You Got To Love Kids

Last night I wanted to eat out. I was tired of my own cooking. I went to a bar and grill, waited ten minutes and never got waited on. The server passed me several times and did nothing more than give me a dirty look. I walked out. No problem.

I went to a bar and grill, waited ten minutes and never got waited on. The server passed me several times and did nothing more than give me a dirty look. I walked out. No problem.

Went to a second restaurant and the parking lot was so full I couldn’t park. Okay, a bit frustrating, but carried on.

Found to the third place to eat and it was closed down. Now I’m wondering what is going on. What is the reason for this to happen like this?

I found an IHOP. Boring, but better than the first three places. I got seated behind a family of three. Mom, Dad and a boy probably about five years old.

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I haven’t ordered yet when I watched he evidently did something wrong. I watch-ed how his mother got him out of the booth (dragged him would be a more accurate description) and walked him to the bathroom to get washed up. I could see food on his hand.

When she came back with the boy, she informs Dad, they need to go to the car to take a break. “He didn’t listen to me while in the restroom,” she said.

As she is putting the jacket on the teary-eyed boy, I’m making faces at him to make him smile. He at least found it entertaining, and Mom caught me and smiled, though, her son didn’t see it. They got back in less than five minutes later and everything was fine. Acted like nothing ever happened. Honestly, I was impressed with the attitude of the parents.

I went back to my salad and not long after I hear this sweet voice say; “Hi. My name is Liam. what’s your name?”

I look up and see this beautiful toe-headed kid looking at me with these huge blue eyes with this most expectant look on his face. He really expected an answer from me. Again, I was impressed with the attitude of the boy.

I said; “My name is Jim.”

Liam: “That’s his name,” pointing to his father.

Me: “Holy wow! That is so cool.” He giggled and turned to his plate and continued eating.I paid my bill and got up to leave. I said to Liam; “You make sure to take care of Mom and Dad, okay?” I wanted to go on, but he interrupted me.

I paid my bill and got up to leave. I said to Liam; “You make sure to take care of Mom and Dad, okay?” I wanted to go on, but he interrupted me.

Pointing to his father again, he said; “We went to Seattle.”

Me: “You did? Did you fly there?” Seattle is less than fifty miles from Tacoma.

He laughed and said: “No. My dad drove me up there.”

We talked back and forth for a little while, parents smiling their approval. Then I said; “Well Liam, I gotta go. You take care.”

He sat there with the proudest look on his face waving and I don’t know why.

As I walked away, it dawned on me; Liam was the reason why I wound up at IHOP. I can’t help to believe that we were supposed to meet that day. My only hope is that some day soon that reason will reveal itself.

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A Deeper Meaning

All together, too many times relationships fall apart. And I know, I’ve said this on other occasions. But it’s one of those topics that just doesn’t have one answer to it.

I hope and believe, we as human beings are looking for that one soul mate to spend the rest of our lives with. But … how do you know that you have that “one”?

Well, it’s explained in the title of the connection you are looking for. “Soul”. A soul connection is a very rare thing, I’m sorry to say. But to get t the bottom of any question, all one has to do is ask “why”.

So, here you are on your journey on finding that “one”. What is your first move? Describe what you are looking for and write it down so it is solid on paper. Perhaps you could hold it in your mind also.

Why? If you don’t know what you are looking for, how do you know what to look for?

You go out and meet people in your everyday life and you meet that “someone” you think may be the “one”. Come to find out, almost upon meeting something clicks between you two and you have made a connection. And it’s not on some physical level. It is something that transcends time, space and matter.

Why would you look for someone like that? Because we are not physical beings. We are spiritual beings. We are more than people of this world. Believe it or not, we are connected to the universe in some manner.

Think about it. Do you believe for one second that all the possessions the millionaires and billionaires have are making them happy? Not on your life! Granted, they don’t have any financial pressures, but they do have financial problems hanging on to their money. Then again, some have so much money they give it away! It’s all physical and meaningless once you have an over abundance.

So, let’s say you’ve found that “one” you have been searching for. Before too long, you start ending each other’s sentences for the other. Or, even weirder yet, you start the other’s thought. You do things at the same time and the cosmological events just  keep on rolling! And I have witnessed one or two relationships like that.

But what if that doesn’t happen for you? Here’s the good part. Look for it in the other person. Here’s the hard part (not bad part). Slow down. Take your time at this stage. Listen to what the other person is truly saying. Is that person speaking in vague terms? Or are they saying what is on their minds? Are they answering your questions or are in line with your comments and stories? Or do they go off on some tangent that has nothing to what you are talking about?

How serious do they take themselves? One of the secrets in life (at least that’s what I like to call it), is not taking yourself too seriously. What I mean by that is if you do something wrong; let’s say drop a plate of spaghetti on the floor, how upset are you? Are you angry at you? Or do you think; I can clean this up and get another plate.” Is that how you react? Is that how the one you are looking at reacts?

People who take things too seriously are said to be egotistical. They beat their chest and claim; I can do no wrong. Should I do wrong, I am no good at anything! or something to that nature.

That’s a black light in a relationship. Look for white lights. People who are lighthearted in life. Someone, and this is one of those kickers, who is helpful to others. Someone who thinks of others first and yet is not some door mat. Someone who can forgive themselves for messing up once in a while. That just might be the “one” you are looking for.

Above all, keep this in mind; Nobody is perfect. Did I really have to say that? But every now and then I need to be reminded of that.

If Only

I was sitting on my rocker one gloomy afternoon. Heard voices going through the back of my mind and weird pictures going through my head. Indescribably weird. It was like I was trying to put together a puzzle with no sensible clues or pieces that didn’t have pieces that matched or fit together.

Suddenly a sound exploded in my head.

“Papa?”

I’m sure that my eyes started to flutter.

“Papa? You sleeping?” It came across a little softer that time.

My eyes opened but only barely a slit. I looked over the frames of my spectacles and saw a blurry figure in front of me.

“Did you know you were sleeping, Papa?”

I removed the spectacles and wiped the sleep from my face.

“I guess not, Andrea,” I said as I returned the spectacles to my nose.

“How can you do that, Papa?”

“Oh,” I said sagely, “when you are as old and tired as ole Papa, you just go to sleep for a while.”

I felt kind of embarrassed. So to shore up the ‘Papa pedestal’ my granddaughter had me on I followed up with this; “I don’t always fall asleep and don’t know it. Sometimes I want to go to sleep and I do.”

The ‘smarter than needs to be’ seven-year-old giggled in a little girl manner. “Yeah, but Papa, it’s only three o’clock. How can you be tired now?”

I picked up the precious little angel and sat her on my lap. I kissed her on  top of the head. She looked up at me with huge brown eyes as if I was going to say something world changing or something.

“You just wait, dear little one. Someday you’ll be old like Papa. Then it’ll be your turn to fall asleep and take naps in the middle of the day.”

“You’re funny, Papa,” she giggled in utter innocense.

“Really? Why’s that?”

“Because I won’t grow old. I’ll stay young aaaallllll my life.”

I thought to myself; If only… Then I posed this question to her.

“What is the oldest you will ever be, baby angel?”

She put her finger to her chin. She thought and she thought. I pretended to go back to sleep complete with a snore. Andie tried tickling my belly to which I burst out with a fake laugh. She laughed with me thinking she got the best of me.

After we settled down, I asked to get her back on track; “Now, what is the oldest you will ever be?”

She knitted her delicate brow returning her finger to her chin. Finally, she burst out; “Twenty-five!” A moment past. “No. Wait. That’s too old. Isn’t that how old Mommy is?”

I smiled at her warmly. “No, no. Mommy is a few years older than that. But not by much. Okay?”

“All right. But how old is Mommy then?”

I fought the urge to laugh. “Do you want to be as old as Mommy?”

“Not if she’s too old. I think I’d rather be younger than Mommy.”

“Then what is the perfect age to be, Andie?”

“Fifteen.”

“Why fifteen?”

“Because Mommy always talks about being ‘sweet sixteen and never been kissed’. I figure right after their sixteenth birthday girls will kiss a boy. I don’t want to kiss boys. They’re yucky! So, I will stay at fifteen. That way I’ll never have to kiss a boy the day after my sixteenth birthday.”

“You’re a good girl, Andie.”

The Beauty of Goals

We started a new year five days ago. And as always, we all, if not most of us, made resolutions.

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Mine is to write 2000 words a day on my project six days a week. But it’ll probably turn out to be seven days a week but I won’t feel guilty if it is six days. And I have to tell  you, it changed everything in my writing. It gave me purpose and though I hate to use this word, it gave me dedication. “Dedication” to me sounds like a cruel word for some reason. Every time I hear the word I almost hear a whip crack. But it changed my attitude towards writing. And after just a few days of sitting down and writing with a goal to reach, writing became so much easier. The story is getting done faster and in a more organized fashion.

Before, I had the attitude that there is always tomorrow to get a few more pages done. And I’d go slacking off doing nothing with my life. Another day wasted. I made a promise to another author that I had to stop that attitude. Then I gulped hard wondering how I was going to do that. To be honest, at first, it sounded like empty words. Even to me! After thinking about it, I decided that it wasn’t going to be that way. So for the next few nights, I sat at my laptop and did the math on how many words had to be accomplished. It wasn’t hard at all. As a matter of fact, I never did 2000 words. I always did more than 2000 words. The first time I did it, I was shocked. I felt so accomplished for the first time in a long time.

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I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this because I know how difficult it is at times to get motivated to write. Honestly, I wasn’t. At least not every night (or day). Having a goal to reach before opening up that file is a motivator. And should be used as one every day you need to write.

Another goal everyone should have is a date as to when your project is to be published. Give yourself a deadline. Otherwise, nothing happens. Not only give yourself a deadline but tell someone what that deadline is. Have them hold you to it. Make yourself answerable to that person.

Education is a great thing to have. Take about an hour to read somebody who is an award-winning author who had a blog/vlog or some kind of teaching tool to give you the know-how to do what you want to do. Do that every day if you can. It may not be as important as you writing, but it is important that you know your craft. Especially grammar. But, much to my surprise, I learned there is a formula to writing.

Certain things have to happen at different stages of the story. Your protagonist has to be crushed by the antagonist at a certain interval in your story. You have to know what to do if the storyline changes. And believe me, that’s a surprise to you when you’re writing and the story goes into a different direction than you planned. I wonder to myself; How did that happen?? Because it wasn’t in the outline.

Now I have to rewrite the previous scenes before it or rewrite the outline. Ouch!

 

Living Together

It is common that people, these days decide to live together before getting married. I’ve known enough couples who have done this. It seems that the younger the couples are, the quicker moving in and cohabitating happens.

I’ve seen people in their twenties do this, I’ve seen couples in their thirties do this.

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It appears to me that the question on how long a relationship lasts all depends on how mature the couple is and when in the relationship this decision is made. It’s not marriage, yet, it’s still a serious decision that needs careful weighing.

Back in the 1990s, couples stayed together longer if they cohabitated first. For some reason, that has changed. People are more secure if they wait until after they are married to live together. The secret is that the couple has to make a specific commitment to live together in order to make it work.

The questions that should be thought about are, for instance; Why do you want to live together? Do you honestly see us as a life long couple? How are we going to do this in a fair, manageable way?

A good thing to think about is how did the relationship begin. Was it a “hook-up”? Or was that person someone who you truly wanted to get to know and develop something meaningful with? Because, if you saw that person and you felt your face light up and your heart skipped and you wanted to be more than you are before you saw him/her, chances are pretty good that you found the person you were looking for. Now the thing to do is talk.

Don’t get me wrong, no one is saying that living together is wrong or bad. It does have it’s advantages. Living together will let you both know how the other person is when relaxed in the home environment. Habits are discovered that were totally unexpected. (And aren’t you glad to know that he really does pick his nose and leaves it on the side of the leather chair?) The discoveries are limitless, not to mention surprising. Who knows, they may even disappoint. But that’s what relationships are about. And you have to either overlook and forgive or you may want to move on. Hopefully, you can do the former as opposed to the latter.

Before writing this blog, I did some reading on marriage from www.nationalmarriageproject.org

I didn’t want this to be a stat sheet. So I went on my own observations on other couples I know who are living together. I can tell you on one couple who have been living together for almost fifteen years. It is unfortunate that the relationship is, in my opinion, a disaster. And for some reason, they grind it out. I also know others that are doing great.

There are a lot of variables in making a relationship work. But that’s just it. It takes work whether you are in a marriage, or just thinking about getting married. Work hard at it, but work together as a single unit.

 

Open People’s Minds

I’m sitting here at my desk wondering what to write about. I’m searching inside me looking for what is moving me tonight. What is on my mind? The only answer I come up with is; People.

People become relationships in our lives. And the strange thing is; some you like and some you don’t.

I asked myself “why?” There are a lot of answers to that question. To point out all the reasons would not only bore you, it would be pointless. But I would like to talk about one thing I read today and it struck home for me. Then I experienced it tonight when I went to my daughter’s house for dinner tonight.

Have you ever got into a conversation and the person you spoke with said something that you didn’t agree with? Think back to your reaction. Did you try to convince that person how wrong they were? And if you did, how did that person react to you? Did they come around to your way of thinking? I’m willing to bet not.

We all have egos and pride. Even the humblest person has an ego and pride. To be told we are wrong solidifies the idea in our mind we are more right than ever. To be told we are wrong is an attack on our mental well-being. Who likes to be wrong?

randomhouse.com.au Author of How To Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie explains in an ingenious way to persuade people to change their opinion, ideas, what have you. Tell the person this; “Perhaps I’m wrong, and many times I am. Maybe I need clarification on something. But let’s look at the facts.”

More times than not, those words work wonders with people. People become humble and even try to help you in your point of view at times.

Guys, use this on your wife. Don’t try to be right all  the time. Use this to get her to relax and open her mind a little. Ladies, use this too. Use that line and hold hands while talking. Whenever there’s a disagreement, sit down and hold hands while talking about the disagreement. But I just went off to another conversation.

This statement can be used in any situation at any level.

Look, everyone, all I’m trying to say is there are ways to get along if you keep the other’s person’s feelings in mind. And I’m not talking about Political Correctness in this blog. All I’m talking about is using good manners and a little consideration.

But if something has to be said and it may upset the other person you are speaking with, say it as delicately as possible. Remind yourself how you may feel if something like that was said to you.

To get back to my dinner story; I was telling the lady of the house of a book I was reading that was based on tablets found back in the 1950s. The gentleman of the house immediately went into the interrogation on the substance and accuracy of the book.

Had he known this secret of opening people’s mind, we could have had a more pleasant conversation.

 

On Outlining

As I mentioned, I’m working on my second novel. The first one I accomplished in a style called “pantsing”. That’s when you sit and write by the seat of your pants. Hence, pantsing. My Angel of Angels was a disaster! It started in one location and the story should have gone back to the opening scene and wound up in “whoknowswheresville”. And I did it after being told by two people that I should outline the entire story. Awww, what do they know about me? I know what I’m doing. I showed them.

When the mistake was pointed out to me, and after my embarrassment waned, I just laughed at myself. Then, rewrote the book five times before I was satisfied with it.

Which brings me to my point. Outlining. If you want to streamline your novel, outline. It keeps your thoughts collected. It will save you a ton of work in the long run. Some writers will take as long as two or three months to get it right. It’s amazing what comes to mind when outlining and writing.

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I’ve run across stories where authors will outline their story and then start the project. Somewhere along the line, a fantastic idea springs into their mind and they use that idea instead of what they have in the outline. Then go back and update the outline. But that’s all part of writing. Some people think it’s never ending. But it’s not. As a matter of fact, when a project is done, it’s both a relief and a disappointment. We celebrate the accomplishment and mourn the fact that we are done and won’t see those characters again. Unless, of course, there’s a sequel.

Now, if you’re sitting there wondering how one outlines, I have to break it to you gently. There is no wrong way to do that. Just start writing giving you story shape and form. But … oh yes, there’s that dreaded but, it would be a great idea to figure out who your reader target is. Are they children? Young Adults? People between twenty and forty-five? Seniors? Who do you want to read your story?

List your main characters next and give a full description of their personality. And this may constantly grow as the storyline grows. And I mean create a detailed description of how they think and act. Weaknesses and strengths. How do they look? Does a person have a mole on the corner of their mouth? A wart on their nose or hand? Do they limp? The list can go on and on. But get it down so you know what your characters can and can not do.

I keep hearing authors advise; make sure the person is relatable. I don’t think that means the reader has to like the person, they just have to understand the hows and whys of the character.

The reader will like the protagonist more than the antagonist. But the reader should at least find something to admire in the antagonist. Just a little something that gets the reader to think; okay, maybe he’s not so bad all the time.

I read a book last month where the antagonist was a hired gunman. He killed the protagonist’s girlfriend’s son. A ten-year-old boy. It turns out that the antagonist has a twelve-year-old boy himself. And I caught myself thinking; He’s not such a bad guy if he can love a child.

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There were some very touching scenes between the gunman and his son and a small part of me rooted for the bad guy just a bit.

This is just a quick synopsis of outlining. There are a lot of books that explain how to do this in detail. I will advise this, though, Keep it fun, keep it simple and don’t stop honing. It pays off in the long run. Outlining done well is what makes good ideas great stories.