A Glorious Sunday Drive

 On my bike.

As strange as this may sound, there’s nothing more relaxing to me than a long bike ride on a beautiful Sunday morning. Of course by the time the 30-mile ride is done, there’s nothing more relaxing than being back home, showered, with a bowl of popcorn and an A&W 10. 🙂

The half-way mark, or the destination where we turn and make the journey back home, holds an REI, Starbucks, and park by the river.  Those things in and of themselves will get me out of bed and on my bike.

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It’s while my feet and legs are pushing the pedals that turn the bike tires, that my mind turns, creating ideas for writing, and connects in conversation with God.

How can one not quickly develop a heart of gratitude for over-the-top blessings when those blessings surround me, filling all of my senses as I drink in the beauty of wildlife and vegetation, and as I inhale the aromas of the flowers, water and trees. I try to avoid the taste of an occasional bug or two, however.

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Even those things that are not extraordinary and go unnoticed on a daily basis, draw a smile on my face.

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A wild turkey? And my first thought wasn’t “Thanksgiving Dinner,” but “Magical.”

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Can’t you just smell the sweet aroma of cherry?

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This little guy was watching me as closely as I was watching him. 🙂

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Unlike babbling voices, there’s nothing quite so serene as a babbling brook.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
— Rachel Carson
As I mentioned in a precious post, I’m heading off to Camp Tuesday morning–Camp NaNo. And it’s there I will get to explore unlimited nature as I create worlds and places yet unknown.  It’s not too late to come along.  🙂

 

 

 

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

Thankful

My top three for the week:

3.)  My faith giving me confidence that my dear friend Guy is home with Jesus after a long, brutal struggle with liver cancer. He’s home and free.

2.)  Amazing friends who make the journey of life so much sweeter.

1.)  Unhurried time and conversation with each of my boys individually, talking about anything and everything, as laughter and hugs abound. I’m so blessed to have my boys! They are so good to their mama. 🙂

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“The most beautiful necklace a mother can wear is not gold or gem, but her child’s arms around her neck.” –Author Unknown

What tops your list for the week?

 

Prioritizing Priorities

Priorities

I’ve come to realize–again–that I’m not super-human and have conceded to the fact that I need to prioritize my life a bit. I’m confidant I’m not alone in that I tend to keep taking on more and more, often without realizing it, until life becomes a little bit of everything done somewhat well and nothing done well. There’s something to be said for striving to be a human-being rather than a human-doing.

When life becomes so busy with everything, it’s hard to fully enjoy anything. 

I began this blog because I was told it’s wise to do prior to publishing in order to build an audience. I quickly discovered, however, how much I enjoy writing these blog posts, saying what I feel called to say, and communicating with other like minded people who love to read and write. The number of people who follow my blog is not nearly as important any more as appreciating and communicating with those who do.

That being said, my life has been feeling out of balance and off-kilter, and I needed to sit back and take stock of where I spend too much of my time and energy, where I’m overextending, and where I need to invest more time and energy.

Electronics without question take up too much of my time and energy. My cell phone and computer can too quickly and easily become an extension of my fingers while I surf the Internet or check emails numerous times a day, play mind-numbing, time sucking games, when I could be spending that time on what is most important to me.

Other than my day job, which is necessary (though not necessarily that particular job, I’ve come to realize), which takes up 40+ hours of my week, my priorities for time spent are as follows:

1.) Time spent with God in prayer and meditation, aligning my thoughts with His will, allowing His love to penetrate my heart that I may love as He loves, and my family – my husband, children, grandchildren, and sponsor children. Being wife, mom, grandma and sponsor is a calling I’m honored to fulfill to the greatest of my ability.

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2.) Working out. Without this piece, the rest of my life – mind and body – fall apart and I can’t be healthy for any of the things that matter.

2.) Writing – first and foremost working on my novels, getting back into poetry, etc. This piece of writing brings me joy and fulfillment like nothing else. Not to mention sanity – and my family appreciates that. 🙂

3.) My blog

  • Writing posts
  • Responding to comments. I’ve made amazing cyber-friends through comments on my blog, and I am so grateful for them.
  • Reading posts – my goals is still to read, but I won’t be able to get to the same blogs every day like I’ve been striving so hard to do. If I want to explore and support other blogs, those who support mine and those amazing, yet undiscovered-by-me blogs out in the blog-o-verse, I’ve realized I need to spread my time out a bit.

4.) Giving some time back to the writing group I belong to, NCW, which has helped my writing see daylight after hibernation.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. “ -Stephen Covey

Here’s to prioritizing and finding balance, a moment, a day, at a time. And discovering peace through living your life by giving the most time to what matters the most.

What are your priorities? Do you often have to reassess? Do you find yourself spending too much time on what doesn’t matter in the scheme of things? Do electronics suck up too much of your time without even realizing it?

(6 more days until Camp! Camp NaNoWriMo. 🙂 )

 

Who’s up for Going to Camp?

Where?

At Camp NaNo. 🙂

Camp Nano 2014

November is National Novel Writing Month but the NaNo team also holds camps in April and July. Though Camp NaNo is somewhat smaller than November’s hoopla, from what I see in numbers, it has grown considerably since its inception.

The difference between the one held in November and April and July’s Camp is the goal for November is to write a 50,000 word novel, while Camp is open and  allows for more leeway. Open, as in anything goes. You set your own word count goal and it can include any kind of writing–fiction or nonfiction, poetry, blogging, memoir…you get the picture. With camp you’re also placed in virtual cabins with other writers; or not if you so choose.

I loved camping as a child, so I’m beyond thrilled to camp where it involves words and writing! Two of my favorite activities! 🙂

Anyone care to join me?

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“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

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My top three for the week:

3.)  An out-of-the-blue phone call from a childhood friend who now lives in Montana. What fun to catch up!

2.)  My shipment of books arriving yesterday! Oh for the excitement! 🙂

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1.)  My son and his wife asking me to be a witness to their marriage. What an honor! Yes, I cried.  🙂  They got married in the courthouse a year ago and are now having their big “church wedding.”

For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

What are your top three – or even one – for the week?

 

 

 

Why Do You Write?

Sandi Ault, author of the bestselling, award-winning WILD Mystery Series, was one of the presenters at the Northern Colorado Writer’s Conference I attended this past March, and one of her sessions was called Writing for Love, Prestige, or Profit.

To say the class was filled beyond capacity is an understatement. We were very cozy with those sitting around us!

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Her class was as packed with useful information as it was with participants. The first thing she had us do is take a few moments to think about WHY we write.  I can’t say that I’ve ever thought about it before, so it was an eye opener.

As the session title basically asks, is our goal to make money, become famous, or simply because we love to write and can’t imagine not writing?

She stated, “If you feel called to do this (writing), its a memo from heaven. Put on your boots and big girl pants and do it.”

She named some of the successful authors and the “why” that drives their writing, among them:

James Patterson – Money

Tom Clancy – Wanted to write about co op missions. (Such a huge loss to the literary world when he died.)

JK Rowling – To bring magic into her life.

As I vigorously scribbled  copious notes, absorbing every word I possibly could, I discovered my “why” is simply because I love to write. While making money at it would be super, and fame could be fun and perhaps validate my efforts, the bottom line is I cannot imagine not writing. And that is what motivates me to keep writing.

Writing makes me happy, it brings me peace, it’s a God-given gift that would be wasted if I didn’t use it.

And in the words of Sandi, once you realize why you write, “honor the why.”

How about you? What is the real honest-to-goodness reason why you write? What is the one thing that gets you to your computer every day?

“Nothing is as real as a dream. The world can change around you, but your dream will not. Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it. Because the dream is within you, no one can take it away.”
― Tom Clancy

The Power of Words

This has been an interesting week for sure. Amidst all the excitement I was feeling about my book being published, I hadn’t even thought of the possibility that others wouldn’t share that joy.

While I don’t believe, for the most part, that people intend to be hurtful, that doesn’t change the fact that words can sting the heck out of someone.

Words

I work in a place that can be fraught with negativity on any given day, and I truly try my hardest to make the room I walk into a better place when I leave than when I got there. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, as some words can suck the breath right out of me.

Like the first time I got an “exceeds expectations” on my annual evaluation and I felt led to share it with a “friend” that also works there. Her words were, “I don’t want to bring you down, but it doesn’t matter what you do around here, it’s whether they like you or not.”

Ouch!

And the first time I received the employee of the month award, and a co-worker stated that it’s only a popularity contest.

Again…Ouch!

Ouch

This past week I hung a flyer up on the refrigerator door in the break room about my book being on Amazon and that I will have copies the week of the 23rd should anyone desire to buy one, well…

Conversation #1:

Co-worker: “So I hear you’re a writer. I read what your book is about and you do know there’s a book/movie with a similar plot line. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.”

Me: “I don’t think I have.”

Co-worker: “When I think of the name I’ll let you know. I’m sure you know it.”

Me: Nothing. Sometimes there simply isn’t a suitable response.

Conversation #2:

Co-worker: “I heard you published a book. How did you do that?”

Me: Nothing.

Conversation #3:

Co-worker: “So I see you published a book. Congratulations.”

Me: “Yes, I have. Thank you so much.”

Co-worker: “I don’t know how you can have the time. I would never have the time to do something like that.”

Me: Nothing.

While the words themselves don’t appear too hurtful, the tone and body language that accompanied them were.

I also received supportive, positive  comments like:

“I like to have friends who are ‘doers.'”

“You really are my inspiration.”

“I’m so thrilled for you!”

In fact the supportive comments were much greater in number.  But negativity can carry quite the punch, leaving the soul battered and bruised without knowing what even happened.

Said flyer came down until my thin skin grows a bit thicker, and I can sift out the harsh criticisms from the kindness.

In the meantime, I pray I’m aware of my words–and the way they’re conveyed–as I write and speak; that my words build another up, rather than tear another down. That they help rather than hurt.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Ephesians 4:29)

And I pray I use the negative for positive, not letting the enemy get his foot in the door. I have stories to tell, and I’m going to tell them. After all, isn’t that what we writers do?

Write on, my writer friends. 🙂

Here is a short video that proves the power of words and is well worth taking a moment to watch.  🙂