Sometimes we have to play catch up. I got behind in my blogs. Being behind in blogs is not unheard of. I am sure you know of others who have fallen behind in blogging. Apologies are made. All is forgiven. The blogger starts blogging again. Life gets hectic sometimes. We have to rush or push ourselves to get things done. Then comes the well earned holiday time off. Sometimes we plan to get a lot done on a holiday. During these days off we still need to decide what is most important to do with our time. Hopefully taking breaks, spending time with family, and doing somethings just for fun, become more of a priority. Working in some to do’s which mean a lot in the long run, like having a photo taken of you and your spouse and/or family which you can plan to include in your Christmas cards, become a priority as do holiday traditions. So, be wise. Enjoy your holidays to their fullest. Then round them out with some catch up tasks. You’ll be more refreshed and be able to look at them in a new light. Enjoy your holidays . . . catching up with family, friends and tasks.

Sometimes we need a project manager to come into our lives and ask us “So, what is holding you back? What is the next step you need to take to get things moving? When are you going to get this step done?” I had a task which needed to be done that I had been putting off. I was afraid of the possible problems I would have to deal with in order to get it done. I ran into some problems the previous time someone else and I tried to begin working on this project. Also, being somewhat disorganized, I knew it was going to take some time straightening up to find info I had collected previously. Fear was holding me back. Also, other tasks had been competing for my time. With a push from a project manager, I looked for some open time on my schedule. I had a car appointment lined up. I knew I would have some quiet time as I waited for the work on my car to get done. I grabbed my iPad to take with me to the appointment. While in the waiting room, I was able to search my emails and to my surprise, was able to find the info I needed without having to try to connect with someone on the phone. It was the key info I needed to get the ball rolling on the project. I then made a plan of action, what I was going to do if this or that was or wasn’t going to happen on my way to reaching my goal. The next day, I was able to reach my goal. I was glad I had a little push from a project manager. Thank you, Project Manager.

Childhood fears are real to a child. My husband used to think there were lions in his bedroom closet. His dad told him, that if a lion came into his bedroom, he would grab it by it’s tail and fling it out the window. He doesn’t have that fear any more. In adulthood, he doesn’t seem to have any fear of animals, though, as a former park naturalist, he knows enough about wild animals to keep a respectful distance from them.

As adults, we may have fears, such as, fear of public speaking or fear of not getting our taxes done on time. It’s good to have a plan of how we can work to get over our fears. The sooner the better. That way the fear won’t keep lingering over us. There are toastmaster groups you can join to practice speaking in front of a group and it’s not too early to start thinking what you will need to complete your taxes. What fears are you facing? What steps can you take to help you take hold of your fears and fling them out the window? I wish you safe travels on your journey down the yellow brick road of life. I hope you run into a kind Aunt Patty, a resourceful Rainier and many other helpful characters along the way.

My husband and I recently had a chance to play trivia at a library. I told the librarian who was in charge of the game I was bad at trivia. She responded with “Then we’ll all be bad together.” Her comment made me feel welcome.

We all have memories tucked away in the neurons of our minds. They just need a little jarring to recall them. In college, I took food and nutrition courses, so I may have a chance at answering food related questions, I tell myself. My husband tends to know history. I had no idea George Bush used to be head of the CIA. He did. Music and movies, we’re both not so good at.

There was one music question to which I did know the answer, “What did momma say she would buy her baby if the looking glass gets broke.” I recall my sister Brenda, who was a music major in college when I was in high school, coming home and sharing a lullaby she had learned with me. I recall liking it so much, the rhyming and all, I took to memorizing it. I used to strum my folk guitar while singing it. The title is Hush Little Baby. The answer is cart and goat.

September is the month to remember, if you grew up hearing Simon and Garfunkel songs like me. If something is important to us, we tend to remember it, at least with a little jarring of our minds, and perhaps a hint or two, for those of us not so good at trivia.

The anniversary of my mom’s birthday is September 7th. Even though that cart and goat ran away, I still love my momma anyway.

 

DirectionsI had to get to the airport early today. Being summer, it was good driving weather, except for being dark since I had to leave the house before sunrise. However, I made the mistake of thinking I was following the On Star directions when the voice said “turn left”.  Unfortunately the left turn wasn’t exactly when I heard the voice say it. It was a few seconds later. There had been a slight left curve in the road and I thought to myself, this left turn was easy. A split second later, I had to suddenly brake and quickly turn the steering wheel a sharp left, as there were road sign arrows pointing left in my face! Did I mention it was dark, and it was the middle of the night.  I was a little tired and probably not at my top thinking ability. Fortunately I was able to stay on the road and didn’t hit anyone. So much for trusting modern technology. Hopefully, I won’t make that mistake again.

It seems there is a learning curve for just about everything we do. Like it takes longer and more energy to follow a recipe for cooking/baking the first time. Sometimes the recipe even warns you to read all the directions first. Yes, I am the type of person who reads an appliance manual completely before operating it the first time. I realize most people just jump right in, then go back to the instructions if they run into a problem. When it comes to machines, it is best to know how to turn something off before you start it. My dad taught me this.

Navigating through life can be challenging. We have lots of decisions to make and pretty much a finite time to make them. Also, tasks usually take longer and more energy than we anticipate. When I take time to just sit and relax for a moment, I usually remember something else I need to do. Some of the things I remember when I do so turn out to be high priority things such as family matters, or somewhat immediate matters such as remembering there are clothes in the washer which need to be switched to the dryer. So, do the best you can, that’s all any of us can do. The most important thing is to take breaks to have more time to reflect and come up with wiser decisions and plans. That way, you can more easily navigate the curves life throws you.

 

Janet and Linda

My book, Flip Flap Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey, recently reached a milestone. The 300th copy has recently sold! I feel it is a testament of how well received the story of Rainier’s journey is. It turns out, the little cardinal that my husband and I experienced while camping, has inspired a story enjoyed by many people. My friend, Linda, who I hadn’t seen in a long time, bought the 300th copy of the hard cover book. She also bought the first soft cover book. Thank you, Linda!

I am somewhat of a quiet person, so have had to stretch myself out of my comfort zone many times in order to sell my book. I recall the day I sold a copy of my book to someone I did not know. It was during a Ladies Night Out event in Lebanon, Ohio. It meant a lot to me to be able to do so. I also recall selling one book during an event in a rain storm. Success! I might not have sold any that day, but I was determined to try anyway.  One bit of good advice I’ve heard about selling is: let the product sell itself. I try to follow that suggestion.

My sincere thanks to all who have bought, read, helped promote, had a hand in the creation of, or have a copy of Flip Flap Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey on your coffee table or shop shelf. Each one of you has shared in reaching this milestone. Sing, play and be happy!

Janet

 

Soft Cover Flip Flap Try

I am proud to announce my book Flip Flap Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey is now available in a less expensive soft cover format. It is more slender and slightly smaller. It’s cover is shiny and pretty sturdy for a soft cover book. Both books are for sale at my author website JanetKassalenAuthor.com. Just go to the buy now tab to purchase a signed copy. The soft cover price is $14.99 + tax + shipping & handling. The hard cover is $19.99 + tax + shipping and handling. I am sure you would enjoy either format, it just depends on your preference which one you decide to buy.

I am happy at how well received the story of Rainier is and to hear the ways it has helped children and adults alike. Did I mention how fabulous the illustrations are? A shout out to illustrator Laura Yoder. It was her first book also. I love the bright colors she used and the expressions on the characters faces.

Writing and promoting my book has been a rewarding experience. I am glad to be able to share it with you.

 

Grandfather Clock“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment and know Everything happens for a reason.” — Albert Schweitzer. I recently got to play my banjo in a music recital. I had tried to play my instrument a couple of times in front of people previously, but had failed from being too nervous or not as familiar with playing banjo as I needed to be. I decided that the music recital consisting of students who were taking lessons at the music shop would be a good way for me to practice playing in front of strangers. I made the commitment to do so. I also decided that I would not back out of my commitment. I made practicing a priority. I paved out some practice time. I knew it was best to practice well before the recital in order to let the muscles in my fingers learn how to move. In order to learn a song well enough for a performance, where you just keep playing forward through the piece as best you can without stopping, you must practice. Though, sometimes starting over from the beginning is warranted. It’s natural to be nervous for a performance. It means you care. Well, I made it through my solo without too many mishaps. The positive comments I received afterwards helped to validate my feelings of happiness. Happy to have succeeded my goal of playing in front of strangers without getting too nervous. I had learned a hard lesson as a child about performing. One time I memorized my song for my first piano recital. When I sat down at the piano, to my surprise, I couldn’t remember how the song started. I think my teacher was more embarrassed than I was. I learned a hard lesson that day — always bring your music with you to a recital. The fact that I had disappointed my piano teacher affected me more than the embarrassment of forgetting how to play my song. I don’t recall ever playing that song again. To this day, I do not remember what song it was. No matter. I have a new song now — Grandfather’s Clock. And I suspect, this time, I won’t forget it till my heart’s last tick tock, tick tock, tick . . . tock . . . chime!

Cardinal “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams. Since writing my cardinal story, my love for cardinals has grown. My eyes became keen on noticing cardinal objects or artwork wherever I go. The picture of a cardinal at the beginning of this blog was one such item. I bought this cardinal artwork at a craft fair in Texas. The image on it is a photograph of a cardinal taken by photographer Edward Charles. He worked hard at creating such a beautiful image of a cardinal to share with others. I especially like how he framed it using a special photography technique of blurring the original photo. The blurred frame makes a nice contrast to the original photo. I appreciate the work he put into making it. Creative photographs just don’t happen by accident. (The same thing applies to stories in a book.) The photographer behind the camera sees/feels something special when taking a photograph (writing a book). Part of you enters into the picture. Knowing how to work the camera (learning writing techniques) helps, of course. It takes practice. I’ve heard it said, “You can tell the greatness of a photographer by the size of his wastebasket.” We can work on being more creative by being in tune with the creative side of ourselves. It helps to carve out blocks of quiet time and to take trips on vacations. Appreciating others creativeness can be learned and give us joy (and new ideas.) There is a lot of beauty in this world. I hope you can develop your creative mind to capture more and more of it. Then share it with others.

This morning, I had to hurry to Momfinish packing for my trip to Texas. I rolled my suitcase to the backdoor of our house, making it ready for a quick exit. I was already about half an hour later than I planned to leave the house. Decided it would be prudent to glance over my ‘do not forget’ list once more. Sports jacket for Mike (my husband) was on the list. “Oh yes, he asked me to bring him one,” I thought. Funny, when we talked on the phone the other night, he said “Remember to bring a sports jacket.” I had forgotten he had asked me to bring one for himself. I though he was wanting me to bring one for myself. I’m glad I checked my ‘do not forget’ list once more & glad I had written it down as “sports jacket for Mike.” I sat at the airport waiting for my connecting flight feeling full from my meal at Friday’s, sipping my ‘to go’ unsweetened iced tea. People were passing by rolling their suitcases. I hear two dings from my cell phone, signaling a message. I check it. It was my husband messaging, “See you soon.”

I used to write letters home to my mom when sitting in the waiting room at car appointments. If I were to write a letter to Mom today (which happens to be the anniversary of her passing) what might I say? Perhaps something like this . . .“Things are keeping me busy. I was able to get tax information together, taken over and dropped off to our accountant yesterday. Hope I did OK with it. I didn’t have enough time to gather up all of my expenses. Trying to carve out more time to work on my second book. Recently decided to make some changes. I will have to work out some new details in the scenes . . .”

Albert Einstein once said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Having time to sit and reflect gives one time to organize their thoughts & think of new ideas. With writing, you may want to just start typing and see where it takes you. Time passes by quickly when you work on a writing project.

Still at the airport, I checked my watch. Time to catch my connecting flight. There was a gate change, of course. Luckily, I was able to walk quickly to the new gate location and make my flight.

When my husband & I got to the hotel room tonight, I unpacked my suitcase. Took Mike’s sports jacket from the front zipper pocket of the suitcase where I had hurriedly stuffed it this morning and handed it to him. He said, “Thanks. That’s the one I would have picked. Glad you brought it.”

Back to my letter . . . “Thank you helping me with so many things. Hope things are going well. Miss you.

Love,
Janet”