Soulful Sunday, #weeklysmile, 7/30

Squirrelanimal-1296944_1280.jpg Image credit, Pixabay.com

Here’s a weekly smile based on gratitude:

I’m going to take a Soulful Sunday moment to reflect on the positives: the healing my family has encountered, the second chances, the support with my latest book, the friends I’ve made at work and church, and the long-time friends who still keep in touch. Let’s include my significant other, Kenny, who appreciates my art and respects my time, as he brightens the world with his own creations and remains steadfast through my many dramas. Those who say they “don’t like drama” are just denying their own. We’ve all got it, and it makes us stronger, as long as you’re not creating “the drama.” So I am thankful for that too, as well as the rain at my window and this dog curled at my feet whom I would not have brought home five years ago for fear of allergies and responsibility. My heart is becoming more capable with each possibility I let in. You’ve seen my patron animal here, (the flying squirrel) and you’ll see him again. Every time I’m walking the dog and he sees a squirrel, he chases after it until he’s stuck at the base of a tree, looking up at the squirrel high in its branches, wondering why he can’t just climb up to that high place as well.  I imagine the squirrel felt the same when one of his kin just flew off the branch and glided.  My dog can do something those squirrels can’t: he can mend a hurting heart and be the most loyal friend ever.  Still, when I think of that flying squirrel, I think of the endless possibilities present in this universe, some that we haven’t even yet discovered.  We all can soar, we just need to discover our own traits that will make that possible.  

The natural/animal world is an endless source of smiles for me!

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: Out of Chaos…

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Happy Saturday, fellow bloggers.  What a much needed Saturday it is!  Work has been hectic lately, life has been hectic, even my writing has felt hectic.  Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share!  If we were having coffee today, on the 13th of May, I’d tell you:

Somedays work is really a challenge as we move closer to the end of the year.  However, I did something with my students to end out the week:  Collaborative Discussion.  I am pleased to say that I enjoyed it!  Yes, they’re still antsy because of Spring and the impending end of the school year, yes, I had to remind some of them to stop being silly, but they even made me laugh at some points.  I got to see that some of them have really grown in their thinking about our texts and in their self-expression.  That was priceless.

Life is, well, life.  I miss the A to Z Blogging Challenge, but I wouldn’t have time to blog every day anyhow.  I’ve had a hard time with my son turning 21.  I had to set some rules in writing for the household, which took some thought.  Still, I’m glad I did it.  It’s not easy seeing your child make mistakes or bad choices, and it’s also not easy standing back to see them fall flat on their face just to learn their lesson.  I had many years to teach those lessons, but he had two different households and two totally different parents influencing him.  I’ll go no further so as not to make this a venting session about my ex.  🙂

Writing.  I said it was hectic.  I regret not having time to enter the short story challenges here on WordPress.  It’s easy to meet other inspired writers that way, and it’s so rewarding to create a little world within 100-250 worlds.  I guess I miss that, too.  I’ll have to miss it because I’m working on editing my full-length time travel novel in the hopes of publishing it this summer.  It’ll be self-published, of course, because that is the way I do things right now.  Over the last month or two, I’ve read two books about self-publishing and promotion, one by Derek Murphy, which was very helpful and packed with ideas.  I recommend it.  The title is Guerrilla Publishing.

In the Writing/Author world, I have published a short story on Smashwords about a stray dog’s life until meeting his forever home called From Lost to Loved, A Stray Dog’s Tale for free download.  I have two freebie programs going on in the effort to get my name out there a little further.  One is a limited time Instafreebie where people can get my first novella, Made for Me, in digital form free when they sign up for my newsletter.  See it and sign up at https://instafreebie.com/free/UsMtE . The other is an Amazon giveaway of the e-book, Seeing Through Sampson’s Eyes, the darker, more dangerous progeny of Made for Me.  It only runs until about 9 p.m. tonight (May 13th), EST. This giveaway is aimed at getting more Amazon followers.  Plus, two more people will be reading my sci-fi, coming of age tale of a young woman whose dad wasn’t fully human.  Before tonight, you can enter at https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/35b50ae59e6ba24d

Why all of this at once?  I started the Amazon giveaway last night when I just had no energy for editing.  The brain must be in the right place, you know, and I was tired. When I am ready to release my full-length novel, I won’t have time for the rest of this.  These freebies can only help to get my name and my work out there.  I’ve had 74 entries for the Amazon giveaway since last night!  When I do the novel release, I may have to invest in a Twitter service for my other novels.  Plus, who knows if I may be editing and getting these last minute ideas for the novel right up until publishing?  I’ve never done so many stages of a novel for publication.  Some tell me this is how it’s really done.  I’m learning, though.  Now, I should stop talking about editing, and go back to actually editing!  I hope everyone has a great week!

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Emily at nerdinthebrain.com.  I urge you to write your own #weekendcoffeeshare.  Be sure to use the hashtag in your post, then visit Emily’s latest at http://www.nerdinthebrain.com/weekendcoffeeshare-the-one-where-im-off-exploring-wacky-stuff/  and add your own to her link-up.

*If you’re wondering about my “chaotic” title, it’s just something jumping around in my brain that hasn’t found a place to land.  I couldn’t hold it in, though.  It sort of needs to take root before becoming a full idea.  I hope it didn’t cause confusion or leave you disappointed in the details of my week.  🙂  Hectic/ Chaotic.  All different shades of meaning.

E is for Eighties, as in 1980s! #AtoZChallenge

MeAge15.20741_1324078109661_5129613_n (2)  Here I am in TN at Hands Across America, 1984 or 1985, with my Olivia Newton- John hairstyle.  🙂  I forgot to wear sunglasses, so I’m squinting.

 

The 1980s, a Free Verse Reflection, (c) 2017

by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Now I call them the days of my youth,

the moments of my folly,

as I binge watch Stranger Things.

Let us speak of the 1980s,

Of David Bowie, Prince,

Robin Williams, and Great White.

Let us dance in the Purple Rain,

With our waterproof fuchsia lipstick.

Let me dream of a college degree

while I try to look like Madonna

in crushed midnight eyeliner,

flirting with boys

who care to waste my time.

While Phil Collins is still young,

and the Cure’s just setting in,

let me marvel at this time,

before I wake up from this dream.

Eighties47494_1447207869194_2960467_n I’ll still channel my inner eighties girl at times (minus the fuchsia lipstick)!

 

**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far!

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

#weekendcoffeeshare An Inspirational Songbird

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Welcome to the #weekendcoffeeshare, hosted by http://www.nerdinthebrain.com.

If we were having coffee today, on March 25th, I’d be gushing nonstop about who I saw in concert just Thursday night:  Stevie Nicks!  I can’t help it, it is so much on my mind and I was really impressed by it!

Never mind that the Pretenders didn’t show because Chrissie Hynde was ill.  We were there on time and waited an hour as there was no other opening band.  That was alright, though, once Stevie showed up on the stage.  Was I impressed by her music?  You bet!  She sounded just as good as she did the first time I heard her when I was either twelve or thirteen, back in the early 80’s, which brings a serious wave of nostalgia washing over me.

I got my first radio when I was about twelve.  Her songs were some of the first that I heard on that radio.  I set my morning alarm to wake me with music.  “Landslide” and “Leather and Lace” were a few of her songs I remember most.  “Stop Draggin my Heart Around” was another, which, to my delight, she sang at her concert!  I recall being an awkward 12 or 13- year-old who felt unattractive with unwanted baby fat.  I remember Mom and Dad had been split up for about a year, and I didn’t feel too great about that.  Dad married someone else, and I saw him as a betrayer for a while.  Yet, I missed him.  I have to credit him with something important, though.  He bought me a set of classic books that Christmas, including Little Women and Great Expectations which I tore into right away.  The love of reading has been impressed upon me forever and encouraging me to read such classics was such a wise move.

I hadn’t thought about these books in a little while, but Stevie Nicks took me back in my head to that time of my life.  These classic books impressed upon me the selflessness of love.  Stevie Nick’s music impressed upon me the mystery of love.  “Leather and Lace,” in my opinion, was the perfect example of true love.  One more thing I remember from that time era was the long sweaters.  A few people actually wore such sweaters to the concert.  Someone even wore a cape in true Stevie Nicks’ style.  I love it, even though I am a slave to comfort and wore a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers.  I enjoyed the crowd, though; it too was very nostalgic.  I’m sure people loved digging out their styles from 1980!

In between songs, Stevie gave us some back story to what inspired her to write them and what was going on in her life at the time.  She has a sense of humor and a way with words!  She played some songs for us that she calls part of “the sad, Gothic box of lost songs.”  I feel just the same about some of my poems and writing.  It was awesome to hear these songs!  We got to hear a little about the cape she was wearing, a 35-year-old piece of nostalgia itself.  Of course, she’d be dressed in her signature style. It was endearing to hear how Hurricane Katrina and even the second Twilight movie inspired her to write verse and then songs.  Hearing of her writing process was a treasure.  I respect this woman so much after seeing this show.  I had never seen her live before.  I’m so glad I did, and thankful to my boyfriend, Kenny for suggesting it.

After seeing her show, I feel so much more encouraged to write.  To know that not everything I write will sell or be cherished by others, but I may cherish it just the same.  To imagine myself someday telling stories about how it all started out.  I am inspired!

As far as the rest of my life, it’s still going! My first self-published book is now in an independent bookstore.  I am still blogging occasionally.  I’m working on several other writing projects, but not at any urgent pace.  I really need to get more focused.  This week I responded to a prompt on Sue Vincent’s #writephoto.  It is located here:  https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/in-the-deep-writephoto/   I’m trying to send stories to different publications to earn $100-$200 each.  It’s work, but I have to fund a concert-going lifestyle.  It has become evident that this is not the year to travel, with all that has happened in my life.  So, I’m going to invest in shorter, more frequent musical getaways.  We all need an escape!

Please visit Emily at http://www.nerdinthebrain.com/weekendcoffeeshare-the-one-where-not-much-happened-because-ive-been-sick/#comment-437 for her #weekendcoffeeshare, and to join in, leave your link in the link-up!

Who am I? In Timeline Format. Blog Challenge. “Eyeliner is my friend.”-17 year-old Pam.

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1991.  The Royal Gorge, Colorado.  Young me, age 22.

Who am I?  I took this challenge because it was posted on the blog, “The Quiet Girl Blogger.”   She reminds me of the young me, except that blogs didn’t yet exist back then. 🙂 See her link below my entry!

My entry:

Age 4– I am amazed at this huge world around me, maybe a little scared.  We moved to this cold place and it’s huge, but the snow is neat, my mom spends lots of time with me, and Dad goes to work every day.  I am living a good life and learning so much.

Age 11-I am awkward and my body doesn’t look the way I want it to.  I am missing my dad and I feel sad for my mom, who is going through her own issues.  She went back to work again (said she had to), and she is skinny as a stick now.  I am lucky to have a few close friends.  I am sure God loves me, but I am not sure why I’m here in this world.

Age 17– I am going to look good and willing to suffer for it.  I am lightening my hair again.  No matter what I do or how little I eat, I never look good enough, but eyeliner is my friend.  I am fixated on this guy who treats me like dirt, so I likely won’t go to the prom.  Just not ready.  I’m working a steady part-time job and driving.  I have a few close friends.  I am unsure where I fit in the social totem pole at school.  I am amazed by classic Literature that makes my heart cry and my spirit soar all at once.  I am writing poems that I may never show to anyone.

Age 23– I am a college graduate.  Who knew?  I am still quiet, but I can function in social settings.  I am amazed at this new guy and how he’s so afraid someone else will steal my heart.  I am ignoring the fact that he is possessive.  I work a steady job and may have a chance to use my degree later.  I am sure the Bible says we should love each other.  I am in love.  (I think).

Age 28–  I am a mom!  I’m amazed at this little gift I’ve been given.  This experience is the most meaningful that I’ve ever had in my life!  What love could match this?  But I’m so scared I’ll drop him or do something wrong.  I’m so tired from work and still needing time with my son.  I’m unsure how to balance it all.  And I still have to live up to someone else’s expectations of a wife?

Age 30– I am tired.  I am a beautiful person under all of this.  It is all hidden with feelings of inadequacy.  I am grateful for a friend at work who makes me laugh.  I’m aware my husband will see this as a betrayal to him.  But why can’t I just have a friend?  Why am I not living life as I see fit and why do I feel like I’m caged?  I am trying to raise my son and be a professional.   We need that, but yet he resents that.   I am not going to be a cleaning, cooking housewife.   What did he just call me? I am not letting him talk to me like this one more time.  I am tired of this nonsense.  I am out of here, and taking my son with me.  I am sure God didn’t put me here for this.  I am going to be free to live my own life, with my son and whomever I choose to trust.

Age 40:  I am living my own life!  I’m too young to stop having fun.  Dad didn’t slow down until age 44.  I’m sure some things I do aren’t good for my health, but I’m still young, right?  By the way, now that he’s 11, my son sure got sassy.  Boy, they do change.  I love to travel, and this year was great!  I should do it all before I’m old.  I’m still attractive, many don’t know my age.  I like to have fun with that.  Life is for the taking.  Relationships are for those wanting to slow down.  So why am I so worried about *Steven?  He’s a drinker.  I knew that.  I really need to focus on myself.

Age 48:  I am a teacher, mother, daughter, friend, mentor, writer, a nut**, a dog lover, an avid reader, and health-obsessed.    I am sure God, and Jesus, accepts me just as I am.   I am capable of doing anything I want.  This pain in my hand and my shoulder won’t stop me.  I love my job, but I won’t let it keep me from doing the other things I love.  I love my family and friends.  I have a kind man who cares for me, and I care for him.   Society does not define us.  Making a positive difference for others fits in with my job, my main hobby, and my personal beliefs.   I want to do it all and won’t let anyone stop me.  It doesn’t matter if I only have 10 minutes or 5 hours.  I know I can do this, so I am going to try!

Who am I?  I am all of these things, and more.  I chose a timeline to sum up and show changes I have undergone.   I think they all represent who I am quite well.  Life is truly a growth experience.  I asked my mom to throw out some random ages, for me to think about who I was at that time and what lessons I was learning.  This was fun and emotional.  What about you?  Are you up to the challenge?  Who are you?  More than your job, student status, ethnicity, or where you live.  Who are you?

*Name changed because he doesn’t deserve a mention. 🙂

**(nut) By which I mean, I make up silly songs about the taco-truck, my dog, getting ready for work, etc.  Most of my family will ignore them, but not my boyfriend, Kenny.  He joins in! 🙂

Visit The Quiet Girl Blogger at http://thequietgirlblogger.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/who-am-i/ for her Who am I entry.  While there, you may decide to give her a follow!

Worry, and Impossible Things

When life is hectic and people are dumping too much on you, and you’re not getting enough sleep, you just want to escape or at least get your hair done, but there is not enough time…..What can  you do?!  Short of pharmaceuticals, that is, which are wrought with their own problems… I have to try a “cocktail” of strategies to keep myself from cracking.  Here is my recent mixture:

* I am strengthened by biblical scripture and have tried to get closer to this since the beginning of the Lenten season.  I believe my pastor discussed this scripture at the beginning of Lent, and it is a staple of my spiritual diet lately.

Matthew 19:26: “But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men  [it is] impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

I have lived through parenting a teenager and being faced with realities I did not want to be a part of.  He has been in the E.R three times in his life  due to his playing with danger, and I prayed furiously, fighting the worry.  Yet, here he is.  After wavering and wallowing over his confusion after high school, when it seemed impossible to motivate him, he is taking a test today that will determine if he can get into trade school.  It involves some Algebra, and yes, I want to worry, but instead I’ll write my blog entry, which is actually a sort of prayer.  I am going to have faith, even if things don’t turn out the way I want, that things will work out just fine.

*I am rewarded when I look to Literature for an escape.  It is fairly inexpensive, and there is no hangover.  To believe in impossible things, one must be an optimist, and may even be a scientist.  I am probably a dreamer.  But guess what, someone has to dream up the ideas in the first place!  And it nourishes my soul.  From Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass: 

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

I had abandoned this book long ago, because it seemed so out there, it just lost me.  Well, it must be just what I need right now, because it is sticking to me like a well-balanced meal sticks to your sides.  I lick my lips in delight like a full Cheshire Cat after reading a chapter of this outrageous masterpiece of wordplay and riddles.  It’s the escape I needed from worry over my son who is a grown-up now, and over my job where I sometimes feel I am given an impossible task, where what I do is never enough.  But guess what, I am doing fine and I need to remember that.

*Music.  It relaxes me, it awakens me, it pumps me up, and helps me forget the little nit-picky things that can really bother me.  I especially need it when driving in traffic to get to work in the morning.  Case in point, horrible traffic on the way to work yesterday.  I was playing Coldplay’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head.”  Just the right song makes me not care that I am getting to work later than I had hoped (For Pete’s sake I am always  there before my contract time anyhow)!  So, I sat in a line of cars at the light yesterday jamming to Coldplay’s Politik, enthralled in the notes that went higher and higher, trying to sing with the notes (I was singing “eyes” in every note up the ladder while Chris Martin was holding and breathing through that word….Eyyyyyyessssssssssssssssssss).  I hope I looked as crazy to those around me as I felt, since I truly did not care what they thought.

 

*It has been too long since I had a true vacation, and I am feeling that one will be in order pretty soon.  Therefore, my photo with this entry is of another time, in another place, when I was on vacation with family, including my nine year old son who was amazed at the beauty of the mountainside he had never seen before.  It was a place where you think of the silence or the birds singing around you, and what beautiful wonders are just ahead as you make your way through the trees or up the hill.  That is the best.  Those memories also help me to hang on, but they are certainly helped along by prayer, song, and a steady diet of just the right reading at the right moment.

 

So, I sit here after dropping my son off early for his test, knowing he just wanted to get out of the car and away from my questions or reminders.  I know how my worry bothers him; I dealt with the same thing from my mother.  I am working on it, as I know it is to my physical detriment, in other words, not very good for my health.  Heck, my worry bothers me too.  But I have sent out my prayers for things to work out, and for him to never give up, which I hope he has learned from me.  Now I think I can fill my mind with something else.  It is a beautiful day, and there is still more to read about Alice!

 

 

 

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Ah, Nature!  Nothing to worry about if you just know what to hold onto.  Colorado Mts. , 2005.

Nikki Giovanni, You Inspire Me!

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 forget it, tell him it wasn’t what I wanted or fulfilling me spiritually?  Geesh.  What a waste of time, mulling over such a wishy-washy situation.  Had he wanted more, I probably wouldn’t have, so why wasn’t it that simple for me?

Fact is, I was in college, being challenged, and enjoying that greatly.  I was working part-time, not always enjoying it, but I was paying bills, albeit barely.  I was going home to an apartment that was partly mine and a roommate who, it turns out, was not as great a friend as I thought.  I didn’t even always want to hang out with her.  I was not a drunk or a partier, (maybe twice a month), but I was somehow just at an emotional low.  Maybe I was short-changing myself? I wanted more emotional fulfillment.  So, I had read something by Giovanni and then saw this quote from her, that somehow just really clicked with me; I even copied it down and put it somewhere safe to look at again and again.   Here it is:

      “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

I was wasting all this time with some college boy who didn’t even care if I thought about him, living in an apartment with a friend that was no longer a friend, and feeling unfulfilled.  The only thing that fulfilled me at that time was diving into the Literature and texts I was assigned.  Oh, and some of them really saddened me.  There was Gothic Literature such as Mary Shelley.  Existentialism.  I really felt it all.   But I survived.  I moved back home with Mom for the remainder of college, continued working, and paid for a lot of my own college.  I made time for other friends, and my college relationship pretty much ended when he went away to an out of town school.  But Nikki’s words stuck with me.  There is a world out there in need,  why should I stay in here in my own head worrying about things, when I can go out there and make my world better?  And look at all the energy we sometimes spend on an unhealthy or one-sided relationship, or even friendships that no longer serve us, when there is so much more to do?
You could say I live her advice.  I suppose the last part of her quote is what I put to use back then, regarding who you should engage among you, and who you should remove.  Lord knows, I had to practice it many times repeatedly over the course of my life.  I also took a good amount of advice from the Bible, but how confusing that can be to a young person.  Nikki’s quote on sick people, hungry people, those needing clothes, is also a reminder to someone like me who had all that I needed.  I was getting an education, but it wasn’t making me happy and I felt so alone.  I can say that got better.  It is also true that I struggled with depression at times.  I had to sometimes just do something good for another person in need.  Sometimes I had to just get busy and get out of my head.  Analyzing existentialism or the deeper meaning of Gothic Literature can be a gloomy subject.  But it was very deeply satisfying when I could take a break and do a good thing, or have fun in the sunshine for a while.  One day, I would like to be able to consider myself a successful writer.  There is no amount of money or number of books I will assign to that.  Giovanni herself said something like that today, about how money won’t fulfill you.  You just need to have some of it to stay alive.  It thrills me to say that Nikki Giovanni has influenced me.  I’d like to put that on the back of a book one day!
And as for teaching,  yes, like Nikki said, we need more black children to grow up, get educated, and go into space!  We need them to become scientists, like  Neil deGrasse Tyson. (Who, by the way, is really cool!)   It is much needed for the equality of the races.   Imagine, if I could turn the right student on to a book about space or time travel, and in turn, encourage him to explore space!  Such an honor it would be.  It gives me something to remember when I look at that sea of faces every August.  They all have the potential.
Nikki also mentioned how our language is changing.  (Look at the definition of marriage.  Just recently it was decided by the Supreme Court that two women or two men can now marry).  Think of the definition of equality; she mentioned how a black man and white woman could not have married 60 years ago.  The world is changing and so is our language.  We need to observe and we need to write about it.  So I am writing right now.  She said, “Everyone go out and buy a notebook to write in today.”  I already have one.  I thought it was lost, but it has turned up again!  And I also have this space here for writing.  So I am inspired again!   Indeed, there is so much to do.    Life is good!