. But after he died I realised that I couldn’t write the book as planned. The central story was still there, but the characters would have to change—as would the path that would lead them to the end of the book. [more...]

    To rule the world - May 5th, 2013
    My dream to rule the world began when I was a young child with much smaller aims. I can vividly recall the start of my dream: Whilst taking a cross-country road trip with my family, I noticed that there was a gap between the “Now Leaving [blank] State” and “Welcome to [blank] State” signs. [more...]

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