Five Things I’m Doing To Rejuvenate My Life!

We all need a reboot every once. Traditionally holidays are a time to regroup. Time away to Rest, Relax, Rejuvenate. Those three peaceful R’s. It’s been my experience that vacations, especially family vacations – the ones involving children – do not provide ample opportunity for any of the 3 R’s. Case in point – DisneyWorld. Tons of fun! Recovery time required when it’s done. Oh look, more R’s.

But what if you need more than a couple of weeks away to fix what’s ailing you? When you know there are steps that can be taken to improve your quality of life. Or maintain your sanity. And a juice cleanse it’s going to cut it. It probably won’t hurt, but it’s not the whole answer.

That’s the place I’m in because I’m feeling kind of…old. That’s a very alien feeling for me. I guess what I’m really feeling is tired. Maybe a little worn down. Along with overweight and out of shape.

Clearly, a plan of action was required. But did I attack the problem? No. Tired, remember. So, I did one thing. I got the ball rolling. Now it’s picking up speed. I have momentum.

Five Things I’m Doing To Rejuvenate 

  • Restorative Yoga
  • Solo Holidays
  • Controlling My Self-Talk
  • Changing My Diet
  • Exercise

Restorative Yoga: Remember nap time in Kindergarten? That’s kind of what it is. Only better. It’s about aligning your physical self and your mental self by practicing stillness in supported gentle for extended periods of time. There are a lot of props, blankets, and soft lighting. I’ve begun doing an at home version too.

reclined cobler pose

Solo Holidays: I took my first solo holiday, as in by myself, in the fall. I went to Toronto to visit my sister and her family. For those of you who don’t know I have a special needs daughter. We spend a lot of time together and are incredibly close. I feel guilty when I leave her behind. Because my girl? She would vacation 12 months a year, if she could. But alone time was just what the doctor ordered. I had a wonderful, worry-free time. More of this in my future.

Riverdale, Toronto

Controlling My Self-Talk: My doctor recommended an online course offered by our local university after I mentioned that I was not doing as well as I should be mentally. Turns out there were a numbers of reasons why I was feeling shitty. Because, hello Depression. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is very helpful in terms of practical solutions and steps to overcoming a number of things. Turns out healthy thoughts = healthy feelings.

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps the person to change unhelpful or unhealthy habits of thinking, feeling and behaving.

Changing My Diet: TMI ALERT My gut was very unhappy. I was bloated. Irritable. Imodium dependent. And operating in a fog. I’ve cut out gluten, dairy and eventually plan to cut out sugar. Happy to say I’m feeling much better. Like MUCH better. I don’t know if it’s because I’m eating less, healthier, or differently, and I don’t much care. It’s working. The photo is my version of Danielle Walker‘s Chicken Cobb Salad found in her Against All Grain cookbook.

Chicken Cobb Salad

Exercise: I’m learning to hate it less. Self-talk, remember? And with this goal? It was go big or fail miserably. I needed some serious motivation to commit. To that end, I registered to walk a half-marathon in September. I cannot begin to explain how terrifying it is for me to even type that out in a sentence. My goal? Four hours to walk 21.1 kilometres. Treadmill. Every. Day. Because right now, I can probably do 4 kilometres.

Queen City Half Marathon

What do you do to replenish, relax, and restore your mind and body?

The following is an article written by Will Wheaton, who I adore on The Big Bang Theory. Seven things he did to reboot his life and why he did them. It’s a great read because, among other things, he’s a talented writer

Seven Things I Did To Reboot My Life

 

If you feel like sharing...

February Wrap Up

It’s leap day! Because some long dead old dude decided it was a good idea to make February longer. Thanks for that. Like us Canadians couldn’t use an extra day of summer. But the end is near! A special shout out to those of you celebrating birthdays on this day – Happy actual Birthday!

Wrapping It Up!

Work, Health, and Happiness

Work

February saw the extension of my writing groups January Writing Challenge. I finished the first draft of the book in my third Aspen Lake series in January. February has been all about revising, which I adore. One of my favourite parts of the revision process is developing the secondary characters. In this case, my heroine Grace’s family. They’re hurting and they’re about to hurt worse. Grace’s sister Hope, her husband Kent and their son Levi are part of a secondary plot is as much fun to write as it is heartbreaking.

Here’s a little snippet.

Hope bowed her head. “We’ll make it okay for him. It’ll be all-“

“Make it okay for him?” Kent looked like someone had punched him in the face.

Grace put out her hand. “Kent-“

He was back to pointing fingers. At Grace. “You know what this has been like for him. You know. There’s no making this okay.”

He wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. And he spewed the rest of it all over his wife. “What am I supposed to tell him? Huh? Guess what, buddy? Your old man screwed up. Again. As if the last seven months haven’t been bad enough. But you wouldn’t know that. Because, as usual, you caused a whole bunch of shit and then were unavailable to deal with it. But you know who has been here? I have. And Grace has. We’ve been dealing with Levi’s nightmares, the looks, his troubles at school. And now when things are finally settling down? Here we go again.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You don’t get to fucking tell me you’re sorry. Do. Not. Even. Try.”

Grace didn’t know who to go to, who to hug, who needed contact the most. They both looked broken. Defeated. Done.

Health

Halfway through the month I went gluten and dairy free for health reasons, of which I won’t bore you with the details. Only to say I’ve done this before and felt great. I’m thankful to say history is repeating itself. I couldn’t do it without menu planning, more about the ups and downs of that in March.

Menu Planning Karyn Good

I continue on my mindfulness path with restorative yoga, which I adore. Reclined cobler’s pose is one of my favourite. I tried reformer Pilates which I actually liked but it brought some alignment issues into play which I feel like I must deal with before continuing. Plus, it’s expensive. I haven’t signed up for more classes, content to continue with my treadmill goals. Also, we survived the plague. Yay us!

reclined cobler pose

Happiness

Reading makes me happy. And February saw me listening to my first Audible book. I’m happy to say it helped pass the time on the treadmill. At this point, I still prefer reading either an ebook or a print book. Those take full concentration and sweep you away. That wasn’t my experience with audio books. But I will definitely listen to another one. Anything that helps me want to get on the treadmill is a good thing. What was it I read? It was Built by Jay Crownover! I listened to it using Audible, but I’m planning to look into borrowing audio books from the library.

reading

That’s February. Looking forward to March! What did you accomplish in February? Where did you go? What did you read? How did you survive the shortest month of the year?

If you feel like sharing...

2015 – Photo Diary Style

2015 In Photos

I took a lot of photos in 2015. If there’s one thing I love almost as much as writing and reading, it’s taking photos. I love trying to capture a feeling, a moment, a bit of the story. Photographic evidence it really happened. Proof you’ve been there, done that. The need inside of me to want to look back and remember. By no means am I professional photographer. I have no tips or tricks for you, but taking a photography course is on my Wish List. So maybe…some day. Soon.

2015 – Life Was Good To Us!

2015 was a huge year in the Good household. We travelled, we came together, we celebrated. All of it. Milestones. Challenges. Rough terrain. Smooth sailing. We kept old traditions, started new ones. We cried, thrived, and lived it. 

Here goes!

25 years of wedded bliss facing whatever came our way together, as a team.

25th Wedding Anniversary

Were we really that young?

We drove all the way from Saskatchewan, Canada to Oceanside, California! That’s a total of 2,832 kilometres, or 1,759 miles. Give or take. And I’d do it again!

Oceanside, California

Toes in the Sand. Oceanside, California

21 years old! How did that happen? Now he’s legal everywhere! I’ll bury my head in the sand about that whole business.

21st Birthday

Look out! He’s 21! Legal everywhere!

Our Hundred Mile Dinner. A new summer tradition? I hope so. Don’t ask to pass the salt and pepper, there won’t be any on this table. Only things found on the prairies. Except for the wine. Because, you know…there has to be wine.

Hundred Mile Dinner

Hundred Mile Dinner. Summer. 2015

Last year we drove to the Maritimes and this year we hiked all the way to Tofino, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. From Canadian coast to Canadian coast. We’ve put our toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific.

Tofino, Vancouver Island. 2015

Tofino, Vancouver Island

I celebrated my 50th birthday in Tofino! In a little cabin by the sea. Oh yeah, it had a hot tub and was walking distance to great seafood.

Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island, 2015

Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island

She turned 19! Legal in Saskatchewan. Good thing she could care less, because God help us…

19 years old!

Oh geez, she’s 19!

And I published a book. EXPOSED is Book #2 of my Aspen Lake Series! What started out as a NaNoWri project in 2009 released in September.

Exposed, Book #2 Aspen Lake Series by Karyn Good

Exposed, Book #2 Aspen Lake Series

There you have it! My 2015 in review photo style. Go ahead and share a favourite memory of yours! Are you a shutterbug? Like taking pictures?

If you feel like sharing...

Shades of Red

Today’s photo challenge theme is RED.

 

In the house of words was a table of colors. They offered themselves in great fountains and each poet took the color he needed: lemon yellow or sun yellow, ocean blue or smoke blue, crimson red, blood red, wine red.  Eduardo Galeano

 

IMG_1513

IMG_1253

DSC_0502

DSC_0734

Red is said to be the first color perceived by man. Are black and white colors? I never remember. It means stop. In Russian the word for red means ‘beautiful’. Is the most common color found on national flags. It can signify love and passion, also hatred and passion.

What’s your favourite something red?

If you feel like sharing...

December Has Arrived!

December Is Upon Us!

With the first day of December comes the first day of Advent. The first day of Elf on the Shelf. There’s only a few flakes of snow on the ground and the temperature is on the plus side. Life is pretty sweet!

I don’t really have a plan to conquer the madness of December, but I do have a gift giving and baking list on the go. I’m also trying to keep my calendar up to date. And, as always, I’m determined not to let the idea of holiday perfection rule my days.

There are many things I love about December. The holidays, of course. The first snow fall. Using the fireplace. Drinking hot chocolate. Reading books while cuddled under a blanket. Sweaters. Boots. Holiday music. Holiday movies! And generally settling in for the long winter ahead.

There are a few ways I’ve simplified over the years. Less decorations. I used to think it wasn’t Christmas without a few somethings in every room. Less gifts. This year my husband’s side of the family decided to pick names. On my side of the family we decided to buy gifts for the kids only.

My Tips For A Guilt-Free December:

  • Decide which traditions still work and which ones to ditch and keep in the memory banks.
  • Find a way to give and/or volunteer.
  • It’s okay to say NO to an event, a gift exchange, baking exchange, dinner party, or whatever it is you do not have time for or do not want to attend.
  • Giving up the notion of buying the perfect gift. Put some thought into it, but don’t stress over being the one to buy THE gift.

My holiday mantra:  It’s supposed to be fun, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

IMG_1502

December Planning

I’m also doing a December photo challenge. Today’s theme is Your View Today. The above is mine.

What are your tips for organizing the month of December?

If you feel like sharing...

Holidays, Inspiration, and The Best Of Times

We all need to fill that creative well so I guess it only makes sense that being on holiday inspires creativity. We absorb inspiration in through sight, sound, taste, and touch. We make memories. Have good times. If we’re lucky, the best of times. And sometimes the rough ones when things don’t turn out as planned make the most memorable holidays.

Back in 2010 we camped at Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. Hauling our trailer around has been one of our favourite ways to holiday. And I would call camping at Writing-On-Stone one of our best times. The Milk River runs through the campground. I guess, for us, that was unique because we’re used to camping by lakes. The Milk River was given its name by Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who described it like this:

“the water of this river possesses a peculiar whiteness, being about the colour of a cup of tea with the admixture of a tablespoonfull of milk. from the colour of its water we called it Milk river.”

Milk River is a slow moving river that you can raft lazyly along. There’s a beach and the mixture of clay and sand makes for awesome sandcastle building. There are sandstone cliffs called hoodoos to climb all over. It’s peaceful and quiet with a first class interpretive center/museum that gives a wonderful look at the history of the area. The perfect holiday.

It’s a beautiful spot, where people have been camping there for 3,000 years. For centuries native people camped along the Milk River, where they found shelter, water, and an abundance of food. They also found inspiration here. They believed this wide, lush valley with its hoodoos was charged with supernatural powers and was home to powerful spirits with the ability to help the people who journeyed to this scared place to pray.

They were so inspired that they documented the importance of this place. Writing-On-Stone park is home to petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) that tell explain their history, beliefs and way of life on the sandstone cliffs.

If ever there was a place to inspire a story…

151

148

160

150

223

216

Where have you found inspiration? What are some of your favourite holiday locations?

If you feel like sharing...

The Winter Not-So Blues: Reading, Writing, and Photographs

Sexy Suspense

Off The Grid will be touring around in February and the first part of March on a review tour.

NBTMR_TourBanner_OffTheGridimage001 (1)

Come join the party at The Romance Reviews for a chance to win great giveaways including books and gift certificates, play games and meet authors. The Grand Prize is a $100 gift card.

*****

On the homefront, January was filled with books and writing. The sun is rising earlier and setting later. But there is still much writing to be done and many books to be read. The weekends are for reading the paper, omfort food, and shoveling snow. It is for digging in and perserving against harsh conditions. At least, in my neck of the woods. Although to be fair, the conditions have been rather pleasant for January.

Over my Saturday morning cup of tea I open the Weekender section of my local paper and head to the Books page. I check out the best sellers in hardcover and paperback. Then I read the article of the week which is usually an interview with an author. I love learning where other writers get their ideas, what their process looks like, and I love it when they share their opinions. On occasion they are forced to defend their writing.

One such interesting article stayed with me. It was an interview with Val McDermid, a crime novelist who addressed the notion of female crime novelists and the voilent subject matter of their books. Or more to the point, the suggestion that because she is female, it is somehow wrong for her to write about such matters. These questions arose, perhaps in part, due to the backlash against the overwhelming number of faceless female victims in books in which their only role is to be beaten, violated, and then hacked to pieces.

What I found interesting, however, was her perspective on the psychology of females writing crime fiction.

“It’s because of the way society conditions us growing up. We’re told that there are bad men out there who will hurt us given half the chance. We are brought up to imagine our victimhood even before it happens to us. I don’t think there is a woman alive who hasn’t walked down a street late at night and heard footsteps, who hasn’t immediately thought about the terrible things that can happen to her. So when we come to this subject (violence), we have  imagined it already. We have lived it in our heads. Men don’t grow up with that sense of themselves in the world.”

I know know I have walked and listened and wondered. Now I’m wondering how much my gender affects my writing, perhaps not when it comes to my vicitms but when it comes to the villains in my story. To this point, they are one hundred percent male. All dominant personalities in positions of power with violent tendancies. Not that women can’t be all those things. But maybe the things I’ve been conditioned to fear and protect myself against manifest themselves in these characters. Something to think about…and maybe think about mixing it up a little!

How about you? Any book recommendations with regards to crime fiction? Have you read any books with a fascinating female villain?

TheSkeletonRoad

Set in McDermid’s hometown of Edinburgh, The Skeleton Road centres on a Cold Case investigation. A skeleton is discovered, hidden at the top of a soon-to-be renovated Gothic building. Detective Karen Pirie is tasked with identifying the decades-old bones and soon finds herself unearthing a series of past conflicts, false identities and secrets that have long been buried.

This month I’m happy to be visiting the Laughing Ladies Literary Book Club who’ve chosen OFF THE GRID for their January read. I’ve had a blast oming up with discussion questions and anticipating more questions about the characters and the setting and the inspiration behind the book. I’m also hard at work writing the third book in my Aspen Lake Series. Mike and Grace’s is coming along. For me, the hard part of writing is getting down the first draft. I love revising. Taking the bare bones of a story and turning it into something someone might want to read someday.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.58.44 AM 2

 

I love taking photos. I’m not very good at it and definitely fall in the amateur department. But I decided to take part in a photo challenge this year. You can read more about it here. There is a prompts to help you out every day. Here’s a sampling of mine and you can find me on Instagram @karyngoodauthor.

Prompt: Circle So...me in a circle.

Prompt: Circle
So…me in a circle.

Prompt: Morning My desk!

Prompt: Morning
My desk!

Hope the weather is being kind to you. And if you’re being subjected to nasty weather and storms I hope you have plenty of good books to keep you entertained.

If you feel like sharing...

Feeding Your Ego

A road trip with girlfriends is a good thing! Listening to one of my favorite celebrities speak at the end of it is even better. Jann Arden is a seriously talented singer, songwriter, and author. She’s is also one funny individual. She talked about many things Monday night at The Silver Spoon Dinner with Jann Arden event. That’s the wonderful thing about Jann Arden. Her honesty and the feeling your making a personal connection with her through her very personal stories.

April and May 2014 008

Jann talked about finding your passion. The thing that fills you up. She talked about letting your spirit guide your actions not your ego. About redefining your goals by reaching out instead of looking inward. Ego is about survival and battling for the future insist you see for yourself. Spirit is about effecting change in the world around you and letting your future find you.

ego1

 

I get stuck in the rut of thinking about others egos. Scoffing and muttering over others who seem to wear it like a comfortable coat. But what about my own ego? Am I catering to it and harming my creative process?

Ego is not all about a negative boosting of our confidence and creating an over inflated version of our worth. Ego is also the thing that worries about what other people think of our efforts. It’s the measuring stick of worth that often comes up short. It stifles the creative process with a wet blanket of this isn’t good enough. Been there, felt that.

Jann gave me lots to think about. When we truly listen, when we open up to connections with others and their ideas, when we interact with the world around us in a meaningful way we are less on our own. When we pay less attention to our mind’s worries but settle ourselves and feel more with our gut we’re on the right track.

So I’ll work on it and worry less and create more. May the rest of the week be kind to you. May you find peace in a way that fills you up.

If you feel like sharing...

Letting Go Of Summer

TKAM Quote2

So…two things.

1. Either Harper Lee was comfortable existing with very little…or that was one hell of a friend.

2. It suggests that To Kill A Mockingbird was a story she’d been thinking about for a long time. An opportunity presented itself and she took it. Because To Kill A Mockingbird was meant to be written and shared and loved. Yep! Indulging in a fangirl moment.

I’m thinking of my favorite book today. Probably because summer and the ending of the season usually make me think of TKAM. Even though I love autumn, the older I get the tougher time I have letting go of summer. This also might have something to do with our Canadian winters seeming harsher the older I get.

100

083

111

001

018

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance. ~Bern Williams

Enjoy the last days of summer. Read that last book outside, take that last camping trip, toast that last s’more. Until next year. Now the gathering starts. The organizing. The settling in.

 

If you feel like sharing...

Hump Day Confessions

 Photo of the Week

Calgary Zoo 2013“Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave…” Skipper, Madagascar

Confession of the Week

I have a thing about the names for animal groupings. I think it’s the writer in me always looking for different ways to look at and add description. Or the fact I’m a word geek.

Penguins live in large groups, and there are several different names for these groups.  When they group together on land, they are known as a waddle.  When the group is nesting, they are called a rookery.  When the group of penguins is found in the water, they are known as a raft.  On certain occasions, baby penguins form a group inside the larger group, which is known as a creche (kresh).

There’s something about describing a group of men in a ballroom and referring to them as a waddle. If you’re in the mood to indulge your curiosity or your geekiness check out Animal Congregations, Or What Do You Call a Group Of…

Favorite Post of the Week

I Love Men – Thought Catalog From Tumblr. I loved this post and her wonderful and thoughtful description.

On The Reading Front

Currently: Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass

Just Finished Reading: Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

On Cue: The Hitwoman Gets Lucky by JB Lynn

Great Book Quote

“He looked like every glossy frat boy in every nerd movie ever made, like every popular town boy who’d ever looked right through her in high school, like every rotten rich kid who’d ever belonged where she hadn’t.” Jennifer Crusie, Welcome to Temptation

Not a word about his chiseled jaw or piercing blue eyes but you still get the picture. Love it.

How about you? Anything to confess? Read a great book? What to share a link?

If you feel like sharing...