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Wasting Precious Time

In perusing yahoo news, I came across an article about a study done of older Americans (aged 65+) and what they regretted most in their lives. The most common answer? Worry. Out of 1500 people, the most common regret was that they’d spent too much of their lives worrying.stress

You can read about the study here.

I found this to be particularly relevant because I notice more and more young adults riddled with anxiety, more and more middle aged adults suffering the side effects of stress, and more and more people turning to pharmaceuticals for relief.

Some worry is unavoidable. If you’re a parent, worry comes with the job. If you or a loved one is suffering an illness, make room for worry.

But kids? Really?

School is harder than ever. The things my kids learn about in high school were college subjects in my day. A friend was talking the other day about a five year old who didn’t want to go to kindergarten because she didn’t know how to read. In kindergarten! When I was in kindergarten, we learned to tie our shoes. And it was half-day.

Bottom line: life’s too short. Every day is a gift. If we spend too much time worrying about things that either don’t matter or can’t be changed, we are frittering away the gift of life.

So get off the computer. Go outside for a walk. Read a good book. Call a friend. Smile at a stranger. Live the gift, and have no regrets.

photo credit: 2 : 😡 via photopin (license)

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Outside of Romance

What do romance authors do when not writing romance? You mean, other than living the dream with their real life hero? (**he, he**) They chase children to and from school, soccer practice, tennis–they cook, clean, garden and write children’s books. Children’s books?

Venetta, Dianne- Show Me the Green! (RGB)

Yep. This romance author does, anyway! And what a wild ride it’s been to publication. Completely different from writing romance where I create everything until the editing process (whereby I then change everything according to my editor’s sage advice), writing a children’s book involves artists and illustrations, a proposition that is more involved than first glance. I never realized how much work it would be to transfer my vision to someone else–scene by scene, image by image–the process can be overwhelming!

And time-consuming. But like carrying a baby for nine months, once you finally deliver, it’s a great feeling. Wonderfully exhilarating! You have no idea what the future holds, yet you’re excited by the mere anticipation of come what may. Your dream has finally come to fruition. Now, you wait patiently while others receive your baby and you look forward to their thoughts. Will they love it? Hate it? Ignore it?

That part is similar to romance writing. You work long and hard on your stories, and when you push your little masterpieces out into the world, you wait with bated breath for the outcome. Will they love them? Hate them? Ignore them?

But once all is said and done, all you can do is sit back, breathe a sigh of relief and (hopefully) say, “I love them.” And I do. Much like my romance novels, I love my new children’s series. Even if no one else ever reads it, I enjoyed the process of imagination and creation, the painstaking process of editing and formatting, and finally–the delivery. I loved it all. It’s what I do. I’m a writer. And because there are many facets to my personality, I now write children’s books. **sigh** Now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, I’m off to the races and back to the drawing board to craft that next novel… 🙂

Socially Frustrated

Today’s post will be brief, as I’m socially frustrated. I’m battling cyber social circles, middle school peer pressure, opposing parenting styles, and I don’t like it. Not one bit.

facebook logoMy family has a policy. We understand our teenage children want to fit in, enjoy the normal social activities of their peers, but when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, I find there is a wide variety of opinions with regard to appropriate media behavior. Thankfully, my kids are not facing bullying. We watch for it, talk about it and are prepared for the day–should it ever cross our path. But in our family, we don’t want pictures of our children posted online. Period.

instagramI’ve posted the occasional “view from afar” or the innocuous half profile, but nothing that boasts, “Hey, look at me!” And we certainly don’t want any pictures posted of our children that are less than appropriate in any form, shape, or matter, ie. “embarrassing.” Am I alone? Am I the stodgy parent in the parent who doesn’t “get it?” This is nothing more than harmless fun between kids?

I always thought I was pretty easygoing. Strict, but understanding and accommodating. I know that sounds like an oxymoron (and some have called me worse), but I don’t know what to do. I can police my children’s behavior. It’s when it comes to their peers that I’m having a problem. Any words of wisdom?

To Study or Not to Study (No Question)

To study, by dictionary.com’s explanation, is to apply oneself to the acquisition of knowledge, as by reading, investigation, practice, or reflection.

I made the recent decision to, as my kids jump into another year of school, devote time and energy to some independent study for myself. It makes sense, expounding upon my understanding of particular subjects, especially those which fascinate me, and I’m not sure why I never thought of it before. I mean, I know that I’ve been a (sometimes) willing student of life, and a voracious reader, but I suppose I’ve kept so busy working and parenting and simply being, that I’ve never, as an adult, thought about actively pursuing topics I’m interested in to research and absorb.

There’s suddenly something so appealing about reading and studying in ways that are natural to me. Now that I’m years-removed from my classroom education I can recognize the ways in which I most effectively approach learning and content retention, and control them myself. Plus, now I can do it for simple enjoyment and personal gain, not because I’ll be tested, or because it’s necessary for advancement.

For sure I’m interested in philosophy and religion, and also the writing craft (something I’m not unfamiliar with, but need to deeply review), so these are first up on my list.

So far I’m several pages into each of these books:

books

What’s hardest is choosing which to pick up any given moment of spare time. Are any of them familiar to you?

Down the line, I’d like to delve into psychology and forensic science, as well. Are there any titles related to those topics you would recommend?

What would you study now if you could find (or make) the time? What would you apply yourself to for the sake of knowledge?

I challenge you: Pick a topic, buy a book about it, and study.

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