Heading Home

imageLast day of the vacation and today was tournament day. This was Mr. Smith’s first tournament of this caliber.

Competitors came from Australia, Brazil, Korea, Sweden, Europe and all over the U.S. Over 6,000 people showed up to Little Rock, Arkansas to honor the martial art of Songahm Taekwondo.

imageMr. Smith won a bronze medal for Traditional Weapons and a silver medal for Combat Weapons Sparrring. He did amazing! Best part, this was his first tournament and there was a steep learning curve with how things work. Next tournament will be Panama City next month.

Tomorrow we head home and as fun as this trip was, we will be glad to get home.

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Ghost in the Hallway

Is that a ghost in the hallway or somene fooling around with a Photoshop app?

Is that a ghost in the hallway or somene fooling around with a Photoshop app?

Vacation going well… lots of rest with some writing sprinkled in. It hasn’t been the unbridled writing fest I planned on but we are definitely recharging our batteries.

Tomorrow Mr. Smith competes so I’ll be reporting on that. Tonight, we are on holiday.

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Journal Jabber On Summer Break

imageJournal Jabber is going to take a summer break. Since the move to Youtube I’ve lost my laptop, Ember Sparks lost her computer to a lightening surge and I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this on an iPad.

On top of it, I’ve had a small flood of writing projects of my own to finish, work has reached a new level of intensity as I do work in both production and editorial (now called the “preditorial” department by me) and I have a slew of personal issues to figure out.

I’ve talked to the show’s founder, Amy Eye, and she agrees that a summer break is in order. That gives me a chance to re group, get the technology back in line and wrap up all these annoying life things that have cropped up, not to mention clear my writing projects back down to one.

I promise the show will come back, better than ever, this fall. Stay tuned!

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Where I’m Working on my WIP

Where I'm Writing my Work In Progress #WIWWIP

Where I’m Writing my Work In Progress #WIWWIP

We are still in the hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas and today I was feeling cranky. It always hits me when I realize that all my clothes are dirty, this isn’t free and I can’t get any work done. Yes, I realize I have problems ;p

This afternoon I finally got some time to sit and work on my current project, a non fiction piece on finding true freedom, surviving anything and living a life of joy. During this session of scribbling I found myself wandering back to the first night I ever slept outside on the streets and I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude for my life.

That morning I was dirty, starved and had nothing. While I wrote I was munching on cracker crust gourmet pizza made by the hotel bar and typing away with a view of the city spread out before me. That’s one reason I am writing this book; so I don’t forget the lessons I’ve learned.

Here’s a sample from what I wrote today:

I learned appreciation the first night I slept on the streets. Often the term “on the streets” means you don’t have an address and bounce between shelters. This town in New Hampshire didn’t have any shelters, so I mean literally sleeping on the concrete street. The first night, as dark fell, I experienced not belonging anywhere for the first time. I wandered for awhile, wondering where I would find a safe bed before it finally hit me that there wasn’t one. I was completely on my own, and my survival was in my hands.

It was thrilling and frightening. I thought of all the rules that no longer applied to me on my own. I thought of all the protection and comforts that also no longer applied to me. I found a recessed doorway that offered me some privacy from the street and lay on the dirty sidewalk with my back pressed against the locked door. I listened to cars passing by, people talking inside through their open windows. Once or twice someone walked past my shadowed doorway and a held my breath that they wouldn’t notice me. I thought I’d never sleep, but I did.

I woke up the next morning as the sun was just thinking about making an appearance. It was early fall and the days were still warm but the night had been chilly. My joints were completely stiffened up. I was only 18 but I uncurled and got to my feet like I was 80. I hobbled to a nearby parking lot and sat on a wooden post trying to figure out what to do now. I was frozen, I was starving and I had not a penny. The sun rose up over the buildings at that moment, and one ray covered me.

That subtle warmth was as good as a fire to my chilled body. I closed my eyes and was stunned to think how I had never noticed a sunbeam before. In that moment, it was the loveliest thing I had ever experienced. I closed my eyes and cried. I’m sure I was a strange sight that morning; a ratty looking girl perched on a post and smiling up at the dawn, tears streaming down my cheeks. In my decades of life since, few pleasures have come close to eclipsing that early morning ray of sunshine.

It made me grateful for the cold night laying on cement. It made me appreciate the fear I had felt. I was even happy for the gnawing hunger in my belly because I suddenly realized how amazing my next meal was going to be.

I had a rough childhood in some ways, but I had never experienced deprivation and hunger before. I accepted them that morning as a gift and left that parking lot better equipped to survive because I had learned appreciation. Appreciation became one of the filters that I began to view the world through.

That situation could have gone much differently. I could have woken up that morning and stumbled into the same parking lot, waited on the same post and experienced the same sun beam. Instead of looking at the situation as a unique experience to be treasured later, I could have seen the situation in a negative light.

The sun beam wasn’t nearly warm enough to loosen up my stiff body, it wasn’t feeding me and the whole parking lot was seedy and covered in trash. There were many more reasons to look at that morning as a bad one than there were good but my choice to appreciate the minute blessing made the difference between a memory that still buoys me through hard times or one that breaks me down.

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The view from our window...

The view from our window…

We are in day one of our vacation in Little Rock, Arkansas… we are here because Mr. Smith is participating in the ATA World Expo.

I’m armed with the iPad/keyboard set up and the plan is that I will catch up on a lot of writing during the downtime.

So far today we’ve been doing a lot of resting and just enjoying each other’s company with one brief foray into downtown Little Rock to visit an Army Surplus store and eat at Subway. Tonight I’ll be setting up manuscripts and wrapping some things up.

Tomorrow it’s to work :)

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Peek at my W.I.P. ‘Finding Freedom’

dandelion on black compassJune was a busy month. I signed book contracts with Three Fates Press, Dandilyon Fluff turned 4 years old and I started and finished some new projects closing some chapters in my life while opening new ones.

For my latest WIP I am going back to my roots to a genre I lovingly call  revolutionary non fiction. The working title is Finding Freedom, and here’s an excerpt, raw and unedited:

From Finding Freedom: I see people suffering all around me and I wish there was something I could say.

I see people caught in bondage, held captive by their fears. They fear the illusion they wear will drop off and the rest of us will see them for who they really are. Is that so bad? It is when you hate who you are.

A lot of us don’t like the person closest to us – ourselves. We know what we are supposed to be, who we have been told we should be, and we can’t live up to that standard. We will always be too fat, too skinny, too bold, too shy, too silly, too serious. The evidence of our shortcomings are paraded before us constantly by the media. Our parents, teachers, scout masters, pastors and loving family have worked together to  build a foundation of failure for us. Like Sleeping Beauty locked in a tower, we remain imprisoned by the impositions of others.

It’s important not to be angry at these prison builders. Often, they are prisoners themselves trying to show us how to escape, how to transcend, our barriers. They are working on partial truths, having never been free themselves, and can’t direct us to a freedom they’ve never experienced. Like model prisoners, they try to help by telling us how to be better prisoners. They don’t have directions to fly since their idea of the sky is the limited patch of blue they have been allowed to see.

The prison is one we carry with us. Once they have built it up, we carefully take it wherever we go. It keeps us from reaching out to each other. It keeps us drinking too much and debasing ourselves. It keeps us from living. The prison has been built so carefully, it camouflages itself and becomes a part of us until most people don’t know what is them and what is containing them.

Like good inmates, we work to keep each other trapped. We encourage fear, low self esteem and self loathing. We are told to be proud of who we are, but conform to preset standards. We should be individual, like everyone else. Think outside the box but never color outside of the lines. This mindset is designed to hobble us, limit our potential and encourages mediocrity. Who are the evil puppet masters behind this facade of failure? The truth is that we are.

We are gregarious herd creatures. Not particularly proficient in the physical attribute department that sports fang and claw, and yet we have become the most feared hunters on the planet. We did that by being smart and cooperating. We conformed for survival.

We don’t need to conform anymore. At the top of our food chain, it’s time for us to enlighten and expand. There will always be mediocrity, and there is nothing wrong with it. The sin is in forced conformity.

Time to be free.

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Review: SHARKK Backlit Ultrathin iPad Keyboard

IMG_20140630_201815_999After three tries I finally found the perfect keyboard for the iPad: the SHARKK Backlit Ultrathin iPad Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard by this progressive company called SHARKK.

I love writing with this new set up. It syncs up to the iPad almost instantly for quick typing and the response is immediate.

The keys just feel good and they are back lit with a range of zazzy colors to choose from. The keyboard clips to the iPad securely and easily with magnets and the sleek aluminum profile looks good, feels good and is professional without being boring. I can’t say enough good things about this keyboard. It’s so fun to work with I bet it even cures writer’s block ;D

Here’s my video review on the subject – thanks to first time camera man xmonkeydoox for helping me create it!

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Quick and Easy Publix Meal Deal :)

All the extra free time means I can go to the zoo!

All the extra free time means I can go to the zoo!

Looking for great deal on a full meal that’s quick, easy, and most importantly, gives you back time to spend with your family? I ALWAYS am!

Publix has a fix that includes entrée, side item and dessert for under $13. Perfect for a busy weeknight, ease and savings without a compromise on flavor. This meal deal features Old El Paso Frozen entrees, easy and delicious. Perfect for movie night – or more writing time!

Visit the Ready Plan Save website and look for these great savings on Old El Paso Frozen and other assorted Meal Deal items at Publix:

Buy ONE of each participating products below:

  • Old El Paso Frozen Entrée
  • Wishbone Dressing 16oz
  • Fresh Express Salad Blends & Kits
  • Breyers Gelato Indulgences
  • For $12.49* total for the meal (save up to $7.00*!)

*Total savings vary by market area, savings taken at register. Offer available 6/26 – 7/2, find details in the Publix weekly ad flyer.

Digital Coupon Savings

Print-at-home coupon available at http://everydaysaver.com/publix

  • Save $1 when you buy any flavor or variety of Old El Paso™ Frozen Entrees (includes frozen bagged and frozen boxed entrees)
  • Limited coupon quantities. Available While Supplies last.

-Publix.com | Also, find Publix on Facebook


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Reading “Behind the Stage” by Anne Sanders

Camera Phone 055Here’s what I just started reading… Thanks to Ms. Sanders for signing her book for me ;)

Stay tuned for the review…

Behind the Stage by Anne Sanders available on Amazon!

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Celebrating Four Years

Today I celebrate my fourth year of :Dandilyon Fluff – doing this blog has been some of the best writing I’ve done. I think about it during the day, miss it when I can’t post and appreciate all the friends I’ve made on the way. I could go into a long, sentimental post about my blog but I thought something more fun might be in order.

Mr. Smith agreed to help me celebrate with a short video of him doing his taekwondo stuff…. and I get to practice making a video. Thanks to everyone for being a part of this… now on to year 5!!!


Posted in On A Personal Note, Writing Life | 2 Comments