Sunday, March 31, 2013

A to Z Challenge Theme

Wow, it's so unbelievable to think that it's time for another A to Z Challenge, so the time has finally come for me to announce my themes for April. 

Because this is a year of Beginnings for me, my theme for TCoML will be: 

26 Things to Know When Starting to Take Charge

Taking charge of your life isn't impossible. It's not about financial success. It's not about changing your thinking to become happy with the situation you're in. 

It's about changing your way of thinking and actively going after what you want. 

And no. Although this blog is meant to serve as encouragement for people who've reached this point in their lives, it's not just another "Hey there stranger! Think positive and good things will happen!!!" sort of motivational blog. 

It's actually about my life. How I picked myself up by my bootstraps and, by the grace of God, worked my way into a better life. 

I'm not going to lie. This isn't easy. But man is it worth while. My hope is that some of you are on the point of  trying to take charge of your lives. And that the posts I'll be putting up will help you find your way a lot faster than I did. 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll find value in what I write.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Goal Check

Hey all! Ended up to take a few days more, but I decided to quickly do a goal-check, since we're almost at the end of the first quarter.


Continue querying Doorways
Done and Doorways now is contracted to a publisher. 

Finish the draft to Guardian
I'm about halfway here, but I'm going to have to postpone most of my drafts until after I finished editing Doorways. 


Don't Look Back

(Working Title) Otto

(Working Title) Guardian

Maybe finish the draft sequel to DoorwaysUnlocking


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. 
So far, I'm at 11. 


Keep working on my voice. 
Doing so. 

Get back to guitar lessons. 
Not looking likely at the moment. 

REALLY to take French and Italian, since it will be useful to my day job. 
Started picking up French again, but I'll need to focus. 

Exercise regularly. This includes activities like gymming, fencing, dancing, yoga or any combination of such activities. 
Flus and stomach flus ruined that for me, but I'm hoping to fence and walk more often starting next week. 

Eat and cook healthier food. 
Not cooking as much as I'd like to, but definitely making more healthy choices. 

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. 
Still need to get out more. 

I also want to paint more. Maybe even finish an exhibition's worth of art?
Yeah... have two canvases waiting for me to start on, but I haven't been able to stand for a while and now I have another priority...

How are you doing with your goals? 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Will be back on Wednesday

As you may know, my novel Doorways has been accepted for publishing by Etopia press. 

It's an absolutely thrilling event in my life, since getting published is one of my biggest dreams. However, it'll bring quite a significant change to my writing life, I think. So I just need a day or so to come to terms with everything. 

Hope you don't mind! But I can't really concentrate on doing a good post at the moment, since my mind is whirling about like crazy. 

Any published authors reading this? Any of you feel overwhelmed when you got accepted? 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Photos of a South African Farm

Hey all, sorry for my absence this week. Had some vicious migraines that made it hurt to even look at a computer screen, let alone write anything.

Anyway, yesterday, I went to some farms with my family, and went snapping away quite happily. These are some of the pics I thought I'd share.

Hope you enjoyed the pics. Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm still alive.

Hey all. Sorry for my absence the past few days. I've been struggling to cope with the stomach bug I caught, since it's making my blood sugar drop at random times. Truth be told, I'm too exhausted to type much more than this.

So, I'll be taking a break this weekend and trying my best to combat it so that I can get a bit closer to normal.

I'll hopefully see you on Monday.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Refocusing Priorities

Have you ever noticed how you can set some amazing and sensible goals, only to discover a few weeks down the line that you didn't do a thing toward them?

Happens to me with amazing frequency. Like my drafting goals. In January and February, I got almost no writing done.

Here's the thing, though, if you really care about getting your goals done, you can't just mope and give up.

You need to re-focus your priorities.

For me, this means doing the following:

1) Putting more focus back on my faith. There's a really good reason for this, but I'll do another post on it in the very near future.

2) Getting back into a regular writing schedule. Right now I'm trying to write a thousand words every day for the month. That way when I tone back down, I'll be more than able to write five days a week or something along those lines.

3) Finding sporting activities that intrigue me. This means I will definitely be going back to fencing. Then there's probably pilates or yoga and  maybe capoeira to strengthen my core.

4) Learning Languages. Main clients in my company are now French and Dutch, so that'll be the ones I focus on. I have until May to be conversant....

5) Finally, I'm making a concerted effort to deal with stress. It's just so much better for my stress. Amazing thing is that a few hours after I came to this decision, I was offered a chance to test a social network focusing on the so-called Psychology of Happiness, called Happify. Basically they give users a few short exercises to do every day, helping us focus on the positive and to escape stress. It also shares some really interesting stats on what makes people happy/stressed etc. Interested in checking it out? I've been given five invitations, so if you want to test drive this Happify thing too, please let me know in the comments and leave me an e-mail address.

Which goals do you think you need to refocus on? Want a Happify invite?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Painting Plans

Today's going to be a short post, I'm afraid. Would have loved to do more, but I caught a tummy bug or something, which means I spent most of today not doing a thing.

However, I did go to the doctor and the medicine he prescribed seems to be helping. Fingers crossed I'll be much better tomorrow. There's really too much for me to get done, so I don't want to be kept back by this.

Anyway. I thought I'd mention my painting plans for the month.

My mom had asked me a while back to paint a still life with a lemon for her. So when I finished my grandmother's painting, I started looking for pictures I could use.

The thing is, my mom wants one that's really plain (which will probably end up making it a pain in the backside to do), but another picture caught my eye. One I KNOW is going to be really difficult. The reason: it's an action pic of half a lemon being tossed into water.

It won't let me go, so I decided to do both. Actually looking forward to it, so here's hoping I actually feel good enough to stand for a few hours on Saturday.

And yep, I will show you all when I'm done, if the second painting doesn't end up looking pathetic.

Anyone else taking on a tricky artistic project?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Photography Course

I've been feeling the need to learn new things, lately. So, since I've recently paid a considerable amount for my awesome new camera, I decided that the first thing to learn would be to learn the technique behind photography.

If I say so myself, I have a good eye for composition, but I had no idea about exposure, ISOs, the meaning of aperture and shutter speed etc.

As luck would have it, I barely voiced my desire for a photography course before my grandmother told me there was one advertised in the local paper.

It was basically a day-long crash course, but I learnt so much that I'll have to go through the notes again to refresh my memory. Then I'm going to familiarize myself with the settings so I can play around with them.

Lots of failed photos will follow, I'm sure, but hey, I'm going to learn a lot.

Which is a good thing. Because I'm heading overseas again on business in May. This time to France and Rotterdam and since we'll be driving between the cities, there will be plenty of chances for awesome pics. This also means I'll probably be posting more photos as the time comes, but I'll try to keep them rare so they're appreciated. ;-)

On that note, I leave you with the sunset view from my home. I took this the night I returned from Berlin.

If you look at the mountains, the right end of the series is Table Mountain.

So what do you think of the picture idea? Sound good to you?

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Bloghop of Joy

Today I'm taking part in two blogfests. The first is this, the Bloghop of Joy. One my other blog, I'm taking part in the Back From the Future blogfest.

But back to the Bloghop of Joy. This blogfest is intended to be a celebration of joy and what makes us joyful. Since I'm all for counting blessings, I'll list the top ten things (in no particular order) that give me joy. 

1) Creation. I just feel incredibly happy whenever I create. Usually it takes the form of writing, but on occasion I paint and explore other creative pursuits (like knitting) as well. 

2) Helping others. This sounds REALLY sappy. I know. But the fact is, I love helping people understand things. From critting a novel, to helping with queries, to helping someone new to the faith understand God a little better. In fact, I probably love doing the latter above all. 

3) A moment of kindness from others. Not necessarily towards me. 

4) Laughing children

5) A moment of surprising beauty. Especially captured on my camera. I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes, it's not the planned shot that come out most beautiful. I adore those surprising photos that just come out of nowhere. Also, sometimes, something just changes in the light, or something else tiny changes that makes something you see astoundingly beautiful. Those moments always make me smile.

6) Having a good time with my family.

7) A dog's unconditional love

8) Walking into a church and feeling God's presence

9) Learning something new

10) Music. I love when a beautiful voice starts singing out of nowhere, but most of all, I love singing. 

What gives you joy?