Thursday, January 31, 2013

What are you fighting?

“Stop fighting a fight, it’s already been won.”
From “I am redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave

I’ve heard this song on the Christian radio station hundreds of times, but never listened to the words. The other night, driving home from work, these words really caught my attention.

Whether you’re a Christian or not, don’t you ever feel like you are fighting something that really isn’t worth it, or it’s not even your battle, or it’s over and done with and you still are hanging onto it? Maybe someone unintentionally hurt your feelings years ago and you still remember it, you still hold a grudge against that person. Or maybe you didn’t get the job you felt you were so qualified for. Or maybe your spouse has been cheating on you and your heart just feels so filled with hatred that you can’t see straight.

There are a hundred different scenarios and we have each had one whittling away at us. And where has that gotten us?

Whatever you are keeping inside of you, whatever is eating at you, let it go. Stop fighting something that may or may not even be there.  The battle is over and done with.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Who do you remember? And who do you miss?


Looking back, there have been so many people who have come and gone in my life. Starting with my grandpas who both died before I was born.  I was only two and a half when my mom’s mom died, so I don’t remember her either. The only pictures in my head of my mom’s parents are from the old home movies which Dad took at every holiday through the fifties and sixties.

Even though I was old enough that I should have some memory of her, I really don’t remember much of my dad’s mom. Again, I mostly see her in the grainy home movies, her hand to her face, trying to hide from the camera. She had been born in Germany in 1888 and had traveled to this country alone with her four youngest children. She buried her first husband in 1929 and her second one in 1934. It makes me very sad to think that there is no one alive who can tell me about either of these men. I haven’t gleaned much about them from the internet, but when I have time, I will hunt some more.  

Grandma had a hard life, there is no denying that. She was a tough old kraut though, and it sounds like she could be bullheaded and ornery. My mom still has her passport from when she immigrated to the United States in 1924. I gotta tell you, I resemble that picture an awful lot. I think I inherited more than just my looks from her. 
Grandma in 1955.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Let's see your before and after.








                       
For the month of January, a blogger friend of mine is evaluating a different Pinterest idea each day. Her topics have ranged from doing crafts to cooking to how-to's. One of her posts was about the before and after pictures that you see of the stars in the tabloids. Do the stars really look that bad without their makeup on? And how do we - the nobodies - look with and without our makeup.

This is a tough one for me, but I accepted the challenge.




Personally, I don't think I know how to put on makeup. But in general, I think that the women in the before and after pictures (myself included) look older with their makeup on. What do you think and are you up to this challenge?

Thanks Michelle for the idea.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Who's got your back?


God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. 
Psalm 46:1 New Living Translation

I did something really stupid this week, so stupid that I haven’t told anyone except for my husband and I had to tell him. I didn’t know what to write about this morning and then God said, “You remember that thing you did this week?” To which I said, “I cannot tell the world about that, everyone will think I am an idiot.” God didn’t say anything to that, but I knew what He was thinking, so here it goes.

I am sure that you get your share of “junk mail” email, no matter how much computer protection you have against that kind of thing. I kept getting an email for a free Kohl’s gift card worth $500. I finally gave in and thought I would just check it out.

I answered the simple survey questions and the thing pop ups saying that I have only a few steps left and this gift card worth $500 will be on its way to my address. What pops up next is this window saying, simply pick two of these great deals from our gold package.

It is a list of “free” samples such as teeth whitening or acne medication or Disney books. For the cost of shipping and handling (anywhere from $1.04 to $5.95), they will ship my “free” sample. I don’t have to do anything after that and they will continue shipping my monthly supply of whatever this is and charge my credit card until further notice (to the tune of from $54.95 to $95.95 per month). I thought, OK, I can do this, I just have to be sure to cancel this thing as soon as I get it.

After I chose my two “free” samples, the next window pops up saying, simply pick two of these great deals from our platinum package. I thought, oh, nuts, but I am in this deep already, so I might as well keep going.

So I made my selections, having already lost my excitement over the free $500 gift card. The next window pops up saying, simply pick four of these great deals from our premium package. Well, I had to admit defeat. I had been pulled in and whipped. It was time to cut my losses, wait for my “free” stuff in the mail and hope I had the time and energy to cancel all this stuff.

Then the phone rang. Nuts, I thought, this cannot be good. I checked the caller ID. No, this is not good, I decided, but I have to answer it anyway.

“This is your credit card company. Did you just authorize four on-line transactions, ranging between $1.03 and $5.95?”

“Yes, I did.” I saw light at the end of the tunnel. “And I messed up. Can you cancel them all?”

“No, I can’t since you did authorize them. But I can cancel your credit card and issue you a new one so that these companies can’t make further charges.”

I wanted to crawl right through the phone line and give him a hug.

I know that most people would say that I have decent credit card protection, but I would argue that I have better protection than that. God looks out for me in everything I do. No matter how stupid or how seemingly trivial, He’s got my back.

Thank you Lord, for being there in my every time of need, for not judging me when I make mistakes, for picking me up when I trip and fall. Amen 

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Trip to Brights Pond


As seems to be my recent trend in book reading, I discovered the Brights Pond series through a social network. I can’t remember if it was Facebook or a blog, but I just love Joyce Magnin’s little village of Brights Pond.


I started with Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise, downloading it when it was free on the Kindle. Even though it is the second book in the series, I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything, except for reading about earlier adventures of the lovable characters who live in Brights Pond.

My next find was Griselda Takes Flight, the third novel of Brights Pond. Equally entertaining, I met even more of the town’s quirky residents.  

These books are a look back at a simpler time, a time when winning the biggest pumpkin contest was the most important event in town. Or when a women’s softball team didn’t have to be sponsored by a tavern. Or when we all knew that prayers would always be answered.

I have yet to read the first in the series, The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, but that is on my to-do list. Anyhoo, if you like to read a book that is a total escape, full of clean fun, good humor, eccentric folks and even a lesson or two, the novels of Brights Pond are for you. All of Joyce’s books are available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It will all work out.


“Sometimes you just have to go for it and sometimes you have to wait and it sure is hard trying to decide which it is. But no matter what you do, you have to tell yourself that it’s the best decision you could make at the time. And then you go on…I don’t believe you should regret any decision you make. But that’s the way I am. Maybe I can’t admit that I’ve made a mistake. But whatever happens, it’ll work out or you make it work out.”

Somehow I had it in my head to share an Albert Einstein quote tonight. But I couldn’t decide on one and then when I found one I really liked, I couldn’t decide what to say about it. Then I thought that my sister Pat had written something similar to one of his quotes and thought I would compare the two. And by that time I was so confused and an hour had passed and I had nothing to show for it.

But as it turns out, this quotation by my sister Pat kind of fits the bill. Why do I obsess some nights about what to blog about? I mean, if it is that difficult, maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe some nights, I just don’t need to bore you with my blog. Maybe no words are better than stupid words. But whatever I write about, it is not life or death. Right? And it will all work out. 
And still not a day goes by that I don't miss her. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Smile"

 Remember the big catch-word of the early 1970s? “Smile” and everywhere you saw a smiley face. Not to be left behind, my parents (or was it Santa?) bought me my own Smiley for Christmas, 1971.

Up until that point I don’t remember who shared in the many adventures of Randy and Dandy (my sister Pat’s two stuffed bears). But by the time Smiley came along Pat would have been 12 years old, so I think she was maybe backing off on that whole make-believe world we once lived in. I obviously remained in that world for a while.

I slept with Smiley for years. One morning I woke up and his eyes were missing. I believe that sometime in the night, during a bad dream, I pulled those little yellow eyes right off.  I couldn’t look at him until somebody (I can’t remember who) glued them back on. 
 That clock, by the way, hangs in my living room today, even though it doesn't keep time anymore. Bonus points if you can tell me who that is on the album cover behind Pat.

For being 41 years old, he doesn’t look too bad today, does he? 

Monday, January 21, 2013

What is beckoning you?


When I decided to challenge myself to write a blog post every day for the month of January, I assigned myself to write a poem on Mondays. All my brain can think of right now is that it was chilly outside today and that seemed to be all that anyone could talk about. I do not want to write a poem about a cold Wisconsin winter. My brain told me not to sweat the poem-thing and to wander around some files on the laptop. I came across one titled "Journal Entries".

On New Year’s Eve, 1976, I started keeping a journal. I think I filled ten notebooks over the years, mostly with teen angst, mind-numbing ramblings and various drivel about my boring life. At one point I started typing certain entries into my laptop, for no reason whatsoever. Here is the first entry I read tonight.

  Journal entry  08/04/1983
  Dearest Journal
  Way back when I was just a kid I thought the thing to do would be to go to UW-Stevens Point for journalism, get my degree and then turn to fiction writing.  When you see all these big time authors, their biographies always say they have a Bachelor’s degree (or sometimes a Master’s) in journalism or English. So I thought I’d maybe stick out four neat sweet years of college and then I’d be a writer.
   But there were so many things that got in the way, but mostly I got in my own way. All the signs were there telling me to keep going, to make something of my life. Everything fell into place, but I fought it all the way. And still am.
   Oh, dear sweet Journal, yet another door has swung open at my bidding and just inside is someone calling my name. But I’m not sure of the blueprint of the building beyond.
   When the mail came, there was a letter for me.  “I am pleased to inform you that your admission to UW-Madison has been approved.”
   But do I really, really want to go? Tomahawk will always be here and I’ll always come back when I am scared and cold and tired.

Seriously, that’s exactly what I wrote thirty years ago. The day that letter came in the mail, I had already completed two years of college at UWC-Marathon County and one year at UW-La Crosse.  In my heart I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but the rest of me was still stuck.

What do you think? Why do we always hesitate when that door opens and the unknown beckons us to enter?
I don't know how many stories and poems I typed on this old thing. 



Sunday, January 20, 2013

What's our expiration date?


 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. John 5:24 (New Living Translation)

Hydrogen peroxide? I don't think so. 



Rubbing alcohol? I really don't think so.


This past week, I cleaned out the linen closet. I complain that my husband is a pack rat, but I guess I save a few things too. But I don’t want to be wasteful. So which of these items do you feel really need to be thrown out?


Chapstick? Does it expire or just dry out?
Contact solution? Yea, that probably expires.


Baby poweder? What is there to expire?
Some kind of tooth gel? Maybe. 

I think we can all agree that some things expire and some things don’t. And some things clearly need an expiration date and other things, in my opinion, don’t.  But what about us?  What is our “out-date”?

What was the whole hoopla about the end of the Mayan calendar? Didn’t it say the world would end on December 21, 2012? Apparently that was not our expiration date. Even Jesus did not know when the world as we know it would end and He would return in glory.

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. Matthew 24:36 (New Living Translation)

Lord, let us live each day as it comes without worrying about tomorrow. Let us just be ready when You do return. Amen

Friday, January 18, 2013

Return to Book Review


In February 2010, when I first started blogging, I wasn’t quite sure how to find other bloggers with like interests. I was just new to Facebook, too, so I didn’t find much there either. I did a few searches on Blogger and one of the first blogs I found was “Thoughts from a Bag Lady in Waiting” by Linda Myers. At the time, she was counting down to retirement and I was counting down to getting up the nerve to just up and quit my job, so I thought that maybe I could glean some wisdom from her blog. She also likes to travel, so I thought that was another bonus.

At the time, she also had it in her head to write a book. Over the last years, having found lots of other blogs to read, I kind of have neglected the Bag Lady. When I would check in with her I noticed that her book was coming along and then suddenly I discovered it was out. I thought that due to my neglect I really owed it to the Bag Lady to get her book, so I downloaded it on the Kindle last week and barely put it down until I had finished.

“Return to Viet Nam: One Veteran’s Journey of Healing” was not at all what I expected. I knew it was the story of how Linda’s husband Art returned to Viet Nam as a way of dealing with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I never realized just how complex the disorder is and how it effects everyone in your life.

Using a journal format, and including perspectives from everyone else involved, Linda shares the journey that she and her husband made to Viet Nam and back, both the physical journey and the emotional one. She describes the fascinating country of Viet Nam and how it is still struggling from the effects of the war. She even includes her own failings on the trip (something I so can relate to).

I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who has served during any war, the loved ones of anyone who has served, and anyone who is interested in Asian culture and history. This book is available from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, both in paper format and e-reader. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

A long while back, I promised that on Thursdays I would share a saying, some song lyrics or an interesting sign which I spied somewhere in my travels. I've been neglecting the sign aspect. I haven't run across any lately which warrant an entire blog post, but here are some from the archives. 
This is at the city park in Houghton, Michigan. Doesn't this look like a lot of fun? But remember, kids, go down feet first.
I don't know about the aspargus salad, but I'd like to try one of Ken's pot pies.
But do those vehicles and their trailers need to be upside down?
 Bicycles? I think these are really wooden shoes.
Oh, the bicycles are in the background.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mrs. Tuttle


During the month of December, one of the bloggers I follow shared daily some of the toys which she had as a youngster. I had some of the same dolls, same games and same books. It was a great flashback and I thought that someday I would get out the old toys and share them with you. Then I realized that I really don’t have many of those old toys left. Or I don’t know where I stored them.

This afternoon, while cleaning out the linen closet I came across this great find.

Her name is Mrs. Tuttle. Yes, she is a little ratty but at 46 plus years old, I think she is managing. The story as I remember it is that my sister Pat and I were spending the night in Wausau with our much older sister. Judy is 15 years older than me and was working at a bank and living in an apartment building which is long gone. She bought me and Pat each a stuffed animal. Mine was the turtle and Pat’s – well it really wasn’t a stuffed animal.

It was this hideous plastic snake. If you can picture a Hawaiian lei where the flowers are four inches in diameter but flat and green, white or yellow thick plastic, and when spread out this thing is five feet long, that is pretty close to what that thing looked like. Hideous.  I don’t remember what Pat named the snake, but it had many adventures with Mrs. Tuttle and our other stuffed friends, who I suppose I will now have to tell you about next time. 


Monday, January 14, 2013

January poem #2



Another day of trying
Another day with lots of sighing
Another day to end up crying
Another day you feel like dying
You wonder when it all will end
You wonder how you can help this mend
That’s when you fall and stumble
When you feel lost and humble
There’s only one place left to go
That’s into the arms of your God and Lord.

A couple nights ago I woke up with someone singing the above lyrics in my head. Does anybody recognize these words? I really hate to steal them, but I thought I better check. I think that whoever that is who lives inside of my head wrote this and felt the urge to wake me at three am so that I could jot down the words. Too bad I don’t know how to write music or I would’ve written that down too, but the tune is lost forever. Or at least I hope it is because if I wake up another night with this in my head I will be seeking psychiatric help.

I think that most writers have been awakened in the night with a great scene from their book in their head, and they have to get up to write it down. Does anyone know if song writers wake up with new songs in their heads? Just wondering. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Where do you go when you are sick?


Those who help the poor succeed will get many blessings.
    When trouble comes, the Lord will save them.
The Lord will protect them and save their lives.
    He will bless them in this land.
    He will not let their enemies harm them.
When they are sick in bed,
    the Lord will give them strength and make them well! 
Psalm 41:1-3Easy-to-Read Version

Since Tuesday, my daughter Val has been fighting the flu-bug. I went down to see her on Friday and she just wanted me to bring her home. I don’t care how old you are, when you are sick, don’t you just want to go to Mommy’s house?

So for the last two days, she has curled up on my couch during the day, watching movies and sitcom reruns. I have pretty much parked myself on the other end of the couch. Because why else does a baby girl want to come home when she is sick if not to have Mommy on the couch with her. 

The last two nights, I have been lying awake in my own bed listening to her cough. The poor baby. What I wouldn’t give to take this illness away from her, even if it meant me getting sick. I just want her to be healthy and full of life again.

Our heavenly Father looks at us the same way. He doesn’t want us to be sick or to suffer. He wants us healthy and happy. So much so that He sent His Son to take our illness away. We may think that sometimes we do suffer here on this Earth, but it is nothing compared to the pain we would endure if God hadn’t already saved us from our sins.

Thank you Lord for being the ultimate Physician. You not only heal our broken bodies, You heal our broken souls. Amen  

It's tough seeing this beautiful child not feeling well.
(This picture is from four years ago, by the way. I wouldn't dare take a picture of how she looks now.) 

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Inside Scoop on Writing Book Reviews (not really)

Last summer a writing friend of mine invited me to a writers conference at Country Memories Farm in Manitowoc. It was a wonderful weekend of learning more about the craft of writing, as well as making new friends.

One of the speakers, Debby Erdmann, shared the story of the road her own book took to publication. At the time, I could only hope that would be me one day, and now with my book out there, I can certainly relate. At the end of the day I had to buy her book, "The Inside Scoop on God".

This is the part that I am so bad at when I write a book review. How can I tell you how much I enjoyed this book? I really really loved this book. I laughed, I cried, I said, "Yes, this is me!" I make the same mistakes and I ask the same questions. I wonder what God is all about and does He really care about my dog and my cats and the roof of my house? Is is ok to ask Him that the new Christmas cookie recipe turns out good or to thank Him for rain on the day of that picnic I didn't want to go to?  What does He really think of me and how is it possible He loves me as much as He does?

If you have had similar thoughts you will be able to relate to Debby's amusing stories.



Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Best


Just for today, I will appreciate myself. I will not look to others for approval; I will provide it for myself. I’ll allow myself to recognize that I am doing the best I can. Today my best is good enough.
“Courage to Change: One Day at a Time in Alanon II”

If you have been reading this blog since the beginning, you have followed most of my life story. There’s a big piece which I left out and that was intentional.  In true-life movies, they say that certain facts have been changed to protect the innocent, but I really do want to protect the guilty too.

Back in 1988, when my first husband totaled the truck, I finally convinced him that our lives were out of control and said that we needed help. He agreed to AODA counseling and I started going to Al-anon. Whether you live with someone who abuses drugs or alcohol or not, a lot of the concepts of Al-anon (and AA as well) apply to numerous aspects of our lives.

 Keep It Simple ~   One Day At A Time ~ Let Go And Let God Easy Does It 
 ~ But For The Grace Of God, there go I ~ Let It Begin With Me

Though I haven’t been to a meeting in many, many years, my “Courage to Change” book is still on my nightstand. Last night, God pointed me to it and I opened it to the verse above.

I’ve been kind of hard on myself lately – ok, basically when have I not been hard on myself? I think that I have to be perfect all the time and that everything I touch must also end up perfect. Guess what? Life ain’t like that. And imperfection is totally acceptable. Our best may not be THE best, but it is still our best. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dino wishes you a belated happy Christmas

Well, it is about time that Mom got off this computer for a few minutes so that I can post pictures of myself. She has been such a computer hog ever since she got a publisher for her book. I am even amazed that she took the time to take pictures of me (and I guess the rest of the family) over Christmas. Don't you think that she needs a break?
 Here I am with my boy Nick. He is trying to teach me something. Silly boy, I already know all the tricks I need to know.
 My girl Val got something called a French rolling pin. Weird. It looks like a good stick to play fetch with.
 Mom, are you trying to distract me?
 Coz, I am on to your wicked ways. I know there has to be something for me in one of these presents.
Ahh, the best of times. Me distracting Mom when she is trying to type on her computer.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January poem #1

For some crazy reason, when I accepted the Ultimate Blog Challenge and committed myself to post a blog a day, I decided that on Mondays I would write a poem. I know, what am I thinking? I can't write poetry. Yet, by studying poetry, by stringing stingy words together line by line, any writer can become more attune to the finer aspects of description.

A friend of mine from Green Lake Writers Conference offers up a monthly poetry challenge. This month's challenge inspired me to pen not one but two verses. The longer one is submitted to Wilda's challenge, but the second one I share here.

I wrote a blog on this subject once. After you have absorbed these lines, check this blog post to clarify my imagery. And then let me know if you think I am completely daft. 


Dad’s New Safe

Big sister
Big safe
Little sister
Big gullible

“I promise I won’t close the door,
Just see if you fit.”

I fit

“But I have to close the door,
To see if you really fit.”

Life flashes before my eyes
It is not more than five seconds
Till I see daylight again
Can breathe again

Big sister
Best friend
Really?
Little sister
Desperate for friends
I would say. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Who's in your Manger?


I was going to write about the gift of the Magi or maybe something to do with the twelve days of Christmas, since it is the twelfth day of Christmas today. I went on-line to do some research and came across this story. Click on this link for the entire article. It is taken from the website of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New Rochelle, New York. 


In 1994, two Americans traveled to Russia to teach morals and ethics in prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. During the Christmas season, they shared the story of the first Christmas with the 100 orphans at the orphanage. Then they helped the children to recreate their own nativity scenes using scraps of fabric, cardboard and paper napkins.

One of the Americans watched as one six year old boy, Misha, finished his project and put two cloth babies in the manger. Through the translator he asked the young boy to explain why where there were two babies.

Misha accurately retold the story of Jesus birth until he got to the end of the story. This is what he had to say:

"And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay.
   "I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift.
   "So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me."
"So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him---for always."

The volunteer who wrote this story went on to write:

As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed.
    The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him-FOR ALWAYS. I've learned that it's not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

...Amid the Chaos

In the spring of 2011, my husband got a new job – a fulltime one with benefits. Yeah! But that meant that he wouldn’t be able to take off for a summer vacation. We had already made plans and it wasn’t until the week before that I cancelled our reservations and sought out something for myself to do that week. Just like the Green LakeChristian Writers Conference, I had known for years that the town just up the road from us held a School of the Arts each summer. This weeklong school offers courses in photography, painting, other visual arts, and writing. I had always thought about attending but it never worked out.


Low and behold the week I was off in July 2011 was the week in which the UW-Madison was hosting the annual School of the Arts in Rhinelander. I gave them a call and signed up for a class in marketing your writing.

There were not one but two other participants from my home town. One of them, Mark Gaedtke, had been writing a weekly column for our paper for years. I think that I knew he was working on compiling those columns into a book, but it wasn’t until that workshop that I really learned much about it.

Needless to say, when Mark’s book came out a few months back, I downloaded it onto my Kindle as soon as I was able. My husband fed my reading fix by buying the paperback version a few weeks later.

“Harold's Boys: Observations,Opinions, and Outright Lies from Amid the Chaos” is a wonderful book. It shares the many adventures and misadventures of growing up in rural America during a time when kids truly were innocent and naive, when kids had lots of siblings and one mom and one dad. I suppose I am biased, as this book is based in the town where I too grew up, but I think that anyone who was a kid during the sixties and seventies could relate to the many stores shared in this book. And it was all good clean fun. 





























“Harold’s Boy” is available on line at both Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble . 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Clearing the thoughts


At Green Lake Christian Writers Conference last summer, one of the things our instructor encouraged us to do was to spend the first waking minutes writing the first thoughts that came to mind. That sure didn’t work for me; my first waking minutes are spent in a complete daze. But it was great to spend that week at the Conference spending ten or fifteen random minutes each day writing the first thing that came to mind. It is a good exercise to get the creative juices flowing.  

Unfortunately, that entire ten or fifteen minutes of random writing went right out the window as soon as I got home. With so many other things to write, who has time to write off the top of your head?


I think I need to try to reestablish that practice, if only as a form of journaling to clear the thoughts. And heaven knows, I need my thoughts cleared a lot. Just like Mary, our Green Lake instructor.  
Whenever I am feeling down all I have to do is think of this picture of Mary and I start to laugh!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What are you driving?


“Writing is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. Doctorow

Isn’t all of life that way, though? We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we don’t know what is around the next curve. All we can do is keep going.

I joined yet another writing challenge, the Ultimate BlogChallenge. The goal is to post on your blog every single day the entire month of January. I have a tentative outline for all of those days, but it seems that things in my life keep changing, evolving. Just like the novel I had been trying to write (and have sadly neglected the last month and a half), I don’t know what’s around the corner. But I will keep driving this crazy car called “the aspiring writer”. We will see where I end up. 




Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wow! Big News


I’ve been really trying hard to get some good solid goals established for writing in 2013. I even submitted a piece to a magazine last night. I keep telling myself that I have to get back to my novel. I tell myself I need to get going on all these other projects.

Then this afternoon I got a message on my cell phone from my publisher. He was so excited. He said something like, “Great news. I was just checking the best sellers’ lists and your book is number two on one of the lists. This is cause to celebrate. We don’t know how long it will be there, but this is definitely something to watch.”

I should not check my voice mail or my e-mail while I am at work. Sure, it is a company policy, but everyone does it – not that that makes it right. I won’t go there. But for me, getting a message that exciting, when I still have to work for another two hours, well, it makes it hard to focus.

So that’s really all I have right now. My brain is fried. No, not really. Actually my brain is bouncing all over the place. The marketer in me is saying that I really have to jump on this and use this little fact to publicize my book like crazy right now while I can. The rest of me says, can’t we just go to bed early for a change?

(And as I post this, the book has already slipped to number three. I am sure not cut out for this kind of stress. Good thing Dino will love me no matter how the book does.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 1, 2013


It is a good thing that the date and time show up in the lower right hand corner of my laptop. Otherwise I would never know. (At the clinic where I work, we are supposed to ask our Medicare patients if they know what day it is – I have to take their word for it.)

So here we are on January 1. A new year. I have been trying to get my thoughts on the New Year, write down some resolutions, you know, the usual stuff. But I still haven’t gotten my mind around 2012! I’m thinking that I should recap last year before plowing into this year.

If you have been following this blog, though, you are probably sick and tired of hearing about my big accomplishment of the year and of my life time – publishing a book. But have I shared my deep secrets about this? Since deciding in the third grade that I wanted to be a writer, I never thought I would write something considered non-fiction. 

I had all these stories in my head, romance and mystery and adventure and more romance. The thing is I can hardly stand to read romance, what makes me think I can write it? Yet, in the novel I am currently working on there is this couple who want to be romantic and I keep telling them to knock it off, their time will come. Funny how things turn out.

Anyway, so that is my big recap of the year. I like to keep my posts short because I only like to read other bloggers’ posts that are short. And of course I have to include a picture.  

I don't have any pictures of New Year's in my archives so here is Christmas 1967. I am on the left and my sister Pat is in the middle. I would have just turned six at the time, so wasn't writing too much yet. But you can tell by the look on my face that I am already formulating a story in my head.