Monday, January 30, 2017

A Healthy Dessert

Like everyone else at the beginning of a new year, I'm trying to eat healthier. I don't normally eat dessert or a snack after dinner except on Thursday nights. Thursday is my guilty pleasure TV watching night. I love to watch Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Part of that guilty pleasure is having a bowl of ice cream while I'm watching Grey's. Since I'm trying to watch what I eat, ice cream is out. A friend who doesn't like ice cream shared her recipe for frozen yogurt. It's easy to make and quite good so I thought I'd share it here.

Mango Frozen Yogurt

1 pound ripe mango, chopped
1 1/4 cups low-fat peach yogurt
2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar

Put the chopped mango in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Add the two types of yogurt. Mix until well combined. Add enough sugar to sweeten. Taste after each addition so it doesn't end up too sweet.

Pour into a shallow plastic container. Place an empty bowl into the freezer for use later in the recipe. Cover and freeze for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until mixture has a mushy consistency. Transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl you put in the freezer earlier and beat the mixture until smooth. Return the mixture to the plastic container, cover, and freeze until the mixture is firm.

Serve in small ice cream bowls.  (You can move the container to the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving to make it easier to serve.)

Friday, January 27, 2017

This I know for sure...

At Christmas, my niece gave me a beautiful painting that she did. I want to get it framed, but every place I've taken it to have it professionally framed has told me that any frame style I choose will cover at minimum an inch of the painting on every side.

Normally an inch isn't that big, but the painting covers the entire surface of the canvas and covering even such a small amount on each side will take away from the design of the painting. So I have a dilemma - have it framed and hope it doesn't take away from the painting too badly or hang it without being framed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I did 37 additional pages of revisions on Honor Bound last week. About half of those were newly written material.

Quote of the Week: “We have more strength than will; and it is often in order to excuse ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible.” ~ La Rochefoucauld

What I'm reading: I'm reading Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter by Diane Kelly. This is the 10th book in the Tara Holloway series. 

Random Things: I did very little pleasure reading in November and December, mainly due to lack of time during the holiday season. I missed it more than I realized now that I'm back to having the time to read. 

Random Photo of the Week:  

     Somebody's new favorite spot - The ledge along the stairs leading to the second floor.
 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Newsletters

I've been hearing a lot lately that one of the most important things a writer can do to build an audience is to send out a newsletter. I don't do a newsletter and am wondering if I should be.

I don't mainly because I'm not sure where I would find the time to put one together, what content I'd have to put in one, and who I would send it to.

I don't like the idea of making people sign up for a newsletter as a condition of winning a book, gift card, or the like just so I can collect email addresses to send a newsletter to them. I know this is a popular way of building a list to send the newsletter to. I've signed up for other newsletters (not just from authors) so I can get a free download of a software program, instructional ebook, and to be entered in various contests. Guess what, I rarely if ever open those newsletters that I'm forced to sign up for. I usually delete them as soon as they show up in my email. I just don't have the time to read umpteen newsletters every week. I use the time I do have reading the newsletters I signed up for voluntarily.

How about you? If you're a writer, do you send out a newsletter? If you're a reader, do you read newsletters that you had to sign up for to get something?

Friday, January 20, 2017

This I know for sure...

One of the things I'm attempting to do in 2017 is keep a gratitude journal. I did it a few years ago, but haven't done it since. I've seen photos of gratitude journals with the pages decorated with photos, pictures, quotes both biblical and not, and other items. Some have beautiful covers, are bound like a book, and some are made of hand tooled leather. I feel kind of like a fraud calling mine a journal since it's just a one subject notebook. I tell myself I'm a beginner so I can graduate to the other type in the future. Really, I'm just telling myself that so I'll feel better. :o)

Each day I write down three things that I'm grateful for that day. It doesn't necessarily have to be something that happened that day, just something I'm feeling grateful for on that day. I say attempting to keep the journal because I've already forgotten to do it a couple of times when I first started. I am doing better though.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? If so, what do you use for yours?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I went through the first 75 pages of Honor Bound and make a few minor changes. It feels good to be writing again.

Quote of the Week: "When you know what you want, and want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it." -Jim Rohn

What I'm reading: I just started First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I love her books.

Random Things: It really does make a difference if you make a plan for your week. I find that if I plan out my week on Saturday evenings or Sunday afternoons for the coming week, I accomplish so much more than if I just try to fit everything in when I can instead of having it scheduled for a specific day and time.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                Not a photo, but I love this and wanted to share it.
  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Perseverance - My word for 2017

I'm good at setting goals. I set yearly, quarterly, and sometimes even monthly goals. Yet most of the time, I don't meet the goals I set.

Could it be cause I'm the only one holding me accountable and if I don't meet the stated goal, there are no repercussions? Life just goes on as it did before the goal deadline date came and went. As much as I hate to admit it, that makes me seem either lazy or not very determined to be published on a regular basis. And I do want that, especially as my mom grows older. I want to have the freedom to spend as much time with her as I can and not be tied to a desk at a day job when she may need me.

This year I am going to be single-minded, or should I say tenacious, about meeting my 2017 goals. I have started setting weekly goals. Each Saturday before going to bed, I sit down with my planner and monthly goal sheet and see how well I did on meeting that week's goal. I then set a goal for the next week. I feel doing this will keep me on track and help me persevere as the days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months so that when December 31, 2017 comes, I'll be able to look back at the list of goals I set in January and know that I've worked hard and met every one.

Friday, January 13, 2017

This I know for sure...


Today is Friday the 13th. (Cue the scary music.)

Are you a person who tries to avoid doing anything that isn't absolutely necessary on Friday the 13th so as not to tempt bad luck?

I don't consider myself superstitious. I do own a black cat after all. But while I don't worry about bad luck on Friday the 13th, I do have a ritual I must  do every time before I leave the house for any length of time. No, it's not checking that the stove or iron is turned off. I have to kiss my cat on the head for good luck before I leave. Luckily he's learned the routine and runs to wait by the back door when he sees me pick up my keys.

About a year ago, I was running late and figured it would be okay to skip giving him his kiss. I left the house with my mom in the car and we were hit by a person who went through a stop sign. My mom only suffered a bruised elbow (thank goodness), but I had to be transported to the hospital with a leg injury.

Guess what I always do now no matter how late I might be. Yep, kiss the cat's head.

(originally posted on Friday, 5/13/16 and yes, I still kiss his head before I leave the house all these months later.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  I've gotten back to work on revisions of Honor Bound. I decided to start at page one and work through to the end since it's been a bit that I've worked on it. I want to ensure the manuscript doesn't have any plot holes and such.

Quote of the Week: “Small changes and small steps lead to big changes and a new you.” ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: I haven't started a new book. I've been reading magazines that my sisters have given me that piled up over the holidays.

Random Things:  I'm going to try and make as many cards as I can this year instead of buying them whether they are for birthdays, Mother's Day, Easter, or any other reason I'd give a card to someone.

Random Photo of the Week:
While not technically a picture, I wanted to include this. I also love all the possibilities a brand new year can bring.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 - A New Year, A New Start

As many of you know 2016 was not a good year for me productivity-wise. I had plans, goals I was going to accomplish in 2016 that were derailed by an unexpected surgery and by the fact that I let things influence my mood by giving them and the people causing them more power than I should have.

I am determined that this will not happen in 2017. I will persevere regardless of who and what I have to deal with this year. When I started thinking about writing this post, I was looking at various posts about managing time better. I ran across a blog called Writers In The Storm. There is a wonderful post by a guest blogger named Janice Hardy titled How The Bad Times And New Starts Affect Our Writing.

To say I identified with what she wrote is an understatement. Everything she dealt with in 2016 seemed to be very close to what I dealt with. This is a wonderful post that applies to anyone who wants to get back on track whether it is writing, weight loss, quitting smoking, exercising more, or anything that you want to accomplish. Take a moment to read it, you'll be glad you did.

Friday, January 6, 2017

This I know for sure...


For most people, January is a time for looking back on the previous year and setting goals for the new year. Looking at back at 2016, I took a hard look at the steps I took to accomplish my goals.

I examined what worked and what didn’t. If I'm honest, I'm not sure if the steps I planned on taking would have worked or not because I definitely feel that last year I veered off my planned path, got so lost that I hadn't a hope in hell of accomplishing what I set out to do in those early bright, shiny days of January 2016.

Yes, I suppose I could blame having surgery and a much harder recovery than expected for a small part of not reaching a single goal that I set last year, but it sounds like a cop out even to me. I think, no, I know that I let other people take me off my goal path. They may not even have known that's what they were doing because I let their drama and moods become my drama and moods which sucked any creative spark I might have had right out of me.

This year, I'm determined not to let that happen again. Some people just aren't happy unless they're making everyone around them miserable. I know that. I'm not going to let those people take me off the path leading to goal accomplishment this year.

I've set three major goals for 2017 that I'm going to work very hard at meeting. The first is leaving people to wallow in their drama and moods on their own. The second is to have two completed books ready for submission. The third is to submit at least one of those books for publication to both agents and editors. To consider this last goal met, I have to either have sold a book or have at least 25 rejections.

Do you set yearly goals? How did you do on your 2016 goals? Better than I did, I hope.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I'm taking this week to assess where I'm at and what I need to do to get where I want to be in my writing career.

Quote of the Week: "One changed habit will be all it takes to alter your reality." ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: I haven't started a new book after finishing the last one. 

Random Things:  The new year is a new beginning and I'm looking forward to setting new goals and making changes in different areas of my life.

Random Photo of the Week:  


       Somebody taking an afternoon nap in the aftermath of the holiday craziness