“The things that we love tell us what we are.” ____Thomas Aquinas. I buy things which look pretty to me. I wear Mary Jane shoes because of their comfort. They’re flat and have room for my toes. They are of reflection of who I am, what I value. I had a Betsy McCall doll when I was a child. I made a dresser with a mirror and chair for my doll using materials we had around the house. I used my creativity and sewing skills to put it together. My mother saved it. One day, when we were both older, she pulled it out of one of her closets. It was the closet in which she apparently kept the special things my sisters and I had made as children. She told me she thought I had done a good job making it. She treasured it and thought it worth holding onto all those years. When people’s houses are destroyed by a flood or such, it’s the irreplaceable items like photos and keepsakes that they miss the most. I have a little bunny craft which my mother made. I’ve kept it because it reminds me of my mother and her talents. It’s another reflection of what I love. I’m sure you have some things for similar reasons.  Cherish those memories.

One can look at encouragement in the past, present and future tenses. in the case of past tense, don’t you just love it when someone says you did a good/great job? Hopefully, you can tell yourself those words of encouragement, too. It helps if you can tell yourself you did everything you could/did the best you could with the time and resources you had available to you, or in the conditions you had to work/perform. I sold a book in the rain last weekend when we were experiencing the effects of Hurricane Gordon. In my book (perhaps a pun) doing so was a success. In the case of a team, you can say we did it (we did a great job)! Try not to play the comparison game, which means, you don’t have to do as well as someone else did to be successful. Do the best you can do. Some people like to share their success stories in hopes of helping you succeed, also. My advice is do what works for you. Just as Rainier, the cardinal in my story, had to try several jobs before he found his dream job, It’s O.K. to try something new.

An example of present encouragement is while exercising in a gym, a coach might say, you’re doing great (you can do it)! If someone says those words to me, I tend to work harder or believe I can do an exercise for that set goal amount of time. A word of caution, don’t try to do something if you think it will hurt you. Sometimes it takes baby steps to work up to a higher level. Or as in toastmasters, practice a speech at the club level at a time when it doesn’t matter if you fail. (In toastmasters, everyone will accept you where you are at. One can feel happy about at least giving something an attempt or learning what doesn’t seem to work.

Future tense. You’ll do great! It’s nice when someone believes in you. It gives you more confidence. Also it helps to believe “I’ll be able to do it!” I’ve come the realize we have control of our confidence. I recall one young lady with cystic fibrosis telling me she believed she had the ability to handle any situation in her life/do whatever she set her mind to. I believed her. And I am sure she did. 

One last thought, as someone once told me, everything will work out. The time might not be right now, but someday it will. And, If someone hasn’t told you so yet today, I will. “I’m so proud of you!” 

Doing something well takes practice. Practice implies work. I could use more practice in various areas of my life such as learning musical instruments, rehearsing speeches, or writing stories. So what keeps me from practicing? To help answer why I seem to have a practicing roadblock, I decided to take a closer look at what practice is.

Practicing gives the muscles of our bodies a chance to learn a new skill. After repeating something several times the movements become more smooth and automatic. To make practicing more enjoyable we can experiment, come up with new ways of practicing, such as pounding a melody out on a piano or clapping a rhythm with our hands.  Breaking (dissecting) a difficult passage (of music for example) up into smaller steps helps us have a better understanding of the passage as a whole. Our brains gain a better understanding of how something works (something ‘clicks’). If we do something once by accident we won’t be able to repeat it because we are not sure how we got there. We would have to try to figure out what happened. If we are lucky, we’ll be able solve the mystery. Hearing a more advanced player play helps us hear how something may be played more beautifully. Then we can try to create a similar sound. We can also experiment and see (hear) what sounds good to us. Since we are each our own individual, we can come up with our own style (uniqueness) . We can create works of art.

So enjoy practicing. Create and be yourself. Actualize the ability within you. Perhaps we weren’t created to be ‘perfect’, but we can work towards it. And remember, you can be perfect in someone’s eyes (even though it might be just your husband’s, grandchild’s, or pet’s).

How to focus on a task. How to get things done. It helps to have a deadline. The deadline may be imposed by someone else or you need to self impose a deadline. You figure out the advantages of setting your target date by such and such a date. Sometimes it’s more advantages to get a task done before the final day it’s due. For example, my six months sales tax was due by Monday June 23rd, but I knew it would be best if I got it done by June 20th because I planned to be out of town for the weekend before taxes were due. I actually had to start planning how I might manage this task way back before January. I ended up having to implement plan B due to I am not the most organized person in the world and had a lot on my plate. I came up with a plan that I thought would work for me. Then I had to make sure I would be able to do what I needed to do, such as find and test out my password for logging into the state tax website. I also wrote down phone numbers of who I could call if I needed help. To help me focus and start doing it, I made myself a checklist of everything I would need to have at my fingertips to get the job done at my work desk where my computer was set up, including a nice glass of ice water in case I got thirsty. Having a comfortable place to work is important. Our nutritional/physical needs play a factor in focusing and getting things done, such as do we have the energy we need to perform a task. Minimizing distractions was on my list. Clearing our minds of things which may distract us is important. Perhaps there is another task we need to get done first so our minds will be more clear to work on a certain project.

There is a lot to focusing. Motivation, minimizing distractions, and perhaps developing a checklist for checking steps off as we go. We have to find out what works for us. O.K. The birds in my backyard are chirping to let me know it may be time to put more birdseed in the bird feeder. I probably have enough of my thoughts typed into my iPad for now. Looks like I’ll make my before the end of the month blog deadline! I’ll have to try working in our sun room again sometime. Adios.

I will be celebrating the anniversary of Flip Flap Try book launch on Saturday July 7th from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. at Farbach Werner Nature Preserve, part of Great Parks of Hamilton County. Everyone is welcome. I have an awful lot of people to thank for supporting me in my first year as an author. To name a few, my author assistant Colleen Wietmarschen and her son Peter helped me through some snags with my book. I hired Peter to help keep my author FB page going. I eventually started learning how to do some things on FB myself. Being a new author continues to be a learning process. I have given a talk at two libraries so far. They were both positive experiences. I thank the library persons who were in charge of the events for taking a chance on me. I am especially grateful my book has, in the words of my life coach Kay Fittes, “touched the hearts of over two hundred people.” I appreciate those who shared stories with me as to how much they themselves, or someone to whom they gave my book, liked it. There are others who helped me on my journey, too. Even though I may not have mentioned you in this blog, please know I am thankful for your help, also. I am looking forward to seeing at least some of you at the anniversary event! P.S. I’ve been baking up a storm getting some food ready for the event. My husband has been my taster. Of course he tells me the muffins are not any good, in hopes he will get to eat them all!

A member of my Seven Hills of Cincinnati Toastmasters club, Terrance Hanks, is a kind hearted soul. He is assistant pastor of Beulah Missionary Baptist Church in the Cincinnati area. He is also Superintendent of Education at this church. “Being superintendent of education encompasses overseeing all educational areas of the church at all levels, adult and youth,” Terrance told me. “The church educational programs include Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. Some of the youth will be learning the names of all the books of the Bible this summer.” Terrance purchased five of my Flip Flap Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey books. He plans to give each child who can recite all sixty-six books of the Bible a copy of my book as a prize. Terrance joined Toastmasters International several years ago. He was inspired to join by Otis Williams, a World Champion of Public Speaking, who happens to teach at Northern Kentucky University where Terrance was once one of his students. Our Seven Hills of Cincinnati Toastmasters club is blessed by Terrance’s kind soul and powerful speeches. We will be celebrating our sixty-fourth year as a club at our first meeting in June 2018. You may contact me if you are interested in visiting one of our meetings or purchasing my book.

My book, Flip Flap Fly, starts out and ends with a chorus of birds singing at the crack of dawn. It was the most beautiful thing my husband and I got to experience on one of our camping trips. Every day is a new day to start over, to try again. I would hope that most people are working towards being a better person. I would hope most people work on being kind to others, to the earth and the creatures therein. We also need to work on being kind to ourselves. One way to be kind to ourselves is to respect ourselves, our bodies. Is it being respectful of my body if I reach for a candy bar instead of a banana or other fresh fruit? Is it being respectful of my body if I stay up way past my usual bedtime? Is it being respectful of myself if I try to do more things than I can handle? Is it being respectful of myself if I compare my skill set with others? I sometimes eat candy bars, stay up past my usual bedtime, try to do more than I can handle, and knock myself down if I cannot do something as well as someone else. I do believe eating a candy bar sometimes doesn’t have to be a bad thing, staying up past our bed times may sometimes be warranted, sometimes It’s OK to stretch ourselves to try to do more than we can normally handle, and it may be natural to knock ourselves down sometimes when we cannot do something as well as we feel we could have. My advice, take a deep breath, journal, and plan what you can do better next time if need be. As the birds sing at the crack of dawn, welcome each new day to start over, try again. Try till you fly.

 

Learning to play a musical instrument can have many benefits. It can improve reading and comprehension skills. “Written music is a bunch of marks on a piece of paper going up and down” one of my fellow orchestra members told me after I told  him how far along I was with writing music to go along with my book. It takes effort to figure out where the notes of music are produced on your instrument. Learning to play an instrument takes time and effort. You have to train the muscles of your fingers/hands/lips/tongue (depending on the instrument you chose to play) to make specific movements. Learning to play a musical instrument teaches you patience and perseverance. Musicians have to practice difficult sections of music multiple times in a row before they can play it correctly. Overcoming musical challenges can give you a sense of pride about yourself. Others showing their appreciation of how well you played through their applause gives you a sense of accomplishment. Just as a story in a book can bring you into another world, music itself is history, and each piece usually has its own background and story line that can further your appreciation of other cultures.  Music can relieve stress when it is an avenue of showing your emotions. Some hospitals use music therapy for treating children and teens with autism, depression, and other disorders. Often, one hears stories about the dreaded piano lessons when one was a child. Just as Rainier had to try different jobs before he found the right fit, one can try out different instruments to play. My husband is tone deaf. He said he was kicked out of the school choir when he was a child and given sticks to “play” in music class. His story was part of table topics at one of our toastmaster meetings one night. As the story goes, he lost one of his sticks and became the conductor. My husband exaggerates.  We all have different talents. And some of us take longer to bloom than others. A big thank you to those of you who have read my book Flip Flap Fly . . . A Cardinal’s Journey and told me you or a child you gave my book to read love it. Now it is time for me to play myself a lullaby before I go to sleep tonight.

Ed and Me in Cincinnati Civic Orchestra

I’ve been collecting cardinal gifts for the past year or so.  As I would be out window shopping, cardinal items would catch my eye.  In the back of my mind, I wanted to get my cardinal story published some day.  Thus my love for cardinals began.  Now, I would love to share some of my treasures with you.  Whoever orders one or more of my books from now through December 18, 2017 will receive a little cardinal gift along with their book order.  

Christmas Cards

I’d love to share my book, Flip Flap Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey, a beautifully illustrated children’s story with a message for everyone, with you.  Please order at janetkassalenauthor.com. 

 

 

Ladies Night Out, Lebanon, OH

Theme: Giving is always in style.

November 11, 2017

4:00 pm to 9:00 pm

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I WILL BE HAVING A BOOK SIGNING AT THE PICTURE THIS SHOP.

 

26 S Broadway St., Lebanon, OH 45036. 

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The organizers of this event are asking those who come to bring a non-perishable item to the Donation Stations on Broadway. All donations will go to a local food bank. Those who donate are to receive a small gift in return.
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All those who purchase one of my books at this event will have an opportunity to enter a drawing for a gift from me.

I hope that you will not pass up this opportunity to purchase one of my books to give to a child/young person/adult who might benefit from its reading. Or buy one for yourself!