Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 - A New Year & A New Attitude

Writing Resolutions Blog Hop

 
 
 

2013 Goals

 
There are so many things I want to do in 2013 and I could go crazy listing them all. To accomplish the entirety, I could micro manage myself to death, but through the years I have found doing that only gives me fuel to doubt myself when the list is still wavering with a long tail of unattained accomplishments at the end of the year.
 
So I decided to use a different approach this year.  I really need some positive feedback and a way to bolster my attitude and stay focused and positive. I will still have my BIG GOALS, but this year I am going to break things out into smaller activities, so I can see that my efforts have accomplished something, even if I don't finish my book or get published in 2013.
 
After working three years on my novel and still at the editing phase, I am feeling a bit deflated. So in 2013 I will write down each small step in my final edit. I am hoping this will encourage me and keep any momentum going.  I also plan on working with another person in a writing group I follow, hoping we can cheer each other on. We want to try to write 1000 words a day.
 
Supporting each other during the weekly and daily struggles, I am hoping that we can each accomplish much this year. 
 
Best of luck to all other writers out there…
I hope we can all share and support each other in 2013. Writing can be very lonely and overwhelming, with the end never really in sight. Together we can take small steps each day and work towards our big goal.
 
Resolution #1 -  WRITE EVERYDAY
Resolution #2 -  ACKNOWLEDGE EACH SMALL STEP

 
 








Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas - Past & Present



Each year it seems time passes by quicker than the year before.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the way our society multi functions these days. We text as we walk, we listen to music as we work, we watch TV as we work out on our treadmills...you get the picture.

 



Long gone are the days we actually did one thing at a time. Once in a while it may happen, but too rare to notice. Every part of our day becomes listed in a schedule to make us proficient in our outputs.  

Now that the holiday season is upon us once again I wonder how fast it will go by, and I am trying to slow things down. 





I want to take the time to notice once again all the wonderful parts of Christmas.  I am not worrying about gifts, or cards, or parties.  Instead I am looking forward to the conversations.  I am anxious to talk with my children again… my grown children that is.

 



I sit here now soaking in the warm memories of the years gone by, and hope to get it out of my system.  No more thinking about the little children running about my feet, the smiles gone by and the wishing that I could freeze and relive those times.  I want the chance for this year’s festivities to have a life of their own, and not be shadowed by yesteryear’s memory. 

 
So here is my pledge – to let the past stay there, and open up the door to a new Christmas present.  To enjoy the moments as they happen, and hope that time slows down enough for me to appreciate and savor the conversations.

I sincerely hope you also take the time to live in your moments, and enjoy your holiday. 

Here's to Christmas Present!



Friday, December 7, 2012

Sadness During The Holidays

Now that the holiday season is fast approaching, many of us are preparing for the festivities. Some are busy shopping - no let's make that most are busy shopping. Great care is taken to find that special gift, hoping it will bring joy to our loved one.

Unfortunately the sad truth is there are many who are depressed during the holidays. The buying and giving of gifts is out of reach for many. Also not everyone has family to share the revelries. Others have such high expectations that they are left feeling empty when the realities of life set.
 
Some people are sad during the holidays, and many suffer from depression.


This year many people have suffered from the poor economic situation. Some have lost their job. Others are underemployed, which can be depressing and attack a person's ego and self-worth.


Take time this holiday season to reflect on the true meaning behind the celebration. Reach out and try to touch someone. Make a difference in a person's life. The idea of a good deed moving forward should especially be strong now. Remember the unselfish acts of the original Saint Nicholas, who is considered the greatest gift giver of all time.  He delivered basic food, necessities and money needed for the survival of others.  He was concerned about other's well-being and happiness. 

 
Emotionally, we all need a pat on the back now and again. When a person's self-esteem is wavering, it is even more urgent.  Don't just participate in this year’s festivity, but instead become involved with the people closest to you.
 


Royalty free stock photos. All pictures are free for commercial and personal use.
If you really like these pictures you can buy George a cup of coffee.


Look around you and see the people behind the mask.  If you see sadness in their face, reach out and ask them if they are okay.  Listen to their story.  Take time to hear them and give them moral support.
 
Sometimes just being recognized and validated can help. No one should be sad during the holidays.  During this Advent season let’s help each other so it will be a Merry Christmas!

Until next post…have a great day.



Mayo Clinic

     Link to Mayoclinic article - Depression & the Holidays  



WebMD: Better information. Better health.     Link to WebMD article - Depression During the Holidays



  helpguide.org Article on Depression-signs/ types / diagnosis / treatment

Helpguide’s Mission


Helpguide’s mission is to provide you and your family with mental health information you can trust. Our expert, ad-free resources empower you with the knowledge and encouragement you need to take charge of your life and make healthy choices. We believe that with support and self-help options, you can understand, prevent, and resolve many of life’s challenges.

Free Emotional Intelligence CourseHelpguide / Harvard Collaboration  




Link Gallup poll emotional-cost of underemployment




 















 

 

 

 


"Underemployed Americans are almost twice as likely to have been told by a doctor or nurse that they suffer from depression."

 

The Bottom Line

With approximately 20% of Americans currently underemployed, the daily negativity this group experiences could have an impact on their lives now and in the future. Gallup has previously reported that underemployed Americans report spending substantially less than the employed and that the majority of the underemployed are not hopeful about finding a job, trends that are sure to contribute to daily worry, sadness, stress, and anger.



Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo Last Day 2012

Congratulations to all who participated in year 2012 NaNoWriMo.

Everyone who wrote came out ahead. And to all those who won, Wow! We did it!

A month of writing for this year’s contest has finally ended. The contestants are finishing up their 50,000 words in the last dash. I am grateful I completed the task. It was a bit nerve racking on some days, especially through the holidays when traveling to be with family on Thanksgiving.

Now after all the unleashed ideas have flowed onto the screens around the world, now is the task to edit the small novel, or add to it, whatever the case may be.

During this frantic month much support was given by fellow writers, and there are a lot of sources and good writing tips presented that we can use to complete our projects. I hope everyone uses the resources offered and finish the novels.

Many participated just for the intense fun of it all. Others used it as a jump off platform for a story they had already contemplated. I myself decided to start a brand new book.  I still have to finish up the last bit of editing on my first, Breaking Cursed Bonds, but took this opportunity to start something new and fresh, Horrible Sins. Now when I complete the editing of my first, which I hope to be soon, I will have another book on the side ready to get my editing attention.

This all sounds like work, right? Well it is a lot of work, but I love the work. I tend to get so involved in the characters and story I create, that I talk about them all the time in conversation. It drives my husband nuts sometimes.

Good/ Bad? I am not sure. You be the judge next time you have a conversation with someone who writes.




http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/about



Please consider joining the group for future contests, or consider a donation.  This is a great program to encourage writers or all ages.

Friday, November 2, 2012

National Novel Writing Month - Year 2012


Finally it has arrived. So many writers have been preparing for this event, writing blogs on how to prepare, creating groups of support and even support events. It sounded like great fun, and at the same time a lot of pain. This is the first I have ever heard of NaNoWriMo and I was all set to sit back and observe.

Then in the last moment, I decided I needed the fire of this yearly event to help me push forward too. I am not sure how this all works, but I am giving it a shot. I signed up on November 1st, a day before my birthday.  It was supposed to be a gift to myself - you know a challenge to be the best I can be... 


http://www.lettersandlight.org/ourevents.php

Right off, I noticed there are many programs they offer, especially for young writers.  At first I had some trouble getting onto the site, with so many updating records it was no wonder.  With perseverance, I signed up and even figured out how to load in my total number of words for day one.  Whew!


Today on day number two, I updated my word count and added a picture for my name. I also joined my local group, Memphis NaNo region and realized I had already missed the first online group function. Not to worry - there are many more events scheduled, and I wish all the talented (and many young) writers best of luck and free thinking.

That is what this is all about - FREE THINKING.

Everyone is encouraged to write, and write more, and still write more....



Save the editing for now, a real challenge for anyone following the writing habits of Dean Kootnz, who chooses to edit as he goes. The rules are pretty simple.  Write 50,000 words in a month - piece of cake.  Not really!  Some are pushed by the challenge itself. Others seem to thrive on the competition. Personally, I just like to know there are others out there in the trenches, experiencing this shared event. I feel honored to be writing with them this month.

As the month progresses, I am sure I will learn more about the trappings of this wonderful event. I hope I succeed as well as all the others, and just the joining has proved to be inspirational to me. 

There are a number of wonderful programs that this group provides throughout the year to encourage writers  -  children and people of all ages to write. If you want to support the arts - here is a great cause.

Please consider donating in any form you can - visit this site.

Donation Station

https://store.lettersandlight.org/donations



 
Watch this video by Mikey's Mind - he explains NanoWriMo...follow his channel as he continues through the month....
 

My Word count end of Day 5

 

My Word count end of Day 2 = 

Total Collective Word Count for 2012 day 5

641,980,603

 

Total Collective Word Count for 2012 day 2

231,357,908

 
Keep Writing Everyone!!!!

 Have a wonderful November!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The 'Bloody Pit' - A Favorite Haunt in Berkshire County Massachusetts


The retelling of a Hoosac Tunnel ghost story:  A tale of murder and hauntings in 1866

After years of being envisioned, work on the Hoosac Tunnel finally began in 1852.  By 1873 with 193 deaths tallied, the tunnel was realized.  This was a major accomplishment of the times and was the longest tunnel of the day at 4 ¾ miles long.  Many attribute the success of this great engineering venture to three factors:  the diligent work of the W & F Shanly & Company contractors who revived the project in 1868, the use of pneumatic drills (Burleigh Drill), and a safer nitroglycerin along with electric blasting caps (new explosive Tri-Nitro-Glycerin invented by George M. Mowbray).   The project was sought after by Industrialists of the day, Alvah Crocker a paper manufacturer in Fitchburg, being the most ardent proponent.  There was a long list of Engineers tasked with the design, many experiencing failure before the final success was achieved. 
Many of the deaths were the result of cave-ins experienced, air shafts accidents, explosions and more.  The most devastating was the collapse after an explosion in the center shaft on October 17, 1867.  The frame work above the center air shaft caught fire and collapsed into the shaft, causing an explosion from the built up fumes, and filling the shaft with water.  Thirteen workers were trapped and drowned, if not already killed from the fire.  Their bodies were not fully recovered until a year later.  This brought much speculation about the ‘Bloody Pit’ and slowed the progress of the project. 
Among the long list of victims claimed by the ‘Bloody Pit’ were three men who worked together as a team using nitro to blast the monstrous black rock.  The name Ringo Kelly was never mentioned in the official recorded history of the Hoosac Tunnel.  But in 1865 a blast happened and two of the team ended up buried in rock.  The local gossip claimed Ringo Kelly ignited the blast early, before the others could reach the safety barrier.  Ringo Kelly went missing for a year and a half.  Then he was found murdered in the tunnel.  Now he is mentioned in bizarre folklore surrounding his murder.  Riddled by rumors only, he supposedly was haunted in 1866 by his two friends, his victims, and killed in vengeance
 
 The official cause of death for Ringo was strangulation.  Still rumors claimed he was chased down by the vengeful ghosts.  He was found dead in almost the same spot his two coworkers were killed.  What really happened to Ringo Kelly? 
Now 146 years later no one knows the real story.  Did he 'accidentally on purpose' kill his friends Ned Brinkman and Billy Nash?  The rumors claim he intentionally set the charge early.  What was the motivation for Ringo to end his friend’s lives? There is no explanation offered.   We do know that it was the first time nitro was being used on a major project of this scope. Nitro is very unstable, and most likely the entire episode was a mere accident.
Unfortunately for Ringo Kelly, the ghosts of Ned and Billy didn't understand.  A year later they found poor Ringo Kelly dead.  What is the real story?  Does anyone really know what happened?   
Here is one theory about this unfortunate happening.  Could this be the real story and reason behind it all….   
 

MURDER-THE-BLOODY-PIT-ebook - Kindle

Now available at Amazon store -  

This short story will be free on the following days: 
     FREE  OCTOBER 27 - OCTOBER 31ST   
Please read for free on your Kindle anytime using the lending library.



If you are interested in more information about the Hoosac Tunnel, its history and folklore of hauntings, please go to these sites attached to this post, and/or watch the film documentaries on the Hoosac Tunnel.
Have a ghostly good time.

 

 
 

 


LINKS to more information:

 
 
 
 
 
 
Hoosac Tunnel - Engineering Program Audio     This is a great audio
 



 
 
 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Poem about "old school" men...

               His Demeanor
                      written by Elisabeth Zguta
 

Standing firm on the rock of stability

Not bending to frivolous changes

Knowing his limits and using his best

Never a moments rest

 

His demeanor is a front of strength

Needing to empower the instinctive nature

To procure, care, and protect

The tasks are done without deliberation

 

Naturally a planner, worker and reaper

An occasional thought and dream

To change his demeanor for more pleasant ways

A compassionate man in all ways

 

Can he change, and should he

Will the world make sense

Can he have this demeanor

And his happiness

 

His demeanor is a shield for all his cares

Loves in his life are better for his demeanor


 

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Short Story for Summer's End


The Perfect Summer Day, A Long Time Ago
Written by Elisabeth Zguta

It was an impulsive thing to do.  I was just hanging around with nothing going on.  It was warm for morning, so a hot summer day was a promise.  Then the phone rang.  It was a call from an unexpected  person.  We had a mutual friend who suggested that we meet.  “Yes a trip to the lake house is perfect today.”

We drove through the country roads unsure of ourselves.  I fiddled with my hair and he tried to keep his eyes peered straight ahead on the road.  I barely knew this person, but for some reason I felt as if I did know him somehow.  I just didn’t know his history.  We talked.  The more we said the more we had to say.  The conversion went from clumsy to familiar.  Finally a smile crossed his face.  I didn’t expect it to move me quite the way it did…it was shining somehow.  His blue eyes started to smile too.  That was the difference; the clouds were finally cast away from his eyes.  They had been covering his true self from my prying vision.

The lake house was small and cozy.  We sat in wooden chairs on the porch, which overlooks the pond.  We watched the birds as they crossed the sky above the reflective glass surface of the lake.  It was mesmerizing.  His older sister was there too.  She was friendly and didn’t ask too many questions, but I could see she gave me sideways glances with some kind of meaning behind the stare.  I didn’t know his history yet, so the look went right over my head.  We grabbed a beer after his sister stopped fussing.  The cool draft from the bottle helped ease what was left of our edge.  We laughed some more.  Now as I reflect on that day, that is what I remember the most – the laughing.  It felt so good to be free and just let go of all the tension, to just laugh.

It was getting hot as the afternoon sun filled the sky with bright beams of heated light.  We decided to swim and cool off.  That was a high point in the day for me because I love to swim.  So we walked out into the lake side by side.  On our toes we slowly let the cold water shock our outside skin until we were numbed.  Finally the tingles completed their purpose and I was able to appreciate the complete coolness the lake offered.  I swam out a little ways and back again.  He stood there watching with a faraway look in his stare.  I felt compelled to move forward, to see why he had gone somewhere else in his thoughts.  "Wasn’t the here and now good enough for him?" I thought.
As I moved in closer, he came back from the closet in his mind.  His smile found its way back again and reached his eyes.  “Are you happy?”  I ask innocently.  “Yes” he said simply.  Then he swam out and back to me.  We gabbed about the swimming, the water temperature, the sunshine, and probably many other simple unnecessary things. 

Then shock as he reached out to me.  I thought he might kiss me.  Instead he grabbed me, picked me up into the air and threw me into the water.  Dunked!  I was dunked!

When I came up for air all I could do was laugh.  I laughed so loud all the woods were alive.  I tried to retaliate.  Again he dunked me!  I tried again, and this time he let me dunk him.  I know this because he told me he let me.  Isn’t that what they all say?  Looking back he probably did let me.  I was a small girl and not very strong.  We had fun the rest of the afternoon.  Splashing and laughing.

I didn’t want the day to end, but of course it did.  After so much laughter and fun we headed for home.  I felt so close to him.  We spoke about our mutual friends and things that happened to us.  He told me of a time he was sitting on a swing in a schoolyard.  As he sat brooding, BB King’s car stopped.  They needed directions.  The great man sitting in the back seat noticed he was glum.  He left his comfortable seat and walked over to him, the lonely boy.  BB gave him some advice before he headed to his show. 

Sharing that memory with me seemed to make him smile, though his thoughts were distant.  It was a fond memory for him, but it made me wonder.  Then I asked.  “Why were you so sad when BB King, the king of soul, noticed?”

Then I knew in my heart he did trust me, because he told me his story, his history.  He had lost someone very close.  She was his first love, the one he considered his soul mate.  He was mourning her and dwelling on his loss that day.  He was contemplating suicide.  When BB drove up and said his kind words it gave him pause.  Those words and his reaching out to him, made him realize he needed to stay connected to life.  To this day he still has been searching for a way to feel alive and find happiness again.  Then he looked at me and said “Thank you for being happy with me today.” 
I remember that day of laughing, only because I was able to share it with him, a true friend.
 

I hope eveyone has lots of happy memories from this summer.  Enjoy these songs and have a great new school year all you students and parents.
 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Short Story - "Chances"

CHANCES written by Elisabeth Zguta  
Michael is returning to his homeland after years of making his way in the world.  He stands on top of a hill overlooking an old village and tries to remember the landscape.  Flooding his mind are images of himself struggling when he was a young boy.  The aches he felt in his muscles from this daily work in the hot sun, as he crushed the wheat for the richest man in town.  He was the man who owned everything.  The man who thought he owned everyone too.  Michael knew in his heart that no one owned him.  He had dreams of a better day. 

When his chance came to leave this unyielding place, he was off.  He flew like a kite through the sky, bouncing in the wind.  Michael went from job to job, searching and working his way up in the world.  He knew his responsibilities to his family.  He had his Mother and sister to support.  He always looked forward, each day another chance for a better life for them all. 

Now years later, he is here in the old village again.  He walks down the hill to town, kicking the sand with his foot, letting the sand fall where it will.  Life was still holding on to old ways here among the old adobe buildings.  There were children in the streets playing, laughing and happy.  He is comforted to know they are allowed to be young now.  Life can be hard, and Michael is here to pay back.  He plans to give because he has been so blessed in his own life.
He notices a woman with two young children, reminding himself of years ago when he was walking these streets with his Mother and sister.  He stops the woman, asks a few questions about the town, and how people are doing.  She has hope for a better future and works hard for her family to survive.  He is impressed with her determination and integrity.  He hands her some money, and when she protests, he explains it is his wish.  With many thanks she leaves with gratitude.

He spots an old man in a ditch, begging.  Michael wonders why he is there, and why no one is helping this poor man.  He asks the old man his name.  He replies his name is Ramone.  It is a name Michael will never forget.  Ramone is the name of the man who had worked him to the bone.  Ramone is the man who exploited him and the others in the town.  Michael asks him how the richest man in town is now in the ditch. 
The old man cries to please help him.  He lost everything because he was young and foolish.  Michael is not moved by his admission.  This man had the chance of a lifetime, and instead spent a lifetime not giving anyone else a chance.  Michael walked away.  He gave Ramone no judgment or money, but instead ignored his strife the same way the old man had ignored others. 

We all have choices to empower people to make a better world and future.  A small or large act of kindness can never go wrong. 

Teach the Children - Crosby & Stills

Please click the link above and enjoy one of the best songs of all times.




An idea can be dangerous. 

Just like Dante inspired many good and evil deeds from his revolutionary thoughts, so too you from mine?  Do you believe in destiny?  I hold there is no great design.

Should we wander our way through the arbitrarily chosen pathways, or follow a more reverent plan underscored with everything we do and touch?  Will our true purpose someday be achieved, despite our own variances we try to blaze? 

I believe we have a will, and given a chance to deter the destiny, that in itself shows we are not doomed to a master plan.  There is no map to follow.  We are all capable to make a change and affect others.  Now in these desolate times, when food sources are scarce, economies are weak, and morality is wavering in the wind, now is our chance to prove the hypothesis. 

Take the challenge, use your preeminent right of will, and use your best resources to make a stand.  Choose a life that is exemplary to your own ideals.  Let the world see your vision of hope.  Share your wisdom with others in the attempt to raise us all to a more perfect place. 

In this place I speak of there is no vanity, no ego.  In this world there is free will and empowerment.  This is what we should strive.  There is no such illusion of equality, because that would mean we are all the same, when clearly your vision is unique from others.  So no equality, but yes to empowerment, to bring everyone up to the best they can be with their resources.  To this I strive and I hope others will join the cause.

Be unique.  Be yourself and let others around you be themselves.  Only in individualism is there truly freedom.  Freedom is the only way to enlightenment.  Dare to empower others, so we can all be uplifted to our best.  Free yourself from the illusion we all need to follow destiny.  Instead make your way.  Your own conscience is your guide.

Any thoughts?