What are you reading? Top 5 from 2020

Leave a comment

Assuming you agree 2020 proved to be a year like no other—at least in our lifetime—you might find yourself in one of two camps: during the past 12 months, you read more than ever (whether to escape reality or to preserve your mental health or all of the above); or, you remained unable to read anything other than your pervading news feeds (understandable). Regardless of which camp you reside, if one of your New Year’s goals includes reading [more], check out my Top 5 from 2020:

  1. Greg Olsen’s “Lying Next to Me“—for fans of suspense
  2. Gay Hendricks’ “The Big Leap”—addresses limiting beliefs & finding your “zone of genius”
  3. Scott Allan’s “Do it Scared”—shares techniques to charge forward with confidence
  4. Alice Feeney’s “Sometimes I Lie”—takes readers on a psychological thrill ride (eked into 2021)
  5. Tina Radcliffe’s “Finding the Road Home“—for lovers of stories with heart, humor & faith

What book did you read last year and recommend?

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Jokers to the left of me, clowns to the right of me: reality’s call

1 Comment

Since I attended a writers’ retreat last month—see “The power of networking…”—a mirror image of me moves throughout each day disconnected from reality. The crux of the matter is that my mind and heart still reside in the space I created 1,527 miles away. Yet my body continues to travel on autopilot through the motions of everyday life. Like the old song lyrics go: I’m stuck in the middle… Because if I evaluate my circumstances from the outside in, I observe a 50+ woman striving to serve as a productive member of society, love her family and friends, care for her health and make a difference in her small corner of the world. But the reality is that—even so—from the inside out, I’m stuck on pause as I contemplate my next move and attempt to answer reality’s call: Is this as good as it gets? It’s in this crossroads, I’m certain, where it’ll all begin to make sense.

Are you stuck in the crossroads?

Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to jump start your day: a quest for the Holy Grail

Leave a comment

Fantasy: I am so excited to begin each day that I jump out of bed in the mornings. Reality: I silence the alarm, squint at my cellphone and weep a little on the inside when I realize it’s time to get up. As much as I like my day job, what I’d like even more is to find that reason to jump out of bed in the mornings. Yes, I’m grateful, thankful, blessed—which the wooden sign hanging over my kitchen window calls out to those who enter the room. But aside from my morning coffee, there’s very little that excites me about the ritual I perform once I’m awake. This past weekend, however, I broke free from my daily routine and enjoyed a mini getaway up north. I’m convinced this deviation from my everyday agenda is the Holy Grail required to jump start my days. Mission: Figure out how to make it work Monday through Friday.

What gets you excited to jump out of bed each morning?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Be a goal-getter: turn your wishes into reality

2 Comments

Goal-setter

Goals that are not written down are just wishes. ~ Unknown

The other day I learned something about myself: I’m a talker. OK, I’ve known this truth ever since I got in trouble for running my mouth in the first grade and nothing much has changed. But, sometimes I’m filled with an overabundance of hot air and neglect to back up my words with action. Yet I schedule everything from reminders to take my vitamins to run a load of laundry to how I’m going to accomplish 8-10 hours of fitness each week; map out prayer time and volunteer goals and even pencil in writing time. However, the latter is only a wish—a loose suggestion—because, although written down, no goals support it. What do I want to write? How much should I write daily? And so on. Last weekend I finally carved out time, took pencil to paper and turned my writing wishes into goals. Stuff just got real.

Are you a dreamer or a goal-setter?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Acceptance is a choice

Leave a comment

Acceptance

Do you ever find yourself wrestling with a situation, feeling unsettled, heavy in your heart, at odds with yourself and/or the world around you? In reflecting on my post, ‘Four ways to flush out frustration,’ I keep returning to the first way we can absolve ourselves from irritations and disappointments: acceptance. By accepting our reality rather than pretending it doesn’t exist, we make a choice— because we are either choosing a) to live with a particular situation or b) to change ourselves into more of what we seek. Making a choice, for some of us, affords a semblance of control in our lives that might otherwise seem lacking. Yet, when it comes right down to it, each of us entertains a choice every day. We can either allow others and various circumstances to pull us down, or we can choose to rise above. For me, this might comprise sweat, tears, prayers and/or all of the above. Today I choose to be love.

What choice do you make today?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Fodder to fuel a passionate life

Leave a comment

Fodder

 

My much-anticipated adventure I alluded to in ‘That’s why they call it the blues’ entailed 250 miles, four hours of rubber hitting the pavement—mountains to the right and left of me, in front of and behind—and seven hours divided between hiking across the University of Arizona campus and sitting in on writers’ panels, workshops, readings and seminars. A book lover’s dream, the Tucson Festival of Books caters to writers, readers, travelers and artists; a place to network, meet favored authors and add to the tips of the trade. It’s a world where I bump into the same familiar faces as I traverse the writer’s circuit, gathering material to improve upon the craft. There is always a takeaway and no time is wasted when I’m fully immersed in the moment. Whether I’m lost in my fictional world or present in my reality, every person, conversation, challenge, pleasure, etc., is fodder to fuel a passionate life. On and off the page.

Where does your passion wholly come alive?

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Holy crap says it all

Leave a comment

Holy crap says it all

 

Holy crap is my new favorite catch phrase: A friend in Minnesota texts me a picture of a snow storm (I live in Arizona): holy crap. We’re already more than 11/12 into the New Year: holy crap. Yes, I’m over a half century young: holy crap! Tick tock tick tock. I ran across a noteworthy older lady while traveling in January. She didn’t know me from Adam, yet shuffled right up into my space and proceeded to spew out my life story in a nutshell. She wrapped up the message in a neat bow when she informed me I’m a beautiful woman, but wound so tight that I’m not living. Holy crap. Okay, everything said lady gushed forth rang volumes of truth. Maybe when a complete stranger sees that which you daily turn a blind eye to, it’s time to bite the bullet and eradicate each cliché and excuse to do the thing your heart implores of you. Holy crap.

What ‘catch phrase’ seems to capture your reality?

Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Avoiding self-imposed ruts

Leave a comment

Self-imposed ruts

 

According to Oxford Dictionaries, a rut is “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.” A friend of mine recently said the difference between a rut and a grave is its depth. (We also have a choice about the one in which we get stuck.) At any given time, we might find ourselves trapped in old thought patterns or routines and feel like guinea pigs going round in one of those wheels because sometimes it seems easier to go through the motions. However, each day is an opportunity to transform our reality—to jump off that spinning wheel and reinvent ourselves. A few tips that have worked for me are to: practice 1) letting go of things I can’t control; 2) making choices that advance my goals; 3) not worrying about what others think; 4) prioritizing and learning to say ‘no’ and 5) engaging in activities that make me happy.

How do you avoid or escape the self-imposed ruts?

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Thank someone today

Leave a comment

Thank someone today

In my post “…the demise of the thank you,” I lament the lost art of acknowledging a thoughtful gift or action, even when it’s as easy as sending a text or an email or posting a note on a friend’s Facebook page. We are all busy, but we all have the same 24 hours in a day. On that note, it took me a few sit-downs at my laptop this past week, but I finally sent off a thank you to each workshop facilitator I had the honor of learning from at the writers’ conference I attended in April. And for those of you I haven’t thanked lately: my apologies. Thank you for reading (and proofreading) my ramblings and rhetoric, for whispering words of love and encouragement in my ear, for putting up with my changing moods, my writer’s sense of fantasy vs. reality, my on-again, off-again belief in Someday and for lending me a shoulder when I need one. You are appreciated.

Who can you thank today?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A soul-weary, dried-up muse

2 Comments

Soul-weary_dried up muse

 

[Image credit: digitalart]

My muse is dried up and I feel soul weary. I want to write, I need to write … I have to write. But I don’t know what to write. So what is the remedy? Do I force myself to stare at a blank computer screen/piece of paper until inspiration strikes? Do I chalk off my dreams as silly whims? Do I give myself a break and identify that what I’m going through is a season and all seasons eventually change? Each of us processes setbacks differently. Reading, for me, is a perfect escape from reality. I think I’m going to read until I can’t read anymore—or until my muse is unstopped and I can fill up that one void only writing can satisfy. And just like anything else I’m going through—whether an emotional, mental or physical challenge—I need to remember to be gentle with myself. It could be that my soul is simply preparing for a much-needed breakthrough.

How do you recover from setbacks?

Older Entries