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Posts Tagged ‘realize your dreams’

20160112_113459_resizedNew Year’s Resolutions involve commanding one’s self to reach a goal. Intentions are strong but momentum can putter away. I made resolutions when I was younger, usually to lose weight. They never really worked for me. Now if I want to reach a goal, I create an action plan with specific components to get from where I am to where I want to be. This strategy is not tied to a year, and it does work for me.

A few years ago I decided to switch from making resolutions to setting themes for a new year.

Themes are more fun. For example, once I decided to have a theme called “Vincent Van Gogh”. That’s it, no tasks or goals attached. I have learned more about Van Gogh, as a person and his art, ever since.

Last year I decided to find, prepare and master new recipes. Specifically, I wanted to learn how to make rich, savory and tender beef short ribs, a garlicky seafood soup, and cinnamon cardamom bread. They are all now a delicious part of my meal repertoire. This year I plan to continue to expand my recipes and cooking skills.

What other themes do I have for 2016? My main focus is writing. I have begun writing my first novel, which I will tell you more about soon. Also, decorating and organizing my office/studio into the beautiful and energizing space I know it can be. And, swans. Because they are so lovely. I am blessed with sightings of them as they fly over or swim in the river near my house. Who knows where my fascination with swans will take me this year?

What themes do you want to incorporate into your life in 2016?

 

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My new inspirational book, Realize Your Dreams: image from sales pageCreate an Action Plan for Life Transformation, is FREE here, as a Kindle ebook, through Amazon.com today and tomorrow, January 16 & 17, 2016.

If you want to live a life that is more fulfilling to you, whether it be with a new career, weight loss, more travel, going back to college, pursuing your passions, speaking up, or more, this is the book that will help you get from where you are to where you want to be. This book will help with ideas, resources, and examples of  action plans, but it doesn’t tell you what to do.  You will learn how to create your own action plan.

Today is the day to give it a try for free if you have a Kindle or a Kindle app to read it on other devices. It is also available as a paperback, but not as a free book.

Please feel free to share with others. If you are interested in writing a book review, it will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 

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image from sales pageMy life has truly been an adventure during my journey of transformation in the past few years. In order to inspire and motivate others, I wrote Realize Your Dreams: Create an Action Plan for Life Transformation.

I am excited to announce that the book has now been written and published. It is available as an ebook for Kindles and as a paperback on Amazon.com. There are chapters on traveling, eating healthy and losing weight, going back to college, finding career success, discovering your passions, and more. I invite you to visit the book’s Amazon sales page to “Look Inside.”

FREE Kindle ebook version of Realize Your Dreams if purchased this upcoming Saturday or Sunday, January 16-17, 2016. Please feel free to pass the word!

 

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We like to think we are in control of our own time and energy, but sometimes life’s unexpected events cause us to shift priorities and put our own pursuits on the back shelf.

In the past couple years, the illness and passing of some of my family members have taken precedence in my own life. It was a gift to be a caregiver (along with my sisters) for my mother before her death last winter. I mourn Mom every day, and also smile at the good memories we built over the many years we shared.

I have gradually taken back the reigns of control over my own being. In the past couple months, my Realize Your Dreams book-in-progress made it back to my writing desk. I updated it per suggestions made by my editor long ago, added some content, and sent the manuscript back to her for a final editing. I plan to self-publish it as an electronic and print-on-demand book within the next few months.

I am more aware than ever how important it is for me to take writing classes to keep me moving forward.  This summer, I attended a “Writing in the Garden” workshop taught by Angela Foster and Candace Simar. I have since completed one class and just started another one, an online class, at The Loft Literary Center, a marvelous resource for writers.

In order to keep motivated and productive, I will continue to take classes – to stay committed to doing what I want to do – write books!

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Photo of Devil's Island Sea Caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore by Cliff Odendahl.

Devils Island Sea Caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Photo by Cliff Odendahl, Copyright 2013

A few months ago I sent a book draft to my editor and wrote a short story for a local writing contest — my first work of fiction since I was a child. I was in the writing groove.

Then, suddenly, somebody close to me died and I suspended my regular activities while I helped take care of other matters. As time passed and I got back on track with other work and activities, I still didn’t write. Of course, the longer you are away from something, the more difficult it is to pick it up again. I doubt I am the first writer to lose my momentum for a period of time.

The spark to write again came from a workshop I attended at Madeline Island School of the Arts last week. I can’t say enough good things about Catherine Watson and Jane O’Reilly, who guided the class in writing personal stories with descriptive detail and emotion, and my fellow participants who supported each other’s efforts and results.

The school itself is a warm and friendly operation, located on an idyllic setting on an island in Lake Superior. My husband, Cliff, was enrolled in another workshop going on at the same time, Craig Blacklock’s photography class. For months I had been telling people that Cliff and I were going to “art camp” together this summer. We shared a cabin at the school, but with wildly divergent schedules we rarely saw each other except for occasional meals. Cliff loved his opportunity to photograph the beauty of the island and the majesty of Lake Superior.

I was on a high, living in a bubble where writing and learning about writing was my focus morning, noon and night. I am motivated to keeping the spark alive at home by writing in my blog and in my work-in-progress book, Realize Your Dreams: Create an Action Plan for Life Transformation, along with a couple other projects.

The creation of art can be a solitary activity. We can all benefit from opportunities to meet with others, expand our perspectives, learn from great teachers, exchange knowledge and share our own personal work with like-minded people. If you are a writer or an artist who could use a spark of your own – seek out a workshop, class, or conference – anything that will stimulate you and your passion for your work.

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The phrase “Australian Saga” reminds me of Colleen McCullough’s 1977 book and the subsequent 1983 mini-series The Thorn Birds which spoke to the young romantic in me. (Anybody else with me here?) Perhaps more than anything else I can point to, this dramatic fictional story brought the Australian Outback to my attention and contributed to my dream to visit the country someday. Last year, along with my husband Cliff, I realized that dream.

Uluru at sunrise – a mesmerizing sight.

The saga I am recounting here, about our travels, includes a visit to the Red Centre of Australia. However my husband and I had a completely different experience in the Outback than what I read about in The Thorn Birds.  We never drove a jeep on long, dusty red roads or visited a sheep ranch. Instead we chose to visit a national park that is endowed in amazing natural beauty and cultural significance.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is home to both the 2.2 mile long monolith Uluru, previously known as Ayers Rock, and a cluster of huge rock domes known as Kata Tjuta, 22 miles away. It is a World Heritage site – home to the Anangu people, the traditional and current owners of the area. The national park is co-managed by Anangu and the Australian Government. Visitors are welcome within

Living in the moment and experiencing the beautiful intensity of the desert at Kata Tjuta.

certain parameters – some areas of the park are restricted for religious and cultural purposes – but I never felt limited.

In the few days Cliff and I were in the Red Centre, we lived the kind of travel experiences I could only dream of. We took part in the Sounds of Silence dinner – a pricey but very cool experience where we were seated at candlelit tables under the desert skies with people from around the world, eating the food and hearing the didgeridoo music of the outback, under the night sky of the southern hemisphere.

We visited Uluru at sunrise, midday and sunset. The rock is fascinating on so many levels.  Its color changed from rosy sandstone to a ruddy brown to a deep burgundy depending on daylight and perspective. Up close you can see the texture and crevices on the surface that looks smooth from a distance.

We hiked though the rocks at Kata Tjuta on a hot day. We were fortunate to be there during a fertile spring bloom that followed earlier rainfalls.  The contrast of vivid red dirt and lush green foliage with flowering plants in the desert painted an enduring image in my memory. 

 This part of our Australian journey was an intense experience that will live forever in my heart.

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At the “Writing in the Garden” workshop. I’m the gray-haired lady with my back to the camera.
Photograph is courtesy of Blue Cottage Agency.

It is inspiring to spend time with people who are fulfilling their passions for creative expression. I am fortunate to be experiencing more than my share of art immersion this week.

I am still pumped from spending yesterday at the 3rd Annual Writing in the Garden Workshop in Minnesota. It was attended by writers of various interests and genres.  Some are working on a project – others are published authors.  Everybody was friendly and eager to learn.

The workshop was led by writer and teacher, Angela Foster and historical fiction author Candace Simar.  Check out Candace’s recently published book, Blooming Prairie, Book Four of the Abercrombie Trail Series. 

On Monday this week I joined some other members of the Kanabec County Art Association at a weekly get-together, where we work on our art projects or just enjoy each others’ company.  I have found that artists are generally sociable and knowledgeable because they are interested in so many different subjects.        

Are you realizing your dreams for creativity and personal expression? It is not difficult or expensive to seek out camaraderie and educational opportunities with like-minded creative people.  If you need a pick-me-up find a class, workshop or organization that appeals to your interests and check it out.

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I have heard it said that Baby Boomers don’t want to grow up.  We want to feel young and carefree as we continue to live life to its fullest.

I plead guilty!

The evidence in this case is provided by my wide smile when I recount my activities during the past two weeks:

  • I spent time leading up to the 4th of July playing volleyball in a lake in Wisconsin with a group of friends.  The net is literally set up in the lake.  Classic fun!
  • I experienced Santana in concert – for two+ hours, under the stars.  Carlos is fantastic – he’s still rocking – making it fresh and real after all these years.  He plays with a large group of musicians, and they know how to do it right.
  • I got behind my husband on our motorcycle for the first time in many years.  He recently had our Yamaha 1100 revamped and has begun to ride it on nearby country roads.  I have been writing my motorcycle memoirs, Traveling Together, Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Makes Three, and it brought back the memory of soaring down the road on a bike. I tried it and I liked it!

What are you doing that shows your rockin’ spirit?

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Here is the guy I fell for! This photo shows Cliff on his bike, with our travel trailer, taken in the early 1980s.

I am living in the 1980s, as I remember my past in order to realize my dreams for the future.  I am writing my first travel memoir.

Traveling Together: Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Make Three is about the journeys I took with my husband which generated stories of love and adventure.  During the past few years I have been composing my account of these stories during writing classes. Now I am putting the chapters together to become my first e-book.

I am well on my way to completing this memoir. My plans are to publish this as a Kindle e-book before I publish the book I have been working on: Realize Your Dreams: An Action Plan for Life Transformation.

Last week I had the great privilege to participate in a writing workshop called Pilgrimages: Mindful Travel Writing & Memoir at Madeline Island School of the Arts, where I worked on this memoir.  It was taught by Catherine Watson, an accomplished travel writer and inspiring instructor and mentor.  I was part of a small group of students who poured our hearts out, writing in a supportive environment. My thanks to all involved. Did a mention that it was a fantastic experience?

The reason I was able to participate in this workshop is because I was the recipient of an Individual Artists Grant, which I would like to acknowledge with gratitude: “This activity is made possible by a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council with funds generously provided by the McKnight Foundation.”

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What have you failed at today? Did you go outside your comfort zone and try something new? Then celebrate your failures!

If we don’t make the effort every day to choose actions that will bring enjoyment into our lives, the moment will pass. Then we are just another day older and no closer to realizing our dreams. What stops us from taking action? Is it the fear that we could fail in our efforts?

Recently Sara Blakely, the young billionaire who created the Spanx shapewear enterprise, appeared on the CBS morning news show. She said that while she was growing up she was expected to fail at trying things. At dinner conversations her father would ask, “How did you fail today?” She might reply, “I tried out for cheerleading – I was terrible at it!” And he would cheer her on. She became comfortable with failure, and certainly wasn’t afraid to try something new!

True confession: One of my biggest failures happened a few years ago when my husband and were traveling in Italy (I was the trip planner). We purchased train tickets with our destination being Cortona in Tuscany. We ended up in Crotone, located in the instep of the boot-shaped Italy. Ooops. I celebrate this mistake because we were traveling on our own, not part of a tour group, we were out of our element and loving it, and we saw a part of the country we otherwise would not have visited. I will be writing about this adventure–and many others–in a future travel memoir. If we hadn’t been willing to risk failure, we never would have had the experiences we did!

I look to other writers for inspiration and valuable information. Today I read a posting titled Why It’s OK to Be Naive  by Nick Thacker, who was the guest writer on Jane Friedman’s blog. He writes, “Our fear of failure leads us toward procrastination, lack of motivation, and, well, failure. But by being naïve and reaching for the most out-of-reach goals and successes we’ll at least be motivated by the fact that we’re part of the few who can say we’ve tried it.”

Want to realize your dreams? Then go for them! Success or failure–either way, celebrate the outcome.

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