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

“Envy’s a Coal Comes Hissing Hot From Hell.” Philip James Bailey.

Is it hard to be happy for someone who wins the lottery? Is it hard to be happy for a relative who is able to retire early? Is it hard to be happy for a friend’s child who wins scholarships?

Or do we believe they don’t deserve it? The lottery, the early retirement, the child’s ability to earn their way through college? Do we think, “That should be me?” “He always was a penny pincher!” “Of course, their kids don’t have to work, like mine do, to pay for their car.” Sometimes it’s hard.

The quote today came from my old reliable, “Daily Meditations for Adult Children of Alcoholics.” Since 1982, I’ve read daily, skipped a period of time, then found I needed reminders of how wonderful my life really is. It’s remarkable, isn’t it? I believe I’ve learned these lessons (well, mostly), and am able to share them with others. Random people will find these blogs for them. Some will skip over this day. And that’s ok. You either skip because you’re offended it hits home or because you’re not an envious person. Or just stick around to learn something.

It can be hard to be gracious in the light of someone else’s success. If you care for your fellow humans (siblings, co-workers, cousins, strangers, friends you haven’t met yet), you’ll congratulate them when it’s appropriate. I used to be jealous when another single mom would meet someone and get married within a few months.

First of all, I felt envious they found love so easily. I spent 14 long, lonely, painful years before meeting the Babe. I didn’t know I was picking from the wrong basket. You only know what you know. Until you learn better. I hadn’t learned better yet.

Second, I thought you could make a terrible mistake by not really knowing the person. Six months isn’t knowing them. The first year you’re both on your good behavior. The second, you settle into everyday living. A lot is revealed during those months. Comes around year three of dating (or living together by now), and the person you think the world of is finally themselves. And so are you. If you both are faithful (a deal breaker for me, always), kind, helpful, equal partners in work and play, and can overlook their annoying habits (and they overlook yours!), you have a chance at having something that will last. But you both need to work hard at it.

This is all based on my personal experience, and I’m glad it took me so long. Marriage is hard enough without raising a blended family. I believe we would have been good parents/stepparents to each other’s kids. And it still would have been hard. This way, there was no, “Your kid, my kid,” arguments. Just being realistic, folks. Don’t jump in too fast. Too many people do.

It’s human to feel a twinge of envy now and again. It’s when we give into it, it becomes a problem. It causes a lot of negativity, most of which, none of us needs. It’s a slippery slope, my friends. When we question the good that befalls one of our friends, why not also question the tragedy and troubles that happen to other friends? We certainly don’t want those difficulties. Let’s learn to be gracious for good happening for our friends, and be kind and caring walking through their troubles with them. Don’t abandon them! Walk through it with them and they should do the same for you. True friends do. Soulmates do, too.

If I were to name a theme song for myself, I think it would be the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” When you really think about it, so little in life is worth arguing about. Don’t get me wrong, I get angry, I stand for myself, and I’m quick to say, “Let’s not argue about that, it just isn’t worth it.” Most of it isn’t. Criticizing someone isn’t worth the time, and I don’t care to listen to it, either. Mom has a bad habit of criticizing morbidly obese people. I tell her it just doesn’t matter, she shouldn’t be critical. I’m amazed for the trouble she has with her vision, she can see things like that and express an opinion. It just isn’t worth discussing, in my opinion. I won’t. End of story.

I’m trying very hard to overlook that part of her personality, it’s part of passed down brokenness from her side of the family. I broke the that tradition, as has my brother Tim. Of course, it’s easier since I have no sisters. Are women worse about being catty than men are? Whatever, I’m choosing to take Dad’s point of view. “You don’t know what’s going on with them. Always give the benefit of the doubt.” Do it. You’ll feel better!

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. I’m almost caught up on the VFW Post 2503 website and Facebook pages. Today will free up a lot of time and tasks on the to do list. And I can get back to my books. See you tomorrow!

Monday-WIP, 2021

My Women in Publishing conference started today. It’s a little difficult to find your way around, as the majority of the presentations didn’t load properly earlier so I hope I can find them sometime today. Even is one of the four areas covered, Children’s Books, Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Publishing isn’t exactly your forte, you can view it and learn something anyway. I hope I can watch the presentations to finish them all. Paying for the conference even at a discount is a motivator for sure.

While listening to the Children’s Books segment, I discovered somethings I hadn’t considered before. Natasha Carlow and Felicia Lee gave some beautiful presentations. One about Rainbow Babies and the subject of miscarriage, subsequent pregnancies, and the family point of view on this sad, painful topic. Culture played a part in why she wanted to tell the story. Often our stories and our pain serve others. They discover they are not alone, which is key. She pointed out there are very few books regarding this topic with a black family. I can see where this could be a problem.

A child must be able to relate to the pictures of characters in the books they read. And it is true, how can a black child or Hispanic child relate to all white families in stories? It would be hard. I never considered it before. Which brings me to Felicia’s topic, Diversity and Representation. I disliked the word diversity when I first heard it. There were still not a lot of women in the IT field where I worked from 1987 until 1999. All I wanted was to do my job and earn the pay I was qualified for. The place I worked did a great job with EEO and Affirmative Action. I didn’t see a need for diversity.

What I learned today, is diversity is not just about gender, race, religion, and what I associated with it. It is about those things AND things like family structure, jobs, gender roles (do Dad’s cook? Do Mom’s work construction?), and abilities. If an author includes those things while telling a child a story, they see the story reflecting their lives. They no longer feel as if they are looking in a window and viewing something they don’t participate in. We need both kinds of stories. It’s vital to a child’s sense of self.

Being intentional in forming characters in our stories helps both minorities and majorities. It strengthens our co-existence. We can feel things in common. In my book, “What ARE You Doing, Roxie? I’m telling a story about our grandson and our dog, Roxie. Gavin and Roxie loved each other a lot. They played and walked, and were two of a kind. Someone left our gate open after July 4th, and Roxie ran away. She was hit by a car. We were all as devastated as Gavin was. It would be hard for kids of other cultures to relate to the story, from what I heard this morning. It’s a point to ponder.

Back to the Conference now. I hope you have a beautiful day. Thanks for reading. I appreciate your support. See you tomorrow!

I. Just. Can’t. Decide!

In the week-long free training I’m taking from Julia Roberts (no, not the actress), we are supposed to be decoding our own creativity. This is about the psychology of creativity. Apparently, we are supposed to fit into one of two kinds of creative thinker. Either divergent (lots of ideas, thinks giant big picture, has unique associations; OR convergent thinker (selects idea, perfects it, communicates it creatively).

Trouble is, it depends on what I’m doing. I can do either. Not bragging. Kind of like realizing I am probably a whole brained person. Logic prevails in some situations, creativity in others. I can honestly say I do both.

We were also to choose what kind of thinker we are; Fast Paced, or Slow Paced. Again, it depends on the situation. It depends on what I’m doing.

On Day Two, we learned how creative thinking works:

Clarify – Focus on right problem.

Ideate – Wants BIG Ideas

Develop – Gets the idea perfect

Implement – Just wants to get it done.

Day Three, yesterday, we were to claim our creative strengths and struggles. Still confused as to what I am, I posed the question if our strengths depended on what we were doing? Ms. Roberts said no, what we are doesn’t change. We’re either one or the other. I truly struggle with this. I still can’t pick. What’s a creative to do? It’s not that I’m wishy-washy.

Later in the presentation, before I had to cut it short to go get our Addison from school, the term “Integrator” was introduced. I thought, “This must be what I am! I don’t have to pick. I know I can do all these things at the proper time.” I wonder what we’ll learn today? More on that tomorrow.

Next week will be so busy! I have a Women in Publishing Conference (via Zoom), and I’m looking forward to it. It’s amazing we have the technology to participate in these things, isn’t it? I’m eager to get started. If you’re interested, I believe you can still register until Friday.

Life is so much fun with things to look forward to, isn’t it? I like to learn, especially about things I know nothing about. It makes things a little more familiar along this road we’re on. I appreciate you keeping me company along the way. Thanks for reading today, I’ll see you all tomorrow. Be Safe! Be Kind. Be Courteous. The weather is finally above freezing, we should all be in a great mood!