Wednesday, July 19, 2017

COURAGE




One week ago today, I started my running journey. To celebrate, I wore this new top today with word COURAGE repeated three times in three different colors to “Fuel the Wag” for me today.   In seven short days I have experienced the different colors of running. There is the thrill of doing something that I have never done before. With that comes the unbridled energy that wants to do it all right now, skipping the necessary steps such as stretching and hydrating properly and pushing myself until it feels like my legs want to throw up for hours afterwards. I have experienced the fresh wind and sunshine, the vibrant colors all around me, and contemplating creation as I see all the different birds flying all around. Truth be told, however, when I see the hawks circling, I do check my pulse.

I had a bad day yesterday.  My knee was catching and causing me pain at the slightest twist. I decided to let my legs loosen up throughout the day thinking an evening run might be better.  Evening came and my son came out and showed me how to do his baseball stretches, which felt really good!  Then he went the first mile with me. We ran two very short portions of the walk. My legs were screaming at me. Then the kittens started following us like puppies. I was worried with them on the road and even more worried that they were going to trip me as they wandered between my legs without notice.
I told my son to go ahead and go inside and I was going to do a couple more laps. I plugged my earbuds in and turned on Pandora, as I have been listening for encouraging words and phrases.  Nothing. I walked into the house after an extra two laps and my husband asked how it went. “Pathetic,” I responded.   And then I realized one of my mistakes tonight was that I didn’t feel like a runner. My friend has encouraged me to make it fun: chew gum, wear fun things, listen to fun music. I had no fun clothes on and I forgot my gum.

I reasoned with my husband how different this journey is for me. My intention for any kind of exercise in the past has been to lose weight. I watch my calories and weight numbers obsessively and end up getting discouraged and quitting. This time I decided that I was doing this for the health of it and to make my heart stronger. I heard cholesterol levels can go down, etc., etc. I have not weighed. I have not measured. The only numbers I have been keeping track of are my miles. Although that has been very satisfying, I started to wonder WHY I was doing this. I felt like my running was the definition of faith that we had studied about in Bible Study yesterday. My running was the substance of things hoped for (my outward appearance), the evidence of things not seen (my inside health). I may not be able to SEE the benefits of this, but I am hoping that I will feel and experience the benefits on a different level. 

My husband and son have been wonderful through this. I didn’t know if they would mock me for even thinking about running or when they actually saw me run. But I was determined. Tonight, they gave me so much encouragement.  My husband talked me through maybe needing to slow down just a bit and build up to where I want to be. He reminded me of my tendency to want things right away and that if I am not careful, I will not be able to do it at all. My son has offered to stretch with me and run with me even though I will not be a challenge for him at all. But he is willing to be that support for me. 

I reflected on the last couple of days and seeing how I have been able to encourage others through the steps I am taking. I want others to feel good about themselves and use walking and running as a connection in their own relationships with others. Any step I take I count as a blessing. I thoroughly enjoyed a three mile WALK today and that is okay. Slow and steady wins the race. My encouraging Pandora treasure today was “This is why it is to You I run.” I know that it is my God who is supplying me with the strength and courage to always keep on keepin’ on.


I have discovered my new best friend through this last week: Epson Salt Baths! INSTANT relief!

#newrunner  #courage  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

FUEL THE WAG!



Recently, I picked up a copy of Carol M. Green’s book, Run at Any Age: A Beginner’s Guide for Adults. It also came with a companion Runner’s Journal. This has been an amazing book on so many levels!  One of the things I have focused on is to find blessings during my run. During my walks I like to pick up heart-shaped rocks, but during my runs I have been listening for great words and phrases in the music that I listen to during the walk/run to spur me on. Today came in the form of a commercial for dog food.  The announcer was talking about zoning in on what gets your dog excited enough to wag his tail and then how to “fuel the wag”. I started wondering about the things that can “fuel the wag” for my new running experience.

First of all, I am 49 years old, I am overweight, and I have NEVER, (can I repeat that?) NEVER run a day in my life.  I love to walk but have never ran and certainly would never dream of running in front of people. I learned that the author didn’t start running until her late 40s as well. As I started reading, she was confronting every excuse I had: I can’t do it, what if I do it wrong, what if someone sees me and on and on and on.  Her bottom line for those excuses was “Get over yourself.”

So this week I went running for the first time outside where people could see me!  Honestly, as you are trying to gasp for breath it gets to a point that you just really don’t care who sees you and might even get to the point that you hope someone does see you if you are in need of help! I haven’t gotten to that point yet. 

Carol has given great ideas to keep the run fun and motivating: listen to music, chew gum, wear fun clothes. She even suggested if we were truly concerned about people seeing us, we could wear a hat and sunglasses so people wouldn’t recognize us. One thing I am really enjoying is logging my workouts. I can keep track of my miles accrued. It is great incentive! I have been wearing fun running clothes each day to make me feel like a runner.   These are great things to fuel the wag!

I am only on day for of incorporating running into my routine and I have started small (alternating walking and running from one power pole to the next). I am going for the small victories right now. The last two days, I have only been able to run 10 poles. Today I ran 13!

I took my book with me to an event today and was going to highlight sections of the book. In writing, we are told that every word and every sentence should go toward the main topic of the book. In novels, you will see a lot of descriptive, sometimes unnecessary narrative and I have learned that is to build word count since novels are generally around 40,000 to 70,000 words. As I was reading my running book, I saw that every word and every sentence was pertinent to the topic of running. I would have to highlight every word of the book!


I am excited for this new journey. For once in my life, I am not exercising to lose weight. I have changed my mindset that I want to exercise to be healthy. I have many grandchildren now and I want to see them grow up and have children of their own. I want to be around to see that!  That is my goal. The feeling of achievement is just icing on the cake!

#newrunner  #behealthy

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Busy Year for the Idaho Creative Authors Network




Whew!  It’s been a while since I have been on here! But do you wanna know why, huh? Do you wanna know why?!  This summer has been super busy with writing books and finishing books and helping others get their books out there and making the Idaho Creative Authors Network’s name known!  Those are all great things!! Do I wish there were more hours in the day and the energy to go with it? You bet I do!  But I am so thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to us this year! 

In June, the Idaho Creative Authors Network had an opportunity to be a part of the Old Fort Boise Days in Parma, Idaho. This was our first outdoor event so there was a new formula we had to create for times such as this. That is one thing we have learned as a team. We have hosted writing conferences and now there is not a lot of planning that has to go into it; it is just a formula that we plug in and each one of us knows our duties for the day and how things will be set up.   It took participating in two events (the second was the Ontario Saturday Market Author Day) for us to get that formula dialed in for outdoor situations. You have more elements to consider such as the weather (I will talk more about this in a later blog).

We were blessed this year as far as being able to make contacts and encourage others in their writing journey.   There are so many people out there that want to write but don’t know what the next step is! Our friend, Phyllis, did a great job making a board that says: We Have Answers! And yes we do!  We can help writers become authors and it is such a great feeling – for us AND them!  Our trusty right hand woman, Kimbre, came to our last event and showed us older ladies the new live stream videos you can take from your phone so we all did our first live advertisement for ICAN. What a thrill! 
Well, our year is not over. We have a lot coming up in the next  six months so get your pens and calendars out now to write these upcoming events down.

NEXT WEEK:  Saturday August 6th, the Idaho Creative Authors Network is hosting a Book Extravaganza at the Maple Grove Grange Hall in Boise, Idaho located at 11692 West President Drive from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will be close to 20 tables filled with over 50 books by local authors! We have been so fortunate to have the community provide situations for us to make ourselves known that we want to give back to the author community and let them have that same opportunity. 

NOVEMBER 5th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. we are hosting a Holiday Gift and Book Emporium at the Cloverdale Reception Center at 1200 N. Cloverdale Road in Boise, Idaho. This is a perfect time to come and pick up some unique Christmas gifts for those on your shopping list.

NOVEMBER 5th is also our SECOND Annual Treasure Valley Writers’ Fest and Writing contest from 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the same Cloverdale Reception Center.  We have the privilege of having three special speakers: Award-winning author, Conda Douglas, will be speaking on Writing Short to Succeed, Author and Marketing Strategist, Angela Strong, will be helping us understand the Marketing process better and Senior Accountant, Jaime Redfern, will be helping us comprehend The Business Side of Writing. This is a first-class event you will NOT want to miss. Along with the speakers, the ICAN team will be sharing writing tips which will spark your interest to ask questions to our panel at the end of evening. We will have a beautifully catered meal as well as an awards ceremony for our writing contest winners. The deadline to send in your contest submission is October 1st. Visit Eventbrite  to see the categories and guidelines for the contest.  

DECEMBER 10th three of the ICAN members will be reading their children’s books at the Ontario Community Library at 388 SW 2nd Avenue in Ontario, Oregon from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Sheila Eismann will be there to read her book, The Christmas Tin. Carol Green will be reading her book, Gary Learns to Skate, and I will be there to read my new children’s book The Battle for Christmas.  So be sure to bring your children and grandchildren! 

We look forward to seeing you all and helping you along your writing journey!

Doing things the ICAN way - with a little bit of class and a little bit of style!

  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Write on Schedule!





According to Merriam-Webster, any writers’ friend, the definition of schedule [noun] is: 
·                     a plan of things that will be done and the times when they will be done 
·                     a written or printed list of things and the times when they will be done. 

If you are currently working on a literary project or manuscript: 
·                     Do you have a writing schedule?   
·                     Is it written or printed out? 
·                     Which do you prefer — a certain time frame or a specific number of words? 
·                     Are you able to adhere to your schedule? 
·                     What happens when the wheels fall off your writing plan? 

I adhered more strictly to a writing schedule after embarking upon my first western fictional novel, Book One of The Sabblonti Series titled Janzti’s Jokers.  Due to physical limitations, it was easier for me to work for a certain period of time on the days my schedule permitted as opposed to trying to set a goal of a certain number of words.  Now that I am penning Book Two of the series, I am implementing that practice as well.  Just for grins, I record the number of words on a small yellow lined tablet stored close to my computer.   

Prior to writing fiction, I authored primarily inspirational books along with some poetry.  If I had to take extended breaks between writing those genres, it did not seem like it took much to “get back in the river”, so to speak.  Experiencing quite a few interruptions or having to be absent from Jantzi Belle and the cattle crew in my fictional novel proved to be far more challenging as I would have to retrace my steps and figure out where I left off the last time my fingers touched the keyboard. 

Stephen Covey’s sage advice comes to mind, “the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” 

I recently started blogging and have found that I enjoy it far more than I thought I would.  One thing that has kept me on track is a blogging calendar.  Businesses typically give out calendars at the beginning of each year, so I pressed one of those into service for my new found writing interest.  Granted, it’s easier to use a calendar for blogging as most posts are short and to the point.  A novel consisting of 80,000 to 140,000 words can seem far more daunting.  

Times and seasons can also affect our writing schedules.  As I am typing this, it is a glorious spring day in the mountain west complete with a gentle breeze, bright sunshine, blue sky, and the birds chirping outside my office window.  When the thermometer registers 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the wind is howling, and it’s snowing sideways, it’s much easier to sit at a computer and hammer out mega words. 

Let’s consider some things which may help to increase your writing capacity: 

·                     Determine what is your optimum time of day wherein you are most productive, and strive to use that block of time for your writing endeavors 
·                     Take a long and short look at your calendar.  Mark off some specific days that are set aside just for writing such as you would do for a doctor appointment. 
·                     Analyze your daily routine to see if you can rearrange it to carve out more time for writing.  For instance, if you have household chores or other things for which you are responsible and you normally do those in the morning, flip your schedule, and do those in the afternoon which frees up your morning to write. 
·                     Assess your writing style.  Are you trying to edit as you write?  If so, this may be cutting into your initial productivity.  Granted, there are different opinions on this matter.  Some writers deem it’s best to get their thoughts down on paper and edit afterwards whereas others edit as they go.  Different strokes for different folks. 
·                     Some authors outline their manuscript ahead of time while others bemoan even the very suggestion of such a thing. 
·                     Try talking a walk before you write to unleash the creativity within. 
·                     Mothers with young children can sometimes find another mother with young children and work out a shared arrangement to free up time for each other. 
·                     Comparing yourself to other writers and their schedules is counterproductive.  Do what works for you. 
·                     Join a small writer’s group where the members can assist and encourage you. 
·                     Book fairs, signings, and related events are wonderful incentives to help keep your writing flowing.  Endeavor to associate with writing clubs or organizations which conduct events as this will help you achieve your goal of getting your book published in a timely manner.   
·                     Reward yourself for achieving your writing goals.  This could be something as simple as a pretty bookmark, a fellow author’s book, a canister of your favorite tea, etc.  The higher end, of course, would be that trip to the Bahamas or elsewhere that you have always wanted to take.   

I would like to hear from you as to what suggestions you have for fellow writers as to how to stay on schedule, increase productivity, reach your writing and publishing goals, and live happily ever after in the process. 

Happy Reading & Writing.  Write On!


 Visit Sheila's blog, Sheila's Segacious Stirrings and find out more about  Sheila and her books at http://desertsagepress.com/

Friday, April 1, 2016

Guest Blogger Introduction - Sheila Eismann


Meet Guest Blogger, Sheila Eismann, third in her family lineage of five female authors, speakers and poets, who endeavors to be an encourager with a sense of humor. Sheila's newest release, Jantzi's Jokers, is her first work of fiction, Book One of The Sabblonti Series. The Sabblonti cattle empire, run by matriarch, Jantzi Bell, fights for survival when life takes a drastic turn after Jantzi receives a late night visitor. Other books by Sheila are: Heart to Heart from God's Word - Daily Encouragement for You which doubles as a yearly devotional and prayer journal and Stirrings of the Spirit, which chronicles ten true life stories of God's miraculous intervention in the lives of many people. These are showcased along with Sheila's other literary works at www.desertsagepress.com and www.sheilaeismann.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Secrets Kept

SECRETS  KEPT
By JoEllen Claypool

Brown like muddy water, churning under
trampling feet,
Causing minds to race in circles;
“What’s the truth today?”
The heart struggling to keep beating,
Pumping blood hard as every vessel desires to shut
down.
Wondering, always wondering.
Nowhere safe to cry.
Nowhere safe to turn.
Put on a smile,    SECRETS  KEPT
Keep moving,   SECRETS  KEPT
Breathe . . . . . Breathe . . . . . Breathe . . . . .

SECRETS . . .
KEPT