The Power of Gratitude is something I am learning this month. As an author, if I were to write a book today, the title would be “House of Chaos.” Luckily we have sidestepped multiple instances of injuries in the past four weeks regarding Mom, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
Having to make hard decisions in the past month regarding mom’s care has brought tremendous guilt. I had to break through that and focus on her safety and quality of life. Once I had broken through my guilt barrier of long time care placement and broken through the obstacles, it reduced my stress load, bringing more confidence that long term care is needed for not only her safety but the quality of life as well.
Mind you, sometimes gratitude is difficult, especially in times of stress, sadness, or disappointment. I try not to get caught up in the feelings of guilt and the vicious cycle of if only. Daily, now I must take time to sit quietly and just breathe.
I am finding just taking a few moments to jot down everything I am grateful for after breathing has helped me become less guilt-ridden and more optimistic about each day. A practice that I will continue as our home life changes in the next few weeks.
Practicing gratitude and noticing a remarkable change in our lives is a slow process. I don’t believe you can see the benefits of gratitude instantly. I am beginning to learn, and it takes effort. I am learning to count my blessings every day, no matter the size, no matter the challenges, and finding joy in what I do have in life each day, confidence in my decisions, and building resiliency.
The one thing I have noticed is that life is an unsolved mystery. Changes come and go, and we often reach crossroads in life. Ours is making the hard decision that Mom needs more care than I can give her now. I am grateful we have found a charming living center.
Finding that honesty in myself, that it is my guilt that is the obstacle was a wake-up call. I had to put that aside to come to terms with what was best for mom. Whew, not an easy task, but one I am grateful for.
My advice going forward is to spend some time looking at your life. Make a little list of current challenges. What are you grateful for?
I love adventure, crime, and political fiction books. C.G. Cooper’s brilliance shines in new and unexpected ways in the Corp’s Justice series. I have just finished the sixteenth book in the series, and every one of those books has an unexpected twist. It is a journey through the lives of an elite team of former soldiers.
The principal character is Cal Stokes, who is extremely brave, loyal, yet has many vulnerabilities. Watching him grow, fall, and get back up is not only a joy, but inspiring. His friendships are amazing, funny, and when one-character dies, you grieve right alongside Cal Stokes. Every book in the series grabs your interest in the first few pages, holds you close, and takes you on the adventure with them as they fight for this country’s freedom.
Amazingly enough, as an avid reader I wonder how I did not find C.G. Cooper’s books earlier. How I came to find this brilliant author was, I had just finished another crime series, and was searching my Kindle for a different read. I came across the Daniel Briggs series and thought it might be an interesting read. I can honestly tell you it took me exactly four days to finish that series.
The Hubby was wondering if I would ever cook again and asked me if he should be concerned with whom this Daniel Briggs was. He has since reminded me that while I was reading the Daniel Briggs series; I was telling him each day what Daniel had done that day. He did not realize I was talking about a book. He was wondering where I met this guy.
After finishing that series, I took a few days off, fixed the Hubby some food, but could not get my mind off on how great these books were. Daniel Briggs dragged you right there beside him through the entire series. So, I pulled out my Kindle, and I was off on a search for another series by C. G. Cooper. I came across and read the Corp’s Justice 1-3 box set, not yet realizing there were an overall of 16 books in the series.
The most striking thing about the Corp’s Justice series is the brilliance of C. G. Cooper’s ability to build characters. Throughout the series, new characters come in, and a few lost. It shows how their team builds their friendships and have fun arguing at the same time. The challenges the team face, the foes, or enemies they face in each book are nothing short of riveting.
I cannot name a single aspect I did not like about this series. The result, sixteen books composed professionally, fully researched, and filled with diverse personalities. I give this series five stars and highly recommend you take the time to read this series. It will take you on a course filled with action, adventure, crime, and romance.
I am also now impatiently waiting for October to come, when book seventeen, “Matters of State” is due for publication on Amazon. Now that I have finished all sixteen books over the last few months, I am sad to say the Hubby has lost ten pounds, but he now knows how to order take out delivery.
It has been a joy to write this book. Though the publishing has been challenging. I am including the first two chapters. I hope you enjoy the sneak preview and will consider buying.
I will reward a FREE E-book version of Arctic Eagle on June 12th, 2020 to one lucky new subscriber!
I am excited to announce starting Saturday, June 13th, I will share a weekly three part short-story with you! Giant by Nature. The story of friendship, between a sea turtle and a little boy.
Now on to your sneak preview!
The spring breeze pushed past her sundress as she opened the door to the Estes Park Coffee shop. Gliding up to the counter, Dana, the owner of the shop, already had her order waiting. One large café Mocha and a Cranberry Scone. Dana smiled as she watched Cindi “Higgy” Higgins breeze through the door. “A wonderful Monday morning to you Higgy, I have your order ready.” “You know me so well, Dana.” Cindi said. Dana laughed from behind the counter, saying, “I do Higgy, I just added it to your tab.” As Cindi walked to her regular table, in the back corner of the coffee shop, she thought, Higgy, what a nickname to have. Laura Henderson is to blame for that nickname. She missed Laura. She missed the activity of playing with Laura’s kids. Cindi was honored to be the godmother to all three of Laura and Tom Henderson’s children. She would call her tonight, and they could catch up.
Sitting at the table, she opened her laptop to check her email, as she did every morning before walking a block over to the White Hat Risk Assessment office, where she worked. Taking a sip of the hot Mocha, her eyes grew wide, her heart raced. Flaming Feather? That was a name she thought she would never hear again. Staring at the screen in wonderment, she thought it has been ten years since she talked to Danny Davis, aka Flaming Feather. Why would he be contacting her now? Opening the email, the message read,
Arctic Eagle, if anything happens to me, you know where to look.
Confused, she read it a second time. Not sure what to do, Cindi sat back in the chair, her thoughts drifting back to her childhood, her past, Danny Davis. Flashes of memories raced through her thoughts, their teenage romance, their arrest, and their conviction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Looking back at the laptop screen, to read the message again, she found it was no longer there. Blinking her eyes rapidly, Cindi moved closer to the screen of her laptop. The screen was blank, the message gone. Did she imagine it? Confused, she searched her email. There was no record of it ever existing. If she did not get moving, she would be late for work, Cindi hastily closed her laptop and packed it in her messenger bag. Grabbing her cup of coffee to go, she walked down the block to start her day at work.
Briskly entering the offices of White Hat Risk Assessment, Cindi walked to her office, saying good morning to her co-workers as she passed by their desks. Reaching her office cubicle, Cindy sat down. She had a new account to work on today. A Bank whose security system needed to be tested. Turning on the computer on her desk, she stashed her messenger bag underneath the nearby shelf in her cubicle. She spent the next few hours before lunch hacking into the Banks system, finding multiple ways to gather their client’s confidential information.
Stretching, Cindy was startled when she heard her co-worker Mary Stewart say, “Hey Higgy, want to go get some lunch?” Turning in her chair to find Mary behind her, she said, “Not today, I am just going to get some air before I start the report for the bank. It was a breeze getting into their system this morning.” Laughing, she continued, “It is going to take two weeks to get their system secured. Your grandmother could have hacked into that system.” Mary giggled, saying, “I am not teaching my grandmother the tricks of this trade. I will see you after lunch Higgy.”
Cindy stood, grabbing her messenger bag. She walked outside to downtown Estes Park. Feeling the sun’s warmth, and taking a breath of the fresh mountain air, she looked down the street. Tourist season had not started yet, the streets filled only with local patrons. Sitting on her favorite bench around the corner from the office, she gazed up at the surrounding mountains, amazed that even though it was warm for a late April day, there was still snow on the mountain tops. Opening her laptop, she again searched for the email she thought she received that morning from Danny. Nothing was there. Closing her laptop, her thoughts went back to her teen years.
As children, Cindi and Danny were raised in the same foster home. Shortly after Cindi turned 16, the FBI arrested her with a group of five others called the MiamiLink Club. Besides her and Danny, the other three kids were also foster children in various homes in the city. In Miami Florida, they used coffee shops, libraries, and internet cafe’s as their location for hacking into first the local phone company giving them the ability to make free long-distance calls and listen to customers’ calls. They then moved on to hacking into corporate networking systems, as a challenge to see if they could. The Club would have contests on who could break into a company the fastest and do something crazy like implant a worm or change their client’s personal information. Then Chen Williams, one of the club members, the weak link in the club, decided it would be fun to infiltrate the Pentagon network. He never was very smart. That is when they were arrested. Cindi’s code name was Arctic Eagle. Her best friend and boyfriend at the time was Danny Davis, code named Flaming Feather. He was the one who taught her how to hack.
Cindi remembered the trial, and how terrified she was. Convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, she was sentenced to two years in a juvenile detention center, with three years of probation, and a fine. During her time in the Juvenile Detention Center, Cindi received her GED. With help from a guidance counselor at the center, she became certified as an Ethical Hacker.
Upon her release, that same counselor helped Cindi get a job far from Miami in Estes Park, Colorado working for the company she worked for today. She had been a part of the White Hat group for the last eight years. After her arrest, she had never spoken to or heard from Danny Davis again.
Standing, she thought, that was then, this is now. She had a an excellent job, a cute apartment above the Coffee Shop, friends, and she was now an adult at twenty-six years old. It was time to leave the past behind, and work towards that promotion she wanted as a lead Computer Security Specialist, which would give her a decent raise and the chance to manage a team of four other Specialists. Cindi stood, going back to her office to start the report for the Bank account she had worked on that morning.
Six days later, on Sunday, Cindi sat at her small kitchen table eating the ham and swiss sandwich she had made for lunch, admiring the new soft yellow color of the walls, her and Dana had painted yesterday. Watching it rain out her window, she picked up her phone to call Laura Henderson, her friend and confidante. Waiting for Laura to answer, she heard Laura say, “Higgy! It’s been two weeks since we talked, hang on.” Cindi could hear Laura say, ‘Charlotte, get off that table before you fall. Tom lift her down and give me a few minutes to talk to Higgy.’ Cindi heard Laura’s husband yell in the background, ‘Hi Higgy!’ Laura focusing back on the call said, “Higgy, how are you? Did you get the kitchen painted? I didn’t see any pictures come through yet.” Cindi laughed and said, “Its done, Dana and I spent all of yesterday painting. I love it. How are the kids?”
Laura replied, “Well, as you heard, Charlotte was dancing on the table. At two years old, I wonder about her sometimes, she is always climbing up on things. Michael is doing fine in Kindergarten, his favorite part of the day is nap time, Kevin, who may not live till next month to turn four, is into everything as usual. Did you get the promotion at work?” Cindi laughing said, “I find out next week. I sure miss you at work, Laura. Though, I must tell you, I appreciate the queen-size bed in our bedroom here, rather than the two twin beds.” Laura giggled, and said, “I miss the quiet evenings, when we could sit and watch movies, eat popcorn, and drink wine. I have not had a quiet evening since Michael was born. When are you coming for a visit?” Cindi replied, “I have two weeks of vacation built up. Depends on whether I get this promotion. If I get it, I want to settle in and get my team together, if not, I will make the trip to cry on your shoulder.” Laura laughed loudly, “So what else is new Higgy? Have you met anyone yet?”
Cindi smiled, “I have no time for a man in my life, Laura.” Feeling a chill go up her spine, Cindi said, “Something happened, I am just not sure if I am imagining it or not.” Laura stood, saying, “Hang on, Higgy, I will get Tom to watch the children.” Waving at Tom to watch the children. Laura walked out to the patio in the back of their California home. Sitting on the chaise lounge she said, “I am outside now, it’s quieter. Tell me what happened?” Cindi replied, “Do you remember when I told you about Danny Davis and the story of my teen years?” Laura replied, “I remember, why?”
Cindi said, “I got an email last week from Danny. I have not heard or talked to him in ten years. All it said was if something happens to me you know where to look.” Laura, aghast, said, “What? That is cryptic. Did you reply?” Cindi said, “I was so stunned. The email came from Flaming Feather, his code name. When I went back to read it again, it was gone.” Laura, surprised, said, “Wow! He had to do some searching to find you Higgy, and then to find your current email, send the message and then make it to look like it never existed. What are you going to do?” Cindi replied thoughtfully, “I will do nothing. That part of my life is best left buried. I do not want to open that door again. It is too risky, and life is good. I cannot mess that up.” Laura replied, “That is probably for the best.” Looking up, Laura saw Tom standing at the door, with a crying red-faced Charlotte. Laura said, “Looks like Tom is having trouble with the baby. Text me some pictures of your kitchen and text me as soon as you hear about that promotion. I got to go, Bye Higgy, I love you girlfriend.”
Cindi stood from the table and put her dishes in the sink. Taking a few pictures of the kitchen, she texted them to Laura and then decided with the rainy afternoon, it would be a good idea to take a nap and read that new romance novel she picked up last week at the bookstore.
Monday morning started as usual. Stopping at the Coffee Shop and walking to work. It was still raining. As Cindi entered the office, she closed her umbrella and moved to her desk. Looking at her in-box, she found three more files of new accounts. Placing them on her desk, Cindi sat down, ready to work on the new files. A few minutes later, Gina, her boss, stopped at her desk and said, “Great job on the Marshall Bank account. Can you stop in my office this afternoon? I would like to discuss your new job duties. Congratulations Cindi, the promotion is yours.” Cindi smiled and said, “Really? I got the promotion. Sure, I will be there promptly at one. Thank you, Gina.” Gina beamed, saying, “You deserve it Cindi. I will see you this afternoon.” When Gina had walked away, Cindi swung her office chair in a circle in celebration of her new promotion. Picking up her phone, she quickly texted Laura, ‘I got the promotion!’
Setting her phone down, Cindi opened the top file on the pile she received in her in box and started working. Looking at her watch, thinking it was time for lunch, she would have just enough time to have a sandwich and go to her meeting with Gina. Hearing her cell phone vibrate, she looked to see a number from California calling. Answering, she said, “Hello?” She heard a man’s voice say, “Good morning, am I speaking with Cindi Higgins? This is Samuel Herschel; I am the attorney for Daniel Davis.” Cindi felt like her heart was about to stop. Trying to take a breath, she found it difficult. She said into her phone, “This is Cindi Higgins, what can I do for you?” Mr. Herschel replied, “I am sorry to tell you this over the phone, Ms. Higgins, but Mr. Davis has passed and named you as the executor of his estate. I was wondering if you could come to Los Angeles in the next few days to settle the estate.”
Cindi whispered, “Danny is dead? I have not seen or heard from him in ten years. Why would he leave everything to me? How did he die?” Sam Herschel replied, “Mr. Davis informed me you were the closest he had to family, saying you would know what to do with his estate. I am sorry to inform you; they have ruled his death as suspicious. You have not heard from Mr. Davis in ten years? That’s odd.” Cindi felt the energy leave her body, saying, “Suspicious? What does that mean?” Sam replied, “All I can tell you Ms. Higgins is that his death is still being investigated.” Cindi, taking a deep breath, asked, “Mr. Hershel, do I really need to come to Los Angeles to settle the estate or can we do it by email?” Sam Herschel said, “Mr. Davis has left you his house, and all his belongings, and a considerable amount of money. You will need to come to my office to sign the paperwork, receive the new deed and keys to the home.”
Cindi’s thoughts started flying a mile a minute. She had just received a promotion. Then her heart sank when she remembered the email, she received from Danny last week. Quieting her mind, she said, “Mr. Herschel, I will need to make some arrangements here at work, can I call you later this afternoon, with a time I can arrive?” Mr. Herschel replied, “Yes, that would be fine. I will email you my office location so you can make the proper transportation arrangements. I will look forward to hearing from you later today. Good day, Ms. Higgins.”
Cindi set her phone down on her desk. Her eyes filled with tears. Danny was dead. Fear entered every core of her body. Danny’s death was suspicious and with the email he sent her last week, he knew what was coming. What the hell has he dragged her into now? There is no other choice, I will have to see this attorney. Feeling like her past was rushing back into her life, against her will, Cindi stood and walked out of her office to sit on her favorite bench outside. She needed some air; it was hard to breathe. Sitting on the bench, she was unaware of her surroundings. Her mind kept going over the email, Arctic Eagle, if anything happens to me you know where to look. She had no choice. She would have to go to Los Angeles. She would have to find what Danny wanted her to find. Forty-five minutes later, she entered the building. She slowly walked over to Gina’s office.
Cindi knocked softly on Gina’s office door. Hearing Gina say come in; Cindi entered her office. Gina looked at her watch before saying, “Cindi, right on time.” Cindi sat down in the chair across from Gina’s desk saying, “Gina, something has come up. There has been a death in what you would call my family, and I need to go to Los Angeles and close out the estate. I know you scheduled this meeting to talk about my promotion. Thank you for having the confidence in me to award me with the promotion, I appreciate it. I am sorry, but I need to use my vacation time to handle this.”
Gina looked at Cindi quizzically. “Family? Cindi, when you came to work for me, I understood that you grew up in foster care. What has happened?” Tears rushed to Cindi’s eyes, “It was one of the other foster children in our home, Danny Davis. He has left everything to me, and his attorney has asked I come to California to settle the estate. His attorney asked that I come to Los Angeles to sign the needed paperwork. The attorney said there is a home involved. I need to find a real estate agent to put the house up for sale. As soon as I am done with that I will be returning.” Gina looking surprised said, “It wasn’t one of the boy’s you they arrested you with was it?” Cindi nodded silently, saying, “I haven’t seen or heard from Danny in ten years so I do not understand why he would do this. I do not even know how he found me. When your sister, Camila, made the arrangements for me to come here to start a new life, I know she did not tell anyone what she was doing and took great care in making sure no one would find me. So, I am as surprised as you are.”
Gina nodded her head. Remembering when her sister Camila called her about Cindi. She said she was one of the most talented hackers she had ever seen. A young girl tied into a group that could have destroyed her life. She thought Cindi was a decent girl who could make a difference in the world with her talents. So, she agreed to give her the start she needed, setting her up in an apartment over her best friend Dana’s coffee shop and giving her a job. Over the past eight years, Cindi had flourished and proved her worth to White Hat Risk Assessment.
Gina looked at Cindi and said, “I understand Cindi, take the two weeks and when you return, we will get you set up with your new team. I am bringing four new employees in from around the States. They are young, with similar backgrounds such as yours. I believe you are the one to guide them into becoming assets to White Hat. When are you planning on leaving?” Cindi replied, “I will make the arrangements to leave from Denver tomorrow. If that is okay with you.” Gina said, “Okay, give your new account files to Mary, and check in with me, letting me know when you will return. In the meantime, I will have your team settled in and ready to start when you get back. Why don’t you go home and get things settled to leave? I am sorry you have to deal with this Cindi.” Cindi gratefully looked at Gina saying, “Thank you Gina, I will call you soon.”
Cindi went back to her desk. Straightening her desk, she took her new work files to Mary, saying, “Mary, I have to leave for two weeks to take care of some family business, Gina asked me to give you these new accounts to complete.” Mary replied, “Sure Cindi, is everything okay?” Cindi nodded, and said, “Yes, just some unexpected family business to deal with. I will see you in two weeks.” Cindi went back to her office, got her bag, and walked back to her apartment, stopping into the coffee shop to let Dana know that she was leaving for a couple weeks.
Entering her apartment, Cindi sat down at her desk in the living room, opening her laptop. She quickly made flight arrangements to Los Angeles and organized a Lyft to take her to the Denver airport at nine am the next morning. Checking her email, she saw she had received the email from Sam Herschel. Cindi mapped out his office, finding a hotel within a two-block area. Making one night of reservations, she thought if Danny had left her his house, when she got the keys from Mr. Herschel, she could take a Lyft to the house and stay there. Emailing Mr. Herschel her travel arrangements, she informed him she would be in his office at ten a.m. the day after tomorrow.
Cindi went into her bedroom to pack her suitcase for her upcoming trip. Once completed with that task, she went back to her laptop finding an acknowledgement for the appointment time with Mr. Herschel. Closing her laptop, Cindi quickly reopened it. She conducted an internet search for Danny Davis. Finding nothing but the article of their arrest, she again closed her laptop. Going into the kitchen, she poured herself a glass of wine and settled into the plush deep brown couch in her living room. Taking a sip of the wine, she set the glass on the coffee table in front of her and picked up her cell phone without looking at it. She should call Laura and let her know she was coming. Staring at her phone for a few minutes, she thought better of it. She would call Laura when she got settled into Danny’s house, a house that was now hers. Picking up her glass her wine, she said to herself, if anything happens to me, you know where to look. With a deep feeling in her gut, she knew that her life was about to take an unexpected left turn; she downed the rest of her glass of wine, drew a hot bath, and went to bed.
The next morning, Cindi rose and quickly dressed, getting ready to leave. Carrying her suitcase down the flight of stairs, she walked out the door of the apartment and into the Coffee shop, where she ordered a large Mocha Latte and a Cranberry Scone to go. Seeing the Lyft pull up in front of the coffee shop, her coffee and scone in hand, she pulled her suitcase behind her out the door. The driver loaded her suitcase in the trunk while she settled into the back seat for the hour and a half drive to the Denver airport. Taking a sip of her hot coffee, she placed it in the cup holder next to her and pulled the romance novel she had started the other night out of her bag. Reading a romance novel would keep her thoughts of what was coming at bay.
If you enjoyed the first two chapters, you can get your Free Unlimited Kindle version here.
Reflecting over the past six weeks, I ponder what I have lost. Networking with other authors, seeing anyone else in general. Though I am an introvert, every so often I do like to see others. At first, I lost my momentum to write, but joining NaNoWriMo Aprils Camp got me back on track and I was able to finish my newest book “Arctic Eagle,” and get it to my editor, Masani.
What I have not lost? Weight seems like no one can take that from me. I cannot seem to quit baking. Though, my mother in law and husband, seem to be enjoying the dozens of cookies, bars, brownies, and bread. My body is screaming Stop!
Now let us talk about masks. I sewed three hundred masks and donated them. However, I should have attached a warning note with them. You see I wear glasses. Big black glasses. So, I go to the local grocery store for some needed items. I put on my homemade mask, get out of the car, go inside, grab a cart, and a disinfectant wipe and clean that baby down.
I walk first to the produce section, you know, where they have those plastic bags you can put produce in? Well, I grab two. One for each hand and quickly insert hands in bags. Thought I should pick up a few oranges for mom in law, fruit is good right? Healthy. They had just filled the bin. I want to be sure to pick the best oranges, juicy ones. I stand in front of the filled bin, picking one, then two oranges and placing them in an individual plastic bag. My goal was six. I think to myself, this is going well, I am being responsible, for my health, and everyone else’s. I smile, and quietly giggle.
As I am reaching to choose a third one, I suddenly realize something is wrong, I cannot see! I grab the third orange, wondering what in the world? What happens? Yes, at least three dozen Oranges are suddenly hitting the floor, I cannot breathe, and I cannot see. I sense the produce man running towards me.
Turns out when you wear a mask, and wear large glasses, they tend to fog up when you breath. Having plastic bags on your hands, does not help your ability to take your glasses off. So here I am looking at the young produce man, glasses fogged, saying, “Help Me!” Mind you he is a teenager. He takes my glasses off my face, smiles, at least I think he was smiling, I did not hear him laughing. Let me give you a visual. Without my glasses I cannot see a thing. I wear my glasses, but also need to wear readers, when reading, or working on the computer.
As he was calmly wiping my glasses off on his shirt, I was trying to remove my mask with my plastic covered hands. Finally, a not so nice word came out of my mouth, I ripped those plastic bags off my hands, and took off my mask. The nice produce man, handed me my glasses, and said, “Its okay, I will clean this up.”
I thanked that young man. Turned and put my cart away. I went back out to the car, drove home, and made a list. I sent my husband to the store. I may never go back.
So that was how my Sunday went. How was yours? Please feel free to share, with anyone you know who wears glasses.
I personally find January to be the dreariest month of the year. In Minnesota we currently have mountains of snow, and today we are expecting another foot to land on my doorstep. This wonderful month tends to be the longest month of the year. Though I must admit, as the snow falls from the sky, it is beautiful to watch and creates a picture-perfect landscape. It is hard to imagine that Spring will be arriving in just weeks. Of course, Garden Catalogs are already arriving in my mailbox! That one thing provides hope.
January can also be the most depressing month of the year. Though I am not one to get depressed, I have found a multitude of ways to get through the month, so I don’t lose my mind. I have a few items I keep in my bag of tricks and I will share them with you.
I purge my closet of clothes I haven’t worn in the last year. I must admit, three bags went in the donation box this year. I am beginning to wonder if I am clothes hog.
I live in Minnesota! Once the temperature hits thirty below, I accessorize! I put on my multiple layers of sweaters and my winter coat. I often wear a cute scarf and matching mittens.
Let’s keep it real, my bank account does not allow me to go someplace warm. However, I would recommend it for anyone who can. May I suggest, Nevada. Not only is the weather warmer, but they have casino’s and buffets. I especially recommend Laughlin, Nevada. Great food, warm weather, and penny slot machines.
Eating! I tend to bake a lot of cookies during January. Today I will be mixing up a batch of peanut butter cookies to get me through the on-coming snowstorm. I also like to try new recipes during January. Creative cooking is always good for the soul. I especially like creating new soups in the crock pot.
Start a new project! I always start my new craft projects in January. Be it a new afghan to crochet, new set of dish towels to embroider, or a new quilt to sew. Okay, I will admit, I start all three each January. It is important to note, I have 52 unfinished quilts to complete in my sewing room.
I write. Whether it is starting a new year journal or working on a current or new novel, I write. Nothing like getting stranded at home in another foot of snow on top of the three feet you already have, to get your mind working on a story. I try to place my locations in warmer climates.
Television is a staple. New shows start in January, then there is always Netflix!
Remember Spring will be coming, though looking out my window it is hard to imagine. My pool is yet not buried in the snow, so you will often find me gazing lovingly out the window, saying, Hello Pool, sixteen more weeks and I can fill you again.
Remember we can do this! We are survivors! Leave a comment how you get through January.
Yesterday I went to see Les Miserables the musical. It wasn’t my first time, and Victor Hugo’s masterpiece is the only book that actually reduced me to tears. But it isn’t the performance I want to discuss here, although it was magnificent, it’s the interactions I observed on stage. The cast were extremely tactile, they were constantly touching one another. Now, some of this was choreographed, but some seemed to be designed to comfort and reassure one another. Back patting, shoulder squeezing, supportive smiles, it was heart-warming to witness.
And it made sense to me. They are a company, a community. They are in it together, a collective with a common purpose: to provide a great show.
In life we are – it seems to me – far less comfortable with contact. As a student one of my lecturers showed us a video taken of crowds walking along a high…
For years, I set New Years Resolutions and never accomplished a darn thing. So I found a strategy that worked for me. At the beginning of December, I go over my past year’s goals and reflect on what I have accomplished and where I have failed. Yes, I can tell you now, we all fail at one time or another, it’s a part of life.
I look at the accomplishments as wins and failures? I spend the time to reflect on what I could have done to improve on my success. What worked and what didn’t work.
I reflect on whether my actions indeed brought me closer to my overall vision for the year. Did your’s? So I ask, did your actions bring you closer to your yearly goals? If not, you cannot expect the things in your life that you need and want to change: to change. Everyone has their different walks in life. The setting goals process is not a one size fits all method, but it is unique to your life’s vision. Whether it is personal goals or career goals, the goal map is yours to make to create change and success.
Here are some reasons to set those goals:
Goals will always provide you with a starting point and a destination to reach.
When you write your goals out, you see where you are going, what changes you need to make at the mid-point of the year, and if you are progressing in your goals.
The process of writing your goals will help you clarify your desires, understand their importance, and commit yourself to achieve them.
Remember there are always some sacrifices to be made, but stay committed and overcome the challenges. Work on your plan.
Your goals will help you focus your attention on your purpose and inspire you to be better.
When setting goals, be sure to define them in your overall vision for the year.
The secret to achieving your goals? Start them.
Write your goals for the year on the first page of your journal, or create a vision board. Whichever you choose, it will be there as a reminder for the year ahead.
Every month, take the time to review your goals and write about your accomplishments, consider the changes you need to make, and reflect on the challenges of the month in moving forward with your vision.
Halloween is one of the most likely holidays of the year met
with much skepticism. Parents spend time
planning costumes for their children as little monsters, vampires, ghosts, witches
and the current fad of the year for princesses and heroes. What child doesn’t love collecting candy? I have childhood memories of being three or four
years of age, thinking it was the best time ever. I learned all I had to do was ring the
doorbell, and the person gave me candy.
I thought it was so great; my mother told me I was out ringing doorbells
in the middle of the night looking for more candy. After that incident, she no longer allowed me
to eat a lot of candy after returning home from Trick or Treating.
The origin of the Halloween holiday began over 1900 years
ago in Europe. A Celtic celebration of a
new year celebrating the days as when the souls of the dead supposedly mingle
with the living. They celebrated the holiday with large bonfires, often still done
today. However, many religions look at
Halloween as a pagan day. So let’s view
as to why we should love the Halloween holiday.
You can be what you want to be
One of the primary reasons to love Halloween is that
people can dress up to be whoever or whatever they want to represent. It is
like a night to play “make-believe.” It’s not just about the scariest outfits,
but it is about imagination and characters that depict your personality or have
inspired you the most.
You can play dress-up without worrying about any judgment.
We can make bold choices and go as something people don’t associate with us. It
usually is the perfect time to open up and be brave.
The Adrenaline Rush
The rush is the best part of all adrenaline seekers.
Unlike all other holidays, this one is exciting as well as thrilling. You can
do all the daring things and scary things that previously frightened you. This
holiday makes you want to take a leap of faith and challenge yourself for new ideas.
If you happen not to be an adrenaline seeker, you can
watch horror movies or scare other people just for fun.
One primary reason to love Halloween is the amount of
free candy that you can collect. Typically kids aren’t even allowed to have
that much candy, but Halloween seems like a free pass, and you can have as much
candy as you like then. Apart from this, you can get all types of sweets like
toffees, chocolates, popcorn balls and so much more. Adults are also known to
have a sweet tooth. Nobody says no to free candy, so why not avail it when you
can. And we believe even those skeptics can’t refuse some good candy.
One of the favorite activities of Halloween is carving
the pumpkins, which is very exciting. All the family members usually carve the
pumpkins to display them around the house. Making weird and scary faces on
pumpkins as well as making Jack O Lanterns is an exciting activity that makes
you love Halloween and pumpkins. Some places even hold the best-carved pumpkins
competitions to celebrate the best-carved pumpkins.
Don’t have to buy gifts
Some of the skeptics who find Christmas better need to
know that Halloween doesn’t require you to buy gifts and give them. You can
wear your bed sheet and collect candy. Without spending a single dime, you can
have most of the fun at Halloween.
Another one of the reasons to celebrate Halloween is the
amount of exciting and scary decorations. Halloween decorations are creativity
at its peak. The spider webs, hanging bats, carved pumpkins, cauldrons, and
ghosts hanging around give the place an eerie vibe and festive feel. Creating
the decorations is an open-door to creative ideas and putting them in motion.
A Different Kind of Connection
On Halloween, people often dress as monsters and other
scary creatures, which help to reduce any fear of the unknown or the
supernatural. As a holiday, Halloween allows people to dress up into things
they are most scared of, and this helps them remove any fear of the being.
Halloween encourages people to be brave and be firm
against our fears. It connects us with our concerns as well as the unknown
realm. Halloween encourages us to take a peek into that realm and feel
comfortable with it.
Halloween is one eerie as well as a thrilling holiday,
different than all others. Some might be skeptical, but even they will be convinced
by reading all the above reasons. Some like the decorations; others love sweets,
but most importantly, Halloween helps us realize our mortality and helps us
face our biggest fears in the form of dressing up like them.
Nothing is more exciting
than spending quality time with girlfriends. But nowadays in a busy world
staying in touch with friends can be hard.
Sometimes our friends live miles away or have moved to another State to
establish her career, and now you all are living away from each other. Why arrange
a long weekend Girl’s Trip to spend time together? Spending a memorable time
with your friend’s is exciting and memorable because:
Girls Like Adventures
We know how to enjoy every little
moment with friends. Girls have massive excitement for trips across the world
with friends to enjoy every moment and make it memorable. According to our
secret sourcebook, girls when traveling, do not like to go fast, be lonely, and
we never want to visit someplace alone. We like to move at a slower pace, which
allows us to collect moments, take photos, and build exciting memories.
Diet doesn’t matter
You cannot enjoy your Girl’s Trip
without having great wine and yummy food. In my case, excellent Root Beer. Eat and drink whatever you want. No need to
worry about calories. Forget the dieting and eat everything to celebrate the
Girls love to do Gossips
What is more fun than gossiping with
your girls? Yes, this is the favorite hobby of every girl. What others wear,
how they live, what we love to discuss with our girlfriends? But remember
one thing; while gossiping about someone make sure that person is not around
you otherwise you will be responsible for any upcoming situation.
Girls love to do shopping
I can surely say shopping is my
weakness, and when we visit a new place, we have an urge to buy every unique
thing we find. Now it’s our best
friend’s duty to keep us in the budget and stop us from purchasing a lot of
useless items. We must pay attention and warn them if it is a beautiful item
that won’t fit in the vehicle on the road trip home. Most things, if needed can be mailed back
home. Look at all the options when making
RULES FOR A GIRL’S TRIP
Dress up in whatever you want
In our daily routines, we often are
dressed in business clothes or whatever fits in our career wardrobe. On a trip
with your girlfriends, you can wear whatever you want to wear. Feel comfortable
and feel relaxed about what you are going to wear. Your friends will not make
fun of you. Make every moment remarkable and excellent.
Capture every moment
Great pictures are an excellent way to
remember your trip. It can put a smile on your face even when you’re having a
bad day. Girls love to take selfies and we-fies. Take pictures of every moment. Whether you are in a hotel or cabin, girls like to take photos of every corner of
the hotel or cabin, and then they love to take pictures of food and share it on
social media like Instagram and snap chat to their other friends too, of
course, show them what fun they are missing.
Life is too short, you may spend 70
years working to make money or to establish yourself, but in the end, you may
have no friends to spend time with, to share your achievements and dreams. So
do not waste any time in making plans for a Girl’s Trip. Decide on a location with your friend’s, and make
the weekend memorable and joyful.
Fall is my favorite season of the year. The air is crisp; the trees are in brilliant
colors of red, orange, and yellows. This
time of year is the perfect time to sit out on my deck in the early morning
with that first cup of coffee, watching the sunrise and breathing in the smell
of fallen leaves on the ground.
It also begins my time of reflection for the year. Reflecting
on what my expectations were for the year vs. the state of things as they exist
today — reality, those things that we can and cannot see.
As I reflect on the past year and the expectations, I set for
myself; I found a valuable lesson.
Always expect the unexpected. I am
retired, enjoying the quiet days to myself while the hubby is at work. I joined a writer’s group, belong to a social
women’s group and love to spend the early morning hours on my deck starting my
day journaling, then moving to spend the day working on my Ignited Secrets Trilogy. I enjoy the fact the children are doing well;
the grandchildren are all now in college and life is good. My expectation? I am going to become a full-time author. What better way to spend retirement, right?
Then life happens. As
we age, our parents get older, and we must ensure they safe, healthy, and happy. My siblings and I did for our mother, who
passed nine years ago. I had lost my dad
when I was twenty-one. My mother in law
suffers from mid-stage Alzheimer’s. She
had been living with her daughter for the past four years. Life changed for them. Her husband took a new job in another State. Therefore, our life changed; someone needed
to step up and care for mom full time. Mom
has moved in permanently until which time she needs twenty-four-hour care.
Expectations vs. Reality.
I still take the time to journal early each morning, but most of my
writing is now happening on my kitchen table, rather than my sacred space in
the garage. Yes, I had my hubby build me
an office/quilting room in the garage.
What was once a two-car garage, became a one-car garage. By writing at my kitchen table, I can answer
the multitude of questions my mother in law has throughout the day.
It amazes me to watch her, realizing she is in the
moment. A place most of us strive to
be. Though for her, that moment is all
she has. No five-minute past, no one-minute
future. Yesterday while the President
was on every channel of the television for most of the day, she was trying to
figure out what he was talking about and why he seemed angry. Mom is 87, and her generation listened when
the President talked. Then she wanted to
know why someone didn’t fix the lighting. He looked orange. I covered these questions a hundred different
times yesterday as if it was the first time she had asked. I became creative; how do you explain today’s
Here I am in my season of reflection,
adjusting my expectations, and making new expectations for the year to
come. I write out my hopes, beliefs, and
my dreams for the future. Similar to New
Year’s resolutions, though I learned long ago I do not stick to
resolutions. Hence the new word expectations.
I split them out in three categories, my hopes for my grandchildren
and how I can assist them in their direction.
That can be anywhere from financially to embroidering them a new set of
dish towels for their new apartments as they start their life path. I reflect on my written life mission and
vision statement, making the changes needed to stay current.
I then spell out my
dreams for the year, what do I want to accomplish as a writer, how many quilts
do I want to make this year or finish, and what growth do I want to see in my
self for the year. These are my
goals. Simple right?
My signal for reflection is the changing of the leaves, my
sign for setting expectations is the first snowfall and breaking my goals down
to achieve success begins December first to be prepared to start the New Year
with a bang.
Everyone has different ways of continuing their journey
through life. I find mine works for
me. I encourage everyone to find their
way to make each new year the best year of their life. For mom, I fully intend to make this next
year a year of feeling safe, happy and fresh-baked cookies on the counter every