I recently emptied out the blessings jar my friend had given me last year. It was a thoughtful gesture on her part, but I’m not one for this kind of sentiment, so the things I was “thankful” for probably aren’t the norm. Here’s a prime example: “I’m glad I know to say specifically instead of pacifically.” Psst… that drives me crazy. Or: “Thankful I don’t work in a chicken plant.” So true. There is a plant about five miles up the road from where I live, and anytime I drive near it, I’m greeted with a pungent bouquet. Plus, I like meat and working there would most likely steer me in the direction of becoming a vegetarian, which wouldn’t be much fun since I live in BBQ country. I also delved into politics: “Thankful I don’t live in North Korea.” (I was obsessed with watching North Korea documentaries.) So, as you can see, I was a bit tongue in cheek. A few were more sentimental, but I won’t share those. They’re private.
2016 has come to an end. For many, it’s a time of celebration. From what I’ve read on social media, you’d think this was the worst year of many people’s lives. A year is a year is a year. Personally, celebrity deaths don’t affect me, and politics are politics. They’re never changing. Guess what? I don’t care where you stand politically, what your religious beliefs are, and what your personal sexual preference is, I still like you!
If I had to reflect on this year and say what I’m truly thankful for, it’d be that I live in a country where I have the freedom to write what I want to write. I love to write – it’s fulfilling, it’s cathartic, it’s something I need to do, not just want to do. Having people like you read my books and then share your love for them is what keeps me going. Writers write to be heard and to be read. Knowing that there are people like you who are reading the things I’ve written and have been touched by my words means so much to me.
Sometimes, we (all of us, pointing to you, too, don’t try and cower out of here) don’t take the time to sit back and think of our true blessings. I know I sure don’t. Just the other day, I was griping about there being nothing to eat in the house and my husband said, “We have money to buy all kinds of food at the grocery store and you’re complaining?” It was one of those aha moments, where you realize you’re being a jerk or a tool or some adjective in that category. He was right. How can I complain about not having any food to eat when there are so many who are starving? Rarely, do we look at what we have right in front of us.
This past summer, my husband and I fulfilled our long-time dream of going out west and seeing Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a trip of a lifetime, and one I’m truly thankful to have gone on. When I was in Yellowstone, I was deprived of the internet (which was surprisingly refreshing) and chai tea (which wasn’t so good – gotta have my caffeine). I didn’t have tea for days. Thankfully, while were traipsing around the park, we found a restaurant (because there are several in the park, believe it or not) that served chai tea. Yes! That tea was one of the best cups I’ve had in my life. No joke. It’s because I’d been deprived of it and having it again made me truly appreciate its taste and flavor. I didn’t gulp it down. I took my time with it, truly relished in tasting nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and of course, honey. (Winnie the Pooh and I are besties. I love honey and tea isn’t tea without it). In a society where everything is “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme and Instant, Instant, Instant!” it’s not often that we find ourselves unable to have something we want at our disposal. That was a teachable moment for me: stay present-minded and be thankful for what I have when I have it.
Okay, not trying to sound all Zen Guru on you. I am human and have lots of flaws. I guess I’m just hoping you’ll read this post and realize that you are blessed and have lots of things to be thankful for.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and blessed year to come! Thanks for reading what I’ve written.
“This was a heartwarming read that is a must-read for summer.” – writingpearls.com
“It Started With A Whisper was an amazing and touching story, that in places you will have your emotional state tested.” – The Phantom Paragrapher
“This book was sweet and absolutely amazing. And in the end it will leave you with some fond memories and a smile on your face.” – I Read Indie
Happy Release Day to me (now I have the birthday song in my head). I’m excited to tell you that today is the release day for It Started With A Whisper. Here’s the link to purchase.
Advance Praise for It Started With A Whisper: “It Started with a Whisper was an amazing and touching story, that in places you will have your emotional state tested.” – The Phantom Paragrapher.
Now I’ve got that Human League song in my head. I digress. So, my husband came up with this brilliant idea to make a commercial about It Started With A Whisper. Since It Started With A Whisper is set in the 1980s, we thought it was appropriate to pay homage to those crazy Calvin Klein perfume/cologne commercials. Remember Obsession commercials?
Here’s our attempt at acting. Enjoy!
I’m thrilled to reveal the cover for It Started With A Whisper! It’s scheduled for release on June 1st. Here’s the link to add it to your TBR list on Goodreads.
Five simple words: That’s all it takes to change the course of 18-year-old Josie Graham’s life in the summer of 1989.
Josie is a musical prodigy: She can sing, play guitar and is a natural on the piano. Instead of spending her last summer before college traveling the country with her rock star father, she’s made a last minute decision to spend it working at her Aunt Bernie’s inn, in Ambler’s Fork, North Carolina. But what could have turned her life-long passion for music into a hatred for an industry she’s worked so hard to get into?
Her aunt’s inn seems like the perfect place to escape, to clear her head and figure things out, but on her first day there, she almost drowns before Chic Hobbs saves her.
Chic wants nothing more in life than to leave Ambler’s Fork and his sordid past behind—at least not until that day Josie Graham swims into his life. The problem is, Chic’s got a secret. It’s a secret he’s keeping from Josie, and he’s worried if it gets out, it’ll ruin everything, and she’ll judge him for his past mistakes the way everyone else in town has.
Josie is carrying a burden of her own. One that made her run to Ambler’s Fork – away from her family and everything she’s ever known.
Chic saved Josie once. Can he save her again? Or will Josie rescue him this time?
June 1st!!! Mark this date in your calendars for the release of my YA romance, It Started With A Whisper. More details to follow, but for now, here’s a quote from the book.
He brushes a strand of hair away from my cheeks, leans close to my face and whispers into my ear. And I know I’ll commit those five words to memory for the rest of my life.
I bet you’re wondering what he says to her. Hint: You won’t find out until the end of the book.
“Raindrops on roses…” When I see the image below I can’t help but sing the song. I love that movie, and man, can Julie Andrews sing. I digress.
2015 is coming to an end. If I can say one thing about this year, it was the year of great discoveries: from new authors to new musicians. Don’t you love it when you find a hidden gem? You feel like an archaeologist on a quest or a gold miner who has just discovered gold. Here’s a list of my favorite discoveries from 2015: Read more →
Our sweet angel passed away on September 26, 2015. Nothing, I mean nothing, can prepare you for that kind of heartache. She was an integral part of our lives for fourteen years. And even though she was old, her death was unexpected.
“We could never see tomorrow, no one ever said a word about the sorrow.” The Bee Gees
There’s no easy answer for how to deal with grief. No magic pill. No special words. You just….cope. You drift, moving through your day, hoping today will be better than the day before. You try to stay busy, occupied, so that you don’t dwell. But sometimes all you can do is think about what you lost because it’s no longer within your grasp.
I’ve experienced loss in my life—losing beloved grandparents, acquaintances, and special friends. And those losses were hard. But this, this was and is…heartbreaking and utterly painful.
I still see her everywhere, yet she isn’t with us anymore. In spirit, in memory, she is there. Early in the morning, when I’d leave for work, I’d always say to her and my husband: “Bye. I love everybody in this household.” I’ve caught myself saying it now, only there isn’t an “everybody” in the house, it’s just my husband and me. The first time I let it slip, I winced, realizing the brutal truth that I wouldn’t leave the house and find her there when I came back. I can’t hug her, love on her, have her cuddle next to me. I can’t call her name or talk to her. I can’t be with her.
There are five stages to grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I’m teetering between stages. One day I’m fine; the next day I’m a sobbing mess. The other night, my husband and I were at Fuddruckers (if we’re friends on Facebook you know this is my weekly ritual. I should own stock in this company). I started crying while I was eating dinner. Why? Because earlier that day on my travels home from work I saw a woman on a walk with her two dogs.
People ask me, “Are you going to get another dog?” I know that they mean well, and really, in my opinion, I don’t think they don’t know what else to say. Death is an awkward conversation topic. It’s uncomfortable, even though it’s part of life. To me, asking if I’m going to get another dog is like asking a widower if he’s going to get married again. “Gonna get in that dating pool again? I hear Match.com works.” Sorry to sound cynical. I realize for some that getting another dog immediately after the death of their dog is comforting, but not to me. My answer to them is always the same: “I need time. If I got another dog now, I’d just compare them to her, and that’s not fair to the new dog.” She’s not replaceable.
I’ve received an outpouring of sympathy, from fellow pet owners and friends, and strangers who love their pets. I’ve heard sad stories of losing beloved pets. Some more tragic than others. Some more devastating than mine. I’ve heard about cherished dogs and cats who made an imprint in their lives, who were part of the family, whose death brought emptiness. And I know that I’m not alone.
We all grieve. Maybe we all grieve differently, but we’ve all experienced loss, and it feels the same for all of us – like our hearts have been ripped out, like it seems as if the sun will never shine again. I know I will get through this. Because it is the truth that is a part of life. I can’t have happiness without sadness. I can’t have life without death. It just takes time. Like all things – it just takes time.