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Monday, April 30, 2018

Nothing New Under The Sun.

Nothing new under the sun

I remember going up to my Mom and with a long, laborious sigh I would flop down on the sofa or whatever piece of furniture would aid me in looking pitiful. I waited for her to glance my way and when she did the ever-present complaint would issue forth from my mouth, “I’m bored.”

Her response was sometimes the classic and irritating, “Hello bored, I’m Mom.” At which time I would send her an agitated look her way.

“There’s nothing to do.” I would continue ignoring her attempt at humor. In her most motherly tone, not really, but for this writing, she would start listing the numerous chores I could do around the house if I wanted something to do.

My mouth would form into a pout and I would say, “but all of that is boring. I want something new to do.” At which point she would tell me those were my only choices and to learn to live with boredom; it’s a fact of life.

You are probably wondering why I am telling this story. It has something to do with the fact that each generation thinks they are the first ones to deal with such things in their life. Just as they think they are the first generation to deal with a major crisis. 

My title comes from the bible verse found in Ecclesiastes Chapter 1:9 KJV “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Even as far back as this writer lived, people were bored out of their mind. Yet each generation thinks they have the market on such thoughts.

a nuclear bomb mushroom cloud.

As with boredom, there has always been some crisis to strike fear into our hearts. Something that
makes us fear for the future and want to hide under our beds. For some generations, it has been an actual war happening. For my generation, it was the fear of our country being attacked by the communist countries. The Cold War made us fear nuclear attacks, the fear of being forced to live underground if we even survived the bombing. The bad thing is we have added new fears with each new generation born after us.

The youth of today think that they are the first generation to be disgruntled with our government and our country’s leaders. They think that we never had the thought that there was no hope for the future. We grew up having a distrust of those in power and what kind of message we were sending to the world. Each generation has had these thoughts and that is why there was change along the way. Our forebears wanted to leave something better for their children. Hell, the United States wouldn’t be a country if a generation hadn’t sought to get away from governmental rules that went against the way they believed.
A yellow ribbon ties around a tree.

In the sixties, you had demonstrations held at colleges across the nation working to end the war in Vietnam. In the eighties, we began to boycott against the things we wanted to be changed. Just look at the boycott of the 1980 Olympics. I also remember tying yellow ribbons around tree trunks to send a message to the hostages being held in Iran in the late seventies and early eighties. Yes, guys, I am that old.

There is nothing new under the sun. History has a habit of repeating itself, and if we fail to learn from it we will repeat the same mistakes time after time. The scary thing for me is it seems no one is even trying to learn from the mistakes of the past. We are becoming numb to the things that should upset us the most. We think killing anyone who disagrees with us is the answer. There are people out in the world abusing children, the elderly, even the animals and the world seems to be frozen in stasis, unable to see that it is becoming epidemic.

I wonder if anyone else gets a sick feeling in their stomach’s when they are barraged on a daily basis with news stories of the atrocities we are becoming more and more capable of. What happened to this world that basic decency is a thing of the past? It has reached a point that when I see a box on the side of the road I am scared to contemplate what might be hidden inside. Will I find a puppy or kitten left to be run over by the cars rushing by, or will it be a baby someone chose to throw away?

a photo of a puppy and kitten.

Nothing new under the sun. Everything new under the sun. As this world continues to spiral out of control, we are going to soon find ourselves a cold, uncaring mass that lives only to destroy. Where will that leave the few people who are sickened by such destruction? Where can we find peace? I am terrified there isn’t one and never will be again. The world has become numb to the lessons of the past. It has stopped caring about the future. This is what is my worry and fear in this new generation. I don’t want to see something new under the sun.

What is your greatest fear in this day and age? What did you fear in the past? Do you think there is any hope of the world learning from these mistakes? Let me know what you think in the comments. I hope sincerely that you have a chance to love fully and to share some laughter always.  


Monday, April 16, 2018

Did I Accomplish Anything In The First Quarter of 2018?

 It is that time again. Time to go over the goals I set for the first three months of 2018. Some were accomplished with great fanfare, others sadly fell far behind. The lesson learned though is that there is no true failure if you attempt to accomplish them.

My list of goals for the beginning of the year was a tad small. There were only six goals I sought to accomplish. I know what you are thinking. I only had six goals and didn’t accomplish all of them. Sadly the majority of the month of March saw me fighting the flu. This strain had me so tired, and in pain that I found the easiest project a burden. Then at the end of the month, I had a gout flare-up that added to my misery. I finally broke down and went to the doctor, only to get a lecture for not coming to see her sooner and her thinking I may have contracted a lung virus or a light case of pneumonia in the midst of my otherwise crappy month.
a stuffed bear with tissue and thermometer

With all that said I did accomplish my one major goal. That goal was to finish my book. I can proudly say that I finished the first draft of Tales of The Cat’s Eye Gang and I am getting ready to start the first edit/revisions this week. If you are in the mood to read a fantasy about a group of friends who set off on a quest to find the mysterious Triad. Stop by my story blog and check it out. I posted it in all of its unedited glory for your enjoyment.

My writing goal sadly fell far short this past quarter. I decided to take a break from writing because I just wasn’t feeling inspired. I wanted to clear my mind so that when I sat down to begin re-reading my manuscript to start the revision process, I came to it with no other project cluttering my mind. I instead did some reading to prepare me for what was coming up. I brushed up on the art of story structure so that I can bring you the best product possible come publication time.

Now I know that I failed to deliver in writing word count goal, but since I chose to take a break after finishing my book, I chop that goal up as a goal removed rather than failed. With me taking a break from writing, I also couldn’t accomplish my third goal because it was to begin posting regularly again on my blogs. With the completion of Tales of The Cat’s Eye Gang, I have put that blog on hold. It will only get posted on monthly as I work on this next step in the book’s formation. Starting in the second quarter I will begin to post on a regular basis again. So keep your eyes out for news of new posts or better yet subscribe to my blogs so that you never miss a post.

people doing water aerobics
Let’s move on to the goal that I listed as my second. This was to exercise more. This one met with failure. I started a health club membership, only to discover that said health club had very limited hours.Hours which they did not list on their website. You can imagine my surprise when I showed up that first day and they were closed; in the middle of the afternoon. It also didn’t have a pool which when I was looking at the amenities gave the impression my local club did. This was upsetting because I like to exercise in water. I am a lap swimmer, and I was really looking forward to the water Zumba classes. With the flu coming to plague my existence I also didn’t feel like exercising. It was taking a lot of energy to crawl out of bed just to go to the bathroom. I guess during the month of March that was my exercise. Hey, I take a small goal accomplishment where I can.

My fifth goal was to start saving money for those times when there is an emergency, such as my car needs tires. Or one of my cats getting sick. I did get my new tires and took a sick cat to the vet, so I chalk this up as a win. The next item I am saving for is new shocks on my car because when you have tires that hold the correct amount of air for longer than three minutes after airing them up, showed me that shocks are always nice to have.
a rack of new tires and wheels.
 Also on the list that I am saving for is saving to hire someone to create my book cover, as well as finding an artist to draw up the Cat’s Eye Gang’s pictures for promotional purposes. And I am also saving money to hire two different editors for the book. I still have a little time to stash away money for this one. I am just starting the revision process in the said book.

My last goal to accomplish was to update my author’s website. You can check it out here. I have begun the updates, but there is much more I intend to do. It is an ever-evolving website to fit me, the ever-evolving author. I cannot wait for the day when I can add links to where you can buy my book. I also hope to have a trailer up sometime soon to give you a bit of entertainment.

My goals for the second quarter are:

1. Begin re-read and revisions of my book. My book covered up with hi-lighter and red ink is going to be a hard sight to see but it will be done.

2. Exercise more. I put this on every goal list. It is something that makes you feel good and helps you stay healthy.

3. Write at least 500 words per day.

4. Save money for an artist to do book cover and one to do character pictures, and shocks for the car.

5. Pay off some of my debt. If I pay off some bills that money is freed up to put into savings.

6. Work on web presence. I am always looking for more followers. It is my followers that will help my dreams come true. I am thankful for everyone who chooses to join me on my journey to becoming a published author.

7. Drink more water. You think this is a silly goal but it isn’t for me. I hate to drink water. I prefer to slack my thirst with a nice glass of iced tea or a big steaming hot mug of cappuccino. I figure there is water in both of them, right? Well, I recently had to start seeing a Nephrologist(kidney doctor) and found out that I am fighting stage three kidney disease. This means I need to drink more water to keep my kidneys flushed out.

8.Finish my Spring cleaning. Around this time every year, I get this incredible urge to clean up the house and clean out the cupboards. I began this at the end of March but when you live in a house with two kids, four cats, and one dog. It seems like a never-ending battle of keeping things clean. Speaking of which I really need to shampoo this rug.

9. Do my daily Manifestation/Mindset exercises. I am a firm believer if you have the right mindset to make your dreams come true, they will manifest for you. That being said if you start your day believing you will make things happen, then they will.

10. Feel Good! There are things you can do every day to make you feel good. You just need to sit down and make a list of things that make you happy and make you feel good. Then do something from that list every day.

There you have it, folks. My goals past and present. Do you make goal lists? Share some of your goals for the next few months in the comments section. I always like to see what the goals are for other people. You never know one of your goals may become one of mine. Until next time,  love fully and laugh often.

A stuffed emoji with the word Happy on its front.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Feeling Good In April

Happy April! I hope you are happy and healthy. I hope you are doing the things you love with the people you love. You might have noticed I am trying to be more upbeat. I have been doing a 7-day course on Feeling Better and thought I would impart some of what I have discovered in my week-long journey to find my bliss.

The week started off with my first challenge being to make a list of all the things that make me feel good. You would not believe how hard it was for me to make this list. I am always thinking about what I can do for everyone else to make them happy, I rarely think about what makes me happy, or makes me feel good. It was an eye-opener for sure. What made it all the worse was all I had to do was list simple stuff like getting a manicure or getting my hair done. Those simple joys we find in life that we take for granted and don’t get as often as we should.

Once I made my list I was then to choose three to five things from the list and do them that very day. So, Monday became “ME Day”. I spent the day doing some stuff I hadn’t done in a while. What may you ask? I could tell you but then I’d have to… well, you know the line.

On Tuesday morning the email that gave me my Day Two challenge was a fun one. It was to make a Feel Good playlist. A list of music that just makes you happy, makes you want to be alive, get up and dance. To just BE. As you may have guessed this meant I spent my morning on my iTunes™ account and on Spotify® looking for great music. I made another discovery about myself. What makes me happy one day, doesn’t always make me happy the next. I am terrible at making a playlist for this reason. I would just rather hit random and if a song isn’t doing it for me, hitting the next button.

I do have some songs that I do seem to add to all my lists. The first is from Cristina Aguilera and the name of the song is “Cruz”. There is something about this song that just frees my soul and allows it to soar. I have to admit there are a few of Cristina’s songs that are on my Feel-Good list, my taking charge list, my get in the car and drive list. You get the idea. Another one that sneaks on the list is a cute song by Heffron Drive called “One Track Mind”. It always puts a smile on my face. Speaking of ladies who end up on all my playlist another one is Demi Lovato, I mean how can you not feel good while singing “Confident”?

The day three challenge involved cleaning up the space around you. Let’s face it. No one is happy in a cluttered dirty space. The good vibes just do not flow. I spend this time of year clearing out the clutter built up over the last year. All the paperwork, started project left collecting dust in various corners of my room, my closet. If I haven’t touched it or needed it in the last year. Guess what? It is time to say good-bye. The same goes for mental thoughts. Do a dusting of your mental faculties, shaking loose all the negative emotions and grudges that you have stored and let them out. They have no place in your happy, feel-good vibe.

Day four arrived with me being in a kind of sad place. Went to the doctor and what never fails? Something pops up on my blood test to concern her. So, on this day I had to go get an ultrasound of my kidneys. Yeah, still waiting to hear back on that. I am also being sent to see a Nephrologist. Day four’s challenge was to list all the places/spaces that make me feel good. And the second part was to create a space in my home that was my feel-good space. Once again, doesn’t sound that difficult but for me, it was a little bit hard to figure out places that make me feel good.

Finding places that make you feel good when you spend most of your time in doctor’s offices, hospitals and fun places like that. You really have to think about the places that bring you joy. One of the places that will always make me happy is anywhere on or near water. I was lucky to be born in a town that had two lakes in it plus a dinky city creek. Anytime I was feeling sad or depressed I could just take a walk, or drive and find some water to be near to recharge my battery.

Another thing I have discovered is I need trees. Not these scrubby little trees we have here where I live in Texas but the ancient green forest of the Pacific Northwest or the old trees of my hometown, that were the perfect height for climbing. Nothing better than climbing up into an old oak tree and just watching the sun and clouds through the leaves. A peacefulness settles within my chest that is hard to describe.

I also love to go to the library or bookstore. The smell of old books at the library takes me back to spending time in the stacks at my public library as a kid. And the smell of fresh ink, paper, and glue on new books at the bookstore sets my endorphins racing for some reason. I can’t wait to hold my own book and get that new book smell rush from it.

As for making my “feel good” space at home. I like to use the wax burners and I interchange depending on my mood and season the smells. They usually are those of nature. Flowers, mountains, or ocean. I have posters of things that make me happy or that inspire me such as the one pictured. Anyone who has read my blog has heard me talk about my ever-blooming rose bush right outside my window. I like my desk next to the window so that I can look out at the world on those days when my writing takes a turn towards the darker side of things.

We arrived at day five of the challenge. I must say that this week I have been in a really good mood. Had a great outlook and been thinking positive. That hasn’t been the case for most of the month of March. I have been having some serious bouts of depression that have left me thinking some rather dark thoughts. I think that is why doing this challenge was so important to me. I wanted to see if I could make myself feel better with just a few simple changes and choices. I admit I was pleasantly surprised that it works.

The day five challenge was to meditate. Now I must admit I have a bit of a problem meditating. I always wondered why until I bought a book on yoga and in it, meditation is about thinking in the present. Most of us think in the past or future. We rarely think in the present. We are always trying to be two steps ahead of ourselves. Or we get stuck looking back on the past and getting lost in our regrets. In this book, it speaks of teaching yourself to breathe correctly and because you must be aware of your breathing it makes you focus on the now. Your mind becomes freed with each outward breath. You look inward as you draw in that next life-giving air.

In the meditation for the challenge, it asks you to imagine everything you already have that make you feel good, yes, I know that is looking into the past a bit. Yet it is the now also. The people, places, things that make you happy and feel good. Imagine them and what it is about them that makes you feel this way. Feel free to experience the emotions thinking about your happy people, places, and things make you feel. Just meditating on these will raise your happiness vibe immensely.

Now I was wondering what could be next on the list for my day six exercise and I didn’t expect to be introduced to “Tapping”. I won’t go into it too deeply right now because I am just learning about it but if you are interested you can find videos on YouTube explaining it and showing you how to do it. One of the people to check out is Brad Yates.

On this day I also learned to Forgive and Release. Nothing brings you down more than holding onto old anger and regrets. It doesn’t hurt anyone but you to hold them. There is a reason the song “Let It Go” from Frozen struck a chord with so many of us. The song says it all. Resentment only hurts YOU!!

The exercise we were given was to make a list of all the things(mistakes, regrets, and people who hurt you, etc.)and then go through the list and one by one say that you forgive them, you forgive yourself and in doing so you are giving yourself permission to “Let It Go”. Once done you take a deep breath, releasing all that stagnant, negative energy to make room for creating healthy positive energy.

On the seventh day, I did not rest. The exercise for this day I had done a bit of on day three. The day seven exercise is all about giving back. It makes you feel good to be able to help someone and it benefits those on the receiving end. I gave old clothes and books to charity on day three but there are so many other ways you can give back. Here are a few.

-Volunteer for a cause you care about.
-Set up regular monthly donations to your favorite causes.
-Make a donation every time you receive extra money.
-Gather stuff you no longer need and donate it to places such as The Salvation Army or if you have old books, your public library or a second-hand bookstore. Another wonderful place to donate clothes and household items is The ARC of Texas. You can find more out about it on their website.

I finished the week feeling better than I had in a long time with a new spring in my step. I will be posting next time my second quarter goals and checking out how well I accomplished the first quarter ones. I hope you check back in to see how well I did.  Give this seven-day challenge a try and let me know if it helped you feel better. I hope April finds you loving fully and laughing often.