Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post-Christmas Wishes!

I hope everyone had a very, Merry Christmas!
I sure have had a nice Christmas season so far. My family got together up in the big C.S. and after church we held our traditional Christmas Eve party with lots of presents and food. The party is always at my parents' house with the extended family coming to us so it's nice to celebrate in my own home. This year, we had a lot of kids around so that was particularly fun and certainly kept things busy! I'm going to need to detox this next week from all the rich food, though! :P
Over Thanksgiving, we saw "The Four Christmases" together, which was a cute movie. One of its trailers was for "Marley & Me," and we decided right away that we would see it over Christmas since we have a yellow lab named Lucy. "Marley & Me" proved to be a really good movie, but definitely be forewarned it's not just the funny movie the trailer makes it out to be!
I'm back in Austin now and sort of done unpacking, etc. I'm really hoping to get down to business soon on my writing, but, at the same time, when life slows us down, I feel like there is always an important reason. I'm sure it will all make sense someday. ;)
Continued Merry Christmas wishes!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family Time

Wow, what a busy month it has been so far! Now I know why I always look so worn out in December pictures! :P
My immediate family and some extended family travelled earlier this month to Texas Tech in Lubbock for my sister's graduation. I'm really proud of her and have always said that she will become super successful at whatever she decides to do so I'm curious to see where life takes her next. She has so many possibilities! :)
The night before my sister's graduation they had John McCain as the speaker, in his first talk since the presidential election. We missed that, but the graduation ceremony we attended actually was really interesting, with a speaker who communicated in a meaningful way. I'd never been to Lubbock before this trip, and I found the people to be nice and down to earth so I can see why my sister likes the area so much.
The weekend after the graduation, we had a family wedding for my cousin. The wedding was down near Lake Jackson, Texas. The couple seemed like a genuinely good match, which, of course, is a very good thing, and the reception was a lot of fun. It's not often the family gets up and dances together, and I love to dance so I enjoyed that a lot. I liked watching and dancing with the little kids, too. Oh, and my niece and nephew were so cute in dress-up clothes! Adorable, actually!
I've also had multiple birthdays this month for friends, some Christmas get-togethers, and had to take off some time from writing to do some other work so my schedule has been packed!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Glad it's Monday Morning

It sure has been a whirlwind this past week!
I started by having my two-year-old niece stay with me for a couple of days. We didn't do anything special, but we had a lot of fun living life! Having a child around makes everything else in the world just disappear! And, sometimes, that is just what we need! :)
Saturday, I wrapped gifts at Brown Santa with the Leadership kids. I was pretty impressed by what goes into it. For example, my group had a family of five kids. Each of those kids will receive a puzzle, a book, and a stuffed animal, and then three other miscellaneous toys - for six, wrapped "from Santa" gifts total. That, in my opinion, is a very nice amount. Each family also will receive two family games so there will be plenty to occupy everyone on Christmas morning!

Saturday night, I attended the annual Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate party. Lots and lots of cheeses, two chocolate fountains ... need I say more?
There also have been a billion other things keeping me busy. I'm actually ready for the week and ready to get back to working on my book!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a very nice Thanksgiving!
I was able to spend time with the family and extended family, and that always is enjoyable. We don't really do a whole lot, but somehow I always like it!
Right before Thanksgiving, I served food at a community dinner. I did this last year, and something about it really draws me. I like to get in there, hands-on, and be with the people. A smile and a kind word can go a long way, I've learned. I spent about fifteen minutes with a self-described "high class homeless" man, who was talking about his life. It was obvious he had a mental illness, compounded by alcoholism, but we're all still just people, doing our best. Something about getting to experience that firsthand I like and also appreciate. I felt great the whole time I was there and the rest of the evening. We served a lot of people, too - we ran out of plates after 500!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Day for Everything

It was cute. My dad, knowing I am into this stuff, called to tell me he heard on the radio that it was International Aura Awareness Day. "You're kidding!" or something to that effect was my response. I did an online search and, indeed, there is such a day.
I have always been able to sense or "feel" auras, and I can see them, also, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to do that. Here's the post where I talk about my most recent aura photo and reading. I was violet, a mix of ultra violet, light violet, and regular violet. This site has a spot-on description.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just Another Morning

There's not much to report. I am here, as usual, sitting in front of my computer. Looking at the screen. Reading, writing, etc. I just finished the last of my yerba mate tea (this stuff rocks,) and now I'll probably go saute some veggies for lunch. Wow. I bet you are really glad I let you know all that. Made your morning, I'd guess. :P

I did find a funny typo as I was going through my book. The main character was talking about dating and was describing how, when she realizes she's not going to be marrying a particular someone, she'd learned to go ahead and call it quits. Well, instead of "marrying," I had "marring." That's - hopefully - not a Freudian slip on my part!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ack!

I just sent out my first query letter to find a literary agent! Kind of exciting!
I'm still tweaking the book, but it's pretty much done, thanks to keeping my head in the sand this past week! Over the next couple of days, I'll wrap that up and continue with more querying.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Regarding

Regarding the presidential election, everything remains the same as I said in my previous post. I have nothing new to add.

Regarding the funeral of my grandfather, it was really great, actually. First of all, it was nice to see my family, all of them, at once (aside from my cousin/godson who is stationed in Korea and was not able to attend.) Secondly, since I am a grandchild, it was neat to hear my aunts and uncles speak about my grandfather from a child's perspective. By the time I was born, he'd already had his ten kids so there are a lot of things I didn't know about him as a father and husband. It was also cute - and I felt, a good reason to celebrate what we have - that the kids kept running around and then up to my grandpa during the viewing. My three-year-old cousin Benjamin kept going right up to him, inches away from his face, and singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" -- because he thought it would make him wake up. Then, he would shout out, "But he won't wake up," and the five-year-old twin girls would say, "That's because he died," very matter of factly. I really enjoyed all of that.
Also, I didn't realize they were doing a military burial, and I'd never been to one. It was quite moving. They had about a dozen American Legion guys, and they had a very formal, compelling way of doing things. They played Taps and did the 21 gun salute, and it was quite powerful to watch them fold the flag that had been draped over my grandfather's casket, kneel down in front of my grandmother, and give it to her, saying, "By the power of the president of the United States ..."
All in all, I have to say the experience was good. It was a little insane how much food and how many flowers and plants we received, though. Good insane, but still insane. :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Presidential Election - Supporting McCain

* I guess I should add that my angels were very supportive of me writing this piece so, to me, that says that the core message is important. And, to clarify, since I kind of rambled: The core message involved what I saw around Obama and the very specific word I received.
I try to stay out of politics on here - and in general - but I feel it is important for me to express myself in this situation. Many people are greatly concerned that someone who should not be president could become so. I look at things from a broader perspective and understand that what is best will happen, even if that does mean there will be hurt and disillusionment in the short term. Let me explain:
You have probably caught drifts of this here and there on my blog - I am a very spiritual person. And even before I developed this (ever-evolving) spirituality, I have always had a "connection" and have been blessed with certain gifts, gifts we all possess but that I have had more access to than many. It doesn't make me any more special than anyone else; it's just who I am.
One of my strongest abilities is seeing people for who they truly are. This is something I try to use, daily, to help people. To use an overly-simple example, think of the bully who bullies because he is hurting inside. Some people cognitively figure this out. I can, too, but even before the brain has a chance to kick in, I see and feel the hurt he feels when I first lay eyes on him or first speak with him. I know what is inside. I can then operate from that standpoint, rather than from the one that most people would. It allows me to reach people in a way I appreciate having and is one of the ways in which I try to make a difference.
Now, to make that relevant to the election. Another way of stating the above is that I can sense people's energy, which can sound a little flaky but is as real as this keyboard, I assure you. I have been pursuing the heightening of my spirituality greatly lately and have been receiving more and more messages and streams of information as a result. I'd known I was uncomfortable with Obama and that, while not overwhelmed, liked McCain. Then, last week, I received a strong message that clarified it for me:
I'd always noticed a "lack" in Obama's eyes (eyes are a big thing for me, it's a soul to soul connection.) But, then, I was watching the news and saw it - dark, dark energy swirling all around him. I very clearly, at the same time, received the word "false." I rarely get scared with real life, but this scares me. He is not who he seems. To the word "false," that's enough for me, but if I were to analyze it I would say a lot could be attributed to his words. Have you ever really listened, I mean really listened to the words? Where are all the "enlightened" people? Are they denying what their souls know is there? Do they not see a man operating purely from his ego? Take away the mesmerization and the "rhetorical flourishes," and you will see. His faith in America is restored because people chose him? I stopped in my tracks when I heard this, while the people in the crowd cheered on. (As a disclaimer, I don't agree intellectually with most anything he says, but I promise this is an accurate recounting of a real message.)
Now, who will win? I don't know. What I get (psychically) is that it hasn't been decided yet. We are meant to learn from this, as from everything. We are here for our soul's evolvement, after all. But what isn't known is whether people will recognize the truth - that gut feeling - prior to or after the election. Do we need things to go all the way for us to learn? Maybe.
I liken it to a commonly-cited lesson I have learned. God sends us "hints" to help direct us. They start out very small, almost no inconvenience at all. They get bigger and more pronounced if we continue to ignore them, until finally we get hit on the head, if we still don't get it. This can be applied to almost every situation in life. Try it; you'll see.
That is what is happening now. Do we get it, or do we need a really good hit over the head?
McCain is not perfect, but he is a good man. And there is no competition on the ego front. McCain rid himself of his a long time ago. And, for the record, I do really like Palin. And Biden is fine, too, although I disagree with his political views.
Mainly, I just have to get this out. I try to avoid politics because for the most part, it is a negative, lower-vibrating segment of our world, but it is important that people like me share what they know. Again, I am nothing special, but I have never, ever been wrong when I have received a clear message, such as this. And that is because it is not me creating it; it was sent to me and for a reason.
I'm not emotionally invested in a particular outcome; what needs to happen will happen. I'm just a proponent of learning things the easy way, when at all possible. :) Just think about it, please. Think about it on a deeper level, a higher level. We should all be loved. Not all of us should be president.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Goodbye, Grandpa Kersey

My Grandpa died. He lived a very full life, and it was simply his time to go. His 87th birthday would have been next week, and he and Grandma would have reached their 65th wedding anniversary in a couple of months. Not long ago, he was in the hospital, and his main concern was for my Grandma. "Who's going to stay with Grandma? I want someone to spend the night with Grandma." He didn't want her to have to be alone. That is a lifetime of love and commitment.
We have a huge family and have not been all together, all at once, since their 60th wedding anniversary so it will be really nice to see everyone. Seems so inadequate to describe someone's life in the span of an obituary, but here it is:

Everett E. "Bob" Kersey

Nov. 2, 1921 - Oct. 24, 2008
Everett Kersey, 86, of College Station passed away Friday, October 24, 2008.

Everett was born November 2, 1921, to James Everett and Bertha Sullivan Kersey. Bob and his brothers were born and raised in the vicinity of Riverton, Red Cloud, and Grand Island, Neb. In 1938, he left the farm and went to college at University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He went through Navy cadet training and, in 1943, he became a Marine pilot. In 1944-45, Bob was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for aerial flights during World War II.

During college, Bob met Dorothy Joan Bierbower, and they were married December 11, 1943. In 1949, he completed a Master's degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. From there, the family proceeded to Orange, Texas. Bob went to work for DuPont de Nemours- Sabine River Works where he worked as the maintenance superintendent, production supervisor and safety superintendent. Besides work at the plant, Bob's 33 years in Orange were spent with a growing family, lectoring and Cursillo work at St. Mary's Catholic Church. After that time, he built a house in College Station after several of his children became Aggies.

Everett will be missed. He was a real "go to" guy, whether it was for family or work. He kept his brothers in line in college, he mended our dolls, built doghouses, and, in the last year decided to try improving the medical equipment he had to use. Engineers are so happy when there is something to fix.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Doyle Kersey and Duane Kersey; and infant sister, Karen Elizabeth. Survivors include his wife, Joan Bierbower Kersey; ten children, Mary Tabor, Michael Kersey, Kathleen Shearer, Robert Kersey, Richard Kersey, Steven "Randie" Kersey, James Kersey, Patricia Riley, Edward Kersey, and Joan Rudd; 29 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and one brother, Arden "Uncle Scotty" Kersey of Abilene.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Update

* I updated my Photos page!
Reading through my last post, I'm not sure I did my almost-fainting spell justice. I felt like I had absolutely no control over myself for minutes; that is not something I wish to experience again. Nonetheless, I am feeling better. Still my glands feel sore, but I don't sound too funny anymore and - more importantly - I have been able to write again, intensely, for the last few days.
Technically speaking, I am pretty much done writing the book - yay! we should take a moment to celebrate! - and am now more in the heavy editing stage. I must say I am pleased thus far. As I go back through the story, I am really liking it. Sometimes I am cracking myself up, too, which I suppose must be a good thing.
Thoroughly enjoying this! I really love writing!! :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

So that's what it's like

So I discovered last night what it's like to pass out - almost.
I'll start by saying I began feeling ill a couple of nights ago. What seemed to be out of the blue (although now I perhaps can see there were some signs) my entire body starting aching like I'd been hit by a packed-up semi, the glands in my neck felt the size of oversized grapefruits - I could hardly swallow because of it - and I could hear fluid gurgling around in my ears.
Well, I'm not one for being sick so I keep doing my thing. Last night, I simply needed to stand in place for ten minutes for something. No problem, right? Well, as soon as I do so I start feeling woozy. My first thought is, "Hey, maybe I'm locking my knees" so I adjust my legs. Nope, wasn't doing that.
Then, things go from bad to worse: I start feeling really hot and tingly, both of my ears start ringing, my sense of balance evaporates, the world starts turning into pink puffs that cloud out any chance of actual vision - I truly can't see anymore - my head and arms keep falling forward (I'm not entirely sure I didn't actually pass out a couple of seconds at a time,) and OH MY GOSH everything is wretched.
And, this persists - solidly - for the remainder of the ten minutes. In my head, I keep reciting, "God, please let me finish this. God, please let me finish this." It's ten minutes, for crying out loud! I do manage - remarkably so, I must say - but the moment my ten minutes are up, I immediately sit down and freak out anew. I look down, and my entire body, every single pore, is covered in huge droplets of sweat, like I'd just spent half an hour in the sauna. I thought, "Holy mother of kittens!" (except less politely.) I went to the restroom to try to compose myself, and it did help, but within moments, I was now freezing cold and I could feel every part of my body vibrating - literally, little buzzing movements, like a giant cell phone, letting me know - "Hey, you're sick! Hel-lo! Can you hear me now?"
Needless to say, I'm in bed today, sporadically, at least, and Snickers is keeping me company. She is a licker, that's just all there is to it, and today she was being extra "affectionate." I thought, "Oh, she must know I'm sick, and she wants to take care of me. Awww." Later in the day, I walk by her completely empty food bowl and am like, "Oh." (I should point out that in one of my more miserable moments, my morbid side prompted me to think, "Maybe she's just waiting for me to die so she can start on my corpse." -- Cats do that, you know. They know when you die, and then, you're just something dead laying on the bed. Reassuring thought.)
Anyway, I will be better tomorrow, I am sure! Never again to come close to fainting! :)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Book Progress

I am officially two-thirds of the way through my book. Whew! I am starting to move fast and furiously now. The words are flowing in a way they weren't before, and I am finding it easier to weave the different patterns together and add depth. I am really in the groove, and I think it will not be long before this thing is finished! Yay! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Vision Board

Usually, I am not into the latest books and activities designed to "bring the world to greater enlightenment" (think "A New Earth" and "The Secret.") It's
not that I think these ideas don't have some merit - I do - it's that I have other paths for getting there that are, for me, more direct. Plus, I tend to already know and have in place their premises, likely as an inherent result of my intuitiveness and connection with God. I believe all people should do whatever it is that works for them, myself included!

I did have quite a bit of fun, though, with something a group of us did over the weekend. The idea was to create "vision boards" on which we put things we would like to manifest in our lives. On mine, I have a romantic love section, a personal/spiritual section, and a career/money section.
(For the record, I am not a supporter of this type of activity for kids, unless you have the ability and the time to raise their thinking patterns beyond celebrities, sports cars, and junk food.)

Here are some of the quotes I used:
Living life as an exclamation and love as a journey
An aura of peace and happiness
Author of the #1 Bestseller
Channel your energy.
Feel the Glow.
Grow. Be comfortable with who you are - even if that changes by the minute.
Simple acts of kindness
Good vibes club
Let your goodness blossom.
Happiness is invincible.
Ahead of the curve
Open your heart.
Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.
Discover the Sublime.
Make room for fun.
Fun fearless female author
Bliss
Open your mind, listen to your heart, make a new beginning.

... and more. I think if you click on the picture, you can see a bigger version with more detail. I thought it was awesome that the "When Harry Met Sally" quote was on one of the pages, and you can't beat that wedding cake topper! (For more Harry and Sally quotes, try this great page Erin sent me.) I had trouble finding book/author stuff, but I finally managed to create a small section for it. Surprise, surprise: there was more romantic material in women's magazines than anything else!

I guess now I look at this every day, and bring these things my way! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11, Hurricanes: Opportunities for Love

Seven years ago may seem like a long time ago to some. Many feel that reliving those moments today only reopen old wounds that have scarred over and lessened with time. For me, the reality of that day – not so long ago – is as real today as it ever was.
It hits me deep inside my gut as I remember how I moment-by-moment lived through what was then the unknown, and how I watched as that unknown grew more and more horrible. I remember knowing that the worst was not over as I followed the events. I remember feeling the pain that engulfed me as I empathetically received it from the so many who were closer than I. I remember scanning through every news channel hoping for one more bit of information, one more fact, one more bit of knowledge to help me create a picture of the enormity of what had happened, so that I could find some sense in all of it. It took me years to not check the news constantly as a way to temper my fears.
Today, I still feel an internal sense of heightened alert, one that I am not sure will ever go away. I have attained a sense of peace, however, and my belief that good far outweighs bad has only been strengthened. It is hard for me to call any event – whether human made or natural – a tragedy – because always, always, there is the good that follows. I can hope, over the course of a lifetime, to be so noble as the many were in the course of minutes. What we realize - when the smoke eases, when the waters recede - is that in these terrible moments, our humanity, our oneness with God - sometimes clouded by our earthliness - emerges.
To understand the kindness, the love for humanity that these moments bring out in all of us is to understand our souls and our purpose in life. Life is about God, and God is about Love. It doesn’t matter how you get there, if you take the direct route or the back roads, if you hit a lot of potholes or if you have smooth sailing. Whatever it takes, love. Love God, Love Others, Love Yourself. Simply Love. Love uplifts all, conquers all, achieves all. It is who we are. Everything else – that’s all it is: everything else.
Love.
It touches me that today, on the anniversary of 9/11, we face another event from which the opportunity to love will present itself. How poignant that we remember the victims of a terrorist attack on a day when we face an impending natural disaster, and how remarkable that this natural disaster reminds us of yet another natural disaster. We feel the pain, yes. Some even feel the fear. But - move beyond that. What is underneath? It is the love of people pulling together and helping others and serving others. These events that are awful in so many ways also bring out our best, and are our reminder that in our humanity, in humankind, we are one. Let us do unto others as we would have others do unto us. I, for one, choose to love.


~ You’ll remember the last time we faced such a large-scale hurricane evacuee population in Austin, I volunteered at the Red Cross shelter at the Austin Convention Center. You might like to read through some of what I experienced then. There are multiple posts so the simplest way is to click on the year 2005 in the sidebar and then scroll down to the beginning of September. There is some interesting stuff there. I was both reporting (in articles) and commenting (in columns) at the time for publications - in addition to volunteering - so I have an immersed perspective.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Just Dance!

Ballet Austin had an event Sunday where they were offering demonstrations and free classes. Since I love to dance and am a sucker for free stuff, I decided to try out all four of the sessions! I started with Ballet Fit, where we used basic ballet moves to strengthen our muscles, and then the Pilates mat class. Both of these types of classes create long, lean muscles, which is definitely what I prefer. Next, I took Flamenco, mainly because my friend Ellen wanted to take it. Lastly, I took hip hop, which is my favorite kind of dance. All of it was a lot of fun, but I was exhausted afterward, so much so that I thought I would collapse! I even went to bed at 10 p.m., which is way, way early for me! I thought I'd be sore this morning (48 hours later,) but I'm just a little tight - not too bad!

I did have a disturbing incident yesterday that I'll mention. In my front yard, I found a dead cat that was missing its head and its front arms. The rest of it looked absolutely normal; it was just missing a third of itself, and I could not find the missing parts anywhere. It was what looked like a very well-taken care of grey cat. I couldn't bring myself to touch it so I had someone do me a huge favor and come put it in a bag for me. Just now, within the last few minutes, the city finally picked it up. I'd had to see it outside my office window all that time.
Some family will never see their kitty again. :(

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to School Stories

I'm published again this month in a couple of magazines. Baltimore's Child features my back to school on a budget column-style story, and Mahoning Valley/Trumbull County Parent Magazine is running Homework Hassles, which discusses ways to approach homework with different types of kids.

Yes, it's back to school time! And -- time to get down to business. I cracked open a book with literary agents in it last week. It was just a peek, but an important one, because it helped me focus a little more on future results, instead of just the writing process. I'm not ready to start my search for an agent yet, but I'm thinking October will be the month. One more month of solid writing is what I think I need right now. Of course, who knows!? :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Two Carolines

I had my cousin Caroline with me for part of last week. It is always so great to see her!

We went to camp together a couple of times - for art and for canoeing - and, since she has an interest in nature photography, we also went to the Botanical Gardens. I'd never been to ours before, and I was glad I had the opportunity because it was a really pretty area. Plus, we had fun!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Native American Connection

Over the course of most of my life, I can't say that I have been particularly drawn to Native American spiritual beliefs. Recently, however, things keep "popping" into my life that have slowly brought about an interest in at least learning tangentially about them. For example, a few months ago, while out walking, I came across a group of Native Americans blessing Town Lake. That proved pretty interesting, as I was brave enough to stop by and ask questions about what was going on. Then, sage has been around a lot lately, it seems. You may be aware that sage, according to a wide array of spiritual beliefs, including those of the Native Americans, removes negative energy and negative spirits so it can be used, for example, in a house to "clear" the energy or after coming in contact with a negative person to "clear" any lingering energy that may remain. You'd read about sage in most any feng shui book, too, actually. I also have a friend who seems to have quite a bit of a Native American connection that I keep feeling/sensing. At first I didn't understand what I was getting, but now I am starting to, especially since he reminds me of a tribal chief or royalty of some sort. Then, I ran into a Cherokee in the gym sauna, of all places, and we conversed about stones such as turquoise and other areas of Native American culture.

Of course, the Barton Springs area has quite a bit of Native American history, and I am there a lot volunteering. I had a recent communication experience there with a Native American spirit, which was interesting, as he played his drum for me. (Yes, you read that right.) And, in the camps, they try to incorporate a lot of the Native American beliefs into their programs, such as respect for the earth and elders, etc. I've done some fun things with the kids to enrich the learning experience in this regard: we made dreamcatchers and leather headbands, and we discovered and then made totem poles with our animal totems. The kids get a big kick out of all this stuff.

With the animal totems, for example, Native Americans believe that we have one main animal totem with us throughout our lives and then we have nine other animal totems that come to us at certain points in our lives to help us learn lessons. I told the kids that, according to these beliefs, the animal they have now may be there to teach them how to get along with others and how to respect their parents and teachers, etc. Later, like in college, a different animal might be there to teach them how to focus and study and how to think about their life in terms of the big picture. I was trying to communicate that we always can learn lessons from what is around us, these animals and their related characteristics and personality traits being one way. I wasn't sure the kids would get the premise and thought they would all lean toward everyday animals, like cats and dogs, but I got a remarkably wide array of animals from them - coyotes, snakes, butterflies, hawks, dragons, turtles, etc. Of course, kids are so much more open naturally to spirituality than are us (mostly) closed-minded, indoctrinated adults. I'm sure it helped how I explained it, too, though. God has a way of putting the right words in my mouth when I can positively impact others.

This picture shows me in one of the headbands I made, and I think it kind of makes me look like a Native American princess, if I do say so. ;) Keep in mind it was probably 100 degrees when this was taken, but I thought you might like to see it anyway. I don't know what all this Native American stuff means for my own life, but it's interesting so I go with it and explore. I'm always open to learning.

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Record Writing Day

Yesterday, I wrote 5,000 words for one of my books! That, I'm sure, is a record for me in one day!
My creative juices have been there since starting again, but they have been flowing more in trickles than in downpours. And, I also have felt the need to pull myself in, to center myself a bit before delving fully into things. Thankfully, I recognized that I should allow myself to enjoy the break this offered because I felt like when it hit - it would hit - as it has!
I am going to try to write the same amount today. It's mentally exhausting and mentally stimulating, but so far all brain function appears intact! ;)

I also have a story that I wrote a long time ago out this month in Kansas City Parent. It's a column-style piece about helping kids learn money management through the back to school shopping experience. You can read the whole story here.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

With Great Delight

"Live imperfectly with great delight."

I came across this little saying and loved it. And, it just so happens that "delight" is one of my new favorite words. It's so happy and cheery and, well ... all-around delightful! I find myself using it all the time now. I find delight in all I can!

Friday, July 25, 2008

When I Grow Up

This writing thing is going to work out, wonderfully, I believe.

But, if it ever doesn't:
I want to be She-Ra, Princess of Power. Or Wonder Woman, the crime fighting beauty. Or Nancy Drew, the fearless super sleuth. Or, Jessica Fletcher, mystery solver extraordinaire.

Mmm ... Imagine the possibilities ... especially if I could blend them into one SUPER CAROLINE!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My B-Day!

Last week, I celebrated another birthday!

It was a great day! I taught arts and crafts to the camp kids in the morning, went swimming at Deep Eddy in the afternoon, and spent the evening with great friends! What a way to start this new year and this new chapter in my life! : )











Thursday, July 03, 2008

Santa Barbara, CA

Just got back from visiting Santa Barbara with my best friend. It was a wonderful trip! It's so pretty there, and we visited a mission, went to a wine festival, perused a farmer's market, strolled a shopping district, walked the main pier where we had a grandpa sea lion come right up to us and look in our eyes -- so much! It was an awesome trip, and I came home only to keep right on going by taking a trip to Schlitterbahn with my sister!

It's really great to be able to spend time with friends and family. Hope you all have time to do that, also, over this Fourth of July holiday. Happy Fourth!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Let Summer Camps Begin!

Well, there is a first time for everything, I suppose.
My canoe finally tipped over in Town Lake - with me and four kids in it! Of course, it didn't just happen to tip over - I hear there was a bounty out for who could get me the wettest, and we can presume someone has a nice prize this evening! :P
I did learn I am strong enough to swim a canoe filled with five inches of water and four children at a darn good clip - I guess those years on the swim team paid off. : )

We are two canoe nights and two carnival nights into the summer season of the Austin Sunshine Camps, where I volunteer. (I talked about it here last summer.) Everything is great so far. We spent a lot of time prepping beforehand making new games, like bean bag tosses and such. We made these out of wood (yes, I helped use a saw and a drill!) and then we painted them. I wanted to bring in an element of learning when possible so you'll see I added quite a bit of detail to the solar system game and some espanol to the sun one. The baseball player one I just stuck with good, ol' fun. It was a lot of work, but these will last for years, and it is wonderful to see the kids playing them!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Parting Ways with Texas Family Magazine

I finally am going to do it. I finally am going to finish at least one of my many books!
I feel like the time in my life is right for me to do this. I am very eager to begin this next chapter and am delighted to see where this path takes me.
I will miss all of the great relationships I formed as part of Texas Family Magazine and feeling like I truly was helping families across the state, but I am positive that this is the best decision for me.
And, I am very happy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Whew! Non-stop attention

Whew! I have had my one-and-a-half year old niece Alivia for two days. It was her first "away from home" trip, and quite an experience it was! I am exhausted! It is so nerve-wracking taking care of someone else's child. Danger seems to be lurking everywhere!
I am usually so together - on top of every detail, every piece of knowledge - but I swear there were parts of my brain that simply did not have the juice to function while I was taking care of her. It's like the brain can only handle so much, and survival just jumps right up to the top and knocks the other stuff out. And, I am so used to just running around, darting from here to there - that just doesn't happen with a young one. I'll say it again, "Whew!"
I am happy to report, though, that I have returned her in, from what I can tell, the same condition as when I received her. :P We actually did just fine. There were no meltdowns or tantrums. And, she tolerated me just fine, too! There was actually no crying at all; we just had a lot of fun. Distraction is the element that made it work! :)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Violet Aura

I went to a World Wellness Expo this weekend. I love this kind of stuff! Mostly I just like to look around and absorb and learn. One of the speakers was John Gray, of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" fame. He talked about a lot of interesting stuff - like the female hormone oxytocin, which makes women feel happy - but also was really quite funny.

The most fascinating part of my experience was an in-depth aura and chakra reading. I was solid violet. Solid, the whole way through. Violet is the color of spirituality. Some of the descriptions in my report: able to attain unlimited spiritual knowledge, healing and clairvoyance, may raise the energy vibrations of others simply by being in their presence, psychic abilities, understanding synchronicity, others notice my inner light, put the highest vibrational frequency out into the world, visionary, perhaps a gifted writer, may find myself in a position of power or visibility deeply affecting the lives of many people, present to the world a unique reality, have the vivid imagination required to write bestselling novels, may be coming into my power as a spiritual beacon, visionary, and guiding light. This website also has a pretty good description.

If you remember, about six months ago, I was Indigo. I guess I am evolving, or however it should be described. Btw, I am not bragging. I am fascinated. Like I said, love this stuff!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beach and Dolphins in Corpus

Here are a few more pictures from the Corpus trip - one from my brief sunset stop by the beach and then pictures from the Texas State Aquarium, where I participated in a Deckside Dolphin Experience. It was so fun to play with the dolphins!!

And, because I'm all about the practical tip: Notice how well you can block a wall of water simply by lifting your leg. :P

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Around Corpus Christi Beach

Amidst the never-boring conundrum that is my life, there are some fun moments.

Here I am (in the middle) riding horses on Corpus Christi beach. I had to include this picture so you could see Ashley - the mere fact that she is doing ballet moves on top of a horse should tell you how awesome she is. ;)

We also went moped-ing around Corpus Christi beach. I must admit I am a bit of a chicken with certain things (and a daredevil with others,) and riding a moped made me a little nervous. :O But, at least I got the pink one. :D

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Life

My life is a giant pot of uncomfortableness, stirred often.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Trace Evidence

I had to get fingerprinted this morning. A lot of different organizations have been requiring this lately, and it's a good thing, I'm sure, for most purposes. At the same time, it feels kind of weird.

I have a vague remembrance of giving a thumbprint in grade school as part of some sort of kids' safety initiative - perhaps involving McGruff, the Crime Dog - but this time they did all of my fingers and my thumbs and took a picture. Something about it was a little, "Whoah!" Like, "There goes my privacy!" Not that I'll likely ever have to worry about being a suspect or anything like that, but all the same ... What if I decide to re-invent myself and go chase tornadoes in Tornado Alley? Or, be a librarian in a remote, small town? All it would take is that one discarded paper cup for someone to track me down (hat tip: all my TRU/Court TV shows.)

Of course, this is coming from someone who jokes (sort of) about putting chips in her future children, just like they do for cats and dogs. Hey - really - why not?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Texas Family March/April 2008

The latest issue of Texas Family Magazine is out. This one, I really like.

I got a kick out of the Play It Again! piece, in which we profiled a dozen toys from our childhoods that have been remade for today's kids. Think Slinky, Monopoly (now with debit cards,) Twister, and Radio Flyer (what I call the pimp-my-ride set for kids.)

There's also a great piece on the Sandwich Generation, those who are in the position of simultaneously taking care of their parents and their children. We also incorporated natural and organic products and living into many of our features/sections, and we rounded things off with travel stories on Amarillo, Texas, and Amelia Island Plantation in Florida.

Plus, a bazillion other topics and pieces - all of which I could probably recite! : )

Friday, April 25, 2008

Not Good Bye, Good Luck!

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that I have a very, very dear friend Prabhakar. Well, Prabhakar moved away this past weekend. To Canada.

I told him I am just pretending he is away on one of his business trips, that this is not good bye. And, it's not. But, truth be told, I'll miss him. He's definitely one of the good ones.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Statement at the Press Conference

We are joining with Crime Stoppers and others to help capture child predators who are on the run. Take a look at their website to see if you recognize any of these predators. I hear they have already caught the first fugitive as a result of this initiative!
Here is a video of my statement at the press conference, kicking off Child Abuse Prevention Month. All the local stations and most of the local outlets were there so I assume we got some good coverage. And, we are on about 50 billboards across Houston.
My statement is cut into two parts on YouTube. I start at about 8:50 into Part One and then am at the beginning of Part Two. In total, it's about four minutes. I encourage you to start with Part One.
Oh, and in case you can't figure it out, I'm the one in the red dress, standing next to the congressman. :P

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Sweetest Thing

Baby Jackson and Big Sister Alivia Rose.

I visited and met my nephew Jackson for the first time! He is extremely expressive with his face, constantly changing his expression in cute and remarkably original ways. He also smiled at me when I rubbed his head. : )

And, yes, he is in his "Class of 2030" Texas A&M hat, much like Alivia's "Class of 2029" hat. : )

The sweetest thing happened: Alivia heard Jackson let out a cry in the other room. Immediately, her expression changed, and she darted away toward him. (Well, to the extent one-year-olds can dart.) She grabbed a pacifier and went straight up to him to try to give him the pacifier to soothe him.

She's one. And, he is only a week old. Talk about some real love, there. I thought it was one of the sweetest things I'd ever seen.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Good Things

I think an important part of life, and in feeling good about our purpose in life, comes from helping others, which is accomplished through loving others. If we could boil down everything that matters in life, I believe the result would be love. And, this love is all around us, every day, in both small ways and grand. I find I am the most inspired and the most filled with love when I am around people who are serving others.

This weekend, I had the privilege of helping kids with cancer and kids honoring those with cancer paint and decorate lucky horseshoes that will serve as centerpieces for the Cattle Baron's Ball, which will benefit The American Cancer Society. Because of the nature of the event, I asked God to send me in with extra angels that day, and I could feel their presence the entire time. The knowledge of that goodness is almost overwhelming, but in a good, good way.

I am also helping with a campaign on which I definitely will be asking for the assistance of God and the angels. In conjunction with Crime Stoppers, we (via my Texas Family platform) are conducting a month long campaign during Child Abuse Prevention Month to capture child predators who have failed to register as sex offenders or who are wanted for victimizing children. We'll be having a press conference Friday, and I am trying to get the word to as many media outlets as I can because, ultimately, it is people in communities who can make the difference. What we are asking is that people look at the Crime Stoppers website to see if they can provide any information on the wanted felons.

Here is my quote from my press release: “Sometimes child sex predators are hidden among us, within our trusted groups of friends and family, and we learn of their horrors only once it is too late, wondering if there are signs we should have recognized,” says Caroline A. Shearer, Editor in Chief of Texas Family Magazine. “Other times, such as with these wanted sex offenders who already have violated children, the law, and the justice system, we can take purposeful action to stop them from causing further harm. We implore you to help us capture these predators by providing Crime Stoppers any information on their whereabouts.”

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Aunt Caroline, Part Deux

I'm an aunt twice over now!
Jackson Everett Shearer was born today at 2:03 p.m.! He was 6 pounds, 9 ounces.
Everyone is doing well!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

Do I not have the cutest niece in the world? (Other than my own aunts and uncles, of course. :P )

I'm about to be an aunt twice over. Little Alivia here is about to have a baby brother - any day now!


I hope you all had a Happy Easter! I came home with lots of organic dark chocolate so I'm definitely happy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind always be at your back, and may everyone with a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" button be really cute!
Four leaf clovers to the lot of ya'! : )

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Live Music Capital

I've been really bad about posting lately. I'd say nothing interesting has been going on, but that wouldn't be accurate. It's more that what has been going on is a.) not stuff I can put on here or b.) stuff I cannot put on here. :D

I have been trying to hit a few SXSW events, along with the thousands of music-lovers who have descended upon our city, the live music capital of the world. There literally have been parties and live music and movies every hour on the hour, every day for a week. This will seem random, but Rachael Ray, the delightfully likable food celebrity, had a party with some indie bands. (Apparently, her husband is in that scene so there is the connection.) I missed seeing her, but I still made the party. I also went to an Ice Cube concert, which was pretty cool. It was old school - You Can Do It, Put Your Back Into It and Today Was a Good Day - meets new school - Gangster Rap Made Me Do It. It was fun.

My dad will be proud that I am taking advantage of the music scene. He doesn't understand how I usually just let it slide on by me. There really is this whole other world here.

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY yesterday to my little brother!! : )

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Texas Woman Receives Silver Star

Yesterday, March 8, was International Women's Day. This story, then, from the AP, makes a timely appearance.

A 19-year-old medic from Lake Jackson, Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor. Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said. After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away. "I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there," Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost.

Monday, March 03, 2008

FOX Report in College Station

Have y'all been seeing my dear Aggies each night on the FOX Report with Shepard Smith? Looks like they are in the MSC (Memorial Student Center) on the Texas A&M University campus and are behaving so well - decked out in maroon and whooping only when appropriate. ;)
The segments are part of their ongoing election coverage. If only Shepard could pull some strings and get those political callers from non-stop calling my house!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

Happy Leap Day!
Enjoy your extra day of February! :D

Saturday, February 23, 2008

in Pursuit of a Good Picture

* Yep! You guessed it! I was in Amarillo, and this is from nearby Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the United States!

It is very hard to take a good picture of yourself when trying to include a phenomenal background and simultaneously staring straight into the sun. :P

Any idea where this was taken?

Hint: Loads of history here - from Native American to Civilian Conservation Corps to present-day performances that draw hundreds of thousands each year.

Hint: Nearby, if you can finish a 72-ounce steak dinner in under an hour, it's free!

OK - I made this really easy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Red Tulips

I was in the grocery store this weekend, and they had an assortment of flowers, presumably left over from Valentine's Day, on sale throughout the store. I often will buy a few stems to keep on the kitchen counter overlooking my breakfast area and living room because it creates a nice, bright feeling, I think.
One of the specials they had was on tulips - red tulips. I really like tulips, and the red ones were quite pretty and rather dramatic looking. Since they were offering 30 stems for $10, I bought one bunch of them. Then I got them home and discovered that 30 is a lot of tulips - a whole lot! I realized right away they weren't going to fit into just one vase. Now, I have two big vases absolutely bursting with red tulips brightening up the mood of my house and myself!
For the next couple of days, at least, I look very loved. :P

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Here's a little V-Day cake I made, with raspberries and homemade whipped cream in the middle. Mmmm ... too bad I gave it away instead of getting to eat it! :P

Have a wonderful day celebrating the love in your life - all of it!

Monday, February 11, 2008

This Weekend

I played Laser Tag for the first time this weekend. It was FUN! It was the adults versus the kids we tutor in a two-story, black-lit playing field. We were all running around, trying to tag each other and the "bases." I discovered I'm a little bit of a daredevil in combat - willing to catch the brunt of the opposition forces in pursuit of attacking their base. : )
The kids won both games - BUT we would have had them the next game! It just took us a little longer to get the hang of it, not being experienced in these things. :P They keep pushing for paintball, too, but I have to admit I'm a little scared of that one.
It was beautiful this weekend. I spent a good deal of the afternoon Sunday out walking on Town Lake. It was so nice!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Texas Family Magazine - January/February 2008

All about Love.

That was our theme for this issue, my second now as Editor in Chief. Isn't this cover cute?


Texas Family is now entering its third year, which is exciting! We have some really great stories in this issue - like a winery tour through the different viticultural regions of Texas and a story on adopting from the Texas foster care system. I wrote the adoption story and a travel story on Clearwater, Florida. I'd love to post pictures of those, too, but then you wouldn't go out and buy a copy. :P

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Write-a-Thon

Supposedly, there is some kind of a football game on today, and since I couldn't be less interested, I have decided to hold my own write-a-thon. I'm going to try to write all day for my book (books, really.)
I have had so few opportunities for months now that I am curious to see how well I can get back in the groove and how my perspectives have changed regarding my characters and plots ... Wish me well!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Careful, or You Might ...

"Careful, or you might end up in my novel."
I saw that t-shirt design this morning, and it cracked me up. If I wore that, I wonder if people would take me seriously. Somehow, I doubt they would, and yet, they probably should ... :P

I don't know about you all, but I have sneezed at least fifty times in the last few hours, courtesy of that good, ol' cedar fever. Aah!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Juno, an Unlikely Hero. One of Many.

I saw a fantastic movie this weekend, titled "Juno." Very different from what I expected, it is a hilariously funny and touching story about a girl named Juno who gets pregnant at 16 and then proceeds to try to find adoptive parents for her on-the-way baby. And, while I was delighted the whole way through with this precocious/innocent/savvy/naive girl, I also really appreciate the underlying and tender message that comes from this storyline.

Take a moment, and picture this: a teenage girl, pregnant.

I imagine this brings up a lot of images conditioned from upbringing, society, personal experiences, etc. For many of you, it may bring up a negative reaction at first, or perhaps entirely. When I see a young girl who is pregnant, while at times there may be an initial shock, my next thought is one of love - how brave she is, and even braver if she is taking that extra step of giving up her baby for adoption. And, I think of the beautiful life that was created and is living inside her.

To me, the girl in this movie is like so many other girls I've known - not in the sense that they all became pregnant - but in the sense that they are learning how to live and how to be who they are (who they really are, not who others want them to be.) And, while some may not find her general choice of words or actions throughout the movie "appropriate," I can assure you how she talks and behaves is like so, so many girls today. It is a product of an independent spirit, and I applaud it.


Maybe if we're appalled, we're actually appalled at ourselves for not always saying what we think or doing what we feel, without regard for what others will think of us. I'm really proud of this next generation of girls, and I hope that we "older girls" (and boys) are able to learn something from them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Back in the Day ... Songs

Back in the Day ... songs were not so different.
I was playing around with songs again on here, and it got me to thinking: This whole, "Oh, the song lyrics were so innocent back when I was younger" stuff people try to convince others of is not exactly so.
I remember the odd expression on my Dad's face when I'd go around the house, in seventh grade, belting out "Damn! I Wish I Was Your Lover!" over and over again. -- I'm surprised my parents didn't have me in Catholic school ... Oh, wait.
Then, of course, searching around I found a few other favorites from back in the day - "Naughty Girls Need Love, Too," "Bad Boys," and let's not even mention Madonna or hip hop. I'm not inclined to make a full social commentary today, but it's an interesting observation. And, hey! I turned out okay. :P

Monday, January 07, 2008

Deconstruct Your Reality

Sometimes things get stuck in my head, and I just can't move on until I get them out somehow. This can be particularly interesting when it's for someone specific and it's three in the morning, but, in this case, this one is more of a general statement and one I kept thinking as I was driving. The thought was so persistent that I fished out a gas receipt from my purse and scribbled it down at 70 miles per hour. For everyone it might mean a little something different so I'll just write it and let you interpret it for your own life. It's a simple statement, yet remarkably profound.

"Deconstruct your reality, and live, really."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year's Everyone!

Happy New Year's everyone, and welcome to 2008! I think it's going to be a good year!

I hope you all had a wonderful and safe holiday season! It's time to begin anew ... : )