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:

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Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

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Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

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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

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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

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You can also find L.Leander here:

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Resolutions

Kathy - greenKate Wyland

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Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you keep them?

Like most everyone else I used to make resolutions every January 1, but in recent years I stopped. I never seemed to keep them, so it was a waste of time. This year however, I’ve stepped back into the arena and made three I intend to keep this time around.

treadmillMy primary goal is to lose weight and get in condition again and I have a big prod to keep this one. I’ve been living with arthritic knees for several years now and almost had a knee replacement two years ago. At the last minute I discovered my doctor was beginning to use a stem cell procedure called PRP and decided to try that instead. The PRP helped considerably. I was able to walk normally and even do stairs—slowly. However, it has become apparent that I will still eventually need replacements.Unfortunately, I became fairly sedentary in the last year which is not good for my knees. At my daughter’s wedding at the end of October, I made the mistake of trying to dance and twisted my right knee. The next day I couldn’t walk. Apparently I’d caused micro-fractures in my tibia in the areas weakened by the arthritis.

So now I face either trying a procedure that would shore up the bone for a while or biting the bullet and going for the full replacement. Before I make that decision I want to be in the best shape I possible, so I am religiously exercising each day. This resolution may not last the year but either procedure will require significant physical therapy, so by the time I’m finished, exercising may be a sustainable habit.

decisionMy second goal is one that has been on my list for years—to get my office more organized. For me being organized means making decisions. Where do I put this? What do I do with that? And I hate decisions! Please somebody, anybody do it for me!

One thing that should help me get things in order is a new desk. I got one just before I hurt myself and between that and the holidays, I haven’t accomplished much. Now as my resolution, I plan to spend at least 20 minutes each day working on my mess until things are in order. Let’s see how long that lasts!

writingMy last resolution is to write on my books daily. I go in spurts on this one. I do write a lot, but often it’s for blogs or other things. I’ve been having real problems with finishing my stories. (There have been some extenuating circumstances—family emergencies and the like.) My goal is write at least an hour a day on my works-in-progress. I’ve been doing pretty well on that so far. I’m determined to get both of my stories finished and out ASAP.

I actually wrote this piece a week ago and already I’ve fallen behind. I’ve been pretty good on the exercise front, but am having problems with losing weight. I keep telling myself that muscle weighs more so eventually I’ll start dropping. I’ve done a fair amount of writing but haven’t reached the every day goal. The biggest failure is my office. I still haven’t gotten into working on it daily and haven’t made much progress.

(To be fair to myself, I have had some major distractions…but still.) Time to reaffirm my resolutions. I’m determined to keep them this year.

How about you? It’s half way through January. Are you still keeping to your goals?

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Forewarning Cover

FOREWARNING
Healing is her life. Will it be her death?

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Wyoming Escape
Two dead bodies. One dirty cop.
Is she next?

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 Images – A Love Story
She’s learned to hide from life.
Should she hide from him?

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Trust by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1There have been a lot of comments in social media lately about selecting a “word of the year,” something to reflect on during the coming months. Joy, commitment, compassion, and love are words that various friends and acquaintances have selected as their personal “word for the year.” At first, I found this practice a bit odd. What benefit would I receive from having a specific word to meditate on during the coming year? On closer examination of the process, I realize that it is more than that. It is about seeking out, noticing, or sharing that emotion or action on a daily basis. Still, this word thing wasn’t for me.

Trust.

The word “trust” keeps popping into my thoughts and I’ve begun to ask myself why. I think I’m a trustworthy person. I trust my spouse, child, family, and friends. What does trust have to do with my life?

Then I considered all the things I don’t trust. I don’t trust that my husband and I will be able to sort out our finances. I don’t trust that the last bits of the house re-do will ever be finished. I don’t trust that I’m good enough to take my freelance writing career to the next level. I don’t trust that I have enough time to finish my second novel, continue freelance writing, and meet all of my other responsibilities.

I don’t trust that I’m good enough, yet I don’t trust that anyone else can do the task either. I try to do everything, adding stress to my life and trust-and-content-marketingthat of my family. I don’t ask for help as much as I could, as I don’t always trust the other person to meet their obligation or do it the “right” way. I live in a whirlwind of stress and action, trying to fix problems, address needs, and complete projects, yet I never trust that it is, or ever will be, enough.

So now I ask: How would my world be different if trust became a daily part of my life? I suspect I would sleep better, trusting that the actions I’ve taken or processes I’ve set in motion will serve their intended purpose. I would send off freelance pieces and expect a positive response rather than worry about potential rejection. I would be more at ease with trust_actionmyself, my family, and my world if I could trust that all will be well.

Or maybe it is more important to trust that all is well. Right here and now, despite all the messiness of my life, all is well. There are things to do, concerns that exist, but if I can trust that all is well then I can see my challenges as goals to meet and not obstacles to overcome. If I could trust that needs will be met, problems will be solved, and my life will unfold as it should, what an amazing year I would have.

Despite my resistance to the idea, my word of the year is “trust.” Do you have one?

You can learn more about me at:

http://www.erinfarwell.com
https://www.facebook.com/erin.farwell.5
https://www.amazon.com/author/erinfarwell
http://www.goodreads.com/Erin50
http://www.pinterest.com/erinfarwell

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