Back to Work

In case you didn’t read the blog yesterday, I’m celebrating! I submitted my first chapter from my book, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” to the Nebraska Writers Guild, and they have judged it suitable for printing. I am over the moon about it, and celebrate over and over in my imagination.

And now, here we are, in the knowledge I’m really going to be a published author, aside from being published on my website. And no, I have no agent, but have a contract with NWG for Chapter One. Baby Steps! To get back in the swing of things, I need to look very carefully at the first six chapters and pick up from there. Glad the NaNoWriMo is coming up, It should be a good catalyst for connecting outline, thoughts, words, and paper. Woo Hoo! Picture me done with it before we know it!

Of course, all things are subject to change. How I know that! Flexibility is important if you want to create, especially during these times. Nothing is normal, you know? It was, then it wasn’t, and now we just aren’t sure. I truly hope our beautiful planet gets another thousand years or so. Maybe a grandchild will get an inspiration to save the planet!

It’s late, and I have no snappy jokes left for the evening. I hope you all are in a good place this evening, and that your tomorrow is wonderful. I’m going to make a priority tomorrow to communicate well. Yes, It’s a long shot, but it needs to be done. It will only do us all good. Ignore the smack about IG and FB behind a bad influence. It’s all crazy! More on that later. Let’s just decide for ourselves, ok? Hoping so, that you’ll think for yourselves. I am all about that. Take care, and know tomorrow is another day. Take care! See you tomorrow!

Sunday Sums It Up

It’s another family visit in the archives of time. Grandson Joell and his parents left for home at noon. Grandpa and Grandma needed a nap, as did the whole Stricklett family. The kids had a blast tailgating at the Nebraska game last night, and Joell has another new experience for his memories. The kids are all seasoned travelers, and continue to experience new things every chance they get.

And tomorrow, it’s back to school for Joell, and some kids are off school for Colombus Day/Indigenous People Day. Yes, although it’s terrible what happened to the Native Americans at the hands of the white man, I think the discovery of America is an important milestone in our culture. Not all of our history is wholesome, moral, or just. Humans make big mistakes. We always have, and will continue to do so.

Next week, I’m working on the VFW Post Veterans Day Remembrance and Resource Center, Getting materials to hand out should someone need them, and firming plans to collect items and disperse them where they will do the most good. It’s important this time of year, as the winters can be very brutal. No one should be homeless, especially not a Veteran.

Tomorrow, I’m making an announcement about my future. It’s pretty cool if I must say so myself. Hopefully, the announcement will be ready by noon, CDT. This is quite brief tonight. I hope if you visited family this weekend that your visit was as nice as ours. As we start a brand new week, with brand new challenges, let’s keep in mind we all need to be thoughtful of each other. We need to be kind, and remember there are a lot of people who are hurting now. Let’s find some way to help them. Make their burden lighter. Reach out. Someone will take your hand. See you tomorrow.

Big News Coming!

Sometimes, the best laid plans get interrupted by life. In the words of John Lennon, whose birthday it is today;

“Life is What Happens While You’re Busy Making Other Plans.”

As I’m listening to Eric Clapton’s album “Pilgrim,” my mind is trying to plan next week. Mom needs a trip to Hobby Lobby (in anticipation of decorating for Christmas), and I have meetings with an artist and an illustrator. One is for an exhibit at the VFW for Veterans Day, the other talking about my kid book. It’s already going to be a busy week. Finally feeling better, so I’ll get more done than just resting and writing my blog.

Clapton is a genius. His songs inspire me to dig deep and get words from my soul. Whether they make sense or not is not my worry at the moment. I need to craft my novel again, I have about six chapters done, and I think I can study them a bit and pick back up where I left off. The fun NaNoWriMo is in November, as always. I will participate this year, after skipping last year. I think if I follow my plan, I should be able to make quite a dent in the novel. Best laid plans, right?

I am not giving up on the kid book. I can certainly have someone illustrating while I’m working on something else. We will just see how it works. More about it later. In between writing sessions, taking Mom out when necessary, visiting her, and having Gavin help me decorate our Christmas tree, it will be a busy fall and Thanksgiving season.

Tomorrow, we bid farewell to Joell, Monica and Blake. Today, they’re going to Lincoln to tailgate at the Nebraska game with Tracy, Addison, TJ and Gavin. They ought to have a blast. Food, fun, beverages, and the Huskers. When they beat Michigan, it’ll be the frosting on the cake. LOL. Gosh, I hope it’s buttercream.

Have you ever heard the John Lennon tribute “Working Class Hero” album? I have it, and bought it for just one song; “Grow Old Along With Me.” Finally today, after having it 23 years, I read the liner notes and listened to the whole thing. How silly to wait this long for the treasure chest that lies within. Blues Traveler version of “Imagine” is superior. Half of the proceeds of this album benefits the Humane Society of the United States of America. I can certainly get behind that cause.

The song, “Grow Old Along With Me” was a song at our wedding. It seemed appropriate, we were in our 40s and knew it would be different this time. And it has been. Different, Good, Hard, Worth It, and full of surprises. It’s going to be more of the same for years to come. Yay!

I received a message today that made my year! I can’t wait to share the news with all of you, and I need to wait a few days until it’s official. Hard work is always worth it!

The mail produced a new book. This should be good! Hope you all have a beautiful afternoon and good evening. Saying goodbye tomorrow to part of the family, and praying for their safe voyage home. Thanks for reading, be kind, and see you tomorrow!

Unrequited Infatuations? I Had a Million of Them as a Girl

I Formed My Habits; and My Habits Formed My Future. – j.t.

Wow! That must make me accountable for what I’ve done! Well, I guess we all are. Aren’t we? Yes, even before we knew better and learned what NOT to do. The sooner we accept that, the better outcomes we’ll have. After all, our habits, good or bad, are learned in our environment.

When we’re kids, we’re at our parent’s mercy. Really, we are. They can only do as well as they know how to do. And it goes on and on, until someone realizes the habits aren’t healthy and they need something different in their lives. The one who raises issue with “how it’s always been” is usually criticized unmercifully. But then again, they’re kind of used to it. Put downs sting, but you don’t let on people hurt you. You have a quick wit to answer all sorts of accusations. But inside, you’re dying. And it’s your family who can hurt the most. After all, they have the best ammunition to use. Old habits die hard.

Fifty-one years ago, I got married for the first time. He had a low draft number (bad reason to get married!), and it seemed likely he’d go to Vietnam, like every boy from high school who didn’t go to college. Of course, Mom was against it, but we knew better, as every 18 and 19 year old can tell you. Mom was 19 when she married Dad, and he was 25. If she could have explained why “you just shouldn’t,” I may have listened. Or not. She said if I was getting married, she would plan it or it wouldn’t happen. She planned everything. She is a person who must be in control, so she was in her glory.

In 1982, 11 1/2 years later, I told her I was getting a divorce. Her only comment was, “My grandchildren will starve.” I felt surer they wouldn’t. They didn’t. Her habit is controlling, and she reacts with anger when things don’t fall into place. I had one person, my Aunt Carol, who knew why I had to leave. I was becoming an angry person. I didn’t want to be like Mom was. I love her still, and she honed her habits out of survival in the home and environment she grew up in. She can’t help it, and may not want to at this point. I feel sorry for her inasmuch as she holds her anger like a shield, and is constantly in react mode.

The events of the last month have made an impact on her. She is no longer angry and confrontational about using her walker; she sees it as freeing, she can get around better with less physical danger. Finally! Some progress. Her habits can change. And it will impact her future by enabling her to stay in her beloved home longer. How much longer? I’d be foolish to guess, it’s whenever God decides she needs to go somewhere else.

I’ve had a lot of mindsets/habits to change in my life. Equality for women was a big thing I had to recognize and participate in. Luckily, I continued my education while working and entered the I/T field, where you are paid according to your skills. I personally disliked the old wives tale of analysts not being able to communicate effectively, I was able to show our internal customers I could communicate well and participate in problem solving while speaking to them in English, not tech talk.

I raised my kids with encouragement and support. I wanted them to be independent people, they all learned how to clean, do laundry, and cook. They also knew they would be punished if they did things that were wrong. They knew I would trust them until I couldn’t, and that would be on them. I know we were a good family. Now, we’re in three different states and rarely see one another. Sure, I miss them. I also remember I taught them to take care of themselves, and that’s what they’re doing.

What habits do I need to change? Several. We’ll talk about that another day. What habits do you need to change? Are you willing to do the work? It takes consistency towards a new behavior to change a habit. Working out, eating healthy, losing weight, lowering your blood sugar, all take a big effort. You can get there to do anything you decide you can do. Even change your life! I did. I’m so grateful for these last 40 years of not being married to the father of my kids. I would never have made all these good changes with him. He wanted everything to remain exactly the same as it was in 1970. And that just couldn’t be for me.

I’m grateful to those who are in this part of my journey. The Babe is very supportive of my writing. The kids are, too. I’m grateful for that. Yes, everything is going to be ok. I know in my heart it will. Just go to Plan B. I’m going to thrive at this time in life. You can too. Shall we go together? Let’s!

Sharing these books as the ones I want to devour in the next month or so. Women authors, a couple friends, a couple Facebook friends. Supporting each other. I finished Tammy Marshall’s “Ticker Tape,” yesterday. It was great. I’ll go into more detail another day. And I love Rebecca Cooper’s FB shares. So raw. So real. And Carol Gino! She makes me think about things. I love her stories about angels all around us. Joy Johnson Brown’s The BOOB Girls Books! I do believe she may have been my older sister in another life. Go figure! We just need to be aware. Be aware today. Let’s talk about that another day. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. Have a beautiful day, see you tomorrow!

My Fall Picks to Read.

Don’t Throw Mud

You may simply end up with dirty hands. And that goes back on you. This quote from Joseph Parker, in my Adult Children of Alcoholics daily meditation book struck a chord today.

We don’t only throw mud at someone in a physical sense, but we do it every time we assassinate their character, or make blanket assumptions about a group of people, and even harboring ill will and long-standing grudges. And all we do is hurt ourselves in the process. The ones we are aiming at are nowhere close to where the target really is. And when it backfires on us, it isolates our beings; we may become resentful, feel sorry for oureslves, and become increasingly negative about everything.

Of course, we have the free choice to do whatever we want. Often people are negative because that’s the only way they know. I’ve seen negativity in my family, and it chokes the person off from enjoying their life. One with a lot of money may be miserable and poor of spirit. They could be a slave to the idea of having a counting house full of money. Does them no good at all. One with a good job and stable future may be negative about co-workers and complain about how many hours they work. They aren’t happy either. Work could be their addiction.

It’s hard to overcome negativity. Believe me, I know it’s hard to find positives when you’re a broke single Mom of three kids. When you run out of milk on Tuesday, don’t get paid until Friday, and go through couch cushions and piggy banks to find the exact change for a half gallon of milk. When you put gifts in layaway in September for Christmas, so you can pay $25 a week for twelve weeks and take them home to wrap just before Christmas Eve. When you thank God for the Home-Ec Class in high school that got you started sewing, and are able to make your own clothing, including business suits, to wear to work.

Yes, I was always grateful for what was in front of me. The car started every day (until it didn’t). The kids were good. Seriously, I’m grateful for that. I was a little handy with remodeling stuff. My sons were eager to learn how to put up a fence to keep our dog, Shadow, from running away. Thank God I had credit cards. I took full advantage of the 1976 law that allowed women to have their husband’s credit records in their own names, also. I was grateful for that.

Negativity had no place in my life when things went terribly wrong. When my son drowned, I prayed, and believed in God’s mercy, and he lived. I’m grateful for that until the day I die. My heart breaks for every Mother who has a child pulled from a body of water. So many are not as blessed as I was. Should I ever face a life and death situation again, of course I’ll pray, and it may not turn out well. I’ll have to accept it with grace and ask for God’s mercy.

When I was young, I believed if anything happened to my husband or kids, I’d die. That was not a truth of mine, it was a fairy tale. It was stuff movies and corny love songs were made of, not real life. Tragedy happens, and life goes on around you, whether you want it to or not. I learned that and it’s stuck ever since. If something happened to the Babe, I’d be devastated. But I know I could still live. It’d be crappy, but I’d live. Losing him would be much different than never having him in life at all.

Many, many times I’ve known things were going to change, either healthwise or my abilities, and all I do now is hold on, and ask God, “NOW where are we going?” He hasn’t failed me yet. Whenever I lose something, I gain something else instead. And so it continues. I didn’t get all my computer work done today, but we saw Gavin play his flag football game. He’s a great quarterback. He has fun whatever he does. Be Gavin. Have fun today. We’ll see each other tomorrow. Take care.