Tag Archives: life lessons

A new experience…

Every year for our birthdays, my daughter and I elect to give each other a memorable experience in lieu of a standard gift. (Full disclosure here: I still get her a gift!!) For her 25th birthday, we took a cooking class together, as an example. When my birthday rolled around this year, she asked what I wanted to do that we hadn’t done before and she gave me a few options. One of them was going to trapeze school.

I can hear you saying now, “Excuse me, WHAT?”
Yes, you heard ( or read!) correctly. I wanted to learn how to fly on a trapeze. On a bar. 30 feet above the ground. And yes, with a net under me. I’m not totally a moron or have a death wish.

Anyway….

Over this past weekend, my daughter and I went to trapeze school.

It was as terrifying as I thought it would be, but it was so much more.

My daughter gave me the option of going first. I took it. As I climbed the 25 foot ladder up to the jumping off stand, I started to run in my mind the last time I paid my life insurance policy, was it up-t0-date? Who was my beneficiary? When I got to the stand, shaking and feeling as if I was going to throw up the oatmeal I had for breakfast ( more on that later) I must have telegraphed my absolute terror to the man who was going to strap me in and basically shove me off the stand because he said, “first time?”

Jeeze. What gave me away? The fact the ladder was clanging from my shaking hands? The pallor of my face? The fact my pupils were constricted with fear?

Anyway…he was lovely, reassuring, and very strong, thankfully. I did as I was instructed: one arm out to catch the bar, one hand behind me holding onto another bar, bend my knees, breathe. ON his count, he made me switch to both hands on the bar, put ten toes over the ledge and don’t look down, just focus on the distance. Now, of course, you know when someone tells you not to look down the first thing you do is….look down!! And sweet, baby Jesus, was I high up. Like third story building high up. On the count of three, he said, “go.” And I…went.

You never know how much you value your life as when it flashes before your eyes.

From below, the main instructor was calling out instructions, the most important one? “Focus on my voice!!” I did. I straightened my legs, lifted them when told, swung them around the bar so that now I was holding on and my knees were clutching the bar. When he said, “Let go and drop backward,” another flash flew past me and I…let go and leaned backward. I think at this time I screamed “Holy, Shit!”  but since neither my daughter nor my husband was videoing me, I can’t remember for sure. I do remember thinking “I’m actually doing this and not dying!!  Then I thought, “yet!”

Next instruction? Lift back up, drop your legs and let go.

Now, upside down hanging from the backs of my thighs is a position I never in 1,000,000 years thoughts I’d ever be in. But, I was. Looking at the world from 30 feet up and upside down is…interesting. And, I will admit, a total rush. And a little nauseating…damn that oatmeal.

Okay, so after a few seconds of this experience the instructor yelled, “Put your hands back up on the bar, drop your legs, and let go.”

Okay, what? Let go? I guess  I thought they would somehow lower me back down. The thought I had to DROP never crossed my mind. He said it again. “Let go.” So, I did.

The fact that I’m here, writing this, proves I didn’t die!!!

Now, no one took video of me doing this, so when it was my daughter’s turn, of course, I had that camera all set to record. Here is her much more stylish swing through:  

And, yes, it goes just that fast!!

So after the first time, when I was letter friggin’ perfect, you’d probably think it was a piece of cake after that and that the next time I’d be even better. Yeah…not so much. You never realize how much you weigh or what terrible shape your arm muscles are in until you are trying to hang with all your weight dropping straight down and someone yells “lift you legs over the bar.” So, I was a one hit wonder with the trapeze bar. Got a perfect 10 on my first try. I should have stopped there, but you know…competition! I tried 2 more times and then that damn oatmeal got the better of me and I got really sick and we had to call it a morning.

But for a few quick hours I flew like a bird. An overweight, middle aged, not very strong bird….but one, nonetheless.

And it was friggin’ fabulous!

One of my favorite human beings is Eleanor Roosevelt. She once said, “you must do the things that terrify you.” And I did!

So, next year’s birthday experience? Sky diving sounds good, no?

When I’m not doing birthday or bucket list things, you can find me here::Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Filed under Author, Life challenges, Strong Women

Life is a lesson unto itself

 

I will admit this freely: I hate a preachy book. You know the kind. The book that just bleeds with not-so-hidden messages for the reader. The book that condescends to the reader, the author making sure you know he/she is so much more educated than you on the topic.

It even happens in romance books. I read a book years ago by an author who I won’t name ( and never read again!) whose secondary character was basically a doormat and let every person in the book walk all over her because she thought that’s how she deserved to be treated since she was a bastard. All through the story, her internal dialogue droned on and on about how she was unworthy of ever finding love because of this. In the end, she winds up alone and caring for the heroine’s two children. The life lesson I took away from all that drivel, and the one I really think the author intended: bastard children don’t deserve happiness.

Yeah…that’s why I’ve never read anything by this author again.

When I set out to write a book I don’t automatically think about the life lessons that should be incorporated into the story. For me, I think the story itself and how the characters move in and out of their lives, should decide this. Looking back on my books I can objectively say these have been the basic life lessons I’ve written about:

  1. Trust is earned. Every day. (First Impressions)
  2. Everyone deserves a second chance at love. (There’s No Place Like Home, The Voices of Angels)
  3. You can’t be all things to all people and you are stronger when you let people help you  (Cooking with Kandy)
  4. First Impressions aren’t always the correct ones (A Kiss Under the Christmas tree)
  5. Forgiveness is a gift (3 Wishes)
  6. Family is more than just the people you are related to (Skater’s Waltz)

I don’t preach in my books. That’s not my job. My job is to entertain the reader. If the reader gains any insight into her own life, or sees parallels within it from the storyline, then that’s a good thing. What isn’t a good thing is if I’ve insulted the reader by presenting a situation or a problem that may be comparable to something in their own life, and then telling them this is how the situation should be solved. No. Not gonna happen.

Life lessons are important. No one is denying that. I just don’t want to get slapped in the face with it when I read. And, I also don’t want to be the one slapping!

I’m sure the other authors in this blog hop are just chock full of life lessons, so why don’t you hop on over to their sites and see who they handle writing these lessons in to their own books.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Commencement…a funny word for the end.

My facebook page has been deluged for the past two weeks with happy  pictures of graduations, both high school, and college. I love sharing in the excitement and joy of all my friends and their families at these monumental achievements.

These young people have so much in store for them, ahead of them, and concerning them, their futures, their successes, and –let’s be honest — their disappointments, too.

I can clearly see the days I graduated from high school, nursing school, college, and then from my Master’s program. Clearly! At each, I remember certain emotions of the day that seem almost prophetic now.

High school: “Thank God I can get legally get out of the house now!”

Nursing School: “Thank God I can get a good job now!”

College: “I did something no one else in my family has ever done – graduate from a school of higher learning! Thank you, God, for giving me the strength and fortitude to do this.”

Masters: “Done! Now I can get married knowing my formal education is done!” ( I never wanted a Ph.D., so I knew I was stopping here.)

I was 27 when I got my Masters degree and married the man who gave my life meaning.

I’m now 57 and all I can think about is how fast those 30 years went by.

Marriage, moves to different states, childbirth, back to work, family obligations, deaths, more births… yadayadayada. Those 30 years flew. Really. Flew by. If the insurance statisticians are correct and the average American born woman lives to 79 years of age, I’ve already lived more than half my life. Way more.

People call this The Second Act of your life. What you’re supposed to do now, since you’ve gotten all the obligatory things out of way, are the things you’ve always wanted to do. Travel, invest, take up those hobbies you never had enough time for before now. Retire, learn to do the things you’ve always dreamed about learning to do. In the great scheme of things I shouldn’t be writing – that should have happened in the first act. But…it didn’t. The writing career I wanted– the one where I could financially support myself with my writing and have it be my primary job, my career, my way of existing — didn’t happen when it was supposed to. No. It happened when I turned 55. Way after graduation. Way after my life was already settled.

At my college commencement, the speaker asked the graduates to evaluate their education. Did it prepare us for the future we wanted? Did we feel we were adequately informed and prepared for what was in front of us? Did we feel we could go out into the world and change it?

My answer was a resounding NO to all those questions. Looking back now, I’m changing that to “HELL, NO!”

Life is longitudinal. You keep moving on that line, having some success, having some failure, reformalizing goals and aspirations, but always moving. Sometimes the line moves up, sometimes down. Sometimes it just moves straight and steady from one point to another without fluctuating. But it always moves and we are always learning.

Our education doesn’t end simply because we’ve been given a piece of paper that says Graduate. No. We are lifetime learners. I learn something new every day. Every friggin’ single day. And yes, some of it I wish I didn’t know!

If I was giving a commencement speech the one thing I would emphatically tell the graduates if this: This is not the end of your education, of your learning, your schooling. Nor is it the beginning. It’s simply part of a continuum. Meet every day as a new challenge, a new learning experience. Keep your eyes, minds, and hearts open to new things, new thoughts, new ways of doing something. Don’t be static. Be dynamic instead. Embrace the new while learning from the old. Plan for the future, yes. Please do that. But don’t forget about the present. Enjoy it, don’t just look at it as a means to an end. Don’t NOT do something you dream about doing because you’re worried you might fail. Do it anyway. Failure is a form of learning; people tend to forget that.

 

 

Learn something new every day. Every. Day. You don’t want to get to a certain age in your life and think: “I wish I’d done that.  I wish I’d gone after that dream. I can’t now because it’s too late.”

It’s never too late, especially for a dream.

I really think Mother Teresa said it best:

I can usually be found learning something new every day here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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What I need to work on Everyday; #Mfrwauthors #blogChallenge

Last week we were charged with writing about our greatest strength. This week, the opposite, our greatest weakness.

I could post about my almost insane obsession for chocolate.

Or my insatiable need to watch reality television shows like “housewives” and Kardashians, just so I don’t miss a moment of their fabulous lives.

Maybe I could write a blog piece about the diet I’ve been struggling with for 40 years.

But when it comes right down to it, my greatest weakness is none of those things. It’s my judgemental attitude toward people and events.

The Bible says In Matthew 7:1-29: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Apparently, I never got that message in religion class.

When I hear something I disagree with I immediately judge it wrong, simply because I don’t agree with it.

When I hear someone has done something criminal, or stupid, or negligent, I immediately judge them guilty with no questions asked as to why they did what they did. Or even if they did. In this country you are legally innocent until you are proven legally guilty. Not in my mind. If I hear you are to alleged to have done something, the word alleged is thrown away and you actually did it.

I’m not always right. I know.  Shocker, right? And most of the things I have been wrong about were proven wrong to me after a quick judgment call on my behalf. So that old adage “think before you speak” fits in well with this knee-jerk judging reacting I have.

I struggle daily with being judge-y. I truly do. It has gotten better. Now, instead of immediately SAYING and giving voice to a judgment, I tend to keep it inside, quiet, and not share it. Okay, so I still have work to do on not being so judge-y.

 

But I AM working on it. I promise.

Please don’t judge me!

Since this is part of the #MFRWauthors 52 week blog challenge hop, you can click on the amazing authors and writer below to read all about their greatest weakness as well.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

On #Pinterest, #IceCream and #epicfails….

pinterest-logo-tag-cloud1

I lovelovelove Pinterest.  For a writer who plots ( like moi) it’s a visual dream come true. If you click on my personal link in the previous sentence,   you’ll see I use it for characterization, writing tips, plotting, and info I need for books about stuff I don’t know about, but that I want to use in the plot/story.

I also troll through recipes and how-to videos. I’m a kinesthetic learner, which means I learn how to do stuff by actually doing it. My husband and daughter can read a manual and put a truck together – or take it apart. I need to be shown how to do it because trying to follow instructional steps has never been my strong suit. I tell you this because I want to explain the title of this blog: EPIC FAILS.

I don’t drink coffee in the morning. I drink decaf tea at night in a ridiculous attempt to help dietdewme sleep. It hasn’t so far, but I digress…..

I don’t drink coffee for my caffeine jolt in the morning, I drink DIET MOUNTAIN DEW.  I know…don’t judge me! SO when I spotted a video how-to the other day about making Mountain Dew Ice cream, well, I simply lost my mind and knew -KNEW- I had to make it.

There were 4 ingredients: Heavy whipping cream, evaporated milk, DMD and food coloring.

Here are a few snaps of the process I took as I performed them according to the video.

dmd1dmd2\

dmd5

 

After the requisite 4-6 hours in the freezer, I tried a sample:

dme4

 

I truly wish someone had been home with me to video my reaction when I tasted it. This is as close as I can come to thinking what I must have looked like:

dmd6

No lie…..

Le sigh.

Now I know why there is an official website called PINTEREST FAILS! Think I should upload mine to their site???

When I’m not attempting to try things NOT in my purview, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Thoughts…

Some days I have simply nothing to say on my blog ( I know, hard to believe!) so I’m just going to say this for now:
Every day is a gift.
We’re not promised anything in this life – good, bad or other,
So begin each day as if it was the first day of your life and make it count; make it special; make it mean something…to you as well as others.
Be kind even in the face of cruelty,
Be loving even when dealing with hate,
Be quiet when all around you is raging
and
Be the person others think of when they talk about goodness.
Leading by example IS the best way to bring about change for the better.
I believe this and I live this.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

10 things I believe

Today’s blog is a little different because I’m not talking about writing ( for once!)

These are the top 10 things I believe with all my heart:

1. Good will always triumph over evil. ALWAYS

2.People are basically good; circumstances change them.

3.  If you eat fish for dinner and don’t empty the garbage right away your house will smell like stale, old…you got it!

4. Girlfriends are like fine bottles of Port(my favorite!)…they only get better with age.

5. If a woman says “fine,” when asked if something is wrong…run.

6.  If you have a choice to work for overtime pay or spend the day with your kid…ditch the OT. You can’t buy a memory      with overtime pay.

7.   Children are like flowers…they need food, attention, nurturing and most of all daily doses of love and affection to grow to be beautiful.

8.   Superman wins over Batman EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. DO not argue with me about this…you will lose.

9.   Bottle blondes have as much fun as natural blondes.

10. Laughter can cure just about anything; love certainly can.

 

Any thoughts? Let’s discuss…

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Life challenges, love, Romance, Strong Women