Friday, May 29, 2015

The Flipside of the Coin

by Suzanne Warr

Every since our move, I've been taking our dog for regular walks.  Usually twice a day for 1-2 miles each, they give him a much-needed break from his new existence as an almost exclusively indoor dog, without a backyard to call his own.  The best part, of course, is they're good for me, too.
  • They give me a break from all the sitting I do as I write and work on editing deadlines.
  • They provide the push I need to get in a bit of exercise.
  • They often provide me chatting time, if I bring a family member along or make a phone call.
  • They give me a chance to get to know random neighbors I'd probably never meet otherwise.
  • They encourage me to explore lakes and parks in my area.
  • They get me out in nature, where I enjoy the beautiful songs of bird, movements of clouds, and greenery that isn't dependent on my scatter-brained watering schedule.
This pic sums the pluses up pretty well.  Even with a cell phone, you can see how gorgeous the lake was the other night!

And I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn't have made it out that evening if I hadn't known the doggie simply must be taken out.  So, this is a situation that's all plus, right?

Well...maybe not.  For one thing, summer's heating up so my window in which it's pleasant outside is shrinking.  Despite our gorgeous NC winters, the same will happen when it gets cold in a few months, and that's a problem since I'm a major wimp about cold!  Additionally, it's often hard to find just the right time, and there are lots of days I'd rather get my exercise/outside time in the pool, or at a no-dogs-allowed park.  I suspect it took my longer to get over my last cold because I couldn't take a total down day.  And, no doubt about it, I could cheerfully do without twice a day picking up bags of poop!

It's at times like this I like to remind myself of the sage advice one professor used to remind us--that you can't pick up one side of the coin without also picking up the other.  There's an opportunity cost for every single choice we make, no matter whether we see it or not.  I know that holds true of my writing, as well.  This is true of picking one pov, two, three, or a dozen to tell my story.  It's true when I decide to tell it in third person past tense, just as it is when I tell it in first person present.  I recently read a book that was in verse, and reviewed it on my blog.  One of my commenters admitted that he hadn't picked it up, despite interest, because it was written in verse.  Aannd he was probably willing to come clean about that because I'd admitted I almost didn't read it for the same reason!  Yet, the verse-style of writing perfectly suited the book and beautifully enhanced the story telling.

There's that flip side again.

So, how do you know which one you should choose?  Is the best option to simply freeze in place, avoiding all choices and all possible opportunity costs?  No, because of course that's also a choice and comes with its own opportunity cost that's pretty expensive.  If we're frozen with indecision we're negating almost all positive outcomes!  So, how to choose?  Can I wave a sparkly pink and green wand of wonder and show you which way you should go?

I'm afraid I can't.  Not for you, and not for me.  But I can tell you that there's a golden-joyful-guaranteed way to be happy with your choice.  And that is--First, trust yourself.  Second, be kind to yourself.  Third, allow yourself to grow.

Only you can know instinctively how to live your life, or write your book.  No one can know that better than you, because if they do have insights and helpful awareness, you'll know they're right when they tell you what they think.  Second, be kind to yourself because sometimes you'll still make mistakes.  You'll misapply a truth, or get over-excited, or simply fall on your face.  None of us are perfect, and these things happen!  Which is why you also need to let yourself grow.  You don't want to be damned up like a little river never allowed to explore, do you?  To be a doll-like being with no upward change in store?  So you have to let yourself grow, and growing requires mistakes and learning and getting it right next time.  If you do that, your opportunity cost will always be bearable, and your coin flip you can exchange for something better.  That's my promise...and you know I'm never wrong. ;)  What are you juggling lately, or having to choose between?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Honoring our Veterans

Many of you may have ancestors that you know fought in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars, Napoleonic wars, etc. 

As I research my family history, I am currently aware of a few for whom I've found draft cards from the first two World Wars. I love finding draft cards. To read their physical descriptions and see their signatures these men become more alive to me. 

There are only two men I've know personally to serve in the World wars. 

My Grandpa Jay on my father's side served in Europe. He was on the beach in Normandy on D-day. He was a translator and hit the beach in a later boat. But I have a sketch of the boats and beach a friend of his did that day as they watched the horror unfold. He passed when I was five. 

My Grampy on my mother's side served in the Pacific. He worked as an x-ray tech, serving on islands like Guam and New Caledonia. He passed when I was 13. 

When I think of the peril in which they lived their lives over those dangerous years, to serve their country and fight for global freedom, I get teary-eyed. Especially when I weigh in the fact that so many men and women didn't return home, families were shattered, and future hopes were destroyed, 

It breaks my heart. 

But, I am one of the lucky ones. Both of my grandfathers survived with all limbs intact, returned to their families and raised children, my parents. Most families cannot say the same. 

So as you go about your picnics and swimming parties on this holiday, please take a moment of silence to honor those men and women, whose faces you know and those you don't, who cared enough to lay down their lives so you could enjoy this moment of freedom.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Carol Blehm's The Power of Positive Query....

Valerie Steimle

This week has been a rough one for me. I even forgot to do my scheduled post as I was in such a quandary... I let outside influences ruin my writing mojo so here I am trying to catch up.  As I was pondering on something suitable for this post I stumbled upon some old notes from a writer's conference.  These notes remind me of a conversation I have had with myself... I can be my own cheerleader and so can you....

by Carol Blehm

"A Cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day. A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song."  Proverbs 15:13 & 15

Do you sometimes think you're guilty of self-sabotage? Do you feel as though you are not in control of your thoughts and actions? Do you have emotions, beliefs, thought patterns, habits you would like transformed?  Is your brain like a computer hard drive that has a virus?

We can't control our subconscious, which is what controls our thought patterns and behavior. We can influence our subconscious by posing positive questions for it to process. These queries short circuit the habitual negative flow and create a new positive thought channel.
When you ask yourself or others negative questions, "Why am I so depressed?", "Why are you always late?" only reinforces what you don't want.  Ask why you have the behavior or feelings you want and they will come. Example:  "Why am I so happy?", "Why are you always on time?"
Counteract criticism - "Why do I have unconditional love for myself and others?"    Acceptance
Overcome doubt:  "Will my  believe in God provide what I need when I need it? -    Believe  

  "Why am I so blessed?" - Release, Gratitude

Overcoming financial stress: "Why do I have enough money to live comfortably while sharing with others the abundance God has given me?" - Abundance


"I can make a decision to be positive and 
love myself, or be negative and 
beat myself up."
Carol Blehm
Writers are the keepers of the words which can 
inspire the world. Inspire someone today!!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Life is Full of Opportunities—Try a Few of Them.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love new adventures. 

Sometimes I study them extensively first and make sure it's something I want to do—owning a bookstore, moving to Australia, and publishing books.

Other times, I jump in without looking back—Eagle Mountain Arts Alliance Literary Director, LDStorymakers Board Member, buying a new house, and driving to California with two friends on short notice to blog about the Writers of the Future Awards Ceremony. Wow, that was a mouthful.

Anyway, most of the time I'm fine with all my craziness. Most of the time, I have things under control and love life and can't believe all these things are happening. And then I think about it—and panic. Just a little. Kind of like when I suddenly panic that I have six kids that are mine to raise.

And yet, I wouldn't change it for the world. I have been able to have more exciting adventures than I ever thought I would. I realized yesterday that just this year I've been to Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California. Amazing!

Find those things you would love to do, and find a way to do them. Dreams can happen, no matter how big or small. Taking over the world might be a tad crazy, but hey, why not? 

Time commitments can make things tough, and honestly, if it's too much, maybe you should wait. But if you can do it, why not? Why not take the plunge and start writing for that newspaper, or join that committee, or help start a group that will better your community? 

Life is to better ourselves and help those around us. If you have something to offer the world, don't be shy. Just do it!

To get back to one of my adventures I mentioned above, we'll rewind a few weeks. I was just sitting on my couch, minding my own business, when a friend of mine asked if I wanted to make a quick trip to California. My first response? Heck, yeah! My second response? Wait, what are we doing there?

Okay, so it probably should have been the other way around, but that's not usually how I work. Anyway, she was looking for bloggers to help out with blogging the Writers of the Future Awards Ceremony, and knew I blog. I talked to a few of my friends, trying to decide if I should go, and the responses were an overwhelming "Hello! Why is this even a question??"

So I did it. I had a signing in Salt Lake, and then we loaded up and headed down for the chance of a lifetime. I got to buy a formal dress, and get all fancy. Something I rarely do. We got to go to Vegas, and then on to LA. I got to walk on a RED CARPET! Okay, so really, I was taking pictures of the authors on the red carpet, but still. I got to talk to big-name authors and interview them. It was amazing. And all because I said yes. 

Now I'm just waiting for that perfect opportunity to head off to Ireland. Who's with me??