Approaching 64 and Still Young At Heart

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Young at heart!

In eight days, I turn sixty-four with the big sixty-five looming next year. Ordinarily, my birthdays go by without much thought.

When I turned fifty, I was at the National Square Dance Convention in Oklahoma City, OK and we turned a promotional After Party into a birthday party for me. It was the biggest party I’ve ever had. Jerry Junck and Mike Hogan, two caller friends, sang me “Happy Birthday” and serenaded me with a George Strait tune.

Mom wanted to do my 60th birthday up royal, but she died three months before, so it was a quiet observance in Branson, CO with family and friends.

As I face sixty-four and beyond, I wonder what my stacked up years mean–six decades. The world has changed drastically since 1953. From black and white TV to color–I remember the first time I saw a color TV with the brilliant peacock spreading her tail and a pan of the valley introducing “Big Valley.” Now I can hold an iPad in my hands and watch any TV show I want.

My first airplane flight at twenty was a champagne flight to San Diego. I felt like a queen and dressed up. A couple weeks ago, I flew to Virginia and wore capris and a t-shirt and was not served champagne.

Yet today, I feel so young. I dance 3-4 times a week and keep a busy schedule. I’m still active in retirement–actually busier than ever. I look in the mirror and scan my face. I don’t see any signs of aging–my colored red hair hides the scattered white and gray hairs that abound.

When my parents were in their sixties, they seemed so old, but that’s not me–not yet anyway!

The Hype Behind a Book Launch

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A Time to Grow Up FINAL COVER.jpeg

This last month has been emotionally exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I had my book professional edited by an editor at Reedsy.com and she did a fabulous job getting me my final edited manuscript the day she said she would with lots of personal suggestions to improve my book. She took a personal interest in it and the topic.

Getting the manuscript back on time and edited is so big to me because I went with a local editor on my When Will Papa Get Home? book and he didn’t meet the deadline–I had to push and push and then he didn’t do a stellar job of editing. There were LOTS of mistakes and I caught most of them on a final edit.

For this book, I had the cover created by fiverr.com and I was disappointed with the person I selected, but the cover finally turned out great. I had to keep delaying the publication date with createspace.com because of the repeated revisions that I had to do on the cover, but finally on Sunday it was a go.

I forgot this part yesterday and it is key:

I used Vellum software to format my print book and ebooks this time. The company originally just did ebooks but a couple weeks ago released Vellum 2.0 that did print copies. I love the way my book turned out, and it is so easy to use. I only have one complaint–I didn’t like that I couldn’t do my own indenting on the poetry section. I love to indent and indent again for emphasis. 

I have many of the pieces in place for the book launch:

  • An author’s web site
  • An author’s Facebook page
  • Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn accounts
  • I just put together a Goodreads Giveaway
  • A landing page to promote my book.
  • Email lists I just emailed and that I will continue to email.

I have a launch party set for June 21, so–WOW! It’s here!

Today, I breath a sigh of relief–another baby of mine is born. Now the work of marketing comes!

Balance

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Rocks Balanced

“Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being.”

Orison Swett Marden

Life is a balancing act for sure! In the busyness of 2017, I struggle the most with balance. I want to do it all, but wisdom of the ages says I can’t. If I focus on these things parts of my life–work, love and play–I will balance me more than anything.

Being retired, I thought it would be easy to deal with the work part, but I have so many interests and passions, I find myself working harder than when I was employed. I have learned to slow down some–my husband and I start most days off with Cribbage games during breakfast. This precious time starts my day the right way–not running to fulfill an obligation but to laugh and enjoy a sacred time of communion with my partner.

To love deeply requires that we are active. A dear friend of mine just lost her husband of 15 years to a motorcycle accident, and I found out this morning that she had to do the courageous act of pulling life support for him this last week–my whole body trembled as she shared this. My love for her and her family overflowed , and I felt almost nauseous with this sad, horrific turn of events. This afternoon I will go by and give her a hug and let her talk–actively loving her.

I love to play–my nature is to play, and I bring an enthusiastic heart to anything I do–whether it is editing my books, square dancing or just goofing off at home. Play feeds my soul in a way nothing else can.

Balancing all three of these areas makes my life rich and full–mastering the balancing act takes everything I have, but the rewards are immeasureable.

 

 

Do You Dare Write an Emotional Piece?

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I am at my Mom’s house in southeastern Colorado. She died four years ago, and I make a monthly trip here to check on things. 

Today I spent most of the afternoon and evening editing and revising a grief memoir I wrote about losing my Dad twenty-one years ago and my Mom four years ago. 

As I reread my work, I cried through Mom’s last days, sobbing when my husband, Lin, called. Reliving those grueling last days through my words and story brought it all back in vivid color and detail. I searched my old journals to verify I had dates and facts correct.

Do we dare write the personal, emotional piece that makes us vulnerable and bare? Do we risk ridicule and harsh words about our most intimate losses?

I’ve worked on this project off and on for four years and plan to publish it in June.  Yes, I dare to share this part of my life with the world because I really feel I have a message from my grief–I grew up to be the women I always wanted to be!

Harmony

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harmony

This continues my series of Words Matter.

Often when I think of harmony, I first think of music–Barbershop Quartets, Sweet Adeline’s, and the OakRidge Boys. That sweet, harmonious sound thrills my soul. How do they do it? It seems so simple, but is it?

There’s so much more to that simple word. Look at four definitions of harmony:

  1. agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
  2. a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
  3. In music:  any simultaneous combination of tones, the simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished, from melody and rhythm.the science of the structure, relations, and practical combination of chords.
  4. an arrangement of the contents of the Gospels, either of all four or of the first three, designed to show their parallelism, mutual relations,and differences.

These definitions all have something in common: something in agreement or accord.

Harmony in the world is a lofty goal. I want harmony in my life–the inner landscape of my life where I really live. To realize this, I have to train my voice (my spirit and soul) to listen to those around me and blend in with their tones and nuances. That’s where I get stuck sometimes, but I dedicate myself to be aware of that possibility and give it a try.

More so, I have to listen to my differing inner voices and be in harmony with them in my mind, so I can be more harmonious with those who around me that grace my world. If, I am in discord with my inner landscape, I will be the same in my outer landscape.

I want harmony in every aspect of that inner life–a mesh of all the different parts that fill my busy life. Let’s see what you think about harmony: do you think about being in harmony with family and friends? are you in harmony with yourself? do you harmonize or are your relationships off key?

Share your thoughts with me–I’m interested in your thoughts and remember–words matter!

Where Are the Readers?

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I am sitting at a craft fair at one of the top schools in our city trying to sell my books. The visual aversion people have to books is remarkable. I bet that 2/3 of the people I have offered a free bookmark to have refused. 

Where have all the readers gone? I offer historical fiction, memoir and non-fiction.  The most interest is in a cookbook series I created from my Mom’s recipes. The intrigue is in the fact that I scanned in her recipe cards but no buyers.

I self-publish my books and thought that Arts & craft fairs would be a good venue for selling–especially at a school,  it I had a similar experience last year at the top school here. 

Any suggestions?

Words Matter – Authentic

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authentic

A friend of mine several years ago shared with me that more than anything she wanted to be authentic. That resonated to the depth of my soul, but what did it mean? I knew the meaning of the word, but what did that mean for me, in my every day life.

Being authentic is a goal of mine today. I want my inside world to match my outside appearance to the world. For many years, I judged my insides by your outer appearance and I always came up lacking. I saw you as beautiful, happy and peaceful. I looked inside and saw none of that in me. That is no longer the case.

After many years of searching, maturity and spiritual growth have resolved that disconnect, and I am glad because one of the wonderful by-products of this quest is a deep serenity–a feeling I had never felt before in my life.

Look in that beautiful little girl in the photo above. She appears happy and a little shy but certainly OK with herself. So today I aspire to be as authentic as this child–to love deeply and freely, to giggle and laugh at tiny things and large things, and to run wildly through my life being me.

In the end, the only person I can be is Larada and that’s enough today.

My next word will be harmony–what does that conjure up in your mind?

Check out my web site: http://larada.wix.com/author