Monday, December 26, 2016

December Resolutions Update – Phase 3: Progression


The day after Christmas – a day to unwind from the mad flurry of the holiday season, to recharge before going back to work (sorry if you had to work today), and to find some time to yourself after spending weeks checking off items from your to-do or shopping lists in order to make this holiday weekend enjoyable.

Today is a good day to find a quiet corner, hold a nice cup of coffee or tea in your hands, and either start reading that new book you bought for yourself or play a fun board game with your kids.

I’ve had my coffee and I’ve had some quiet time (board games will come later), but now it’s time to work on what will help me recharge and that’s getting back to preparing for the New Year.  It’s time to work on what it’s going to take to make next year a great year.

Progression is the next phase for me in this resolution month.  Looking up the definition of the word “progression,” you’ll find: “a gradual change or advancement from one state to another” or “forward movement.”  This is perfect, since each time I try to figure out what my 2017 word will be (picking just one word is more difficult than I thought it would be), I keep coming back to either movement or momentum.   

Beginning a new season means change, implementing what it will take to bring about the change you want will result in forward movement, and staying on course with your plan as you look ahead at the possibilities the new season may bring will cause momentum. 

All positive results.  And that’s what I’m going for.

I began this new season by reflecting on the past year.  I’ve really tried to dig deep, to learn from the past 12 months, and to let go of what can hold me back.  As I move into the New Year and endless possibilities, I’ve decided to focus on personal growth and professional momentum and the way for me to get there is to find a balance and to live a creative life.  As I progress with positive movement, I will achieve those goals as I continue to look ahead at the possibilities. 

For me, again, it’s all about focus. 

To progress with positive movement, I will begin with affirmations.  Everyone wants to do better in life, whether that involves physical, mental, professional or otherwise.  Affirmations will pave the way for my intentions and sticking to those intentions will provide great results as long as I stay committed to the possibilities. 

There’s a saying I have on my desk that will likely be a motto for me during 2017:


To achieve a balanced and creative life, I will believe in the possibilities and I’ll have fun imagining what’s to come.  That said, moving forward now leaves me with the last and final phase of this resolution month, and that is to state my intentions, or my resolutions, for the coming year.

 See you next week!


Sunday, December 18, 2016

December Resolutions Update – Phase 2: Possibilities

Imagine standing next to a very large hole in the ground; one you’ve carefully dug as you rooted around for rocks, all representing your past actions, events  and decisions over the course of a year.  Also next to the hole is your large pile of rocks and on the other side of that pile is a cliff. Now imagine that after you’ve dug out the rocks, you examine each one carefully and decide which ones to keep and which ones to throw away. The rocks representing what will help you move forward, help you continue to develop personally or professionally, were the result of positive experiences or may continue to provide additional lessons to be used in the year ahead are all tossed back into the hole for safekeeping. The rocks representing decisions or experiences that make you feel anxious, may limit you, will likely provide little to no encouragement or could hold you back completely are all thrown over the side of the cliff.

Now imagine what you will see when you’ve completed that task. Will your hole be full of rocks, or will most of the rocks be found at the bottom of the cliff?

Sunrise on Haleakala (House of the Sun) - Maui
Regardless of whether this past year resulted in more positive or negative experiences, whether the hole you dug out is now partially full of rocks or completely empty, the real task is letting go of what can hold you back.  What’s left after letting go of what can hold you back will be a hole full of rocks representing positivity, purpose, and possibilities. Throwing the rocks over the cliff is just my way of saying to let go; not to forget how something affected you, or pretending it never happened, but to acknowledge it, learn from it, move on from it and let it go so that you can enjoy what life still has to offer.

I’ve done my best to dig deep when it came to the task of reflection, how this past year has challenged me, what I’ve accomplished, what it has taught me, and how I can use what I’ve learned to make next year a better year. To be honest, I’ve thrown more rocks over the side of the cliff than back into the hole. It was just that kind of year.

However, now that I’ve earned my badge of reflection, I’m moving on to the idea of possibilities. By evaluating this past year, reevaluating what I should do differently, mapping out a plan to reach my goals and forging ahead with positive thoughts and exhilarating expectations, I can look ahead at what’s to come.

So what do I look forward to in the coming year? 

What possibilities are out there for me? 

There are so many opportunities to look forward to, to transform, to develop, to learn from, to cultivate. Looking ahead, the possibilities are endless, but for me, focus is the key to staying on course. I look forward to many possibilities, both personally and professionally, but personal growth and professional momentum are mainly what I plan to focus on. Finding a balance and living a creative life will be my goals.

To reach those goals, I’ll need to implement a plan to move ahead towards the possibilities, which means moving into the next phase of this resolution month: progression.

Have a great day and I’ll see you next week!


Sunday, December 11, 2016

December Resolutions Update - Phase 1: Reflection

I stand firm in my decision to make December my resolution month – especially when the task at hand is more than just making a simple list of resolutions: eat better, drink more water, write another book, exercise more regularly…very generic resolutions that are easy to make or break depending on the mood on any given day.
Yellowstone Lake

My list of resolutions is still in the making while I work through certain phases, and the first part of my resolution phase involves reflection. 

This may seem simple, but when you really try to dig deep and get honest with yourself, it can take time and energy to get through this phase.  Looking back at what occurred over the past year is easy enough; experiences, celebrations, milestones, challenges, successes, what was gained, who or what was lost.  The list may be long, or it may be short, but overall the list can be limited to factual data.

Evaluating what has occurred in the past, when it comes to the date, time, place, and what happened…that’s the easy part.  However, when you reflect on how each event affected you, that particular task can be difficult and it can take some time.  But to find honest answers to prepare for another (and hopefully better) New Year, you should be taking the time.

To begin, think about your fears, dreams, feelings, beliefs, values, wants and needs.  These are the types of questions I’ve been asking myself:

Did your dreams come true?  Or did your fears become a reality? 

Did you surprise yourself with your bravery or did your fears overcome your courage? 

Have you stayed true to yourself, your values and your beliefs?  Or did your worries and doubts push you to become someone you don’t recognize? 

When thinking about the past year, what were you able to accomplish?  What challenged you?  How did both the accomplishments and the challenges change your life?  What did they teach you about yourself? 

What lessons will you take with you into the New Year? 

What will you be willing to let go of? 

What are you grateful for?  What do you regret?

What made you happy?  Is it something you can continue with or do again?

What made you unhappy?  Was it temporary?  Can you move on from it?  Or is it something that needs to be forgiven beforehand?

What do you want to leave in the past?  What do you want to continue with or make better in the future?

My answers to the above questions were a combination of both expected and unexpected results when it came to what I discovered about myself.  The past year was another difficult one for me, but what I can do with what I’ve learned about myself after some reflection is nothing but positive.  Fully armed with this knowledge about myself, I can move forward into the New Year with a framework to make this next year a better year. 

With Phase 1 of my resolution month complete, I’ll be moving on to the next phase: looking ahead at the possibilities.  

See you next week!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December has become my Resolution month


It’s only the first part of December, but I’m beginning to feel the pull to begin working on some changes that I wouldn’t usually feel the need to think about until the end of this month. You know what I’m talking about – that drive to make a change because the New Year is upon us? 

I’m not sure exactly why I already feel the desire to switch things up; I just feel the need to make changes now, rather than when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day.

Maybe it’s due to the accomplishment of getting through NaNoWriMo and completing the challenge of reaching my goal of 50,000 words last month. Yes! I finished the challenge and was able to reach my goal of over 50,000 words, which means I am that much closer to completing my next novel.

I’ve put in all that time, and kept up with a strict writing schedule which allowed me to prove to myself that I haven’t lost my passion. I can’t lose that momentum. It would result in the month of November being a terrible waste of time if I lose the persistence and the inspiration which led me to complete the writing challenge. It may take a challenge such as NaNoWriMo to get the fingers flying on the keyboard, but once those 30 days are over, it takes regular effort and desire to continue to stay on task.

That means making resolutions now, not when the calendar changes to January 1st. So instead of waiting until January, I’m going to phase into positive change and goal-inspired momentum now. The upside to this is that by January, the movement towards my goals will already be in place so that I’ll be ahead of the game when the New Year rolls around. 

That would result in beginning the New Year already in the black.

Part of the plan of action to gain momentum means taking stock in a few things and getting prepared for what’s necessary to stay on task. I discovered a few mini-courses I’m going to take part in, which will generate lists for me to focus on as I move into a fresh new year. It’s no secret, I love lists; whatever type of lists help keep me and my mind organized. To move ahead into the New Year with a positive attitude, continuous inspiration and a constant flow of productivity, I’ll need to reflect on a number of things, plan a course of action, map out my goals, and keep on hand a list of the tools necessary to evaluate my course should I find myself moving in an unexpected direction. 

I may expect much from the month of December, but I look forward to moving ahead, ready to set sail on a constant course with my lists in hand.

I’ll continue to check in each week with an update. Until next time…have a great week!



Sunday, November 27, 2016

NaNoWriMo update – week 4



Week 4 people!  And only 3 more days to go with the month-long challenge I’ve committed myself to. NaNoWriMo is something you can love, hate or be indifferent to, but to take part and succeed is a feeling hard to compete with.

I haven’t reached the finish line yet…I’m still short of my 50,000 goal, but I’m close.



I’ll admit I expected to be closer to my word count by today, but the past few days were tough for me and made it hard for me to stay completely focused on writing. Thanksgiving was an obvious day of retreat from the computer – to spend time in the kitchen preparing a big meal before spending the rest of the day with family.


But it was the two days after Thanksgiving that were rough for me.  For those who follow me, you must know I’m an animal lover. My pets are like kids to me. And my furry kids, especially my cats, live a very long time so that when I finally have to say goodbye, it seems even that much harder.

Misty
I’ve had four cats that have reached the ages of 18 to 20 years old. One of them I had since he was born when I was just a kid, so he passed away when I was in my early 30’s, but the other three cats I’ve had since my mid-to-late 20’s. Two of them were males; one was with us until a few years ago, the other until last year, and the last of the three, Misty and the only female, was 19 ½ years old. We had to say goodbye to her yesterday. It was difficult for me, but when a cat lives that long, you know they’ve had a good long life.

So I was a bit distracted and didn’t stick with my writing the way I had hoped for most of the weekend but I did a great job making up for it today, adding over 6,700 words just today! Based on my word count, I need just over 2,200 words per day to complete my goal. 

I can see the finish line.

The challenge is almost complete – I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to treat myself once I reach my goal and earn my certificate of completion, but I have a few days to think about it.

For anyone else competing in the challenge, I hope it’s been fun, or even if it’s been a real challenge, I hope it’s taught you something about yourself.  

I know it’s taught me something…never stop believing in yourself and what you can accomplish!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

NaNoWriMo update – week 3


Are you getting tired of hearing about the month-long writing challenge yet?  

It will be over soon enough, but thankfully not for another week and a half because there’s still a lot I can get done.

I’m still managing my time pretty well, getting my word count in at a decent rate and I’m seriously having a lot of fun with my characters.  I’m looking forward to going back through what I’ve put together at the end of the month so that I can add in more detail and tie the chapters together for a smoother ride.  But that has to happen later – until then, to get through this challenge, you have to tell your inner critic to shut the heck up and leave you alone.  To feel real movement, I’m focusing on major scenes, new characters and key points that will move the story forward as they relate to each plot or subplot – it’s later that I’ll plug in the little details and fill in the blanks or plot holes. 

I’m really looking forward to the upcoming 4-day weekend.  Of course, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, a delicious turkey dinner and time spent with family.  But after that?  I’m really looking forward to having three whole days to spend on writing.  Those three days should easily net me at least another 15,000 words, if not more.

Since I’m already over 32,000 words, any writing I make time for after this next weekend will likely be a bonus.

I’m ready to start the fourth week of this challenge, I’m super excited about a work week that’s going to be shorter than the weekend, I look forward to time with family (and leftover turkey sandwiches), and I can’t wait to see how far I’m able to get with my story and with my word count by the end of the week.

There’s a lot to look forward to – I hope you also have a great week!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NaNoWriMo update - week 2


I believe there are two different mindsets when it comes to NaNoWriMo right now.  The first is that we’re only in the second week, with technically two and a half weeks to go, so it feels like there’s still plenty of time left. The other is that we’re actually almost halfway through November, which would mean halfway through the challenge, so I’m sure it’s fair to say that many writers out there are already questioning whether they will reach their word count or not.

I guess it’s either a glass half full or a glass half empty mentality. Either way, no matter where anyone is in this challenge, there is still time to finish what’s been started. For anyone who is behind on their word count, it just means finding the time to work that much harder for the next few weeks.

My glass is half full, when it comes to my mindset. I’m glad to say my second week was better than my first. This second week resulted in a higher word count and was minus the flu I had to get through the first week. On top of that, Friday was a holiday which meant staying home all day with very few distractions so that I made good on catching up on my word count. I’m just about where I need to be at this point in the challenge.

Gotta love those 3-day weekends!

I’m really enjoying my writing time and I’m very happy to have made the decision to join NaNoWriMo this year. It’s keeping my butt in the chair and moving my story along in a wonderful way. I’m also really thankful to have something else to focus my time on other than what’s been going on in the news or on social media. To be honest, it’s all just too distracting, sometimes disturbing and very depressing. Getting into my story, having fun with my characters and playing with the plot surrounding a mystery is so much more entertaining. Things are moving along with Jorja and the other characters, along with a cold case mystery and another new mystery to solve. It’s just all so much fun and I can’t wait to share.

For now, I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday weekend.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 11, 2016


Hi everyone - happy Friday and happy Veteran's Day!

Just a quick post on 11/11 to talk about 11:11 - If you haven't already, check out my short story, "11:11, Anna's Awakening," available in paperback and as an eBook on Amazon or in paperback through my eStore.

Here's a short blurb:

Everyone deals with grief in their own way. Death can bring families closer together; sometimes it can tear them apart. Only time can heal the wounds to build stronger relationships and while some relationships survive, sadly, others do not. This is the story of two parents who suffer a great loss and attempt to build a new relationship with the memory of their loved one between them. But as they both work through their grief, their relationship is threatened by many things…fear, anger, selfishness, even greed. As husband and wife tend to their needs to survive the numbing loss, one of them must become acutely aware of these threats in order to change their fate.

It's a quick read, and for anyone who takes the time to check it out, I'd really like to hear your feedback.

Thanks and have a great day!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

NaNoWriMo update – week 1


We are one week down in this massive writing challenge called NaNoWriMo, and I’m sure there are many writers out there who are wondering just what the heck they got themselves in to now that things are finally underway.

So how am I doing so far?

I’m admittedly doing so-so. 

I am supposed to average 1,667 words per day in order to reach my goal of 50,000 by the end of the month. But my first week for this challenge left me…challenged, and I wasn’t able to complete my daily word count goal. The main excuse was that I became very ill half way through the week, leaving me incapacitated for two days where I wasn’t able to complete anything that involved thought-process, sitting in a chair in front of a computer for any length of time, or anything that wouldn’t let me nap when the mood struck me.

I would be much closer or at my goal of just over 10,000 words today if it weren’t for my illness earlier this week, so instead I am currently at 6,565.  However, when I review what I was able to accomplish this week, based on what I was up against, I will say I’m pleased. Given where I am right now, my daily word count goal jumps from 1,667 words to just 1,738 words per day. That is a relatively manageable expectation.

I feel good so far with the challenge. I am pleased with the progress I’ve made with my story and with the new characters in my story. The characters are talking and I’m having fun.  For me, that’s what really counts. 

Now off to week number two!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Diligence & Discipline For Hire - 50,000 words required

It’s that time of year again…when many writers decide on whether or not they are going to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  It can be a difficult decision to commit to and since my last go-round with NaNoWriMo was in 2014, it took me until yesterday to finally decide whether I was going to join.

So what did I decide?

I decided I’m in.

It’s a tough time of year to commit to something so time-consuming, especially when I review my schedule and know that I’ll be taking part in this challenge while working around so many other responsibilities and upcoming events scheduled throughout the month.

But then, I’m a sucker for a challenge.

Besides, each month of every year has a number of responsibilities and events that we can use as an excuse not to join.  There’s a saying that if you make an argument for your limitations, then you get to keep them.  So why not make an argument for the possibilities instead?  There is no risk in joining, other than that the coveted word count may not be reached, while the rewards gained from this challenge can last a lifetime. 

And if I’m honest with myself, it’ll be good for me. 

NaNoWriMo is great for any writer who needs to re-evaluate their time management, taken an exercise in discovery and learn to work around obstacles.  Time management is a necessary evil when you have days full of to-do lists.  An exercise in discovery is what can occur when you are quickly creating something and prevent yourself from getting in the way of your creation.  And obstacles in life are pitfalls that may give you pause and make you ponder, but they should not prevent you from finding time to be present and ready to create. 

So I’m going to work steadily with diligence and discipline as I inch my way down the page each day towards my goal.  I’ll enjoy taking part in a creative process that will inspire me as I keep a steady rhythm and gain valuable habits. 

Whether or not I reach the goal of 50,000 words, I know the exercise will still benefit me in many ways, but I’m going to do my best to earn my completion badge at the end of the month.  I’ll be posting throughout November as I take part in the NaNoWriMo challenge.

I’m excited and ready to begin!



Sunday, October 16, 2016

This (storm) too shall pass…be prepared but positive.

It’s funny how Mother Nature can teach you a lesson without even trying.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the bulk of the western side of Washington was preparing for the worst…a storm of “epic” proportions, to quite possibly match that of a storm that occurred even before I was born.

Going to the store for a plain ‘ole gallon of milk became a chore, as shoppers had to swim against the horde of frenzied consumers who thought they needed enough food and water in light of the possibility that they might be stuck in their houses for…I honestly don’t know how long people thought we’d be buried under wires and trees.

If the storm were as bad as they thought it might be, we knew we’d possibly be without power for 2-3 days or maybe even a week.  It’s happened before at least a handful of times over the course of at least two decades.  Because of where I live, in a remote, rural area in a small town, we are usually the last on the list when it comes to how soon we might finally get to see those heroes we call linemen.

The predictions of weather forecasters gave us a good scare as they portrayed Mother Nature in a diabolical way and warned how much we may be assaulted by her.  So everyone hunkered down, waiting out the storm, hoping it would just pass on by.

For us, it did just that.  We were pelted with some heavy wind for a short bit, and a whole lot of rain, but hey…we live in Washington so it’s to be expected.  There are some who weren’t so lucky but we did not lose power or a single tree and we had removed danger trees away from our house years ago, for fear of what might happen if we didn’t.  But I had prepared myself for the likelihood that it might be worse than when we were suddenly, and without much warning as I recall, hit by a storm on my oldest son’s birthday almost five years ago – the amount of trees we lost during that unexpected storm was a sight to behold.

January 2012, what was left after a storm of "epic" proportions
We tried to stay positive, but it’s always good to be prepared.  We had hoped for the best, but we braced for the worst.

There is something to be learned from Mother Nature – maybe she is like any woman who doesn’t like being told what she’s going to do and she’ll go about doing just the opposite.  Maybe, but it’s also how we can all go about living our lives with optimism, courage and confidence, even in light of the possibility that epic storms may occur.  It never hurts to be prepared…that’s a given, but I let the words and predictions of others keep me in a state of mind that left me anxious.  I’m mad at myself for watching the news as much as I did while they kept going on and on about the epic storm we might be up against – those are wasted minutes I can never get back.  We can all act like Chicken Little and claim the sky is falling, but why live in a constant state of panic and pessimism?  If you’re familiar with the fable, not the Disney version, you know most versions of the story don’t commonly end well.  Besides, if the sky were to actually fall, all the time we spent fearing the worst takes away from time better spent in the present. 

This may be well beyond what you got out of this storm or any other, but for me, it just reminds me that we should all do our best to make a habit of being optimistic and expect the best, while remaining confident that if the worst actually happens, we’ll have enough courage in order to handle it.  

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Note to Self...and a Note to Create


I found this note I wrote to myself one evening when I was...in a mood.

Reading it over, I think it resonates with something inside me that others can relate to as well, so I decided I'd like to share it with you...

Note to Self:


To be creative, to stay passionate about what you create, you need to stay true to yourself.  

You need to answer the deepest and darkest questions within yourself.  Sometimes more questions will arise – but that just means more opportunities to write, to create, to find those answers.  

The characters want to speak. 

They want to be a part of your life, to share, to surrender themselves to the scrutiny of others, which means you must also do the same, in some fashion.  

You cannot expect others to understand what you are trying to share, unless you share what others might actually respond to, relate to, and react to, in some way.  

Listen to the characters.  

Listen to your gut.  

Create.  

Find that passion in yourself, in your work, your story.  

Keep it real and remember, no one has all the answers…we can only stay on the path meant for us and we can either give up, admit defeat and sit on the shoulder as others who create move past us, or we can answer the call and follow the path we’ve begun.

And always remember: follow your chosen path bravely and without reservation or regret.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

What’s good about a drought? The growth we see afterwards.


You might not think September is synonymous with drought, or even growth, as the rain has already visited us and the trees outside are losing their leaves as I write this. But when it involves creativity, I will think of September as the end to my drought.

I recently attended a writers’ conference and while I may not have attended with any actual thought of what I wanted, the conference provided me with exactly what I needed. With a great lineup of speakers and a full day of learning, I was able to connect with like minds, find new inspiration, learn helpful tips and tricks relating to writing and marketing and most importantly, add a good amount of nourishment to my creative soul in order to fuel my passion for writing.

What did I learn throughout my day at the conference?

Here’s an overview:
  • Useful approaches to great book cover designs – you really can’t deny that readers usually judge by the cover.
  • Artistic Perseverance – remembering why I want to write and committing to that; consistently putting in the work while also reading, studying, and connecting with others; building my life around the necessity to write; and remembering that we’re not all perfect, it can take time and sometimes you have to surrender and move on to something else but to always remember my reason for writing and to never give up.
  • Developing characters and crafting conflict – since my characters and I have had an on-again, off-again relationship for awhile, this class was well worth my time as it made me think about questions I should be asking while the characters navigate through the story and interact with each other. 
  • Social media strategies – the presenter provided many useful tips and so many ideas about different tools to use that I have to find some time to check them all out, but I’m excited about utilizing many of them.  I feel like I’m starting over again, in a way, when it comes to my online presence and many of her ideas will really help me as I complete and publish my next book.
  • Marketing strategies – this has always been the subject I dislike the most…selling yourself is not an easy thing to do for many.  But this presenter was excellent.  From creating a plan, to creating systems, investing in yourself, networking with others, creating newsletters, promotions and sales…and everything in between, she was excited about her work and she made me excited about it too.  She provided useful ways to tackle this difficult part of the business and even more surprising, she made me believe I can succeed, and possibly have fun at it, as well. 

With everything I learned from each presenter, what I really gained from the conference was this:  excitement. It is addicting. And I refuse to let that feeling go. 

The creative nourishment I gained at this conference has already caused me to lose sleep because I can’t wait to completely dig back the layers of noise in my head that have kept my characters muted for so long. I know this will sound weird, and if you’re not a writer you might not understand, but I feel awful about shutting out my characters for so long. 

The drought I’ve been in is over. 

Period. 

I’ve had a rough go for long enough, with a wild roller coaster ride of emotional ups and downs that has been difficult to maneuver through. The control freak in me has definitely felt out of control.  But it’s time for me to take back control of what I am passionate about, remember why I’m passionate about it, and make a conscious and constant effort to stick to the path I started a few years ago.

So long drought – hello creativity.

Have a great week!


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hello? It’s me…back up and running.


Summer is over, school has begun and we’re about to move into another season of weather and the parade of upcoming holidays this time of year brings on.  It is probably my most favorite time of year, the change from summer to fall, fall colors, crisp mornings, seasonal drinks and fun Halloween decorations in stores I can’t resist checking out (and playing with).

As we literally move from one season to the next, I am personally moving from one season to another, with more change and the shift into another new normal, yet again, that the past few months have brought me.  It’s been two months since my last blog post, but it was a much-needed break, considering the fact that I had to focus on serious matters involving family illness and the loss of two parents to cancer.

I have definitely had some struggles the past year and a half or so, since my dad passed away in early 2015, and while I attempted to find a way to get through my grief.  Writing should have given me some comfort, and sometimes it did, but my focus was difficult to keep under control.  This year started out a bit better but mid-way through we lost my stepmom to cancer and just last month, my husband’s mom also lost her battle to cancer (we already lost his dad to cancer, six years ago on today’s date).

Seriously, all I can say about cancer is that is sucks.  If you’ve never had a scare yourself or watched a loved one battle cancer, consider yourself very fortunate and pray you never have to watch a loved one suffer through this awful illness.

But this post is not about cancer or death or grief – instead, it is about moving on, moving through seasons, even the toughest ones, and coming out stronger.  I’m here to say that I am back and ready to move on with my writing, with connecting, learning, researching, creating and enjoying all there is about writing.  Life may continue to have its ups and downs, but if the past year and a half has taught me anything, it is that I may falter, or even fall, but each time I will get back up and continue on, stronger, even, due to what I have been through.  Another lesson is that we cannot really enjoy the life we have unless we live in and enjoy each moment, enjoy time spent with those who are still here with us, look forward to the future with optimism and resist the urge to live in the past.

“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.” ~Marianne Williamson

To honor the memories of lost loved ones, I’m focusing less on the past, the what-if’s, and the could-have-been’s, and I will fully enjoy life by living in the present and spending time doing what I am passionate about.  Each morning when I wake up, I will have the attitude that I can make each day ridiculously amazing. 

The effort to succeed in life has a much better chance if the attitude is attentive, positive and motivating.  With this attitude, a person can do great things; and in the end, will leave them with less regret. 

So let the change in seasons begin, both literally and figuratively…because I’m ready!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

It’s time to take a blogging break…


If you haven’t noticed, it’s been awhile since I last posted.  It’s been just over a month, when I was overcome with nostalgia with the onset of my youngest son graduating from high school.  I wrote about beginning a new phase in life, one that I was excited for even though I really had no idea what I was in store for.  I’m still getting used to the idea of not having kids under the age of 18, but more than that, I’ve been reflecting so much more about my life and what I expect from it. 

With this reflection comes change: a change in mindset; a change in habits; and a change in expectations for myself in order to find a good balance as I focus on personal and family matters while I also continue to work towards my goals.

My youngest is technically on his last summer break as a “kid” before he starts college and I’ve decided I need my own summer break, as well.  In order to stay on track with the process I’ve begun, I made the decision to take a break when it comes to blogging.  I may check in during the month of August, but realistically, as far as regular posting goes, I’ve decided to take blogging off my to-do list until September. 

This is not blogger burnout; it’s just a blogging break - which could help avoid burnout.  Sometimes you have to make the decision to step away from some things in order to focus on others. 

Whatever your plans or goals may be the next few months, I hope you enjoy yourself and have a wonderful summer.  

Take care and see you in the fall!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

An afternoon reflection: As kids grow, nostalgia blooms


It’s a beautiful and very warm Sunday afternoon as I sit here at my desk, trying to stay cool in shorts and a tank top, while a fan blows semi-cool air my way. I would rather be outside enjoying the sunshine, and I was out earlier this morning to tend to my gardens, but by 11:00 a.m. it was just too hot. If not for my own sake, I had to finally head inside for the sake of my dog, Piper, who just can’t handle the type of heat we’re expected to get today (around 95 degrees). 

I don’t know what sort of summer we’re expected to have in the Pacific Northwest this year, and I do hope it’s a good one, but I really don’t want a repeat of last year with temps too high for so long that our whole yard was burned and crispy so that it was no longer enjoyable to walk outside barefoot. Greens were hard to come by so that the deer were desperate for food, even going so far as to tear my tomato plants out of the ground. 

We’re about to begin a new season, and with the beginning of summer, I’m also preparing myself for another type of season, or phase in my life. Our youngest is graduating high school this week and after 23 years, I’m moving on from our small-town schools, parent-teacher conferences, school dances, sporting events, booster clubs, and other school events. There’s a real mixture of feelings when you actually think about the fact that all of your kids are out of high school.

When our children graduate high school, we tend to look backwards almost as much as we look ahead. We think about how quickly they have grown. How it didn’t seem that long ago when we felt a mixture of excitement and fear as we handed them off to the teacher on their first day of school. How we tried our best to balance teaching them about life with letting them learn on their own. How much we worried about them and only ever wanted them to always have great days and good experiences. 

And we look at these amazing individuals who have grown into such wonderful human beings, and we are ever so thankful we somehow did more right than wrong so that they actually turned out okay.     


Am I a bit nostalgic today? 

You bet I am.

I’m also in a bit of shock when I think about the fact that I’m the mother of two grown men.

There’s a lot to be said about the change in seasons when it comes to our lives. From newlyweds, to parents with a busy family life, to empty-nesters who eventually become grandparents before moving on to retirement, there are a number of times when a new phase in life makes us stand still for just a moment as we take stock in what we’ve accomplished and what we’re about to move on to next. These phases bring a mixture of nostalgia, as well as excitement in what’s to come.

I’m admittedly pretty stuck in my ways and usually change is hard for me. But when it comes to change as it involves a new phase in my life, I feel more excitement than fear. Usually, we fear change due to what we believe we have to give up, rather than looking forward to what may be gained. While this change has caused me to spend time reflecting on what has passed, I am ready for this new phase and I eagerly look forward to the future. 

Whatever phase in life you’re in, I hope it brings you more excitement than fear.

Have a great week!



Sunday, May 22, 2016

R.I.P. Bloggers with Burnout


During each season of writing, writers live two lives; their own and whatever characters they’re writing about at the time.

Life, as we all know, is busy. And when you’re a writer, living your own life while writing about someone else’s, you tend to feel pulled in different directions pretty much all the time.  In addition, there is all that extra work involved with author branding, the business of publishing, and the time you spend marketing what you’ve been able to create. For writers who blog, or are constantly using some form of social media or other means of staying in contact with their readers, everyday life can be very hectic.

I’ve been working on my own book series for four years now…having published the first book in the series, No Mother of Mine, towards the end of 2012. During this time, I’ve almost religiously followed certain authors and bloggers, always looking for help, researching about writing, searching for tips about publishing, soaking up ideas relating to marketing, or just hoping for some extra inspiration and motivation to get me through the week.

But lately what I’ve noticed is that many of my favorite bloggers and authors have tapered off from regular posts, or only write about one thing (their latest book), or they’ve lost steam altogether.

I recently reviewed the list of all the blogs I’ve been following, and I came to the realization that about half of them haven’t posted very often this year, if at all, while others haven’t posted for over a year or more. This really surprised me. I had wondered at the lack of content from some of my favorites, or the lack of variety, but I just had no idea so many had actually dropped off from posting at all. 

My take on this is that some of the authors and bloggers who I had been following gave too much of themselves, at least professionally, if not personally. They were always quick to share their advice, offer a free class, provide helpful tips and tricks of the trade, or whatever it took to keep people like me coming back for more. 

And I will always appreciate them for it. 

But in providing so much to others, my thought is how long were they able to keep up that pace while they lived their own lives and put whatever energy they had left into the next book they hoped to get out there? 

Being a writer isn’t easy – and sometimes living your own life, while writing about your characters’ lives, can be overwhelming, which is definitely something to keep in mind when you’re trying to stay on task. But based on what I’ve discovered with regard to some of the bloggers I’ve been following, it would appear it’s what you do in the middle of those two lives…blogging, other social media, newsletters, offering seminars or online classes…that can actually increase the possibility of burnout.
 
Times change, people move on, and what we need or what others can offer doesn’t always remain the same. What writers have to figure out is when to give, when to hold back to allow some breathing room, and when to move on if necessary. No apologies needed. Regardless of the season they’re in, writers have to find that balance in order to avoid losing the passion that kept them going for so long.

It’s just another lesson learned from those who I have respected for the past few years. While some of my favorite bloggers are no longer with us, or possibly just on a very long break, I appreciate the fact that I’ve gained knowledge that will help me as I continue on my own journey as a writer.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The tools I use as life shifts between busy, bad and beautiful

If you’re on Facebook, you might receive those posts reminding you of something that happened to you a number of years ago. Today, I was informed that I became friends with my aunt seven years ago…on Facebook, that is. In life, we’ve been friends much longer than that.

Lately, what these reminder posts have accomplished is to give me a little shock when I realize how much has happened in the few short years since this or that occurred. If I use this latest FB reminder to go on, the amount of change our family has had to adjust to in only seven years is astounding.  From one end of the spectrum to the other, from incredible highs to extreme lows, all in the middle of what life usually has to offer.       

I’m sure many of you know what I mean.

Whether life is busy, beautiful or bad, I was pretty good at figuring out a way to swim through the muck and get done what I needed to get done. For the most part, anyway – I still had those days and while I’ve always been organized, time management has always been a work in progress. But when I lost my dad early last year, what had usually worked for me became foreign, difficult to stick with, or just outright challenging to even attempt.      

During a recent reflective moment, I reviewed my blog posts for the past few years and I noticed a trend…2013 and 2014 had a good mix of blogs having to do with possibilities, positivity, productivity, characters, the writing process, staying organized, recharging, creative chaos, perseverance, distractions, patience, time management, editing, publishing, writing events and holidays.

My dad passed away on January 2, 2015, and I’m sure most would understand when I say that my process as I managed life became difficult for awhile. Posts for 2015 were less than half the amount than the year before and included the subjects of loss, writer’s block, feelings/fears, characters (when they were speaking to me), productivity, motivation and time management. But the posts related to productivity, motivation and time management were likely more of a pep talk to myself, as I continued to try to stay on task given everything that had happened.

I had to get through a lot of firsts after Dad passed away and when I finally got through the first anniversary of his death, something finally happened. I realized I was continuing to remain stuck in the past and that I needed to get my head back into the present. When a person is able to do that, especially after such a great loss, it’s a truly beautiful thing. 

Since then, my posts for 2016 have included these subjects: a new outlook, staying on track, clearing the clutter, book events, staying focused, characters, and the writing process. Some days, I have a hard time coming up with what I want to share (I’m not immune to difficult days) but today I wanted to share what I’ve been doing to help keep myself focused and on task. 

Most important is writing – 


Good or bad, just getting something down is really important – this quote helps motivate me:




Reading to relax and unwind.  


I’ve always been a reader but I’ve slacked on how many books I can get through in a year, so I’m finding the time to read through the pile of books I constantly keep adding to.




Continuing to learn something new... 

about writing, marketing, blogging, or whatever might help me as an author. Learning from others will also provide me with motivation and inspiration and it helps to learn what works, and what doesn’t, for others who are doing what I do.






Clearing the clutter and reducing the creative chaos.  


I’ve taken on this task in the past, but most recently I have decided my past attempts have only scratched the surface. It’s going to take me awhile to get through every room in the house but so far the amount of items I believe I can do without is amazing. I’m currently using Ruth Soukup’s book, Unstuffed, for ideas.  One of the most rewarding tasks to date was to really clean my desk. Not just dust it. Not just reorganize it. But to go through every drawer, every shelf, every tray and each surface that has become more of a catch-all. Once I was done, I was floored by how much better my desk looked and how less chaotic it felt when I was trying to write or work on other projects. It is unbelievable how much better I feel when I sit at my desk and now I can enjoy creating without all that chaos waiting to curb my enthusiasm.



After




Before







Paying more attention to what will calm my spirit and feed my soul.  


There’s much to be said when it comes to this subject. Being mindful, purposeful and grateful are extremely important and keep me motivated and inspired, and push my thoughts in a positive and productive direction, which will help keep me moving forward rather than looking backward.



Staying healthy – 


It's a hot topic right now and easier said than done when hurdles keep coming up but there are baby steps we can take…drinking plenty of water, getting enough rest, walking if nothing else in order to get ourselves moving rather than sitting all day, learning to eat right or in moderation with what is right for us. Now that I can begin working on my gardens again, I look forward to getting outside and playing in the dirt. Not only is it good when it comes to staying active, it’s great for my mind because I can work out so many character and plot issues when I’m gardening. And of course, we can all benefit from some more Vitamin D.

There’s more that can be added to this list and if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them. But this is some of what I wanted to share when it comes to what I’ve been doing to stay focused and to move forward with motivation towards goals I wish to achieve. What I hope is that eventually these tools can help me shed the busy, reduce (or better get through) the bad and always enjoy what’s beautiful. 

Until next time; carry on, read on and have a great week!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

If I could speak to my teenage self, what would I say?

I took a break from blogging last weekend because it was my birthday – I actually took the whole weekend off so that I could spend a day down in Portland, a lot of time with family and the rest of the time I just did whatever I felt like doing. I even decided to remain completely unplugged from everything for three whole days: my computer, e-mail, social media…everything.

Sometimes you just have to do that – unplug to unwind and recharge.

If you’re like me, in the 40-something age bracket, you’ll know what I mean when I say as I get older I tend to let the ages blur together so that sometimes I forget how old I am. It’s not just that I forget; it’s also because I really don’t care as much.  It’s much different than when I was younger and there were so many birthdays that actually meant something: when I was 16 I could drive, at 18 I was a legal adult, at 21 I could legally drink, and when I was 25 I felt as if I was finally old enough for others to begin to take me seriously. Back then, the actual age meant something while now it’s more about how old you feel rather than how old you are.

Or that’s what we tell ourselves anyway. For the most part, I think it’s a pretty good mentality to have as we continue to age. 

My last post before aging yet one more year was about a book club meeting I attended with a wonderful group of women who I gained some much-needed motivation and inspiration from. In that post, I commented about how the book club enjoys digging deeper into the story behind the story. If you’re an avid reader, or you know an author personally, you know it’s difficult to write a story without leaving something of yourself in that story. It’s not always intentional, but whether the author intends to or not, it’s also not easy to prevent it from happening. 

As the book club group and I were discussing my books, one of the last questions asked of me was, if I could give my 14-year-old self some advice, what would it be?

At first, I thought the question was directed more towards what I would say to a teen about what to do to get into writing at such a young age. But, no, this particular book club member was not letting me get by that easy. She specifically wanted to know what I would tell myself, not as a potential writer, but as a teen in the middle of all that my young life had bestowed on me and in preparation for the future.

I answered her question from the heart based on our current conversation, and I stand by my response, but having thought more about it, I would like to elaborate on what I would say to my teen self, and other young adults, as they are attempting to figure out where they fit in this beautiful, but sometimes awful, thing we call life.

And here’s what I would say:
  • Learn to trust yourself and who you are as a person - truly believe in yourself and what you’re capable of - always remember you are stronger than you think;
  • Learn to listen to your gut instinct – we all have one, we just don’t always listen to it;
  • Learn who to trust; keep those in your life who bring out the good in you; limit giving too much of yourself to others who only take from you;
  • If someone has hurt you, whether physically, mentally or emotionally, knowingly or possibly unknowingly, or they have betrayed your trust in some way, try to avoid letting that pain and distrust completely define you;
  • Don’t take the blame for the actions of others; don’t fall into the trap of wondering what you could have done, what you could do, or what you should do to make someone else change for the better;
  • Don’t tell yourself you’re not good enough or that you deserve the difficult times you’re going through;
  • As hard as it may be, work on learning to forgive the person, or the circumstances which caused that person to cause you pain, because the sooner you can forgive and move away from that place in your head, the sooner you can learn to trust others as you form new relationships throughout your life;
  • If you believe in serendipity (an accidental discovery that is actually fortunate), then you may also believe there are some people who we are meant to meet at some point in our lives - you’ll want to avoid letting your past completely define you, or learn to forgive and let go, so that when you meet someone special who is destined to be in your life, you’ll be open to form a new relationship without the baggage of distrust or self-doubt;   
  • Remember that you’ll never make everyone happy, it’s just not possible, and your life should not be about making everyone happy – that is not your purpose; and
  • It may take time but try to find your purpose - what are you passionate about…what feeds your soul…what gifts do you have that you were you meant to share? – discover your purpose so that you can enjoy the life you were meant to live and remember to savor each precious moment of the life you’ve been given, for however long it lasts.

Would my teenage self have listened to advice from my older self if ever given this opportunity? I really can’t say. As teens, we tend to have this strange notion that we already know everything. But it sure would be interesting to know how things may have changed had I known then what I know now. Funny enough, we all say that at some point in our lives, don’t we?

So now I’m interested…what would you tell your teenage self if you were ever given the chance? 

Beyond that, would your teenage self have listened to the advice?



Sunday, April 10, 2016

Book Clubs = Just what the doctor ordered

I attended a book club meeting yesterday to meet with a terrific group of ladies who are in the process of reading and reviewing the Jorja Matthews mystery series.  It was, by far, the most fun I’ve had as it relates to my writing in a very long time.

And it was much needed medicine for this weary writer.

Sadly, I’m not weary because I’m writing too much…I’m weary due to my continued attempts to do my best to try to write in the middle of all the chaos around me.  And feeling like a failure every time I’m not able to produce as much as I feel, as much as I know, I should be able to.  

When I set out early yesterday morning, I really hadn’t thought much about what to expect.  I knew the group wanted to meet me.  I knew they would have questions about me, the characters and the series.  I also knew I’d have to be careful what I said so as not to let slip any spoiler alerts.  As I drove the hour-long drive to my destination, I listened to music and just let my mind wander.  I do my best not to stress too much before book signings or events.  It helps to reduce my expectations, my fears and hopefully keep me from over thinking altogether. 

When I met the book club members, I felt immediately comfortable in their presence.  I’m not sure exactly how long I spoke to them about myself and the series…an hour, maybe two…it just flew by so fast.  I was pleased by many of their questions, both insightful and deep, and I was surprised by the direction some of the topics took us.  They were also a very entertaining group of women, with good humor and a very thoughtful approach while they enjoyed digging deeper into the story behind the story.

I spent three hours with the book club, speaking with them, signing their books and then chit chatting with a few before finally heading back home.  By the time I left, I can’t deny I was on cloud nine.  But, my euphoria wasn’t completely due to the fact that the club loved the series, my characters, or was happy to finally meet me – although admittedly that part is always fun.  No, my intense mood was mainly due to how this wonderful group of women ignited a spark in me that has been only dimly lit for too long.

And I can’t thank them enough for it.

Bethlehem Baptist Church book club

This just goes to show, or it reminds me, that we have to remember we can’t always do things on our own.  Sometimes you have to put yourself out there, whether you feel ready or not, and in doing so, you let others remind you of why you’re doing what you do.  I don’t write just for myself – I also write for those who enjoy my stories or appreciate what I’m trying to share. 

And now that the spark has been ignited beyond the dimly lit ember, I’m going to do everything I can to keep this fire burning.      

To the wonderful women I met yesterday, who truly bestowed upon me more than I believe I gave to them, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter, Happy Sunday, or just Happy Day

Whether you are celebrating the Easter holiday with family or just enjoying the day as any other day, I hope you are enjoying yourself.  I'm doing a little of both, spending time with family with an extra shot of regular chores on the side.  It is Sunday, after all, and tomorrow is the beginning of a new week so there are a few things that must be accomplished today.

One regular task I won't be completing today is to post on my blog - and I guess I am, in a way, but just to say hello and have a good day.

Happy Easter & have a great week!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bye-bye weeds; time to clean out life’s garden bed

It’s the first day of spring – we say goodbye (hopefully) to winter weather and hello to beautiful blossoms and comfortable t-shirt conditions.  It’s also the time when we may reflect on what changes we may actually want, or need, to make in our own lives.

The first of the year usually causes many to want to make a change for the better; whether it’s to eat well, exercise more, lose weight, simplify material possessions, focus on positive relationships, become more mindful or gain spiritual awareness...a new year usually brings with it the expectation of change.

And it’s usually about this time of year when many will come to realize whether they’ve made good on the changes they hoped would make their lives better.  Have new eating habits made them feel better, has the scale changed dramatically, do they get the urge to walk or exercise because it’s a new habit, have relationships gotten stronger, have they been able to declutter their homes, minds, and life?  Are they more mindful and aware?

We tend to take on more than we can chew, when we decide to make grand plans to change our lives, and that’s usually why we end up making some of the same resolutions over and over again, year after year.  Whether it’s to continue the new habits we’ve formed or whether it’s to review, reflect and make another change in order to get back on track, we learn as we go, stick to what works and give in when it doesn’t.

But what if we don’t want to give in?  What if we really want to make a change and we just can’t quite figure out how to get the results we’re hoping for? 

This is where we have to learn from spring and what this season means.  Spring is a time for renewal, growth, possibilities, and promise.  Our lives are like that of a garden bed – the soil needs to be enriched, the perennials are enduring but still need attention to blossom in the new season and the annuals, while temporary, need special consideration so that their roots can take hold and they can thrive in their new environment. 

But the garden will not provide what we hope for if the weeds are left to take over.  The weeds will take more than they give, they will smother the perennials and they will prevent the annuals from thriving in their new home.  The weeds will remain strong and durable, while the perennials and annuals will wither and die.

The weeds in our lives can come in many forms and like a true garden weed, it can sometimes be difficult to tell a weed from a flower.  The trick is to identify the weeds that are preventing your garden from growing and while we may not be able to pluck every weed, we can at least make some changes so that the weeds do not take control.  When weeds are preventing renewal, growth, possibilities or promise, we need to sincerely look at what changes we can make to set our daily lives on a better, more positive course.   

This sort of change can’t happen overnight but then, spring takes its time settling in and the garden does not grow in a day.  And as with a beautiful garden bed, a change for the better in our lives takes patience, care, nourishment and constant attention to be at its most optimal.  But with time and a commitment to achieve positive growth, our lives will thrive and we will get back what we sow into them. 

Happy spring and happy gardening!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Gimme a break…

When you hear the phrase, gimme a break, it may bring a few things to mind: the memory of an old sitcom, a television commercial about a candy bar, or that instant reaction you have when something just doesn’t go your way.

Or, maybe you just really need a break.

My response to that phrase is mostly the fourth option – you know what I mean? When you feel as if you need a time out - for a whole day or even a whole week - so you can just figure out how to get caught up on everything?

I wrote, recently, about staying focused when it comes to finding a way to reach our goals.  Specifically for me, the goals I’m usually writing about involve…well, writing and my continued journey as a published author. And I also recently wrote about what I did to help myself when it comes to writing so that I can do better about staying on task weekly, monthly and even yearly. But when it comes to other areas in my life: work, home, family, when I can go on vacation again, those too involve goals that require some focus so I don’t get lost in the sea of to-do lists.

But how do we find the time, energy and ability to focus well in all areas and also reach specific goals when it comes to each area?

That is the question of the day.

My focus for the past few months has had to continuously shift from many important areas: the needs of my high school senior who will soon graduate before moving on to college; the needs of a family member who I am assisting as she battles a life-threatening illness; and the demands of a job where hands on deck have been slim and duties far outweigh the available hours in the day. This is in addition to keeping up with a writing schedule, taking care of my family, the house and myself; while making day-to-day decisions we always hope will keep us healthy, wealthy and wise. 

Time management has been an on-going issue ever since I took on a full time job right about the time I also first became a published author, and I will always try to learn new tricks and tips that might offer some benefits. Even going back to some old posts I wrote myself has been helpful…and in reviewing those about time management I came across this one about being productive versus just being busy. Part of that post involved ideas on how to stay on task, including making lists to stay on track. Anyone who knows me knows I love to make lists.  So what I decided to do was to use that idea to begin making lists of the “have to’s” and “want to’s” in my daily life, involving, writing, health, home, and family. Oddly enough, the lists aren’t huge. Some items are obvious and easily managed on a daily basis out of routine while others I could easily accomplish after a little more time in order to form a habit.

However, one list in particular has really grown…and that would be my projects under a “want to” list. 

When I wrote recently about decluttering, I started out with the intention of cleaning each room and removing/getting rid of items I no longer need or want.  But since I started the process, the act has brought on a revelation for me that I’m sure I knew, but just never really saw until I made “the list.” And it was pretty much a ‘gimme a break’ moment. The revelation is that I have so many unfinished projects, with some that began many years ago and I may have kept up with them for quite some time, but I haven’t been able to find the time to stay on course or actually complete them.  Examples include: a scrapbook from our last road trip, organizing photos for the past four years, finishing a quilt out of completed cross stitched patterns, painting a few more ceramic houses to add to my Christmas village, completing a scrapbook for my writing projects and so on, and so on. 

Actually, I could find the time to complete one or two projects, but when there are too many to choose from, it becomes much more difficult to choose wisely from the list while finding time out of the few precious moments of every day. 

This is where my need for a break came in…but taking a day off from life won’t help me shrink that project list without causing me anxiety in other areas of my life, especially since it’ll take more than a day or two. My next task is to narrow down that project list to what I really want to complete, and what I can actually do without completing. Then I’ll pick a project based on its importance, begin from there, and once I finish with one, I’ll move on to the next. Some may take only a day or two while others may take a few weeks since items on my “have to” and other “want to” lists will always come first. 

While this project of putting together a task list to complete these projects wouldn’t be called taking a break, it will eventually give me more time to manage what’s important if I’m able to prioritize tasks, make sense of what’s essential, and recognize what can wait, or what doesn’t need to be done at all.  

The result of this project as a whole should give me the ultimate prize…some extra time to take more breaks and eventually I’ll also be clearing the clutter.  

I hope you also find some extra time to call your own – have a great week!