My word is Positivity!

I seem to be getting off to a slow start with my blogging this year, but I have ideas for making a few changes here although nothing is completely sorted out yet. Tonight I’m just going to share some thoughts with you.

On Friday I learned of the sudden passing of a cousin on January 6. It was unexpected news; he was only 65. I didn’t know him very well because he was very quiet and so shy. Any time we met at some gathering – the last being after a funeral a few months ago – we didn’t have much to say to one another, likely because we both felt a little shy. He was a really nice man who usually had a little grin and a twinkle in his eyes. Ever wish you had taken more time to talk with someone?

As I was writing the rough draft for this post (something I rarely do, but I wasn’t near my computer when these thoughts were coming to me) I was sitting in my living-room and occasionally gazing out the window. At one point an eagle came into view, soaring on the breeze. How magnificent those birds are, able to rise above it all and look at everything from a higher perspective. From that distance any situation looks small and manageable, meaning nothing can overwhelm when below and far away. We all need to see things that way, from a bit of a distance so that we don’t become overwhelmed by them. I do tend to get overwhelmed when I look at the big picture and must remind myself to take it one piece at a time.

There are many things I want to do this year, or make as much progress in as I can. One thing I decided is to read the Bible through again, having done so only twice in my life. I feel it’s time again. I’ve procrastinated but on Friday (Jan. 9) I felt I had to read the book of Micah (in Old Testament), a reminder of the times we are in even now. After reading Micah I found a schedule for reading the Bible in a year. The first time I used a devotional guide to take me through and read Old Testament and New Testament scriptures each day until finishing all 66 books; the second time I read from Genesis through Revelation in the order they are found in the Bible. This time I’ll be reading it in chronological order. I’m late starting so yesterday was day one for me and I hope/determine to stay with it.

  • Day one: January 10 – Genesis 1-3
  • Day two: January 11 – Genesis 4-7
  • tomorrow is Day three for me: January 12 – Genesis 8-11

Do you want to do this reading challenge with me? If you’d like to see the plan I’m using go to Bible Study Tools and click on Read, then select Reading Plans. You can choose among several schedules to read the Bible in one year, but there are other choices as well. I hope you will let me know if you decide to try any of them.

I am also praying and hoping for a writing partner or group to help me get (and stay) on track with my writing, and someone I can encourage in kind. I’m very choosy and particular, so I’ll let you know what comes of that.

Again this year I’ve seen where people have started their new year with a word. They either select a word they want to live by or they prayerfully wait for the word the Lord places on their heart for this year. It seems the word for me this year is POSITIVITY. It seems a rather odd word, but for me it relates to thinking positive thoughts, not allowing depression and discouragement to rob me, and to stay in forward motion with my goals. I also believe there is a Scripture that goes with it for me, and interestingly it’s one I posted in my blog December 31’14. This verse leaves no room for negative thinking and pity parties!

Philippians 4: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 

That’s all for this time. Tomorrow (Monday) I need to do some tidying up here on my blog.

I forgot to ask: Do you have a word for this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

It’s my WordPress anniversary!

I received a congratulatory reminder this evening from WordPress that …

Today, January 9, is my five-year anniversary!

On this date in 2010 I joined the WordPress blogging world and it’s one of the best things I’ve done for my writing.

Unfortunately, I am not off to a great start with anything in this new year, but I hope to improve soon.  I have to, don’t I? :)

How are you doing with your goals, aspirations, dreams so far this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

My 2014 blogging in review

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In looking back over 2014 there are many things I was reminded of that occurred both here and in my personal life — some of the latter I shared here. Here’s a condensed review followed by my annual report compiled by WordPress.com.

1. I posted the final weeks of “Read More Books Challenge” run on my blog through October 3, 2013 to January 9, 2014. My challenge got a few people reading more classics and reminded us of the many great books we have yet to enjoy.  I’m still trying to read from that great list of 623 books. Are you?

2. We were privileged to have Sue Harrison continue to post teachings from her “Writing the Third Dimension” each month. (Thanks, Sue!) Has this been helpful for you?

3. I interviewed 6 authors during the year and reviewed 46 books on my blog. I also posted those reviews on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, chapters.indigo, LibraryThing, BookLook Bloggers, Shelfari, Goodreads.

4. In June I shared my 10 tips for authors from the perspective of a book reviewer.

5. In July I was interviewed on Leanne Dyck’s blog. She is discontinuing interviewing so I was blessed to have been included before she made that decision. You can read that interview again HERE.

6. In July I added another page to my blog, “Buy The Book!”, to help my readers find the books they read about here and other places I reviewed them. Has this made it easier for you?

7. In August I added a page, Suicide Crisis Lines, mainly because of the shocking death of Robin Williams. My heart still sorrows over that tragedy.

8. In October I reported about a fantastic program – Kindle Kids Mastery – for writers of children’s books. It’s really for anyone who wants to try publishing an e-book. Please check on my Writer’s Helps page for the link to that information. It’s a fabulous opportunity. Have you used this program yet?

9. In November I participated again in Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month, aka PiBoIdMo, and succeeded in meeting and surpassing the goal of 30 ideas. Did you try it in 2014?

10. In December I participated in Susanna Leonard Hill’s story writing competition and posted my story here on my blog as required. Although my story didn’t make the cut it was great practice for me, and a good learning experience.

11. On my “Books I Read This Year” page I reported that I managed to read 45 books, far less than I had hoped to read but more than I read last year. How many books did you read in 2014?

All in all, I feel 2014 was a good blogging year for me, even though I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to. Being a caregiver for a victim of Alzheimer’s has its challenges, and my own personal stuff added in made it harder to do all I was hoping to do. Even so, I am happy and encouraged that my blog following increased this year!

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR FOLLOWING MY BLOG. I greatly appreciate you all and I hope to keep you interested enough in coming back. I also hope more of you will leave comments in 2015 because those comments help keep the conversation going. :)

What would you like me to know about your experience and visits here?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Now for the fun report from WordPress.com.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

There were 230 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 70 MB. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 15th with 99 views. The most popular post that day was Book Review: I Only Cry at Night – by P. Allen Jones.

In 2014, there were 140 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 452 posts.

Longest Streak: 5 days 1 July – 5 July;  Best Day: Tuesday with 46 posts total

These are the posts that got the most views in 2014:

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power!

Visitors came from 104 countries in all! Most came from The United States. Canada & U.K. were not far behind.

Your most commented on post in 2014 was My story entry in Susanna Hill’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest

PS:  Once again, thank YOU, my friends, for following my blog. Blessings in 2015! I look forward to an exciting new year with you. :)

 

 

As the New Year comes in …

As the new year comes in …

 

This is my last post of 2014. It’s been a good year for me in blogging, despite the difficult times when I was not able to muster the energy to keep up my schedule. (I’m still trying to break through one of those phases.) As we close out the old year I have a few thoughts and questions for us to consider together.

Do you meditate on the past year and lament your losses and mistakes, therefore forgetting to celebrate your successes and good efforts?  or do you remember the good stuff and ignore the not-so-good events?  or are you one who celebrates it all … the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the gains and the losses … as stepping-stones along your way?

This quote was in my mailbox this morning:

“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything… we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to realize it as such.”  - Henry Miller, The Henry Miller Reader

 

I believe that our attitude has a great deal to do with how we view life and what comes our way. It affects everything from our mood to our health. We are not only what we eat, we also are what we think. 

Yesterday marked the seventeenth year since my dear mother passed from this life; seventeen years ago December 30 we sat with her as she released her last breath. Yesterday held a sadness for me because sometimes I miss her so much it hurts, but that day in 1997 was a day my mother was set free from the cancer that was attacking her body. I can look at it as a day of loss – which it was on a deep personal level – but I can also look at it as a day of celebration for her as, with an expectant heart, she went Home to our Lord. I will see her again and I do look forward to that.

In the meantime, I have a choice to make. I can let reminders of grief pull me down, I can live in that sad place and dwell on the negative hard places that naturally occur all along the way, or I can remember with an inner peace and joy how she lived her last days and died with such grace, never once complaining about her lot and suffering! (Seriously, it was amazing.) I can make it my goal to be more like her in that way, taking what comes with grace and dignity. That’s not an easy thing to do.

This was one of Mum’s favourite Scripture portions, especially verse 13:

Philippians 4: 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Through experience I have learned that my attitude affects everything. If I think sad, negative, angry, discouraging thoughts all the time, if I choose to live with regret, I get mentally and then physically pulled down. It does work that way. I get anxious, moody, sad and ill. If I think positive, hopeful thoughts and try to be cheerful, if I let my spirit soar above the problems, I feel better and make life more comfortable for everyone around me. My motto is “I live in hope”, meaning I try to keep looking to the better day, the better situation, without letting go of the progress I’ve made and the good I have now.

Happy New Year 2015 Images 5

As the new year comes in …

I truly want to make a difference – first in my own life, and then in the lives of those around me and beyond. I’m a bit of a recluse so the latter is really hard for me unless I can be anonymous (a joy of mine) and not have to face the masses or even a small group. But when the Lord moves me … that’s another thing.

So now, as we close out 2014 and open the door for 2015 to sail in, let’s agree to live the positive upbeat life and not allow the negatives and past regrets to pull us down.

Philippians 4: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Something I would love to have happen in 2015 – starting now – is more chat between us, so I truly HOPE you will leave a reply to my final questions of this year.

Have you experienced such hard things in your life it’s been a struggle to rise above it? What have you learned from how you face life, how has your attitude made a difference? What advice do you have for others … as the new year comes in?

My sincere wish is for the best year yet for you – a year of successes and accomplishments! I look forward to hearing about them.

new_year_icon_55464

 

See you in 2015! Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

A Christmas surprise!

It seems I am hardly at my computer these days, which is very unusual for me, so I have not been posting on my usual schedule. I can peek at my blog on my iPad, but doing much more than responding to comments is limited because my frustration level is quite high. The iPad just won’t cooperate!

Some positive things as this year reaches its close …

  • my sprained foot is healing so is much better now, still a little sore and I have to be careful yet, but it’s much improved;
  • my depression has lessened, and I am getting a B12 shot every three weeks to help with that;
  • I’ve started trying my hand at sketching again. So far I can’t say my efforts are anything to brag about but I might follow the advice of an illustrator I ‘met’ through PiBoIdMo and post my drawings on my blog – eventually … if it’s not too embarrassing;
  • I have many more story starters to work on, and I found that participating in Susanna Hill’s challenge was quite inspiring even though my story wasn’t chosen. Now to keep writing (I really need to develop a writing habit that helps with that);
  • I still have many books to read, several to review but I’ve decided to cut back on accepting books to review and may mostly write about the books I read of my own choosing as I have so very many in my stash find it hard to keep up with everything;
  • I have so very many delicious tempting interesting (or all those descriptions!) books in my stash to read for my own enjoyment and I can hardly wait. Oh, I sort of said that already.
  • We had the most wonderful Christmas surprise!

Our Christmas surprise …

Christmas week was my sister’s turn at Dad’s, but my husband and I stayed overnight Christmas Eve so she could go home to her own family for that night and Christmas morning. When she returned we went home and got the rest of our Christmas preparations finished, including cooking the veggies we were contributing to the dinner later in the day. Back at Dad’s I told someone I had a really good feeling about it this year, more peace and contentment, but I didn’t know why.

Twelve of us shared the main meal – which was exceptionally delicious this year – then two more of our family arrived which meant we could move into the next phase of our day … the gifts. We all were making our way to the living-room for that fun when behind me a voice said, “Is anyone going to feed me or do I have to get it myself?” I spun around and there stood our daughter who lives in Alberta!! She had come home to surprise us, and had told no one she was coming. What a fantastic surprise that was! It was so great having her join us, especially since the last six Christmases she has not been able to get home. We expected to FaceTime with her later, but this was MUCH better. :) Hug break!! Well, after I let go of her.

After gifts exchanged with Dad and my sister and her family some of us enjoyed a variety of desserts. We learned a few years ago that it was more sensible to leave the dessert until after we’d been away from the table awhile. :) After a major clean-up so it wasn’t all left to my sister to do alone, my husband and I and our girls and families headed to our place where we exchanged gifts – (I was thrilled when my daughters gave me a family ring with their birthstones and names on it) – and spent such a pleasant evening. All my family home for Christmas! Yay!  You can be sure I’ve been thanking the Lord for that.  :)

Okay, now it’s your turn. What special thing happened for you this Christmas? What positive things do you have to share about (Please do!) as the end of 2014 nears?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I wish to extend to each and every one of you sincere wishes for a holy and wonderful Christmas, a safe and healthy holiday season, and moments of joy, revelation, and eager anticipation of what lies ahead as we move toward 2015.

All the best to you!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Sue Harrison: “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 23: Books, Books, Books!

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue.

** Note: Last year we took a break from WTTD in December, but this year Sue has prepared a special post which is up a week early to give you time to shop. Therefore, there is no post from Sue on December 25, the fourth Thursday of this month.

Now for the topic for month twenty-three:

********

“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 23:  Books, Books, Books!

To celebrate the busy, happy, and frantic holiday season, my 2014 Christmas card to you is a very short post about the question I’m asked most frequently by new writers.

The Question: What’s the one most important thing I can do to help develop my writing skills?

The Answer: Read!

booksSo, during this holiday season, which for me means a Christmas celebration and for many others means Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or even December birthdays, my suggestion is to give books — to others and to yourself! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Birthday, and Happy New Year!

Strength to your pen!

Sue

 *Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back January 22, 2015 for part 24!

PS: If you need some book suggestions please check out my BUY THE BOOK! page, and my BOOK REVIEWS page.