One thing I think too many of us take for granted is our physical state. We're so busy that we don't worry about taking care of ourselves. I can see why, in a way. With all of our responsibilities, it can seem like self-care is a full time job in itself - and a job we don't have time for. You can't neglect it, though. And I think we all have to learn that lesson the hard way. We don't realize until we're flat on our back sick - or injured - that our health is the foundation of everything.
You know what I mean. You push yourself to the brink until your body can't take it anymore, and one day, you crash. Tell me, how many of you have been knocked out by the flu this winter? Come on, folks. Germs are only so much to blame. You're body can fight off a lot, if you take care of it. The problem is, we don't.
I'm just as guilty as the next person. I don't eat right all of the time. I'm on and off my exercise routine so much that I'm ashamed of myself. And I used to have a bad habit of staying up too late and skimping on sleep while I had novels in progress or during busy times, until the past year, when I realized I simply couldn't function on skipping on sleep anymore. That was one habit I had no choice but to break. In fact, I changed my work schedule late last summer to help in that endeavor. Extra time int he mornings has been the best thing I've done for myself in a long time.
The truth is that the body isn't going to tolerate neglect for too long. It will break down and fail you unless you take proper care of it. That's why it's imperative that you take care of yourself - because frankly, if your body isn't in good shape then you aren't going to be as effective and efficient as you could be. Taking the time to take care of yourself pays off by making the rest of your work and efforts more productive. You work better when you're well rested. You have more energy when you eat right and exercise. You concentrate better when you take time out each day to rest, relax, and spend time doing things you enjoy. All work and no play doesn't only make Jack a dull boy, but it makes him dysfunctional as well. Proper balance means taking care of yourself so you can take care of your responsibilities.
This is something I have to be reminded of from time to time. Rick recently asked me about getting back to my resolution of getting on the treadmill. I got sick with my sinuses recently, and ironically I slipped from that one, already. I reasoned that I might as well work on finalizing my novel since I couldn't exercise, but I got better and, well, finishing the novel was more interesting that the treadmill. And I do feel better when I exercise regularly. I know I need to make it a habit in my life again. I'm working on it, like so many other people are working on making themselves better so they can have a better life.
Yes, it's a struggle, I know. There's so much to do. But don't do it at the expense of yourself. There's just too much at stake, and when it come to mind or body, well, body usually wins. Because if you don't have your health, you don't have anything.
That's all today. Have a great week.
I'd like to open this entry with a disclaimer: I have no objections to working outside the home. In fact, I believe I'd be bored and rather miserable as a stay-at-home. I have always felt that I need to contribute to the world at large, and I invested a great deal into getting a college degree so I could do just that. So to start, I don't mind working. The issue is balancing it with having a life. Because jobs take up an awful lot of your life, and you have to set boundaries with how much of your life you want to give to your work - much like everything else.
I never wanted my job to be the core of my life. There are a lot of people out there that are defined by their work, and I've known all along that I don't want to be one of them. To me, I have a job to serve my life. It's how I channel my knowledge, experience and skills to the world, and in return it financially supports my life. That's it. It's not who I am. It's not my sole purpose in life. It's not the whole of my existence. It's one part of my life, one part of the whole that makes me.
The challenge is keeping it one part of life because work, much like everything else, wants to be the center. The fact that it's our financial foundation is a binding factor that makes work one of the "immovable objects" in our lives, and the trick is how to keep reshaping that object into something that helps rather than hurts. Our personal lives change over time and so do our jobs - even if you work in the same place throughout your career, I can guarentee that the job itself will change as time goes on. Duties come and go, and more is always added. I can attest to this by experience. I've been working in the same job for over thirteen years, but it most certainly IS NOT the job I was hired to do. It bears absolutely no resembelance to what it was the first day I walked in. It's even been reclassified twice to accomodate for the drastic changes over the years. Likewise, my personal life has drastically changed in those years as well. And the ongoing challenge is how to keep work in balance in your life with both are constantly changing forces.
It's tough, and it's something that constantly has to be managed. I've had to make a lot of adjustments in the past three years alone, as my job duties quadrupled at the same time that my in-laws moved to town and my writing started to get published more widely. In fact, I was under a therapist for a year to help me manage all of the changes sweeping through my life. It would have been nice if all of these things could have happened, say, over the space of five years - but it was more like five months. I made it, but I'm not afraid that I'm still on that curve of balancing my changed work situation and my changed life situation. That is, in fact, part of what spurred my resolution to work on the issue of balance. It was realizing that while the major adjustments are done (and have been for a while), some tweaking to the details needs to happen. In fact, tweaking is something that probably needs to be done, well, more frequently than I have.
I think the big thing for me right now is balancing my increased work duties with my writing. I could easily stay glued behind a computer all my waking hours between the job, then coming home to work on writing promotion and working on new projects to keep my writing in motion. While I love my writing, I realized it had elevated itself to "work" in my life, and I always said that when it was more labor than enjoyment, it was time to make some adjustments. I can't and won't work 100% of the time. I want free time with Rick and the birds, with family and friends, with occasional volunteer projects at church, or with hobbies or just being lazy, and I will have it. I need time off, and I believe that getting sick with that virus before the holidays was the wake up call that made me realize I spend too much time working and not enough time taking care of myself: spiritually, mentally, physically, or emotionally. I have a full life and that's fine, but I need to get it in order and make sure there's a place for everything - and especially a space for taking care of myself, which I neglected to an almost dangerous place a few weeks ago. I really downplayed that here and in my social media posts, but the truth is that I was a bigger wreck than I let on, and it downright scared me. I was ill and distressed to the point of being almost non-functional for about 36 hours. Not long, but long enough to get through. It was time to heal more than my body. My mind and soul needed healing too.
Thankfully, I had some time off for the holidays to take stock of how to do this, and the work-life issue was primary amongst my concerns. I can't change my job, but I can look for ways to get better organized and to get things done better and more efficiently. As for my writing, I looked into some publicity options that included writing more articles and short stories, which allows me to continue producing new work that gains publicity for my published books. It's channeling into doing more of what I love, which is creating new work. It takes the "work" out of the writing and puts it back in the place of being "fun." And that's what it's all about: being entertaining and fun for me and my readers.
I think we all get knocked off kilter every now and then, and it seems that the work-life balance is usually where it's most likely to happen. We just have to stop and take stock every now and then to make sure we're keeping work in it's proper place in our life, and not letting it morph or grow into a trap. Because when we feel trapped, that's when it's gotten too far out of balance. I'm happy to report that I do feel much better and I continue to heal from my illness of a few weeks ago. There are still some struggles, but I take it a day at a time and I believe I'm finding a better way to have my life with all the joy and fullness I'm meant to have.
That's all today. Take care. I hope you have a great week.
I can't believe it. I recover from a sinus infection to get a virus. It hit Rick too. We went to Doctor's Care over the weekend and the doctor said that's been happening a lot lately. Apparantly, this cooler weather that people wished for during our long, hot summer is a breeding ground for infections, viruses, and all sorts of nasty things that take you down. Not pleasant.
On the one hand, it's good to have some time at home. It's a rare privledge to have time in the mornings and afternoons when you aren't chained to a desk, so to speak. But on the other hand, I feel miserable, so I really can't do much with this time. I've worked on my writing some when my head wasn't hurting. But otherwise, it's been sleeping and watching TV. And by the way, there is nothing decent on. I'm not sure whether mornings or afternoons are worse. Mornings you have a choice of bouncy, too-perky chat shows or "paternity tests gone wild!" trash TV. And the afternoons are soaps and judge shows. Who's guilty. Who's innocent. Who really cares?
In a way, it makes me gain an appreciation for having a day job. Unless I'm working on a writing project or the house needs care/cleaning, there's really not much to do. Hmm. And if I'm in pain then cleaning/house care is out, so there you have it.
The one good thing that's come out of this is I had a chance to go through Move again. Sick or not, you know I'm going to take advantage of extra time to work on writing projects! It turns out that my publishers want a minimum of 60K words now, and this novel is around 54K - so I need to add a few chapters. And so, the work shall continue on this project. I'll get there.
Another good thing is extra time with the birds. I feel a bit bad about disrupting their schedule, but they're taking it well. They've been wanting to come out a lot, and I've been letting them. Ollie's been singing up a storm this morning too. It's always good to have extra time with them.
As for the rest of today, I guess I need to make lunch and see if there are any little things I can get done around here, like lanudry or something. I might as well knock something off my "to do" list while I'm here. Days off are rare and if there's any way to take advantage of it despite my ill health, I better do it.
That's all today. Take care.
Since my last blog entry got a lot of views, I thought I'd expound on it a bit more. It seems to me that people are testy and rude these days. I know that life gets busier in the fall - school starts back up and it seems that everything else cranks into high gear this time of year. I can certainly say that the fall tends to be my busiest season, personally and professionally.
Another thing happening is that a lot of people are going through transitions right now. For example, we're in between pastors at church right now, and that's a common scenario as it seems there's been a lot of turnover with churches in our area lately. I've also heard people say they've experienced changes in their jobs due to staffing issues or other administrative decisions that have been made.
Still one more thing I'm seeing a lot of is people getting sick, and having a hard time getting better. A lot seems to be going around, and no doubt stress over it being a busier time contributes to difficulties kicking the nasties out of your system.
Folks, I get it. I really do. My iPhone calendar looks like it has chicken pox with all the dots on my schedule. I live by my reminder app more than I care for. I too have struggled with sinus problems/infections and now Rick has a virus and I wonder if it's not making it's way to me. And transitions - oh, I feel your pain. My upcoming novel, Splinter, was born of frustration over a transition in my life a while back that was very nearly more than I could take. So I do get it. But having been there, done that, and singing verse one thousand of this same old song, I can tell you one thing:
Being an idjit doesn't help.
Seriously. Stress is understandable and it's natural to get frustrated, but being mean and rude to people because you're out of patience and don't want to expend the extra energy on at least acting civil just makes it harder. In fact, it creates more problems. When you get snappy, people that might have helped you are no longer inclined to do so, and in fact they might choose to get back at you by sabatoging you or doing things that they know will make life more difficult.
Don't ask for it. And don't assume that you won't have to deal with people again, either. True story: One time early in my career, I transferred between divisions in my office. Thought I'd never see those folks from the old office again. Well, lo and behond, they consolidated two years later and every one of my former co-workers moved right in with me. I was very glad I didn't burn any bridges there! And it can happen anytime.
When I was a child, my granddaddy always told me that what goes around ALWAYS comes around. He said nothing goes unrewarded - or unpunished. "Watch your actions and words," he would tell me, "because they will come back to you. Even if you forget them, they still come back. And sometimes it takes a while but it always happens." It's a Biblical concept from Galatians 6:7 and by golly, I can't count how many times I've seen the truth of his words. Granddaddy was right and had a healthy respect for this universal truth. The problem is, too many people close their eyes to it and even when it happens, they're blind because they don't want to acknowledge that perhaps things went wrong because they were mean, or made a bad decision, or were just an idjit.
You don't really get away with anything. You may think you do. It may seem like you do. But you don't, not really. It hunts you down and gets you, many times when you least expect it. Whether you see it for what it is or not.
My point is that life is hard sometimes, but acting with discernment and widsom will help you get through those tough seasons faster and better. It won't be easy, but it will be easier than doing it the hard way by freaking out, or being mean, or rude, or shutting down. It's hard, but it's worth it.
So yes, I feel your pain. I certainly understand. But there's no excuse for being an idiot. So just don't do it and things will be alright. At least, it's easier for people to have patience and compassion for you when you act like a civilized, dignified human being - even if you don't feel like it.
That's all for today. Happy Friday tomorrow. I hope you have a great weekend.
If you live in the south, then you know that sinus and allergy problems are quite common. In fact, one character in every one of my books always gets a sinus infection - it's just a common health problem we face in the hot, humid south. One thing I've noticed, though, is that lots of people tend to get them at the same time.
Now why, pray tell, is that? Infections are bacterial based, meaning they shouldn't be contageous. And yet, I was diagnosed with one Wednesday and today Rick went to the doctor and was diagnosed with the same thing. Not only that, but 2 of my colleagues have had sinus infections recently as well.
llness does spread, and it can spread quickly and unexpectedly. All it takes is one person sneezing over the copy machine, or one person going to the movies with the sniffles, or one person touching that door handle and the germs are off. You can also carry those contageons days or sometimes weeks before you have symptoms - a scary fact, considering that I flew to San Francisco and back just 3 weeks ago and my return flights were full (and don't even get me started on the madness and pandemonium on that layover in Salt Lake City!). Not to mention all those people that were at the conference from 37 states. Well, ouch. I might have just set a new record for potentially spreading a contageon! I didn't feel sick 3 weeks ago but if this had a viral base then I could have been carrying it - and look how far.
Sneaky germs! It's not fair. I'm the lifeform with the higher brain function and yet, it seems they won this round. That's probably why viruses and bacteria have survived so well and for so long. They're incidious little creatures that have survival down to an art. Hitchhike on higher lifeforms while you multiply and spread, and then strike when the numbers are high enough. No thought. No planning. Just action. Hrmph. Not a bad plan to survive, but still not nice. I mean really, what have we ever done to you? Well, besides kill you with doses of antibiotics that, ironically, have side effects that are almost as bad as what you cause.
Outsmarted by bacteria. Hrmph.
Well folks, if you do happen to get the sinus crud followed by an infection, I am truly sorry. I went through four airports in four days to a well attended conference with absolutely no idea that I could potentially be carrying
something. Truth is, we all do it, though. We just have to not bear grudges, realizing that we're being used by evil symbiotes, and move on. And as I said, antibiotics work well.
I hope you have a great weekend. Take care.
I want to post a brief dispatch to let you know that I haven't forgotten about blogging, nor have I been entirely sucked into the new book I'm writing (although that could happen ...). Truth is, I'm sick. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a sinus infection yesterday. And they put me on a strong antibiotic, so the treatment is almost as bad as the cure.
Isn't that the way? Go figure.
But really, I have to say that I believe I've set a record. The doctor said the last time I came in with a sinus infection was 11 months ago. Considering that I've averaged 2-3 sinus infections a year since my pre-teens, that's a record. Not a bad run, really. I have been blessed with my health being overall good so for that I can't complain.
So that's what's up. I've been in and out of work with it - trying to keep things moving, you know - and I better get back to it now. I just wanted to drop in and let you know I'm still around. Just moving slower these days. But the medicine is working quickly so I hope to be back on my feet very soon.
Take care. I hope the rest of your week is good. More later.
Hi everybody; I hope you're having a good weekend. My wrist has been hurting a bit from typing a lot at work last week, so this entry will just be a rundown of "what's going on" in my corner of the world.
I got my first newsletter for the Mystery Readers and Working Writer's Newsletter turned in, and that's supposed to be out on the 26th. I'm looking forward to it. I've always wanted to have a regular piece somewhere so this is a dream come true for me. I've also been invited to contribute a story toward an anthology that's being proposed for publication, and I have some fiction story ideas buzzing around in the old grey matter. We'll see what develops. Lots of potential and I'm trying to pull the pieces together to turn some of it into reality.
I finally got back into reading and resumed Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini. I'm about halfway through it and I tell you, it's a great book. I start reading and have to tear myself away to stop! I love it and it's interesting to see how this series ends. Only thing is, I believe it's a bit too violent to be classified as "Young Adult." (I thought the same about Brisinger.) But a good book is a good book. I suspect that this may be the last hardback that I read for a while. I've been reading more e-books lately and now that I have an iPhone I suspect that my e-shelf will continue to expand. Especially since I have the phone with me all the time and it will just be easier to have my library on that device.
I've recovered from my illness a couple of weeks ago and Rick is also recovering. He still has down spells - of course, he got a lot sicker than I did - but we are recovering. That's good news.
The SC Republican Primary is today and we did get out and vote, despite the rain. We believe it's important to vote. It's a privledge of democracy that we intend to use! It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.
That's all for this time. Not much, but that's ok. Sometimes plugging along is just fine and dandy. Today it is for me, at least.
Take care. More later.
Well, as irony would have it; it seems Rick's illness had a viral component that brought it out and I caught it yesterday. After a weekend with both of us sick, I realized that there are two rules for dealing with someone who's sick:
1. Never try to force feed them, especially if it has a gastrointestinal base. Believe me, whatever you fear might happen from not eating will be nothing compared to what will happen if you force them to eat; and
2. Don't pepper them with a million questions. People in general are too addicted to asking questions. Please please please - limit the questions as much as possible. You'd be surprised at how much you can discover for yourself if you put your brain on things for 5 minutes. In fact, this is a good overall rule even when everybody is perfectly healthy.
That being said, I will warn you that there is a virus going around and it's absolutely VICIOUS. Neither of us has been this sick in a very long time. We're healing, albeit slowly. This is definitely one that we (and our septic system) will remember for a long time.
Take care all, and take precautions. I know it's winter and illness is lurking but the proper precautions can save your grief. Wash hands, clean up, flu shots, and etc.
More later. Bye!
Have you ever had one of those days when you're trying so hard to keep it together, but everything seems to keep chipping away at you? Today's been that day for me. Woke up early this morning to find Rick desperately ill. Long story short, we were at doctor's offices from 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. having tests run to find he has diverticulitis. They put him on medication, but he feels terrible and is very weak. If it's anything like that stomach infection I had 5 years ago, I completely understand. That was the most pain I'd ever been in, and it seemed to go on forever. It was really 2 months, but that's a long convalence. And believe me, to this day I thank God for every meal I eat pain free, without getting sick immediately after. My gratitude over the ability to eat without hurting will never end.
I got back from the doctor to find a letter from the lady that's been doing my hair since I was 16 saying she's retiring at the end of March. I suspected this was coming, but I didn't feel it would be right to leave someone that's done my hair for half my life over a gut feeling that she was going to be gone one day. So I decided that I'd deal with it when the time came. Well, it's here. I was thinking about growing my hair out a little anyway, and I think this is a sign that it's time to do it. We have a Cost Cutters nearby that I can go to once I'm ready to say it's long enough and start maintaining it again.
So my nerves were frayed when I went out a little while ago to get Rick's medication and the food the doctor recommended for him over the weekend. The pharmacy was very nice and understanding, but the grocery store was another issue. A woman accosted me to take a free newspaper the minute I walked in the door. I mean, she latched on and wouldn't shut up! I finally told her I had no need for a paper and walked off. It was really hard to tell her it's only good for bird poop around my house and I'd be glad to demonstrate by shoving that paper she kept waving in my face someplace to demonstrate how newspapers are used in my home. But I remembered that you really need to be nice, and times when you're frayed are especially important. Annoying as she was, it wouldn't have been right to take my hell of a day out on her. But gosh, she sure made herself a prime target!
Ironically, I had hoped to potentially dig for some short story ideas today but that's not gonna happen. I did a few promotional things, though. For example, I need to verify this blog with Technorati, and to do that I need to put a validation code in this post. So here it is for them: MRV3RHK2K9GC . Here's hoping this works and helps!
Well, I finished another blog series. I've been thinking about what to do next here. I don't want to do another series; not now anyway. I think I'd like to keep it free and kind of random for now. That's ok. Flexibility is good, and I think readers want to be surprised by what they'll find every now and then.
That's all for today. Here's hoping things improve. Take care and I'll see you later.
Hi folks; I hope you're doing well and having a great weekend. It's been ok. Rick and I have had colds this past week, and it seemed to be at it's worst for me Friday and yesterday. Thankfully, I am feeling better today. Mom will be relieved. The big Holiday Craft Show that we go to every year is Friday (November 4th) and she was afraid I would be sick. But no worries because I seem to be getting better.
The short story project is going well. Wow, I didn't realize how far off I was on that one! I was treating short stories basically as one act novels, but they really are their own unique creation. I think I better understand the basic elements and the importance of capturing emotion in that format now. Basically, I was simplifying it way too much. Just because they're shorter and simpler than novels doesn't mean they require less work. The work may take less time, but they need the same type of planning, investment and respect as novels do. Eventually I do plan to bring back the "Short Story" tab to this website, but obviously I want to work on this more to make sure I bring you quality content.
I did have a bit of success today. My paragraph was featured at Paragraph Planet today! You can check it out at www.paragraphplanet.com
! (You'll have to check the archive to see it after today).
In other news, Mt. Tabor had their big Reformation Sunday/125 year celebration service today. Reformation Sunday is a big deal in the Lutheran Church. It's the celebration of when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the doors of the church at Wittenburg (it was actually October 31, but we celebrate on the closest Sunday). And a little thing called the printing press gave it to the masses. We should hope that e-publishing has an equally significant impact on society. I'm all about power to the people, and I hope e-books bring independent authors to the forefront of the writing business and allow readers to see that they DO have other choices besides what the bookstores and bigwig publishers force feed them.
Wow, I got a wee bit off topic there. Well, consider it my "I hope e-publishing allows independent authors to take over the publishing industry" speech for the day.
But anyway ... our church also celebrated 125 years in the community. My great great grandfather was the
first pastor. If he could see it now - well, he'd meet me and say it's probably a good thing they invented better over the counter headache medication. And wonder if they'd ever find a name for whatever's up with me. Not yet, so far.
I had to winterize my roses yesterday. Yep, we had our first frost last night, so I had to go out there and trim off all the growth - so the 2011 growing season is officially over. It's always kind of sad to do that. I have the last bloom of the season in a bud vase on my computer counter in the kitchen. It's a red rose - my favorite. They did really well this summer (despite the searing heat), and I pray they make it through the winter to have another great growing season in 2012.
So the end of growing season means more time for indoor activities. Tonight, we're going to watch Captain America - The First Avenger. We never made it to the theater to see this one. In fact, we haven't been to the movies since we saw Harry Potter in August. Oh well. Netflix sent Captain America yesterday so we're going to watch it tonight. Then - I don't know. There are short stories, of course, and reading, and I do have a couple of small
cross stitch kits in my bag. We'll see. No NaNoWriMo for me this year (National Novel Writing Month). I enjoyed it last year and am kind of bummed, but frankly I've got nothing in the way of ideas for novels now. Well, the focus is on short stories now anyway so it's ok. I would like to participate again sometime, though, but it won't be this year.
I can't believe Halloween is tomorrow, but alas, it is! We don't get trick-or-treaters out here in the woods, so I guess it will be watching Halloween again. I like the original with Jamie Lee Curtis better than the remake. Not that there's anything wrong with the remake. I just prefer the original.
That's it for now. Mindless rambling and dribble. I hope you've had a great weekend and that your week starts off well tomorrow. Take care and I'll see you later.