Superb Saturday & #180!

Happy Saturday, friends, family, and followers! It’s nice enough at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska to have the windows open a little. Of course, this morning the furnace is still kicking on, but it won’t be soon as it warms up. I’m fortunate, the writing staff is napping and the Babe has gone to the VFW Post 2503 for some office work and to help the Honor Guard pay last respects to a veteran who is being buried today. I’m so proud of his participation in this ritual. I sat next to my mother and heard the words said upon presenting the flag, and it has made me tear up every time I hear them. The nation is indeed grateful to each and every veteran who served with honor. I am too. Thank you all for what you all continue to do for this great nation.

Awhile back, I downloaded a free sample of the software Pro Writing Aid. I must say, I do like it a lot, and have used it on my book before the re-write after my first edit. My editor Sam cautioned me to make sure suggested changes make sense before accepting them. That is a good point and I’m glad she told me that. I would have double checked anyway, heck, being a retired software coder, I know they are only as good as the coder who wrote them. I freely admitted when I made some colossal goofs when writing code and pre-testing it. “Sometimes, I even amaze myself” was what I’d laugh and say when catching errors I made. It always only did what I told it to do. Admitting mistakes. That gets you far in life and work, too. Just don’t keep on repeating the same ones.

Anyone who has ever been burned by autocorrect can attest to the weird stuff that shows up since autocorrect and spellcheck really don’t know what they’re doing. Again, limitations enforced by the coder. Grammar mistakes are king, aren’t they? We need to be patient and proofread what we write. Memos, e-mails, letters, books, and texts take on a way different meaning when words are substituted without our knowledge or checking. Protect yourself, take the time to read.

That said, because we’re all human and no one is perfect, cut each other some slack. At times when someone posts a lot of grammatical errors in a Facebook Post, it only bothers me when the one who makes all these errors claims to be smarter than everyone else. Haughtiness doesn’t get you anywhere when you’re making a statement like that.

I’m having a good time during my re-write. I’m in Chapter 10 right now. Nearly halfway. At this rate, I may be able to get it back to my editor by the end of March. This year! Yay! I’ll keep you posted for sure. I’m a sucker for accessories. Fashion accessories, computer accessories, and now, writing accessories, commonly known as references. Here’s a book I’ve enjoyed perusing.

Tired of “nod” and “sigh”? Me, too.

This amazing little 88 page book has chapter divisions by body part. Eyes, Noses, Mouths, all body parts, except for the genitalia. Had to say it, you know you were wondering. The gist of this 1,000 Character Reactions from Head to Toe is that my characters need to do more than sigh, said, heard, and stand still. They can take a long drag from a cigar, parrot back, hear as if everything was under water, and sashaying away from someone. Don’t get too crazy with these words, though. Jerry Jenkins, who wrote the “Left Behind” series and who is a successful author, says to quit with too many descriptive words for “said.” It may be appropriate in some genres and not others. I’ll have to let you know about that theory, too.

BTW, this is our 180th published blog since last July 5, 2019. In the beginning, I didn’t write every day, but I do now it at all possible. I’m sad it took our dog Roxie being run over by a car to make me start writing every day. You never know what will strike your heart and be a story you want to share. It helped us with our grief, too. If you would like to read that first blog, here is a link for you to read. Bring Kleenex. She was a charmer.

I would absolutely love for you to continue this journey with me, right along to when we reach the 360th blog post and beyond to buying a book once we publish them. In the meantime, thank you for reading today, I’ll be here tomorrow, as I hope you are. Go out and have a beautiful Saturday.

Happy Valentine’s Day

This is a big day for “love” and “lovers”. And card companies, and chocolate makers, retailers everywhere. A huge part of the population sometimes feels as if they are less than the rest of us who happen to have partners of one kind or another.

I remember being single on this day. I remember sitting at work while everyone in the office received flowers from their someone. Everywhere. Flowers. Candy. Cards. Stuffed Animals and Balloons, all sorts of things. I felt less than desirable, less than loved, and soldiered on to get through the day. I was always glad it was over. Being in a relationship and marriage, now it’s so different. Sometimes we forget to get a card for each other, it’s all good. Each and every day, we demonstrate the love we were lucky enough to find with each other. I remember those long, lonely years. And I know some day we will face losing our partner. And we will experience another kind of lonely.

God was very good to both of us. For all of you who are single by chance or by choice, it gets better. You will find someone who is perfect for you. Make sure you keep your standards high and don’t let your lonliness lead you to a bad relationship decision. The worst mistakes I have made were made out of lonliness. Think more highly of yourself. The lonliness will pass. The best company you can have is yourself. Once you are comfortable being alone, you will be better off. Trust me, it doesn’t last forever.

I do believe blind dates still have a place in our world today. I don’t think I’d be a good candidate for online dating if I were single. Too many lies. I’ve been lied to in person more than had truths told. I don’t want to be lied to electronically. The Babe is the first man I ever met who told the God’s honest truth all the time. That took a little getting used to. And now, I would expect it rather than just hope for it. That is what happens when you learn to value yourself. It’s the best lesson I’ve learned in my life.

Today, Mom had another good day at therapy. It’s helping a lot more than she realizes, and I think it’s good for her to get out more frequently than she has been. Sunday we get to have a new adventure at a family wedding shower. First time for Mom going to a winery. First time for everything.

Thank you for reading today, I’m grateful you stopped by. I will be here again tomorrow, please stop by. It’s always great to see old friends. Give your single friends a hug.

Hug your friends today. They need to be loved, too!

Happy Birthday, Addison!

Today, thirteen years ago, the Babe and I became Grandparents. What a life altering experience! It’s been quite a ride, and I pray the next thirteen years is as memorable and filled with love. The day Addison was born, we made a trip up to Sioux Falls to attend a wedding shower. I was helping throw the shower for Dan’s niece, Michelle. We knew Tracy was experiencing something, but didn’t think anything would come of it. We arrived, set the tables up, and had to turn around and go home. We hoped to make it back in time, and figured we would. It was about three and a half hours to get there. Nothing was happening yet, she was in the L&D room, her mom Sandy and Aunt Sharon were there, along with Grandpa Randy and Grandma Peggy.

It so happened February 10 was also Grandma Sandy’s birthday. How fun to become a Grandma on your birthday! Sandy passed away ten years ago from lung cancer, but she enjoyed her grandkids so much in the short time she lived after they were born. Sandy and I became good friends, and talked a lot about her kids growing up. The Babe and I married when our kids were all adults, so I didn’t experience them growing up. Together we have five kids, and now four Grandkids.

It was a beautiful thing to hear Sandy and Dan talk about when they were expecting Blake all those years ago in Sioux Falls. They talked about how broke they were (we all were, back in the day), and the cradle the Babe made. He made two more, one for each of his grandkids. It was truly a labor of love. They were one couple who could get past the divorce stuff and be friends. I’m sure they took the long way around to get there, but it was a wonderful thing to see. We would all be very lucky to be in that mindset for our kids of divorce.

I waited until everyone else held Addison, and the room was packed with people. Grandma Sandy brought her over to me, and said, “You haven’t had your turn, yet.” She placed the little pink baby in my arms. The tears came for both of us, and it was a beautiful moment. I think of Sandy often when the kids do something funny or even naughty, and how we talked so much. And that moment I first held our girl.

“Being a teenager means you’re not a little kid anymore”- Addison, on turning thirteen.

Sandy was still working when Addison was born, and I was not. Luckily, I got to watch her when the sitter had something else to do, or later when she couldn’t go to daycare due to the sniffles. I had so much fun with her. I think we have a special bond, and it would be there even with all the other grandmas Addison has. Her family extends as far as she can see, and it’s awesome. When I made them all Christmas stockings, she asked if we could make one for her daddy’s sister’s baby. We did. She is generous, happy, knows her own mind, expresses herself in times of trouble, and isn’t afraid to tell the teacher(s) if someone is treating her or someone else badly. She just gets it. She’s always “in” to go for ice cream, too.

We have watched countless dance recitals, classes, demonstrations, and competitions. This girl loves to be on stage dancing a solo. It amazes us a kid can learn to do that. We didn’t have experience speaking in front of people until we became adults. Glad they teach kids that now. So when they’re not kids anymore, they’ll be comfortable dancing, giving a speech, directing their workforce, etc. Addison has a heart of gold, and I pray she always looks at life with the joy she does. She loves her family so much, and her cousins in Maryland and Minnesota.

Thanks for reading today. It’s my pleasure to see you here, where I’ll be tomorrow. Hope you are, too. Now, it’s back to the book rewrite. Have a blessed day.

Finitely Friday

There are only twenty-four hours in this highly touted day of the week. When you are working for a living, you cannot wait for it to arrive. What do you do once it’s there? Maybe we put too much into this one day a week, why should all it’s siblings have a lesser fan club? Especially Monday. What happens when you are retired? You have six Saturdays and a Sunday. Those days are not that different, one from another, and it is difficult for new retirees to keep track of what day it is.

When I was moved into early “retirement” in 2000 due to my health, I was kind of a mess. I was only forty-eight years old and was a newleywed. It just didn’t seem like something I should be doing. It was hard. My body let me down and I was a bit angry about that fact. As one of my brothers’ said, “That’s what you get for taking care of yourself.” Well, maybe.

I have since recovered from the overwhelming feeling to explain my early departure from the working world. When I told my doctor I couldn’t do it anymore, he said, “I’m surprised you made it this long.” What? And the rub is it’s one of those things a person cannot identify on sight. That may be what made it so hard. That and my age. And the fact after keeping it together through being a single mom, college student, friend, sister, you name it, that it finally was my turn. Bitterness could have easily taken over.

I met the Babe right after that horrible illness, and he was more than ok with me having a hidden illness. His mother battled MS for most of her adult life and he was well aware of people who lost their health. From watching his interactions with her over the years, I came to know what type of compassionate caregiver he is. And he is. Like most men, he’s a better caregiver than patient, but that’s another story. Initially I felt I kept him from doing things, but he said no, he’d rather be hanging out with me. And it turns out we’re perfect for each other. Sure, we get frustrated. We’re human. But in the long run, neither of us will give up or quit on the other. And that’s a quality I”m glad we both have.

Each day we have is the same twenty-four hour period on the clock, calendar, and moment in time. I had a boss who would take Monday off instead of Friday for a long weekend. His thinking was everyone takes Friday, Monday can be less crowded and just as special. Just a little change in thought, and powerful things can happen. Try it. You might like it. It could change the way you view your world, life, and creativity.

In the creative realm, for those who create things from other materials, you need to strike while the iron is hot. While the ideas are flowing, get them down, cut the fabrics, paint the pictures, write the words. And then coax them to become their best. I cannot say, “Friday is not a good day for creating, come back Monday,” because the idea most likely will be lost forever. Write down a note to spark the memory when you are able to capture the idea more fully. After a while, it won’t matter where or when you get those ideas. You will be able to make a note then coax it back into a more full statement. Practice. We all have enough time for that.

Don’t wish your life away. Make the most of each twenty-four hour trip around the sun. Give thanks for each day no matter how bad it can be. Tomorrow could be worse, but chances are, it won’t be. Some days the best thing you can say about it is, “It’s over now.” Do-overs. How lucky we are to have one every day. We may look back and decide these days weren’t so bad after all. All the Thursdays, Tuesdays, and Sunday nights have the capacity to be awesome. Just like we do. Every day people. Doing extraordinary things. Every day of the week.

Thank you for reading today. I’m grateful you did. I’ll be back tomorrow, and hope you will be, too. See you then. I’m off to work on my second chapter in the novel re-write. Go figure!

Superb Saturday

The world looks quite different at 3:49 a.m. That’s when I got up this morning. The Babe got up a few minutes ago, and I tried like crazy to fall back asleep, and it was apparent that would not happen. Coffee tastes different at this hour. Dawn takes longer to get here. I could have purchased a lot of neat stuff from the Internet. I read all the posts I missed after 9 p.m. You must have all been out having fun last night! Not a lot of stuff going on.

There is a brand new, 29 day month ahead of us. It’s Leap Year, where we add all those spare hours and minutes together since 2016, which gives us a bonus day every four years. I have a lifelong friend, Barb Moffatt, whose birthday is the 29th. I think that may have been strange growing up. Choosing your birthday? It would have been kind of fun.

Today is the day I’m going to plan some goals for February. My friends at I Create Daily have an Art challenge this month. It encourages us to create something in our chosen medium. Of course, the 90 day challenge is still going and that is all about my books. The goals are the same, my reality is in place and those goals will face adjustments.

My chosen mediums will be: Art, (drawing and water color); Clothing, (dusty rose colored jean jacket and pants); Quilting, (cut out “Snowflake Quilt” (king sized, 56 squares). This way, I’m ready for whichever of my muses should summon, I’ll be ready for it (them). We’ll see how that works. It is feasible to do Art one day, Clothing one day, Quilting one day, and write the other three or four days. Theory and Practice, oh what a foolish mortal I am. My theories seem to lag seriously behind my practices. It could just happen. More on that later.

A friend of mine has published her first book. Shannon DeAnna Schofield wrote “Perfectly Imperfect”. It is available on Amazon Kindle. I applaud her, I think it will sell well. It is about her journey through life. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but is honest, raw, gripping, and is about her redemption. Put it in your basket and read it this weekend! I hope to follow in your footsteps late this year.

I’m on Pinterest thanks to Nebraska Writers Guild!

Exciting times in the Nebraska Writers Guild! There is currently training on our FB page for Pinterest, and Instagram. A member has graciously offered to make board covers and pins for us. I have my blog, and they are including blogs as a board. Thank you to Renie Loeffler Rutten for doing all this work! Love it! Clicking this on Pinterest will take you to a specific blog. How fun! My Pinterest page is Kathy Raabe, Author. I have a NWG Members books board and am pinning them. There is a huge selection of genres, something for everyone.

Would you like to see all the blog covers? I could include them and post them on Facebook. It will be yet another free way to go increase our presence even before publishing a book. For those of you who may not know, I’m on Facebook as Kathy Raabe, Author visit me there! I so appreciate you reading today, and hope you’ll return tomorrow. More on goal planning then. I think it will be a great month for creativity. Hope it is for you, too. I will see you tomorrow. Have a beautiful day!

Stormy Weather

Neighbors, surveying the snow from Tuesday night.

It’s seen in neighborhoods all over the heartland after a snowstorm. The Babe (right) and our neighbor Terry (right) met up while both were clearing snow Wednesday morning. I had the perfect view while writing yesterday’s blog. Babe, you’ve still got it! One of my younger brothers had a girlfriend in the 80s that called herself the pocket inspector. Remember, buying jeans in the 80s and finding a little white paper in the pocket that read, “Inspected by #258. I’m #258! I’ll inspect your pockets anytime!” We all laughed. You just don’t see those tags anymore. Oh well, I’ll still inspect your pockets, Babe.

Unless it comes to laundry day. I do not look in pockets or at them. My kids knew to empty theirs, but the Babe often left rollerball pens in his work shirts. It hurt nothing until one went through the washer and went to the dryer, opened, and spilled ink all over everything (my lingerie). Oh boy, what a mess. He never left another one in a pocket while he was still working. Now, he doesn’t use them. Thank goodness.

Today was errand day. We picked up letters and envelopes the Post had printed for their annual building fund. We will stuff, seal, and label inquiries to about 1200 members of the Post and Auxiliary. We have an aging building that needs repairs and updating regularly. The Veterans before us worked very hard to build everything, the least we can do is keep it operating however long we can. Afterwards, we picked up Addison from school. It seemed like a hundred years since we picked her up! We all had a good laugh about that. They had a snow day last Friday, were off MLK Day, then another snow day. Hope they don’t have one tomorrow, but it could be. The weather will do whatever it does, and we’ll adjust.

I am not using this as my model, especially 5, 6, and the do-over of 1!

I chatted with my editor yesterday. I assured her I was not on the ledge, but admitted to myself and her out loud I was afraid to start re-writing. Maybe it wasn’t salvageable. It certainly┬áis! It will be better than I could have imagined. It just needs help and lots of patience. I will begin with Chapter 2, as Chapter 1 was so full of backstory, I couldn’t believe it! Beginner’s mistake, and I’m in this for the long haul.

Thank you for checking in today, I appreciate it. And I’ll be here tomorrow, hope to see you then.

Thoughtful Thursday

Yesterday, I mentioned this book for when I’m out of sorts, not feeling my best because of overthinking or just a pick me up.

The wisdom in this little book sort of dovetails well with the memes, topics, and exercises in my I Create Daily Facebook Group. It’s amazing to see when it happens.

January 9th, for instance, the saying is:

“A life without discipline is a life without joy”. – Muriel B.

The folks at I Create Daily encourage us to write goals, write steps to achieve them, write if we achieve them, do what it takes, then report back. Tomorrow, start all over again. I believe we need discipline to accomplish our goals, especially when writing a novel, a daily blog, or a children’s book. My 90 day goal planner is near me almost constantly. This week is booked with appointments for my mom, so the goals for the week had to transform a lot.

Discipline isn’t easy or fun. But it’s the best friend we can have. We won’t achieve anything if we don’t have a plan, moxie to stick with the plan, to say no when we do not have the time to chat or to do something unnecessary that would severely impact you, your schedule, or your state of mind. It’s hard to say no or enforce boundaries if we have never had them.

There are definitely a lot of things to learn while writing. Discipline gives us structure, all art needs structure. Structure does not limit creativity but helps increase it. It is a challenge I hope I’m up for.

This evening, I’m reading more in “Structuring Your Novel”. Setting, Character Introduction, Plot Points. I never heard of all these things before. Or maybe I have. Haven’t used them lately, but I will now. All while showing, not telling. It’ll come to me.

Thank you for reading today. Remember to return tomorrow, I’ll be here. I hope you will be.