Pings and Tangents

Post (c) Doris McCraw

Doris
Have you ever had those moments where something you hear hits you in the proverbial solar plexus? Sometimes it comes out of nowhere and other times, it’s like you are looking for it. Once you hear those words, I call them pings, you can’t forget how they made you feel. Then, you take off on tangents of thought that may or may not have anything to do with the initial words you heard or read.

 
Lately there have been many such pings and subsequent tangents, fugues on a theme.

 
“We don’t get to chose our time. Death is what gives live meaning, to know your days are numbered, your time is short” “Dr. Strange”- the movie

 
“Everybody dies. The only difference is what you do til then.” The Young Riders- “The Blood of Others”

 
“Like a wind crying endlessly through the universe, time carries away the names and deed of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we were, all that remains is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.” Twilight Zone- “Paladin of the Lost Hour” by Harlan Ellison.

EVENTIDE

 
As I pondered these coincidences, the synchronicity, my mind traveled back to my years working with juvenile delinquents. So many lives that moved through mine. Some died, sometimes violently. Others are spending their adult lives behind bars. But there are those who have made it, making a life for themselves that have nothing to do with the mistakes of their youth.

 
So what is our reason for being here? What do we offer? How can we make a difference in the lives of ourselves and others?

 
All three pings are about choices. The episode of “The Young Riders” is about a condemned man being taken for his hanging. Throughout the episode the man shows compassion and teaches his young escorts what life is about. At the end, they want to let him go, but he refuses. Each person can offer advice and show the reality of choices. episode clip click here

 
The story by Harlan Ellison from his book “Strange Words”, was adapted for television by Ellison and starred Danny Kay. To this day, the above words from the end of the show, have a profound effect on me. I never tire of seeing the episode or reading the short story. We never know when we will offer something to someone that they never realized they needed. Harlan Ellison reading and excerpt, click here You tube video- https://youtu.be/hB0oXtUDxes

 
So when you get those ‘pings’, follow them and see where they lead you. They may offer some answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.

 
A song to touch your heart Click Here

 

Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines,

Speaker, Author, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here

Photo and Poem: Click Here
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Every step you take should be a prayer.
And if every step you take is a prayer then you will always be walking in a sacred manner.
Oglala Lakota Holyman.

MishMash and Thoughts

Post (c) Doris McCraw

Doris

According to Merriam-Webster the definition of mishmash is a confused mixture of things. It perfectly defines life right now. (No, I’m not talking politics. I leave that to those who are passionate about it.)

So what do I mean by life right now? Life is and always has been confusing. We learn as we go along, making mistakes and enjoying triumphs. We plan our journey, and do everything the way we think it should be, then…bam…some challenge gets thrown your way. The key to getting somewhere, go with the flow.

disparate-thoughts

I always thought I would be a performer, and I have been. I decided at fifteen I would work with criminals. Been there, done that. I’ve always written, but didn’t think non-fiction would be in the picture. *OOPS* Teach me to think life didn’t have another idea.

The thing is, life really is a mishmash, but it isn’t such a bad thing. Instead, I prefer to think of all the wonderful experiences I’ve had in my lifetime as gifts. If I hadn’t started spending weekends in the research section of the library, I’d have missed out on some great friendships. I also probably would never have found the women doctors, and written scholarly papers on such diverse subjects as ancient volcanos, film commissioners and of course women doctors.

simple-songs

If my parents hadn’t encouraged me to take chances, to follow dreams and not worry about how others viewed me, I wouldn’t have been an acting teacher, played music professionally and been an actor. Because no one told me I couldn’t, I live a blessed life. So bring on the mishmash.

I’d like to share some of the thoughts of Mark Twain about life. Hope you enjoy the mishmash.

  1. You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
  2. Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
  3. The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
  4. Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
  5.  It is curious–curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.
  6. There are not enough morally brave men in stock. We are out of moral-courage material.

And my favorite:
Let us endeavor so to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here A

Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

 

A Little Bit of Why

Post copyright by Doris McCraw

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We all seem to have the Big Why in our lives. Why did I do this, or that. We tend to beat ourselves up over some mistake. Let’s take a look at the Little Why.

Why do I continue to comment on other people’s blog post even when they do return the courtesy?

I do so because I know people who write these post have something to say. It is a joy to see how they think, what’s important to them. By taking the time to comment, even if it is to say thank you, I acknowledge their efforts. Let’s face it, we all want to be heard.

PROPHECY 1

 

Why do I continue to write post that no one seems to read or care about?

This goes back to the comments in the first Why. As I learn new things I want to share. The world is a big place, we can’t all do everything, so if something I think about or research will make a difference, I’m going to share. It goes back to my days working with juveniles. A wise lady once told me, “just keep talking, you never know when something you said might make all the difference.”

Why do I continue my photo and haiku practice?

This one is easy. It has become a habit, and I plain enjoy the challenge.

happiness

 

Why write romance?

I want to tell stories, and if there is a bit of romance in them, I’m okay with that. One of my cover models said she loved my novella, but it didn’t follow the formula. That is what I aim for, a good story that doesn’t have to rely on formula to succeed.

 

Why is telling the story of early women doctors so important?

Why shouldn’t it be? Dr. Susan Anderson had Virginia Cornell to tell her story. While I do not aspire to the universal love that the Cornell book has, I do not want these women to be lost to time. They did as much if not more than the more ‘famous’ ones did. They may not be famous, but they are worth remembering.

                                          from en.wikipedia.org Elizabeth Blackwell, MD

Why am I doing history symposiums and speaking in public?

See the above answer. There is so much rich history to be shared. If I can add just one small part to the overall knowledge or get someone excited about a piece of history I am happy. Life is too short to be too afraid. No one really told me I couldn’t and if they did, I chose not to listen.

So there you have it, a little bit of Why.

For those who are interested you can stream the symposium on June 11. Here is the link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ppld-history  The program starts at 9am Mountain Time. The topic this year is Myths and Mysteries of the Rocky Mountain West.

For further reading on some of the posts that prompted the why, here you go: http://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/2016/06/do-you-want-to-be-doctor.html

http://www.booksandbenches.com/2016/06/q-with-western-romance-author-angela.html

http://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/2016/05/wanted-matrimony-mail-order-brides.html

http://annettesnyder.blogspot.com/2016/02/dori-mccraw-writing-as-angela-raines.html

Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. In addition to Historical Romance, Doris also writes haiku, posted five days a week at: http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com.  She has posted over one thousand haiku.“One Christmas Knight” Medieval Anthology
http://amzn.com/B017Z2BLH6

“Angel of Salvation Valley”  http://amzn.to/1P4JVV8

“A COWBOY CELEBRATION”  http://amzn.to/1GzwJhw

HOME FOR HIS HEART  http://amzn.to/1GJhpSu

Author Page:http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL

 

 

 

 

Fork in The Road

propic11_1By L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

I received the letter “F” for the A-Z Blog challenge.  Since my maiden name is Flory I thought about writing about that, but the Forked Road seemed better-suited to this blog.  I hope you enjoy it.

We have all been down the forked road, but why do some take the left fork and others take the right? Is it that left-handed people take the left and right-handed people take the right? I don’t think so.

I read an article once before I took my children to Disney World. The author of the piece said “Most people tend to take the right entrance to an attraction, while fewer take the left”.  In other words, if you want to get in to the attraction, bathroom, or gate, take the left line because you’ll get there faster. We tried it and the advice was right. We did find the time it took to get in on the left was speedier than the right.

We’ve all seen and traveled down many forked roads or trails throughout our lives.  Some curve Forked Roadaround an ancient tree while others are man-made. They may lead to the same place, or not.

Pretend you need a solution to a problem or have a big decision to make. You sit at the tip of the forked road trying to decide which way to go. Confused and anxious, the decision is waiting to be made. It may be a new move, a new relationship, or anything that will make a big impact on your life.  As you sit contemplating, you cannot decide, thinking about all the “What ifs?”

Deepak Chopra, an internationally known  New-Age guru says, “Get rid of the what-ifs.  It’s not an A or B situation. Don’t control or predict what will happen.”  His suggestion is to sit alone in a quiet place and be still. The answer will come; in fact, your heart always knows the right answer. It’s up to you to tune into your thoughts to know the right way to advance.
thinking

Decision-making is generally difficult for me and perhaps some of you who read this post have the same problem.  I know the issue, I really want to decide one way or the other, but the thoughts go around and around in my head until sometimes they make me physically ill and unable to reach a verdict at all.

I am definitely not a critical thinker and I’ve made snap decisions that ended up without the answers I sought. Sometimes the decision I made was not a good one, so when the next one comes along I worry that I will make the same mistake again.

A Therapist I know shared with me some insight about the forked road. She told me “A decision is just a decision and if it’s not right you can make another decision.”

That advice helped me to see more clearly that even if I make a wrong decision, I have learned from that one and can make a new choice next time. It also made me think about my fear of making good decisions and why it can actually be a learning experience that will help me each time I have an issue.

Here is a passage from the Bible that speaks of a “fork in the road”.

Ezekiel 21:19  Mark out two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to come; both of them shall issue from the same land. And make a signpost; make it for a fork in the road leading to a city;roadsign

What do you do when you’re picking an editor for your manuscript? Do you research several editors?  If you get the list down to two do you waffle back and forth between the two choices or do you confidently choose the one you believe will have your best interests at heart?

Do you write your latest novel and at some point come to a place where the protagonist must go one way or another? Which fork in the road do you choose for her/him to follow?

Another bit of advice from Deepak Chopra says; “Find a place of total quiet. Make sure there are nomeditation distractions. Clear your mind and sit silently for maybe fifteen minutes. During that time don’t let thoughts race through your mind, instead, focus on the quiet. You may need to do this more than once, but it will put you in the right spiritual place to make the choice, and the answer will be there. Prayer is a very important part of the journey.”

When you stand at the fork in the road, remember this advice and you’ll make the right choice. But if you don’t, remember, you can always make another one!

Here are a couple of quotes on decision-making.

“Decision is a sharp knife that cuts clean and straight; indecision, a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges behind it.”

Gordon Graham

“Don’t even leap to actions and decisions before you’ve found that sense of natural calm, well-being, or enthusiasm.”

Frederick Dodson, Parallel Universe of Self

Courtesy of Goodreads.com

I’d like to share one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost. I’ve always loved it but it means something different to me now that I’m an adult. See if the same applies to you.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost

 Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 Poem courtesy of Poemhunter.com

 Here is a link to an article on decision-making.

The meaning of Fork in The Road.

Bios of Deepak Chopra and Robert Frost

There’s even a joke about the Forked Road (a 2000 year old classic)

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Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzaredonecover

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

inzaredtwocover

You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Google+

Those are NOT my monkeys!

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Those are NOT my monkeys!3monkeys

Ever get into one of these predicaments? How do you handle it?

The school calls. The person calling apologizes, but the parent who was supposed to make 100 cupcakes for tomorrow is ill. Could you please take her place? What do you do?

  • Nicely ask your monkeys to get in their cage and give them a toy to play with?
  • Say no, sorry, I’m too busy but maybe next time, then spendcms_cupcake_1 the evening feeling guilty, even though you have a report that needs to go to your boss in the morning?
  • Say yes, feel totally overwhelmed, rush to get the report done while you bake and frost 100 cupcakes that you now have to drop off on your way to work and you haven’t even had time to sleep?

A friend calls with exciting news, although it isn’t about you and it isn’t about her. It’s a juicy tidbit about someone in your circle of friends. Do you:horses_1

  •  Shove your monkeys in their cage, say dinner is burning and cage_1you have to go?
  • Listen to your friend and file the information away in case
    there might be more to the story?
  • Add your take on what’s going on and gossip with your friend.
    You can’t wait to call another friend to tell her/him?
  • Tell your friend you really don’t want to talk about this and change the subject to something neutral, like making a fantastic dessert, or the awesome shoes you saw on sale in your favorite department store?

hotdogYou’re on the baseball food stand roster for your 5th grader. The game is in two days and the roster coördinator calls frantically, asking if you can pitch in and take over for her in Saturday’s game? Oh, and by the way, the candy bars, soda and sandwiches are low.
Could you please go to Sam’s Club and get them? You can bill them to the baseball fund. Please be sure they are there and put away in time for the game. Do you:

  • Immediately become frustrated that the chairman chooses to call you this late in the game, but put on your syrupy voice, and as you scowl, tell her “Of course, “I’d love to do it”, while you silently punch your thighs?
  • Suggest another person on the panel who might have a little more time?
  • Tell her your monkeys are ill and you really need to stay home with them because they might have monkey fever?
  • Explain that you and your beloved have a getaway planned for the weekend, but if she really cannot find another person, you’ll pitch in, then break the bad news to your spouse and feel extremely guilty?

Your boss comes into your office at quitting time. He wants a teamboss of managers to stay late and confer about some problems with staff and make some changes. You’re supposed to meet your friends at a restaurant across town in an hour. You have just enough time to swing by the house and change. You’re on salary. Do you:

  • Tell your boss to get a life?
  • Tell your boss YOU have a life?
  • Tell the boss you have to get home to take your monkeys outside because you don’t want them to pee all over the carpet and destroy the house. After all, you’ve already worked 9 hours without a break.
  • Say “what room are we meeting in?” make a hurried call to your friends saying you won’t be able to meet them, feel guilty about that and hope your monkeys behave?

Let’s look at the ramifications of each.

In situation one, you know you can’t possibly get 100 cupcakes done and at the school tomorrow unless you stay up all night and drop them off on your way to work and leave for work right after you drop them off. What would happen if you said NO, not this time, but you can count on me for another occasion, as long as I have enough time to make those little critters?

2monkeysSituation two is an ethical question. Should you be gossiping about your friend or even think of passing it around? Wouldn’t it be more fun to take the monkeys out for a walk (RIGHT NOW)?

And the third predicament.  Why don’t you say NO, I can’t do that on such short notice but you can count on me for another time.  I have a work project that needs to go to my boss in the morning.  As long as I get fair warning there’s no problem.

And situation four involves your boss.

Your boss just gave you a raise so you feel obligated. Do you worry that if you say no he’ll fire you on the spot? (You’ve just received a superior evaluation and got a nice bonus along with it).

I have a very dear friend I met in Mazatlan and she phoned me the other day. Imagine my delight when I heard her voice. We chatted about the hot weather and sunshine there and the snow here. She’s from Canada so knows all about cold weather. As we talked and caught up she mentioned that she had taken a part-time job she’ll be able to do on the Internet as she and her husband travel. She is excited about it and I’m happy for her. She’s been writing a book and I asked how that was coming along. She told me she shelved the project about six months ago because it was just not coming together and she had spent a lot of time worrying about it. I remarked that in therapy I have talked about the fact that I always feel guilty saying NO, so I put my personal life on hold and give the other person what they need or want. Then I feel overwhelmed and anxious because I’m not able the work done I need to do. My friend hesitated for just a second. Then she said something that has had me laughing (and thinking) a lot this week.

Her remark? Wait for it…………..

“Not my Monkeys, Not my Circus”

tent

monkeyman_1

 

“Hmm,” I thought. Not my monkeys? Not my circus? Of course I think I’m a bit of a circus expert because my books are about a circus performer. I already have a circus. Do I really need another one? And, why in the world would I want monkeys at home anyway?

Take a deep breath. Isn’t it easier to say no than give your life up for someone else’s problem? What’s the worst that can happen? Even if it were a close friend, wouldn’t you rather be truthful? If you say no, won’t you breathe a sigh of relief and get those monkeys off your back? I’m not talking here about things you want to do because you have time set aside, rather expectations that come at you out of nowhere that you don’t have time for or want to do.sock monkeys
Of course, you don’t have to say “Not my monkeys, not my circus”, as you firmly and politely say no, but you sure can laugh inside as bigbanana_1the monkeys are jumping for joy. Think about this the next time you are called upon to do something you really don’t want to do. Just say no. You don’t have to make excuses. It’s your life and it’s in your hands. You have to stand up for yourself. No one else is going to. Oh, and give the monkeys a banana. It’s not their fault!

For a good article on saying NO, read this report at Mayo Clinic.

 

Books by L.Lwander

Inzaredonecoverinzaredtwocover

 

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Links for L.Leander

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders (Book 1)

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook

 

You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Google+

 

How Do You Deal With Stress?


propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

A couple of weeks ago I read an article on Yahoo! News that gave me pause for thought.  Dan Harris, an ABC News Anchor, shared a part of his life seen by millions around the world.  During a live broadcast, Harris had a debilitating panic attack.  Unable to finish his spot, he turned it  back to Diane Sawyer.  Harris couldn’t breathe and was as surprised as anyone when this occurrence happened.  He took a good look at his life to research reasons for the attack and discovered he had three very problematic areas.  One was his frenzied attempt to rise to the top,  another was reporting from Iraq, and the third taking occasional recreational drugs on the weekend.  He was very stressed.  When he saw a psychiatrist the doctor told him the attack was most likely provoked by the drugs.

Stressed

 Mr. Harris sought to find healing.  He tried everything and nothing worked.  Meditation was suggested and, desperate, he decided to give it a try.

Mr. Harris’ idea of meditation was sitar music and chanting, but he knew he had antiquated ideas about the subject, a throwback to the era of the 60’s and 70’s.  He thought the idea might be a little crazy, however, he went to a class.  As he learned to breathe he found  peace.   Harris says the trick is to learn the breathing process to keep stress at a lower level.

Once he learned to meditate, Harris made it a daily habit, spending Meditatingbetween 1-2 hours a day.  He slowed down his life, looked around at things he had never noticed before; as his brain slowed down, and his work improved, he slept better, and quit worrying.  As Mr. Harris found answers in meditation he wrote a book entitled 10% Happier.  You can watch a video of Dan Harris’ breakdown here as he explains his experience and how he turned to meditation.

Though his earlier thoughts about meditation took a while to change, Harris overcame those preconceptions and learned to reap the benefits of meditation and relaxation.

I had much the same feeling when asked to try meditation as part of my therapy for Bipolar Disorder.  Although I had many of the same thoughts Mr. Harris did, I do know the quietness of prayer, so thought I could try it and decide then.

A free  21-day meditation from Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey was offered on the Chopra website.  I signed up, and from the first day I experienced relaxation, but it took  a few  months to learn to get quiet and kick the “mind monkeys” out of my head.  Mind monkeys are all the thoughts that creep inside while you try to stay focused and relaxed.  You’ll always have thoughts that come and go, but with practice you can ignore them.seafoam

 That meditation ended and there was a break before the Mentors Channel started with a 21-day Meditation, each session taught by different experts on the subject. When that program ended, I haunted YouTube for “guided meditation”.  Between the 21-Day classes I use YouTube and find many wonderful guided meditations.  My favorites on YouTube are those by ‘The Honest Guys.” You can search and find many uplifting and relaxing meditations from them, as well as those presented by other teachers. I prefer to have my eyes closed during meditation, although the experts say it doesn’t matter.  Meditation is your time and you should do it whenever and however you’re most comfortable. 

 I look for 10-30 minute meditations in the morning.  I get up early, make coffee, walk the dog, and meditate.  When I’m through I feel calm and ready to start my day.  I did this for several months when I had a couple of anxiety attacks and my therapist recommended I try doing an additional meditation at night.  Another 21-day Mentors Channel class started.  Instead of listening to a guided meditation, a duo sang meditations.  The name of the artists are are Deva Premal and Miten.  Deva has one of the loveliest voices I’ve ever heard.  She and Miten record together, but there are many earlier albums by Deva alone.  I now do one of these recordings before bedtime to relax.  Some of these are available on YouTube, (search for Deva Primal or Deva and Miten) but I’ve been buying songs one at a time on the iTunes store.  Here is a sample recording.

Doing two meditations a day worked well until I had a mood swing that drained me.  My therapist suggested I meditate four times a day until I felt better.  I did this by not changing my morning and evening meditations, but by adding a prayer here and there, listening to a 5-minute meditation, or sitting quietly for 5 minutes.  I’m still doing this because I have been in a severe depression for a couple of weeks.  I know it will change though.  The meditation helps as I breathe deeply and relax.

I’ve learned is that there is no right or wrong way to meditate.  I prefer guided meditations, as they seem to help me relax more, but there are scores of recordings that are just music.  Some tell you to watch the images on the screen but my mind wanders too much when I do that.  I prefer to close my eyes, listen, and feel the peace and relaxation through my body.  You’ll find what works best for you.sunset

Have you ever tried meditation?  Would you?  What are your thoughts on the subject?

Below are some links you might find helpful if you decide to try it.  I know you’ll reap benefits.

Explanation of Meditation on Wikipedia

The following video on YouTube is short and explains the benefits of meditation.

How to Meditate

My favorite meditations come from The Honest Guys on YouTube. Here are two examples.

 Blissful Deep Relaxation

 Guided Meditation for Health and Healing

 

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzaredonecover

 

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

 

 

 

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

inzaredtwocover

 

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

 

 

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

13ext

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook

13marketingtipscover

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Google+