February Full Moon #Blogging Goals Update 2021 #Blogger #amblogging #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation

The second full moon of 2021 was two days ago, the 27th of February, it’s called snow moon, and it still looked full last night when I wrote this post.

On the last full moon, in January, I told you about my blogging goals for the next six months, so here’s my monthly update.

I did a great deal of planning in January, regarding all my goals, which I divided into five categories: mind, body, soul, career and hobbies, for the first half of the year.

I’ve never been so disciplined before, but I had the feeling that since I retired in September 2019, although I had a lot more time, I wasn’t using it as productively as I’d like.

Unfortunately, 2020 was a tough year until September, so all my plans went literally down the drain. Covid-19 was only partly to blame. There were family and health issues with my mother, my daughters and my husband that had to be addressed, and are now fortunately, if not completely resolved, at least much improved.

So, although I started plotting and planning my goals in September 2020 in a desperate bid to take control of my life, the process culminated in January 2021 when I chose my three words for the year which are: Believe, Routine and Gratitude. 

Because I agree with Hal Elrod’s equation in The Morning Miracle for Writers that Unwavering Faith, or belief in myself and my projects, and Extraordinary Effort, by means of a strict routine, will lead to Miracles, or in earthly terms, reaching my goals.

I had already started reading books on personal growth and time management, many of which I’ve shared on my blog. As a result of some much needed introspection about what I wanted the rest of my life to look like, I decided to take the following actions:

1- Design a unique morning and evening routine that works for me (I designed it in January and I’ve been doing it regularly during February).

2- Keep a record of everything I do in one notebook, including my ‘done list’ and my ‘to do list’ (I’ve been doing this for some time, but I’ve perfected the strategy in February).

3- Establish and keep to a blogging and writing routine (I started following it as strictly as possible, this month).

4- Write out my goals for 2021, including identifying my ‘whys’, ‘strategies’ and ‘timelines’. I wanted to make sure I was doing at least one little thing every day towards my goals (I did this in September, although there were some minor updates in January).

To keep track of my goals and hold myself accountable, I use:

A Vision Book, which is an A4 sized plastic folder including my routines, goals, affirmations, monthly calendars and other important or motivating pictures, quotes, poems, and pages.

A Daily Journal, which is a simple 9×6 inch, soft-bound, spiral, lined notebook, which is by my side all day. It has my done and to do list, and any notes I make during the day, poems, ideas, etc.

My Morning and Evening and Gratitude Journal. I have a larger, 12-inch notebook for this as I only use it twice a day and I don’t carry it around.

My Monthly Calendar pages for overall planning. These go in my vision book.

Here’s a video by Marisa Peer about vision boards and journaling which can give you some ideas on how to use them.

So, for my monthly update on my goals:

Career: So far I’ve kept to my planned Blogging Schedule.

I’m a week behind my writing schedule because I started using word365, which caused havoc with my previous word documents, but I think I’ve managed to get the hang of it!

Mind: I’ve read  8-10 books this month, including personal growth and fiction, and I’ve also watched experts on life and health on YouTube channels. I’ve been improving my German with audio courses, short stories and a great YouTube channel Easy German.

Body: I’ve kept to a healthy diet, walked an average of 5kms a day, plus my morning exercise routine and some indoor biking, and ping pong, too.

Soul: I’ve kept my gratitude diary, recited my affirmations, I’ve been meditating regularly, still for short periods, but I’m getting there.

Hobbies: I’ve taken plenty of photos, gone for walks in the countryside, cooked some new dishes, and I’ve kept in touch with friends online.

Overall, February has been a busy and productive month and I feel that following my planned routines, has increased my self-esteem and belief in myself, and daily gratitude journaling is helping me stay motivated and on track to reach my goals.

How are your goals coming along?

Do you plan them out months or weeks ahead? 

Let me know in the comments!

#SundayWalks Last Day of #February #Haiku ‘7 things that happened in February 2021’

Spring is in the air,

Last day of February,

Reasons to rejoice! 

Seven things that happened in February 

Lots of things happened in February, but here are seven I’d like to share with you!  

  1. My mother, 92, and my daughter, who is a teacher, were vaccinated to prevent covid-19. 
  2. My youngest daughter married in Munich. We couldn’t be there, so we’ll have to leave the celebrations for later.

3. I’ve followed the morning routine I designed in January and it’s worked well for me. 

4. I’ve followed the blogging schedule I planned and I’ve posted every day.  

5. I’ve completed my second edit for Blood Moon and the second edit of the edition of All Hallows at Eyre Hall. 

6. I’ve walked 125 kilometers in 30 hours which amounts to 8000 calories (I think that’s equivalent to almost a kilo!), which is an average of almost an hour, five kilometers a day.  

7. I had a much needed hair trim!

And one more for February, just because it’s been a very productive month!

8. I’ve signed a contract to self-publish my novel with a Spanish author platform/publisher who is endorsed by/affiliate to Penguin-Random House Spain. (I may not have told you, but I also write in Spanish with another pen name, but I’ll tell you about that in another post).

These photos were taken this morning in ‘Las Jaras’ a reservoir in the mountains a few kilometers from my house in Cordoba, Spain. 

How was your February?

 

 

#SoCS Stream of Consciousness Saturday ‘Frosty’ #SaturdayThoughts #FlashFiction

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. 

This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “-sty.” Find a word that ends in “-sty” or use the word “sty.” Enjoy!

Frosty

A few words have crossed my mind, such as:

Nasty, but I refuse to let any type of unpleasantness into my life.

Dusty, but I’m not in the mood to think about housework or dirt.

Crusty, I was tempted, but it’s way past my bedtime and I’m not hungry.

Hasty, I’m no longer in a hurry. I’ve been there, done all the rushing around, life is slower now.

Misty, this word brings sad memories. It’s the name of our cat who was run over, and I don’t need sad memories right now.

So, I finally settled on Frosty because I live an hour and a half’s drive from the Mediterranean Sea, where the climate is mild, so frost is a pretty, exotic thing I see very little of, and therefore it has no negative connotations for me. On the contrary, I looked through Pixabay and found some lovely pictures of frost, like this one:

I would love to stay at a log cabin, like the ones you see in films, in distant places like Canada and Alaska, sit by the window and write whatever comes to mind, drinking cups of tea and hot chocolate, by the fireplace, and eating hot soup with crusty bread (maybe I am hungry?).

I’d write a story about a writer who was in search of inspiration. She rented a cabin in the snowy countryside in the Alaskan wild where she found a diary in the bedside table drawer, left behind by a previous occupant who had also come to write a book.

She opened the first page and read:

Once upon a time a writer needed solitude to write her novel, so she rented a cabin and found a diary written by a previous occupant. It started with Once upon a time…

She wrote the first chapter, and then she left.

She returned every year to find her diary in the same place. She wrote a new chapter each year.

(And now I’m going to bed, because it’s one o’clock in the morning.

Tomorrow morning I’ll reread my post and write the end of the story.

Hi! I’m Back. Here’s Part II).

“Good morning, Maggie.”

Maggie turned to the pretty young girl and smiled.

“Where would you like to go today?” the nice girl said, showing her images on a screen. “There’s a beach, the mountains, a thick wood, or …”

“I want to go back to Alaska.”

“If you’re sure?” Maggie nodded enthusiastically.

The girl pushed Maggie’s wheelchair into the viewing room. “Why are you always so keen on frosty Alaska?”

Maggie’s eyes shone. “I have to finish my novel.”

The young girl caressed Maggie’s wrinkled hand, put on her 3D glasses and said, “Alaska it is.”

****

#JaneEyreFF Rereading Jane Eyre in #FlashFiction #Chapter3

Jane Eyre in Flash Fiction Chapter 3

How I recovered after fainting in the Red Room   

I woke up in my own bed after a frightful nightmare.

Bessie refused to sleep alone with me for fear that I might die during the night, so Sarah stayed with her. I heard them say a white apparition had passed over me and my uncle’s grave, and although I have forgiven my aunt, to this day I still suffer at the memory of that ghostly night.

The next day, Mr Lloyd, the apothecary visited and asked me why I was crying and I told him I had been locked in a dark room with a ghost and that I was very unhappy at Gateshead.

When he asked me if I’d like to go away to school, I agreed because I could learn French and how to paint, sing and play the piano. He said he would speak to Mrs Reed and as she says I’m a tiresome, ill- conditioned child, I hope she will be glad to be rid of me and let me go.

Later that night, I heard Miss Abbot tell Bessie my father had been a poor clergyman. My mother’s father had disagreed with the marriage and cut her off without a shilling. A year later my father caught the typhus fever while visiting the poor, and shortly after my mother had died, too, making me a penniless orphan.

The third chapter of Jane Eyre introduces a new character, Mr Lloyd, the apothecary. He is not a major character, but he is significant for two reasons. Firstly, he suggests Jane should be removed from Gateshead and taken to a boarding school, an event which initiates the next stage of jane’s journey. Secondly, he is the first adult who is actively involved in helping Jane, as we will see in chapter VIII.

Jane is aware at such a young age how learning can help her improve her future and in fact it is her knowledge of French which will be one of the reasons she is offered the job of governess at  Thornfield Hall nine years later, to teach Mr Rochester’s French ward English.

Jane also learns about her parents’ deaths. This chapter begins the transition from the fear and torture she is putting up with at Gateshead to the possibility of hope and a new life at a school, away from her aunt and cousins.

The summary is based on the free ebook by planet books which you can find here.

I’ll be posting a chapter of Jane Eyre in flash fiction every Friday. If you’re wondering why, read all about it here.

If you’d you’d like to Reread Jane Eyre with me, visit my blog every Friday for #JaneEyreFF posts.

See you next week for chapter 4!

Images from Pixabay

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘The People I Love’ #February2021 @Pixabay #Tanka

Al final del camino me dirán:

—¿Has vivido? ¿Has amado?

Y yo, sin decir nada, abriré el corazón lleno de nombres.

Pedro Casaldaliga 1928-2020

Paraphrased translation:

At the end of my journey they will ask if I have loved and I will show them my heart full of names.

****

We are all aware of our mortality, but the demands of our daily lives, work, family, shopping, household chores, etc. take up most of our thoughts and energy, and then, in the end, everything that’s important is relegated, which brings me to the real topic of this post: the people we love.

Many of us cannot see our loved ones face to face due to covid19 restrictions, and yet we must find time to keep in touch with those we love and appreciate; our family and friends.

Get in touch with them. Call them, send a message, a letter, a postcard, an email, say, ‘I love you’, ‘I miss you’, ‘How are you?’ Not only will it cheer them up, it will also raise your own spirits.

We need to feel the connection with the people we love and appreciate, even if we can’t touch them, hug them or kiss them.

They’re deep in my heart,

I see their faces and hear

their words and laughter

In my thoughts, dreams and soul,

Forever,

The people I love.

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

How do you keep in touch with the people you love?

****

Image by ejausburg on Pixabay

Pixabay is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for). And Thursday, which is in the exact middle of the week is an ideal day to stop and reflect, so I’m grabbing one or more pictures and reflecting on whatever comes to mind. I’m not planning on stream-of-consciousness, because although it’s an unplanned post based on a random picture, I’ll edit my thoughts and words, because you’re worth it! I want you to read a pretty and polished post:)

#Poetry ‘Dreams’ #Tanka Tuesday

This post was written in response to Colleen M. Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Theme Prompt ‘Dreams’. Join in and read other entries here!

A child is born,

The Universe throbs with new life, 

A dream has come true

Tall trees and glass walls witness

Miracles; baby’s birthday.

Pictures of the Frauenklinik in the Englishen Garten in Munich, where my grandson, Marcos, was born last July.

#Tuesdaybookblog ‘Bedlam’ by LJ Ross #BookReview #Thriller #Audible

This is the third installment of the Alexander Gregory Thrillers and it can be read as a standalone, but I urge you to read book one and two first, because they are also just brilliant!

The Alexander Gregory Thrillers

From the blurb

Fresh from a high-profile case in the Paris fashion world, elite forensic psychologist and criminal profiler Dr Alexander Gregory receives a call from the FBI. The wife of a notorious criminal has been admitted to a private psychiatric hospital and can no longer testify in his upcoming trial. Without her, their case will collapse but, amidst reports that the staff are as unpredictable as their patients, who can the police trust?

In desperation, they turn to an outsider and now Gregory must find the courage to step inside the fortified walls of Buchanan Hospital to uncover the truth. The question is, will he ever be the same again?

Murder and mystery are peppered with dark humour in this fast-paced thriller set amidst the spectacular Catskill Forest.


Bedlam: An Alexander Gregory Thriller (The Alexander Gregory Thrillers Book 3) by [LJ Ross]

My Review

Dr Gregory is a well known English forensic psychologist and criminal profiler. He is also a complex character who is battling with his own demons.

On this occasion he is helping the FBI solve a case related to the mafia. He goes undercover in a private psychiatric hospital, pretending to be a patient, and things get very complicated while he’s hospitalised. 

I love Gregory’s complex, dark character and the way he battles with his own demons, which he is well on his way to recovering in this installment. In fact, I really enjoyed the psychological aspects of the novel and the discussions between doctors and patients at the hospital.

I’m glad Dr Gregory found a love interest in this novel, who is more of a possible long-term relationship than his previous female friends in the first two books (You know by now that I’m an incurable romantic!). Although Bedlam is in not a romance, there is a hint of things to come, and I hope it works out for both of them.

LJ Ross does a wonderful job of creating authentic characters and throwing them headlong into challenging situations, which they cope with and overcome because of their resourcefulness, moral strength and compassion. And of course, we have the villains, selfish people who have no moral scruples.  

I preordered the kindle version, but I added the audible version and ended up listening to Richard Armitage’s fabulous narration. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

#MondayMotivation ‘Happy For No Reason’ by Marci Shimoff #MondayBlogs #PersonalGrowth

Over the past months, I’ve been reading a great number of motivational and inspiring books on personal growth. I’ve also been listening to podcasts and watching videos on YouTube. This interest has sprung from a combination of factors as I’ve recently reached a few significant milestones in my life; I retired and turned sixty, and I have five grandchildren between the ages of three months and nine years. I am concerned with aging, health, and emotional wellbeing, as well as my children’s and grandchildren’s future challenges. I have more time to reflect and more things to reflect on, so I’ve found these books, podcasts and videos very helpful, especially in these uncertain and volatile times in which we can take nothing for granted. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on Mondays.

Today I’m sharing my reflections on a wonderful book with an intriguing and motivating title, Happy for no Reason by Marci Shimoff, NY Times bestselling author, and motivational speaker. This is a link to her blog/vlog Your Year of Miracles.

Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out de [Marci Shimoff]

Part one explores the paradigm of happiness based on theories and experiments carried out, so we get a better understanding of what it means to be happy. She also discusses of happiness blocks and how she applies the Law of Attraction to lead a happier life. It also includes a 20-question test to help the reader assess and understand our level of happiness. You can download the questionnaire here.

Part II is about raising our level of happiness through the seven steps she proposes using an analogy of building a Home for Happiness.
1. The Foundation—Take Ownership of Your Happiness. Only you are responsible for your happiness.
2. The Pillar of the Mind—Don’t Believe Everything You Think. Question your thoughts, because your thoughts make your beliefs and sometimes they are negative, limited or simply untrue and they can sabbotage your life.
3. The Pillar of the Heart—Let Love Lead. Focus on gratitude, forgiveness and kindness. I love this chapter because it has many examples and simple practices for emotional growth.
4. The Pillar of the Body—Make Your Cells Happy. In this chapter she discusses taking care of our physical being, food, exercise, sleep etc.
5. The Pillar of the Soul—Plug Yourself In to Spirit. She talks about our connection to a higher power or the universe by inner listening through meditation.
6. The Roof—Live a Life Inspired by Purpose. Find what your are passionate about. this can be your job, career, calling, hobby. Do what you love and love what you do.
7. The Garden—Cultivate Nourishing Relationships. Connecting with and supporting others.

Part three is about building habits which will increase our wellbeing and guide us us in our path to happiness. It also includes a comprehensive bibliography and other online resources.

If you don’t have time to read the book, watch this interview where she explains it all in her own words:

I really enjoyed reading this book which is full of real life stories and examples of all her suggestions. There are also practical and thought-provoking questions, called ‘Exercises’ throughout the book, which make it a useful tool to personal improvement.

Take care and stay safe.

Here’s the link if you’d like to read my other posts on #PersonalGrowth 

Check this post out to find out about my Blogging schedule.

Extract from ‘Blood Moon at Eyre Hall’ #amediting #amwriting

Writing the first draft of the fourth novel, which is the prequel to the Eyre Hall Trilogy, my sequel to Jane Eyre, was challenging but fun. The exploration of the characters’ backstories and the gradual unveiling of the plot was thrilling. But editing is another story.

I am currently grinding my teeth and pulling out my hair, because I’m sending my editor the second and final edit on Monday. 

Why does self-editing get more difficult with every novel I write? Answers in the comments, please! 

Meanwhile, I’m taking a brief break to post a short extract from Chapter 12 of Blood Moon at Eyre Hall. Narrated by Michael, Mrs Rochester’s valet.

“My husband’s first wife, was a very unfortunate woman. It pains me to remember her.”

Mrs Rochester turned to me. “You look surprised, Michael. So was I when I met her, just once.”

Her eyes followed the tumbling flight of the chestnut leaves blowing across the lawn. “The leaves remind me of some lines from Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind, ‘If I were a dead leaf, Or a swift cloud to fly with thee, Uncontrollable in my wanderings, Oh, lift me like a wave, a leaf, a cloud!’”

She sighed and closed her eyes. “’I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!’ Or words to that effect.”

I had read her copy of ‘Prometheus Unbound’ many times. “The last line reads something like, ‘When winter passes, can spring be far behind?’”

Her face bloomed like a summer rose. “Indeed, Michael; the calm after the storm, the annual rebirth of life. Perhaps spring will bring new hope.”

Release date, 24th May 2021