A Drop in the Bucket


Happy Friday! It’s time for the MFRW 52 week blog hop for 2018!

Welcome to week 7: Top5 Things on My Bucket List


Let’s get right to it then, shall we? I never really put much stock into a bucket list until last year, when I thought I had waited too long. All sorts of images from worst case scenario to the ten worst possibilities flooded my mind. I thought that the first thing on my list would never get accomplished, and if I was lucky I might be able to do number 3 and 5.

Prior to my surgery I actually sat down and made a list of the things I wanted to accomplish or experience before I kicked off, or kicked the bucket. As that day seemed rapidly approaching, I spent most of those days in tears not knowing how I would be able to do any of them.

I’ve mentioned it before, but yes I tend to be overly dramatic at times. It’s kind of difficult not to when you get the big C diagnosis. I have been intensely focused on the first one, and this year I plan to make a serious dent in the first one, second one, and the 5th one. (I’m really pulling for all 5,  but hope to complete #2 and #5 this year!)

Ellie’s Top 5 Bucket List Items

  1. Publish 20 of my books. I have a huge file of partially completed and completed stories that I have been clinging to, reluctant to release my babies. Then what did I write them for? Why do I write in the first place?  To entertain others. How is anyone going to enjoy them when they are squirreled away in a locked file?
  2. Decorate my home the way I want!  I spent many years, trying to pease my mother, trying to win the approval of my mother in law.  I spent so long trying to fit in with everyone else,  I didn’t put things on my wall that I like. Currently,  we have very little on the walls. I can’t really use the excuse of we just painted because we painted over 5 years ago. I need to minimize the clutter in my home and organize, and put up minimum decorations in this house, in order to sell.  But when we move, Katy Bar the Door! I’ve got some great ideas saved on Pinterest.
  3. Travel!!! Nova Scotia, Western Caribbean, Hawaii, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Venice, Rome, Australia – not sure I want to go to the outback and experience the wildlife like black mambas – crikey! There are places in the US that I haven’t been to yet, and I want to go. The Badlands, Grand Canyon, and many others!
  4. Be the Keynote Speaker at an Author Event. Someday. I have done public speaking before,  that’s not the challenge.  The challenge is to do it for other writers. It will be so much more fun than speaking of scientific type stuff.
  5. MY OWN OFFICE!!!!  Let me clarify, my own home office. If you’ve read last week’s post about the office you will understand. And here is where we have the hole in the bucket.

What do you think?  Do you think they are attainable? How about you? what are some of the items on your bucket list?

As this is a blog hop, there are many other authors who are participating.  You can check them out HERE: when I scheduled this,  the list wasn’t up yet so hopefully you will be able to go there and get the fresh list.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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5 Authors I’d Like to Meet


Happy Friday! It’s time for the MFRW 52 week blog hop for 2018!

Welcome to week 6: 5 Authors I’d Like to meet (dead or alive).

Mark Twain –  I was greatly inspired by Mark Twain when I was younger, and after visiting Hannibal, Missouri I was even more motivated. For a man who wrote sagacious wit,  he lived a tragic life. It makes me realize how much we often take for granted and motivates me to do better. I would love to sit down over a cup of coffee or tea with him and ask a million questions and let him regale me with his sardonic humor.

J.R.R. Tolkien – To get inside his head! Oh my, can you just imagine?? Where did he get the ideas for . . . (fill in the blank) What inspired specific characters?  Did he write linear? Did he write chronologically? Who did he feel influenced him?

Anne McCaffrey – The queen of all things dragon! Oh to discuss her dragon world would be amazing!

Katie McAlister – I would LOVE to sit down over lunch and talk shop with this amazing woman. I adore her sense of humor, her writing style and OK, it would probably have to be a full day’s worth because I would fangirl her so hard for the first several hours. SQUEAL!!!!   Seriously though,  I would love to meet her in person.

Chatty Chicks (Cathy Brockman, Vicki Locey, Misty Harvey, Amity Riles, and Emily Joy Grace Thompson! These women have kept me writing when I was so close to throwing in the towel numerous times.  They have shared my ups and downs.  They’ve offered a cyber shoulder to cry on, a cyber party to share our victories, and numerous hours of writing sprints! We would need a supply of coffee and cocoa, maybe some biscuits to snack on and several hours to visit in person. (OK, technically this is more than 5, but there is no way I could pick one of my chatty chick sisters and not the others, it’s a package deal!)

On a similar note, last year at Penned Con I got the chance to meet Angie Fox! I’ve adored her for years. When I found out she was a local St. Louisan, I hoped that some day I could meet her and I DID!!! By the way, she’s just as amazing in person. I hope I didn’t emberass her by fangirling her. I tried to act cool, but you know how it is, right?  I don’t think I could have been any less cool if I had met Jensen Ackles in person. GAH!!!

Go check out what the other authors are saying in this blog hop. You can find their links here:

MFRW 52 Week Challenge

Write on my friend, write on!

Tasty Treats!


In my quest for finding recipes that I can eat and don’t taste like cardboard, or consist of a bowl of kale. . . I’ve come across a few winners.

So, I decided to share a few of those with you here.

My dietary constraints are cancer and diabetes. Sugar-free is an absolute necessity, and with diabetes, low carb count is essential as well.

I have been cooking with whole grains, fresh foods, mostly lean proteins – fish and poultry, and very few processed foods of any sort.

I feel great most of the time. I feel so much healthier than I was at this time last year. Small changes add up to big results.

Here’s a tasty recipe if you want to make just one healthy switch in your diet.

Banana – Blueberry Muffins

  • servings – 12 muffins
  • Prep – 20 minutes, Bake 15 minutes
  • Oven – 400 F

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1  cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar ( I use Swerve baking brown sugar substitute)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400.F Grease 12 muffin cups. set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture, set aside. IN another bowl, combine banana, milk, butter, egg, and vanilla.

Add banana mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. filling each about three-fourths full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on wire rack, just five minutes then serve warm.

Nutritional info per muffin: 172 calories,  4 g total fat, (3 g saturated with real butter) 11 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 25 grams of carbs, 3 g protein.

I gotta be honest,  I used a few more blueberries than the recommended amount. What can I say, I like blueberries!

It’s good to have nutritious tasty foods! Hope you enjoy. Let me know if you try the recipe and what you think! Write on my friends, write on!

Get Your Mojo On!


Monday morning, rise and shine! It’s a new beginning, a fresh start, a day for opportunities to abound! 

Don’t even talk to me before I’ve had my coffee.

Then get your coffee Ms. Crabpatch and get busy. Just take a look at the gorgeous sky.

Do you realize the temperatures are in the single digits? Maybe I’ll just crawl back into bed.

Now is that any way to accomplish your goals? Where’s your resolve for those plans you made? Are you giving up that quickly?

~~~~~

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has those self-talks.  It’s like the angel on one shoulder, demon on the other, each of them whispering into my head, but I have to make the choice.

It’s true –  the week is full of opportunities. Monday is the start of a fresh new week, a chance to have this week count as a success in my planner. Before I started using my bullet journal,  I had plans in my head.  I kept a mental to-do list and rarely got past the first two.

But then I discovered the bullet journal! This amazing tool is priceless to me.  I don’t keep it up every day, and I’m not going to stress over that.  Life has gotten pretty crazy over the past year and I’ve learned to chill out and do what I can and go with the flow when I need to.

One of the ways that I feel that my bullet journal, or bujo for short, has helped me is that I have my daily to-do list. When I first started,  I wrote out my daily wishlist as my todo list. It looked something like this:

  • Housekeeping (sweep, mop, vacuum, clean counter, clean bathrooms, dust, clear clutter out of living room)
  • writing – blog, Point #3, 2 scenes, 2500 words
  • exercise – walking, aquacise, weights
  • appointment if I had one that day
  • MLO job – correspondence with emails, check sop updates, check rates, make calls, upload documents.

Now my daily to-do list looks more like this:

  • MLO job -make calls, correspondence, upload documents, etc ( there really isn’t much I can do to change what needs to be done at a job that someone else is paying me to do a specific job.)
  • HOusekeeping: chore of the day – focused on one room
  • Writing -1000 words minimum,
  • exercise: aquacize 45 minutes
  • Scheduled appointments

At first glance, you may not notice a big difference but it’s there. realistically, I know I am not going to get the entire house clean in one day. I’ve decided to focus on one area per day. Since I’ve been doing it this way, my house is cleaner. It’s not where I want it to be yet, but that’s because of the clutter. Much improved, but still room for more improvement.

I have to do certain tasks for the dayjob, so that doesn’t change other than I don’t stress out about it like I used to. There are days when I only get a couple tasks completed, and that’s OK. Some processes take longer than others.

My daily word count used to be 2500. It will go back up to that but for now, I am trying to hit at least 1000 words daily. To be honest,  on days when I have appointments or therapy, it may not happen. Last Friday I had an appointment, I couldn’t concentrate before the appointment,  then afterwards I crashed! I didn’t realize that I had been so keyed up over that appointment,  but apparently I was. I got a whole whopping 460 words last Friday –  I still count that as a win because I got some words.

My point is, back to the opportunities; by not putting a bunch of constraints on my schedule,  I have the flexibility to adapt to those urgent things that pop up unexpected.  Before, I never allowed ten minutes downtime so if anything happened, anything,  I was stressed and freaking out because I didn’t have the wiggle room. For instance –  being stuck in traffic. I sat in traffic for nearly 2 hours on a drive that should have been thirty-five minutes. It was aggravating,  but I took the opportunity to enjoy the music on the radio.  It was soothing. What could have been a very stressful 2 hours turned out to be calming. I couldn’t do anything about it anyway but in the past I would have been biting my nails, yelling at the moron driver who caused the accident up ahead and probably using some colorful metaphors in my monolog!

We can take the opportunity to take charge of our lives,  how we deal with what life throws at us or we can take the approach that we are helpless victims being tossed about by the wind and waves. The storms are going to happen so be prepared! Some of them can be avoided. Sometimes we get caught out in the rain. Other times, we have plenty of warning.

Seize the day while you can!

By the way, I stayed up, I went to my exercise class, I did the things, and I feel better for it. Regret is a hard task master that I plan to avoid! There is nothing that can beat you down faster than a bad case of the ‘should-haves’.

Is there one thing that you can do today to improve your outlook or  decrease your stress levels?

Write on my friends, write on!

I’ve Been Influenced!


Happy Friday! It’s time for the MFRW 52 week blog hop for 2018!!  YAY!

This week’s prompt: A Book That Has Influenced My Life.

Which one to choose?  That’s the thing about readers, we sometimes read excellent books that impact us! Maybe I should make mine in list form.

  1. The Bible – I was raised in a denominational church that my Grandfather founded, that had my dead relatives names on the stained glass window. I never read the Bible then, it was my parent’s religion. However, when I was in college, I was greatly influenced by an important person in my life that told me I should read it for myself. You want violence? Romance? Betrayal? Heartbreak? Disease? Pestilence? War? Love???? It’s all there. Seriously, go read Song of Solomon sometime – hubba hubba! I read it from Genesis to Revelations.  I read it like a history of mankind book. I cried, I laughed,  I connected. It guides my daily path. I made the decision for Christ just a couple weeks after New Year  in 1985 and have never looked back.
  2. The Four Agreements – I’m not forsaking my faith here, so don’t even go there. I have issues with a lot of things within the Christian community, namely that many are judgmental, discriminating and have lost their love for humanity. They are all about the religious practices,  us four and no more, the bless me club. It’s the very reason why Mother Theresa’s selfless sacrifice was such a tremendous act. These are things that I personally have grievances with. Because, at the end of the day, we need to be kind to each other and love one another. We are instructed as Christians to Love GOd with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole mind and to Love our neighbor as ourselves. Many people forget that last part and it is grievous. So anyway, I absolutely agree with the four agreements. No pun intended. I have a page in my journal that is the four agreements to remind myself often. I feel they help me be at peace with myself and keep the compassion towards others.
  3. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Literally changed my view on reading from the forced reading required at school to reading for pleasure!
  4. The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Silmarillion – the epitome of reading pleasure.
  5. Outlander Series – OMG! Have you ever seen these books? They are huge – like War and Peace huge. I read the first one in like 2 days,  then raced back to the library and checked out the rest of the series. This book or series of books, jerked me out of a pity party slump where I was feeling useless as a writer, had had a long string of rejections on books and the only thing selling was magazine articles.
  6. Harlequin romances – I don’t even remember the titles I’ve read so many. The first one I read when I was maybe fourteen. It was OK, but, I didn’t really like it. I read a lot of Stephen King and Ann McCaffrey back then. However, when I was in college,  I found the stack at the college library that held the paperback Harlequin novels. It (reading a romance) was my reward for completing an assignment, doing good on a test, not spending money I didn’t have, . . . I used lots of excuses to go get yet another ‘cheesy romance’ book as my dorm mates would say. Meanwhile, they would spend hours watching daytime soaps that I never got into. (It was many years later while nursing my daughter that I discovered Nathan Fillion was on a soap – then you betcha I watched that one! Something about Buchannon’s??)
  7. The Worst Romance Book I ever read – This may sound strange,  but yes it really did change things for me. I have the book. It’s written by a well-known author, whom I’ve met in person and is a lovely person.  Makeover on the front stoop in the ten minutes she waited. She started off with long blonde hair, crystalline blue eyes, khaki trousers, and a red polo as described in the previous two chapters. Then when the man answered the door, she wore snug straight leg jeans, a soft angora sweater, her Ginger swing bob made a perfect arch as she turned to face him with her green eyes. WHAT?  This book launched me on my writing endeavors. If this crap could get published,  surely I could get published! I finished the book,  but it took me a very long time.

So once again I didn’t exactly follow the rules.  They are more like guidelines anyway, right?

 

Go check out what the other authors are saying, you can find that list here: MFRW BLOG HOP

Write on my friends, write on!