Some Inspiration for the “Writer” in You

 

   

Images: Free Google images

 

As I surfed the channels for something interesting to watch on Thursday evening, I stumbled across a program called “Bookmark” which showcases phenomenal writers, both well known and the up and coming. One of the writers featured in this episode was Nora Roberts. If you are familiar with her, then you already know that she is quite the accomplished writer, and that’s putting it mildly.

I really enjoyed the segment on Nora Roberts. I only wish the interview would have been longer but the advice she gave was priceless. She said that she works every single day on her writing, at least 6-7 hours and was very honest in saying that it’s not always a pleasant process for her. However, she never allows these intermittent unpleasantries to take away from her passion and love for writing. An important point to remember when you run into that lull or block that keeps you from moving forward on your writing project(s). She insists that you must write every day!

Even though some of Nora Roberts words in this interview were humble, her accomplishments scream to the masses just how huge her talent really is. Ms. Roberts has written 204 books (and counting) and has sold more than 289 million copies. At one point, she was producing 5 books per year! She even has eight books that have been made into Lifetime Movies:

 

Tribute – premiered on 4/11/09

Highnoon – premiered on 4/0/09

Midnight Bayou – premiered on 3/28/09

Northern Lights – premiered on 3/21/09

Carolina Moon – premiered on 2/19/09

Blue Smoke – premiered on 2/12/07

Montana Sky – premiered on 2/05/07

Angels Fall – premiered on 1/29/07

 

You might wonder how a literary agent keeps up with the pace of a writer such as Nora Roberts who seems to produce novels with as much ease as some people hold a conversation. In spite of her agent’s failed attempts to inspire her interest in other activities, Ms. Roberts simply cannot abandon her writing, not even for a minute. According to her, she is addicted and has to write! What a lovely addiction! I can think of far worse things. Couldn’t you? It is to our advantage that she has such a love for writing and creating these fabulous stories with the most interesting and oftentimes sarcastic characters.

Fans of Ms. Roberts that were briefly interviewed for this segment, all agreed that each and every book that she produces, is completely different from the last. You don’t see a repetitive style in her writing because the stories are all fresh; like each new day that she sets about the business of creating the exciting worlds that we, the readers, are going to no doubt become completely enveloped in, as she weaves us into her tangled web(s). I would just like to know how she keeps it all straight?!

So, are you impressed, overwhelmed, or both? Well, there’s still more. Nora Roberts also writes under a pen name: J.D. Robb. She started using this pen name in the 1990’s when she developed a mystery genre series called In Death! I don’t know about you, but I am completely taken aback, and in a good way! I am so glad I accidentally came across this program. I haven’t read anything of Ms. Roberts in some years, but I now know I need to revisit her very entertaining world. So, if you take nothing from this post, please use it as a spring board to inspire you to write, each and every day, as if your life depends on it. I definitely plan on doing just that.  Maybe if we all practice this, we too can ignite the literary flame that is waiting to explode within us.

 

 

 

 

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A Corporate Challenge….

 

 

       

Images: businessinsider.com and free google images

The annual J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge takes place today in Roc City, a-k-a Rochester New York (Upstate) on the RIT Campus(Rochester Institute of Technology). Amazingly, this crowd-drawing occasion is in its 24th year! The event donates a large portion of the proceeds raised to the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. There are 460 companies participating this year; a new record for this event. There’s also an astounding 10,600 runners who are on their marks, waiting to begin the race for this very worthy cause. Runners are expected be out of the starting blocks at 7:00pm.

I used to participate in this well-known community affair. As a former employee with J.P. Morgan Chase, I proudly participated along with friends and co-workers. There was nothing like the feeling of pride I felt in participating in such a high-profile event; one that donned the name of the very company I worked for. I wore my Corporate Challenge t-shirt and assigned race # with elation and satisfaction. It was such an awesome sight to see so many companies taking part with their employees representing them and also sporting their company’s respective  t-shirt(s).

There were numerous tents set up throughout the grounds with all kinds of delicious food and beverages. Seeing fellow employees outside their usual work zone was refreshing and provided an opportunity to see another side of people. There’s a certain type of buzz  that was present when I attended the ‘challenge’. Excitement, anticipation and comradery, all filled the air amidst the laughter and chatter of people who came together for a common cause. Solidarity is a powerful thing and it made and continues to make this cause a highly successful one!

Now, I need to be perfectly honest with you, the reader. I was no runner, but I did speed walk the 3 1/2 miles that this race consists of. I felt just as accomplished when I walked across that finish line as those who had run the race! I felt exhilarated – I had done it! In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how you get there, just as long as you do!

Did you know?…

     

Images: Free google images

 

Did you know that Maya Angelou is the first African American and first female inaugural poet to speak at a presidential inauguration? At the request of former president Bill Clinton, she wrote a poem called “On the Pulse of Morning” which she recited on June 20, 1993 at President Clinton’s inauguration. This is the second time a poet has spoke at an inauguration. The first was Robert Frost in 1961.

“Big Boy Pants” – One Leg at a Time

 

I thank the heavens for small favors. My one and only son has been showing some real signs of maturity lately. I’ve rubbed my eyes on several occasions to make sure I wasn’t seeing double or something but my eyes did not deceive me. Slowly but surely, he’s coming around…or so I thought.

He just purchased his first car a couple weeks ago. It’s seemed that this was a blessing in disguise. Along with the new responsibility of having a vehicle, came what appeared to be a more grown up attitude. Now some of you out there may be reading this and saying to yourself, my goodness, she sure doesn’t put her son in a very good light. I assure you, though it may sound that way, that’s not it at all. Just sharing some real life honesty with you.

Admittedly, I wish I could feel a bit more confident with his driving ability. The few times I’ve rode with him have been quite the adventure to say the least. He takes off from a standstill much too fast and his turns around corners….oh my! For some reason, he feels he needs to speed into the turn. I just don’t get it! Why do new and/or young drivers feel like they have to drive fast when they haven’t been driving very long? I would think they would feel safer going a bit slower until they are a little more experienced behind the wheel. But this isn’t the case with my son. And heaven help me if I say anything about his driving. You would think I asked him to hand over the keys! Sometimes that’s not a bad idea but anyway….I try to give constructive criticism when I see him doing something like taking off too fast or speeding into a turn and I do this amazingly without the parental panicked demeanor that I could have. Oh, and let me not forget the booming, vulgar rap music that he likes to blare from his new vehicle.

My son insisted on taking me to the store one day and as we were pulling off, he pressed a button that turned on the cd player, and the most explicit nonsense exploded through the car speakers. In this particular song, the rapper kept repeating the same obscene line….over and over again. As this racket hit my ears full force, I felt as though pure venom was being spat at me. I looked at my son like he had at least 2 heads, because I don’t know which one was in charge, but he needed to turn that darn crap off! He had the nerve to be mad that I looked upset! Seriously?! I vowed right then and there that I would rarely ride with him in the future if this is what it was going to be like! Then I had to hear about how it’s his car and this is the music that he listens to. Okay…that’s fine. I’m well aware that it’s his car. After all, I was with him when he purchased it. But where’s the maturity to realize that he could play this music any time being that it is rare that I am riding with him? I just grinned and beared it for the rest of the ride and I’m sure anyone that saw us that day, also saw the steam coming from me and pouring out through his car windows along with that horrible music!

It’s like someone lifted a veil from eyes one day and everything is crystal clear now. You see, I have been my son’s source for everything in his life…for all of his life – from day one. In the process of being there for him, I’m sure I’ve hindered him in many ways and with that comes regret. I can clearly see how dependent he still is on me.  Sometimes I am in awe about the things that he asks me or the way he views things. I am floored sometimes by his behavior when things don’t go his way. It’s like rewinding back at a high speed to when he was 4 or 5 years old. This may sound mean but it’s the simple truth. I’m down right scared for him at times because he feels he has a good handle on life but he really has no idea.

A lot of his naivete can be blamed on the fact that he still resides with me and has not experienced life on his own yet. (See recent post – Failure to Launch) I feel like the longer he lives with me, the more stifled his growth becomes. We’ve been together like two peas in a pod since the beginning of his life. He now has a hard time picturing me living all alone in a big house without him. Sometimes I want to scream, PICTURE THIS…I want my peace,quiet and solitude! Little does he know, life will go on for me, even when he moves out. I just hope and pray that he wakes up soon and puts his big boy pants on…even if it’s one leg at a time! Just put them on already!

 

Sundae, Fun day on Sunday Marks Memorial Day Celebration!!

This is an awesome post from my friend lucylula who is new to the blogging world. This is a beautiful piece that commemorates the Memorial Day holiday! Feel free to welcome her and show her some love by commenting. Enjoy!

Lucy Kool!!

Image

Correct me If I am wrong but I always remember that Memorial day was the last day of the Month. This year 2014 marks Memorial day to be celebrated on the third week of May. A little confusing I must say. Although I know what Memorial day represents, I admit I do take if for granted as much as a majority of Americans do,I suppose. If it weren’t for a Facebook status I created on marking Sunday as fun day to enjoy and have as the name implies, a delicious Sunday,fun day, sundae I would have truly not thought of the true meaning of Sunday or any other day of the week for that matter.

A friend replied with a  comment on my status stating  the following message:” Don’t forget to take a moment to honor those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom to allow us to have a sundae on…

View original post 1,079 more words

Ribs Rally in Roc City

 

 

The Roc City Rib Fest 2014 is on and poppin’ again and runs from May 23, 2014 – May 26, 2014. Charlotte Beach had been the home of this festive occasion. However, since the festival has grown so much, it has been relocated and will now be held at the Genesee Valley Park in Upstate Rochester New York. The sweet smell of success and bbq is definitely in the air!

 

This event proudly hosts one of the largest and most professional barbeque competitions in the country! Not bad Roc City! Unbelievably, tickets are more than reasonable with adult pricing for ages 12 and older only $5.00! There are no parking fees or activity fees for children. But it doesn’t stop there – there are no premium band tickets! This is definitely the place to be where you can eat,drink, and be merry; all while listening to great music. Yes, this event definitely covers all the bases!

 

You may be wondering how a festival of this kind came to be. Evidently, it came into being by way of Avon, New York in of all places….a corn field! A group of family and friends wanted to get together and have some fun, so they organized what then was a small bbq festival and rib cook off that was held on Labor Day Weekend in 2008. Seven teams later and 1,000 plus festival attendees, it was unanimous….the people were hooked! Ever since then, the festival competition has been exploding on to the scene yearly and has swelled to 100 teams and an astounding 30,000 people!!

 

Not only is the Roc City Rib Fest a fantastic place to meet and mingle with family and friends, and even make new friends, but is also focused on giving back to the surrounding community by donating a major portion of the festival’s proceeds to its main charities: The Children’s Hospital at Strong and the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester New York. The economic impact of this event is unmistakable as it draws thousands from all over the country putting Roc City in Upstate New York on the map once again.

 

I know…..this is pretty late notice for such an awesome event, but I was reminded of it earlier today when I caught a blurb on an advertisement. There’s still one day left – tomorrow, Memorial Day! If you don’t feel up to pulling out the grill and all the clean up that’s involved, this may be the place to be!

 

 

 

Delivery is everything!

 

 

 

 

I’ve attended many church sermons in my life, some thoroughly relevant, while others have sometimes been somewhat mundane and more or less lost me in the message. But I am happy to say that today, I attended church where the assistant pastor gave the sermon in the head pastor’s absence. Let’s just say that I couldn’t be happier that I chose today to attend.

The assistant pastor spoke of the importance of a man showing honor to his wife. He made note of 1Peter 3:7, where the bible says that a husband should dwell with his wife. He supported the scripture by stating  that not a day should go by where a husband neglects to remind his wife of how beautiful,special, and loved she is.  He went on to reinforce that a man that finds a wife, finds a good thing and that a wife is a man’s prize and/or gift from God. The man’s role is as a protector and a provider for his wife. As I sat there taking in his message, I realized how much what was being said resonated with me and to many others in attendance as they confirmed their agreement in audible shouts of uplifting acknowledgement. Now, as I said earlier, I’ve heard many sermons, and this pastor didn’t have any particular style that stood out. But what did hit home was in the way he delivered his message.

This pastor delivered today’s sermon with a grin, one that was almost out of place, but the message itself and his ability to weave himself throughout the fabric of the content, made it a standout sermon in my mind. I was even led to jot down a few notes while he spoke. It was the kind of message that should have been recorded and played back to the masses so that it could help someone later on down the road. There’s no doubt in my mind that it would indeed strike a chord in someone’s spirit, some where.

I was so moved that I had to approach this pastor after service ended and commend him on his powerful message. Surprisingly, he responded with the same laid back, casual demeanor and grin he always has; almost as if he hadn’t delivered a message at all. I guess that’s just the way he is; a humble spirit. Evidently, it works well for him. I’m not sure if he truly realizes how important the words he spoke meant to not only me as a woman, but the rest of the congregation in attendance. This was a message that needed to be said, but more importantly, it needed to be heard.

On Sunday mornings, I try to start my day by listening to Pastor Joel Osteen at 9:00 am. Interestingly, he delivered a similar message this morning but provided a kind of flip side to the pastor’s message I later heard at church today. Pastor Osteen expressed the importance of a wife finding one thing that she could praise her husband for and practice finding something positive daily and he referred to this as pouring honor into your husband and marriage. Pastor Osteen said that the wife is in control of what he termed the honor faucet. In other words, the more she, the wife, turns this faucet on with her positive words of encouragement, the more honor will flow throughout the marriage. Pastor Osteen believes that doing this regularly will bring about amazing results.

Needless to say, when I heard the pastor begin to deliver his sermon in church, I immediately recognized the parallel to Pastor Olsteen’s earlier message. It was truly an aha moment for meBut I can’t help but wonder, had I not heard Pastor Osteen’s message first this morning, would the pastor’s sermon I heard at church have moved me as much? I think it would have regardless because a big part of what made it work was in the delivery. After all, delivery is everything!

Failure to Launch

 

Failure to launch…..an interesting phrase. But more than interesting, it is a serious real life occurrence that is happening more often than some may realize. First of all, you may be wondering what this phrase means? Maybe you’ve never heard of it before now. You can glean from the words that something has failed to take off. Yes, failure to launch is when our 20 something young adults still live at home with seemingly no plans to leave. This incidence seems to happen predominantly with males. Now, this could be for any number of reasons. Do you think that maybe young females are more independent and yearn to be on their own more than their male counterparts? Maybe so, maybe not. Could it be that in the instances where a young male has failed to move on and go out and find out what life is all about, is because he often comes from a single-parent female head of household? Would you agree that the lack of male influence and guidance has left him with little or nothing to go on in terms of what he should be seeking in life for himself as a young man? This may sound like a cop-out and in some ways it may be. But couldn’t these young males look at their single parent mother(s) as an example of all that she has accomplished by herself? Wouldn’t that seemingly be enough inspiration for them to take the bull by the horns and seize life? Evidently not in some instances. This scenario is very much alive and well. But why?

It would be easy to just say that some young males today are lacking in ambition and are not motivated by much of anything. The main form of stimuli for many of these males comes in the form of a video game system where they can be found any time of day glued to the screen as if they were hypnotized. You might be wondering how I know all this? Well, I happen to have a failure to launch situation of my very own! Yes….I live this every day. I have one son, age 23 and as the years go by(more and more quickly), he seems to dig his heels in deeper. It seems there is really no plan to explore life on his own any time soon. Without going into a whole lot of detail, I will say that the reason for this is the result of a combination of things.

I too am a single mother. You mothers out there know as well as I do that as women, we can only teach our ‘sons’ so much. We can teach them how to be respectful men, but we can’t teach them how to be men. A thin line to walk.  Almost so thin, it’s non-existent! Aside from all the wonderful technology that has been bestowed on society, I will admit that I have unintentionally contributed to the failure to launch issue in my home. I have often stepped in and solved a problem simply because I would not only make sure it got done, but timely. It seemed so much easier to just do whatever it was myself rather than go through the hassle of getting my son to produce results. I found myself to be very lenient when a stricter adherence to rules would have made all the difference in the world. I guess you could say, I more or less created a bit of a monster. Would you move out if everything was at your beck and call? Would you be anxious to go out into the world if it meant suddenly becoming responsible for everything? I may have raised a somewhat spoiled and entitled child, but I didn’t raise a fool. Why would anyone rock the boat who had it so good? Would you blame him?

I remember the times when my parents would encourage me and my siblings to go outside and play. We naturally triggered our imaginations as a result of always being outside in nature. My parents’ main request was that we had to be back in the house before the streetlights came on. As kids, we had a certain desire and curiosity about the good old outdoors, and bugs and the like. Television was limited and we couldn’t stay up until all hours of the night. We lived in a much more structured way of life than what many children experience today, including that which my son experienced in earlier years.We didn’t seem to have outrageous expectations and for the most part, were very satisfied with what we had.  It’s a different animal today that parents have to contend with. Technology has firmly planted the young minds of our children right where they stand; constantly enticing them to remain focused on some technological advance as opposed to some good old fashioned thinking.

So, how do parents solve this problem of failing to launch? A good starting point might be to begin reinforcing confidence and providing the proper tools to our young people in hopes of inspiring them to handle problematic situations on their own instead of waiting to be bailed out. The  cycle has to be broken at some point. The constant feelings of accomplishment will no doubt build and before you know it, you’ll be witnessing a successful launch instead of a failed attempt.  If you have a 20 something young adult still living at home, there’s a 50/50 chance you may experience this. What will you do?

A Dog-Eat-Dog World

 

    

Who would think that the beautiful island of Puerto Rico would have an escalating problem such as ‘stray’ dogs? Unfortunately, it is true and the problem only seems to be getting worse. An Emmy Award-winning film called 100,000 directed by Juan Agustin Marquez, chronicles this issue as depicted in the hair-raising and eye-opening documentary. In Puerto Rico, these abandoned or feral dogs a-k-a ‘satos’ are increasing in number and can be frequently observed wandering the streets freely.

How sad is this? Such adorable animals that just need a good home and to be cared for and loved! It’s hard to imagine seeing so many homeless dogs at any given moment just living on the streets fighting to survive every day. Not to mention the ones that are taken and abused. It would seem that they would be better off left to the streets. At least that way, their suffering wouldn’t be at the hands of those who are supposed to be human.

The 100,000 documentary largely raises the awareness of this problem and also sheds light on the volunteer efforts to assist in decreasing this problem. Unbelievably, the government has done little to provide help in finding a solution. In the meantime, the dogs continue to take their chances out on the streets of Puerto Rico. Following the airing of this film in 2010 by director Juan Agustin Marquez, he teamed up with Purina of Puerto Rico to create and initiate a 20 school film tour which allowed students to view this topic and become educated about the seriousness of this situation. As a result, students made a pledge to help these abused animals. The pledge has been taken by thousands: to decrease the overpopulation problem and to promote the proper care of dogs. Here are a few of the points covered by this pledge:

– Educate myself about dogs and think hard about it before having one.

– Adopt, instead of buying.

– Spay/neuter my dog.

– Integrate my dog to my family for his/her entire life.

– Vaccinate my dog and take him/her to the vet when he/she is sick.

– Register my dog with the microchip.

– Bathe my dog.

– Walk my dog on a leash every day.

As you can see, there are several ways that the abuse and overpopulation of animals can be stopped and prevented in Puerto Rico. Most importantly, spaying and neutering needs to be promoted and encouraged. Evidently, communication has broken down in these areas due to a kind of ‘machismo’ mindset that deters the whole idea of controlling the animal population. According to director Marquez, it is crucial that education begin at an early age as to how to care for and treat animals.

Do you think Puerto Rico will ever truly address the growing problem with these stray animals? Or will it continue to do nothing and just remain a dog-eat-dog world? What are some suggestions you might add to this pledge? What other problems do you think exist as a result of so many of these dogs roaming around without any supervision? I know many of you out there are animal lovers, as am I. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share!

 

 

Ahh….The Sweet Smell of Lilacs

The infamous Rochester New York’s Lilac Festival’s inspiration dates back to 1898 when 2,000 people visited the park on one Sunday in May to observe the beautiful lilacs. The numbers grew to 25,000 over the next 10 years marking the first annual Lilac Festival. Over time, viewer numbers ballooned to 500,000 in attendance for the now 10 day event. The lilacs are showcased among more than 1,200 bushes with over 500 varieties. Truly a spectacular sight!

Rochester New York’s 2014 annual Lilac Festival will take place this year from May 9, 2014 – May 18, 2014. This prestigious event is unprecedented for many reasons. Of course the gorgeous variety of beautiful aromatic lilacs at their peak bloom; drawing people from miles around. People come in record numbers to bear witness to nature’s beauty at its finest. The magnificent lilacs adorn the rolling hills of Upstate Rochester New York’s Highland Park.

This year, this annual event has achieved another milestone making it an even grander attraction on the world’s map. Lilac Festival participants came together to set a Guinness World Record! That’s right! Rochester New York’s Lilac Festival is now officially the world record holder for the world’s largest human flower by Guinness World Records. More than 2,200 people (2,297 to be exact) expressed their love and showed their support for the City of Rochester and this wonderful annual festival! But wait, it gets better! All participants will be able to access a link that has a special code which will allow them to obtain their official Guinness World Record Certificate; a symbol of their participation in this ground-breaking, history-making event! Go Upstate New York!

The Lilac Festival is an event that has something for everyone! There are horse and carriage rides and various arts & craft exhibits. There’s a craft beer garden and wine & chocolate tasting events, music concerts and more. This a family-friendly event, so everyone should be able to find something they like at this festival. I will admit that I haven’t attended this festival in a few years, but hey….there’s still time. The festival runs through this Sunday May 18th! So, if you’re in the neighborhood and looking for something fun to do, this may be a great option! So, check it out! A visit may be well worth your time!

 

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