Thoughtful, Full Thursday

After the day at the VFW Post 2503 yesterday, I am so happy to know those good men, women, members, friends, and the public who stopped out. The dinner was exceptional, and the clothing drive was an enormous success. The Babe and I have Honda Pilot and a Honda Passport, two fairly good sized SUV’s. From behind the driver’s seat clear to the back hatchback, we stuffed our vehicles with coats, boots, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, hats, scarves, and other items for our homeless vets in the Omaha Nebraska area. Ron Hernandez from Moving Veterans Forward will distribute to the homeless he deals with every day, as they wait for their housing to open up. We are beyond happy about the success of the drive, and the generosity of the people who donated. It restores hope in humanity, and we sincerely thank everyone involved.

On another note, it’s amazing how much writing changes. Certain rules used to dictate “Said is dead,” meaning you should not use the word “said” to show – well, that someone said something. It was a fad. The directions now are to use action beats. What is a beat, exactly? It keeps you from info-dumps. Info-dumps are backstory in excess, which don’t add to the story. Action beats break up dialogue and are useful in revealing information about your characters. They can show body language, emotion, and other useful things. After setting out to add some to two chapters I already wrote, I like my story better. Amazing. Now, I need to reduce the number of “he said, she said.” Action beats also convey setting, or build a world.

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I tried a different writing schedule today, as you may tell, since this is so late tonight. I wrote my novel chapter when I was freshest this morning. It was good for a couple thousand words. I remember when I was just throwing out words, there could be 4K in a morning. And I’d have to edit them laboriously. (Word of the day?) I like not proceeding until I’m happy with the elements of my writing. It may seem to take longer, but I will bet over all, it takes less time. I’ll take copious notes and let you know my findings.

Wow! This Writing Stuff IS Complicated!

The meme above is a brief glimpse into how complicated it really IS to write a novel. And not only do you have to be the writer and a character, you must be all the characters! And reading as a writer is wayyyyy different from reading as a reader. Sam, it’s beginning to make sense! Clear as MUD!

Maybe I should take up drawing? Go back to quilting? After I finish out this month. Not before. I’m kind of on a roll which I think will take us through the next few chapters right up to the defining moment. My character has a huge life event happen. She must decide what to do to keep her children safe. And it’s not a normal defining moment. I’m eager to see where we go. Stay tuned!

This evening, maybe some reading by the fireplace while the Babe takes in yet another football game. How many can you guys watch, after all? I know as many as we can. You have to love those men when they hone in on something like a sport. It always amazes me when they can recite sports stats from thirty years ago, yet they quickly forget something simple like a gallon of milk. I know I do too. It’s still pretty amazing.

Have a beautiful evening, dark as it is and only 6 p.m. Dinner is ready, and I believe we’ll have a slice of cheesecake tonight. The nicest gesture, our new neighbors brought a cheesecake over for the Babe, to thank him for his military service. How very thoughtful! Although it’s not KETO, we had to eat a piece. It’s glorious! Thank you, sweet neighbors. We’re so happy you’re here.

Off to do some more reading. Feeling good after having a good day writing. Now to figure out a way to get a bunch of blogs written, then publish them later. Might be worth it. That’s a decision for tomorrow. Blessings on all of you and have a good night. See you tomorrow. Be safe. Be kind. Be courteous.

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Monday Morning, Beautiful Day

As I’m listening to Steven Van Sant and the (also a member of the E Street Band!) Disciples of Soul, I’m feeling pepped up. It could be the coffee, but I just feel energized and good. That’s a glorious thing on a Monday when the week and our souls are still fresh from the weekend. The Babe finished carpet cleaning with his new gadget. It looks great, and the dogs are glad we’re moving the furniture back where it rightfully belongs. They don’t like disruptions in their world.

This CD has it all. Party Mambo reminds me of our beautiful daughter-in-law, Monica. She is Puerto Rican and really has the beat going on. She taught Blake to salsa dance. I wish we had a dancing family, my people didn’t do that. Except for wedding receptions. We weren’t Polish, but all weddings had Polka music, and at a certain point in the night, they attempted the Flying Dutchman. Chaos ensued. The more alcohol consumed, the more chaos. It always looked liked people had such fun.

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If you’ve been a reader for a year, you may remember I entered NaNoWriMo last year. At first I thought I would not enter this year, but I decided why not? I’m writing anyway. Some very prolific writers from the Nebraska Writers Guild are journaling about the pandemic, and about the political climate. I might do some of that, and I want to do something meaningful to me. Last year’s project finished at over 50K words, and I was glad. It requires editing, and I had a couple people read it. It was pretty raw in its writing. It needs polish and perhaps a different point of view. The proposal is good; the execution needs work.

While I ponder this, I think I need to take some notes, they just may spark some ideas. Any written, typed, and scribbled words “count.” You don’t want to vomit words all over the page. You want some purpose, some intent behind them. I’ll be looking for people to BETA read for me. I’m still pretty green on what that entails some folks saw my criteria last year and complained they “weren’t being paid to edit,” and I excused them from volunteering. Note to self: Clarify EVERY task needing people’s input for. Beta read, Edit, Copy Edit, etc.

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If you’re an author, you probably love words. You love putting them together to create scenes in your head. If you have too many words, you may defeat your own purpose. I’ve done this. Put way too much detailed description where I think it’s necessary, only to find out it’s unnecessary. It’s something you learn. The work I’ve done with Sam has been so worth it. If you might work with a book coach, try it for a month or two. I’ve learned so much more than I thought possible. New things, Baby steps, you’ll get there nicely.

One year ago, I foolishly thought I could just publish what I had. I thought I was “done.” Nothing could have been further from the truth. I worked like a Pantster. A Pantster wings it. No outline, no character development on paper, no scene construction, no checking anything over. Just do it, like Nike says.

I am now planning what to say, write, and do next. This is working much better. I am focusing on exactly what belongs in every scene and on every page. Nothing else. It has reduced some stress I was feeling. Self-induced, really. Not that it won’t happen again. Humans are hard to break bad habits, you know. And writers are probably worse!

Have a beautiful day and thank you for reading. I appreciate it. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here again. Don’t forget to vote, deliver your ballot properly to a ballot collection box. I do not care who your candidate is, just vote. It will make a difference. Every vote counts. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Patriotic.

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Suddenly Sunday

And it’s not only Sunday, the start of a new week, but it’s the start of a brand new month. Knowing what promise a new month holds piques my interest. What grand things will happen with my book? Whatever happens, it will happen indoors, unless we have an unseasonably warm month. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if that happened. We are ready for normal.

So we delivered a few bags of candy to our closest neighbor kids. We didn’t hand out treats to everyone, and not one person came to our door. I think lots of people found alternative fun for their kids. Unlike the large group at a party in New York. How risky! No one can say that is Trump’s fault.

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The Babe and I are following a modified Keto diet. It’s approved by our Doc. I can tell you I’m hungry; it’s been over three hours since we ate. I got hungry yesterday, too. I think that’s a good sign. I need to make another grocery store trip before we can really get going. I don’t want to throw away things I have, it’s wasteful. I bought a bag of “Cauliflower Rice.” I’m wondering what the Babe’s reaction will be to those. If they taste ok, fine. If not, we’ll try something else. If weight really falls off as quickly as “they” say, we’ll be in our old jeans in no time. Wouldn’t that be a splendid gift to give each other? I’ll believe when I see it, and I hope to. It’s nice to have a partner to share the journey with.

I love Cream Cheese. It’s on the list of foods. Heavy Cream! Allowed! Steak? Allowed! Pork Rinds? Yuck! I’ve never had a one and I highly doubt that will change, although they’re allowed. The Babe doesn’t even want any! I love vegetables, unfortunately some of them are too starchy. I can adjust. I think I will go on record as saying I think I’ll skip seaweed crisps. It just sounds wrong. Sugar is the enemy. The Babe quit smoking six months before we met, so it introduced him to another world; that of having to watch what he ate. He was trim (as was I) when we met. Contentment sometimes adds some weight. So does cancer treatment.

I have some tidying up to do to my Chapter Two and Three today. Thursday, November 5 is another ZOOM meeting with Sam Tyler, Book Coach. I’m coming close to being where I wanted to be, but I have the rest of the month to get there. Going to spend time in the studio today, coddiwompling. How’s that for a word of the day?

The photo above of the wooden spoons, painted different colors, was from a Panera’s I was in a couple weeks ago. I thought it was a fun work of art. Sometimes things just seem like they go together. Like Vegetable Beef Soup, Sunflowers in a Crystal Vase, Memes and Inspiration, Artwork and Encouragement, you just know when some things belong together. I’m using this attitude for my writing this afternoon. Sam, get ready for some reading! At least inside, it feels as if a breakthrough is near. I’ll let you all know.

Thank you for sharing some of this Sunday with me. I appreciate it more than you know. Hope to see you all tomorrow. Be Careful. Be Courteous. Be Calm and Rock On!

Monday Morning

What a beautiful sight outside! I still love fluffy snow. It looks wonderful, magical, and almost romantic. The wonders of nature amaze me every day. Every day I live, I try to find something that is wondrous, beautiful, and majestic. My God is that way.

Later today, we’re going to our daughter’s home for dinner with family. Our son from DC will be in town, it’ll be nice to see him. It’s been over a year since we saw him and his family. They will remain home, quarantining and distance learning. President Trump will do a stopover at the airport tomorrow, so they must prepare things for him. He won’t stay long, just speak and leave. That’s fine. Unsure if Blake will leave tomorrow or Wednesday. Family is everything, and we make the most of the times like these. Sending hugs to those who couldn’t be here.

I’m really dug into reading Kaye Gibbons’ book, Emma Foster. It’s a sad but very good story. A young girl overcomes terrible circumstances to rise above her plight in life. Her father, a terrible alcoholic, her mother dies, the estranged grandmother interferes every way she can, and the little girl, Emma, matter-of-factly handles everything. She is brutally honest. It is amazing how mature she is. She has to be. It speaks to how people can rise above their circumstances. Something told this little girl how to stay safe from her father. He was a beast. She often wished him dead. She thought of killing him, as if that were her only way out of this terrible situation. It resolved itself, thanks to her teachers noticing how Emma came to school after her mother’s death. She had bruises on her, and she told exactly how they happened. She hid from her father often and had little to eat.

The story takes place in the South, and the usual white attitudes exist in her mind about “colored” people. She questions the segregation, as her best friend is a black girl. The girls’ family is kind to her. She wonders why she shouldn’t “mix” with them. They are good people. I hope to finish it this afternoon and start its sequel, “All the Life Around Me, by Ellen Foster.” The writing takes you away. I want to learn how to do that. Excellent advice from Sam, my writing coach.

Only one of my to be read piles

Over the winter, I hope to find some bookcases I like for our family room. I have not unpacked my books from the move four years ago. I will donate many, such as quilt books I’ll never use, novels I doubt I’d read again. Even donating things like these will free up space and make me more settled. We rarely use the boxes of toys for the grandkids. They’re all outgrown.

I have a mat for the floor, which looks like a little town. Kayla will receive that, and I’ll probably send her a few little cars for it. Gavin used to set it on our coffee table, and pay with it. Roxie used to steal a car from it and run. Gavin called her SWIPER. He laughed once he decided he couldn’t get her to stop. She let him have the car. She just wanted a little adventure, I guess.

Yes, time is fleeing too quickly. One personal mission is for me to make more time in the day. I need to find time to get more things accomplished. Most people waste some time. The mindset is, “I can do whatever I want, I’m retired.” True, but will you finish things you want to? Will you explore all the nooks and crannies of the earth you want to see? If not, better get started. I’d hate to have you miss it, too. Let’s move forward, even if we are retired!

Thank you for reading today. There will be more tales tomorrow, and I hope to see you here then. Don’t eat any yellow snow! Just be careful out there. Don’t break anything. Please. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful.

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Snowy Sunday

We’ve been out for a little today. The Babe has me copy spreadsheets over to use for subsequent months. I know Excel better than he does, so it’s maybe 1/2 hour at the most. I like to help him out so he doesn’t have to be away from home long. It may be a selfish motive, but I hate to see him struggle with something that wouldn’t take me too long. We’ve done a lot of those days together. One of our old friends from the VFW Post mentioned one time the Quartermaster job “takes a lot of time, and it helps that your wife is helping with other things, instead of complaining you’re gone all the time.” Bless your heart, Bob Fenton, you were a man among men, and I miss you terribly.

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The Kansas City – Denver football game today is sort of fun to watch. It’s snowing in Denver. They allowed seven and a half percent of capacity for a crowd today. Will the cold kill the virus? Not sure, but it looks cold. Hoping they enjoy themselves. And drinking beer in a snowstorm? Never tried it, but at least there shouldn’t be a terribly long line for the ladies’ room. What a plus!

Our deck is looking shiny, and the wrought-iron fence has ice on it. I don’t think it will be too long before it is snowing flakes. We are snuggly with the fireplace ablaze. How I love a gas fireplace! Whatever the weather does, it’ll get warm again anyhow. Not too big of a deal. Complaining won’t change it. This (below) is nice for a stock photo.

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Tomorrow, it’s back to working in the mornings, and reading/relaxing in the afternoon. I don’t care for working so late in my day. I have another deadline one week from today. I’m rapidly approaching the end of my time with Sam, my book coach, for this year. Only two or three more sessions, then we take December off. It’s been money well spent. I need to branch out and see how I can do fewer sessions and hope to remember what I’ve learned.

Yes, that’s a plan for 2021. If we plan for it, it means we still have spirit and determination to face whatever happens next in this soap opera of a life we’ve had this year. As I review what I believed what I would do with my writing career this year, I see by now I thought I’d have a novel published and two or three children’s books printed. Lots of things occurred this year that were unforeseen. I like my novel more, since it’s a distinct part of the story of Katie Fitzgibbons. It’s backstory to what comes in “These Walls Do Talk.” Backstory can be too heavy to share while a different story is going on. Yes, it’s nice to know the who, what, when, where, and why characters are as they are while a plot thickens. Sometimes, it has nothing at all to do with the story being told. That’s when it needs to go. And mine needed to go. I’m glad it did, I’m doing much better work than before.

I hope you have a nice evening, at least what we have left of it. It’s been very restful. How nice! Hope yours was, too. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again tomorrow. Be Safe out there. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Understanding of others. We’re all living a very different life than we thought would be a year ago. Wear your mask, stay well.

Thursday Thoughts

One of the most impactful things Dad ever taught me is to look at things from every different angle you can before deciding on something. In most things, it is prudent to do so. I like that he would tell me to think of where the other person may come from. It has always served me well. As young kids, they expected us to think things through. They, meaning the parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Maybe we didn’t have a stress-free life as kids, but I think we all can operate as reasonably intelligent adults.

Sometimes, someone may remark, “Gee, I didn’t think of it that way.” That’s a clue you may have opened their eyes to a fresh way of thinking. It’s easier if they’re open to changing their way of doing things. If they’re not, it’s much harder. Consensus is easier to achieve with more open-minded people. Face it. Change is hard. People resist as long as they can.

It gets frustrating when someone digs in and belittles your decision or choice and later claims they supported you all the way. The excuse is “Well, things were different.” With some people, it’s just not worth being right. It’s best to know you are and move on. I’ve had to do that a lot about a lot of things in my life. Moving away to a different neighborhood is a big deal in my family. No more, because I’ve done it. Three times. Mom still lives in the same house she and Dad purchased in 1949. That’s seventy-two years in the same house. It has to be some kind of record.

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We have to learn to be comfortable with our decisions. We need to accept full responsibility for the consequences of our actions. All of them. We have a responsibility to admit if we do something bad. Or good. We sometimes learn more from the poor decisions than the good ones. It’s possible. A balanced person never forgets the lessons they learn from the poor ones. And they know not to beat themselves up over them.

I had another Zoom call with Sam, my book coach today. I’m eager to add more description to my second chapter and flesh out the first scene of the third chapter. Slow and steady wins the race. I read something a couple days ago stating it takes three years to write a book. At first I scoffed at that. *Word of the Day – Scoffed! When I think of starting a year ago, January 2019, it’s not so off the mark. That’s about what I’m looking at now, at the current rate. I do like having smaller sections to rewrite.

I have about 40K written in my first book, These Walls Do Talk. I want to finish it someday I see it as a part of a trilogy. It’s not lost work it was good practice. I think back to a conversation Sam and I had once that touched on having manuscripts that will not be the ones to publish. It’s a very common occurrence among writers. That does not surprise me. Among quilters, there are many projects that never see the quilting and binding added. I have a beautiful example of one. I did not finish the first quilt ever made. I kept it as a reminder of how it was to just start learning the craft. The most important thing I learned was the famous quarter inch seams are to be critical. Otherwise, nothing will align properly. I have some rows that look terrible. You can fudge on a seam while dressmaking (I have frequently), but in quilting its unforgiving. Come to think of it, I should put a binding on it and drape it on my studio chair right here. It will remind me there is a learning curve with everything creative. And to be humble.

Goldie Could Enjoy My “Humility” Quilt.

I think I should dig that quilt out and finish it. Just because. I can look at as a failure. I don’t like the colors. It was a practice piece. I can also use it to help me see how much I’ve learned. All the quilting skills I have are self-taught. There were a few classes I took, but most of it is self-taught. With lots of books and magazines.

I’m glad to know how to look at things differently. It’s helped me be grateful, despite having a body ravaged by some weird ailments. I could have become bitter about what I lost at age 44, but I am grateful for what I can still do independently. I am grateful to have a husband who tells me, “whatever you want to do, honey,” when I have an idea for another quilt, blog, or project. We work well together, he encourages me. It stifles a lot of women to have little support for their creativity. My only problem is finding the time to do all the things I’d like to do!

Have a beautiful day. Enjoy the precipitation we’re having in Gretna, NE. I wish those fires in Colorado would have a gully washer fall on them. The destruction is terrible. Be Open. Think Differently. Love Without Restriction. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Careful.

Simple Saturday

Many things are swirling around in my head this morning. Lots has occurred in the last 24 hours. First thing I’m thinking of my cousin Mike and how grateful they must be to have pulled off two wedding receptions in August and early September now that COVID is peaking again in Nebraska. Rules for bars are again, mask to enter building and leave, and mask to walk around in building.No more standing room only events. Events must drop to below 50% capacity. I would not be surprised if the bars and schools be closed again before Thanksgiving to slow the spread again. Our hospitals are nearing a much higher capacity than they want. I just pray to God we can get the election done, in the books, and move on to whatever is next.

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Second, I’m thinking about Estes Park. It is one of our favorite places to make a destination. We love the nature, beauty, scenery, and people. Always something interesting going on. Flood visited there a few years ago, and now a two month old wildfire is calling for evacuations. Prayers for those folks, their families, property, and the wildlife. It all suffers during events like this.

Third, we had a great Post and Auxiliary meeting last week. Ron Hernandez, the founder of Moving Veterans Forward in the Omaha/Papillion area spoke to us about the Victory Apartments, and the other opportunities that are available for the Post to help him get off the ground that will serve Veterans locally. I see a lot of opportunity here for us and I’m excited about it.

I have some things to update for our Post website, and need some lessons from our Web Host, Image Masters. Luckily, the host with the most is my brother in law, Brad Shuck, and he’s always willing to teach me more about how the website works and can work. Great guy. Great photographer, too. He’s in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Check out his work.

Today is the day to make good on my intentions to bring in any plant that will perish with a frost. We’re due anytime, and I have some succulents that will be great inside the house. I don’t want to lose them. That’s for a little later on, and I might let them sit after spraying them for bugs to see what comes out, if anything. Then the transplanting can happen.

Even if we’re quarantined again it won’t be so bad. I’m already looking at grocery delivery, that’s the one thing I’m no longer crazy about doing. It’s kind of a hassle, and hard for me to carry a lot in from the car, after picking it up to put it in the cart, unloading cart, reloading cart with bags, putting bags in the car, that’s a lot of lifting and moving the same stuff to get home. I need to consult with our daughter Tracy to see how we can get started. She’s on to all the shopping stuff. Bless her!

Gavin Has Been Such a Blessing For Our Pups. And Organic Bones.

I’m organizing all my social media marketing information today, too. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are both used by the Post and by me as an Author. I’m starting up on both of them, so I figure planning them side by side should work. They are both meant to give exposure to the target audience. The Facebook is pretty well established for the Post, and my author page could use some boosting. I still have some online training to review and add to the plans, so that will be some good stuff to sit by the fire and do while the Babe watches football. This is what life is meant for. Being together and getting things accomplished. I’m grateful.

The second chapter seems to be pretty good so far. It’s about 1900 words, which is pretty fair. I don’t want to get hung up on word count, so I’m planning a little ahead. I don’t want to go much further than Chapter 3 before next Sunday night when I send Sam Tyler, my Book Coach, the updated versions for her feedback. I’ve mentioned before, if I’m way off track, I’d rather have just a chapter or two to rewrite than the whole book. Makes sense.

The Babe made some stellar Beef Vegetable Soup late yesterday. It’s reheating now in a great big soup pan. Tis the season for good stuff like that. It’ll be ready after a bit, and will be a welcome break from the morning. Of course, now that it’s afternoon, it’s time to get those plants inside. Life can be mundane, yet accomplishing those tasks gets things done, and you can move on to other tasks and relax. Ahhh. Saturdays. Even retired Saturdays are good.

Thank you for reading, it’s something else I’m eternally grateful for. We’ll meet you again tomorrow, with more tales of marketing myself, the Post, and being an author. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Patient. I’ll try to be, too.

Winning Wednesday

My world was restored yesterday. We picked up Addison after school. It’s been a quarter of the year since we last did, since she ran Cross Country during that time, and it’s after school. She placed quite well for being a first timer. She is in incredible physical condition due to about twelve years of dance. She is probably more fit than many football players are. Gosh, I love that young lady. She’s smart, kind, thoughtful, funny, and beautiful.

What Toby Mac Writes, I Live! How Does He Know Me? He Knows LIFE. In That, He Knows Me.

My writing was productive yesterday. I fleshed out at least three scenes for the second chapter. The scenes are important to the story, they help with character definition and telling important history. The feat for the writer is to keep out anything that doesn’t further the story, that isn’t important, and isn’t pertinent. You don’t need to know how mean Katie’s kindergarten teacher was about nap time in 1957. Maybe the teacher didn’t help Katie’s fears, you just don’t need that bit of trivia in the story.

By writing an outline, I know where the story is going. Sometimes while writing, the story decides on it’s own to take a twist you hadn’t planned. And if it fits with the scene, it’s great. If not, you write the notes out to add in an appropriate place or simply put it on the shelf for another story. That can happen. This is certainly better than wandering around, clueless. Unless you’re a person who can do that, become clueful, then write a NYT bestseller! They do exist. My thought is they have more structure to their writing than they care to admit.

I just searched my free photo library for “words.” Sad to say, I had to page down four times to get to something other than “Black Friday” sayings. Isn’t that sad? I seldom care about Black Friday, even less this year, whatever date is is. If there were a time to make heartfelt gifts, homemade creations, works of our art for our family, it’s right now, during this Pandemic.

A special drawing from a grandchild, a photograph by an amateur neighbor kid, a baked goody from a car pool family can all lighten a heart during these times. We used to make time for these things every holiday season. I love when someone takes the time. They don’t have to. But they do. And that’s why it’s special. Make time for someone today. Before you can’t anymore.

I’m having another good writing opportunity today. The dogs are asleep for awhile, and I have on music I haven’t heard in awhile. Dayna Jones is another musician from South Dakota. She has a lovely, strong voice. Her lyrics are so telling. Maybe that’s why I enjoy music so much, and always hear the lyrics. It is storytelling at it’s finest. Putting impactful words to music. How much better can it get? Check Dayna Jones out wherever you secure your music. She even has CD’s for old folks like us!

Dayna Jones, Leaves. Get It Today!

As part of my research, I’m going to read “From Generation to Generation,” it is a memoir and a workbook in one. “Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Storytelling” takes us to a second generation Holocaust Survivor. Serious traumas can be passed generation to generation even though the events are unspoken. Types of behavior reflect that trauma, and are passed, unknowingly, to the next and subsequent generations.

Of course, the Holocaust is an extreme, terrible event to survive. My traumas and your traumas will not be so dramatic. Ours are lesser, yet they are extreme, terrible events to our grandparents, parents, us, and our children. Do not minimize your trauma. Do not ignore it. It affects you. And your children.

Illness and addiction affect many generations in families. Coping behaviors become something to survive in and of themselves. It is amazing how the human mind protects itself, and the body that goes with it. Flight of Fight. Adrenaline Rushes. Amnesia of traumatic events. Thank God for creating us as He did. We’d never make it without these safety features.

That said, lingering below the hard, crusty surface of any Veteran I know, there are war stories too terrible for them to repeat out loud. There are things a regular person back home could not think of doing. Those same things are what we expect of our combat veterans and others. Male or female. Young and Older. It happens to everyone in some way. Self medicating is not the answer. Help is available, and it can stay off your record. Contact Moving Veterans Forward for a conversation that can save your life. 1-402-301-6300.

It’s time for me to switch the thinking and expand on my scenes to make the chapter I’m working on. Sam Tyler, Book Coach, you’re making my life easier. I’m hoping yours gets easier with this work I’m doing. Lol. I appreciate what you’ve taught me.

Thanks to all of you for your time. I appreciate it and plan to see you all tomorrow! It’s going to be a windy day today, so it’s a good day to write. Be safe out there. Be calm out there. Be courteous out there. We’ll get through this. I know we will. You will, too. Hang on. Hang in.

Magical Monday, 9/28/2020

It’s a chilly, sunny day at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Fifty-two degrees! Brrr. But it was great to open the windows again for some fresh air. As we enjoy these beautiful fall days, I can’t help but think of two fall seasons years ago when I was pregnant, and hoping I wouldn’t give birth on Halloween. Both of my sons were due around then. Luckily, neither was. The last Halloween before Nick was born was brutal.

Nick was born on November 7, one week after Halloween. It was bowling night, so I took Frankie trick or treating. He was four. We lived in an old neighborhood, the kind with half of the houses on a hill, with stairs from the street up to the yards, and more stairs up to the porch. We knew all the people in the neighborhood, so we went up, trick or treat, then back down. There were fences separating the yards from each other, so you had no choice but to go up and down all of those stairs. I remember praying, “Please don’t let this put me into labor, God, Please?” Silly as it sounds now, I was concerned about it. The little guy showed up a week later.

Four years prior to that, Frankie arrived early. So was Nick for that matter, and of course, the third baby, Rebecca, was late. How does that happen? It was a very hard pregnancy, with a niece dying of spinal meningitis, Frankie had a drowning accident (and survived with no ill effects, thank God), and the baby laid on my sciatic nerve constantly near the end. First time I ever took a nap in the afternoon, to try and alleviate the pain.

But you forget all that once that baby is in your arms. She was wonderful. So sweet. I loved taking care of all of them. You miss babies once they’re not near you anymore. Gavin and Addison were frequent visitors, and so was Joell. He was a toddler but fun nonetheless. Now Kayla and Cody are our in Colorado and they may as well be in Europe, as we can’t visit until their Mama feels it’s safe as far as the CORONAVIRUS goes. I can’t stand it!

So instead, I have photos directly above the TV in the living room. I look at them a lot and talk to them in my mind. They will know me when I see Kayla again and meet Cody. There is always hope. If we lose hope, we lose everything.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Today? I’ve spent a bunch of time with several places where I’ve received emails saying I’ve reset my password. What a bunch of clowns. Don’t people have anything better to do? I guess not. There will always be a criminal element in whatever we do, you know? I love technology and am grateful I don’t fall for scams. I feel sorry for folks who do. Even the old grandkid calling grandma from jail scam. It happens so much. And once people are old, PLEASE, leave them the heck alone! They don’t deserve that!

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

The rest of today? Hope to knock the dirt off some succulents I need to bring inside. Some of them are really looking great. I need to keep them alive during the winter. They should do well, as long as they’re not overwatered. Or underwatered. Or get too much sun. Or too little sun. If you’ve ever tried to troubleshoot a sick looking plant, you know what I mean. It needs to be awhile before we cut things down for the winter. But then, it always catches us by surprise. How about you?

I have more scenes to write scenes as prep for working more on my book. Katie’s story is taking shape, and I hope I’m on the right track. I’ll know in about ten days, when I have a new session with Sam, my book coach. It’s been great working with her. She is helping me focus and concentrate on what I’m trying to get onto paper. A lot of what people write is junk. Filler words. Words that aren’t necessary to the story. Their story gets lost. I’m working to avoid that. Wish me luck, skill, light a candle, say a prayer.

There will be more work on the VFW Post 2503’s website today. I successfully added their October Newsletter last night. Thought I should quit while I was ahead! One day, I hope a year from now, I will have a Newsletter. Won’t that be fun? I look forward to all of it. You’ll be with me all the way, I hope.

How Sad! This is what I get searching for a photo of a NEWSLETTER.

I am starting to tally what I’ve spent on writing this year. Of course, I don’t have any income yet from writing, so it’s all written off now, but I will find it interesting. Having a website, memberships, online training, book coaching, books to learn from, and the Nebraska Writers Guild FALL Conference 2020 cancelled but paid for (since the spring one was, too) should have a hefty price. I’m guessing less than $3K. Nothing wrong with investing in yourself. Your dream.

One of the reasons I love to hear my local musician friends is there is a common theme aside from gratitude in their talking with their audiences. Billy McGuigan, and Jimmy Weber are two of the best and nicest entertainers you could ever meet. The common theme is following your dreams. I have heard them both say those words from the stage, and one time, I thought, “Why not?” There was no reason not to. Their (unknown) encouragement has propelled me thus far. So guys, thank you. I still love to see you both perform, and we need to again. Soon. Very soon. My world gets set right by music.

Hope you all have a beautiful day. Listen to music, it cures everything. Thanks for reading, stay tuned for tomorrow, we’ll have another adventure. Or Katie will. Stay safe, be courteous and kind, and live your dream. It’s possible. Even probable. Get started today.

Reading to Your Child

There is a meme out there stating something about the trees getting ready to show us how wonderful it is to let go of things. That’s a great thought. But with trees letting go, the process isn’t really over until we clean up the leaves, use them for compost, or putting them in our yard waste containers. Unless you live in a forest, then they leave things where they fall.

The sun rises much later, at least where we live. It sets much earlier, also, and we use the fire place on mornings it’s really cold. Not much, but we do in case it’s too cold. Usually, we warm up during the day, and it’s bearable. We’re hoping our furnace makes it through another winter. The house is probably ten years old, and HVAC systems don’t last much longer than that. Hope and Holy Water might help.

My writing coach Sam and I broke down the steps in writing a scene today. It made perfect sense. She may make me into an outliner yet. I have been a pantster, and it’s pretty unpredictable. Although some good stuff still can be written that way. I would guess an accomplished writer would be more successful at it than a rookie like me.

I am going to create some scenes, and build on more details later. It should lead me on a better path than what I have been on. There are so many words, sometimes it’s hard to pick the right ones. Keeping on task and staying in the scene will make all the difference in the world. Now, to just do it!

Isn’t this phenomenal?

One of my favorite things to do is read to little kids. They sometimes act as if they aren’t listening, but they are. They may have a favorite part of the book they pretend about, and do it well. Those are rich opportunities for their little minds, like little sponges, sopping up everything around them. I hope they are all good things. Our little ones deserve a childhood filled with wonderment, curiosity, learning, and security. Holding them while reading can instill most of this. Help your child’s life have a good start. Read often and willingly. They will appreciate it.

Isn’t This Fun?

Whatever you call it, it’s fun to read. Share it with your favorite young person today. You’ll be glad you did! I’m so glad to be working with Sam Tyler, my Writing Coach. We dissected a scene today, and really broke down all the elements to an effective one. It all makes sense when she talks about it, and it makes a huge difference in what I want to do. Thanks, Sam!

We all can be better at what we call our passion. We have abilities far beyond what we are using, we all do, be they physical, creative, scientific, or repairing things. If we all would use our gifts to their max imagine what kind of lives we could have. Not in terms of monetary wealth, but of satisfaction with our efforts and our lives. A good feeling could make our lives better, our interactions better, and our group of associates better. Not a lot is wrong about improving on what you do now.

I See You

Thank you all for reading today. I appreciate it so much. Be kind to each other, be patient. someone needs your kindness today. Be generous with it. You may need it someday. See you again tomorrow!