Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm Thinking Spring!

I know
for many of you
its still 
but in California
this is what greeted me 
last week.
Hope you enjoy,
they are just for you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Belly Dancing for Balance

 It's Thursday,
Balance Day.
I just love to read all these great posts.
So many amazing people
who seem to have it figured out.
Today I'd like you all to welcome
Aditi Chopra!

I am a writer and I absolutely love writing. I do it because it gives me happiness. There are constantly new and different ideas floating through my mind and sometimes an urge to pen them down. Sometimes I pen them down and later rewrite them because I have thought of phrasing it in a better way, in a way that suits my personality. It is interesting how some ideas come to you while you were sleeping. You get off from bed and can't wait to pen them down. Sometimes these ideas shoot off from a conversation with a friend or colleague. You can say that your mind gets trained to capture ideas and then you don't even have to look for them, they come to you!
            In all of this, you don't want to neglect family or yourself. And it can happen if you are too engrossed in it. I sometimes force myself to take a break if I have been at my laptop for far too long. The break is physically required and also needed to freshen up the mind. Your neck muscles need a break if you have been sitting in one position for far too long. I tend to forget that even mind has a certain capacity and should not be burdened more. I find that cooking is a good stress reliever. If you have time, your cooking will definitely come out good. And your family will be very happy and satisfied.
            Lately I have enrolled in belly dancing class in order to create more balance in my personal life. I find that it is a great workout as well as social outlet. Workout of any kind is good both for physical as well as mental happiness. But if a workout involves social interaction, it is even better. It lets you laugh a little, talk a little and of course burn calories at the same time. This is why I enjoy going to Curves rather than any other gym. Curves setup allows more interaction with other women.
            Another absolutely enriching hobby for me is traveling. Traveling opens up your mind in so many ways. You learn so much about different cultures, places, sometimes languages. I always find my mind working better after a travel vacation. It could be because my mind needed that rest and I just didn't know about it.
            All in all, we shouldn't neglect our family or ourselves. It is only when we balance our lives, our work becomes better.

Aditi Chopra is a motivating leader, process consultant and a creative writer. She is the author of Ten Mistakes A Manager Should Avoid.
She utilizes her experience in software engineering, people management and communication strategies to help create value for organizations. You can find her on http://www.aditichopra.com/

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In a House Full of Women

How To Get Balanced Thursday
 Today's guest is author, Bridget Straub
Finding balance in a house full of women is not always easy, especially as I am the menopausal mom of two teenage daughters. Okay, to be honest my youngest is only twelve, but she is right on the cusp and a performing arts student besides, so I think it’s safe to say she’s teenage by association. I love my girls dearly, and yet I am a writer, working from home, trying desperately to gather an audience for my first published novel, “Searching for My Wand”. You would think that at this age, my girls would understand and respect this. They do not.
I remember way back when I had my son, now (gulp) twenty six, someone said, “You think they need you most when they are little and unable to fend for themselves, but just wait until they reach middle school, because that is when they will need you the most.” I had no clue how true that was until now.  When my son hit adolescence and was turning into a teen, I was having two more kids. I assumed any neediness on his part was as a result of that. He did, and still does, adore his little sisters, but it seemed a no-brainer that he would fight for attention with all of the changes taking place.  
This time it’s different. There are no new siblings these girls are adjusting to; they just want my full attention to be on them at all times. This is not to say that they are horribly demanding, either. As kids go, I have been lucky. They are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves for substantial periods of time, just so long as I don’t try to accomplish anything. It is downright freaky how my beginning to type a post for my blog, or researching some new marketing strategy, can send them running into my room. Often it is to complain that they are hungry and they need me to review for them what is available to eat, because God forbid they look for themselves. Occasionally, I’m forced into the role of referee when they are battling over the TV, but more often than not they are just coming in for some love or to review what has happened at school, and this is where the problem is. I can’t send them away.
I want to know what is happening with them; I’m their mother. Likewise, I love that they still climb into my lap and want to connect with me, and that they find comfort in my arms. They are my joy and my inspiration, as well as the reason I work as hard as I do. Sure, I want my writing to sell because it is thrilling to create characters that others relate to, but I also want to show my children that you can follow your dreams. I want them to grow up to feel passionate about whatever they choose to pursue in life. So balance is elusive in my house. I write whenever I can, and mostly when my girls are at school. At times it’s frustrating, but in the end I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Bridget Straub began concocting stories to entertain her younger sister when she was seven years old, and hasn’t stopped since. When she’s not writing, doodling, or hanging out with her kids, she’s probably cursing at her computer. Her first novel “Searching for My Wand” was published in Dec. 2011. Her next novel will be released in spring 2012. She has also collaborated with Laura Hall on the musical “Room to Grow”.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Big Yes, Yes!

Today's guest blogger is Linda Rondeau.
I'm so very pleased to share her
struggle with a life of Balance.

           By Linda Rondeau
“Lord, I can’t do this anymore. It hurts too much,” I cried. “I wasn’t meant to be a writer.” I looked up at the wall of award certificates and thought I heard the room laughing at me.   
 Not that there haven’t been a few successes along the way.  I’ve managed to publish articles, short stories, poetry, and I write a newspaper column. I’ve even had an agent for five years. But after eight failed books, I wondered if I heard God all wrong.
 My first career had been in human services. I was a decent social worker as social workers go. But I wanted to reach people outside the government experience. Although a hobbyist writer, I hesitated to believe I could be a professional one.
 When my youngest child left the nest in 1995, I asked God to give me a passion for something. Soon after uttering that desperate plea for renewal, my office sent me to what I termed a feel good seminar, the kind of workshop that motivates a person to go home and hug all the neighbors. The speaker asked, “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” Then he instructed us to put our answers unto a 3x5 card. I wrote, WRITE. Then the speaker told us to expand our dream. Before I could catch my breath, the speaker called on me. I found myself publically declaring the desire to write for Christ.
I let doubt rob me of that momentary passion. “God does not care about your dreams. Your job is to be a good wife, mother, and neighbor. That is true Christianity. Forget your foolish desires.”  The more the call tugged at my heart, the more I resisted.
Until June 21, 2000…the day the dream was reborn. Armed with faith lacking five years before, I started the journey. My first attempt was a poem. Not a very good one, but I felt a peace that had long eluded me. The excuses ended and the journey began.
Here I am, however, almost nine years later, still struggling with disbelief, fighting the urge to delete all my books. “I don’t understand why we haven’t been able to get you published,” my agent wrote. That’s what I’d like to know, Lord. What do I have to do? What am I missing? Why won’t you let me go back to being a hobbyist? I liked writing then.
A few weeks ago, during my devotion time, I opened my Bible to the fourteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. I’d read the familiar passage about the harmony of the Spirits’ gifts. I had not applied the truth to my writing gift. My craft had been for my own pleasure. Oh, I used words about Christ, and my books did contain spiritual truth. But the whole of the affair was not in clear delineation of that truth. Instead, the writing drew attention to me as if shouting, “See how clever I am?” Like a room that cannot be lived in, I’d decorated my space with imagery, symbolism, and cadence that served no purpose but to edify myself.  
God’s word had perfect clarity:

Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?
 (I Corinthians 14:20)

I asked God to forgive my arrogance, and help me to put His message above my need.    
But the Lord had yet another, even more profound lesson in store. A few days later, I read God’s words of love as he renewed the call and once again infused me with the same passion as that day in 1995.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come
 (2 Corinthians 1:20 – 22).

I don’t know what the road ahead will bring. But I do know that at the end of the journey God’s arms will be stretched wide to welcome me with a huge, “Yes! Yes!”   
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them (Isaiah 42:16).

After setting out on a forced vacation, and literally running into a moose, Manhattan Assistant D.A. Samantha Knowles finds it’s not so bad being stranded in a quirky but intriguing Adirondack town. But when her three-year prosecution against convicted killer, Harlan Styles begins to unravel, she’s thrust into a whirlwind of haunting memories, fear, and danger. And suddenly, Haven isn’t so safe, after all.
 With no future in Haven, and no way to escape the small town, teacher Zack Bordeaux fears he’s doomed to a life of mediocrity.
Haunted by the deaths of his wife and son, landscape artist Jonathan Gladstone feels bound to an estate he both loves and loathes. But when Zack and Jonathon meet Samantha, their lives take on a different course.
Three lives intertwined, tied together by dangerous circumstance and the faint echoes of an elusive hope. To make it through, each must find their way to the Light that’s found only on the other side of darkness.
Linda Rondeau (lrondeau@gmail.com)
     Blogs: This Daily Grind
           Back in the Daze
           Pentalk Community
If you are interested in a guest post on balance, please let me know. I'd love to host you, too!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Balance by Trisha Jackson

I started writing my first romantic suspense novel in 1991. Hiding away in a lonely house in the country to write without being disturbed was not an option. I have always had to hold down a full time job.
"Write every day", we are told. Also, to do one's best work one has to be "in the zone"—which is usually impossible if you are constantly being interrupted.  I had teenagers in the house, and my evenings were filled with cooking, homework, and all the other tasks mothers are faced with. When the chores were all done, I was too exhausted to even contemplate work on my novel. 

Mornings were my only option. I set my alarm for 5:30 and wrote for an hour before getting ready for work. It worked out well for me and I was able to get a lot of writing done while everyone else in my house slept.
The Internet had not yet been launched, and the big publishing houses controlled the industry. I sent queries to several publishers, and received several rejections.

After the introduction of the Internet, the publishing world changed exponentially. Then E-books arrived on the scene. The power had been taken away from the big corporations and placed squarely in the hands of the people.

Maybe it comes from years of practice, or maybe it is because I am so passionate about writing, but now, I am able to write anywhere at any time. I keep my computer on my lap in the evenings and write while my husband watches the TV. I keep my novels on a flash drive and write whenever I have a spare moment at work. I write when I babysit my grandchildren or take them to sporting events. Sometimes I write for five minutes, sometimes and hour or more. It doesn't matter—it all comes together eventually. 

My second novel, "Redneck P.I." was published by e-book publisher, Uncial Press, in March 2011. It's a combination of humor, suspense, and sizzling romance. I'm also excited to be re-working my first novel, about undying love, "Way Out of Line" for e-book release by Uncial Press in May 2012. Details available at www.trishjackson.com .

My advice to any aspiring writers is just to write whenever you can and whenever it works for you, and never give up.
Trish Jackson grew up in Zimbabwe, Africa and relocated to the U.S. in 1990. She comes from a family of writers and artists, and is passionate about writing romantic suspense. She has always lived out of town and keeps a blog about country life.