Sunday, December 21, 2014

Annual Holiday Newsletter

Robert and Kaedence - my youngest grandchildren.
Grammy-nanny duties have been my full time job this year.
They are cousins, 7 1/2 mos apart in age.
It's that time of year where my mailbox is filled with cards and a few holiday newsletters of friends and family.

I used to include newsletters in our holiday cards. They were really important to me before social media.

Annual newsletters were how I remained connected with friends and family. I was the one out of town, my family was out of the loop. We were long distance, living out of state. My cousins and friends didn't do annual family newsletters because they saw each other and talked on the phone often during the year. The only way to combat my disconnect by distance was an annual family newsletter.

Since the early 1990's I was tucking a one page newsletter into the holiday cards I sent out once a year. These included grainy (dot matrix) pictures of our four girls on that paper. In the following weeks, both Ed and I would get phone calls from friends and family who we hadn't chatted with since the previous year. We could catch-up on life events, reconnect, and get all warm and fuzzy with virtual hugs that spanned hundreds of miles.

I spent a week or more getting those newsletters just right, with poignant statements and clean designs, to say a lot in the fewest words. Eventually the annual updates became more pictures than words, then there was that year I couldn't do either pictures or words. Parental funerals are tough times. And my children were designing their own lives. I was ready to move into the stage of impersonal holiday cards. Something decorative for the moment.

That's when I learned how important it was that I had made our annual newsletters personal. I had to redefine what mattered to others in relation to how much I was willing and able to do. This was a primary lesson from my childhood. Now social media has made my annual newsletters a lot easier to share!

So here is my news for 2014:

My first contemporary romance novel Checkmate First Mate has been published! And my first How-To book Author Marketing 101 is also available!

Here's a glimpse at my family today - only one son-in-law is missing, but you can read about him here - and also get advice from me on creating a business plan as a novelist. :D

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Making a Living or Making a Life

2014 has begun, and the Year of the Wood Horse is set to begin. Some of my friends choose a specific word-of-focus for the year as an alternative to New Years Resolutions. Choosing a word for the year requires being present, meditative, and some of the words like Diligence or Integrity are year-long lessons. But as soon as I saw this MLK quote, I knew this was my message.
It's six words, has dichotomy, polarity, and curiosity. It applies well to my grammy-nanny time in conjunction with my new published author status. My knees and feet are an issue for me right now and knees and feet are the "wheel base" of my body for my life.
I was carrying my granddaughter, and stepping over a dog, to answer my phone when I felt the "twang" in my knees. I've had knee and foot issues since an illness in childhood. My willingness to try a variety wraps, diets, exercises, and herbal remedies to avoid drugs, as pills get caught in my throat, means that I'm in good shape and rather flexible for someone my age.
Wheelchairs were cool to me - in my childhood. Grandma (arthritis), my mom (polio), and my cousin Billy (Spina  Bifida) all used wheelchairs when not in bed. Grandma's was the standard kind, mom's was a power chair, and Billy's was a sporty style and he could personally store it behind the drivers seat of his modified two-door sport car (was it a Camero or a Firebird?) and go off to the pool halls where his nick-name was "Wheels." This all means I wasn't overly traumatized at a diagnosis that I would probably be in a wheelchair by my 20's.
The reason why that didn't happen, according to one doctor, is because I was pregnant during my 20's. No joke. My first daughter was born in March of 1981 and my fourth in July of 1989, less than six weeks after my 30th birthday. Supposedly it was hormones that helped my joints and bones as I couldn't take pre-natal vitamins because they had too much iron, in addition to my swallowing pills issue.
These are our four daughters now,
at the baby shower for our 4th grandchild.
I get the difference between making a life and making a living as referenced by Dr. King in the above quote. His "I Have A Dream" speech was on August 28th, 1963. The entirety of his message still needs to be realized at a global level but that will only begin when many make it a personal message. Making a life requires flexibility, dexterity, and most of all... Balance! Especially when holding a five month old granddaughter.
I have elastic knee braces and am wearing them now. I'm aware of what could sabotage me having a passionate life. The energy of 2014 is Male Wood Horse - galloping with enthusiasm - while not becoming a stampede or breaking a leg in a gopher hole.
The time spent to nurture the self (and body) must balance with time spent nurturing our relationships, careers, hobbies, and any vehicle no matter how classic. I'm really passionate about snuggling babies, and being a leader from behind for grand-babies under the age of three. To do so means, I must take care of me. Otherwise, I'd not be able to help push a wheelchair or a stroller. 

I've been reminded to be grateful that when I wake in the morning I can roll out of bed, stand up, and walk.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

News for 2013

We have a new granddaughter. And she's Awesome!

Kaedance Grace was born on July 29, 2013

My first Contemporary Romance novel Checkmate First Mate will be released in digital format in September 2013.

The Author Marketing 101 Guide and Journal that I've co-written with C. Morgan Kennedy will be available by October 2013.

Ed and I just returned from a vacation in Newport, Oregon, with our two grandsons, aged ten and four. Fun but exhausting!

For more excuses as to why I haven't given any attention to this website or completing this memoir - there's plenty to read over at Terri Patrick's Blog. There was also an Oops or two regarding my new business cards and I had to add my email address to all 1,000 cards - as I shared with my fellow Soul Mate Authors.

The journey to write this memoir - which I expect to complete and publish someday - has been a catalyst for all kinds of amazing opportunities. It's as if my parents want me to be very aware that I am more than just their daughter, and that's why their story will have value.