Poetry I Love

 

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This Post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

I had a Black Friday post all ready to go but my internet has been acting up so I am going to share a favorite poem with you instead.  I love poetry and have written many songs and poetry, but it seems that in the last few years I have neglected to read much poetry.  As I worked on an art journal last week I pulled out an old book that I use for quotes and the like and there it was.  One of my favorite all-time poems.  Annabel Lee by Edgar Alan Poe.

It was if an old friend I hadn’t seen for many years showed up at my doorstep and I was very glad to see her.  That’s how I felt when i opened the book and it landed on this poem.  As I read it I was filled with the same wonder and love for Poe as I had the first time I read it.  You may not share my love of Poe’s works, but I enjoy his works very much, as well as the works of many other poets.

I share this with you in hopes it will bring a rememberance of a time when you first heard a poet and style you liked.

Annabel Lee

by Edgar Allen Poe

It was many and many a year ago

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee.

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.

 

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea

But we loved with a love that was more than love –

I and my Annabel Lee;

With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven

Coveted her and me.

 

And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsman came

And bore her away from me

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.

 

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,

Went envying her and me –

Yes! – that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea).

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

 

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we –

Of many far wiser than we –

And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

 

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by my side

Of my darling – my darling –  my life and my bride,

In the sepulchre there by the sea,

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

 

It is with regret that I write this last post on Writing Wranglers and Warriors.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Cherley and all of you, but I don’t have enough time to go around and my own work is suffering.  I’m glad someone is taking over and the blog will go on.  I’ll check in as often as I can.  Best of luck to all of you in the coming year!

 

Check out my books on Amazon.com

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzared, The Fortune Teller

 

 

My Name is Leonard

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

My name is Leonard. I am a beautiful, buff male kitten, if I do say so myself. I haven’t hadunadjustednonraw_thumb_1bd much of a life up until now because my sisters and brothers and I were turned over to the Humane Society. I had to share a big cage with lots of other kitties. I tried to get them to play but they weren’t too much fun.

A couple of days ago I was neutered, and if you know what I mean, you know I didn’t appreciate it much. Someone put a sign on my recovery cage that said I was up for adoption. I might have liked a couple more days to recuperate, but no one asked me.

The other day some people came in with a Service Dog (a Shih Tzu) and one of my handlers unadjustednonraw_thumb_200came in to get me and put me in a room with the people and the female dog named Patty. I tried to get her to play, too, but she told me to go fly a kite, so I sat on the man’s lap, and then sat on the woman’s lap. I was on my best behavior – after all, I wanted a forever home. I wasn’t sure about the dog, but I figured if she tried to bug me I’d just use my claws to let her know just who is boss.

I was very excited when I found out I was being adopted. Dreams of all the kitten chow I could eat and maybe at least one toy that is just for me floated through my head. I wasn’t too fond of the ride home, because they put me in a box. Can you imagine that? A box! Even if it said Cat Box I wasn’t too impressed.

When we got home I did get some toys just for me but the dog kept playing with my feathers and bell toy. That first day I got to know my new parents but Patty the dog acted very uppity.

I ignored her. My dad loves his coffee and I like to share it with him. Mmm, what a goodunadjustednonraw_thumb_1b3 taste. It has cream in it and, well, everyone knows cats like cream. I found a favorite place to take a nap but my mommy got a little upset with me. It’s the dish drainer, just long enough for me to stretch out.

Patty sits on my dad’s lap all the time. So I thought I’d show her who is boss. I climbed all around my dad’s head and then cuddled up next to the dog to be nice. She jumped off the chair – not very polite if you ask me.

I spent another day exploring the camper I am staying in for the summer. There are lots of places to hide and I like to torment Patty because she can’t get in the spots I can. Yesterday I finally took a nap on my dad’s chest and Patty stayed in his lap. Later she let me lay by her but she still doesn’t want to play with me much. I guess I have to be patient.

Update: My family has moved home from the lake for the winter and I’m happy to say I unadjustednonraw_thumb_1a2finally won over that darned dog. We have lots of fun together now, running through the house chasing each other, grooming each other and sleeping together. If my mom would settle down a little it’d be nice. She really doesn’t like it when I jump on the kitchen counters or the table. She squirts a water bottle at me and since I don’t like it I get down. But if she only knew the places I explore when she’s gone! I try hard to get out of the house every time the door is opened but so far I haven’t gotten very far. One thing I just love – when Patty has to go outside she gets a treat when she comes in. My dad gives me three little treats first and then gives Patty a bone. I’ve got it all figured out now and I stay close to the door when they go out ‘cause I really like those chicken treats.

That’s all for now, except I really love my new home. I feel very lucky to live with such nice people and Patty. I’ll keep you posted.

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

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

Linda's book

 

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an Ebook

13marketingtipscover

 

You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Books

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Google+

The Fresh Breath of Spring

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This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

It’s time for planting and all around us are farms with tractors making rows and planting seeds. The smell of the fresh dirt never ceases to make me feel good – a deep earthy scent that you know will soon yield crops.

Tractor

We have many Amish farms in our community and we see them with teams of horses and discs as they prepare their own fields for planting. It’s like being in a time standing still but I’d venture to say a lot more work than the farmers using machinery.

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We’ve been planting, too. Last year my husband planted a wildflower garden for me just like one my mother had at our farm when we were young. It was such a good feeling to see and smell the flowers and watch them sway in the breeze and open up to the sun. This year we cleaned up our rock garden at the lake and totally planted all wildflowers. I can’t wait to see it bloom. Our tulips are up and beautiful as are our daffodils. Some of last year’s flowers are popping up through the ground and each day they get a little taller.

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Ralph has planted his favorite (hollyhocks and sunflowers). Last year he had twelve, eight, six and four foot sunflowers that were grand. They are majestic and this year he planted all the seeds he took off the heads, plus more packages. We may end up with a back yard full of sunflowers!

When I was a young wife and mother I loved putting up food for the winter, but I wasn’t so good in the garden. The want-to was there, but I didn’t seem to have the know-how and a lot of my plants died. Thank goodness for a mother-in-law who grew a huge garden and gave me lots of fresh vegetables and fruits to can.

I’m lucky to have a husband with a very green thumb. We’ve given up planting vegetables and fruits and switched to flowers. I do a lot of the prep work and I love raking and clearing the spots for seeds to be sown. I even got to plant a few seeds of my own, with Father Nature standing over me, of course.

Now all there is to do is wait. Flowers, vegetables, fruits – all reaching to the sun and begging for gentle rain. I can’t wait for the corn to be ripe because in our area there are big corn roasts almost every weekend when it’s ready. Nothing better than getting an ear of corn from the roaster, dipping it in a can of melted butter and standing around with friends laughing as the butter drips down your arms 0nto the ground.

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I’m ready to enjoy summer (already have a hoarde of books to read, writing, knitting, coloring, journaling and sewing). We are moving to the lake lot next week and won’t move back home until October 15. What I most look forward to in the summer is the sound of loons on the lake, geese returning home, red-winged blackbirds, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, cardinals and blue jays all chattering at the bird feeder, plus the squirrels and chipmunks yipping and gathering peanuts in their cheeks. Throughout all this gentle patter I sit on the deck, watch the lake, and listen to children laughing as they  play in the water while I read. Ah, the glory of it all!

Hummingbird Feedermale cardinal

 

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L.Leander is the author of the Inzared series (available on Amazon):

Inzared

Inzared the Fortune Teller

and books for authors (also available on Amazon):

10 Extreme Tips to Publishing an e-Book

10 Extreme Tips to Marketing an e-Book

She may be found on these locations:

L.Leander Books on WordPress.com

L.Leander on Facebook.com

L.Leander on  Amazan Author Page.com

Twitter

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Linkedin

Check out L.Leander’s book videos on YouTube.com

Mindfulness

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Have you heard of Mindfulness? It’s a word that is being used quite frequently these days. Dictionary.com defines mindfulness as:

noun

1.

the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.

2.

Psychology.

  • a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, 2013-01-04 22.53.31experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them: The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.

the mental state maintained by the use of this technique.

It’s a hurry-scurry world in which we live and taking a moment or two out of our day is a good thing. It helps reduce stress, thus making us more relaxed and aware of our surroundings. In a counseling class I’m taking, we are urged to stop at random during the day, think of where we are, what we’re thinking about, and focus on what we are feeling at that very minute. It does amazing things for the body, for putting oneself in the here and now, not worrying about the past or future; making one concentrate on the present and helps to clear the mind. Much like meditation, mindfulness lets you relax and forget about the busy world around you for a second. Even that minute amount of time is sufficient to place one in a happier, more relaxed mindset.

There is a lot of research on the Internet about mindfulness but I wanted to write a short post, so I’ll leave it to you to do that search yourself. Here are a couple of links I liked when I Googled mindfulness.

I like the Bell of Mindfulness because it gives you quiet music to listen to and suddenly a gong rings to bring you to attention. Very good for learning to practice mindfulness.

file0001052140987The Bell of Mindfulness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUzBYkOJOqo

I read an article I found in Science Daily that says mindfulness has been shown to make the workplace more relaxing and less resistance is found between workers. Science Daily – Mindfulness in the Workplace

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160310141455.htm

You can go to iTunes and purchase an app called The Mindfulness App ($1.99). I think I’ll give it a try.

The Mindfulness App: Guided and Silent Meditations to Relax

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mindfulness-app-guided-silent/id417071430?mt=8

No matter how you choose to do it, try to fit mindfulness into your day. We writers tend to get so involved in our work some days that we get headaches, tense muscles, etc. Stopping for a quick minute could help alleviate that..mindDo any of you practice mindfulness?  What does it mean to you?  Does it help you de-stress?  I’d love to know

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

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

13ext

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook

13marketingtipscover

 

You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Books

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Google+

 

 

 

The Christmas Fire

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

The house is on fire! I woke up early for some reason that morning after a Christmas celebration with my family.  We were doing some remodeling on an old log cabin we had purchased and were living in, so thank God our children were sleeping right next to us because the wall to their bedroom was torn down to make way for a room for each of them.  It was 1977, a year I’ll never forget.

Both my husband and I jumped out of bed, each grabbed a child and headed for the front door.  Terrified, we raced toward that door like a herd of wild horses, trying to escape the billowing smoke that followed us.  I firmly gripped my daughter’s hand as we made our way to safety.  Suddenly she pulled away from me and ran to the Christmas tree screaming “My Lite Brite, it’s under the tree”. She was fast, I’ve got to give her that. And I understood her determination to retrieve the toy she had yearned for all the previous year..

My husband stood at the door urging us to move quickly.  When we were all together and opened the door to run outside, tentacles of fire swished through the kitchen threatening to gather us up together so that we might perish. My husband shut the door and we ran down our long drive, where we deposited the children in our car. Then both my husband and I raced back and each jumped in a vehicle parked next to the front of the house. My husband was a mechanic and neither car belonged to us.

The house now looked like a giant fireball. While my husband moved yet another vehicle, I drove to the nearest neighbors house screaming “Our house is on fire! Call the fire department!” My friend ran into her house to the telephone, calling over her shoulder as she ran “Leave the kids with me!”

Since we lived five miles out-of-town and had only a volunteer fire department in our rural village we worried they might not get there in time. They didn’t. When everything was over all we had was a smoldering, black frame of a house, hacked by fireman’s axes and full of water. It was a total loss.

I have to go back and give a bit of history to make you understand how we were in God’s hands that early Sunday morning.

My family got together every year at one of our houses the week before Christmas to celebrate the holiday together and exchange gifts. The family always slept in sleeping bags on the floor because we had such small houses. This year was different. No family sleeping on the floor. In fact, no family in the house at all. My father had experienced a recent heart attack and because he and Mom got a motel room my sisters and brothers-in-law decided to do the same.

However, this tale isn’t about the tragedy that befell us in those early  hours, but rather the blessings of that Christmas.

We had actually just signed papers on a new house in town with more room for our family. We’d had an offer on the cabin, hence the small remodeling job we were doing.

Since it was Sunday morning our Pastor showed up quickly, offering us a place to stay. And the blessings just kept pouring in. The people we were buying the house from owned an apartment complex and moved us into an apartment right away while they hurried to vacate their house sooner so we could move in. Friends came in droves, like the wise men offering gifts. They presented us with food, clothing and necessities. Our local grocery store fixed a huge basket with food and goodies for the “real” Christmas Day that was the following week. Our local hardware store provided us with coats,hats,mittens and boots to keep us warm. A clothing store gave my husband and me new clothes and friends and people we didn’t know brought new clothes for the kids.

Imagine our surprise when we were presented with a jar containing over $2,000, raised by the local Lions Club. More and more blessings flowed in. As we were going through everything for insurance purposes a woman asked if she could have our charred stereo. She had visions of restoring it. A few days later she showed up waving something in the air as she made her way up the drive. “I thought you’d like to have these” she said. She handed me a manila envelope, and when I looked inside the tears flowed. I had forgotten I’d put my children’s baby pictures in the bottom of the stereo.  They were in perfect shape, untouched by the fire.

So, as Christmas fast approaches remember that every valley has a rainbow at the end but you sometimes have to go through adversity to reach your destination. And remember, there are angels God has handpicked to guide you along the way.

Have a blessed Christmas.

 

 

 

 

“Let There Be Light”

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

“We’ll leave the light on for you.” proclaimed Tom Bodet in radio commercials for Motel 6. Remember them? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cVRMGEL5GY

Every Light in the House Is On” written by Kent Robbins and made popular by Trace Adkins in 1996 was nominated at the CMA Awards for Music Video of the year, declaring the man would leave every light on in the house until his lover came home and they could rebuild their relationship. You can watch the video here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=72AVXpeo_ZI

One of my favorite hymns as a child was titled “The Light of The World is Jesus,” written by Philip Bliss. You can listen to it here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIWvYrkSbNQ

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

A short definition in the Merriam Webster Dictionary presents the meaning of light as:

: the form of energy that makes it possible to see things : the brightness produced by the sun, by fire, a lamp, etc.

: a source of light (such as an electric lamp)

: a light on a vehicle

You can read the full definition here:PICT0171

www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/light

How many of you have experienced SAD or know someone who has? You can read about Seasonal Affective Disorder here:

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/…/con-20021047

2015 is the International Year of Light. Did you know that? You can read some interesting facts in an article by Mika McKinnon. You will see some incredible photos and explanations here:

http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/news/20-illuminating-enlightening-day-brightening-facts-about-light here:

This Sunday, November 1, we turn our clocks back.  We lose an hour of light. Did you know that Daylight Savings Time was suggested by Benjamin Franklin in 1784?  If you’d like to read a full mooncomprehensive article about the reasons for the change go here:

www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/c.html

Are you a light? Do you draw people to you? Do readers love what you have written? Are your books light or dark? Do you write best during the day with plenty of light coming in through the windows or in the evening dark with lamps on?

I am sitting here on an overcast day writing this with a “daylight” lamp on my desk. That’s why I came up with this idea. Hopefully, you’ll check out a few links for some awesome information about light. I’ve learned a lot of very interesting information just by writing this post!

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant RidersInzaredonecover

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

inzaredtwocoverInzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

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

John Deere Dreams

 

 

propic11_1This post by L.Leander,

Author of Fearless Fiction

 

 

 

 

With a retired farmer for a husband I know a little about John Deere Dreams. There’s a song by this title by Joe Diffie.

jd tractorIn the Wisconsin farming community John Deere is the highest grossing implement company. These expensive machines are often leased and paid off by doing haying and planting jobs on other farms. This helps pay for a $500,000 debt for a large piece of equipment. We know several farmers who work like this, while also keeping a working farm running at home. The hours are endless during the summer months, when hay, corn, soybeans and wheat needs to be harvested.Barn_HDRhorses

Not so long ago a tractor was much admired and sought after by small farmers who did everything the old way, sometimes with horses to pull an old disc or plow the farmer had rigged up to run the farm. It was only after reaching a financial point so that a new tractor could be paid for, or desperate need to run a paying farm that people actually mortgaged their farm for the much-needed implement. John Deere was the name of choice, but there were many companies to choose from, including Moline, International Harvester, Ford, New Holland, Massey Ferguson and others.P5070011

The plight of the farmer has always been weather. If it’s good and there’s plenty of rain, the farm does well and funds itself for another year. If the dreaded drought or insect infestation occurs, a farmer may have a rough year, try in vain to make up the loss, and sometimes loses the farm. What a sad occurrence to see an auction sign in front of a farm that was once productive, only to see the stoic owners watching their prized, hard work being sold to the highest bidder.auction

We need farms. So many children today don’t even know where our food comes from. Milk is the main source of farming in Wisconsin, and since there are very high standards, a farmer really feels the pinch if he/she can’t keep their grade up to get top money for their milk. When a cow goes “dry” it gets a rest until it calves again, where after she returns to the milk line. Unproductive cows are sold at auction, often to be slaughtered for hamburger. Bull calves get shipped to veal farms, or bought by farmers for breeding purposes. No longer are new calves suckled by their mothers, but are put in calf houses (much like a dog house) where they are bottle-fed. Heifer calves are well taken care of so the farmer can receive top dollar for them when they are of age. They are replacements for cows that are too old to be milked or a diseased cow.THREE COWS_1

When farmers keep their barns and pastures clean, the cows are in better shape, therefore, the milk is of better quality. Once the raw milk is housed in the bulk tank, a large milk truck picks up and delivers the milk to be homogenized and put on the shelves for consumers. Grade A is the best, with Grade B being used for cheeses and such.

I went to a goat farm once and was very impressed with the cleanliness of the milk house and barn. The goats are well taken care of, as they are very prone to disease, and if that happens, the farmer is not able to sell the milk. Most of it goes for goat milk, goat cheese and yogurt. One disease could wipe out a whole herd of goats. They pick up illness much quicker than cows. The particular farmer I visited with my husband was spotless. The goats were fun to see and pet, but they have a very important job to do. The farmer told us that he has ten children to do the barn chores and milk while he works at a regular job in town to make sure they have enough money to run the farm.  Milk machines milk the goats and the filtered milk goes into the bulk tank, where again it is picked up by truck and delivered to the factory.

It is a badge of loyalty for farmers to wear John-Deere inspired hats, shirts, jackets, belts, watches, clocks and logos for their trucks. My stepson has an entire room dedicated to his collection of John Deere items. He’s very proud of his collection and no doubt it will bring a good amount of money someday, should he ever decide to sell it.file0001343978428

This obsession with John Deere equipment can be directly compared to writers. Often, we wish for things that are out of reach, such as high paid cover illustrators, editors, publishers and software. Sometimes we can survive by changing the way we do things and come out with the same results. We have to sell many books to buy the expensive piece of equipment or help we crave. That doesn’t mean we should quit. Farmers are a good example of this. When things are tough they work harder to keep their farms working and productive. Shouldn’t we be doing the same? What do you think? Are there any instances you can think of when the John Deere is out of reach but you climb to the top anyway? I’d like to hear about it if you have.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

 

13ext

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an e-Book
13marketingtipscover

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find L.Leander here:

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

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Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

 

 

 

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

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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+

Black Friday

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Black Friday. We begin to hear the never-ending commercials for the event in October and November.   Somehow Thanksgiving gets shoved aside as people eagerly anticipate the biggest shopping day of the year. I am not a fan, and here’s why.

You can read more about Black Friday HERE.

In my day (I’m sounding like an old lady again) Thanksgiving was a revered holiday.dinner It originated with early settlers of America and the Indians who owned the land coming together to make peace. As the day’s popularity grew, it became a time for reflection, thankfulness for our world,  families, the food on our tables, and most importantly, a God who loved us. No store was open in my Thanksgivings of the past. The whole world took a break to be thankful and it was almost as if time stopped for 24 hours while we counted our blessings. We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning and then helped Mom get things ready. We usually had cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles and anyone my turkeyfolks thought needed companionship. After eating our fill, the kids would run outside to play Duck, Duck, Goose in the snow. We played until we were wet and half-frozen but when we came in to dry off there was pumpkin pie! At the end of a special day with relatives and friends, I always felt full of love. At dinner we each said something we were thankful for before my Dad led us in prayer to bless the meal.

Read more about the 1st Thanksgiving HERE and HERE

Read about Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade HERE

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Thanksgiving is a time for families to get together to reminisce. The table is laden with food and everyone goes home with leftovers to enjoy later.

Enter Black Friday. It has commercialized Thanksgiving, but I harbor no bad feelings for those who love it. My sister, her three girls (whose husbands care for their children), a cousin and a few friends leavesnowroad immediately after the Thanksgiving meal is over and drive to Green Bay, WI, where they have secured motel rooms. Since my sister lives in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, they are only a 2-½ hour drive from Green Bay. They love the time together and although I’m always invited, I politely decline. It’s not my cup of tea. The entourage checks into their rooms and go out as soon pajamasas the sales start, often in their pajamas. They shop the sales they want and go back to the motel to sleep for a while. They do more shopping the next morning, then head to Appleton to catch the sales there. Another night in their Green Bay Motel and they’re on their way home, their cars laden down so much that the tires groan under the weight.moreshops

It’s not that I hate to shop that I don’t go along. Give me a music store, a bookstore,a fabric shop, or a yarn shop and I’ll make haste to get there.  Just not on Black Friday.  It makes no sense to me to stand in long lines for something that will probably be sold malleatout by the time your turn comes. I like to rest the day after Thanksgiving, often sewing or reading before hubby and I tackle the leftovers. I contemplate the life God has given me and the blessings I sometimes forget to count. I’m not fond of crowds of people pushing and shoving their way through stores, trying find a parking space, and waiting in the food court to get something to keep you sewinggoing. That being said, I love the stories my sister brings back about the wonderful deals they got and I’m very glad they have a good time together.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still think of Thanksgiving as a time to be thankful; a day of rest and relaxation with family you may not have seen for a while. When I was working I protected Black Friday, because it was an extra day I could do something I wanted to do but never had time for.

What do you think about Black Friday? Are you a lover, a hater, or ambivalent? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

 

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You can read about the origin and rules of Duck, Duck, Goose HERE

Watch a video of the game HERE

 

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

INZARED bookcoverkindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared The Fortune Teller Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

13ext

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook

13mkt

 

 

 

 

 

 

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+

 

Autumn Delights

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

I’ve always loved October. In our part of the world it’s when the trees put on their finest and each vies with the other to be the most outstanding. The result is a scene that is breathtaking, as with the naked eye you drink in the brilliant colors displayed on a backdrop of blue sky and white fluffy clouds. I often stand admiring the beauty around me and thank God for creating a world for us to enjoy and appreciate.trees

See fabulous Wisconsin/Michigan Fall Color HERE

In my childhood, at some point in early October, we’d bring out the rakes. Since we had a very large yard this was a chore and was given to us four children to do. We absolutely loved it! It was never work toraking us, but playtime instead. We’d rake up a big pile of leaves and throw them at each other; then rake again. We’d take turns lying on the ground while the others totally covered the lucky one with a mound of leaves. I can still remember the sound of the crispy leaves as they landed on me; the freshness of the cool October air; the laughter as we ganged up on one another. As a final treat, when we finally tired of playing in them, we actually raked the leaves into piles, put them in a wheelbarrow or wagon and deposited them at the curb in front of our house. That night my Dad would set fire to the leaves, but not before my mother wrapped potatoes, onions, carrots and seasonings in several firelayers of aluminum foil and deposited them among the leaves. We waited anxiously, helping Dad tend the leaves so they wouldn’t catch something on fire, but that never happened. This was the way we got rid of the leaves in the town where I lived. After a while of burning and tending, the leaves smoldered and went out. Then Dad would use a set of tongs to retrieve the foil-wrapped potatoes and we’d feast on them with cider and doughnuts for dessert. The next day, once the leaves were mostly ash, we’d help load them into bags and take them to the local dump. Dad always let us sit on the back of the truck while we rode and once he backed up to the dumping area we’d heave the bags into the pit.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To learn about how Halloween began click HERE

Just for fun Halloween Website HERE

Facts and pictures about Dia de los Muertos HERE

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Actually it’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) katrinabut since they are close and I’m back in the US, it’s Halloween. As a kid we really did it up right. We decorated the house with all sorts of pumpkins, bats, ghosts and witches. My mother was an artist, so she had some really fantastic ideas for decorating and costumes.

 

My siblings and I loved playing dress-up and Halloween was the most fun. Mom let us decide what or whom we wanted to be and then helped us create the costume. One of my very favorite costumes of all  was an evening dress with over-the-elbow gloves, my hair gowndone up in curls and a tiara. I felt like a movie star. Of course, I had to endure my hair done up in rags all night to get the curls and I may have stumbled once or twice over the hem, but I did win best costume in our school competition. I was about eleven at the time. The dress and gloves were from another era, when women wore evening gowns to go out to special events and my aunt gave it to us to play dress-up. It was lime green and I felt like Cinderella, very glamorous.

We generally had our cousins along to trick-or-treat with us and did we ever have fun! First, we had a light supper before my Mom and Aunt decorated a table with witches and pumpkins, cobwebs and ghosts. Mom usually designed a special cake that was something to behold. They served us cake; some red drink they said was blood, grapes for eyeballs and spaghetti for brains. At the time we were young enough to believe them and screamed in delight as we ate our “ghoulish” treats.

Then it was time to get dressed in our costumes and take off for a night of fun. Back in my day there was no fear of knocking on people’s doors, no fear of wandering around the town alone, no fear of being trckortreatabducted or hurt. We were just six little kids having a blast. When we passed our friends we’d all compare our bags of treats to see who had the most. We often walked a couple of miles if we didn’t tire out too much. At some houses we were invited in for cider and doughnuts and pictures. At others a wicked witch or monster handed us our treat. We screamed in delight.

Back at the house Mom, Dad, my Uncle and Aunt dressed appropriately and handed out candy to every little trick-or-treater that came along. Since our house was on a corner a block from town we got hit hard. Dad once had to go get a bushel of apples from a friend because he ran out of treats and the store was closed to get more candy.

When we returned home with our booty Mom and Dad would ooh and ah over the treasures we’d received. We were allowed to keep our bags in the closet in each of our bedrooms as long as we solemnly promised not to eat too much at one time. Yeah, right! One time my little brother began throwing up orange pumpkins and after that the fun was over. My Mother kept the candy and doled it out.

girlbikeI loved riding my bicycle in the fresh October air. By then gloves, a hat and warm coat were a necessity, but I roamed the streets of town enjoying the last delights of summer and began to eagerly anticipate winter fun. I’d ride my bike until I was so cold I had to go home or freeze. But the memories are worth it.

Later, when my own children had Halloween parties at school, I was the first to volunteer to help. I always dressed as something different (one year I was a grape, right down to the purple tights!). Carving pumpkins was something my kids loved and since we grew our own we had lots of fun decorating them. Those pumpkins, cornstalks, corn brooms and ghosts and witches decorated our house and it was hard to get the kids to let me take them down until Christmas came and I could lure them into visions of sugar plums.

I often took my children on long walks through the hardwoods in October. We had to wear orange clothing and talk loud, because it was the start of hunting season, and even though we walked on our ownhobgob property, one never knows who might disregard the “keep out” signs. The children picked up leaves that we took home and ironed between sheets of waxed paper, just as I did as a child.

I have many other wonderful memories of October. What are some of yours? I’d love to hear them!leaf

 

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

INZARED bookcoverkindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

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Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Boook 2

 

13ext

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

 

13mkt

 

 

 

 

 

 

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+