Category Archives: What Inspires Me

Queen of the Tearling

It was about a year ago that I discovered the world of the BookTuber.  They are typically in their late teens/early 20’s and primarily read YA fiction.  Their enthusiasm for literature is contagious and a dream come true for an author.

Something they often comment on is the covers of the books they are reviewing or posting as part of their TBR (to be read) list.  I knew that an eye catching cover was important, but this was a revelation for me.  To see their disappointment (which ranged from annoyance to outright anger) over a series changing the style of a cover mid-way through was especially interesting.

One of the BookTubers on my list is Cozy Tea Reads.  Last weekend, I realized I hadn’t seen any of her videos in a while, so I decided to bingewatch.  It was at the 5:30 mark of her “July Book Haul + Giveaway” that she said, “This next book that I have is one of the most beautiful books I have laid my hands on in a very long time.”  

Then she held up her copy of “The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen and I felt myself gasp.  She went on to say, “I can’t stop looking at it.  It’s stunning!”

THE QUEEN OF TEARLING

She’s absolutely right. 

I have an e-reader and a limited book-buying budget, so if I see a book I want I typically go that route.  But then there are books that I want in the “traditional” format because they are simply far too beautiful and I need physical evidence of their existence.  This is one of them.

The photo doesn’t do it justice because it’s not only the cover but the spine and the map inside that make this book so gorgeous.  So definitely go watch Cozy Tea Reads video so you can see for yourself.  Something else that sold me on this book (as if the cover wasn’t enough) is that Emma Watson is involved of the making of the film adaptation.

Queen of the Tearling - Emma W

Is “The Queen of the Tearling” on your TBR list?  Have you ever seen a cover and simply HAD to have the book?

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When Autumn Leaves

I was chatting with a gal and (as often happens) the topic turned to books.  She asked if I had read “When Autumn Leaves” by Amy Foster.  I hadn’t, so she kindly offered to loan it to me.

when-autumn-leaves-201x300

Here’s a bit of the synopsis :

“In the picturesque Pacific coast town of Avening, it’s hard not to believe in magic. This is a town where the shoes in the window always fit, where you can buy a love potion at the corner shop, and where local lore seamlessly mixes with the supernatural.”

The story centres around Autumn, a local shop keeper and member of the Jaen Sisterhood.  She has received word that the time has come for her to move on and time to choose her successor.  But  who among the women of the town will be up to the task?

She soon compiles a list of 13, each of whom has their own special brand of magic.  The stories of each of the 13 intertwine far more than any of them are aware (or willing to admit).  Soon we find ourselves being taken on a journey as we get to know each of the candidates and soon realize that Autumn’s choice is going to be next to impossible.

I don’t want to say much more, for fear of posting spoilers.  If you are looking for an “Autumn-themed” book to read and considering we’re just days away from Samhain/Halloween/All Hallows Eve, this is a good choice.

If memory serves, this book took me three nights to finish.  I loved it so much, I immediately bought a copy for myself and another for a friend.  “When Autumn Leaves” has taken a place on my re-read shelf and I look forward to revisiting Avening very soon.

Do you have any suggestions for an “Autumn-themed” read?  Would love to hear from you!

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Octopus Wisdom

I was heading out for brunch with my parents and as I was driving down the highway, I thought about whether or not to post a reading today.  This card appeared in my mind’s eye, so I decided to see what it had to tell us.

Octopus - Reading Oct 19

This Octopus card comes from Susie Green’s “Animal Messages” deck.  

It says “Travel across Earth and over sea to securely embrace your dream.”

 

When I look at the card, multitasking immediately comes to mind.  When we wish to manifest something in our lives, there is always work to be done.   Clear out the clutter, organize our thoughts, create lists, prioritize tasks, take classes, release negative thought patterns, put ourselves in situations where we can make the appropriate contacts.  It may seem as though our hands are full, both figuratively and literally.

Susie Green writes, “Octopus does not wait for fate to deliver her dinner of crab, employing whatever strategy necessary for his capture, even abandoning water for earth’s air.  She councils that you, too follow your dream.  If your partner has left for a faraway land, join them;  if a new exciting possibility calls from distant climes, embrace it as firmly as Octopus does crab.  If others obstruct you, like Octopus eclipse your actions in an inky cloak until your dream is securely in your grasp.”

Even the Octopus has limits.  It only has 8 arms.  Some even lose a limb or two along the way.  But they carry on because they have no choice, if they are to achieve their goal.  You must also recognize that, no matter how amazing you are at multitasking, there will be certain things you need to let go of in order to bring closer that which will help you attain your goal and realize your dreams.

Keep pure your highest ideal.  Let nothing stop you, nor turn you aside.

I don’t know who wrote this but I read it over 20 years ago and it’s the best advice anyone can offer you.  There will be what I call “Dream Squishers” out there that seem to enjoy seeking out people’s dreams only to try and snuff them out with an inappropriate (or sometimes cruel) comment.  They will go so far as to LIE to you in order to steer you away from what you really want because they’re too afraid to dream.  If you have a Dream Squisher in your life, you don’t have to sever ties (although that is an option) but my advice is to keep your dreams to yourself.  Definitely express them among like-minded people who can help you get where your going, but if you encounter one of these human hobgoblins, steer clear and keep your thoughts to yourself.  When all else fails, smile and nod, then change the subject.

What do you see when you look at the Octopus?  What messages does she have for you?  Feel free to share, if you’re comfortable doing so.  Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong”, so have fun with it!

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Imitation VS Innovation

Everyone’s looking for the next JK Rowling, but like any “Cinderella Story”, they tend to forget that there’s no such thing as an overnight success.  According to Wikipedia, JK Rowling was rejected by 12 different publishing houses before Bloomsbury agreed to publish the first Harry Potter Book.  Even then, she was advised to get a day job because it wasn’t likely she’d make any money writing children’s books.

No one could have predicted the success of Harry Potter.  But that is part of the reason I think it’s successful.  It wasn’t planned or formulated.  No one was trying for a repeat performance.  It was unlike anything anyone had ever experienced.  As a “regular person” who hadn’t yet been discovered, JK Rowling was free to write from her heart with no further expectations than bringing a story forward and sharing it.

Another example of great storytelling is the team behind Pixar Animation Studios.  There is a short documentary playing on Knowledge Network that I have watched at least 6 times and the other night, I watched it again.  John Lasseter’s story is a fantastic example of the Law of Attraction at work.  He decided at a very young age that he wanted to not only create cartoons, but to work for Disney.  He didn’t know how it would happen but he never lost sight of his dream nor did he ever doubt that it would come true.

John Lasseter Quote

Mr. Lasseter understands the creative mind and the fact that creative-types have a unique perspective.  Our needs are different than our left-brained counterparts and he has been very careful to foster those by creating a work environment that is tailored to creativity.  He truly believes that if you let a creative person do what they do best in a manner that works for them, they will bring more to the table than you ever dreamed possible.  What’s better is that he supports that belief by giving his team the support and tools they need to foster their ideas.  He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk and does it better than anyone else in the industry.

Needless to say, both JK Rowling and John Lasseter continue to inspire me.   So tell me, who inspires you?

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Tradesies!

Almost a month ago, I wrote about my major purge in “Distractions, procrastination, and releasing my past.”  Through that process I let go of a LOT of things that I no longer needed, wanted, used, and never really wanted at all but was guilted into taking.  I also found some things I’d completely forgotten about, like this book :

Tradesies 1

“The Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration” was a chance find in the bargain section at Chapters about 14 years ago.  I picked up two copies, one for myself and one for my yet-to-be born nephew.  I tucked it away and promptly forgot about it.

I was wondering what to do with it, since I didn’t think it would appeal to him.  Fast forward a few weeks.  My Mom and I had a discussion about artists whose work was featured in old books.

I, of course, started going on about Arthur Rackham.  He was a huge influence on both Alan Lee and Brian Froud, who collaborated on the book “Faeries” back in the 70’s.

I am also a huge fan of Beatrix Potter, whose work is also featured in this book.  Her work has a certain charm that seems to call out to people, no matter how old they are.

Tradesies 2 Ah!  Book plates!  I love them!  They’re so much more than just “illustrations” but rather a work of art.  A snapshot of a moment in the story, beautifully framed and able to stand on it’s own.  This book is a treasure and I am so happy that I had the presence of mind to get it.  But I certainly don’t need two of them.  So I offered one to my Mom, who gave me this in return.

Tradesies 3  I have flipped through it a few times at her house but hesitated to borrow it because I didn’t know when I would be able to get it back to her.  The similarities between Druidry and the Avalonian Tradition have always been of interest to me, so I look forward to taking the time to sit down and read through it.

Have you ever traded books with family or friends?  Do you find it difficult to part with a book if you can’t find it a good home?  Have you ever been given a book out of the blue?

 

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Distractions, procrastination, and releasing my past

Nothing kills a writer’s drive like unfinished projects.

“I’ll just tidy the kitchen…”

“I’ll just read one more chapter…”

“I really ought to sort my sock drawer…”

It’s ironic because whatever you’re writing is an unfinished project but we tend to shuffle that to the bottom of our list of priorities.  What exactly are we avoiding?  Why are we so easily distracted?  I can’t speak for everyone but find once I actually get started, I’m fine.  But if there is something sitting undone, I have a hard time focusing.  The time spent avoiding the unfinished project while sitting there struggling to write adds up quickly and soon you find that it would have been easier just to do the thing you’d been avoiding, so you can get back to what you really want to do.  Write.

Almost two weeks ago, I received some disturbing news about someone I used to know.  The details don’t matter, but what does is how it affected me.  I suddenly decided that I was going to get my life in order and I was going to start in the basement.  Not the figurative “basement of my subconscious”, but the actual basement of my home.  It is a project that has sat undone and really nagging me for far too long.  I asked myself why and realized that I just didn’t want to deal with my past.  It was upsetting and scary and emotional and draining and and and and…

As it turns out, once I started it wasn’t all that bad.  I had what turned out to be over 20 cans of paint sitting there, some of which had been there for years.  I have been meaning to take it somewhere to be recycled but kept thinking it was “too big a project” to deal with.  It took all of an hour to load it in my car and take it in.  An hour.  But it was such a huge weight lifted that I can’t believe I put it off for so long.

Not Jackson Pollock

 

Boxes and bags of “stuff” that I just didn’t want to deal with.  Completely random things, like a piece of molding from my van, which I haven’t had for four years.  I didn’t even realize it still sitting under the stairs and had to stare at it for a couple of minutes to even figure out what it was and where it came from.  I even discovered a few surprises, like a beautiful “doorway” wall hanging that I bought years ago and forgot I had.

Doorway

 I love this !

 My toolbox was far too small and was also broken, so it couldn’t be closed.  Into the bin it went and I bought myself a new one that is not only larger but actually fits everything.  The bonus is that it’s blue, which is my favourite colour and has absolutely nothing to do with it’s function but makes me happy all the same.

New Toolbox

I was merciless and very honest.  No more “this might come in handy someday” or “I should probably keep that”.  I did find myself saying “What the heck is THAT?” and “Where did THIS come from?” quite a bit.  Part of the way though, I had this lightbulb moment.  I was the one in charge.  It is MY home, MY space, and no one else had any say in how this was going to be done.  That one seemingly small shift in my perspective set me free.  Anything that I wasn’t using, didn’t like, didn’t want, or never wanted in the first place but was guilted into taking was either tossed, given away, or donated.

It took about a week.  When all was said and done, I dragged 7 giant garbage bags of junk to the curb, took all the paint to the recycling depot, and a carload of stuff to a charity garage sale.  The energy in the house seems lighter and now I actually go down there just to look around.  There is so much space that my Whippet runs laps!  It hasn’t been that empty since before I moved in and I intend to keep it that way.  Now that I’m on a roll, I think I’ll tackle the office.

Is there anything you’ve been putting off?  What do you think is keeping you from getting started?

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Coming out of the Fibro Closet

It’s been quiet here on the Bliggity Blog.  I’m sorry for that.  You may notice that I have a tendency to disappear from time to time.  I don’t like to talk about it for a myriad of reasons but now seems like as good a time as any.

I am affected by Fibromyalgia.  I don’t like to say I “have” it, for to state that you possess something is sending a message to the Universe that you want to keep it.  It has already been in my life for far too long.Fibro Fact

I don’t like to talk about it because I know the stigma associated with it.  I am ashamed to admit that I was among those who believe that Fibro is a load of BS.  Imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed and realized that the reason I never felt “well” and was tired all the time was because of Fibro, along with its buddies Chronic Fatigue, Costochondritis, and Restless Leg Syndrome.  What’s that?  No cure?  Oh joy!

Let me be absolutely clear.  I AM NOT A DOCTOR.  I am a 45 yr old woman who is affected with Fibro and made the decision to heal myself because I wasn’t satisfied with the options available to me through traditional medicine.  What works for me may not work for someone else.  But is does work for me and that’s what matters.

This has been an awakening.  A hard lesson in compassion and self-reliance.  I soon learned that traditional medicine simply tosses pharmaceuticals at you and tells you that you just have to become accustomed to your symptoms.  Make adjustments.  That you can most likely look forward to being on disability and that there isn’t anything else they can do for you.  I am grateful that I am stubborn because I wasn’t about to buy into that belief.

I am also grateful to have found Dr. Steve Marsden – a Naturopathic physician.  He was the first person in the medical field to truly listen and the first to validate my symptoms.  More importantly, he told me not to focus on the “label” but on how we were going to work together to enable me to heal.  While it is a chronic condition with no cure, he felt very confident that I could manage my symptoms, which would enable me to have as normal a life as possible.

Gentle Hugs

He started me on a specialized blend of herbs and advised me to meditate in order to raise my Ch’i (life force).  I learned that my emotional state had an impact on my symptoms, so I became very aware of my surroundings, as well as the people I interacted with, music I listened to, films I watched.  Anything that lowers my vibration will cause me to feel unwell.  I gave up caffeine and instantly noticed a huge difference in how I felt.  I paid attention to what I ate and how it affected me, making adjustments as I went along.  I am not perfect.  Not by a long shot.  But I am no longer in the dark, wondering why I feel like crap and not knowing what to do about it.

Through my research, I discovered that most people affected by Fibro also have a magnesium deficiency.  So I take Magnesium Citrate twice a day.  I also learned that there are benefits to Infrared Sauna, so I have incorporated that into my routine.  Yoga, meditation, naps when you need them, working with crystals, and allowing yourself to have days where you just don’t feel well are also part of the formula.

So the reason you haven’t heard much from me in the last couple of weeks is because I had a flareup and it’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated to get back on track.  To be honest, it started with all the excitement of “The Last Unicorn” screening.  You see, even positive stress has an impact so I have to be aware of that and keep myself from getting overly excited/emotional.  I learned a mantra from Dr. Wayne Dyer that also helped.  “I am healthy.  I am well.  I am pain free.  I am fibro free.  I am costo free.  I am healing.”  Whenever the pain sets in, this is an easy way to change focus and it usually subsides within a few minutes.  It never completely goes away but it becomes manageable.

I am sharing this with you not for sympathy, but in order to promote understanding and awareness.  Just because someone doesn’t “look” sick, doesn’t mean their illness isn’t real. Just because you don’t understand what they are going through does not give you the right to negate what they are experiencing.  I am guilty of this myself so I can understand the mindset.  We often fear what we don’t understand and Fibro is a very misunderstood condition.

Even just having one person in your corner who “gets” it (or at least tries to) makes a world of difference.  It is my goal to be doing even better this time next year and to be able to share all the things I have been able to do and experience, thanks to my healing.

Fibro Awareness

 

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