Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Do What you Love by Jan Sikes


Today an inspirational piece by Jan Sikes, reminding us that however tough things might be there is usually a chink of light to give us something to be positive about.

Do What you Love by Jan Sikes

inspiration

I am thrilled it when inspirations come out of the blue. I have a feeling I will get lots of them living in my new place. But, I digress.

The thought I had was this, “Do what you love. Love what you do.”

“How?” you ask.

We all have to do things in life to put food on our tables that we aren’t particularly fond of, such as going to a thankless job. Maybe your boss is a jerk. Or perhaps your daily commute is grueling. There could be a myriad of negatives about the things we must do to survive.

But…instead of focusing on the negatives, what if we sought out the positives and focused on them instead. So, your boss is a jerk, but the receptionist that greets you each morning is always full of sunshine and smiling. And, yes, the daily commute is grueling, but what about that cool audio book you managed to read in a week just sitting in traffic? Or how about that awesome new song that came on the radio and made you turn up the volume?

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Sometimes, it’s the little things. Maybe there aren’t any big positives to what you do that you can grasp, but as a wise man once said, “Littles make bigs.” By finding ways to love what we do, we free ourselves to do things we truly love. Writers find more time to write. Songwriters find time to compose new melodies. Families spend more time playing and less time arguing. It’s the proverbial domino effect.

By focusing on the aspects of life that we do love and less on the parts we don’t, the world instantly becomes a better place in which to live.

So, DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU DO!

Hugs, light and love sent to you.

love-light-hugs

©Jan Sikes

I am sure that this has inspired you too, as it has me. Thanks Jan.

About Jan Sikes

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

Books by Jan Sikes.

One of the excellent reviews for Til Death Do Us Part.

Oct 30, 2017 D.L. Finn rated it Five Stars

This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book.

I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan

website: http://www.jansikes.com
Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikes
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

If you would like to join Jan and the other writers and submit posts from your archives here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Author Inteview – John Fioravanti


Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Please extend a warm welcome to my guest today on the Cafe Book Reading.. author John Fioravanti. I know that having read John’s interview you will have your own questions and please put those in the comments section of the post.

First something about John Fioravanti in his own words.

I taught high school history for thirty-five years in just two schools in the Waterloo, Ontario region. My wife and business partner, Anne, and I have been married for more than 40 years. We have three adult children and three grandchildren. In 2002, I wrote an educational book for high school students about writing skills in the discipline of History. “Getting it Right In History Class” is available in Canadian and International editions at Wintertickle Press.

In 2006, Iceberg Publishing commissioned me to write an inspirational book about my years in the classroom. “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” was published in 2007. The book won a Bronze Medal at the IPPY International Awards in Los Angeles in May, 2008. I retired from teaching the next month.

My wife and I decided to strike off on our own and founded our own publishing company in December, 2013. We called it Fiora Books. Our good friends at Iceberg Publishing turned my award winning book back over to us to publish under the Fiora Books imprint. The 2014 edition of “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” was released in May, 2014 on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.

This was followed by Passion & Struggle Book One of The Genesis Saga in 2014, Treachery & Triumph Book Two of the series in 2015

One of the latest reviews for Book One of The Genesis Saga.

Mr. Fioravanti wrote a thought provoking science fiction story set in the year 2796. There is a lot of detail in the beginning of the story, that slowed me down at first. Although, once I got into the story, I was hooked. I found some chilling parallels with the story line and what is happening in our own world. Genesis is a tropical planet that humans inhabited after they had to leave Earth when a virus got out of control. Earth was left to evolve in new ways. A common enemy united both planets for a past war. This led to Genesis trying a new form of government modeling after Earth.

Implementing government reform does not go well, because Genesis is a society evenly split between religion and science/warrior classes. But, “Passion & Struggle” is about more than politics, war and religion. There is romance, adventure, hidden agendas, friendships, enemies and intrigue. The relationship between Earth and Genesis is fascinating within itself, but it’s the people that kept my attention. When I got to the last page, I wanted the story to continue and luckily it does! I will be reading the rest of the series!

Reflections: Inspirational Quotes and Interpretations in 2016.

REFLECTIONS was a perfect book to read over the holidays. Each chapter focuses on an inspirational quote from such notable people as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Anne Frank; and, because of this approach, the book can be read non-linearly. The reader can move from one reflection to another, as interest dictates.

There are 50 quotations included in the book, each of which author Fioravanti provides his interpretations, a practice he adopted for his weekly blog. His thoughts, measured and insightful, spur the reader to consider his or her own. This book earns my endorsement and support with Five well-deserved Stars.

Find out more about John’s books and his latest reviews: https://www.amazon.com/John-Fioravanti/e/B00JSAHGAU

Now time to discover more about John and his life and work. He is looking forward to answering your questions and please pop them into the comments at the end of the post.

Welcome John and could you tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

My first chosen genre is Inspirational Non-Fiction. I entered the teaching profession in 1973 to help young people navigate the treacherous waters of the teen years, and my desire to help others has never gone away. I also write Science Fiction having been inspired by Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek TV series when I was in high school. I never lost my fascination for space exploration. My sci-fi books are best described as human drama in a futuristic society, as opposed to classic space battles with otherworldly technology.

Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger?

My blogs have fallen into three categories – the first two reflect the genres in which I write. In the MY INSPIRATION blog series, I select an inspirational quote by an author or well-known person and then write an interpretive reflection about the quote.  https://wordpress585519.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/my-inspiration/

The second set of blogs are vignettes called GENESIS CHRONICLES. These are a set of 25 prequels to my current sci-fi series called The Genesis Saga. https://wordpress585519.wordpress.com/category/the-genesis-chronicles/

My latest set of blogs reflects my interest in teaching History in the classroom for 35 years. JOHN’S ARCHIVES put forward five events that happened on the current date in history, as well as three famous people born on that date: https://wordpress585519.wordpress.com/category/johns-archives/

What do you believe is the most important event to have affected our lives in the last 100 years?

I believe the most important event that has affected our lives in the last 100 years is the advent of the World Wide Web in 1989-90. Although there were other networks established two to three decades earlier, the Internet has profoundly impacted just about every aspect of our lives. I won’t list all of those ways here, but there are a few that are most important to me.

First, the Internet allows families to connect regularly, keep those bonds of affection, and support alive and well. As well, The WWW has revolutionised the global economy allowing many people to support themselves through online businesses. Now we can shop from our computers and other devices! Finally, the Internet, through social media, has impacted world events like no other medium in history. Would the throngs of women who marched in most major cities around the world recently have happened without the linkage provided by social media? I think not.

As a history teacher for thirty-five years what do you feel has been the most significant change to the education system in that time?

The most significant change in education during my career (1973-2008) was the advent of the Internet coupled with the use of computers in the classroom. The Internet has revolutionised research for every level of education. In my day, we researched at the school library and the local public library. The use of computers at home and the classroom has given students an invaluable learning tool to use in every area of study across the curriculum. As a teacher, my effectiveness in lesson presentation, skill development for students and in assessment and evaluation – and reporting, was enhanced many times over by the computer and access to the Internet. The exciting thing is that these twin tools are still evolving!

You have written both non-fiction and fiction. Which do you prefer and why?

Of the two genres, fiction and non-fiction, I prefer to write my science fiction novels. Just as reading a great novel is first-rate escapism, so too is writing such a book. As the author, I love to escape my reality in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 2017 to write stories about people living on a fictitious planet in a distant galaxy, six hundred years into the future.

I devoured novels by the dozen as a kid growing up and always regarded the authors as special beings. How did they come up with these plots and characters? How did they weave subplots together? When I discovered later in life that I can do this too, I was thrilled! I also love the act of creation – bringing something into existence that was not there before. Writing fiction is exciting stuff!

Having been a history teacher, which era do you feel has been the most significant in terms of the nations we are today?

As a history teacher, I’d say that the most significant era that impacted the nations that we are today is the period of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. This period saw the decline and breakup of the global European empires, the rise of independence movements among colonies, and most importantly for all of us, the ascendancy of the United States to the #1 world power status by 1900 and super power status by 1945. The Americans have had more influence on the world regarding economics, culture, politics and the military than any nation in history. We were spared World War III because the USA assumed the mantle of “World Cop” and enforced Pax Americana with a military unparalleled in size and power.

Connect to John on his website and social media.

Fiora Books websitehttp://fiorabooks.com/
Twitter Accounts:  https://twitter.com/JohnJFioravanti  and  https://twitter.com/FioraBooks
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/john.f.fioravanti  and  https://www.facebook.com/FioraBooks/
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-fioravanti-3a817718/
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JohnFioravantiAuthor
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5246942.John_Fioravanti

My thanks to John for his thought provoking answers to the questions and it is now your turn to take over the interview with your own questions. John will be popping into the interview over the next two days or so to respond.

 

Baie dankie my vriend Linda Mooi from Sally aged Ten. Capetown 1963


My father was posted to Cape Town to Simonstown in early 1963. I was ten years old and had just spent another two years at the Garrison school in Portsmouth. The school had been a relief with its 100 pupils after the 1200 or so at Verdala in Malta and before we left a decision had to be made as to my secondary education.

The Royal Navy was prepared to pay for me to go to boarding school for the next two years, and to be fair my parents did ask for my input. My mother I think was relieved that I said that I would rather to to Cape Town with them and we all departed on an RAF flight via Nairobi (where we spent the night at a Safari hotel) for Cape Town.

There were adventures along the way but since they are not the subject of the story will leave until another time.

Suffice to say that yet again I was introduced to a new education system. Secondary school did not start until 13 in South Africa as children did not go to school until 6 or 7. The days were shorter – 8.30 to 2 or 3pm if I remember correctly, and I used to travel back and forth on my first bike. To be honest I remember that more for the scar on my knee that I still have today. I was looking at boys and rode up onto a pile of gravel by the side of the road and landed in an inelegant and revealing heap.

Of course everything that I had learned to that point was useful but the curriculum was very different. I now had to catch up three years of South African history, geography and learn Afrikaans as mandatory.

I enjoyed my time at school and I always adapted to new environments by developing the local accent. I had already learned at an early age that if you want to fit in quickly you sound like everyone else as soon as possible. In fact when we returned to the UK we went up to Preston in Lancashire for two years, and I went from a very strong South African accent to broad Lancs in the space of two weeks, much to the confusion of my family.

So I have set the scene at school but our life was very different in some major aspects.

Before we left the UK for Cape Town my father was given a relocation package that included our behaviour whilst guests in South Africa. As you can imagine this was the early 60’s and apartheid in South Africa was probably at its most fragile. We as guests were under strict instructions not to comment on the situation under any circumstances. This included us children. My brother attended an English private school in Rondabosch but I was to attend Newlands Public School and be part of the culture in all senses of the word.

I had been a baby and toddler in Shri Lanka until the age of three and was used to cuddling my Indian amah who looked after me every day and evening. I therefore was not prepared for the restrictions placed on me by apartheid. Even at the age of ten I found it unreasonable and very uncomfortable.

However, we were guests and expected to comply with the rules of our hosts and we met many South African families who were kind and generous people who had been brought up in the system, but were also restricted in what they could say and do at the time.

It was customary for the naval families to employ a local maid and my mother was sent some approved candidates.

These were the days of the resettlement when coloured families were moved out into townships. To work in the white areas, a pass was required and if you were caught without the pass you could be arrested and imprisoned. The maids lived in and would go home to the townships on their day off. If they had a generous employer they could spend the night and return the next day.

Linda Mooi – and I think I have remembered her surname right – was a slim and very pretty young woman of about 24. Over the next 18 months before we left to return to the UK she became more than a maid.

We had inherited another naval family’s boxer dog called Bosun – he was passed on as people were reposted and he knew that his role was security and nanny with young children. There was no way you could take this huge animal for a walk – he was let out in the mornings and you could hear him barking a mile away in the local park, returning exhausted and slavering an hour later with a satisfied look on his face. I dread to think what he had been up to.

When Linda joined us for her first morning – Bosun was out doing his usual morning activities and he returned and scratched the front door, being let in by my mother. We were at school by this time, but by all accounts, Linda took one look at this slobbering monster who charged into the kitchen looking for the intruder and she leapt up onto the cooker which was thankfully not on at the time.

Her gentle nature won him over within a few weeks and whilst tentative at first eventually the relationship blossomed, with Bosun following her as she hung out laundry or worked through the house.

My mother I know was instructed that on no account was she to pay any more than the official monthly wages. However I also know that she slipped money to Linda when she returned to the township where her husband and two young children had to live, and that she always returned home with a food parcel.

As far as we were concerned, Linda was our friend and babysitter. My parents had a hectic social life and without television in Cape Town in those days, entertainment for us children meant running around outside and reading.

Linda would read us stories and she knew all the voices. She had two young children of her own that she must have missed dreadfully between visits to the township, and we were the grateful recipients of her maternal instinct. When my younger brother was asleep in our shared bedroom she would come in with a tin tray from the kitchen and an old pack of cards and she taught me how to play Snap, Rummy and Poker.

When there were thunder storms or we had a nightmare she would sing to us – and I still remember one of her lullabies today and I have used over the years myself.

She hugged us, patched up grazed knees and made us laugh. At the time as children we did not see the shadows in her own life and I know the distance between her and her husband and family created some dramas during our time together, but there are a couple of things that she taught me.

One is that it is our judgement that is coloured, not the skin of the individuals that we meet, and secondly that stereotyping is one of the major stumbling block towards any peace process.

I also want to thank her for teaching me to play cards and win!

She would be in her late-seventies now and I have no idea if she is still alive in Cape Town somewhere. But she does live on in my memories. Baie dankie Linda.

Next time.. the Drama Queen is in the building!

Posts from my Archives – Thank you Mrs Miller – luv Sally age four ‘n’ haf – #Influencers by Sally Cronin


Thank you Mrs. Miller – Luv Sally age four ‘n’ haf

I was 67 this year and whilst I am both young and heart and a rock chick (Status rules okay) – I am also in the process of taking stock before I embark on the next couple of books I have in mind.

Anyway, at the same time I am heavily into social media – Facebook for my friends who are spread throughout the world in different time zones and LinkedIn for professional and work and Twitter – well that is a bit like Alice in Wonderland!

It was Twitter that got me to thinking about inspiration.  There are many big hitters on there in the Leadership field – some of whom kindly follow me – somewhat out of curiosity I suspect – but there are many others who are selling courses and books on the art of leadership and they use their 140 characters to their full advantage #leadership #empowerment #10deadlysinsof  etc, etc.

I have had the honour of interviewing some extraordinary people on radio and on camera.  I have also attended conferences and seminars where leading speakers on world affairs, health and government have shared their vision and thoughts on these weighty subjects. However, when I was making a list of those that inspired and empowered me throughout my life, I was surprised at the people who actually stood out.

They were not the powerful, famous leaders in their field, but men and women just doing their jobs.

Of course there are family and friends who have supported me and inspired me on a daily basis including my husband David has been a wonderful motivating force for 40 years. But as a child I was certainly blessed by having my two older sisters, who being 10 and 11 years older than me – let me tag along and everything they did, I did too.  Well within reason!  But they taught me to be fearless and jump off diving boards,made me smocked dresses, swim in shark invested (well jelly fish) waters and told me bedtime stories. My sister Diana was still at home when I became a teenager and her presence made those years a lot of fun.

I have a short list of people that I would like to pay tribute to over the next few posts.  People who were in my life for short periods of time but whose impact has lasted a lifetime.

MRS MILLER.

In the September after I was four, I went to school. The Garrison Primary School in Old Portsmouth was a collection of old corrugated iron and wooden huts and had four classrooms to the best of my memory.  The head teacher was a Mrs Vine who later remarried and became Mrs Biscoe or Briscoe (come on it was 60 years ago!)  More about her later.

I was obviously in the infants class- along with about 15/20 others.  I wanted to go to school, as I mentioned my two sisters would read to me and I could already follow certain words and knew my letters.  Even now I can remember the feeling of anticipation as my mother walked me from our home to school that first morning in my new clothes and squeaky Clark’s sandals.

The desks were old and scratched with a blackened hole where the ink wells used to reside. Tiny chairs with hard seats were uncomfortable and led to twitchy bums and fidgeting.

Our teacher was standing by the blackboard. I can still see her.  Blonde, younger than my mother who was early 40’s, so about 32 I would think. She had slightly protruding teeth that gave her a lovely smile and she stood quietly as we all settled down.

When we were quiet, she introduced herself as Mrs. Miller and then she said the words that would change my short life as I knew it.

“Today, we are going to begin to learn how to read and write as these are the most important lessons for young children to learn”

I spent my first year at school with Mrs. Miller and I loved every minute. I can remember eagerly waiting for the next lesson and my hand was always the first up when she asked someone to read from our well worn books.  She patiently guided our reading skills and then as we used our ruled books to copy our small a’s and capital A’s and the rest of the alphabet.

I began to read at home and I joined the children’s public library and always had a book on the go.  My father was also a library member but his books were considerably racier than mine – Harold Robbins being one of his favourites – and I would help myself to his selection from about the age of 11. Always careful to take the book he had just read from the bottom of the stack he kept in his bedside cabinet. I probably read a great deal that was above my pay grade and certainly most was completely misunderstood!

Reading and then writing has been the greatest gift that I learned.  Mrs Miller was just doing her job, but she and the millions of teachers around the world who teach children to read and write are inspirational.

To illustrate how inspirational she was, I still remember her name and how she looked 60 years later and I still treasure the gift she gave me of literacy. Apart from being able to read any book that I wished, my career in industry, radio and television would not have been possible. Nor would I be able to pursue my love of writing books, poetry, short stories, my blog and keeping in touch with friends and family.  It also impacts our verbal communications and I certainly do love to talk!

This gift is precious and needs to be put into perspective.  It is estimated that globally over 800million people cannot read or write. Around 70 million children do not have access to primary education and over a million people in the UK struggle with reading and writing.  This impacts their everyday life in virtually every way.

MRS VINE.

Mrs Vine was also a character but I did not really have much contact with her until I returned after two years in Malta and joined moved from Interim class to her senior class. She was memorable because firstly she looked like Olive Oyl from Popeye and we called her that behind her back – and also because Friday afternoons despite her tough exterior she would dispense a packet of boiled sweets.

Also, even though she was a strict disciplinarian, she was very fair.  My father was posted to Cape Town and we were due to leave in the January 1963.  In the September prior to that when I arrived in Mrs. Vine’s class for just one term, she still made me Head Girl until Christmas as a reward for my hard work.  So thank you Mrs Vine too.  For showing me that recognition of achievements is one of the most motivational rewards you can give to someone.

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed this nostalgic step back in time..Sally.