Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey


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No Surrender

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns, As every one of us sometimes learns, And many a failure turns about, When he might have won had he stuck it out; Don’t give up though the pace seems slow– You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than, It seems to a faint and faltering man, Often the struggler has given up, When he might have captured the victor’s cup, And he learned too late when the night slipped down, How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out– The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far, So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit– It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

– Author unknown

We are all closer than we think. Wishing you the best in 2013!

Cheers! Jill

 


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Simplify 2013

2013-1“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”  ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

As we ready ourselves to say goodbye to 2012, it starts the age-old tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions, a commitment to one or more personal goals, to reform a habit or complete a project. Among the most popular resolutions are lose weight, exercise, stop smoking and reduce debt.

Recently I read about a study conducted in 2007 involving 3,000 people. Despite the fact that 52% of the participants were confident of success at the start, 88% of those people failed to follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Why is the failure rate so high when we have the best intentions?

Many people make resolutions as a way to motivate themselves, but often they aren’t ready to give up that bad habit. People may lose the weight or begin to exercise believing their life will change and when it doesn’t they get discouraged. These unrealistic expectations often send people back to their bad habits.

Another reason for failure is not being specific. Saying you want to lose weight is great, but saying you want to lose ten pounds over a three month period is more specific. It’s also wise to focus on one resolution. The more simplified and focused, the greater your chances are at success.

Sharing your resolutions with family members and friends can often make them more sustainable. Encouragement from a loved one can keep you on track when your mind begins to fill with self-doubt. If you find yourself struggling with your resolutions, remember the new year isn’t only about making changes in your life, it’s also a time to be thankful for the gift of another year. Get excited and believe that something great will happen in 2013!


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It’s Just Not The Same

Albums

At my parent’s house, one of my favorite Christmas traditions is to view photo albums from years past. After Christmas Eve services, we enjoy Honey Baked Ham on Potato Rolls, veggies and dip, tortilla chips with Con Queso Dip and an assortment of sweet treats. Afterward, I immediately pull stacks of photo albums from the closet and we head to the sofa.

The Christmas tree lights twinkle as Bing Crosby sings in the background and we settle in to take a journey into our past. Many pictures bring a smile as I’m instantly taken back to that moment in time. We laugh at funny hairstyles and clothes that have come in and out of style. When I see the photo of my me and my sister in front of the Christmas Tree wearing our Knickers (for my English readers, Knickers aren’t under garments in the States) and white boots, I’m reminded of that third grader who threw herself on the floor in tears because she didn’t want to wear Knickers to school. Nevertheless, my mother won that battle, as she did most.

Pictures have always served as a window to my past. Relatives who are no longer with us bring a tear to my eye, but then a funny photo brings tears of laughter. These albums tell a story that I’m afraid may come to an end. In our family, pictures taken with digital cameras or phones often remain on the device. Sometimes they are e-mailed, but honestly, I can’t remember the last time anyone in my family, myself included, actually developed a photo.

The instant gratification of seeing the photo immediately has replaced the excitement when I picked up a roll of film developed at the drug store and then tore into the package when I got in the car. Once home, I would take time to write the date and name of person or place on the back of the photo before I carefully placed it into an album. For me, hovered around a computer or a handheld device looking at photos on Christmas Eve, when you can nuzzle on the sofa with loved ones and an album full of memories, is just not the same.


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Dazed and Confused

Bird2 

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. ~ John Pierpont Morgan‏

I heard the familiar thump and headed to the window. Sitting on the patio was one of my favorite birds, the Yellow-rumped Warbler. I stepped outside and approached the bird, expecting him to fly away, but he was still. His eyes moved in a slow and dazed manner as he tried to recover from his run in with our kitchen bay window.

Most birds do not have the ability to reason or comprehend the concept of reflection. He saw his reflection as a rival in his territory and attempted to drive the other bird away.   For over an hour, he sat with a blank stare. Even when I placed some seed in front of him, he never moved.

In the days that have passed since I met the NaNoWriMo challenge, like the injured bird, I’ve felt dazed and confused. I haven’t opened my WIP and honestly, I haven’t had the desire to write anything. How can I call myself a writer when I don’t want to write?

Instead of writing, I’ve kept myself busy with the typical holiday preparations. The decorations are up and Christmas cards mailed. The shopping done and the last present wrapped. There’s time to write, but the desire is absent.

The question of why I’m not writing has consumed my mind. I have no answers.  I do believe once the holiday season has passed, like the injured bird, I’ll choose to fly because I recognize my reflection and I am a writer.


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The Gist of my To-Do List

Successful folk are the ones that manage to turn To-Do Lists into “Ta-Da!” Lists.
~ Michael Rawls

Post-it2I’m a list maker. I need to write things down otherwise, I’m likely to forget. Writing a “To-Do List” is one of my favorite lists to write. I feel a sense of accomplishment checking off each task I’ve taken care of that day or week. Sometimes I’ll even add something that I’ve done just so I can check it off. It makes me feel good.

As writers, I’m sure all of you are aware that often our “To-Do Lists” can be jam-packed with tasks. For me, the tasks might include: write, edit, respond to e-mails, respond to blog comments, submit story, enter contest…. the list is endless.

I do two things for a more manageable “To-Do List.” First, I like to break down my tasks into smaller more specific tasks. Instead of listing “Write”, I can say, “Write a blog post,” or “Write for forty-five minutes.” Rather than saying, “Edit,” I’ll say, “Edit Chapter Four,” or “Edit two scenes.” If I were going to paint the entire house, which is currently not on my “To-Do List”, rather than saying, “Paint House,” I would say, “Paint Bathroom,” or “Paint Guestroom.” By doing this, I have several doable projects rather than one monumental task.

Secondly, I try to be realistic when making my lists. I keep it short. If I’m only considering a project, but haven’t committed, it stays off the list. It becomes overwhelming if I use the list to dump every task that enters my mind. I’ve discovered having a short list doesn’t mean I’m not motivated, it simply means I’m wise enough to know my limitations.

What is the gist of your “To-Do List?”


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NaNo and The Straw Pie

I’m the baker in the family. This Thanksgiving I decided to step away from the traditional pumpkin or pecan pie and bake a chocolate pie. I never used this particular recipe, but I followed it to a tee.

After dinner, everyone was ready for dessert so I cut the pie. When my father asked for a straw and called it “The Straw Pie”, since he needed a straw to eat it, I knew something wasn’t right. When I looked at the pie after the first cut, the middle had turned into a brown puddle, it reminded me of my NaNoWriMo project this year.

In order to meet the NaNo challenge on time, I had to write like a maniac after work and on the weekends. The only way I could meet my daily word count was to avoid the red, green and blue squiggles underneath my fragmented sentences, incorrect word usage and spelling errors and just keep writing. That’s exactly what I did for twenty seven days straight.

The result was a rough draft to a novel whose ending I need to write. Scenes I have to rewrite, as well as removing copious identifiers and voluminous informative dialogue. However, before I begin, I will read the entire draft knowing this mess will give me as big of a laugh as my now famous, “Straw Pie”.