Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance


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How To Learn a New Skill

practice-breathe-from-pixabay

How long does it take to write a book? Apparently, it takes a long time, for me anyway. I’ve always been a slow reader, so I guess it makes sense I’d be a slow writer. But good things take time, right? I thought I knew how to write, and I did well on  college papers and in journalism. Creative writing is a whole different animal – with wings, and squawks, and smells, and feathers, so it must be a bird of a different color.

But how does one become a writer, or anything else?

PRACTICE.

Writing is a skill like any other. Some people may be naturally better at it than others, but with practice, we can improve at anything. I’m terrible and learning to tie knots and things mechanical, but that just means I need more practice at those things than the average person – if that’s how I want to spend my time.

I spent a lot of time as a substance abuse/mental health counselor, at least 30 years as you may know. Asking how something happened, like a relapse for example, was important. What was the chain of events, or thoughts, that led to the relapse? Many of my clients desperately wanted to stay clean, but didn’t know how. You can tell someone to stop doing drugs, or stop eating potato chips, or stop smoking, in all kinds of ways. But some people really need skills. Skills like self-soothing (without illegal drugs) and assertiveness, self-care, meditation and relaxation, going into a new support group, applying for a job, helping family members or friends understand why they don’t want to be part of the drama anymore, and accepting when they still don’t understand – just to name a few.

How long does it take to learn new skills?

It depends on how often we practice.

Changing thoughts is a skill. I can still get caught up in ruminating about things I should have done better, or worrying about how someone is going to react to my boundaries. It takes a conscious effort sometimes to pull my mind back to the present moment. Asking myself, “Why do I keep doing that?” doesn’t help as much as, “How can I stop doing that?”  Or better yet, How can I catch myself sooner and re-direct my thoughts?

Sometimes I use sticky notes to remind myself to be in the present, or think positive. Sometimes I ask God to help me stop thinking about something that isn’t doing me any good to think about. One of my favorite things to ask God is, “How do you want me to handle this?” Sometimes I get an answer, like, “love her,” like when my daughter was 13 and melting down. Or sometimes the answer is, “wait.” Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be an answer, but I know God is going to help me work it out somehow.

SOCS

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is the word, “how,” brought to us by Linda G. Hill at https://lindaghill.com/2017/02/24/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-2517/ who instructed us to “Start your post with the word “How.” Bonus points if you end with it too. Enjoy!

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


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Be careful about…

I’m getting so many messages like this one, telling me to slow down the process of publishing my book. Another spoke loud and clear in a horoscope, in a magazine that I never read, except for one night last week when i just happened to pick it up. I’m being guided to look more closely at and revise some of the content in my memoir that I thought was finished, but it’s not, and having to learn patience on a whole new level. Trust the Timing is not just the title of my book. It’s my life lesson. Oh, boy. Another lesson. Thanks, God. I might roll my eyes. I might even stomp my foot. But I’m listening, cause I know who’s running this show.

Sacred Touches

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****Photo by Mandy Disher; text box added by Natalie; collage by Natalie

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Believe In Your Dreams

“When your belief in you and your dream is greater than your belief in other people’s opinions, you will have mastered your life.”    __Johnna Parr

1linerwedsbadgewes

I use this quote by Johanna Parr in my upcoming book, Trust the Timing.

For updates, tips, and inspiration, subscribe to my Monthly Newsletter.

Visit Linda G. Hill, our host for One-Liner Wednesday, at

https://lindaghill.com/2017/02/08/one-liner-wednesday-to-pooh-a-villain/

Here are the 1LinerWed rules:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!


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Tangible Healing

broken-heart-from-pixabay

It was 16 years ago. The emotional pain was tangible. Like the bottom fell out of my stomach and my head was somewhere far away.

I had believed that “to death do us part” meant that we would grow old together, and travel out west chasing the sunsets.

I was willing to work on it, to do my part, be more attentive, go on vacations, whatever.

But it was too late.

They said it was just acid-reflux that made my chest feel so tight, like a fist closing around my heart.

So I had to learn to take slow deep breaths in between the sobs in the hallway sitting on the hardwood floor when the kids had gone to their dad’s new place.

It took time for the pain to subside into mere sadness. Then there were the cover-up rebounds. The first one a disaster, the second better, but stressful and not a good fit. But at least I was  making progress.

Finally, I learned to work on me, and to trust that God had a plan.

Now, my heart sings a new song, better than any song I could have imagined.

Now, the joy is tangible like the ocean waves  caressing my skin, like a cool breeze on a warm day, or a warm blanket on a cold night.

healing

I painted this during the cover-up rebounds.

(The broken heart at the top is from pixabay)

This post was written in response to the Just Jot it January prompt: “tangible,” provided by Prajakta at https://anarmchairperfectionist.wordpress.com/

This post is also for TS.

Except for the last two lines, it summarizes Chapter 13 of my Work in Progress.

 

just-jot-january

The rules for Just Jot It January are as follows:

1. It’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list) counts as a “Jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. The prompts will be posted every day at 2am my time (GMT -5). You don’t have to follow the prompt word, but this will be where you leave your link for others to see. Make sure you link your post to the correct day’s prompt. There will be a post like this every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday, and Saturday, when you’ll find the prompt on my usual Friday Reminder post for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS).

3. As long as your blog is on WordPress, you’ll be able to link via pingback. To execute a pingback, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! If you’re participating from another blogging host, just drop a link into the comment section. Note: The newest pingbacks and comments will be at the top.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. The prompts are here both to remind you and to inspire you to write. However, you don’t have to use the prompt word of the day. You can link any kind of jot back here. Even your shopping list. Note: If it’s 18+ content, please say so in a comment with your link.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge (above) in your post so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!

If you’d like to look ahead to see the upcoming prompt words, click this link: https://lindaghill.com/2016/12/31/just-jot-it-january-2017-rules/ You can always write your post ahead of time and schedule it to come out on the appropriate day.

 

 


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Carrie Fisher is still teaching me to be brave.

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“If you pretend something long enough, it comes true.” Carrie Fisher

These quotes about confidence and pretending remind me of the expression, “Fake it til you make it.” When we do that, we’re pretending with a purpose. We’re being brave in spite of our fear.

Being brave is one thing Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia had in common.

In  Star Wars, Princess Leia battled the evil empire. In real life, Carrie Fisher battled insecurity, addiction, bipolar disorder, and of course the expectations of Hollywood. At the age of 19, she portrayed a strong, intelligent, no nonsense woman of power in the original Star Wars movie, “A New Hope.” I watched that movie in the theater at least ten times in the late 70s when I was about 21. I was one year older than Carrie who died on Tuesday, December 27th. Like many of my peers, (boomers/sci-fi fans) I thought of her almost like friend, especially after I started watching her interviews.

As she got older Carrie grew wiser. She wrote books which have been on my want-to-read-list for years. I still look forward to reading them. In her interviews, Carrie is hilarious in that feisty, authentic way smart women get when they no longer care so much what people think of them – something I aspire to. I love that she performed her autobiographical play, Wishful Drinking, barefoot.

As Princess Leia and as herself, Carrie Fisher influenced me in ways that I am not even aware of. I do know that she made me braver and still does. As I process my grief  (and consider my own mortality) I’m imagining her cracking jokes and exploring life in a galaxy far far away.

I wish her a good voyage.

In the following interview, Carrie started talking about recovery more in the second half if you want to skip the baring all part.

And in this next interview with Oprah, she talked about her family, electroshock therapy, and healing her relationship with her mother who she partially credited for teaching her to be strong.

After writing this, I read that Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, died the day after her daughter and that she said she wanted to be with Carrie. As a mother, I understand.  I understand about the worry, the tension, and the closeness of that complicated bond. I’m glad they were able to talk, to come to a better understanding of each other. Now, I hope they are at peace.