Seeking Advice-Making Decisions

Every human being, each one of us, you, me, our children, our friends–we all need help for something at some point, whether we realize or acknowledge that fact.  No reason to be shy, or be ashamed. We lose no part of our humanity or our independence when we need, and when we seek, that help.

Very importantly, we should never forget that more often than we realize, we ourselves may be, and indeed are, the help for someone else.

Advice is just one type of help.   Advice can be about what we wear, what we eat and drink (and how much of either), how we make friends and who those are, and where we meet our friends for fun. People may give us advice on getting jobs, what religion we should follow (or if we should follow any at all)–the list of what constitutes advice is endless.

We may need advice for a specific situation, or, we may seek advice about a general aspect of our lives. Some people seem to seek advice to get through what might be an ordinary day. Some people seem to seek advice in crisis or emergency. Some people seem to seek advice while simply in the midst of a mutual sounding-board conversation.  

 It is comforting to know that there will be people in our lives who seem to hold answers for whatever is going on.  It is empowering to know that we can often provide advice for someone else.  The most important thing to hold to is that, no matter the source or form of the advice, the person receiving the advice should, and must, make a decision independently and confidently.  Sometimes we give advice. It can be eminently satisfying, when our listener makes the decision we think they should make.  But it can also be a wonderful experience to watch someone listen to our advice, but make their own decisions, just as we might do.  Sometimes we are given advice, and we are grateful. But perhaps the person doesn’t really know our situation, so we make our own choices. After all, that’s part of being independent and self-sufficient.  Sometimes the difficulty of a situation prevents us from making an independent decision, and we really need advice that we can then follow. That is completely acceptable as well.

The most important thing to remember is that each of us is capable, completely, utterly capable, of making a decision. Nobody has a magic key or wand, that will solve our problems and transform us utterly into some new person. The reason for that is that no advice or wisdom can make a difference to us unless, and until, we take it in, consider it, weigh it, ponder it and then apply it. No matter the advice, no matter the source, no matter the certainty with which the advice is given, no matter how uncertain we may be about a situation–advice should never be blindly heeded. Nobody should have that much power over us.  Even the Deity in whom many people around the world believe can only have the power over us that we allow–and even if we consider Divine Wisdom to be ultimate, we still have to take the step to apply and use that wisdom into our lives.

Just because someone or Someone tells you your life will be transformed and transcended does not mean it will be so. First, you have to decide if that advice fits to your life. YOU decide for yourself. Even if the person seems utterly amazingly certain and sweetly confident the answer is staring you in the face. That does not mean you must accept it or life is over. It may indeed be right.

But you first have to decide the advice, the sage wisdom, to be right, for you.

If and when you decide it is right, you next must decide how it applies in your life. Is all of it, or just some part of it, necessary to change things for you. How much of a change do you actually need. Maybe you need advice about the kind of advice you are given, and that should be perfectly all right to seek as well.

You and I are perfectly capable of making decisions. If we cannot make decisions, then even seeking advice is something we are not doing. If we know enough to seek advice, we are already capable.

Be proud of being capable. Be aware you already hold all the keys you need. Be aware that no matter who tells you what, the strength and confidence are in your hands, and in yours alone. Nobody else can transform you. Nobody else holds those keys. If it is about you, then keep it about you.

Seek advice to be sure. We all need it and it is okay to want advice. But once you have it, Make the Decision for yourself. Always.

You can make the decision, simply because you are perfectly able to do so.

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Write what *Matters*

One of those little writing axioms (and admittedly a reasonably good one) is “Write what you know.”

One might know a lot about a lot of things–music, movies, woodcarving, sculpting, wine, biology, computer games, etc.

But, maybe it’s not about what one knows, but rather, about what matters to one.

The writer should *know* about the inner workings of a vineyard and wine-making, of course, if the characters and plot demand such accuracy and passion. But that knowledge, knowing the many facets of that business are not what drives the story.

The story may center on a romance, or on revenge, or…you get the idea.

The *knowledge* at hand is not driving the story. Knowledge of the vines is not at the wheel.

The story that needs to be told, is. That is not knowledge.

That, dear reader, is the Passion of the Writer.

Hold to that passion, dear writer.

Write what *Matters* to you.

 

 

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Tell the Story first.

February 2014.

The past few months have taught me many things. One thing relevant to the writing process is that there is one, simple FIRST PRINCIPLE.

No. It’s not “create a good character.”

No. It’s not “Outline your story well.”

No. It’s not “should I write a short, a novella, or a novel.”

No. It’s not really even, “am I a good writer.”

The FIRST Principle of writing is simply put, “Tell the Story.”

The story does not really have to be written down. It can sit in the mind, a fragment here, a mote there, weaving in and out, around and around.

There is a story that must be told. Else, why even bother considering the character or the scene.

The story needs to be told.

“Once upon a time I sought a dragon, and found instead my true love’s desire.”

I thirsted for revenge. Blood-hot, Ice-Veined, bask-in-the-drowning-moment revenge. But what I found was heart-wrenching sadness and despair. What I found was redemption and peace.

They say love is a myth. Maybe it is. I don’t know if what I feel now is love. Maybe someone like me does not deserve love. Does that really matter?

She had loved them both: the man from Rome and the man from Carthage. Yet now she had to choose. Whatever her decision, she felt the curses of a thousand thousand ancestors slowly burying her under their cold weight of judgment.”

These may be first lines, or could be buried somewhere within a chapter. But they hint at the story that needs to be told.

So–decide you have to tell the story. So tell it. Write it down or recite it, but tell it.

The rest of those rules and forms will come a bit easier once you do.

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Two Mothers I cherish

I am the product of two marvelous amazing mothers. I probably have had more maternal care through my life (a marvelous piano teacher and friend, a wonderful 4th grade teacher, various mentors and confidants).

But who I am, at my core, I credit to two particular women–my biological, and my adoptive, mothers.

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The Sinners and the Sea-A Review

The Sinners and the Sea: The Untold Story of Noah's WifeThe Sinners and the Sea: The Untold Story of Noah’s Wife by Rebecca Kanner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Sinners and the Sea is the story of Noah’s wife, through her own voice. Whether or not one believes the literal truth of the flood story, one might ponder how Noah met his wife, what their relationships might have been with the sons she eventually bore, and their wives–and more so, from whence did Noah’s wife even come? What was her life like before Noah and the flood?

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The Soldier of Raetia-A Review

The Soldier of Raetia (Valerian's Legion, #1)The Soldier of Raetia by Heather Domin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

During the reign of Caesar Augustus, Manlius Dardanus joins the legion at age 20. He is a shy, hesitant young man, unsure of his abilities and uncertain if he will fit in.

Domin skillfully makes the reader experience the training, and the emotions, of Dardanus and his new friends as they learn what it means to be a legionary. They bond as brothers in military service and in combat.

Dardanus is the youth in all of us, wherever we begin in life, hoping we can make someone proud, hoping we can find acceptance, hoping we can find our place. We are with him, as he is torn with inner conflict, as after his first battle he finds he does not relish the bloodletting performed by his brothers-in-arms.

Yet, Domin does not take her protagonist in what might be an easier route–Dardanus does not flee from duty or service in the legion. He remains true to his oath, and saves the life of his immediate superior, and that of his general. Eventually, he finds he truly has a place, one he earned through loyalty, intelligence, honesty and commitment.

What makes this book stand out is that it is not simply a “legion story” as many are. The scenes of fighting are well-written, not simply in the tactics or swordplay, but in the sights, sounds, and smells of battle. But more than all that, The Soldier of Raetia is a story of how the characters deal with each other, in trust, in honor, in ambition and in survival.

Well written and highly recommended.

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Children of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons #1) – A Review

Children of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons, #1)Children of Apollo by Adam Alexander Haviaras

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first half of this book spent a lot of time in the character’s introspection. Far more than expected, Lucius Metellus Anguis (the Dragon) pondered the desert, the battles, the motives of the commanders, and his own destiny or lack thereof. It felt odd for the beginning of a book, rather than the middle.

The latter half of the book however drew me in and kept me fascinated and waiting for more.

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