Category Archives: Motivation

An unusual gift

Standard

The most unusual gift I ever received came from a little boy in kindergarten.
At the end of the school term, he brought me a beautiful plant pot with a single
leaf.  Although I recognized it as an African violet leaf, I had no idea what the
gift meant. I had long loved blooming African violets but always felt they were
better off in someone else’s life.

I put the pot in a spot where I could see it every day so that I could water it as
regularly as possible and was wondering on a daily basis if anything was supposed
to be happening. Because I was always so busy (small kids and a job and it was
before google was in my life, I never researched anything, just waited as patiently
as I could for something.

About six weeks into the process, I noticed some leaves were coming and I was
very excited. I kept up the regular watering and the plant did actually continue to
grow healthily but it didn’t produce any flowers until almost a year later. I can
recall how excited I became when I saw the first really deep purple flower and
how in love I was with the whole process. I began to entertain the idea of having
a small collection (once you start, it’s hard to control) and at one point I had about
20 different African violets in my home.  Unfortunately, they do require care and
I have had to limit myself to no more than 10 at a time. But it is a lovely hobby and
very relaxing when I do it properly. My patience was rewarded, something I need
to remind myself of when I impatiently rush other aspects of my life.

Bing.com free to share image

Advertisements

Just musing

Standard

I was recently in Europe. I usually live in a tropical paradise. I have to admit
that although Europe is beautiful and has a lot of history and wonderful food,
I actually missed the simple things that have attached me to my birthplace.

Over the last 15 years, I have gotten to know a lot of expats who settle in my
homeland expecting some kind of magic. They seem totally unaware that wherever
they go, they take themselves with them. So if they are unhappy in Colorado, let’s
say, they will probably be unhappy in a tropical paradise. It just follows and it makes
sense when you think about it.

I was a Girl Scout. I often think about the guidelines (I love rules and guidelines, if
only as a reference to what one can rebel against!) I was given and I am grateful that
they were specific and unbending. Be prepared is a motto I live by. Cooperation is a
character trait that I continue to develop to this day, more than 50 years later. I don’t
feel old per se but writing that I was a Girl Scout +50 years ago proves that I am old!

In any event, I will continue with my observations on human nature and I will try to
devote more time to the very worthwhile pursuit of sitting and musing and analyzing
rather than filling the time with lots of activity so that musing and analyzing are simply
not possible. I wish more of us were thinking and just taking care of our own things, just
that would make a “contented” life on this planet feasible.

Have a great Labor Day, cheers to September!

Back from the Blahs?

Standard

Wow! I just reread the last blog entry I made just before embarking on my
vacation.  I wouldn’t change a word of it, everything rings true and authentic,
and while I won’t say those feelings of blah have completely left me, I am glad
to admit that rest, relaxation, sunshine and good company in the presence of
my daughter have done wonders to restore my usual good humor.

The feelings of blah mostly stem from frustration that people don’t seem to care
about what goes on in their world. Not necessarily in the crazy world at large but
rather in the every day acts and events that go on in their own surroundings and
where it seems they forget that they are not the only ones who live in their area.
But if I let those feelings of blah keep me from being the cultural activist I have
been all of my life, then I have let “them” win and above all, I cannot let “them”
win and squeeze out from me the very core of my being which is to be a person who
gets it and cares about her world.

So let’s all go out there and have a good day, remembering that we are all part of the
same world and are connected intricately in ways that cannot be seen but can be
felt everywhere. Life is hard, there is no need to add further to it by being grumpy,
careless or just downright mean.

Image bing.com public domain.

No one sees the world like you do!

Standard

My mother always used to say that the “best” camera was the one that was available when you
wanted to take a picture…no truer words have ever been spoken. I am sure if Mom were not so
elderly she would be truly enjoying these modern times when taking pictures is so convenient.
The problem would be afterwards, putting them into “albums”… whether physical or electronic,
the challenge for me has been the filing part.

Clicking through Facebook today led me to the following link which was posted either as an ad
or by one of my friends; it was so many clicks ago, I hardly remember. But the essence of it is
that no one sees the world quite the way each of us individually see it and experience it. I think
that I have finally accepted that the word that best describes me is: communicator. I am not
trying to write the novel of my life because I simply want to tell a story or make some money,
although both those outcomes would be nice. I am trying to communicate, which is what I
have done my entire life. That is my purpose. If I can do so in an optimistic and upbeat manner,
so much the better.

Enjoy the clip, I did:

 

 

Healthy eating as a mood booster!

Standard

Mondays are crazy days for me. I am one of those people who thrives on routine so this
is the weekday that I choose to wash my hair (long, lots, curly), to do the laundry, change
the sheets and generally make a plan for what the rest of the week will be like.  I try not
to schedule any outside errands so that I can just concentrate on staying in and tidying up
the house from the relaxing clutter that builds up during the weekend.

Yesterday it took me three tries before I found a blouse that fit me properly.  I’ve shared
my weight challenges so we won’t revisit that subject. Suffice it to say that I found myself
in a kind of bad mood yesterday, something I notice happens to me when I reach for
something in the close that I haven’t worn in a very long time. I miss the years when I could
reach for anything and it fit me. But the reason I was upset yesterday is really because the
clothes that are snug (and I hate that snug feeling) are not S or M …they are XL!

After a few hours of mentally bashing myself, I decided to just get on with my day and do
what needed to get done, which included a trip to the supermarket. While at the supermarket
I disciplined myself and DID NOT pick up my favorite cookies or candies. Instead I went for
the veggies and the cottage cheese. I know me, I do so much better these days when the tasty
high calorie items stay outside the house. It wasn’t always so, I could have a cookie and that
would be that, but lately, I am not happy until the package is gone. What’s with that?

This morning, my husband offered me a croissant with butter and jam. I thought about it
for a micro-second, then heard myself replying that I was having green beans and cottage
cheese for my breakfast. He chuckled as he spread a generous amount of jam on his lovely
lightly toasted croissant. I served myself my cottage cheese and green beans and thought
about how lovely it will be when the XL blouse buttons properly. I love starting a busy
day on a good note, it makes every single thing that much nicer. As Tony Robbins once
quipped “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.” I paraphrase, but it went something
like that and I totally concur.

cottage cheese wikipedia image

Reading helps with writing!

Standard

I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I knew that writing was important
because every morning when I was a child, my parents kept asking about whether or not the
newspaper had been delivered. I began at about age 4 to look out the window and when I
saw the paper delivery person arrive, I would announce this news to the family. I can
remember that my parents couldn’t wait to get their hands on the source of news! That’s
why I knew that telling stuff in writing was a good thing.

Fast forward almost 60 years and I can definitely say that I have been writing one way or
another all of my life. When I was in my 20’s, I wrote a short story (humor) and sent it off
to an agent who proceeded to tell me that it was good but that in its current presentation,
it would not be bought by anyone. So for a fee of only (whatever it was at the time, I can’t
remember), they would edit and submit it to several publishers. I sent in my money but got
nothing but rejection letter after rejection letter. I gave up and don’t know what I did
with the story which was a loose version of an autobiographical incident that took place in
my own life. The agents, of course, strongly suggested that for an additional fee they might
be able to revamp the story and make it ‘sellable’. I was not so sure.

In the last 10 years, I have written and published a local on line magazine which I stopped
working on in March. In a way, it was a pity to end it because there were some very worthy
journalists who contributed each month, but it had become a heavy responsibility and I found
I had no time to write or develop the themes that have been dancing in my head for years.
Now I have a little bit of spare hours each day but I find that I can distract myself with
all manner of occupations before I eventually find my tush on the chair. I try to look at
this situation objectively instead of taking aim at myself and my writing habits.

Last week I had to renew a 600 page book at the library because I was not able to finish
reading it in the 3 weeks they loaned it to me for. The story is fascinating and it moves
fast but I rarely take the time to read during the day, saving it for bedtime when I know
that as soon as I put head to pillow, I fall asleep! Today, I will try to visit the recliner
I purchased a month ago (but used only 5 times so far) and read for an hour to advance in
the story. I find that when I am reading, I can actually work out some of the details that
are holding me back in my own stories.

Reading helps my writing because I can experience for myself the way another author
transports readers from one place to another. I am hoping to write more frequently
and more easily about universal things that interest all of us. It is true that every story
has been told. It is equally true that we can all tell the same story in a different manner.
Just ask any family with lots of siblings and they will each remember the same incident
in a different way.

I came across that lovely sentence by Steven Aitchison quite by accident. One click
usually leads to many clicks and hours wasted spent searching one thing or another,
but in this case, it was a good find.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy musing!

bing.com free to use image

Writing takes priority!

Standard

I’ve been taking the 30 day free tutorial on Scrivener in the month of June. I confess it
is difficult for me to learn these complicated (and yes, it’s a little complicated) programs
by reading the tutorial and trying out things. I much prefer to have a youtube video to watch
(which I do and which I have) in place of a real teacher. But since I haven’t got too much in
the way of patience (there’s just sooo much to do!), I decided to put away the tutorial and
just simply start writing.

I think I will purchase the Scrivener after my trial period, in fact, maybe I won’t even
wait until the trial period is over, maybe I’ll just do it sooner. What I like about it is
that now (like in Garage Band), I can actually keep all my “projects” under one roof, if you
will. As a multi-tasker (not always a good thing) and having trouble focusing, I begin story
after story on word, or physically in a notebook, only to later find myself unable to recall
what I named the story or in which of the many physical pieces of paper I jotted down my
ideas. I’ve heard of people sitting and reading or writing for hours and hours but my life
is such that I really haven’t got the luxury of being able to spend many hours sitting in
one spot working on whatever story has inspired me. I am still pretty active in my town so
empty hours to play is a reality that has eluded me up to this point.

Enter Scrivener! Although I have not familiarized myself with every aspect, I can see that it
has already helped me keep a bit organized because I can name and begin writing each project
and Scrivener keeps them all separate and saves them for me until I come back and take another
shot at writing about whatever is inspiring me at the moment.

I have worked with Dreamweaver so some of the terminology and aspects of Scrivener are not
that hard for me to understand. I have always loved technology and have tried to keep somewhat
current in the technological realm. Not like the kids these days who are born with an intuitive
sense of how to work things but not so far behind that it would take too many hours to teach me.
I have a friend who is struggling with learning the Scrivener but I admire her perseverance and
I know that she too will become proficient after a while.

What I am trying to accomplish these days is just to set aside at least an hour a day for reading,
another hour for writing and between 30-45 minutes to practice a bit of guitar. Did I mention I
recently purchased jewel making tools and accessories? Oh, and what about the sewing notions (and
sewing and overlock machines I recently acquired to help out a friend who needed to move? Only
24 hours in a day and I act like there are 37! Oh well. Be gentle and do the best you can with
the hours given each day. The most important thing to do is enjoy life and be grateful.

Bing.com Free to share image

Personal development trends

Standard

I have shared before that I was eight years old when my family moved to the U.S.
My mom did not work the first year we were here but by the time I was ten, she was
a full-time employee and 3 of her 4 children were latch-key kids. Our youngest
sister was only around 4 so she spent her days being cared for by a retired couple
and my older sister or I would pick her up from there every afternoon on our way
home from school. This is not an atypical situation for the newly arrived and I
guess I didn’t think much of it at the time, it was just the way life was.

While I am curious about things, I am not the kind of person willing to go through
hypnosis in order to bring up memories of the past, I honestly like my life and see
no purpose in exploring what might turn out to be a negative event. I would love to
know, though, what experience I lived through or observed that made such an impression
on me that I realized very early in my life that I am responsible for everything that
happens to me; that events aren’t necessarily as important as our reaction to them.

For example, as a latchkey kid and an older sibling, I had a tremendous amount of
responsibilities: pick up my sister, do the shopping, start dinner, straighten up,
do my homework, get good grades, etc. It made no sense to complain. My dad rarely
involved himself in household disputes and my mom was a bit of a tyrant and not
in any way shy about the use of negative words or the occasional slap to make us
comply with her orders. Rather than fighting or resenting it, I did my best to
do what was required quickly so that I could spend the rest of my time on my own
interests. The problem with this method is that I was usually ahead of my schedule
but my older sister rarely was ahead of hers and I ended up doing her chores so that
we wouldn’t have to listen to our mother’s screaming when she got home tired, hungry,
and anxious after a long day at work. My penchant for “peace at any cost” became
my mantra but until recently, I never really gave it any deep attention.

I received a phone call recently from someone who was inviting me to participate
in a personal development opportunity. I have been very interested in the Human
Potential Movement since 1971 (or before probably) and I am fascinated by the things
that people do, considering myself an unpaid journey(wo)man in this field. The
invitation, rather than interesting me, annoyed me because I felt I was being
pressured into accepting giving up precious hours on an evening when I would rather
perfect my craft (writing) or do nothing at all, something I rarely indulge in.
When my refusal to attend was met with incredulity at first and an abrupt send-off,
I realized I might have offended or even hurt my friend. Alas, I am too old and now
too aware of what I do want to do with my time to worry too much about it. I suppose
it will be a while before this friend reaches out to me but it is something I accept.

I used to love to watch a larger than life personality when he first started doing
infomercials. Since my desire to make every second of my day count is strong, I was
often sewing or writing into the night and enjoyed listening to his powerful message
of transformation. I was mesmerized by his ability to grab my attention and keep it
and I stopped short of purchasing any of his “empowering” videos or books simply
because I was very frugal and did not have too much money at my disposal.

I accepted that I could change my current situation if I wanted, I held myself
accountable for every single thing that I experienced. I guess you could say,
I didn’t really feel I needed the help but enjoyed the heck out of the infomercials!
A few years ago, I noticed that my “mentor” has changed a lot.
It seems to be all about marketing now, and where his videos and books
were available for under $50 back then, his workshops are now very, very expensive. My
love affair with him has ended and while I understand that many rich people can afford
his events, I am disappointed and saddened that he has gone this route. I have a minor
in marketing and I have never been comfortable with the notion of “making someone believe
they need something they never thought about before”. I think ethics have gone out the
window and I refuse to join that club. As I used to say and haven’t had to in a long
time, I want to recognize the face I see in the mirror looking back at me. At least
for today, I still can.

Image Bing.com public domain

A new beginning begins with a promise…

Standard

Call me old fashioned…I am! I love, love, love the idea behind weddings.
I think the commitment to work on a marriage after the glitter of the wedding
festivities is just a memory is a very sexy thing. In this modern world of
alternative ways to live ones life, I find that marriage is still something
that most young and old people strive to succeed at. Perhaps this is why despite
a failure or two, people continue to remarry. I am one of those people and have
so far succeeded in marriage #2! I am thankful I found “the one” and I am more
than confident, he feels the same way.

I recently attended a wedding that was more than 18 months in planning. Everything
was original, from the bridal party configuration to the wedding favors. Everyone
was happy; both families rejoicing in their children’s union and hoping for wonderful
things in the future. It was exactly what a wedding should be: the joining of two
completely different cultures with one single goal, to go forth in love and health.

May the happy couple and their families continue to be blessed.

Image of wedding cake: Bing.com public domain image

The strange things we do…

Standard

I’ve been house and pet sitting for a couple of days. I didn’t really know what to
anticipate except that I was looking forward to spending a couple of days on my own
with little responsibilities and lots of time to devote to my writing.

As I did yesterday, I have spent most of my day doing things that make it difficult
to sit down and write. For example, I took out the garbage from the disposal shed
and brought it outside where the carting company has not yet shown up to remove it.
I am worried about that because in the urban area where I live, a fine is issued if
garbage is placed outside earlier than the regulations call for or if the area is not
properly cleaned after the garbage has been picked up. This lack of removal has made
a very good excuse for me to go to the window and check out the situation. While I’m
at the window, I might as well look and see what is going on in the world and thus use
up a few more precious minutes that I could have employed writing.

It is raining, so every time I let the dog out for a short run to relieve her bladder,
I need to devote a few minutes to open and close doors, make sure she is dry before
letting her into the house, making sure I pick up her “deposit”…you get the picture.

Then of course, there is the distraction of getting breakfast, lunch, making coffee, tea,
taking a shower, making the bed, sweeping the floors, setting up the food and snacks
for the cat and dog…

It is just after 1 p.m. I have had my lunch and my tea. I am now all set up to begin
to write but find that I am cold so I will have to get up and look for a sweater to wear.
That means spending (wasting?) a few minutes on that and pondering life afterwards. I am
feeling sleepy all of a sudden, the light rain on the window and the slight chill in the
air conduce and seduce me to take a place on the comfy couch like I used to when I was
in high school. There is something about cold, rainy days that invites introspection but
is not a good companion to actual writing. Well, at least I was able to complete this
blog entry.

Image bing.com public domain