#weekendcoffeeshare – 12/31/2016

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Good morning and Happy New Year! Please come in and share a hot beverage with me this last day of 2016! I have a full bar for you today. Coffee – expresso, cappuccino, regular blend, decaf. Tea – everything from black tea like English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Russian, Sencha Green, and a white tea. I also have hot chocolate. I can make lattes for you. I even have some liquor that we can spike our drinks with this morning. After all, it’s New Year’s Eve and a celebration. So, anyone who wants it, feel free! I will leave it up to you. There are some treats for you to eat. Hot cinnamon rolls, hot cross buns, and two kinds of scones. Help yourselves!

When you get everything you want, please join me in my writing studio and we’ll talk.

As you get settled, let me tell you how much I have enjoyed our #weekendcoffeeshare time in 2016. I’ve loved talking with you and reading your contributions! One of my goals for 2017 is to make more comments on all of your contributions. I do read them and enjoy them greatly. I think #weekendcoffeeshare is a great idea that helps us all. Thanks, Diana! Thanks to everyone who has read my writings and ramblings in 2016!

I only started blogging in April of this year. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! I have learned so much and I have learned much of it from all of my fellow bloggers. Thank you! I’ve found that blogging is a great way to hone your writing skills. But, blogging for the sake of blogging is valuable in itself. We put ourselves out there every time we publish a blog post. We learn a lot about what works with our writing and what doesn’t. We learn what topics we like to write about and what we don’t. We have the opportunity to decide if we like to write fiction or non-fiction. Maybe, most importantly, we have a platform for opinion pieces. We get to say what we want to say about anything. Perhaps, sometimes, we even make an impact. I have developed a deep respect for bloggers who work at their craft and I have a great respect for WordPress for giving us a platform.

Writers need tools and I’ve talked to you about some that I use. I promised I would report back to you about an external keyboard I have tried for my iPad. It’s called the Querkywriter. It’s expensive, but I thought it might be worth it. WRONG. I bought it and I hate it! Somehow, it just doesn’t work with my hands. It might work for some of you, but the way I position my hands and with my typing speed, I tend to hit keys unintentionally. I don’t do this with my iPad or laptop, so I have to think it is the configuration of the keys. I am sending the Querkywriter back. I’m back on the hunt for a better external keyboard. Any ideas appreciated!

Do any of you have any particular New Year’s resolutions? With regard to writing, some of mine are to get better at reading and commenting on everyone’s posts in #weekendcoffeeshare and other challenges in which I participate. Another resolution is to reorganize my blog. I have way too many categories. I have to cut them down and reassign articles to the appropriate category. A huge job, but it will make finding articles easier for my readers. I’m participating in JotItJanuary and that means I’m committed to writing a blog post per day. I blog a lot anyway, but that is a big commitment. I participate in so many challenges that I can hardly keep up. I think that they all improve my writing. I do want to find some that require long form writing. If you know of any, please let me know. As you know, I’m writing a novel which is a psychological thriller. It’s going well but novel-writing is a huge job with a big time commitment. I find myself writing half the night most of the time.

Another New Year’s resolution is to read more. We all know writer’s need to read and I find myself writing so much that I’m neglecting reading. I particularly need to read in the genre in which I’m writing – the psychological thriller. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. What are you reading?

Writers also need new experiences since we know at least some of our writing comes from our experiences. I’m going to travel some in 2017 with this in mind. I hope to have new experiences in my travels and take great pictures I can use.

I also hope to work most of 2017, both selling my writing and as a consultant in my field in which I was trained.

On a personal note, I hope to sell my house in 2017 as we want to move to a warmer climate. I’ve always liked the four seasons we have in Kentucky, but the cold is starting to bother me. So, I hope we will sell my house in 2017 and move although we aren’t quite sure where yet. Somewhere in Florida, I think. Last, but certainly not least, I have a very important and special responsibility to take care of here at home. I am a dog lover. My little dog, Betsy, is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The breed tends to have many genetic health issues which so many purebred dogs do now. Betsy is just barely four years old and my constant companion. Two days ago, completely unexpected, Betsy had a Grand Mal seizure. I rushed her to the vet, but he could not find the source of the problem. I’m worried about Betsy and am very watchful. I’ve never blogged about Betsy and I should do that! She’s quite a little girl who will travel with me.

Happy New Year to you all and thanks to Diana! #amwriting #amblogging #writing #Challenges

 

#SoCS – Dec 31/16

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First, it’s the last day of 2016 and I want to say to all of you how much I’ve enjoyed writing these stream of consciousness challenge posts and, most of all, reading your posts, in 2016. There are wonderfully talented writers in this group and I look forward to continuing right on into 2017.

Next, I want to thank you for reading my writings and ramblings since I started this challenge. I also want to thank Linda for being such a fine host! This is a great challenge that let’s my writing just flow out of my fingertips and also allows me to get things off my chest. A real service on both counts. Too many writers, myself included, sometimes suffer from writer’s block, and I think stream of consciousness writing helps clear the cobwebs and sweeps writer’s block away. At least, it has worked that way for me. Writer’s block has other causes. I get so caught up in writing that I don’t read enough. Writer’s need to read and when I am really in a heavy writing period, I neglect reading. That is always a mistake. Right now, I need to read more of the genre in which I’m writing a novel which is the psychological thriller. If any of you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I also need to blog more in that genre when I am blogging fictional stories or flash fiction challenges. That’s one of my goals for 2017.

Last, I just want to end this post by telling everyone Happy New Year! I think 2016 was a hard year for many of us individually and for big groups of us collectively. A writer I greatly admire, and who pulls no punches, thinks 2017 may be harder still on a global level. I hope he’s wrong. At least on a personal level, I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful 2017, filled with many writing, and other, successes. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #Challenges #SoCS

Resilient

It’s been a tough year for many of us. We’ve had to be resilient. That is the theme of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge – resilient. To me, nothing is more resilient than the ocean. Resilient is defined as recovering to its original form easily and quickly. What could be more resilient than the ocean? If we have to be, we can be resilient again, like the ocean, in 2017.

This is Ft. Myers Beach, Florida in the United States at the end of the day.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Lying in London

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“Patrick!” Rebecca cried. “What a wonderful thing to do! Look at that beautiful tray of food.”

“It’s the least I could do for us tonight. You had a long day of shopping. I had a long day exploring London.”

Rebecca and Patrick were on their way back to the States after a month in Europe. It was the first time they had been there together. They explored France and then took the train to Switzerland where Patrick had business. They had just finished a day in London. They were staying a wonderful old hotel in Trafalgar Square.

Patrick was ready to have a break from Rebecca, but she didn’t know that. She thought he would miss her as she would him. She also didn’t know he was visiting another woman today in London while she was out shopping.

They drank the wine and ate the lovely Stilton cheese from the tray, saving some of each for later. Then they took a late night walk in the Square. London was beautiful by night. It was a night Rebecca would never forget.

She cried when they parted the next day. By the time Patrick boarded his plane, he had already forgotten her.

200 words

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #FFftPP

 

Self-Esteem: Renew New Year’s Resolutions for the Children

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“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci

When the New Year rolls around, people think of New Year’s resolutions,
renewal of old resolutions, and making real changes in their lives. The quote above by Leonardo da Vinci is well-taken. You can’t sit and wait for the things you want to happen to you. You have to go out and make them happen and sometimes, that is not particularly comfortable. It takes courage to go out and get what you want and accomplish something while you’re doing it. The act of doing just that is what builds real self-esteem and helps in the renewal of old New Year’s resolutions that never came to fruition.

We seem to have a problem in our society with self-esteem. For a number of years, parents have been told to praise their children. To tell Johnny and Susie how wonderful they are, how good they do in school and in all their extra-curricular activities no matter if it is true or not. The predominant thinking is that if not only parents, but teachers and other adults, praised and rewarded children for whatever they did, whether it was really good or not, it would build their self-esteem.

Parents, coaches, teachers were to tell the children that they were beautiful, smart, and talented in every area of their lives even if it wasn’t true. Schools, sports activities, and cultural activities (piano lessons, dancing, to name two) started awarding blue ribbons and trophies to everyone instead of just the winners of competitions. Everyone became a winner! The thinking was that this would build the children’s self-esteem.

The human mind is smarter than this. Children knew that they weren’t always winners and that this false self-esteem that had been instilled in them was built on a house of cards. They had enough experiences in life to find out that they weren’t always smart or beautiful or talented and that sometimes they failed. They had not been taught how to handle failure. The result? Lowered self-esteem due to something called life experiences.

Our children have been taught that they are wonderful and think they can sail through life. That makes them narcissistic, entitled, and lacking in motivation. They don’t think they have to DO anything. They have low self-esteem and tend to have poor relationships because they think they don’t deserve any better. We have failed our children.

The children need to be taught that in order to showcase their talent and beauty and intelligence they actually have to do something. They have to accomplish something. Accomplishment is what will give them a feeling of self-worth and self-esteem. If a child comes in last in a race, they shouldn’t get the blue ribbon. If a child fails a test, they should get a failing grade with encouragement to study hard to bring up that grade. Like Leonardo da Vinci said, accomplishment means you go out and happen to things. You don’t wait for things to come to you. That is what builds real self-esteem.

Let’s renew our New Year’s resolutions to care for the children in our life by encouraging accomplishment in order to build real self-esteem. That is true for ourselves as well. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #NewYearsResolutions #selfesteem

 

The Runaway

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She sat huddled in a booth in the back of the diner. Clutching her backpack against her chest. That man had tried to sit down beside her. She’d told him she was only 15 years old. He finally left. Jeff, her boyfriend, would be here in a minute. Why make her come here, alone? He was late. He knew she’d walked miles from home to meet him here.

They were going to run away. Their parents wouldn’t let them be together. Jeff said he’d take care of the money.

He appeared beside her.

“Come on,” Jeff said. “I’m taking you home.”

 

100 words

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #flashfiction #fiction

This post part of Friday Fictioneers

Relief: The Politics in the U.S.

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Today, Elizabeth’s Creativity Challenge asks the question, among others, about what would cause relief for the current distress in our fellow citizens given the current situation in the world. To provide my take on that question, I’m going to narrow the question to the United States.

The American Psychological Association actually coined a term for the stress many of us felt during and after the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election — election stress disorder. The APA cited people who were terribly distressed after each debate and then more than distressed after the election and who are having trouble recovering from that. First, a disclaimer. I personally believe we have reason to be distressed. But, we can’t have an entire country walking around unable to function for however long Donald Trump is in office. We have to be productive for ourselves and our country. That said, here is the APA’s prescription for at least some relief.

None of us in the U.S. have ever witnessed anything like the Republican primary debates nor the debates between President-elect Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. My highest stress moment (and there were a lot of them) was watching Trump stalk around on the stage (Debate 2) right behind Clinton but in view of the camera looking very predatory. Perhaps it didn’t affect men as much as women. It affected me a lot. I knew then that he should not be President. There were various high stress moments for all of us who were not Trump supporters.

What do we do for election stress disorder relief? First, the APA asks us to consider what actually happens in our brains to cause such stress. The primitive parts of our brain are associated with safety, security, and other factors cave men and women had to worry about. Those are the parts of the brain that came to life when I saw Trump stalking Clinton on stage, obviously to intimidate her. Other things might have caused  your primitives to spring into action.

Other parts of the brain react with empathy, compassion, and more adult emotions than the primitive emotions. Some of us have been able to access these emotions regarding the political situation in the U.S., some haven’t. The APA found that a full 52% of the U.S. population is suffering from election stress disorder, including both men and women.

What do we do to find some relief? The same things we do to find relief for anything that stresses us. Turn off cable news! Now! You can’t do anything at all about what’s happening. Practice relaxation techniques. Meditation, yoga, for example. Get some exercise. Aerobics helps me more than anything because it burns off that stress. Go about your work and your life. Read. Preferably fiction. Something that will take your mind to another place and time. See your friends and don’t let politics get in your way. Who cares if they are Trump supporters? They are still your friends. Don’t talk politics with them.

These things are all we can do in the short run. There is one more thing. Run for political office. There aren’t enough young politicians out there and I’ve noticed a real scarcity of young politicians, particularly Democrats. If you don’t run, you can’t make a difference. If we saw young, dedicated politicians ready to run for office, it would be a relief for all of us. #amblogging #amwriting #writing #creativitychallenge #politics

 

*American Psychological Association, Psychology Today, Election Stress Disorder

Post in response to Creativity Challenge #38

 

 

She Ran Calling Wildfire

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It was early morning when I went to the barn to saddle him. It had been a year since the barn fire. We had pulled him out of that fire but he had lost his left eye. It took almost a year before I could get on his back again. His body was healed, that big, dark body, but I didn’t think his mind would ever be. Other horses always had to be on his right, else he was scared.

We went for a ride with Robert along the beach. Wildfire loved the beach. For the first time since the fire, he stretched his neck out and ran like the wind coming in off the ocean. The ocean was healing his soul….and mine.

124 words

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #FFfAW #Challenges #flashfiction #fiction

*This post part of the #FFfAW Challenge – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Photo Credit to Iain Kelly

Falling

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She had always wanted to visit Iceland. As a photographer, she knew that some of the most amazing pictures could be taken there and she made her living selling her photos. She had been in Iceland for several days and had taken incredible pictures. She had a day trip planned to Gullfoss Falls today, an amazing waterfall.

The tour group arrived at The Falls. As they walked toward The Falls, she was mesmerized because you can’t see the edge. It looks like the Hvita River just vanishes into the earth. She just started snapping pictures. All she could think about was that she could sell these pictures in the U.S. She and some other members of the group got closer. They called to her not to get too close. She had to get this last shot. But she slipped and tumbled over the rocks into the canyon.

147 words

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #Iceland #flashfiction #fiction

Post in response to Challenge whatpegmansaw using Google Maps

Wrapping Up My Blog for 2016 and Making Changes for 2017

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Hello everyone! This week, I am dedicating my work on my blog to wrapping it up for 2016 and getting things going for 2017 with some changes.

Watch this space to see what I’m going to do with the blog to wrap it up for the year and get it ready for 2017.

I also need input from you, my readers. I want you to know that I have appreciated your support so much since I started this blog in April 2016. I can’t believe it hasn’t even been one year! It has been wonderful to write for you and to read your comments and have your support. I’ve also so enjoyed reading your blogs! For my readers and followers who don’t have blogs, I value you as well and would love feedback from you. What do you like? What don’t you like? What would you like for me to do differently?

If you have ideas for me, I would love to hear them. Ideas about how to structure the blog. Ideas about subjects I should tackle. Do you like fiction or non-fiction? Any idea at all. I would like to hear them all and I will be responsive to your needs since you are my readers and followers!

Please use the comment section to give me your ideas. If you prefer to give me your ideas privately, just use the Contact Form and no one will see it but me.

I look forward to reading your ideas. Thank you for your support in 2016 and I am excited when I think about blogging in 2017! #amblogging

Rosemary