Becoming Who We Are!

Retirement is an odd concept. In fact, in Okinawa, Japan there is no word for retirement and yet they have one of the longest lifespans in the world. They know how to live.

August 31, 2021 was my last day of being a full-time faculty member. It was the second career I had officially retired from, although I had “retired” from several other careers. I had been working at some sort of job or career since I was a junior in high school. Many of you can say the same thing.

My 87th birthday took place one month after I retired, so I suppose it was time. I was still healing from back surgery and although I continued to teach, it seemed that my energy level was waning. I’ve been a hyperactive person since birth, so this “slowing down” process was not a welcome experience.

The first six months of retirement were not happy times for me. For the first time in my life, I found I had no identity to grab onto. Being retired wasn’t a designation I had looked forward to with joy. What would I call myself now if not “pastor” or “professor” or “counselor” or any number of other labels? “Retired” wasn’t a pigeon-hole that I fit into easily.

One morning I was looking for something in my old journals that I had kept over the years, and one comment kept popping up repeatedly.

“All I really want to do is stay home and write.”

Of course! Why had it taken me so long to remember that? With retirement, I finally could “stay home and write.” I began looking through old Word docs in my computer and discovered that in my spare time over the years, I actually had written several books. I never did anything with these manuscripts except give them a tentative title and close the file until the next time I had a few extra minutes to write.

Since that day, I have published three books; all had been on my computer just waiting for me to do some editing and give them life. One is a self-help book (Feral Fables) and two are the first in a mystery series – a community saga. Shadowy Tales is the first in the series and Washboard Tales is the second. I am half-way through writing the third in the series (Bayou Tales), which will be out in spring 2023.

At last, I have an identity again – I’m an author!

People are living longer and healthier today than ever before, so we can continue to be productive longer – if we want to. There are some who can play golf or cards every day and never get tired of it. Others enjoy not having to be somewhere or do anything, so they read or watch TV or get involved in some other activity they’ve looked forward to in retirement.

If you are anticipating retirement, please think carefully about what it is you’ve always wanted to do, and make sure that whatever it is will fulfill your need to remain an active member of society. We are enough without that identity, of course, but it’s gratifying to know that we can remain engaged in life and be whoever or whatever we want to be for as long as we are able.

A hui hou!

All three of these books are available at BookBaby BookStore.

Look Up!

Years ago, I was a member of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I recently discovered the original group had ceased, and that a new group has formed on Facebook in an effort to revive the old group, or at least what the old group had been created for in the first place. In keeping with my current primary theme of writing, below is a re-post of my original blog for NaBloPoMo in 2010.

(May 2010) As a member of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), I occasionally decide to do a post each day during the month. Since school is (almost) out, I decided May would be a good month to get my mind around something besides grading assignments. The theme for NaBloPoMo changes each month, and the theme for May is “Look Up.”

This can mean many things, of course, but one of the meanings is to “look up” reference materials. I’ve shown only one of my many bookcases here, to give you an idea of just how much “looking up” I can do!

Yes, I’ve read all these books, and I still refer to them when I’m preparing for a class, or when I’m writing an article. I have gardening books, cookbooks, music books, history books, books on theology and psychology, books on sailing and horsemanship, even fiction – and on and on. So many books, so little time to re-read them all!

This is the end of a semester, and some of my students are graduating. I know, however, that many of you who read this blog are past your school years. May I suggest that you not stop learning, but continue to “look up” anything that you either aren’t sure about, or whatever you’d like to learn more about.

It’s fun, and the best way to keep from aging is to keep your mind active. Go “look up” something this week!

A hui hou!

Lucy

Feral Fables

“For centuries, women and men have sought guidance and counsel to help them in processes of change, healing, and transformation.”

That is the first sentence in the introduction to my book, Feral Fables. How many of us have checked the I Ching, or Animal Medicine cards, or the Tarot or even the daily horoscope to see what they have to say to us? Not only is it fun, but it also can be enlightening in some strange, unexplainable way.

We are spoken to through many avenues. Insights may come like lightning bolts or in a still, small voice. A friend says something that strikes us as relevant to a question we’ve pondered. We hear a conversation that brings sudden understanding to a problem. A dream reveals an answer to a situation. We read a story that becomes more significant each time we read it.

Such is the nature of these fables. This is the sort of book you can tuck in your purse or briefcase and always have handy. At odd moments, you can pick a fable at random to see what meaning it can bring to your life. Whether you are male or female, youth or elder, there will be something of value in each brief fable. I have added a few questions at the end of each fable to start your thinking process.

What is a fable anyway? The dictionary describes it as “a fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson.” I believe it is more than just a moral lesson. I prefer to say that it shows us “Truth” greater than “truth.” I wrote these to use as I worked with psychology clients who were looking for that Truth in their lives. You can do the same for yourself.

If you like to read online, you can buy an e-book on Amazon. If you prefer to have a hard copy, a place where you can write notes in the margins, then a hard copy is available in several places. I recommend you check this online bookstore first.

You can read these fables with the intention of finding clarity on some issue in your life, or maybe the serendipity will surprise you when you read them just for fun. In either case, please let me know your reaction to these wild tales.

A hui hou!

Biblioholism?

Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m a biblioholic.

As a former substance abuse counselor, I know that a behavior is considered an addiction if it interferes with your life and creates a problem. This leads me to wonder if I have a true “addiction,” like some people have an addiction with substances (legal or illegal) and behaviors (legal or illegal). If not an addiction, it is certainly a “dependency.” Anyone interested in a 12-step program for bookaholics?

Does being a biblioholic disrupt or interfere with my life, or cause a problem? Only when I need to move all these books from one home to another!

I started checking the internet to see if there was such a word as biblioholism or if a group existed for bookaholics. Try looking up either of those words and you’ll see how many sites address this very thing. I found a site that gives reader comments that complete the statement “You know you’re a bookaholic when…” All of the comments there are true of me, and my favorite is “…when you select your handbags based on whether they are big enough to fit a book.”

No matter where I go, I have a book in my purse. You just never know when you’ll have a couple of minutes to read a paragraph or two while you wait for someone to show up, or for your car to be serviced, for instance. And sometimes I carry a book with the sole intent of going somewhere only to read. I have a different book (sometimes a stack of books) sitting next to each of my reading places, and I go back to read some of my favorites many times.

I found one site that seems to have disappeared, which gave an excellent definition of “biblioholism” that describes me exactly (and probably you, too). “Biblio” means “book,” so this site states that biblioholism is “the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire and consume books in excess.”

The only feature of biblioholism that definition doesn’t mention is writing. I do an obsessive amount of that, as well, but I seldom bother to market what I write. (And that’s another whole problem I need to address at some point.) I write in several genres, usually with several in various stages of completion at a time.

Yes, I also read (and write) e-books, but nothing will ever replace the feel of paper as I turn each page. When I am forced to part with books, it’s as if I’m killing my children! Rather than give away the thousands of books I have, I simply have more bookshelves built.

“You know you’re a bookaholic when _______.” You might fill in the blank on this statement and find out something about yourself. Put your answer in the comments. I’d love to see it.

If you are interested in reading one of my latest books, check out this bookstore.

A hui hou!

My New Career

Friends often ask how I get so much writing accomplished. The answer is simple – I finally retired from my last career.

I was in the field of psychology for several years, then I spent several decades as a full-time pastor and counselor in a mainline denomination. As I finished up my last few years in a local church here in Hawai`i, I began teaching part-time for our community college.

By the time I retired from ministry, I was teaching fulltime at the college and didn’t stop until September 2021. I was an Associate Professor of psychology when I retired eight months ago.

The first six months of retirement were difficult for me. I had never been without a job or career of some sort since the age of sixteen. Perhaps many of you can relate.

I was lost. Who am I? Now what? Is death the next step? What is life about?

Recently, I was looking through old journals to find something I thought I needed. I don’t even remember what that was now, but a phrase in my journals kept coming up over and over: “I just wish I could stay home and write.”

I had been writing bits and pieces here and there, and then I would put it all aside to grade a stack of papers or prepare a sermon, see a client or prepare a class lecture. By the time I retired, my computer held several novels and bits of books and articles, plus notes on other work, and I had published a self-help e-book online. In my mind, none of that counted for anything.

Retirement gave me the opportunity to put it all together and get published. The e-book is now in paperback form, and I have serious notes on the next two books of my mystery series.

I tell this story to remind you (and myself) that little bits of writing here and there do add up. Take those few minutes you have on the way to work, or early in the morning before the household wakes up, or instead of watching TV, or while you are nursing a baby, or whatever else you do. Those things are important, but so is your writing habit.

It doesn’t need to be quality time or quality writing at this point, but it needs to be something. If you are a writer, then write. You can edit and put it all together later, but all famous authors remind us to write something every day.

A hui hou!

It’s All A Fantasy, Isn’t It?

I started this blog in 2009 when my head and my life were in a different place. At the time, I wanted to give readers an idea of what it was like to live on an acre of lava on the south end of the Big Island of Hawai`i. Over the years, I included a variety of other topics – gardening, travel, recipes, stories, and much more.

I’m in a different time, place, and head space now, and I want my blog to reflect that. So, lately, I’ve been pondering other areas for my blog. I still may update some of those old posts and use them for variety from time to time. For now, as my topics seem to dance around, I want to write more about writing.

I was looking through some of my old journals and discovered that I have been wanting time to stay home and write for several decades. Even my dreams were about writing. Now that I’ve retired from all my other careers, I finally have time to write. So here I am, writing full-time at last!

Mystery writing has filled my mind lately, and if you want to find out more about that, check out my homepage for this blog (lavalily.com). I have one mystery published (Shadowy Tales) and you can find it (pre-sale) as a regular book or an e-book on either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The sequel is on the way and may be out before the end of 2022 (Washboard Tales).

Fantasy writing also appeals to me, and other genres, as well. Whatever I write is fantasy in the sense that it is something that hasn’t happened – yet. The characters I write about are all fantasies in my mind. They live ordinary lives, yet often they become involved in extraordinary mysterious events.

In case you think you might like to start a writing career, too, I will add a tip occasionally to help get you started. Grab a notebook and just start writing. Everyone has a story inside that needs to come out so others can enjoy it.

TIP: Look around you at the everyday people in your life. Fantasize about them becoming involved in solving a small mystery. Choose someone or something and write a scene.

A hui hou!

My New Book

I have a new book out for pre-sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop (a store for BookBaby Publishing).

Shadowy Tales is a heart pounding thriller that emphasizes the danger of cultural division and social intolerance through a truly compelling mystery. This is the story of a protestant minister, Frances Anna Keeton, newly appointed by her bishop to a church in the conservative south. Arriving from a liberal environment in California, she faces immense turmoil. Frances realized she was entering into a difficult situation. But she never would imagine the danger, harm, and secrets that lie ahead.” (from the sales blurb)

“Heart pounding” is what the publisher wrote, not me! Maybe it is but sometimes it’s difficult to see that in something you write, especially when you have edited and edited and edited!

To my family, friends, and others who follow this blog, please spread the word. The sequel (Washboard Tales) will be out within the next six months, and I believe it will prove to be even better than this one.

If you want a taste of my non-fiction, check out Feral Fables, a self-help book. It is currently an e-book on Amazon, and it will be out in paperback within the next few weeks.

A hui hou!

Lucy

Writing Hang-ups

As an avid reader, I am fascinated with the many ways words are strung together to create a story or an essay, a poem or a play, a letter or a memoir. Along with my obsession for reading came my own need to start stringing words together. Almost as soon as I could spell my name, I started to write.

I have been writing this “Lava to Lilikoi” blog since May, 2008, and I wrote other short-lived blogs before that. In addition to blogging, I confess that I have written three novels, and have started a dozen others, not to mention outlines on another dozen or so, a memoir and several non-fiction books.

Other than the blogs, I have only had a couple of academic articles published and a self-published e-book of fables I wrote and used in my counseling practice.

I attended the Maui Writers Conference for many years, and the few years after it became Hawaii Writers Conference on Oahu, plus various other conferences for writers over the years. I even taught”writing intensive” class at the college for several of my regular courses.

But like many people, I love the creation, not the marketing. I’ve put in a valiant effort to get past that hang-up, and I honestly do know what I “should” be doing. So I read and study and read some more about marketing. I have subscribed to over sixty writing blogs over the years and there are many others I wish I had time to read. All of this is an excuse to avoid marketing!

This brings me to the real reason for this post. I want to start sharing my own journey toward being a published author. By making a “public” commitment, perhaps I’ll finally get off my okole (I doubt if you need to look up the meaning of that Hawaiian word!) and do some productive marketing as well as writing.

If you can suggest any good blogs or if you have any words of encouragement that would help me actually submit my writing to a publisher or agent, please do so! I need all the push I can get!

A hui hou!

My Cookbook Addiction

I confess! I’m addicted to books! But I have read all the books I own and continue to use them all as reference and/or for teaching.

My addiction carries over into cookbooks, and I doubt if there is even one of these books that hasn’t been used for at least one recipe. Like many cooks, I use recipes mostly for guidance to come up with my own variation. My cooking has never been an exact science.

The shelves of cookbooks shown above were in my kitchen/dining area when I lived in Ocean View, and I had another shelf of cookbooks in another bookcase, because there wasn’t room for them all here. I’ve even been known to borrow cookbooks from the library to read!

When I moved onto my boat from a large house in the late 70s, I gave a book box of cookbooks to each of my four children. This is what I have left!

I know I could probably find the same recipes online, but there is something deeply soul-satisfying about sitting down and reading through an old book of recipes that my mother, or grandmother used. Tucked into each book are other recipes given to me by friends, or that I have cut out of a magazine.

Yes, I think you can say I’m addicted!

Now, you may think that with all these recipes at my disposal, I’d be cooking delicious dishes every day. The fact is, I usually have only myself to cook for and if I ate the way I’d like to cook, I’d be as wide as the channel between here and Maui!

So this week, instead of sharing a recipe with you, I thought I’d tell you about my favorite books on these shelves, and even tell you about some of the recipes in them that I love.

Probably the oldest book I have is a little booklet from the Metropolitan Insurance Company; I think I inherited it from my great-grandmother. Several of my books date back to the 30s, and many of what I have date to the 50s, when I was a young woman. My first Christmas as a married woman in 1955, I received the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, a three-ring binder that is barely holding together.

I also love my specialty books, like Mme. Bégué’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery, from 1953. You wouldn’t believe how many pages are spattered with oil and tomato paste! One recipe from that book is “Shrimp Creole” and someday I’ll post that because I make it often.

I have quite a few Mexican cookbooks, but my favorite is Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking by Elena Zelayeta, blind, but she kept on cooking. Her “Caserola De Pollo Y Elote” (Chicken and Corn Casserole) is full of green chiles and wonderful!

Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook is another tattered book on my shelves, also full of messy pages! And Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook probably has most of the comfort foods I make.

The Rodale Cookbook published by the Rodale Press is where I go for breads and other wholesome foods. I have several other of the Rodale books and they are all great.

As I peruse the books, it’s fun to see how many phases and stages of eating I’ve gone through. You will find vegetarian/vegan books, low-fat books, low-carb books, and all sorts of specialized diet books, all of which I still read and sometimes use. Then there are the regional books that show where I’ve lived – Guam, Alaska, Arizona, California, Down East, Deep South, the Orient.

Even though I still buy new cookbooks, I still go back to my old “tried-and-true” standards when I want to make something special for friends. Maybe someday I’ll stop reading my cookbooks like novels (which is what I do!) and actually use them for more cooking.

Now I’m anxious to go find a new recipe to try for you!

A hui hou!

Feral Fables

“For centuries, women and men have sought guidance and counsel to help them in processes of change, healing, and transformation.”

That is the first sentence in the introduction to my book, Feral Fables. How many of us have checked the I Ching, or Animal Medicine cards, or the Tarot to see what they have to say to us? Not only is it fun, but it also can be enlightening in some strange and inexplicable way.  

We are spoken to through many avenues. Insights may come like lightning bolts or in a still, small voice. A friend says something that strikes us as relevant to a question we’ve pondered. We hear a conversation that brings sudden understanding to a problem. A dream reveals an answer to a situation. We read a story that becomes more significant each time we read it.

Such is the nature of these fables. This is the sort of book you can have on your cell phone or iPad that you can tuck in your purse or briefcase and so it will be handy at all times. At odd moments, you can pick a fable at random to see what meaning it can bring to your life. Whether you are female or male, youth or elder, there will be something of value in each brief fable.

What is a fable anyway? The dictionary describes it as “a fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson.” I believe it is more than just a moral lesson. I prefer to say that it shows us “Truth” greater than “truth.” I wrote these to use as I worked with psychology clients who were looking for that Truth in their lives. You can do the same for yourself.

I plan to publish it as hard copy before long, but in the meantime, I suggest that you read it as an e-book. You can get your copy of Feral Fables by clicking on this link.

You can read these fables with the intention of finding clarity on some issue in your life, or maybe the serendipity will surprise you when you read them just for fun. In either case, please let me know your reaction to these wild tales.

Aloha!

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