#WeekendCoffeeShare. Staying Afloat

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/  I like completing this challenge weekly, if at all possible.  It helps me to check the gauge somewhat, and process where I am in my writing and life journey.  I apologize for the stressed tone in the first few paragraphs; there is relief if you read through, I promise!

I am sad to say I didn’t write much this week, except for a flash fiction at the start of the week based on a photo prompt.  What came out was sad and maybe a little bit touching.  You may find it here: Flawed Magic Men You know, it’s disillusioning when the faults of a a person you look up to as a small child become revealed little by little.   I’ll have a cheerful story another week!  Other than that, I’ve been so busy I can’t write, and I’ve only been able to read a little bit but not every night.  Still, a manuscript of mine is in the hands of a beta-reader, so my words are making progress!  I’ll be happy for that.

The aforementioned state of being busy was due to work, of course.  I’ve grumbled about the state of education already as of late, but I’ll just say I had a suggestion on how to do things.  I tried to plan it to make it work, and my plans were great, but I ended up working until 6:20 one day.  Getting home at 7 p.m. is just no good.  Seriously, I go to bed at 10 p.m.!  I still brought paperwork home and dealt with some of that while eating dinner.  Yikes!  It was quite frustrating.  I felt so behind on the paperwork because I took a day off Wednesday.  That day was great, in the morning.  I did a lot of social media and planning for my author strategy.  Rarely do I get to do that.  However, the afternoon was spent at the dentist, which gets my shoulders in a knot.  Never a good thing.

So, my mother sent me today to go to a flotation tank type spa.  Escape!  My body gets very tense with the events of my day and week.  Letting the words flow when I get home is great for my mind, but still may overuse the wrist, arm, bicep, etc.  My lifestyle is demanding in this way.  Though I have to remember to skip coffee next time, I did lose track of time and my body loved floating.  I felt like a mermaid!  I definitely came out of there with much less tension in my joints or worry on my mind.  I will certainly go again, just to see what it’s like with the door closed!  Baby steps….

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So, the moral of today’s post, is “I shall rise.”  Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Weekend Coffee Share. “What I Can Plan and What I Can’t.” 1/20

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Photo via Pixabay.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/

Oh, I’m feeling a little tired today.  Last night I got a message that my beta-reader’s notes and suggestions were done, but I didn’t have time to view it yet.  I am giving myself the weekend.  I have one more beta reader who should be available the end of this month, and then I’ll revise, edit, and send to a professional editor the draft for my sequel to Detours in Time.  This is hard work, and my full-time work isn’t getting easier.  That’s okay, I’ve given myself the right to only publish one book this year if that is all that gets done.  Meanwhile, I have other ideas hopping in my head that I’ve outlined or just typed into summary form to flesh out later.  After years of giggling at my own ideas and losing them an hour later because all I could do was dream, I decided to start putting those dreams on paper.  Thank God I did!  This is such a wonderful mind exercise.

As I said, the editing/revising process is hard work, and it at times requires a good amount of sequestering.  I found beta-readers in writing groups and plan to find an editor online who can give me a good turn around time.  I’d like to get this book out over the summer when I have time off, so I can give it the nurturing it needs to grow a readership.  Still, I like the sociability of blogging, so, right now I am tending to do one Weekend Coffee Share or reflection and one Flash Fiction challenge a week.  We share them in one central place as well as on our blog so that we can see each other’s work and comment.  There are frequent posters whom I know by name and I like to keep up with news from their parts of the world or see what sort of fiction they spit out based on the photo prompt.  That is the sociability that keeps me writing when those reading my book won’t leave reviews and when I have a slow book week.  It happens.  I am in the acorn stage.  Maybe one day I’ll be a tree.  🙂

The home front is not too bad, I must say; my son is working steadily and has been for 7 months.  He had a few troubles last year.  The biggest one, the alcohol issue, seems to be resolved.  His moods are light.  I see him smile at the dog and play with him, whereas he wouldn’t do that before.  I don’t feel like such a caretaker where he is concerned; it feels like he is now an adult who gladly gives me a portion of his paychecks.  Albeit, one who lives at home and can’t afford to move.  After what we went through, I like having him close by for now.  As I was thinking such positive things, my mother texted me last night that she fell near the doorstep and a friend took her to the E.R.  Her arm is broken; she had broken the other one last year.  I met her at the E.R. last night.  She’s hurting.  I hate to see this.  I know it’s part of getting older.  Everything I see in her is me in twenty some years.  I myself deal with muscle pains when I get up in the morning.  Yesterday I joked about suiting up with Ben Gay under my layers. (Yes, it has been in the 20’s and 30’s in Jacksonville, Florida several mornings this week).  I feel like I am getting a ‘poor me’ tone here, and I hate that.  We survived the E.R. though, and no one seems to have caught the flu.  Visions of Sheldon in the hospital episode kept dancing through my head.  I did abstain from restroom use while there.  She and I talked about exercises that strengthen the bones.  “Weight-lifting,” she said.  I do yoga, and that involves lifting your own body weight, but really, not often enough.

Time to add a ten minute arm weight routine to my morning stretches.  The challenge is just beginning.  I shall greet each new year with humor and laughter, just as my mother has on her best days.  Why, she even cracked a joke last night about not being able to drink wine. 🙂

Join the Weekend Coffee Share at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/weekendcoffeeshare-sushi-cheese-and-being-brave/ by reading others’ posts and/or adding yours by clicking on the blue InLinkz button.

Have a great week!  -Pam

 

 

 

 

“I Can Do This!” 2018 Focus

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Graphic made at canva.com ~Explanation below~

You may have guessed (or already know) that my keyword for this year is “Energy.”  I have many goals, and I am at a point in my life where I need to make them happen.  I don’t want to wait for a better time.  Even if it takes years to reach a goal, the time to start is now.

My morning mantra will be- “Let me get moving.”  That’s a great start for energy.  Of course, I’ve charted out some things I have to do.  Stretches to get limber and not feel old or sore all day.  I intend that to become like second nature to me.  Then the list goes on.

I’ve done this because I read somewhere that a resolution is nothing without a plan.  This is so true!  Working a full-time job can tire a person out.  Yet, I want to reach for more than a Mon.-Fri. workplace.  I need energy to do that.

I do hope the graphic is visible and easy to read for all.  In a nutshell, it lists what I want to become a regular part of my mindset and my daily routine in an attempt to generate more energy for my goals and to affect the world around me.  I truly believe this works.  I mentioned the morning stretches, because “Let’s get ready to move freely,” is better than “Crap, my back is sore, I HAVE to get up.”   Gratitude, music to help me get going.  Singing in the shower, expressing love to my family, asking God to inspire me to help someone else today.  Complimenting others I work with, using a 5 to 1 positive ratio for my interactions with students.  Then, there’s time to do what I love:  reading daily, a writing routine (not necessarily daily but when I am moved), blogging on my goals/progress or mindset once weekly and adding the flash fiction blog entries once or more weekly, avoiding work e-mail at home, and being thankful for it all.

My discovery of a focus keyword for this year was inspired by an entrepreneur on social media.  Mindset is such an important thing!  Truly, when you must do something physically challenging, they say to find a focal point.  Why can’t it be a word?  If you are interested, this blog post sets my intention to make Energy my focus and explains why this might help me greatly:  A Word for My Intentions

A Word for my Intentions. #amwriting #newyear

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I was reading a social media post by a young entrepreneur on New Year’s resolutions.  Instead of making resolutions, she is focusing on a key word in her New Year as she did at the start of last year.  Her results sounded amazing.

There is so much I want to do and so much I have to do to be a positive source and a strength for my family and my students.  It wears me down at times.  Sometimes I forget to tap into a source of strength for myself.  Faith is great, but I still get tired.  What do I do with my faith?  I pray that bad things don’t happen to the ones I love.  Perhaps I should be praying more often in thanks for the good that has happened, forgetting the bad and the scary road that events can take as they have in the past.  Moving forward from the past is important.

At any rate, I know the power of positive thinking.  I know that I need yoga, God and faith, my family, friends, relaxation, and healthy food.  Yet, I still could improve my attitude.  Words affect one’s attitude.  I often wake up in the morning, thinking, “Crap.  I have to get up.”  “Crap.  I can’t lay on my back anymore.” That’s a pretty crass word to use in greeting my day.  So I plan to stop making that my first word in reaction to a new day.

My key word for 2018 is going to be “Energy.”  There is so much I want to do, and I will not give up.  I plan to continue doing what I can to help others.  I will continue writing and hopefully improve my writing, publishing, and networking skills as an author.  But I  still plan to be an inspiring educator (even more than I have been), a source of strength for my son and mother, as well as a woman who is faithful to God and her own principles.  I will also know when I need to relax and give that time to myself.  These are my goals.  Energy is the word that will manifest that attitude.  I don’t have to bounce off the walls or be a gymnast.  I am talking about mental, intellectual, and psychological energy.  I will not say ‘Yes’ to everything that comes across my plate, but I will be accepting of new experiences.   (By the way, there was one year when I came close to saying yes to everything.  I don’t regret it; it was a great learning experience, but I see that it couldn’t go on forever…). I will channel my energy into achieving the results I want from life.

What’s the best that could happen?  This is what I need to focus on.  The best outcomes will be that I influence countless students to love reading and writing, that I let them leave me as more developed humans than they were before knowing me, that I become a source of strength and giving to others rather than a collector or hoarder of objects, money, or knowledge, and that I become a writer who is never out of ideas and never too beaten down to improve my craft, never too hopeless too continue or too broke to take a break from working and do what I really, truly love.  All of this is in addition to having time for my family and loved ones, enjoying time and sharing of myself with my boyfriend, friends, etc.  In doing these things, I want to feel I have some measure of control over what I am doing in my life.  I will not be a slave to money.  Or fame, or any other contest whereby I’m judged or measured up by the numbers.  This is the best that could happen.  I will not even voice the worst.  Why?  Because I am not worried about it.  It does not exist unless my thoughts can breathe life into it.  Having wasted parts of my life on worry, I see the results it can have.  I’m not going to worry about it.

This goes back to a favored quote by Nikki Giovanni,  writer, poet, activist, and educator.  This quote spurred me on when I was a 20-year-old college student, questioning my place in the world and where my priorities lay.

 “There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” – Nikki Giovanni

If you’d like to read more about my thought process at age 20 (I sure needed a lot of work) and how she inspired me just by writing the words I needed, please see my blog entry at Nikki Giovanni, You Inspire Me! 

This year, instead of worrying on the worst that could happen, I will live a life of purpose and spend my time and my words on voicing the things I wish to come about.  All of this will be centered around the key word:  Energy.

I’ll let you know after this year how it works!  If you were to choose a key word for this year’s intentions, what would that word be?

My Exercise Evolution, Pt. 5. Escape #amwriting

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I am tired and not sure how much longer I can do this.  So, I let my leg straighten out.  I don’t even get an evil eye from the instructor, although we were supposed to hold the bent-leg pose for two minutes.  Thank God.  No judgment here.  And that is how it should be.  I am competing with no one but myself.  I have nothing to prove.

“You know your own body and limits,”  the instructor says.  She tells us to modify and gives us options.  This is how it should be.  Gone are the days of kick-boxing and countless ab repetitions on the floor to some Britney Spears song.  My body complains at times, but my spirit is soaring.  That’s because, what makes my spirit soar is quite different than what used to.

I could go down the list of names of maladies my chiropractor labelled me as having, in addition to the surgeries and digestive issues, but I won’t.  What’s important is that I am doing an exercise that is good for all of these maladies, while at the same time, relieving stress.  This is what I need right now.  Sorry, but I feel my age today and I’m visualizing myself as a tin man.  It’s not always like this.  But what’s important is that I got off the couch, because the aches will still be there whether I push through them or not, but I will end up much healthier this way.

You may think this is a sad post, but let’s shout in celebration because I did show up, I tried, and I’m all the better for it.  Not only did I take away a release from stress, I also left with a new favorite musician.

The music on our instructor’s playlist included a artist who speaks to me with his instrument.  So, I asked her for the artist’s name, and now I have a new favorite song to play in the morning so I can be calm on the way to work.  His name is Garth Stevenson.  My favorite of his songs is “A Love Song.”  It starts slow, includes a lot of waiting, a lot of added whimsical instruments (reminding me of the fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) and a *violin that is deep, a piano that is light and airy, and a melody that tells it’s own story, making me at once want to cry and leap for joy.  All of this relaxes me, I am not sure how, maybe because it provides me the perfect escape.   I feel as if I could hide up somewhere in the highest notes of this song, dancing as if my body had no aches or creaks. The violin speaks to me and carries me away like an easy flowing river, making me believe it and see it happening.  Perhaps heaven would be like this for me.  (Further research by my fellow blogger informs me this instrument I’m hearing is a double bass.  I’ve always loved stand-up bass, cello, violin…)

Joy is when you find the thing that touches your emotions most and makes you feel free.  Up high, untouchable, unjudged, I would be invisible in each high note, floating like a fairy dancing on air.  You could only see me if you can feel the music.  See what I mean.  Music takes you away.

I may have digressed there, but the music is important.  Your bills, road rage, past memories and work obligations of tomorrow should not matter when you are doing yoga.  You also should not be focusing on your limitations.  Sometimes it takes the right song to take you away from that.   It may be a different song for each of us; I have found my song.  🙂  ❤

Nikki Giovanni, You Inspire Me!

Since I seem to have so little time to blog lately, I thought I would bring out one of my first WordPress posts about a subject dear to me, the inspiration I have received since youth from the poetry of Nikki Giovanni.

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From July 16, 2016:  My inspiration comes from many people and places, but one that is quite memorable is the poet, Nikki Giovanni.  I am fired up right now, because I got to hear her read at a luncheon today!

I love her smile here, and her lack of make-up or artifice.  She is herself, at home and comfortable in her own skin.  The first day I heard of her, I was not any of those things.  I was 20 years old, unsure of myself, finding myself the only one of my peer group in college, and how I got in I wasn’t always sure; I certainly assumed for several years I would not be going.  My self-esteem was hinging on some “boy” I was having some “sort of” relationship with while in college.  I thought about it, and him,  entirely too much.  Should I keep it going?  Should I…

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Weekend Coffee Share…Of Walter Dean Myers, bucket lists, baby goats, and writing goals.

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share!  Please don’t hate me because I live in Florida, and it will be close to 80 degrees today.  At least my iced coffee is pumpkin spice flavor!  😉

First, I’d like to ask, which rings true for you?  Here are two alternate skits:

Child:  Grandpa, why are we here?

Grandfather:  To love one another and care for this great Earth.

Alternate:

Child:  Grandpa, why are we here?

Grandfather:  To compete with each other, destroy our enemies, and turn a profit.

I will not deny that this may seem a little political.  I have a hard time verbalizing such things.  I love people regardless of their political beliefs.  But I am having such a hard time lately dealing with recent policy changes, seeing the earth pilfered, people hurt, and families torn apart.  I may seem like a pipe dreamer, but I have long ago realized that was my place on this Earth.  If we all saw things in black and red (monetarily and us vs. them), it would be an ugly world indeed.  I’ve also accepted that, if I were alive in the Middle Ages, I would have been an artisan, poor indeed, but I would make people smile or cry, and they’d throw me enough crumbs to keep me alive.  I’d also be least likely to get beheaded.  I obviously would dress for comfort and not to impress some king into putting jewels on my head.  I’m perfectly fine with my place in life.  If I should ever make it big as an author, I’ll wear what the heck I want to book signings, just like Stephen King.

Now, off of my soapbox.  I have not participated in Weekend Coffee Share in a while!  Part of that is due to neglecting to blog more than once a week.  I’ve been doing the flash fiction entries since it’s tickles my fancy, but only once a week.  It’s good to be back, even if for once in a blue moon.  I love my writers’ community, and I’m glad you all are still here in this space!

Work has kept me busy, busy, while I try to promote my published books.  I’m not writing a book for NANOWRIMO, but I am fleshing out and revising the one I wrote last November.  It is a sequel to my time travel novel, Detours in Time .  This sequel has gone from 45,000 words to 56,000 when I last checked, so I am making progress.  Still, some nights, I get home from work and just want to read and relax.  It may not be completely revised at the end of November, and that’s okay.  I get achy in my hands and arms at times, either due to arthritis or the way I manage stress (internalizing).  So, I’m not pushing it.  All will happen in due time.  I don’t see myself quitting the job to just write until I most likely legitimately retire from teaching.

The workplace has given me more challenges than last year, I believe.  My family life is calmer, but I come home from work good and tired.  I won’t complain about the job; there are good days and bad days.  Sometimes, you can know just what to say to tell a student you’ve “got their number,” and it may work.  Other days, it’s quite overwhelming and you just wonder why they have to be manipulated or pleaded with to do the right thing?  Ah, the nature of middle-schoolers.  They don’t always know who they are.

At least I get to teach one of my favorite books again:  Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers.  Talk about a struggle for identity.  This book is about his life, and he sure went through some hard times regarding: poverty, race, identity, growing up in Harlem, family issues, and adolescence in general.  I know I mentioned this last week in my Stream of Consciousness post.  This book stays with me.  We are starting to study author’s point of view in a memoir.  I’m hoping I have enough artistic kids, because what I’d like to do is have posters of his head opening like a box with a hinge, and his thoughts on paper strips coming out.  Truly, isn’t that what a writer does?  We open it up for others to see what is inside.  Usually, there is an end goal.  He obviously wants to inspire kids of today to stop making excuses and go for their dreams.  I know Myers inspires me.

Well, Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is coming soon.  We’re going to NC to see my brother and sister-in-law.  The cooler weather will be nice.  I think I’ll gain weight.  I do yoga once or twice a week, but my cardio is faltering.  I blame it on weather fluctuations and writing goals.  I just have to do enough to make sure my clothes still fit.  Buying a whole new wardrobe doesn’t appeal to me like it used to.  I guess I’m getting more practical as I move toward fifty.  It’s gonna be awesome.  I will make it awesome.  I’ve added beer yoga, baby-goat yoga, trying helium beer with my high-school best friend, and still have sky-diving on my bucket list.  Wish me luck in these endeavors!      (Seriously, find a video of baby goat yoga.  They jump all over the place and look so light-weight.  It just seems like a joyful, laughter-filled experience I’d love to try.  Watch it and feel your blood pressure drop)!

-Pamela

#WeekendCoffeeShare is now hosted at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ Please visit the blog to view other weekend coffee shares and to enter your own.

How was your week?  What’s going on in your life and your artistic/ blogging endeavors?