Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Goals, Celebration, and Validation vs. Celebration

This post is a hybrid-combo post for Do You Have Goals and Celebrate The Small Things, with some thoughts on "validation" which seems to be a popular theme this week online.

Goals Check-In and Celebration: I've written a total of 39,000 words for two different projects this month plus run a basic spell/grammar/error check. The month isn't over. I still have time to finish. (more on the details of those projects some other day) I've also written one story and submitted it, plus re-submitted two other stories.

Validation Versus Celebration: I read three posts about attention-grabbing, empty validation this week. Some of the posts and comments made me think, and some got under my skin.

I agree that we live in a crazy culture of posting about every little moment of life - potentially bragging about our kids, our selves, etc. and that this kind of thing can seem like empty validation. It might be. It can be. It depends on the person.

However . . . . I started thinking about the people I know who post a lot of happy stuff, a lot of pictures of their kids, a lot of celebrations and accomplishments. And then, I started thinking about why I do those things . . .

When I'm celebrating, I'm not trying to gain validation with comments or likes, and I'm not trying to create an impression of perfection, sweetness, uber-blessings, arrogance, or anything like that.

If I post pictures on facebook or brag on my family, it's meant as a celebration of the parts of my life that totally and completely amaze me.

I'm also trying to be accountable in what has been a long-term goal to foster an attitude of gratitude.

If I post celebrations every day, it's because I'm looking for them.

When I don't look for celebrations, I just see the "suck" part of life: I had to put two dogs to sleep last year and I still miss them, my parents are aging and there are moments when that gets me down, my kids are testing their wings and sometimes I get whacked by an overzealous wingtip, I have had health issues scare the ____ out of me, my husband wants to help everyone which means he forgets to just hang out with me sometimes, our roof had to be replaced and before that we were living with smelly, wet insulation smell for years, and my sink always seems full with dirty dishes even though I run the dishwasher every day, sometimes twice.

However, if I focus on life-suck stuff, where does it get me? A validation for whininess?

I grew up with relatives that often had "I had the worst day/month/year" storytelling conversations - as if each person was trying to get the most "poor yous" out of a group of people.

I used to do that - friends from my high school and college years could "validate" that.

But I don't want to celebrate the life suck stuff. I don't want it cling to me and make me feel like _____.

If I'm celebrating, I want to celebrate life-giving moments, and I want to post it so I can remember it. Plus, I want to remember to say thanks and try to build up an attitude of gratitude.

I think that's what most people are doing when they share pics of their families and their lives on facebook or their blogs, when they celebrate their accomplishments and their blessings.

I don't think that's empty or wrong.

I think that everyone needs to look for celebrations.

If it's new to you, it may take time.

I spent a year forcing myself to post ten blessings a day, and trust me, there were times that I stopped at 2 or 4 and just stared at the blinking cursor on my screen.

In those moments, I couldn't even see the blessings right in front of me and all around me.

I created my own life suck moments because I was walking around only looking at life-sucking stuff.

I refuse to do that anymore.

You don't have to validate that with comments or likes because I found the validation I needed by making that decision several years ago and each day since the first time.

Celebrate life. Celebrate this moment. Celebrate the air you breathe and the pc you write on, and the gift of this moment. Celebrate pencils, and paper, and knives, and forks, and spoons, and water, and toes, and fingers, and everything you can think of to celebrate in the next ten seconds. 

And, don't forget to participate in:

Celebrate her life with sunflowers and help from Blogging from A to Z.

Link up to help C. Lee Mckenzie advocate literacy here

Say Cheese for a Shelfie with Tara Tyler

Take part in The Big "C" Hop to fight cancer.

And have fun with Underrated Treasures.

And I'll be back next week for IWSG, of course. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Best Birthday Gift

I received one of the best birthday gifts of all a day early - and it's the same awesome birthday gift I received 43 years ago - life!

Yesterday after a procedure I won't describe, the doc told me that I'm completely healthy on the inside. I don't know what happened last June, but I do know that I don't have diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, colon tumors, or colon polyps.

I feel like that news re-gifted me with life.

I am so thankful for that news.

I am so thankful for life.

I am so thankful for all my family and friends!

I am so thankful for my savior, Jesus!

I am so thankful for all your prayers, kind thoughts and words that you've shared in the comments on my blog in this last week, in the last year, and in all the years I've been blogging.

Thank you for being a part of this awesome, amazing gift of life!

If it's not your birthday today (I know I share a birthday with a few), I'm wishing you a very merry un-birthday!

Celebrate this wonderful gift of life that we have! Stop and hug someone, smile, smell the roses, wade into the ocean/stream/lake of your choice. Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014


So, I meant to take a break from blogging and then one thing has popped up after another.

This time I'm here to shamelessly ask for votes at IndieReconLive's contest page. Clara, from Champion in Flight is up for Best Kick Butt Main Character, and Kalidess, from Champion in Flight is up for Most Evil Villain.

There are three rounds of voting. The first round was extended because there were some glitches. I would love to make it into the third round . . . but I need votes. :) And it's possible to vote every 24 hours. (shameless)

So, if you have a moment, please vote! And then, check out Indie Recon and all the cool stuff happening there. :)


BTW, I went to see two movies last week. I loved Guardians of the Galaxy (although the prosthetics humor bummed me out it was otherwise perfect)! And I won't comment on the other movie. :(

And I have a yucky medical procedure and have to fast today, and stay away from dangerous equipment like cars and heavy machinery (and probably facebook) tomorrow.

This week is my birthday week - another reason to vote! :) (see what I mean by shameless) Votes on Wednesday will count as virtual presents. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Giver: What it is, and What it isn't

For those who read my post yesterday, please note that I wrote this post a while back and then put it off . . . and forgot which date I attached to it. Sorry about that. I will be around to comment and visit.

With the upcoming release of The Giver, I've seen and heard more concern about the controversy around this book. Released in 1993, The Giver is similar to Matched, The Hunger Games and Divergent, and contains some of the themes found in 1984 by George Orwell.

In fact, I think that it's possible that those who have read and loved The Giver are more likely to write, read, and love other dystopian novels.

Dystopian isn't new, it's been around for a few hundred years, and in early the 20th century, Jack London was one of the first American dystopian writers. Don't knock it as a new, untried, or simply "of the moment" genre.

Here are some of my thoughts on The Giver: What it is and What it isn't.

The Giver by Lois Lowry is an award-winning book that includes heavy topics such as: depression, emotional control over society and individuals through the use of mandatory medications, infanticide, and euthanasia.

The Giver by Lois Lowry is not a book that condones suicide or suicidal tendencies.

In fact, I believe that Lois Lowry paints a very negative picture of all of the above controversial topics. Throughout The Giver, and the books in the series following it, Lowry portrays Christian, Biblical values in an imaginative way that doesn’t flinch from heavy topics.

It’s not something that I would read with most elementary school students.

It is something I required my oldest to read as part of her 8th grade literature course that also included Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery,” and Orson Scott Card’s novel, Ender’s Game. She also read Little Women, The Tempest, The Old Man and the Sea, and other classics that year. We were discussing the role of individuals in society, and the role of society in an individual’s life. We discussed Biblical principles like free will, predestination, sin, salvation, grace, and the Great Commandment and Great Commission. We discussed WWII, communism, and the fear in Western society of communist and socialist government – the government of The Giver is decidedly communist.

It’s not a book I would suggest having a student read in a vacuum without any historical or social context. It’s definitely not a book that students should read without having a chance to discuss the heavy topics introduced within its pages.

It is a worthwhile read. Infanticide, euthanasia, depression, emotional control and uniformity through medication, and a society that values conformity to a politically correct totalitarian rule are topics we could all take some time to think about in our era. They’re current events.

If you can’t handle reading the daily news, then don’t read The Giver. It’s not a light read.

The Giver will make you think. It will make you uncomfortable with infanticide and euthanasia. It will make you celebrate our freedom to feel the full range of emotions. You will probably cry when you read it. And our ability to cry, laugh, and embrace our loved ones will be something you will celebrate after you’ve read The Giver.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just a quick note

I'm back and finally visiting blogs this week.

Blogging from the road didn't quite work out and I'm looking at August with a need to take it slowly and make some decisions about my blog for the fall season.

For now, I'm celebrating a guest post at Jeff Chapman's Writing blog on Faith in Fantasy today and an interview I had last week at From the Writer's Nest.

Unless I guest post or have guests, I will be lurking in the comment sections of blogs until the last week of the month.

I'll be in the writing/planning/preparing-for-fall cave until then. (And weeding through the gazillion pics we took on our trip)

And, if you hadn't heard, Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting a blog fest on September 22nd! Check out the Underrated Treasure Blogfest and sign up!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG: Go Team, Go!!!

Started by the amazing Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, Insecure Writer's Support Group is a place to give voice to our writing insecurities or encouragement for others. There's an excellent website with great tips for writing, publishing, marketing, and blogging and a facebook page for more connection.

Today I have something to share that I hope will inspire you.

Flat-water sprint canoe and kayak racing is a national and Olympic sport. The oldest club/team in the USA started in 1904 in Washington, D.C. Many teams today train at Olympic training facilities or past Olympic training venues. Most teams have their own boathouses and property. Some have professional coaches.

As writers, we often wish we had professional coaches and a professional desk/work area with every perk. We would love to hold up M.F.A. degrees from prestigious programs to back up our writing background.

But is that what it takes to be a writer?

Or a team of National Champions?


The team that won the National Championship is a team that doesn't have an Olympic training facility or its own boathouse. The National Championship team has a strip of grass, a trailer, and some outdoor racks in a public park. The National Championship team doesn't have a highly paid coach. The National Championship team has a denturist who started the team 14 years ago and dedicated himself to becoming a coach (on the side, on his own time and dime), a P.E. teacher who joined him as the canoeing coach (same deal), and a few older athletes on the team who coach part-time for small wages. 

What the National Championship team did have is:

A determination to make history and win the National Championships for the third year in a row.

Dedicated coaches, athletes, and parents.

An encouraging team spirit.

So what do we need to succeed and be champion writers?

Determination, dedication, and an encouraging team spirit.

So I just wanted to take a moment and say in my loudest cheerleader-mom voice:


I believe in the amazing individual talents and gifts of this wonderful team of writers who are all a part of IWSG!

You are determined, dedicated, and encouraging!

And if you hadn't guessed, I am incredibly thankful to have my youngest daughter compete with "that" team - the National Champions from Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team - not because they won (although that was really cool), but because of the team's dedication, determination, and encouragement.
Our head coach, Alan Anderson (on left in pic), had an award named in his honor by the USA Canoe and Kayak association this year. He's that awesome! And, he didn't get that way with a degree from a special coaching place - he just has determination, dedication, and an encouraging attitude.
Does that coach remind you of anyone we know? And what do you think it takes to be a writer?
Now, please don't hate me, but I am blogging from the road via in and out internet coverage because my family and I are driving half the team boats all the way across the country from Georgia to Washington state. It's a 2,672 mile trip. I'll comment the best that I can and may visit your sites instead of commenting here . . .