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Turn the NOW into the NEW June 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Mindfulness.
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Huey,-Dewey-And-LouieReclaiming our sense of “alert curiosity” turns the Now into the New.

We see things as they are, without the overlay of stale judgment and past experience.

We claim a different perspective and vantage point.

We turn the world on its head.

We question and ponder as we wonder and wander.

Tip:  It’s helpful to have a sprinkling of children around ~ their inherent sense of wonder is contagious.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Living life without curiosity is like trying to go hot air ballooning in a deflated balloon.

Related post: Childhood Encounters (Candid Impressions) * Observing Life With Alert Curiosity

The Shadows of Times Past June 29, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
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IMGP3617bWhen we interact with friends, family, and casual acquaintances, memories of our shared history often creep into the “present moment.”

We don’t see who they are “now” without the view being just a bit obscured by the shadows of who they were “yesterday.”

* Fond memories forge a stronger bond, making us feel close.

* Less stellar memories of “bad behavior” may make us feel aloof.

When someone dies, memories linger ~ the shadows of times past.

We keep these shadowy legacies “alive” by bookmarking them with cherished photographs, letters, cards, and all manner of sentimental objects.

But, if we try to live in the shadows with these ghosts, life loses vibrancy and becomes clouded and tinged with gray.


The overlay of treasured memories occludes our view of today.  Instead of being Here, Now . . . we are There, Then.

And that is no place to be.


Step out of the shadows of times past.

Let the light shine!

In the NOW . . . you’ll find the NEW.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  The Treasure of Memories (Christine M. Grote)

Where are you most of the time?

Here, now . . . or there, then?

* * * * *

Artwork by Marlane Wurzbach ~ available at Marlane Wurzbach.com.

Some Timely Advice June 28, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Less IS More, Travel & Leisure.
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Wikipedia ~ The Time Machine (in Public Domain)

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself two things:

1. Don’t buy a bunch of STUFF that you need to store, dust, or insure against natural and man-made disasters.

2. What THEY think of you is none of your business.

* * * * *

Excellent!  Here’s the Time Capsule.  Step lively, now.  No time to waste.

That’s it.  All strapped in.  Perfect.

OK . . . let’s set the coordinates.  Where shall we head?  What year should we visit?

Ah, back in time to your teens.  Brilliant!

And what will Today’s You tell Yesterday’s You when we arrive?

Aah . . . that’s better!

If Time Travel became all the rage . . . would you indulge?

If so, where and when would you head ~ forward? backward? within your lifetime?  farther back?

Related post:  5 Steps to Stop Worrying What People Think of You (Raptitude)

*SNAP* . . . Ginger Scones! June 27, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Home & Garden, Humor.
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IMGP3008bI enjoy experimenting in the kitchen.

Once, while baking Ginger Snaps for a party, I substituted a few key ingredients.  When the Snaps came out of the oven, they didn’t “snap.”

I shared them anyway . . . calling them Ginger Scones.

How’s that for Yankee Ingenuity?

Since I could not re-create the experiment if I tried, I’ll share my Great Aunt Edie’s recipe for Ginger Snaps and see if you can transform them into yummy “Ginger Scones.”

If you succeed, please send me your recipe.

Ginger Snaps

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger

Cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and egg. Beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients. Beat until smooth.

Roll into small balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Aah . . . that’s yummy!

Have you experienced any notable experiments in the kitchen?  Did they result in Happy Accidents or Dismal Disasters?

Did you have to call for back up?

Do tell!

Related posts:  Good is Good Enough (Love Out Loud) * Ginger Biscuits (Grannymar)

10 Things To Do Between Queries June 26, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Life Balance, Writing & Writers.
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Wikipedia ~ Publishing (in Public Domain)

The best thing about traditional publishing is all the “free time” you’ll have while waiting to hear back from queried agents and publishers.  Here are 10 Things To Do Between Queries:

(1) Relax . . . Time Is On Your Side ~ many best-selling  American novels of the past 50 years have been penned by authors in their 50′s, 60′s and 70′s.

(2) Crunch the Numbers ~ compare author royalties from e-books with those the author receives from traditional print publications.

(3) Read articles about best-selling authors who fielded mountains of rejections before hitting it big ~ Louis L’Amour (350 rejections), John Creasy (774 rejections), Jack London (600 rejections), John Grisham (15 publishers and 30 agents turned down A Time To Kill), Dr. Seuss (27 publishers rejected his first book), Margaret Mitchell (25 publishers turned down Gone With The Wind), etc.

Wikipedia ~ Klondike Gold Rush (in Public Domain)

(4) Crunch more Numbers ~ writers opting for traditional publishing face long odds, but landing in a slush pile is better than dying in a pile of slush!

(5) Consider conflicting advice about writing ~ e.g., “If you write, you need a blog to promote your work” vs.  “If you blog, you’ll have no time to write.”

(6) Enjoy your Anonymity ~ As authors attract a fan base, they also attract negative attention from stalkers, crazed fans, hangers-on, and jealous idiots sending hate mail.

(7) Read success stories about authors who self-published ~ Richard Nelson Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute?, James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy, Strunk & White, The Elements of Style, John Grisham, A Time To Kill, Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box, plus . . . Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Benjamin Franklin, Rudyard Kipling, Henry David Thoreau, Anais Nin, Thomas Paine, etc.

(8) Eavesdrop on the Rooftop Literati ~ profit-hungry publishers know that ”name brand” authors sell books.  But times they are a-changing . . .

(9) Consider more conflicting advice ~ “Carve out a narrow niche” vs. “You must not bore your readers.  Variety is the spice of life.”


(10) Learn to Toot Your Own Horn ~ or, if you really want to garner attention at the next Book Fair . . . learn to play the bagpipes!

Bonus Tip:  Wear a kilt!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Self-doubt, self-publishing, and other selfish writer-isms (Eric J. Baker) * One Year Later ~ Self-Publishing Review (Christine M. Grote) * How to Promote Your Book For FREE (Global Mysteries) * How to Do an Author’s Book Event (Global Mysteries) *  What to do When a Publisher Rejects Your Novel  (Global Mysteries) * How to Make an E-Book Using Open Office * The Thrill of Victory & The Agony of Defeat!

Self-Publishing ~ Pros and Cons June 25, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Writing & Writers.
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IMGP4187There are two main avenues (with lots of cross streets, thoroughfares, and traffic to traverse) when you’re ready to publish your words as a book or e-book:

* Find a publisher

* Be a publisher

Both approaches have Pros . . . and Cons.

When you self-publish, you have complete control over the process ~ from the title of your book, to its length, to the design you select for the cover.

You get to call all the shots.

You don’t have to send queries to agents or publishers to get them to sign on to the project.  Once you’re satisfied that your words flow in the intended direction, you can upload to Create Space on Amazon (or elsewhere) and send your words out to the World.

On the downside, if you self-publish:

(1) You won’t receive the external validation that comes from hearing an agent and/or publisher say they believe in the worth of your words enough to invest time and energy in marketing your book.

Who needs them?

If your book sales skyrocket, you’ll receive even more potent validation directly from readers (or the Academy!) ~> “you like me, you really like me.”

(2) You won’t get the benufit of professhunal etiding unless you higher someone to fill that roll for you.

(3) You have to wear three hats ~ writer, publisher, and agent.  For writers who are already borderline schizophrenic, this can be a real challenge.  They must struggle to quiet the voices in their heads long enough to come up with a viable marketing plan, handle press releases (to create a buzz), and set up book signings.

If this is a problem for you, here’s the solution:  Assign each role (writer, publisher, agent) to a different voice or character.  Let them brainstorm together while you go out and get donuts.

Despite its challenges, self-publishing is a legitimate tradition which allows authors to make more money, get to press sooner, and maintain complete control of their work.

Need more convincing?

Many well-known and/or best-selling authors have self-published ~ Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Benjamin Franklin, Rudyard Kipling, Henry David Thoreau, Anais Nin, Thomas Paine, etc..

Here’s a few contemporary examples:

* Richard Nelson Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute?

* James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy ~ over 5.5 million copies sold

* Strunk & White, The Elements of Style

* John Grisham, A Time To Kill ~ first sold out of the trunk of his car

* Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box ~ later sold to Simon & Schuster for $4.2 million

If they can do it, so can you.  (Once you quiet those voices in your head.)

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Truths About Self-Publishing (Linda Cassidy Lewis) * Self-doubt, self-publishing, and other selfish writer-isms (Eric J. Baker) * One Year Later ~ Self-Publishing Review (Christine M. Grote) * How to Make an E-Book Using Open Office * The Thrill of Victory & The Agony of Defeat!

And from Global Mysteries:  How to Promote Your Book For FREE * How to Do an Author’s Book Event * What to do When a Publisher Rejects Your Novel 

Do You Tweet? June 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Writing & Writers.
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Ringling Museum 006bSo . . . we’re down to the wire on the vote for Kate.

I don’t Twitter, so I can’t drum up support that way.  If you do, can you send out a final Tweet on her behalf?

She’s in the TOP TEN but only by a few votes.  Not much of a margin for error.  And the vote closes in about 5 hours.

Voting is easy!  Just a two click process.

CLICK HERE and you’re in!

* Click VOTE next to Kate’s name and you’re done.

No log in required!

Any last minute support you can provide would be GREAT!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Love The Scots June 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Word Play.
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Bono, lead singer of the rock band U2, is famous for being somewhat self-righteous.

At a recent U2 concert in Glasgow, Scotland, Bono asked the audience for total quiet.

Then, in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands, once every few seconds.

Holding the audience in total silence, he leaned into the microphone and said, “Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies.”

From the front of the crowd a voice with a broad Scottish accent pierced the quiet . . .

“Well, fooking stop doing it then, ya evil bastard!

Source: e-mail from an unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

* * * * *

Today is the LAST day to vote for Kate.  She is in the Top Ten right now, but #11 is only 21 votes behind her . . . so she needs YOUR vote!

It’s easy!  Just a two click process.  CLICK HERE and you’re in!  Click VOTE next to Kate’s name and you’re done.  No log in required!

Ach . . . that’s better!

Dream the “Impossible” Dream June 23, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
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Kirk’s post about Ignoring Naysayers hit a home run in my book.

In it, Kirk shared the following quote (from an ad for Adidas, of all things):

Impossible is just a big word
thrown around by small men
who find it easier to live
in the world they’ve been given
than to explore the power they have to change it. 

Impossible is not a fact.  It’s an opinion.
Impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare.

Impossible is potential. 
Impossible is temporary. 
Impossible is nothing.

So, go ahead . . . dream the impossible dream!

To read the entire post:  Naysayers and Dumb Ideas

Along the same lines is one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets:

Listen to the mustn’ts child. Listen to the don’ts.
Listen to the shouldn’t haves, the impossibles, the won’ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me.
Mickey-Ta-DaaaAnything can happen child.  Anything can be.

~ Shel Silverstein

For another brilliant poem about ignoring the impossibles ~ Shame on “Should” (I Am Who I Am).

Aah . . . that’s better!

What “impossible” dreams have you harbored?  Did you make them come true?

And speaking of dreams . . . have you swung by to vote for Kate yet?  If not, please do ~ CLICK HERE! No log in required!

Related Posts: Water Over The Dam * Live Your Life * Free To Be . . . Me * Access Your Inner Wisdom * Doubt * Gradual Change * Our Deepest Fear * Life Lessons ~ Randy Pausch * The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch)

Why It’s OK To Skip Breakfast June 22, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Mindfulness.
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3D-CowMom proffered the standard (for then) advice:

* “Drink your milk.”
* “Eat your meat.”
* “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

Turns out that milk and meat aren’t good for us, and not everyone needs breakfast.

The three meal a day concept stems from our largely agrarian past, when families lived and worked on farms.  People who got up and did hours of chores every morning needed breakfast.

Even today, those who live on family farms work long hours. Just ask Cecilia.  Physical labor requires lots of fuel to keep our bodies going.

Most farmers NEED three hearty meals a day.

So do ditch-diggers, linemen, linebackers, street-walkers, and other manual laborers.

Donald-DirectorBut many of us sit on our butts to do our jobs.  We don’t walk to work, school, or to do the shopping.  We don’t haul water for miles or hunt bison on foot.

We are sedentary.

If, like me, the only manual labor you perform in the morn is pressing keys on a computer keyboard, you don’t need to belly up to a big breakfast.

Unless . . . you are HUNGRY.

People are different.  Some people wake up hungry.  Like BFF.  These folks should listen to their tummies and eat breakfast soon after they get up.  If not, tummy rumbles are apt to be distracting . . . to them and to us.

Listening to our bodies is key.  Our bodies know what we need.

If you aren’t hungry first thing in the morning, feel free to ignore mom’s well-meaning advice.  Wait until your body signals that it needs re-fueling before filling your gas tank.

Dollar-BillsIf I had a dollar for every time mom intoned, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” I could afford to eat out for a full year . . . breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

But I’d still skip breakfast.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Eat when hungry.  Sleep when tired.

Related posts:  Breakfast Myths * 7 Reasons You Should NOT Eat Breakfast