Another task accomplished

Tomorrow my writer’s group is having a small conference. It was intended to be a bigger affair with over 20 workshops for the day, but registrations were not what we anticipated so we’ve had to scale it down. It kind of breaks my heart that it didn’t work out the way we had intended, but, at the same time, I’m beginning to think this was the way God intended all along.

You see, we held this conference last year. It went well. Attendees were encouraged and they learned a lot, but there was tension between the organizers. We have a small group of individuals who all have their own lives, children and social schedules. So while we wanted to do the conference, most of it went a little out of control and the stress level prevented many of us from having an enjoyable time. This year was gearing up to be similar to last year so, in a way, I’m glad we were forced to scale it back.

I’ll still be teaching for the first time ever (although probably to a much smaller group) and I’m a bit nervous about it. I haven’t spoken in front of a group of people since college (if you don’t count being worship leader at church.) I never envisioned myself as a teacher and yet I’ve been told by a few people that I should teach. While putting together my presentations this week, I found that I was enjoying the process quite a bit. And when I had my husband look over the work, I was pleased with myself for the fluidity of the presentation.

Now if I can just do that whilst standing in front of a bunch of people.

Courtesy Flickr Commons

Courtesy Flickr Commons

It doesn’t help my anxiety levels that I’m still overcoming a severe cold/bronchial issue and sometimes it’s hard for me to talk longer than a few minutes at a time without coughing. I’m hoping that it’ll be clearer by tomorrow, but I’ll also be armed with a boatload of Ricola cough drops as backup.

Along with this new adventure, I also sent out my first query letter on Tuesday. A query letter is sent to prospective magazines when you want to pitch a story idea to them. I plan on sending out more in the near future, but this first one was certainly nerve wracking to compose. When it actually came time to hit the “send” button, my heart did a little back flip and I sent a few prayers up to God. I know this is the path He wants me to pursue so I’m praying that I can come up with additional story ideas to send out more query letters in the coming weeks.

Courtesy Flickr Commons

Courtesy Flickr Commons

It’s a daunting task to put yourself out there. So often, due to my low self-esteem, I’ve sequestered myself to the back row or kept to myself quietly in the corner. Now, in order to achieve the dream of full-time writer, editor and speaker, I have to actually push myself to the front row, toot my own horn and be willing to go after what I want, instead of waiting for it to come to me.

Courtesy Flickr Commons

Courtesy Flickr Commons

It’s challenging, scary and intimidating all at the same time. But the joy I’ve felt recently and the peace that has been within my heart is unlike any I’ve ever experienced in my life so I think I’m on the right track.

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Catching A Moment

The sun called to me today from my living room writing nook, winking in at me through the curtains. I haven’t been feeling great lately so I decided to go outside and “get the stink blown off of me” like my grandma used to say.

It’s already October 17th and I’m despising the cooler days already and loathing the prospect of winter. But today—it’s lovely. A really rare day for so late in the year and one I intend to enjoy while I can. The sun beats on my face, warming my skin and putting vitamin D into my bloodstream… it feels so good. My body feels rejuvenated just from a few minutes in the sun—what an elixir it is!

A soft breeze ruffles the amber leaves in the tree above my head, one floating down to lightly kiss the bench next to me before fluttering completely to the ground. The air moves my hair in front of my eyes, eclipsing my view and the sun filtering through the trees, plays a game of sun and shade on my face.

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My four legged companion stands guard for me as I write unencumbered, refreshed by the late summer breeze. No ne’er-do-wells will hinder my unfettered writing progress if he has anything to say about it. His ear flaps softly in the wind. He snatches at a leaf that he feels threatened by, gives a ladybug the “eye.”

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School has let out and children clamber down the sidewalk, in search of play while the sun is still shining. Their squeals and chatter reminds me of my youth, when time was slower and days were less precious. But today, like me, they intend to gather every good thing from the time before it passes.

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Their activity has alerted my sentry and he cannot relax and enjoy his moment in the sun. I coax him with soft words and promises of bully rubs, but his post remains guarded.

More leaves float down around me on the deck…would I be covered if I would not move? Would their crisp, brittle skins shield me from the winter that is to come as they protect the grass. Or would the cold still filter in and sink into my bones?

Dark words for another day…

The sun is sinking lower in the sky now and my time in the sun, for today, has come to its end. I gather up my things slowly and return indoors, already longing for another day in the sun.

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The new boss is nice

I spent most of last week in bed. “Freelancing is fun!” you say? Yes, it can be, but I was down for the count with one of the worst colds I’ve ever experienced.

Day after day I got up, hacked and wheezed my way through breakfast, tried to get on the internet and make a go of it, only to fail miserably as my snot infested brain couldn’t make sense of the words. Defeated, I would return to bed by 10 am.

In bed, my pooch and I would linger for hours, snuggling deep into the covers, and blocking out the world. It was a good week to be sick truly. The weather here in Pennsyltucky was gray and overcast for the entire week, making it quite easy to stay buried beneath a bevy of blankets. Tissues boxes were stationed in strategic places next to ever filling trash cans. (The hubs said our garbage last week was 90% snot and tissues.)

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I could have used some of these last week…

Each day my pup and I would meander back to bed, where he would take his share out of the middle and I would toss and turn trying to find the sweet spot where my congested lungs wouldn’t retaliate.

When Wednesday rolled around though, I started to get concerned. I’d been sick since last Thursday at the earliest, had gone to the minute-clinic on Sunday (“It’s a virus. Drink liquids. Get rest.”), and was getting closer and closer to the next weekend with no relief in sight. I rang up the doctor and was finally put on some meds and an inhaler for my breathing.

Sitting in front of my computer the next day, determined to make a go of the day, I realized how lightheaded I felt and how little productivity was happening.

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Was it okay to take this much time off?

In the past, I’ve taken a day off here and there due to illness, but would typically drag my sorry lump into the office after only one or two days off because they certainly couldn’t go on without me or the boss will be mad. God forbid, I’d lose my job due to sickness. So I would go, looking like death, breathing on others, contaminating my co-workers and feeling horrible.

But now… I didn’t have to do that. There was no one to seek permission from for a day off. I could take off a MONTH if I wanted. The freedom! *cough* *hack* *cough* (got too excited there…)

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My friend last week… RICOLA!

And also no one to tell me to get back to work. *wheeze* *gasp*

So even in the face of no productivity, I still sat upright, took my meds and gave it the old Yale try. I got little done that day, but the boss did admire my tenacity.

 

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Book Review: The Penal Colony

I added this book, The Penal Colony, to my kindle a few weeks ago because it was free and I thought the description sounded interesting. It sat there for awhile because I had other obligations and couldn’t get to it. When I finally sat down and dove in to the text, I couldn’t put it down.

Most of you know I don’t make a habit of writing book reviews. It’s not my main platform, but when a book grabs my attention, gets me to come a little closer and has me crying by the end: that’s the time I will write a review.

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Now this novel has been out for awhile – since 1987. Before self-publishing was so rampant and before kindles were even around. I don’t need to sell this book – it’s got great ratings online – but I want people to read it – and sometimes it takes more than good ratings on Amazon. And because I think people should read good writing.

Anthony Routledge is sent to Sert for a crime he didn’t commit, but he must fend for himself – fighting off savages to make his way back to the Village where order and civilization remain. The first part is a bit Blade Runner – it kept my interest and moved the story along quickly. (Spoiler Alert) When he does finally make it to the Village, all the defenses he has put in place can be slowly lowered – or can they? It’s a tense group. It reminded me of 12 Angry Men – forced to live together under stressful circumstances and to make decisions as a group. They have rules, jobs, duties… all very civilized, but they’re criminals of the worst kind, right? Sent to this island to live out their sad, God forsaken lives.

The reader keeps waiting… waiting for a turn of events, a big climactic moment… all these men can’t live together this cohesively. Can they?

Tension, unease and uncertainty permeate this book. I found myself going back to it again and again to finish the story, to find out what the characters had decided and to learn how it all would end. Each character is defined is such skillful ways – you get a feeling that you are living there right along side them, with their fears, uncertainties and hopes being your own. You long for them to escape, to make a fresh start and to come visit you to tell their stories.

In the end, I wanted it to continue (the sign of a good book!), but I had to let the characters go to fill out their days without me leering over their shoulders.

Check out this book for yourself and let me know your thoughts!

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The Art of Following a Blog

suemidd48:

Well said and some things I hope to learn!

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, your blog: pitch a tent anywhere on the web, and the expectation is that people will quickly line up to give you a (virtual) high five in the form of a “follow.” I see it often enough in our own Community Pool posts here at The Daily Post: “Follow me and I’ll follow you back!”

It’s pretty clear what the followed blogger’s supposed to do: keep posting stuff that others enjoy reading. Be a gracious host. Ensure posts are readable. But what about the follower? Is there a job description for what happens after you click on a blog’s “Follow” button (or Follow Blog Widget)? Here’s some food for thought.

Don’t expect instant reciprocity

You shouldn’t take the plunge if you don’t want to read new content from the person whose blog you just followed.

When you follow a blog you’re making a light…

View original 656 more words

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The Language of Love

My husband and I have always communicated well. We talk about everything and anything. Sometimes we feel like we share the same brain. But there is a lot of unspoken communication that goes along with that.

Last night at our prayer meeting in church, as we prayed, my husband and I held hands. Half way through my husband started to get fidgety. It happens quite often and most of us do it. We get into the prayer, but our mind begins to wander. I could tell his was because his other hand started picking at the table. Not only was it obvious his own mind was wandering – his picking was distracting me. I gave the other hand I was holding one short squeeze. He instantly knew what I meant and he refocused. While holding hands walking down the street, we’ll often squeeze the other’s hand to indicate that we need to let go – maybe to scratch our noses, or to adjust sunglasses. John has done the hand squeeze thing with me too – it works both ways to communicate.

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Courtesy Flickr Commons

Recently we were at a party with a lot of people. I started to run down and get a bit tired from all the activity. Catching my gaze from across the room, John lifted his eyebrows and I gave a slight nod of my head. Within minutes we were out the door and on our way home. He knew I was tired and ready to go with a nod of my head.

While sitting on the couch I typically stretch my legs out over John’s. When he needs to get up he gives my legs a little “pat pat” to indicate he wants up. Sometimes I play the “I didn’t understand you” game, or make him “use his words,” but I know what it means.

I often have neck and back pain and ask John to massage the kinks out for me. After years of doing this, he knows which spots to attack and which ones to avoid. But I want him to readjust to a certain area I need only tap my finger on the area and he obliges. No words are spoken – just gestures. “Tap” = massage here.

During one of the first times we ever went out we both reached for each other with our “shaking” hands (the hands you use to introduce yourself to some one.) We thought it was funny and shook hands “introducing” ourselves to one another. “Juan Pablo,” he’d say. “Regina Vanhuferhausen,” I’d say. Then we broke down in laughter. Occasionally we still accidentally grab those hands and shake hands as if just meeting. Sometimes we add the funny names and sometimes not – depending on what’s around us.

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Courtesy Flickr Commons

There are a lot of little ways couples communicate with one another. It’s not always spoken. I’ve noticed that as our relationship grows and the years go by that our actual conversation language sometimes plays a smaller role than our non-conversational language. We are beginning to know one another so well, that we don’t need words anymore.

What about you and your significant other – or maybe even a best friend? Do you have “secret” ways of communicating?

 

 

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Confessions: Work At Home Woman

I didn’t take a shower today.

I wasn’t going anywhere and my Twitter and Instagram followers only see the nice, professional photo I have on my sites. They would never know that my hair is greasy on top and frizzy on the bottom. And I’m pretty sure it’s sticking up in the back… bed head I think they call it. Or that I’ve worn these jeans for three days straight. And this bra. And this Eeyore sweatshirt. With the sauce stain.

I took the mutt for a walk earlier (and my dog too), but I avoided the main streets. Pulled my black, nondescript trucker hat lower on my head. Slipped my fancy, over sized tortoise shell sunglasses on my face to cover the fact that I had no makeup on. We walked the path behind the town, blissfully free of other people to avoid shocked stares.

“That Sue… I think she’s finally gone off the deep end,” they would say.

No, just working from home folks. Nothing to see here.

“But she’s not a mom,” they’d continue.

That’s right. Just a woman trying to realize her dream. Not all stay-at-homes are moms you know.

For lunch I clean out the fridge and finish up some leftovers while propped up in front of the computer. Some salad drips onto my sweatshirt. Beside the sauce stain. Shrugging, I turn back to my social media, admiring all the other perfectly coiffed bloggers out there, wondering if they’re actually “unclean” today too.

When my husband comes home, I feel slightly guilty. The hat from my walk has made my hair greasier and I feel “schlubby” in my bulky, non-restricting clothes. I huddle in the corner of the couch. Perhaps he won’t see me.

He’s the only one who’ll ever know though.

And tomorrow I’ll take a shower.

 

This blog is part of the Confessional call out on the Nonsense & Shenanigans blog. Check out the other confessionals on their page!

Posted in Flash Fiction, Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments