Archive for March, 2010

#24 ~ Motivation Monday – Interview with Vivian Scott

Today’s interview is with Vivian Scott and let me tell you, she’s  no dumb-dumb! In fact, she wrote one of those books “for dummies”…you know you’ve read one or two or three. wink wink

Many of my readers from the ‘blog world’ have desires to write a book. Personally, I think they should. I’d buy a book from many of them. I have very witty readers. 😉

What keeps us from getting started? Intimidation? Small fish in a big pond syndrome? Not having a clue where to start? Fear of rejection?

Vivian takes us on her journey from being told she should write a book all the way to seeing it on the shelves of a bookstore! If you want to be the author of your own tale or just need a little extra motivation achieving something on your bucket list, read along and take some notes then get started…

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Bucket List [buhk-it list] – noun

  • a wish list of things to do before one  ”kicks the bucket.”

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Melody: Introduce yourself to us, Vivian…

Vivian: I’m 53, live in Snohomish, WA with my partner of 12 years, Brent, and am the mother of a grown daughter, Vanessa, who is in her last semester of law school.  I retired from a great (but really fast-paced and stress-filled!) career in high-tech marketing in 1999.  I went back to school, got a Liberal Arts Degree with an emphasis in American Studies and loved focusing on something that wasn’t business related.  I have a private mediation practice that allows me to help people through some of the most difficult times in their lives.  How lucky am I?

Melody: You do sound pretty lucky! I’ll admit, I’m a tad jealous that you live in the beautiful state of Washington. I love the Pacific Northwest!

Tell us what you’ve checked off your bucket list.

Vivian: Saw a book I’ve written on bookstore shelves.

Melody: How exciting! I’d fall on the ground if I saw a book of mine on the shelf of a bookstore! Tell us about how all this started for you.

Vivian: For the past 15 years I’ve kept up with an annual girls-only vacation to Scottsdale, AZ with my daughter, one of my four sisters, and her daughter.  When we realized about five years ago that we were on our 10th year my sister started saying I should write a book.  I began taking notes and thought I would write about our experiences, what we’ve learned from our annual excursions, what we still hoped to learn, and maybe throw in a few embarrassing stories just to make it more entertaining.  Little did I know that that wouldn’t be the book I’d write at all.  Still, it started as a somewhat silly joke and began to take shape as something I was “going to do one of these days”, ending up on my bucket list.

Melody: Where did the passion for writing your book come from?

Vivian: Writing a book about resolving conflict became important to me about two years ago.  I wanted to find a way to let as many people as possible know about the great things I’ve learned regarding solving problems and because I have a strong marketing background I knew I’d have to do something more than tell one person and ask them to “pass it on.”  In my past life I’ve created seminars and brochures and how-to guides and just thought a book would be a natural next step.  I also felt strongly that it had to be approachable, easy-to-understand, and give the reader practical advice.  It became clear to me that it had to be something like the “For Dummies” books.

Melody: OK, it’s confession time. Tell us if you ever felt like giving up.

Vivian: Absolutely!  My first clue that it might not work was when I went to the “Dummies” website and realized they don’t take ideas and they prefer to work with literary agents.  I didn’t have an agent, didn’t really want one, so I made a case in an email for a book on mediation and resolving conflict.  I actually was thrilled to hear back right away, but then months and months passed.  I just kept plugging along and would occasionally dip my toe back in the water.  The contract negotiations were scary (which included submitting a table of contents and a sample chapter!) and when the writing process began I wondered if there was enough to fill up an entire book, but apparently that wasn’t something I had to worry about because at the end we had to do a lot of cutting – ha!

Melody: What kept you going?

Vivian: It’s just what I do.  My reputation is really important to me and I want people to know they can count on me to do what I say.  That doesn’t mean I’ve never quit anything or had to re-work a previous agreement.  There’s no shame in admitting maybe what you thought you wanted isn’t what you wanted at all, so I gave myself permission to back out if it wasn’t going to be the right fit.  But, once the contract was signed, I just felt “a deal’s a deal.”  Plus, I really, really believe in the topic and I just knew that there were going to be people I would never meet or hear from whose situations would improve because of something they read in the book; even if it was one small thing that changed for the better because of one small phrase or sentence, my efforts would be worth it.

Melody: What advice do you have for people striving to reach their goals?

Vivian: Oh, that’s easy!  Put one foot in front of the other.  Pretty simple, but time goes by whether you’re working towards goals or not.  So you may as well be working towards something that matters to you.  I told my niece the other day that Marketing 101 is “throw everything out there and sees what sticks” and Marketing 102 is “don’t be afraid to hit the ‘send’ button.”  I think that advice works for creating and achieving goals, too.  If I had been afraid to send an email to Wiley Publishing, I wouldn’t be a published author.  Don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from doing something.  It really is a numbers game; toss it out there!

Melody: I love your advice! I believe that many of us fear putting ourselves ‘out there’ because of the fear of rejection. Who cares? Just go for it!

What are some other things on your bucket list you hope to accomplish?

Vivian: Besides the obvious things like see my daughter, Vanessa, walk down the aisle, watch grandchildren grow, keep my relationship with Brent healthy and happy, and be significant to someone?   I’m achieving the next item on the list by touring New England on a fall colors tour with all of my sisters.  And, just to make sure we don’t take ourselves too seriously, my niece, daughter, and I came up with a goal to be on Family Feud.  Watch for us! 🙂

Melody: Can I come along? That sounds like a fantastically fun time!

Leave us with your favorite inspirational quote…

Vivian: Oh, gosh, that changes every day.  I used a quote by Francois de La Rochefoucauld in the intro section of “Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies” that says,

“Quarrels would not last long if the fault were only on one side.”

The quote on my Facebook page says,

“There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other’s cooking & say it was good ” – Storypeople.com

I suppose, though, the quote that inspires me the most is “I love you, Mama” by Vanessa Scott-Thorson

Melody: Ahhhh yes, I have to say that the quotes from my daughter inspire me the most, too! So sweet!

Vivian, thank you so much for allowing us to hear your story. Your fearlessness and dedication to reaching the goal of seeing your book sold on shelves is inspiring!

You can learn more about Vivian’s book by going to amazon.comdummies.com, or any online bookseller!

If you or anyone you know would be interested in participating in a Motivation Monday interview, just click HERE to email me and we’ll chat.

©2010 Melody G. Fritchley

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#23 ~ Melody’s attempt to be short and sweet …

Before I get started, I would like to thank everyone who left such wonderfully supportive and kind comments on the recent post about my husband’s story. Although my life is pretty much an open book, I still hesitate to share sometimes. I think reality TV makes me censor things that I blog about…I mean, who wants to hang everything out for the world to see other than the ‘Real Housewives’ and those Jersey girls. heh heh

I’ll keep this update short and sweet. (Right now you’re saying, “Yeah right, since when does Melody know the definition of short, both figuratively and literally?”)

The Project:

We are securing the person who will be handling the largest part of the ‘project’…the website. We have things lined up and ready to go on almost every other level, but the website is extraordinarily complicated. Whenever we think we have things mapped out for it, we come up of something else that needs to be addressed. It’s going to be amazing, but it’s going to take some time.

I’m not a fan of ‘hurry up and wait’…I like to keep things movin’ and shakin’ so this part of my journey is teaching me patience. Patience is not a road I take often. I’m the one who jogs quickly down the moving walkways at airports when I’m not in a hurry.  I can’t even stand how long it’s taking me to type this blog post right now. Needless to say, every time I have to wait on a portion of the project, I get antsy. My foot is tapping right now and I don’t have Restless Leg Syndrome.

Mr. Pres recently met with a well-known national company who will be playing a big role in the ‘project’. I’m still working on all the details for the plethora of ‘products’ (for lack of a better term) we’ll offer. I have a mad spreadsheet set up that is kicking my butt.

I’ve been interviewing more people who will play a vital role in the ‘project’ launch. They’re lined up and ready to go. We are just waiting for a few more things to unfold before the mad dash to the finish line begins.

Many of you have been asking when the project will launch. That’s a great question. Mr. Pres and VP would like to kick this off as soon as possible, but we’re still working on how possible ‘soon’ will be. We’re hoping sometime this Summer or Fall. As the project progresses, I’ll be able to share more info though.

I’ve told both Pres and VP about this blog and I’m sure they visit it from time to time….so, EVERYONE SAY HI! :::::waves hand::::::

Another quick thank you before I wrap things up….everyone who gave input on THIS POST really helped our thought process in an area of the ‘project’ we’re working on. Since you all did such a great job, I’ll be coming back for more ideas. I’m a fan of taking polls and actually listening to the people….which is why I never went into politics.

Project #2:

The creator of ‘project #2‘ has a goal to meet with me on a regular basis. She hopes to finalize ‘things’ (I hate having to keep secrets…this is hard) by October. We have a lot of work to do and it’s all so very exciting! I just may be contacting my old theatre teacher for some coaching even though I won’t have to ‘act’ much.

Extras…no charge:

On a side note, I’ve been following my photographer’s blog. She is on a trip to Africa to photograph an adoption! I find myself constantly checking for updates. It’s an amazing adventure! She had the honor of photo journaling an adoption in India as well. The family’s story brought me to tears, especially when they were able to bring their daughter home. I can’t wait to break out the tissues when these parents introduce their son to his new siblings!

One more side note (see, I told you I’m not good at the whole ‘short and sweet’ thing), I’ve finally set up my Google Reader so that I can visit all you bloggers that so kindly visit me. As you may have already noticed, I only have time to blog 2-3 times a week. I may not be able to visit you daily, but I’ll definitely make my rounds. I’ve been finding some fabulous blogs out there. Who needs TV when you’ve got so much awesome reading material out there? Oh wait, I need TV…or should I say, for the sake of my insanity, I need occasional episodes of Max & Ruby, Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer for my two year old.

©2010 Melody G. Fritchley

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#22 ~ Motivation Monday – Interview with Kellie Stone

I’d like to introduce Kellie Stone. She started following my blog almost immediately after my first entry.  She’s quite the motivator and has accomplished many things in her life. When she contacted me about the interview, I was thrilled to learn that the item she crossed off her bucket list is one that sits on mine…

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Bucket List [buhk-it list] – noun

  • a wish list of things to do before one  ”kicks the bucket.”

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Melody: Kellie, tell us a little about yourself…

Kellie: Well, I’m a forty-something mid-western mom of six who endeavors daily to make life better…or at least more interesting.  I’ve done many things (jobs) in my life including, interior design, printing consultant, owned a bookstore, weight loss consultant, makeup artist, wedding planner, jewelry maker, office manager, youth minister, and a few others that I won’t mention.  What I found out is there are no “wasted” days if you learn something from each experience.  And, yes, I have managed to do that.  Currently, I administrate the life-changing blog, Women’s Life Link, where I use every bit of my life experience to help other women find their best path to their purpose and wholeness – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  My newest endeavor is starting a life-coaching business that takes the website’s contribution to women on a one-on-one basis.  I am working on getting certified in the spiritual coaching and planning all the details of how it will work.

Melody: I had a hard time getting past the fact that you have six kids. Kudos to you! You’ve led a very exciting life. God has given you many desires and talents to follow through. What is one item you’ve checked off your bucket list?

Kellie: I wrote a novel.  It hasn’t been published yet, but I think it might have a chance!  I’ve just recently started the final edit that will hopefully make in saleable and not castrate it.  =)

Melody: I’ve always wanted to write a book. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be on your final edit! I’ve yet to write the first sentence. When did writing a novel become a goal of yours?

Kellie: Oh, heck, I’ve wanted to write books since I can remember!  I used to write children’s stories on my mom’s old typewriter.  Boy was that a chore, especially after making a mistake.  Can you say White Out?  We are so fortunate to have Microsoft Word now.  I also took courses in children’s literature that I really didn’t do anything with.  It was a good learning experience, though.  The actual “write a book” was added to my bucket list about five years ago when I created it.  It took me a couple of years before I got serious enough (fearless enough, that is) to actually start.

Melody: Yes, I can say White Out. I remember being sent to college with a brand new typewriter/word processor. Crazy!

Why was accomplishing this so important to you?

Kellie: I am a natural writer and communicator.  There are so many stories and characters in my head that sometimes I think they will commit mutiny and escape through multiple orifices if I don’t create a permanent home for them. Also, it is simply a passion that I’ve always had.  It was a triumph for me as well because I’d never had the guts to start (and finish) something so detailed and complicated as writing a book.  The research alone took forever.  As you can see from the photo, it took a lot of materials to get to the last page.

Melody: Was there ever a time you just wanted to throw in the towel and give up?

Kellie: An interesting thing about my book-writing project, I started it when I was in the middle of one of the most difficult times of my life physically.  While mostly in bed with chronic migraine and severe hypersensitivity, I was tired of feeling sorry for myself so I started to write whatever popped into my head – not surprised, my first character was a woman with migraine headaches and emotional trauma.  Write what you know, right?

The up-and-down physical challenges started to get to me.  I actually wrote the first 150 pages by hand because I couldn’t use the computer without triggering headaches and eye strain.  Writers need regular break periods, but mine were lengthy at times…days and weeks.  I often wondered if it was any good or if it was worth all the time (and pain) it was going to require to complete.  A huge turning point was when my husband came home with my book printed out on copier paper.  Seeing how much work, how many pages I’d actually written made it more real to me—the big picture.

Melody: Many of us give up just because of not having the willpower to get past the “how do I get started” stage. Add in physical challenges and most would say forget it. What kept you motivated?

Kellie: During one of my “breaks”, I saw an advertisement for a writing contest.  It was the Court TV: Find the next great crime writer contest.  I was definitely interested in entering my book, but I had a problem: It wasn’t finished.  The submission deadline was less than a month away, and I had a whole lot more book to write, not to mention the editing.  I’ve always known that I thrive under pressure; this case was no exception.  In less than three weeks, I had completed my novel.  Now, I’m not saying it was anywhere near the condition it should have been in to be in that contest, but at least the deadline push got me to finish it.  I received great feedback and met some people who truly encouraged me to continue my writing.

The other thing that kept me tapping away at the keys was the fact that I honestly loved the characters and wanted to visit them.  I know that sounds corny, but if I don’t love them, who else will?  Currently, my book, Unaware, is safe on my hard drive undergoing minor surgery…again.  I do plan to query some agents in hopes of hooking one to represent me.  However, even if it never goes anywhere further than my Dell, I will keep writing, always.

Melody: I admire your dedication to writing this novel even if it never goes anywhere. I think that proves that you’re doing it for the right reasons. What advice do you have for people striving to reach their goals?

Kellie: Sometimes the biggest obstacle to reaching any goal is that we look at how big it is and get intimidated—the move the mountain syndrome.  Writing a book, running a marathon, building a deck or a business are the kinds of goals that present like monsters when you don’t know how to start.  My best advice, in these cases, is to just do something.  Get started with a smaller piece of your goal.  I wrote one letter, word, sentence, paragraph, chapter at a time.  When I saw how easy it was to meet the little challenges, I started to understand and believe that it was possible to finish the big goal.  It also helps to be passionate about whatever you’re trying to do.  In other words, if you hate fish, don’t go fishing!  Find activities that mesh with your inner callings and talents.  You will more likely stick to projects that energize you and give a feeling of accomplishment.  And, remember, it’s never too late to start something new!

A little story:

A woman (now in her mid-forties) was asked by a dear friend what she wanted to do when she was a young girl.

“I wanted to be a doctor,” she disdainfully replied.

“Why do you say it like that?” Her friend asked.

The woman dropped her head and frowned.  “I never was able to finish college because of kids and other responsibilities.”

“Well, why don’t you just go back to school and become a doctor?”

She cocked her head inquisitively.  “That’s ridiculous; I’d be fifty-eight before I’d even be practicing medicine.”

Her friend graciously smiled and said, “You know what?  You’re going to be fifty-eight anyway…you might as well be a doctor when you get there.

Melody: “Move the mountain syndrome” – I like that. I concur 100%. Your little story is so true. It reminds me of the quote that John shared with us last week by George Elliot, “It is never too late to be who you might have been.”

I’d love to know what other things are on your bucket list.

Kellie: I would love to run a marathon at some point.  Again, this is a gigantic goal that will require dedication and definitely some sweat to do.  Some smaller, more obtainable bucket-listees include, riding in a hot air balloon, rock climbing, going to Australia, see the Blue Man Group, and have my entire house decorated the way I want it.  I think the best way to ensure that you get your list accomplished is to look at it often.  Print it out and hang it where you have to see every day.  Add some cool, new stuff to it, too!

Melody: You should contact Jessie when you’re ready to train for the marathon. She was my first interview for Motivation Monday and has a great story behind the marathon she ran. If you’re ever in Vegas, I can try to score you some Blue Man Group tickets! I’m going to add the house decorating item to my list. Sometimes I’d be satisfied to have one room fully decorated!

I’d love to know your favorite inspirational quote.

Kellie: My favorite inspirational quote came from my seventh grade English teacher, Dorothy Hicks.  She wrote it in my yearbook on the last day of school, and I’ve always remembered it.  She wrote:

“Nothing in life worth having comes easily.”

By the way, I plan to dedicate my first published book to her memory. =)

Melody: That’s why I always want to share favorite quotes…you never know which ones will last a lifetime. I look forward to hearing how the rest of your story unfolds. I’m sure that your novel will grace the shelves of stores one day. Be sure to let us know when that happens so we can buy a copy!

If writing a book is on your list of things to do, here are a few sites that will help you get started…

If you or anyone you know would be interested in participating in a Motivation Monday interview, just click HERE to email me and we’ll chat.

©2010 Melody G. Fritchley

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#21 ~ Breathe in. Let it go…

I’ve been a little silent here lately. I’ve had something on my mind and wasn’t quite sure how to wrap it up in a nicely packaged blog post. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should share it. I can be a bit old school when it comes to divulging certain info, especially anything to do with money. I don’t mind reading about it on other blogs (because I’m nosey like that, er, I mean I’m intrigued), but somehow putting things out there for the world to read just makes you a little more vulnerable … and more human, I guess. Somewhere along the way, we have learned that being human isn’t a good thing. Shameful.

So, last week we got the news that my husband was receiving a rather ginormous pay cut. And by ginormous, I mean extremely-overweight-bloated-dinosaur sized. Cutbacks and pay cuts have been slinging all over the place. We’re blessed that he has a job in the midst of these harsh times.

We live in one of the worst hit cities by this horrid economy. People are losing jobs like little kids lose teeth, yet the tooth fairy is nowhere to be found. Homes are foreclosing left and right. Strip malls look like ghost towns. Fear is everywhere. Stress can easily be seen in the eyes of those passing by.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we started investing in real estate when we were practically babies. Again, that chapter has slammed shut. I’m aware of this on so many levels.

Over the weekend, I walked around the house thinking about the cold hard facts that this economy is dealing us. Stress started to fill my already clouded head. I began to fold laundry (my husband’s t-shirts) when it hit me all the sudden. Five years ago, I would have begged to have the promise of today’s worries had it meant that my husband would live…

Five years ago, my husband almost passed away.

Very long story short, he was given a medication that nearly killed him. He had an allergic reaction which caused pulmonary edema, double pneumonia and his liver started shutting down. At one point, the doctors also thought he had a heart attack. He was 30, in the best shape he had ever been in (thankfully so, since he lost 22 lbs in less than a week) and, at the time, nobody knew why his body was failing so quickly.

I was warned several times that he may not make it. I spent hours crying uncontrollably. In the ICU waiting room, I fell asleep in the arms of concerned loved ones while tears drained down my face. I didn’t even have enough energy to pray.

My husband had completed his EMT certification so he knew medically what was happening to his body. He tightly held my hand, looked me straight in the eyes and said things to me that are only supposed to be in movies…because what was happening to us at the moment surely didn’t feel real. He knew he might not make it.

I remember coaching him through what seemed to be hours of breathing. He avoided being put on a ventilator several times, although he actually begged for it. I’ve never witnessed someone struggle so hard to breathe. I literally had to tell him when to breathe in and when to let it go.

At that time, I was trying to mentally prepare myself for a life without my best friend and man of my dreams. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what it would be like to spend a single second without him by my side. I didn’t know how I would get through the following 30 seconds, much less the next 30, 40, 50 years without him. I would take ANY struggle in life as long as it was a life WITH him.

Praise God that prayer was answered.

As I finished folding the laundry, I smiled, held back a tear and reminded myself that this economic hardship is nothing compared to what we went through five years ago. This is merely a detour on a road trip that will provide stories that will last a lifetime. I’ll enjoy the scenery (because flowers will still bloom) and send postcards along the way. I’ll also think of those who have it so much worse and try to do my part to encourage them to keep going.

Breathe in. Let it go…

So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body. ~ Ecclesiastes 11:10

Working on an update for the ‘project’…things are moving along…

©2010 Melody G. Fritchley

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