Finding Peace Through Gratitude

Finding Peace Through Gratitude

Writing fiction has always been my passion. Mysteries, cozy mysteries, suspense, contemporary fiction, it doesn’t matter. I love getting lost in the land of make believe, creating characters, settings, and stories, living vicariously through them. And when I read a story, it’s all about being transported into the world of which I’m reading, feeling like I know the characters. It’s that connection that’s critical. And it’s that connection that makes the end of a good book come too soon.

That being said, I’m dipping my toe into some non-fiction writing and working on a book titled Finding Peace Through Gratitude. Its pages are about the storms I’ve weathered in my life, coming out a better person on the other side, all credit given to the two “G” words – God and Gratitude. It’s an interactive book with a challenge for the reader at the end of each chapter. The projected publication date is January 1, 2018.

Hop on over to my non-fiction website if you’re so inclined. It’s a place I’m developing to be calm and peaceful, somewhere to escape the busyness and chaos of the world. A multi-vitamin of sorts. Posts will continue here, on my fiction website, on Wednesdays, and I’ll be posting about nature and gratitude on my non-fiction site on Fridays.

See you there in the quietness.Tranquility!

 

 

 

 

Detour Home

Country Road

A while back I mentioned my new online home, where I’ve also transferred my blog. That being said, I neglected to include a sign up/follow button on my new site. It took me a while to get around to doing that, but it’s now done. I would absolutely love to have you visit me over there. So, despite taking a detour in my return to blogging, alas, I’m back, at my newly located blog home, ready to roll. Next week I will begin weekly Wednesday blog posts there. See you on Wednesdays, just around the bend.

Until then…

Carpe diem

 

Gratitude…for All and for One

Bill Wilson

Sometimes I get so caught up in being the best at something I lose my focus on what’s really important. Of course, being the Type A that I am, I’m usually killing myself striving to be the best at everything. And it’s here that I get into trouble.

Striving to be my own personal best and striving to be the best is the difference between the scenic journey of healthy living and the fast lane to insanity.

When I’ve accomplished something in my writing career, I find I want to be better. After all, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell and J. R. R. Tolkien have all topped the lists, so why shouldn’t I be able to?

When I’m doing my day job well, I find myself thinking of those who make millions at their job and wonder why I’m not able to be that successful. (Think Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg.)

When I see other blogs that have thousands of followers to my 354, I doubt my ability to be “good enough.”

And on and on and on…and thus begins the proverbial squirrel cage thinking, the squirrel being fed from comparing myself to others.

Gratitude, pure and simple, is the answer to putting the squirrel to rest.

Gratitude-2

Gratitude that I’ve accomplished something that I love to do so much, appreciating that I’ve been blessed with a talent that breathes life into me.

Gratitude for having a day job with work that I enjoy, and pay that allows to me live comfortably, while experiencing satisfaction at being able to make a positive difference to victims of crime at a time when their entire world has been turned upside down and inside out.

Gratitude for each and every person who my blog has touched, each one individually. As long as I’ve been writing, which has been since the age of four when I wrote “words” on the living room wall with crayon :), my goal has never been to make millions, but to make a difference. If even to just one.

Every life touched, every one, matters.

In the words of Spock, played by the late, great Leonard Nimoy (may he RIP):

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” — Spock, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

But may we never forget the needs of one for the needs of the few or the many.

Carpe Diem

Prioritizing Priorities

Priorities

I’ve come to realize–again–that I’m not super-human and have conceded to the fact that I need to prioritize my life a bit. I’m confidant I’m not alone in that I tend to keep taking on more and more, often without realizing it, until life becomes a little bit of everything done somewhat well and nothing done well. There’s something to be said for striving to be a human-being rather than a human-doing.

When life becomes so busy with everything, it’s hard to fully enjoy anything. 

I began this blog because I was told it’s wise to do prior to publishing in order to build an audience. I quickly discovered, however, how much I enjoy writing these blog posts, saying what I feel called to say, and communicating with other like minded people who love to read and write. The number of people who follow my blog is not nearly as important any more as appreciating and communicating with those who do.

That being said, my life has been feeling out of balance and off-kilter, and I needed to sit back and take stock of where I spend too much of my time and energy, where I’m overextending, and where I need to invest more time and energy.

Electronics without question take up too much of my time and energy. My cell phone and computer can too quickly and easily become an extension of my fingers while I surf the Internet or check emails numerous times a day, play mind-numbing, time sucking games, when I could be spending that time on what is most important to me.

Other than my day job, which is necessary (though not necessarily that particular job, I’ve come to realize), which takes up 40+ hours of my week, my priorities for time spent are as follows:

1.) Time spent with God in prayer and meditation, aligning my thoughts with His will, allowing His love to penetrate my heart that I may love as He loves, and my family – my husband, children, grandchildren, and sponsor children. Being wife, mom, grandma and sponsor is a calling I’m honored to fulfill to the greatest of my ability.

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2.) Working out. Without this piece, the rest of my life – mind and body – fall apart and I can’t be healthy for any of the things that matter.

2.) Writing – first and foremost working on my novels, getting back into poetry, etc. This piece of writing brings me joy and fulfillment like nothing else. Not to mention sanity – and my family appreciates that. 🙂

3.) My blog

  • Writing posts
  • Responding to comments. I’ve made amazing cyber-friends through comments on my blog, and I am so grateful for them.
  • Reading posts – my goals is still to read, but I won’t be able to get to the same blogs every day like I’ve been striving so hard to do. If I want to explore and support other blogs, those who support mine and those amazing, yet undiscovered-by-me blogs out in the blog-o-verse, I’ve realized I need to spread my time out a bit.

4.) Giving some time back to the writing group I belong to, NCW, which has helped my writing see daylight after hibernation.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. “ -Stephen Covey

Here’s to prioritizing and finding balance, a moment, a day, at a time. And discovering peace through living your life by giving the most time to what matters the most.

What are your priorities? Do you often have to reassess? Do you find yourself spending too much time on what doesn’t matter in the scheme of things? Do electronics suck up too much of your time without even realizing it?

(6 more days until Camp! Camp NaNoWriMo. 🙂 )

 

My Writing Process

I met the talented Rachel Carrera during the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge and was invited by her to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour.  I’ve been reading the answers to the given questions by other bloggers who have participated and I have to say it’s been enlightening to not only read about other writers, but to see how their process works.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always open to learning something that may work better or enhance what I’m already doing.  I will be  the first to admit that I simply write because I love to write and never gave the rest of “the business” much thought until the past year and a half.  For me it’s a learn-as-I-go process.  And how I love to learn! 🙂

Be sure to check out Rachel’s blog. She is a brilliant ray of sunshine and has a contagious love of life. Thank you Rachel! 🙂

Here are the answers to my questions, followed by the links to three + other bloggers I have tagged so you can check out their answers on May 26th.

1.  What am I working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on the final revision of my novel, The Inheritance.  Through the years I’ve written a few first drafts that lay cozily tucked within a filing cabinet drawer, but this is the first I’ve chosen to carry through to publication.  Let me tell you, it’s given me a whole new respect for published authors as I realize all there is to do after the fun of getting the story down on paper–or to the computer.  The things I thought I was good at–like grammar–I’ve learned there is so much I didn’t have down like I thought I did.  However, now that I’m able to see the finish line, I’m getting renewed energy and enthusiasm to take my latest first draft, The Last Resort, through to the finish line as well.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure it differs from all others in my genre, or it would be in a genre of its own. But if I were to mention one area that I have noticed, it’s that despite it being women’s fiction and it has it’s share of relational content, it covers real life issues without the “drama mama stuff” that is exhausting in real life. I like to portray real life issues but also show hope–showing light in the darkness. I also try to avoid profanity and unnecessary crassness because I truly believe God blessed me with my ability to write and my love of writing.  That being the case, He is the One I want to please more than anyone with my writing. I choose to tell a story by honoring God rather than promoting what goes against Him.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I love to read the kind of fiction I write – fiction that shares the joy of living a spiritual life without being preachy.  Although I love to read a lot of other genres as well.  And I have stories that come into my head that I can’t wait to share with others.

4.  How does my writing process work?

I don’t really have a tried and true process yet. I guess I could say it’s a work in progress to find what works best.  I work full-time in a job that pays the bills, I’m a mom to two grown boys whose lives I’m so fortunate to still be a large part of, grandma to one toddler and step-grandma to 5 , and wife to an amazing husband who I love to spend time with. Whew! So with all that, I try to write daily, but am not always successful with that goal.  With The Inheritance and The Last Resort I wrote the first draft in 30 days by participating in NaNoWriMo.  The revision process has been the biggest learning process and is what I’m trying to achieve with the least amount of pain. But the pain has also been my biggest motivator and teacher. 🙂  

Jacque @ http://godisms.wordpress.com

Marie @ http://writingwingsforyou.com

Angela @ http://authorangelachristinaarcher.wordpress.com

Amanda @ http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com

 

“Z” is for…

Zoey and Zig Ziglar

Yes, you read that correctly.  My favorite “Z” word in the whole world is Zoey, my precious granddaughter. There is none so perfect as she. 🙂 Especially in her sassy little leopard print dress.

photo (5)

And Zig Ziglar? I couldn’t think of a better way to end this remarkable blog challenge than with one of his quotes.  This adventure has led me to the good habit of writing every day (which I hope I can keep), it has helped me get to know acquaintances better (My NCW comrades), and has brought some amazing blogging friends into my blogging life. It has been an amazing ride and I hope to stay connected with all of you. Every one of you has a special place in my heart.

“Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success.”
Zig Ziglar

“X” is for…

X-tra ready for the challenge to be over…Okay, so that may be cheating a bit. But the truth is there all the same. 🙂

This challenge has been an amazing journey.  It’s taught me that even when I am sure I have nothing to say or my mind feels blocked from thinking of something interesting to write about, I can overcome that self-doubt and conquer the blockage.

It has shown me what an amazing group of people the blogging community is comprised of.  The support, the camaraderie, the pooling together of minds.

The diverse subject matter has given me knowledge I did not have prior to the challenge.  And knowledge is truly power.  However, I’ve learned more than just subject matter content from all my blogging peeps. (That means friends where I come from. 🙂 )

It has shown me the importance of making writing an everyday occurrence and not simply when I feel like it.  Writing every day is what produces results.

It has also shown the importance of endurance–to see it through to the end, even when it got difficult or time was hard to find. We make time for what is important to us.

Finish Strong Quote

But that being said, I’m ready to finish–and not just finish, but finish strong–and carry on with the revisions on my novel, The Inheritance, and to start the revisions of my “novel-in-waiting,” The Last Resort, which has been patiently waiting since I completed the first draft this past November. Writing novels is where my heart is.

What will you be working on after the A to Z Blog Challenge?

 

Calm Before the Storm

Since I was at the NCW Writers Conference–which was amazing, by the way–and using every molecule of brain power trying to absorb everything I could, I didn’t post my last usual Gratitude Friday and Weekend Quote posts.  But rest assured, tomorrow begins April and the A-Z Blogging Challenge, for 26 posts in 30 days.  God willing. 🙂

APRIL-CALENDAR [2014]

“See” you tomorrow. 🙂

Who’s Up For a Challenge?

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge, that is.

Post A-to-Z Road Trip-04-small

Arlee Bird began this challenge, which entails participants to post something on his/her blog every day in April except Sundays. The fun gets even better – the topic for each day’s post follows the letters of the alphabet, meaning there are 26 letters in the alphabet for 26 days.
The topic for April 1st begins with an “A”…April Fool’s Day? Hmmm… 🙂

April 2nd’s topic begins with “B,” the 3rd will begin with “C,” and so on.

Content is left up to the blogger, whether following a theme or posting on random subjects while following the alphabet letter for that day.
The letter of the alphabet reminds me of one of my very favorite detective series, written by Sue Grafton. (A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, C is for Corpse…)

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Knowing there are thousands of bloggers all in this together brings a sense of community, much like the NaNoWriMo community of writers, bringing the challenge to even greater heights. How awesome to know you’re part of a blogging community, supporting one another in something all of us equally enjoy–writing. Topics and support can be gleaned, not to mention exercising discipline in the writing process of writing every day. Complete with a break on Sundays. 🙂

Happy Writing, Reading–or both. 🙂