Life’s Playlist…. Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James & the Shondells

Day 11 of the Jeff Goins, 500 Words a Day Writing Challenge.

Persuade you about something.

HHHHMMMMM……. I have to think on this one.

 

Life’s Playlist….. Word Crimes by “Weird Al” Yankovic

Day 10 – Jeff Goins – 500 Word Challenge….. Write About Writing.

When I saw today’s assignment terror flushed through my body.  What do I know about writing?  I write, but do I really write?

I know that I get a rush of excitement when I sit down and look at a blank screen and start writing, for me it is a rush.  I love to see the words show up on my screen as they flow from my fingers.  But the constant fear I have had since I actually started writing is…..”is this any good?”

I started writing this blog in 2009, it was originally posted on a “Blogger” profile http://notesfromasouthernkitchen.blogspot.com/.  You would think that after nine years I would have it figured out by now…. I don’t.

I started writing “Notes from a Southern Kitchen” as an experiment.  I hadn’t done a lot of “real” writing up until that time.  I wrote a lot of Press Releases for my job, but nothing just for enjoyment.

As my mom’s health began to fail, I thought the blog would be a nice way to help her remember family stories from my perspective.  The experiment worked, she loved the blog and read every post. After she passed away, it was difficult to write.

I wrote sporadically, but the joy was gone.  Over the course of a year, I started posting a bit from time to time and near the end of 2011 I moved the blog to this WordPress format.

After moving over, I started to write a bit more, not usually family stories but my views on pop culture, food, politics and the like.  I found I didn’t enjoy those posts nearly as much as I did the stories and moments of life that impacted my days.

Once I moved back to God’s Country, I started having a renewed story to tell, a return to my hometown after being away for over 30 years.

I started to find my joy in writing again and with that joy started writing a monthly column for an area magazine and sharing more here on the blog.

I started writing a novel and then switched over to a life-story and then a second idea for a novel.

I’m now concentrating more on the novel, although the life-story book is almost ready to go, I have a mini-meltdown every time I think about sending it off to a publisher.

You see, quite frankly, I am petrified to finish up any of my work and send it in.  I fear the rejection, I fear that the book in my brain simply isn’t as good on paper as it is in my head.

When I write, I still see those red-marked grade “C” essays from college.  I am afraid I still haven’t learned where to put a comma and where to leave one out.  Are my sentences mature or do I write like a fourth-grader, do I ramble, do I repeat and on and on and on, I know it is fear that holds me back.

Then I start worrying, what if it is good, what if it is published, what if people like it, oh my, fear really is my worst enemy!

‘All these thoughts hold me back, fear, doubt….. ugh!

I’ll just put it out there, I would love to write books and columns and human interest stories.  I think I excel in that homespun writing that leaves people with a lump in their throat or a swelled heart filled with pride.

Now if I could just get past my fears and have enough faith in my ability to find out if I “have it” or not, maybe this would all be easier.

Writing is my joy, my excitement, my best friend.  Writing is also my insecurity, my fear and my dread.

Oh Calgon….. take me away!

Life’s Playlist….. Teach Me Tonight performed by Phoebe Snow

Today is my Day 9 of the Jeff Goins – 31 Day Writing Challenge, 500 words per day.

My assignment today is to “teach you something.”

Quite a broad topic at hand and my thoughts on what to teach are all over the place.  I could teach how to ride  bike, but doesn’t everyone know how to ride a bike?

I could teach how to print a design on a direct to garment t-shirt, but I have enough competition for that, I don’t need to give away anymore secrets!

Maybe I could teach you to hula hoop, if only my stomach didn’t get in the way.  Or I could give an awesome demonstration on how to take a selfie, nope not good with that.  Swim the length of Lake Burton, no one wants to see me without a shirt and it is WAY too cold.

So I guess I will fall back on something I know and I’m actually pretty good at, something from the kitchen, one of my favorite dishes a simple banana pudding.

Banana pudding is a southern delicacy, some people eat it as dessert, I eat it as a side with my main course.

My mama used to make a real banana pudding with real meringue and it would be devoured as soon as it hit the table.

Several years ago my cousin gave me a recipe for a simple banana pudding that I have now made consistently and gotten the same results as the one my mama used to labor over, so here goes……

Simple Banana Pudding:

The ingredients needed for a simple banana pudding are short.

1 – 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups of water

1 small box of vanilla instant pudding

1 cup of whipping cream

1 cup of sour cream (this is the surprise ingredient and definitely makes it!)

6 – 8 bananas

1 box of vanilla wafers

One of the most important things you can do is your first stop in making this dish.  About an hour before you are ready to prepare the dish, put a large bowl and the beaters from your mixer in the freezer.  Just let them stay in the freezer, it will be important that they are super cold when it is time to bring them into the mix.

Now that all the preliminaries are done… it’s time to put this dish together.

In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk, and water.  Mix these ingredients well.

Mix in the pudding and whisk until there are no lumps.

Once these ingredients are mixed, put the bowl containing them in the refrigerator to sit.

Now, remember that bowl and beaters you put in the freezer to chill?  It’s their turn, take them out, if you left them in for at least an hour, they should be nicely chilled.

In the bowl, pour in one cup of whipping cream and with the mixer, beat until it is thick and starts to peak.  Warning…. don’t beat it too much, you will know when it is right.

Once the whipped cream is ready, fold in the sour cream and then combine your two mixtures, the pudding and cream bowls.  Mix them together.

Now you are ready to put this masterpiece together.

Cut the bananas into thin rounds and break up the Nilla Wafers, not too broken, you will want some chunks but broken enough so that they are easy to eat.

In a clear bowl, you will layer the different ingredients.

Layer one, pudding mix.

Layer two, vanilla wafers.

Layer three, bananas.

Repeat and then save a few of the Nilla Wafers for topping.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, the longer the better so that everything can set up.

And now….. eat!

Sunday Playlist….. Give Me Jesus performed by Danny Gokey

Life’s Playlist… God Bless the Child performed by Vivian Reed

Day 7 – My 500 Words Challenge by Jeff Goins.

Write a letter to my children or my younger self.

On the surface it appears this should be a simple assignment for me, since I have no kids and at 53 that doesn’t look like it will change. Logically I should write to my younger self.  However, logic isn’t something I always follow, with that said, I write to the children I will never have and only dream of having.

Dear Child of My Dreams,

First and foremost know I love you, or I should say, I love the thought of you.  I would always have loved you and there is nothing that you could have ever done that would change that fact.

You would be my greatest gift from God and I know I would have been humbled that he allowed me to be your parent.  I was blessed to have amazing parents and I would only hope that I could be half as good as they were.

I never doubted my parents love and if I did nothing else right, I would want you to never doubt mine either.

If I were lucky enough to have been a parent, I would have told you that there are a few things you should know.  I would stress to you that you can be anything in this world you want to be, the sky is the limit and dreams are meant to be followed.  You should never let anyone devalue your dreams or think you can’t do something, you can, you just have to set your mind to it and make it happen.

When I was younger I had dreams that I didn’t express out of fear, I hope you would never do that.  Unfulfilled dreams or adhering to the life you think someone else wants for you will never get you to where you truly want to be.  I have regrets about not expressing my own dreams and would never want you to fall into that place, GO FOR IT!

I would tell you, if a dream feels far-fetched voice it, we would find a way to make it happen, together, as a family.  Nothing is impossible!

As wonderful as dreams are, I would also stress that, you have to know there are responsibilities that go along with those dreams.  Work hard, study, and never give up.

When I was a child, there was one rule in our house, it would apply to you too.  My father always instilled in me to “never do anything that would embarrass my mama,” we would revise that a bit and say never do anything that will embarrass your family.

For me I would want you to understand that it is important that as a family, we hold this cornerstone of responsibility, I would stress that you need to be a good citizen, you should care for and take care of others and you should always think of your family when making decisions, it helps you stay on the straight and narrow.

I think the greatest gifts you can give a child is to know if they are loved, dream big and honor family there aren’t a lot of things that can go wrong.  However, I would also stress that life isn’t always fair and things happen.  Things will go wrong, the child I can only dream of would sometimes fall short, they would face disappointment and heartbreak, unfortunately that is part of life.

What I would tell my child is that I would walk beside them through difficulties.  I would hold their hand and I would be a shoulder they could cry on.  I would stress to my child that I am available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every second of every day, no one is more important than you are.

From the day they were born I would make sure my child knew that their name is inscribed on my heart and I will always be your number one cheerleader.  No problem is too big or too small to bring to me and when asked, I will be honest with you and give my opinion; however if you choose a different path, I will respect your decisions.

For the child I can only dream of I would let them know, God has given you to me for a finite amount of time.  I want to make every moment of your life wonderful, I know I can’t do that, but what I can do is love you today, tomorrow and forever.  My child would know that I prayed for you before you ever arrived and will continue to pray for you until my last breath.

Finally, I would want my child to know and understand, you are the legacy I will leave to this world, just as I was for my parents.  Live big, live bold and just be YOU, there is nothing greater and I would expect nothing less.

If only I could say for real, I love you to infinity and am proud to call you my child.

Love,

Dad, to the child of my dreams