Wednesday, April 4, 2018

How To Find Good Stories To Write About

You know it really isn't that difficult to find something to write about.  I see stories in absolutely everything I do, everything I see, hear, feel, talk about, experience, and on and on.  It never seems to end.

It isn't hard for me to read a story and wonder what would have happened if.........  perhaps a scene, or an ending can be reinvented.  Perhaps a character could have a particular flaw or trait that would make them unique.  Perhaps it could have taken place in a different location or time.  All of these could create a totally new story.

I love the movies, or television shows that have twist after twist in their plot.  You are following along thinking you have it all figured out, and then bam!!  Unexpected twist!  That takes some creative thinking on the writer's part.  These plot twists and character twists have to be well thought out in advance of writing the story.  Sure sometimes you can be writing along and something wonderful / or sinister, pops into your thoughts, but as for the characters, they should be well developed long before you sit down to write about their secretive pasts.  That way you can add in their personality, and their strengths and flaws as you go along.

Someone once told me you can use up junk mail or spam to create interesting stories.  I rarely read junk mail, but without a doubt you could find some interesting thoughts and ideas within them.  Never, ever count out a source.  If you have a creative imagination, you can find stories every where.

Create a history of the next person you see walking down the street - what is their story?  I love to people watch.  It is one of my favorite things to do, because I love to think of what their story might be.  What got them to the place they are at?  What might their day look like?  What might their future look like?  Their family?  You see where I am going with this?  You could create a whole story about a person you see walking down the street, or jogging along the path at the top of the river, or the person sitting on the park bench overlooking the city.

Listening to others conversations is a great way to pick up on juicy stories.  I don't condone listening in on private conversations, but if someone is speaking loudly about things in their life....... well whose to say you can't overhear, right?  Just listening to every day conversations is what we do, and it is easy to pick up on great stories, or character ideas.  Be attentive, because life is happening all around you!

I have used writing prompts as well.  Pinterest is full of thousands and more, writing prompts for absolutely every possible genre.  A few hours later - literally, pinterest is one of my weaknesses - and you can have hundreds of writing prompts to roll with.  Pictures on pinterest can also lead to some pretty strong emotions and tell some powerful stories.  Even just browsing through someones pinterest board on any random topic can lead to a plethora of topics and ideas.  Just roll with it and have fun! 

Have your eyes open to life around you in everything you see, do, smell, feel, think, touch, hear, and on and on and you will never have a lack of stories to write about. 

Be alert!  Pay attention!  Stories are everywhere!  A tweak here and there, and you have a fabulous story!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Stories With Brilliant Wisdom

I totally love reading stories with brilliant wisdom!  Stories like Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Stories like 20 Wishes by Debbie Macomber. Stories like We Bought A Zoo, and Second Hand Lions.  They are all really great stories within themselves, but they offer such a great sense of wisdom.

They are stories that I love to read, but I either have to stop and write thoughts and quotes down as I am reading, or I read once just for the love of the book, and then a second time to get the thoughts and ideas I want down on paper.  Is that crazy?  Maybe, but do I care if it is crazy?  Nope!  I love to read, and I love quotes.  I love inspiration, and I love others inspiration that feeds into my own!

For example in Eat Pray Love - well let's just say I totally loved the book.  I can picture myself being this person, if life had turned out differently for me!  I could totally do what she did!  I loved it.  I loved the concept of finding a word that represents who you are -

"Maybe you're a woman in search of her word" 

and I often think - maybe I am a woman in search of my own word.  It isn't what I do for a living, or what I think of myself, but who I am.  What represents me?  If I can find my own word, then will I find who I am?  Will I find me?  I think that as time moves and we grow with it, perhaps the word we use to describe ourselves may change, but there has got to be one word, that is me, regardless of how much time changes who we are.  My word?  I haven't figured that out yet, but I am working on it.

Another example in 20 Wishes by Debbie Macomber, is a book about figuring out what you want most in life and setting goals / wishes that they may come true.   A group of ladies meet, and agree each to set their own set of 20 wishes.  Through their own experiences they find out that wishes can really come true, and often it isn't in the way you would expect it.  It leaves you with the desire to set your own 20 wishes, and see what happens.  It's really about starting over again, and making life better.  I really enjoyed it, and ended with a renewed desire to be "that" person who started over and succeeded.

We Bought A Zoo:  I never read the book, but I totally loved the movie!  One of my all time favorite quotes and philosophies of life has come from this - by Benjamin Mee -

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” 

Isn't that just perfect!!!  I have used this many times in my life when I have felt unsure, or like something might not be worth it, and it has gotten me through!  I totally love it!  

And finally - in the movie Second Hand Lions - again I have never read a book, but have watched the show many, many times, and I love it.  When Uncle Hub is giving the talk about what every boy needs to know to be a man, he says - 

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."

 I have said on many occasions, that perhaps "so and so" needs to have this talk delivered to them.  Oh, how I love to find good messages in movies, books, and even songs.  There is just so much in life that is crap, we need to be able to see the good, pick it out from the piles of "stuff", and feed our souls happiness.  Wisdom can be found in goodness, and I love it!

On that note, there are stories within our own lives that contain brilliant wisdom as well.   Stories where we learn and grow.  Don't forget to write down the quotes and examples that contain brilliant wisdom from these stories, for they are ever as much a part of who we are, as the stories we read and learn from.  Stories from the lives of our loved ones, or stories from our daily experiences.  Quotes from our own lives can be just as memorable as a quote from a movie or a book.  Never overlook your life experiences and words as minimal for they are the most important ones YOU can learn from. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Dolce far niente!
The sweetness of doing nothing!

I love it!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Like Coming Home

Wow, it has been way too long since I have written here on one of my very favorite places.  I opened my blog this morning, and was giddy, like opening a present Christmas morning, even though you know what it is, you still are super tickled, because it is going to be spectacular!  That is kind of how I felt, when I came back to My Notebook.  It was like seeing a long lost friend, and being surprised all over again, at how much you loved them and missed them!  I know it is kind silly right?  Silly, but none the less true!  I have missed Blogger, it was my first blogging experience about 10 years ago now, and it was fantastic!  I have been away far too long.

It isn't because I have been slacking in anyway whatsoever!  It isn't because I don't love My Notebook anymore.  It is just because I have been so busy working like a mad woman, setting up my two newest websites.  Inch By Inch Preparedness and A Taste Of Thrifty!  It has been a great learning adventure.  I have done things that still amaze me, when it comes to setting up a new blog, a self hosted blog.  No doubt there have been some crazy challenges, and a oober ton of work, but it has been a really great learning curve.  Probably the one thing I have learned the most, is that I can teach myself almost anything I need to.    It isn't quite a easy as working with Blogger, but it sure makes for an easy way to create a blog that makes a bit of money.  Check it out if you have ever wanted to have a .com site, or one that will make you some Moola!

If you are interested in doing this, I strongly recommend using Bluehost.  They have been fantastic for me and fairly easy to understand.  Any questions I have had, they have been quick and helpful to find an answer.  I have figured out so much working with them.  Well worth the money.

Summer months are flying by right now.  I have so much to do and so little time to do it all.  It makes for late nights and early mornings, and to be honest with you, those are the most precious, quiet times I can take to ponder and do some writing.  Seriously, early morning hours, when the house is quiet, and my brain is fresh, is the time I love the most.  I completely understand why writers will tell you to wake early and get a good start on the day.  It makes sense!  It works!

Thanks for having me back - dear notebook - it has been far too long since I have written in you!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Idea Notebook

I often have people ask me where I get ideas to write about.  Well, if you know me, you know I have notebooks full of ideas, characters, lists, prompts, and so much more.  I pretty much have a notebook for everything, including a place to put ideas.  In fact I have a folders and notebooks full of ideas.  Where do I get all the ideas from? 

I read a lot, and write down quotes that strike home with me.  I write down life experiences, I read a lot of blogs and research a ton of topics, in which I always write down things that inspire me.  It is rare that I can read something without a highlighter in hand or a notebook handy.  Even when I am reading on the internet, I always have a open document in which I can copy and paste a quote, picture, or something that rings true to me.  I take a lot of pictures on my phone, which I always have handy for those times when I don't have a pen.  If I want to remember something I take a picture of it, or make a note of it, in my phone notes, then
What do you put in your idea notebook?
transfer the picture to my idea notebook.  Everything gets transferred to my idea notebook, folder, or calendar on the various topics in which I keep notes and research on.

If it is an article or picture in a magazine, or in a newspaper, I clip it out and tape it in my notebook or drop it into a folder for future use.  If it is something I have dumped into a file on my computer, I print it out and likewise place it where I can find it for future use.  I love this quote by Stephen King....... "A writer's notebook is the best way in the world to immortalize bad ideas. My idea about a good idea is one that sticks around, and sticks around, and sticks around."

Some things you can ask yourself about an article or picture, quote or thought, are: "Why is it interesting to me?"  "What can I learn from it?"  Maybe even write a quick summary or thought on the article or picture as you are pasting it in your notebook, to help bring to mind the thoughts you were having when you found it.

When you run out of ideas, you can always look through your notebooks, or folders, to find interesting things.  Often when I look back through my folders and notebooks, I find things I had completely forgotten about.  It always makes me smile.  It also always makes me wonder just how life got so carried away that I forgot all about it.  I love to wonder about things, and I love to smile about things.

I love notebooks - period!  They just make me smile!  Especially my idea notebooks!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Writing Struggles

I love writing things.  I really do.  The biggest struggle I face, is whether or not to promote what I write.  Honestly, I think to myself all the time, "who really wants to read this?"  So I write it, I push publish, and I am happy with what I have written, but I never post it to Google, or Pinterest, or Facebook, or the many other possibilities out there.  Okay, sometimes I do, but not very often.  I just struggle with it!  Why?

Is it because I am afraid someone is actually going to comment on what I have to say?  Not really, because I don't mind comments, and if they are negative I can always just delete them right?  If they are positive, well that's great too.  I just hate to put myself out there.  And that is something I need to get past.  I need to be able to promote my writing, my feelings, and my opinions. 

I like the stories I write, and in my head they are pretty good, but are they good to anyone else who reads them?  I have one novel mostly complete, and I have given it to several people to read through and give me some advice on a few things, and not one of them has done it, and that was several months ago.  So what does that mean?  They don't like it, they forgot about it?  What?  And really, why do I care?  I should press forward and keep going right? 

It is tough the struggles a writer goes through.  I don't care if it is blogging, short stories, novels, or what have you, I think the worst critic of our work is ourselves!  Why do we do that? 

The Write Life - talks about this very struggle, and some marketing strategies we can use to promote ourselves.  Check out the article.  It's a great one.  But here is the short summary.

1. Create some realistic self promotion goals
2. Keep what's working and drop what's not
3. Don't reinvent the wheel
4. Use available tools to your advantage
5. Shift your focus

Sure there are time struggles.  When do we find the time to write?  Then there are the blank stare struggles.  We all stare at the screen sometimes.  Mine are the promoting struggles, because I judge myself to harshly and don't want someone to criticize what I do. 

Yep, I have work to do.  I have struggles I need to get over.  And someday I will be able to share my work without the worry of judgement.  There are competition struggles, and feeling like I am not good enough struggles.  For now, I will keep blogging, keep writing my novels, keep writing my workbooks and reference books, and I will share a bit here and there, with the hopes that at some point, maybe something I do will take off. 

So even though I have struggles, the reality is, I do it because I love to do it. 

Come what may, I will keep doing it, because I love it!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ruby Secret


Nat turned the key and creeked open the door to Giardino di Fiori . Garden of Flowers, she couldn't believe it was hers. She would have rather had it under different circumstances, not the death of Gran. She gave a shudder from deep down at the thought of Gran. How she wished she would have taken that trip last summer break. Gran had asked her to come and visit, but Nat was working hard to finish her Master's and felt like she would wait until the following year, then she could come and spend more time with Gran. She had been so adamant about waiting that year, now just regret. Gran was gone and all she had before her were the memories, and the villa.

The vision of rushing into Gran's arms as she threw open the door brought tears to her eyes.Gran would always give her a kiss on each cheek, Nat couldn't remember which came first. She was sure there was a correct way to do it, was it left cheek then right, or the other way around?

The smell of fresh Italian bread baking, along with ginger tea brewing were all but a memory now. The villa sat empty except for the ghostly white sheets covering the furnishings. Running her hands over the closet doors, she remembered all too well the many times she crawled in behind the long graceful coats to wait for her father to come and find her. She would giggle as he would pretend to be a large bear who came into his den to find a fair maiden awaiting.

The large windows facing the gardens in the back, were covered, making the room seem lonelyand cold. Nat could not deal with lonely right now. She needed to feel Gran, to remember how her warmth felt, the breath of her, as she kissed her cheeks and forehead, and the shine that always radiated from her eyes. She pulled back each curtain, gazing at the flower gardens. Giardino di Fiori, appropriately named she thought, as she noted the pristine condition of the gardens. George had not slacked off in his duties, keeping the grounds immaculate.

Paul had arranged for George and Rosa to stay on and maintain the villa until such time as Nat could arrive and decide what she wanted to do. Paul. She remembered the call she received from him only two short weeks ago, informing her of Gran's will, and her inheritance. She still could not believe it was all hers. Her parents Pete and Tec inherited money, but Nat received all else. Tecla was the only daughter of Amelia and Stefano,  who died 15 years earlier. When Nat was ten, Tecla and Pietro moved to Chicago, becoming Tec and Pete to their American friends. Nat had only been back three times since then. Once when her Papa, Stefano, had passed away, she was twelve, twice to spend summers with Gran. Those were precious memories.

The door closed behind her, as Rosa entered. Tears glistening her eyes, Rosa hugged Nat and finished with a kiss to her right cheek, then the left, refreshing Nats memory of what was the proper way.

Natalia Amore, your Grandmother would be so happy to see you here. How was your journey?”

The journey was long, but uneventful Rosa, grazie. The house is beautiful, thank you for taking care of it. The gardens as well. Where is George? Is he around?”

He will be here momentarily. I called him as soon as Paul told me you had arrived. We are both deeply sorrowed by the loss of your Grandmother Amelia. She was closer than family to both of us.”

Grazie Rosa, that means a lot to me. I know she felt the same about both of you. After Papa died, she relied heavily on both of you, and you never let her down.”

George and I have discussed, we both would love to remain here in your service if you need us. Paul told me you were intending to stay for a time until you make decisions as to what you will do.”

That would be perfect Rosa. I will need help keeping Giardino di Fiori running smoothly. It is far too much for me to do on my own, and I know so little about it for now. Rosa, did Gran leave any instructions for me, other than what Paul might have shared with me? He gave me a stack of papers to read through, and Gran's will only said that I am to receive everything other than what she left for my parent's.”

She only told me one thing Natalia, 'Tell Natalia to keep her eyes open, as she did when she was a child, and she may discover wonderful treasures. Treasures that have been buried deep in Giardino for many years.' I do not know what she meant by this, but perhaps you do.”

Nat had no idea what Gran could possibly mean by that, but if it involved treasures, she was sure to figure it out.

Bella Natalia, how are you? Come let me look at you.” George had walked in through the open garden doors. Time for treasure seeking would have to wait.

George, I have missed you.” Kisses, right then left. “And the gardens are spectacular. Rosa told me you have been working as hard as ever to make them even more beautiful, if that is even possible.”

I only wanted everything to be perfect for your arrival Natalia. Amelia would expect nothing less.”

Well I love it. And please stay and continue to help me. I know Gran left provisions for the both of you to remain here as long as I need you to, and I need you to George. I cannot do it all on my own.”

My pleasure Natalia.”

Now if you both don't mind, I think I would like to explore my way to my room and take a long hot shower to freshen up, then find something to eat.”

Nat made her way up the long winding staircase. The first door on the left, Gran's room. It belonged to her now, she was allowed to enter. She felt like a little child who had just broken a very large rule as she opened the door into her new bedroom. Of course it was immaculate. Between Rosa and Gran, she didn't expect anything less. It was as if Gran was expected home any minute. Rosa had not covered the furnishings in Amelia's room, instead had kept them clean and in place. The brush on the night stand, the perfume bottle resting on the vanity, Gran's clothes hanging, freshly laundered and pressed in the closet and the bed freshly made, waiting for it's occupant. Nat gave a large stretch, followed by a moaning yawn. It had been a long 48 hours. A shower and a rest would feel incredible.

Two hours later, Nat descended her stairs for the first time, as the owner of Giardino di Fiore. She couldn't help but feel like that little child all over again, with a giggle of happiness, yet a longing for Gran to meet her at the bottom. How many times she had seen Gran descending these very stairs, dressed in a ball gown, dressed in her garden tea clothes, dressed in her casual clothes to meet her at the door. It didn't matter the occasion, Gran was a lady of beauty and class. Never a hair out of place, never a broken nail, never a wrinkle in her clothes. Nat had dreamed her whole life of descending these stairs in such a manner as Gran did, with the grace and elegance she had. She had a long way to go. Living in Chicago, attending the Fine Arts School, didn't offer training or education in class and grace. In fact, Nat thought, it was just the opposite. The more extreme you were, the better you fit in. Life would be different here in Italy. She was looking forward to the adventure.

Rosa had created a light meal of bread, cheese, and provolone, with a new bottle of wine. It was just what Nat needed. She poured a glass, and tipped it to the sky. “Cheers to you Gran. I will miss you.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Journal Keeping

I have gone in spurts throughout my life where I have kept a written history type journal.  I did keep out some details, because of that “fear” of anyone ever reading it.  My husband would always tell me that he wished he knew what I was thinking, and so some years after we had been married, I had printed out a copy of my journal from the time I had met him, up until that recent point in time and I gave it to him for Christmas.  He and my kids love reading it still.  I also have some treasures of my grandparents and little snippets of their journals that they kept, and I consider those great treasures.

You sit and stare and that blank page wondering what you should write, thinking of your day and knowing that you can’t write some of the things that happened, because you never ever want anyone else to know.  You don’t want them to know what you are really thinking, or how you really feel.  You don’t want them to know the dumb choices you have made.  And you most certainly don’t want anyone to ever, ever learn about your deepest, darkest secrets.  So what do you write in your journals?  Or how do you keep a journal that could be of benefit to you, and not necessarily let others read it, or even know about it.

Journal keeping is always something that I have been taught – but it isn’t an easy task.  As I have been blogging and growing in my writing department, I have come across different ways to keep journals.  It doesn’t mean keeping a diary like it use to.  You know the ones we all had when we were little that had the little lock and key with them, because we wrote of our secret crushes and our best friends.  Ya, we all had those ones, but a journal is so much more today.

My daughter has an old notebook that she keeps a copy of every movie ticket she has ever seen in the theaters.  She thinks it will be fun to share with her kids someday.  It also helps her remember certain movies and who she went with to see them.

Art Journal Idea.  It comes from artbyjacy.comI love this idea of keeping a journal through your art work.  I have a daughter and son who neither of them love to write anything, but they do love to draw.  Why not draw in your journal your thoughts, your dreams, and your happenings.  I would love to see them do this, but as of now, I haven’t convinced them that this would be a great idea!

I don’t write in my journal anymore, I write it on my computer.  I keep a journal notebook on my computer, but I also keep several blogs.  Some of those blogs are for specific purposes, and some, like this one, and just for my own thoughts and feelings.  You can set up a blog so easily and in minutes be typing away.  You can keep your blog private so that nobody has access to view it, that way you can write whatever comes to you and whatever your “deepest, darkest secrets” are.  Or you can have it open and write those secrets anyways and not worry about who reads about your life.  I have seen it done so many different ways.

It really doesn’t take much time to maintain a blog, and the nice thing is that you can write on it as often or as little as you want.  it can be whatever you want it to be.  But this isn’t about blogs, it is about keeping a journal.

If you are a great photographer, keep a blog or a scrapbook of sorts, about your daily happenings, your family, friends, workplace, trips, or any other adventures in life.  Great stories can be told through pictures.

I love quotes.  I have many notebooks that are filled with quotes and thoughts that I have gathered through the years.  Quotes are a great source of motivation and inspiration to me.  They have a way of reaching out and touching that one tiny spot that pricks your mind and they can say what no other could.  Keep a quote journal, and perhaps a thought or two about why you like the particular quote you wrote that day.

Keep a heroes journal, about people in your life that mean the most to you, or even those everyday heroes you see, that perhaps seem invisible to everyone else.  Perhaps you could talk about the people in your life and why each of them is a hero to you.  That would go a long way to helping us see people in a different light, if we are watching and picking out those qualities that make them one of our heroes.

Create a jar with writing prompts in it, so on those days you don’t really have any inspiration to write about, you can pull one out of the jar and just follow the prompt.  There are lots of writing prompts on the internet, just give them a google and see what comes up.

We used to keep a family journal for a very brief period of time!  It didn’t work so well for us, but I have seen many who have really made this one great!  Keep a notebook or binder handy so anytime and any day, your family can write in it their thoughts and how they feel.  I would maybe stress the importance of not being negative.  We don’t want it to be a way of venting and saying hurtful things to each other.

Maybe you write music or love songs, keep a journal about your favorite songs and what they mean to you.  If you have any particular type of talent like, cooking, sewing, crocheting, cars, sports, or whatever it might be, I guarantee that if you keep a journal based around what you love, someday it will be a great treasure to your children and grandchildren.  Hop on pinterest and search journal ideas, or use google to do the search.  You will come up with “something” that inspires you to write more!

What great journal ideas do you have to share?  I would love to see your inspirational ideas.  We all need some inspiration once in awhile.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blank Stares

This is how I feel on the days when I am drawing a blank!  Love this face!
This is how I feel on the days when I am drawing a blank! Love this face!

Have you ever…………… no of course you haven’t!  I am sure I am alone in this one!  Not really, in fact anyone who writes anything at all, even if it is just in your journal, sometimes stares at a blank page.  It seems like I have been doing that a lot lately.  I love to write things.  I love to get my crazy thoughts in my head out there on paper.  It just seems to be a way of relief for me, maybe a form of free therapy!  It doesn’t matter to me who reads it, I just like to write it.

I haven’t written much for the past couple of  months, and it seems like my life is just to ridiculously crazy and I never get a chance to sit down and do much writing and pondering.  And on those rare times I have had lately, it is usually late at night and I just stare at the computer, and BLANK!  Nothing comes to me.  I even have my notebook of ideas of things to write about, and still BLANK!

So I decided to just do some maintenance on some of my blogs, do some studying for a few of the courses that I am teaching, and just relax about it.  After all, if it isn’t fun, then it isn’t worth the time I spend doing it.  I guess fun isn’t the right word, I use the word therapeutic.  It makes me feel good.  And there are definitely worse things that could make me feel good!

In between all of my course prep, and reading time, I have had some health problems.  It has been a whirlwind, but a good growing whirlwind.  You know what they say, a little adversity makes you stronger.  I am not sure I want to be any stronger, but okay, I will go with that one!

When in doubt, and you don't know what to write about, and that blank stare hits you square in the face, try this:

One of the easiest ways to free write, is to set your timer – say for 10 minutes – get your paper and pencil or computer ready, push start and go.  Start writing about the first thing that pops into your mind once the timer is going.  Keep writing about everything as it pops into your mind.  Just write continuously until your timer dings and then stop. 
My Project 3-001Sometimes you will have the makings of a good short story, and other times not so much, but you will be training your brain to write.  If you ever cannot think of things to write about, just start writing about what ever wanders into your head.

Look at Dr. Suess’ writings.  I am sure he had some really strange things wander through his thoughts.  Lucky for him he started writing them down and created some fantastic stories.  

Never rule out the crazy or random ideas that scream at you.  They could be great!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Reading Aloud

On the continuation of my kiddos telling stories, I should perhaps share how they ever got to that point.  You see, when they were all little, most other kids would be involved in sports, or classes in which money was involved.  We never had much money.  We only had one vehicle, which dad used for work and was often gone.  It seemed like I was always babysitting someone else's kids as well.  Thus, we stayed home.  The kids played outside with the neighborhood kiddos, and when they came in for the evening, we would read.  I would sit down with them and read story after story.  At first it started with the familiar things, like Berenstain Bears, Dr. Seuss, and those favorites of little children.  As they grew, so did our story time.  I started reading things like Harry Potter, Ink Heart, Septimus Heap, Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites, and those series that would captivate them for hours.  Sometimes, it literally was hours that I would sit and read, and they would sit and listen. No wrestling around, no running, they would just sit and listen.  Then the whining stopped when I quit for the night, usually because my throat was hoarse. For quite a few years, this was our family time.

No, they didn't grow up being the best at sports,   but I feel I awakened in them a greater creative side.  They LOVE to read.  All of them.  They didn't when they were little.  They just wanted to be read to, but as they grew they started to read for themselves, they grew to love it.

I believe it also awakened in them the creative arts, for I have kids that love to draw, doodle, sing, dance, play the piano, decorate, are crafty, tell stories, and still read.  Now I am not saying that sports and such are not the better choice for some people, but for my family, reading was the better choice.  I believe it activates a completely different part of the brain that allows them to think differently, and studies of "reading aloud" support that belief. 

Part way through my journey of reading aloud, I came across a book called "The Read Aloud Handbook" written by Jim Trelease.  It confirmed everything I had felt about reading to my kids and developing that portion of their brain.  A very interesting book and worth the time, as well as a delight to read.  Whether you are a parent, grandparent, or anyone who has anything to do with children, it is a book well worth it's weight in gold, if you get my meaning.  I loved it!  I also love the books written by Mem Fox, Reading Magic.  She has many books, but this one works great with what I am talking about. 

I do not regret one moment of time spent reading to my children.  I love to see their creative brains at work now as adults, and am proud of how they each have embraced their talents.  I love to read to my grandkids now, and we are at the young children's phase of books once again.  I don't do it near enough, and mental note to self, "pick up the reading more to the little ones", so as to not stifle their creativeness and imagine.

Worlds are built out of creative minds.  Travel is  unlimited with a creative mind.  Possibilities are endless with a creative mind.  Reading creates and inspires a creative mind to limitless life possibilities!

Go find a good book and read it today!


Friday, November 18, 2016

The Memory of Story Telling

I admire my kiddos, who are not kids anymore!  I have several, out of the six, that can sit down at any moment and tell a story, and make it up as they go along.  I could give them pretty much any random topic and an hour later they would have told me an incredible story.  That is a talent, I wish I had!!  I keep telling them to get writing down their stories, before they forget them.  Some have written them down, some are working on typing them on the computer, and I imagine some have been lost in the world of their brains!

I love writing, but to come up with such a story on the spur of the moment, I struggle with.  I must take time and think through the plot, the characters, and add in all the details by reviewing and editing, then reading it to my kids and asking for help.  Oh, if I could rein in their talent and get them to slow down long enough to write their stories down.

They could use a blog to write their story one post at a time.  They could use a notebook, and some of them do, but then it takes time to type it in from the notebook, for all things must eventually end up on a computer!  I think one of them has even tried recording their story on an old school mini tape recorder, which is great, but again it will eventually have to make it's way onto the computer.  But do whatever works for you  - just get it down on something for now! 

I remember a couple of times when my boys were teenagers, they would gather around a table with some cousins, and a large piece of brown paper off the roll, and they would create a story.  Story complete with the map drawn of the different parts of the world.  I saved those pieces of brown paper rolls and gave them back to the boys recently.  I may even have a couple more stashed in a closet somewhere.  What memories when they look at the maps and remember the hours spent creating it, and then remember they have the story written in some notebook somewhere.

You see, not all stories need to be written and sold.  Some can be just for the fun of it, and some can be just for the memory of it.  I remember as a little child, I had a great uncle, Uncle Roy.  He told the best stories ever!  We used to pile on his knee, or on the couch around him, and he would tell us the best stories.  I don't have a memory of what the stories were, but I have the beautiful memories of him telling stories.  His face, his couch, his laugh, the clothes he wore, his garden, and his kitchen.  I remember him.  I remember loving being with him.  No story could replace that story of him.  His story is my memory.  If I think of great story teller's, I think of my Uncle Roy, and the joy he offered little children.

So get out there and tell stories.  Tell them.  Write them down.  Draw them out.  Make those memories of telling stories, because years from now, people will remember you loved to tell stories, and if you choose to write down those stories, they may even remember what the stories were that you told.  Nothing more precious!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Writer's Need To Read

How in the world can a writer expect to write good, if he doesn't like to read, or doesn't take the time to read?

How would you ever know you were a good writer or a bad writer if you didn't know what good or bad writing was all about?

I don't know if it matter's much what you like to read, just read!  I think it is really important to read in the genre that you intend to write.  Writing a sci-fi novel is going to be difficult if you have never read one yourself.  I have learned this one first hand with the novel I am working on right now.  It is a romantic adventure novel, targeted at young adults.  I had the plot figured out, I knew what was going to happen throughout the entire book, but when it actually came down to writing the romance part of it, I struggled.  I knew what should happen, but couldn't get it down in words.  Then I started reading some young adult romantic adventures and "boom", it started coming.  

I also love reading non-fiction books.  No great surprise that several of my written works have been in this genre.  You will write what you love to read.  You will write the novel that you want to read, so read, read and read some more.

When my boys were young in school they hated reading, as most young boys do, but I kept persisting and reading to them every day.  At the end of the day, we would all gather around as a family and I would read, out loud, stories, novels, adventures and all kinds of great books.  I read things like Harry Potter - yes all of them, and several other series.  Guess What????  My boys love reading today!  Yes they do.  It takes persistence and reading the right genre for a person to fall in love with reading.  Some of us come by it naturally and could do nothing but read, while others must push through, but the truth of it is, all great writers will tell you to read, read, and read some more.

So find that perfect balance to read and write.  Good luck with it, and remember one of the greatest authors of all time said:

"Oh the places you'll go...."

"The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."  Dr. Suess

Go read a book.  Pick up a pen and paper, and see where you go!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Writer's Notebook

I love notebooks!  Yes I do.  There is just something wonderful about grabbing a pencil and a notebook and starting to write.  As I begin to write, ideas just start to flow, I get inspiration from somewhere, I am not always sure where, but it is almost magical.

I am a bit of a notebook nerd.  I love notebooks (oh ya I already said that) and keep notebooks on all kinds of things. Big ones, little ones, fat ones, thin ones, well you get the picture. 

I will share with you over the next several weeks some of the kinds of notebooks I keep and how
I love them, but for now just know that I am a bit of a freak when it comes to writing notes.  In fact if I see a notebook on sale, I have to buy several of them.  My kids will attest to that.  I was at my favorite store shopping some of the back to school sales with my daughter and we found the nice coil bound 80 page notebooks on sale for .10 cents!  Wahoo!  I picked up 20 of them and thought to myself, "Now I won't have to buy notebooks for another year."  On the way home I started having second thoughts about my purchase, not because I bought to many, but because I thought that perhaps I should have purchased more.  When I told my son about it he laughed and said, "Let's head back there and I will help you bring more home."  So off we go and I bought $20 worth of notebooks!  Do the math, it was awesome.  We laughed all the way home at our silly purchase, but I knew for sure I wouldn't run out of notebooks for a long time to come.

Yes, I keep idea notebooks, character notebooks, to do lists, reading notebooks, quote books, novel notebooks, study notebooks, and so many other things.  Here is a great list of some of the different kinds of notebooks you could keep, and I will go into more details on some of them over the next little while, in my Notebook posts.

  • goals
  • blog notes
  • ideas
  • characters in books
  • quotes
  • recipes
  • art journals
  • doodles
  • to do lists
  • journals of all kinds
  • practice writing
  • inspiration journal
  • gratitude journal
  •  brainstorm notes
  • mind map notes
  • reading journal 
  • notes on books read
  • gardening journal
  • blog prompts or writing prompts
  • scrap book
  • photo journal
  • food journal
  • exercise journal
  • financial notes
  • one sentence journal
  • morning pages
  • free writing notes
  • life story
  • book ideas
  • a journal for each book idea
  • lesson plans
Okay, I think you get my idea here, and possibly why I purchased $20 worth of .10 cent notebooks.  I can write a lot of things for a very long time.  Much of what I write in my notes eventually gets transferred to one or more of my blogs.  I love to learn and study.  As I study, I write notes.  Each time I write the notes and re read them I learn more.  

My planner, I chose a blank page to show you, :) plenty of writing space
There is just something magical about a pen / pencil and a notebook.  It makes me happy.  I challenge you to pick up a pen and notebook and see where it takes you.  It doesn't have to be a cheap one like the ones I bought, it can be something that you love, something that you will take with you everywhere you go and write in it always.  I have a few of those ones too.  I also have my daily planner that is like my right hand notebook.  It has space enough to write all kinds of things in it.  

Notebooks, sigh...... doesn't that just sound wonderful?  Nobody to judge your writing, nobody to tell you it is silly, just you, your pen and a book.  Your very own writer's notebook.  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Value of Short Stories

Ray Bradbury said this about writing.....

"The problem with novels is that you can spend a whole year writing one and it might not turn out well because you haven’t learned to write yet. But the best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you can write one short story a week—it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start—but at least you’re practicing and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. It can’t be done."

Well, I set out to write a short story this past week, and I procrastinated, not due to lack of writing, but simply due to lack of my attention.  I don't think the prompt I chose was interesting to me, and I just couldn't wrap my brain around it.  Therefore, I will try again this week, and this time, I will choose something that makes me say, "Oh I like that, or Yes!  I could do that."  You get my meaning.

In the mean time, I want to point your attention to another blog The Write Practice where this goes through a day by day guide to writing a short story a week.  I think I will use this method this
week and see how it works for me.  

Also take note that a short story can be anywhere from 500 - 6000 words.  It doesn't have to be a lengthy novel.  Someone told me that they think of a short story as a slice of life.  It doesn't offer the whole picture, just a snap shot or a portion, a story within a much bigger story.

Enjoy and do check out The Write Practice and see what he has to say.  Browse his blog for some really good writing tips. the mean time, read a heck of a lot of short stories, like one a day, and it will improve your short story writing.  I can do that. 

Here is a great link at The Write Life where he talks about reading one short story a day and how it can help your writing.  Check it out.  It is well worth it.  

Until next time, and more info.....

Friday, November 11, 2016

Finding Ideas

What do you do when you run out of ideas?  I have spent a lot of time putting together notebooks full of ideas, binders full of ideas, and files on my computer full of ideas.  The nice thing about that is you never have to run out of ideas to write about.

Google is a great resource for finding ideas to write about in pretty much any topic.  Just do a quick search and millions of ideas pop up.  For example, I am trying my hand at writing some historical romance novels, so I googled "historical romance writing prompts" and found a wealth of ideas.  Sometimes you have to shift the words around a little bit to get find different things, but not doubt about it, they are out there.

I also find ideas in quotes, pictures, magazines, life, and often when I am reading other blogs.  You can take the title of another blog post, or the thought of it, and create an entire new post using your own point of view and ideas.  

I absolutely love pinterest for finding topics and ideas to write about.  Whoever designed it was genius.  I have a pinterest board for every subject I might write about, and a board for every blog I maintain.  I have a board for each book idea I might be working on, and well, you get the idea.  If I ever am stumped, I just turn to that particular pinterest board and see what I have
pinned lately that might give me inspiration.

Usually, for me, all it takes is a picture, a prompt, a title, and I can run with it.  Once I am typing or writing, things just start to flow and I often have a hard time stopping.

I do have a few prompts you can find here for free if you really are stuck on what to write about.  Hopefully they might give you more food for thought.  It has over 900 blog ideas, prompts, and topics that might help spur on some inspiration for you.  Enjoy.  But please don't stop there.  Google whatever topic you are writing about and see what comes up for writing prompts and ideas.  You just might be surprised.

For each of the blogs I maintain or write on, I have a binder full of ideas, writing prompts, articles, notes, pictures and so forth.  I then take that binder and sit down and plan six months worth of blog posts and write them into my daily agenda / planner.  There are of course times when I come across a topic and I think, "Why did I write that in here?",  that is when I go to my binder and either figure out what I was thinking when I penciled in that topic, or I change it to an entirely different topic.  I usually have anywhere from 4 - 6 months worth of post topics written in my planner.  For the most part, that works for me.

I have had to learn to say that it is okay if I miss one or two posts.  I have been trying really hard to stay on task of my planner, but you know, LIFE HAPPENS!  Ha-ha-ha.  I must laugh here, because it happens more often that I think it should.  But then I remind myself, life is good, making memories is good, and let it happen.  

Work early, work late, all in order to play when play opportunities come about. 

So all in all, where do I get my ideas from - all around me!  The library, the restaurant, the mall, work, other blogs, pinterest (oh yes pinterest), going for a walk, my kids, a book I am reading, a conversation I hear, a quote I hear or read, and on and on.  I get ideas from life - and I write them all down somewhere so I don't forget them!  Way too many things running through my brain to remember each thing I want to, so write them down!!!!

Be attentive to life happening around you, and you will never run out of ideas again!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Mind Map Notebook

I have a notebook that I love to just doodle in.  I call it my mind map notebook.  It is one of those notebooks that is good for just getting some random thoughts and ideas down on paper, to see if they are viable to do anything else with.  Well, let's be honest, I have several of these kinds of notebooks.

I am the person, whom when I get an idea for a book, for a project, for a blog post, or an event, I pull out a notebook, often my mind map one, and start throwing ideas down.

The way I usually do it is I start with the central idea in the middle of the page, I circle it.  Then absolutely every other random thought that comes to mind about that particular idea, I write somewhere on that page.  If I can work up to about 100 thoughts to go along with that idea, then it is probably a good idea for a book, a blog, or the project.  If it is an event I need to work on, I write down every possible thing I need to plan for or worry about.

Once I have all of the ideas down in my mind map notebook, I can then start to sort and fine tune the idea a bit more.  Sometimes the ideas sit in my notebook for a long time before I come back to them for another visit.  I fine tune the ideas by color coding them.  All ideas that can be sorted under one sub-topic I will circle in green pen, others in red, blue, black and so on.  Once they are sorted into subcategories, I will start writing, or sorting even a little further to get my more complete outline of the idea.  It is just a method that works for me.

On Amazon
This particular mind map turned into an eBook you can find on Amazon titled Retreat Yourself - How to Create Your Own Writer's Retreat.  You can pick it up for less than $3.  It is a good little read if I do say so myself.  :)

My brain is one of those that is always thinking.  A quote, a thought, something someone says, something I read, a song, a picture, all can spur an idea in my mind and get me going.  When the thoughts are spinning, I need to write them down or I will undoubtedly forget them and move on with the next.

You can find printables of mind maps if you just google it.  If you are one that likes to have it neat and crisp then by all means go this route.  I thrive with scribbling down my thoughts and then sort them out neater - in outline form - later.

A mind map notebook is a great place to dump all of your random ideas that may or may not come to fruition some day.

Fit Writing into Life - The Ongoing Battle

Fitting writing into my life is an ongoing battle - it seems.  All the forces in my life seem to be opposed to me sitting down to actually write, and it is one of the things that I love to do.

There are so very many distractions that seem to claim time on my life, and I am starting to get frustrated.  All I can figure to do is to steal the time for myself, then I may be able to accomplish some of the tasks on my to do list.  How am I going to do this?

Here are some ideas I have, to take time for myself:

1.  I work full time, with a few hours through the work week that I actually have off.  Up until this point, I have been heading home on those hours off, thinking I would have a few hours to sit and do some writing.  Not so.  They find me.  Someone always has other ideas for my few hours off.  I have decided to take that time and go somewhere quiet with my laptop and notebooks of whatever I am working on.  In my mind, I will from this day forward, be working full time.  Just a few of those hours I won't be getting a pay check for, yet.  I will take my computer with me to work, and after work head straight to the library, or other places of quiet that I know of, and sit and work until it is time for me to head home.  Great idea!  My own
little writing retreat, and I am actually working.

2.  I am going to make myself start getting up one hour earlier and staying up one hour later.  That is really hard for me to do.  I have such a hard time sleeping as is, but I am determined to get some of my writing done in my own quiet time, even if I have to steal a little sleep from myself.  And who knows, perhaps I may start sleeping better if I am a bit more tired.

3.  I have already stopped watching television and most movies.  If I do sit down and watch a movie with my husband to "spend time" with him, (smiling here), I always have my laptop in front of me and work on projects.  By doing this, it has freed up a few hours a week for me to write.

4.  I have decided to take one weekend for myself to spend writing, and one weekend a month to spend recharging my spiritual / emotional batteries.  My weekend writing is going to be either locked in my office and refusing to take calls or answer the door between set hours, or to head to a quiet place like the library, a hotel room, an atrium at a hotel, or someplace that is quiet where I can be alone with my thoughts.  The two weekends a month that I don't have booked off on my calendar, I will gladly offer to all of those who need me.

Sounds like a great plan to me.  One thing I need to make sure I do, is write these in on my calendar.  My family knows I live by my calendar.  If I have it scheduled in, then it will happen.  I will schedule in my weekends and any other times I will be unavailable.  When I get up early or stay up later, I will focus my time on writing and not get distracted by social media or other distractions.  That's a tough one.  One click and you can be sucked into a swirling black vortex, and next thing you know an hour has been wasted!  Ahhh, distractions!

There are always ways to fit writing into our lives if we want it bad enough.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Story Teller

"The storyteller is deep inside everyone of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is attacked by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise . . . but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us - for good and for ill. It is our stories that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best, and at our most creative."
~Doris Lessing

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Am I A Writer?

Have you ever wondered if you are a writer at heart?  Do you have what it takes to write?  I have thought of this often, and still do.  I always wonder why I do it, since I don't really make much money for the amount of hours I put into it.  Is it worth it to me?  What are some of the traits of a writer?  What makes me a writer?

Do I dream about writing?  Most definitely.  I dream that some day I will actually get to do it as
my full time career.  I dream about publishing my first novel.  I do have dreams about other things I would love to write.  So, yes, I definitely dream about writing, and have for as long as I can remember.  It has always been a passion of mine to write, and now I am finally finding the time and means to do it.  Open your mind to envision your dreams, and they will happen.  You can make them happen.

Do I love to read?  I totally love to read.  A sign of a writer is someone who loves to read.  I remember as a kid, I used to spend hours laying on top of the deep freeze reading.  Why?  I have no idea, I just know I did it.  Perhaps the quiet hum of the freezer, and the warmth it put out, helped me find that peace I needed to settle down and read.  I also remember laying on the lawn reading in the sunshine.  We lived on a farm, and though it sounds funny, I remember even going up on the barn roof, and gentle sloped roof, and laying in the sun with a book all afternoon.  I still love to read today, in pretty much any quiet, comfy place I can find.

Do you like to write things, even if there is no money in it?  I do this all of the time.  In fact, I usually write on blogs and things, just because I love to do it.  Sure I would love to make some money writing, but even if that never happened, I would be happy just doing what I am doing.  It takes me to my happy place!  :)

Do you have notebooks and binders full of things you have written, or researched?  You know you are a writer when..... Yes, I have notebooks full of things I have written.  In fact buying notebooks is kind of one of my weaknesses.  The more the merrier.  In fact, if I find notebooks on sale, I buy a bunch and tuck them away for just in case.  Oh ya, you know you have an obsession when....  Haha.  Always, always carry a small notebook with you to write down thoughts, things you see, hear, smell, or feel. 

Do I like to tell stories?  Well, I am not a huge story teller, but I love to read stories to kids, and
to adults.  I love to, love to, yes love to read stories out loud.  My passions lie more with research and non-fiction than fiction, but I am trying my hand at both.  Stretching my limits.

Do I tend to lean more towards word games like scrabble, word search, crossword puzzles, and the like, instead of other kinds of board games?  I must admit I am there.  I don't have a problem playing a board game or card game, but would prefer word games.  My brain loves them.

Do I write any time I get a chance, and think about it all of the other times?  Done, and done.  Always and always I am thinking about it, wondering what to write about next, planning in the day planner, and then writing some more.  It is my hobby, and my passion.  Even when I am not writing, I am usually finding things to fill my writing prompt books, my mind map books, and
other folders with.  Always looking for materials to use for my writing.  Take in the world around you.  Learn to look at things with your writing brain turned on.  Question things.  See things through the eyes of someone who wants to truly learn and understand.  Open your eyes and ears to the world.  Pay attention to the little details that others often overlooked.  Details make good writing material.

Do I lose track of time when I am writing?  Often I have found myself writing well past the time I have planned to end.  It is easy to keep going, especially if I don't have interruptions.  Time gets completely lost on me when I am writing.

Do I take criticism well?  A writer needs to be able to do this, and I need work on this.  I don't like to share my work with people I know.  I don't want them to read it because I don't want to hear them question it, or laugh at it, or criticize it.  I need work on this to feel comfortable sharing my personal work.  

Learn to embrace the chaos in your life because that is what will bring the best material for your writing.  It will give you notebooks full of things to write about.  You can not write about things you don't understand or know about.  Write about life.

So I guess through all of that, I am a writer at heart.  I do have some things to work on, but it is my passion and I write because of that.  I don't write for others, I write for me, and if others happen to love or use what I write then all the better.  Are you a writer?  Do you have what it takes to be a writer?  Why do you write? 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

100 Things I Love

I came across a challenge to see if I can come up with 100 things I love in my life.  Deal!  Here goes, not in a specific order....

I love.....

1. My husband
2. my children and grands, including the in-laws
My crazy family

3. reading
4. a good night's sleep
5. running water - inside the house, like flush toilets and tap water
6. running water outside - like a creek gurgling
7. flowers
8. herbs in my body and in the garden
9. transportation - walking everywhere would get old fast
10. technology - my computer, my cell phone, - communication technology I guess
11. friends - I love people, but really love my close friends
I so love camping
12. camping - love, love
13. the mountains
14. traveling to places - beautiful places - not that I ever do it, but I would love it I am sure
15. good music 
16. my Savior
17. my extended family - parents, siblings, etc
18. my camper trailer
19. St. Bernard's - I miss my Ronon
20. Mastiff's - I love most large dogs, but these two specifically
21. Tigers
22. the ocean - mostly walking on the beach - especially when we lived in BC - camping on the beach was amazing
23. the forest
24. picnics
love bonfires

25. bonfires
26. living on a farm - wish I could do it again right now
27. family reunions - most anyways - Houseman ones are a blast of fun
28. my bed
29. my back yard
30. meeting new people
31. writing
32. cooking
33. listening to my family be musical
34. helping people - service
35. being busy
36. libraries - can wander in them for hours
37. being prepared - food storage, etc
38. modern medicine mixed with herbal medicine
39. the scriptures
40. studying spanish
41. planning things
42. teaching classes - I learn most by teaching
43. horses
44. eating good food
45. sitting on my swing in the back yard
46. peace - no noise - to ponder
47. the temple
48. walking on a forest trail, finding a waterfall or small stream
49. lady bugs

Lady Bug Note Generators
50. butterflies
51. house plants
52. Johnny Reid music - going to see him in two weeks!!!
53. good memories
54. having a job to be thankful for
55. when my kids are happy
56. sleep overs with the grandkids
57. going for a drive - with no destination in mind
58. the feeling of coming home - doesn't really matter where home is - just the feeling
59. being happy
60. being involved in things - like groups, committees, etc.
61. learning new things
62. my faith
63. my plate collection that goes almost around my entire dinning room - it makes me smile - good memories behind each plate
64. playing with my family - making memories
65. a good cup of herbal tea
66. going for a walk with a friend
67. singing - but I suck at it - so I only sing with loud music playing
68. our old prayer rug - we use it at family prayer time
69. having a roof over my head - not necessarily my home - but the ability to have a home
70.  tropical birds - macaws, African greys, etc the big ones
71. greenhouses - I love growing things in greenhouses
72. gardening
73. preserving food
74. watching the news - used to do it with my dad - it's his fault :)
75. information - I have binders full of information I have gathered on various topics
76. salty things - like chips, crackers, etc
77. the days when I don't have headaches - few and far between
78. enjoying the little things in life
79. having the cupboards full / the fridge full - I hate shopping for it, but love having it there
80. having a storage room with supplies and food in it
81. being somewhat self reliant - with goals in mind to do more
82. being healthy
83. losing weight
84. hot peppers and hot pepper sauces
85. Essential Oils
86. cabins in the mountains
87. eating yummy vegetarian meals
88. to crochet
89. all things southwestern decor style
90. making home made stuff from scratch 
91. front porches - especially Atwood's front porch
92. the looks of the old apothecary's
93. parks, I love walking through parks, and just sitting and enjoying
94. eyes - they tell so much
95. happy people - they are easy to be around
96. a good chick flick movie - could probably do without other movies and tv
97. blogging - it is my escape and my place to just be and say whatever I want
98. hearing people talk about their life story - not complaining, but sharing stories
99. to think outside the box - how can I make things different - how can I do it all myself
100.  Finally - but not least - I love the dream that someday I may get to travel.  It is only a dream, and will likely never happen, but the dream of traveling is there nonetheless.  Top places I would love to travel and why.

Wow, I actually had to do some thinking on this post.  It wasn't so easy to come up with 100 things I love.  There are some things I like, some things I hate, but to say I actually love something, was different.  How's about it?  What are some of the things you love?  Could you come up a list of 100 things?