TGIF – Gratitude Friday

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The top three things I’m especially grateful for this past week:

1.  My sweet nephew, a man of God, integrity and a heart patient miracle, sailing through a serious brain surgery, sense of humor intact. He’s my inspiration.

2.  Finishing the final revision of my novel, The Inheritance. OMGoodness! I’m not sure if I’m thrilled, scared to death, or relieved. 🙂

3.  Going on a long bike ride on a gorgeous, sunny, warm day with my husband, keeping my thoughts on prayer and gratitude as I cruised along the wooded trail.

May gratitude be contagious to others as you share what you’re grateful for this week. 🙂

Peace.

Farewell to a Phenomenal Woman

My heart was beyond heavy when I heard of Maya Angelou’s passing today. When I think of all she has accomplished in her young 86 years of age, I stand in awe. What an admirable poet, author, activist, and woman.

In her honor, here are ten of my favorite quotes by her:

10.  “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

9.    “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

8.    “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

7.    “My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry, to get my work done, and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

6.    “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”

5.    “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that, I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”

4.    “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

3.    “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

2.    “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

1.   “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Rest in Peace Lovely Lady.

 

 

Happy Memorial Day

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And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I’ll proudly stand next to him to defend her still today, ‘cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land, god bless the USA.”   -Lee Greenwood

As we enjoy this day off from work, celebrating with friends and family, may we remember the real heroes of this day.  All those who have fought for our country, those still fighting, and the families keeping the home fires burning while their loved one is defending our freedom so that we may enjoy this life we live.

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Have a beautiful, blessed day!

Peace.

TGIF – Gratitude Friday

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Getting back to the Friday posts on gratitude that ended when the A to Z Blogging Challenge began. 🙂

The top three things I’m especially grateful for this past week:

1.)  Thursday afternoon off work to snuggle up with a light blanket and Roxie (my dog), a cup of tea and a good book while listening to the rain outside.

2.)  Lying in the warm softness of my bed with my pen and journal in hand, the house beautifully quiet, knowing everyone is tucked safely in bed, including Roxie asleep at my feet.

3.)  A caramel sundae from McDonalds, with extra buttery caramel. Yum! 🙂

Please share what tops your list for the week.

Peace.

Vacation Highlight

Last week I disappeared off of the blog radar for a spell while I went on vacation. When I went back to work this past Monday I had three people ask me what the highlight of my vacation was.  The same answer to all three people resulted in the same response from all three.

Clearly these were not writing co-workers who asked me the question.

As we were walking on the sidewalk in Taos, taking in the sights–and there are a lot of sights in Taos, many of which involve people–I saw a sign propped on the sidewalk in front of Brodsky Books bookstore – Natalie Goldberg was to appear there that evening from 4:00 – 6:00.  I stopped dead in my tracks,  grabbed my husband’s arm to stop him from walking any further and tried not to trip over my jaw that hit the ground. That couldn’t possibly be THE Natalie Goldberg, could it? The one who’s books Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones offered validation to my love of writing?  And what about Old Friend From Far Away that is now assisting me in writing my memoir? Oh Man! I seriously could not contain my excitement! And thank goodness my husband knows me well enough to allow me a moment to catch my breath before expecting to know the reason for my “crazy.”

 

The rest of the afternoon I checked my watch every few minutes to be sure I wouldn’t be late, and when I got there I unashamedly squished myself into the already packed room. My husband, bless him, walked back to the lodge where we were staying and left me there to bask in the glow of the writerly atmosphere, surrounded by books, people who love words and story, and  listen to Natalie read her work.

After I floated dreamily back to the lodge–no joke–I thanked God for being with me on that vacation, because that was no coincidence.  That was a gift from my Father. And then I wrote.  I wrote with renewed passion and enthusiasm fueled by that blessing, hoping I was blessing my Father.

And Taos? The artistic vibe there was amazing. It bred creativity like no place else I’ve ever been.

“Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make it so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, or drop a jar of applesauce.”
Natalie Goldberg

 

 

 

 

My Writing Process

I met the talented Rachel Carrera during the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge and was invited by her to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour.  I’ve been reading the answers to the given questions by other bloggers who have participated and I have to say it’s been enlightening to not only read about other writers, but to see how their process works.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always open to learning something that may work better or enhance what I’m already doing.  I will be  the first to admit that I simply write because I love to write and never gave the rest of “the business” much thought until the past year and a half.  For me it’s a learn-as-I-go process.  And how I love to learn! 🙂

Be sure to check out Rachel’s blog. She is a brilliant ray of sunshine and has a contagious love of life. Thank you Rachel! 🙂

Here are the answers to my questions, followed by the links to three + other bloggers I have tagged so you can check out their answers on May 26th.

1.  What am I working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on the final revision of my novel, The Inheritance.  Through the years I’ve written a few first drafts that lay cozily tucked within a filing cabinet drawer, but this is the first I’ve chosen to carry through to publication.  Let me tell you, it’s given me a whole new respect for published authors as I realize all there is to do after the fun of getting the story down on paper–or to the computer.  The things I thought I was good at–like grammar–I’ve learned there is so much I didn’t have down like I thought I did.  However, now that I’m able to see the finish line, I’m getting renewed energy and enthusiasm to take my latest first draft, The Last Resort, through to the finish line as well.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure it differs from all others in my genre, or it would be in a genre of its own. But if I were to mention one area that I have noticed, it’s that despite it being women’s fiction and it has it’s share of relational content, it covers real life issues without the “drama mama stuff” that is exhausting in real life. I like to portray real life issues but also show hope–showing light in the darkness. I also try to avoid profanity and unnecessary crassness because I truly believe God blessed me with my ability to write and my love of writing.  That being the case, He is the One I want to please more than anyone with my writing. I choose to tell a story by honoring God rather than promoting what goes against Him.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I love to read the kind of fiction I write – fiction that shares the joy of living a spiritual life without being preachy.  Although I love to read a lot of other genres as well.  And I have stories that come into my head that I can’t wait to share with others.

4.  How does my writing process work?

I don’t really have a tried and true process yet. I guess I could say it’s a work in progress to find what works best.  I work full-time in a job that pays the bills, I’m a mom to two grown boys whose lives I’m so fortunate to still be a large part of, grandma to one toddler and step-grandma to 5 , and wife to an amazing husband who I love to spend time with. Whew! So with all that, I try to write daily, but am not always successful with that goal.  With The Inheritance and The Last Resort I wrote the first draft in 30 days by participating in NaNoWriMo.  The revision process has been the biggest learning process and is what I’m trying to achieve with the least amount of pain. But the pain has also been my biggest motivator and teacher. 🙂  

Jacque @ http://godisms.wordpress.com

Marie @ http://writingwingsforyou.com

Angela @ http://authorangelachristinaarcher.wordpress.com

Amanda @ http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com

 

Clouds in my Coffee

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and having experienced Bi-Polar with my step-daughter, Becky, whose heart was so gentle and beautiful, I wanted to take this moment to re-blog this post from one of my favorites in the blogging community. 🙂

GOD{isms}

For those of you who have never experienced mania, imagine your thoughts are 500 chipmunks simultaneously chugging a Venti 4 shot espresso, the rush in your brain takes off at turbo speed, all while you’re sitting quietly at your desk. Yes, I still can get squirrely, don’t get me wrong, but it’s my silver lassoed chipmunk power that get’s things done. That and a few cups of
“my precious “ Joe (my one and only vice) that fuels me.

Since being diagnosed with BP in Spring of 2013, I have learned to accept these manic moments when they come, and put them to good use. I form my plan of attack like the matador tames a bull, calming the fury with my silver lasso of clarity (step aside Wonder Woman) long enough to release that energy on a specific task. It’s very hard for many of us to contain those…

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A Mother’s Day Thanksgiving

English: BBQ - Self Designed.

English: BBQ – Self Designed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been a lazy blogger the past week. That being said, I’ve been breathing new life into revising my novel, The Inheritance, and I’m seeing the final touches being completed in the very near future. Near, as in by mid-June. 🙂

My husband and I are taking a much needed vacation this next week–leaving in the morning–so I will resume blogging after we get back home.

In the meantime, I’m re-posting what I wrote for last Mother’s Day, a day that was so spiritually lifting it took my breath away.

I would like to wish all mothers, wanna-be mothers, aunts, grandmas, moms to pets, and any woman who cares for a child, regardless of whether you gave birth to them or not, a very happy Mother’s Day. Celebrate YOU, the LOVE you give, and the DIFFERENCE you make in the life a child.

And here’s the re-blog:

True to form, my husband agreed to do whatever I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, wanting to be sure my day was perfect.  My list consisted of two things: our first bike ride of the season, 30 miles round trip along the Platte River Trail to Confluence Park in Denver, enhanced by getting a treat from Starbucks, of course, followed by a BBQ in our backyard with my kids. We were on the bike path by 9:00 a.m., the slightest breeze, sun shining bright, trees budding like crazy, grass green as  be. I was in a state of awe as I breezed along the path, all of my senses aroused and drinking in the beauty that surrounded me. And all I could do was pray, giving thanks to a God who is so amazing to care about the most insignificant parts of my life, making them so significant.I saw the wild flowers sprinkled throughout the open fields, like paint on a canvas, and gave thanks for the blessings, too numerous to count, sprinkled throughout each of my days.

English: Wild Flowers in the Crop The rapeseed...

English: Wild Flowers in the Crop The rapeseed crop was dotted with a selection of wild flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw three small children lined up on a fallen log like baby birds in a nest, reaching up to the man standing before them patiently providing water and nourishment for the next leg of their journey. I gave thanks for the supply of living water and spiritual nourishment He provides me to sustain me on my journey of life.In the river below the bank I saw the flowing ripples from a duck that had taken flight. I gave thanks for a God who flows through my veins with love and grace to create the ripple effect to those He brings me to.

A woman in fragile health, wearing a mask protecting her mouth and nose from breathing the dust in the air, yet not afraid to go out and breathe in the beauty of the earth, smiled at me, the gentle crinkling at the corner of her eyes,  as she walked past. I thanked Him for my health and for his loving Spirit flowing to me through others.

I heard a baby crying in a meshed carriage being pulled behind a bike, and I watched the mother stop to comfort her child.  I thought of Mary on this blessed Mother’s Day, the perfect example of obedience and motherhood, bearing and raising a son that became my savior. And I gave thanks for the privilege of being a mother.

In the heat and stillness of mid-summer, with a not-distant-enough sewage treatment plant along one portion of the river, where I usually strengthen my breath holding skills, this particular day I inhaled the sweet fragrance of crab apple blossoms in the gentle spring breeze. And I gave thanks for the ability to smell such sweetness.

Martin Johnson Heade - Apple Blossoms CGF

Martin Johnson Heade – Apple Blossoms CGF (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we walked in the park and I saw a disheveled man, sleeping soundly through the activity happening around him, back pack askew, I thanked God for my home and for the strength to get off the elevator of alcoholism before it hit the bottom floor. And I prayed for this man. That he would find the loving God that has blessed me beyond what I can possibly begin to comprehend.His goodness is everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. I’ve come to believe that what I look for, I will find. If I look for His blessings and His goodness, I will see it. Each morning upon waking, I have a choice whether I will see goodness. And I pray each day I choose wisely.

Share with me what you are grateful for today at this very moment.

I KID YOU NOT! It’s all about a Pencil

Writing Wings For You

Magic Wand

Lead Soaring through the air

Making drawings and words appear

Erases bad things

Imagination blooms

Living things

New creations

Different world

Different you.

 

No pun intended “kid you not.”  My first graders were stuck, and I felt like they just weren’t getting this poetry thing.  Every once in awhile they’d come up with a poetic phrase.  (I’ve heard them say thousands of poetic things throughout the year.)  Now, when it really matters, they were stuck!  See?  It happens to ALL of us!   So, I said you can write about ANYTHING!  I grabbed a pencil and said, “Tell me about this pencil, first scientifically (so we could get that out of the way).  Now, my dear poets, let’s go deeper!”  And the magic began.  We NEED each other.  We deserve each other along this writing journey.  Sometimes writing is hard.  But with each other, writing can be magical…create…

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Special Mother’s Day Gift

Two fabulous authors have a Mother’s Day Offer I wanted to share with you. (See below)

Need a special Mother’s Day gift for your Mom, Wife or Grandmother? Mother’s Day is on May 11 and Hot Chocolate Press has a special buy one get one free offer.* Buy And Then I Smiled ($11.95) by Dean K Miller and get Planes, Trains and Chuck & Eddie ($10.95 retail) by Kerrie L. Flanagan for FREE.** Both will be personalized, signed and sent to you (or directly to your gift recipient) before Mother’s Day. Offer ends Tuesday (May 6, 2014). To Order Visit: http://hotchocolatepress.com *Limited quantities available **Shipping & Handling extra

Below is a sampling of the beautiful writing by Dean K. Miller from And Then I Smiled .

 

A Mother’s Patience

A mother’s patience is one of her most under-appreciated traits. It starts at the moment of her son’s conception, as she is the first to know that life has been created inside her. Though her love for the unborn child is strong and the bond of motherhood already formed, she must wait nine months to hold this unique miracle.

She watches as he grows, withstanding sleepless nights of nightmares, his stuffy noses, tantrums and the scrapes and bruises. Someday her son will become aware of the love, the nurturing, and the guiding. And, finally, of the letting go. But she knows it is on his schedule, not hers.

As he spreads his wings and explores the world, the mother continues to wait. Whether it’s late-night phone calls, listening to girlfriend troubles, the lack of money or the feeling of not knowing where to go in life, she is there when called upon. Patiently she watches him, knowing in her heart that the choices are his, and sometimes wishing he would choose differently.

But wisdom, learned perhaps from her own mother, has taught her that the journey is not hers to take. Patiently, she watches from afar, understanding that life will teach her son the lesson he needs at the exact moment he needs it.

When he calls to express his frustration, she doesn’t try to undo the lesson, but instead helps her son capture the learning.

Then, the moment she has waited for arrives. The son has discovered the true source of his inner self and joyfully returns to her doorstep. With patience she listens to the moments of his life that brought him happiness. Subtly, she encourages his story to unfold, laughing silently at his follies and smiling brightly at his courage to face his fears. He tells her things he has told no one and knows his words are protected and safe.

Though it has taken decades, the bond of mother and son has grown to include a friendship which knows no equal.

Now they walk through life together, knowing their love between them transcends all boundaries. It is everlasting and it makes them smile.

Thank you, Mom, for allowing me to grow into myself, for patiently waiting all of these years for it to happen, and for accepting me each day along my journey. You are the magic behind the story of my life.