Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Intriguing Earth Facts & Their Unconventional Takeaways

There is enough electricity in a single fork of lightning to light a town for a year.
Takeaway: If a fork of lightning can light a town for a year, imagine what you could do? Go light up a town.

In 1873, frogs rained down from the sky in Kansas City. In 1948, a group of golfers in Bournemouth, England, was showered with herring. The animals had been swept up in the clouds by strong wind.
Takeaway: Careful what you get swept up in.

More than 30 percent of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas comes from methane in the burps and farts of the country’s 45 million sheep and 10 million cows.
Takeaway: Laughter!

The largest diamond mine in the world is at Mirna in Siberia. The hole in the ground is 4,000 ft across—so big that helicopters are sucked into it if they fly too close.
Takeaway: Some mines are big enough to suck you in if you’re not paying attention. (Mine, all mine. Gullum.)

When the volcanic island of Krakatoe, in Indonesia erupted in 1883, it could be heard a quarter of the way around the world.
Takeaway: Careful how loudly you erupt (which now just makes me think of the sheep and cows).

On a clear, moonless night, you can see about 2,500 stars with the naked eye.
Takeaway: Take your naked eyes outside at night to look at the stars more.

On average, there are just five days a year when it doesn’t rain on Mt. Waialeale in Hawaii.
Takeaway: Don’t visit Mt. Waialeale.

There is no wind or rain on the Moon, so footprints made by astronauts are likely to remain there for millions of years.
Takeaway: You never know how long your impression will linger.

Happy Halloween! :D

*Earth facts from One Million Things: A Visual Encyclopedia (great library book to have during the storm).
**Takeways (mine, all mine)
***photo by stock.XCHNG

Monday, October 29, 2012

Brain Not Storming?


Synapses not synchronizing?
Dam blocking your stream of consciousness?
Brain refusing to storm?
I’d love to lend a lobe, give a cranium, & offer some thought-stimulating guidance.
Wow, that was a little…I don’t know what that was, but seriously, I’m trying something new.

I’m offering 15 minute brainstorming sessions over the phone or through a series of emails. I’m charged by the brainstorming process and it’s thrilling for me to help inspire writers to follow the creative path they’re bound for.

But we all get sidetracked, stymied, or simply attacked by roadside woodchucks every now and again.

So here’s how it works…you feel like storming (other than the Sandy kind thank you very much), you’re stuck with a plot concept, or a character isn’t being collaborative, shoot me an email (my email is listed in sidebar or if we are FB friends, reach out that way) with your number and a good time for us to connect or send an email with details about how you're stuck and as long as I’m not majorly bombarded, I’ll work hard to get back with you within the week.

*Conversations and email exchanges will occur within the boundaries of my comfort level. I also ask that you respect the 15 minute or 3-4 emails exchange parameters
**kick off may have to wait until Sandy’s pushed through as we are expected to lose power and I might not have solid Internet access this week
***photo by stock.XCHNG

Friday, October 26, 2012

Moving Thoughts Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

When are you inspired most?

*photos by stock.XCHNG

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The World Needs You Awake

Women crave more sleep. But I’d like to argue too many of us are already sleeping through our lives. We are jonesing for our next caffeine fix as we yawn our way through the carpool line or traffic jam. Our heads remain foggy, distracted, and multi-tasked to the brink of permanently fraying our synapses. And it’s as though all this is happening in a daze, a dream—an otherworldly state.

We are asleep.
On this I 8 Wednesday I’m suggesting 8 things we can do to WAKE UP!

Let’s do this together. Let’s awaken.
Becoming awake…

Awake to Silence
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy noise. Music, phone conversations, even a show on the Food Network bound to make me feel like a loser cook…I fill up my house and head with anything that will keep me from getting the quiet I so need.

Challenge: Turn off the radio in the car, exercise once a week without music, turn the TV off by 9:00 p.m. every night for a week, walk around a graveyard (might want to avoid doing this in a week or so), or take a “phone off” holiday, break regularly from social media
Awake to Loved Ones

Relationships are hard, made harder when we seek to be filled by others. It’s easy to begin drifting to la la land when it comes to loved ones. They are usually the folks we tend to take for granted.
Challenge: Write a handwritten letter of gratitude once a week for the next few months, ask a lot of questions and work hard to listen more than you speak, spend time thinking about how those in your life experience love—what communicates love to them?

Awake to Creation
Hibernating in our caves where our schedules our written like some ancient scrawl, we lose the beauty of what’s happening outside. Outside? Yes, Virginia, there is an outside.

Challenge: Take at least two walks a week, share what you see with a loved one, plan a hike, create a collage from what you collect on your walk, find ways to bring the outdoors in by framing a leaf, making your own swag, learn to breathe fresh air again
Awake to What Distracts

What, I was writing a blog post? But I was just on Twitter, then hopped over to Facebook. Oh, yes, I’m here now. All yours (shah right).
Challenges: Commit to starting and completing at least 2-5 tasks per day and check yourself on this, repeat back what others have said, write down your thoughts as they come, make a priority list and allow those things you’ve listed on the bottom the least amount of your time

Awake to What Discourages
It’s easy to think you’re just having a bad day and those surmounting obstacles are merely coincidental. Maybe they are or perhaps there’s something we can’t fathom trying to knock you down and some of those obstacles are really pawns in the plan.

Challenge: Create a list of what tends to discourage you most, think about the people in your life and whether they’re encouraging or discouraging, check out what the Bible has to say regarding this topic, decide which voices you’ll listen to

Awake to Calling
There’s a reason you’re here. Yes, for God’s glory. But I also happen to believe everyone contributes something of specific value. This can change according to seasons, but you have a calling.

Challenge: Experiment with various forms of creativity, pursue your passion, invest time in improving, ask loved ones to give you wisdom regarding your calling, get accountability, think about what gets you fired up, advocate

Awake to Health
We are so good at caring for others. Sick parent. Drooling toddler. Traveling husband. Our bodies are screaming for a little TLC. Mind. Body. Spirit. We are wise to take care of ourselves.

Challenge: Take B12 (ask your dr.), carve out time to exercise this week, pray, don’t go overboard on Doritos, go overboard on kale or Trader Joe’s Powerberries (dark chocolate covered berries…I’m a little addicted), carve out time to think and be still, carve out time to do all of the above

Awake to Mystery & Faith
It’s never been difficult for me to believe there is more going on here than we could possibly understand. There’s beauty in this for me. Release. Freedom. Mysterious faith.

Challenge: Ask the hard questions, try attending church, crack open a Bible, befriend someone of a different faith and start a conversation, trust in an all powerful God—I dare you.

Alright people, let’s jumpstart our sleepy heads and wake the world up while we’re at it.

Do you see evidence many are walking around asleep? What ways are you feeling led to wake up?
*photo by stock.XCHNG

Monday, October 22, 2012

What Women Want—Life Full of Fun & Laughter

What do women want? I asked and you answered. Number five on the list: Women want a life full of fun and laughter (apparently with some good shoes thrown in).

I can be a pretty pensive, reflective, introspective, and every other kind of “ive” thinker and nothing helps me to lighten up better than a hearty laugh.
I thought I’d share a few pictures to share the laughter love…

When is the last time you laughed so hard your gut hurt?

*photos by stock.XCHNG

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Unleash the Risk Taker in You

Mark Visser is a daredevil. I read about him in Hemispheres on the plane during my recent trip out to California for an agency retreat. Visser thrives on creating impossible stunts and then proves the impossible is possible. Think Evel Knievel meets Jaws. Those are the kinds of dares he likes to perform involving surfing mountainous waves at midnight. You know, run of the mill stuff.

A few sentences struck me in particular toward the end of the article on Visser. When asked if he thinks his latest project is too much for him, Visser answeredà

"Visser stops, looks out to the ocean where he first learned to surf, and ponders the question, ‘I’ve broken it down,’ he says, ‘and honestly think I have a strong chance of achieving everything I’ve set out to achieve. If anyone doubts it, that’s fine. I doubt things too.’ He loses himself in thought for a second. Then he turns back to me and says matter-of-factly, Anyway, what’s the point of setting a goal that’s easy?’”

We were challenged to dream big during our agency retreat.
This is not a problem for me. In fact, I thrive on this kind of brain buzz.

Today I’m giving you 8 ways to help you unleash the risk taker in you.

~ Visualize the Positive Outcome
~ Break It Down into Doable Feats
~ Dare Yourself
~ Refuse to Focus on What the Other Guy Thinks
~Don’t Germinate a Fear that Isn’t Meant to Grow
~ Change It Up (Was it Ben Franklin who once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”?)
~ Imagine the Specific Rewards (Emotionally, Spiritually, Physically, Mentally)
~ Seek Accountability

Have fun ruminating on the above. I’m off to surf mountainous plot concepts, story arcs, and character development that will blow you and I both out of the water someday.
Are you intentional about being a risk taker? Does this come naturally? What has helped you become more of a risk taker?

*photo by stock.XCHNG
**kicking around turning this into a series of posts like I did with What Women Want…please let me know in the comments if that idea appeals to you.


Monday, October 15, 2012

What Women Want—Purpose

It made the cut. Of course it would. Purpose. Women want it. We all crave to understand what ours is. And we rub this question in the confines of our minds like a worry stone, a rabbit’s foot, the corner of a beloved blanket, or rosary beads until our dying day.
Purpose is the fourth want I’m reflecting on as a response to your answers to the question I posed weeks ago, what do women want?

I came up with a few more thoughts about purpose…

It’s gurgled out of a newborn’s first cry

Found sprinting across playgrounds during Red Light, Green Light

It’s brushed by trembling fingers, grasping a bus ticket

It hides in award speeches

Dances until dawn with blistered feet and a raspy throat

Blooms with gratitude on a face tilted upward to catch the rainfall

It’s oftentimes untamable, unpindownable, stubbornly unknowable

It’s the call of the wild, while mysteriously also pounding pavements in well-loved socks worn with holes

Palm rubbing a back, feeding the hungry, clenched in inconsolable anger

Love poured out, sacrifice like a pinprick then machete to the heart

We thirst for it, beg for it,

the burning, germinating

in-the-gut question, “What am I doing here?”

And now for some thought-provoking quotes:

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” ~ Helen Keller

“For you will certainly carry out God's purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.” 
~ C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

What is your compass when it comes to understanding your purpose here? Is it important for you to have clarity about your purpose?
*photo by stock.XCHNG

Friday, October 5, 2012

Moving Thoughts Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.
Complete this sentence:

When I walk down memory lane I ______________________________________.

*I’ll be in CA next week retreating with some other fine folks from my literary agency. See you on the 15th.
**photos by stock.XCHNG

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thrive or Whittle Away

Ever wonder if some people are born with a tenacity gene? Not going to dive into the whole nature vs. nurture debate with you here today. Instead, I’m throwing out eight specific questions I don’t doubt all tenacious souls make a point of asking themselves at various stages throughout their journey albeit maybe on a subconscious level. At any given moment we are thriving or whittling away, no matter the commitment.
There really is a time for everything.

Questions to help you decide whether you’re being called to thrive or whittle away…
~What am I willing to sacrifice to accomplish this?

~Who is gaining from this? If the answer is me alone, is it worth it?
~Do I receive any joy in this or from this?

~Is this commitment changing me in a positive or healthy way? Am I growing?
~Am I able to accurately identify my strengths and weaknesses involving this?

~Have I sought accountability in order to continue improving in this?
~Is there fruit? Am I making a difference with this specific commitment? (If the answer is no or doubtful, am I flexible and willing to make a change?)

~Will I be able to look back years from now and be grateful for the time I spent on this?

There you have it. Eight to tuck in your pocket and pull out when you feel like doing a little reflecting about how you’re spending your seconds here on earth.

Any surprise you? Is there any one question that seemed to strike you in particular today?

*photos by stock.XCHNG







Monday, October 1, 2012

What Women Want—Deep, Loving Relationships

Women crave connection. I’m not springing freakish scientific revelations on you today. We know this. We’ve known it all along. We gravitate toward those we believe will love and accept us. We seek out friendships and relationships in which we’ll feel a trusted sense of belonging.
Seems like a no-brainer, right?

Then why are we so afraid to get real with one another?
If it’s depth we’re after, why does it seem like many of us take the zigzag approach?

Sure it takes effort. Yes, it will require us to forgive and ask forgiveness. And most certainly we’ll endure stale or awkward times when we’re unsure of next steps. We will get hurt.
But that’s part of the adventure. It’s also part of another word that seems to be disappearing in our culture—commitment.

Think of archeologists.
Excavating a site demands extreme patience, as the process has a tendency to proceed painfully slow. But dedicated archeologists persist. They get their hands dirty. And if they refuse to give up, they often end up with what they were hoping for.

Sometimes I enjoy entertaining thoughts about what this world would look like if all of us threw off our insecurities and consistently encouraged one another. I revisit scenes from popular book club selections like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, The Help, The Red Tent, Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons, and The Secret Life of Bees and contemplate the rich relationships depicted in these novels, how bonds both strengthened and frayed through brokenness, misunderstandings, and periods of great loss.

I realize our desire for deep, loving relationships includes with our spouses and families, but regardless of our life stage, women are wired to engage with one another. It fascinates me how we instinctually create natural support networks. Book clubs, moms groups, and neighborhood game nights are just a few examples of how women band together. Psychological studies support that strong female bonds can improve memory, increase oxytocin levels, and help prevent depression.
When I asked you several weeks ago what women want it didn’t surprise me deep, loving relationships was a frequent response. Didn’t surprise me at all.

What never ceases to surprise and delight me is the depth and beauty I’ve experienced in my own friendships—how some women have embedded in my heart, becoming like sisters to me.

It takes risk. It takes commitment. It takes time.
But it gives in innumerable, courage-building ways.

“A laotong relationship is made by choice...when we first looked in each other's eyes in the palanquin I felt something special pass between us--like a spark to start a fire or a seed to grow rice. But a single spark is not enough to warm a room nor is a single seed enough to grow a fruitful crop. Deep love--true-heart love--must grow.” ~ Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Why do you think it’s so difficult for women to get real with one another? Do you have a particular relationship you are thankful for today?

*photos by stock.XCHNG

Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...