Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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I Can Write a Novel (As My Parents Nudge Me From the Other Side)

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

 

Can I really write this novel based on my parents? Can I fill in all the gaps using my imagination? Yes! I can. I’ve always had a powerful imagination. But I’ve used it to fantasize (and sometimes catastrophize) visually. Now, I’m putting it to work. When I wrote my memoir, Trust the Timing, I relied on my memory of the facts. I took journalism and technical writing in college. I majored in a science (though they called psychology a “soft science”) denying my creative tendencies, more like squelching them.

Dabbling in fiction, with my recent post, The Postcard from Malaga, about my parents, gave me confidence to get back to the novel about them that I started a couple years ago. Yesterday, when I was working on it, I got lost in their world. The world of two young lovers in 1950 in Washington DC. He’s a marine and she left her abusive husband with her baby daughter (my older sister.) Those are pretty much facts. But I made up stuff about their first date. I do know, because my dad told me, that my mom, who was not yet my mom, called up the barracks asking for some other guy. Jim (that’s my dad) answered the phone and said, “Why do you want to go out with that guy when you can go out with me?” And that’s how their romance started. While making up the details, I became so absorbed in their developing story, that at one point I stood up to stretch (my body knew I needed it) and for a second wondered where I was. It was very cool. Then I got caught/distracted about wanting to research restaurants in Washington DC in 1950 where they might have gone on their first date. That pulled me out of the story, but it was still fascinating because it was about the story.

Anyways, I need to remind myself that I don’t need to research a lot just to pound out this first draft. Yes there will be holes in it, and I’ll want to edit as I go, but they say just keep going, otherwise, this could take way too many years and I’ve not got unlimited years to work with. But I CAN write a first draft. I know I can.

Mom and Dad in 54 in Washington

(Betty and Jim, 1954)

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was: “can” with bonus points for beginning and ending our post with the word, can. Yes, I can do that, too!

For more information, visit our host, Linda at the link below. Linda, I hope you feel better real soon. Take care!

https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-20-18/

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. I will post the prompt here on my blog every 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 will simply be a single word to get you 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 all of them! 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 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!


27 Comments

Update: Gratitude, Books, and Bees

First, I want to let you know how much I appreciate you, my followers and readers. Sometime in May, I passed 2000 followers! What a surprise! It seems these things happen when I’m not watching the numbers. I wish I could read every post of every follower, and while that might be possible, life calls me to a variety of responsibilities and adventures. I do enjoy learning about people from all over the world as we share our ideas, hopes and dreams. Thank you for your patience and your support!

♥ ♥ ♥

Next up, my story, “I Almost Gave Up on Romance,” is now available in

The Miracle of Love. 

Chicken Soup cover The Miracle of Love

I’d submitted stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul twice before, but they weren’t accepted. Another reminder to persevere!  As I begin reading The Miracle of Love, I’m finding the stories rejuvenating and easy-to-read.

If you’d like the juicy (and mostly clean) details of my story, just click on my book, Trust the Timing, up on the right side bar for more information.

 

honey bee

And now to the BEES!

A little while ago I mentioned about the bees in the wall at my church and our plan to bring them to our backyard. It took a couple of weeks to get everything ready including putting up a fence around the bee area to keep Doodle out. Then we had to wait for the rain to stop. During that waiting, David noticed fewer bees coming out of holes in the brick and wondered if they’d “swarmed” to a new location.

On Monday, he opened up the wall while I handed him stuff and took pictures.

Dave up the ladder

Dave reaches into the wall

Once David opened up another section of wall, he discovered there were only a only few hundred bees and no brood. Most hives have several thousand bees. The original hive had swarmed. The bees present were likely “robber” bees from another hive attracted to the remaining honey. I prefer to think of them as scavenger bees doing a job.

Dave studying bees

David vacuumed the bees out of the wall with a very gentle vacuum he built himself.  The inside of the hose was smooth which is extremely important for bee survival. I’d been worried about this common procedure, but it worked.

Since this collection of bees was not really a hive (there was no queen), David decided to let them go. When he opened the box outside, hundreds of bees immediately flew away – hopefully to their own hive. A small group hung around getting their bearings, but went home before dark.

Being an aspiring vegan, I’m not 100% comfortable with this whole process, though it is interesting. David, who jokes about being allergic to fun, greatly enjoys working with bees. He had fun even though he didn’t get to bring home a hive. So I’m supporting him in this interest and learning a lot about bees myself. Besides, the  bees could not stay in our church wall, especially since our music director is allergic to them. The more I learn about bees, the more I appreciate them. As pollinators, they are part of a wonderful system and responsible for most of the food we eat.

Here’s a moving video about compassion for one special bee.


28 Comments

Being Assertive

SOC winner 2017

Hey, it’s good to be back home again. That line comes from a John Denver song. Speaking of John Denver, I just spent five days in the mountains. The Appalachians. Sort of got lost, but that’s another story. I need to get to the prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness, which is “passive/aggressive.”

It’s a loaded prompt. Loaded with possibilities. The safest thing would be to go the clinical route. In my old job, I learned that passive/aggressive behavior is taking a dig or doing harm to someone indirectly, like putting something nasty in their food without them knowing it, or saying something mean and saying, “I was just joking. Can’t you take a joke?”

I am rarely passive/aggressive. But then often we don’t realize we are. Oh, I’ve had thoughts – fantasies about doing such and such… haven’t we all? But I usually catch myself and recognize that would be passive/aggressive.

I tend to be more passive than aggressive. Most people would say I am rarely aggressive. I’ve tried to move toward more assertive communication my whole life. Assertiveness is being honest with respect. Standing up for yourself without trying to hurt the other person, with I statements about your wants and needs. To a shy, mild-mannered person, being assertive can feel aggressive. Even saying, “I need some time alone,” or “I need you to stop yelling at me,” or “I will listen to you when you talk to me with respect,” can be a challenge. But it is possible and gets easier with practice.

Here’s another way to be assertive:

Say what you mean,

mean what you say.

but don’t say it mean.

 

Enough of the clinical. How do I work this prompt into what I really want to tell you?

I was not being passive when I submitted my story to Chicken Soup for the Soul for their book, The Miracle of Love, coming out in June. I was assertive! I believed I had a chance, even though I have submitted stories to them before that were not chosen. I figured, what have I got to lose?

And guess what! My story was selected! It made the final cut! It’s titled, “I Almost Gave Up on Romance.” Happy dance going on in my head.

Chicken soup for the soul_Company_Logo

Assertiveness can be standing up for yourself with yourself enough to take a chance on something good happening. And sometimes, it does. Just the act of submitting a story, or writing a story, or painting a painting, anything that feels good and right to your authentic self, is worth the effort, even if no one buys it. If it feeds your soul, do it anyway.

 

 

Today’s Stream of Consciousness Prompt is brought to us by Linda Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/04/06/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-7-18/

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!


17 Comments

Guess What I Found in my Attic!

Last week, I worked on cleaning out my attic. It was a dirty, sneezy job. I hauled paper and cardboard to the recycle bin, trashed the un-recyclables, and salvaged the action figures for my grandsons.

action figures lined up

 

But the coolest thing I found in the attic was my poetry notebook from high school.

Notebook from 1972

 

One poem written in 1972 is “prophetic” as my husband called it. David’s family moved away at the end of tenth grade. I must have written this right after he left, hoping against the odds that I would see him again and believing our love would stay alive.

Notebook page from 1972

 

I was so full of hope at 16. Angsty hope. But David didn’t answer my last letter that summer of ’72, and life went on. Over the years, my first love became a distant memory.

If I’d found this notebook in my 30s, I would have shaken my head and thought, “How sappy.” But now, it reinforces that this love story was meant to be. Our love never died. It just went dormant and waited quietly for 39 years.

You can read about those 39 years and the lessons we learned along the way in

Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.

Did I really know our love would stay alive? Or did I help manifest our re-connection? Was it all part of God’s plan? Did the angels see a window of opportunity and nudge us in the right direction?

I vote for all of the above.

Oh, how I wish today’s teenagers only had learning and love to deal with.

 

Hang on to your hopes.

 

Good things coming

 


7 Comments

My Goodreads Giveaway is Live!

ebook cover -1536x2048

My Goodreads Giveaway for the Kindle version of my book, Trust the Timing, is live!

From February 12 through February 28th, you can enter to win my e-book!

It’s a true story about first loves, lost loves, and how I became ready for the love of my life.

Here’s the giveaway link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/276351

 

back cover painting (2)

 


28 Comments

Keeping Our Dreams Alive

(From my September Newsletter)

the-dogwood-has-leaves.jpg

Did you ever think something was dead, but it surprised you?

Around this time last year, I pulled up a small dogwood tree growing right next to our church foundation. There was no room for it to grow there. It was not easy, but I got most of the root. I planted the dogwood behind the church and gave it some water. The leaves withered and eventually dropped off. But it was close to leaf dropping time anyway, so I hoped it would come back in the spring. Through the whole season of spring I looked for new growth and saw nothing but a bare stem. I figured it was dead. I should have put some fertilizer on it. Then, in August, I just happened to notice two tiny leaves. Then four. The dogwood was still alive! Its leaves are growing as I write this. I don’t know if it will survive the winter, but there’s always hope.

There was a time when I wondered if romance was dead for me. But I never completely gave up hope. I had no idea that my first love would find me 39 years later, and that the love we had felt for each other as teenagers was still alive, dormant, waiting patiently for the perfect time.

(Sounds like a good story, right? You can order it here.)

 

Did you ever have a dream that you thought was dead? Maybe you’ve thought it was too late. Maybe you’ve felt like giving up, thinking: what’s the use? I’ll never be good enough. I think we’ve all been there.

In high school, I was pretty good at art, and I loved to write. But I didn’t value these talents. I  valued science. I wanted to save the planet. So, I declared biology as my major.  But higher math and chemistry got harder in college. I could have gotten a tutor, but I wasn’t supposed to need a tutor.

Discovering psychology was the best thing that could have happened. As much as I wanted to help others, there were things I needed to learn to help myself. After college, I spent over 30 years as a substance abuse counselor. I learned a lot during those years and was blessed with the privilege of being able to help others. And every now and then, I would dabble in saving animals, caring for the planet, being an artist, and writing. But it was just dabbling. There were long stretches when I did not create art and my only writing consisted of clinical notes at my job. When my marriage ended, I painted like crazy for a while and wrote in journals as part of my therapy. But I didn’t think I’d ever be an artist or writer full time. I had to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. Retirement seemed like a faraway land I would never reach.

But sometimes, I would dabble in my old dreams.

Then in 2011, my first love found me again. People got goosebumps when we told our story, so I started writing that story. I had a lot to learn about creative writing, about details, conveying feelings, and describing scenes. There were times when I wondered if I had what it took to write and publish a real book.

But you’ll never know if you’re capable of something
until you’ve given it a go. ~ Kristina Adams

For much of my life, I’ve had a habit of thinking my work wasn’t good enough, because it wasn’t perfect. But I’m changing that habit.

This article by Kristina Adams explains how striving for perfection can damage our confidence and motivation (not to mention our health). It’s helped me be reasonably proud of my book. It’s a good book. But what I’m most proud of is that Trust the Timing is a book of overcoming challenges and never giving up hope, a book that can help people.

Now, I have reached that once distant land they call “retirement.” Except that I’m not really retired. I’m writing and painting! I dabble in saving the planet, or at least a tree here and there.

What about your dreams? Did you ever think that you weren’t good enough to follow your heart’s desire? I am telling you now that you are good enough. There’s some part of your dream that still lives, a part you can nurture into new growth. Your dream might change, and that’s okay. Maybe you’re already living your dream, or maybe you’re just thinking about it. Dabbling. Either way, don’t give up.

May your sweet dreams become reality.


16 Comments

Back in First Grade

School boy from pixabay

I recently started volunteering at an elementary school one day a week helping first graders with reading and writing. My job is to invite one student at a time to a back table where we read a book together, or I help them with a worksheet.

Three days after my first visit, I came down with a bad summer cold and had to miss the second week. (This happened after saying to myself, “I never get sick.”) So, I stocked up on vitamin C, echinacea and zinc, and I’m making a renewed effort in my goal to get more sleep.

rabbit

Yesterday, I helped the first graders write stories using the prompts, Who, What, Where, When, and Why with the theme of what they like to do for fun. One student said she liked to go to “Jungle Rabbits.” I had to smile, because I remembered my daughter, many years ago calling the water slide park “Jungle Rabbits” when it’s official name is Jungle Rapids. The word, rapids, makes no sense to first graders, but rabbits do. It doesn’t matter that there are no rabbits there. When I said, “I think it’s called, Jungle Rapids, she insisted it was Jungle Rabbits, so I joined the journey and helped her spell rabbits. The next student who said he liked to go to Jungle Rabbits, got no argument from me. Jungle Rabbits it is!

But my favorite experience, so far, was when it was almost time for recess. Two boys in the back of the room started getting on each other’s nerves. I re-directed them to their work and wondered it I was going to need to get the busy teacher’s attention. A third boy came to one of them with a letter he had written. It said simply,  “I love you,” followed by the author’s name. Then the letter writer went back to his desk and wrote another letter, and brought it to the other boy. It said the same thing. “I love you.”

“Isn’t that nice?” I said.

The restless boys didn’t say anything. They didn’t quite know what to make of the letters. But they were distracted from their irritations and settled down long enough to make it to recess without any problems. There’s just something about a hand-printed letter.

I think I’m going to like first grade a lot better this time around.

(The images are from Pixabay)