Tag Archives: Health

Are Authors Introverts?


What is an introvert? An introvert is someone who prefers a quiet atmosphere, who spends a lot of time alone, avoiding social interactions. Almost sounds like a recluse, doesn’t it? Well, those are two separate entities.

Authors spend quite a bit of time slumped over a computer, eagerly typing away on our current work-in-progress (WIP). The desperate need to meet a deadline, or the need to pound out everything our creative muse is giving us before they decidedly take a break, because, they do that sometimes. We tend to ignore the outside world, quite busy in our own little world(s). So, you can see why it is that we would be introverts.

Most of us require a certain space to write in. I know I do. I often need it to be quiet to think if I get stuck somewhere in a story. Sometimes, I have to change it up a bit to get my creative juices flowing. Often times, I will change up my writing locations; watch a certain TV series; read a book series in the genre I am currently writing in, all just to get me on the right track. Once the creativity gets going, it flows and I keep typing away, or I jot everything down as it comes to me.

I am a huge note taker when I cannot find the time to sit behind a computer. I have a shelf full of notebooks with a plethora of ideas, character profiles, scenes, plots, storylines, etc and so on. I carry a notebook with me everywhere, including having one on my nightstand. Most nights, I’m too tired to sit at the computer and write, but once I lay down I’m often hit with ideas on my current work-in-progress and would start to scribble them down into my notebook.

I’m often asked how I find the time to write? Being a single mom and having a special needs kiddo, as well as a job, it’s hard, but I find the time; I wait till she goes to bed, I write during my lunch breaks, I write while waiting in the school line, I write on my days off when she’s at school. I don’t need to explain my day-to-day, but finding the time to write can be done.

No, I’m not the kind of author that can type up 50,000 words in a month. I mean, that would be nice, but those are the kind of people who don’t have a job to head out to or kids to take care of, or if they did have kids, they have someone else to help them out. Me, I can type up around 500 – 1200 words in a day. One day, I typed up over 2500 words, but that was on my day off from work and I didn’t have any errands to run or chores to do. Those are rare days, too!

Every author is different. We all have our own styles or methods in doing what we do, to achieve getting our book written. There are those who can publish 10 or more titles a year, but that also goes along with what I just mentioned. Or, some of those titles aren’t full-length novels, to which I can see publishing that many short stories a year. I’ve published three titles this year; two were short stories and one was a novel, but I had been working on my novel for almost eight years.

I’ve grown accustomed to staying home on my days off my day job to work – as an author. My author business is a second job. There’s a lot that goes into it other than writing that next book. Marketing would be a big factor that goes into being a published author. Emails to answer or to send out, a webpage or blog to maintain, book orders to mail, events to prepare for. Those are just a few things I’ve mentioned. There is a whole lot that goes with being an author, especially if you’re an indie author. Even when I was traditionally published, I still had a lot of marketing to do on my end. It’s my work and I had to get the word out there on it or else I wouldn’t be making a cent. You can’t sell your books if no one knows it’s out there.

I tend to take breaks from social media. These days, you have to. I find myself getting lost on Pinterest. So many good recipes I need to try, or cute crafts my kiddo would enjoy, lol! If I need to focus on meeting my deadlines, it’s a must to take a break from the internet.

Introverts can be great listeners. Not all introverts are socially awkward or rude. Some introverts enjoy not being in the spotlight, or would rather refrain from speaking to a large crowd of people. Some introverts are more comfortable writing than speaking. Not everyone is great at public speaking or has a way with words when it comes to a conversation. Authors tend to use their way with words in their work and like an introvert, it may take many revisions to get out what it is we’re trying to say.

 

 

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Essential Oil Diffuser For Those with Sinusitis


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Due to allergies toward dust and mold, I suffer from chronic sinusitis. It can be annoying when working around important people all day in a state office; having to dash off to the restroom to blow my nose or use my prescription nose spray every half hour or so. I needed to find something else that would help clear this up. Allergy meds and nose spray wasn’t working that well.

After consulting with a few friends who work in the medical field, they had each recommended I try essential oils. I had never thought to even try them until I was in an IEP meeting at school and one of my daughter’s therapists had one in her office. She currently had been overcoming bronchitis and was using her essential oil diffuser. After twenty minutes of sitting there, I could tell that it was actually working for me.

My local store only had a few of the small diffusers, so I checked online to see what I could find. Amazon had some for the same price my local store had, except Amazon’s was much bigger and seemed to do a lot more.

I purchased one of them, as well as a few essential oils that was recommended to me. One of those essential oils is called Breathe Easy and it’s for those with nasal congestion. I also purchased the lavender as I love the smell.

After using my essential oil diffuser at home for a few days, I can tell a big difference. Only wished that I could take it to work with me, lol!

Homemade Avocado Hummus


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A few years ago, I had worked a booth with the Anthropology Club at the farmers market at Bernice Gardens in Little Rock. Some farmer’s markets are quite a venue to visit; some are big, some are small, nevertheless, Bernice Gardens is quite the atmosphere mixed with farmers, artisans, artists, and a few food trucks.

While I was there I walked around visiting each booth, trying homemade pastries, freshly brewed coffee that was locally grown and roasted, homemade goat cheese, and homemade hummus. I purchased fresh produce from some of the farmers, some pastries, and some hummus. Now and then I have gone back, mostly for an Anthropology class, but to also support the local farmers and artisans. Plus, I had lived close enough, until now as I had moved further away.

The other day, my boss brought in a container of hummus that she had made herself. I asked her what all she put in there and it seemed an easy recipe that I didn’t know why I hadn’t made it myself before. She told me a variety of recipes she uses and I decided to try one for myself. However, if you don’t have a food processor like me, you can still make this using a mixer or a blender.

2 Avocadoes, peeled and seeded

1 can of cooked and drained chickpeas

1/4 tsp of cumin

1/4 tsp of paprika or pepper

1/4 tsp of curry (optional)

1 lemon, squeezed into the ingredients

2 tbsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

If you are using a mixer, you may have to blend for a few mins until ingredients are well blended. Blender or food processor would work better.

A Coffee that I Love, Plus it Gives to Charity


I am a huge coffee drinker. I have at least a travel-sized mug every morning to help me get through my work day. On occasion, I tend to walk across the street to a certain coffee chain and get myself a mocha frappe, if not a house blend coffee. I am also a fan of giving to charity, especially when it comes to children.

A few months ago, I was shopping with my dad when I spotted a new coffee that we had not seen before called, Laughing Man. I thought it had an interesting title and read the side panels around the box when I spotted actor Hugh Jackman’s picture on it. Always willing to try new things, I picked up a box of the medium roast called, Dukale’s Blend, and a box of the dark roast called, Columbia Huila, as well as one of each of the sampler boxes that they had.

When I got home, I googled Laughing Man coffee and their website came up and I was happy to see that proceeds made from my purchase goes toward a charity called, Laughing Man Foundation. It was like a bonus for me. Not to mention, the coffee tastes even better than the off-brand coffee that I had been buying.

So far, I’ve been favoring the darker roast, Columbia Huila. It has a hint of dark chocolate added to it. I mean, that’s another bonus for me … chocolate! There was only one problem. I have to drive thirty-five minutes to a store that carries this brand of coffee, as the small store just down the street doesn’t. Thing about living in a small town. The store doesn’t carry that much due to it’s small size. Good thing for Amazon, as I have been purchasing my coffee in bulk, if not, I have to wait until I can find the time to go for a drive to the store that carries it.

Cold and Flu Season is Still Here


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The joys of surviving the cold and flu season. Will I get sick? Do I need the flu shot? When is the best time for the flu shot? What are the flu symptoms again? Wait, my co-worker sounds like they might have the flu!

This year, the flu bug has been around, if not some sort of nasty virus or two. Luckily, we’ve dodged the flu bug, three times this season. Unluckily, my daughter has caught two viruses.

A while back I had posted about  Alka Seltzer vs Nyquil. I have only had the flu once and wouldn’t want to wish it on anyone. Maybe is was also due to having strep throat on top of the flu. Yes, I tested positive for both nastiness.

Ever since then, I have been trying to maintain a health lifestyle by eating healthier, exercising more. Being a single mom, and an autism mom at that, I tend to stay quite busy. My healthy eating habits are a hit and miss; depends on how full my schedule is. But, I do tend to meet my daily step quota, if not I overachieve it.

At times, it gets hard to keep up with everything when keeping a very busy schedule. Some things I’ve learned when it’s this time of year is to up my Vitamin-C intake, especially if I have to be surrounded by people who seemed to have a cold, and you pray it isn’t the flu and drink plenty of water … not too much.

I take Airborne if I know the flu bug is in the office or if I start to feel a bit sluggish, as if I am coming down with something myself, I take Emergen-C. They both come in different flavors.

Alka Selzer Cold still helps out, much better than Nyquil, lol! And I’ve learned to stock up on all of this stuff, as a just in case scenario, especially this year as bad as the flu has been.

Stock up on the Lysol and hand sanitizer and Kleenex, too!

Life Choices


Hello, Friday, I’ve missed you!

Oddly, I thought it was May 17th, instead of April 17th. I must be mentally wishing this semester to be over with already and so I can start enjoying this gorgeous weather and outdoor activities with mini me. She’s only a child once and I’m missing out on taking her to the park in the afternoon, or playing with sidewalk chalk and bubbles, all because I’m constantly stuck indoors, on the computer, working on homework every day.

There’s been a couple of times where I’ve skipped doing homework, just so I can play with my daughter; though I got a little behind, I feel it was worth putting it off. I don’t want my daughter growing up feeling that I never spent time with her and constantly pushed her aside in order to keep my nose stuck in the books or to constantly cit in front of the computer, typing up essay after essay.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy going to class, I just wish to be done with it already and be out there doing what I’ve been going to school for. Three more semesters to go… Graduation date, Dec 2016!

Today’s Daily Prompt asked,

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago?

I wish that someone had pointed out to me, that going to college for Aviation maintenance was a bad choice. I had problems while I was in school just from being a female. The constant sexual harassment I had to deal with from the male student population and also from a couple of instructors. I tried to turn them in, but the dean didn’t wish to hear it; I was a minority, there were five females in the entire school, versus a 98% male student population. Plus, there weren’t any female teachers. The owner of the college began firing most of his female office staff. His goal, to make the college an ‘all male’ school. That just made it more uncomfortable being there. Alas, I cut my education short and graduated early, though I did manage to get my Associates Degree in Aviation Airframe.

Then, the recession hit and not only did I have trouble finding a job because I lacked experience, but I couldn’t find a job because the aviation business declined immensely and no one was hiring. I had to work for free to get my experience and didn’t enjoy it. The guy I worked for complained majority of the time about having to work and fussed at me constantly about the need for perfection. I finally quit working for him and started working somewhere that paid; I had a student loan to pay off and was falling into debt.

I fell out of love with aviation, it was more of a childhood dream and all those around me crushed that dream. I didn’t want to be around airplanes anymore.

Six years later, I decided to go back to school, but for something else, something that I will have no problems finding a job doing. There’s a huge market for anthropology, as there are many fields and sub-fields.

I continue to volunteer my time doing many different things as an anthropologist. I don’t even have my degree…yet and I’m enjoying myself. My current favorite, volunteering at the zoo with the large primates.

There will always be a list of shoulda, coulda, wouldas, so change that by finding something you enjoy doing. Live out your dreams. Follow through with your goals. Be happy with your choices.

Happy Friday, everyone!

DP: Bryant, Arkansas


Today’s Daily Prompt is: We Built This City. What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

The city that I live in, Bryant, is a fast growing city. It covers nine square miles and has every fast food chain you can think of. It also has a Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Kirkland’s, two Starbucks, Lowe’s, and numerous other small and big businesses. I loved how people in our community was once generous, friendly, and hospitable. Now, you can look forward to sitting in a turn lane forever as no one is considerate to not block driveways to businesses. Or you’ll sit at a stop sign, forever waiting on someone to let you into the flow of traffic.

The problem with this city is that all the businesses are in one area, clustered, making traffic a nightmare to endure in the mornings and when school has let out for the day. Instead of clustering all businesses into one big area, why not spread them out? It makes it very difficult to get in and out of those businesses, as everyone is rushing to get some where and would not think twice to let you cut in front of them.

When I first left for the Navy in 2000, Bryant only had a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and a small grocery store, as well as three gas stations. The population was a little over 9,000. Bryant was better known as the ‘bedroom community’ due to it mostly being houses and not the huge booming town it is today. After I got out of the Navy, Pizza Hut was demolished and a gas station was put in it’s place. We still have Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but the grocery store went out of business due to Walmart moving in just down the street. The current population is over 16,000. Almost doubled from when I first left in 2000 for boot camp.

There’s construction going on presently, albeit they’re building another fast food restaurant…that we don’t need. There was a town meeting the other day for a millage tax, requesting money to build another middle school and elementary school, to upgrade the middle school’s cafeteria, to build more things that our ever growing town needs for its community, yet the millage tax didn’t pass. Guess the towns people don’t see the things we need here or they believe the new High School that was finished last summer was enough as far as educational buildings go.

This city literally has grown immensely within the last fifteen years, that someone like me would have a hard time recognizing it. When I had gotten out of the service, I moved to Colorado to attend college for aviation. I stayed there for almost 4 years, then moved to Oklahoma for a few years, then moved back here in late 2009. I had been gone for 9 years and was astonished as to how much my hometown had changed. The service roads weren’t even two way anymore. They had changed to one way service lanes…good thing my grandmother warned me about that or I may have made a huge error by going the wrong way.

With the current mayor we have, our city has built on a new Recreational Center with an indoor pool and more fast food buildings. What our city needs is less fast food and more buildings for the community. The new rec center was nice, though the indoor swimming pool is mostly for swim teams. I had taken my daughter swimming to the new indoor pool and there were five other parents, gathered in a five by ten area that was sectioned off for ‘free swimming’. Ten of us collided into one another in the tiny space, just to allow our kiddos some time to cool off from the hot summer heat.

The other swimming pool that we have here, is a tiny pool, yet it is overly crowded every summer. We do need a bigger pool that is open to the public and not used for swim teams. Yes, we have a splash pad, to which you have to pay for, but my daughter is terrified of it, due to her autism.

There aren’t enough things here for special needs children. Or I should say, there isn’t anything for special needs children at all, other than a couple of daycare centers. We could use more parks with playgrounds; we only have one playground. There is a park currently being built that is accessible for disabled children. It isn’t here in Bryant, but it’s a twenty minute drive, without traffic. It’s actually a first of its kind park, which is sad as we need more parks that are accessible for all walks of life, disabled or not. (Click here and here for details on that park)

I would love to see a park with outdoor exercise equipment. Gyms may have dropped their prices so that us poor people can go workout, but what about daycare services? There’s only one gym here with a small childcare service while mom works out, yet it’s pricey. Some parents may only have a few minutes to workout after work, yet that’s when they have their kiddos with them. So, why not have an ‘Adult Fitness Playground’ along with our kids playgrounds? Family’s would be more active, would they not? It’s free and open to the public, so there would be more people out there working out, getting healthy.

As a mayor, the community and environment should be the most important things to think about and not what goes in and out of our pockets.

One Word Photo Challenge: Teal


This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is Teal; a beautiful shade found on the color spectrum of blue, can be found in the pictures posted below.

If you have never known the love of a therapy horse, or have seen the love expressed between horse and rider, then hopefully you can see that and more expressed in the photos.

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The ever so patient horse, encouraging the ever so gentle touch from a child with special needs is awe inspiring. Tears well up in my eyes with happiness, as I watch my daughter’s slow movements in her approach towards her therapy horse, Passion, who is moving in closer to my daughter for her to touch.

Horse/equine therapy, also known as Hippotherapy, has been very helpful with my daughter in teaching her to express herself more. Not only that, but it allows her to have a love for animals that she didn’t have before; she had expressed fear when any animal approached her, whether that animal was calm or not.

She expresses a giddy, “Hi, Passion.” before reaching up to brush her fingertips across Passion’s nose. Passion, a gentle therapy horse on Harmony In Hooves Farm, stands up to her name. Her gentle, calm nature would allowing anyone a chance to pet her. Horses can be very therapeutic and just being around her can be very calming.

You can check out my other blog post for more information on how horses can be therapeutic for special needs children.

The following photos is of some artwork pieces found in Bernice Gardens in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

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Winter Fever, Cabin Blues…


Or is it ‘Cabin Fever, Winter Blues’?

Either way, it’s another fine winter day, stuck indoors. I’m actually being a bit sardonic, but who wouldn’t be unless you could be outside enjoying the weather. Though there aren’t any slopes here for me to grab my snowboard and head out to. Nor is the ground covered in snow, for mini me to go sledding. Instead, the ground is covered in ice that has been melted and frozen, again, and again, over the past few days. Today, our forecast called for a snow and rain mix, which didn’t began falling until late morning. It just made everything that much more slippery. I decided to stay home with my daughter, since I have to drive North where the roads would be much slicker.

Though I have driven in wintry conditions, it is very different here in Arkansas, especially when you’re surrounded by drivers who cannot drive on ice and/or snow. Some cannot even drive when it’s raining, so I find it best to stay clear by staying home. My daughter finds serenity in watching the snow fall. We have a large picture window in the living room with a wide window sill for her to lean on and to also give her plenty of space to play with her toys.

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On days like this, I find myself in the office, on the computer, trying to finish up homework, or work on the next research paper for a class or two, or do a bit of writing. I think if I redecorated this office, it would have more of a calm, soothing atmosphere where I can be more creative. I think it’s the only room that still has the fake wood paneling from the 1960’s, covering it’s walls. Plus, the photos that cover the wall space above grandpa’s desk are decades old and could be upgraded.

I think I may have found my next summer project…to redecorate and rearrange the office.

I mostly find my creative energy in a mixture of places, such as, bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, front porch. Sometimes, the recliner in the living room, next to our picture window is a perfect spot for writing, especially on days like today. Anywhere my mind can roam freely.

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Lately, I’ve been spending most of that free time between classes, in my college library. Just yesterday, I had my headphones on, music going, and I was able to finally finish editing chapter one of my young adult novel. This is the same novel I had tried querying agents last summer for, but without success. It’s a tough job, being an author. Tough market, actually. Some of them were very close in saying yes, adding tidbits of helpful info that would make the next round of querying a bit more successful.

So, I began working on it….again.

There was originally a prologue, but I had cut it out entirely. Now, I added it back into the novel, but instead of it being a prologue, I made it the beginning of chapter one’s story line. I then moved some of chapter three into chapter one, so the next on my to-do-list is to edit chapter three.

I’m coming up on 60K words total…on the manuscript that is. I’m going to make that a goal that I must achieve. Once that’s done, I am finished…I hope, cross my fingers and knock on wood. I’m looking forward to seeing it finalized once more and also hope that I can send it off to the publisher very soon. I think I’ll try querying agents again, if not, I know a few small publishers that wouldn’t mind publishing it for me.

One Word Photo Challenge: Strawberry


This week’s One Word Photo Challenge reminds me of when a few classmates, an instructor, my daughter, two dogs, and I went foraging through fields, woods, as well as through the muddy banks of the Arkansas River, for a project that involved our Anthropology Club. Another student and I had written about our foraging experience and the reason behind it; hopefully our articles will be published soon so that I can share them with you.

Nevertheless, it’s always great being a college student. You never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll learn, or what events, projects, and/or experiences you’ll sign up for. I have never had a doubtful moment, nor have I ever looked back and wished I did something better that day. I can say that our Anthropology Club is backed by some really awesome professors/instructors, who has opened quite a few doors for their students. And beyond those doors is nothing but awesomeness!

The pictures below are of some wild strawberries we found on some property owned by one of our instructors. They’re okay for eating, though the ones we had picked weren’t ripe enough to enjoy and had a watery taste, rather than the sweet flavor strawberries from the farmer’s market or store are known for. It was for a farmer’s market project, as to why we picked them, as well as many other wild fruits, vegetables, and other vegetation. My Anthropology Club set up a table at Bernice Gardens during their National Heritage Month last year. It was a great experience that taught us quite a lot about our state’s naturally grown food and what Native American’s from this area several hundred years ago ate.

Wild strawberries - though a little to early for picking, they were used for a college project.

Wild strawberries – though a little to early for picking, they were used for a college project.

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries