Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Why I Love Fall …and the Change of Season ... by Delsora Lowe

Changes happen every day. Some we embrace and some we don’t. Those we don’t embrace take a lot of energy to deal with. So, finding and celebrating changes we love is good for the heart and soul.

Fall farmers market

To me and so many others, fall is the season that most represents change. In a way fall always seems like the New Year. Probably because it is the start of a new year in school.

My morning walk view of the school and it's playground through the fence

Yes, I’m old enough to have been out of school for MANY years. But as an adult I returned to college to finally finish my degree when I was thirty-six and my kids were still in school. I worked at a college as a fraternity chef, so my work schedule coordinated with the college schedule. It was the best of all worlds to have summer and school vacations off with my children.

An evening walk as the shadows from the setting sun play with the rising moon to the left and the glowing street lights

Another one of my careers was working in the development office as the alumni director for two independent, secondary schools and one college. So, for fifteen years, I again followed the schedule of schools, although I did have to work through the summer. But working summer had a different vibe and was more relaxed than during the school year.


Check out the bees on the center of the flower in this close-up

Another change associated with fall are the changing colors. I do love my spring and summer flowers. And winter white has a magical quality to it, but fall is my favorite. The bright colors of changing leaves and fall flowers and the invigorating air is a balm to me. The later we go into fall, the darker, vivid blue of the sky and the intensity of stars on a clear night are magical. Even the dying, stark stalks that once carried vivid flowers, have a certain beauty of their own.

Fall color overlooking the ocean

Of course, a very special day in my life is my birthday—I’m a September baby. My son was born in October and my daughter in November. So yes, fall once again is a special time for celebrations. To me, fall is my favorite time of year for weddings. No, I did not get married in the fall. But I love the idea of fall weddings and fall romance. So, I have written several books that take place in the fall—one with a fall wedding and two with fall proposals.

No, I'm not one - but it was a pretty cake - love purple!

What is your favorite kind of change?

A fall wedding is the catalyst for rekindling love for two who's love was lost

The Love Left Behind

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Left-Behind-Hartford-Estate-ebook/dp/B08L5N5DS9/

Books2Read   books2read.com/u/mglVqK

Fall in New England and Love!

Legacy of Parkers Point

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Parkers-Point-Serenity-Starlight-ebook/dp/B0743NVCC6/

Books2Read

books2read.com/u/b6rQzx

~ cottages to cabins ~ keep the home fires burning ~

Delsora Lowe writes small town sweet and spicy romances and contemporary westerns from the mountains of Colorado to the shores of Maine.

Author of the Starlight Grille series, Serenity Harbor Maine novellas, and the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series, Lowe has also authored short romances for Woman’s World magazine. Her new novella, The Love Left Behind, will release in late fall, 2020.

Social Media Links:
Author website: www.delsoralowe.com
Facebook Author page:
https://www.facebook.com/delsoraloweauthor/community/
Amazon Author page:
https://www.amazon.com/Delsora-Lowe/e/B01M61OM39/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Books2Read Author page:
https://www.books2read.com/ap/8GWm98/Delsora-Lowe
BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/delsora-lowe-93c6987f-129d-483d-9f5a-abe603876518
Goodreads Author Page:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16045986.Delsora_Lowe
Instagram: #delsoralowe / https://www.instagram.com/delsoralowe/

Photo Credits: 1st Birthday Cake Clipart - Free Clipart Images - ClipArt Best - ClipArt Best

Saturday, September 18, 2021

STILLNESS IN THE STORM by Maggie Lynch

 

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Change is such a huge topic. It is scary for some and can be transformational for others. For most people it is some combination of the two. Change is sometimes forced upon us by outside events—this pandemic is one of those. Other times we initiate change because whatever is going on in our life is not how we want it to be. In both cases, we need time to be still. Time to be cognizant of the change, evaluate its impact, and then to take steps to adapt if we can.

I am a person who is what they call an “early adopter.” Usually that phrase is used for technology changes, but it can also be applied to other change. Early adopter means that I look for the positive in the change and I’m willing to try it out and see what makes sense to me. In technology, I’ve often tried out new software before most people. I love the idea of things being made more efficient for me. In trying out software, I also often find ways to use it that was never conceived by the developer. Where the software was developed for one purpose, I find a way to use it to solve a different problem that’s been nagging at me.

I’m willing to make larger leaps in technology because I’ve seen the usefulness of starting from scratch rather than trying to “fix” old code. Technology marches forward so quickly with new invention that one must embrace the new to make the next large jump.

In a non-technological context, I try to see change as an opportunity for learning, gaining more understanding, and sometimes for personal transformation. Even when the change involves tragedy, like the death of my brother as a child or the deaths of my father and several uncles as an adult, I’ve found a way to adapt. To move from the loss to the honoring of their lives through changes in the way I live my life to reflect the best of them.

But I’ve Struggled with Change for Two Years Now

But the last two years have provided too much change—change that was built on four years previous to that where I found the world to be unrecognizable. Politics have always been divisive. I’ve lived through the 1960s and 1970s—Civil Rights, Watergate and Vietnam. Yet, it seems even more so now that the lessons of the past are forgotten.  

Photo by
Tran Toen on 
Unsplash

Floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes have always been a part of the news cycle and I’ve lived in parts of the country where those are to be expected. But it was never as large, as widespread, and consistently happening more often than in the past two years. Furthermore, these ongoing climate events have made me more aware of the growing economic divide between the rich, the middle-class, and the poor.

Add the pandemic and it is too much change, even for someone like me who is normally able to move through it and learn from it. It’s not that I’m unable to get out of bed. It is that I have been unable to find a way to understand, evaluate, adapt and find ways to make my life and the life of others better. Though I’ve made a promise to step forward every month for the past six months, I haven’t been able to do that. I think about it and then retreat because I feel that central truths of my belief system, around the inherent dignity and worth of every being and the general goodness in humanity, are being proven wrong. Yet, I’m not willing or able to give them up. Instead, I’ve kept going to a place of denial instead of dealing with it. I scramble to the safety of logic and technology and that keeps me from stepping again into creativity and feeling.

An Opportunity for Transformation I Hadn’t Seen

Friends I know have been sharing with me the work of another writer—someone I didn’t know existed. His name is John Roedele. He is a comedian, a prose writer, and a poet. He publishes his work on Facebook and often reads it in videos. He is very good at observing the human condition and shares his insights by providing the impact on his own life. He has become one of those points of light in my inbox.

August 28th, he posted a short prose recap of his 47 years of life and what he’s learned. There were many brief insights, but this one really spoke to me and shined a light on this particular time in my life.

 

We treat grief like it’s a summer storm

-as if it’s a temporary event that will

quickly pass. It won’t. Grief is a comet.

It terraforms our world.

Grief doesn’t always destroy us - but it

changes the shape of our continents.

–John Roedele

For me, the reason the past two years is so difficult is that the changes have come in such rapid succession, without breaks, that I see now we’ve been hit by multiple comets and each one is trying to “terraform” our world. I haven’t been able to absorb even one and look for lessons, nevertheless four or five or ten.

I’ve read articles and heard reporting on the extended grieving this pandemic has caused, but I didn’t accept it for myself. I now realize that is what has been happening to me. To take the terraforming metaphor into my heart, I have a way forward not by wholesale transformation but my incremental alterations. In effect, terraforming the human landscape.

I’ve been pummeled by the storms because I was filling the times of stillness with counting the seconds between the thunder and lightning. With some practice I’ve learned that, if I take time to dwell in those moments of stillness, I will see others there with me in the quiet. Others who still believe in the goodness and dignity of every person. Others who are quietly reaching out and building on that foundation of trust and common good, while at the same time engaging in terraforming the human landscape by altering those foundational elements that are hostile to living and working together while striving to thrive in peace.

Now I can return to writing and building those stories and characters where they also survive the storm and find a way thrive and love and scratch out a life of possibilities.

MAGGIE LYNCH

Bio:
Maggie Lynch is the author of 27 published books, as well as numerous short stories and non-fiction articles. Her non-fiction focuses on guiding authors to business success in their career. Her fiction spans romance, suspense, fantasy and science fiction telling stories of men and women making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. You can learn more about Maggie and her books at https://maggielynch.com   
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Friday, September 17, 2021

All Change

 

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of sci-fi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. 

Autumn is my favourite time of year. It's still sunny (well, sometimes - this is the UK after all), but without so great a risk of sunburn. The leaves are turning wonderful colours, the apples are ripening on the tree, there's more of the smell of woodsmoke in the breeze, and my chooks are chucking off their old plummage for new feathers. It does have its downsides though - shortening days, damper feel, and the inevitable challenge of dodging garden spider webs just walking down the garden to let my chooks out. And the appearance of house spiders indoors looking for mates. Fortunately my cats love to chase these down - I'd feel sorry for the critters if they didn't creep me out so much.

And it's been change at home too. My middle child has now started college - further education for 16-18 year olds. My youngest will have to choose his subject options for his final exams at secondary school. And it seems I may be moving on at work as I come up on three years as a science technician. Yes, this autumn since more full of change than previous ones.

However, a previous autumn did give me my first seasonal holiday story, and the colours on the cover really reflect the season. Sometimes change is good. :)



Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Journaling to Change

 

Happy September!


Fall --- a time of Change OR a time of warning?

As I’ve shared on here before I love to journal! And I believe journaling can be beneficial to everyone at different times of their life but especially when they are going through change, looking to make a change, or know a change must be made but aren’t how to go about it.

I discovered writing prompts years ago as a way to help clarify the confusion that often accompanies change. It can be so hard to know which direction to take in life.  I mean unless there is a flashing doughnut sign saying this way, I’m generally lost. The second is the advice often comes from my inner wise guide who speaks through the written word.

Hey, I'm here to tell you to take 3 steps forward, hang a hard left,
and walk until you see my brother. 


Often, I will find myself writing a scene – unplanned because I’m not a plotter – that mirror something going on in my life and the character has somehow figured it out!


Here are some tips when using journaling to help with change:


  • Use free-writing to “clear the mud” from your mind, venting after you’ve had an argument, to see how you could have handled it different – how to change your mind set, or when you need clarity about which direction to take (and there is now flashing doughnut sign).
  • Identify habitual patterns, asking for clarity on why certain unhealthy habits arise in you. Ask open ended questions like, “How am I getting in my own way?” or “Why do I keep getting into trouble?” and see what comes out. This is a great exercise but often we block the answer or refuse to allow ourselves to write the answer. I don’t want to know that I shouldn’t eat doughnuts.
  • Ask specific questions when you have choices to make and are uncertain about a situation. You can use the journaling prompts below to get you started.

Remember at the beginning I said that journal prompts often helps me? Here are a few that I use at least once a month.

 

  • What’s really bugging me right now...
  • If I could say one thing to ___________ I would tell them…
  • To be honest, I would rather...
  • I really need to let go of...
  • What does my inner critic say? Respond to it in dialogue.
  • What's happening right now is...
  • I know when I'm really happy because...
  • If I knew I could not fail, I would...
  • The last time I felt this way, I...
  • What I wish I could change.
  • What I need to accept is...
  • How do I get in my own way?

And is Fall a time of change or a warning??? It's both. A warning of the change coming. Of the cold, snow, and endless days of gray. But it's a beautiful way to transition into it. Change doesn't always have to be ugly. This is key to remember when journaling, don't let yourself slip into the 'everything sucks' journaling!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next month. 

 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

A Change Is As Good As A Holiday

 If that saying is true, then I've had more more holidays than I thought I'd ever have. And with all the changes in my recent years, the places those 'holidays' have taken me have been pretty fabulous.

I used to think I was a 'creature of habit'. That I liked things to stay the way they were. But now that I look back, I realize I thought that way because things did tend stay the same for me and I was rarely challenged by 'change'. Or if changes happened, like getting married, having kids, but they were changes I had planned for and expected. 

Life was on a pretty even keel until the day I was told I'd lost my job. That definitely wasn't something I'd seen coming and that change/holiday took me to somewhere I hadn't thought about - working closer to home (as opposed to commuting into the CBD every day. Unexpected job changes were to become par for the course in future years, the strangest one being made redundant (over the phone from Head Office - pack up and leave now!), then being reinstated a few months later only to be booted out again. 

The biggest and best change that hit me out of the blue was leaving a job (back in the CBD) that I'd had for eight years and I was, once again, made redundant. Asked to leave, on the spot. Like those scenes in movies where you pack up your 'stuff' in a box and do the 'walk of shame'. 

But as I sat in the cab home (I was too shocked and stunned to catch the train), the strangest feeling overcame me and I just 'knew' that this change was a good thing. I could physically feel that, and it was really weird but I was just so calm and content.

At the timer my elderly mother had gone into a retirement home and her health had some niggles (she was in her late 80s), so I didn't bother looking for a job for 12 months. I got a reasonable payout from the job so I gave her the time to take her to doctors appointments and give myself a long 'holiday' without having to work. 

When I did finally go back to the workforce, I ended up with the best job I'd ever had - and I'd never have had that if the big change of losing my job hadn't happened.

Now, if something happens - something that could potentially freak me out, make me anxious etc - I just remember that feeling in the taxi and tell myself 'this might just be something good eventually'. Whether it is or not doesn't really matter. I know that having a positive mindset towards unexpected changes will help me deal with them better. 

I also think that having experienced that 'it'll be ok' feeling has helped me embraces making changes myself. Try new things without stressing about 'what if it doesn't work' and that extends to my writing as well. I took the plunge into self-publishing, something I never would have contemplated years ago and that's yet another change that I'm so grateful for. My motto in my older years is definitely Embrace The Change.


Check out Andra's latest release 'A Firm Hand' on her Amazon Page.

As Time Goes By --- by Eleri Grace

 As time goes by, the seasons change. I enjoy the rhythm of those changes, even if our Houston weather doesn't give me the distinct seasonal change I crave. 

Summer is our longest season -- it starts to get warm enough to qualify by most people's standards as summer by April and it builds and builds and builds all the way past Halloween, with the hottest time spanning from early August to the end of September. Parents raise their eyebrows and worry that it's wasted money to buy any Halloween costume that isn't light-weight. We are at the moment in the most frustrating month for Houstonians. The calendar says it's soon to be fall, and yet, the temperatures regularly soar over 100 degrees throughout this pressure-cooker month. And the threat of hurricanes still looms over us at least into mid-October. 

Fall comes late to Houston, if it comes at all. Occasionally we have a glorious spurt of fall color that hits more or less as the calendar indicates it should -- even early October one crazy year. Most years, the fall color is vibrant for a week or two right around Thanksgiving or even into mid-December. One year, I distinctly remember we didn't have fall color until a brief spell in January. But that crisp pretty autumn weather I crave is hard to come by here. Fall comes and goes, day by day, from early November until right around Christmas. 

Winter, such as it is, can be as short as a few days in December or January or the better part of those months. January is the only reliably sweater-weather month. February is weird -- the leaves are starting to bud and flowers are blooming, but last year we had that life-threatening freeze right as people had thought winter was in our rear-view mirror. 

Then we have spring, which is generally from Valentine's Day through mid-April, when it starts to seem more like the beginning of our long summer season. We can have little pops of spring even into May, but April and May are definitely more summer than spring on the whole. We do have amazing azaleas, which we all missed last year because that harsh February freeze killed everything. Some of my plants didn't make it, others are only now showing signs of returning to their former glory. (And no, the hydrangeas pictured here don't look anywhere near this happy and healthy now -- they too are limping along and eyeing the calendar moodily)


I plan to retire somewhere that has real seasonal change, but even with the odd, out-of-sync seasonal shifts here in Houston, I appreciate the associations each season has for me, even if it's too hot for sweaters during what the calendar proclaims is "fall" for everyone else. Wherever you are and however you're celebrating the coming change in seasons, I hope you are finding peace and joy. 



I hope to have more change to report next month in the form of an upcoming book release. In the meantime, you can find more about me and my writing on my website. You can find my Clubmobile Girls series on Amazon