The Seed

It’s not always easy to endure, but may today be different. May the seeds of goodness root themselves in your souls. For without seeds the earth is barren land. Do not worry then if things do not start out as tree stumps, for even it started first as a seed. From there the seed grows roots and they lock and load themselves into position, like protest hands before the face of Civil Disobedience, we shall not be moved. Roots are the key, for once the roots have super glued themselves in good soil a seed gives birth and a tiny plant eventually breaks through. When this happens, we say that a seed has sprouted. And so, today, may your seed sprout. May it become one with the soil in which you’ve planted it, and may it root itself. Understand that it must first start off as a seed. Tiny. Unnoticeable. Fragile. Weak. With my fingers, I can crush a seed. Do not worry then if things shake up a bit. If you trial. If you struggle. If you go unnoticed. If you feel at first small, insignificant, and delicate, for once the tree was. And now, see how it towers above us.

Building Relationships

True relationships are not scheduled, planned, and coordinated. True relationships are natural occurrences and are not forced. They blossom from a genuine pull towards that person. It is a connection of energy built upon similar states of mind. It is when two people share the same opinion without an agenda. Building relationships is not a strategy we can put into our pockets and hope will guarantee us some kind of success. Relationships instead are bonds that formed either from tragedy or triumph. Relationships in whatever form that they come rather a man to woman, a business partnership or author to reader, are built upon the vibration of similar frequencies. Humble people do not talk about their own humility just as generous people do not think they are very generous. That is because it is an innate natural characteristic that is real. Real relationships are just the same. They do not consciously seek out the other rather they are connected organically through similar thought processes and experiences. It is when two or more people are drawn to work together because they sense a connection. It is when you don’t have to convince that person that you’re genuine because their energy feels yours. It is not sitting at the cool kid’s table in hopes of being liked but rather letting the silent pull of another’s heart find yours.

I’m Still Here

Just so you know, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth. I miss you guys!!

And, I’ve still been reading your blogs, commenting, liking, and sharing on Twitter and all that good stuff. I just have not been blogging but I am in tune. I don’t think I’ve spent this much time away from the blog since I’ve started! What in the world is going on?

A lot actually. Some good and some not so good. I definitley have a lot on my mind but let’s talk about the good.

Let me get you up to speed:

Blog Posts – I have some articles written up and saved in my files so I have still been writing and will have plenty for you soon. We’ll also get back into the usual blog segments, Black History Fun Facts, Throwback Jams, etcetera.

No laptop – You are not going to believe it but I have been traveling and left my laptop in Memphis! Here’s how it happened: While leaving my in-laws, I saw the bag in the trunk of the car  and thought the laptop was in it instead of checking to make sure it was. Long story short, I won’t get it back until next week sometime so all those blog post ideas we just talked about are uhh….stuck in Memphis.

Introduce Yourself – This thing is growing! I think I may put a listing somewhere so you can see what dates are available. Would you like that? Authors? Right now I am booking for August. (Wait, no. There may be one more slot left for July) That’s just how much it’s grown! Because of this, despite my absence, you can look forward to being introduced to a new author and his/her work every Monday. Those are scheduled to go out so even if I am not around you’ll get those. (This feature also introduces established authors as well or authors who are not necessarily new.)

Travels – So, where did I go?? Out the country? Nope. I wish! I went to Chicago and Memphis but I’ll give you the short version.

Ethiopian Diamond

In Chicago, I sat in on a Lecture presentation at the Dusable Museum of African American History, visited some family and ate at the Ethiopian Diamond restaurant downtown for the first time. (Despite growing up in Chicago I’ve never eaten there.) For those of you who have never been or have never had Ethiopian food, the style is like a community where everyone at the table eats with their hands from a large platter of food (see image). While everyone can order their own food, it is all on the same platter and designed to be a sociable experience. I can honestly say there were no looking down at the phones. There were a few of us so we were at different tables and at my table we had three large platters. On the bottom is a flat, round stretchy pancake-like injera bread with the other dishes on top in a circle.

These dishes include a combination of several stews like key wat (beef stew), tibs (lamb, beef or goat cubes which is what I had), ground beef (those beef patties or whatever you call them were delicious), and several types of lentil and split pea and tomato stews. You basically tear off pieces of the bread and use it to scoop up food you want to eat. Don’t just stick your hands in like I did at first lol. All in all, I enjoyed the food, the tangy flavor of the injera, the stews, salads, and of course, the quality family time.

Coffee – Speaking of which, the restaurant let us take home a container of coffee beans! Hubby and I had fun roasting them ourselves the other day. It was easier than I thought. Just brown them in a cast iron skillet (don’t put anything in it) and once they brown to your liking (dark roast, etc) grind them up in a coffee grinder and bam, coffee.

20170518_170010

I thought it would be stronger since we made dark roast but it was flavorful nonetheless.

4 Ways I Balance My Blogging and Writing Life

20170430_200226

“Where do you find the time?”

Is a question I get a lot so I thought I’d answer it in the form of a blog post so that more than a few individuals can benefit.

I also thought it would be interesting to see if I can write this with a two-year-old around.

With a few exceptions, you can expect a blog post from me almost every day. Is it an obligation? Nope. No one is making me blog and I don’t feel obligated to do so. I actually just enjoy blogging and although we have a long way to go, I like what this blog has become so far. I like the groove I’ve settled into here and the community I’ve built thus far. But, I am also an author and I do have a life outside this medium. I have a career, a husband, and other things to dedicate my attention to.

20170430_193244

Me: “I’m almost finished baby.”

“Huh?”

Me: “I’m almost finished.”

“Huh?”

Me: “Nevermind.”

So, when do I find the time to blog? How do I maintain a consistently updated blog, publish books and not neglect my family?

80 / 20 Rule

I don’t know if it’s because I am getting older or if I’ve learned to love myself more (combination of both?) but I don’t overwork myself anymore. I’m still disciplined but I no longer feel obligated to overdo it like I used to years ago. It’s not necessary. A few hours a day is really all it takes (I am working on removing actually and really from my vocabulary…though I actually like using these crutch words. Work with me here people). Instead, I am always thinking about the 80 / 20 rule and strive to incorporate it into my everyday life.

From Wikipedia:

“The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.”

This means that with just 20% effort, one can achieve 80% results or 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes. (…and my phone rings. Ignore that and keep writing. Ignoring stuff, that’s another point but we’ll get to that another time).

One way I balance blogging and writing are to dedicate at least 20% of my time toward blogging or 20% toward writing and then get on with my life.

Example: 8:00a – 10:00a = 25% of time Blogging

I found this really neat chart HERE. It calculates how much time you spend toward an 8-hour work day. Based on this chart, two hours of work in an 8-hour workday is already 25% of my day. Pretty neat.

My time can now be spent writing, washing dishes, or doing laundry. (1-2hrs is about the time it takes me to polish a decent sized blog post, that’s only about 25-30% of my day.)

“TT…”

“Yes?”

“I wanna take a bath.”

“OK.”

Scheduling Blog Posts

One of the most valuable time savers of mine is scheduling blog posts to go out. I write my blog posts early and if I can’t finish it in a couple hours I leave it alone and go do something else. In the evenings I come back, use Grammarly to edit them (because I’m not rich enough to hire someone to edit my every blog post) and then schedule the post to publish midnight my time (12:00 or later Central Standard Time). This means I may be asleep when it publishes which does two things:

“TT…?”

(1) Helps those outside the U.S. to catch the post early their time.

“TT…?

(2) Keeps my blog active throughout the day as people are tuning in under different time zones.

“Yes, love?”

“Where mommy?”

The only thing I am doing when I wake up and throughout the day is responding to the commentary, reading and re-blogging articles I like, liking and commenting on other people’s blogs and sharing them online. I may also publish other random thought posts but those don’t take as much time as say a post like this one.

Special Blog Segments

Another way that I balance my blogging and writing time is by introducing special segments. A Special Blog Segment is somethi…

“BJ Nooo!”

1o6wox

A blog segment is something I made up to mean blog posts that have a specific theme and is published weekly. I have several:

Monday – Author Interviews

Wednesday – No Whining Wednesday / Writer’s Wednesday

Thursday – Throwback Thursday Jams

Friday – Black History Fun Fact Friday / Movie Night Friday

Though I missed you all last week, I use these themes to keep this blog consistent with valuable content.

Re-spin Old Blog Posts

I’m a little obsessed with this because of how much value I get from it. I have to remind myself not to overdo it. Re-spinning blog posts is an amazing way to update the blog in as little time possible. Every now and again I re-publish (re-spin) old blog articles or poems that have proven valuable over the years. This gives new followers an opportunity to read the content, share it and offer their feedback too. But most time worthy, it gives me the chance to update my blog by not having to write anything new. This only takes a few minutes of my time.

  1. Use WP app to access my WP dashboard
  2. Go to posts > all posts > scroll through old posts (to pick a specific category go to All Categories > choose category)
  3. Choose a post I like, preferably a high value one (or one I think should be high value but didn’t get much attention)
  4. Find one and click edit
  5. Schedule it for a future date

For those who have already seen the post, they may not get new email notifications (it will show in the reader again but I will double check if you will get it again in your emails) for those who are new to my blog, they will definitely get a notification of the post as if it was brand new. It will be like I just wrote it and attract new views. (I’d recommend waiting at least a year before re-spinning posts so you have enough content so readers are not like “wait, didn’t she / he just post that tho?”)

By focusing a small amount of effort toward one task at a time, scheduling blog posts, re-blogging, creating special themed posts, downloading apps that make things easier and re-spinning old posts, you can cut down on your blog time too and use it to write your next book.

Note: How to Blog with a two-year-old: Lock the office door, put non-working electronics in front of him so he thinks he’s typing too, and keep looking back every 3 seconds. Draft your post, save it, give him a bath and put him to bed. Come back later, edit the post, schedule it to go out. 

20170430_184542

If We Were Having Coffee Right Now

This is a stock photo because Coffee never looks this perfect in real life.

Good Morning! Or afternoon or evening. OK, whatever. Hi!

I’m having coffee so I thought we were long overdue for a chat. It’s been awhile since I just talked to you guys. I mean outside of blog segments, interviews, fun facts, blah blah blah. Soooo, how you? (as the country folk say).

So, go get your coffee or tea …

(…even though it really wouldn’t be a coffee date. Bringing tea to a coffee date is a little weird but we won’t judge you…pull up a chair) and let’s talk about life.

I’m doing well and if we were having coffee right now I would tell you there’s a lot going on, because of which I am not sure how often I’ll be posting probably for the next few weeks as we get closer to  launch day (wow, it’s that time again!), well, outside of author interviews that is. Those are scheduled and will continue to post every Monday. I’ll also still be guest blogging so you’ll see me around.

Currently, I am getting ready for Chicago in two weeks. I have a lecture to attend and while there I intend on getting some word of mouth going about my soon-to-be release. I grew up in the Chi so there’s ample opportunity to pass out some cards. Speaking of which, book one in The Nora White Story will go up for preorder…..soon. Thought I was gonna tell ya huh? Nope. Not yet.

If we were having coffee right now I’ll tell you that I am also preparing for The Tampa Indie Author Book Convention in July and that I am not sure if Hubby can tag along or not (boo). His schedule is kinda hectic. If not I will need a personal assistant to accompany me. The last time I did something live I totally forgot to take lots of pictures. That is NOT happening this time.

(Can’t sign books and take pictures at the same time. Oh, wait, maybe you can?? I better patent this idea before someone else figures it out and it’s on the next commercial for 39.95).

Anyway, things are kinda crazy so I’m hoping that I can still make it myself while I’m talking hee hee. Keep hope alive.

bitmoji1148522966

If we were having coffee right now I would say that I am totally thinking about attending the U.S. Blogapalooza in Chicago on Aug. 26. I want to go because a. It’s not expensive to attend and b. I grew up in Chicago so it’s nothing for me to take another trip out there and c. I want to get as much travel in as I can this year. Time to step on out the shell you guys. Kinda. I’ll kinda still be in my shell when you see me…

I’m also supposed to get some kids this summer so I’ll have to see how this will work. If I time it just right I can drop them off on my way to the Blogapalooza.

(The best thing about being a TT is that you can hype them up on fun and then drop them off to mommy and daddy when you get tired of them. #Winning)

I got some nephews who are supposed to come down to irritate entertain me. In fact, I got a baby who will be here tomorrow. Well, OK, that’s not fair. BJ’s not a baby anymore. Technically he is ready to be potty trained. Yay for wearing the big boy draws!

Let’s see here what else? I am on the finishing end of book two in The Nora White Story but since Book One isn’t out yet I won’t speak much about it although I am loving it if I must say so myself. I don’t wanna make book one jealous or anything but I’m just so into the second half of the story. I may even consider, once both books are out, an ultimate special edition where the books are combined. Yaass.

If we were having coffee right now I would say that I am almost ready to reopen for new book review submissions.

BUT I am keeping it very limited this time around and only accepting a handful.

Anyway, be looking out for that announcement.

If we were having coffee right now I would say that my coffee is almost gone and I’ve already spent 20% of my time on this blog so it’s time to go.

See you around.

Tragic, Senseless Losses…

The death of Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman, and the first Muslim, to serve on New York’s highest court and the shooting of Karen Smith, a teacher, in San Bernardino, shot and killed by her estranged husband.

Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

I was planning to post my “Five for Friday” fun facts, but decided to put it off until next week. Two tragic, senseless events occurred this week, but there has been little reported about them. Most outlets, everywhere I look, are fawning over the Drumpf and how “presidential” he’s suddenly become because he knows how to launch missiles and drop bombs. That is supposed to be the last resort, when all other things have failed – but this jackass is determined to do anything to distract from the scandals and valid questions surrounding his administration, and it appears to be working.

The two events I’m referring to are, first, the shooting in San Bernardino. Karen Smith, a teacher, was shot and killed by her estranged husband on Monday, 10 April. One of her students, 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez, also died after being caught in the crossfire; another student, aged nine, was…

View original post 1,618 more words

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – To Thee I’m Wed by Deborah Dykeman

Title: To Thee I’m Wed

Author: Deborah Dykeman

Print Length: 239 pages

Publication Date: December 29, 2015

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B019YT5NC2

*I received this book as a gift from the author*

When Jason and Kathy Miller marries in June of 1985, they are in total bliss. As any young couple is they are happy and giddy and excited to start their lives together. They are so happy in fact, that even at the beginning I knew things would not be all peaches and cream.

Twenty years and three children later and the fire dies. Once happy-go-lucky Kathy is starting to feel unfulfilled. The life of a Housewife is now just her duty where it had once been so much more. It had once been fun. Now that the children are older, Kathy seeks work to rekindle the excitement in her life but her husband is not pleased.

Jason can’t understand why his wife is so discontent and is unsure of Kathy’s love for him. After revealing that she’d like to start work, Jason is not happy but leaves it to Kathy to make the decision. She decides to work and though it makes her feel like she has a purpose, things do not get better.

When Kathy meets the owner of the Giordano’s restaurant where she works, everything she felt she was missing in Jason is handed to her on a gorgeous silver platter. Kathy is feeling Antonio Giordano and as hard as she tries to fight it, she begins to change and so does her marriage.

Jason notices the change in his wife and their relationship gets worse as they are met with trials that can threaten all the years they’ve built.

I like how Deborah let us into the not-so-good parts of marriage and the realness of Jason and Kathy’s feelings concerning their responsibility in the relationship. The author developed the persona of the characters well so that it is easy to see them as real people. I enjoyed being able to know what each person was thinking, how they were wrong about the other and ways in which they were right.

I think not having open discussions about marital issues causes a lot of people to feel alone like Kathy. Alone in the sense that others are not having the same kinds of problems but as those who are married know, we all have them!

The truth is that marriage is not all rainbows and sunflowers. If couples aren’t careful they can find themselves getting too comfortable and start to slack off in those areas that attracted them to each other in the first place. This is because not a lot of people realize how much work goes into a marriage. Once someone becomes a part of your life in such an intimate way, the relationship evolves and must be nurtured to grow. If a relationship is not growing it is dying. There is no middle ground.

Kathy is representative of many women who feel differently after children, especially if they are stay-at-home moms and have focused so many years on raising children and taking care of husbands that they forget how important their own self-care is. I think this is why it’s so important for women, wives, and mothers, in particular, to give themselves the same kind of love and attention that they give out. If you aren’t right mentally, spiritually, or physically you cannot be of help to your family or anyone else around you. Don’t forget to take care of you!

Jason is representative of many men who get comfortable as well in the relationship. Too caught up with work that they don’t realize how they are neglecting their wives in little ways and because men and women think differently, chances are he is not seeing it that way and thinks all is well. This is also why communication is so important. A lot of misunderstanding could have been resolved if Jason and Kathy told each other how they were truly feeling.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall Rating: 5 / 5

To Thee I’m Wed is Available Now on Amazon

(Isn’t this cover beautiful? I love all Deborah’s covers!)

51vwiT+JSVL

Be Sure to Also Follow This Author on Social Media!

Website
Facebook