Friday, June 25, 2010

Never Give Up

We have all heard the phrase "Never Give Up" at some point in our lives. And while this may seem like a simple enough concept to practise, it is much more elusive than one might think. Never giving up requires thought, hard work, determination, and did I mention hard work? Oddly enough, patience (not one of my better virtues) seems to go hand in hand with not giving up.

As a writer, persistence and patience are necessities if you want to get published. Just imagine what would have happened if I had thrown in the towel after my first thirty six rejections. That's right, absolutely nothing. But instead of giving up and giving in, I sent my manuscript to one more publisher who happened to see the same possibilities in my work that I did. The very publisher who I am now in contract with and who has opened the doors of yet unknown possibilities to me.

These are the qualities that my husband and I strive to teach our young daughter as well. And whom I might add practises them infinitely better at the tender age of five then does her mother who is over forty. For example, when she was only three she wanted to be able to snap her fingers more than anything else in the world. So we showed her how and told her that the only way to get good at something was to practise and never give up. It was amusing to watch her try over and over again for months until she finally mastered the art. It was not nearly as amusing when she finally learned how and snapped all day and all night. I know you are laughing now, but that much snapping can get on the nerves of even the most patient of saints which you have already learned I am not!

She applied these same lessons when it came to blowing bubbles with her gum, another of her heart's desires, and when it came to whistling. There were times when she got discouraged and wanted to give up. But we would always remind her don't give up you are almost there. As I watch h er learn and grow and practise the things I teach her, I too am encouraged to continue practising what I preach. I am also encouraged to know that the lessons she learns now will stay with her into adulthood and will serve her well. What more could a parent ask for? Signing of for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Monday, June 14, 2010

All things in Moderation

This time last year you would have found me completely ignorant when it came to social media. I was a woman still in the dark ages, wondering if Twitter was a vulgar word and if FaceBook was a yearbook online. Blogs were as foreign to me as eating meat is to a vegetarian and links were something rich men wore on the cuffs of their shirts. Bookshelves were those tangible wooden things in my family room and blackberries were what you needed to make a great pie. But I can say with great pleasure that I am quickly learning the ropes.

I now know that YouTube is not a request to float down the river but is instead where you can download videos or watch about a bazillion videos downloaded by others. I now know that I prefer FaceBook to MySpace which seems to be for a much younger crowd. I have my own website, I Blog my random thoughts (which I am still not sure are being read by anyone), I review books online, and I Tweet and Retweet pearls of great wisdom. OK, maybe I made the wisdom part up, but you must admit I do seem to be getting the hang of this social networking phenomenon.

Spending time on the computer, however, can become addictive. I was lured into the Farmville web and found myself spending time feeding animals and harvesting crops into the wee hours. I started checking my e-mails every ten minutes to see if anyone or anything had changed when I stopped to drink a lemonade or clip my nails. I checked my publishers FaceBook site constantly to see if I had missed any nuggets of useful information. It was almost so bad I could have stood up in a group and said, "Hi my name is Aileen and I am an internetaholic."

So much to my surprise, I recently discovered that I was stronger than the the ebb and flow of the social media sea. "How did I make this great discovery," you ask? I went on vacation to wild and wonderful West Virginia the birthplace of my father. My father and mother take my family and my brother's family to West Virginia annually and this year was no exception. The ten of us stayed in a log cabin in the woods equipped with satellite internet connections for my brother's laptop. But the beauty of the mountains, the cavern tours, the cool river waters, and God's creatures all around me kept my interest and soothed my soul. As a matter of fact, the day I returned home was a continuance of the calm. I had overcome the urgent desire to jump immediately back into the fray. Instead I gradually got back into the groove by downloading my vacation pictures. So through this journey that has seen me go from inept to skilled, I have learned one important thing. All things are good in moderation. Signing of for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Reading Room

Often movies are adaptations of books, but rarely are they about books. So the movie, The Reading Room, starring James Earl Jones was a wonderful surprise to me. The Reading Room is the story of a widower (Mr. Jones) who makes a promise to his dying wife that he will open a reading room in one of the downtown buildings he owns. She knew he would need something to fill the void when she was gone, and she believed that by sharing his extensive library and love of reading with others he would do just that.

Mr. Jones does indeed open a reading room; however, not all the neighborhood residents are happy with his presence there. He struggles to attract people to the room, he struggles with crime, and he struggles with those opposed to change even when that change is beneficial. The Reading Room is a movie that shows that although life is often difficult, something as basic as teaching a child to read can strengthen and rebuild an entire community.

I give this movie two thumbs up. Not only are the actors superb, but the message is as well. Reading is a key that opens many doors and offers everyone the opportunity to learn lessons of respect, loyalty, honesty, community, compassion, and most of all perseverance. So if you have yet to see The Reading Room, I suggest you check it out. Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mixed Feelings

My five year old daughter graduates from pre-school tonight. She will be resplendent in her white cap and gown, she will beautifully sing all the songs she has learned, and she will recite with gusto; but I have mixed feelings about the whole situation!

First of all, I want to know where the time went. This school year passed more quickly than water through a sieve. It seems that some silent monster devoured the days like hungry plants devour the rain. "How can this be?" I ask myself. Shouldn't these precious moments last much longer? And of course, I answer myself (but not out loud) with the reminder that nothing lasts forever. So I try and derive as much pleasure out of each day and each moment that I can.

Secondly, comes the knowledge that my daughter is becoming more and more independent, as she reminds me on a daily basis. "Mommy, I can do it myself," seems to be her new by-phrase. Part of me wants her to grow and learn and be independent knowing that I am helping raise someone who will one day be a responsible and productive part of society, but the other part of me wants her to still need my help. Part of me wants her to continue to look to me for the answers. Part of me is proud of every milestone and every new accomplishment, but part of me wishes I could stop time for a while. It's the age old struggle of letting go that every parent before me has gone through and every parent after me will go through.

So if I cry a tear of grief tonight for all the moments that are gone except in my loving memories don't feel too bad for me my friends. For surely before the night is over, another tear will follow. And that tear will be a tear of joy and gratitude that God has seen fit to allow my husband and I the privilege of raising such a beautiful, thoughtful, and bright child as our Emily! Signing of for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!