Another Look

Have you had to take another look at something to be sure you saw it right the first time? Do you remember Mom saying she’d have to take another look at what you wanted her to buy for you before she’d agree to it?  (Did you know in your heart that meant the answer would be NO?) Ever tell the kids to take another look at their homework before they turn it in?

I am asking readers to take another look – this time to enjoy short ‘words of wisdom to make you think’ and to learn right away when my next book will be available.  You can find my new look by clicking on http://www.facebook.com/alicemaxinthewriteturn. If you enjoy what you see, you are invited to LIKE the page.  Most, but not all, of the pictures I use are ones I’ve taken on our various trips around the globe.  Perhaps you’ll recognize the locations and wish to comment on them or maybe I’ll pique your interest enough to go there yourself.  Hopefully the post itself will strike a cord with you – enough to LIKE it and/or comment on it.

Watch my fb page to find out more about my next book whose title is MOMENTUM.  It is a sequel to CLEARLY INVISIBLE.  However, you need not have read the first one (although I hope you did) to enjoy the second.  I recently had word from the editor that a draft copy of the book cover will be sent to me next week. Yes, I am excited!

Signing off for now and inviting you to take a look at http://www.facebook.com/alicemaxinthewriteturn.

Alice

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Trying vs Practicing

Is there a difference?

To practice doing, saying, even thinking something means we may be forming a habit.  If the habit is one of value, all well and good.  If what we are practicing is self-destructive or harmful to others, not so well and good!

I remember lots of practicing during my childhood:  riding a bike, jumping rope, twirling a hula hoop, playing hopscotch, hitting a wiffle ball, bouncing on a pogo stick. All of those activities produced hours of fun, laughter, and camaraderie with friends.

Around the same time, I also remember practicing the clarinet, ironing (I started young ironing handkerchiefs and pillow cases), rolling out pie crusts, and jumping double dutch rope.  Fun – not so much.  Apparently my talents lie elsewhere.

Saying we’ll try to do something (study more, be on time, even practice) gives us an excuse to fail.  We only say we’ll try; we don’t indicate anything positive will happen with any degree of certainty.  In other words, it gives us an out when we say we’ll try.  We don’t promise to get it right.

Trying is warranted, however, if it’s a new skill being learned.  The first few times a child attempts to walk, tie a shoe, skip, or count to 100 – we encourage trying.  Why? Because it teaches the child to practice, thereby learning it’s okay to stumble and fall or only count to 20 at first.  However, if a person tries only once or twice and quits, is he really practicing anything?  Maybe he’s practicing the art of quitting.

Ever hear the expression “Practice makes perfect”?  I disagree with this saying.  Instead, I believe practice makes the attainable that much closer.  Combine motivation and relevance with continued practice and it’s a formula for success.

Did I become an accomplished clarinetist, an expert ironer, a double dutch champion, or a pie master?  No.  I tried.  I guess I didn’t practice enough.  Why?  I was not motivated and it wasn’t important enough to me!

I’d love to hear your ‘try vs practice’ experiences and views.

Till then, keep on moving forward!

Alice

 

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Cloud Collecting?

When I first saw a copy of The Cloud Collector’s Handbook by Gavin Pretor-Pinney on the bookshelf in the visitor center in Big Bend National Park (Texas) a few months ago, I had a number of reactions:

  • Who collects clouds?
  • How do you even collect a cloud?
  • Why would someone collect clouds?
  • Aren’t there only 4 or 5 kinds of clouds?  (Apologies to my 8th-grade science teacher…yes, I forgot the rest!)
  • This sounds like a snap!  Seems less complicated than stamp collecting, not as back-breaking as collecting shark’s teeth,  and a great way to enjoy the outdoors and do nothing at the same time.

I bought the book; I still like the feel of an actual book in my hands.  It was a small book, size-wise; I could carry it in a purse or laptop case.  And I loved the variegated orange-colored cover on the book with lots of bright pictures inside. (Did I ever mention my background as a kindergarten teacher?  It seems appropriate to mention it now, I guess.)

Surprised is a mild description for how I felt once I started glancing through the pages of my new purchase.  Interested – yes.  Enthralled – yes.  Imagination running wildly through the clouds – (groan) yes.  Anxiously engaging photo-mode in my mind – yes.

Did you ever lay in the grass as a child and imagine the clouds you saw were actual images in the sky? As children, many of us glanced skyward and thought briefly we saw a bunny or Mickey Mouse or an elephant.  A witch’s nose or a lion’s pose were favorites of mine.  And I’ve recently added a star to my favorites!IMG_3394

Cloud collecting takes the childhood fascination with imagination and couples it with actual names of the phenomenon we see in the clouds passing by.  Names like Sun Pillars, Tuba and Mamma are a few of the easier ones to say.  A dictionary would come in handy to correctly pronounce Lenticularis and Castellanus.

To say I was hooked would be an understatement.  I loved this new passion of mine.   I spent countless moments leaning out of the window of our truck, snapping pictures of clouds as we pulled our 5th-wheel to California and back.  My husband joined in the search for unusual vistas as he drove – so much so that at times all we said for miles was “Hey, look at that one,” “Oh, you missed one”, “Wow”, and “Slow down so I can take a picture”.

Gazing at the clouds is like looking into the future – if you don’t like what you see, don’t worry.  It can change right before your very eyes…every time the wind blows!

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For now, look up.  Imagine.  Relax.  Enjoy a few pics from my own cloud collection!

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Alice

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And the Tree Cried

If you were to visualize a tree crying, what would you picture:  a weeping willow, a palm tree bent to the ground in a hurricane, timbered land?

Of the three I mentioned, one naturally appears droopy, not upbeat; one is being assaulted by nature’s forces; one is the victim of man.

How about the picture (seen here to the right) I took of a tree during a visit to Michigan in July?  While those are not actually tears as we know them, they are an indication oIMG_0658f someone cutting into the beauty of the tree allowing us to see the sap run.  Was it impatience?  A new method of collection?  A lack of tree knowledge?

I will never know the reason unless I meet the person who did the cutting.  And even then, I may not understand.  I am not a tree aficionado.

Is it not the same way with most things we witness?  Unless we’re the perpetrator of an action, we cannot know why ‘someone did what they did’.   Cause and effect does not always make sense to us.

Yet we judge; we lay blame; we make excuses; we holler and scream saying what we saw was an injustice, a cruel and meaningless action.

Or possibly we see nature’s beauty, a plan in action, a necessary commitment.

Wondering what any of this has to do with the picture of the tree? Good.  Now you’re thinking…I hope.

What you think all depends on your perspective.  The viewer of the tree picture could be anyone from a lumberjack to a tree-hugger, from a bird-watcher to a maple syrup lover.  Imagine you are the tree itself or the sap or the branch now on the ground!

When I took the picture, I imagined the tree cried.

Perspective.

May your perspective give your life joy!

Alice

P.S.  You are invited to peruse the new look of my website at http://www.ajmaxin.com.  I have copies of my books still available.  Check the website for a special offer.

 

 

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A Wish and a Promise

Alice J. Maxin, Author

Alice J. Maxin, Author

A wish and a promise!                                                                           What do you think of when you hear that phrase?

Wishes made upon a star?  Dandelion wishes?  Birthday wishes?

A promise of a reward at the end of the day?  A promise that you’ll start a diet, a project, or a good book tomorrow only to find that tomorrow keeps moving further away on your to-do list?

Wishing for a new bike, being promised it would happen…then feeling disappointment when it didn’t?

A wish and a promise makes me think of a great accomplishment because –

A Wish and a Promise is my second published book – talk about excitement!  I’ve wished for years (many) that I could write a book AND get it published.  I promised myself I would do it as soon as I found the time.  Do we ever actually find the time…unless we really want to succeed and therefore make the time? I found the time!

The book’s story is fictional.  It’s also realistic enough for you to feel as though you are sitting in front of the stone fireplace with Tootie – an adult grandchild – and her grandmother in Gram’s country home.  Tootie wants to know if Gram ever doubted any decisions she made raising her children or perhaps regretted some of the decisions she did make.  (I believe we can all identify with those questions on some level.) The weekend visit turns into wonders for Tootie.

It’s a cozy, easy read that will engage you and encourage you to find your own way of releasing regrets.   If you are looking for a short, entertaining, grounded story – a great read for the beach, on a plane or train, or just to relax in the evening – this book is right for you!

Contact me directly to purchase your copy – ajmaxin@gmail.com.  (This is currently the only venue.)

Wishing you the promise of a bright future,

Alice

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Blind Curves

Who knows where the road will lead us?

Who knows where the road will lead us?

Ever been on a journey – no matter how well thought out – and not know for sure where a road might lead you?  Some would say that’s an adventure; others would see it as a glitch in the plans.

No matter how we plan, think we know what will happen next, or try to predict the future – life will takes its own course and take us with it! What we do next is what sets each of us apart from everyone else.

Imagine yourself on the road in the picture above.  What do you see?

You may see the clouds and think it will rain.  Or you may view the clouds as a sign of the sun peeking through at last.  Perhaps you didn’t even notice them.

Are the guard/guide rails seen as a measure of safety? Some might be hesitant of going too close to the edge of the road.  Still others may think the rails unnecessary because they need no help in setting their own boundaries.

Is there going to be traffic coming from the opposite direction when you go around the curve?  Will it be over the center line and present a threat to you?  Do you want to throw both arms up and yell “Whee! Here we go!”?

Can you imagine what the architects of that road had to do to ensure drivers that the hill on the left will stay on the left?  How about the workers who paved the road? Or connected the posts to each other and secured them next to the drop-off on the right?

The blind curves in life remind us that each day is a gift.  How we unwrap that gift and what we ultimately do with it is reason to face each day head-on – ready to appreciate the journey… wherever it may lead us!

May your journey’s curves filled with opportunities and memorable moments!

Alice

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Whimsical “Doodles”

If you were to choose a mascot to travel with you on your adventures, what would you choose?  Okay.  Rephrase:  If you had to pick a mascot… what would it be?

Would it be alive?  Previously living?  Family member (whoops ~ that’s too easy and, after all, Uncle Eddie may not like being called a mascot!)

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I chose a character named Doodles.  He loves to jump in the car when my sister and I start one of our “sister-trips”.  These adventures usually involve words such as shopping, beach, gabfest, shopping, beach, bed and breakfast, shopping, outlets… well, you get the idea.

Doodles was rescued from a quaint beach shop where he had been held captive one summer in the hot North Carolina climate.  Granted, the shop was adjacent to an ice cream parlor and the candies were dandy.  However, he sat alone in a corner waiting for just the right person to come along, sweep him off his fringy bottom, pay the price, and set him on his way to a fun-filled life outside the shop.

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Fortunately for Doodles, I often fall victim to the engaging nature of interesting-looking inanimate characters – nothing scary or gross or previously alive.  Just cute.  Since we were already on a “sister-trip”, my sibling (oh, phooey, that sounds so formal. Her name is Beth.) and I adopted this fun-looking buddy and he’s been with us ever since. To date, Doodles has only traveled with Beth and me – no one else.

Recently my 3-year-old granddaughter said she can hardly wait to see Doodles when he travels with Pappy and me in our camper.  She and her mother are to join us midway through our upcoming trip.  I should mention here that Leo, the Lucky Lion and Winnie, the Wise Owl are the current camper mascots.

It will be a bold move, to say the least, if Doodles comes along with my husband and me in the camper.  If Beth gives us the go-ahead, perhaps it’s time to let Doodles venture out in new directions in a new venue.  After all, he is fairly proficient with a GPS!

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After you read this post, I challenge you to let your own whimsical imagination provide some smiles in your life.

 Wishing you hot-chocolate dreams or cool, soothing breezes – depending on your locale,

Alice

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