Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Are You Thankful For Today?

Me? I'm grateful for (among other things):

Oceans. The Gulf of Mexico. Lost Keys. Perdido Bay. Orange Beach. Alabama. Generosity. Aunt Dixie. Kek. Mini Coopers. Going topless (the car, silly). iPod shuffle. Cranking it up. Bopping to the music. Swapping stories. Fond memories. Adventure. Fellow travelers. Soul sisters. Second chances.

Beach artists. Messages in the sand. Sand fences. Early risers. Sleeping late. Green tea. California almonds. Tazo. Macy's Parade. Times Square. Laptops. Wireless connections. Blogger. My Blogger family. Sisters. Brothers. Father. Mother.

Waves crashing. Sensitive ears. Pondering all manner of life. Wisdom. Philosophizing.  

Angles. Walkways. Eleventh floors. Eco-conscious board of directors. Sea oat restoration. Jeff, whoever he may be. Warped senses of humor. (You do see it, right?)

Footprints in the sand. Fan patterns. Waves crashing. Souls cleansing.
There and back again trails. Young lovers (no, I did NOT take a picture). Smiles to last a lifetime.

I hope you enjoy your day, wherever you are. Honor what was and find the beauty in what is. Love. Laugh. Live.

I promise you, I am.

Happy Thanks Giving to All, Olivia

Monday, November 22, 2010

Go Figure

I see puzzle pieces.
I close my eyes.
And there they are.
Superimposed over
Everything else.


I hear pirate music.
It's haunting refrain
Replays in my head
The king and his men
Stole the queen
From her bed...

Think I need a break from the jigsaw?
And Pirates??
Yo ho, all together
Hoist the colors high.
Heave ho, thieves and beggars
Never shall we die.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

P.S. Just found out I'm going to the beach for Thanksgiving weekend. Yeeeeeehaaaaaaa!
P.P.S. Maybe I'll find me a pirate. Arrrrr.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jolting the Brain Waves

I've been watching reruns of Harry Potter (plus I/VII, yes I loved it) and Pirates of the Caribbean. Visiting relatives. Trekking to Gainesville to apply for unemployment benefits (please pray that I have a valid claim). Dreaming. Pondering the new story. Just in case you missed me.

Am I hiding out? Me? Yeah, probably.

I am also piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Obsessively.

I recently read a post by Tabitha Bird that reminded me how much I love jigsaw puzzles. I searched through scores of them at the local Super Walmart and selected one of an English castle adorned with beautiful flowers.

Castle Gardens by Mega Puzzles

I chose this particular one, NOT because it has 1500 pieces, but because my new novel starts out in medieval England. Plus, I love flowers and beautiful gardens.

A phenomenon occurs when performing mundane tasks, the mind has a way of wandering. Ponderizing, as my friend Eric calls it.

Doing jigsaws, on the other hand, requires the brain to pay attention. There is little wandering going on as the eye searches and matches endless hues of colors, shapes and textures.

But it does put the brain in to an alpha meditative state which brings calm, peace and quiet. It also integrates the use of both sides of the brain, increases dopamine output, and gives one a sense of making order out of chaos. It flexes the mind leading to a longer life and to a better quality of life.

Puzzle in Progress

But mostly, for me, I'm hoping it does this:

"...The jigsaw puzzle is a metaphor for life. Challenges we face with our jobs, relationships, and health can leave us confused and overwhelmed. These challenges are easily likened to the fragmented jigsaw puzzle, with so many disconnected pieces and no clear starting point. By physically piecing a jigsaw puzzle together while in a powerfully creative meditative state, we are shifting the focus in our subconscious from confusion and inundation to proactively working on the solution. We become “rewired” to take a more balanced, holistic view of our lives, considering all the little pieces, but also how they fit into the big picture. We begin to make connections between things that may have previously seemed unrelated, such as relationships between our emotions and our state of health. Patterns begin to make sense as we focus that positive energy and apply it within our own lives. As the jigsaw puzzle takes shape, the different parts of our lives start coming together to form a sensible picture..." ~ excerpt from a fantastic article by Trish Donroe Parker, Homeopath and Owner of Connections, Jigsaw Puzzles for Healing.

It doesn't hurt that working on jigsaw puzzles also enhances creativity. Yeehaa.

Of course, according to research at the University of Liverpool, I could read Shakespeare and get many of these same effects. Who knew?

What do you do to exercise your brain? Read Shakespeare? Work jigsaw puzzles? Meditate? Sit and stare at the clouds?

Walmart Clouds

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Friday, November 12, 2010

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

Every day I get an email with a tarot card reading from Some days I read it, some days I don't. Something told me to click today, so I did. And this one is perfect.

It sums, in a nutshell, the place at which I find myself.
 "The Ten of Chalices card suggests that my power today lies in completion. I celebrate and am grateful for captured moments of simple perfection. Satisfying my hearts desire connects me by example to love, beauty, pleasure, and happiness in those around me and gives me confidence to take it to the next level. ""We made it."" Unconditional love makes a family and home is where the heart is, so at last, I am never alone. I am empowered by gratitude and my gift is emotional fulfillment."

I am at another crossroads, one in which family plays a huge part.

I've fallen and I can't get up. Yesterday I realized that each time in the past when my world fell down around my ears, my mother was always, always there for me.

She wasn't a lovey-dovey mother, though she loved me more than words could say. She was more the tough love type. You know the kind. Just watch "Ray" if you don't.

I stood looking out my living room window, staring at the dead and dying leaves as they fluttered in the breeze. I'd just hung up the phone with a friend who'd told me her mother had flown home a day early and was driving up from Atlanta to be with her at a funeral. Her mother barely knew the deceased, but because Elaine needed her, she was coming.

I stood with both hands clutching my sweats as if about to wade through deep water. Only my knuckles were white in a death grip. Grief welled up and the tears leaked out. Instead of wiping them away, I let them flow.

And flashed back to scenes of me sitting beside Mama in the clinic, her hand resting on my shoulder as she fondled my hair. Mama beside my hospital bed. Mama letting me sleep in her bed when I was frightened or sick. Mama picking me up at the police station. Mama taking me to ER with a broken arm or to the doctor with an allergic reaction to a drug. Mama taking me in when I had nowhere else to go.

Her quiet courage, her unflinching resolve, her unwavering support. No matter what. No matter how badly I'd messed up. No matter how many times my heart was broken. No matter how bad my pain was or whether it was convenient for her or not. She was always, always there.

I let the memories wash over me as I stood clutching my pants, rocking side to side, tears flowing freely, unwilling to wipe them away or blow my nose, not wanting to staunch the memories.

Then came the deep inner knowing that I've fallen and I can't get up. Because my mama's not here to make it better. There is no steady compassion, no mother's love to help me heal.

Finally, I sat down. And cried some more. And in the middle of all that, memories of my aunt crept in. My aunt in Villa Rica, another who has always been there for me. And as sure as the sun will rise in the morning, I knew that I need her now.

So I made the call. I will see her this weekend. And spend Thanksgiving with her.

I need my family. I need my mama. I need my aunt.

So what that I'm in my 50's. I need my mama. Because I've fallen and I can't get up.

~Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cleaning Out the Award Closet

First off, I want to say a hearty THANK YOU to J.C. Martin @ Fighter Writer for showcasing That Rebel on her blog on Friday. Each week she highlights one of her followers and I LOVE this idea. What a wonderful way to say thank you. J.C., you rock! Oh yeah, and she just got published!

Thank you to Donna Hole for awarding That Rebel the Happy101 Award. Donna honored me weeks ago and has probably forgotten all about it. But luckily I stored the award on the shelf, to remind me.

Thanks, Donna. And thank you for not giving up on me when I all but disappeared. I'm passing this Happy 101 to Jules the Rainbow Rebel, Words Crafter, Mary @ Giggles, Yvonne the poet, Terry, Postman and Melissa.
Next is the Honest Scrap Award. Thank you to Jules at Trying to Get Over That Rainbow, who gifted me with this one. HEY! Isn't that the Arm & Hammer dude?

Okay. So these 10 things will cover all the awards, okay? Hmm...

1) I started my second novel and am about 2000 words in. I have a working title, but it's not the one I want. So I can't share that yet.

2) No, I haven't finished Churches, Chickens and ChiChi's, I'm about halfway in to that one.

3) Yes, new novel jumped in and took over, demanding to be written NOW.

4) I've spent most of the last two weeks researching background for my new novel, delving in to all sorts of new realms and loving every minute of it.

5) The medication has kicked in and the depression is lifting. Some days are better than others. A couple of weeks ago I got a whole lot of work-type stuff done. The last two were about writing. This week, hopefully, will be about both.

6) While in the pit aka the wild gray yonder, I couldn't do diddly. Not write, blog, read, work, answer the phone, socialize, nor much of anything else. Other than watch movies and television and sleep for hours and hours and hours. Oh yeah. And eat.

7) Black Betty (my car) needs a new battery. And I need Click and Clack to tell me what's making those funny popping noises under my front end. Or is it in the back? A mechanic rode with me for an hour the other evening and she refused to misbehave for him.

8) I'm on a sugar tear and the cupcakes on two of these awards are looking might-y good right now.

8) I'm having fun falling back in love with my hometown, Villa Rica. We're taking it slow and easy and so far, so good.

9) I'd like to get another cat for Bugsy to play with. But who knows where I'll land next and finding a home for two is harder than for one. Or not. We'll see.

10) I can't eat eggs which led me to explore other options for breakfast. One of my favorites is shelled hemp hearts mixed with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. This morning it was a pear and vanilla mixed with five tablespoons of hemp seeds/hearts. They have a buttery, nutty flavor and are full of protein, Omega 3s and 6s, and are a great source of Vitamin D.

11) Did anyone notice that I have two number eights so you got eleven factoids rather than ten?

I'm passing the Honest Scrap award to a few people who, like me, are a-okay with baring all. These are some of the guts-sharing-est people I know. If you are a regular here, you'll recognize most of them.

Elliot @ So close, but... makes me cry with his elegant, gut-wrenching honesty.

Kobico @ Mindless Meanderings of a Middle-Aged Maniac. The first day I read her blog I knew she was a true sister because I had walked a mile or two in her shoes. She weaves the triumphs, trials and tribulations of her life in to magic. I always relate to something in her topic. She's also an avid home gardener.

Eric W. Trant @ Digging with the Worms is about as straight-forward and brutally honest as one can be, letting it all hang out, warts and all. I admire you for that, Eric. Never stop. This one's for you, Texas Rebel. Is that why y'all got a dubya in yur name?

Ivy Bliss @ every head I've had the pleasure to have known. Ivy is about four-foot-nuthin tall. Well, maybe I exaggerate a little. But you would never know it by reading her blog. This woman's a giant. And another let-it-all-hang-out kinda gal. I promise you will grin, if not outright guffaw when you read her posts.

Then there's Arlee Bird over @ tossing it out. On Wednesday's he does memoir. And boy does he do memoir.

Swinging around the circuit, I keep bumping in to Roland D. Yeomans @ Writing in the Crosshairs. The truth about Roland, who he is and what's going on in his world leaks out of his daily posts. These are usually writing lessons extraordinaire, including guest posts from the likes of Mark Twain (whose own memoir will finally be released), Raymond Chandler and Ernest Hemingway (who has it out for Roland). He's also generous with excerpts of his own short stories and novels.

Donna Hole is another one that speaks her mind. And her heart. Most recently she's agonizing about her writer status. Donna, you are an amazing writer. No doubt about it. You're also one of the most generous people I know.

I recently discovered Jayne @ A Novice Novelist who makes me smile with descriptions of what's going on in her world in the U.K.

Lastly, I found Tabitha Bird @ Through My Eyes a few weeks ago when I was in the middle of that dark depression and rarely on Blogger. Reading about her journey and her awarenesses touched a place inside me that needed to be sparked. She's on hiatus right now to finish editing her memoir, but I've linked you to the post that touched me so. Also read her puzzle piece post.

This award is full of Sweetness!

Thank you to Kathie at Just a Happy Housewife for The Icing on the Cake Award. I believe there was a tell-all attached to this one, too, but I've already bared all I'm allowed for one day. Kathie has a wonderful blog that lifts me up every time I read her.

This award goes to...hmm...actually, if you're here, reading this post and you don't already have this award, go ahead and grab it. It's so hard to choose and I love you all!

Now, for some music. Kek recently turned me on to the late Eva Cassidy. This cover tune is for a friend whose feelings I hurt a while back. We're all good now but: fact number twelve: I can be a bit callous at times. I know. Big surprise, huh? That Rebel's not perfect. Dang.

~That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creativity Has No Bounds

Check these guys rocking out on a NYC subway on iPhones! posted this today on Facebook. I just had to share.

Make the world smile. Have a creative day! Olivia J. Herrell

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dead Lady Bugs

I've been living with lady bugs for a couple of weeks now. One day they just showed up. Inside the house and out. Mating. Dying. Lying around, some flapping their wings, trying to right themselves. I rescue as many as I can. But most don't make it. It's just too dry in here.

I sweep them in to the dustpan and release them off the deck. Some fly. Some don't.

Occasionally I hear a crunch as I'm walking about. Or take off my fuzzy footies and find one on the bottom and shudder.

Bugsy totally ignores the darned things.

My cousin, Kek, says I have a house full of good luck. What I really have is a house full of dead and dying bugs. Trying to hibernate. And they bite.

But lady bugs biting is another story. For another day.
Ladybug Garden

"Toy Story 3"
Is in the DVD,
Queued and ready to go.

Happy Fall.
Happy November.
Happy NaNoWriMo.

To all my friends writing your little bums off:
Don't forget to take time to live.
To laugh. To cry. To hug your child.
To dance, to sing, to give.

Whatever happened to Leo Sayer, anyway? And ha ha, now you've got him stuck in your head, too.
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