I Voted… Did You?

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Here’s the thing… I truly DON’T CARE who you voted for. I mean, I’d like to hope that we all voted for the same guy and will be able to live happily together for the next four years secure that we elected the best man for the job, but I’m a realist. All the polls have shown us that pretty much half of our country is going to be unhappy tomorrow, no matter which way this thing goes. We’ll survive, we’ll go on, and our country is stronger for the decision you made today. The decision to vote.

I’m happy you voted. I’m happy we have a process in place that allows us to choose between the lesser of two evils. I wish we’d had better choices today, but at least we had choices!

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New DH Blog: Finding Joy in the Journey

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I wrote this blog post before Hurricane Sandy had a chance to hit, so while the temperatures are still quite fall-like in Cleveland, there’s not a leaf left to be seen on any of our trees. I think that Sandy can serve as another kind of reminder for us all, that sometimes when things end with a bang, and life looks bleak and wintery, new goodness is just being given a chance to shine through. There have been some amazing stories of courage coming out of New York in the aftermath of Sandy, and while lives have been destroyed, maybe for some folks, a new day can dawn more brightly. Anyway, here’s my take on embracing the joy of the journey, and the change Fall represents:

Reasons for Living: Finding Joy in the Journey

For all of us in the northeastern US, fall has now officially arrived, and with it come pumpkins, the trees set aflame by their changing leaves and a crisp chill in the air that turns everyone’s thoughts toward hunkering down for the winter, Life begins to slow down in the fall. It’s my favorite season, and fall, specifically a true northeastern fall, will always be one of my Reasons for Living. [read the rest here]

NaNoWriMo Day 4… 7k!

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I’m a NaNo-rebel this year, and it feels good! I’m tackling edits to and the continuation of last year’s NaNo-novel. Things are progressing well so far. I’ve set myself a daily word count goal of 1700, just a tiny bit over what is required, because I like round numbers. I tried for 2k/day this summer for Camp NaNo and it was just a bit too much. Most of what I’ve been writing will like end up on the rubbish heap, but hey, that’s what November is all about! I’ve refined my ideas for this story, and it’s main characters since I first sat down with barely a thought in my head, and even today I was still having some awesome breakthroughs on how to fix huge continuity holes I’ve written myself into, so that’s been great. I’ve been struggling with finding an acceptable excerpt that both doesn’t spoil anything, and makes sense without understanding the contextual flow of the story. The piece that I’ve chosen, I think, is just a good example of the dynamic between the two main characters, Lia, our soldier-hero, and Hudson, the acerbic AI in her brain:

[For clarity’s sake, * * indicates Lia’s internal monologue and < > indicates non-verbal communication from Hudson.]

<Nope. Based on the data from Adamatos’ transmission they’ll be running silent until we get on board. We know they launched without the crew that was intended to be onboard, since all the ship’s crews were still running training missions at NORAD… so goddess only knows who’s driving this thing at this point. It does have an autopilot, which is probably what they’re relying on.>

*Awesome. This just gets better and better, doesn’t it?* Lia turned out of Engineering and checked her handheld again, looking for the simplest path to a mess hall, her stomach was growling.

<It is just about time for breakfast at this point.>

Nodding absently in agreement, Lia tapped her earwig to open a channel. “Dr. Stinson, please meet me on the bridge in fifteen minutes.”

“Happy to my girl!” he replied.

*Do you know if we’re set up for anyone to be cooking anything, or is it just a find what you can and eat on the go situation?*

<The latter, for now. Baz and Lorelei are still compiling that roster you asked for, so I assume they won’t get around to sending someone down to the mess until after that’s done. I’m sure you can grab some power bars or something though.>

*That’s all I need… hopefully someone unpacked the chocolate ones. And the coffee.*

In her head she heard Hudson let out a long-suffering sigh.

It’s hard to tell from my currently crappy dialogue, but I LOVE how this relationship is developing, and how Hudson is integrating himself into the plot of the story. My biggest struggle is to not make him look too good. He needs some fallibilities, or I’m going to lose all the drama.

How are all the rest of you folks out there in NaNoland doing? I’d love some links to your blogs to check out what you’ve been writing!!!

Cheers all!

Happiness Delivered: Link Round-up

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So, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything over here… but I wanted to link up all of my recent posts from the Delivering Happiness blog. I really like the work I’ve been doing for them, and I hope you all will enjoy it as well!

Reasons for Living: Happiness and Dancing in the Rain

My group of college friends, like most groups, had a local hang out, a coffee shop that hosted a weekly open mic night, which we attended with almost religious fervor. On the particular evening I want to tell you about, it was the height of summer and the air had been thick with humidity all day. By 7pm the sky let loose with a thundering rainstorm, the kind of sheeting, drenching storm that had everything completely soaked in microseconds. It was a slow starting kind of evening and the open mic crowd had barely started to straggle in. While waiting for things to kick off I stood at the window watching the rain with my best friend, the woman whom even my fiance calls my brain twin, for a variety of completely legitimate reasons. []

 20 Seconds of Courage: Sharing your True Self

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” -Buddha

How do you define yourself? Do your friends see a different “true you” than your family, or your co-workers? Do you experience fear at the thought of any of those groups crossing over? Are any of them seeing the the person you see inside yourself? Sometimes it’s not discovering your world that takes the courage, it’s sharing that world with others. []

Success – The Lines on the Yardstick

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I’ve been thinking a lot about success lately, and specifically what it means to me. The traditional idea of success in America seems to revolve around having a good paying job in a “respectable” field and home ownership, or for women, depending on who you ask, popping out happy healthy kids and managing a bustling household.

Just the other night my fiance and I were going through a list of “important premarital discussion topics” and one of them was “What Are Your Personal Life Goals?” This brought me right back to my earlier thoughts on success and how I define that for myself.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I work in “Corporate America,” more specifically, I support the sales organization of a large global service provider, and I truly enjoy what I do.  I really really like my job, but it’s a far cry from what I thought I’d be doing with my life. Even after three years in my current role I can’t seem to see myself as a “business” person. I don’t feel like an insider in that world, and I find myself wondering, somewhat often, if that means there’s something wrong with me.

So where is all this going, you might ask? Well, here’s the thing, I feel like I’m surrounded by people who (as far as I know) see success entirely differently from me, and I’m hung up on whether or not these people see me as successful. How do I measure up, if the yardstick they’re using only has lines for title and salary, accomplishments and timeliness. Isn’t that the yardstick they’re using for themselves?

When my fiance asked me about my life goals I really had to stop and think. I mean, don’t get me wrong, money is great, and I wouldn’t say no to a promotion, hell, I’d take a lot of pride in it if it was offered to me, but is it on my yardstick?  Not really, or at least, its not on the yardstick I always pictured for myself. So, if not title and salary, then do I see family as my route to success?  I won’t deny that I can feel the biological clock ticking, and I do want children and a bustling household of my own… one day. But is that an ultimate life goal, or a line on my yardstick of personal success?

What about this writing thing that I’m always on about, you might be asking… Yes, I have a passion for it, and yes, the act of creating a story is thrilling to me. I’d love to be a published  author one day, and I have some very serious plans to pursue an MFA in the future, but is that it? Is that the existential purpose that fires my soul? No, but I think we’re getting closer.

I think that my sole personal goal, the one thing that on my deathbed I’ll be measuring the success of my life against, is happiness. Happiness that encompasses both my own personal joy, and the act of bringing more light into a world that seems to be growing darker every day.   Did I have more good days than sad ones?  Did I add something wholesome to the fabric of our reality?  Did I really live my life, or did I just exist for awhile?

In some ways, that makes me think that all the things I’ve talked about: title and salary, children and family, my writing, and probably a million other things, are all really lines on my yardstick. That maybe you don’t have to advance through points A and B to get to C. Maybe I’m creating the lines as I go.

I can live with that.

Facing Changes with Courage

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The second post in my “Courage”series recently went up on the Delivering Happiness blog.  You can find it here. I’d love to have you guys go check out DH’s mission and get involved where you can. They’re doing great things, and I’m really happy to be playing a small part in the change they’re trying to create!

Here’s an excerpt of my post:

20 Seconds of Courage: Change is Going to Come

Courage isn’t always found in grand gestures, and it doesn’t have to be about life and death situations. For most of us, any decision with the potential to affect our everyday lives can take a certain amount of courage, sometimes even all the courage we have. For instance; a friend and co-worker recently put in her formal notice of resignation with our employer, and it seems to me that the act of pushing the SEND button on that email would have required significant courage.

Finished!

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I recently finished up a quilt I’d been working on for some time. My aunt picked out the fabric at the beginning of winter, so at least I didn’t make her wait a WHOLE year!  This was really only the second quilt I’ve made from scratch, and I used a pattern that I had to kind of recreate, with the fiance’s help, of course. He’s my number’s guy! I’d found a picture of a quilt made with this pattern on a website, but no mention of where the quilter got the pattern, or convenient linkage or anything. We sort of guessed at the sizes, drew up a diagram on some graph paper, and then started cutting up the jelly roll of fabric my aunt had selected. For coming together kind of haphazardly, I’m pretty proud o f it!

I’ve started a new quilt since finishing this project several weeks ago, this time from an actual pattern book, Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen. So. Much. Simpler. Shocking that having an actual list of steps to follow would make something easier, right??! Anyway, I’m not going to give away what that final project will hopefully turn out like, but let me show you the patterns I’m using!

If you’re interested in quilting, you can also check out my inspiration board on Pinterest… here.

Reasons for Living with Delivering Happiness

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I have a new post up on the Delivering Happiness blog and I’d love to have you come check it out! Here’s a teaser:

When I think about Delivering Happiness, the movement, and the concept of happiness in general, it always brings me back to the last two years of my undergrad experience. Those years, before my emergence into the grown-up world of full time work, household management, and budgeting, were the happiest I’ve ever experienced, and I can chalk that happiness up to a few specific people and a very simple way of life. It was during those heady days that I developed a very simple motto. “If, at the end of the day, life has been lived, it was a good day.” This became my mantra and my equation for personal happiness.

Day One

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Well, the August session of Camp NaNoWriMo began nearly 24 hours ago, and I pretty much hate everything I wrote today!  Yay!  But, I wrote, and came in over the daily deadline, so I’m already doing better than I was at this point in June. I think. I can’t really remember June…

Anyway, just to cue everything up properly, I should explain that I’m technically a NaNo-rebel this month, as I’m trying to add another 50k to my wordcount from June. I really am enjoying the story I’m writing, and I’m excited to see how it’s going to end! Speaking of wordcount, here’s how I did today:

I wanted to share some of what I wrote today with you guys, but honestly, it’s all really bad, and wouldn’t make sense out of the context of the plot, so you’ll all just have to wait until I write something more acceptable!

A New Opportunity

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I’m excited to announce that I’ve recently been offered the opportunity to guest blog for Delivering Happiness! I’ve included an excerpt of my inaugral post on courage, and I’d love to have you all hop over to check it out!

It has always amazed me how our lives can turn on width of a dime. How fleeting moments can alter our paths, and our fates. In less than a second your facial expression can give someone the wrong idea (or the right one). In just a few words a heart can be lightened, a joyful experience shared. In this world, where lives are changed in the time it takes for a butterfly to flap its wings, what then is the potential impact of a single act of courage?

[click through to read the rest on the DH blog here]