Fire Gazing

We’ve had an usually cold winter so far here in Austin. It snowed twice in December – I can’t remember that happening since I moved here. Every couple of years we get a dusting of snow once during the winter. This year the last few days of 2017 saw a hard freeze that extended into the first week of 2018.

I’m not particularly fond of cold, though I do like seeing snow and participating in winter activities like skiing and ice skating. That’s one of the reasons I moved away from Nebraska and Kansas.

What I do like about cold weather is that it gives me a chance to use my fireplace. A couple of logs (even if they’re fake store bought fire logs) lasts all afternoon or evening. There’s something about gazing at a fire on the hearth.  It makes me content to just sit and let my mind wander. I might think about people I know and miss, or about story ideas. I might think about the future or the past. Or I might just let my mind relax and wander where it will.

In the midst of cold that freezes body, mind, and soul, watching a fire warms me, giving motion and impetus to thoughts, feelings, and motivations. There’s a visceral connection to  other people that goes all the way back to times when fire meant safety and food and comfort.

And sometimes the fire is simply beautiful, in and of itself.

What do you see in the flames?

New Year – Fresh Start

Last week I posted about where I fell short and the lessons I learned in 2017. And I said I had some plans in mind to improve things.

So what’s the plan for 2018? It’s pretty simple really. 

  1. Plan to post once a week. It’s possible I’ll post more often but I’m only committing to one post a week. Guest posts could increase the frequency as well.
  2. Pre-plan the posts each quarter. I created drafts for each weekly post between now and the end of March. Right now they’re just titles and maybe a few words to point me in the right direction. If time gets tight I won’t have to wrack my brain to come up with an idea for that week’s post.
  3. Scheduled time each week for writing my blog posts here and on my other sites. Some weeks I may pre-write several posts. Other weeks I may just be writing the next post. Bit the plan is to write several posts ahead of time so that I don’t get into a time crunch.

Really you can do a fresh start or jump start on a project at anytime. But I like using the start of the new year to do it. It feels shiny and new. And to me that’s a beautiful thing.

Longest Night, Shortest Day

It’s almost the winter solstice. Throughout history winter solstice has been a time when cultures celebrated the turning of the year and the return of the sun. It has been and still is a celebration of hope for the future.

I’m a night person. So I celebrate the longest night of the year. But I’m not a fan of cold weather so I also appreciate that the days get longer, and warmer, after the solstice. There’s  something to appreciate on both sides.

What do you think about the longest night of the year?

Serendipity

Sometimes things just come together in ways you never expected. Over the past 7 months, I’ve been spending part of my free time working on a project that fits that description perfectly.

In October 2015 I attended the Sirens conference in Denver for the first time. It’s a conference on women in Fantasy literature, and I met a lot of lovely people. Many of those people became friends on social media.

Back in February, I posted on Facebook about two characters that were being insistent on having their stories told. The problem was that neither one was in the story I was supposed to be working on!

One of my friends from the conference commented on that post, then another, then another. Within two weeks there was a Facebook group of Sirens participants who wanted to be involved with making an anthology of stories centering on those two character types happen. The next thing I knew, we had a professional editor and deadlines in place.

Yesterday, we revealed the cover, the release date (October 6th) for the print and e-book, and the e-book went up for pre-sales at several distributors, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

I’m still sitting here trying to figure out what happened. I know, at a certain level, that what happened is that a bunch of women who love the Sirens conference found a concept they all felt the same way about.  But that kind of thing happens all the time. How did we end up with an actual published anthology out it?

Sometimes the right people and the right pieces just come together. Connections we don’t see draw everything needed to the right place at the right time. We find the thing that we love, that we’ve been seeking for, without ever realizing it. And an idea, a dream, a wistful thought, becomes something much more.

As one of the organizers of the anthology, you’d think I’d be past the “Is this really happening?” stage. I’m not. I’m still sitting here, watching as a random thought becomes something much bigger than I’d dreamed of. And I know that, just by making that original post, I’ve touched and changed the lives of other people.

Wow.

I’m awed and overwhelmed.

Sometimes serendipity happens – and it’s beautiful.

Sunstorms

Getting drenched on the way to your car can dampen your mood quickly. 

The contradiction of sun and steady rain at the same time can raise it right back up.

I grew up calling it a sunstorm when the clouds parted but we still got sprinkled on. It was never much of a storm, really. Not like yesterday.

I was driving in clear, soft sunlight, not too bright or glaring. My windshield wipers cleared the front window of a steady, if not heavy, rainfall.

It struck me just how beautiful and rare the combination was. And despite the rush hour traffic and earlier drenching, I made a point to appreciate it. It was a beauty I could have easily ignored.

I’m glad I didn’t. 

What’s beautiful in your world today?

The Beauty in Another Work Day

I don’t know about you, but my job isn’t my passion. It’s a paycheck to cover the bills and hopefully leave me with enough money to do some of the things I enjoy doing.  There are days when the last thing I want to do is get out of bed and go into the office.

And then there are days like today, when I’m reminded that I have a job. When I can see the dance that takes place each and everyday between my coworkers and me. I don’t notice it most of the time. I will today.  The tiny interactions – smiles, frowns, side steps. All the intricate little pieces that let us all work together and get things accomplished.

This is a beauty and a dance that we rarely acknowledge, rarely look at. But it’s there, every minute of every day. And it reflects how well we, as a society, is capable of getting along and working together, often without even saying a word.

I opened my eyes this morning and saw something I’d disregarded and ignored. I’m going to work hard to keep my eyes open going forward.

Seeking Seekers

Are you seeking for something more? Something better? Some way to feel connected?

If you find the soul of something or someone, you will find the beauty, and love will follow.

Sometimes, finding the soul is hard, though.

In those times, look for the beauty or the love and follow them.

They will eventually lead you to the soul.

Will you seek with me?

Check out the “About” and “Who is” Pages for more information on what Find the Soul is all about.