Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

Ignition! Blast off!

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I love writers' critique groups. Love the synergy, love the connections with others who love the craft of writing the way I do.

I also enjoy getting newsletters from writing coaches, writers markets and publishing companies. Got one this week - an extremely well-written  first person account by Beth Erickson of Filbert Publishing. Knocked my socks off!

She writes.
She was just diagnosed with cancer.
She has a promising prognosis.

Her words reignited my determination to write more. And often. To somehow juggle whatever I must to spill those words out. I've stored them up for so long, there is a torrent barely held back, sloshing, raging, ready to break free.

I love it when writers write!

Read Beth's blog post. See if you aren't reignited, too.

Working with a Life Coach

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Change is a constant in life. Some changes occur through conscious choice; others offer unexpected challenges. How you deal with change determines, to a large extent, the amount of happiness you experience. Sometimes it is helpful to have a guide on the side, providing help with the myriad of choices and decisions that need to be made. When the reasons for making specific decisions are traced back, a fundamental discovery emerges. Almost all decisions come from a place of fear or a place of love deep within the person. A coach can help you make more love-based decisions; conscious decisions that move you toward your personal vision of the life you want to live.

Life coaches can help with facing changes in life; such as

  • A big events: graduations, weddings, retirements
  • An illness of yourself or a loved one
  • The death of a loved one
  • Beginning a relationship
  • Ending a relationship
  • An empty nest
  • A change of location or a move
  • A change of career or job
  • Any type of loss
  • A “decade birthday” -  30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, etc.

Other reasons for meeting with a life coach include: support in decision making;

a desire to make a change in your body size (either lose or gain weight); or a sense of restlessness; a sense of malaise.

Additional information about life coaching may be found at

Where am I?

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

            When I flipped the page in my “Funny Signs” calendar to June, I was greeted with a photograph of an authentic highway sign (white letters on a green background) next to a mismatched grouping of six rural mailboxes. A dirt road with a few trees appeared in the background. The sign says, “NOWHERE/TOWN LIMITS.” Interesting, I thought. Welcome to Nowhere.

            A few days later the calendar picture captured my grandson’s attention. “Does that sign say No Where or does it say Now Here?” he asked. Surprised, I responded, “Well, I guess it could be either one.”

            Throughout the following week, I thought about the implications of Richard’s question. We really do get to choose how we interpret anything we encounter if life. We can choose to say, “I have arrived No Where,” or we can proclaim, “I am Now Here!”

            My choice is clear. I am now here. I am now participating in life. Life is good here – wherever I am.

Confessions of a Confirmed Bibliophile

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. I still am. I love books. Not only do I love them for the stories that dwell inside them, I also love the physical sensation of holding—no, of experiencing a book. I love the sleek covers of a new paperback, the faint crack of the spine in opening a new hardcover. I love the crisp white pages with their sharp corners, and the smell of binder’s glue.

But a recent reading of  Nevil Shute’s Australian classic The Far Country reminded me of the more subtle joys of old books. This was a sixty-year-old library book, and it showed. The boards were covered with thick, coarsely woven fabric treated with something that would presumably withstand a nuclear blast. There was nothing remotely attractive about this sort of binding; it was bound with durability, not beauty, in mind. Still, there was something about it that I found appealing. Maybe it was the way it fell open in my hand—and stayed open at the same page, even when I laid it down. Maybe it was the way the once-sharp corners were rounded with wear, the edges of the once-crisp pages furred velvety soft by dozens, even hundreds, of hands. Other, newer books might be more glamorous, but there’s something comforting about old books.

In a way, every old book is a mystery, regardless of genre: what child, long since grown to adulthood, scribbled with a red crayon on the front endpaper? Who was the H. Colby who received my copy of Georgette Heyer’s The Reluctant Widow for Christmas in 1947? Was he/she pleased with the gift? What series of events transpired to move the volume from H. Colby’s bookshelf to mine?

Maybe this is why my feelings toward ebook readers are so ambivalent. On the one hand, I’m pleased to see so many out-of-print books finding new life through this medium, and of course I’m delighted to receive a royalty check each month for sales of my own backlist, now available in electronic form. And yet even though I have a Kindle, I still prefer print books. Part of the problem, I believe, is the sameness of ebooks: no matter how different the subject matter, every book looks alike on my Kindle. The text appears in the same font, with the same spacing between lines, paragraphing, and all other formatting. All identical except the stories they tell.

But that, of course, is the most important part. And that, in the end, may be what will eventually make me fall in love with ebooks too. After all, my love of books had to come from somewhere, some book in my now long-forgotten childhood that made me hungry for more of that. Maybe I just haven’t yet stumbled across that story, unavailable except in electronic form, that sends me to the computer determined to clutter up my Kindle’s memory banks with more. Maybe the next electronic book I read will be the one to have me devouring ebooks like a junkie in search of his next fix.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

Because I love books.

Prayer of Serenity

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Although the Prayer of Serenity is often associated with 12-Step Programs for addictions, it has practical applications for everyone.  These lines are familiar to most of us.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

That last line is the kicker. I know that I often think that I should be able to change things that annoy me. Upon deeper reflection, I realize that I what I lack is the wisdom to know the difference. Some things are not mine to change.

Then I came across a version of the prayer that applies directly to me.

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change,

Courage to change the one I can change,

And the wisdom to know that it’s me.

Yes. The only person I have control over is me and that means that I, alone, am responsible for my responses and reactions to others. That is all that I can change.

I’m working on it.

Celebrate the Light

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

In honor of Winter Solstice, I invite you to




















Saturday, November 19th, 2011

            A few days ago, I received a challenge to write down seven things per day that I am grateful for – a total of forty-nine items for the week. “Easy-peasy!” I thought. But then I had a problem. Where to begin?

            My first thought was to just choose random letters of the alphabet each day and come up with seven items. Since this blog was on my mind, I began with the letter “W”. I am so grateful for the Weekly Writers Workshop where I experience so much love and support. Then there’s Whole Life Center for Spiritual Living, another loving, supportive place. Weight Watchers helps me take care of my health. Then I turned to less tangible thoughts. What a joy to live in this World, to experience Wonder and Work, to strive for Wisdom.

            Next I explored the letter “L”. I thought of the places where I’ve lived most of my life. I grew up and went to school in LaSalle; most of my married life and my career occurred in Lakewood; and now I have lived in Loveland for fifteen years. I rejoice in my discovery of Labyrinths and the ways they have enriched my Life – for which I am also grateful. I give thanks for Love and Light.

            What about the letter “C”? I feel so blessed to live in Colorado. I appreciate the Chilson Center and its offerings for my grandkids. I treasure my association with the Colorado Authors League. And even though I don’t understand them well, I give thanks for Computers and the Changes they have brought into my life. I am grateful for Creativity and Compassion.

            I also explored the letters “G”, “E”, “H”, and “B”. In the process, I have come up with far more than 49 things to be thankful for and I still have 19 letters of the alphabet to go. My joy increases as I contemplate the many blessings of life. I am filled with gratitude as I approach the official day of Thanksgiving.

Parents as Kids

Friday, October 28th, 2011

by Samantha Prust

Photographs were the least responsible for my realization that my parents are human, even though the pictures of them in various stages of their separate lives would seem to provide the most evidence for this fact. I had the realization as a kid, and it was a big deal because it meant that, yes, my mom and dad had been children, just like me. Finally, we had something in common. Those photos were to me rare and almost impossible images: Mom in grade school, standing on a small hill outside a white schoolhouse, pouting, wearing a lace bonnet and holding a small, white purse; Dad in a tight-fitting suit, not pouting, but not smiling, either, standing in front of a garage door. Older, they stood on beaches, in parks, grasped hands, let them go, beat up or got beat up by siblings, rode the bus, drove a car, went to prom, graduated from high school, and went to college where they met and thus ended their lives as human beings in the eyes of the children they had. The photographs were mere props to me, planted in drawers for me to find; it was my parents' stories about their childhoods that really made me understand that they're human.

Next Time, Just Ask

When my mother was 5 years old, one of her brother's friends had a used bike that was her size for sale for five dollars. Her dad said she could buy it if she saved up the money. So she worked and slaved, put a down payment on it, and finally, was able to buy it. She had a "new" bike and couldn't wait to ride it.

Her family lived in a big house that they could get to by going down a dirt path through a field. She walked her new bike down the dirt path—because she didn't have any idea how to ride it. She said that she didn't know where her parents were during this time. She would sit on the bike propped up by a white picket fence, trying to get up the nerve to make it go. Finally, after about a week, she did make it go, and she pedaled like crazy down the road toward another friend's house. Stopping hadn't occurred to her before, but now it was an issue; she just looked for something to hit that was fairly soft. It worked.

That whole summer, she would run the bike into big bushes to stop. When crossing intersections, she remembers praying that no cars would come down the street, and somehow, she survived those first few weeks. One good method she remembers doing was to just wipe out so that she wouldn't hit something really hard. She wanted to ride the bike, but she hated being scared and having to run into things. Sometimes, before she wanted to stop, she would just slow way down and then jump off before it fell over.

She had a lot of bloody knees and noses, and gravel pitted palms, until finally, her mom asked her why she was getting hurt so much when riding her bike. Mom confessed her bike-stopping methods and her mother showed her that you push the pedals backwards to engage the brakes. My mother thought it was a miracle. She still suspects that her brother Lance knew all about how she was her crashing her bike to stop, but didn't tell her how to use the brakes. She says that her parents seemed to feel that their kids would figure everything out if they wanted to badly enough; they didn't hover or offer much advice unless directly asked.

A Lesson on Revenge

My father, age 10, and his friend Keith Kilmer were riding their bikes back from the woods one day. As they rode past the house where the bad seed kid lived, he came out and blew a bunch of beans at them through a blowgun.

So they went to the mom and pop grocery store right next to their house and bought a bag of navy beans and a cane fishing pole. When they went back home, they cut the cane pole into pieces and it made handy dandy blowguns. Grabbing their bean ammo and weapons, they hopped on their bikes and headed back up the street toward the bad seed's house.

As they rode up the street, there came the bad seed, running at them full blast with his blowgun in his mouth. My father and his friend pedaled their bikes, sporting their blowguns, mouths bulging like crazed chipmunks, and brrrraaaatttt, brrraaaatttt, pttttewwww—a barrage of beans completely pulverized the bad seed.

Later that evening my grandfather called my father into the kitchen. It seems the bad seed had a bean stuck in his ear and had to go to the hospital to have it removed. Crack! and Splinter! went the blowguns and my dad had to endure an hour-long lecture about the riskiness of propelling legumes at bodily orifices. Maybe the lesson should have been about revenge, although I'm not sure that "be careful when you get revenge because you might hurt someone" is at the top of every revenge-getter's list.

Good Storytelling

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

My Left Foot is story of Christy Brown, brought to life on the screen by Daniel Day-Lewis.

Christy Brown was born with cerebral palsy to a Dublin couple who eventually had 22 children; Christy was one of the 13 who survived.

As with all amazing movies, it leaves you with haunting messages that return unbidden throughout the day. The boisterous family life depicted in the movie is said to have been accurate. There is a short clip in the special features section of Mrs. Brown, Christy's determined mother. Thinking about Christy Brown and how incredibly resourceful and utterly undefeatable he was in his quest for normalcy makes me search deep within myself for any shred of such traits.

It is a huge gift to engage thoroughly with excellent story-telling, and this movie proved to be a Monday night surprise we won't soon forget. For further reading see the wikipedia entry here and the entry here.

The biggest surprise, though, is not only that Christy Brown wrote the book that led to the movie. He also did the illustrations. All with the only limb he could control - his left foot. It is no wonder Daniel Day-Lewis got an Oscar for his performance, which included typing with his toes.

But what brought tears to my eyes was another clip of Christy Brown himself, slipping a new page into his typewriter and typing away - no hands - just with his left foot.


Did I complain when my computer was at the Apple Hospital? Shame on me!

Tolerance and Gratitude

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

I admit it. I am overwhelmed by the information explosion surrounding me. I can't keep up. Fast paced rapid fire info confuses me, especially if it comes thru gadgets smaller than my hand that fill my head with details.

My disability has become apparent with situations with friends, like horseback riding pals. Something as simple as what time to arrive at a trailhead gets tangled up in a series of cellphone calls, and I miss important details.

For example, two times this week I showed up at what I thought was the correct time only to find them waiting for twenty minutes, horses already saddled--the morning air filled with tension and hostility of unmet expectations all around. Not pleasant for anyone. Now, I too dislike waiting, especially when I have hurried to get there on time. But I was there; I thought I was on schedule; I did what I agreed to. For these particular friends, I had not done enough.

The lesson of the week--give yourself a break. You tried to show up for life and inane details got in the way. Some of my friends and family are more into high expectations than I am. And they get snippy about it. My style is more along the lines of gratitude that another human decided to spend time with me on a horse outdoors. Horses don't know about time, or being late or early.  They just are. Horses also forgive easily, naturally, and I can do that, also. Why is it always the people I have the most problems with?

To my horse pals, I say "Seriously girls-- Tolerance and forgiveness make a nicer morning ride."