Posts by Deb Medina

I'm an artist, author, darn good baker, blogger, cancer fighter, daughter, mother, photographer and woman of faith. I love bringing words and photography together to tell a story that speaks to the heart of my reader. Six years ago I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. The last year has been rough. But I want my days to count so I'm in the process of reinventing myself, opening an etsy shop and getting more serious about my writing. If any of this resonates within you, come be a part of my journey. I would love to have the company.

On My Own Again – But Not Really

Going to try something new today. A few things, actually. First, I’m starting my morning off with some writing exercises. Second, I’m not using the daily prompt from WordPress’s Writing 101. What’s the occasion? Why am I such a rebel?

Well, a few weeks ago, my habit of eating in bed got the best of me or better said it got the best of my keyboard. For the past six or seven months I’ve been using a mini-external keypad. It allows me to type faster and works better on some websites I frequent. Alas, food of some sort became lodged inside the keyboard so that I was not able to use the letters, V & B.

One doesn’t realize how much these two innoculous little letters are used until you can’t use them. Not a major problem, I thought as I had another keyboard that I rendered obsolete in favor of the keyboard I had been using. I was able to locate the other keyboard, bought the necessary double AA batteries and gave everything to Matthew to install.

Apparently, somewhere between the time when I stopped using the keyboard and now, the batteries went dead and corosion set in, making this keyboard as useless as a rock. This sent me to Amazon to check out keyboards. After putting a keyboard or two in my shopping cart, I decided I didn’t need a keyboard after all.

Imagine my surprise and confusion when not one, but two keyboards showed up in a package with a few other things yesterday. Turns out I didn’t remove the keyboards like I thought I had. It took all of a second for me to decide to keep at least one of them. After all, I can type faster and readily access more sites than I do without a keyboard. Hence the past on WordPress today.

It also helps that my sister is visiting us this weekend. She’s amazing. Up at the crack of dawn to help me use the bathroom and escape the confines of my room, I’m guaranteed to get more done this weekend than the whole month. I miss her so much; what I would give to have her move down here tomorrow.

The hardest part of her visit is sharing her time. Mom, I get. After all, she helps mom as much as she helps me which helps me even more as I feel there is someone to take the burden. Still the house is tense this morning, all due to me. I have a hard time when mom takes control over everything.

I need to learn how to let this go and not to fight it. What difference this make. It doesn’t so let it go, let it go, let it go 🙂

Writing 101 – Serially Found

I’m getting dangerously close to finishing my book about my trip to Italy back in 2012. I say dangerously close because this is the point at which I generally drop the ball and despite my good intentions, I don’t finish the job. If I know I do this, then why do I do this? I wish I knew, but the warning signs are there. I can feel them creeping up behind me, laughing mischievously like a little child who thinks he’s playing a joke on me, but the reality is, there is no fooling me. I’m just a fool naturally.

But enough about me, really, and on to the subject (prompt) in hand. If you would like you can look at the first few paragraphs as commercial interruptions of sorts. They help to get my creativity juices going especially if the prompts leave me scratching my head help. The last couple of prompts haven’t exactly inspired, but then again I’ve been busy working on my book that it’s been easy to ignore wordpress for a bit.

Today’s prompt is called Serially Found in which we can write about finding something. I can’t put my finger on why this prompt leaves me wanting. Perhaps it’s a bit too broad, leaving me with too many possibilities.

I could write about finding my charm bracelet more than a year after it went missing. Or about my friend’s uncanny ability to find things that go MIA around here. If I’ve misplace something, I can count on her to find it. I could write about how I’m constantly losing things in my room which is funny because it’s not a very big room so there aren’t many places for things to go.

I could write about God’s faithfulness in looking for the lost, but I don’t feel prepared right now to give it the dues it deserves.  I could write about how when I lose something, I always, always take it to God. If I don’t find the said object right away, I give the whole thing to God. I know He knows exactly where the object is that I’m missing so if it be His will, would he lead me to the object. I always have confidence that He will and He almost always does. I could write about how I lose track of time. It takes me a moment to figure out what day of the week it is. This always frustrates me.

So where am I going with this? I’m not really sure now. I had an idea in mind, but here’s something pretty funny if you think about it, I lost my train of thought and now I feel as though I’m rambling just for the sake of writing something, anything. Instead, I’ll end this torture here and go back to my book about Italy so I can actually finish it because I’m determined to do so.

From there, I’ll finish up a few more Steller stories and then come back to my Blurb books. It’s going to be good times. I won’t lose my momentum. If I do, I’ll do my best to find it again.

Over and out!

Writing 101 – Powerful Suggestion

When I learned of this course that WordPress was hosting, I decided to jump on-board for a few reasons. First, I needed to get out of the funk I was in and get my creative juices flowing again. I felt ready for the challenge and I liked that there would be daily prompts to stir them up so I could rise above the roadblocks that seemed to pop out everywhere and every time I prepared to write.

Because of my previous track history, I knew there was a high probability that I wouldn’t post every day. This made me appreciate that the pressure was off. Not that I wanted to use that as an excuse or reason not to post, but sometimes the prompts aren’t inspiring. Sometimes life gets in the way. I wasn’t (and haven’t) going to beat myself up if that’s the case.

So far, I’ve been pleased with the amount of participation for which I’ve been able to blog. Yet there was a slight pull of disappointment as I haven’t blogged for a few days in a row now. The longer my silence, the longer it takes me to get back on that proverbial wagon. This is why I was happy that today’s prompt hit the proverbial chord with me today. Not wanting to lose the inspiration I felt when I read the prompt, I thought it was best to seize the moment and blog now because often times I feel the stirrings but if I wait too long, the thoughts I had stored inside me leak out leaving me with nothing but half-baked ideas.

Today’s prompt asked us to blog about the following: What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago?

It’s hard to pick one piece of advice. As much as I dislike me a rule-breaker, I’m going to be a rebel here (ha!) and create my own rule and blog about the piece of advice I wish some had given me 10 years ago, then five years ago and then a year ago because, it’s my blog and I can write what I want to!!

There is a quote I love by Joseph Campbell (I used to think that Billy Sunday, a reknown evangelist, was the one who said this, but recent research proved me wrong, wrong, wrong). It goes like this…

I’m guilty of letting life pass me by while I waited on the sidelines for God to put all the pieces of the puzzle together according to the design that I had in store for me instead of trusting him to know what was, is and will be best for me. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for him to watch us flailing about life the way we do when it’s all so unnecessary, if only we would just relinquish control. After all, when you compare our track record of success to his, why would we even question him or demand that things are done our way.

How many times, he must have wanted to grab me by my shoulders and give me a few hard good frustrating shakes. When would my ears open and when would my eyes finally see. He must have wanted to say…

“Debbie! Why would you rather put your faith into a man  in whom, even with love for me, your Lord Christ Jesus, is far from perfect, when I am here, holding out my arms to you. I can provide to you everything you need, when you need it. When and if that time comes that your life will include a partner, then it will happen. Until then, I have provided you with everything you need so stop waiting for me to be your genie in a bottle.I am already so much more than that to you and you already have a life full of abundance.”

Because of my doubts and stubbornness, I took too long to begin, to really begin, to live my life. I regret that I wasted my twenties and thirties waiting for God to do things my way when I should have been praising him and enjoying all thing blessing he was giving to me.

There’s nothing I can do to get those years back; however, I can be certain not to make the same mistake. It starts each and every morning as I thank God for the new day. It continues throughout the day as I continually give thanks to God for each abundant gift that comes my way and it ends each night as I thank God for the blessing of the day. It helps to keep me in continual fellowship with Jesus and with God, our Father.

Five years ago, I wish that someone had told me that “action overcomes fear”. This valuable piece of wisdom was shared with a team of us over five years ago. Playing these words in my head has helped me do things in my life that previously I would have been too afraid to do, but when you think and ultimately act upon them, the words are ultimately truer than truer.

The concept goes like this…when faced with something scary or something that you feel uncomfortable with, the thing that helps you overcome your fear is acting upon the thing that needs to get done. In other words, if you are afraid to give a speech, the one thing that you need to do is give the speech. It’s a simple, yet ridiculously obvious solution. At first during the conference, I hated the idea. But the more I thought about it, the more I understood and bought into the idea.

You know that feeling you get of relief when a task is in front of you that you hate, but once you do it you feel free. Ridiculously free. That’s the action over-coming your fear.

In this last year, I wish I would have been told, let go of your pride. Stop fighting for the right to be right. Being right isn’t important. It’s not a necessity. I haven’t got it all nailed down…yet…likely never, ever will, but as I learn more along the way, I hope I can share what I learn with you. If I remember, I blog about this from time to time, but I’m not making any promises.

One thing for which I’m sure, if I take God along I can’t go wrong. That’s a daily lesson that I pray I will not forget.

By the Power of His Cross, We are Saved

Blurbity Blurb Blurb Blurb

Where have I been? Is this going to another post in which I bemoan the fact that despite the longing in my soul, I haven’t been able to write for one reason or another?

I hope NOT!

Really now, if this turns into a woe is me post, just hit the unfollow icon if you are one of the two people who actually follow me (bye mom!) or add some snarky anonymous comment if you just had the unfortunate luck of stumbling onto this blog. I will completely understand.

But that’s not what this is all about. The truth is, I have been writing. Been writing every day for the past few weeks as a matter of fact. With the help of a friendly writing tool called Blurb, I’ve been busy at work writing the story of our trip to Italy.

In many ways, it’s been easier to work on it than I planned especially considering that there were new tricks I learned along the way. The things I learned I could do using the software program were things I wished for as I began working with the established layouts, but didn’t want to stop and sabotage my efforts. Plus I kept adding pages so what started off as approximately 40-pages quickly more than double and is now over 90-pages. And we’re only at Pisa so far!

I’ve recently discovered that the tool has more flexibility when it comes to formatting the layouts for each page than I thought. Creating and editing the layouts are also surprising simple to do. Once I discovered this, I immediately went back to the pages for which error messages mocked me, challenging me to pare down the number of characters, reduce the font size to six or select another layout for the page in order to enable my commentary to fix nicely on the page.

Halfway through this exercise, I was reading Bella Grace, a gorgeous new magazine published by Somerset and it gave me some excellent ideas on how to improve the look of the layout of my book. So I went back a third time and changed it up even further, adding various colors to the reverse print I had added, overlapping the print on my images and mixing up the way the images are presented on the page.

I like the new look and feel. It’s much classier and gives it a more artistic appearance which is time well spent especially when you consider that I’m putting together a book that incorporates photography with a story in the backdrop. Since the backdrop is Italy, home of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael and Donatello (all four mutant ninja turtles for that matter) just any plain, jane, out of the box layout isn’t enough to satisfy most readers.

Right now I’ve completed approximately 50% of the book. Most of the pictures have been selected and I’ve either written the rough draft down on paper or it’s firmly rooted in my head so I expect the second half the story to be added at a much faster pace. Not that I’m trying to win a race, I just don’t want lose any momentum to a bad case of I’m bored or writer’s block.

I’ve enjoyed the whole process, remembering things about the trip that I have already forgotten. I found some notes I wrote on the day of our arrival. Things I didn’t want to forget. Things I’m glad I wrote down because out of the ten things that I wrote, I forgot about eight of them.

While there were days I didn’t write anything down, I think I documented roughly have of our time there. I’ve been trying to remember where I put my notes. Last night I became convinced that I may have my notes in my old laptop…another thing that makes me glad that I haven’t gotten rid of the laptop yet.

I was going to check it today when I remembered that the charger isn’t working. Since the battery wasn’t holding a charge this means I need to at least purchase a charger, if not a new battery, too. I don’t want to buy the charger only to find out that I need both. That would make me too impatient sad .

Originally, I was going to tell the story from my point of view only. After all, as the author, that should be my prerogative, but as I write, I’m not so convinced that this is the way to go.

I’m curious about what the girls were thinking as we roamed the streets of Pisa. Did they feel the same heaviness that I felt? Were they beginning to get worried that we may never find the car? Did I frustrate Liz when I not only insisted that she go into the gas stations to ask for directions, but I didn’t make any move to get out and join her. After all a second pair of ears would be better in understanding the directions.

My plan is this…to have the rough draft completed by the end of next week. If I continue at the current pace, I’m confident this timeline is more than doable. I’ll send the draft to the girls for review and response. I’ll give them a week or two to get back to me. I haven’t settled on a timeline. I would love, love, loved to have it back in a week, but while it may also be doable, it’s not very realistic to give everyone just a week to proof the book.

Next up…These are the Things I want to Say to You

Next up up…This is dedicated to the Ones I Love

Next up up up…Coffee in My Cup

No more writer’s block. PLEASE!

Writing 101 – If I Had a Hammer

What do I want to be when I grow up?

When I was little, the answer was simple. First and foremost, I wanted to be a postman. I would get to walk around the neighborhood, almost like Santa Claus with a giant sack, except instead of heavy, red pants and a jacket, my uniform would be blue. I would get to wear shorts as I drove around in a cool little vehicle filled with letters and packages. And if I wanted to, I could park the vehicle and walk around the street instead.

In my spare time, I wanted to be a nurse. Back then in addition to a pretty white dress, there was a cool hat that would sit firmly upon the head so everyone knew who you were and what you did. It was definitely a hat of authority. Even a four-year old knew it.

As a fifty-something year old, those dreams are a thing of the past. Ironically, I wish I had the ability to build things. The Christmas before my cancer diagnosis, I asked for a power sander and one other tool that escapes me. Mom doesn’t know this, but I planned to use both to redo mom’s cabinets.

I wanted to sand them down and then refinish or paint them a cherry red. I can see them now, shiny, vibrant, beautiful looking. Instead, my life changed forever and the only thing I’ve done with the tools is made some chalkboards out of salvaged windows.

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/hammer/">If I Had a Hammer</a>

I love to watch shows in which the host shows homeowners how to repair, replace or refurbish different areas of their homes. They make everything look so simple. As I watch, there is a longing in me to be able to do what they do. If only I had believed in myself then, perhaps I would be a builder of some sort.

At the very least, my house would be filled with wonderful creations of art that were made with repurposed items, such as a ladder that houses knickknacks, windows that become picture frames, kitchen cabinets with glass panels instead of wooden ones.

Instead of a uniform, I would have a bright pink apron. A sturdy one with pockets on the front to hold my supplies, such as my measuring tape, hammer, screwdriver and screws and nails. I would have a large tool chest filled with electric screwdrivers, drills, bits, and hand held saws. To complete the ensemble, a jig saw and other tools would be bolted to the floor of the garage.

Maybe I would be a carpenter for a living or maybe it would be just a hobby. Either way, it would fulfill me. The same way photography and writing fulfill me.

Writing 101 – Ripped from the Headlines

For as much time I’m on my laptop (tablet) and iPad, I’m embarrassed to admit the website of my choice to get my daily news fix is Yahoo.

What can I say? It’s convenient and easy. Often there are interesting articles, but too often most of their so-called news is related to Hollywood. I’m not sure about CNN or other news provider, but it does have me thinking abut changing my home page for this reason.

Today’s ripped from the headline article reads, “More Women not having children”.

I didn’t and haven’t read this article. I used to have my laptop set such that I would hover over the article name and a popup box would provide the lowdown about the article helping me decide as to whether I should click on the link and learn more.

Since the hover mouse no longer works, I’m left to my own devices. Today, there was no interest in reading more. This I know, my days of child bearing are sadly over and done. I haven’t given it much thought, but with my grand babies staying with us, surprisingly, I feel those longings from time to time.

For example, today Matt and Ashley headed out at dinner time with the children to get a bit to eat. Ten minutes later they were back through the door. One of the children had thrown a tantrum squashing the dinner plans.

As Matt prepared a homemade dinner instead, Ashley rested on the recliner. Her son, the guilty party, climbed on her lap looking for affirmation, which he quickly received. It was a sweet and tender scene, the two of them talking quietly, the frustration they had when they first returned was slowly erased and love and forgiveness took center stage.

From my vantage point at the kitchen table, I wished the moment wouldn’t end. I knew it wouldn’t last forever, but a girl can wish. Wish for more moments like this. Wish for another child in my life. Wish I could pick up and hold not just a baby of my own, but my grand childen, too. Wish that forgiveness wasn’t so hard to give. Wish that my own children weren’t so big to scoop up and hold so tenderly, even at their current ages.

Writing 101 – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Im not going to pretend that I even attempted to spell Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. This when the copy and paste feature of all good laptops, tablets and iPads come in handy. But I digress. Since I don’t see an easy seque to today’s prompt which asks, what’s the first thing I do when I have incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic news.

Well, perhaps because of my inability to spell this wonderfully, fantastic word, I don’t exclaim the word or break out into song, emulating everybody’s dream nanny, the practically perfect, Mary Poppins.

So what do I do? Not to sound goody-goody, but first, I begin by thanking God. When this news comes, my words are typically as follows:

“thank you Father,

thank you, God!

thank you, Father,

thank you, God!”

I usually say these words three or four times in a row and then I try to process the wonderful news and what this means to my life. I give thanks because I know that’s where all good things come…from God.

And then I do my happy dance. And then I call my sister. Technically the happy dance and the call are the second and third things I do. But who’s counting?
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/supercalifragilisticexpialidocious/”>Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious</a&gt;

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Calling my sister with exceptionally wonderful news.