Monday, November 23, 2020

Music Mantra Monday - I'm Happy

Welcome to our first Music Mantra Monday we've had for quite some time. Like many of you out there, I've had to put a lot of things on the back burner while trying to sort life out around Covid. I think we were all doing pretty well around here until I got sent home on Friday to work from home until further notice. Now we have to re-work everything we finally had a routine for...again. I have a feeling this won't be the first time we'll have to re-prioritize. goes one, doesn't it?

When this all first started, it was a terrifying thing not knowing or understanding what we're up against. But like with everything I've been through in my life, I take everything thrown at me head-on. You simply deal with life the best you can and cope with any curve balls - and there are always curveballs - using the coping skills God gave you. 

My grandfather was right when he told me life was hard. It can bring you to your knees where you feel as though you can't breathe or go on. Those moments, though, are what help you appreciate all the good that is to come. And that's what I hold on to every single day.

Technically, I shouldn't still be here. A couple of years ago, I came way too close to comfort to succumbing to advanced liver disease. Now, whenever life kicks me in the shins, I think of how close I came to never being able to have another chance and it's what keeps me moving forward.

So our song for today is to remind you that even though times may be scary, overwhelming, or uncertain there is happiness too that guides us to go on.

Be safe and healthy my friends.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Working Through Covid - A New Beginning

This year will be one that none of us will forget. It will be in history as the year the entire world was impacted by a health crisis, unlike anything else we've ever seen. It still astounds me that one small, tiny thing can be so powerful and affect so many.

When we went into lockdown the first time, it wasn't as alarming to me as it was to most other people. I already worked from home and I have a life-threatening disease that pretty much forces me to be ultra-careful of where I go, who I come into contact with, and what I expose myself to. For me, that was every day living.

In May 2020, I accepted a position with Alberta Legal Aid. It was the first job I'd worked outside of the sanctity of my home in almost 18 years. It was a mixture of excitement, nervousness and fear but with each day I felt...stronger. For almost three years I lived with a sense of submission to a disease that controlled every aspect of my life. My job gave me back some of that control after years of being reminded of all I can't and am not supposed to be doing. I was finally reminded of all of the things I am still able to do. It's an amazing gift. Then this past Friday, I was reminded that we are far from being finished with this world-wide crisis.

My boss called my co-worker and I into an 'emergency meeting'. My stomach sank as my mind always goes to the worst-case scenario. I've always been like that. I guess it's an internal defense mechanism where if I expect the worst, I'm already prepared when it happens. With tears in his eyes, my boss told us that we are officially in lockdown again and that my co-worker and I were being sent home. I knew it was coming. The numbers here in Alberta sky-rocketed to over 1100 reported cases in one day. It was inevitable. However, we weren't losing our jobs. We have been deemed 'essential' as we are part of a team that is giving those Albertans who are in the most need assistance. 

My job, which came into my life at a time when I needed it the most, was important in helping others too. What an amazing feeling it is knowing that in our most uncertain and disconcerting times, I am able to make a small difference to those who are in even greater need than most of us are. 

I know how very fortunate I am as not everyone has been able to keep working. I am so blessed to still have my job and still be able to support my children doing what I love - helping others through Legal Aid Alberta and through my writing. 

Our Sunday posting theme is going to be focused on living and working through Covid. I'll share our own stories, stories from others and tips on how to keep moving forward. If you want to share, please do.

We truly are in this together. And together is how we will see it through to the end.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Writing Prompt Saturday ~ 5 Story Starter Prompts

Holy moly. Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have lost all sense of days and time. If it weren't for my cell phone and computer, I'd never know the date or what day it is. How crazy is that?

That's one of the reasons I try to keep writing, even if it's just re-editing something. Keep that mind going, people!

Alrighty, it's been a while since we've done story starter prompts so why don't we give those a go today? I like doing these sorts of prompts because they can take you in any direction, inspire you to motivate your 'normal' genre and it's a great way to practice for flash fiction and other contests that use this sort of prompt.

The key is to not think too much beforehand. Just read the prompt and write the first thing that comes to your mind then build a story around it. I've come up with quite a few short stories and creative nonfiction pieces using this tactic so I hope you find it as useful.

Here we go:

  1. As she opened the door, an overwhelming stench instantly made her eyes water.
  2. Well, that's something you don't see every day, he thought.
  3. The silence was so deafening, she was afraid to even breathe.
  4. He limped into the room, his clothes soaked with sweat, mud and blood.
  5. It's over, she thought. It's finally over.
Okee dokee. Now it's all in your hands. See what you can come up with and feel free to share.

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Coping In Social Isolation ~ Signal For Help

One of the most difficult things we've had to endure from the outset of the pandemic is having to isolate/quartine from friends, family and other social relationships. It's hard enough to be paranoid of every person we come in contact with who aren't living with us on a daily basis, but becoming a limited company creates or enhances several other issues. Just by doing light research online, we are now bombarded with stories of a huge rise in substance abuse and violence, which often go hand-in-hand even without a worldwide health crisis going on.

Here in my own province (Alberta), the amount of women and children seeking safety elsewhere to escape violence at home only adds to the ever-growing fear that in saving the most vulnerable right now will result in over-crowding - something that will also increase the spread of Covid. So, essentially, this group is between a rock and a hard place: one fear of having to avoid social contact with others to stay healthy but also fear of being trapped in a place that is supposed to be safe and is anything but. 

There are many online resources for those seeking help, both to find better ways of coping with the anxiety and stress of living in our new world, but ways to reach out when immediate help is needed. Maintaining ultimate control through fear is one of the main components of an abuser's intentions and the way we must live right now gives that to them...or so they may believe.

I saw a commercial the other day from the Woman's Foundation of Canada. In it, a woman is video chatting with a friend. Seems innocent enough, right? The woman was asking her friend about a recipe for banana bread, but we quickly see that the recipe wasn't the purpose for the chat. We see a man walking in the background and the woman gives her friend a signal to indicate she's in trouble. (Watch the video below). What a brilliant way to send out a quiet 'SOS' in a subtle way.

This commercial touched me in a very deep way as if there had been internet access or cell phones decades ago, so many women and children would have been able to ask for help without making the situation worse before that help arrived.

I have written for this foundation several times as I have witnessed abused, saved others from it and experienced it myself. If you know someone who needs help but is scared to reach out, please pass this information on to him or her as a way to let you know to send assistance. Give someone a voice to isn't strong enough to use their own. You might even save a life.

Yes, we will get through these uncertain times together. Let's make sure we all get through as safely as we can.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Music Mantra Monday ~ Feel Good Song!

I hope all the mommies out there had a fantastic Mother's Day yesterday and were spoiled.

Mine was great. I had all four of my babies here and they went out of their way to make me feel special, as they always do. Don't get me wrong. Even on a festive day, fights, arguments and general verbal smackdowns will occur (we are talking about 4 teenagers after all). But even with that in the mix, all I cared about was having them here with me and doing stuff together.

One thing I love to do is sitting together and watching a movie. Last night's choice was "Avengers: End Game". I mean, really. What mom (or any female for that matter) wouldn't want to soak in Thor, Ironman, Dr. Strange and others all in one movie? Plus, they had my Loki in it too (flashbacks count, people!). If they had Aquaman in there too, this mom would be watching it on a daily basis. I digress...

We actually went to see this when it first came out in the theatre and, of course, bought the movie when it came out on BlueRay. It also included the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy which I also love, especially the soundtrack. So, of course, when this song came on we were all singing it for the rest of the day.

So, there is my little background of why I chose this tune for today's segment. Aside from the fact it's a fantastic movie that even the non-superhero followers would like, the music is awesome. It's what I call "feel good" music and we could all use more of that right now.

Enjoy today's song choice.

Be safe and stay healthy.

Video trailer for BLACKBIRD FLIES!

Video Trailor for JUST SHUT UP and DRIVE