Inspiration and Determination

Life is tough. Doing what you love to do takes not only desire, but determination to overcome any obstacles in your path.

For fourteen years, Clayton was a part of our lives. Almost on a daily basis.

He became one of my husband’s closest friend, perhaps his best friend. (Next to me, of course. ūüėõ )¬† Not positive I could say that my husband was Clayton’s best friend…one of his best friends perhaps.

He was just that kind of guy. All heart and room for so many.

For me, he was inspiration. A hero of sorts. For our daughter, he was the big brother she never had.

Clayton held down a full time job, ran a cattle ranch, auctioneered, taught future ranchers, and so much more.

Pretty much from a wheelchair. He had a disability since birth, but you could never say he was disabled. Not even when things progressed to where he had to use the wheelchair all the time and couldn’t even function with crutches.

When life gets you down. When there are obstacles, physical or mental, threatening to not let you be who you want or do what you want. When you find fear moving in. When self confidence threatens to stop you.

Think of this guy.

Forge ahead. Find a way to make it work.

Be like Clayton.

 

Check out this youtube video about Clayon to see why he influenced hundreds of people during his short life. This was an interesting find for me because my husband was actually with him when the call came through about his house burning down that’s mentioned at the first of the video.

 

Link to the recent story about his death here with another video.

 

***Featured image is one of Clayton’s favorite cows.

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May Flowers are Drooping

The weather is settling into our 90 degree steamy summer season. While it’s a welcome sight after the winter that would never go away, the plants are feeling the stress during the afternoons.

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The flowers by the garage get too much sun, a poor place to plant them. They’ll be gone whenever the builders come in to tear down the old garage and put up a new one.

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The flower garden arrangement between our house and neighbor’s house that gets shade during a good portion of the day is doing well. This is also where I put my potted herbs. They seem to love it there this year.

The winter wore me down, work was slow going. Slower than I wanted and needed it to be, but now I have found my rhythm. The work, the words, and the business are flowing well. I expect much this year.

The Health Update

Latest doctor’s visits have told me that I’m doing very well on my health. No signs of anything to really worry about.

My blood pressure has been in the normal range for a number of months now. Mostly through responsible eating and responsible coffee drinking, of which I’m a bit of an expert on.

In fact, I was dizzy quite a lot for awhile. Enough that the doctor sent me to the ENT, who gave me a clean bill of health. The dizziness abated, and we surmised that my body was so used to extremely high blood pressure for so many years that it had to adjust to handle normal blood pressure.

I do have occasional dizzy issues, but we feel it’s because I need my eyes checked. I have not done that. My glasses that I don’t need all the time are way out of date. It’s possible I need to have glasses when I work now.

I can’t take drugs that help cholesterol, but my habits to fight that have resulted in that coming down. Let’s hope that continues.

And I lowered my risk of diabetes.

I haven’t relaxed in any of those areas and will remain vigilant as ever.

Weight loss is still happening slowly. Too slow for my goals, and my doctor would like to see more. A little more quickly would be nice. I am on my last 50 pounds, I believe. I would like to see two more sizes down by the end of the year.

Eating habits aren’t the problem. Exercise is a bit of an issue.

One of my main hidden conditions is an inherited misalignment of bones in the one leg. It throws everything off, which has caused me to be laid up for a few times. Luckily, while in therapy I had an excellent therapist who showed me how to care for it at home and do the therapy on my own.

The bad thing is, I can’t ride my fit desk as often as I like because of it. I need uneven pedals and it just isn’t feasible. So, the fit desk is for short periods of time to promote knee joint movement and circulation only. Not a real form of exercising.

Also, walking hasn’t been real easy this year. And, just to be safe, if I do any walking, I take my big knarled walking stick with me.

Walking IS actually better now. I’ve broken down and purchased good walking shoes from the shoe store versus the cheapos I have been getting. Helps a lot.

The truth is, I haven’t seen my bone as far out of alignment as it is now. A by product of allowing the weight to come on and adopting a lazy lifestyle.

I’m very familiar with this condition, as I’ve grown up with it. And my mother still deals with it. I know what would happen at the specialist, and where it would lead in my case.

Reconstructive surgery in my future.

I don’t want reconstructive surgery. There’s too many problems with such things. And no guarantees it will work.

So, I researched things and found that there are specialists who deal in a much less invasive and less problematic procedure than reconstructive surgery.

Of course, none are local to me so this is something that takes some planning on my part.

My goal is now to spend the next twelve months losing my weight, building up my muscles, and setting aside a certain amount of my income for expenses. Then, go get analyzed by one of the specialized doctors and approved for the procedure.

Biggest challenge now is getting core muscles in shape. I’ve lost enough weight to have very lax muscling and flab. Time to tighten that baby up.

I’m also starting some yoga to see if that’s something I want to keep doing. Not sure. I actually found another I think I’d rather do.

The Business Update

Being a writer is one of the most rewarding careers a person can have. I know this. I feel this. And my business is no where close enough to my goals for anyone to believe me in this.

The best thing is that I’m close enough to see the results of what I’m doing, even if it isn’t here yet. And close enough to know it’s a very, very believable outcome to what I’m doing.

The thing about goals is that often when you make them, you only half believe they’ll come true. Sometimes it’s because you’re so far at the starting point when you first set your goals up that you imagine all the things that can go wrong and keep you from achieving your goal.

Sometimes it’s because you have the wrong idea about your goals. There’s too much of this idea that you should go after your dreams. What you want out of life is your dream.

No, that’s wrong.

Dreams are just that. Dreams. We know that. They don’t come true. We wake up from dreams.

So when we set up our dreams and go for them, instead of setting proven achievable goals and going for those, we set ourselves up for doubt and then failure.

Then, we don’t surround ourselves with people with the same ambitions and goals in life. Often, we surround ourselves with people who believe you have to take whatever job is there and not step out to make things happen the way you really want them to.

Then, they gripe about it.

Then, they pass judgement on those who have the “better life.” Especially those who have the better paychecks.

I don’t surround myself physically with like minded people. They’re pretty hard to find in my neck of the woods.

My like minded people are online. Writers and graphics artists in the same fields. Creative people in the places I hang out.

Finding accountability partners at my same level is tough. Partly because I’ve done so much on my own that I’m a bit in between of¬† where the others are.

Last year, I made the leap and got a business strategist to coach me in monthly sessions. This keeps me on track. Not with the learning, but with the doing.

Took awhile for the momentum to kick in, but it has now.

I expect things to move in leaps and bounds this summer. I expect to hit or even exceed my goal by the end of the year.

I have a business building retreat with my business strategist and a dozen other people in October. I have a goal to hit by that time. I would not be surprised if I exceed that goal.

Just Be There

The number one, most important thing to attaining your goals.

I can’t say this is what I’ve learned this year…I’ve known it for much of my life. But this is the first year where I’ve felt this habit really sink in to my thick head.

If you’re going to run your business. If you’re going to obtain your goals with your business.

You gotta show up.

In running a brick and mortar business I’ve never had an issue with this. It just happened naturally.

With running online businesses this has been a constant struggle for me.

Think I’m finally cracking it.

The Fiction Publishing

Not sure what to say here.

An artist has not answered the last two emails to her and three books are tied up with her for the covers. In a meeting, it was opted that we may just write that expense off as a loss and move on.

(Not all the fault is on the artist. It’s been quite difficult to get our schedules to meet up for various reasons.)

I’m rebuilding and moving websites and finishing up some files. When I finish I’ll do one more attempt to connect and get what we need. If there’s no response after two weeks, we’ll republish old forms of said books and stick with those versions.

A lot is moving forward for my fiction books, but that’s all I’m at liberty to say for now.

We will reveal a lot more in the late summer and fall time.

Non-fiction Publishing

Most of what was planned through the press has been canceled due to health reasons of the writers for those projects.

I will have a lot of pieces coming out though from now on in the forms of reports, ebooks, and print books.

Most of mine will deal with responsible coffee drinking, the coffee industry, and coffee marketing. With some general small business marketing thrown in.

 

That’s it for now. Take care of yourself and those around you.

 

No one is promised tomorrow. But I can keep my promises for each day God does give me. ~Carmen~

 

 

When You Think You Want to Be A Freelance Writer

I’ve been at this writing thing a number of years, and have noticed a few things beginners to this career do. Some do more of these things, some just one.

  1. They assume what they know is enough and don’t strive to be “better.”
  2. They read promises of what could happen and get scared off, believing it’s hype and too good to be true.
  3. They suffer information overload, burn themselves out before they even get started, and decide to wait on tables for the rest of their lives.
  4. They battle information overload, but follow the wrong mentors.
  5. They tell themselves they’re not good enough and quit.
  6. They get started, but undervalue what they’re worth.
  7. They believed it was going to be easy.

First, I’m going to tackle the last one.

While freelance writing may be the better answer for you, let me be perfectly clear. Being a freelance writer is NOT easy.

But we’ve all heard the timeless saying: Nothing word doing is ever easy.

If you think being a freelance writer is easy and you fit in the first category where you believe what you know is enough…well, get over yourself.

You’ll need to learn MORE and improve.

You’ll need to grow from “working for the man” and “become the man,” so to speak. It doesn’t matter if you led a big team with little disruption from upper management. It doesn’t matter if you were involved with the budgeting.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the best writer in the world.

You’ll need to alter your perspective in some areas and learn how to operate in others. You’ll have duties you didn’t have before. You’ll have to learn how to speak the way others speak so your words connect with them.

If you come from a position of prestige and self importance, you’ll need to find humility empathy. If you came from a position of self employment or reliance, you’ll need a drive to become “better” for your clients’ sake more than your own.

For people in category two who believe this is too good to be true. Well, frankly, if you completely dismissed the writing life because you couldn’t see past the hype of what can be achieved, either you don’t believe in yourself enough or want it badly enough.

You need to step back and fix that first. It’s okay to not fully believe in yourself at first. Confidence comes with time, with the more jobs you do, and more connections you make in this profession. But you must be resolved not to let that cripple you. Even if you don’t believe in yourself at first, decide now to be willing to believe in yourself and forge ahead, with guidance.

A close family friend of mine gave up his inherited business. He was honest with himself. He said, “I don’t want to be a boss. I just want to work.”

And that’s okay. There’s no shame in not wanting the duties a boss goes through. As a freelancer, you become the boss. Be sure you want it badly enough to be able to deal with the duties you’ll have as the boss.

When you operate your own freelance business, you’ll have to deal with the same issues as any business owner. You have to show up and be available for clients when you say you will be.

You may have to fire someone. Yes, I’ve had to fire an editor before. You have to worry about taxes, budgets, broken equipment, bad clients, people who don’t like your business, etc.

Yes, we are a fickle society. We have those who disagree with anything and everything. They will appear and try to ruin your party.

And you’ll have two other things to deal with:

  1. People won’t believe you really work and have a real schedule.
  2. You will have to learn how to say “No.”

It’s funny. People read words all the time, yet they don’t believe anyone has the job of writing those words. Perhaps, in 50 years, no one will and computers will do it all.

But for now it’s us. And we get paid for it. Until you make it big (whatever that means to you) and can live by your writing, people may not take your work or work hours seriously.

Even after you make it, many won’t take it seriously. They believe because you work for yourself, so your time is your own, and it’s easier for you to take time off at a moment’s notice. Of course you won’t be able to if you’re running your business seriously.

You will have to develop the ability to say “No.” Sometimes to some very important requests. Sometimes to even yourself when you think, “I’ve got time. I’m going to take a break and do [something other than work.]”

During my early years a mentor said something very important. “You’ll work longer and harder for yourself starting out than you ever did working for someone else.”

It’s true. Oh, the 4 hour work days for writers with a bigger income do really exist. But it doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen for everyone. It took them time to build up the right clientele, and they usually work in an area that come with royalties that go on for years.

Can you create a six figure income? Sure. But it’s not easy, nor does it happen quickly. Not as a rule anyway. I’ve observed a few work their butts off specifically aiming for that income and it still took 2-5 years to get to that point.

I’m not saying there are exceptions. I’ve seen one get serious about her career and within a year be a six figure income copywriter. She also works a full work week. No four hour days.

Don’t kid yourself. It’s competitive out there and making it won’t be easy.

It IS entirely possible to enjoy the “writer’s life” as some companies call it. What that means to you is your choice. This could be a five figure income or a six figure income.

The trick is to decide what your desired end goal is when you get into this business right away. Then be prepared to learn what it takes to achieve it.

I’ll tell you now that I’m not at my end goal yet. I really didn’t start seriously working towards it immediately. By my calculations, I won’t achieve my end goal for another few years.

The incredible achievements I’ve seen in my business over the past several months have boistered my confidence though.¬† I know now for sure that my end goal will be achieved. I may even make it sooner than I anticipate.

IF, and only if, I do the work. This is the time I have to really get serious and work harder for it.

Steve Roller describes the process of realizing what it will take to make it in this business as coming from the dark side to the light side. He says it so much better and more completely than I do in his new book, The Freelancer Manifesto.

I highly recommend it. I strongly suggest you buy it and read it BEFORE taking any courses for starting your freelance career. Make sure you’re willing to work hard for your better working life.

If you’ve invested in courses, but you feel discouraged or lost, yet know you still want to work for yourself, his book’s for you too. Reading about the dark side will help you reaffirm your desire to have this career and your willingness to do the work.

You’ll find renewed confidence that you’re on the right path by surviving his rendition of the dark side of freelancing. You’ll find discover new ways to define and achieve the goals you want in the rest of the book.

Buy Steve’s Book Here

Watching Shows and Listening to Books

We rarely watch TV anymore. It’s more there for when the kids come over to play their shows. The idiot box gets more attention during foul weather to keep track of storms than any other time. And then it’s less than it used to be.

We spend a lot of our show watching time in Amazon Prime. We’ve become attached to shows like 800 Words and the The Heart Guy lately.

I watched a series called Mayday this last week. It’s a show about how a girl’s disappearance affects this community. Suddenly everyone is wondering who did it, knowing the chances are that it was one of them.

Everyone has their weird sides, the little quirks in their personalities that are odd. Usually we live with one another and accept them as they are. Mayday illustrated how those individual oddities are amplified when everyone is under suspicion.

Love the part about the rocks. Not saying any more. You’ll just have to watch the show to see what I’m talking about.

Years ago, I worked as marketing manager for a publisher who had to close after a short business life. I met Michael Hultquist then and started to represent his book with the publisher.

We stayed in touch since then. He runs Chili Pepper Madness and creates awesome recipes. I bet I use one of his recipes for our meals once a week. I’m a sucker for poblanos and jalapenos.

Michael is one of the writers for a movie called 12 Feet Deep that released last week. I rented it through Prime. (With rentals, you get access to the show for a period of 7 days, to start when you first play the movie. You have 30 days to start the movie on the rental plan.)

I’m used to movies with multiple locations and a lot larger cast of characters. I expected to see a movie that’s written well with a good storyline, but slow moving.

I was wrong.

This movie is great. It didn’t drag one bit. Kept my attention the whole way…it was intense! I love how the sisters’ back story was woven throughout the experience to give it more feeling, and more intensity.

People are commenting on how the movie makes them a little fearful now when they visit their local swimming pool. LOL ¬†I’m more concerned about the people working at the swimming pool after watching this movie.

Thrillers that go deep into the characters personalities and stories appeal to me. Sometimes more than thrillers that also provide a lot of action or special effects. This one gave me all of that.

https://www.facebook.com/C.N.Lesley/

Another long time author friend of mine recently had one of her books published into Audible. For her, I got a membership.

I met her when Arthur of her futuristic Authurian legend series was just being developed. Her writing fascinated me back in those days and it still does today. Her books are ones I read more than once.

I’m still making my way through the audio book for Darkspire Reaches, but loving it. Julie Hinton does a wonderful job of getting the characters’ personalities to come out. You team this up with C.N. Lesley’s wonderful words and it’s a very entertaining book to listen to.

She gets deep into the character’s emotions and helps you feel what the character is going through. Action is well paced, settings and scenes so wonderfully illustrated. Beautifully read by Julie Hinton.

I’ll be looking for more books read by her when I need to get the next one.

 

A Random Observation and Thoughts

He was a gruff looking individual with the clean jeans and white shirt of a well-bathed outdoors man. His baseball cap and medium length, grizzly gray beard spoke of the typical macho man.

But his body language and walk were the opposite. He walked tiptoes first, as a woman does in high heels. His smile was a little too perky. The smacking of his lips as he talked took away from his masculinity.

His personality and manners were bold and confident. With no fear of talking to women or men alike, he moved through the room saying hello to everyone.

This man’s appearance, mannerisms, and body language revealed a much more complex individual than the stereotypical male.

This man behaved as if following two separate rules of what being himself meant. Perhaps due to an alternative lifestyle at home. Perhaps due to being raised by and around people of multiple lifestyles.

Whatever the truth, his confidence said he was comfortable in his own skin, and surrounded by people who accepted him as he was. It spoke of a man who lived as he feels right to do, and of a society that let him.

What is the secret to this personal power?

The community in which one lives? A society who allows people to develop and grow as they see fit without judging. Perhaps a society that does not bury itself in devices, hearing the repeated outcries of the self proclaimed oppressed. That learns to relax and just BE.

My confidence has grown as I’ve become more educated. As I’ve taken an interest in myself to be the best I can be in health, business, and spirituality. As I live to please myself and live by my own standards, versus living by the standards of others.

Working 60 hours a week seemed way too overwhelming at first, but my education and experience has advanced me to new levels. I appreciate my potential and my ability more.

I hang around people online who are on the same path as I am, some a lot further along this path than I. Many of these people I’ll meet in person in October, some I’ve met with via phone. Others I will still meet on phone, skype, or even in person before then.

I’ve begun meeting with business people in my industry niche. Many opportunities have come my way. I feel many more coming.

Negative people don’t belong in my life now. No matter where their paths lie, the people I’m with spend their time promoting what’s right, not what’s wrong. They see something wrong in their pathway, they do something to help improve it.

 

It’s About Being the Best I Can Be

A few months or so ago, I bought a fit desk for my office. It’s not the ideal space, being a little small for work and a stationary bike both. But it works.

I have a few conditions people wouldn’t know to look at me, or talk to me because I normally do not speak of them. Last year, these things made it rough to do the walking. Many know me from my walks around town, which slowed down a few years ago, thanks to back issues. Not to mention, the weather discouraged me in one form or another.

That’s an excuse, not a reason. I know it, and told myself it numerous times but never listened. Of course, nothing ever improves if you do not work at improving it, and that’s what happened with me.

Finally, I got tired of getting “stuck” halfway down the stairs time after time in our house. My knee, my foot, or my hip where the back injury was would leave me “stuck” on the stairs. Or all three. I’d have to use the rails to shift weight and struggle back up the stairs.

I decided to take a different approach to getting over this hurdle. I cleaned out my office to make space for the fit desk and ordered one in. It now was part of my daily routine.

It wasn’t easy. The back thing made it very difficult to get on and off. I used a step stool and my walking stick in combination. The seat really hurt. I went through trying three different type of seat cushions and covers. Funny how the best one turned out to be the simple sheepskin cover the fit desk manual suggested.

I also purchased padded biking shorts, but haven’t made it to the point where I’m on the fit desk long enough to wear it.

That’s not to say I won’t get there and that I don’t use the fit desk. I do. Three to four times a day throughout the work days, usually Monday through Friday. Unless I’m out of the house for the day.

I’m typing while on it right now. Oliver’s on the floor watching me in his curious way. Normally I seem to ride while he’s downstairs or sleeping on the couch, so this is still new to him.

At first, the most I could do was a few moment’s time on the fit desk. And getting on and off was a bit scary. I was afraid I’d rejolt that bone, get stuck, or tip the thing over and end up getting hurt another way. But I kept at it.

In time, that few moments became 5 minutes, then ten, then fifteen. I’m at a point where 15 minutes at a time is my normal, but it feels like I could make it longer. I feel I’m close to getting to a point where I can be on it for 1/2 hour sometime.

Actually, I think I made it to half and hour today while writing this, without thinking about it.  I did stand for a few minutes in middle of routine thanks to sore biking butt syndrome.

The biggest change I’ve noticed is that I can zip right down the stairs now like I used to before my back injury. That in itself is joyful enough to keep me on the bike.

It seems that my hope in using this fit desk has been fulfilled. I needed to walk but had foot/bone issues. I had hoped that the fit desk would encourage increased circulation to my feet area to help with that. I’ve noticed improvement in walking.

Now, getting on and off of it is not as scary. I’ve learned how to shift my weight and I do still use the step stool, although I no longer need to use the walking stick. Partly because of the tight space in my office. It’s possible I can do without it, but the step stool helps me deal with the confined space. Not trying it. *grin*

And if the seat hurts, the work platform makes a great standing desk when it’s pushed forward. I can alternate between biking and standing.

Almost two months ago, I became serious about this fit desk for real. My doctor told me I was very close to being diabetic and encouraged me to use the fit desk. At that time, I made sure to fit the biking in my routine, or walking when I’m out and able, plus I took on eating more closely to a diabetic diet and using diabetic recipes in meals.

Plus a whole vitamin regimen, also encouraged by my doctor.

I also added a few more helpful dietary adjustments in to my routine that I know are good for me. I get turmeric and other useful herbs in when I can. I try to get a serving of plain greek yogurt in per day. My favorite is making a smoothie of banana, honey, and plain greek yogurt. I also like a serving of fruit on top of yogurt.

I’m not sure what progress I’ve made, but I’ve been told I look skinnier in the face. My shirts aren’t fitting as easy anymore, often sliding off my shoulders, and my pants really are looser. Some close to falling off.

More importantly, I feel a lot better. My other hidden condition has tamed down a lot. This one would interfere with my daily life more than I like. If I missed a zoo trip with the family, you know it’s got to be for a good reason!

It’s not about living longer. I doubt I can escape whatever predetermined day that is. Just way too much evidence from my own family history, and what I’ve witnessed of others going before old age. I won’t take my life for granted. But even if it’s next week, I’m darn determined to go out the best person I can be on that day.

On the flip side, assuming God lets me have another 30 plus years, I’ve been thinking hard on what type of aging grandma I want to be. I think the best description is in the movie Runaway Bride.

There’s a scene with grandma walking out somewhere from shopping, or some such thing. A well-built shirtless jogger goes by as she walks towards home. Her eyes get really big. She turns right around and starts a grandma jog after him.

Yep, that’s gonna be me one day.

The fit desk description says it's a partial recline, but not sure. Think of it more as an upright stationary bike. Easy to assemble though.
The fit desk description says it’s a partial recline, but not sure. Think of it more as an upright stationary bike. Easy to assemble though.