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”

Spring is just around the corner, the weather’s a little bit warmer, and the days stay lighter a little longer. It’s important to stay in touch so what better time than now to save the date and come out and relax and enjoy the company of friends. The days are growing longer so grab your friends and head out to the local shops in Lebanon for a fun evening on the town. I’m excited to announce I will be at the Lebanon “Girls Night Out” event on March 16th. Yes, you will see I call this “Ladies Night Out” but that’s because I believe in spreading a positive message for women. Grab a friend or a few and come out to see me and Rainier.

What To Expect From Ladies Night Out

Downtown Lebanon is full of great local shops, restaurants, and attractions. Ever since the launch of “Flip, Flap, Try… A Cardinal’s Journey” I have been lucky to partner with Picture This as a local retailer for my book and you can still find a copy of Rainier and his journey located there. For the March edition of Ladies Night Out I will be heading back to Picture This so drop by and say hello. I’d love to meet you and sign a copy of my book, or even just chat. I love meeting my readers and I can’t wait to see all you lovely ladies on the 16th! This will be a great time to pick up a copy of “Flip, Flap, Try..” for all the little ones in your life.  

This month, Main Street Lebanon has set aside the theme “A Lucky Night in Lebanon.”  At the beginning of the event, you can pick up a VIP shopping bag at the Golden Lamb Gazebo. There are some fun and unique things to do in downtown Lebanon. In addition to “Flip, Flap, Try… A Cardinal’s Journey,” Picture This also has a selection of artwork from local artists, custom framing, and a great selection of Ohio State University gear for all the Buckeye fans.

Event Details

Be sure to check out Main Street Lebanon online for all the details about the evening. I’ll also have a Facebook event up (either mine or one from the organizers) for you to stay in touch with the happenings of the evening. When you make it out to A Lucky Night in Lebanon or for any picture with Rainier, be sure you use #FlipFlapTry and I will be sure to let you know I saw your post! I look forward to seeing you and your friends at A Lucky Night in Lebanon on March 16th.

Who: You and your friends!  

What: Ladies Night Out – A Lucky Night  in Lebanon

Where: Picture This, downtown Lebanon, Ohio

When: 4:00 PM  – 9:00 PM

As always, you can find more information about me right here on my website. You can also find more regular updates on social media where you can find me on Instagram and Facebook. Please feel free to contact me about any questions or if you know of any place that might benefit from “Flip, Flap, Try… A Cardinal’s Journey” or Rainier I would be happy to share it. 

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Photo from Pixabay.com

The start of a new year is a great time to start something new. Having a support group/person may help you keep going. I recently joined a gym and signed up for coaching there. The coach did an assessment of my current physical health including my known problems such as back pain. She tailors the exercise routines so as not to aggravate any problems I have. I started out slow, using light weights and have progressed to heavier weights. It takes a bit of commitment and pushing oneself at times. It is rewarding to see progress. I am working to make healthier food choices.  I believe all foods fit. I try to make healthier food choices more often and ask for small portions of some higher calorie foods. If I am full, I know I should stop eating. In college I had a roommate from Pakistan. She said that she was taught one should stop eating just before feeling full. Sounds like some good advice. Filling your plate with some lower calorie foods such as lettuce and carrots helps to curb overeating.

There are other areas for new beginnings. Toastmasters is a place where one can work on improving communication and speaking skills. One recent guest to the Wilmington Expressives club said he was surprised to learn that Wilmington had a toastmasters club. It is the best kept secret in town, someone told me, trying to point out that our club needs to advertise itself more. One can also find writing groups for improving writing skills. Just like Rainier, the main character in my book, tried new things till he found his fit in life, so could we. Explore new beginnings to find what works for you. May you have a happier, healthier and more rewarding new year.

Christmas Mouse

I didn’t have time to set up our stored away in garage attic Christmas tree this year. Instead, I rediscovered some other Christmas decorations which I had stored in one of our bedroom closets. Actually, it was evidence of a mouse which prompted me to take everything out of the closet. It was nice to rediscover some older decorations I hadn’t used in years. I had fun finding places to display them for the holidays. Sometimes we stuff things away; sometimes our feelings. One day, a lady noticed me stuffing one of my used Kleenex in my purse. She told me I was a stuffer. She said I tended to hide my feelings. I was a bit hurt by her observation. Sometimes the truth hurts. I remember once telling someone I was fine when I was really pretending to be fine. I later found someone whom I could trust to tell everything was not fine. I asked for their help. Building friendships is so important in life. Having people you can trust. A good friend is one who can tell you when you are doing something wrong. They love you enough to tell you so. Reaching out for help from others is a good thing, as is reaching out to help someone. I had my book published, at least one of the reasons for doing so, to help people who might be struggling with their career. I wanted to give people hope they would find their dream job someday. I know my book Flip Flap Try has given some people hope from hearing feedback of those who have read it. I believe you never know when and who you might be able to help. You don’t have to write a book. Just having a conversation with someone may give them hope, point them in the right direction. Usually something sparks us to take action. For me this year it was a Christmas mouse . . . a personal coach, book coach, two marketing assistants, speech coach, writer’s group, shop owners, personal trainer, friends, kind neighbors and loving family.

It is ideal to first make a list of to whom you would like to give a gift then come up with a list for each person of the types of things they like. Of course, sometimes we don’t always do the ideal thing.

At one ladies group I belong to we pick a gift we think anyone in the group will like, then play Bingo as a way of letting members win a wrapped gift. They won’t know what gift they got until they unwrap it when the game is over. It includes the element of surprise which adds more fun to our holiday tradition.

lumiereHomemade gifts are special because they incorporate the elements of time & creativity which the receiver can appreciate. I made a jar lumiere recently using a jar, tissue, scissors, ribbon, bells and glue. You can use any kind of jar you like such as a Mason or pickle jar. Of course, you will need some sort of tea light to go inside. Battery operated is the safest. I hope to make more so I may give one to several family members this year.

Skill and craftsmanship may also play a part in the creation of a gift. My dad made side tables out of wood for my mom with carvings which matched the carvings on her dining room table chairs. They were beautiful. When I was out of college, my mom let me pick out what Christmas dish pattern I liked, then bought me a set of those dishes every year till I had a complete set. She actually worked in a china department and would hand pick the dishes she bought for me. My parents valued quality. My husband says, “No wonder I am spoiled.” Interesting I had picked the pattern with a cardinal for my Christmas dishes. I hadn’t written my story about a cardinal yet.

Something different, one year I surprised my husband by having his guitar refurbished. He hadn’t played it in years in part because he was unhappy with it. I wouldn’t recommend changing someone’s instrument without their permission. I felt ours was a unique situation and fortunately had a happy ending. His guitar sounds and looks nice, except for some accidental scratches I made on the pick guard. My husband said, “Oh well, it looks like I’ve done something with it.”

I hope you will feel free to be creative with your gift giving. Enjoy your holidays.

 

“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.

Event Announcement: Girls Night Out in Waynesville

I’m excited to announce another event where you can find me and Rainier! I will be at The Peddler House for the Girls Night Out event in Waynesville on Saturday, September 29 from 4-8 pm. That’s right, after Rainier and I finish up at theREADLocal Indie Author Fair we’ll be flying down to The Peddler House for Girls Night Out.  

This event is organized by the Waynesville Ohio Merchant’s Association and they’re adding some fun for the ladies with a Photo Prop Contest! All of the participating shops will have different theme props and The Peddler House’s theme is the “Roaring Twenties.” If you’re interested in the Photo Prop contest you can sign up here.

I can't wait to see you and your girlfriends on the evening of the 29th.
Photo Credit: Waynesville Ohio Merchant’s Association

Event Details

What: Girls Night Out

Where: The Peddler House, Waynesville, OH   

258 S Main St

Waynesville, Ohio 45068

When: 9.29.18 from 4 pm – 8 pm

Host: Waynesville Ohio Merchant’s Association 

If you want more information about the event there are a few ways you can stay in touch. Follow me and Rainier through my Facebook page or you can check out the Waynesville Ohio Merchant’s Association Facebook page and theirevent page. I can’t wait to see you and your girlfriends on the evening of the 29th.

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Event Announcement: READLocal Indie Author Fair

As an indie author, seeing my fans and readers makes my day, it’s always fun to meet those who help me do what I love. I’m excited to announce that I will be in attendance at this year’s READLocal Indie Author Fair at the Midpointe Library. Support your favorite local authors (like me!) at the Midpointe Library in West Chester on September 29, 2018. I will have a table throughout the event where you can purchase a signed copy of “Flip, Flap, Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey.” The event runs from 10 am to 12 pm and will be held in the West Chester Community Room A/B. Come out and say hello to me and Rainier!

READLocal Indie Author Fair Details

Who: Janet Kassalen, Author

What: READLocal Indie Author Fair

Where: Midpointe Library West Chester

9363 Centre Pointe Drive

West Chester, OH 45069

When: 10 am – 12 pm

If you are interested in going or you may know a friend or family member who is interested you can visit and share my READLocal Indie Author Fair event on Facebook.

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).