Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Versatile Blogger's Award, Part Two- My Recommendations

Now, last but not least, I'm sharing links to fifteen blogs that I highly recommend. (My list is quite varied in topics and writing styles). Paying it forward is one of the VBA rules, but I'd be proud to share these blogs anyway.

These writers deserve more than a pretty green seal of approval- their work deserves to be read!

You can find out more about the Versatile Blogger's Award here:

Jovanhanna is a life strategist and mom with an amazing story. She's the founder of Positive Forward Movement.

Mz G is a writer, artist. musician and more. Her inspiring blog encourages women over fifty to "live an electrifying second half".

Harley King's Monday Morning Motivation will be valuable for your life every day, not just on Mondays!

Noreen invites her readers to join her and her hubby on their journey to fitness! It's fun reading for everyone, especially aiming at those over age fifty.

Peggi shares her touching "About Real Life" lesson-stories from the heart and from a Christian perspective.

Nancy is a personal development coach/inspirational speaker. The theme of her blog is "Follow your bliss. Choose to live your passion. Find your true north."

Merchandiser (Mark) has a very creative sense of humor! His funny twists on every day life situations will make you laugh!

Suzi T shares honest and very readable stories. She's an Australian mom, wife and teacher who is dealing with chronic illness. Courageous vulnerability!

Bob Craypoe has created a group of, umm...unique but not uncommon characters for his politically incorrect comic strip, The Punksters! Satirical silliness!

I consider Jeremy Crow to be one of my mentors. His blogging tips series and his support of my work has been very helpful. You'll find a variety of blogs on his site, written by him and several other talented contributors.

Traci's Daily Musings blog is "A Place of Empowerment" for your life and your faith!

Nelu is a wise young woman and wonderful blogger. Her life-questioning, practical posts cover topics such as self-esteem, judging others, integrity and empathy, to name a few.

My friend Blake is a deep-thinker with an artistic soul. He's an author and his blog covers many topics, from world religions to chronic illness to relationships. His life stories make me laugh and cry and THINK!

This is a new-to-me blog I discovered on Twitter: Enlightenment Daily (indeed!). Nathalie Herrman's posts are short, sweet and so encouraging!

Diane Reed always keeps it real, and so engaging! She shares stories and poetry that are "a soft place to fall" for her readers.

The Versatile Blogger's Award (Part One)

Hello! I have news to share! And links to wonderful blogs! And some facts about me that you might not know!

The news is that I was honored to receive The Versatile Blogger's Award from +Robert Fuller. He told me that he found my writing style engaging. Wow, that made my day!

Mr. Fuller is a social media marketing strategist. He has an amazing life story and a very thoughtful blog. In fact it's called Thoughtful Talk Blog.  His writing is so motivational and its focus is to help people make positive changes in every aspect of their lives!

One of  the VBA rules is that the recipient shares seven things about herself (or himself). Alrighty then, here is some Di trivia for you!

1. I've been married for over 30 years. Yes, I'm kind of old. He's even older! Ha.
2. I grew up in Roswell, New Mexico. Maybe I should get a different award: the Very Bizarre Alien!
3. I have two adult kids, a son and a daughter. (I'm a grandma now too, woo woo!) I just love being Mom, always have! Being "Amma" is very special too.
4. When I was in third grade, I wrote and illustrated a story about jungle animals who were attending their monkey-friend's birthday party.  My teacher liked it so much that she had me read it to a class of kindergartners.
5. My husband and I owned a bicycle store for six years. It was a family business. Our children, who were teenagers then, helped a lot. What a great experience!
6. Youth ministry was a big part of my life for many years. I taught kids from nursery through high school. I had wonderful experiences and sometimes I miss those days.
7. I am currently learning how to be a successful freelance author. I've jumped right in! One of my stories was published last year. I'm waiting to hear about two stories I've submitted recently and I've got two more in the works.

I see a lot of food for future blog stories in my list!

There is one more part of this recognition that I must fulfill! It is presenting the VBA to fifteen other bloggers. Please go to my next blog post for my list. This Part One is mostly about me. Part Two is all about THEM!

Another reason Part Two is it's own story is because I'm trying to keep my posts short.

I've noticed that many people run away quick when they see something that will take them more than three minutes to read. Especially on a blog.

See, I've been observing my reader's behaviors and preferences! I'm constantly learning. Is there an award for that?

Onward to VBA Part Two please...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Inner Lion

I need to get in touch with my inner lion.
I think I located my inner owl a few days ago.

No, this isn't about animal spirit guides. I've just been lacking courage and even wisdom at times, regarding my writing.

The past couple of weeks have been rough for several reasons. During that time, I posted a story that was important to me.

A couple of days later, I re-read it. I saw so many mistakes! Not typos. I mean entire paragraphs that were out of order, wrong wording, etc.
I realized that I'd foolishly rushed the editing process to stay on my posting-once-a-week schedule.

I reworked the story and posted a better version of it, but that didn't stop my confidence from taking a nosedive. I came very close to deleting my entire blog.

While I was in the midst of my writer's despair, two people on two different sites praised my stories and writing style. So unexpected and very timely!

I used the word despair, not because I'm being a drama queen, but because this is about pursuing my dreams! The looming doubts that sometimes whisper "Accept it, you're just not good at this!" can make the dreams feel like nightmares.

Writing for an audience is often risky, tricky and icky! I think it's because we writers put a piece of ourselves out there with every story we publish. We hope that someone will like our work and gain something from it. We also realize that it won't be everyone's cup o'tea. Many of our posts are ignored almost completely. That can't be good.

There is a popular social push now to just be yourself and to "not care what anyone thinks". I'll agree that confidence can be wonderful and being overly self-conscious is defeating. But I think most people truly want to succeed and to be liked. Is there a healthy, balanced approach between not caring at all and caring too much? I think so!

When I submit my work to publishers, which I've done and plan to continue, I'd better care what they think! It's not all about me.

I consider myself a student of writing and blogging, even as I'm taking the plunge into it! I am still trying to understand how this vast ocean of internet/social media works. There is so much information out there. It's overwhelming at times!

Some of my mentors have confessed openly to fighting battles similar to mine. It's just part of the process for everyone who tries something new. I so needed that reminder!

Shared stories on any topic are just empty words when there's no passion behind them.  As my introduction to this blog states, I want to share what I learn with others. That's what my heart told me to do.

But recently my inner owl of wisdom revealed to me that it's better not to share some experiences. Those are the ones that should be written just for me (and maybe for my children and grandchildren to read someday).

I haven't been completely true to myself for quite awhile because I gave up my personal journaling. It's something that I'd done since I was age nine and it's a form of self therapy.  I know it's time to renew it.

That owl also reminded me to take another look at my blog numbers: which posts my readers have liked the most. Stats are a biggie; very revealing!

The courageous lion in me is now willing to try again after my mini-crisis.
I'm planning to submit stories to three different publications soon.
I'm going for it, Baybee!
True Confessions of an Overthinker isn't going away yet either. I'm even going to press the PUBLISH button on these ramblings now...

                                                      This video clip is 43 seconds long

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Moments in Time (Healing from Loss)

Have you ever been in a potato relay race?
The participants have to carry a potato from point A to point B, between their knees.
Sounds awkward, doesn't it? Believe me, it looks even more awkward than it sounds...people trying to run with a tater positioned there, without dropping it. HA!
That's what makes it soooo funny!

The potato relay race became a tradition at our birthday parties when I was growing up. I say "our" parties, I mean my younger brother's and mine.

I was born on February 19 and Darrell's birthday was February 28, three years later. Since the dates were so close together, and we had mutual friends, our parents would usually have one party for both of us.

Our birth dates just passed recently. I've been thinking about those fun parties, that goofy race we always had, and many other smile-worthy times that we shared.

Birthdays are meant to celebrate a person's life, right? So I did that this year for my bub and as a birthday gift to myself.  I'm still in remembrance mode today. That's one reason I'm sharing a couple of my favorite moments in time with you.

This year Darrell would have been the big 5-0. He passed away in 2011.
It feels so good to be able to enjoy the happy memories now, more than feeling the pain of losing him. There was a period of time that all I could do was think "This shouldn't have happened!"
It seemed so big to me, at times I felt that I'd never recover from it.

I can usually think of him and our great times together without crying now. I've recently discovered, though, that I can't always tell the stories out loud, without my voice cracking with emotion.
Weird, huh? It's not really sadness, just emotion. Does anyone understand that?

I've lost more than one person I loved, just like many of you have. I've learned that there is a balanced approach to working through grief.

There is a time to be depressed, angry, numb...all the stages of grieving that you've probably read about. Each stage is real and common to people suffering the loss of someone they loved. But they don't necessarily come in order, or in tidy packages. Sometimes we experiences many emotions all at once! Grief is a confusing, sometimes frightening, often uphill journey.  But it's always a learning one.

It's also important to take the time to dwell on the good things about the person's life, your unique relationship, and to truly enjoy the special memories. Doing those things can really help to heal a broken heart; it's helped me! I've finally made it to the acceptance phase of grieving.

I read a quote once that has been so true for me. "You cannot go over, under or around grief, you must go through it."

Please click the link, and be sure to scroll down to see the entire article.

Before I close, let me share another one of my favorite memories.
I was twenty-one and Darrell was eighteen.  It was my going-away party. I was getting ready to attend college in another city.
I was opening my gifts, and someone snapped a pic the second after Darrell had whispered something just-too-funny in my ear! I don't even remember exactly what he said, but I don't think I could have repeated it out loud anyway.

Look at his face! Typical teenage little brother. "WHAT? Wasn't me!"
I just love that photo, not only because of that great moment, but also because it's typical of our relationship. We made each other laugh...a lot! Like no one else could.
It's a cliche' saying, but so true to me-"Sometimes it's the little things that take up the biggest spaces in our hearts."

I'm not a professional counselor or therapist.
Heck, I'm not even a professional writer, but I am trying to get there.
I'm just a person who believes that our most difficult life experiences are not in vain if we can learn something valuable from them.  Especially if those lessons can benefit someone else, even in a small way.

If you are feeling devastated because of a loss, please believe that a better time is ahead of you.
I also encourage you to reach out for help. I did and it was well worth it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my celebration/grief story.

#grief  #stagesofgrief   #emotionalhealing