Using your senses.

Wild, wild, weather. One week snow and below freezing temperatures to sunny and hot a few days later. WTF? Spring has finally come to Minnesota/Wisconsin. And the best part was last night. We had the doors open in the house and the rain came pouring down. We had ourselves a little rainstorm. I breathed in the humidity, smelled the earth as it drank in the water, and felt the cool breeze that brought in the mist.

At work I will put on my headphones and listen to nature sounds. I make my own mix of thunder, rain on a roof, and sometimes wind chimes. The mix is relaxing and drowns out the noise around the office when I need to concentrate. But it’s not the same as being there. It’s amazing what the senses can pick up when there’s more than one sense pulled together. Right now I’m writing in my living room with the windows open. I can smell the upcoming rain again, a grill cooking barbequed meat from one of the neighbor’s yards, and a little smoke filtering through from a fire.

This reminds me of how important it is to include more than one sense when writing. The sound of nature coming from my headphones is nice, but the experience of smell, sound, and touch together is awesome. That’s what the reader wants to experience.

Lesson Learned: Having something to look forward to makes it better.

I thought I made it through the winter without getting sick. Wrong! Saturday I woke up with a sore throat. Sunday I had a scratchy throat with the start of congestion. Damn. My first cold. Today, I feel drained and it didn’t help that the medicine I took this morning made me feel spacey all day. I don’t want to be sick. And this isn’t a good week for me to be sick. I am scheduled for a colonoscopy (yes, the joy of turning 50) on Thursday.

Rumor has it, the colonoscopy isn’t so bad. It’s the prep beforehand that’s no fun. I guess if I’m sick with a cold and already feeling crappy (pun intended), why not just get both of them done at once. I’m not sure though if I can take cold medicine to relief the congestion. I’ll need to find out because I don’t want to be running in two places. Ha! Ha! Couldn’t resist.

On the bright side, once this week is over with, I will have something to look forward to. The RT Convention is the first week in May, and I am heading there with my friend Tina who is also in my writers group. She is releasing her book “Riding with Love” while we are at the convention. How exciting is that?! Both of us are going to promote our eBooks, learn more about marketing, and meet a ton of readers and other authors. I went with Tina last year as well, and we loved the experience. I need to be up to speed, energetic, and ready to go.

So let the week begin. Let my cold be light. Let the colonoscopy be over.

Lesson Learned: Something about birds.

Tonight’s blog isn’t really about a lesson; however, I know there’s one in here somewhere. I just haven’t figured it out yet.

Yesterday, in between the Midwestern storm that produced snow, sleet, and rain, I stood in front of the dining room window to see how the ice coated the tree branches like thick shellac. My husband stood with me and we watched as a mature eagle dipped low as he soared over our newly developed park. His presence was so unusual for the area and so beautiful. This made me think of the other birds that I’ve seen within the last year and beyond that had captured my attention.

At our old house, we used to have an owl perch on a tree branch in our backyard. We’d always listen to it hoot after we snuggled in bed for the night. When we moved into our new house, we had an owl that liked to take watch on our next-door neighbor’s roof. Again, we liked listening to it hoot. The owl was a regular for about a month and then disappeared as the weather grew colder. He never returned.

After my brother died, almost two years ago, an American Robin liked the eave near the window in my office. He’d look in the window, tilt his head, fly off, come back, and then look out to the street as if on guard. I kept thinking of my brother as I watched this bird.

Last year, we had a flock of American Robins in the front of our house. I’m not sure if flock is the right word, but I had never seen that many robins joined together like geese taking a rest before flying south for the winter. Dozens of robins hopped around our front yard and in the park and I could only watch in awe.

Last September, my husband and I went to a corn maze to get lost in the jungle of stalks. In one corner of the maze, in the quiet, I watched as a blackbird gracefully flew close to the ground and in between the corn stalks. He swooped down, flew the length of the row, and then headed back up to the open sky.

These little snapshots have since stuck in my head. I look forward to the next bird(s) to come along and catch my attention. Maybe one day I’ll know why they have intrigued me so.

Lesson Learned: Appreciate Opportunites

Today I am blessed with two opportunities.

The first opportunity is that I am able to celebrate my son’s birthday with him. Birthdays are not a big deal to him, not like they were when he was younger and had birthday parties. His favorites as a child were Legos, Thomas the Tank Engine, and all his books. Today, he can easily pass on the birthday party and gifts in order to spend quiet time with family. I appreciate that this year I can celebrate his 25th birthday with him. He’s home on leave before heading back to Germany.

The second opportunity happened this morning when I was able to go to my daughter’s ultrasound appointment with her and her boyfriend. She is 20 weeks into her pregnancy and had a good chance of learning the baby’s sex. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I believe I had an ultrasound done but no pictures and no TV monitor for the mom to see. Today I was able to watch her baby suck it’s thumb, hold it’s hand in a fist, and see it’s mouth move. I was thrilled that she let me share this moment with her.

And we did find out the sex. My “little” girl is going to have a little boy. I loved seeing the smile on my daughter’s face when she exchanged looks with her boyfriend. A priceless moment.

This afternoon, we’ll be heading out to celebrate both. We’ll bowl, have dinner, and then ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery (my son’s favorite place). What better way to enjoy the day.

Lesson Learned: Good-byes open doors.

The first chapter or lesson learned in my novel Gitana – Life Plan is how good-byes can open doors. For my main character Gitana, she has to start over after her ex, a doctor, divorces her for his pregnant mistress. The divorce is especially difficult on her because she had tried to get pregnant throughout their marriage but failed. She thought he would understand and be supportive. Not the case. She lost her friends, status, and identify when he kicked her out.

Good-byes can be tough, but they also allow you to walk a new path. The good news for Gitana is that the divorce forced her to start over. She wasn’t willing at first, being lost in the shuffle of pity and hurt. But then doors opened and she learned about herself and others.

This is true when good-byes occur in your life as well. It doesn’t matter if a friend moves away, your last child leaves the nest, or you lose your job. The outcome may be a crisis or it could be a welcome change. You may need to say good-bye when you’re tired of where you live, tired of your boyfriend, or need a new job. You search for the change.

What’s important is to stay optimistic, even if the good-bye is forced upon you. Make the experience a positive one or at least capture what you’ve learned from the event. You may not see the benefit or the opportunity right away, but you’ll understand later on as to why it happened. And if the change is making you walk a wrong path, set off on a new one. Don’t look back at the could’ve, should’ve, would’ve party. Instead, look to the future. Take chances. Good-byes are inevitable. It’s your decision on how you move forward. Opened doors are good to walk through.