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6 01, 2014

Bye, bye 2013!

By |2014-01-06T06:00:03-06:00January 6th, 2014|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

2013-20142013 is gone.

2014 is six days old.

A new year signals the time for goals, resolutions, and predictions.

I’m a goal setter. Last year I shared a blog about how I set my yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily SMART goals. You can check out my method specifics here.

This year I’ve read several great blogs with ideas for how to be successful in 2014.

After reading Joe Bunting’s If You Want to Have a Great 2014, Spend an Hour Doing This, I knew the topic for my first blog of 2014.

AARs (After Action Review)  are already a major component of my goal-setting method so following Bunting’s advice works well for me. Click here if you aren’t sure what an AAR is.

So without further ado, here is my 2013 in review (with AARs):

Writing: My second novel, Love in the Morning Calm released in November. For a list of all my books on Amazon, click here.

AAR for novel writing: It’s taking too long to get the stories out there! I need to write faster.

I wrote 143 blog posts, which drew 6,400 views and 96 followers. According to WordPress, my blog visitors came from 113 countries.

AAR for blog writing: Thank you, blog readers for stopping by now and then.

Travel: My husband and I traveled to Ireland with a tour. The idea was to research my book set in Ireland that will coming out this year. Traveling with twenty-six other delightful people does not leave much time for writing research.

AAR on overseas travel tours: Guess we’ll have to plan another trip.

Not exactly travel, but major locales change. We sold our Houston, Texas, home of thirty-three years and moved to our summer home in Colorado.

AAR on our move: Loving it!

Around the house: Life has been crazy since our move with projects! We remodeled our little cabin and added a garage, which is still not complete.

AAR on home improvement projects: Patience, patience, patience.

Life in General: We survived the June 2013wildfire in the Rio Grande National Forest. We are so thankful. So many lost homes and lives in Colorado wildfires last year.

My dear sweet aunt, a shining light in my life, went to heaven to join her husband, her parents, and her sister. Her passing brought home the reality of mortality and established me as the oldest living relative on my maternal side. Now that’s a sobering thought!

AAR on life: Cherish every moment!

Whether you choose to end the old year by setting goals or making resolutions or reviewing your accomplishments, I wish you a 2014 filled with success and happiness.

Thanks for starting your New Year with me.

YOUR TURN: So how was your 2013?

To celebrate 2014, I’m offering a free copy of Love in the Morning copy to one lucky commenter.

17 12, 2012

After Friday’s darkness Monday’s Motivation

By |2012-12-17T09:05:03-06:00December 17th, 2012|Monday Motivations, Uncategorized, writer, writing|2 Comments

How do we find motivation after Friday’s act of darkness? I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time.

Bob Mayer’s FB status on Friday suggested: “Just mourn. No politics, agendas, rants. Losing a child is an exclusive club you do not want to be a part of. Trust me on that.”

This is not going to be a rant or a political statement. I don’t have an agenda.

What I have is a hurting heart.

My family lived near Newtown at one time. I have an undergraduate degree from Western Connecticut State in Danbury. One of my daughters graduated from New Fairfield High School. Our other daughter took piano lessons from a teacher in Newtown. Somehow, these connections made what happened more real.

I’ve been restless, perplexed, sidetracked by tears of anger and sadness all weekend. How do we make sense out of senseless?

I’m wondering how  God can let things like the massacres in Newtown and Aurora , the rampage in Tucson and Virginia Tech happen?

Seeking answers I emailed  my son, a minister with a Ph.D. in Theology. I share his thoughts with his permission.

It is in times like these that our faith meets sight. It is easy to walk by faith when things make sense. It is when our reality is rocked by some inexplicable and incomprehensible event that faith must really kick in.

 Because I believe that God has revealed Himself to us in His written Word, the Bible, and because I believe the Bible contains everything we need for life, my mind turns to Scripture to seek an answer.  

The crux of the matter in cases like this comes down to “how/why does God allow evil?”  

It is really a question of sovereignty versus free will. If I could solve that, I would be famous indeed.

By its very nature, the sovereignty/free will issue is an antinomy—something that cannot be explained in human terms, to human satisfaction. Scripture reminds us in Isaiah 40:13-14 that God’s knowledge is unique to Him. And Proverbs 21:30 confirms that there is no wisdom, or counsel or understanding higher than His. 

So we are left to trust Him and Him alone as knowing what is best.

For many people, this approach to the question of evil in the world is inadequate and trite. I understand.  

That’s why eschatology is not just a hobby or whimsy of mine. It is the key cog in my worldview. I could not survive in a world where everyone is under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19) if I did not believe that God wins in the end. 

When I see things like what happened in Newtown I get angry and crave God’s divine intervention more than ever. I, too, question why does He wait to claim victory? 

 But I take comfort in knowing that ultimately, God will intervene. A better day is coming. A day of complete justice when Satan and all of his human and demonic envoys will be judged once and for all. It is that promise of Scripture that allows me to keep going when things don’t make sense in the present world. 

So, to summarize: The unspeakable events of Friday are incomprehensible apart from a biblical worldview that promises (1) God is in control even when evil seems to triumph; (2) All evil will be recompensed; (3) Justice will prevail; (4) God wins.

I believe,  like my son, God wins the final victory. But until that THE END happens, I will hug my children more, tell teachers I appreciate them more often, and offer prayers of comfort for the families and victims of these tragedies.

And most important, as a writer, I will write.

So should you.

I love Emma D. Dryden’s suggestions in her blog.

Create something precious for the world that might help to replace the precious the world’s lost. Write, paint, sing, dance, walk in nature, breathe deeply, and love fiercely. As we reach out to friends, to family, to others, so too must we reach inside to be gentle with ourselves. And we must remind ourselves we do carry the light necessary to light the dark corners, vanquishing one shadow at a time.

28 03, 2012

AAR on KL’s BtoB class

By |2012-03-28T11:59:52-05:00March 28th, 2012|one word Wednesday|11 Comments

Today’s word in case you’re unsure from the title – AAR

What the heck is an AAR? You’re probably wondering — especially if you have no military background.

At the conclusion of every mission employed, an AAR, AFTER ACTION REVIEW is conducted to determine the effectiveness of the mission. Sometimes called a debriefing, too.

I’m the daughter of an Army Air Corp/Air Force officer, the spouse of a retire Army officer and a former DAC. I thrive on order in chaos and demand order/structure.

My life, until my husband’s retirement, was pack, unpack, establish a nest, pack, unpack, and establish a nest. I’ve gathered lots of fodder for my writer’s mill and skills I’m sure I’ll not live long enough to use.

Two years ago I took ex-Green Beret Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writer A-Team course. I’m not sure Mayer offers the course anymore, but the book WHO DARES WIN, The Green Beret Way to Conquer Fear and Succeed is available here

His Special Forces tactical approach applied to a writing career resonated with me. I credit that class as the turning point in my writing. I especially loved the AAR, After Action Review. I now conduct AARs on all writing activities and projects. 

Sound silly. Not really. 

We all do AARs unconsciously. We just don’t call them After Action Reviews. Bet you’ve said. “Been there done, that not going again” or something like that. And I’m guessing you’ve also said, I loved < you fill-in-the-blank>, too. You just did a mini-AAR.

 After every move, my family discovered ways and methods to make the next move easier, more palatable for the children and the travel to the new location more fun. All the while, reviewing what we’d learned at our last location.

Guess what, we were doing an AAR!

My husband’s favorite AAR, if the experience is unfavorable: “Done that for the first and last time.” Our shortened code developed from long years of being together: “first and last for that” or FLT

My AAR  for Kristen Lamb’s Blogging-to-Brand class follows. Risky, I realize.

After all, Kristen might read it. Not worried.

Knowing her association with Mayer, she’ll probably conduct her own AAR. My thoughts can contribute. Or be a testimonial. Or not.

AAR Step 1: My goal (mission) in taking Blogging-to-Brand

I needed to learn about branding and social media. I have two novels, The Pendant’s Promise and its prequel, In the Land of the Morning Calm, in the publishing pipeline. I want readers to recognize my name, buy my books.

I’d read Kristen’s book WE ARE NOT ALONE. Actually bought it at Bob’s workshop. I agreed with what I read and decided the class would provide added benefit.  

AAR Step 2: Was my goal or mission accomplished? 

I’d say DEFINITELY…the class nearly exploded my head!

I have to admit I signed up reluctantly. When I say reluctantly I mean screaming about why, why, why? I’m a writer, not a marketing person. 

Not that I wasn’t familiar all the social media places. I was. See the links in the right hand column.

I have a website 

a Judythe Morgan FB page

Twitter  

a page on Shelfari where I list the books I’ve read and make a recommendation

And, now after KL’s BtoB, a blog! Which you already know because you’re reading this.   

I thought I was off to  a good start. Kristen’s class took me further.

  • My circle of followers has grown. More importantly, I’ve met some terrific people I might never have known existed.
  • I discovered social media is about more than marketing. I really, like these people. We share our heartbreaks, our troubles, our cares, our concerns. They’re good people. Good writers.
  • I know I am not alone in my writer’s journey.As Kristen says, it’s all about the WANA love. Thanks to all for the follows, the comments, the WANA love.

AAR Step 3: “If you accomplished your goal, determine the fine-tuning.”

As much as I did learn, I’m still sorting through the technology intricacies and would be totally lost without help from WANAs and my techno-savvy daughter. I must follow-up with

  • classes for fine-tuning my blog, my tweets, and my FB postings
  • learning to utilize HootSuite, TweetDeck, and FB Time Line effectively

4. Summation:

KL’s Blogging to Brand was Informative EnlighteningTime consuming.

The class forced me to accept what I knew, but didn’t want to admit—

to be a successful, productive writer I must learn to juggle many balls.

Writing. Blogging. Tweeting. FBing. Marketing. Eating. Drinking. Sleeping.

But then, as Ursula, the evil octopus from Little Mermaid says: “Life’s full of tough choices, innit?”  

Hard choices. Sometimes not fun choices. Especially on wonderful spring days when the porch swing is calling and not the computer. 

YOUR TURN: You done any AARs lately? Or want to share what you learned from Kristen’s Blogging to Brand class?