Recovery, Senator Johnston, and A Book Review

Aurora and the Denver Metro area are recovering in the wake of the horrible tragedy early Friday morning. Twelve people are dead, the youngest six years old, all of them young. The killer, James Egan Holmes, had assured himself a place in history as a monster. I don’t understand why such a designation would be desirable, but I don’t plan mass killings in my spare time, either.

I don’t apologize for not linking the killer’s name to an article. If you must read about him, find it yourself. This is the last time. his name will be mentioned here.

Colorado State Senator Michael Johnston  posted an amazing blog entry. I was going to try to summarize it, but you really ought to read it. I would vote for this man if I could. I already knew I supported his work on the Education committee in that state. I now wholeheartedly support him because the man comes from love, no matter what. You cannot go wrong with that. Some of the high points in the post were a reminder of all the people who rushed to the rescue of the injured; of all those who saw the movie and walked away unharmed; of the powerful love with which our city, state, and country is responding to the incident. He is right; love that pulls us into action to support the injured and the families of the lost and to try to prevent future atrocities will save us.

The United States is famous for giving. We volunteer. We open our doors and hearts. One way we express our loving willingness to support those who have been harmed, whether by nature or by monsters, is to open our wallets. If you want to donate to help those hurt in this shooting, click here. Giving First is a safe, reliable place to give money to those who will be caring for the injured, included those with mental trauma.

Book Review: Mercedes Lackey’s Hyperactivity

Mercedes Lackey is being hyperactive this year. This is her release list this year:

2012 A Host of Furious Fancies with Rosemary Edghill
2012 Arcanum 101: Welcome New Students
2012 Crown of Vengeance with James Mallory
2012 Dead Reckoning
2012 Home from the Sea
2012 Redout
2012 Witches
2012 World Divided

Dead Reckoning

With Dead Reckoning Lackey and Rosemary Edghill begin a new series for the Young Adult audience. The main characters, Jett, Honoria Gibbons, and White Fox, are all young, hyper-capable, people investigating the mysterious disappearances in the post-Civil War Wild West. They band together when their investigations all seem to lead to Allsop, Texas. Jett has the misfortune of being present when a horde of zombies invades Allsop and kills all the inhabitants. Luckily, she escapes to tell the others what she’s seen so they can begin figuring out what’s going on.

Overall, this book was just good enough for me to recommend it. Of the characters, Honoria Gibbons, a wildly inventive young woman who refuses to let her gender get in her way, and White Fox, a white man raised by a Native American tribe after surviving the destruction of his parents’ wagon train, were the best developed. Jett, masquerading as a male gunfighter as she hunts for her brother, had the most appealing back story but she came across as a caricature. The plot was cute, but not all that compelling. The action scenes, however, were great and kept me reading. I will probably read the next book in the series, but I’m not really impressed. Dead Reckoning struck me as an attempt at capitalizing on the lucrative Young Adult market with no commitment to contributing to it.

I will be reading more of Lackey’s prodigious output this year. I hope what’s coming up will be an improvement.

Joy

Today, I’m still struggling to remember that we really do live in a good world. I offer you what gives me peace at moments like this, the closing lines of Desiderata:

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. –Max Ehrmann, 1927

Dead Reckoning

Advertisements

What’s Wrong With Me?

I woke up this morning and my “Little Voice” started in on me, telling me everything I’m not doing and making sure I know something’s wrong with me. Since one of the things It included was posting to my blog, I’m at least going to take that part of the discussion on and post about the voice.

Joy

Ever notice that you cannot win a discussion with that infernal internal voice? I certainly have. I am now posting to my blog, one of the (many) things It has been complaining about. Unfortunately, It is now mentioning that I ought to be vacuuming, cleaning the bunny cage, sanitizing the bathroom, doing the dishes, blah, blah, blah. The little voice does a great job of paralyzing me by making every darn thing that needs doing huge and unmanageable.

So how do I deal with It? If I choose to listen to It, soon I am a gibbering, depressed idiot sitting on the closet floor doing nothing. Ick. Icky. Yuck! Maybe It should not be in charge here. How to escape that voice, though? It always shows up and It always says nasty things, doesn’t it? Didn’t It just say, “No, I don’t”?

In fact, It probably also said something like “It’s for your own good.” How do I know this? I live with It, just like you, and It pretty much says the same sort of stuff to everybody. It’s never nice (“Yes, I am) and It’s solutions generally don’t work (Yes, they do). It’s job is to keep you from jeopardizing yourself in any way. It’s most successful ploy is to remind you of past failures and fear of the unknown future. Gloom and fear are It’s major tools.

Worst of all, It generally tells the truth. You have failed in the past. The future holds the possibility of more failure. What does that say about the present?

Nothing.

The past happened. Whatever occurred is over and it can’t be changed. The future lies ahead and nothing can be done about it, either. All you have is the present. If It runs the show, the past is all you have in the present and all you have to look forward to in the future. What a lovely thought that is!

How do you get away from It? Really, no joy comes from the Voice, does it? Why let it run your life. You do have a choice, just like I do.

As far as I know, the cheapest and fastest way to shut the Voice up is doing The Landmark Forum. On Sunday, there is always a moment when the Voice shuts off and you experience a moment of blessed peace. When It picks up again, you know you have a choice as to whether It runs your life or not. There are other ways to do this, such as years of meditating and studying, but I’m not that patient.

Getting back to the title of this post, I can now tell you exactly what’s wrong with me:

Nothing.

I’m still that being who wants to contribute and make a difference in the world. Just like you are. Letting It take over does not support my stand in life. Given that I now have taken the reins of my life back, how am I going to accomplish what I need to do?

  • Make a list of what I want. My beloved aunt wrote a book, Lists for Muddle Management,  about lists and provides forms to help. By the way, I didn’t write this post just to promote her book. I find the lists very helpful myself.
  • Break big stuff down into little steps. I know how to do this, I promise. The lists will help.
  • Remember who’s really in charge. It doesn’t have to be. You have to be.

The most important thing to remember is this:

Nothing is wrong here.

Nothing is wrong with me.

Nothing is wrong with you.

Get off the closet floor and go have some fun, would you? I’m going to. Have a splendid Saturday and look for miracles!

Forgetfulness And Its Impact On Art

I forgot I was teaching a class on beading tomorrow. I’ve spent the afternoon trying to write instructions with pictures, only to discover that what I wrote and what one’s fingers should do are different. I came to my senses, decided to cut tomorrow’s class to two projects instead of three, and chose to post to my blog instead. Doesn’t that make sense? Blogging as an escape from obligation?

Okay, not really. I’ll fix the blasted instructions tomorrow. Besides, I promised to blog several times a week, so this is an obligation as well. I can justify anything!

Art

I’ve decided to start breaking up my posts into Writing posts, Art posts, and Book Review posts. This simplifies categorizing them and leaves me more space to talk about each one. Today’s topic is art, or how I’m coming on the pieces I’ve been working on.

Remember that background for the “clay that emulates stained glass” piece? Well, here’s what happened to it:

Stained glass bird projectI still need to add a patina and add the hangers, but I like it so far. By the way, this is from a tutorial by Christi Friesen, which you can purchase here. I have to say something about imitating other artist’s work. Christi has no issue with people imitating her work, as long as we give her inspiration credit. A lot of other artists feel the same way.

And then there are those who don’t. Some artists are very careful not to allow anything that could even faintly be construed as imitation because it could infringe on their brand name. I understand that point of view and I take care to avoid using their kits or techniques on work that I show publicly. Sometimes, though, it is difficult to keep an influence from showing up in one’s own work. I would be very interested in hearing how other artists deal with this. In this piece:

Picture of necklace with seahorse and starfishChristi’s influence is undeniable. Yet, the work and the colors are my own. Where does one draw the line?

I am fortunate that Christi is one of the forgiving types because this piece will be for sale on my Etsy site as soon as I finish setting it up (so many projects, so little time). I will let you know when that happens.

As to the class I’m teaching tomorrow night, I will take pictures. I’m teaching a basic beaded bracelet and a three-bead peyote bracelet for the more adventurous. I may add peyote beaded beads, but I only have two hours and, currently, no accurate written instructions. Eek!

I’d have to say forgetfulness has definitely had an impact on my creativity and therefore my art today. Ordinarily, I can sit down and bead up a three-bead bracelet in 45 minutes or less. Today, I couldn’t even get one started because I was trying to hurry. In addition, no needlework got done and I didn’t finish my bird piece. I didn’t even sketch my other ideas for more stained glass-ish pieces. I’m feeling pressured and very nervous and creativity does not spring from that well! Now I’m working on calming down, writing my blog post, and reading a little before bed so I have a chance at sleep. Tomorrow, I will finish what written instructions I can get done and go teach.

Joy

Feeling pressured and upset does not lend itself to joyful self expression, I find. How to get back to it? What I’ve found is that I have to admit, if only to myself, my own responsibility in the matter. I did say I would teach the class and I look forward to it at the time. I then forgot about it because I haven’t set up an effective visual display of my commitments this year. That’s a fancy way of saying I need to get a wall calendar where I can write all this stuff down and look at it daily. Having admitted my responsibility, I now have a course of action to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

What about my class, though? Those folks deserve the best I can give them so tomorrow morning I will fix the instructions and build a couple of teaching pieces. I’m much calmer now, because I again have a course of action. I’m beginning to look forward to the class after all! Joy and satisfaction are showing back up, just from taking responsibility.

What do you do when you discover you’ve forgotten something you said you’d do?

Have a thrilling Thursday and don’t forget about miracles lurking around the corner!

Book Review and Work In Progress

I have a cold so I’m mostly working on staying warm and getting well at the moment. I have noticed that creativity and stuffed-up sinuses do not go well together. I have some thoughts about why this is, but they’re a little too gross to share.

Anyway, I wrote a book review over the weekend of Mercedes Lackey‘s newest offering in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series. Ms. Lackey constantly inspires me and I have read nearly everything she has written. She favors strong female characters, but doesn’t shy away from strong men either. Her work is definitely worth studying as a writer, because she appeals to a wide audience without losing her personal integrity and commitment to quality.

Review of Beauty and The WerewolfCover of Beauty and The Werewolf

Beauty and The Werewolf takes place in Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms universe. While I haven’t read the whole series, I read a short story placed in it. The setting is a medieval world where magic and paranormal events are the norm. We also have the Tradition, a force that tries to assure fairy tale endings onto people with paranormal abilities.

Bella Beauchamp is the eldest daughter in a household that includes her father, a stepmother and two stepsisters. Bella took over running the household when her mother died and simply continued doing so when her father remarried. She and her stepmother do not get along well and Bella sees her stepmother as a flighty social climber who is training her daughters to be much the same way. Resigned to being a spinster, Bella puts on a red cloak and goes to see a Granny to learn about herbs and their uses for healing and spicing. She thinks of becoming a Granny herself when the current one dies.

On her way home in the dark, Bella encounters a wolf who bites her, despite her efforts to prevent it. After the wolf disappears, she returns home. The next day, the King’s soldiers come to take her to Duke Sebastian’s house so she can be quarantined until she can prove she hasn’t been transformed into a werewolf. The wolf that bit her, you see, is actually a werewolf. During her stay, she meets the Godmother and is introduced to the idea of the Tradition, which has begun to push her in a fairy tale path. She begins studying fairy tales as well as curse, because Duke Sebastian has been cursed to be a werewolf rather than being bitten or inheriting the trait. As the book goes on, Bella increasingly has to battle the Tradition to achieve an ending that she chooses.

First let me say that I love Merceded Lackey’s Valdemar  and Elemental series. After reading Beauty and The Werewolf, I must read the rest of the 500 Kingdoms books. Bella’s fight to live her own life and not the life the Tradition tries to force her into is symbolic of the societal pressures everyone faces. Ms. Lackey masterfully employs the Tradition as a tool for espousing your own life and making your own choices. She also incorporates theme of service to others. At the beginning of the book Bella serves her family unstintingly and with few complaints except those she keeps to herself. When she is quarantined, she begins serving the Duke in the same capacity, managing his invisible servants and the household. She has a strong work ethic and hates to be idle.

The 500 Kingdom books  are written for Luna, a division of Harlequin books, so you can guess that they are romances with happy endings. Beauty and The Werewolf has a happy ending chosen by Bella and her partner, despite impediments like  a werewolf, a scheming mother, and, of course, the Tradition. This novel clearly illustrates Ms. Lackey’s commitment to people living and being responsible for their own lives. At the same time, she writes a darn good story with humor and grace. I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it to you.

Art

I have made some progress on a polymer clay project that emulates stained glass. I hope to finish it today or tomorrow. Here’s what I have so far:

Background for stained glass projectSorry for the blurry picture. I shot it on my work table, which has a glass cutting board over a piece of graph paper. The camera didn’t like the light bouncing back from the flash!

Joy

It’s hard to be joyful when you don’t feel good, isn’t it? I’m definitely struggling with that today. On the other hand, I’ve had the perfect excuse to sit around the house in my jammies and play with books and blogs and the like. Now I get to spend some time at my clay table, still hanging in my bathrobe and staying warm. What’s so bad about that?

Doing what you enjoy always perks you up. Right at the moment, I mostly get to do what I enjoy most, although it isn’t bringing in any money. Still working on that part!

Have a terrific Monday, however you spend it! Don’t forget to keep an eye (and heart) open for miracles!

New Year! New Goals!

It took me longer to get back to the blog than I had planned, which I’m committed to not set a trend for the year! My daughter, the one with the new baby, broke her wrist and needed more help than we expected, so I contribute the slowdown to an emergency!

Writing

You know all the cool stuff I talked about in my last post as possibilities? I’m not doing any of it! I looked at what really needs to happen this year and at the projects I’m already taken on and discovered that adding two more, regardless of coolness, just didn’t make sense. Instead, here’s what I’m working on:

– Rereading and revising the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo with a plan to start marketing it in September.

– Reorganizing this blog and posting on it 2-3 time a week. Maybe more.

– Writing regular book reviews here. Since I read a little of everything, this should throw a lot of variety in your direction!

– Outlining and starting a new book. I had a great idea inspired by the Postcard Challenge, although I’m not doing the art part of it.

Art

Right now, I have two major projects to get going:

– I signed up to do an Embroiderer’s Guild of America group correspondence course, making a pulled thread sampler. Pulled thread, in this instance, refers to stitches that distort or pull the fabric to create a kind of lacy look. I will post pictures of the work in progress. It has to be complete by July 2nd, so we can mail it to the instructor to evaluate. Please let my fingers do their job!

– Setting up my Etsy store, taking good pictures of my work, and getting it up for sale. This entails quite a lot of work, some of which I don’t know how to do yet. My goal is to have it operational by the end of January, so I can post hearts for Valentine’s!

– Okay, three projects. As a stitcher, I have things hung on my wall that prove I can’t count. My third project is to ensure that I clay at least two days a week to make sure I have fresh stuff up on the Etsy site!

Joy

Making resolutions at the beginning of the year is not a path to joy. In fact, it’s more likely to be a path to guilt, upset, and failure. On the other hand, having a plan for what you’re going to accomplish this year can be a joyful experience, because you aren’t drifting through life aimlessly. The trick is figuring out what you really want to accomplish, deciding what it will take to do that, and, most importantly, building a support system and accountability. Here are a few tips:

1. Name your project, determine what the goal is, and by when you will accomplish it. “I’m going to start an exercise program and lose weight” is not going to get the job done. How about something like:

The Bikini Project

1. Lose 20 lbs. by June 1st by measuring the portions that enter my mouth, eating a low fat diet, and cutting out cookies, cake, and daily chocolate.

2. Start yoga and pilates classes at the rec center, to tone up my abs. Lose two inches around my waist, hips, and chest by June 1st.

3. Buy a teeny, weeny, yellow polka-dot bikini June 2nd and hit the beach!

That describes the what and how of of the project. Now, you need to set up some support. Tell everybody you know, even the people you know won’t believe you can do it, that you’re going to do this. Pick some friends who you know will support you, especially if they’re doing something similar, and set up accountability. Using the example above, you could join a yoga class together so you can support each other in going. You could weigh in once a week together. You could even take each other’s measurements to make sure you stay honest! And on June 2nd, you could shop for the bikini together!

All I’m saying is set up your resolutions so you’re likely to achieve them. Instead of walking away from them after two weeks and having another failure, set yourself up to win!

It’s the one best way to create miracles!

I’m Still Here: Setting Up The Next Year

It took a while to get over the crud we caught while the family was here, but we are well and survived the holidays so far.

As promised, here is a picture of my new granddaughter. Isn’t she gorgeous? Of course, she’s grown and filled out since this was taken, like they always do! She’s two weeks and one day old today.

And there is my grandson, discovering his first birthday cake. He was so cute as he painted himself and the newspapers in frosting!

Writing

After NaNoWriMo, I gave myself a month off from The Book. The month is nearly over and it’s time to start the next part: reading and editing and deciding if it’s actually worth marketing. I’ve been looking at some support structures for this and I will probably go with ROW80. I discovered I get more done if I’m answerable to someone. The next round starts on Monday, January 2nd, with updates every Wednesday and Sunday. I’ll let you know what I’m up to on Sunday (after my football game).

By the way, you know that writers read, correct? Stephen King said it best: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Totally, totally true. You will never get better at this job if you don’t study what other people have done. At least, that’s my excuse! Anyway, since I read pretty obsessively, I’ve decided to start reviewing some of what I read here. This is mainly because I’ve just finished two really fine books and I just have to share!

The first one was Michael Connelly‘s latest book, The Drop. I’ve been a Harry Bosch fan for several years. The Drop is vintage Connelly, filled with suspense as Harry realizes a serial killer has been operating in Los Angeles for at least three decades. He’s also working a case involving the son of his nemesis, Irvin Irving. Although Harry is most concerned with the serial killer, the police department wants him to put all his energy toward solving the young man’s possible suicide. Harry manages to clear both cases with the help of an old friend. I really enjoyed this book. As always, Connelly breathes so much life into his characters that I hate closing the book, knowing I have to wait at least a year for another one! I’m considering starting a re-read of Connelly’s books, because he is really one of the best writers out there. I end up so involved in his stories that I always have to reread to see what he did to accomplish the fine storytelling. Thankfully, he also shares about his process on his website.

Venturing down a different path, I finally started the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Why did I wait so long? George writes good books, but he kills my favorite characters. A lot, he kills my favorite characters. I understand that once a character has fulfilled his role in a story, you have to something with them, but killing them? Couldn’t you just demote them or something so they have a chance to come back and contribute some more? Exile them to some character desert island, maybe? I recognize that storytelling is the process of creating nice people who have terrible things happen to them, but hanging their heads on pikes on the castle walls? Really?

Complaining aside, what makes George’s books so powerful is his mastery of Point Of View (POV). He tells the whole story of A Game of Thrones through the voices of many of the major characters. I’m guessing he will do the same in the rest of the series. It’s a very strong way to tell a story, creating a connection with each of the characters. I haven’t watched the HBO series and don’t currently plan to do so, but I will read the rest of the series. I have to a lot to learn as a writer from George’s work. I just don’t guarantee to like the process!

By the way, I’ve met George at science fiction conventions and he is actually a nice person with a dry sense of humor, usually willing to talk to other writers about how he does what he does. If I am so lucky that he reads this, I hope he gets a good laugh out of it. And thank you, George; I always get a little better from studying your art.

Art

What with the holidays and company, I haven’t done much this month. My friend, Lori Wostl, sent me an idea for a project that I’m considering. Again, the challenge starts January 2nd, so I have a few days to make up my mind. I’ll let you know.

Joy

The holidays are all about joy and plans and family and all the best things in life, don’t you think? I know, sometimes things don’t go the way you planned and sometimes families fight and sometimes dreadful things happen. In the end, though, if we remember that we love and are loved, there’s a lot of joy to be had here. I hope your holidays have included much joy this year!

Now, go create some awesome New Year’s resolutions and have a miracle or too!

It’s Done And I Did It; First December Snow


Okay, I might be overstating a little. But only a little!

Writing

NaNoWriMo 2011 is over. Yesterday, I typed the last words in my book (I actually hit 50,000 day before yesterday). I’ve been a little giddy ever since. Have you ever done something you really didn’t think you could do? I highly recommend it. I will never not be a novelist again.

I printed the book out yesterday and put it in the notebook my husband made for me. I will show it to people, but I’m not reading for at least a month. I still think it’s a good idea and possibly marketable, but I’m totally tired of those people and I don’t want to talk them right now!

Other Stuff

I still haven’t taken pictures of the seahorse necklace or the necklace I made for my stepmom for Christmas (I’m not giving anything away; she has a hard time e-mailing, much less surfing). The light today was too flat.

Picture of garden bunny covered in snowMy beautiful autumn pansies may be retired for the season:

And since I was giddy:

Picture of snow angel I madeI did it while nobody was looking and I refuse to publicly acknowledge that I, dignified individual that I’m not, would ever do such a silly thing. Y’all won’t tell, right?

Joy

I wish everyone could feel the way I feel today. Even though I spent the day catching up on housekeeping that went by the wayside while I wrote, I have an amazing sense of myself stretching to include something new in who I know myself to be. The only way to achieve this is to do something you never thought you could do. And I promise you, it does not matter what that thing is. Find something you want to do and find a way to do it, even when you’re sure you can’t and everyone around you is convinced that you can’t. Really, unless you’ve chosen something really unachievable, like surviving a leap off a tall bridge with no parachute, you can have this sense of accomplishment and mastery.

I really, really encourage you to do it, whatever it is. A whole new world will open for you and you’ll know the only one who held you back was you. Go for it! Miracles await!

Still Writing: What’s Really Valuable

Wow, do you believe that? After I post this, I’m going to keep going, but I wanted to give you, my faithful supporters, a quick update.

Writing

I’m in the sprint to finish up by midnight, 11/30 (for friends from elsewhere, 30/11), so this has to be pretty short. I did want to mention two things I have found to be of great value in this process.

The first is my e-mail. I get around 300 e-mails a day, most of them from chains and stores who want me to spend money. Some are book review sites who also want me to spend money. It’s amazing how much e-mail I get that I just delete. I used to try to read it all. What was I thinking? When I’m finished with the book, I’m going to get off as many of those lists as I can. Even deleting them takes too much time. I want my life back!

Warning: This part’s a fundraising effort. I need more sponsors for The Office of Letters and Light, the people who put on NaNoWriMo every year. Please donate; aside from what this journey has given me personally, these folks make writing programs for people as young as kindergarten. Their servers need to keep running!! Here’s the page to donate. Please remember that every penny helps, so give what you can. My goal is $250; as you can see, I’m woefully short!

Support Wikipedia

Something I’ve discovered: This book could not be written without Wikipedia. If you think about it, anybody living an online life consults Wikipedia fairly often. They keep this incredible free resource running on very darn little. After donating to The Office of Letters and Light, give a little to these folks, too.

Art

Hah! You see that word count? I’ve been tied to my computer. Maybe in three days, okay?

Joy

You know, I haven’t thought about joy a lot these past few days, due to the ending push on the novel. When I typed the word, I stopped for a second and thought about everything and everyone who has made this crazy month possible. I thought about how my family has stood beside me and put up with my absence even when I was in the same room. They’ve had a tough month, too.

So I’m dedicating this section to family. My immediate family will all be coming to Denver during December for vacations and celebrations. My grandson will be a year old and my granddaughter will be born. Amidst the joy, we’ll have some sorrows: we lost my father at this time last year, a month after my daughter lost my first grandson. Yet, we’ll be together and as Spider Robinson said, “Shared pain is lessened. Shared joy is increased. Thus do we defeat entropy.” I’m glad we’ll be together.

Share your holidays with someone, okay? And create miracles; this time of year is just made for them.

Thanksgiving

Writing

Today I will go over 40,000 words in a novel I had given up hope of ever writing. Whether or not it gets published or is even worth publishing, I will never again be able to say I didn’t do it. Since today is Thanksgiving Day in the US and thankfulness is an all-around good thing, here are some writing things I’m thankful for:

My family, including my husband (Bill), son (Patrick), and daughter (Jessica). Thank you for putting up with me while I worked horrible hours, writing technical manuals for clients. Thank you for supporting me during NaNoWriMo. Writing is a solitary art and you have often put up with not having me around while I was in the same room.

My friends and supporters, including Lori Wostl, Betsy, Nuala, Cyndy, Chris, Eric, Lisa, Ingrid, Jeff, Ruth, Cait, Dan, Mary Ann, and so many others who never give up on me even when I do. You know that saying “I wish I was the person my dog thinks I am?” These are the people who never let me be less than the person they know I am.

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, because I get to occasionally hang out with people who are incredible writers and who think I could be, too.

Writers In The Storm, for glimpses into their world as published and supporting writers. “Oh, brave new world! That has such people in it!” (Shakespeare, The Tempest)

The Office of Letters and Light, the fine folks who make NaNoWriMo a reality. They also provide support for The Young Writers Program, an opportunity for young people to grow up knowing they can write.

Art

First and foremost, I am so very thankful for Christi Friesen, who generously shares her gift and inspiration with anyone at all. Her generosity has given so many of us new faith in our own artistic abilities. Plus, she’s really fun to hang out with!

Embroiderer’s Guild of America, where I received my training in color and design, beside fabulous companions, a lot of fun, and a marvelous stash of fibers and beads, although never the ones needed for a new project. Despite my husband’s belief, my stash is small in comparison to many!

Lori Wostl, whose constant example lets me know what’s possible when living a dream. Thank you so much for being on my planet, Lori!

Joy

First and foremost, I give thanks to and for Werner Erhard and Landmark Education. Thanks to doing the est Training in 1979, when I was 24, I have spent my adult like knowing I had a choice. The Forum, the Curriculum for Living, graduate seminars, and the Assisting Program have reminded me repeatedly. Thank you so much!

My family and friends. Without you, I would live in a barren wasteland, listening to me talk to myself badly. Thank you so much! I love each and everyone one of you!

Elizabeth of Mirth and Motivation, for bringing joy and great pictures to my internet world. You are a blessing!

The US Armed Services, men and women who volunteer to keep our country and way of life protected. Without you, the freedom of expression I and so many others hold dear would rapidly become a thing of a buried past. Your service is more appreciated than I can possibly say.

Everyone generous enough to read and comment on this blog. Without you, this is just maundering in the dark. It’s nice to be read!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Quickie To Update On Novel: It’s Still On

Writing

As you can see, the game is still on, despite a threatened dry spell earlier this week. I’m going to try to get a little further ahead tomorrow, in case I have a job starting sometime this week.

Art

Remember those starfish and the seahorse? I got them strung in a necklace. It needs a couple of structural elements and then I’ll post pictures. Then I’ll put it up for sale! Whee!

I wore it today on a test run (I’d rather the crimps gave on me than somebody else) and the seahorse was taste-tested by a fifteen-month-old boy. He was disappointed and did not leave teethmarks. I’m not sure what that says.

Joy

All I have tonight is this: I heard one of my favorite songs today. It’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. I know it sounds a little silly but you know, he’s right. If you’re worrying, you’re not being present to what’s happening now. You’re thinking about some future that may or may not occur. To top it off, that future that you’re envisioning is based on information from your past. There it is again: a future based only in the past. The future isn’t here yet and may not look the way you thought anyway. The past is over and can’t be changed. All you have is the present. Just live it.

Have a great Monday and create a miracle or two. In the present, of course!