Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hey, Don't Bother Me, I Have Cat Videos to Get Back To

Just kidding.

My other blog www.wishonwhitehorses did well last month.  A big thank you to all who showed up. If I had four dead mice, I’d give you… well, all of them.

Here are hearts instead!

But, let’s not doddle in the past, or with cat videos—although they’re fun—let’s get on with this great adventure called life.

Are you a blogger, or a writer? 
I'd love to hear from you.
I wonder if you have had the same concerns I have. Do you wonder if the world needs another blog? Do you wonder if you have anything important to say? And does anyone want to read your words anyway?

And then I come across #Marie Farleo's site where she says the world needs your voice.

So, come on guys, hit that keyboard, think your thoughts, put them on paper--or in this case online. 

Your unique perspective is important. What if you touched just one person? What if you motivated them, or prompted them to divine action? Wouldn't that be worth it?

I’ve had a tiny book following me around for maybe 20 years. It has a paper cover, worn and ragged. The book is only 3.5 inches by 5 inches with 16 little-bitty pages. Although I have lost or given away many books this one has stuck itself to me.  It was there on my bookshelf.  Now it’s  beside my computer.

That book was a gift those many years ago. It was written by J.D. my initials, but I didn’t write it. 

The author says his or her name isn’t important, but the information within is.

The title of the book is The Ultimate Secret


My daughter, although she had not read the book, declared its secret when she was trying to conceive her child. The secret really isn't a secret, it is found and utilized by many. They just don't know it's a secret.

After 12 months of artificial insemination, with no luck, and many months of discouragement, tears, yet hope, my daughter was ready to go for an In-Vetro fertilization. 

That month she conceived her son.

Her comment was: “Maybe you just have to be willing to do the hard stuff.”

And that is what J.D. said in The Ultimate Secret. That's the secret. You need to be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. (Let’s keep this within the realm of legality here.)

Often, it is not necessary to complete all your goal's to-do list, maybe just one or two. It is the willingness to do them that counts.

“When it comes to getting results, intention is more important action.”—J.D

It’s a frame of mind.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Are You Living the Life You Dreamed?

“To affect the quality of the day is the highest of the arts.”

-- Henry David Thoreau

How many of us are really living the life we dreamed when we were six years old, twelve, maybe twenty-one?

Aren’t we running too fast, over-scheduling ourselves, feeling that we have no time? 

What’s next?

 Nothing in society teaches us to live in the now—everything is, “What’s next?”

When we enter grade school, we feel the pressure to do well so we can get into college. When we get to college we are asked, “What’s next? What is our major? What job will we have?

We look for the ideal mate to make our lives fulfilled and joyful. We wait for children. We wait for them to sleep through the night. We have an eye on their education, their college.

Remember when you were a kid and you laid on the grass and felt the cool dampness of it?

You were lying on a living pallet, and as you lie there with the sunshine a blanket of warm on your skin, you looked into the sky and watched a whiff of white gas gather itself into a cloud.

Can’t you smell the grass, feel the sun?

Thoreau said, “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Recently I reread a book I had read about 20 years ago and loved the author all over again. It was Dorothy Gilman's book, A New Kind of Country.

She was a lady alone, her boys were in college, and for $10,500 she bought a house and ten acres in Nova Scotia. She went there to find a new kind of country, one in which she could “Front only the essentials.”

During a Christmas visit back to New York, at a dinner party, the host turns to her and says, “It’s high time you told us about your move to Nova Scotia. Which I certainly envy you doing.”

“Yes,” his wife says, “I’m so curious. Tell us, for instance, what you do every day.”

Dorothy was about t reply when the friend who accompanied her to the party, said, “Oh, I can tell you that. She gets up at dawn, chops wood, milks the cows, builds fires, does a little writing, eats fish, and goes to bed at sunset. Now tell me, she continues. “what you’ve heard about the Johnsons’ divorce.”

I, too, feel I must be working all day, to read a book during the day is somehow frivolous, so I squeeze in a little reading before I fall asleep at night.

Yet, you who write know the importance of reading. It is not frivolous, nor a waste of time, but essential to your craft. 

Read, love, laugh and be happy,
 oh yes, and write.

Monday, October 23, 2017

It's the Vibes

“When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”—Neil Gaiman 

After I read Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing, I began to think about this one rule.

My daughter and I are fascinated with houses, and we have the small experience of flipping one.  We have done design work, improvements, and renovations on our own houses, but only one flip.

The similarity here is that when my daughter and I walk into a house, we get a feeling about it. At first, we don’t know what is wrong, but if we take a moment to look and to think, we see how small changes to the house would change the vibes for the better.

Probably when people are reading your work, they are tuning into the vibes, and they can feel when something is off. They know it isn’t working for them. However, fixing it is not their job. And I would agree with Gaiman that a reader’s fix would more than likely be wrong.

A few days ago I mentioned my book’s title to a friend, and she turned up her nose. I trust her to sense that something is off, but I do not trust her to fix it. She likes the macabre, the bizarre, the weird, I don’t, but I trust her nose to smell a rat or a mouse, or a little cricket bug that landed on the page.

What are your challenges?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Free House Moving?

Motivated by Casey Hester on the Texas Flip and Move TV show, who to sweeten the pie for bidders (he needed a certain amount for his flip house to break even) offered a free house moving.

Okay, I thought, when it comes time to sell my book how can I be different?

What could I offer as an incentive?

See I need a little help from my friends.

My book won’t come out for probably another year, but I’m thinking about it. Bookstores have gone kaput. Golly, I just saw this morning that Toys R (backward) Us has gone bankrupt. That was toy heaven when my kids were little.

Have people stopped buying toys, electronics, books?


They are buying online.

So, how do you stand out online?

Well, you can move a house if you have enough strong backs.

I’m not a salesperson. I don’t believe in talking a person into buying something they don’t want. I don’t believe in seeing everyone you meet as a potential customer. I hate being in that little room at a car dealership, left alone with my husband to “Talk about it.”

Didn’t I go there to buy a car? So, give me a good price, be nice to me, and I’ll buy it.

Of course, I might be “Just looking,” or checking out their cars so I can buy the same model at that cheap joint down the street. So I guess they must hook me.  But I don’t like that. Just give me what I want and I’ll buy it.

I think that if you want something like insurance, something everyone needs, but doesn’t want to buy, that you are there as a facilitator, to be of help, to make the painful process easier, not to strong arm the customer.

How can you be of service and not be pushy?

Am I off track?

A book is somewhat different. A person must want to read it. And they must know enough about it to make it a “must read.”

That’s where the reader comes in.

A book is something you write because it speaks to you, but then a book without a reader is like a seed planted on pure obsidian.

That’s where the reader comes in.

Well, I have a year to think about it—a lot can happen in a year.

Any suggestions?

And then Seth Godin’s blog popped up with this:

#Your Fast Car—Seth Godin
Right there, in your driveway, is a really fast car. And here are the keys. Now, go drive it.
(Want the car.)
Right there, in your hand, is a Chicago Pneumatics 0651 hammer. You can drive a nail through just about anything with it, again and again if you choose. Time to use it.
(Don’t want the hammer.)
And here's a keyboard, connected to the entire world. Here's a publishing platform you can use to interact with just about anyone, just about anytime, for free. You wanted a level playing field, one where you have just as good a shot as anyone else? Here it is.
 Do the work.

(Want to learn this.)
P.s. I am posting a photo a day for 30 days on

Monday, August 7, 2017

Story Has a Will to Survive

Have you written a story? 

Did you write a quick journal entry? 

Did you write down a secret?

Okay, so take out that scrap of paper, tuck it away somewhere, behind a wall board, in the shed, under a stepping stone in the walkway. (Better wrap it in something durable.) Put it in a jar to exist among the nails and screws in the shop.

Maybe it will be found, maybe it won’t.  

Think of Anne Frank’s diary kicked aside by a Gestapo’s boot?

I’m not saying our addition will be as illustrious as Anne Frank’s—who wants that experience—but we have a song to sing.

Isn’t it fun to find a recipe written in your grandmother’s own hand?

Our ancestors lived and loved had lives like ours, or not like ours, we want to hear about that.

Did they stand on a hillside, eyes cast skyward and ask some of the same questions we are asking? Did they rail at God?

It was a secret railing, but grand kids, great grand kids, and great great grand kids ought to know about it.

Except it has blown away…

You might find that the people who inhabited your old house, or that dilapidated  farm in the country, a foundation now of crumbling concrete, with vines encrusted, once belonged to your grandparents. And each spring daffodils, those planted when the house was young, come up trying to tell the story of those who lived in that house.

Were those daffodils fertilized by the dust of human experience?

Maybe some of that dust came to you, it sat on your bureau, you wiped it up with a damp cloth, you threw it in the washing machine. It went into the sewer, into the water purification  plant, whoa, perhaps you drank it, a part of it went into the ocean.

In the ocean it dissolved among all the many other droplets. As mist it  flew off the crest of a wave blown by the wind. It collected in the sky, joined by a million other droplets, and the cloud that they made, when its belly was full, rained, and watered the daffodils.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Creativity is a Scavenger Hunt

"Creativity is a scavenger hunt. It's your obligation to pay attention to clues, to the thing that gives you that little tweak."--Elizabeth Gilbert

I had Gilbert's quote rattling around in my brain, and an experience last Sunday at a garden barbecue proved it to be applicable. 

At the gathering, I ran across a man I had met before and knew from a previous conversation that he was going to India with a Missionary Group. So I asked him about it.

His group visited an orphanage that housed HIV children. The US group visited to give joy to the children, to play with them, not treat them, convert them or any other reason. 

"They were happy," he said. "People in poverty seem happier than US citizens."

My daughter and I observed that as well when she was considering adopting a child from Africa, and we began watching documentaries. The kids seemed happy, and we pondered that. We wondered if we would be doing a service to take them out of their environment. (Provided they were well fed and taken care of, of course.)

In talking with George, I learned that 80% of children born to HIV mothers contract the disease, most often, however, he said, "It is from breast milk."

I was shocked that a mother's milk could be a death sentence to her child. A death sentence, because in the provincial village that George visited the children weren't treated.

Okay, back to my original point that "Creativity is a scavenger hunt."

I had only recently been composting (yes, composting, as in mulling it over) a new novel and wanted a baby from the last novel to be the protagonist. She had been born to an HIV mother who died in childbirth, leaving her orphaned. My question was did she contract the disease?

She had a 20% chance that she did not, and since her mother died, she had no breast milk. 

I made my decision, she didn't. 

That afternoon saved my little Star.

Here are some points from Stephen King to chew on:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Want to be a Serious Blogger?

Want to be a Serious Blogger?

Okay, you set out, you write, but it falls on deaf ears or no ears at all.

You look for advice.

Well, that’s overwhelming.

“Tell stories,” they say. “Everyone likes stories.”
Children hear, “Once Upon a Time,” and know a story is to follow. They sit in rapt attention. (Unless they are video geeks in which case they could care less.)

But wait, we’re talking about blogging, and while one “expert” tells you to tell stories, another says,  "Unless you can go into a bar, tell your story and have the audience stand spellbound, you suck."

“Write long blogs, 1,000 words minimum, 2,000 is better.”

But then there is the iconic #Seth Godin who writes a few lines sometimes, longer blogs at other times.

What the heck does it matter? Put out something of value.

Or create something people disagree with.

Don't be contentious for the sake of being contentious. But write with conviction. You are bound to offend a few. This is an exercise in disabusing ourselves of constantly chasing others’ approval. Pick a fight. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. Just take note of the thrill you feel when you let go of “What will people think?”

According to #Jeff Goins,

 There are five types of bloggers:

1.     The Journalist:
 The Journalist builds his platform on asking questions.
The only requirement for this type of platform is curiosity.
Darren began his journey by asking questions. And as he publicly shared the answers he got, his curiosity attracted an audience of hundreds of thousands of people. Now, he is considered a leading expert on blogging.

2. The Prophet:

 The Prophet builds her platform on telling the truth. The requirement for this type of platform is a passion for authenticity. Jamie Wright authors a popular blog called The Very Worst Missionary, on which she riffs and rants about faith, life, and other stuff that bugs her. She complains and cusses and confesses. In short, she says all the things missionaries wish they could say, and people love her for it. Ask any of her readers why and they’d probably tell you, “Because she’s real.” She tells the truth — the dirty, ugly, nasty, wonderful truth. 

Of course, prophets are not always so popular. They are unpredictable and often offend someone. But that’s not their goal. The goal is to simply tell the truth, whether people want to hear it or not. Another example is Seth Godin, who is an iconoclast in the business world. Good prophets do not only condemn the dark; they also call us into the light.

 3. The Artist

The Artist builds his platform by creating art — whether it be music, painting, or entrepreneurship. The requirement is an eye for beauty. An example of this type of author is Ann Voskamp, best-selling author and blogger. She communicates the truth of her message through the words she uses and the phrases she chooses. It’s a form of prose poetry. The gift of an artist is they give us eyes to see.

4. The Professor

The Professor builds her platform on facts and information. She does extensive research until she has achieved mastery. Of course, there is always more to learn, but this type of person knows more than most. The only requirement is a longing to learn. The Professor loves data. She loves reading, studying, and analyzing.

The gift of the Professor is that they make the seemingly impossible, doable.

5. The Star

The star is perhaps, the oddest type of platform to build.  They are known for being charismatic, naturally likable. They woo and endear us, even sometimes scandalize their audiences, and for the most part, we love them for it. They are doing what we ask of them — sharing their lives. They’re a party looking for a place to happen. An example of this type is #Ashton Kutcher.

Best-selling author Tim Ferriss’ mantra is basically, “If I can do it, so can you.” This is the message of a star: I’m just like you. That’s what stars do best — they attract the attention to themselves so that they can point it towards something ultimately bigger.

What sort of blogger are you?

The Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “Did he have passion?” —Dean Kansky, Serendipity
I wrote a semi-long blog, I’m passionate about writing, I desire to add value, I can argue with you if you throw something up to be batted around. I don't know what sort of blogger I am, I drank three cups of coffee, and got to the end even with the cat loving up my mouse hand making the cursor squiggle all over the place.

Live long.
Follow me. Ha ha ha, Love you,