Monday, October 29, 2012

Prepping for NaNo

Just wanted to let you know why I'm being silent. Just trying to finish final edits before November starts, since I want to be in full draft mode then.

See you on Wednesday!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Starting to Take Charge of Your Life: Part 3

This will be the final installment of my three part series on starting to take charge of your life. There is more to write about it, but I'm not sure if there's any demand for it.

Would you like to know more? If you do, please feel free to let me know.

Here are parts one and two, if you haven't read it.

In the mean time, here's my post about the final thing you need to start taking charge of your life.


To recap: On starting on your journey to happiness, you've done two things: 1) you took responsibility for your own happiness and/or unhappiness and 2) you challenged the way things are right now.

Now comes the really hard part:

You'll have to fight for what you want.


As if that isn't hard enough, you'll most often be fighting the very people who were supposed to support you. I wish it wasn't like this. When I pointed out to my mother that getting stuck behind an office table isn't what I want, we fought. Constantly. Every time one of us brought up what we thought I should be doing with my life.

For some reason, she seemed to think that my desire to go into the arts more was due to my chickening out of the hard work required to succeed in the business world.

Yeah... if that's what I wanted, I don't think I would have chosen to try and make it in art.

The point is, my mother had always been the one person who sacrificed the most to support me. She did a lot to put me through university. She sacrificed a lot... and the fact was, I don't think I should have been in the program I'd chosen. So of course she wasn't pleased when I pointed it out.

It takes a lot of tenacity to go after your dreams. Especially in the beginning. It took two things for my mom to take two of my dreams seriously. 1) Placing second in a short story competition and 2) Seeing me perform live as a soloist the first time.

After that, things went a lot smoother. It went even better when I managed to find a place in my life both for my commerce degree (I work for and own 25% of her company and am loving it) and for my artistic talents.

But before you can prove yourself, very few people in your immediate vicinity will understand you wanting to go after your dream.

In one of my fights with my mother, I went off about the fact that my soul was dying without my going after my dreams. Her response: a pitying smile and saying "But darling, hardly anyone gets to do what they dream of doing and they're all here."

My answer to that is what I'm going to finish with today:

I don't have to be someone who ever settles for second best in my life.


Never give up!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Starting to Take Charge of Your Life: Part 2

On Monday, I decided to do a three part series about starting to take charge of your life. 

As I said before, one needs three things before taking charge of his/her life: Responsibility, questioning of the status quo and tenacity. 

Questioning the status quo 

When you become responsible for your own happiness and choices, the second factor of taking charge becomes a lot easier. 

The reason for this: if you see yourself (correctly) as your biggest obstacle to doing what you need to do to be happy, the things you’d been blaming before are no longer as insurmountable as you’d once pretended.

A status quo can basically be defined as your circumstances as they are right now. You have a choice about if you want to tolerate them, work around them, challenge them or change them. 

NOTHING is ever set in stone. 

Of course, there are times when you’ll encounter resistance. In fact, if you’ve never taken charge before, expect the greatest resistance from your loved ones. Especially if you never spoke to them about those great things you wanted to do your whole life.

People will think you’re nuts. People will think this is a phase. 

Depending on how big a change you’ll want to make, they’ll be terrified of it. Especially because they’ll still think that circumstances are insurmountable obstacles. They’ll be worried about you failing. And you could. 

By no means do I guarantee success. Life sometimes sucks, but I truly believe that people doing those things they always wanted to do are happier, even if they’re only working towards doing them. 

Personally, I’d rather spend my life trying to succeed at singing than succeed at almost anything else. 

Don’t you have something in your life like that? If you say no, you’re either trying to lie to yourself or you’ve hidden it far away in the back of your mind. 

Think about it until you find it. You will, in time. Once you do, go after it.

Things will be in your way, but you will find ways to change them. 

Remember: change can happen, but only if you want to make it happen. 

Is there something you always burned to do? Want to share? What obstacles are in the way? Is there a way you can get around, over or through them?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Starting to Take Charge of Your Life: Part 1

I've been mulling over three things since Thursday.

This morning I woke up realizing what my mind had been up to. It had been writing a three post series for this week on starting to take charge of your life. 

For me, taking charge is about many things. It's about becoming the master of my own fate (within the scope of God's plan), but it's also about being responsible for my own happiness. 

A lot of people out there are very unhappy. I was one of them. I saw myself as trapped and couldn't see my way out of my own life, short of killing myself. 

I used to be desperately unhappy and although I never seriously contemplated suicide, I got close enough for me to be scared into thinking about what had gone wrong to get me stuck in a life I hated. 

Basically, it came down to three things, and I think I'm far from the only one who had issues with them. I also believe anyone can change their lives for the better if they're aware of these things. They are: Responsibility, a willingness to question the status quo, and tenacity. 

So why are they necessary? Easy answer: taking charge of our lives requires change in many guises. Maybe your whole life needs to change (mine did), or maybe it's a succession of small changes adding up to something big. 

Point is, if you're afraid of change, odds are you'll never take charge of your life. 

With that said, let's get started. 


We humans have a few flaws, but one of the big ones is the fact we blame other people and factors outside ourselves for a variety of things we don't like. We blame others for preventing us from doing what we want. We blame the weather for making us sad. We blame the dog's barking for making us moody. We blame our circumstances for being trapped in (and this funny in a sad way) our circumstances.

Some people are determined to determined to live like this. I suspect most of them don't even realize they're doing it. 

Blaming others has its purpose, I suppose. It helps us to deal with the symptoms of our unhappiness, of our discontent. On the other hand, it obscures the root cause of that very unhappiness and in doing so, it makes the whole thought of escaping it look like an insurmountable mountain. 

So we blame our surroundings more, trying to feel better, until it becomes an addiction that obscures our own lives from us. 

Think about it. How many times have you wanted to do something only to blame people and circumstances for why you can't? How many times have you tried to do those things anyway?

I understand. I've been there. But I've also been to a point where all those excuses and resentments I had to others stopped cutting it. 

It's a wonderful place to be, but damn, it's incredibly painful. It nearly tore my life apart while I dug past all the crap in order to find what I really wanted. 

That's why I'm writing this series. I hope that at least one person reading this can find happiness before having to go through hell. 

I believe happiness doesn't come from being happy. Being happy comes from doing things that make you happy, but in a way adding value to your life. 

Those things are usually tucked away, far in the deepest, darkest corner of the back of our minds. When we don't do them, we become miserable, because we're not doing the one or two things we're really supposed to be doing. 

We become aware of them every now and then, maybe wishing we could just try doing them. We instinctively know we'd be much happier even trying to do them than we are right now pretending to be happy not to. 

Instead we blame things for why we can't. The keys to our happiness are shoved back into the darkness and we pretend to be content. 

Contentment isn't happiness. 

Blaming your surroundings do much more damage to your life than it helps. It keeps you unhappy for longer than you ever needed to be. 

More importantly, it blinds you to the opportunities and ways you could do exactly what you want, even if it's in a different way than you expected. 

This is why you need to take responsibility for your happiness. It will never come to you unless you realize that you are the only human on earth who will make you truly happy. 

To escape unhappiness, it's necessary to admit something terrifying: You are responsible for being unhappy. Not your spouse, or your parents, children, dog, next door neighbors etc. You. 

Because no matter what the things and people around you do, you're the only one who can change what makes you unhappy. You're the only one who can make yourself do things you're afraid of. But that's for Wednesday's post. 

Are there things you've been wanting to do, but felt like your life was keeping you from it? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My thoughts on running a new blog.

As I mentioned before, I recently started a new blog.

It's about me learning how to grow orchids. This has advantages and  disadvantages. Advantage: there's ALWAYS something to write about. So much so that it's difficult for me to stay to my Tuesday Thursday Schedule for it.

Disadvantage, only people interested in orchids will want to follow and read it. Which means I'm once again stuck talking to myself... Sigh.

It reminds me of the very first time I started blogging. I felt like a lone voice in the dark with no one to hear me. But boy, did it teach me to get out there and fast.

Luckily for me, I have a day off today, so I am going to spend this morning hitting as many orchid blogs as I can. The way I see it, if only five people come by to visit, that's okay. At least I'm not talking to myself.

That's what makes a blog successful. The owner can't just sit around and wait for people to find them. We need to put ourselves out there. We have to get involved in the community, learning from them, teaching them and being there for them.

After lunch, I'm also going to visit as many of my regular commenters as I can. I'll also visit some blogfest blogs, hopefully meeting some more people there as well.

Oh... if only I were the Ninja Captain...

Do you have a system for visiting blogs? Do you visit widely, or stick to the ones you really like?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Housekeeping and music

As you can see, I changed up the look.

The standard background just didn't work for me any more, so I thought I'd put in one that better suits me.

This one works. My favorite color is blue and I love music so... I don't think I'll get a better representation of my personality than that without paying for the background.

Not much else to say news-wise, although I did now open a third blog. It's very low priority, though, so I probably won't neglect this one more than I have recently. Basically it's about me learning to grow orchids, so if you're a grower or would like to try your hand at it, I'd love to see you there.

Singing-wise, I'm back to regular solo-instruction, and I'm now learning this:

Yeah... so different from when I started, but that's good.

That's me for now. Any Puccini fans? What's your favorite operatic aria? And what do you think of the new look?

Friday, October 12, 2012

My current oil painting project

Now that my edits are done again, I have a more time to do some stuff I love. Still taking a break, hoping that I can start writing in November. Still haven't picked which story I'll work on, though.

In the mean time, I'm busy painting my grandmother's Christmas Present.  It's a beach scene, which is a new challenge all of its own. Reason: this particular beach doesn't have breakers, only millions of tiny little waves.

On the other hand, I think I managed the sand's many footprints upon footprints quite well.

So now I still have to paint the figures, rocks, sky and water, as well as some mountains and a quay. Lots of different textures and shades. Not a huge variety of colors, though. Lots of blue. Blue and brown. Bluish brown. Millions of blues for waves. A bluish gray, I grayish blue.... And blue clouds.

And they all have to be different.

Fingers crossed it works like I want it to, because I spent quite a few hours and lots of paint on it.

Fortunately the light is improving (summer's here and with it, more sunlight), so I'll hopefully be able to finish the painting in time.

Of course, the final medium will be almost pure linseed oil, so it's an open question as to whether the painting will dry in two months. In fact, I might have to wait for weeks after finishing this layer as well. We'll have to see.

Maybe once it's done, I'll show both the photo and the painting.

Anyone else painting something?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stepping back and being happy.

Hi all! I'm back from editing again. I'll take another day before dropping by and commenting, but in the meantime, I thought the blog needed some love. 

It's really amazing how easily discontent inches into our lives and takes it over. Sad thing is, often the very things you were excited about when you started them make you unhappy now.

Maybe the better word is unhappier. 

I'm still a happy person, but lately I've been having to work harder and harder to stay that way. It's not the way I want to live my life. 

Still, I felt like the things I'd volunteered for had become responsibilities. They became chores. Worse, they became tiresome chores. 

For me, 90% of my church activities are that way. Despite my initial optimism about the new youth pastor, things are returning to more of the same. Same with the choir. I quit it a year ago, but people begged me to return, saying things will change. It didn't. 

I've tried to change. I tried to look to myself and try to fix things through the way I react. But I can't stop the church choir sopranos from bitching and griping about me without becoming a worse singer I can. I can't do anything about the youth pastor NOT EVEN RESPONDING to submissions and suggestions I made. If people listen, I can't make them HEAR. I can't make the band leader realize that two griping teenage girls with maybe an eight note range between them doesn't make it a good idea to push me (plus superior skill, training and range) out of the band. 

I volunteered because they couldn't lead the youth in praise. I volunteered for youth because at the time, God wanted me to. I volunteered for choir because I love singing and because young voices lift the sound up. 

But if no one wants me there, why should I continue to put in hours on hours of unpaid time to no effect?  Seems I'm doing no one a favor. Not even myself. 

All I'm doing is tiring myself out without seeing any fruits of my labors. And damn it. Although I don't expect it, getting ONE freaking thank you would have been lovely. Then I would have known I at least helped. But need it or not, I've been wasting my time on people who don't want it. 

That is going to stop. I already quit the choir. Staying until the end of the year to help out the choir master (who does want me there). I'm quitting the youth tomorrow morning as soon as I've spoken to my friends in the leadership. 

Then I'm going to regroup and go back to moving between churches, learning what I can and just building my faith. 

This probably won't be forever, but right now, I need to rest. Then I'll look at it again. 

But I am NOT wasting my time a single second more. 

I. Am. Done. 

And you know what? I haven't felt this free or happy in ages.

Have you ever quit things you volunteered for because they made you unhappy?

Monday, October 1, 2012


Hi all!

Sorry for doing this YET AGAIN, but I won't be posting here this week.

I decided to go through my "finished" ms one more time, reading out loud etc. Because I want to do this fast, I'm cutting back on anything that takes up too much time. Sadly, blogging is one of them. I will be carrying on with my other blog, though, so if you miss me, please feel free to visit me there. ;-)

Will miss you!