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Friday, October 11, 2019

Birthdays, Blessings, & Fall...

Happy Friday All,

Also, happy Fall, and October, (and I missed September!) It has been busy (although, I think it always is--or mostly is).

October means a lot of things...getting further into Fall, apple cider showing up in the grocery store, people gearing up for Halloween with costumes on sale and pumpkins popping up (and Pumpkin Spice stuff everywhere LOL!) It's quite a month. It's also my birthday month.

No matter what age I'm turning, I enjoy my birthday month. Sure, sometimes it feels weird to enter a new decade (like I did when I turned 30) and such, but every year has good things and bad things and I like to experience each year as it comes. Plus, I just like that there is a special day celebrating the fact I was born and came into existence. Think about it...without a birth day, you wouldn't be born, there would be no day that marks when someone who is uniquely you came into the world. So, although sometimes it's weird to think about turning one age or another, I'm rather fond of my birthday, so for me, it's a Birthday Yay and NOT Birthday Blah.

A friend of mine died in 2013. When we were turning 30 she wasn't keen on it. I decided instead of sitting around thinking how weird it felt to me, I'd have a party. And I did. It's one of the best decisions I could've made in terms of dealing with a new age I wasn't sure what I thought about. I got to hang out with people I care most about and have fun.

I know plenty of people of all different ages. Some are younger than me, and some are older. Sometimes the younger ones seem more upset about turning an age than I did. But if you bemoan being one age or another, then you're wasting precious living time in my opinion. I mean, nobody is happy all the time, but if all you do is sitting around being negative about your age, or being negative about this thing or that, then it's just depressing.

My mother taught me to try and focus on the positive. It's not always easy--I will say there are times I get depressed or unhappy--but I don't like to sit there. I'm always trying to find something positive. Sometimes I just have to get over the negative feelings and that takes a little time.

But instead of dwelling on what age you're turning or thinking "I'm so old, help!" consider this: it's another opportunity for you to experience life. It's another opportunity for you to find something good. It's another opportunity to make someone smile. Or help someone.

For me, it's a real privilege when I can help someone. So, as my birthday fast approaches and a part of me is thinking "How did I get to this age? How weird does this feel!" I'm also thinking about how great it is to have the family and friends I do, and how blessed I am to be able to pray for those who are having a rough time, or just be there for them.

So today, my advice--whether it is your birthday month or not--think about how you can be a blessing to someone. Make the world a better place, just by helping someone have a better day (in a legal, moral, ethical way!)

Here's a joke my high school Junior history teacher told (many moons ago!)

"A mushroom walks into a bar. The bartender says, 'Get out of here, we don't serve your kind!' The mushroom says, 'Why not? I'm a FUNGI."  :-)

Have A Fabulously Funny Friday!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Dreaming Big...

Happy Friday!

It's August...AUGUST! Wow. Is it just me, or does time seem to go faster when you're older? I remember feeling like days were soooo looonnnngggg as a kid...and even as a teen. My birthday always took forever to come (I'm an October baby). Christmas was always a million days away. And summer vacation? Sooooo faaarrr.

Not as much anymore. And I'm not complaining, I'm just sort of fascinated with how that happens. One minute you think something is taking forever, the next minute it seems like it happened in a blink of an eye.

The funny thing is, when you're waiting for a book release or something like that is can seem so long or so far off (well, unless you're the one on a deadline, then it seems too close! LOL). And sometimes the wait is totally worth it and sometimes you build something up in your mind and reality doesn't quite match up.

Either way, finding those moments of anticipation, longing for something...it's always good to have a dream. To have a goal. A purpose.

Growing up, I always wondered what my purpose would be. I went through several ideas--even going so far as contemplating the religious celibate life. I thought of becoming an ornithologist. I never imagined published author would be one of the purposes I'd come to as an adult. But here I am, living out the purpose I thought I'd have when I was a pre-schooler (being a mother) and what I dreamed of as a teen (being married) to something I wasn't sure I would ever accomplish (author, early 20s).

Now my purpose is to continue being wife and mother, and to keep working at the writing.

So, are you living the purpose you thought you'd have as a kid? What dreams do you have? No matter your age, never be afraid to dream big! Whether they come true or not, dreams/goals are a good thing.

Have A Fabulously Fantastic Friday!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Watch The Hands...

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

I've got a question for you: how fast can you touch-type? I'm talking typing on a computer or typewriter keyboard without looking at your hands, and with reasonable accuracy? I haven't checked my times in YEARS, but last time I was tested I was around 80-words-per-minute (wpm).

You think that's impressive? Well, don't. I had an uncle who could type 100 wpm. Yes, you read that right. One-hundred words-per-minute. During the Vietnam War, there was a doctor who told the people who were sending my uncle's unit over to Vietnam not to send him because he needed him to type out prescriptions. Later it was found out that the majority of those in his unit had been killed.  My uncle lived because he could type fast and the doctor needed him. Crazy, huh? I figure it's God's grace there.

Now, touch-typing didn't save my physical life, but it did save me academically. When I was in the sixth grade I was diagnosed with learning disabilities. This was back when learning disabilities were just starting really emerge as a real disability and we hadn't ever really heard of them.

The person in charge of the learning clinic where I went for remediation told my mother to have me learn how to touch-type on the computer (this was in the days of Word Perfect, yes, I'm not kidding. I didn't grow up with Microsoft Word or the internet or cell phones). So, my mother had me learn (in spite of the fact that I hated doing the exercises).

Through typing my handwriting improved. My spelling improved. And some other stuff improved and I started writing.

When I got to high school, I took a Keyboarding class my Freshmen year. I was probably one of the fastest, if not the fastest typist in the class. People would stare and ask how I was so fast. Well, I typed pretty much every day and I didn't have to look at my hands since I had learned where everything was on the keyboard.

I remember people watching my hands and trying to figure out how I did it. Well, it wasn't some magic trick. I learned how to type and to type without looking and typed every day so I got faster and faster. Now, I don't have 100 percent accuracy. I know very few people who do that (in fact, I think my uncle is the only one I know who had either perfect or near perfect accuracy) but it's not bad.

When I went to business school, we had another typing course and I got faster and better because of it. It also helped when I worked in the corporate world.

Nowadays, typing assists with my writing because my fingers can keep up with my brain a lot faster than I can when I'm writing by hand. So when I really have an idea going, I can get it out quickly before I forget if I type it out.

If you're learning how to type and you get frustrated with being slow or making mistakes, remember that even the fastest typists had to learn and it takes time. P.S. I still hate typing courses, even though I know they're a good thing to have around, especially these days. So, despite how they annoy me, I do recommend typing courses if you don't know how to touch-type. It's worth the annoyance and time.

Have A Terrifically Timeless Tuesday!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Hello Again, Mary Poppins...

Happy Friday All,

While some of you may have already seen Mary Poppins Returns when it was in the theaters, I didn't, but it's now up on Netflix for those who are interested (or, I'm sure, available for purchase or rent in other places).

First of all, a little disclaimer: I was never a big fan of the original. I didn't hate it, it just wasn't one I liked watching over and over again. Oh, I liked parts of it really well, but the song Feed The Birds always depressed me with its sort of melancholy music. Now don't get me wrong, Julie Andrews' and Dick Van Dyke, and the rest of the cast's performances were great. It just wasn't my favorite, nor one I wanted to watch over and over again. The end was a bit too bittersweet for me, and I always wondered if Jane and Michael's dad kept being as changed and jolly as he was at the end. Sure, a little cynical for a kid or middle schooler, but I just was never quite sure about it. That said, it's wonderfully innovative (especially for the time it released) and genuinely imaginative. (I always liked Mary Poppins' inside-the-sidewalk-picture dress. So pretty!)

As for the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns....

PROS: The costumes are done very well, as per usual, and there are some fun songs, and things that remind me of some of the best scenes in the original. Emily Blunt does a good job of stepping into Julie Andrews' shoes and taking up the Poppins' mantle. I liked the new character, Jack (lamp lighter) and as per usual, Colin Firth is an excellent actor (Mr. Dawes' nephew). The other actors (beyond Dick Van Dyke, and I think Angela Lansbury) I didn't really know all that well. The bath tub scene was a nice new way of Mary Poppins' magic working and I liked it. I did like that Mary Poppins goes up the banister again. I felt like that little thing and the carpet bag were two things that definitely belonged in any sequel about Mary Poppins.

CONS:  It feels strange having a sequel so many years after the first (much like I felt about the new STAR WARS movies, and the prequels). In some places it felt like it was trying too hard to be as imaginative and exciting as places in the first one (this doesn't include the sliding up the banister or Mary Poppins' carpet bag, as I said, those were things I thought belonged there and I was glad to see them). The thing is, though, in the process of trying so hard to be like the original it lost some of the charm that the original had. The original was charming because it didn't try to be anything but itself. (And of course, it was pretty innovative, which might be an unfair advantage it has over Mary Poppins Returns). One thing I DID miss from the original was the measuring tape. That was one of those little quirks of Mary Poppins that I missed.

OVERALL: It's all right, and if you're a Mary Poppins fan you might even love it. I liked it, I thought there were some nice scenes and some fun aspects, but I don't feel the need to see it again. The first one is charming and innovative. The second didn't necessarily feel innovative, but it had its fun moments.

So on a scale of 1-5 stars, one being the lowest and 5 being the highest, I give it a 3-star. It's in the middle for me. Not my super-favorite, I'm going to gush over it, but not bad, either. I give a lot of credit to Emily Blunt taking on the role, though. An iconic role like that isn't easy to do and she does do it justice in my opinion.

Have A Fabulously Fun Friday!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Summer Is Here...

Happy Friday All,

Lately I've been trying to figure out some mess with my website, being Mom, editing, writing, going on family vacation, prepping for different things.

I'll post pictures from my family vacation on here, soon, I just need to get them up on my computer. But it was nice. We went up to Michigan for my nephew's wedding. The ceremony was lovely, the venue was gorgeous, the bride and groom were so happy and we all had a fantastic time. I'm one of 8 kids, and we hadn't all been together in the same place since my parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration, which was about three years ago. For us, it's pretty incredible that it's only been 3 years. With our schedules, and the fact that we're all over the USA, it's hard for us all to get together in one place. But we did, and it was so much fun. A lot of laughter, hugs, reminiscing, and fun. I really am blessed to be in this family and I'm blessed that my parents are such generous, loving, and caring people. I can't tell you how often I've had folks come up to me and tell me my parents touched them in some way. They're really special people.

As for writing...

If you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter, (or seen some previous blog posts) you know that I've been working on another book under the name Jeannie Averie. I figure Bethany Averie will remain my Young Adult/high school and up pen-name, but Jeannie will focus on 18/21 and up.

While I have been editing and writing Jeannie Averie books, I've also done a little work for some Bethany Averie ones, too. I can't go into detail (because I like to keep stuff to myself until I'm certain it'll work out).

I won't be up at RWA Nationals in New York City this year, but I'm looking ahead at 2020 and I might make Nationals next year. We'll see. I don't know for sure, yet.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a wonderful summer and reading lots of books!

I've got several books I'm reading, I'll have to post some stuff about them when I'm finished.

In any case, happy reading and happy summer!

Have A Fascinatingly Fantastic Friday!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Spread Smiles And Sparkles

Happy Friday All,

As those of us who are Christians remember Jesus's death on the cross today, and then on Sunday celebrate His resurrection, a thought occurred to me.

I'm a self-described eccentric. At least, some people have thought of me as that way, and to be honest, I like being quirky. Sometimes you gotta have a bit of quirkiness to keep your spirits up. To that end, I believe in trying to spread smiles and sparkles wherever one goes. What do I mean? Well, it's rather simple, really.

Either you know someone who is this way, or you're this way yourself, but they can't seem to find anything positive, like, hardly ever. They tell you all the things wrong or they're having a horrible day. You try to point out something positive, even something small, and they find a way to make it negative. I've met people who are this cynical. I don't know if they're aware of it. For me, their cynicism and negativity drags me down. I'm not the sort of person who LIKES to be miserable. I struggle with anxiety nearly every day. I've suffered depression.  And even though somethings are hard and sometimes I have trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I don't care to wallow. Oh sure, I'll give myself a pity party here and there. You gotta let those emotions out or else they eat you up. But don't stay there.

When I'm with other people, I try to keep upbeat. If I can make someone laugh or smile, then in my mind I've done something right and if it's the only right thing I do all day, well, it's better than nothing. Although, I wouldn't want to settle for the bare minimum, of course, but you get the idea.

I've got a friend who has a truckload of health issues. Like, every time I talk to her something has flared up. But no matter what flares or goes wrong she always says she's blessed. I'm of the opinion that she could have a limb hanging off of her and she'd still be sitting there counting her blessings. I admire that so much. I'm not always that way, but I want to be. 

A friend of my grandmother's once told me that when my grandmother was alive she never had an unkind word to say about anyone. I was impressed. I know I haven't followed that example; yet, it's something to keep in mind and try to follow, even if I fall short.

My point is, negativity is easy. Except the negativity doesn't do anything to make your life or anyone else's better. It doesn't make the world a brighter or better place and it just makes living hard. I'm not saying it's easy to be positive and I'm not saying I don't have bad days. I do, honest. However, you can't let the bad days win and ruin ANY good days. And trust me, I understand how hard it can be to find something positive sometimes. But if all you can find is ONE good thing, hold on to it and spread that good to someone.

I challenge you, my darling readers, find one positive thing a day. Just one. Even if all it is you woke up without a headache (if you normally have one) or that your arm didn't fall off or something like that. Find one thing. Just one. And then find ONE thing to laugh about. If you have to, turn on YouTube and look up funny stuff. Laughter releases tension and it's good for you. Think you can do it? Try it for one week. Just one week and see what happens.

If you need a funny read, I highly recommend Christie Craig's The Cop Who Stole Christmas. It doesn't matter that Christmas has passed and we're going into Easter. Shake things up! Read something out of the ordinary. And trust me, Christie's books are anything but ordinary! Or if that's too much of a stretch to read a Christmas story in April, then go for Shanna Swendson's Enchanted Inc. She's got some humor and it's light and fun.

Have A Fantastically Fabulous Friday!

Also, blessed Good Friday and Happy & Blessed Easter, too. :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

She DOES Exist!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

I've been working out some administrative things and also on this blog, so I haven't posted much lately. I've also been working on the novel I was writing under the Jeannie Averie name, so I've been fairly busy.

We are now in April, and already the weather in Texas is in the 80s! I wonder if it's going to get into triple digits this year like it did some other years. You never know.

This summer, one of my nephews is getting married. I'm looking forward to that and seeing family. On top of that, I'm working on the newsletter especially for those who signed up at BrazCon. Don't worry, if you didn't make BrazCon there will be a way to sign up. We're going to have some fun items for newsletter subscribers that we won't have anywhere else.

Books 5 and 6 in the Immortal Dreams series has been on hold while I work on the Jeannie Averie novel, but that doesn't mean I'll never get back to the series, it just means it's going to take me a little longer than I initially thought.

As to what I'm reading? Several things, and some things more so than others. I've been reading a Non-fiction book for Lent, and I have two novels left to finish, plus a stack of awaiting my attention.

Meanwhile, my offspring seem to be doing okay and life keeps moving along.

How are things on your end?

Hope everyone has a Totally Terrific Tuesday!