Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry-Present Moment Conscious-Christmas!

"Few of us ever live life in the present.  We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone." - Louis L'Amour

I saw this quote today on my desk calendar.  I find it very true, particularly this time of year with businesses trying to hit year-end sales goals; holiday parties; Christmas concerts; studying for the end of a school semester; volunteerism and charitable giving campaigns; Christmas decorating; shopping for presents and baking; traveling to see family, etc.

I tend to always be thinking approximately one week out to meet all of my family, writing, and day job obligations.  If I'm not focusing on the to-do list, then I'm brainstorming for my latest story.  As a result, I'm sure I miss a lot.

This week I have made a personal commitment to remember to stop and just be.  Be present with my family and not worry about the fact that the house is a mess.  Sing along with the Christmas music.  Stop and really look at all of the Christmas lights in my neighborhood instead of rushing past them to my next errand.  Eat the Christmas goodies with pleasure instead of guilt.  Give - and completely take in the delight of the person I am giving to.  Stop and thank God for his gift to us and the blessings he has bestowed upon my family.

So if you are like me and normally live in the future (or in your head with your characters), then I wish you a very Merry - and present moment conscious - Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

Yesterday my husband kept asking me what I want for Christmas.  When I still couldn't answer after the fourth time he asked, he became impatient and annoyed with me.  You'd think his wallet would at least be happy, but no - I caught it glaring at me, too.

It's been years since I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, when I would wake up full of anticipation and wonder.  But today when I saw the e-mail in my inbox with my new book cover attached to it, I felt that way again.  I took a minute to savor the feeling before I opened the e-mail, and when I did, I was blown away.  (Left)  The artist did an amazing job!!  

The rest of the day I walked around in a happy daze.  When I got home, my husband asked me again if I had thought of anything I wanted for Christmas.  I answered him with a shoulder shrug.  I honestly want for nothing.  My family is healthy and happy.  We have a roof over our heads and food to eat.

In 2010 I accomplished one of my dreams - to become a published author.  For Christmas, it isn't what I'll be given that's important.  It's what I've accomplished.   

Monday, December 6, 2010

Supernatural Season Six Assessment

I love Supernatural.  I DVR every episode and anticipate when I can find time alone from my children to sit and watch the show.  Now that Season Six is half-way through, I have to comment.  I'll start with my only real dislike so we can end with the good stuff.

1)  I'm really not liking Samuel, and not just because he sold out Dean and Sam to Crowley.  I'm having a hard time believing that if he loves his daughter that much, he would do that to her sons.  Seems too shallow, for any character.  Maybe he and his namesake have something else in common - no soul.

2)  I've missed Castiel this season.  He was back in "Caged Heat," which aired last Friday night.  He was alternately naively funny "I learned that from the pizza man" and no-nonsense angel when he torched Crowley's bones.

3)  "Live Free or Twi-Hard" was a great episode.  It was like the first turning point in a novel.  You knew something was off with Sammy, but this episode confirmed it when he watched Dean get turned into a vamp.  And Dean made a great vamp, which is what caused a turning point in his relationship with Lisa.

4)  Contrary to popular online opinion, I don't want the old Sam back.  At least not yet.  I'm enjoying this Sam.  He's got some cojones.  Driving in the moral nuetral lane, he's made for some interesting dialogue between the brothers.  "It's what I would do," he has said several times, challenging Dean and emphasizing that he's not really Sam.  Every time he challenges Dean, it makes Dean that much more determined to get Sam's soul back.  And we all know what happens when Dean becomes determined.  (Next episode - Dean turns to Death for help.)

6)   Quotes!  The last few episodes have had some awesome, humorous dialogue.  "Caged Heat" and "Clap Your Hands If You Believe" being the best ones.  My favorite is from "Caged Heat" when Meg says to Dean while she is threatening him for information:  "Okay, officially over the foreplay.  Satisfy me or I please myself."

Here is a link to summaries of the best quotes from each episode  http://www.supernatural.tv/

Is it Friday, yet?

Monday, November 29, 2010

An Education

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had the chance to actually sit down and watch a movie (yay!).  I subscribe to Netflix and the next movie in my queue was An Education, which was released in 2009 and nominated for three Oscars. 
If you have not seen it, the movie is about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London whose life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.
At one point in the movie, the main character, Jenny Mellor, says,  "If we never did anything, we wouldn’t be anybody.”  Jenny is reflecting on what her English teacher has taught her, which is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Action is character.”
Now as an author, I immediately thought of the characters I create.  If I want my reader to know that my character is empathetic, I don’t tell my reader that.  Instead, I allow my reader to discover the character’s empathy through the character’s actions.
As a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a manager, a person stuck in traffic next to you - what have my actions said about me to those people I encounter on a daily basis?  Do I walk the talk?  Do my actions show me to be impulsive?  Thoughtful?  That I’m someone who takes my commitments seriously?  Have I been afraid to take risks?  Do I show the love I feel? 
After succumbing to a mild anxiety attack over my moment of self-analysis, I came to a conclusion.  The real question I should ask myself is "What do I want to stand for?"  And how do I reflect that in my actions to lead a more purposeful life? 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I See The Moon

Last week my son came home from school with an assignment to observe the different phases of the moon for a month.  As I read the assignment, the lullaby I used to sing with my son when he was a toddler played in my head:

"I see the moon, the moon sees me
The moon sees the one I want to see
God bless the moon, and God bless me
And God bless the one I want to see."

Some say this is a nursery rhyme; some say it's an ancient prayer to ward off evil.

The word lunatic comes from Luna, the Roman moon goddess.  Ancient folklore tells of how the different phases of the moon impact lunacy, or madness.  Werewolves change by the light of the full moon.

Aristotle conjectured that the full moon's supposed effect on human behavior comes from its influence on water.  The human body is about eighty percent water, so maybe the mysterious influence of the moon on human behavior comes from water molecules in our bodies.

Scientists still debate whether or not the moon influences human behavior.  Seizures, murder rates, birth rates and suicide rates have all been studied in relation to the moon phases, with varying results.

What is a scientific fact is that the moon influences the ocean's tides.  Hunting guides talk about the Solunar Theory (Sol=sun, Lunar=moon), which focuses on how the moon, through its impact on the tides, affects the day to day behavior of fresh and saltwater fish.

I find it fascinating that something so far away (228,857 miles) has such an effect on our planet.  Whether the moon really does impact our behavior I'll let you decide for yourself, but I do believe it impacts our imagination.

Edgar Allen Poe, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Wise Brown, C.S. Lewis, Van Morrison, Glenn Miller, Irving Berlin, Pink Floyd, Jules Verne, and Shakespeare all wrote about the moon.

On the moon card in Tarot, the shellfish is symbolic of life emerging from the water of creation and starting on the path of return to the creator.  The path is a slow process of learning and focus, symbolizing how we emerge from our primordial ignorance, unknowing of our divine potential.  The key to this card is influence.

I symbolize this meaning in my fantasy romance, Entangled, coming out soon by Crescent Moon Press.  The heroine, Cassie, must follow a similar path of enlightenment and influence to save the hero's world, one parallel to our own, from imminent destruction.

The moon plays a major role in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream; he creates a world that is vast and filled with the fantastical, yet solid and real.  It is this impression that I am left with while I stare up at the moon with my son, his wonder and awe influencing me.