Thursday, March 27, 2014

Keep on Keeping On

Winter is almost behind us.  It has been a long winter.  This last winter also had a plus, the winter Olympic games. 

A new addition was introduced to the games, Slopestyle. It is an interesting sport.  The one I enjoyed watching was the Mens snowboard.  Basically a snowboarder jumps on ramps, or rails and then does flips off jumps all the while traveling at breakneck speeds down the mountain side.

While the USA won first place, and the gold medal is the goal, I was more interested in what happened to the bronze winner from Canada, Mark McMorris.

A few weeks before the winter games Mark competed in the Winter X Games in Aspen.  On his third run he tripped on the rails and crashed, and fractured a rib.  He still went to the winter Olympic games and competed, with a fractured rib.

I was amazed as he did flips and jumps knowing how it would hurt when he landed.  The fact that he won a bronze medal in the debut of his Slopestyle sport is a testament of commitment and following your dreams.

I suppose the fight to go on is always in a champion.  Things that go wrong are seen as setbacks, not deal breakers.

I will never be a star athlete, or compete in any Olympic Games, summer or winter.  I do well to run a mile right now, although I am working on my fitness, I know I'll never be an elite athlete, but I do know this - I can keep on keeping on.

There are times in life where it seems like the opposition will overwhelm us.  Remember this, obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes of the goal.  Sometimes it will hurt to keep moving.  Oftentimes things do not, or will not go the way you would like.  Take a deep breath and keep plugging.

You may not get the gold medal, but hey, you made it to the platform and got to see your flag.  Go back and work some more.  It will eventually pay off.

Men's Slopestyle Final Results
Place Name Country Score
1 Sage Kotsenburg USA 93.50
2 Staale Sandbech Norway 91.75
3 Mark McMorris Canada 88.75

Monday, March 24, 2014

Darke Conteur has me on Blog Tour

I need to remember the old adage, "Never volunteer for anything."

Yet I feel the need to help others whenever I can, and when Darke put up a note saying she needed help I said sure!

Really I don't mind, I've just been swamped, as you can tell by the low number of blog posts I've put up lately...  I'll fix it, but blogging is not a high priority at this juncture. 

So I need to answer a few simple questions:

1) What am I working on?
Finding a job first and foremost.  Oh, as far as my writing goes?  Well I've been working on a high fantasy story for longer than I will admit.  I made the mistake of writing 400,000 words with no help, or anyone to beta read or critique. Now I'm trying to turn it into something readable.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I am working on a Fantasy Thriller.  I know that is a bit different, but I love both genres.  So I am crafting something that works, although a lot of my writing friends tell me I have too much detail in my story.  So it is a balancing act...

3) Why do I write what I do?
It is an outlet for me.  I like to imagine things, and fantasy allows me to let my imagination go, but the practical side of me always brings it around to make it believable, so even fantasy has rules it needs to follow!
 4) How does my writing process work? 
I like to write at lunch time, or I did.  I'd have ideas brew and then at lunch put them on paper.  I love to go on walks and as I'm out walking the ideas start to come.  I can play with them in my head and then put them down once I work out the details in my mind.  My favorite part is writing the first draft and letting the story flow out of my fingers through the keyboard and onto the screen/paper.  

I've heard it said that the first draft you write for yourself.  Then get the crit partners and start making it work for everyone else.  That is where I am at now, working on making the story work for everyone else.  It will get there, and boy it will be great when I get it published.  

So thanks Darke for asking me to join your tour.  Now I've got to find three other people to share this with and post some links for them for next week.


Guest Post by Andre Ford: Why I write

I've asked some of my writer friends why they write.  I got a request From Andre for a post.  So here is a brief bio and why Andre Writes:

Name: Andre Ford
Born and raised in Southeastern United States, my interest in writing started in High School; math class to be exact. There was a student teacher there who noticed I wasn't paying attention and found out why. She scolded me for writing in class and then scolded me for leaving a cliff hanger. She encouraged me to write ... but not during class.

Though I've been writing stories for years, my first published work was with a small magazine that targeted canine enthusiast. Later on I began writing stories and featuring interviews on a website devoted to aviation and flight simulation. At first I doubted my skills to interview various people but then, with each successful interview, I started to get good at them; even to a point where I launched my own site, Lounge1506. There a number of interviews from people around the world and many walks of life are featured. The problem is that with a quick glance many think the site is about music, or radio, or business, in fact it's about a variety of topics instead of just one. Lounge1506 does two things for me. It gives me a challenge to conquer and allows me to meet people around the world and share their story. I hope people enjoy reading or watching the content as much as I enjoy featuring it.

What Motivates Me To Write and Why?

Failure is my motivator.  Interesting isn’t it? The very thing which causes many to stop writing is what gives me fuel. Failure mixed with tenacity fuels my desire to prove that I can do it; that I can write. During an interview with a DJ, he said “You’re going to make mistakes. It’s how you recover from those mistakes that matters.” The same could be said about failure. It’s going to happen; however, there is a lesson to be learned. If you work hard enough, you can to attain your goal. When I am faced with complex situations, it forces me to make needed changes, try different things with my writing, and to look at my work differently.

For instance, I wrote a story where the main character lived in an advanced society amid a wasteland. It was as if Star Trek met Mad Max. That story was a complete failure due to a number of reasons, other than the fact that is my first story. After examining the story again an idea came to mind which was to make another story about one of the advanced cities. This new story would take place in a fairly advanced world with its own set of problems.

In addition to a new story with a new setting, I’ve also figured out better ways to write dynamic scenes of action. Instead of writing “John Doe was mad and threw the device thus breaking it.” I learned to write “John Doe’s face turned a deep crimson upon hearing the news of defeat; he clinched his fist and his knuckles became white as paper. His narrowed eyes focused on a data pack, no bigger than a deck of cards, which was on the corner of his desk. All that work, and for what? Nothing! He swiped the device and hurled it across his office; watching, as it exploded into tiny pieces of plastic and metal.” I’m far from perfect and still have a lot learn.

In short, failure pushes me to summit the mountain of challenges the writing industry provides.
Thanks Andre, and be sure to stop by Lounge 1506 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Wrong Funeral

I enjoy motivational and inspiring stories.  Part of time management is having drive.  What motivates you?  What drives you?  What inspires you?

This is a story that inspires me.  It helps to keep me going.  So I hope this inspires you as it did me.  This was in my e-mail's in box.  Again it was the right story at the right time for me and I share it with you.  I don't know who wrote it, but thank you...

Consumed by my loss, I didn't notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend - my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father's death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When mother's illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle female child without entanglements, to take care of her.  I counted it an honor.  

"What now, Lord?" I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss.

My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife's hand.  My sister sat slumped against her husband's shoulder, his arms around her as  she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone.  My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk,  taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished, and I was alone. I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor.

An exasperated young man looked  around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on  his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle. "I'm late,"  he explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several eulogies, he  leaned over and commented, "Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of  'Margaret?'"

"Because, that was her name, Margaret.  Never Mary, no one called her 'Mary,'" I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn't have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?

"No, that isn't correct," he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, "her name is Mary, Mary Peters."  

"That isn't who this is."  

"Isn't this the Lutheran church?"

No, the Lutheran church is across the street."  


"I believe you're at the wrong funeral, Sir." 

The solemnness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man's mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me. He was laughing too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit.

I imagined Mother laughing. At the final "Amen," we darted out a door and into the parking lot.  
"I do believe we'll be the talk of the town," he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt's funeral, asked me out for a cup of coffee.

That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place. A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time.

In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter.  In place of loneliness, God gave me love. This past June, we celebrated our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, "Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it's truly a match made in heaven."

Love God for all the marvelous things he has done for you, and REMEMBER, God doesn't make mistakes. He puts us where we are supposed to be.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Public Manners

I love new gadgets.  I enjoy the things technology brings.  My smart phone is so cool.  I can just say who I want to talk to and the phone dials the number.  The tablets help keep things organized, the internet and google make researching things so easy.  I even know who is calling me because of the ringtones that can be set to an individual number. 

So the down side of all this personalization with technology is people no longer interact well with one another.  The friendly "Hello? has been replaced with a cold computer voice asking to press 1 for English. 

We as a society do not have a lot of face time anymore.  We communicate via text messages, e-mails and "liking" things on Facebook.  When I talk with people on the phone when they are done talking they just hang up without saying "goodbye".  Some of the old school etiquette has just vanished.

Some people have forgotten how to be polite, others have never learned, because they don't know how.  Please, thank you, and you're welcome have dropped from our vocabulary.  And when things go the way someone thinks it should a temper tantrum is thrown.

A few months ago I was walking past a local hobby shop.  A lady was standing outside the open door, her head was inside the store screaming, "It only flew three feet!  I want a full refund!"

Then a stream of swear words and threats and yelling and screaming.  I thought, a remote controlled airplane or helicopter is dependent on the skills of the modeler.  If it flew, the hobby shop doesn't need to do anything.

A few days later I talked with the owner about the incident.  He laughed and said, "If she had been nicer and explained what had happened I might have worked with her, but her threatening and swearing, no way was I willing to help her out."

I've thought about that over the last few weeks.  We've been trained to get upset with customer service.  I know I've done it, I call to complain and if I'm nice, nothing happens, I end up with nothing, but if I get testy and demand to speak with the manager and remain angry, I typically get some sort of settlement that I can live with.

"If she had been nicer I might have worked with her." still rings in my mind.  Last month I went to return a faulty tablet I received as a Christmas gift.  I took it in and got another one back in January.  The clerk told me that the brand of tablet was not any good, they were all being returned.  If I wanted to pay the difference I could upgrade to a better tablet.  I agreed, but not having the money at the time I asked how long did I have before I couldn't return it.  I was told I could bring it back within 90 days.  I took my receipt and noted when the 90 days would be up and left.

About 45 days into the 90 I came up with the difference to buy the better tablet.  I went in with the tablet to trade it in and was told only 30 days, see it is posted.  She pointed to a notice on the wall and sure enough posted right there 30 day refund policy.  I explained that I was told 90 days. 

"Sorry sir, it is posted 30 days."

Old habits started to kick in and I was getting into my angry customer mode, I want to talk with the manager, but then I thought "If she had been nicer I might have worked with her."  So I reigned in the anger and asked politely, "is there anything you can do?"

"No sir, policy is 30 days."

"Could you call the manager please?"

So she did. I explained I was told 90 days, and no they couldn't, but as we talked the manager thought of something that could work, and I was able to get the trade in, and everyone was happy, and no angry exchanges and threats.  It was nice.

On the whole it seems everyone is worried about me and what can I get.  But when you stop and think of the others and work on a win, win, things seem to go a lot better.

I've more ideas about face time and technology I'll share in future blog posts, but I just wanted to say, we need to find our Public Manners and work once again on being nicer to one another.  It makes things a whole lot more pleasant. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Help! I'm in the hallway

Photo from:
Welcome to all the new followers.  I'm glad you've decided to follow this blog.  I hope to be able to share things that are of worth.  I apologize I know I've been MIA for the last little while.  The real world has intruded in my life once again.

"When one door closes, another door opens" is where I am right now.  But I'd like to do a little adjustment to that saying.

When one door closes another door opens, but it is hell in the hallway. 

Currently I am between jobs.  I know, I just got a new job.  Economy and such I was laid off.  So I've got some unemployment, but being unemployed is not a good thing, so I've been very focused on the job hunt right now.  Thus the cobwebs on my blog.

I do have a lot of ideas to share with all of you.  I'll have them along shortly.

This is a set back, not a disaster, and in some ways this is a blessing, because when I'm on the other side of this I should have a job I enjoy and I'll be doing things I love, and I'll be a lot happier than I have been.

So good thoughts for me, or prayers, or wish me luck, what ever it is you feel most comfortable with I'll take.  And in the spirit of networking I am looking for a job in industry.  Project Management, scheduling, database work, general manager type positions.  I've done Maintenance Control Management, Planning superintendent, Department head.  So there it is, please contact me or leave a comment below and I'll see what I need to do to get in touch.

Thanks for all your support, and next week I'll return with the regular blog posts once again.

And if I miss, lets just say I'm on a job interview or working on getting the job so I can get out of this hallway!