Adventures in Snowcalypse 2017

Let me set the stage by explaining that although I was born in New York, I celebrated my PR2first birthday in Puerto Rico and the following 28 as well. If you don’t know this, Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean, where snow is only seen on television. I did see snow before I moved to Atlanta. I think my most vivid memory of snow was when I was eight or nine. My brother lived in Maine by a lake. My mother and I went to ring the New Year with his family and there was snow, oh there was snow!

Anyway, fast forward to the present time, snow is a treat for me. In Georgia snows for a couple of hours and it quickly melts, but I get to see snow and even walk in it for a few minutes. Back in 2014, Atlanta had a “big” snowstorm. Now, you north snowbirds can stop laughing right now. It was big for us, so stop it! The city had a real meltdown. Cars were in the highways for days, people were stranded for hours, it was a total mess!

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve always been home when snow comes. I haven’t had to deal with traffic or other kinds of issues. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know how to drive in the snow, therefore I leave the deed to the professionals.

snow1Meteorology in Atlanta is a game of Russian roulette. They will tell you that it will rain, and you find yourself with a pretty sunny day. They tell you that it will be beautiful outside, and you get soaked. So, when I saw that the forecast was announcing snow mixed with rain, I figured I would see a few paper towel dust flurries, rain and move on. To my surprise it started snowing. I ran outside to take a video of it to make sure that I captured the few flurries that were to come.

An hour went by and it started snowing; really snowing. That’s when I realized this one was for real. (Again folks, stop laughing). I was working from home, so I opened all my windows wide and enjoyed the scenery while working.snow2

The first thing that should have clued me that this was not like other times, was that when my dog tried to go out for her morning bathroom break, she seemed to be ice skating on the deck. I told a friend that I was going to take my lunch break to go to the store and get a few things. He asked me if I was planning to walk to the store. (He’s a comedian) When I stopped laughing, he asked me if my car was a four-wheel drive, that was a no as well. He recommended that I stay home unless it was an emergency; and it wasn’t.  After work, because I’m a big girl, I got bundled up and decided that if I drove very slow I could make it to the store, get my wants (because there were no needs) and come back. I opened the garage door and proceeded to try to get the car out.

I must clarify that even my realtor and his lovely wife described my driveway as a launching pad because it’s a steep hill. I finally got the car out of the garage and it started sliding in the ice, not something I’m used to. I have very good news, the breaks on my car are perfectly fine. I, still stubborn, tried to get the car a little lower on the driveway. The car was still dancing in the snow3ice. This is where a little bit of anxiety kicked in, forget the store, will I be able to get the car back up? I opened the garage door that was now closed. Between the gas pedal and my very good breaks, I was able to get the car back up the hill. I closed the garage door and said to myself, “You know what? I really didn’t want hot cocoa after all, what I really want is some tea and I have plenty inside”

A few hours later, looking out my kitchen window, the neighbor’s kids were building a snowman. I smiled and contemplated the idea of making a snowman until I remembered that required getting dressed and being out in the cold. I decided that watching the kids do it was more enjoyable at this point.

Finally, I woke up this morning with snow still falling hard. It is beautiful to see all the white fresh fallen snow on my yard and the streets. I’m writing this from my bed, my dog is curled up in her bed snoring. This is how snow days should be spent.

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I still pray for those who lost power and those who’ve had no choice but to be out on the streets.

Ok, laugh now as much as you want! 🙂

Stay safe and warm

Naty

 

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Snowed Out Atlanta 2014

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I took this on my own backyard.

Starting Tuesday afternoon the south was hit with a winter storm. There are many approaches to this story. We can either complaint or see how God worked through this crisis. At the time I’m writing this there are still people stranded on the roads or at temporary shelters. I’ve heard of five deaths, a baby was born who was named “Grace” and many cars are still on the side of the roads from people who had to leave them and walk to a safe place.

I can rant about a lot of things that have upset me about this situation. The authorities have not IMG_0814accepted responsibility, not for the snow, I think we are smarter than that. We are not blaming anyone for snowing but for how some things were handled. There has been no sense of accountability, partial truths and some total untruths. Which reminds me of Psalms 146:3 “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.”

But there’s another side to this story where we saw not only the southern hospitality, but the spirit of community and the Good Samaritan spirit in full action.

Chick- fil- A decided to serve food to stranded drivers. Drivers were sharing any food, water and blankets they had. Some people walked around their streets passing food and water to the stranded motorists. Supermarkets, gas stations and hardware stores (Home Depot)became shelters. Schools had to keep children while their teachers and employees made every effort to make them feel comfortable, ensure that they were fed and kept them safe.

On a routine day we have people whom we like more than others. I experienced the coming together of people whose personalities I see clashing every day. They were checking on each other, praying for each other. The differences disappeared and they focused on what was important, thy neighbor.

So yes, it was a difficult time and it’s not over yet, but I’ve been able to see that there’s still hope, that although the flesh has a tendency to evil, goodness shows up when the rubber meets the road.

My prayers are with those who lost loved ones and with those who have not made it home. Know that this is not just one of those we are praying for you cliché. We Are Praying for YOU! I invite anyone who reads this and it’s home safe to join me in praying, not only for those who are still struggling, but also a prayer of gratitude for the fact that you are home safe and warm.

Matthew 18:19 – Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

If you have been part of this experience and need to vent, have a special prayer request or a praise report, feel free to share it with us. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it publicly, just email me at therisingmuse@gmail.com

Stay warm. Stay safe. God Bless.

Naty

Book Signing Lessons

036As some of you know this past Saturday was my first official book signing for Growth Lessons. Needless to say it was quite an experience. As a new author I didn’t know what to expect. The great thing was that most of my attendants were not only pleased with the event but admitted to have never attended a book signing before, so I guess that helped with their expectations.

The preparation for this event was quite interesting and challenging, but it reminded me every step of the way that I’m just part of the plan and that the King has it all under his control; therefore all I had to do was show up and string along. I can tell you about things being delivered at the last minute, while I was attempting to keep my shreds of sanity but what really happened that day is what it’s worth mentioning.

First of all I have to thank all of you who attended and made the day a special one. I kept hearing, “this day is about you”…it wasn’t, it was about each and every one of you and the things that God wanted to share with you through me, I hope it made a difference in your life. I do have to publicly thank Five Spot Frozen Yogurt for opening their doors to me and for being so 037accommodating. They are fabulous and have some great yogurt worth eating even if it’s 15 degrees outside, so if you’re anywhere close to NE Atlanta, go check it out. Also my four angels : Dora, Marion, Dee and Tonya who put up with my craziness ( I can be just a little neurotic when it comes to events…although I have to say I did very good this time) and for making it seems all so easy. God bless you.

Now to the good stuff. So what happened during the three hours where we were sitting there with yummy yogurt and chatting away. Here are some of the highlights…

  • Relationships were rebuilt. Yes, there were folks that had not seen or talk to each other in a long time and unknowingly found each other there and reconnected.
  • Relationships were built- There was such a camaraderie with people who never knew each other and started talking to each other and finding things in common and exchanging information.
  • God touched some hearts- I read a lesson from the book to those present. We all felt the presence of God in that place and later on, someone who has not been following the faith was asking me information about the church I attend and the time of the services because they felt a touch from the Lord.
  • Friendships grew– I had the most pleasant visit from my friend Author Tracy Ruckman and her husband Tim. Tracy and I met online through being authors of Grace and Faith, but had never seen each other face to face. When we saw each other was like embracing my best friend and like we had just not seen each other in a week. She’s not only an amazing woman, but don’t believe what you see in her pictures, she’s way more beautiful than that; inside and out. Smile
  • Love and laughter was everywhere– When the event was over I was so tired, but so happy. I received so many expressions of love, shared so many moments of laughter.

I want to share a small story that touched my heart. This little girl walked up 038to me with her mother as we were clearing our tables. She was attracted by the balloons I had. She saw the writing on the wall (literally) and asked me what was the occasion. I explained to her that I had written a book and had come to this place to share my book with other people. Her family, I discovered through the conversation are Christians, so I started a conversation with the mother about the book and Jesus. I gave the girl a balloon which was what had attracted her in the first place. The girl tells me, “ I sing in church”. I chuckled at her and said. “ I love praise and worship but baby that is not my gift”…she smiled back and said, “No, yours is to write books for Jesus” It just felt like validation from heaven.

I’m just grateful for whatever God is wanting to do with me and through me. I can’t deny that I enjoy writing, but even more if it’s for his Glory.

Many blessings!!

My Lessons from NaNoWriMo 2011

Every year is the same thing, the challenge to write a novel in 30 days of 50,000 words or more. But is it really the same thing? In my three years doing Nano I can attest that it’s never the same experience, even if you’re meeting with the same people. So like every experience you take something out of it and I’m going to share my lessons from this year.

  • Thou shall not publish a book in October if you’re planning to participate in NaNoWriMo. Goodness gracious alive! It was my first time, and as first timers go, I didn’t know any better. I had no idea of all the work involved once you’re published and balancing all that was quite challenging.
  • Write-ins are your friends – I don’t think I would have made it this year without the write-ins and the support from my Pandas (Atlanta’s wrimos) There were days I couldn’t write being overwhelmed with other responsibilities, and writer’s block rode on my back all month, but you get to a write-in with the mindset that during that block of time is to focus on Nano, and you also talk out your hurdles and everyone pitches in, it was awesome!
  • Not all wrimos are created equal I think I took for granted that I was kind of veteran in this NaNo business and the first week I pushed very hard ending with 30k. You may think that’s amazing! Yeah, but then I was burned out and dragged the rest of the month. You shall never compare yourself to those non-human wrimos who can write 50k in a day (no names mentioned Smile with tongue out) and know that 3-5k for you is ok that way you’re not banging yourself against the walls in the middle of November.
  • Sleep is not optional – As much as I enjoy working all day and night… Wait, who am I kidding, I love my sleep! and  I missed it so much this month. If my plot came to me in a dream, then why didn’t I just take a nap when I was stuck. My brain just doesn’t function well with little sleep, it does things like forget to pay the bills, drive pass my exit, lose my car keys that are in my pocket…not a pretty picture!
  • I love my wrimo family – I have to say that at least in my region, wrimos are very close, even if we only see each other once a year. We stay in touch sporadically through social media throughout the rest of the year, but I’ve met some dear friends through this program. This year, a beautiful lady with whom I speak every day on twitter from Canada came to Atlanta and I had the opportunity to finally put a face with a name.  I also met two other Christian writers, one who I was her mentor and the other one who came to one of my write-ins. It’s a great experience overall.

So even when I did write over 50k this year, I don’t consider it a win because I didn’t complete the novel, but I had fun, met some fun and exciting people, was able to get with my friends again, ate the best coconut cake in town, didn’t gain weight during Nano and overall enjoyed the process of a new creation.

Until NaNoWriMo 2012, Have a blessed day!

Remember as it says in that cute green picture on the left side of my blog. From Dec 2nd to the 6th 99 hours of inspirational books by 10 authors for 99 cents, including Growth Lessons. Right in time for the holidays!

Nano update: Dreaded Week 2

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Like one of our fearless Atlanta ML (Municipal Liaison) would say, this week feels like being in the middle of a traffic jam on 285 during morning rush. After writing 35,000 words, I feel like I’m in the last stages of labor. I can’t sleep, I have a lot to drink, therefore a lot of stops to make, I’m craving weird stuff to eat and pain…oh a lot of pain (from thinking and typing, LOL!). The reality is that they are just Braxton hicks’ contractions, in other words false alarms; this baby is not ready to come out( or in NaNoWriMo lingo, we still have writing to do. The story is not finished yet).

One thing I have learned from this year’s Nano is that you should never stop writing. If your story is not finished, the fact that you have a bazillion words doesn’t mean you can take a break. Somehow your brain thinks that the break implies that you’re done and it takes twice the effort to get yourself in gear. So, if you want to give yourself a mini-break, get on the page at least for five minutes and write a paragraph, a line…whatever it takes to keep you connected to your story. I had to learn it the hard way. I was very confident with my work last week. I wrote a little on Friday and none on Saturday even though I had the time. Then yesterday, going back to my labor analogy, it took pitocin (meaning going to a write-in), a chai latte, three word wars and a good frustration cry to get me back in gear.

My story has taken a life of its own. I had something envisioned and for those who do not write, believe me characters are like your children, they may have your DNA but ultimately they do what they want, and you have to rail them in to do what you know it’s best for them (or your story). I knew I had reached insanity when I spent five paragraphs describing a bathroom and a doll house. They were pretty though. So after a good chat and a couple of laughs I’m ready to get back to business, the discovery of the murder. Who did it? Stay tuned…