How do you handle all the negative media controversies and world events? I’ve chosen reading and writing to give me a short respite from the world’s disasters. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. I’m not apathetic, but you can discover among the pages of books like A Wrinkle in Time, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, and yes, even It by Stephen King that there are answers to coping besides just escaping into the world of imagination.
I just finished reading A Wrinkle in Time and though it was published before I was born (1962), I’ve never read it before. When I heard it was going to be made into a movie with some famous actors, I thought I should at least read the book once. I don’t know if the author, Madeleine L'Engle, was inspired by her own current events when she wrote it or if she just knew the world will always have a dark side, but it seems a foreshadowing to our current events.
The book is basically about Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and a friend, Calvin, who go on a time traveling mission to save Meg and Charles’ dad from the Black Thing or It. The lesson learned from the whole scary adventure is that even though evil exists in the world, there is a weapon against it: love, hope, and courage can overcome darkness. This message gets repeated in other books such as Star Wars, because the Dark Side represented by Darth Vader is defeated by the courage of those not willing to give into hatred and rage, which is mainly represented by Luke Skywalker. Again it is repeated in the Harry Potter books. Voldemort is the epitome of evil, but was conquered by Harry and his friends’ courage, love, and most of all hope. My own books have this theme too. Hope is the key element, and I bet you can list many more books with the same theme.
If you read to escape, that’s great, but within the pages of each book, sometimes you gain insight on how to deal with a world gone haywire. I haven't read Stars Wars or It, but I'm sure the main conflict of evil vs. good is the same as in the movies, which I have seen. I have read all the Harry Potter books and now A Wrinkle in Time and I see elements of the same theme of fear vs. hope in them as with Star Wars and It. What do the antagonists: Black Thing, Darth Vader, Voldemort, and Pennywise have in common? Fear, hatred, and hopelessness control them. What do the protagonist: Meg Murray, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, and William Denbrough have in common? They have hope and love to help them defeat evil. The protagonists of course all win in the end.
I'm going to assume that all people have opinions and convictions. Opinions sometimes can be swayed and are changeable. Convictions are something you may be willing to die for, and I wager to say that we have less of those than opinions. When the rubber meets the road how many of us would be willing to die for our beliefs?
You can’t miss the controversy around the National Football League (NFL) players kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner and flag ceremony unless you don’t watch the news, don’t follow social media, or live in a country where the news isn’t talking about it. Of course the media is talking about it in the United States, because they make the most money over conflict and negativity.
The problem with the whole debacle was that the football players who had decided to kneel assumed their message was going to be loud and clear. It wasn’t. In my opinion, if you have to explain your actions afterwards, something gets lost in the translation. It also creates doubt of sincerity in the first place. Instead of promoting their cause, which is still a little unclear to me, they managed to divide and anger people.
Freedom of speech is what makes people love to live in the USA, but it is also what causes huge chasms between people. Rather than accept the fact that we are all the same race, the human race, and should treat each other with that in mind, we use “freedom of speech” to hurt people. We also use the anonymity of social media to rant against those who have different viewpoints. Whether you take a knee during the national anthem or spout off diatribes over the internet, you shouldn’t shame someone into thinking exactly like you. In fact, some people become more obstinate and less willing to see a different perspective when they are being ridiculed or treated disrespectfully. Besides, do we really want a world where everyone thinks exactly the same?
I think the NFL could have used a clearer method to promote their viewpoints, such as a video during the commercial breaks. If they spoke the message they wanted to convey, there would have been less chance it would have been misinterpreted. I know they make enough money to pay for several commercial slots during the game, and if players from all races and backgrounds spoke as a united front, they could have conveyed what they obviously didn’t last Sunday.
My husband is a veteran and had risked his life to preserve what our national anthem and flag represents. Supposedly the sacrifices of our military and their families had nothing to do with what the football players were “speaking” out against. If you’re against eating meat, do you stage a protest in the produce section of a store? I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is basically what they are telling us they did. The NFL protested in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
Will my husband and I support the NFL by watching football today? Probably not, but we were told that the Denver Broncos, the team we follow, are going to “apologize” for their actions, and that they will choose a different time to protest. We may have to watch the beginning to see if they keep their word, but there are no set plans in the near future that we will be supporting the NFL.
Why do I want a happy ending? Doesn’t everybody? Endings aren’t happy in the real world, and I’m not talking about the completion of a project. I mean the goodbyes we inevitably have to say; those times when someone you love leaves you temporarily or permanently. It is the price of love to feel the agony of their departure, but that doesn’t make it less hurtful just because it was better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. Death is probably the harshest goodbye of all, but even a temporary separation still leaves a void until you see your loved one again.
After returning from Alaska, life hasn't slowed down. That is why I won't spend much time on this blog. In June, I fulfilled a life-long dream to do an Alaskan cruise, and I would recommend it to anyone. We were on the Disney Wonder for our cruise, which I would also recommend. Disney knows how to make your vacation memorable.
Since I'm trying to get my next book, Settlers ready to publish, I don't think I can do Alaska justice with my words. I'm also going through the struggle of watching my 13 year old cat rapidly decline. I wrote a blog specifically about that to help me deal with the pain, but in the end, nothing can help. Seeing my beloved Tigger sick makes it difficult to concentrate on my regular tasks, and this blog isn't even a normal part of my routine.
I'm just going to share my photos of Alaska, and I hope that someday you decide to go there. I'm not a photographer, but you will get the main idea.
Don’t wait until tomorrow, because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. If you follow me on any social media, you probably read this comment from me more than once. We all think we have plenty of time to say what needs to be said to someone we love, or to visit that place we’ve always wanted to see, or to reach for a dream that we’ve had since childhood. Most of us get to enjoy an abundance of tomorrows, we think that someday will come.
Many people don’t worry about the next day, because they haven’t had to face that moment when someone or something is no longer there. If you have had to experience unexpected loss or have regret for not taking the chance when you had it, then you may be on board the “Don’t wait until tomorrow” train with me.
I was a big fan of Gone with the Wind when I was a teen, so I read the book and watched the movie several times. Scarlett O’Hara was famous for saying things like, “I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow” and “After all tomorrow is another day”. It was Scarlett’s way to cope, and I suppose many of us do that. I used her personality and name in my book, Travelers, but when my main character met Scarlet, she realized, “...tomorrow never came when the memory had been that painful.”
I use the theme “Don’t wait until tomorrow” throughout my books. In time travel, the individual doing it has the benefit of hindsight that we don’t get in real life. If you knew the future, you may do things a little differently.
What are you waiting for to pursue your dream, take that vacation, or say those words? What excuses are you using for putting those things off? Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so maybe you should go for it today. I’m not saying throw caution to the wind like it is the movie, Ground Hog Day, and there won’t be any consequences to bad choices, because the day reboots itself. What I'm saying is if you've been waiting to take that special vacation after you’ve retired, you may never go.
In my book, Settlers, one of my characters ends up on the Titanic. We know how that went for the passengers aboard. They expected tomorrow would come, and it didn't for many. Erma Bombeck, a humorist author, wrote a poignant comment about that day, “Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, ‘No, thank' you to dessert that night. And for what?!”
Don’t turn down the dessert in life. It may not be there tomorrow.
At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets. ~ Steve Maraboli
Pretend time travel is possible. Would you travel backwards or forwards? Would you try to change anything? Do you think changing the past could somehow mess up the future? In my books, Travelers and Settlers, the characters do time travel and they ask similar questions.
Why do people like the concept of time travel? I have many reasons why I like the idea. One of those is my desire to see history in person. Reading about the past isn’t the same as experiencing it. The only problem is I would be tempted to change the wrongs that have occurred. There’s a TV show called Timeless I enjoy. The “heroes” are chasing a man who wants to destroy those responsible for the death of his family. In the process he changes history. The protagonists occasionally return to the present to discover something is different like one of their sisters no longer exists.
Moving forward or backwards isn’t a new concept. There are ancient myths and older books written about it: Memoirs of the Twentieth Century (1733), Rip Van Winkle (1819), Christmas Carol (1843), Looking Backward (1888), When the Sleeper Awakes (1899), Time Machine (1895). This isn’t even the complete list written on the topic, because so many people are fascinated by the notion of seeing the past or the future.
Newer stories have been written on this. Ever heard of Back to the Future or The Time Traveler's Wife? Even the creators of Star Trek based the newest movies on the plot twist that their ship ended up in an alternate destiny. Now Kirk and Spock are trekking a new path with unwritten stories left to be told.
There are complicated theories and philosophies out there about time travel and its possibilities. If you have the ability or desire to understand concepts like Quantum physics, then I suggest this blog will be beneath your intelligence. About 95% of my writing is to entertain and 5% is to inform. I also throw in some ethics and encouragement, but entertainment is the main ingredient in my books. When I was a teacher, I tried to make learning fun. I can’t totally leave out any lessons, but I mask them in fantasy and sci-fi to make them seem more like a movie than school.
Here are a few things to mull over: If you could travel anywhere where would you go and what era would you visit? Would you be tempted to see your own future or change something you messed up in the past? Do you think the past can be fixed with a time travel device?
I think the paths we have already traversed with their rough spots, heartaches, joys and the in-betweens were meant to make us who we are now. Even though it may be tempting to repair the past, I don’t believe time travel would make our lives better. Good or bad many of the outcomes are about your perspective more than the actual event. Is your life about the destination or the journey?
I’m at the end of this blog series. I’ve compared Triana, my time traveling mermaid, to Princess Leia. I’ve also traveled through history as I introduced the historical women Triana met in my books, Travelers and Settlers (Release date TBA). You can go back through my previous blogs to read about Cornelia Fort, a World War II pilot; Sacagawea, the American Indian who helped Lewis and Clark; Margaret Brown (A.K.A. Molly Brown), who survived the Titanic tragedy.
Elizabeth Burgin is my final historical character in Settlers. Her story has some conjecture around it according this article: https://allthingsliberty.com/2014/09/elizabeth-burgin-helps-the-prisoners-somehow/.
Supposedly where historians didn’t have specific details, they filled in the blanks and reported it as fact. It seems the information that we do know about Mrs. Burgin came from letters. Where the story isn’t clear is how she aided in the escape of over two hundred American prisoners. It is also unclear if they fled the New York prison ships or some other prisons in the same area. The correspondences about her bravery doesn’t specifically say how she assisted in the escapes. However, whatever she did, caused the British to put a two hundred pound reward out for her capture. That was equal to about twenty years of pay for a British soldier. The price on her head forced her to flee New York and leave her children behind with trusted friends.
Since Elizabeth was a widow, the risk she took caused her to be homeless and penniless. When George Washington learned of what she had done, he gave her lodging and food for her and her children when they were finally reunited. Elizabeth didn’t want to be a burden to the United States Government. In a letter to George Washington, she thanked him for the food and shelter the government provided, but she also asked to be given a job to earn these provisions to take care of her family even after the war. Here’s the letter: https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-01137
Washington was so impressed by her request that instead of giving her a job, he and Congress agreed to pay her an annual pension of fifty-five dollars during her lifetime.
Because Elizabeth wanted to end the suffering of the men rotting in brutal prison conditions, she put her life in peril. The men she helped were the ones who fought for freedom from what Patriots viewed as a tyrannical British king. She didn’t let the fear of catching a disease from the prisoners or the fact that she was a female in a male dominated world stop her.
How many of us take our freedoms for granted? Most people living in the United States don’t have to sacrifice anything to have the simple pleasures in life. We also don’t have to be afraid of being executed as a traitor for voicing our opinions that may be contrary or against our President. Freedom isn’t free. Not only men, but a variety of women sacrificed greatly to give you the right to say whatever you want on social media or in a protest. Don’t let the price they paid be in vain.
“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
I like the Disney Ariel just as much as I like Princess Leia and my current blog series isn't about criticizing one over the other. It is more about how Triana, the mermaid in Travelers and Settlers, is her own unique mermaid princess. The blogs are also my way of introducing to you some of the fascinating historical characters Triana meets or co-habits in the stories. These women are their own variation of a princess. My hope is that my book characters help to inspire greatness in all of us no matter how it manifests itself. Seek to be your own type of hero or heroine. Whether you need to be brave like Leia or reach for a special dream like Ariel, you have your own path.
Since I was raised on musicals, I must admit the reason I originally knew anything about Molly Brown was because of the movie Debbie Reynolds starred in, The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Once I researched the real woman, I realized I underestimated how incredible she was.
Molly Brown came from Colorado, my home state. I discovered Hollywood gave her that name, and that she was never called Molly. Her nickname was Maggie. The more I found out about her, I was thankful I chose Margaret to be in my next book, Settlers. She did many extraordinary things beyond surviving the sinking of the Titanic, and I will mention only a few in this article.
Margaret Tobin was born on July 18, 1867 to parents who were Irish immigrants in Hannibal, Missouri. At the age of eighteen Maggie moved to Leadville, Colorado with her sister, which is where Maggie met her husband James Joseph (J.J.) Brown. The Browns were married in Leadville where they lived until they became wealthy. Maggie was part of the feminist movement in her town and the Women’s Suffrage Association which sought for women to have the right to vote.
The Browns became rich from the mine J.J. had stock in and worked, but Maggie didn’t forget her poorer roots and sought to help those less fortunate throughout her whole life. She founded the Denver’s Women Club which advocated literacy, education, suffrage, and human rights in Colorado and throughout the United States. Margaret also raised money to build a Cathedral and St. Joseph’s hospital. She worked with Judge Ben Lindsey to help impoverished children and founded the first Juvenile Court in the country, which eventually became the basis for today's U.S. juvenile court system. Margaret was also the first woman to run for a political office in the United States. She ran for Senate eight years before women had the right to vote. She was a woman ahead of her time.
Margaret's life endeavors remind me that sometimes we limit ourselves because we think we are too ordinary. When I look at Maggie, I don’t see someone with a prodigy’s talents. She was an average girl who didn’t let anything stop her from doing what her conscious led her to do. Sometimes we view celebrities with their money and attractive looks as having the edge on making a difference in this world. I think if we all strive to be the best versions of ourselves, and reach for our dreams, we may find what we can accomplish far outweighs the boundaries we set for ourselves.
For more information on Margaret visit these links:
This is called the Molly Brown House where Margaret lived with J.J. in Denver, CO.
Triana becomes more like Princess Leia and less like Ariel in my second book, Settlers. Throughout the story Triana meets some interesting historical figures that prove courage comes in all different types of people. Just when you think you don’t have anything special to make a difference in the world, you can look back in history to see how average people accomplished amazing feats. Sacagawea is one of Triana's historical acquaintances in Settlers.
Sacagawea was best known for helping out Lewis and Clark, but I learned a few things about her that I didn’t hear discussed in history class. For starters, I thought she was a grown woman, but she was only a teenager. Lesson: Don’t let your age prevent you from doing great things.
Also she lived in a world where women didn’t have a lot of control over their lives, especially a Native American woman. Yet Sacagawea found a way to forge her own destiny among the greats in the history books. Lesson: We may not be able to governor our circumstances all the time, but we can control how we react to them.
At the age of 12 Sacagawea was captured by Hidatsa Indians, an enemy of her people, the Shoshones. A French-Canadian trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, bought her and made her one of his wives. Think about what you would do at that age if that was your fate? Could you become a useful hero or give up? Sacagawea didn't have any other options and accepted her path with dignity.
Sacagawea was the only woman to accompany Lewis and Clark’s group of thirty-three men. Her familiarity of native plants, the terrain, and different languages helped the mission succeed. The communication among the people who traveled with Lewis and Clark and those they encountered wasn’t a simple task. Sacagawea’s husband knew three languages: Hidatsa, Minataree, and French. Sacagawea knew Shoshone and Hidatsa. When they met people from the Shoshone tribe, she would have to interpret the message in Hidatsa to her husband. Then Charbonneau interpreted to another person in French so that they could tell Lewis and Clark the message in English. I don’t think I would have had the patience for all those interpreters. Seriously how did they not miscommunicate? It must have worked in its own way, because they kept their encounters with other tribes peaceful. They even managed to gain more supplies from some of the tribes.
Sacagawea was a true wonder. I’m directional challenged so it is hard to grasp how her knowledge of the land even from her childhood helped those on the expedition navigate. I’m also a wimp, so I can’t imagine having a baby as a teenager traveling with a group of older men. She wasn’t given maternity leave from the journey. She wasn’t even given a bouquet of flowers to congratulate her.
Her courage went beyond even what was expected of her. Sacagawea saved Lewis and Clark’s journals, scientific instruments, and specimens when their boat almost overturned. Members of the party struggled to paddle the waterlogged boat while she reached out to retrieve most of the men’s valuable cargo.
When they decided to build a fort for the winter, they allowed Sacagawea to vote where Fort Clatsop was going to be built. Was she the first American female to vote in the United States? Even if not, that showed me they respected her opinion enough to give her a say in their decision. She had proven her value without expecting accolades like people often do on social media when they post their “successes”.
While at the fort, a local Indian told them about a beached whale. Clark assembled his men to go retrieve what they could from the whale and Sacagawea insisted she accompany them, because she had traveled a long way to see the great waters. They let her go, but I imagine women in those days didn’t usually insist on their own way. Princess Leia would have been proud of Sacagawea. Who cares what Luke and Han says you can and can’t do, you’re going to do things you’re own way. Sacagawea may have felt like an average girl, but she proved you don't need magical abilities to accomplish great things.
I left out a bunch of interesting things about this incredible woman. You can read more on these links:
Why is my mermaid, Triana, more like Princess Leia from Star Wars than Ariel, The Little Mermaid? She uses her brain and abilities to save two worlds despite the risks. In fact, Triana endangers her life to help those she loves, and takes the chance of losing her happy ending, which includes a guy.
Writing stories in the fantasy genre is my passion, but I’ve always enjoyed history. That’s when the idea to write about a time traveling mermaid hit me. Though I want readers to escape realism, I also hope that they learn a few things too. Maybe they will be inspired to be the next hero or heroine this world needs. While researching for the historical parts of my books I discovered: 1) I really don’t know enough about history and 2) There are many amazing women in history!
Cornelia is the first historical person I wrote about in Travelers. The other characters lived in actual places and eras of history, but they are strictly fictional. (Although their names may seem slightly similar to characters from famous books and television.)
Miss Fort came from a wealthy family that lived in Nashville, Tennessee. She wasn’t prissy like girls of her status were expected to be, but rather she was a tomboy. She looked for adventure outside the debutante and society scene. In 1940 she took her first flying lessons from a friend’s boyfriend. In 1941 Cornelia received her pilot’s and instructor’s license. She proved to those who thought women shouldn’t or couldn’t fly that they were full of bologna.
Her new career led Cornelia to Colorado to teach flying, but she wanted to do more for her country, so she ended up at Andrews Flying Service in Honolulu, Hawaii. Many of those she taught were in the military stationed at Hawaii. The day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Cornelia was in the air with a student. She even wrote an article about it for a magazine, and she gave a few interviews about her experience.
After the near miss with the Japanese fighter pilot, Cornelia was asked to join the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Service (WAFS). Her main job was to deliver planes to the military so the men could fight in the war.
Cornelia was the first WAFS to die on a mission. She didn’t die because of enemy fire, but rather because of her adventurous spirit. Cornelia was trying out some forbidden formation flying while delivering aircraft from Long Beach, California to Dallas Love Field. Her risky move caused her to collide with another plane on the same mission, and she died in the crash. She didn’t follow the rules and some could say that is what killed her, but Cornelia wasn’t meant to color inside the lines. She set out to prove she was capable to reach far beyond what others thought was possible for women. Cornelia, like my character Triana, wanted to make a difference. They didn’t let fear or the boundaries stand in their way.
To read more on Cornelia, here are some sources I found interesting and insightful:
I wish you a Christmas and New Year where you look forward to the future of possibilities and look backward to the past as lessons learned; a past where you recall fond memories you now have stored.
I wish you the time to reflect, relax, and realize there are enough hours in a day; you may just be expecting too much from it and yourself.
I wish you the realization of what is important; time is fleeting and the future is a mystery. Take no loved one for granted; people can leave and enter your life unexpectedly.
I wish you the ability to grasp moderation not perfection in everything; value for each action isn’t measured by its grandness, but by its motive. The more you do, doesn’t make you or the act more valuable; it is alright to have limitations.
I wish you love in its purest form that began in a manager and went to a cross. You can’t duplicate it, you can’t repay it, but you can accept it because it is a gift.
I wrote this for my Christmas cards in 2013, but my sister-in-law reminded me of it so I thought I'd share it here.
There are various types of travel. My blog isn’t necessarily information on vacation destinations, although, I do write about places I have visited. Today it’s going to be about a different kind of travel.
Yesterday I was enjoying my Thanksgiving Day and thinking of the different people who have been a part of my crazy life journey. Just the concept of being thankful made me think about my Grandma Grace.
Grandma told me about a very low time in her life after she had lost three babies at different times, two of them were twins. Her health was poor, and money was tight. She decided to not let it defeat her, so she went around her house and thanked God for everything. From a chair to a photo, she said a prayer of thankfulness for it all. When she focused on what she had instead of what she didn’t have, it helped her crawl out of her depression. That story impacted me, because as a child you take for granted things like chairs. It gave me a new perspective on how much gratitude helps the soul.
Remembering my grandma also made me think about how much I’m like her. She wrote poems, painted, danced, loved books, loved music, and she took risks. I followed in her footsteps with writing, the love of reading, and music. Travel was also very important to her, and she told me once that even if you have to borrow money, you need to go on vacation. I married a man who feels the same way, so I've been blessed to have seen so many amazing things in my life.
(Black & white photo: July 1955, Christiana Rassmussen, my great, great grandmother, Grace Hook, my grandma, and Anne Hook, my mother. Color photo: December 1995 me and Grandma Grace.)
Thank you Grandma, the Amazing Grace, for teaching me gratitude, and for passing on your love of the arts and travel. Thank you for passing on your courage so I learned how to spread my wings and fly. I wish you could have seen me fulfill my dream to become a published author.
Life is one big trip. It is full of mountains, valleys, smooth paths, and precarious ones. Everyone has had people who have been in and out of their lives. Some people are like road blocks that make us re-evaluate the journey, and possibly take a detour to become stronger. Some people are like the smooth paths that give us respite and renew our resolve to move forward. My grandmother was the later, and I’m grateful that she was a part of my life’s travels.
I've just returned from a vacation, or as they say in the UK, a holiday. My husband and I flew into Heathrow and visited London for a few days. We then we took a cruise out of Dover to visit several ports in Norway. I remained unplugged the whole time. I didn't check emails. I didn't look at social media, nor did I check my website. I didn't even send any texts! How many of you have tried that? It helped me truly unwind, and leave the stress behind.
Since the cruise cabin doors are magnetic, I put a card holder on the door containing my business cards, and several of them were taken. I noticed my website received a lot of visitors last week. I wonder how many of my fellow Disney Magic cruisers have visited this blog? I'm interested in hearing where you are from, and what you thought was the best part of your vacation/holiday to Norway? Please share your comments here or on my Facebook page.
I will be posting my vacation pictures and my insights in the near future, but I just got home late last night (5 hour flight delay at Heathrow), and I have yet to go to bed. I don't think I can write anything just yet with my mush for a brain.
As a writer, I try to peel back the different layers of my characters to reveal a variety of traits and personalities. This is to make them interesting. Some call this their onion skin, but I’d rather call it their rose petals. Roses look and smell better. Just like fictional people, there is more to me than what you see on the surface. Since I’m a private person, I don’t like to show all my layers to strangers, but I was told fans like to see past the exterior of the authors they follow. So for the record, I’m a rose, not an onion and I will expose some of my tiers in this blog.
I'm A Private Person
If I could get away with it, I would remain a rosebud closed off to the majority of the world. I would have used a fake name on my book just to avoid writing an author bio and having my face on the back cover. If I had remained anonymous, no one would have known the inner workings of my brain and heart except my editor. It’s scary for me to show others these things. I guess I’m afraid of judgement. Some days I’d rather go to the gynecologist than share anything about myself to outsiders. That may be a little dramatic, but many females should get the point. Going outside my comfort zone has been rewarding, so I keep doing it despite my feelings. You should try it.
If you pull back another petal on my rose, you’ll see I have many personalities. Some are fun and some you may want to avoid. I can be a little silly and crazy. If you read my blog about rolling down the hill, yes, I really did do that in a public place. I can also be snarky and easily frustrated. I try to be kind, and not mistreat people based on my feelings, but since I’m human, I can’t guarantee my attitude is always perfect. I don’t always put my best foot forward, and my mouth can get me into trouble sometimes. Deep down I wish my looks and actions were perfect, but this rose is no prize winner and I'm my worst critic.
Being afraid of other’s casting judgement on me keeps me secretive whenever possible. The older I get, the easier it is to see what is a bogus point of view that is generated by unrealistic expectations, but insecurities still like to seep out. The best thing I can do for myself is accept the imperfections I can’t change, and to not get discouraged with the ones that are difficult to alter. We all have our layers, some pretty, and some not. We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves, because we're human. It comes with the territory. Just remember no one is as they appear on the outside. We’re all roses!
I will make this short, because words can't adequately describe my range of emotions. Last night life tossed blessings and sadness at close friends of mine. They were expecting twins, a boy and a girl in July. After an emergency c-section, the boy survived, the girl did not. You can say all you want about this situation, but in the end it is all right to be sad. We all deal with loss differently, and no one can know exactly what each individual is feeling despite their own experiences.
Just yesterday I posted how I wanted to live life to the fullest, be happy, and be more like Tigger. Even Tigger had his sad moments. Eeyore always looked at the glass half empty no matter what had happened, but Tigger knew the glass could be refilled. When your glass gets emptied, and you need a chance to mourn a loss, it’s okay. That makes you human. You’re a part of millions of people who do the same thing. Being Tigger only means, you eventually move forward when you're ready, and find that joy again.
Ecclesiastes 3: 2 & 4 (NIV)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
On Facebook I shared a post that had a photo of a sign that was on top of a hill that read, “PLEASE RUN DOWN THE HILL SCREAMING.” If you travel to Aberdeen, Scotland you can see this sign along with some other creative ones.
There were two quotes with this photo post:
I am going to keep having fun every day I have left, because there is no other way of life. You just have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore. ~Randy Pausch
In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured. ~Gordon B. Hinckley
This is a repeat of what I said on Facebook, but I wanted to share it again here. There is a time in life when you need to run down the hill screaming or in my case roll down it like a log. (Yes, I did that not so long ago.) It is a release to get out of your head and to not worry about what people think about you. It is when life becomes a magnificent journey instead of a contest. People shouldn't judge you, they should be jealous of you for not trying it themselves.
I've been full of self-doubts, and I ask myself if I can truly write. I also wonder why I want to share my inner mind of imagination with the world when they may not like it. I remind myself to ignore the public opinions, do my best and forget the rest. So I'm reaching for the stars. I may only get to the clouds or the top of a tree, but at least I'm trying.
By nature I’m an Eeyore, but I strive to be a Tigger. It isn’t always easy, but when has anything worth the time ever been easy? Try it, you may see exactly what I mean.
How does one chillax? Is that even a word? In case you didn’t know, It is slang for relax or calm down. Someone put the words chill and relax together and a new term was invented. The first time I said, “chillax” around my mom she looked at me admonishingly like I was using profanity.
I remember my sixth grade teacher assigned my group to read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She said Lewis Carroll invented words in the book, because an author has artistic license to do that. At the time, I thought how cool it would be to make up words. I wanted to be an author before she had told us that, but when I realized writers could create new vocabulary, that put my goal on a different level.
Mr. Carroll coined a lot of fun words such as slithy, the combination of slimy and lithe. The phrase I remember most was curiouser and curiouser, which sometimes I use even though it isn’t a proper form of curious. I read that Carroll also came up with chortle, a combo of chuckle and snort. That word did end up in Oxford’s English Dictionary.
Before I get too far down the rabbit hole, I need to get back to the purpose of this blog. How do you chillax? Do I need to explain how bad stress is for your mental and physical health? There are a plethora of online health articles that explain how tension causes many ailments. Sometimes the diseases caused by stress create more diseases. If I fret that I’m too fat for my jeans that can make me fatter. So I gain weight because I’m worrying about gaining weight. Anxiety will do havoc on your ability to sleep, which may make you more fluffy around the waist also, and being overweight leads to other health issues. It is a vicious domino effect, and most of us struggle to find a formula to fix it. Even positive things can cause strain, so having stress is all part of the human experience.
I don’t have a quick solution to slay the beast, and everyone has to find what works for them. During my travels I did find Hawaii one of the best places to chillax of all the beach destinations I’ve visited.
I’ve been to the coasts of Florida, Oregon, California, Mexico, Maine and several in the Caribbean. None of those compare to the shorelines in Hawaii. I could write a multitude of paragraphs on the wonders of the Hawaiian Islands and you still wouldn’t totally grasp it until you experience the paradise for yourself. Even the photos I attached to this article can’t do it justice. Being on Hawaiian time means you don’t have to hurry and tire yourself out to take advantage of the islands’ activities. You can experience the nirvana on a slower pace, and you still feel like you are getting what you wanted from the adventure. There is something magical about those islands that takes your cares and washes them into the abyss of the deep blue ocean. Even the palm trees have a way of lulling your mind to peacefulness.
Maybe you can’t afford to go to Hawaii or any beach for that matter, so that is where books come in handy. Reading can help you escape. Books are your travel agent. Sure you need more imagination, but give yourself a time out with literature. Perhaps books aren’t the right diversion for you. Find whatever it is that takes the pressure away. Exercise, pray, sing, dance, talk to a friend, or try adult coloring books. Seek a way to soothe the turmoil, and incorporate it into your routine for respite.
For me to chillax, I reflect back to my favorite places I’ve visited in books and in real life. This forces me to focus my energy away from whatever is giving me anxiety. That is when the sounds of the ocean washing against the beach soon invade my mind, and once again I am at peace.
You’ve heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but isn’t it human nature to have an opinion based on first impressions? Don’t you pick up a book with a cover that catches your attention before you pick up the one with a boring front? I think what the phrase is asking people to do is realize that it is possible things aren’t what they seem to be on the outside.
I found the truth in this statement when I got off a train in Germany, in a town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber. At the station, this place seemed somewhat modern with nothing too extraordinary. My husband and I went there because the Rick Steves’ guide book talked about a Christmas store there. Since it is one of my favorite holidays, I wanted a Christmas ornament keepsake.
We didn’t realize when we walked toward our destination that we would be travelling back in time. Looming ahead of us was a medieval fortress. Once we walked through the archway of the walled-in portion of Rothenburg, we were enchanted by its likeness to a fairytale town from long ago.
Again, I was surprised when we found the shop. The façade was similar to all the quaint buildings in Rothenburg, but as I walked inside, it felt like I was entering a small village on Christmas Eve. Were all the children getting snug in their beds with visions of sugar plums in their heads?
Even after experiencing, this first-hand, it’s still easy to revert back to judging something or someone by their cover. No matter how similar your experience is to a situation someone else is going through, it can’t be judged by what it looks like on the outside. You can walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, and still have no clue what they are going through.
We all have our own journey. We all deal with identical traumas and joys differently. You can’t judge what a person is going through just because it appears one way to you. This is the time of year when people seek out love, forgiveness, peace, and hope. Try to find a way to get past biases. Look on the inside of the “book” and not just the outside. Don’t go with your first impression to form an opinion. You might be surprised what you will find.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Since my blog theme is travel, you will notice I find ways to compare my vacation expeditions with my journey as an author. This time I’m using my travels to talk about music and books. Since I love music, I thought of the Sound of Music tour I took in Austria.
Even though I like the rich culture and history of the places I visit; I also like the stereotypical tourist attractions. I found out during my Sound of Music tour that much of the movie was filmed in America, but I still wanted to see where the true story unfolded. Austria is a beautiful country and doesn’t need a famous movie to promote it. I was captivated by every place that was used for the movie or duplicated for it so I shared the photos with this blog. The pictures don’t do it justice.
The Sound of Music portrays a family who had lost their joy when their mother died. They found it again when a young woman who loved to sing came into their home to care for the children. Ultimately music helped the Von Trapp family escape from an austere home life and the Nazis.
Whether you like an upbeat tempo or a soothing melody, music has benefits. I’m not an expert so I don’t know if classic rock versus classical music has different results on the brain. I’ve read several articles online that state music benefits the mind. No matter what genre you like: country, rock, jazz, classical or alternative, you may be helping out more than just your mood. Personally I find music helps me get through a day at work and frankly I just love to sing.
Another thing to keep your brain healthy is reading. We all should incorporate reading into our daily routine. As an author I push people to read, because hopefully they will read my books, but like music, it is good for you. I much rather read a book than eat vegetables, but I don’t think reading is the solution for all health issues despite my wishes.
There are online articles about how reading increases your language and motor skills. Surprisingly I found that reading novels can be better than reading non-fiction. The same article said fictional literature helps people be more empathetic. So reading doesn’t just help you escape into a virtual vacation, but it can help keep your brain strong as you grow older.
Reading has also been used to treat depression. Maybe it is just as healthy as those veggies I force myself to eat. You might think you are too busy, but even a little reading each day is better than none at all. Truthfully what you have time for is what you prioritize. What we deem is most important will get our time. So feed your brain and read a book.
Online Articles where I found some of my information:
I recently traveled to Universal Studios in Florida. My favorite part was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter where J.K. Rowling’s stories came to life. They are immortalized more than ever with the world Universal has built. Her fans now can be a part of what Rowling created, and it is definitely worth the visit for those who enjoy her books or the movies based on the books.
My visit made me think about my own stories. I realize that once words are read or heard, they can be permanently engraved in the memory. You don’t need a theme park to do that. I’m also reminded almost daily about my flaws at speech. Just because I enjoy writing stories that doesn’t mean things flow easily and without mistake from my mouth. If I’m not botching the English language with a tangled tongue, I’m usually saying something that can be potentially misconstrued. I can have the best intentions and still make a mess of a situation.
Yes, I write fiction because of my crazy imagination. I also like that in fiction my words can’t be used to point a finger at me and say how cruel or strident I was towards someone, because none of my characters are real. In writing, text has to be thought through and edited. How many of you have said something you wish you could take back because you were too hasty? I live with the regret of words I can never erase. With my stories, I can change text over and over again and make it say exactly what I want to say before anyone reads it.
Words can be dangerous when put on paper or said. Even though I know this fact, that doesn’t mean I’ve never written a quick letter or email that didn’t come back to bite me. When I attempt to speak or write the truth, not a fictional story, it can be misinterpreted or listened to with a different perspective than my own. Sometimes the ones I love the most get the brunt of my carelessness. Just when I think I’ve learned to think before I speak, my words come out wrong. I guess I write this blog to be my reminder of this so perhaps I can decrease the times I repeat the mistake. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could eliminate this flaw altogether! But wait, the gift to erase memories and flaws only exists in fantasy.
Blogs about whatever I feel like blogging about at the time: Travel, pain, joy, or nonsense.