"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Second Annual Retreat at Quartz Mountain Resort

Quartz Mountain Resort
We are home!  From all reports, everyone got writing accomplished -- some more than others, but that was to be expected.

There were some problems with some of the reservations but it all worked out as far as I know.  Judie and I both made our  reservations via telephone, even though they had told me we could do it online.  Neither of us had any problems.  So keep keep that in mind for next time.

I asked for the manager when I checked out but wouldn't you know,  Monday is his day off.  I did get his business card so I can call him and ask him about special group rates for next year.

So officially, the last weekend in January will be Retreat Weekend for Wichita Falls Creative Writers, so mark your calendars for next year!

I took Shelbie with me -- for protection -- NOT -- she's afraid of her own shadow.   For her, it's all about the food.  She got leftover steak from Backdoor in Blair, Oklahoma, a huge hamburger patty, courtesy of Judie Brunson and bacon and eggs from Deborah Kegley. So she, too,  had a WONDERFUL time.

I took my iMac desktop computer with me, and although the computer worked out fine, it was a load to carry as far as I had to carry it.  The resort is not "parking friendly".  Regardless of where you leave you vehicle, you are a loooong way from your room.  All of the end doors nearer  to the parking lots are exits only. I did find a closer way to get it back to the car this morning.

I grabbed one of those carts to unload the rest of my bags Friday night, but some of the sidewalks are steep and we were probably hilarious if anyone happened to be watching. So this morning, not wanting to man handle the cart uphill, I just toted my bags via the shorter route.

Full moon

I walked outside with Shelbie after I got settled and saw the bright full moon overhead.  I had a bit of a conversation with Ronnie about how beautiful it always is.  It never gets old. Mother Nature, God's creation, whatever you prefer to call it, at it's best.

Early morning out my back door QMR

Saturday morning, I got up about 5, dressed and Shelbie and I took a walk in the early morning twilight.  One of the best things about this area, for me, is that it  feels so peaceful. It's almost like turmoil cannot exist within its boundaries.  I left everything negative behind as soon as I turned on to the winding approach up to the lodge. It's one of those places that calls out the best in me.

I spent a lot of time "daydreaming" about the story and the characters, something I had almost forgotten how to do until Tina Haapala (www.excuseeditor.com) posted an article on her website about the value of "daydreaming" and suddenly, I remembered.  Daydreaming is more valuable than anyone who doesn't write can begin to understand.  It's where plots and solutions come together in the imagination  and get ready to be transferred to paper.

Van says that the sword fights his characters have on paper have been carefully choreographed by him, not only in his imagination but with real swords. That is a form of daydreaming, planning it all out, so that it feels real to the reader.

Nicole came, although it was against her better judgement.  Her young daughter had had surgery recently, but her husband assured her that with the help of grandma, they would all be fine, and that if she waited for the perfect time, she might never be able to take any time for herself and her writing.  She said she didn't expect the location to make a difference, but she settled right in and wrote 6 chapters on her novel.  I am so proud OF her and FOR her.

Judie was working on her family history and as usual, she made more progress than any of us, but Tina made progress on her nonfiction work in progress, "Little Bit Married".  Deborah wrote some AWESOME poetry, which she read to us Saturday night. Lauren took full advantage of her time away from home, working diligently until the wee hours of the morning, but on what, I'm not sure.  When we met to "read" she read some of her insightful quotes from her Facebook page "Running Through My Head."

I wish Deborah would start her own blog or a Facebook page and post some of her poems there -- or gather them together for a book.

Ashley was one that had reservation problems, so she left early, but went up to OKC to see her boyfriend and it sounds like she accomplished a LOT, writing related, after she got up there.

afternoon sky
Burna Cole had computer problems and I'm not sure if she was able to make any progress at all, but I sure enjoyed seeing her again.

Sunday afternoon, Shelbie and I took a long walk. The sky was beautiful. We stopped to visit with a couple of truck drivers from Waco, a man and wife team, who were celebrating their 2nd wedding anniversary.  They were a cheerful happy couple.  I also visited with a couple of young families just out exploring on a gorgeous day.

Sunday evening, Judie and I had dinner together.  We talked about our younger years, our poor times and how we never seemed to even realize we didn't have everything we needed. We talked about husbands and children and how valuable time to oneself is, not only for the purpose of writing but for spiritual renewal.

I had a great time.  While I didn't get much new written on my third novel, When Hell Freezes Over, I did do a lot of copying and pasting from older versions into the new version -- so I'm making progress.

Leaving the Quartz Mountain Nature Reserve this morning, I stopped to enjoy these girls.  Can't wait til next year. We missed you, Beatrice McKinney, but thanks for letting someone go in your place!  You are a jewel of a friend.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Learning the Value of Relaxation

I have been familiar with guided imagery for relaxing for many years.  My mother had a series of tapes that  supposedly had subliminal messages on them.  The man's voice on the cassettes was purposely monotonous, but it was distracting to me, for some unknown reason.  My kids liked his voice, though. They said it was soothing.

Many years ago, my son, Ronnie, the DJ, used one of my mother's relaxation cassettes in the intro of one of his recordings which he named "Optimism".  It starts out with the man's voice, then as he speaks, music begins quietly behind the voice.  As it proceeds, the music is enhanced, and the voice starts to echo.  The man continues, "Imagine with me that you are out in nature, that it is a most magnificent beautiful day.  The sky is blue and there is an occasional puff of white cloud over head. The sun is brilliant and golden and directly above you. "

The tempo quickens as he continues but it is still soft and feels like it is building.  There is some more narrative.  As he says "Relax and let go," an emphatic drum beat sounds and the music begins.  "Optimism" is still one of my favorites of all Ronnie's recordings.  It is one which took a lot of planning, and editing and "doing it over and over again" to get it to happen -- just right .  I've listened to it so many times now that all I have to do to relax under most circumstances, is to "take a long - slow - deep breath -- and relax." Thank you DJ Ronnie Bruno!  I still love it!

Several years ago, I bought a new "guided imagery" cassette for the purpose of helping me lose weight.  It was by BelleRuth Naperstek. I love her voice!  The music behind her voice is soothing and emotionally rousing at the same time. In my opinion, the information on the recording is essential knowledge for those seeking to improve their sense of wellbeing.

But I lost it.

I've been looking all over for it since Ronnie was diagnosed, hoping that if I could find it, it would help both of us reconnect with our own quiet places in the midst of such turmoil.  My search for it intensified after he passed away because I was having so much difficulty staying tuned in to the joy that was present in my life, all around me, every single day -- even in his absence.  I knew it was there but I couldn't focus on it.

Last week, I found the cassette!  I was so happy to be able to get to listen to it, feel it again, to reap the benefits of it as I had done before.  But it is a cassette and I only have one small, battery operated cassette player to play it on -- and I didn't know where that was -- either!  So --- I put the tape someplace -- and now I can't find it -- again.

Something happened last week that was so upsetting, confusing and infuriating, I was questioning the validity and value of a certain aspect of my life.  When it happened, I ALMOST cried. But I took a few minutes to bolster myself, to remind myself of the value of going with the flow, of giving the benefit of the doubt and forgiving our trespassers, that is -- those who seek to diminish us in some way.

Doubts, disappointment and disillusionment bombarded me the rest of the day. Thank goodness, Ashley Josephine, the instructor at "Relax! Wichita Falls" downtown at Breathe Yoga, had emailed me my recording from the Wednesday night relaxation session, so I had it to help me release some of the negativity from that incident. Saturday, though was still a constant battle to convince myself to let it go.

Previously, when I searched the internet for BellRuth Naperstek, I was spelling her last name wrong. The search feature on my computer didn't have the ability to connect my spelling with the proper  spelling.  Technology is moving forward almost at the speed of sound, though, and last night, when I searched for "Bell Ruth Knapperstack", the search engine found her AND the wonderful recording that I had used and loved and dreamed about finding for all this time.

Sometimes, I build things up in my mind to be more than they are, but this was not the case with BelleRuth Naperstek's recording.  I clicked the link (below), stretched out on the bed and settled in to listen. It is as powerful now as it was when I first listened to it ten years ago.  My understanding of how the world works, has increased and evolved, which makes what she says even more effective.

The most important aspect of this recording is that she guides  the listener to understand that it is vital to our health and wellbeing to relinquish the negative and hateful thoughts most of us have about our bodies. The first time I heard her say, "My body is my ally, my oldest friend and steadiest companion," I felt that new knowledge sink deep into my being.  At that point in my life, I was not free to explore the mind/body connection to the extent I would have liked to, so the information eventually was forgotten or pushed so far back, it was not retrievable without appropriate coaxing.

Listening to it again, though, brought the information forward in a big way.  Although this recording is designed to help people learn to accept themselves the way they are presently, in order to bring about the changes in their body they are hoping for, the positive boost that it gives in the overall attitude about what our bodies are, how they work and how we see ourselves, is simply invaluable.

One of the worst plagues in U.S. history is  -- low self esteem -- and although many have their theories on how to fix the problem, no one has been able to do it, and those who do know, are not reaching enough people.

If we could see the beauty, the absolute awesomeness of the intelligence in every single cell of our physical being, regardless of whether our reflection in the mirror compares to the beauties in the limelight, we might begin to accept the fact that regardless of what those shallow, narrow-minded people in Hollywood tell us -- we are okay.

If we could figure out how to fill our CHILDREN with the knowledge that they are fine  -- just the way they are, we probably wouldn't have to look for solutions to the other problems that come from feeling bad about one's self.

If you  could see yourself through the eyes of your loving Creator, whatever you imagine that  entity to be, what do you think you would see?

You can check out BelleRuth Naperstek's inspiring recording at


Other recordings from Belle Ruth Naperstek can be found on this website  www.healthjourneys.com