Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Staying in the Present Moment

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and working. I’m so excited because spring is finally here. I’ve been able to run outside a couple of times this week and it was wonderful. My tulips are starting to come up and I am so ready for summer it isn’t funny.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about staying in the present moment and appreciating it. We’re so busy trying to achieve our goals that we keep our eyes on the prize and don’t always appreciate the moment we’re in.

I find that when I focus on the outcome I’m trying to achieve; I get frustrated when things don’t go quite as planned or I run into obstacles. I have to remind myself that I need to focus on my goals for the day only. I know what the big goal is, but I have to focus on the steps I need to take to get there. That way I won’t get frustrated because I haven’t gotten to the big goal yet.

By doing this, I’m going to be happier with my present moment and I’ll appreciate it more. That way I won’t be missing any moments with my family and friends.

It’s hard to change the habit of always striving and focusing on the outcome of my actions. So, when I catch myself growing frustrated because I haven’t reached my goal yet, I take a moment and slow myself down. It’s going to happen just not yet. Then if I can, I practice some self-care. I drink some water or take a few minutes and just breathe. This is the way I reset my thinking and change my emotions from being frustrated to peaceful.

How about you? What do you do to change your mindset? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in environment, Personal

What Kind of World are We Leaving Our Kids?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a week of work and writing. I spent last night hanging with the hubby, we got a pizza and settled down to watch a movie. This one was titled, “Dark Waters,” and it’s a must see. It’s based on a true story. One of my favorite types of movies.

It’s the story of Robert Bilott a corporate lawyer who took on the company DuPont. The company had been poisoning the water supply for at least forty years and one farmer figured it out when his livestock started getting sick and dying. (Sorry this is a spoiler alert)

Robert Bilott took the case and was not only able to get a settlement for him, but for quite a few members of the community when it was determined that the water supply of the town was contaminated. Mr. Bilott was able to prove the company knew the drug they had created had contaminated the water and was dangerous to humans. I won’t go into more detail. I don’t want to ruin the whole movie for you.

In my opinion, this is what’s wrong with America today. Too many corporations are worried about making profits at the expense of society. If that farmer hadn’t stood up to Dupont, who knows how long that company would have knowingly continued to contaminate the water supply. They didn’t care about their employees or the community who happened to also be their customers.

This trend isn’t new. Look what happened in the true story ‘Erin Brockovich,’ when a woman with no legal expertise took on Pacific Gas and Electric when they contaminated the water supply of Brinkley, a small California town.  I know the legal system worked, but not before these companies did horrific damage to many lives and our planet.

This has to stop. Greed is ruining our planet. Look at what commercial fishing is doing to our oceans. Not only are they overfishing it, but they’re trashing it by dumping their damaged nets and other garbage into it. Have you heard of the great garbage patch? It’s a big floating pile of garbage in the Pacific. Why doesn’t someone clean it up?

This upsets me. What kind of world are we leaving for our future generations? I don’t want to leave a mess my kids will have to clean up. We need to start taking care of our planet today, and the corporations have the money to do it. I think they should all ban together and contribute a ton of money to cleaning up our oceans. Then maybe we should all stop eating seafood until the oceans rebuild themselves. Then regulate the heck out of the fishing industry. Let’s bring everything back into balance.

I feel we need to go into conservation mode. Let’s do what’s best for the earth and future generations. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m open to suggestions. Any ideas? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Balance and Perspective

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of working and working on my craft. I took some time off to read a craft book this week and I’m glad I did. It was a good book. It’s titled “The Secrets of Story.” If you’re looking for a book to help you with your writing, this book is for you.

The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by [Matt Bird]

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about finding balance and perspective. I struggle with these issues daily because my passion is my writing, but I have a passion for my family, a passion for my work, and I also need to take care of my health by exercising and eating right.

Sometimes, I get frustrated because I can’t write. I have to take care of my kids, fix a meal, or work my day job. Then I have to fit in time for exercise. This is what I struggle with. Many times, I have to choose between exercising and writing. Sometimes I choose writing and feel guilty because I know I should be exercising for my health. It’s a constant battle. Sometimes I do exercise and wish I were writing instead. These negative emotions I experience detract from the enjoyment of my exercising or my writing.

Since I don’t want to have deal with negative emotions, I’ve got to change my attitude, because with my hectic schedule, I’m always going to have to choose between the two. So, when I choose to exercise, I tell myself I’m doing something that’s good for my body, my soul, and my brain. Exercise is a great way to fight depression, burn calories, and get your blood flowing so your brain gets the oxygen it needs. Instead of telling myself I must do this because I want to keep my weight under control or because I ate pizza for dinner, I tell myself my writing will be better if I exercise. This one little change in my perspective allows me to enjoy my exercise and my writing. After I exercise, I have the rest of the evening to write. Therefore, I don’t feel guilty when I’m writing because I know I already exercised.

I’ve also gotten better at defining exercise. I used to feel like I had to run four to six miles at a time before I could call it a workout. That’s not entirely true. I can do strength training and that’s exercise. I can do Pilates and that’s exercise. So is yoga. I’ve been adding these activities to my exercise routine to help build the muscle I’m losing as I age. By adding Pilates and Yoga to my regime, I’ve eliminated my sciatica pain. The difference is amazing, and my writing has improved.

So, there you have it. By changing my perspective about exercise and writing, I’ve been able to enjoy my exercise more. I don’t enjoy it in the beginning. It’s always hard to get started, but by the end, I’m always glad I did it.

I also enjoy my writing more. I don’t feel guilty when I sit down and take some time for my stories. How about you? How do you balance it all? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal

Two of my Favorite Things

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I thought I’d do something fun. I thought I’d share two of my favorite things with all of you today. I like to do these two things to relieve stress. The first one, is reading. I love to read and it’s a great way to unwind after a hectic day at work.

I just finished a great story by an incredible author.  That story is: “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult. The cover and blurb are below.

Small Great Things: A Novel by [Jodi Picoult]

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

“[Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.”—Booklist (starred review)

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My Thoughts:

This was a thought-provoking and timely story. It’s about an Afro-American nurse and a skinhead. Ruth Jefferson is the nurse who helps in the care of Turk’s newborn son. Turk is a white supremist and he insists he does not want Ruth to touch his son.

When his son has complications after a routine circumcision and Ruth is the only nurse available to administer to him, all hell breaks loose when he dies. Ruth is sued by Turk and his family and the story goes on from there. I don’t want to ruin it for you, so I won’t tell you what happens, but it is definitely worth the read. It will have you looking into your own heart to see where your prejudices lie.

This story was amazing just like most of Ms. Picoult’s stories are. It’s definitely worth the read.

The next favorite thing I like to do is hike. I’ve been taking some time this winter to get out of the house more. I usually hibernate during the winter, but since I’ve been working from home, I’ve needed to get out of the house. I’ve been hiking with either some gal pals or my hubby. It’s great to get outside and get some fresh air and the sunsets are amazing this time of year. I’ve witnessed some amazing colors and it’s so peaceful.

Amazing Sunset from A Hike
Amazing Sunset in Grand Haven

Hiking is another great way to relieve stress and get some exercise. It’s good for your mind and body.

So, there you have it! Two of my favorite things, reading and hiking. How about you? What are two of your favorite things? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Ageism, Health, Personal

Ageism in Our Society

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and working. The weather is turning warmer and the sun has been shining brightly which makes me hopeful for spring. I’m ready for some warm weather where I can get back to running outside. I like that much better than running on a treadmill.

I have been able to hike a little more this winter. Spurred on by my need to get fresh air, I’ve hiked with the hubby a couple of times and with a friend a couple of times. Which is about four or five more times than I hiked last winter. I’ve needed to get out of the house because I’ve been working from home, and those hikes by the beach have been a wonderful way to get some exercise and get some time with a gal pal or my hubby.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about ageism in today’s world. Almost 35 million Americans are over the age of 65 and this number keeps growing. In fact, studies have been conducted and that age group is supposed to reach over 20 percent of the population by 2030. I would think companies that manufacture products would heed these findings, but I don’t find evidence of this today.

In fact, I see evidence of the opposite. I find manufacturer’s targeting the younger generations. Especially clothing and makeup companies. They’re spouting the rhetoric that you need to look younger and feel younger to stay in the game.

This just isn’t true, but many older people are buying into this philosophy. Plastic surgeries have been on the rise for the last five years. This saddens me. We should be celebrating the fact we can grow old. It is a privilege denied to many. We should be honoring our elderly and respecting their wisdom. Just like many indigenous tribes did back in the day.

Instead of focusing on looking young, we should be focusing on staying healthy. We should be focusing on the internal and not the external. Experts say the best way to stay healthy is to get as much sunshine, fresh air, exercise, water, healthy foods, and sleep as we can. I agree. It really is that simple.

This would be a great time for a vitamin company to create a product that helps your body and brain stay resilient to the ravages of time. If I had the know-how, that’s what I’d be doing. I would take the focus off of staying younger, and focus on improving the quality of my life as I get older.

How about you? How do you feel about ageism in our society? Has it affected your life? If so, how? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Writing

There are No Guarantees

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. I was able to take some time off yesterday and head to one of the beach towns near me and have dinner with the hubster. After dinner, we went for a walk on the beach. I got some great shots of the sunset and it was nice to get some fresh air. It was good to get outside. Other people had the same idea because the beach was packed and there was a lot of traffic, much like the traffic on a hot, sweltering day.

Photo from last night’s walk

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about something that I feel many writers struggle with, including me. And that is, the fact there are no guarantees. You can be the best writer in the world, but your story may not be what agents and publishers are looking for. It’s a bitter pill to swallow especially after you’ve spent so much time writing the story, then editing it, and rewriting parts of it. Sometimes, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth all the time and effort you’ve invested in it.

But when you really think about it, there are no guarantees in anything in life. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a job in your field of study once you graduate from college. There’s no guarantee that the person you’ve invested so much time with will be the one you end up in a long-term relationship or marriage with. There are really no guarantees for anything in life.

That’s why, you have to enjoy the process. You must enjoy the act of writing. Of putting sentences together to form a story in order for it to be worth it. It can’t be all about the result. We all want to be bestselling authors, but we don’t know if we’re going to get there or not. All we can do is put the time in, write, and hope.

But if you enjoy the act of writing, you can do it just for the pure joy of it. You can see your own growth even if the rest of the world doesn’t appreciate it. When you can get to that point, it doesn’t matter whether or not the public appreciates your work, you do. So keep writing. Besides, there are other avenues available to authors these days, like self-publishing. But that’s another blog post for another day.

So, keep writing and hoping. You’ll get where you need to go. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Are you writing for the pure joy of it? How do you overcome the end result blues? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Celebrate the Small Victories

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of being in the editing cave and working. I’m excited to say, I’ve got my edits done and this story is going to stick. I’ve changed the story so many times, I’ve lost count, but that’s okay. It’s better because of the changes I’ve made.

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about celebrating the little victories in life. They’re so important because one they are your wins, and two because it may take you a long time to achieve that big victory.

It can get depressing waiting for that new job or for that agent to recognize what a gem your manuscript is. So, my advice is don’t wait. Celebrate those little victories Meet a friend for lunch or have your hubby take you out to dinner. It’s important to step away and take a few moments to revel in how far you’ve come even if you have a long way to go.

It’s also important to celebrate these small victories because it gives us a moment to check in with the important people in our lives. We get so busy working toward our goals that we sometimes get tunnel vision and ignore them. Don’t do that. Let them be a part of your celebration. Our families are important. We need to let them know they’re more important than any goal we may be trying to achieve. So, let them participate in your small victories with you. They’ll feel like they’re contributing, and they are. It’s just their contribution isn’t tangible.

Now our goals don’t have to be just about work or a creative endeavor. They can be about our health or maybe travel. These goals are just as important and need to be celebrated, too. For example, losing ten pounds to keep from becoming diabetic. That’s an important goal that needs to be acknowledged also. Or maybe planning a family vacation. That’s important, too.

I think you’re seeing the trend here. We can’t get tunnel vision waiting for a big promotion or the acceptance of a creative endeavor. We need more than one goal to sustain us. So, if we don’t make that big goal, we’re okay because we’ve achieved and celebrated all these other goals on the side.

That way we can keep moving forward with a positive attitude. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! What small victories have you forgotten to celebrate? What are you going to do to celebrate? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Where to Find your Writing Family

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s Valentine’s Day and I hope you have a happy one. Hubby and I went out for a quick dinner last night. It was good to get out of the house and spend some time just the two of us. The dinner was quick because it was snowy and cold, and we had a nice warm fire waiting for us at home. That fire was hard to resist.

But enough about that. Today, I want to express my appreciation to the writing community. I haven’t done a writing post in a long time, but I felt today was an appropriate day to do so. The authors I’ve met in person and online have been amazing. They’re always willing to help, share their knowledge, and provide support. I appreciate that so much. I’ve been working on my latest WIP for a long time now, and I must say I’m proud of it. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the help I’ve received from my writing family.

So, if you’re working on a novel, I would recommend reaching out to other authors in your area or online to offer their guidance. Writing can be a lonely job and it’s always good to connect with like minded people who understand what you’re trying to do. To find a writing group, call your local library and see if they know of any in your area.

There are also mentor programs online. I’ve worked with one Author-Mentor Match and it was amazing. We’ve created a family where we offer support and advice in our group. They provide critiques and encouragement and when we get involved in twitter pitch contests, we are there to retweet each other’s pitches. I’ve never experienced so much support in such a competitive environment. Another well known Mentor program is Pitch Wars, and I’ve heard they’ve had great success as well. So, thank you to my writing family. I appreciate all your support and encouragement.

So, if you’re looking for fellow authors a good place to start is Twitter. Start following the hashtags #amwriting and #writingcommunity. That’s where we find each other.

So, come join us! We’re here for you!

Where do you go to get your support? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!