Safeguarding Our Personal Treasures Before and After Death

One of my genealogy columns published over the summer was titled There’s No Guarantee in Life or Death. It’s about wills and estates, something I’ve been thinking about a lot in the past six months because my mom is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m thinking about my final wishes more than hers (hers are taken care of) and wondering what mess I might leave my kids to sort through. I’m also wondering about the things I value, such as my genealogy research and the books I’ve written, and who would appreciate them most.

“In these days where diseases, such as dementia, are on the rise, I believe it is less likely the well-thought out plan for estates will be executed.”

Why? Because a person’s ability to control their affairs and stuff while they’re still alive becomes almost impossible when diseases of the brain take hold. This leaves control of their stuff with those they live with or those, family or friends, who enter their home to see to their daily needs.

Continue reading

Music Inspires, Motivates and Keeps Me Between the Ditches

I’m going to state this right upfront; get it over with; air my thoughts before we delve into this subject deeply: I don’t understand how people get through life without music. A life void of melody is unfathomable to me.

My parents listened to music every day and I’m told when I was strong enough to stand, I was holding onto the crib rail and bobbing to Cal Smith singing on the old black and white television. The radio in the kitchen was on every day without fail. If it broke, as tight as money was, a new one appeared without delay. The radio in the truck was always tuned to music; no talk shows for us. When my dad installed an 8-track player in the truck, that played more than the radio.

We had a floor model stereo with a radio and record player, which could easily be moved to the deck or the lawn. That thing is more than 40 years old and still going.

Continue reading

My Unplanned Future is Filled with Unknown Possibilities

I’ve let go of the regret I carried since I was 17 and the mistakes I’ve made along the way, forgiven myself for what I did and didn’t do, removed self-imposed lines that set limits on my life and found peace within. I’m working on increasing my confidence and self-worth, and I’m transforming this body into one that is healthy and strong.

Where will I go from here? Honestly, I thought I had the next ten years figured out and a good idea of what the rest of my life would contain, but…that was before the transformation this spring. I began making alternative plans, but they kept changing as new possibilities popped into my head, and one thing conflicted with the other. How can I do A if I want to do B? I’ve always believed I was suppose to have my future planned.

My parents preached it, and so did the school guidance office: secondary school for X-amount of years, work for X-amount of years, retire.

Continue reading

Like Every Wise Boy Scout: Be Prepared for Opportunity

In this minute, if you were given the opportunity you had always dreamt of, would you be ready to accept it?

I’ve asked myself this question many times since the new year. Before May, my answer was an undeniable, regrettable NO. The no applied to many areas in my life, not just writing.

Ready means I’m able to accept that opportunity at the moment I’m offered it, or, given one hour, I’d be ready to accept it.

Continue reading

The Magic of Confidence and Letting Go

Two weeks ago, giddy from riding a wave of confidence growth, I tried to explain to my sister how I felt. In my mind, it was like dragging that Krazy Karpet to the top of the hill in two feet of snow, then pushing it to get started because the snow was soft and the friction kept me still. After about six feet, I felt the momentum of the Karpet, and I had to use less effort to increase speed and then, I hit the smooth, icy section and I was off!

Confidence is like that. I’ve never really had much in life; it was something others had, something I envied and sometimes felt annoyed by because some had too much and were in my face or not bothering to look back to see how they looked from the perspective of others. That was my problem, not theirs.

Long ago, I gave up the desire to obtain confidence because I thought it was something not for me. It was like the talent to play guitar, the ability to recall phone numbers after hearing them once, the skill to walk in high heels and not feel like an idiot.

Over the past two months, that’s changed. I can’t thoroughly explain why; I don’t understand it myself. I just feel different.

Continue reading

Stop Putting Limits on Living

This is one of four posts on life and how my perspective of it has drastically changed the past three months. The transition started July 2018, but it has taken me until this spring to fully realise the path I travelled up until last July has changed. From the outside, I look the same (except I’ve lost over 35 pounds). The major changes have taken place inside. It’s like someone else’s brain fell into my head, and it’s looking around thinking, let’s renovate this life. There will be exceptions to how I think, but the exceptions don’t change the rule.

I’m writing these for two reasons: 1) to remind me of my journey and where I really want to go (out there, beyond where I’ve been); 2) to share my experience with the hope others will be inspired to change their perspective, so they can live a better life. My journey has been helped by those who put into words a better way to live.

Last fall, while sitting around dreaming about what 2019 would give me, something clicked in my brain: I didn’t want it to give me anything; I wanted to earn and control what entered my life, take what awaited me. I could only do that if I had the courage to change my attitude, the way I looked at my life and what I was willing to give in return.

Continue reading

The Value of Entertainers in Our Lives

Thank YouI don’t remember a time when strangers singing songs or acting out a story were not part of my life. As a kid in the 70s, I had already formed an attachment to some and called them my favourites.

K. C. and the Sunshine Band, Donna Fargo and Marty Robbins brightened my days with their music, and I sang along with every song. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Linda Carter (Wonder Woman) and  Lindsay Wagner (Bionic Woman) entertained me on the small and big screen, bringing stories to life and enhancing my dreams. The Waltons felt like watching family as there were so many of us and so many of them, and I had always felt like Elizabeth Walton.

The 80s delivered artists such as Bryan Adams, Alabama and John Cougar to my ears. I was in Heaven listening to my Mountain Music and when told to turn off the radio, I’d say, “I Ain’t Even Done with the Night.” I was a teenage, eager to run and see where life would take me, but I also had my down times, and songs like Lonely Ol’ Night and Missing You got me through rough days when my engines revved so high I thought I could jump the moon but couldn’t because I was only 17, and days my heart ached so bad I thought it would break wide open and bleed out.

Continue reading

Don’t Muddy Your Brand

Thought for the dayMy teen-aged son loves to attend truck pulls at exhibitions. He only has his beginners, but he’s itching to get behind the wheel and has created elaborate schemes that would see him get there before he has his full driver’s licence. He has yet to successfully carry out a scheme, but his mind is always working on it.

The videos he captures at these truck pulls are mashed together and posted to his YouTube channel. After a big pull at the end of August, I told him I’d share his link on my Twitter feed, thinking I’d be helping him spread the word so he’d have more subscribers and more views.

“You can’t do that,” he said. “You’d muddy my brand.”

For a guy who has no problem getting muddy on his four-wheeler, he had a real problem with mud on ‘his brand’. He knows little about marketing – or does he?

Continue reading

Two Vital Questions to Ask Yourself About Writing

Thought for the dayWe are all looking for our path to success, but our paths are drastically different. We all don’t get to success the same way, and we don’t all identify success in the same manner.

In my years of reading about marketing and writing, the same questions pop up, and by answering these two questions, it makes us better able to plan our writing careers. In fact, the answers to these two questions are vital in making important decisions in our publishing journeys.

Last week, I posed these two questions to members in my writers’ group. They have a month to think over the answers, but I’ve been thinking about my answers for much longer.

Continue reading

Summer is Over and Work Begins

Thought for the dayWe can all ask, “Where did it go?”, but I think most of us who live in the north know summer passed in the usual form: too quickly. What started out to be a very cool June with snow and hail in Nova Scotia, eventually evolved into hot July and August days.

With cooler nights and mild days on the horizon, school started today where I live. That means the house is empty because everyone is either in school or at work. This is the first time I’ve had the house to myself during the day for more than two months.

While I hope you enjoyed your summer and I’d like to reminisce about mine, as John Wayne said, “We’re burning daylight.” So it’s time to buckle down and get back to work full time. My batteries are recharged, new ideas are splashing around in my mind, and I’m ready to start the next phase of my self-publishing journey.

Continue reading

A New Year Has Begun at the Writer’s Desk

Good morning, everyone.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been here. After working every day for three years, I was in desperate need of a break. I should have taken one immediately after that seven-month out of the house, working every day for 12 to 14 hours job in 2014, but I didn’t. Instead, I jumped into a self-imposed every day, dawn to dusk working schedule of writing, editing, publishing and marketing. I squeezed in the other part of my life (family, household chores, animals, etc.) where I could.

So a break was necessary to reset my timer, recharge my batteries and reflect on what I’ve done and where I want to go next.

Continue reading

The Cost of Hiring a Traditional Publisher

Throught of the DayHave you ever had one of those Ah-ha! moments? Those times in your life when you believed one thing only to find out the opposite was true?

Everyone has them. Some probably have them more than others. I like to refer to these Ah-ha! moments as thinking outside the box. That’s been a catch-phrase of the past two decades, so now it doesn’t have the same power as it did before. It has lost its edge from overuse and misuse. Thinking outside the box to some might be ordering muffins for a meeting instead of the doughnuts that have been ordered for the past ten years.

That’s not really thinking outside the box. That’s just making a change.

One way of thinking outside the box to me means someone has taken a truth that is generally known in society and flipped it inside out to reveal the actual truth. It’s like viewing something from a different angle and learning it is “B” instead “A” like everyone else thought.

This sort of discovery is thought of as innovative thinking because it was never before realised.

Continue reading

Thought for the Day – Secret to Wellness

Throught of the DaySick time can really take a bite out of work time for many people. Since I work at home most of the year, I can easily keep working regardless of the cold or flu attacking my immune system. There have been a few bouts over the past ten years, however, that landed me in bed, unable to even look at a computer let alone make any sense of the words hopping around on the screen.

Usually I get a bad cold in October (about four weeks after the kids start back to school). Another one invades the house around February (you guessed it: brought home from school). March brings another round of sickness before spring delivers relief. Throughout these illnesses, I typically lose only one day’s worth of work because I struggle through them.

However, not everyone is as lucky as me. They may be exposed to germs more often or they work in positions that do not allow them to come in sick.

In May 2014, I was working out of the house with someone who shared their secret to wellness. It was simple and cheap to do, so I gave it a try. The results: I haven’t been sick since.

Continue reading

Thought for the Day – Breaks

Throught of the DayAll work and no play make Jack and Jill…boring.

A seasoned entrepreneur said this last week during the business workshop I had attended. He went on to say we should work hard at our businesses, but we must also work hard at allowing ourselves some regular time off to enjoy life.

I’ve heard many others say the same thing over the past few years. It’s easy for business owners to work every waking hour. After all, if we don’t work, there’s no money coming in, and if there’s no money coming in, our business will fail, and we will have to work for someone else.

Continue reading

Thought for the Day – Learning

Throught of the DayFor about ten years, I searched for a manuscript for a western novel I had written in my late teens. It had been packed away when I moved. I knew it was here—somewhere—in a box. I just had to open the right one.

Looking back to that time in my youth, I recalled I had written a good story. I had done extensive research on the old west, read several western novels and even took notes when I went horseback riding. I knew it was a gem. It would need a little editing, and it would be ready for readers.

When I finally found the manuscript, I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t as well-written as I remembered. To be honest, it was poorly written and would need extensive editing. My punctuation and sentence structure was okay, but far below my current writing ability. I read only about 20 pages (all hand-written) before I put it on a shelf and marked it as a future project.

Continue reading