Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Goal Check for 2013

Hey all! Happy New Year!

Today I'm checking how I did with my goals in 2013. My goals for 2014 are here.

Writing: 

Continue querying Doorways
Done. The first half of Doorways has been published. I'm in the process of editing the second half.

Finish the draft to Guardian
Done.

Rewrite: 

Don't Look Back
Done.

(Working Title) Otto
Nope.

(Working Title) Guardian
Nope.

Maybe finish the draft sequel to DoorwaysUnlocking
Done.

Reading: 

Just to read more. I'm going to go easy on myself and aim for 25 books for the whole year. Any genre or classification. Crits not included because I consistently fail to keep count of them. 
I read 50 books. 

Life: 

Keep working on my voice. 
Didn't do this as much as I wanted to. 

Get back to guitar lessons. 
Nope.

REALLY to take French and Italian, since it will be useful to my day job. 
Nope. 

Exercise regularly. This includes activities like gymming, fencing, dancing, yoga or any combination of such activities. 
Did reasonably well until November. 

Eat and cook healthier food. 
Ditto.

Make a point to meet more people with whom I have things in common. Sort of feeling tired of having my real life conversations ending in blank stares. 
Yeah... this didn't quite happen. Not for lack of trying, but it seems most people my age are only interested in watching t.v. I did make one new friend though. 

I also want to paint more. Maybe even finish an exhibition's worth of art?
Nope. But I do intend to start painting again first thing next year. 

So overall I didn't do too bad. How did you do?

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Feature: Moments

Some of you might have read this before, so I think a lot of what I have to say here will feel like a lot of rehashing. 

I believe that one of the most important things about living a fulfilled, happy life is living in the present

I used to hold on to events that happened in the past, and all that did was turn me into an angry, embittered person. 

I also lived in the future, planning years ahead. All that did was get me stuck in things in the present that I hated. Getting stuck on an image of what the future should look like makes us inflexible. And inflexibility means that we miss amazing opportunities because we can't imagine how they add to "the plan". 

So yes, I set goals, but all my plans toward achieving them are short-to-medium term. And I never give up on an opportunity in favor of sticking to the plan. Living like this makes a huge difference. 

Thing is, when I started out (and started writing this blog) I was more aware of how I was living in the present. But now I'm so used to doing it that I no longer notice. And that's sad. 

So I decided that this year, I want to make it a weekly feature where I write about one moment that blew me away. It can be anything. Even a realization I came to. Or something beautiful. 

I'll probably post these moments every Friday, but I might post more times a week if there's anything that really captures my attention. 

Anyone else trying to live in the present? How do you do it? 

Monday, December 16, 2013

This is it. I've had enough.

Today, I'm going to admit something that really irritates the living daylights out of me.

See... since that fateful day when I decided to take charge of my life, most of it has fallen into line. I've taken huge strides, both in my writing and my singing. On top of all that, my outlook has grown more positive.

But one thing defies my every single attempt at control: My weight.

Before you comment and say there's nothing wrong with my weight, I should say this. The photo you see on my profile is two years old. In the past two years, I've gained practically another body in weight. And that isn't healthy, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Add to that, my family has a history of heart disease and diabetes. So at the rate I'm picking up weight, I'm well on the way to being another statistic.

Me being me, I am not tolerating it. Fact is, I got the scare of my life last week. I have always had low blood pressure. So when terrible headaches started, I thought it was a migraine.

Until my pain meds stopped working.

On my mother's suggestion, I checked my blood pressure and to my horror, it was high. Not "I'll stroke out" high. But definitely "I should not be seeing this reading" high. And it's happened three times since.

That was the final straw.

So screw that it's close to Christmas, or my birthday, or aaaaany other excuse I might think of.

I want the weight to be gone by March 2014.

I'll be doing it by diet and exercise. The healthy way. And I'm going to make sure that this time it stays off. Because face it, with my family history and my current issues, I can't afford it.

So in summary:

My Current Weight: 223lb, 8oz (101.4 kg)
My Goal Weight: 143lb, 5oz (65kg)

I'll let you know how I'm doing.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Needlepointing

So, things are still pretty crazy here. Or maybe I'm a bit crazy. Yeah. Maybe that's it.

See... I'm doing a needlepoint tapestry. Right now, it's just a practice one to make sure I have the stitches down.

Here's the thing, though: Repetitive motion.

I literally lose hours while working on the tapestry.

Yesterday, I was puzzled by the ache in my right shoulder, until I realized that I'd spent about fourteen hours doing the same thing again and again, hundreds of times.

Doesn't sound all that fun, but it is. Really.

I think the big thing is that doing needlepoint like this is a lot like painting by numbers. Just a lot less messy. And it's wonderful to start seeing the picture taking shape.

Which is another thing. I keep saying that I'd stop when I did one thing, but once it was done, I'd go on to the next thing and the next. And the big thing is that I'm working on a fine grid, so I'm having to make many more stitches to fill the same area as the previous tapestry I did.

But yeah, that's pretty much what I'm doing when I'm not (still) unpacking boxes from my move.

What are you doing these days?

Monday, December 2, 2013

About time I showed my face here

Hey all!

Just dropping by to let you know I'm still alive and kicking.

In fact, I'm doing great.

Remember when I said I'd be back to blogging once I'm back and comfortable in my skin again? Well... I think that time has come.

Did I come to any major realizations while away?

Mmm... perhaps. And I'll tell you all about it. But for today, I thought I'd do a quick update.

As some of you reading my other blog may know, I've been through a very busy time these past few months, which is why I was mostly absent from this blog. I mean, it's been rough. My book was published in October, so I spent most of that marketing, and then I NaNo'ed, revised the sequel and moved house in November.

You'd think I'm exhausted, but no. I'm refreshed, revitalized and dying to share what's going on in my life again.

Big news is that my new home features what will become a guest house and wedding venue that I'll be running, so I'll definitely put up some posts on me fixing it up and the art projects I'll be doing for it.

I'll also be painting again soon. It sort of went off the rails this year for a variety of reasons, but I'm rearing to get started again. Only problem is that my paints, brushes, mediums etc. are still packed away, so I have to unpack a billion (or so it feels) boxes before I can start again.

There will also be a lot for me to share in the new year, since I'm back to baking and cooking and learning new things.

So a lot of things, but I might be a bit sporadic as I get back into the swing of things.

How are you doing?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sylvester

Hey Syllie,

It was sudden for us, you turning sick on Sunday. We took you to the vet on Tuesday. She said something was wrong with your kidneys and that we should bring you back on Thursday for tests.

Thursday morning, you were admitted with severe dehydration (10% of the normal required fluid levels), so the vet said she'd feed you and put you on the drip so she could do the tests the next day. We stopped by to check on you before they closed, since you aren't used to being away from the family.

You looked better.

I was the last one to pet you and after giving me one long look, you set down your head and closed your eyes for a nap. An hour after we went home, we got the call that you'd died.

I think you waited for us to come. You looked better because you were glad to see us one last time. I think you knew you were going to die, but didn't want to show us. And I think when you went for that nap, you knew you wouldn't wake up. But you felt better drifting off with us there. Having seen us.

And if you think I'm being stupid and sentimental, you might be right. But then, you don't know what a remarkable cat you were. How you touched each of our lives. Or maybe you did, but just didn't really pay attention to the fact.

After my brother's previous cat had been killed by a car, my mom went to the animal shelter to get him a kitten, since he'd been distraught for weeks. There were three kittens in the cage one day. One was cute, one was beautiful, and one was this scrawny, ugly little spotted thing that didn't look like it'd live long.

My mom, being the soft touch, took the two healthy kittens and walked away, only to be stopped by a bang against the cage's wire. It was you, Syllie, trying to get out and follow her, refusing to be left behind. So she took you home as well. And you and my brother fell in love.

You were devoted to us in general and him in particular, always going out when we did, doing who know's what. Somehow, you always always by the front door when we returned. You just knew when we were coming back.

Remember when you were still a scrawny kitten, dogs slipped into the room where we kept you, your brother and your sister? Luckily my grandmother heard the ensuing drama and saved the three of you. When you were big enough to live with the dogs, you started a reign of terror by beating them up for the smallest transgression. They never chased you again. Not even Ben.

You always demanded rather than requested anything, as was your right as household cat. And you refused to show affection in public. Always in private (and lots of it). The only exception to this was yesterday when you said good bye.

So for the eight short years you were with us, you supplied plenty of entertainment, stolen cuddles and kitty attitude. And every time I come home now, I find myself glancing to the spot where you awaited our many returns.

I know, Syllie, that wherever you are (which is probably on a bed of nails, because pillows and fluff never were your style) you're counting down the days until you have to meet each of us at the pearly dates. Because (regardless of what the dogs may think) I fully expect to see you there, walking up ahead of St. Pete, mowling at me for taking so long to come home.

Thank you for being part of our lives.

Love you, Syllie.

Misha (Slave 3)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Goal Check

Whoops! End of September came and went without me doing a goal check, but I have a great reason, which is in my progress report... Updates are in blue...

Writing: 

Continue querying Doorways
Not only have I done this, but The Vanished Knight (Doorways part 1 post publishing deal is on sale now. It was released on 4 October, with me rushing like mad to put together the final edits and a blog tour...) 

Finish the draft to Guardian
Done. 

Rewrite: 

Don't Look Back
Done. 

(Working Title) Otto
Not yet.

(Working Title) Guardian
This neither, and it might have to be postponed to early next year. Have too much to do at the moment...

Maybe finish the draft sequel to DoorwaysUnlocking
Done. 

Reading: 

Just to read more. I'm going to go easy on myself and aim for 25 books for the whole year. Any genre or classification. Crits not included because I consistently fail to keep count of them. 
More than done. I'm at 45 books to date...

Life: 

Keep working on my voice. 
Sort of done, although this is a busy time for me and my instructor. 

Get back to guitar lessons. 
Unlikely, due to my writing, singing and publishing schedules. 

REALLY to take French and Italian, since it will be useful to my day job. 
I decided to postpone these to next year for the same reason, but am now back to reading in French to pick up the language.

Exercise regularly. This includes activities like gymming, fencing, dancing, yoga or any combination of such activities. 
Fencing once a week, yoga three times a week, also, horse riding once a week, which I deem to be exercise until cantering stops making my thighs ache. 

Eat and cook healthier food. 
Eating healthier, yes, but not cooking regularly, yet. Lucky me, my family are all keen to eat healthily.

Make a point to meet more people with whom I have things in common. Sort of feeling tired of having my real life conversations ending in blank stares. 
Point made, as well as some friends, but it seems I'll be doomed to blank stares from the majority of people I meet. Oh well...

I also want to paint more. Maybe even finish an exhibition's worth of art?
Sort of realized yesterday that I haven't painted nine months. Have a sketch ready, but when the light's good, the timing isn't, and vice versa. Exhibition's highly unlikely at this stage, but I'm not ruling it out for next year...

That's me for now. How are you doing on your goals? 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Not my will, but Yours.

Please Note: Today's post is about God and being a Christian, so for those of you who aren't interested in reading, please feel free to check out my writer's blog instead


Lately, I've been noticing something about the people coming to this blog to read posts. Almost none of them comment, so I only hope that the post I'd written fulfills their needs.

You see, the number 1 search topic bringing people to my blog is this: "Not my will, but yours." I know it goes to one of my posts from early from when this blog was still young. Sadly, I can't seem to find it, but I decided to write this anyway.

Because this is something I know people struggle with. Heck, I spent about half my life as a Christian (which is about eight years short of my whole life) struggling with it.

There's you. And stuff you want to do. And things you worry about.

And then there's God. Who sometimes lets things happen that we don't want to see happening.

So we (being delusional) have this tendency to think that we can do better at making sure our lives go well.

We believe in God. We're pretty sure He loves us, but we have this sneaking suspicion that if we let Him, He'll do a Jonah with us and force us to do stuff we absolutely refuse to do.

And since we're not all that thrilled at being swallowed by whales and prophesying (because that means standing up in front of people you don't know and who might ridicule you), we cling to the steering wheel in our lives with all we're worth.

Or maybe, something bad happened to you and you don't want to get hurt again.

Everyone has his or her reason to want to follow their will and not God's. All of them seem to be some form of self-preservation.

But letting God lead us is the best form of protection we have:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!

Honor God with everything you own;
give Him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.

But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
don’t sulk under his loving correction.

It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.

Proverbs 3:5-12 (The Message)


The bits I made bigger are promises.They don't say He might keep us on track. Or that He'll think about blessing you sometime. It says that if we let God take the lead in our lives, He'll never lead us in the wrong direction. We'll never be brought to face something that we aren't prepared for.

It also doesn't mean that we won't lose loved ones, or that we'll grow rich.

But it does mean that if we follow God's will, and are willing to be a blessing to people He guides you to bless, He will bestow blessing upon blessing on you. The more you do, the more He gives with which you can do things.

Best. Rewards Plan. EVER.


So in the smallest thing, in the biggest thing, in that thing that's been niggling you but that you think is too silly to ask Him about. EVERYTHING. Talk to Him. Refuse to make a decision until you're certain that it's what God wants. (And believe me, it's usually not a long time to wait.) Always be willing to embrace challenges. He won't ever lead you astray, even if you have to go through some troubling times first. Even if you disagree with the decision. Because if nothing else, He knows what's going on much better than you do.

I wish I could give you an easy way to do this, but I can't. It's a choice you make. Every single time something comes up. Only you can do it.


And I pray God blesses the socks of you if you do! 





Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reflection on 9/11

It's strange, really. The passage of time relentlessly dulls down our pain and bad memories.

Today is the twelfth anniversary of 9/11. Granted, the real anniversary will start an hour or so after this post goes live.

But right now, I'm sort of wondering, because it's 10 hours and 30 minutes into my day and I've come across only a single mention of it. There wasn't even mention of it on the news.

Maybe the US is still sleeping. I'm not sure how the time zones work at the moment. But the rest of the world isn't talking about it. Up until last year, 9/11 took over the Twitter trends. Everyone posted memorials and thoughts on it. Maybe there are many posts up that I just haven't seen.

It's just... I don't know. Quieter. Less raw. As if the gaping open wound has finally scarred over.

And although I feel sad for the people who lost loved ones on that day, I think this change is a good thing.

The scars remain, but the pain isn't as intense.

We've wept. We've grieved. We've mourned. We've learnt.

We've all been irrecoverably changed by the attacks.

But we didn't lose. 


We didn't bend under the immense damage a few insane people wrought.

We're getting back on our feet.

In a quiet way, I'm actually very proud of us.

Still, I just want to remember those who lost their lives and loved ones on 9/11. May you never be forgotten.


Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm Back, sort of...

Hey all,

Just a quick note to say that I think I'm ready to return to this blog again.

For now, my posts might be a bit sporadic, but I do have some stuff to say, so I will be writing some posts in the very near future.

In the meantime, how are you doing?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Taking a Break

At the moment, I'm mainly exhausted.

I realized lately, that I've been disregarding certain insecurities I have and they've grown to the point where they really affected my life in a bad way.

Thing is, I didn't realize this was happening until things were going far worse than they were supposed to. At least I figured out what was wrong, so now I can start fighting my way back to where I want to be. Right now, though, fighting shadows have left me tired and needing to re-orientate myself.

In between this, I have to focus more on activities that'll help to market my upcoming novel. And on writing more. While finding my center as well.

Doing this while running two blogs just isn't possible. So. I'm putting this blog on a semi-hiatus.

I'll be back, if I have something to say, but I won't be looking for subjects to post about while needing to prioritize other things.

Once I'm back, I'll hopefully have all the perspective I need in order to write about why I need to leave off for now.

Until then, please feel free to say hi at my other blog!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Netherlands Pics

And finally, pictures taken in the Netherlands. Enjoy!

Amsterdam: 



Zaanse Schans


Rotterdam

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Versailles

Hi all. Finally have everything ready to put up some photos. So without further ado. Here's a little bit of the palace of Versailles.








Sorry that the photos are so few, but there were so many people shoving and jostling me that it was hard to get good shots in.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Stretching My Wings

For those of you wondering about the photos, I'll have them up on Wednesday. The reason why this isn't done is explained below. 

See, I've been feeling stuck in a rut lately. It's been incredibly frustrating, and my one release, writing, felt on the verge of burning out on me. 

So. Now I'm back to that old method I have for sprucing up my life. I'm learning something new. Usually, I'd flee to the oil paints and canvas, but I might move soon. Which meant I needed to pick up something cleaner to do. 

An that, to me, is needle point. At the moment, I'm sewing a tapestry like a fiend. And on Wednesday, I'm taking lessons in quilting. The former is super comforting because it's lots and lots of repetitive motion. The latter is something I've always wanted to learn how to do properly. 

So yeah, I'm adding to my artistic repetoire. Which is great, but it takes time. Which is why I'm very close to bed time with very little time left to write. Also why I haven't searched out the photos I wanted to post again. 

I promise I'll be better about it by Wednesday! 

Have you ever picked up an interesting craft in order to escape from your life's stresses? 


Friday, August 2, 2013

I'm almost back

I finally have my computer, but it took so long to reinstall all my programs that I'm now a week behind everything I wanted to do. 

So I'm just going to get going again with all the writing etc. that I'll need to do. After that, I'll be back about Wednesday next week to continue posting photos from Europe. 

See you soon! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And... I have to delay yet again.

Sorry everyone! Unfortunately for me, my laptop crashed this morning. Looks like they'll need to reinstall the operating system. BUT I backed everything up this weekend, and they apparently managed to save the data.

Problem is that uploading pic to blogger using my tablet is a major schlep.

So I'm just going to wait until I have a laptop again. Hopefully by this weekend....

Monday, July 22, 2013

Finally: The Photos

Hey all!

Since I took hundreds of photos, it's a bit hard for me to figure out which ones you'd like to see. But... I figured you want to live vicariously through my photos, so here you go...

Ten pictures from Paris. Wednesday, I'll put up pics from Versailles and on Friday I'll put up pics from the Netherlands.



Au Printemps

Palais Garnier (this is the building Gaston Le Roux based his opera house on in Phantom of the Opera)

Pont Neuf

For the life of me, I can't remember this one. But it's so pretty...

Louvre at night

Yes. It rained that night.

On the Champs Elysees

Arc de Triomphe

Sacre Coeur

The View from Montmartre

Hope they lived up to expectation! ;-)






Sunday, July 21, 2013

A confession

I went to a new church today after a almost a year of taking a break from the church I’d belonged to. The break had been necessitated by my becoming involved with said church’s activities. I had joined up with the youth and music ministries in good faith, thinking that I could really help and make a difference, but ended up three years later, angry and embittered because of being ignored despite the fact that the current methods being employed helped absolutely no one.

The experiences brought along by my involvement exhausted me emotionally and spiritually to the point where I withdrew from church entirely. I didn’t feel like being friendly and civil to anyone in church. I didn’t feel like doing anything for anyone, since no one there appreciated it anyway. No. Correction. No one even wanted me to do it.

So I shook the proverbial dust from my ankles and walked away.

But the damage had been done. Because although I didn’t know at the time, the experience did much more than just tire me out. It planted a seed of bitterness. Or maybe poured water and fertilizer onto it so that the bitterness could once again take root in my life and infect every aspect of it. The big thing is, though, that I'd allowed this to happen. In fact, I didn't even see it happen. 

The only reason why I do now is that I went to the new church and spoke to the pastor there. He told me that once there’s bitterness in my heart, it’ll deliver fruit according to the tree that’s there. So anger, resentment, impatience, frustration with my life and so on will all be there. They’re bringing my life to a standstill. Which actually makes things even worse. Because nothing adds to my frustration, impatience etc like not moving forward in my life.

It stops now. I’m going to address this bitterness with prayer. I’ve forgiven the people who’ve embittered me, but I know I’ll need to do it again and again and again. For as long and as often as it needs to be done until this anger and resentment I have is rooted out of my heart and get replaced by something healing.


I know it won’t be easy, because it’s been a fall back position to me for so long. But I have to start. And by the grace of God, I know I’ll succeed with His help. 

Do you have bitterness rooted in your heart? Do you want to get rid of it?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Photos will be up on Friday

Yep. I finally finished them. Amazing, I know. I thought I'd get through with the pictures a lot faster than that, but just ended up getting so busy with other stuff that even my blogging fell by the wayside.

Anyway... It's a bit late today and I have to go sing (YAY!!!) in an hour and a half, so I'll be putting up photos starting on Friday.

Sorry for being such a terrible blogger!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Almost done!

Hey all! Just want to let you know that I'm through all my Paris pictures. Tomorrow, I'll edit the ones I took in the Netherlands, then I'll start to put some up on Friday. ;-)

Anyone else love taking photos, but sort of fade out when it comes to editing them?

Monday, July 1, 2013

So... this photo project is a bit more daunting than I thought.

I took over 400 pictures while in Europe this time, so with my Camp NaNoWriMo writing goals and work, the photos just aren't getting edited as fast as I'd like to.

I WILL get them done, though.

I promise. Planning to do a few every day until they're all done.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Goal Check: June 2013

Hey all! I still haven't had a chance to sit still and download those pictures, but I will be doing it this weekend. Definitely. Today I went to a chiropractor's appointment, so needless to say, I won't be moving around much.

In the meantime, since today is the last weekday of the second quarter, I'm going to check my progress on my goals.

Writing: 

Continue querying Doorways
Sold Doorways in March. Now editing. 

Finish the draft to Guardian
Will be working on this in July. 

Rewrite: 

Don't Look Back

(Working Title) Otto

(Working Title) Guardian

Maybe finish the draft sequel to DoorwaysUnlocking
All of the above postponed in favor of me writing two or more rough drafts while finishing the edits to Doorways. 

Reading: 

Just to read more. I'm going to go easy on myself and aim for 25 books for the whole year. Any genre or classification. Crits not included because I consistently fail to keep count of them. 

Currently at 30 books. Going strong to read 50+ this year. 

Life: 

Keep working on my voice. 
Doing this, but it's a bit difficult with the recent bout of flu's I've been getting. 

Get back to guitar lessons. 
This one's unlikely to happen. I'm just too busy at the moment. 

REALLY to take French and Italian, since it will be useful to my day job. 
Focusing on getting some reading done in French. Hopefully this will be enough to help me pick up the language. See above for why the lessons aren't happening. 

Exercise regularly. This includes activities like gymming, fencing, dancing, yoga or any combination of such activities. 
Started fencing and yoga. 

Eat and cook healthier food. 
Done. I'm pretty much at a point where I can say this a lifestyle. 

Make a point to meet more people with whom I have things in common. Sort of feeling tired of having my real life conversations ending in blank stares. 
Yeah... uhm... this one isn't quite happening yet. I really should get out more. Sigh. 

I also want to paint more. Maybe even finish an exhibition's worth of art?
This I want to do, but the fact that fencing is on the day I used to paint on complicates things. 

That's it from me. How are you doing with your goals? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pictures are Forthcoming

I really wanted to write something with a bit more substance today, but for some reason, I'm just not able to corral my thoughts into enough order to manage.

Probably because I really want to write. Odd, yes, but that's me. When I want to start writing, my mind becomes a huge mess until I get a few words down and my thoughts fall back into some sort of pattern.

So yeah. No serious post from me today. Just a promise that I WILL be putting up some photos of my Europe trip. Things are finally settled down enough for me to download and edit my pics. So hopefully I'll have them done this week. At the latest on Friday.

Otherwise, that's it for me.

Do any of your hobbies/passions turn your thoughts into spaghetti?

Friday, June 21, 2013

De-stressing

Things are sort of rushed and quiet at the same time. Rushed in that a hundred and twenty things need to be done, usually with some sort of urgency.

Quiet because... well... there aren't all that many new developments in my life. Probably because I've been so busy lately.

That and the fact that I've caught a flu YET AGAIN. Almost shook that off now. So much so that I'm finally singing again. It's such a relief.

I also did a short yoga session with a lady who's in church with me. Maybe not the best idea when I might or might not be sick, but I just had to find a way to get rid of some stress that's been building for a while.

I'm glad to sing and do yoga again, since at the moment, even editing can be an additional source of stress. Before, writing and editing was just something I did to relax. Now though, I know that there's an obligation tied to my deadlines. People are waiting for me to finish so they can do their work.

Which means I basically need to do as much as possible to stay calm and stress-free.

Hopefully, the yoga and singing will help. And waiting while my editor works through my newest revision.

What do you do to de-stress?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Knowing when to rest

One thing (of very many things) I love about God is that He gives us the strength we need to go on.

This can be for anything. From achieving our goals to just getting through a seemingly impossible week. He's always there, ready to give a boost when we need it. Often, all we need to do is ask.

Recently, I've been learning something else about Him. And by extension about me.

You see, He's been telling me to chill out.

I pray for Him to take away my migraines, He tells me to take time away from my computer. (I have been making a habit of 18 hour days in front of the screen.)

I pray to help me with my exhaustion, He tells me to rest. To do something different. To go take a breath of fresh air.

I pray about this scary time in my business, He tells me to stay calm. He's taking care of it. All I need to do is do little bits at a time and everything will be okay.

He also tells me to turn off the noise. Silence can be so good for us. The calmness that (eventually) comes with it renews us.

And right now, after a rather hellish weekend of short sleeps, He's telling me to stop everything I'm doing and just go sleep. You know, I really need it. So I'm posting this, turning off the lights and my computer. And then I'm (hopefully) going to sleep like a stone.

Has God told you or been telling you to chill out?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just a quick hello...

So... it looks like the prayer week idea fell flat after all. But hey. That's fine. It's something I tried and even if no one was interested, I still feel better for trying.

But yeah... I don't really have much in the way of a post now.

No real news at the moment, since recovering from the break-in at the office means that my life is pretty much dominated by work.

And since I don't write about work on my blogs, I fear I shall be boring.

As for the photos of Europe. They are still on their way. Just hadn't had time to download them after the break-ins.

So yeah. That's me for today. Hopefully I'll be able to write something a bit more interesting on Friday.

How are you doing?

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Week of Prayer

Hi all!

Today, I have something weighing on my heart. Still, I'm a little scared, since I'm worried that this will fall flat.

Still, I believe that God puts things in my heart when He wants me to do them, so I'm taking a leap of faith.

I'm making this week a Week of Prayer, and I invite you to join.

Today, I want you to look at your life and decide what you need a prayer for. This can be anything, one thing or ten. From needing a blessing, to your children, to you going through a tough time.

Then, from today to Wednesday, I'll have a linky list open. Write a post about what you need prayers for and link directly to that post. That way, it'll be easy for your prayer-buddy to find your prayer needs.

After midnight GMT on Thursday, go to the link left by the person directly above you. If you're number 1, go to the last name on the list. That person is your prayer buddy for the week.

Pray for your buddy until Friday. Someone else should be praying for you too.

Finally, on Friday, I'd like to read about your experiences. Was there some sort of break-through on those things you needed prayers for? How did you feel, praying for someone else? Any other things you learnt this week?

That's pretty much it. Simple in theory, but who knows. Maybe this will make quite a big difference to quite a few lives. Now I leave it to you, if you want to join.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Digging

This is going to sound funny, but I sort of forgot the day, yesterday, so here I am, doing a post on Thurday to make up.

I mean, it just won't do to just keep skipping posts...

Pictures are still coming. I'll try to get them downloaded this weekend.

In the mean time, I thought I'd write about something that's been on my mind since Monday.

Al Diaz wrote this post about life and achieving goals.

He's so right. Setting goals is a wonderful tool, especially when you want to live your life to the full, but not when they blind you to the possibilities life offers.

As he said, we sometimes think we're against a wall. We make a plan to break through it, but when we do, we discover we're actually facing a mountain.

Most of us continue trying to break through as if it's still the wall we thought it was. Some of us aren't even digging through the right mountain.

It'll end up taking up so much time that you don't have time for anything else. To me, that's just not worth it, no matter how wonderful the goal may be.

So, if you're a goal-setter, remember to evaluate your plans for those goals every now and then. And remember to take a break from it every now and then. It's important to rest too.

Don't tell me you'll rest when you're dead. That'll just age you faster.

What about you? Have you ever come so very close to giving up, only to realize you've been going about something the wrong way?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Back from My Trip

Hi all!

I'm back from Europe. I really enjoyed the trip, even though it was a lot colder than expected. The sun barely shined the whole ten days that we were there.

Still, I find myself deeply in love with both France and the Netherlands. Both are so different from South Africa, but maybe that's exactly why I love those countries.

To the point where I was really sad to come back home.

Oh well.

Sometime this week, I'll be putting my pictures up for you guys to enjoy.

But for now, I'm going to say bye bye. Catching up with office work is more than a bit overwhelming.

See you on Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Liebster Blog Awards



My blogs have been nominated for not one, not two, but three Liebster Awards. I feel so honored by this. Thank you very much for the support and appreciation. 

However, because sticking to the rules will make the post run on too much, I'm going to do it like this. 

I'm going to answer all of the questions, but they're going to double as the facts about myself as well. Besides that, I'm passing the award on to anyone who feels he or she deserves it. 

Okay. On with the question answering. 

Cherie Colyer asked these: 

1. What do you like best about blogging?
Making contact with the members of the blogging community. 
2. Mountains or ocean?
Mountains.
3. Favorite author?
Don't have one.
4. Are you an outliner or a panster?
Panster until the rewrite.
5. Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. Really. Sometimes I dream my stories. Other times something as silly as a computer game can make something click.
6. What fictional world would you like to visit?
My own, but then I sort of do every time I write.
7. KFC or Popeye’s?
KFC. No Popeye's in my country.
8. Are there any books you won’t read?
Mmm... I never say never, but personal taste dictates that erotica is too far out of my comfort zone.
9. Name three people (living or dead) you’d like to meet?
Oscar Wilde
Ambrose Bierce
Mark Twain
Just imagine the dinner conversation. 
10. Do you have any advice for fellow bloggers?
Put your blog reader first. If you make it too difficult for them to visit and respond, they won't. Also, for the love of all that is holy. Turn off the automated music.
11. Is this your first Liebster award?
Nope. It's the first one in a while, though. 

Bradley asked me these: 


1. What’s the most annoying thing on your To Do List? Why haven’t you done it? 
Today will be waxing my armpits and legs. First time I've ever done it. Not looking forward to it. This blog will go live exactly when I go in. Pray for me. 
2. Who’s your best friend? (Submitted by my 7-year old who asks me this weekly–bonus: Who’s your best friend who’s not family?)
I have a couple of friends who qualify, but I think it's a tie between Theresa Jankowitz and Lauren Sykes. 
3. Where do you find inspiration for creativity? (A place, a person, an activity, etc.)
Continuing from a similar question above. Anywhere. My brain has a way of taking something interesting and running with it until it comes up with something new and really special. And usually seemingly unrelated. 
4. What single project or task would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career so far? That will be sticking through the query process until I sold my book. 
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? (Thanks, Ida, I love this one.)
"Bye bye." I'm on the telephone a lot.
6. Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you? 
God and myself. God for guiding me. Me for actually getting done what I was terrified of doing.
7. Your car just went off the cliff (sorry). You’re mid-air but you were visiting the Grand Canyon so you have a few extra seconds before it’s all over. Who did you wish you last kissed? What might you have said to them had you known about your unfortunate Cliff Diving While Driving experience? (tip: go say that to them today)
I'd like to think I have that covered already. Prefer to live my life as if any moment might be my last. 
8. What did you invent that you thought would be a great invention until you found out it was already done?
... Can't think of anything at the moment. Not the way my mind works, it seems. 
9. What’s your favorite sound? (For example, mine might be the sound of bicycle wheels on the pavement when there is no other sound.)
A beautiful, well-trained voice in a room with perfect acoustics. 
10. How would you like to be remembered?
As a person who lived life to the full.
11. What question above was your favorite?
Number 9, just thinking about it put me in my happy place. 

Finally, Neurotic Workaholic asked me these: 

1. What's your favorite cancelled television show?
Moonlight. Really didn't deserve to be cancelled after its first season.
2. Which show do you wish would get cancelled?
This will sound sad, but I don't watch enough T.V. to make that call... no wait. There is one. Toddlers and Tiaras. Freaks me the hell out every time I happen to see it. 
3. If you could meet any author, who would it be?
I named three in the first set of questions. 
4. If you could relive high school, would you?
Nope.
5. Why would you want/not want to relive high school?
Because school was all about wanting to grow up and achieve stuff. Right now is getting everything done, which makes me a happy camper. There's also the fact that I didn't really like 99% of my classmates, so getting shut in with them for hours isn't my type of fun.
6. If you could meet the characters of any book, which book would it be?
Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. He's awesome.
7. What do you like best about writing/blogging?
The blogging part I answered already, but I love writing because it's a positive way to deal with my emotions and I love escaping to other worlds. 
8. How would you like to spend your summer vacation?
Well... that's a long way off for me. My summer vacation is in December. So... Christmas and my birthday are highlights, although my birthday sort of sucks. It's on the 28th. Right after no one wants to party any more and right before everyone wants to party again. 

Got through them all? I'm impressed! Have a cookie. ;-)

Why don't you answer a few of these questions in the comments? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

This month on TCoML

Once again, we'll (sort of) be back to regular MWF posts, but only for this week. Next Monday, I'll be in Europe and will stay there until the 24th. Which means I'll  be on a blogging hiatus yet again during that time. 

This week, though, I'll be answering three sets of questions for Liebster awards I got in April and yesterday. 

On Friday, I'll hopefully have something helpful or encouraging to write about, since that's partially what this blog is about. 

Yeah... doesn't sound all that organized, does it? Oh well. It's the way I am. 

Anyone else fly by the seat of his or her pants when blogging?



Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Zooming On

Before we start, I just want to leave a quick thank you to every one who read and who commented on my blogs this month. I truly hope that this series touched you in some positive way. And then, I want to congratulate everyone who reached Z this month!

Today's post is going to be pretty different from the others. 

You see, after everything I shared this month, the person who takes charge of his or her life is, in fact, in charge. Even if the lessons I shared take more than a month to put into practice. 

So what's next? 

Well. That's the nice part. Whatever you want. Whatever God guides you to do. 

And you'll keep getting better at those lessons. 

And you'll keep going on. 

And things will be so much easier than you imagined. 

May God bless you on this journey. 

Prayer


Lord, 

I've done what I could to share what I've learnt. I pray that the people who are meant to read this series, do. I pray that You bless them on their journeys, so that they never for a moment doubt that You're doing the blessing. 

I'd ask that You make things easy, but easy isn't worth it. 

I'd ask that You carry them when they're tired, console them when they're hurt. But, then You've always been there to do that. 

So most of all, I pray that this journey will bring them closer to You and Your unconditional love and forgiveness. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 

Amen.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Youth

One thing I've heard so many times be it in reality or fiction is a bit of a universal lament. If only I'd done this when I was young. Now it's too late.

A good cautioning tale, I'm sure. Reminding us kids never to miss an opportunity while we can.

Except here's the thing, I believe there are few reasons why age should be a limiter on exploring new activities.

But then, I have a great-aunt who's currently touring Greece.

Aged 80-something.

Everything we want to do depends on our capability, yes, but this doesn't mean you stop living after forty.  Go see the world. Go to that art class you always wanted to do. Go learn piano. (I know a lady who went to her first lesson aged 75. After she was pretty much deaf.)

Most things in life aren't about youth. You can do them regardless of age, and they'll keep you young.

So what are you waiting for? Go find something new to do.

Prayer


Lord, 

I still want to do so many things, even though I've left them undone for so long. 

Please help me find the things I can and still want to do. And give me the courage to learn them. 

I ask this in Jesus's name. 

Amen.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Xcitement

Before I start today's post, I just want to ask that you please pray for Damyanti and her family. A few weeks ago, her sister-in-law passed away. But that's not all. A couple of days ago, her mother-in-law was bitten by a saw-scaled viper. This is a terribly venomous snake and she's in the hospital as we speak, fighting for her life. Allergic to the anti-venom, and systems starting to fail. D asked me to spread the word as far as I can, as her mother-in-law and the family as a whole need as many prayers as they can get. Please share this message with as many people as you can. And please pray.




Excitement comes with the territory once you take charge of your life. Makes sense, if you think about it. By taking charge, you take ownership of it. Suddenly, your life has so many possibilities and you know by now that nothing is quite as impossible as you believed before.

And trying to do something you love is so much better than succeeding at something you despise. 

So life becomes exciting, even if you do the same thing every day. Your actions will have new meaning. Out of this, joy will flow. 

Enjoy it! 

Prayer


Lord, 

Today I just want to praise you for being such an amazing father. Thank You for giving me a life worth being excited about. Thank You for the bounty of blessings that you have given me. 

Thank You for the promise that life will never stop being exciting as long as I spend it as You wish me to. 

Amen.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Wanting to Curl Up into the Fetal Position


Hey all. No real post today. Flu is kicking my ass again, so I'll just be burrowing under the covers tonight.

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Vivre

After I took my first steps towards taking charge of my life, I found that I became more goal orientated. Almost nothing important to me exists in my mind without a goal attached. 

Of course, this makes me a lot more productive than I used to be. I now no longer have to force myself into doing boring things. Most of what I do go towards some goal

This can bring a bit of a problem, though. I get so focused on the important tasks that the less important tasks go ignored. Except for one thing. Some of those seemingly unimportant activities are in fact vital. Things like going to watch a movie. Or drinking coffee with a friend. Or playing with your child. In fact, sometimes it feels like life is getting in the way of what you should be doing. 

Life doesn't fit neatly into our plans, so those little distractions it throws in our way can be annoying. But without them, your life wouldn't be worth living. Your time spent on your goal will be for nothing. Because if you refuse to live, you'll end up with nothing worth remembering, and no one to share your life with. 

So, if life comes knocking, let it in. Spend time with your loved ones. Do something new and unrelated. Make memories. Recharge your batteries. 

Taking a break from your goals is more than okay. 

It's necessary. 

Prayer


Thank you for the many chances I get to live in the present, Lord. Please help me to see them for the opportunities that they are. Let me remember what blessings such moments are and please help me to make the absolute most of them. 

I ask this in Jesus's name. 

Amen.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Uncertainty

One thing that's really difficult about taking charge of one's life is the uncertainty that goes with it.

Because more often than not, living the life you supposed to entails the sacrifice of security now for happiness and success in the future.

I can't begin to describe the sort of mind shift it takes to move away from this. It's a lot like materialism. In fact, I think our desire for security and the need for money are inter-related.

As a result, the first steps in taking charge of your life will be the most difficult. After years of getting used to things being a certain way, you're suddenly having to do things without a plan. Without even really knowing how exactly you get to your end goal.

Heck. You might not even know what the goal is.

But in order to get anywhere in your new life, you're going to have to learn how to function in uncertainty. Actually (and you might not believe me) you'll probably grow to love it.

No matter what, life will at least never be boring again.

Prayer


Lord, 

Thank You for this chance to take charge of my life. I'm finding it a little hard to cope with the uncertainty, though. Please help me get used to it and enjoy the challenge. 

And please give me the wisdom required to make the correct choices. 

In Jesus's name I pray. 

Amen.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Tests

By now, this is starting to sound like a refrain, but taking charge of our lives is never easy. If you're walking this road with God, you're going to deal with tests as well. He tests our faith, because based on our faith, He knows when we're ready for the challenges that come with the next part of our lives. This test of faith mainly takes two forms.

Firstly, there's obedience. He tells you to do something obscure, odd, difficult or impossible. You can choose whether or not you want to obey, but if you don't, you can bet two things. 1) You're going to stay where you are for a while longer and 2) You're going to take the test again.

Another test that God uses is on our patience. He tells us to wait. Or to make things a bit trickier, He makes us wait by not telling us anything at all. Our job is to keep strong in prayer while waiting for Him to give us the answer. The faster we cling to God in this difficult time, the better.

These tests can be hard at the time, but there's something wonderful about them. God gives us more than one chance. And when we do succeed, the rewards a bountiful blessings.

Unfortunately, though, I can't really say much more on this topic.  I can't really give advice, because how one makes these choices is highly personal. All I can do is ask you to keep what I told you in mind. It might help you to decide the right way when your next test comes up.

Oh and... one more thing. With your blessings, you'll get more tests for chances at more blessings.

Prayer


Lord, 

Thank You for giving me so many wonderful chances to grow as a person. I relish the chance to find out more about who I am and what You want me to do, but know that the tests aren't always easy. 

Please guide me, Lord. Please give me the discernment to know when You are testing me so that I can be fully prepared to do what I need to do. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 

Amen.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Support

When you're starting to take charge of your life, there's one thing that's quite important to your success. You need to find kindred spirits

Because you've entered a phase of your life where very few people dare to go. Most of the people you know and love have no idea about what supporting you entails. You need someone who understands. Who can help you stay strong when things get difficult. 

On the other hand, there's an aspect I've found that people on this road seem to forget. Support should always be a two way road. You and your friend should support one another. If one needs to carry and drag the other along, there's a problem. If you're the someone getting dragged, you need to take a hard look at yourself. At the heart of it, you're just being a bit more actively passive by having someone drag you. 

And if you're the one doing the dragging, let go and give the dragee a solid kick in the butt. Carrying your friend isn't your job. You already have enough on your plate with taking charge of your own life. If the person doesn't want to stand on their own, go on alone. Remember what I said about Priorities? (P-Day)

See, there are people who want to take charge, but continue on their previous habits and ways of thinking. You can try to wake them up to this fact, but in the end, you can't solve their issues. But you can help them work through them when they try to get through something.

They're supposed to do the same with you. 

This reciprocation is vital. So please watch out for relationships that are turning you into a well-appreciated doormat. 

Prayer


Lord, 

Thank You for being the most supreme of all supporters. Thank You that I can know that You'll never ever let me down. 

Still, I know I need human companions in this process. Please help us find each other, Lord. Help us to build good, balanced relationships based on trust, and give and take. Please send me the friends I need. And please help me to be the friend they need as well. 

In Jesus's name I pray. 

Amen.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Returning to Dreams

In the dark times when you have to find who you are, you also need to work out where you want to be going.

Even if you're not exactly sure about what you want from your future, there's a definite, sure-fire way to at least get going. Start going through all your memories. See what you've wanted to do since you were a little child.

Look for patterns. I'm not talking about becoming an astronaut because you wanted to when you were seven. I'm saying that you should look for the things you love and have always loved. Like if you wanted to learn the piano for years, but never got to. Or if you always loved working with people, but ended up working on computers all the time.

Those are the sorts of things you go for. Because if you have a deep desire to do something, it might be because you were made to do it. So if you take action towards those things, you automatically add value to your life.

So go take piano lessons. Or help out at church or whatever it takes to satisfy the desire you've neglected for years.

Or if you know that you want to turn that something into a career, start planning and moving towards that. You don't always have to just drop everything and upend your life. It can be a gradual shift towards your goal.

Bit by bit, you'll get where you want to be.

One day, you'll look around you and realize that you took charge of your life years ago. The day you started chasing down your dreams.

Prayer


Lord, 

Thank you for giving me dreams and wishes that can guide me towards what I'm supposed to be doing. 

I'm sorry that I shoved them aside for so long. It was a terrible mistake, and I want to live my life as you intended. 

Please help me find those dreams again. Help me to find a way to bring them to life, Lord. And please help me to let them come true. 

I ask this in Jesus's name. 

Amen.