#952 and Counting!

We quote Oliver Wendell Holmes as saying:

“As life is action and passion, it is required of man that he should share the action and passion of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.”

How many people do we know who dare not pursue their passion? Whether it’s writing, playing guitar, racing cars, photography, motorcycle drag racing, or simply expressing their opinion? Too many, if we’re truthful. We may even be some of them. So what do we do?

Before I published very many blogs, I was pretty timid about getting out here in the blog-o-sphere. I read a few I enjoyed; Quilters Pat Sloan and Bonnie Hunter; and Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond. They told stories as they shared beautiful quilts and how to do what they do. Ree Drummond shared stories of Marlboro Man (her husband) and her children. We’ve been cyber friends for a long time now. I’ve refined my quilting techniques and learned to cook in different ways. They are quite successful, drawing readers into their worlds and showing a part of life I had not considered.

When I researched how an independent author/publisher can put themselves “out there,” blogging was an option. Because of Pat Sloan and her beautiful website, showcasing quilts in a way that made me want to make them all, I became acquainted with WordPress. The rest is history, in a way. It appeared to have an excellent product, and with an I/T background, how hard could it be? It’s very user friendly, and I’ve learned something I enjoy. Bonus!

As I finally get back to this, it is very late in the evening; we’ve had a late meeting at the Post. I took Mom to get her hair done, and the sun is magnificent in the West. Every day ends well, doesn’t it? I’m reaching out yet again into the universe and giving the blogging universe, which is part of the writing universe, a whirl. And I’m still here. I’ll still be here tomorrow, too, to continue this journey. I hope you’ll be along then, to continue this trip with me. Hope we go to a fun place. Until tomorrow, be safe out there. See you soon!

Shhh! She’s Fixing the World!

The little lady in this header photograph today may not have access to enough bandages to fix the entire world. Do enough even exist? Will this cause a supply chain issue? Gosh, maybe she should stop. I mean, it’s a gigantic job. And she’s pretty young. Too little to go far alone. Why crush her dream?

Current attention spans aside, she may become bored and stop on her own. No need to crush her dream. It’s so important to let little children dream big. Not that they’ll be the next Bruce Springsteen, Shel Silverstein, or Pete Rose. (Yes, he should be in the hall of fame!) Big dreams help kids investigate how to achieve those dreams. Whether he or she needs music lessons and knowledge, writing lessons and practice, or baseball coaching one on one. Or science instruction, study, experiments. Let them dream and achieve.

Whether they’re male or female, we need to let them find their own way. Then they can fix the world around them. They learn to take ideas and make reality from them. Through creative things, they can heal the world. And show others how to do so. Art and music touch our hearts and make them feel better, from the inside out. All healing goes that way. Inside out. Anyone who heals from trauma and brokenness, including broken heartedness, knows the strength you feel upon healing. That is how we fix the world. One person at a time.

I cannot pass Mother’s Day without wishing the Mom’s out there to have a good day. It can be a hard day. Parts of mine are hard, parts are not. I don’t think this is unusual. Although things didn’t quite go as I would have liked, I would never trade my kids for anything. Raising them were some of the happiest years of my life. Living with their father wasn’t.

I believe a large group of women who serve as bonus mothers who deserve kudos. They’re the women who love their partner’s children because they belong to him. And they love the children. And the children love them back. I’m a lucky step-mom myself. I gained steps when they were adults. The Babe’s two children fit exactly in between my three. Making five kids spanning 7 years. We laugh and say it would have been all over if we’d met when they were little. That’s a lot of kids all in the same age groups!

It would have worked, and our kid’s lives would have been more integrated than now. They don’t really know each other. It’s impossible to get them all together. It’s ok. We get to enjoy them all separately. And we love them, different as they all are. We are blessed beyond our wildest dreams. It hasn’t always been this way. It took years individually and together to get here. Take heart, things are possible you can’t imagine right now. And the hard work is worth it.

Tomorrow will be the day I pick back up to get my studio/office back in order. We had two lovely days off, where all we did was see our grandson play ball, and today, where we spent time together at home, ate, took a nap, and had coffee on the deck in the chill of morning. It’s our favorite place in the summer. From zero dark thirty until the sun rises above the treeline, we talk, sit, and rock in our rocking chairs. It’s a daily vacation. Then we live our lives for the rest of the day.

Have a beautiful evening. Be positive. Keep ahead of the bad feelings. Make sure you talk with someone if you can’t come back from feelings of negativity, worthlessness, and not caring. We are human and we have to care. We have to be cared about. It’s what we’re made for. I care. We can walk together to get you where you need to be.

November 5, 2021-Grateful!

It’s been a long week. I was revved up and happy to be home today to get an early start on NaNoWriMo. And I did 1353 words on my difficult passages. It’s exhausting but a very important part of the story. I’ll be fine, but wow. Sometimes it’s hard to look back at what we’ve survived throughout our lives. Looking back from this point in life, at this age, I’ve got gratitude to God for His Mercy. I am sharing some of the very hard times, as a contrast to very good things that can and have happened. As my niece told me, “You’ve lived many lifetimes in your years.” She’s right.

The writing itself is going well. I do find I switch between first person and third person. I need to read up on that, if I need to do only one POV through the whole novel, it’ll be first person, I believe. It’s hard to stay put. My mind has been sort of boggled the past few days. First person is usually past events, third person can be the present, as it happens. I can switch between POV’s depending on what is being told.

When I’ve finished writing for the day I really am grateful for where life has taken me, through all the good and all the bad, it’s all part of who I am and why I’m the way I am. Walking through personal growth for parts of characters is a good thing to do. The whole point is to create a story that draws your reader in and makes them want to find out what happens.

We’ve got a fundraiser tomorrow night and I need to get a couple more items for the raffles. There are some good things out there, and I need to finish up our part of the evening. It will be a night of great music and seeing new friends and a couple older ones.

I have a bunch of stickers that read, “Live a Great Story.” I’ve come to love that phrase. I find myself talking more and more about good stories, and how things turn out. Everything is a story. Sometimes there are lots of good parts or bad parts, but there is always a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can change them up and change them down, and change the ending, making it more intriguing. It’s your story. Tell it how you like!

Part of what I’ve discovered this year is our deep friendship with our group of friends from the VFW Post. We have lost two men this year. One had cancer for years, and many health issues the past couple years. It was sad to see him deteriorate week after week. And how hard it was for his wife. But we all stuck with each other. I love that no one backed off or stayed away. Good friends don’t desert you in your time of need. It was very sad when Nugent passed away. He was such a nice, kind man. We miss his presence.

And later this summer, when Lenny died, well wow. For all the years I’ve known his wife, I didn’t really know him. He was always a crazy man, which was good, he was always out there, living life to the fullest. He really didn’t give a darned what anyone thought. I marveled at his ability to do that. What he didn’t want anyone to know was how generous he was. He retired from a very good job and so did his wife. He never forgot to be kind to Veterans, kids, little old ladies, or his grandkids. He had funny stories. Lenny lived a great story. Be like Lenny! Before he died, he made the Babe promise to sign up his grandson as a lifetime member of the VFW. Lenny is smiling down at Connor and his new membership card.

Thanks for the memories, guys. And your ladies, too. Our other friend is a widow, and she is fun and helpful to the two new widows. They tell me they don’t want me to join the club (NO! Me neither!). But one day, I probably will. They will be there to be a friend when I need it. Grief is messy, all over the place. I have an idea of the devastation, and know it’ll be much worse than I can ever imagine.

I have a lot of faith, God has taken me through so many things. He will continue to do so, and I can trust that won’t change. God doesn’t change, through all eternity, He remains true. We are the ones who change, who doubt, who stray, who get lost, who take the wrong roads, and forget what their goals should be. A whole lot of being human gets in the way.

Take care out there today. Make a great story in your day as you live your life. Be like Lenny. Keep your goodness to yourselves, it speaks volumes to be understated. You’ll do the same amount of good and more by being modest. Be kind. Spread that around because we need it. See you tomorrow!

All Hallows’ Eve

So the other day when I was at the doctor’s office, he asked if I was giving out treats or not. I said I hadn’t decided yet. He told me they weren’t going to. He said it’s a perfect super spreader of COVID. When you think about it, he’s right. I’ve decided not to pass out any candy, then no one can pass things to us, either. It makes sense in this time of COVID.

Tomorrow is my big day, I’ll start writing 1,667 words a day for the whole month of November. I think it should be attainable. I’m already writing blogs a couple days ahead, then scheduling when to publish them. I love that about Word Press. The only thing is I still need to manually publish to my Jewell Publishing LLC page and my personal page, Kathy Jewell Raabe. It is all ok, at least I’ll pre-schedule the daily blogs, leaving more time for my novel. It’ll take a bit to put my mind back in the story, but we’ll get there.

When we were kids, it was perfectly safe to go out on Halloween, around your neighborhood, and collect candy from every house in the neighborhood. There were a couple houses that were pretty scary, and no one knew them well at all. We avoided that house like the plague. The old nuns told us we needed to dress like the saints, maybe our patron saint, it possible. We were told to especially avoid dressing in devil costumes. They may have even told us it was sinful to do so. Nothing could glorify Satan like the red devil costume.

Our costumes were pretty basic. For many years, my older brother, who was rather small in stature, wore a purchased skeleton costume. It had a hooded face mask that was cloth, and eye holes cut. We hated those plastic masks since we both wore glasses. Couldn’t see a thing through the fog! We had a box of old costumes from Mom’s sisters. An angel smock in white, all sorts of sashes, etc. My kids used many of those, too. Grandma sewed them and they were sturdy. I suppose I gave them to Goodwill after my kids were finished with them.

I’ve told my Halloween horror story many times. Here it goes again. In 1975, when I was very pregnant with my second child Nicholas, we lived in an old neighborhood, on a hill. Most of the neighbors we knew lived down the hill, where there were long staircases up the hill to the houses, then the houses had at least 6 – 10 steps up to the porches and front doors. Did I mention there were fences between many of the yards, and you couldn’t cut across the yards? My Frankie was just four years old and very shy. I held his hand up all 10,000 steps, down them, then up the next 10,000 steps . . . well, you get the picture. I was 24 years old and in good shape. I prayed not to have a Halloween baby all night. He wasn’t born for another week, November 7. What a relief! Gosh, he’ll be 46 next week. Where does the time go?

The days are pretty chilly now and look to be all week. It’s probably time to bring in the outdoor furniture, and batten down the hatches. More evenings by the fireplace, which is our favorite. So relieved we feel better and don’t have any lasting effects from COVID. We have some friends who have lung issues and memory/other issues relating to impatience, general personality changes, and some balance issues. We are very fortunate. More blessings.

On the Keto front of my life, I’ve done a little back-sliding. Quit doing squats and was careless with eating, so I gained 5 pounds. I’m back at it, before it turns into 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50. That is where people get in trouble. I’ll be too busy to think about snacks during November.

Once we’re finished here, I’m putting my plans into a 3-ring binder to get organized for tomorrow. Each chapter will have a divider, along with notes. Part of the writing has to take you where it goes. The outline/plan/scene descriptions help get you there. I believe it’s a combination of being a pantster (one who writes by the seat of their pants) and an outliner. My book coach, Sam Tyler, helped me see how much easier it was to outline. It lends a structure I didn’t have before.

My first NaNoWriMo in 2019 saw me crank out 40,000 words and I was ready to send it to someone to edit, print, and call it good. I believe most folks who do that don’t find success. I learned so much from Sam and from study on my own I cannot believe it. Sure, I’ll go back and see if I can resurrect what I wrote. Maybe there were too many characters to do them all justice. I went down a path where two brothers were in a moral/physical/and life struggle. One told the other he would kill him if he ever heard of him hurting another character. Truthfully, it scared me. I may need to talk with someone about that. I just find it interesting, and wonder where and how that conflict would have resolved itself. You almost never know what path you will find yourself on when you go the pantster way. I am probably now a Planning Pantster.

Friends, I hope you each find abundance in your lives during this Autumn Harvest season. The colors are so beautiful this time of year. I remember reading stories in our Grand School Literature class about Harvest. Living in Nebraska my whole life, I’m a city girl, but I live in the country now, sort of. Our little town of 4,000 + is seeing a building boom in the last five years. Many housing divisions are set to begin, a large chain grocery store, and several retirement centers are touting their future location. Something for everyone! Building homes, schools, community recreation areas are all great signs. My hope is they really build a new library in our neighborhood. It will be perfect for us (especially ME!).

Be careful out there tonight with your little goblins. I hope you all stay warm enough! Have fun, and we’ll see each other tomorrow! Be Kind.

Serene Saturday

Like any work, change of habit, or recovery from addictions, getting ready to do the work isn’t actually doing the work. Authors joke when they talk (or write!) about writing, they need to know that doesn’t get words on the page. It doesn’t get the right words down on the page. Or words that make sense in the story or scene. NaNoWriMo talks about that all the time. I suppose I should have started prepping earlier. Having COVID the last couple weeks didn’t allow that to happen.

Now that I feel human again, I will start reading some things other writers have shared and review my outline/guide/notes from last year when I was working with Sam Tyler, Book Coach. Plotting tasks to calendar follows next week, and the story should rise from all the notes, intentions, bright ideas, and otherwise faulty thinking. Getting words on the page is the goal. No editing. That will be hard! I constantly edit while writing. Always. The biggest mistake I make typing is the dyslexic twist on things – my brain and fingers are out of sync, and words get the letters mixed up. Or the whole sentence is out of sync. That will be a true test.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think the words are always there. I think they are hijacked sometimes because we procrastinate, we make excuses, we place blame on others. I know I do those things. Reasons are legitimate. Excuses are not. Illness is legitimate. Surfing Facebook is not. And we all do it. Just call it by it’s name. You’ll be more responsible to yourself.

For instance, I can clean the bathroom til the cows come home. Dusting? Not so much. I put the furniture polish spray can and dust rag on the TV stand and tell myself, “I’ll do it after I sit down a little while.” I believe my own lies, and procrastinate. In November, I vow to check myself on that bad habit. The house can be cleaner if I do my job. Period. Ouch. Truth hurts sometimes.

Doing this and reporting on it every day makes me accountable not only to myself, but to all of you. So what, you may wonder. No one will follow me if I don’t do as I say, if I am not true to my word. End of writing career. Or at least it will stall getting out of the gate. Not good. I’ve got three years invested already; and as the Babe says, “It’s too much to just quit.” Yes it is. I’m so glad my energy returned, it’s easier to think of writing when energy is available. I’m getting excited about it all.

Did you weigh in on my question yesterday? Doing another NaNoWriMo Drawing this year? Two years ago, you could comment on my daily blog and have one entry per day in my drawing for $50. Would you like to participate this year should I have another one? Let me know what you think. There may be a limit as to how many times during the month you can enter. I’ll have to think about that next week, too. In 2019, my friend Pat Riedmann was the winner.

I saw something this morning referring to the longer you live, the more friends you lose to death. True, and it’s just how life works. The past five years, we have had many, many friends, FB Friends, lifelong friends, and family pass away. All I can do it remember them with love. I wore a pair of earrings today which were a gift from a best friend in 1988, the year she died. She was in her early 40s and died from lung cancer. Five months later, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and died, too. It was a terrible year for sure. I smiled at the memory of my friend, and thanked her again for such a beautiful pair of earrings. They are lovely!

Pay no attention to the grimace on my face! It was supposed to be a smile. Sort of.

I hope you have a wonderful afternoon today. I hope you have time with a loved one, if you’d like. Enjoy the sun or the rain, whichever is happening. I’m going to have a session reading here in a minute. Hope to see you tomorrow, and it means a lot to me that you stopped by today.

Overwhelmed

Yes, it’s how I feel this morning. There are a lot of things going on again. Funny, after the Car Show/Breakfast/Fundraiser last week, I thought the feeling would ease up. What do we do then? We have more very important stuff to do. And we stress ourselves into overwhelm. Then we need to sit down, make a list of everything, and decide the top three things for today that have to be accomplished. It’s the only way out.

The first thing I want to tell you about is what I’m doing on Facebook Ads, for both the VFW Post 2503 AND my Kathy Raabe, Author/Jewell Publishing LLC Facebook pages. I took a risk and put up FB ads on all three pages. If we can believe the stats Facebook is showing, all three pages are reaching a significant number of people for just five dollars a day. I will keep an eye on it the next few days and see what it does. It’s a start to making myself more visible.

Exposure is so important for people who are starting a business and promoting themselves via Social Media. It’s necessary in this instant contact and communication world. If we don’t learn to create what reaches people, we never get our ideas shared with the world. I’ve spent about $50 to put my brand out there. And the Jewell Publishing LLC has 171 page likes now. 9,318 people has at least glanced at the name in their newsfeeds. It’s a great start!

I am overwhelmed by that. And I can’t wait to see how Kathy Raabe, Author does. I’m promoting my blog on both pages so I don’t miss anyone. Still debating as to whether Grandma Kathy should have a Facebook page for her books. What do you think? Tell me in the comments here, I’d love to know your thoughts.

Things to do for the Post Website are jumping in the queue of things I need to do today. We have a POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony tomorrow evening, and the Commander’s wife and I have done research on a particular POW from Lisbon, North Dakota. The story tells of the Death March to Bataan, in the Phillipines. My father was in the Phillipines after his time in the European Theater of World War II. If the United States wouldn’t have been able to fight off the Japanese and drive them from the Phillipines, I may not have even existed. Grateful Dad lived through all that and Korea!

That said, please remember the 22 Veterans a day who commit suicide. This is a powerful song that expresses it so well.