Blog Topics

Someone asked me how I pick the topics that I write. I don’t. They pick me. I may think that I’m going to write about the sun and then when I actually sit down to write, the moon is the subject. I like to write about life lessons and what I can provide to readers through my experiences and observations.

I think of it as a spark. A conversation can trigger a message or a thought when I’m walking at lunchtime, driving in the car, or during the night. Or, I think of my book Gitana and the different lessons or chapters in her life.

Next step to add to my blogs is interviews with my characters. I’ve been asked when the next book to Gitana – Life Plan is coming out. Readers want to know more about the characters and what happens next. I never planned for that book to be a trilogy, but I may rethink it later on. First I want to write about The Calling, my next book. Gitana will continue through my blog.

Back to subject. I’ll also like to add guest blogs. If you would like to be interviewed or if you have a topic you’d like me to write, please let me know. Just reply to this blog.


Lesson Learned: Choosing your words carefully

Cancer or any type of illness can create powerful emotions. People react differently to what they hear. This afternoon as I walked during lunch, I thought about people I knew who had received bad news and how different they reacted. I also thought how careful you have to be when giving the news. The following are three examples.

Last year my dad went to a kidney specialist on the recommendation from his doctor. My dad functions on less than half a kidney and has for many years. The kidney specialist, after running tests, wanted my dad to prepare for kidney dialysis so if the kidney totally failed then he’d be ready. In that visit, the doctor guessed that my dad would need dialysis in six months. If he chose not to have dialysis, my dad would die approximately two months from needing it. My dad heard six months to live. Today, over six months from that initial visit, we can’t convince my dad any different. He stuck on those doctor’s words even though he heard incorrectly and that has dampened his spirits. On the other hand, the doctor never gave him words of encouragement either. Lesson here is to listen to what the doctor has to say but do your research as well. Just because the statistics say one thing doesn’t mean that you’ll fit the mold.

For a writer friend, she learned a couple months ago that she had skin cancer on her face. When the office called to tell her the news, she only heard the word “cancer.” She had cancer. The person giving her the news went into detail on what they found and what they would have to do. My friend never heard a word beyond “cancer.” She hung up the phone as the person was talking to her. She had to let the bad news soak in. Once the initial shock was over, my friend called her doctor’s office back. She apologized and then told the person to repeat everything from their first conversation so she could hear it. The lesson this time is for the doctor’s office. The receiver needs time to absorb the words that no one wants to hear. This may be routine for you, but it’s not for the person on the other end.

Lastly, for my brother Mike, he listened when the doctor told him that he had lung cancer. However the part that he was at Stage IV with maybe six months to live wasn’t comprehendible to him. My brother was adamant that he was going to survive. Even when the cancer pressed against his spine and left him paralyzed, he wouldn’t accept that his cancer spread beyond cure. He refused to believe it even a few days before he died. Lesson here is a hard one. We were the ones who had to choose our words carefully. We had to stay positive along with him. The hospice did wonders to counsel my brother and us. We will always be grateful for their care and guidance.

The point I’m trying to make in today’s blog is to remember how powerful words can be. Those words can change someone’s life. Hopefully you don’t have to be the bringer of bad news, but if so, think of the receiver. Each one of us reacts differently, and we all have to be mindful.

Lessons Learned: Laugh, Love, Play

At least one a day, remember to…

Not smile – but laugh. Read a funny cartoon or post on the internet, watch a YouTube video by your favor comedian, read a few jokes from a joke book, or simply people watch (this one can be very amusing). The best way to laugh is when you share with someone you love.

Colleens Party July 2013 Laugh

Let someone know that you love him or her. Be direct and say “I love you.” Or, you can show the person in a smile, a hug, or by helping them out. Better yet, make them laugh and share the moment of joy.

Sacramento Santa Cruz Love

At least once a day take time to play. Even if it means a conversation with friends, reading what you want to read (not school or work related), be amused in a game of cards, or celebrating with friends.

Beth's 50th Party Play

Now is the time.

Lessions Learned: Five Decades Strong

Families are important and the older you get the more you appreciate having your siblings around. I’m fortunate because I’m close to both my sisters, and I love spending time with them when I can. I’ll usually spend time with one or the other but not both (since one sister lives out state). On Sunday, the three of us were able to spend the day together.

Debbie is eight years older than me. Pam is four years older than me. When we get together, we have discussions on who we take after (mom or dad), on women stuff, on families, and parents. We love to do many of the same things which includes reading, puzzles, and most of all cards. We play a game that our mom invented and we enhanced. We call it “Damn It” because we can’t help but say the word (or other explicit words) as we play. It’s a fast-pace game that involves a version of solitaire and six decks of cards (two decks each). You either love or hate playing the game and the three of us never get tired of it. The last time we played Damn It, we played for ten hours with a break in between to eat lunch. Sunday, we played for almost eight hours but with a longer break in between since Debbie and I drove an hour to get there.

During our break to go out to eat, we decided to take a short drive around the area to see the farmhouse where our mom grew up. Funny, I don’t remember the house being so close to the road. We also went to the small cemetery where our maternal grandparents, Gust and Anna Peterson, are buried. I’ve never seen so many Gusts, Annas, Petersons, Carlsons, and Johnsons in one cemetery. We then drove past my uncle’s place, a pig farm that has seen better days, all animals long gone. Near his place is the pond where Randy, his son, drowned when saving a father and son visiting from Germany. His ashes were spread across the pond. A portion of my brother’s ashes were spread there too. And last we drove past my grandma’s cottage where we used to visit every Sunday and have pancakes or dupe for a late breakfast.
As the three of us drove around, we shared stories, remembered past pig roasts, Randy and Mike, and mowing the grass at the cottage with a manual push mower. Those times are over, but we were able to bring them back for a little while during that drive and then when we played cards again.

I had a great day with my sisters as we reflected on five decades of memories. Oh yes, and as usual Pam won at Damn It, I came in second, and Debbie third.

Lessons Learned: Lyric Innuendo

I love listening to lyrics in a song. When I’m stuck with my writing or I need to build some creative energy, I like to plug in my tunes and analyze the lyrics while feeling the music the song portrays. I have my favorite songs from a variety of bands or solo artists. I listen to hard rock, classic rock, blues, country, swing, disco, and pop rap to name a few of the variety of music out there.

Lyrics are the heart of the song, and I love finding ones with innuendo. Real clever lyrics have an outer journey and an inner journey tied together. For example, a song titled “Black Sky” by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils relates the outer journey as the ominous strength of a storm forming across the ridge. The inner journey is about him coming home with his woman waiting for him and there will be hell to be paid, also the black sky forming. The lyrics are very clever, yet simple.

I also like lyrics to songs that have indirect innuendo. For example, the lyrics to Aerosmith’s song “Sweet Emotion” don’t blatantly say that the missy is pregnant. It’s stated, “can’t catch me cause the rabbit done died. Well yes it did.” That song is full of innuendos or play on words. Back then, artists had to be creative in order to pass the censorship of getting their songs on the air. By being creative and changing words, the artists were able to appease the stations and get their point across to the adult audience. For the younger generation, they would hear the catchy tune but haven’t a clue to what they were truly singing about.

Next time you’re listening to tunes, really listen to the lyrics and see how clever the words play to the story of the song. I’d love to hear what you find.

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