T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

Gratitude-photo

My Top Three for the Week:

3.)  The first juicy red tomato from my patio tomato plant. Yum!

tomato

2.)  My sister and nephew visiting from Minnesota, one of my sons being here as well, and the four of us sitting around the kitchen table late into the evening reminiscing and laughing so hard we were in tears. I think my sister and I lost some parental credibility with our sons as they learned about the pranks their mothers participated in as our stories unfolded of when we attended International Band Camp. Yup, I did say band camp!  🙂 She played the clarinet and I played the flute.

1.)  An early morning run, at a time when the world is quiet and still, and the sun is beginning to rise, giving birth to brilliant pink and white clouds. Truly a blessing to witness such intense beauty.

What are you grateful for this week?

May peace be yours this next week.

The Power of Words

This has been an interesting week for sure. Amidst all the excitement I was feeling about my book being published, I hadn’t even thought of the possibility that others wouldn’t share that joy.

While I don’t believe, for the most part, that people intend to be hurtful, that doesn’t change the fact that words can sting the heck out of someone.

Words

I work in a place that can be fraught with negativity on any given day, and I truly try my hardest to make the room I walk into a better place when I leave than when I got there. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, as some words can suck the breath right out of me.

Like the first time I got an “exceeds expectations” on my annual evaluation and I felt led to share it with a “friend” that also works there. Her words were, “I don’t want to bring you down, but it doesn’t matter what you do around here, it’s whether they like you or not.”

Ouch!

And the first time I received the employee of the month award, and a co-worker stated that it’s only a popularity contest.

Again…Ouch!

Ouch

This past week I hung a flyer up on the refrigerator door in the break room about my book being on Amazon and that I will have copies the week of the 23rd should anyone desire to buy one, well…

Conversation #1:

Co-worker: “So I hear you’re a writer. I read what your book is about and you do know there’s a book/movie with a similar plot line. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.”

Me: “I don’t think I have.”

Co-worker: “When I think of the name I’ll let you know. I’m sure you know it.”

Me: Nothing. Sometimes there simply isn’t a suitable response.

Conversation #2:

Co-worker: “I heard you published a book. How did you do that?”

Me: Nothing.

Conversation #3:

Co-worker: “So I see you published a book. Congratulations.”

Me: “Yes, I have. Thank you so much.”

Co-worker: “I don’t know how you can have the time. I would never have the time to do something like that.”

Me: Nothing.

While the words themselves don’t appear too hurtful, the tone and body language that accompanied them were.

I also received supportive, positive  comments like:

“I like to have friends who are ‘doers.'”

“You really are my inspiration.”

“I’m so thrilled for you!”

In fact the supportive comments were much greater in number.  But negativity can carry quite the punch, leaving the soul battered and bruised without knowing what even happened.

Said flyer came down until my thin skin grows a bit thicker, and I can sift out the harsh criticisms from the kindness.

In the meantime, I pray I’m aware of my words–and the way they’re conveyed–as I write and speak; that my words build another up, rather than tear another down. That they help rather than hurt.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Ephesians 4:29)

And I pray I use the negative for positive, not letting the enemy get his foot in the door. I have stories to tell, and I’m going to tell them. After all, isn’t that what we writers do?

Write on, my writer friends. 🙂

Here is a short video that proves the power of words and is well worth taking a moment to watch.  🙂

 

 

“Q” is for…

Quotes

I love quotes! They contain so much wisdom, motivation and inspiration in so few words.  They prove that less is often better when it comes to words, and that those few words can pack a powerful punch.

My ten favorite are:

10.)  “The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”  -Norman Vincent Peale

9.)  “It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible.”
― Katie J. Davis

8.)  “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” -Dr. Seuss

7.)  “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

6.)   “When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”  – Stephen King

5.)  “The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.”  – Thomas S. Monson

4.)  “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”   – Norman Vincent Peale

3.) “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”  – Mother Teresa

2.)  The perfect description of a mom:  “…because “Mommy” is forever. It’s such a powerful name. Mommy means “I trust you.” Mommy means “you will protect me.” Mommy is for shouting when you need someone dependable and for laughing with when you are excited. Mommy is for crying on and cuddling with when you are sad, or giggling and hiding behind when you are embarrassed. Mommy is the fixer of boo-boos and the mender of broken hearts. Mommy is a comfort place – a safe place. Mommy means “you are mine and I am yours and we are family.”  – Katie Davis

1.) “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.  Life is beauty, admire it.  Life is a dream, realize it.  Life is a challenge, meet it.  Life is a duty,  complete it.  Life is a game, play it.  Life is a promise, fulfill it.  Life is sorrow, overcome it.  Life is a song, sing it.  Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.  Life is an adventure, dare it.  Life is luck, make it.  Life is too precious, do not destroy it.  Life is life, fight for it.”
― Mother Teresa

As we write our stories and what’s in our hearts, may we always remember the importance of the words we write, the impact they have on another, and the joy they bring to many.

Write On.

 

Books, Books, and More Books

Today I got to thinking about how far back my love of reading and books really goes, and discovered it goes back to when I was about five years old and my mom used to read stories out of the Children’s Highlights Magazine to my sisters and me every night before bed. The stories and the hidden pictures in the puzzles had me hooked and waiting for bedtime so I could get my “fix.” However, my mom would tell you my love of writing actually goes back to that same time when she caught me writing on the walls with my crayons. But in my defense, what a huge, open slate for a child to express and share her wild imagination. 🙂

Highlights Magazine
From Highlights, I graduated to reading the Dick and Jane books, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and any and all of Dr. Seuss books.
My top five favorites that got cemented into the foundation of my reading development during each stage of life from that point on include:

During my later elementary and early Jr. High years:
1)    Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
2.)   Sunshine by Norma Klein
3.)   Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
4.)   Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
5.)   Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down

High School Years:
1.)   To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2.)   1984 by George Orwell
3.)   The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
4.)   Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
5.)   The S.E. Hinton novels, That was Then, This is Now; Rumble Fish; The Outsiders

When I became a mom, I wanted to be sure to pass on my love of reading to my kids, so when I was pregnant, my unborn children had story time while they were still in the womb, as I would rock and read books aloud so they could “hear” my voice. When they were toddlers and early elementary age, I, as my mother did, read stories to them every evening at bedtime, often from Highlights Magazine. The other books they consistently wanted read to them, sometimes more than ten times a day, include:
1.) Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
2.) Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Love You Forever
3.) Corduroy by Don Freeman
4.) If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
5.) Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

And whether it was the first, tenth, or twentieth time reading those books, I cannot honestly say who enjoyed them more–my boys or me. 🙂
I encourage you to check these out, whether you read them for yourself or suggest them to your children. They shaped my life, encouraged and grew my love of reading, and gave me an amazing life that I couldn’t have had without them.
Thank goodness for books and the talented and imaginative authors who write them. I hope to be counted as one of them very soon.