Take Life One Day At a Time

black and white 10 print
photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post called When Life is Hard. In the post, I quoted a poem that talks about taking life step by step, instead of worrying and fussing about the future or the past—or even about the rest of this day. I promised to post, over the next while, some more poems and other writings related to life’s difficulties and how to handle them. Here is today’s poem. It might seem old-fashioned and too religious to some people, but why not read through it and think about what it says? It provides a solution which people have been reaching out to and trusting in for millennia, so if you’re feeling skeptical, why not give it a try.

One Day at a Time

One day at a time with its failures and fears,
With its hurts and mistakes, with its weakness and tears,
With its portion of pain and its burden of care;
One day at a time we must meet and must bear.

One day at a time to be patient and strong,
To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;
Then its toiling shall pass and its sorrow shall cease;
It shall darken and die, and the night shall bring peace.

One day at a time—but the day is so long,
And the heart is not brave and the soul is not strong.
“O Thou pitiful Christ, be thou near all the way.
Give courage and patience and strength for the day.”

Swift cometh His answer so clean and so sweet;
“Yea, I will be with thee, thy troubles to meet:
I will not forget thee, nor fail thee, nor grieve;
I will not forsake thee; I never will leave.”

Not yesterday’s load we are called on to bear,
Nor the morrow’s uncertain and shadowy care;
Why should we look forward or back with dismay?
Our needs, as our mercies are but for the day.

One day at a time, and the day is His day.
He hath numbered its hours, though they haste or delay.
His grace is sufficient; we walk not alone.
As the day, so the strength that He giveth His own.

—Annie Johnson Flint

When Life is Hard

brown grass on focus photo
photo by Wolfgang Hassleman on Unsplash

It has seemed lately that life is harder than usual for many people—most likely due to the changes caused by Covid-19. Lost jobs. Businesses shuttered. Enforced homeschool. Deaths, of course, and lingering illness. And so many other stresses. Perhaps, especially, a lack of community. We are, for the most part, social creatures. And being separated from close family, friends, and work/school peers has been terribly difficult for so many people, young and old. “I’m so lonely!” is a cry we hear often. We hang onto any good news, clinging desperately, hoping upon hope that there won’t be yet another wave, that the vaccines will do their job, that there won’t be still more variants of concern that could throw a loop into the reopening plans being cautiously announced in at least some regions (as were announced today in my province, British Columbia, Canada). “Back to normal” within 3 to 4 months? Could it be possible?

But then I wonder. What is “normal”? Will it really be all sunshine and roses soon? Or does “normal” have its own “life is hard” moments? As a writer, I have filled many journals (6 filing “bankers boxes” so far, not to mention hundreds, maybe thousands of computer files) over the years. As I’m getting older (I hit the big 65 in summer 2020), I’ve been thinking about my poor kids and grandkids, and how it would be for them if I left them to deal with all those books. Maybe they’d have a fun “celebration of life” by building a huge bonfire and saying goodbye to the journals! On the other hand, maybe they’d prefer to take a look through some of them first. After all, there is some positive stuff in there, not to mention stories of our family which they might want to remember (or not?!?).

So I decided this past weekend, being a relaxing holiday long weekend (Canada’s Victoria Day holiday on Monday) that I would start going through the journals, tearing out pages that are overly depressing (or too personal), and tossing journals that focused on particular topics that I’ve left behind (I’m a “Jill of all trades” and have spent periods of time focusing on and researching particular topics of interest to me, but which, if my kids are at all interested, they could easily find more up-to-date and thorough information on line).

What I discovered is that, while there are plenty of interesting and upbeat recollections and thoughts, there is also a lot of “hard times” recorded in those journal pages. As I read through, I wonder how I ever made it through certain times in my life—relationship issues, financial issues, homeschool, lost jobs/closed businesses, deaths of loved ones, and all kinds of other stresses … including, yes, separation from family and friends sometimes, too. Huh. Sounds a lot like Covid, doesn’t it? But I’m thinking that maybe “that’s just life.” There is much to be grateful for in our world, without a doubt. But there are also struggles. It’s the nature of our world, I think.

person in brown long sleeve shirt
photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

So I wonder, how did I get through? What I’m finding tucked into my journal pages, especially in the hardest times, are poems and reflections that I clung to at those moments. Almost all of them are reflections of my faith (and sometimes, a definite lack of faith with wonderings and doubts…) in God. But overall, it’s that faith that has gotten me through. Therefore, I’ve decided that I should share some of those bits and pieces that held me up when I felt hopeless—with the hope that they might hold you up, too, if you’re going through a hard time just now. I’ll start by posting a short one that I memorized and have repeated to myself over and over through the years. Then, over the next while, I’ll post some more that I hope will reach into your feelings of sadness and hopefulness.

He does not lead me year by year
Nor even day by day
But step by step my path unfolds
My Lord directs my way.

Tomorrow’s plans I do not know;
I only know this minute.
But he will say, “This is the way;
By faith now walk ye in it.”

And I am glad that it is so,
Today’s enough to bear;
And when tomorrow comes, his grace
Shall far exceed its care.

What need to worry then, or fret?
The God who gave his Son
Holds all my moments in his hand
And gives them one by one.

  • by Barbara C Ryberg

Feeling Guilty Tossing Out Half-Used Art Supplies

I find writing in my journal with colourful pens to be fun and inspiring! Except that sometimes I tire of the same old colours. And some of the pens don’t glide as nicely over the paper as I wish they would. And some of them are super pale shades and I have to press hard and even then the writing isn’t clear. I keep hoping they’ll run out of ink soon, but it seems the only ones that do so are the ones I like the most.

So when I dug out my box of art supplies the other day, I was elated! I found a set of beautiful, bright, smoothly flowing coloured pens! I was all set to chuck out the old ones when a nagging little voice in my head started to guilt me! Louder and louder…

I started arguing: But I’ve been using these old ones for so long. And I probably bought these beautiful new ones at least 2 or 3 or 4 years ago, and I really should use them before they dry out! Right? No? Okay then, so I won’t throw them out. Maybe I could donate them to the local thrift store? Or save them for when I can, after Covid, start facilitating in-person youth writer workshops again, for kids who forget their own supplies. They wouldn’t mind, would they? Then I wouldn’t feel so guilty, right? Or?

Digging around some more in that box of art supplies, I also found a package of watercolour pencils in bold, brilliant shades! So exciting! So much more gorgeous than the ones I’ve been using for my colouring recently. I mean, here I am, mucking around with a mish-mash of odds and ends from several sets of old pencil crayons, some of which crumble every time I sharpen them, while I have ground still others down to little nubs, and others are just plain ugly colours I never use. I would love to chuck most of them out, and get busy using those new, delightful shades. That seems fair, right? No? There’s that little voice again: nag, nag, nag, guilt, guilt, guilt. Aaagggghhh!!!

Where does this “guilt” come from, anyway? I wonder if anyone else has this problem? Well, it’s true I was raised by parents who grew up during the Great Depression when everything was a luxury, and then they also lived through World War II when everything had to “be saved for the war effort.” In fact, I have a couple notebooks my mom used in school; when they were full, she’d go back to the beginning and write in the margins and headers until there wasn’t a bit of space left. Even many years later, when I was a young adult away from home, and she had access for all kinds of lovely paper, she’d write letters to me on the backs and insides of envelopes, using little pencil stubs. Old habits die hard, I guess … and get passed down the generations, too, maybe?

When I was a child in school in the ‘sixties, students were expected to take good care of their school supplies and make one set of everything last the entire year—and then use the leftovers for homework and arts and crafts the following year instead of getting sets of new supplies for home as well as for school.

I suspect, of course, that writing and art materials were made better back then, and of course we labeled everything and were personally responsible for our own items. Remember scraping your pencils and writing your name on them? And wrapping your books carefully with covers made from the inside of brown paper grocery bags? And being expected to keep the contents of your desk neat and tidy? And keeping your pens and pencils and things in a sturdy wooden or tin box instead of a floppy pencil case?  (What? You aren’t as old as me?). Then we were expected to respect other students’ things—and if we didn’t, we’d be sent to the office where the principal had that long leather strap hanging on the wall… (Okay, so maybe not everything was perfect back in the day, but still…).

Oh my goodness! It’s the 21st century, girl! There’s something to be said for taking care of things. But maybe it’s okay to be just a wee bit extravagant once in a while, don’t you think? All right then! I’m going to take the plunge! Start using my lovely pen and pencil crayons. Toss out the little stubby pencils and the pens that have ink that is hard-to-see and hurt my poor old fingers with all that pressing. And put the rest with a bit of life left in them into a container for future emergency use.

So there, guilty voices! Away with you!

New supplies at the ready! Adventure beckons!

The Blogging Adventure Continues

Well, a month has passed since my last post, and yes, I’ve been blogging about whatever I feel like … just not on here, sad to say. So I thought I should catch y’all up on my activities!

Over the past year and some, I was working on a “book” about editing. I was trying to be unique and creative by interweaving a story with each chapter of the book. Okay, the truth is, I am not a novelist! My beta readers loved the parts about editing, but weren’t so keen on the ongoing story (though they really liked some chapters of the story, just not the whole thing). Also, they almost all suggested that my editing chapters might be more useful as workbooks for my workshops, and/or blog posts for my writing and editing blog, normajhill.com. So if you go to my Writing and Editing Articles page list, and scroll way down, you’ll find two new series, “Self Exploration for Writers” and “Your Writing Life.” Each post in the series includes a downloadable link with a worksheet that you can print out and use to explore your own writing life! These have turned out to be quite popular. The “Self-Exploration for Writers” series starts here, and the “Your Writing Life” series starts here. You can get a binder or Duotang folder and put all your printouts and self-explorations together and keep track of your own writing life! Enjoy!

I’ve also been posting up lots of Freebies on my PenAndPaperMama.com site which focuses on home schooling and home learning (for both home schoolers and school students, too) and on tutoring. In addition, I’ve been posting more useful articles on home education, which you can find a list of on the Home Education Tips page.

On my HaidaGwaiiBuildingBridges site, I posted a blog exploring the topic “Am I Racist? Prejudices? Biased? Intolerant?” You might find it interesting; in fact, I’ve been invited, based on it, to be a co-admin on a site out of Africa that explores some of these ideas. Wow! Also, using blogging to explore my own life and interests, I recently wrote (on the normajhill.com site) an article called “I am a Writer! So There!” It got lots of super-positive responses—and I had a lot of fun writing it. So there!

My son gave me a tablet last year (well, 2019) for Christmas; unfortunately, the lovely leather cover didn’t have a hole in the right spot for the tablet’s camera. Yesterday, while watching a program on Zoom, I got a bit bored, so I grabbed a sharp tool and cut a cute little hole in the cover; now I can take pictures and post them easily on Facebook, Instagram (which I just joined) and of course on my blogs! I just HAD to try it out, so I took some amusing photos of my hubby in his man-cave (which also happens to be our bedroom, but that’s another story, worthy of its own blog post, LOL) and put them up on my Facebook. Oh, my goodness! People loved them! Loads of funny comments, haha type emojis, and more! I’m delighted!

Speaking of photos, now that I can easily take photos using my tablet (it wasn’t so simple before, as I don’t have a smart phone, and I had to email my camera photos to my new laptop, since it doesn’t have a slot for the camera’s memory card like my old laptop did), I’m looking forward to getting back to my PentictonPedestrian site where I enjoy taking snapshots on my walkabouts and bike rides in our wonderful community, and post them along with commentary, poems, etc. So I’ll be blogging on there, too! Yay! (But why or why didn’t I think of this sooner? Duh!)

Finally, I’ve started posting again on my normajhill.blogspot.com site where I write about my spiritual journey. The most recent post is entitled, “Am I a Liar? Maybe More Than I Realize?”

Recently, someone discovered an old site of mine, BlogBasics4TotalBeginners, which I have posted nothing on for a VERY long time, and I figured I’d probably just close it down since some info on it is terribly outdated and I never did finish it according to my original plan. But as a new blogger, this person thought some posts were useful—so I’m thinking I’ll maybe go through it and find “evergreen” posts, update them with an emphasis on author blogs (since that was the intention in the first place, anyway), and maybe post them on my normajhill site. We’ll see!

So yes, I’m off and running on my new blogging adventure! Thanks for coming along for the ride. And if you’d like to follow and keep up with what I’ve been doing and thinking, I’ve also posted a “Follow” button in the right-hand margin of this blog, and you can click on it to receive email updates on new posts.

Can I Blog About Anything I Want, Anyway I Want? Yes!

A Bit of My Website History:

The last time I blogged on this site was June 29, 2016. Today is January 1, 2021. So 4 1/2 years have gone by. Okay, I have posted a few other things on this site between times, but I have done most of my blogging on my other “specific topic” aka “niche” sites. I first started blogging in 2009, though I’d been experimenting with websites since about 1995 or so, with the initial incarnation of my “Conversations, Reflections, and Meditations” site which was on the Geocities platform—which required knowledge of HTML, so it wasn’t a “platform” in the way we think of them today. Later, Yahoo acquired the Geocities platform, but it still required HTML skills. And then in 2009, it closed down, too. Still, you can see some of the Yahoo version (2006-2008) here! Cool!

And a Bit of my Blogging History:

Meanwhile, “blogging” was becoming a thing, as platforms like Blogger and WordPress became available for non-techie folks who wanted to share their thoughts online without having to do all that coding. My daughter, who had strong coding skills, got kind of tired of me contacting her frequently for help on my website and talked me into trying first a Blogspot blog (to which, surprisingly enough, nearly a thousand posts later, I still occasionally add items) to get a feel for the blogging format. Then she pointed me to WordPress, and over the years I’ve had several WordPress blogs/sites (this one was one of the first, starting about 2011). At one point I also had a blog on a platform operated by Shaw, our local internet provider, but that was eventually closed down, as were other small blog platforms run by various companies.

A Jill of all Blogs …

When I was first blogging, most blogs were sort of online journals, and people wrote pretty much whatever they felt like. But it didn’t take long before bloggers were being urged to find a “niche” and focus on a particular topic—and ideally, try to make money with their blogs. Being a “Jill of all trades, master of none,” and wanting to write on a variety of topics, I created a “hub site,” PenAndPaperMama.com, which was my business site, focusing on tutoring and education. From that site, I created other blog sites that reflected my various interests: HaidaGwaiiBuildingBridges, PentictonPedestrian, BlogBasicsForTotalBeginners, NormaJHill.com, which focuses on my editing and writing businesses, and of course this site, Conversations, Reflections, and Meditations, which became a kind of catch-all for various bits and pieces that didn’t fit elsewhere. Guess what? Surprise, surprise, having so many sites became a real chore trying to keep up with, and I ended up hardly blogging at all. My business had also been getting busier, and I became involved in a lot of other activities as well, including an ever-growing family, all of which distracted me from blogging.

But Following Blogging Rules Really Isn’t Me …

But I’ve missed it. I love writing “just for the fun of it.” I look back fondly to the time when I could blog about whatever I wanted. I’ve actually felt somewhat resentful about having to “follow the blogging rules” — which I made a genuine effort to do for a long time. I took courses and even created that “blog basics” site to help the seniors in our local writing group who were finding the whole idea of online writing to be quite overwhelming. I helped several writers in our group set up their own “author” blogs and websites. I even did some “webmaster” work for a while. But you know what? It really wasn’t me. I’m not one of those people who can focus on one topic and make a million bucks off it. I just want to explore ideas, do lots of lifelong learning, try out different things and share my thoughts.

So … Time for Some Changes!

This summer I turned 65 and decided I have earned the right to “be me.” I’m still doing some tutoring (though I’ve scaled back from 5 days a week to 3) and am still editing for other writers (though I’m becoming more particular about the genres I’ll accept), and when this Covid-19 thing clears up, I’m looking forward to getting back into doing in-person coaching of writers, plus facilitating writing workshops and events.

And Off to a Blogging Adventure—Done My Way!

And I’ve decided that I am going to blog however I want, about whatever I want, and whenever I want. I suppose that might make me sound a bit like a rebellious teenager instead of a mature older woman—but hey, I’m really not interested in that whole “mature older woman” scene. So here I am, setting off on my wild blogging adventure! If you’d like to join me, check out the links above and see if any of my blogs interest you, and “follow” any you like (oh! I see I need to add a “follow” button to this one, too…). I’m looking forward to a blog road trip that will travel down some less-travelled trails and see where it takes me! Off we go!

Pen and Paper Mama sites

hand-and-pen-clipartWelcome to Pen And Paper Mama Too:

Conversations, Reflections, and Meditations

This site is a miscellaneous collection of Norma J Hill’s writing over the years. It started out as a Geocities site way back in the day when we had to do our own HTML … then migrated to Yahoo’s website platform (where we still had to do our own HMTL) … and finally has ended up here on WordPress.

Norma J Hill’s “Pen and Paper Mama” sites include:

  • penandpapermama.com which is my “hub site,” with links to all my other sites, as well as an emphasis on my “Pen and Paper Mama Services” business, which includes tutoring, editing, and writing, as well as related activities such as speaking engagements and mentoring writers on the basics of publishing and author sites.
  • NormaJHill.com which is a completely new site, and will focus on the writing, editing, and publishing aspects of my Pen and Paper Mama Services business (the blog which was found on this page over the past few months will now be located on my normajhill.com site).
  • Haida Gwaii Building Bridges which focuses on articles, stories, poetry and photos from the beautiful misty isles of Haida Gwaii (aka Queen Charlotte Islands).
  • Penticton Pedestrian which features photos, along with articles and poetry about the city of Penticton in the sunny South Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada
  • My Church Journey which explores my thoughts about spiritual issues

As you can see from the menu at the top of this page, this site includes the following:

  • “30 Days of Me” : A writing exercise from back in 2010, in which for 30 days I wrote humorous bits and pieces about my life.
  • “Creative Writing A to Z Challenge” : Another fun writing exercise in which I wrote 26 pieces, each focused on a word (or some cases, like X, many words–who’d ever thought there could be so many!) from each letter of the alphabet. If you like writing exercises, this is an amusing one to try.
  • “Creative Writing Bits and Pieces” : Just what it sounds like!
  • “Creative Writing Hillbilly Hilarity” : Though I wrote these silly “Hillbilly” bits and pieces years ago, they still attract lots of readers. If you’re in need of a good laugh, or some Hillbilly vocabulary for your writing project, check it out.
  • “Education and Homeschool” : Off and on through the years, I homeschooled my own 5 children, and also tutored other homeschooled children. I am still on the board on the BC Home Learners Association. This section of the site provides some thoughts and information about home learning and life-long learning.
  • “Family Stories” : Some years ago, I came across a site which listed dozens of questions as starters for writing family history stories. I had a lot of fun with it, and my grandkids and other little people are quite entertained by my stories of my childhood back in the day when the dinosaurs ruled the earth (or at least before the hippies ruled the earth…)
  • “Haida Gwaii Reflections” : This section will lead you to my website Haida Gwaii Building Bridges (or of course you can click the link right here …)
  • “Miracle Stories” : Do you believe in miracles? Check out these experiences and see what you think!
  • “Poetry” : From time to time I play around with writing poetry — and these are some of my efforts.
  • “Prayers and Meditations” : I enjoy journaling, and most of the entries in this section are from the 150 or so journals I’ve filled up over the years.
  • “Summerland Stories” : I was born in Summerland BC during my parents’ summer holidays … and in my childhood spent many happy summers, Christmas breaks, long weekends and more at my grandparents’ home there. Those experiences inspired me to write some of my memories, which have been published in the “Southern Exposure” newspaper and in “Archivos Magazine.”
  • “The Life Connection” : is a series of articles I wrote for a church newsletter a few years ago. The newsletter was distributed not only locally but to churches across Canada and the US 🙂

busy days

Did you think I fell off the map? It must seem like it as my last “daily blog post” was May 16. How do these things happen? Well… a combination of failing to stick to my “schedule” mixed with a lot of editing work, and extra last-minute tutoring jobs for students preparing for final exams… and all the other unexpected things that make up “life”!

But that isn’t to say that I haven’t been learning and writing. Some of the things I’ve accomplished in the past month and a half (besides all that tutoring and editing!):

  • catch up typing from my daily handwritten journal (things I can use for blog posts and other  writing
  • Indie Author Fringe webinars (listening and note-taking): How Author Associations Help Your Self-Publishing Career; Book Marketing Begins at Home; Get in Front of Influencers; Freelancing to Pay the Bills; Seven Essentials for Self-Publishing authors; Ten Amazing Tools for Indie Authors
  • attend May PWAP (Penticton Writers and Publishers) group meeting and June AGM
  • other webinars (listen and note-take): How to Grow Your Email List To Have a Profitable Course Launch; Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing – How to Make the Right Choice for Your Book in 2016; Mail Chimp tutorials; Writers Retreats; Using Blog Posts to Write a Book (Taylor Pearson); Getting Things Done–Productivity (David Allen); Using The One Thing and Time Blocking; Getting Noticed in a Noisy World With Your First Book (Michael Hyatt); radio program on writing memoir; How To Create Online Courses (Teachable); Leverage Your Books to Create an Online Training Program (Thinkific–Greg Smith); Seven Steps to Discover Your Calling (Jeff Goins)
  • research blog post articles (read and note-take): 2016 SEO by Brian Dean at Backlinko; information on using Mail Chimp (and then experiment with it–coming soon!); articles on writing good book proposals and synopses; articles on ghost-writing; how to choose WordPress themes; how to change documents from Word to Pages, and vice versa;
  • magazine and journal reading from The Malahat Review; Glimmer Train Stories; Faith Today
  • Book reading and note-taking: The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns; Keeping a Nature Journal (Leslie/Roth); Guide to Query Letters by Wendy Burt-Thomas; The Heaviness of Things that Float by Jennifer Manuel; Business for Authors by Joanna Penn; and just for fun, a kids’ book: The Lickety-Split Princess by Lynn Manuel
  • go through old emails and copy home-school and editing advice I’ve given to clients that I can pass on as useful info to others in my Pen And Paper Mama blog posts; also copy useful advice I’ve given parents of my tutoring students that I can share with others in blog posts
  • writing lots of personal emails to friends, writing peers, etc. — I’m an old-fashioned letter-writer! Even wrote some old-fashioned snail mail letters 🙂 And picnics, lunches, coffee times with friends, too
  • fun work in my garden 🙂
  • attend two different Word Guild seminars in Kelowna: one (on writing and publishing) led by Elsa Schemenauer (prolific educator and author of 75 books) and one (on blogging) by Lester Patrick
  • did a lot of walking after our old car broke down–and we had to search for a new one! (well, new-to-us!)
  • planning my summer schedule now that tutoring is mostly done until September: big plans for summer: read all the books and articles I’ve been putting on my “wish to read list” — write a first draft manuscript for a book about my First Nation experiences (2000 words per day goal) — write more chapters of my “Summerland Stories” manuscript — write articles for magazines — start blogging regularly!!!

Whew! I had my last tutoring students, and finished 3 rather large tutoring jobs the middle of last week–and pretty much collapsed for a few days.  I’ve been spending lots of time out-of-doors enjoying a rather mild summer (though today is predicted to be 35 Celcius and yesterday was almost that warm), reading, playing with the grandkids at the beach, laying on the lounge chair in the shade with my (very tired) eyes closed and relaxing, listening to CBC radio… and now I’m off to get new tires put on our new-to-us car.  Looking forward to family arriving for summer holidays!

happy days

More exciting days!

The weather has been lovely–so much so that I got busy and set up the lounge chair and lawn chairs in the backyard, have been working in the garden, have taken walks to the park with the grandkidlings, and have had several meals at our little outdoor bistro set, as well as doing lots of reading and writing out there.  We’ve been having car trouble–but it’s the perfect excuse to do lots more walkabouts 🙂 This past weekend my sister visited from BC’s lower mainland, and we went to a lovely wedding reception for a cousin’s son and his new wife. They married in winter–but saved the celebration for a wonderful spring weekend, perfect for a family reunion. We also enjoyed Penticton’s award-winning Farmer’s Market and Downtown Community Market. And I must have caught a bit of spring fever, because I took the plunge and got my first tattoo! Then Sunday was hubby and my 34th wedding anniversary.

I’ve tuned into more webinars, including one on SEO.  And I’ve done some notetaking on books I’ve been reading about writing short stories and freelance writing.

I’ve also read The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns–which I can really relate to. Now I’m wanting to take a look at his other books.

And I paid my annual fees today for BC’s Teacher Regulation Branch, so I’m all set for another year (2016-2017) of tutoring.

It’s been an amazing month!

me at Writers FestivalIt really has been an amazing month … which does explain my unexpected absence from here 🙂 Anyway…

I was invited to help out at the amazing Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival here in Penticton April 8, 9, and 10. I got to meet so many wonderful writers, publishers, lyricists, editors … take in some excellent workshops and panel discussions … eat fabulous food all weekend–you’ll definitely want to check out the website and Facebook page, and make your plans to attend the 2017 Festival. If you’d like to check out a few pictures of the Festival, check out these snapshots on my Penticton Pedestrian site. Oh, that’s me on the right in the picture!

I also attended the CHEC BC Convention in Kelowna on April 29-30, representing (along with 4 other great women) the BC Home Learners Association, of which I am a board member.  I got to meet home learners of all stripes from BC, Alberta, and beyond. British Columbia has some of the most flexible home learning laws there are anyway, and it was really awesome to share the different options with people interested in homeschooling, and to particularly explain the “registered” Section 12/13 option which gives great freedom to parents to design learning that really works for their children.

I’ve attended several live webinars, such as ones on Children’s Book Illustration and on Selling Books to Libraries.

I’ve been reading some amazing posts, articles, e-books and short courses such as “Audience from Scratch,”  Jane Friedman’s 2016 publishing chart, “How to Start Blogging” by Jane F., “9 Mistakes Memoir Writers Make,” “Take ‘You’ Out of Your Fiction,” “Contracts 101, The Grant of Rights Clause,” “Know and Find Your Audience,” “How to Start a Goodreads Profile,” “Become a Motivational Speaker,” “Pricing Strategies,” “8 Steps to Creating an Awesome Intro to Your Book,” “Business Planning Questions to Ask,” “Create a Start Here Blog Page,” “Facebook Pages for Authors,” “Become a Better Faith Blogger,” “Creating Space: The Case For Everyday Creativity,” “Create Content for Your Online Course,” “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Better Book Descriptions,” “The Learn In Public Workbook,” “How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?”–now that’s a pretty eclectic list, don’t you think? I love learning!

I’ve been preparing for my upcoming email newsletter, taking a MailChimp video course on SkillShare, and studying at least 15 articles, e-books and short courses on email lists and creating e-books for email lists.

I attended a meeting where the new BC education curriculum was introduced–with a particular emphasis on how it will affect DL home learning programs.

I’ve read several books, including Writing Articles That Sell, Writing for Cash, and Writing the Short Story 

Of course, I have continued my regular tutoring, and added a new secondary school student (and quickly brushing up my rusty linear relations skills!). I also did a lot of editing in the past month, including a non-fiction book related to helping university grads find jobs, as well as editing for the 2016 anthology for the upcoming annual BC Youth Writers Camp at Okanagan College in Penticton in July.

I’ve gone out for lunch and picnics with writer friends–and yesterday I attended a meeting of a new writers group in Kelowna. It was great to hear their plans and meet amazing writers of all kinds. A new writers group has also started in Oliver/Osoyoos, just south of here. Of course we have a great group of writers here in Penticton as well. Okanagan writers are really getting together, supporting and encouraging each other, and learning together.

My daughter’s new job is keeping her super busy, so we’ve also had the chance to spend extra time with our grandkids–lots of trips to the park, blowing bubbles out in the front yard, picnics … keeping young! Meanwhile our old car has broken down, so we’re doing lots of walking while we look for a new set of wheels: good exercise in beautiful sunny Okanagan weather.

Oh, and I attended the AGM for the Okanagan Archive Trust Society. In the past I’ve edited articles for their magazine, “Archivos,” and have even started writing articles for it. I love history! Anyway, now I’m on their board as well 🙂

For Mother’s Day, I got some great new reading material from my kids and grandkids, so I think I’ll take a break now, and do some bedtime reading. Cheers!

So what do you think? Can I be forgiven for disappearing from here for a month or so? I hope so!

Snail mail and email lists and more

Just 2 tutoring students today–the other 2 had a sports tournament, I think. I created a personalized spelling assignment for another student, and did the usual reports and preps for my students.

I posted on My Church Journey blog. I also did a couple short edits for clients. I wrote a letter to my 4 sets of grandkids, using Microsoft Word, and made them a funny picture by using a combination of “shapes” and “clip art” from the “insert” tab.  The kidlings love to get snail mail 🙂  I also sent a separate email to their parents (my 4 daughters and their men), and also to my son (who isn’t a parent yet, LOL)! Family connections are important, right?

And I got busy planning the setup for my new email list and newsletter I’ll be getting going shortly. It was a really warm, lovely afternoon, so I sat outside at our little bistro table, working on the email list stuff for a good couple hours.

And that’s my “business” for the day … then there’s all the non-business stuff, but I think I’ve written quite enough!