New year, new beginnings.

new year10After watching the year in review on several TV channels, I can’t help but think it’s been a crappy year for the world.  Lately, natural disasters, mass shootings and political turmoil are normal, but this year it seemed even more extreme.  I had several people tell me the past few weeks that it’s been a rough year, for some their worst, and they are waiting to begin anew in 2019.  It has nothing to do with the economy, since that is thriving.  Just personal unrelated hardships and frustrations in today’s fast paced life.  I feel we need to slow down, tolerate others, think before acting, be calm and be nice to one another.

For me, I’ve had challenges, setbacks and hurdles to overcome.  But I’ve also had some amazing adventures, experiences and personal growth.  I’m putting 2018 behind me, remembering the good times and letting go of the rest.

I’m starting fresh and positive, aiming for the betterment of our communities, society, America and our planet.  Let’s help each other in this sometimes complicated nation.  Put down our phones, and think twice about constantly checking social media.  Take moments to enjoy the natural landscape and gatherings with family and friends.  Consider what’s important in life and pursue that, because at the end of the day it is  what really matters. Together let’s make 2019 the best year ever.

“Be always at war with your vices,
at peace with your neighbors and
let each new year find you a better person.
Happy New Year”

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Let’s give a warm welcome to the year that starts a new, appreciate each moment that the year shall behold, so let’s come together and celebrate a wonderful start to the New Year. Happy New Year.

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And always find a reason to laugh.  It may not add years to your life, but it will surely add life to your years.

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A look back at 2017

As a new year approaches, I’d like to look back at highlights in the news and my personal life this past year.

Natural disasters battered the United States this year with record-setting hurricanes hitting the east coast and fires blazing though the west.

hurricane2Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, leaving 82 dead and many homeless.  Total rainfall from a single storm set a record at 51.88 inches and total damage costing $180 billion.  A few weeks later Irma threatened the entire state of Florida, pushing Harvey out of the spotlight.  As a category 5, it was the largest Atlantic storm in history, reaching winds of 185 mph for 37 continuous hours. The cone of death affected the most populated cities of the east and then shifted to the west coast of Florida. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations caused the largest evacuation irmaof any state.  Massive traffic jams ensued.  I left the east coast, as did many of my friends.  Hotels were sold out and people just started heading north, out of the state.  In the end we got very lucky as far as deaths, we had widespread damage, but not devastating as predicted. Irma initially hit landfall in the Keys and then the west coast near Marco Island.  Hurricane Marie formed as Irma left.  After causing catastrophic damage across the northeast Caribbean, it hit Puerto Rico knocking out its power grid, three months later over half are still without power.  The death toll is reported as 64, although many believe this number is higher.

ca fire 1The 2017 California wildfire season is the most destructive one on record.  I visited southern California a month or so prior to the  fires, and the dryness was evident everywhere. In October a series of fires broke out in the north’s scenic wine country. It killed 44 people and destroyed about 9000 structures. Southern California had its outbreak in December.  High priced land in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles county got hit the worst with the Santa Ana winds exasperating the situation.  The Thomas fire, the largest blaze in California’s history destroyed over a 1000 structures and over 50,000 had to evacuate, causing gridlock in an already congested area.

rabbit fire 2Good news came from all these disasters and people came together helping each other, and especially close to my heart our furry friends.  Dogs and Cats were flown from Puerto Rico rescue centers to Florida.  One of my friends adopted one of these dogs who went from extremely skinny to a loving pet.  Wildlife officials rescued a mountain lion with burnt paws during the Thomas fire.  A video of a man rescuing a rabbit on the side of the road while evacuating, went viral.

With all the natural, social and political disasters, sometimes it feels like the world is coming to an end.  Mass shootings, vehicular homicides, nuclear escalation, sexual abuse, an opioid epidemic, increasing homelessness, and ongoing wars.  Yes, it’s there, but in the new year let’s make it a priority to focus on commonalities and solutions.

On a personal level it’s been a great year. My travels took me to Helen, Georgia to witness a total eclipse, Southern California for a father-daughter bonding, various Florida cities, Andros, Bahamas to visit a dear friend, and mostly Bimini, Bahamas where I live part-time.

I  continue my pursuit in physical, spiritual and mindful growth.  Yoga keeps me on track with daily mantras and challenges.  I can recognize my emotions easier and think before reacting.  Running gives me the cardio I love while listening to audiobooks to fulfill my craving for knowledge.  I put my own novel, Breakfast In Bimini, into audible format.  Sales for my paperback and kindle edition have done well this year.  All three formats can be found at:  https://www.amazon.com/Breakfast-Bimini-Sierra-Michaels/dp/1533699062/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1514674744&sr=8-2&keywords=breakfast+in+bimini

What is your word for 2018?  What are you hopeful for and what are you doing to make it happen?  Be the change you want to see in the world.  My word is Love.heart

 

 

2011 reflections and 2012 predictions

HAPPY NEW YEAR.  I know I’m a bit late but that seems to be my direction for the past few months.  Too much to do with too little time.  I hope 2012 frees up my schedule to do what I love…writing.  It’s part of my resolution along with about ten other things to improve upon in the new year.  As many have pointed out to me the past few weeks, according to the  Mayan calendar the apocalypse is on December 21, 2012.  Bah Humbug.  If that were true my only resolution in the new year would be to live life to the fullest.  Carpe Diem.  Wait, I already do that.  So what do I wish for in the new year? And what has 2011 taught me?  I vowed to let go of my ego in the new year after reading “The Power of Now“, but I want to embellish it for the last time or perhaps many times to come.  I can still release my ego and write about life’s experiences from my point of view. 

For several months I was captivated by biographies of music legends   such as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Jim Morrison, to name the memberable ones.  They all had interesting stories with lots of drugs, sex, fanatical fans and complete chaos. For some reason I really connected to Jim Morrison’s life story and it’s kinda scary considering the unparalleled hedonistic life he led.  Perhaps it was my connection to Venice Beach and my past life there, but I found  his history very exciting as I went on a Morrison quest during my visit to Los Angeles this past fall. 

Memorable characters such as Howard Hughs, Rob Lowe and Tina Fay also made it into my reading library as I listened to their life’s struggles and successes.  After reading all these non-fiction books I realized that we all have a story.  Each and every one of us, including myself. Some are more exciting than others but I appreciate and learn from each of them and it seems like everyone this year had a book telling their story. 

Of course I love history and the people that make it, but a good well-written novel to escape reality makes my day.  Followed by the movie, even better.  I read “The Help” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” last year and “One Day” this year all followed up by the movie…well eventually. I thought the movie “The Help” did an excellent job with character casting, acting and scenery.  The other two movies are top on my list this month.  The “Book of Joe” was also a great book but not really movie material, and that’s O.K. I still took something from it especially a writing style that emulates my own.

As for 2012, I will continue to wake up every morning and run to a powerful, joyful, life rewarding audiobook.  As for the Mayan calendar and the end of the world.  The ancient culture based their calendar on a 5,126 era, why go beyond that.  It was their conclusion of a b’ak’tun. They probably figured they could pick it up at anytime in the future and finish it, hell they have over 5,000 years to do so.  Does our society plan that long in the future?  If we are colliding with a Black Hole, I’m already doing my part…living life to the fullest.  If it’s a spiritual rebirth, I have a head start on that too with my renewed Buddhist practice.  In the meantime Carpe Diem for the new year!

reflections of 2010

As we are about to enter a new era, I’d like to reflect back on this past year and everything that has happened in 2010.

It was this time last year when I found out that Black Rose Writing would publish my first book Intimate Encounters. Excitement and nerves consumed me.  As they were formatting my novel, self-doubt set in and then acceptance.  I quickly started researching the publishing industry, as well as social media and marketing sites for authors, something that I should have done months prior.  But better late than never.  I went full force self promoting and making connections with other authors.  One of me was not enough.  It became a full-time job with what seemed like very little return.  I decided I would give it my undivided attention and time for six months, then go back to what I love to do—write.

In the mean time I continued to follow my second love, traveling.  My husband and I along with some good friends explored the outer islands of the Bahamas.  For several weeks we flew our single engine airplanes from Florida to this tropical paradise, where our friend’s boat was waiting.  We spent lazy days fishing, drinking and laughing in the sun. Time stood still.  Stress was non-existent.

The traveling continued into the summer when we weren’t busy with work.  We headed up the east coast to Ohio, Delaware, Maryland and New York.  We had family obligations but also some much-needed quality time together.  The flying was amazing when the weather cooperated.  We stayed in the countryside and the big apple.  I unwillingly overcame my fear of bridges and tunnels. I learned to silence my mind through yoga. 

Old friends and new circled in and out of our lives.  A best friend I hadn’t seen in eight years visited for an emotional break from her husband. Death and divorce seemed to dominate the year.  At least the first half of 2010.  Let’s hope 2011 is better in that respect.

Fall brought many changes, mostly for the good.  I continued to promote Intimate Encounters with interviews and book signings.  I also took on another job as office manager for our company.  I kept busy while still managing to visit Los Angeles and the United Kingdom for a bit of culture.  I learned new skills such as Quickbooks, blogging and web design.  Quickbooks is still a challenge for me, but I have the basics down.  I’m not much of an accounting person, I just go through the motions and enter data.  I adopted new hobbies, one of the most rewarding being my yoga practice.    I haven’t had much time to dedicate to my second book.  I have the outline and plot and a few pages.  I’m playing with different points of view. For the new year this will be my biggest commitment.

As for the rest of the world in 2010?  Earthquakes, floods, war, bad economy, politics, riots.  So I stopped watching the news.  Nobody really covers unbiased world news anyway.

My new favorite songs of the year is Back to December by Taylor Swift and Breathe (2 am) by Anna Nalick.  It maybe an old one, but I connected to it this year. 

~ But you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on the cable and life’s like an hourglass glued to the table. No one can find the rewind, but girl… so cradle your head in your hands. And breathe, just breathe.~

Favorite books of the year are Stieg Larsson’s trilogy starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo.

The best moments of the year.  Laughing with friends over silly things, giggling at myself, laughing with my husband to the point where I spit out my wine.

Happy New Year…and remember to breathe!  Life is a journey, so enjoy it!