Coronavirus · My Thoughts · poetry · Words Matter

POETRY: Dare I Breathe—Tomorrow is a Month!

I’m a writer, a poet! So what do I do when stressed out? WRITE POETRY! Poetry is the way I have processed life—no different during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the first in a series of poems I’ve written! What a long month! Since we got back from Spain a month ago, I’ve processed my fear and anxiety about the possibility of getting the coronavirus through words, thoughts and poems.

Here’s a poem I wrote a couple days ago, and I will be sharing more in the next couple days.

Not Today #COVID19
By: Larada Horner-Miller
April 7, 2020
 
Thirty-one days
            Since we left
                        Coronavirus-stricken Madrid
                                    And Spain
 We left on March 8th;
            It exploded there the 9th.
 
Thirty-one days of
            Holding my breath
            Self-examination
                        By the minute
            Self-diagnosis
                        Daily
            Self-screening
                        Repeatedly

Washing hands
            washing hands
                        washing hands! 
 
A throat tickle
            Sore throat
                         Diarrhea
            Cough
Is it the virus?
            Dread and anxiety gripped me
 
Two weeks of
            Self-quarantine
Desperate not to share
            If I had it.
 
Dances cancelled
            CALLERLAB cancelled
                        Life cancelled!
 
After two weeks
            A sigh
                        Maybe we made it
Yet. . .
 
Incubation period
            2 — 14 days
                        maybe 27
 
Oh, my God!
 
Shelter-in-place
            Nothing new
                        No new symptoms
 
After two weeks,
            Out of the house for the first time
                        For a prescription and groceries
Panic and fear
            People six-feet apart 
                        at the drug store
                                    Safe yet foreign
            People too close to me
                        In the grocery store
                                    Claustrophobic

Malted Easter Eggs lured me in
            Impulse buying
                        No, it’s Easter time
                                    I always buy them at Easter
                                                Normal routine
            Two bags
I wolfed down one whole bag
            immediately
                   And gained three pounds!
 
Remedy to grocery shopping
            Senior time slot
                        Early in the morning
                                    Safer
                                                Respectful of distance
                                                            Less people
Still washing hands
            disinfecting the bags
                        the Jeep
                                   the steering wheel
                                                the knobs
EVERTYTHING!
  
Watching my husband, Lin, closely
            Fear gripped my heart
Both of us have had health issues
            the last couple years
 
Three weeks gone
            Another sigh of relief
 
Yet in the back of my mind
            And heart
Will it happen?
            Will it sneak up and attack
                        when I least expect it?
 
Tomorrow I will breathe
            Celebrate
                        Relax
                                    Praise God!
 
But today,
            I am still apprehensive
                        Not sure
                                    Wondering?
 
God protect us!
 
 
 
Woman hugging a pillow, relieved.

We live in uncertain times, staying home when I’m used to being with others, dancing, traveling and hugging. I haven’t been able to visit our ranch in southeastern Colorado and be rejuvenated by open prairies, a magnificent evening sunset silhouetting Saddlerock or an evening ride around our ranch with my brother looking for wildlife and sharing favorite memories!

I’m an extrovert, so I need you and your hugs! However, we can cope with this insanity—we just have to find the best way that works for our individual personalities!

I hope my words comfort your heart—take them as a virtual hug! Let me know how you have felt during this sad time! And there will be more!


~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~ I HAVE 232 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  It will be published by in APRIL! You, too, can pre-order this amazing story! You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Blogging · My Thoughts · Words Matter · Writing

What Does Five Years of Blogging Look Like?

Five years ago, I took the advice of writing pundits that I should blog as an author, so I did it sporadically and half-heartedly for four years. I didn’t do regular posts. I wasn’t committed. I didn’t know what to do.

Then in 2017, my husband and I took a fabulous trip to Ireland and England, and it hit me–blog about every day of the trip. We were gone for 23 days, so I had topics for twenty-three posts, and I was off and running. I realized the power in having planned blogs. My statistics changed, and last year, I hit it full tilt. Now I have a database of topics for 2019 already.

I wanted to take this opportunity to look at my statistics and thoughtfully consider what’s working and what needs to be tweaked! Let’s look at my statistics for the last five years:

For the first two years I had 207 views but my visitors increase. In 2016 views more than doubled and visitors increased also. In 2017 again, views increased but visitors more than doubled.

But 2018, my numbers went off the map! My views increased more than six times and the visitors jumped by seven times. Wow! Why?

Over the years I increased my posts, and last year I posted on a regular weekly basis–some weeks I posted twice a week. I more than doubled the number of posts published. What do I take from that? Readers like regular blog posts, and they like more.

Here’s what my posts published statistics look like:

  • 2014 – 7
  • 2015 – 16
  • 2016 – 6
  • 2017 – 22
  • 2018 – 55

Let’s look at specifics from 2018. My most popular post published was “Day 3 – 4 Kissing A Stone and on to Killarney.” I wondered about its popularity for months, then my husband said it was the blog post that came up every time he went to my blog, so is that the reason? Or are people enamored with “Kissing the Blarney Stone?”

“Live Lively, Square Dance” was the second most popular. I shared it on several Facebook square dance pages, and the response was great. Sharing about my personal life seems to spark more interest.

What was your favorite blog post of mine in 2018?

I love the growth statistics this last year, but I do have two disappointing statistics: likes and comments.

Likes:

  • 2014 – 0
  • 2015 – 1
  • 2016 – 8
  • 2017 – 45
  • 2018 – 136

Comments:

  • 2014 – 0
    2015 – 2
    2016 – 77
    2017 – 8
    2018 – 48

I want more interaction with my visitors. I end each blog with questions to stimulate conversation, so help me out. What do I need to do? What would make you like and/or comment more on my blog?

Visitors to my blog come from all over the world which fascinates me, so what countries visited my blog last year and how many did I have for each country?

  • United States – 3962
  • Australia – 108
  • Canada – 103
  • United Kingdom – 69
  • Germany – 36
  • Ireland – 34
  • India – 26
  • Japan – 25
  • Hong Kong (China) – 19
  • Sweden – 8

Other countries listed are Netherlands, Philippines, Qatar, Mexico, Russia, Denmark, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, France, Armenia, Portugal, Belgium, Ukraine, Spain, Lithuania, New Zealand, Finland, Egypt, Romania, Thailand, Italy, China, Cameroon, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Poland, and Colombia. Readers from 29 countries have visited my blog in 2018–Wow!

So, why did you come to my blog from such far-away places? Let me know.

One more change I did these last two years was use a variety of quality photographs and graphics.

Over 84% of all marketing strategies use images, popular GIFs, graphics, animations, and signs among others to pass information. Visual communication has more impact in passing information to people. 

https://www.eztalks.com/unified-communications/why-visual-communicaion-is-important.html

I plan to include these topics this year:

  • Our Travels
  • Square Dancing
  • Marshall Flippo and promoting my new book
  • Personal life stories
  • Being 65 and fully alive
  • Holiday highlights
  • Ranch life in southeastern Colorado

All-in-all, my blog has become a major focus of my writing career, so stick around and see where we go this next year!

I have 4 books and 3 cookbooks to check out on my web site: https://www.laradasbooks.com

25% Discount on Digital copies of all my books at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft

My Thoughts · Uncategorized · Words Matter

Balance

Rocks Balanced

“Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being.”

Orison Swett Marden

Life is a balancing act for sure! In the busyness of 2017, I struggle the most with balance. I want to do it all, but wisdom of the ages says I can’t. If I focus on these things parts of my life–work, love and play–I will balance me more than anything.

Being retired, I thought it would be easy to deal with the work part, but I have so many interests and passions, I find myself working harder than when I was employed. I have learned to slow down some–my husband and I start most days off with Cribbage games during breakfast. This precious time starts my day the right way–not running to fulfill an obligation but to laugh and enjoy a sacred time of communion with my partner.

To love deeply requires that we are active. A dear friend of mine just lost her husband of 15 years to a motorcycle accident, and I found out this morning that she had to do the courageous act of pulling life support for him this last week–my whole body trembled as she shared this. My love for her and her family overflowed , and I felt almost nauseous with this sad, horrific turn of events. This afternoon I will go by and give her a hug and let her talk–actively loving her.

I love to play–my nature is to play, and I bring an enthusiastic heart to anything I do–whether it is editing my books, square dancing or just goofing off at home. Play feeds my soul in a way nothing else can.

Balancing all three of these areas makes my life rich and full–mastering the balancing act takes everything I have, but the rewards are immeasureable.

 

 

Life Lessons · My Thoughts · Uncategorized · Words Matter · Writing

Harmony

harmony

This continues my series of Words Matter.

Often when I think of harmony, I first think of music–Barbershop Quartets, Sweet Adeline’s, and the OakRidge Boys. That sweet, harmonious sound thrills my soul. How do they do it? It seems so simple, but is it?

There’s so much more to that simple word. Look at four definitions of harmony:

  1. agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
  2. a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
  3. In music:  any simultaneous combination of tones, the simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished, from melody and rhythm.the science of the structure, relations, and practical combination of chords.
  4. an arrangement of the contents of the Gospels, either of all four or of the first three, designed to show their parallelism, mutual relations,and differences.

These definitions all have something in common: something in agreement or accord.

Harmony in the world is a lofty goal. I want harmony in my life–the inner landscape of my life where I really live. To realize this, I have to train my voice (my spirit and soul) to listen to those around me and blend in with their tones and nuances. That’s where I get stuck sometimes, but I dedicate myself to be aware of that possibility and give it a try.

More so, I have to listen to my differing inner voices and be in harmony with them in my mind, so I can be more harmonious with those who around me that grace my world. If, I am in discord with my inner landscape, I will be the same in my outer landscape.

I want harmony in every aspect of that inner life–a mesh of all the different parts that fill my busy life. Let’s see what you think about harmony: do you think about being in harmony with family and friends? are you in harmony with yourself? do you harmonize or are your relationships off key?

Share your thoughts with me–I’m interested in your thoughts and remember–words matter!

My Thoughts · Words Matter

Words Matter – Authentic

authentic

A friend of mine several years ago shared with me that more than anything she wanted to be authentic. That resonated to the depth of my soul, but what did it mean? I knew the meaning of the word, but what did that mean for me, in my every day life.

Being authentic is a goal of mine today. I want my inside world to match my outside appearance to the world. For many years, I judged my insides by your outer appearance and I always came up lacking. I saw you as beautiful, happy and peaceful. I looked inside and saw none of that in me. That is no longer the case.

After many years of searching, maturity and spiritual growth have resolved that disconnect, and I am glad because one of the wonderful by-products of this quest is a deep serenity–a feeling I had never felt before in my life.

Look in that beautiful little girl in the photo above. She appears happy and a little shy but certainly OK with herself. So today I aspire to be as authentic as this child–to love deeply and freely, to giggle and laugh at tiny things and large things, and to run wildly through my life being me.

In the end, the only person I can be is Larada and that’s enough today.

My next word will be harmony–what does that conjure up in your mind?

Check out my web site: http://larada.wix.com/author