Posted in Personal, Writing

Do you have Grit?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after an exciting week of work and the wedding of my nephew. It was a beautiful wedding, and it was so good to see members of my family that I haven’t seen in a while. My boys were able to hang out with their cousins which is important for that family connection, and I got some awesome pictures of all the cousins together.

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about Grit. That’s right. That little extra something that everyone needs in life to succeed.

Definition via Google:

Grit: Courage and Resolve. Strength of Character.

To be great at anything you need grit. To be a professional basketball player you need it. To be a CEO you need it, and to be a great writer you need grit. If you have that strength of character, you will be able to keep going when the going gets tough. Grit means you go for the gold even though there’s no guarantee.

That’s the hardest part. To keep going when there’s no guarantee that your dreams will come true. But that’s the only way to get there isn’t it? So, like the professional basketball player you practice, and practice, and practice some more.

It’s the same with writing. You keep writing even though your story may never see the light of day. You keep writing because the story and the characters have become a part of you just like the basketball player plays because he doesn’t know anything else.

That’s where we have to be as a writer. We need to take risks and write stories that make people take notice. Maybe even write stories that make them uncomfortable. That’s where your gold is. That’s why you write. So, keep writing and build that grit muscle. You have that story in you and the only way to get it out is by putting pen to paper or fingers to your keyboard.

There are ways to develop grit. One way that I strongly recommend is to work with a mentor or writing group. People who are invested in your success.  These people will help you hone your skills.

Another way to develop grit is to take classes, go to writer’s conferences, and read books. Read craft books, like Stephen King’s “On Writing.” Or “Story Engineering,” by Larry Brooks.  All of these things will help you hone your craft and develop grit.

How about you?

Do you have that strength of character? The resolve to get it done at all costs? How do you develop your grit muscle? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, reviews

Forced Family Fun and Top Gun

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy editing my second story and working. It was a productive week, and I was so ready for the weekend. We had a fun Saturday night. A night where I put my foot down, and we had an evening of “forced family fun.”

For those who don’t know what “forced family fun” is, it’s just what the name implies. I force my kids to do something with us. They reluctantly participate in whatever I’ve planned. I try not to inundate them with too many events like this because I know they need their space as teens. But I figure once in awhile isn’t too much to ask, and they’re getting older. Sniff. The family moments are becoming less frequent, and I must say, I’m having a hard time letting go. But I digress.

We went as a family to a drive-in and watched the new “Top Gun” movie. Now, my boys have never been to a drive-in, and I wanted to give them the experience. So, we packed up the car and drove the forty-five minutes to the outdoor theater.

Unbeknownst to me, things have changed since my teen years of drive-in movies. There are no speakers you hang on your window so you can hear the movie. Now, you tune in to a radio station. It works wonderfully, except I had to deal with the fear that my battery would die, and I’d be stranded at the drive-in after the movie was over. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Phew. I would’ve never lived that one down.

Everyone liked the movie. It was action-packed. A lot of flying scenes. I loved the camaraderie the movie illustrated among the team of select pilots. When the going got tough they stuck together, working with each other as they confronted their obstacles and moved forward. I’m glad my boys saw that part. For an evening of “forced family fun,” it was a success. I’m planning more evenings like this. My boys don’t know that yet, but they’ll find out soon enough. 😉

My oldest really liked the movie, I could tell it inspired him. It will probably inspire you, too. It had a great storyline. I loved how they weaved scenes and photos from the first movie in with this one. I’m going to go see it again. It was that good. But this time it’ll be in a theater. How about you? Have you seen the new “Top Gun” movie? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mass shootings, mental-health, Personal

Another School Shooting…when will they stop?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and editing. I’m editing my second manuscript and I’m excited about this one too. But enough about that. We had a sad event happen this week. There was another school shooting in Texas.

This breaks my heart. I think about those innocent children cowering in corners and how scared they must’ve been. My heart goes out to them. Then I think of the shooter and wonder how wounded he must’ve been to go to that extreme. He must’ve felt he had nothing left to live for.

I think of my own kids and wonder how I can protect them. I wonder if online school isn’t the solution, but also an exasperation of the problem at the same time. I mean keeping large groups from getting together will make them less likely to be victims, but and this is a big but, isolation and disconnection are huge factors that drive these kids to do the unthinkable.

I was chatting with my husband, and he asked the mind-boggling question, where did this eighteen-year-old get the money to buy an assault weapon? These guns are not cheap. I read a little bit of background about the shooter. He was a loner who had quit his job a week prior to the shooting.

This supports my theory that disconnection is a major factor in these events. Disconnection from family, their community, and society. We all need to be vigilant. As parents we can do our part and make sure our kids feel connected to their family. Family traditions are a big part of that.

allthefreestock.com

According to another newspaper article, the shooter made threats to girls online when they rebuffed his sexual advances and claimed he’d come to their school and shoot it up. These are signs that we need to take seriously. No one believed he would carry out his threats. They all thought he was kidding.

Now we know better. Now we must do better.

We need to take better care of our kids. Pure and simple. The teen years are the hardest years of our lives, and they’re harder now than when we were teens decades ago. When they withdraw, make sure they’re not dealing with anxiety or depression. I know this is hard. They won’t like your intrusion, but they’ll appreciate it when they’re older. And the fact that they made it to “older” will be a blessing in itself.

We need stronger gun laws for young kids. I am a believer in the second amendment, but I’m also a believer in keeping our kids alive. Both can be true. Young kids don’t need assault rifles. Period.

We need to train our police officers how to manage situations like this. It’s my understanding that they stood around the school for an hour, not knowing what to do. It was a border patrol officer who got into the school and shot the shooter.

We need to do more for through our mental health programs. Mental health issues start in the teen years. If your teen or a friend of your teen’s is showing mental health issues, try and get them help in any way you can.

Is there a way to prevent mass shootings? I believe we can. Maybe not prevent every one, but we can bring these numbers down. How about you? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Is Social Media Replacing Physical Touch?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with working and writing. I’m back to running outside. It’s finally warm enough. I’m being careful because of my back, but so far so good. I sleep better when I exercise and my mood during the day is better. I can tell a difference.

But enough about that. I’m back today to talk about our emotional needs. As I scroll through my feed on Facebook, I find many people posting about their emotional needs on social media. Need an ego boost? Post a selfie. Need prayer warriors? Make a post on social media. Don’t get me wrong I’m okay with asking for support on social media, but I’m concerned.

I’m concerned because what happens when social media becomes the only form of emotional support for people? I mean what if it replaces the hug and the touch on the arm? We as a species need physical touch. I strongly believe that. Did you know hugs and cuddling can ward off depression?

Maybe that’s why so many of our young people are depressed. Maybe they’re turning to social media and not getting the hugs they really need. It doesn’t have to be a hug. It could be a touch or just hearing the affection in the tone of your voice. You can’t get that from social media either. I’m not a therapist or a scientist, but I love to research for my stories and other things that intrigue me. So, I’m drawing a conclusion based on my research and I may be on to something here.

We need face to face interaction. There’s no way around it. We need to hear the inflection in the voices of our loved ones when we walk in the door. We need the physical touch of a stroke on our arm or a hug. Social media can’t replace that, and I feel these things are vital to our health.

We need social gatherings more than ever now and family traditions. Any type of face-to-face contact. Our kids need it so they learn social skills, and we can maintain our mental health. We need to use all five of our senses to keep our brain working properly not just our eyesight. What do you think? Am I on to something here? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Holiday Posts, Personal

Save the Bee Day!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today is May 20th and it is “Save the Bee Day.” A very important day indeed.

Did you know that without Bees and other pollinators we wouldn’t have flowers or food? What a hefty responsibility for such a tiny insect. The UN says 90% of all flowering plants depend on pollinators to survive and they also affect 35% of global agricultural land. So, saving the bees also fights world hunger.

This type of symbiotic relationship shows how we’re all connected and that one living thing is not more important than another. So, plant some flowers and leave a bowl of water out for the bees. They need sustenance as they go about saving the world.

Posted in Family, Personal

The Importance of Family Traditions

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing, working, and throwing a bridal shower for my niece to be.

It was a hectic week to say the least and I didn’t get much writing done, but that’s okay. It was nice to see members of my family that I haven’t seen in a long time, and it was nice to welcome my niece to be into the family.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about the importance of family traditions. I was able to take a few moments, in between making sure everything ran smoothly and making sure everyone’s glass was full, where I was able to sit down with my cousins and talk about the changes between our generation and the current one.

When my cousins and I were growing up, we played outside as much as we possibly could. I remember going over to my grandparents and as soon as all of us cousins arrived, we’d go over to the empty field across the street and play kickball. I loved going over to my grandparents so I could play with my cousins. I didn’t know it then, but we were making memories and learning how to negotiate and get along with other people. Our parents took photos of us during those kickball games to put into photo albums, so we’d be able to look back and reminisce.

I remember holidays together where we’d all sit around the table and eat turkey and stuffing. It didn’t matter if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, we always had turkey. Both my parents came from big families, six siblings on both sides, so there were aunts and uncles galore.

I remember lots of love and laughter.

It’s important to keep those family traditions going. We’re going to lose something if we don’t. I see it in my own family. Now, that my aunts and uncles are getting older, it’s harder for them to host the big family holidays. I know as soon as my mom gives up hosting Christmas, I’ll take care of it, but it’ll be with my siblings and their families. I’m going to miss the extended family celebrations we’ve had in the past where all my aunts and uncles get together. I’m trying to figure out a way we can still do it. It has become too much work for my mom to host them.

Family traditions are so important. It gives us something to look forward to in the daily grind of life. It’s a way to stay connected. To tell family stories and learn about our ancestors. I’ve learned things I never knew about my grandparents and their parents just sitting around the table chatting.

With so many people staying connected via social media, I predict some of these big family get-togethers are going by the wayside. I hope not. We will lose something in the process.

I don’t want our family history to be lost to Face book posts. It’s such a great way to connect when you actually get together in person and chat face to face. I think about all the family stories that’ll be lost if we don’t get together. Maybe it’s time I wrote a story about our family and put our history on paper.  

That’s one way to keep our history alive. How about you, what family traditions do you have that you don’t want to lose? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Just saw this on Face book and thought it was appropriate for this blog post! LOL! My sick sense of humor rearing its ugly head!

Posted in inspiration, Personal

Where do you find your Inspiration?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and polishing up my manuscript. I also went to an art fund raiser and bought some amazing pieces. It was a fund raiser for Ukraine, and my good friend and artist organized it.

It was an amazing event. Of course, she is part of my creative community. She’s an inspiration to myself and many others. I have a group of friends that are my creative community and I love them dearly. They are artists, photographers, and writers. They inspire me and help me grow in my craft and I’m grateful to have them in my life. Today, I’m talking about inspiration. Where do you get yours from?

My kids inspire me. The thought of leaving something behind for them keeps me writing. When they were younger, they loved the Super Spies stories, and it did my heart good to talk about those stories with them.

There are other things that inspire me, like walking alone in the woods. There’s nothing like a hike to clear your head and allow story ideas to come to the surface.

Other stories inspire me. When I read a story that touches my soul it inspires me to improve my writing. I try to learn new skills and improve my voice. I try to take on grittier stories that will touch other people.

I also get inspiration from the past. Sometimes, it’s something I went through that inspires a story and sometimes it’s an historical event. Our past is important. I’ve got a rich past I can pull from as I’m sure every other writer does.

Movies also inspire me. When I see a good movie or a good Netflix series, like “Breaking Bad,” or “Better Call Saul,” or the “Ozarks.” It inspires me to write more interesting characters with strong backstories.

How about you, where do you find your inspiration? Leave a comment, I love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Synchronicity and Intuition

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. We had a warm day today, and I made my first attempt at running outside. I’m hoping my pinched nerve doesn’t come back. So far so good. I’m hanging up the treadmill, running on that soft surface isn’t good for my spine.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about synchronicity and intuition. First, what is synchronicity? It is:

The simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection

I look for signs from the universe all the time because we can’t predict the future, and sometimes not knowing the outcome can be scary. Some of the signs I’ve seen are in my work life. The city or the lake where my story takes place appears in my daily life. It makes me pause and think about my story. I feel it’s the universe telling me I’m on the right path. Other times, my main character’s name will appear in odd places. I’m hoping this is a sign telling me to stick with my story. All we can do is wait and see. (Fingers crossed)

Another example is when I’m travelling to a friend’s art gallery. Her gallery is about an hour away, so I enjoy the drive because I can turn up the tunes and relax. Every single time I go, one of my favorite songs comes on the radio. Now, the first few times it happened, I just enjoyed the music, but since it has been consistently happening, I’m thinking this is a moment of synchronicity. So, what is the universe trying to tell me?

I’m not sure on that one, but I do know when I visit my friend and her gallery I leave in a great frame of mind. She’s an inspiration and I admire her greatly. Maybe it’s the universe telling me to stay connected with her. I’m not sure, but I do know it’s a sign of something.

Synchronicity and intuition go hand in hand. I trust my intuition. That gut feeling that tells me something is off. The rare times I’ve ignored my gut I’ve regretted it, and the times I followed it, even though I didn’t understand the why, I’ve learned it was the right decision.

Intuition is the the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. You just know something isn’t right usually without any evidence. I’ve learned the hard way to trust my gut.

How about you? Do you trust your gut, or do you make decisions on cold, hard facts? Do you see synchronicity in your every-day life? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.