Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The "Z" word is Zero

The "Z" word is zero...zero days left in 2009. That leaves only hours to complete this year's resolutions. It's time to dump the old list and make a new one, and be realistic this time. Then starting January 1, 2010, zero in on one major resolution at a time and make it happen!

I always make a "New Year's Resolution" list and although I don't accomplish everything, I manage to get a lot of it done. I even break it down into categories. I have my "physical" list, that's what I want to do to get into shape. I have my "emotional" list, the things I want to work on to feel better about myself. I have my "financial" list, my "make life better for others" list, my "family" list, and I always have a "travel" list, stating the places I want to go. Some of these lists overlap. Before I start to make my new list I take my resolutions from the year before and look at the things I've accomplished and the things I have not. Then I take the things from the year before that are still important to me and put those down first, usually with some revisions, making them more realistic or giving them a higher priority.

This year one of my goals is to speak to as many groups, in as many states, as I can about child abuse. Another is to take those extra pounds off I just put on for the holidays. My novels are a big part of this year's resolutions. I have sales numbers set for The Advocate. I have editing and publication goals for my second novel (which still needs a name). And I plan to complete the third novel in the series.

Okay, so maybe I'm a little anal about this resolution thing, but however you do it, it's time to zero in and get started! Do you have a resolution you are particularly determined to accomplish this year?

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The “Y” word is Yesteryear

I recently spent a wonderful couple of days with my three brothers and two of my sisters. We sat around and talked about days of "yesteryear." I learned things about my parents that were both amazing and heartwarming, things I'd never heard before. My brothers talked about the scrapes they had been in as kids. They shared military stories, girlfriend adventures, and just everyday events at home on the farm. Some of them were pretty wild and crazy, and the details varied a little depending on who was narrating, but all were fun to hear.

My oldest brother, Don, told us how daddy would stay up at night and stir the fire in the wood stove on many long, cold winter nights. Don told us that with the first four or five siblings he didn’t know our mother was pregnant because no one talked about it. He knew she was “sick” and there would be a lot of commotion for a few days and suddenly he had a new brother or sister. Our mother was a little round and he never noticed any difference.

We not only got to hear stories about their adventures but also stories that had been passed down from our parents and grandparents. If you ever get a chance to meet with elder family members and hear stories of yesteryear, take advantage of it. What a wonderful thing to hear the tales that have been passed on from one generation to another. Do you have a family tale to tell? Please share.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

The "X" Word is Xmas

Xmas is a common abbreviation for Christmas. I’ve heard people argue that this is a “modern” way to secularize Christmas by taking Christ out of Christmas. However, history tells us this is merely an abbreviation, just as Dr. for doctor or Rev. for reverend. The abbreviation makes one no less the doctor or minister.

The “mas” part came from the Latin-derived Old English word for “mass,” and the “X” came from the Greek letter “Chi” which is the first letter for Christ in Greek. But no matter how you slice it, it is not a move by a “modern” generation. In fact, the word “Christ” and “Christmas,” have been abbreviated in English for the past 1,000 years. There are references as far back as 1021 AD. It was used in a letter in the UK in 1753, Lord Byron used it in 1811, Samuel Coleridge in 1801, Lewis Carroll in 1864, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in 1923.

For me, it’s a great way to use the 24th letter of the alphabet in my blog. So Merry Xmas, or Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays! Just have a wonderful time, enjoy your family and friends, and celebrate how your heart dictates.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The "W" word is Write

To write is to be whatever you want. There’s a mouthful of Ws. That is my tagline on my bookmarks, my website, and my brochures. I get many comments on it from my readers. Most just smile and say, “I like that.” Occasionally, I get asked what it means. The short answer is, “whatever you want it to be.” But I’ll explain what it means to me.

Many people write in journals, or write poems, or just doodle words on scratch paper. Journal writing helps us relive the fun times and release the bad times. Each person who experienced that day with you would write a different story. Each brings their own past to help them interpret the day. And each of us writes into the telling what our mind will let us or what we want it to be at the moment. Some people write poems and they do the same thing. You may be writing about a tree, but it’s still about you, your feelings, your perspective. And doodling…how many young men and women have written their sweetheart’s name on their notebooks? How many young women have written, “Mrs. Blah Blah,” trying on a new name, so they can be who they want.

Me, I write novels because I can create whole characters and watch them grow. In my novel “The Advocate,” my main character, Sabre, is a juvenile court attorney, just like me. But it isn’t me. Yes, I certainly have projected many of my thoughts and behaviors onto Sabre. And, yes, sometimes what she says and does is what I would do, but it isn’t me. Sabre is younger, prettier, thinner, smarter, and richer than I am. Remember, “to write is to be whatever you want.”

If you don’t write, then read…it works there too. I remember being Nancy Drew when I was ten and Scarlett O’Hara when I was sixteen.” What have you written or read that has allowed you to be someone or somewhere else?