Blogging, Bucket List, Memoir and Reflections, Special Occasions, Throw-back Thursday, Writing

Three Years and Counting: Blogging and Birthdays, #TBT

So, here’s the thing: Blogging –
Everybody’s Doing It,
at least according to Brevity Magazine.

But, you know what, so what! I like it. It’s helped me grow as a writer, take first steps and chances for exposure, possible ridicule from which to learn and grow from, and has produced wondrous connections with readers and other bloggers/writers,
starting with this one.

I started out with this blog, afraid to be a writer, like the post I’ve just included speaks about.

And here I am, three years into it, and I love having this space that is mine to say what I want to say.

I’ve been writing down several quotes of a particular kind lately. I’ve been using them for motivation to keep trying new things and striving for more for myself.

This is a big year for me, but I am trying really hard to hold onto the proper amount of perspective in my life.

I started the year 2017 on a high note, in several ways, but now I am marking three years here and I like to think on where I was, one year ago and then one year before that, when this blog felt like the huge step to be taking, as
I left my twenties and entered my thirties.

Last year I rounded up all the posts from the previous twelve months of
1000 Voices Speak For Compassionlove/
that I’d written. I thought it would be a nice way to commemorate two years of having this blog.

For my one year anniversary before that,
I gave thanks.

So, now what? Where am I with Her Headache? Where am I headed?

I blog less here during the week these days. Monday through Friday I often use Facebook as a blog of sorts instead, one where I write shorter things, reflections and observations. I am writing a lot of other things now and it’s still sometimes tough to decide when to write a particular piece here or if I should save it for possible submission or publication elsewhere. It’s nice having this space to come and write and share my thoughts, but I’m learning that sometimes it’s best to hold onto an idea and to find a different home for it, one that may help me grow as a writer, somewhere else.

My weekends are still for blogging:

I finish sentences on Fridays,

write stream of consciousness stuff on Saturday,
and
participate in the sharing of song lyrics on Sundays.

Of course, I still feel strongly about writing down the things I am thankful for. I use that as my weekly checkin point.

I can see how much I’ve achieved here, when I look back to a year ago, and I like having that perspective. I don’t know what 2017 will bring, though my plans are in the works. I do hope I will be able to look back at those, whatever they may turn out to be, from this position, in 2018 and beyond.

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Thunderbolts and Firewires: The Year That Was 2016, #Farewell2016 #Writing #Podcast

I am feeling a little like I am frozen, and I’m warm while I say that. I don’t need to be out in a snow bank to say it. It is January, a new year, and I am frozen by many fears. I am afraid I will accomplish nothing, that this year of 2016 will be empty and a blank void in my life. I feel frozen by indecision and by uncertainty, but I hope I can find a way to thaw from that feeling of being frozen by all of this, that I can find the courage to take risks and keep moving forward.
I am equal parts afraid and optimistic. I am a lot hesitant and somewhat hopeful. The fear that I could go a whole year and not get anywhere at all clings on tight. On the other hand, I see a wide open year ahead as full of unknown possibility and promise of something great.
You never know the experiences you might have, the events in life that you just can’t plan for, and the people you may meet, who may come into your life for all kinds of reasons, for the short term only or for longer.

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Here I am, a year on from the fear and those remarks I made on my blog at the start of 2016, and a good year for me personally and creatively, trying new things, all by deciding to focus on myself is how 2016 actually turned out.

And now, I end 2016 and begin 2017 by looking back, at the year I’ve just had and ahead to the year to come.

I did it at the end of 2015 with:
My Top Spills and Thrills
of which there had been enough of both to go around.

What a ride! Would 2016 be anything else?

And so, I give you – 2016!

JANUARY

As the January 2016 quote from my blog showed,
I began my year afraid and uncertain and on a bit of a lower note,
with a little
Just Jot It January fun.

Then, to kick things up a notch, I thought the best way to focus on my writing was to take a writing workshop with a Canadian writer I’ve admired since I began blogging and seriously writing.
Carrie Snyder – Obscure CanLit Mama
Her style to creative work was just what I needed and it made me open up and here I am, one year later exactly, off to broaden my writing workshop horizons.

In reality, my brother had just come off a close medical call and was becoming himself again. I had lots to be
thankful for.
I just needed a bit of a push,
some creative inspiration,
and a path for a new direction in my life.

The year 2016 would, by many, be labeled “The Year All the Greats Died…the cursed year” even if you look at that with perspective from other years, past or future.

It began with David Bowie, but for me,
it all started with Snape,
as Bowie hadn’t quite meant to me what he’d meant to many others who felt his loss.

A new year maybe, but a new month meant another
#1000Speak,
focusing on the subject of forgiveness.

With the start of 2016 I decided to start a new Friday tradition.

Thanks to Kristi from
Finding Ninee
I decided to participate in a new blogging exercise
for the first time.

Another first included
Dungeons, Dragons, and Sorcerer’s Spells
but, in the end, it wasn’t for me.

Turns out, the magic of this month has been that I could just write, jot really, and I started to see that I didn’t need to have the rest of the year all figured out in the first thirty-one days.

FEBRUARY

This second month of the year is designated for a cause I know well. It ended up to be my chance to speak my mind about my personal cause and became my first published article of 2016:

To the People Who’ve Never Heard of My Rare Disease – The Mighty

February would end up being a month of
mindfulness and music.

Ten days in, I turned thirty-two and decided to check a big one off of my
bucket list,
and so I went out and rented myself a violin.

Happy Birthday To Me!

I turned another year older.

Harper Lee dies

MARCH

This third month of 2016 would bring more music, as I would discover my theme song for the year and forevermore:
Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado
and I would officially begin to learn how to play the violin, with lessons that would challenge and reward me, in both big and small ways.

Then, in honour of International Day of Happiness, I wrote a piece for
March’s #1000Speak
about how music makes me happy.

By this point in the year, I decided to cut back on blogging and write more of the memoir I’ve always planned for.

This was the best I could do.

I will keep at it.

March brought with it guest blogging spots and more opportunities for publication, other places than my own blog,
with my second attempt at the #BeReal challenge.

Following this, feminism seemed to be the topic of March as a month.

An interview I’d done with
a proud male feminist
and then a piece I’d written on
International Women’s Day
were both picked up by
The Good Man Project.

As for those we lost in the month of march:

Rob Ford (former mayor of Toronto)

and

Patty Duke, at the end of Women’s History Month, March.

APRIL

I got myself a writing mentor and my lyrics were finally heard.

Don’t Look Back

I was trying to focus, to look ahead, and to plan for what I wanted.

Why Oh Why

The writing mentor was a big deal, for that, as great and knowledgeable as she is and as much guidance as she’s been so far, but it was a sign that I could make writing my future – only I could do that.

April’s #1000Speak was all about vulnerability.

Once again, like during the spring of 2015, I was losing my tool for communication and self expression. This makes me feel vulnerable.

So I appreciated
the share from a friend
and another
guest posting opportunity
from a blogger, a young woman I really admire and have interviewed here before.

Spotlight On Single Strides

The end of April brought with it the death of Prince.

It also brought with it
the death of the loner laptop I was using
and a beautiful gift from a stranger, one which would allow me to write another day.

MAY

Back And Better Than Ever

I’d been pondering the idea of doing a podcast for a while, but couldn’t figure out how to make that work. Then, I brought up the idea with my brother and an idea, our idea, was born.

Taking A Chance

Next, it’s the month to celebrate mothers.

Solid As A Rock

I couldn’t do this without thinking back twenty years.

Frozen In Time

For May’s edition of #1000Speak I focused on
Loving My Self-ish.

The end of May and onward to June always causes me to pause and reflect.

Born Again and Forever Grateful

This time these thoughts would grow to become my next piece to be featured on The Good Man Project.

JUNE

My first Song Lyric Sunday on more than just any old Sunday day.

Following “the month of the Mother,” –
Her Dad Gave Her New Life and Rebirth–Where’s the Father’s Day Card for That?
June will always be a month for me and my father.

Electric Blue Compassion, #1000Speak

JULY

We started with a Facebook page,
and soon that followed with
Episode 1 – Intro To Us
with Ketchup On Pancakes.

On top of the release of the podcast, I jumped at an amazing offer, an invite, which would require a whole lot of planning and a wait of nearly six months.

Would the moment ever get here?

I bet my sister was thinking that same thing, we all were, but her good news was finally a dream come true.

A chance at independence and a new life for my writing and for me and a second child for her.

And so I applied for a newly updated passport and began to count down the months.

I read and wrote one of my rarer than I’d like book reviews.

Then I was approached and invited to write another
guest post
about my life and my day as a blogger.

What is courage anyway? #1000Speak

AUGUST

More lyrics for a second song written and, in celebration of and motivated by that accomplishment,
I decided to return to the visual art of my childhood and an old, familiar kind of creativity.

Up next, speaking of being reminded of being a child,
I reviewed a movie about motherhood,
that I’d gone to see, with my newly pregnant sister, in our own empty theatre.

Weeks before, at the end of May, the lead singer of Canada’s own Tragically Hip announced his fight with brain cancer and all his fans of Canada were listening, especially all across the country, one night in August.

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada – The Planet D

One beloved Canadian spoke up about his oncoming struggle and we lost someone in our family. I’m glad I got to meet Gerti, at least once that I’ll always remember.

As August came to an end, I made a few hard choices about my writing and what I wanted done with it.

If I made a mistake somewhere in there, I guess it will be mine to make and to own and to learn from.

The questioning would and will continue, no matter the month or the year I’m in.

SEPTEMBER

The first day of this new month was one I’d been waiting for, with the release of a new publication, focusing on what travel should be, the kind I’d like to see.

Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel

I remembered what it was like, moving into my house that I bought with my sister, ten years ago.

Collecting Furniture, Memories, and Emails

Ten years later, my nephew started school and my niece began the first grade. Another loved one passes away. RIP Erica.

I got to feature an interview I’d done with one of my favourite editors/writers.

The Other Awkward Age: My Interview with Jennifer Niesslein

This felt like a giant win and one of the best things to ever happen to this blog.

OCTOBER

Episode 2 – Ingredients Listed with Ketchup On Pancakes

But we weren’t the only ones with the idea of doing a podcast. Apparently, the idea had spread.

The Brevity Podcast

I took an autumn trip, to say goodbye,
with more than just the fall colours
as backdrop.

NOVEMBER

The U.S. makes a big mistake and it’s time to get writing – all the more reason to write.

Nano Nano Nano

“Regarding the influence from his poet-balladeer father, Cohen has said, “He’s tremendously helpful. Forget that I am his son. I was tutored in lyric-writing by Leonard Cohen and I had his sensibilities to draw upon. And I’m not just talking genetically. I could literally talk to the cat and he could lean over my notebook and point to a couple of phrases and say, ‘These are strong, these are weak.’ How can I consider myself anything but incredibly fortunate.”

Canada loses a great artist and the world all feels it, a distraction, in the form of
RIP Leonard Cohen,
just following the chaos in the United States.

Stalemate, #1000Speak

Could this possibly spell the end of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion?

DECEMBER

Canada announces the first woman, other than the Queen, to appear on Canadian money.

Black rights activist Viola Desmond to be 1st Canadian woman on $10 bill

One month after November’s U.S. election, we share our Canadian perspective.

Episode 3 – The Great Gong Show of 2016 with Ketchup On Pancakes

I focused on my own personal growth for a greater part of 2016, but managed to fit in a little, last minute dating during the final days. Also, I made new and face-to-face connections with a few local women writers. So, a balance of personal and social, for good measure.

A few of the final famous deaths of 2016 would include daughter/mother pair Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but for me, it was the loss of this guy that brought me back twenty or so years:

I watched Days of Our Lives multiple days a week, while I was sick at home from school or stuck on dialysis. It was my favourite soap opera of the late 90s, as ridiculous as the storylines always were.

Joseph Mascolo, ‘Days of Our Lives’ Villain, Dies at 87 – New York Times

No villain was ever more evil than Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo).

Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah Humbug! Whoosh! #10Thankful

I featured a George Michael shoutout, in my final 10 Things of Thankful post for 2016 and this was before the Christmas Day announcement of his passing.

I am no fortune teller, but some of my predictions did happen,
as I sit with what did indeed come to pass and look back on what 2016 became.

Ketchup On Pancakes (the podcast) had a final episode for the year, a catch up on all that was 2016, by a cozy fireside.

Episode 4 – Farewell 2016…By The Fireside with Ketchup On Pancakes

And now, here I am, and another January is upon me.

It is a bit of a contemplative month, with the new year so new and fresh, but I value it for its melancholyish quality. It is a quiet time of reflection and so much possibility ahead.
As a new year begins I search for the motivation I see all around me, the kind that is going to get me to the places I strive to get to. I feel the blueness of January and hope I can find some momentum in the months to come.

My 2016 Resolutions were:
I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.
Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.

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Book Reviews, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, History, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, This Day In Literature

Worth the Climb: Blog Tour and My Interview With Audrey J. Snyder

Today I am participating in a blog tour for author Audrey J. Snyder and her inspirational memoir:

Worth The Climb.

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I got to ask Audrey ten questions about her life and her story.

For a review you can check out the previous stop on the blog tour:

Book Review – Audrey Snyder’s Worth the Climb,

over on The Meaning of Me.

To win a copy of the book:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81bd98925/

First, let’s hear what this book is all about.

MEMOIR SYNOPSIS

Raised by a grandmother who believed the only available professional jobs for a Black American women in the 1960’s were nursing and teaching. Audrey Snyder grew up feeling restricted in her own home. Audrey, however, had inherited the grit and determination of her great Cherokee grandmother, who had accomplished the impossible by traveling, unescorted over 1300 miles in a covered wagon filled with orphaned Cherokee children.
Worth the Climb tells Audrey’s remarkable story of struggle and success in corporate America. Leaving home at a young age, Audrey moved from secretary to prominent business success in the face of racism and discrimination.
Throughout her 40- year struggle, Audrey pushed away anger, bitterness, and despair, clinging instead to excellence, perseverance, and the need to open doors for Black Americans who would follow.
Worth the Climb is a must read for anyone looking to move forward in spite of pitfalls and disappointments.

***

K: Did you always think about or wish to write a book, or is this something more recent?

A: When I started writing this book, it was in the form of a Diary to my mother who died when I was four years old. I wanted her to know what I did with my life. I knew we would meet in the afterlife and I planned to give my diary to her. For years, I would write down my thoughts. One day I started reading my diary from start to finish and realized I was experiencing similar circumstances that many of my minority peers and friends had been talking about. Talking with my relatives and elders in the family, I learned about the struggles they had gone through. Realizing that things really hadn’t changed much for minorities. With the encouragement o family and friends, it was then that I decided I needed to tell my story. Others needed to know what was happening to minorities in the corporate environment.

K: What was the process of compiling all your memories for this book, physically writing it – what was that like for you?

A: When I first started writing, it was a pleasure to write because it was going to be a diary of my accomplishments. When I started the diary, I would come home each day and write what had happened that day. However, as I was writing, some of the obstacles I faced while trying to advance in the corporate world began to become daily struggles. What started out, as a happy daily occurrence was becoming a way to express my anger. At one point, I had to put the diary down because the anger was becoming overwhelming and I wasn’t sure at the time how to deal with it. When I started to have some small successes, I again picked up my diary and continued with the process of writing about my experiences. A friend recommended a book coach to help me get my diary into a manuscript format and ready for print. We worked for about a year meeting often to review and discuss situations making the book ready for publication.

K: You include inspirational quotes at the end of each of your chapters. I really enjoyed this part.
Which of these would you say is your favourite and why?

A: It is difficult to pick one but if I have to choose, it would be the quote by Les Brown. “Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. This quote is important to me because it gave me the freedom to set my own rules for success. I didn’t have to worry about those that tried to stop me. I only needed
prove I was qualified and capable for the position or status I was seeking. My success was not about what others thought of me, but of what I thought of myself and what I could achieve.

K: Which qualities did you make use of, going from your marriage to your career, and what lessons do you believe you feel you most transferred to your children throughout all those years?

A: This is an easy one to answer. It would be determination and perseverance. I refused to accept no. I was determined to have what I was entitled to. I set goals and tackled them one step at a time. My children have also shown their success in their adult lives by utilizing these two characteristics along with hard work. My son is an educator and has been awarded “Teacher of the Year” and my daughter has worked at a job with a disability that no one said she could do for 16 years now. Forty-four years of marriage required perseverance and determination for success.

K: Where do you think women, and more specifically women of colour, but really all minorities stand in the corporate world and then in society as a whole?

A: Women of color are still behind white men and white women in the corporate world. Women of color are often offered positions in secondary management roles. There are a few women of color that have been allowed to have the title of “Vice President”, but they are far and few. Most women of color are allowed to obtain higher positions in the areas of Human Resource or Training. In society, women of color are playing a more relevant role if you look at Congress and the role that women are playing as Mayors. Women also are very relevant in our elections. More women of color are on national networks than ever before. Women of color are also organizing and networking to make sure they are being heard.

K: What do you think other minority groups, such as people with disabilities, must do to be proactive in striving for more acceptance and rights that so many other black women fought for?

A: There are two things one must do to be proactive.

                 They are Education and Networking. I mentioned earlier

                that my daughter has a disability. I learned all I could

                about her disability and then all I could about her rights

                as a disabled citizen. I used the Internet to find out who

                I needed to talk with. I also networked with many groups

                and organizations to learn how others handled their

                experiences. I continually asked questions and when I

                get answers, I don’t always accept them at face value.

                Often times I need to research and continue to learn.

                 I make use of many social networks because many things

                today are still about “Who you Know”. I find these groups

                to be creative and encouraging.

 

K: Do you consider yourself an inspiration? Why or why not?

A: Yes, I do consider myself an inspiration. My entire career has

                         been to always reach back and bring someone up the corporate

                        ladder with me. I have mentored many employees in the

                        various positions that I’ve held. I currently teach as an

                        Adjunct Professor and with each class, I make sure to

                        always give encouraging advice to my students.

                        Whether at home or out with the public, I always make

                        sure that I am setting an example that others can follow

                        through my mannerisms, my speech or my actions.

 

K: Do you think any minority has the obligation to become an inspiration or do you even think its an appropriate title? Why or why not?

A: I don’t think the title “Inspiration” is the right title. I think we all        have an obligation to set an example for others to follow. It

should not be limited to minorities. I believe everyone should be a living example. However, I do believe that since opportunities for minorities are limited, I think that when we do get opportunities, it is our responsibility to make the most of that opportunity so that other minorities can also have that same chance. What I heard most often and still hear today is “The last time I hired a minority, it didn’t work out so I don’t want to take a chance again.” That’s judging the entire race instead of the individual. You don’t hear that same claim when white employees don’t do well.

K: “Each one, teach one.”
This is a line from the book. What did that concept mean to you throughout your journey?

A: This phrase was and is vital to our success. When I say our, I mean anyone in a struggle to succeed. It is not limited to minorities but it came from the days of slaves when they were teaching each other to survive and to read. I believe as they believed that it is our responsibility to teach others what we learn and pass that on to those that come after us. We must reach out or reach back and touch someone in need of guidance, knowledge, encouragement, etc. We must pass on our experiences through deeds, actions, writing, etc. We must not get to the top without reaching back or reaching out and teaching someone else.

K: What do you hope people will take away from reading “Worth the Climb”?

A: The purpose of my book is to help that person who has been blocked from reaching the next step to their success. My book talks about some strategies that I used when blocked from reaching the next level on my ladder of success. It details the obstacles that blocked me and why I chose to go after the success I deserved. I want others to know that you can achieve your goals if you develop a strategy. I hope that some of my strategies can serve as an example for a resolution to a problem others might encounter. I want others to not let anger deter them. I want others to continue to persevere and stay determined and encouraged that they can achieve if they believe they can.

***

To purchase a copy of the book, go here:

Worth the Climb by Audrey Snyder on Amazon

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For more information on Audrey, her books, her career, or to contact her you can check her out

Here,

on her website and on Twitter,

@AudreySnyderaj

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BIO

Audrey Jane Snyder is retired after working in the corporate environment for 40+ years in the fields of human resource management and customer service.
She has also been an independent consultant specializing in on-line web based training of interpersonal skills for first line managers.
Audrey holds a BA in Business Communications and a Masters in Training and Development. Audrey is a member of Western Pennsylvania Initiative, Greater Pittsburgh Area Communications and National Black Public Relations Society, Inc. and PennWriters Inc., The Pittsburgh East Writer’s Group.
Audrey has also served on the board of Family Resources, Inc. Audrey has spoken as an expert at Budget Financial Seminars and recently was Keynote Speaker on Courageous Leadership- Owning your Own Success at the National Black MBA Gala. Audrey is currently an Adjunct Professor at DeVry University.
Audrey was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, PA area lives with her husband of 44 years. She has two adult children and two grandchildren.
This is her first book which one finalist position at the Pittsburgh Author Zone Awards.

Thanks for this interview, Audrey, and good luck with the book and the rest of the tour.

Blog tour arranged by:

http://www.starryknightwordslayers.com

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