Sunday, September 19, 2021

5 Good Things


We need more positive stuff out there. Finding something good in each day (even on the crappiest of days) can brighten things up. So our Sunday segment will be a shout-out to good things. I even made it easy by thinking of only five enlightening things that happened over the past week.

That's five.


Ready? Here's my top 5:

1) I was overwhelmingly tired and cranky last weekend. Let's just say that if I could have stayed in the fetal position in my onesie, covers hiked up to my ears, avoiding everything and everyone in the universe, that would have been peachy. Of course, that's unacceptable behavior for a mom so I just duked it out with the day, praying for bedtime. As I made dinner, the date caught my eye then it hit me like a tornado: it was 3-year anniversary of my favorite uncle's death. I can't explain our relationship right now or how much he meant to me but his death left a massive hole that I still have no idea how to fill. But this year...I began an acceptance. I put a picture of him and me on my work desk, some of his ashes my aunt gave me are in a beautiful music box on the bookshelf he gave me and I wrote a story about him. See, the ashes part may seem gross to some of you but he promised to always be there to watch over me and that he'd kick me in the rear when I wavered. I guess that's what happened. I still miss him so much but I can accept that he'll never leave me.

2) I signed a contract with a new publisher for my Watcher series. It's exciting to focus on writing again.

3) I got an 88% on my Psychology quiz. Not too shabby.

4) I had a good health week. My nutritionist is proud, my liver enzymes are high, but not as bad as usual (little high five), and I've made sure to get a bit of a walk in every day.

5) I am most proud of my one kiddo who hasn't had the easiest time this year but makes the brave effort to conquer each day as best as they can - no matter the hurdle. If that doesn't define inspiration, I really don't have clue what does.

What are your 5 good things?

Monday, September 13, 2021

Music Mantra Monday - Beginning Again w/Beatles (Blackbird)

It's been a while, hasn't it?

I can't give apologies for being absent for so long.

Not this time.

Every one of us has...stuff that we have to deal with on a daily basis. Some of us may be dealing with the same stuff but how each of us handles, copes, and deals with it is very different. That stuff can get piled up pretty high but, for the most part, most of us can restructure those piles into more doable bumps and keep going. But what happens when an event so big, bigger than those piles that already exist, comes along to rip apart what has been, until that point, manageable? I compare the feeling to an invisible force throwing a massive, whirling machete into the situation, mixing it up with the stuff that already exists with giant salad tongs then devilishly grins, saying, "Deal with that and still maintain that illusion of strength." 

I couldn't.

Now that doesn't mean I curled up into the fetal position and gave up (not that I didn't consider that from time to time). It means that I had to let many bumps go unattended for a while as I put my entire focus on another pile I hadn't realized I'd mislabeled as "manageable - until needed". It took that machete mix to make me see the one pile that needed me more than any of the other ones combined. And so, that's what I did.

After a six-month hiatus, I think I have learned how to better manage my bumps and piles of stuff. I've mulched some over, re-prioritized others but did it all in such a way that that main focus is still in my sight so I never lose it again. And I left that machete right there to remind me it'd have no problem bringing me back to what is truly most important.

Basically, the point of my very vague post is this: Life is hard. It was never meant to be easy or we'd never learn to appreciate the good nor deal with the bad appropriately. The most important lesson I've learned is to manage those piles of stuff as best as you can. Do constant inventory to weed through what still needs to be there, recycle/compost was doesn't, and always be wary not to mislabel something as "until needed" as that may be the one pile of stuff that requires the most love, attention, and nurturing.

Happy rest of your day!

PS: Blackbird is the one song that always comes to me in times of uncertainty. For some reason I'll never understand, when I hear it everywhere I go, there's something...someone...I need to take better care of.

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.

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.

Video trailer for BLACKBIRD FLIES!

Video Trailor for JUST SHUT UP and DRIVE