Participate in Creation

books

Creating feeds the world,

                 while negativity starves it.

Four years ago, when I embarked on my personal goal of finally shaping and writing a book, there were many fears involved. Would I be able to have the self-discipline and creativity and passion and stubbornness to follow through? Would I be able to strike a work/life balance with the project, and not neglect my husband or children while achieving my goal? Was this a realistic or reasonable goal? After all, over a million books are published each year, just in the U.S., so I knew that I had stiff competition, AND a saturated field of creativity that I was walking into.

Thankfully, I set aside my fears and reservations, designed a “dream board” so that I could make a coherent and realistic timeline (and book outline), and launched my project! Along with friends and family, my main support was my husband, who encouraged me to pursue this goal, kept me motivated when I lagged behind in my timeline, and backed off when had legitimate writer’s block and just needed a break. I took summers off so I could pay attention to the (quickly changing) lives of our four kids, and spent the school year sticking to a writing schedule and editing along the way. Much research went into it, because I wanted to have a balance of anecdotal and scholarly facts that backed up the experiences that my interviewees were imparting. And my friend of 25 years, Lisa, provided photographs and cover art for me. Truly a group effort, altogether!

Please visit my author’s page at http://www.bookbirthing.wordpress.com for more backstory on the project, and also visit

on Amazon to view and purchase the Kindle version of my book! Paperback to follow, as soon as I have worked out the kinks in formatting!

Hope you enjoy it! Creativity feeds the world, while negativity starves it. Be a creator!

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Visit me at www.bookbirthing.wordpress.com to see what I’ve been up to!

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This is a photo that I took on Ellis Island, the portal through which almost all immigrants were processed as they came to America. It seems very hopeful to me, as the goal is in sight, but still: you have to cross an expanse of water to reach your final destination.

That has been my experience for the last three years; although this blog has been mostly silent, it’s been for good reason. I have finally reached the other side of a lifelong goal, which is writing, completing, and then pitching my own book!

My book is about vocational transitions and grieving (in short: vocational grieving), a process that most of us can relate to. It’s that awkward transition between a known country and an unknown one; that expanse between “the devil you know and the devil you don’t”; that chasm between what you had wished for and what you actually ended up with. About Walking a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes: An Introduction to Vocational Grieving, Recovery and Transition.

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing 48 ordinary (and extraordinary!) American workers, some of which are immigrant university students. 48 distinct, unique portraits of people from diverse backgrounds: male or female, married or single or celibate clergy, ex-priests and university professors, stay at home parents and blue collar and white collar workers, small business owners and entrepreneurs; Christians, atheists, agnostics. Each describes their journey to their dream jobs (or good-enough jobs) and back again, in their own voices and reflecting their own values, describing their awkward transitions, their triumphs, their tribulations, and lessons learned.

This is, in many ways, my dream job. To give voice to those who have suffered in silence, who have sacrificed for their families and their dreams, who have learned things the hard way and sometimes, through tremendous suffering. To observe the quiet dignity and honor with which people handle transition stress, and how their support systems loved them into, through, and around these experiences.

Because none of us has done this alone! Not even me.

Kudos to my loving and supportive husband, my patient and understanding children, and every friend who believed in me and supported my craft. Creativity is the language of the spirit, and every person who bolstered me while I wrote this book: I will be forever grateful to you!

CS Lewis far better things

This last year has been a whirlwind of medical issues and disappointments, but it has also been very fruitful in the writing department!  I have made significant strides in the construction and editing of my book on vocational transitions; secured more interviews for the book, did (and re-did!) structure and practical issues, and generally, paid more attention to my book than I did to my blog.

I have spent much time trying to neutrally look at how I perceive the world, my past, my circumstances, and the larger issue of fairness. To try to figure out whether pursuing fairness and justice in life circumstances is worth the cost that you pay in the end.

I guess I have discovered this: that the answer is different for everybody. There are some battles worth fighting, and others that are destructive. There is more strife to be found in the pursuit of justice in some cases, than in others. So if I am truly seeking peace, I must face an unfair (or toxic) situation, assess it and then either move on or fix it.

If I stand at a blank wall, shaking my fist at it, it will neither move nor respond.

If I stand at a wall long enough to see a door through which I can travel, that is progress.

I wish that I were wise enough to immediately discern the difference! But alas: I am not.

In the last nine months, I have also discovered this: that an intellect in motion tends to stay in motion, and one at rest tends to begin to softly snore.

The more I write, the better I write, the better I feel, the more I write.

Find your passion, and keep moving! We can neither re-live yesterday, nor predict tomorrow.

So move ahead. Stop looking back.

 

 

30 Lbs. Later / Food Love

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Friends and family have asked how I have lost so much weight in a short amount of time – I’m now down THIRTY POUNDS – Yay!  (I’m celebrating, not bragging.)

The short answer is: finding a food plan that works for my body chemistry, and then being self-disciplined about it. That meant 21 weeks of saying “no, thank you!” to pasta, bread, cakes, cookies, anything white-flour based, packaged and processed.

But it also meant replacing those products with healthy and delicious foods:

* items made from potato or rice flour, or plantains

* walnuts, pecans, almonds, raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds without added salt (“naked”)

* brown, jasmine, or basmati rice

* spinach pasta or quinoa

* Toufayan low carb/low sodium wraps in place of bread

* cheese cake or oatmeal crumble instead of cake

* Crunchmaster Multi Grain crisps (found at Rite Aid)

* crunchy granola bars or other (homemade) oatmeal snacks without corn syrup

* fresh chicken, pork, beef, or turkey (cook with skin and fat on, trim off before eating)

* ALL types of beans, canned or bagged (rinse first to lower sodium); legumes; lentils

* wild-caught salmon (preferably from your own country)

* cheeses: the older, the better! ; olives, pickles

* sweet potatoes: wash, poke, and put in microwave for five minutes

* fresh veggies and fruits (google the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen list), esp. greens like spinach, and squashes

* snacks: mix nuts with dried berries and chocolate chips, cheesecake squares, squares of dark chocolate, pudding or sherbet without corn syrup

Do I think that my approach will work for everyone? Probably not.  But the foods I listed are in any Aldi’s grocery store, so no luxury food source is needed. That’s good, right?

What I do know is that food that is closest to the source is best, and homemade is best.  Our American fast-food, pre-packaged lifestyle isn’t working.  Diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer, are epidemic in my country.  The amount of fake sugar, soy and corn products and fillers in our grocery foods are suspect in these diseases.

Have to start somewhere, right?

Learning to Live with Solitude

Henry D T

It’s difficult for me to be alone.  I grew up in a family of ten, seventh in line.  Although I moved out when I was eighteen, after my first (failed) year at university, I only had one apartment by myself that whole time, and it was in the year before I married my husband.  We moved to Wisconsin and had two years to ourselves before we decided to host a Japanese teacher in our home and shortly after that, I was pregnant with our first child.

So basically, I’ve nearly always been in a full house.

It’s very hard for me to be alone.

Which is a conundrum for a writer, isn’t it?  It’s a requirement of writing that you focus, that you spend time alone, chewing over ideas, trashing old ones, starting over and cheering yourself on.  Solitude is the necessity of invention.

I have had to learn how to appreciate the companion of solitude, the necessity of being alone with my thoughts, ideas, and SELF.

Don’t get me wrong, I like myself!  I think that I have whole worlds tucked away in the folds of gray matter between my ears.  It’s the lack of background activity inherent in solitude that makes me somewhat nervous.  The requirement to focus only on one thing and to do it well is an alien concept to me.

When I went back to college in my twenties, I started papers way ahead of time, kept up with my reading, maintained well-organized notes on my campus ministry, all in an effort to manage my propensity for over-multitasking.  I recognized that I was easily distracted, especially when writing, and part of that was fear: fear that I wouldn’t finish a poem, a paper, an essay.  Fear that what I had to say was not conservative, focused, or serious enough.  Fear that I was not enough.

I suppose part of that fear came from being from a large, boisterous and intelligent family.  Nine of the ten of us are women, varying in appearance, interests, political stance, and communication style.  Many of us take after our father, and are prone to spontaneous verbal sparring, political arguing, and intelligent discourse.

In my quiet moments, in my solitude self, I am more like my mother: I worry about the state of the world, about things I cannot do anything about, about things I can do something about but don’t have the emotional margin to engage myself in, about things that aren’t (and are) my responsibility.  All of those things are a distraction from getting down to business and Writing.

It’s my goal for the next year to “Enjoy the Silence,” not only to increase my writing productivity, but to start to value alone time and silence.

Wish me luck.