Don’t Give Up by @PatriceWilton

Don't Give UpSorry folks, but we must admit that 2021 was a bust! After the previous year, we all had hoped 2021 would be amazing. We kept telling ourselves, “Don’t give up!” Yet, the deadly virus was not a thing of the past, our favorite enjoyments were limited with theaters and restaurants shut down. Schools were closing and our children had to learn virtually, without seeing their friends. The hardest part for many was not seeing their loved ones, even on special occasions. Safety was a priority, with our liberties in lockdown, and new variants spreading like wild fire.

LET’S FORGET THAT DOOM AND GLOOM!

It’s history and now 2022 is here to bring us the joy and happiness we all deserve. I for one believe this with all my heart. Belief is a wonderful thing. You wake up in the morning with a feeling that maybe something good is going to happen, and if you look around and open your eyes and your heart, it might appear out of nowhere.  You might stumble and find old coins or a package filled with money that will feed your family for a week. Sure, that’s unlikely to happen, but that joy and happiness could come in the form of a beautiful butterfly that catches your eye. A rainbow in the sky. A Cardinal when you’re thinking of a loved one. Maybe it’s more direct and material—like a juicy contract in the mail, a raise or praise, and the opportunities for a bigger and better job.

Rainbow

CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER

With more openings than fillings this is certainly the time to strike out and find that job you’ve always wanted. You’re in the bargaining chair and have the power. Let your dreams and ambitions free, search for the highest star. Each day take a moment and close your eyes. Visualize what you want your life to be like. How to make it happen. Remember that each day is precious, so look for the silver lining, something to be happy for. Make it a habit, and you might find you’re smiling more!

Start out with small changes. Read a good book instead of watching TV. Take up a new sport or a hobby that you once enjoyed. Think deeply about it. This just might be the time to change Your World!

DON’T GIVE UP

Wishing every one of you joy and happiness and an exciting new beginning in the year 2022!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Death in Sandpiper Bay is available as an eBook and in Paperback.

Death In Sandpiper Bay

Danger at Sandpiper Bay is available as an eBook and in Paperback

Danger at Sandpiper Bay

 

4 Tips to Get Organized in the New Year by @Donna_Fasano

Get OrganizedA brand new year always gives me a hopeful feeling. A chance to get on the right track. To get organized. And to declutter, clear out, rethink, and reorganize—my home, my work space, my mind, my life. It’s good to re-evaluate how and why we do the things we do or keep the things we keep. Whether it’s a full remodel job (I’m planning a DIY storage system for my walk-in closet) or just a small sprucing up of a room, a desk, or an exercise and diet routine, it’s great to start the New Year with a sense of accomplishment. Here are 4 tips to help you get organized in 2022.

Reassess your daily routine

What’s the best time to rise and shine? Which hours of the day are you most productive in your work? Do normal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) eating times work best for you? Or do you tend to eat off-schedule? Are you giving yourself enough down time? How’s your exercise routine going? Are you getting enough sleep? The answers to these questions will help you reassess and reorganize your daily routine.

Keep everything in its place

Stand in the middle of any room in your home and take a look around. If your gaze lands on objects you haven’t used in a while, seriously consider getting rid of them. (You don’t have to throw them away. Donate usable items to thrift stores.) While inspecting the room, do you see items out of place? Decluttering and keeping my things where they belong always, always makes me more productive.

Make lists

I love making a daily list of things I want to get done. Checking off those “things to do” always has me feeling that I’ve spent my time wisely.

Focus on one task at a time

Let’s face it, sometimes we all have to multi-task. But I find that I do a better job if I take a deep, cleansing breath and focus on one task at a time. Focusing my energy means I will get a job done in less time. Plus, when I do one thing at a time, I find the task is completed at a higher standard than it would be if I’m trying to do several things at once.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The first three books in my Ocean City Boardwalk Series feature 3 women who live and work in the seaside town of Ocean City, Maryland. Young widow Sara Carson, serious-minded Heather Phillips, and wild-child Cathy Whitley have been friends since grade school. Follow these enterprising woman as they face hardship, life trials, and tense relationships. Life by the ocean isn’t just fun in the sun—love is waiting on those sandy shores!

These books are available:  Amazon  *  Barnes and Noble  *  Kobo  *  iTunes

The eBook version of Book one is reasonably priced at $1.99 at all stores. All 3 books are available in paperback:  Amazon  *  Barnes and Noble.


Ocean City Boardwalk

Travel with Mona, visit Jerusalem and the Holy Land

Many trips to Israel and the Middle East had often been canceled or postponed because of political turmoil or instability. When a Canadian friend told us about a group from Montreal organizing a guided tourist visit to the Holy Land in March 2010, my husband and I found it an excellent opportunity to finally travel safely through the region.

We flew from New York to Amman, Jordan, where we met the eighteen people coming from Canada. The next day we boarded our comfortable bus and visited Petra that I described in a previous blog. From there we continued along the King Hussein Bridge between Jordan and Israel. The security was very tight with x-ray scanning, questioning and bag searches and passport control.

Monastery of the Temptation
 The sycamore-fig tree or  Zacchaeus tree

We stopped for lunch in Jericho, commonly known as “the oldest city in the world” (8000 BCE) and the world’s lowest city (1200 feet under sea level).” Jericho is a Palestinian city in the West Bank, an important historical, cultural, and political center located northwest of the Dead Sea. It is truly a place where the ancient past comes in contact with the immediate present and where the fragrance of oranges and citrus permeates the air.

After lunch, we spent the afternoon at the Dead Sea shore. The sea water is rich in minerals and salt, and so muddy. The mud is cleaned and sold as an anti-wrinkle facial cream at $90 the small jar. [Yes, I bought a jar. It didn’t erase a single line.]

The Dome of the Rock or Masgad El Aksa. A cabinet within the building houses a hair from the prophet Mohamad’s beard. Another tradition suggests it’s the mountain where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac.
A view of Jerusalem from Mount Olive

Finally we entered Jerusalem in the early night and checked in our hotel that was fully booked for the week. For our bad luck, millions of Christian pilgrims and orthodox Jews had flocked to Jerusalem to celebrate the Catholic Easter, Orthodox Easter, and Passover that all occurred on that same week in the year 2010. The hotel manager had programmed the elevators to stop at each floor in respect for the Jewish patrons who were not allowed to operate the lift. Imagine the slow traffic, going up and down.

In the morning we boarded our bus and headed to Nazareth where we visited the Basilica of the Annunciation and in the lowest floor an ancient house that tradition says is the site of the angelic announcement. Not far from it, we visited the Church of St. Joseph, the site of the Holy Family’s house and St. Joseph’s workshop. Later we had lunch on the Lake of Tiberias, and then drove through the verdant hills of Galilea, where we visited three more churches.

Lunch of fish on the Lake Tiberias known for its rough waves.

We spent the evening on the shore of the Jordan River. Many pilgrims wore a white robe to be baptized or renew their baptism vows in the Jordan River.

Sea of Galilee, also called Lake Tiberias, through which the Jordan River flows.

The next day, we stopped by St. John the Baptist Church, built over the house where he was born. We climbed 154 steps to the Church of the Visitation. Inside the church, 41 plaques, each in a different language, bear the Magnificat.

We visited the Museum of Jerusalem and saw the Dead Sea Scrolls, then admired a small model –maquette– of Old Jerusalem, with the Temple, Pilate’s fortress, Herod’ s Castle, and the walls of Jerusalem.

We continued to Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity.

The Church of the Nativity is built above a cave which may have been the place of Jesus’ nativity.
The church was built by Queen Helena in 329, and renovated by the Crusaders. The cave includes two lobes, one with a star marks the place of Jesus’ birth, the other marks the place of the manger.

We passed by the Shepherd’s Field where the sheep and goats used to grate.

Later the hotel offered us a tour of Jerusalem by night, with a stop at Mount Olive. We crossed some villages, stopped by Victoria Hospital and Masada. We saw a temple, built by an American philanthropist on the model of the initial Temple of Solomon. It is said that the Masgad el Aksa, the mosque with the golden dome, was built on the location of the former temple.

On Holy Thursday, we returned to Mount Olive, visited a Jewish cemetery, walked by the Eastern Wall, and the Wailing Wall.

A Jewish crowd
A Christian crowd

We spent Good Friday walking through the Via Dolorosa and visiting old churches, and spent Friday evening and Saturday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre .

Strolling along the narrow lanes of Via Dolorosa
A view of the Church of Holy Sepulcher
from Mount Olive
The Chapel built on top of Christ’s Tomb in the center of the Holy Sepulcher

It would take ten blogs to describe all that we’ve seen and learned during that week spent in Jerusalem and its surroundings. An amazing trip that will remain imprinted in my memory forever.

My latest published books are part of the Love Plans.

SAILING AWAY PLANS ; DATING PLANS ; RESCUE PLANS ;

WEDDING PLANS ; BABY PLANS

2022 Resolution Time is Here

DAMN!  It’s Resolution Time Again……Resolution Time

Heck, I’m still working my way through the rest of the Holiday goodies and now I’m supposed to step back and focus on all the amazing ways I’m going to change my life in 2022?  Okay, here goes.

The good news:  I actually do have some–deeply engrained habits that many people struggle to emulate.

The not-so-good news: I am woefully inadequate in changing my behavior in an area I really need to improve.

First for my good behavior:

1.How many of you weigh exactly what you want to weigh and regularly exercise to stay healthy and fit? I’ve got that one nailed. I run/walk a minimum of seven–ten miles a day and love that I can in my fit in skinny clothes and am downright healthy.

2. I’m an author and I love to write. My characters are my best friends. I can’t wait to talk to them. I write every day and never have to harangue myself to write. If I miss a day for some reason I eagerly catch up the next day.

Now for my “bad” behavior.  What don’t I do, that I desperately need to do?  That’s simple (and incredibly challenging for me) I need to make my marketing worthy of the great books that I’m writing. Obviously, being an author is more than writing books.

To summarize:

What do I do religiously? I work out every day. I write every day.

What don’t I do?  Work on my marketing.

So here goes.

To tackle my marketing issue I’ve turned to the experts.   One in particular , Elizabeth Scott, PhD  who writes about how to make long-lasting life changes wrote a terrific article:  Make a New Year’s Resolution That Lasts.

According to MS. Scott, each year, people make New Year’s resolutions  and each year, most of those resolutions go unresolved. While you may feel inspired to pursue a fresh, new goal on New Year’s Day, most New Year’s resolutions are discarded and forgotten by spring. So why are long-lasting goals so hard to maintain? Even behavior change experts acknowledge that pursuing and achieving goals is very difficult.

There is, however, some emerging evidence about different types of goals and the way that these types of goals interact that may help you find success. Scott says understanding the science behind these goal-setting techniques may help you to turn your New Year’s resolution into a long-lasting lifestyle change.

Different Types of Goals for Resolution Time

While most people (like me!) make a “resolution” on New Year’s Day, Dr. Scott says it more productive to set a goal. A traditional resolution is more like a pact—an ironclad promise to flawlessly carry out a new habit or to never again participate in an old one.  (Sound familiar?)

A goal, on the other hand, is a commitment to work towards an endpoint that is desirable

Researchers have identified two types of goals: subordinate goals and superordinate goals. They theorize that by setting both types of goals, you have a better chance of making successful short-term changes that turn into long-lasting lifestyle habits that are in line with your values and your view of your ideal self.

Superordinate Goals

A superordinate goal, or long-term goal, is a broad-based goal that prioritizes your high-level values and is based on the person that you desire to be.

Subordinate Goals

Subordinate goals are shorter-term, specific, action-based goals. They provide detail about what you will do and when you will do it. If superordinate goals provide a “why” for the habit change experience, then subordinate goals provide the “how.”2

A Goal-Setting Strategy for Lasting Change

Researchers who study subordinate and superordinate goal setting have theorized that the best way to achieve longer-lasting success is to combine both goal types. Superordinate goals provide a general sense of direction and help you to sort through priorities when different goals or tasks compete for your attention. But subordinate goals provide stepping stones—specific measurable actions—that keep you engaged and motivated.

So how do you put your own lifestyle change plan into place? First, you’ll need to define your goals. Then you’ll want to refine your goals. Finally, you’ll want to adjust your goals.

Define

  • To define a superordinate goal, list three reasons why I want to pursue my New Year’s resolution.
  • To define a subordinate goal, I will list three concrete actions or steps describing how I will pursue my New Year’s resolution.

Refine

Next, refine your subordinate goals. To do so, it may be helpful to use the SMART goal approach. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Finally: Adjust

As you put your resolution plan into motion, you might find that you need to make adjustments.

Remember, by changing the game plan (the subordinate goals), you are not giving up on your main (superordinate) goal—you are simply approaching it from a new angle. This should be seen as an indicator of persistence and success, not as a sign of failure or giving up.

If your plan is humming along smoothly, then continue to set new subordinate goals as you reach established endpoints. Give yourself credit, reward yourself, and use that confidence to continue the forward momentum.

Tips for Success

Remember that setting and reaching goals is an ongoing process that is never a straight line to success. Expect to encounter challenges along the way. Experts provide other tips for keeping your New Year’s resolution for long-term habit change.3

One Change at a Time

There will be many different ways to reach a superordinate goal. Focus on just one small habit change at a time until you get better at the process.

Challenge Yourself in Small Doses

You can do so by setting shorter time-frames, or by setting goals that you know you can achieve. As your confidence grows and success rate increases, so should the degree of difficulty.

Become a Do-er

Studies suggest that approach-based goals (where you make a commitment to do something) are more effective than avoidance goals (where you make a commitment to avoid doing something).

Get Support

It’s not likely that you will be the only one in your family or social circle who will be making a resolution in January. Find someone who has a goal similar to yours and make a commitment to connect regularly and provide each other support.

Plan Rewards

Plan rewards for yourself at regular intervals along the way. Rewards may help you to stay on track and maintain motivation. Try to find rewards that are in line with your achievements and that help you to maintain interest when challenges arise.

PHEW!!!!

Thank goodness I have five days to get my plan in place.  Here’s my promise to you and to me.  Over this next year I will take on my marketing issue.  And come Jan 1, 2022, I will look back on what worked and what I need to do differently. Meantime I will congratulate myself for tackling an issue that is frustrating the heck out  me.  Onward and Upward!

Many hugs and Happy New Year!

And while you are gearing up for 2022, take a moment to savor the wonderful Christmas season one more time. Dive into these two fantastic Box Sets, my Author Billboard pals, and I created to celebrate the Christmas season.

Resolution Time

Unforgettable Christmas Promises

Festive Christmas Nights

Festive Christmas Nights (Fabulous Freebie Collection Book 5)