Part of enjoying life is dealing with the problems it tosses our way. To be a great problem solver involves more than just wishful thinking and good luck on our side. It requires we take proactive measures to control what we can and let go of what we can't. If you have problems in life and want to learn a few tips on how to solve them, this episode is for you. My special guest, award-winning author, Brenda L Murphy, shares her easy-to-implement techniques on how to get past any problems in life.
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ABOUT BRENDA L MURPHY
Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. Her novel Double Six won the 2020 GCLS Goldie for Erotica. On The Square, the first book in her University Square Series is a 2021 GCLS Goldie finalist. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering on her porch and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot. She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.
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Hey, thanks for joining me today for this episode of Curve's Welcome, a podcast about facing and embracing the curves of life. If this is your first time tuning in, this is Suzie Carr. Hello and welcome to Curve's welcome podcast. I'm so happy to have my guest, my special guest speaker with me today, Brenda Murphy. Brenda Murphy writes fiction and short fiction and novels. Her novel, Double Six won the 2020 GCLS Goldie for erotica. She loves tattooers and sideshows. And yes, those are her monkeys when she's not loitering at our local library and writing. She wrangles two kids, one dog and an unrepentant parrot parrot. How she reviews books, blogs about life as a writer and ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog at writing while distracted. I will be linking to that in the show notes. So check out her Web site. It's awesome. I read her blog. It's fantastic. And I will also print out social media links in there and always to contact her. Brenda, thank you so much for being here with us today. I'm so happy to have you. I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for for having me. It will be a fun conversation. Oh, I think it will. Absolutely. I mean, so I met you in person for the first time at at the GCLS conference in Pittsburgh, I believe. Yes. Yeah. It was Pittsburgh. That's when we first met. We had I think you had a way to interact it through the convergence. You were part of the membership drives off like that. But I met you live and in person, and that was a lot of fun. And I can't wait to we can all do that again because it was such a such a great thing. It was it was the last time that we actually had an in-person conference. Right. Right before COVID hit. So and what I remember the most. This might not be the most pleasant memory because it was kind of scary and traumatic for me for just a split second. But you were there to help me. I just remember somebody got hurt that they trust. And there was blood. Yes. Person to find the person is absolutely fine. But at the moment. I'm not a good person when it comes to traumatic events. And you and I were having a great conversation about writing and life. And all of a sudden somebody came running over to me because I'm a director of membership. And they were like, Suzie, somebody is hurt. We need to do something. What do we do? And I froze and panic. And you just jumped into action. Yeah. Yeah. I was nursing. You know, I'm I'm a nurse or a registered nurse, I. I worked in hospitals for like thirty three years and I left hospital nursing a couple years ago. Basically I know it's weird to say retired, but I stepped away from that. And my kids, I have two kids with special needs. So I basically, you know, somebody needed to be home and coordinate all of the things. And so that became my role because it's a lot easier if that's what you're used to doing to coordinate all of the things. So, yeah, but that training never goes away. It's always just part. It's one of those things probably like riding a bicycle. You just you remember you just goofy act late or race horses. I always say we're we're like, you know, the when they set the bellow off and you go bolting out of the gate, that's how most of us are. You know that if you've I have this theory that certain areas of nursing really attract adrenaline junkies. And I would totally describe myself as such. And I worked as a labor and delivery nurse. Where you can go from. Oh, things are great. This is fine. We're having a baby to just craziness in a matter of seconds. Some people who've had kids will tell you it's all craziness after that, too. But, you know, yeah, it was it was the most amazing place to work. I only had you know, nobody ever likes to go to their job one hundred percent of the time. But I would say I like to go to my job 98 percent of the time. Like, it was pretty amazing. That's pretty amazing because I did it right. I mean, there were I mean, there were I mean, everybody has days you go, oh, I can't believe I got to work. I've got to get off. Right. But then you see why works nights. Because I hated to get up in the mornings. I worked nights for years because I don't sleep well. I figured I might as well get paid for it. But the biggest thing was even on those days are really, oh, I can't believe I have to go to work. I would get there and I would be with my friends and then it would be fine. Yeah. And even if it wasn't, you were so busy, mind it and then you get to go home. So here you were. You sound like you were in your glory at the time. And this kind of segue ways into the conversation that we're here to talk about today, which is right, being a problem solver. Now, there I know there's like a whole science and art behind solving problems and. I admittedly have not always been the best problem solver. However, I do believe it is something that we can all learn because I have learned how to become a better one over time by dealing with things. Right. I think that is the only way you can actually learn a skill. Effectively, I will say, is by doing and. Every single person on the planet is faced with problems that nobody is immune to problems. And it's really how we attend to them and how we focus on them. That's really going to determine the outcome of being able to solve them or sometimes just have to you know, you just deal with them and either you survive, you thrive or you just become defeated. And I don't know about everybody else listening here, but I don't like to be defeated. Right. Right. I really don't. So you're exactly right. I mean, it is something that can be learned, and I think. Most people that work in an L.A. care, people come to us because they have problems, right? I mean, that's usually why you show up. And I always said labor and delivery was fun to work in because their problem was they were pregnant and we could fix that, right? Yeah. You want to have a baby? We want it. We want you to have your baby. That that worked out really well. Right. But, you know, moving from that to life in general, you know. And you touched upon, you know, situations. And I always say you have to do the biggest thing you have to do is get clear. Is this a problem that you actually have some control over? Because there are a lot of things that are a problem that it doesn't matter how hard you work at it, you're not going to be able to solve it because it's not within your sphere of control. And so, you know, if it's something like that, then that to me, I label a situation and situation. You either decide to deal with or walk away if you can't control it. You either got to deal with it or walk away. And that's the very first thing, you know. And to solve a problem isn't really a problem. Or is it a situation? Well, that's when. And once you figure that out. OK. So this is something I can control and do something about. And once you get clear about that part, you know, is it a problem or situation? You know, the next thing, you have to be clear about it. And I made some notes because I actually do have a system and it will probably sound like a long, drawn out system. But it's not I mean, it got down for us. Shrunk it down. Right. I didn't make it down because, you know, you get a clear problem, you know. Let me ask you something, though. Oh, wait. Before we actually get into the whole system of problem solving. Yes. I really can't wait to dig into your brain on this one because I saw it firsthand at you in action that day. I'm like, she is a problem solver. She didn't come everybody down and solved all these issues for us. And you were in complete control of a sit over a situation that it deemed somebody taking control. And you did. So that is what I took away from that situation. And I'm so glad to have you here talking about problem solving for that reason. But what it's one of the first things that comes to your mind when you think of the word problem in the context of someone's life. Yes, the very first thing I always think about is that, you know. Where the person is. Look, if someone comes to me and says, I have a problem and people do and I always say so. So what do you what do you see as a problem? And I always ask, do you want comfort or advice? Because I read that somewhere. And that solves a lot of conflict. Some people just want to talk to you. Yes, it's about the situation and they don't want your advice. And that's fine, because if you just need to talk to me for me to listen so that you can think out loud and sort through. Want me to say, gosh, that is terrible, you're right. That is a problem. What are you going to do about it or have I thought about it or what other valin? That's a different conversation. But if you come to me like cheese, I don't know what to do about this. What do you think I should do about this then? I know you're asking for me to offer some some wisdom. If I have it and sometimes I don't, I'm like, damn, I don't know what I do either. And then we both sit down and talk about it like, okay, so what, what do you have? But that's the first thing I think of is like, OK. Do they want to just tell me the problem and have me be comforting and a friend and listen, where do they actually want my advice? So that's the very first thing I think of when someone talks about a problem. I love that because I think that's the major a major pain point in conversations between friends, spouses, parents and children. It's that not understanding what the person's expectations and needs actually are in a situation like that, because sometimes you're right, we just want to vent. But how does a person on the receiving end understand that unless we say something or unless they've asked? And so that is a whole different it can take the conversation in a completely different direction. So I so appreciate you mentioning that, really. And I think with spouses like within a related with couples, especially because, you know, your partner may come home and they're like, you know, elevated, really jacked up because some crazy went on at work. And you don't have all the pieces of the puzzle and they may just want to talk about it and then about it. And have you say you're right and they were wrong or you, I don't know or something, you know, be comforting in that moment or they made us say, what would you do? And, you know, then that's like it's a totally different conversation. And I think it's more respect. I mean, it's a respectful thing to do in any relationship to find out what you mean. You're opening up to you there. There's a lot of people letting you in if they're going to share what their problems are, because we live in a society where nine times out of 10, unless you're close to someone and you say, how are you doing? The first response that everyone's gonna give you is I'm just fine. And sometimes you look at people and, you know, they're not fine, but that isn't always my, you know, my Cluedo. OK. You don't wanna tell me what's going on. And that's OK to your business. Right. But, you know, I love those people that go, I don't know where I am right now or sort of okay. But I got this thing going on. And if you're close enough to talk about it. Okay. So do you want to talk or not? And so, as you know, if I guess stuff going on. They get through. I don't want talk to anybody. I'm still thinking it through. Right. And that's a very important process. It really is. So I want to speak about process first for a second here. What I'd like to ask you is if you can give us an example of a problem that you solved as and then as a result of solving that problem, you grew out of that. Can you give us an example of that, just to kind of give a little context to our conversation today, too? First of all, let people know that everybody we all have problems. But I also I also like to be able to give an example so people understand that having a problem isn't the end of the world. It's actually an opportunity to grow. And I cite that all the time. Whenever there's a difficulty in life, a challenge where there's a solution that's needed and there's a salute, you have control over creating that solution out of dealing with the problem, then that's just a great and empowering feeling to be able to know that Ardith at the other end of this problem. There is some sunlight that you're going to see eventually. Right. And I would say this this last year has tested everyone's problem solving abilities. I went from having between six and eight hours a day to work on my writing business to create to have that time to do all of the things that I was, you know, and had worked towards doing because, you know, I had been home with the kids. And even when they were little, I mean, they were only in school, like even in preschool early in school at two hours and forty five minutes a day. And I got worked under that time. But if you have, you know, toddler twins running around, you're just not going to get a lot done. That has to do with creative and focus and things like that. By the time they get to school, school where you drop them off at, let's say, nine o'clock, you don't have to get them again until three thirty. That was just like a miracle. I had time to create. I had time to write. I had time to really get immersed into my creative thinking and work on the business and things like that, all well and good. My kids came home on a Friday and never went back to school. Right. So you know your home. And that first part at the end of last year. A lot of our problem solving revolved around not just technological issues, which is what I think a lot of parents were dealing with, because a lot of teachers trying to figure out how to do this. I said my kids are special needs. So my daughter is on the autism spectrum and my son has ADHD. So and I have ADHD, too. So I always say there's no one neurotypical in our household. I mean, we deal with a lot of stuff trying to work out how to have both of them have what they needed to finish out the school year, too. Also, I had a book under contract and another project. I was worried. So I have two projects I need to finish, which in the world that I was in now would have been fine. I would have had. It would've been a breeze. Fine. You know, cranking out two a day, getting all this stuff done, get me additon, everything else. And now I'm like, okay, what do I got to do here? And the first thing I figured out was what's in my control or what's in my control is me. Because the first thing to tell you about kids is that kids are not within your control, I don't care what anybody else tells you there. My grandma used to say raising kids was like making a cake. You put all the ingredients in and you put it in the oven and you pray no one slams the door. OK. So if you bake cakes, what do you slam the door as they fall? So that's like my grandmother's. You know what happens with cakes? That's the problem with my baking. Right. I digress. Slamming the door of yellow bang bang and going around you. Cakes are gonna fall and be the best cakes. Is awesome. But I'm like, okay, so what am I gonna do here? And, you know, prioritize. You know, the kids were first priority because, you know, I'm a grown up and I can get my stuff done around them. But they don't have the same abilities. They don't have the same knowledge and experience. So I got them sorted out with their attack. But then I'm so busy being their tech support. When the heck am I supposed to do my work? Well, you know, I went back to what I knew, which is I started writing my blog when my kids were toddlers, which means I had two hours and forty five minutes when they went to preschool to do my work and I had to shut off everything else, like in my brain that said, oh, you should take your time and do this. Like if there were dishes that needed to be done or vacuuming or laundry or whatever else I had to make basically put myself in a bubble, put blinders on and say, no, this is the only time because you can do dishes with kids around and you can do laundry with kids around and you can vacuum with kids around. In fact, they should help you do all that stuff. So remembering that, I'm like, OK, because I was really overwhelmed. I was feeling really defeated. I was like, I just got there and it felt like the rug was snatched right out from under me. And I remembered I wrote four books in two hours and forty five minutes a day. And if I could write four books in two hours and 45 minutes a day. Then I could get done this novella, this 30 k novella that I owed and I could finish this book that I was like two thirds of the way through. I could do that. And I had to fall back onto what I knew. So I just got up earlier because I could control me. You know, I couldn't control anything else in that moment. We really couldn't control anything at the beginning of this because nobody knew what it was going on. I just knew my kids didn't have school and that was the biggest thing. I like my kids are home and they're going to school at home. And I have to find my time to do my time. And my creative time is in the morning. That's like when I'm really on. Although last night I had a scene in my head for a book that I've already turned in. So I hope my editor doesn't hear this, but I'll have to slip it in later or as say, go ahead as others. Sorry. Sorry. But I've sat on the couch in the midst of my daughter doing Lego. My son was watching some crazy I don't even know what's on the television. And I sat down and wrote like a five one or weird scene. Because I just it was there and it was there and you had the Times. So what I'm hearing from you is it's really a matter of developing. First of all, first step is understanding. Is this something I control? If the answer to that is no, then we'll deal with it or we'll walk away from it. In your case, you know, you can't just walk on certain things, right? People are any circumstances in life. But if the answer to that question is yes, this is within my control. Then the next step. It sounded like you did was you sort of set priorities in your head. You started going through the problem solving mechanism of, OK, what can I do? OK, well, this worked before in the past. So chances are it's going to work again if I apply the same principle now. So it's finding things that were successful in your life. At one point and applying them to your current situation. And so it's really finding these tools that are out there for yourself. Right. Sort of sorting through your toolbox. And that's part of like the whole process. And I always say that, you know, problems usually come down to look for things. Time, money, space for yourself. Yeah, I mean, that's pretty much life in general. You know, if you got time to do something, if you have space to do something, if you have money to do something, if you have what you need in yourself, whether that be knowledge, tools, you know, discipline, I mean, those things that you have in yourself and knowing, you know, being a little look back at what you've accomplished. And I always say that when you start feeling defeated about a problem, you really need to step back and look at what you've accomplished. You know, I keep a little bookshelf that has hard copies of my books on those and those days that I sit down and I look at the screen and I go, oh, my God, I don't know what the [INAUDIBLE] I'm doing here. Why did I ever think that I could write a book? I get up and I go look at those books. I'm like, okay, so I've written this many books. I know how to do this because I swear, every time you open up a document start again, you're like, how do we do this again? I know what you write, but then you're like, okay, I do know how to do this. I do know how to do this. I've done it. So I think that that just having visual reminders of things that you've accomplished, just having it even, you know, friends that you remember, we did this together say you want to do. I've had friends that have have gone on the Appalachian Trail and hiked the entire thing or they've done some major milestone in their life, ran a marathon, you know, did a triathlon or whatever go. I worked with a woman who had run the Marine Corps marathon who carried the medal in her backpack. And she would just say, I want to see my merit. What see you in battle because she had it through. No, that it's taking it's taken that inventory of your wins. And I want to say to those listeners who are sitting there saying to themselves right now, I don't have it in me to run a marathon. I don't have it in me to write a book. I've never done anything that monumental in my life. These wins that we're talking about also refer to have you made someone smile today? You can control that. Yeah, well, you can control creating that action that could potentially make someone smile. You can spread that chair. And that that's monumental is in itself, too. So it's the other little things, you know, are my kids, you know, did my kids have. A good day. You know, I mean, that was really hard at the beginning of this because they miss their friends. They miss their routine. They were really frustrated with the technology, you know. Were there little things that I could do, like if my kids were okay at the end of the day? I felt like I'd accomplish a little things like that. I rescue a dog, you know, things that you've done on your own. Do you know, did I grow a plant? You know, I mean, yes. I mean, it's taken those winds and understanding that that was you solving a problem, right? I have a plant. I have a plant in my mind right now. That is a it's a bamboo. And this thing at one point when I first got it, was beautiful. It thrived. And then I almost I pretty much killed it. I don't know what happened. It just sort of like you put it. Did you put it in the window? Does it get more sun now? Now it does. Yeah. So I've been trying to nurse it. I talk to it, I move it, move it away from the light like they like shade. Look bamboo. Like shade. Yeah. Because I had we had a bamboo plant on the side of the house and then the city went through and cut down a bunch of trees. And like everything that I had over there in that window that enjoyed the shaded light I had. OK. Window. Well, I will I will do that. I will move to the bathroom. It's not direct sunlight, but it but it does get sun. So they love bathrooms. Yeah. Well, maybe you'll be in my bathroom and there you go. Bamboo is very good luck. So anyway, my whole point and say that is I, I have these plants so that I have fought back from the dead like literally they, they were brought back from the dead. And so now I have a whole kitchen window and it's full of house plants that I brought back from the farm, from the dead. So if I ever have a moment in my life where I say I don't matter, nothing. And what have I ever really done? And whatever I can look and say, I those plants, I mean, they're alive because I have nurture them. And if I weren't here nurturing them, they'd be dead. So it it's all relative to how you view the world. Well, you know, moving on though, let's let's. Sure. Sure. What do you think somebody risks when they choose to not face the problems head on. The ones that they can control. Yeah. Problems you don't face have a really bad habit of snowballing. I think, for one thing, if you don't address an issue, the other thing is I think it really contributes to that. You know, you've touched on this, that that feeling of being defeated. Like the feeling I had made some notes about that, too, because like things that I wanted to remember that you know, that you. You risk that feeling of not accomplishing things in areas like, oh, you get stuck. That feeling of being mired in in problems, because a lot of times you don't address one problem, then it can snowball into like a bigger problem. But you can also have this cascade effect to other problems. And I liken it to like, if you have a leak in your roof. Ignoring league is not going to make it go away. And you're going to end up having to replace probably a ceiling and the rest of your roof. You know, a leak under your cabinet if you don't address the leak under your cabinet. It's going to write your floorboards. So I always feel like if you don't address those little leaks as little problems when they, you know, whatever size they come to you, if you don't address a problem, it's not going to go away. And again, this is a problem versus a situation. Yes. You know, you can't fix other people. And if people don't take anything else away from this lake, if part of your problem is an interaction with someone else in your life, you can only control your part of that equations. You can't control them if they have their own things that they're doing or issues or whatever, they're going to have that. And what you can only bring your part of it to that. And there there's a lot of wisdom in knowing, OK. It's I've done as much as this is as far as I'm going, those boundaries like I'm here. This is what I'm going to do. You do your thing. But this is what I'm going to do. And I'm I'm happy with that ethically, interpersonally, whatever. That's that's what I've got. Yeah. And that's the other part of that. But not dealing with situations, not deal the problems. You just end up feeling stuck. And that is an unhappy and that's never, never a good place to feel frustrated. I think we've all been there. I know that I have let problems in my mind just slide by thinking I'll just deal with this later. And then all of a sudden I look over my shoulder and I'm like, oh, my God, that just grew overnight. How did that happen? Well, when you ignore things that you can control, that you have control over your action or inaction. And in some cases can make a problem worse by ignoring that leak under the kitchen faucet, which I have done before. I don't really know anybody who has not ignored look like or sound that you're like. I know that's not normal. Right. Or that sound in your car, like that little sound in your car. You're like, oh. Turn up the radio. Right. Absolutely. There are there are all sorts of little things. Right. Right. Right. I mean, you know, I have problems with my my deck right now. I know that we need to replace the side rails because, you know, I look at it. I'm like, they need to be replaced. But, oh, wait. So I've waited through the winter and now I'm like, oh, my God, it's ready to fall down. I probably should have done it sooner. Those little things. But let's talk about. I mean, the problems can be grand in scale or small in scale problems to people, it's relative. How they feel about them. Is a problem. It's a problem. So my next question to you is, can you share with us some practical tips on ways a person can systematically solve a problem? Because I do believe if people have a process or a system in place, then they feel more empowered to be able to actually take action on it. At least that's how I feel. And if I have to if I if I have to build something, I say I get something from the store IKEA and I just got something actually a futon bed, and I had to lug it all day yesterday. Get out. But it's a matter of systematically having a process to be able to say, OK, this is I'm going to get from point A, which is everything in a box and like really overwhelming. Looking to point B, I have a futon that I could somebody could sleep on. Now to get from that point to that point takes a process typically for you to feel your way through it. Same thing with a problem. And I feel like you can empower people if if if you do have that process. So what is yours? So. Exactly. So. So the process then, of course, like I flip my pages over is we talked about get clear, get clear about whether it's a problem where a situation get clear about whether it's time, it's money, it's space, it's yourself. What is it that is the problem, you know, environment. Well, you know, those are just some examples like what is the problem? Get clear about that. And is it in your control? That's the next thing you look at. So is this something I can control? Now, if you live in an apartment and you've got a leak under the sink, that's called a landlord. Right. If you're renting, that's a call. The landlord. If you live in a house and it's a leak under the sink, that's a call to the plumber in scheduling time for them to come out and having the money to pay for it. So it's like it's worth trying to fix it yourself, find a YouTube video and seeing whether or not this falls within your wheelhouse of ability. And we all have different things like that. I mean, that's the first thing I do for any repair. I have a lot of I have a very large skill set when it comes to repairs and home improvement and stuff like that. And I get basically the house or in I did 90 percent of the renovation myself. So I have a very large wheelhouse. I also can do small independent, like I can do things. However, there are things that I know that I can do. Could do that. It will be, you know, to solve a problem that is better for me to take it to someone that does that professionally all the time. So get clear about that. You know, does this fall in your rib if it has to do with something you can take care of? Is it really something you want to get involved in? You know, and they're the best thing about YouTube. There are thousands of videos which will show you how to fix things. If you have to, you know, fix whatever you want to take a stab about it. You know, you can find a video that it will help. You had to do something. You have the tools and the time and the willingness, whatever, silently pay. So that's one kind of problem. You know, the other stuff is I'm a firm believer in lists, you know? What do you have? What things do I have to fix this problem? What things do I need to fix this problem? What things do I need to do to fix this problem? And then there's that was my favorite one, is brainstorming all the different ways you could potentially address a problem, because, you know, it may be that that first idea of like what's going to work doesn't work. And I think that if you have if you have kids in general or you have pets, there are pets that, you know, what would fix something, some behavior that you're not happy with. You know, I wound up I had I had at the time, my dogs were young. They're like medium sized dogs, a little quiche hounds. They're not huge dogs. But I found out that a regulation baby gate with two key Shan's is absolutely worthless because I had those little pop in gates. Right. Because my problem was they were getting out in the house and chewing the living [INAUDIBLE] out of everything. I mean, they chew like beavers. I mean, I don't mean just like two of us shoe. I'm talking about chewing up woodwork. Oh, my God. Doorframes. I mean, it's crazy. And they chew for about cabinets. They too, for about two years. Right. I finally resorted to a dog gate that you could use for German shepherds or like anything huge. Right. Any Great Dane size dog gate that I had to install to keep these two small dogs in my kitchen. I found out that that was like, but my first idea was to use the baby gate, you know, test your ideas. Is this gonna work? Because it's not their ideas, you know? What do you have? I mean, I was lucky. I put out a call from all my friends, like, hey, does anybody have a baby Gates are done with? There were a ton of baby gates. People had some of them even came with little teeth marks from their puppies, which my puppies promptly chewed through to the wood. Like those little wooden ones. You know, some of that's just an example of, you know, what do you have? What do you need? Try everything. You know, don't take anything off the table, even if it seems like an extreme thing, you know? Well, let's see if this works, you know, will this work? That's the whole glory of that's the glory of brainstorming is every idea is good until proven otherwise. Right. And. Yeah. Right. And even if it sounds like something that might be hard to do, like getting up earlier to get your stuff done before everybody else comes into play. I mean, we're homeschooling now. My kids aren't ready to start school to like ten o'clock. That's brilliant, because now I don't even have to get up the crack of dawn to get my two and a half hours in. I can get up at seven, which is my preferred time, and get my time in and then still be ready for them. And to thinking about it through 30 a.m. here to thirty, thirty a.m. Yeah. If I should like. Yeah. She's up really early like that and I'd get it all done by 5:00 a.m. Yeah. She is a very, she is a very early riser. She gets up to get stuff done, she does her thing and that's you know, you have to work with you to look what you know. There are people at step way. I know a lot of people with kids. Right. That step really late to get their work done because they wait till the kids go to bed. And in the end, I've done that, too. I mean, there are times when I do Nana RAYMO, when they were little, didn't National Novel Writing Month where you commit to the insanity of writing a fifty thousand word novel, which I want, you know, double six was Panopto was my Nana Primeau project now. Yes. Yeah. I've had a couple of books I like that used to be how I would sneak in an extra book a year two because my goal was always to ball. So I would like do a book in like from the kids time because Ebanks was like August, October, and then I would always go the story International Writers Conference. So my deadline would be to get that that finished. Before I went to conference, I was like, my reward was to get to the conference and hang all my friends and be crazy in Vancouver. And then I would come back and I would do NANOWRIMO. And then I would go back and edit the first book. So like, I could get my two books in four year. I didn't do it this last year because I sat down, I wrote a blog post about it like I was not in a place where words were flowing freely. They were coming out like sludge. But they were coming out and, you know, it's that not giving up. That's the other part of problem solving. Just because the first solution didn't work, you don't just walk away because you can't ignore it. Say you tried to fix the pipes under the sink. And it lasted for two days, and then whatever your repair was, that gum and tape that you put on there didn't work. And now it's leaking again. I'm so glad you went there with this because it's so important that. Right. If the gum and the tape don't work, move. Maybe it's time to up the game to the YouTube video that cheers other ideas or whatever. Right. But yes, it's important to, like, be flexible and not beat yourself up with something that doesn't work because it's not always done. It's not always going to work for research. There are tons and tons and tons of people out there. You are not the only person who's ever dealt with the situation. There are podcasts like this. There are YouTube videos. There are blog posts. If you put in whatever your problem is, I guarantee you you will get some kind of hits. Some of the solutions may seem absolutely insane, and I have read some of those solutions and wonder what planet or what kind of bank account those people have, because that's the other thing. We all come from a different budgetary place. So, you know, I always say there's the 10 cent solution and the ten dollar solution and then the hundred dollar solution and a ten thousand dollar solution to a problem. And I usually start at the low end, you know, cause that's where I think you should start, is the low end. That's just how I roll. But sometimes I look at that lake. I had to tear up as part of renovating this house. I had the people come in to give me an estimate for the floor in the kitchen because I needed to replace the guy who lived. There was like a two pack a day smoker and everything reeked. Right. And the floor was even stained yellow from plosives, really old from the 1950s, kind of for going to rip everything up. Right. The guy comes to give me an estimate and he can give me an estimate on the Bible, but he can't give me an estimate on the demolition. And I'm like, what? And he goes, why don't know how long it's gonna take him to tear the floor up. And then he tells me the estimate for that, and I'm like, you know what, I don't hear this floor up and I'll call you to come back and do the underlayment and do the floor. Right. So problem solved. It's toward a floor up. I don't know. But I know I don't want to pay this guy to tear the floor up because it was going to be expensive. You know, it can be fun as all [INAUDIBLE] to Tara, but law, if you know why, frustration's in your back pocket and you need to get rid of them. Tearing up a floor is it was a blast wave. And my total cost besides my time was the 30 minutes. I went through YouTube and I found a bunch of different videos because I hadn't rented a dumpster either. So. And I needed it to be in manageable chunks for me. And, you know, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and I'm like, okay, I know how to do this now. Already owned a circular saw, which was a key part of like cutting it in the squares that were manageable. So that was easy, already owned that. But he didn't own good kneepads. I needed to pry bar and I needed one of those little staple pullers. And all of that costs me like honor bucks. That's Tapert Polar's all. I'm sorry, but you just give me flashbacks, traumatic flashbacks out of my hands and knees. I'm not sure what's up with people when staple guns. Oh, my goodness. I mean, they love home. There was one spot in the kitchen where I swear there were 50 staples in like a twelve by twelve foot. I don't know what happened there, you know, because this time it was pretty's you know, it made sense. They're here and here and here to hold it down. I'm thinking, dude, whoever you were that did this, there were appliances on top of this plywood. It wasn't going anywhere. What in the world? I've out quite a few people who I have no idea who they were. Right. Those staples. Yes. That was the one hundred dollar solution to what was like a twenty five hundred three K quote for demolition. And I'm like, okay, I can do this. But I had I knew myself well enough to know that I had the ability and the time. And the skill set to do it. So that's the other part of problem solving. You know, you can get really overwhelmed when you look at all the different solutions. So make a list of those things, too. You know, I'm all about lists because lists help you get clear whether you write them out by hand. I'm a big fan of handwriting writing because I think you think differently that way. Yes. Put him on a computer primness spreadsheet, whatever works for you. Talk up, talk about the solutions and the other part. If you call it a solution, it seems like has kind of if we talk it over with somebody you trust, somebody that you know, and I always say talk it over with a neutral party, someone who doesn't have an investment, whether or not you do X. I used to go down. When you could go down this teahouse coffee house and, you know, here in town and there's a couple of guys that is like old guys are retired, there's friends with and what I loved about being friends with them is if I had something I needed to talk over, they had no investment in what my solution was. Right. As opposed to your partner sometimes may want to micromanage your investment or they don't want you to get hurt or they're fearful or they're worried about your time commitment or whatever, versus these people who don't say they're random because they're friends, but they're not invested in what you do as a solution to your problem. Well, that that's a great point. Seeking the counsel of outside sources who have an unbiased, objective figure, let's say don't care. They don't have to live with you. You know, they don't have to live with your house. The problem or the issue, if the problem isn't solved or it's not going to affect them one way or the other, hopefully you solve it or don't solve it or solve it a certain way. Exactly. It's it's like, you know, I always call it the barbershop or the coffee shop Congress. You know, you go and I'm like, what do you what do you think? You know, it was like, what would you do? Whatever. I'm I'm thinking about doing this. Have you ever done that? That's the other thing. When you get ready to do something that you haven't tried before as a solution, your problem. You talked to people who've done it, if you can find those people, did that work for you? You know, getting your kids to sleep through the night. They're like thousands of people who tell you how to do that. I'm here to tell you that each child is individual and what works for one family might work for your family, might not. But I will tell you what will not work trying to force fit someone else's solution into your environment, your situation, your life, just because nine hundred ninety nine people did it this way. It may not work for you because your space chances are different. You don't feel like a failure because it may work for you and it works for somebody else. It's a totally different situation, circumstance. So they said I don't don't feel defeated. Again, it comes back to don't feel defeated if the first thing doesn't work. A lot of really big problems if it's a big problem. It may take a bunch of brainstorming. It may take a lot of work to keep trying different things. Well, that didn't come out. And I would say I like to cook. I've taught cooking classes. I had a cooking blog for a while. And my thing is it's like tweaking a recipe. You know, fixing a problem is like tweaking a recipes. Like the first time I make something, I make it exactly like it's written. And then I go from there like, OK, did I like it? Did I not like it? Does it vary mentality? Yeah, we're not. Right. So you're going to do I need more this. More that. Or take something out or we don't have that ingredient or we didn't like that ingredient or whatever. Those little tweaks, like maybe your problem was solved 50 percent. What can I do to get it to 60 percent or what I can do to get it? You know, and coming to the final part of it is if you get to those unsolvable problems, you really have to back up off of that and say, OK. This isn't going to change. And if it's not going to change, we're back to that. It's a situation and you either deal with it or you don't walk away from it or you don't. And again, you can't necessarily do that with people. But what you can do is decide how much time, effort, energy, all of those things. You know, you can draw that boundary and say, OK, I can't do this anymore. Years ago, I had a friend who's had a family member that routinely we would have to go pick up because they had overdrink. And after I mean, we had gone and gotten them like five or six times, you know, and you get to that point to where like, I'm glad you're safe. But I have to go to work in the morning. Yeah, right. And you're calling me at 3:00 a.m. from a bar on a work night. And so I need you to find something else to do. We wound up preprogramming, you know, a cab interphone. We wound up. I mean, besides strongly encouraging her to go for for counseling. But again, I can't force anybody to do anything. It's out of your control. Right out of my control. But I can make sure that you have a preprogramed number in your phone. I can make sure that we have an account with the cab company. That you don't take that you don't not take a cab because you don't have the cash right now. And we were privileged that we were able to do that and make that arrangement. Eventually, they figured out that that was not a way to live your life. And got some help, which is like the positive part of that story. But drawing that line, like, I can't go into work where I have to make decisions where if I screw up, people could really get hurt or die or kill. Because when you're a nurse, you have that responsibility. You have to be together when you get to work. You make decisions. You need a clear head and a clear head, right? Yeah. After the third or fourth time at three HMO, like we're not. Time out. We got to have something for this. So different solution, a different solutions. Again, situation versus problem. What you have where you are. All of that. But that's that's kind of my where I come from to solve problems. This has been really great information. One thing that I just from the conversation, one thing that I thought of, too, is the way we look at problems like our mindset, how its problems can probably help us deal with them when they're in our control in a more effective way. And what I mean by that is I go back to that whole viewing, the viewing, everything through the lens of being a student of the universe. Being curious about life. And so I take, for instance, that futon I had to put together in that big, huge package and all the tools and all the everything. And I thought, you have a curious mind, Soozie. Think look at this as you're curious about it and it changes your mindset, puts you into a different set of different state of mind. And I find that that's very helpful to be able to solve problems because I don't put that stress on myself. Instead, I'm looking at it like let's let's look at this as a game and be curious about it, that you'll learn something from this. And so that's that was that was one of my pieces of advice, I would say, to add to what you've already said, which is your pieces of advice were so helpful. And I really hope that everybody listening here, if you do have a problem, hopefully they're small problems. But if you regardless of their size. I hope that you take this these tips and apply them, try them, be flexible, be be very patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Life is hard enough on its own. Never mind putting that pressure on yourself to feel like you've failed at solving a problem. Let me be kind. That is the number one thing. Be kind to yourself. I mean, there are enough people in the world who may not be. So be kind to your skies. That is the number one thing. And and respect yourself. Respect your abilities. You know, be. Be. Be confident. Like you said, be a student, the universe. Be confident that you can solve things cause you know, you got to where you are. Yes. You've survived so far. You have solved many of their problems. And it may not seem like they were this big. It may seem like this is the biggest problem in the world. But, you know, you've you've got here. And you can keep being your be that student universe is a big be curious and you can you can do it. And I'm cheering for you, whatever your problem is. Like, I. I'm a big cheerleader. I'm always like, yes, you guys. Yes, I do. That comes that comes right for that flows right from your energy is you could you care about people. And so that's why I thought you were the perfect guest to bring on to talk about. Thank you. Yes. Because it's such a it's such a an important thing to talk about. So people have all these problems. They think they're so monumental is and they're they're gonna crush them. And it's such a sad way to live. And I think that you offered a lot of help and a lot of hope for people in that respect. Now, as we close out today's episode, I really I want to give you an opportunity to talk about, you know, share with us what's your title of your latest work in progress. So what's the latest book release and where people can connect with you so that they can learn more about you? Oh, my gosh. Well, my my website's pretty easy to find, but it's Brenda L. Murphy. You have to make sure you put the L in there because there's another Brendan Murphy that actually writes drama criticism. And is it like a tenured professor? And I always wonder, like, what people get to that website. They're, like, confused. But anyway, so it's Brenda L. Murphy dot com. So that's easy. And my next released with Nine Star Press is actually an anthology that I did with Meghan Hart and Fiona Z. And it's a paranormal is press. Three paranormal stories are all like three paranormal novellas. We had a really good time doing it together. I'm friends with both of them. Fiona actually went to school with my wife, which is how I met her and I met Meghan at our RWA conference. Like a million years ago, it feels like now. But unbeknownst to both them, they both were they both really admired each other's work. So it was really fun putting everybody together. And that was a really that was a fun project. And it was like the perfect project for this this time period. So it was very encouraging. So that'll be out in June. It's called Love, Blood and Sanctuary, and it's got some great stories on it. The best part with being older read their stories. Well, I was cool for my University Square series. The most recent release was locked set. That was back in October. But the next book out book Ends Will Come. I believe September is my release date for that. At least that's the tentative release date from nine Star Press right now. And that's the third book in the University Square series. And I'm working on the fourth book, which I just got my characters nailed down this past couple weeks. I took a couple weeks off social media and just worked in the garden to let stuff bubble up because that's usually where my happy places outside in the garden. But yeah, so I'm easy to find. You can find my readers group on Facebook that's writing Distracted Scurry, which is what you call a group of squirrels. And if you've followed any of my writing destructive blog, you'll know that I'm a squirrel like in what's going on. And that's probably like my low power animal as squirrels and turtle squirrels and turtles, because any progress is progress. Oh, that's fantastic. Well, again, I've enjoyed this conversation. I'm sure our listeners are enjoying it, too. And. Go out there and fix your leaks, people fix your leaks. Trust me. If there's one takeaway from today's show, it's fix those leaks. No matter what they look like in this world. Thanks so much for being with us today, Brenda. I really thank you for having me. Zoozoo is just great. I love talking to you. And it's been fun. Hey, friends, thanks for spending time with me today. I hope you enjoyed it. Today's topic. If there is something you'd enjoy exploring in a future podcast, please reach out to me via my Web site at Curve's Welcome dot com. And I'll work it in while you're there. Grab a free story, too. It's my way of thanking you for your support of my podcast and romance novels. Also, be sure to follow the curves. Welcome podcast to channel to keep up on the latest episodes. So thanks for tuning in. Until next time, go out there and continue to learn, grow and embrace life's curves.