Mar 062019
 

All set to write a number of blog posts, I suddenly felt as if I’d run into a wall. And, I was going pretty fast when I hit that wall. The wind had been knocked out of me and everything felt like a tremendous effort to do something that normally brings me joy. If I were a person who believed in writers’ block, I imagine this is how it would feel.

If I were a person who believed in writers' block, I imagine this is how it would feel. Click To Tweet

But, since I’m not a big believer, I kept my fingers moving. The results were ugly. I was in a foul mood. Pissed off. Angry. Frustrated.  About what? Pretty much everything: child abuse and sexual assault and racism and prejudice toward the LGBTQ community.

I was in a foul mood -- about too many things. Click To Tweet

One way to deal with such an honest but ugly picture is to step away from the project so I decided that reading might be a better option. I picked up one of the many books I’d purchased at recent book festival trips. Unfortunately, that moved the mood meter event further down: my heart broke for the authors who had gone through the joy and hard work of publishing a book but appeared to have cut corners on the use editors and proofreaders. While these writers might have great stories and experiences to share, their credibility is gone. In the first three pages.

While these writers might have great stories and experiences to share, their credibility is gone in the first three pages. Click To Tweet

At that point, I was tempted to call it a day but had an in-person appointment in my home office: it’s not easy to get away from those.

There was a knock on the office door. Actually, it was more like a loud “thud.” A thud that was strong enough to open the door and let the puppy roll in. Literally, roll. She’s not too good on her feet yet.

The sun had come out and I wanted her to be able to come in and out without having to bang on the door so I got up to prop it open.

She shot past me, back into the yard. The big dogs were waiting and so started a vigorous game of bounce, pounce, and zoom. Rolling in the herbs, digging in the sandpit, playing “kill me.” Then they’d all drop down, take a breather, and start racing again. I was witnessing pure joy. It touched my heart and lifted my spirit.

The big dogs were waiting and so started a vigorous game of bounce, pounce, and zoom. Click To Tweet

And, in the face of pure joy, nothing else matters.

 

Feb 272019
 

I’ve been thinking a lot about congruence — a word and a concept I was introduced to a long time ago. Back then, I was a scrambling single mom so the closest I could come was to know that most of my frenetic activity was aimed toward making a living and being a good mother. So why, then, did the concept of congruence make such a lasting impression?

Why did the concept of congruence make such a lasting impression? Click To Tweet

Congruence is defined, in part, as “agreement or harmony; compatibility.” I remember the workshop leader focusing on those concepts in day-to-day life. She talked a lot about consistently matching one’s behavior to values and beliefs. Walking the talk. The opposite of conflict.

When I worked on projects or for organizations that were headed in the wrong direction, a big part of my job was to ferret out incongruity. Finding out where an organization’s words and deeds were working against one another was often the most direct path to repair.
But how does the concept of congruence apply to individuals? The simplest example is an old meme from the ’60s and ’70s — lecturing about the “evils of marijuana” with an alcoholic drink in hand. Most of our personal peccadillos are not quite so obvious.

There are lots of ways to take inventory of our beliefs versus our behaviors. One tried and true method to find uncover our real priorities is to take a close look at our calendars. Time is not a renewable resource so where we spend it is a pretty good indicator of what matters. Behavior doesn’t lie.

If you’re wondering what prompted this trip down memory lane the answer is pretty mundane. It’s coffee. And product promotion.

So how can someone have a conflict with coffee? There are lots of ways we can overthink these things but for me, it was the coffee maker. Years ago, I was gifted a Keurig. It was a generous gift. A great idea. But after adding little plastic cups to our trash for a period of time, I gave it away. While I liked the thought of making only as much as we needed, it just hurt my heart to think that my coffee habit was adding to the plastic pollution problem.

It hurt my heart to think my coffee habit was adding to the plastic pollution problem. Click To Tweet

About a year ago, another single cup coffee maker made its way into my life. We tried filling individual cups with the blend of choice but quickly tired of the chore. And then, while shopping for gifts for my most eco-conscious family members, the answer came. I’m not usually a product person but I can’t shut up about this one. I “discovered” TaysT coffee, a company that provides completely compostable individual coffee brew thingies. It can all go into the compost — the box, the envelopes the coffee comes in… even the burlap that’s used in the wrapping. And the coffee is good, too.

I don’t generally write about products but occurs to me that I’m excited about this one because it solves a problem for me. Maybe not even a problem but a nagging ethical dilemma. And consistency in this area makes me happy. Are there a million or so ways I could be more congruent or more environmentally conscious? Of course. But I’m one who believes that our climate and pollution problems are more likely solved by 100 million people doing things a little bit right than 10 million doing it exactly right.

 

Feb 132019
 

From traditional Valentine’s Day to Galentine’s Day (the celebration of love for our girlfriends), over-priced roses and enormous amounts of chocolate…this week, there is a bit more love in the air than usual. Here on the island, we’re fortunate to add our love of reading, writing, and other authors into the mix with the Amelia Island Book Festival starting on Valentine’s Day. An author luncheon, a gala, a book expo and, of course, an #IndieAuthor reception… it’s going to be delicious. And all of that is followed by the anniversary of my marriage to the love of my life — someone known online as “Favorite Husband.” My heart is full.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”— Lucille Ball

We accept the love we think we deserve. Click To Tweet

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower 

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel

“My six word love story: I can’t imagine life without you.” – Anonymous

My six word love story: I can’t imagine life without you. Click To Tweet

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.” ― Robert Fulghum, True Love

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” ― William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” ― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“It’s pretty much always love.” – Diana Gabaldon

It's pretty much always love. Click To Tweet

 

Feb 052019
 

“It was a dark and stormy night.” Oh, no. Wait. That’s for bad fiction. This is a story about bad reality. In a hospital.  Well, maybe not all that bad. Judge for yourself.

I had been diagnosed with a fairly significant bulge in my neck — a disc that was creating a lot of pain and causing lots of trouble with my right hand and arm. So, after multiple x-rays, MRI’s and doctors’ visits, surgery was scheduled.

Despite my conviction that my right hand would soon again be fully functional, I was a bit of a wreck: I'd not been overnight in a hospital since the birth of my son. Click To Tweet

Despite my conviction that my right hand would soon again be fully functional, I was a bit of a wreck: I’d not been overnight in a hospital since my son was born almost 40 years ago.

We arrived for surgery at dark thirty and got checked in.  We had what has come to be known as the “extended family surgical procedure good luck charm” — a Pittsburgh Steelers’ Terrible Towel. A close friend drove down to keep my husband company during the 3-hour operating room time and be on hand when I was done.  For reasons you’ll soon learn, I don’t yet have all the details of this apparently very cool robot-assisted event, but when I came to, I was wearing a neck collar and the pain in my arm was gone. Favorite Husband spent the night with me and, by the next afternoon, I was home with 2 dogs who could not have been happier to cover the big bed with major nap energy. Life was pretty good. Minimal pain. Good movies. Cuddly dogs, attentive husband, and lots of naps.

I was home with 2 dogs who could not have been happier to cover the big bed with major nap energy. Click To Tweet

And then, two or three days in, I started to get sick. Very sick. Nausea and vomiting. Intense abdominal pain. I’d had a similar episode a while back, but it was a single episode and resolved fairly quickly. This was not the same thing. Bigger. Stronger. Uglier. I had no idea what was going on nor did the Emergency Room people. They re-hydrated me, warmed me up, and sent me home where I did my best to go back to napping and watching movies. This time it didn’t work. I continued to get sicker. And apparently, that was good news.

On my next trip to the Emergency Room, the doc was able to see something in the bloodwork that allowed him to tell my fortune. Click To Tweet

On my next trip to the Emergency Room, the doc was able to see something in the bloodwork that allowed him to tell my fortune:  he told of an emergency gallbladder surgery, three more nights in the hospital and a full recovery. At least that’s what my husband and best friend told me. It was hard to hear with my head hanging over the edge.

But his predictions were completely accurate and I’m back home. The dogs are back on the bed and Favorite Husband and I have started streaming Oscar-nominated films. My digestive system is no longer trying to kill me and I sleep a lot. But despite feeling like someone who has had two major surgeries in less than two weeks, I feel pretty good. Today I got dressed and went to the office — made it by the crack of 11:00 and we won’t get too picky about what “dressed” means.

My concentration is coming back. I’m reading and planning and getting ready for two wonderful February book events. A friend has suggested I skip January 2019 and go with the Lunar New Year, currently being celebrated. That could work — my first go-round with a new year has not been especially user-friendly.

A friend has suggested I skip January 2019 and go with the Lunar New Year, currently being celebrated. That could work. Click To Tweet

I’m excited to co-host the first-ever indie author reception at our book festival, listen to some top-notch authors, and meet storytellers who want to join with others to make what we do better.

Off-loading worn out and unnecessary spare parts may just have made room for one more bit of story and adventure.

 

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