Tag Archives: gratitude

After Winter, Spring.

“I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees.” ― Pablo Neruda


I’m not going to say that a lot of the bad poetry I’ve been sharing here is going to end up in a certain book…

But I’m not going to say it isn’t either. ;)

Below, the latest…


After Winter, Spring. 


We’re opening the windows,

And the doors of our lives again.

Too long closed—

To keep out the cold.

We shake the dust off and out,

Erase what winter left behind.

Finally, the sun is shining.

And the birds sing once more.

A time for renewal—

I’m certain this is what happiness feels like.

How much better can it get? 

I don’t know…

But lest not forget—

Summer is headed our way, too.

Maybe, it is as they say…

The best is yet to come.

And I wonder…

How ever did we get so lucky?

Not just to have found each other—

But to have survived another winter,


For Better or Worse. Bad or Good.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami

My oldest son graduates today and as I reflect back on the journey from infancy to now, to the fourteen year old girl who gave birth but knew little about life and love—and too much, all at the same time— to the person I am now, I consider the people who’ve helped shape our lives up to this point and how it sucks that the most significant of them are no longer here with us to celebrate.

Which led me to consider all of the people in my life and how grateful I am to those who’ve not only shown me the kind of person I want to be—but also those who’ve shown me the kind of person that I don’t.

If that sounds negative, it’s not. Everyone and every situation, every choice is placed in our lives to teach us something—for better, or for worse, bad, or good, and I am truly grateful for both experiences, for they’ve taught me so much. And I must say, when you get to a point where you can honestly appreciate it all, well, it’s a really nice place to be.

I think I shall stay awhile… :)

Guess what time it is??

“I went to my son’s graduation this weekend, and I heard a great quote I’ve never heard before from Albert Einstein. It was that the greatest danger to the world is not the bad people but it’s the good people who don’t speak out.”  -Hamilton Jordan

It’s commencement speech time, that’s what. My son is graduating next week, the son who I gave birth to at fourteen, and so it’s a tad bit emotional around here, these days. If you know me (and even if not I’ve blogged about them a ton) then you know I have a very deep affinity for commencement speeches. Partly because I’m a lover of words and partly because I didn’t graduate from higher education (which makes me appreciate them all the more) but also because it’s typically a certain type of person who gives them, and I swear I could watch for hours upon end.

Most times the only thing that has gotten me through the “struggle”and over the hump (that’s what growth is, right?) has been learning from others who’ve survived struggles of their own. And, really, who hasn’t? Whenever I’m having a particularly tough time and it feels as though I’ll never “get where I’m going” I hit up Youtube and watch commencement speeches, because not only do I know that will they lift me up, but there’s a lot wisdom to be garnered within them. Below are two of my favorites this year. I love what William McCraven, U.S Navy admiral, says here on the top 10 lessons he learned from basic seal training–from making your bed– to standing your ground with sharks. I also loved what Sandra Bullock says about dance parties– dancing before you leave the house, that it changes how you walk out in the world. All true stuff, and it’s good to be reminded of all that we’re capable of, from time to time. It’s easy to forget that we have power, and to take that power back–to remind ourselves that the choice is ours, to choose how we react in any given situation. Oftentimes, it feels better (and safer) to play victim. I’ve certainly been guilty of it, but let’s not do that, ok.  :)

Lastly, a few weeks ago I blogged about a story I told  my husband about  how making your bed leads to overall greater happiness, and while at the time I said it (though I understood it to be true) I was mostly joking. Later that day he asked me if I noticed that he’d made the bed. He said he’d considered that I was right about people who make their beds being more successful. Funny, I had actually used the word “happier” but he’d heard successful. Anyhow, he told me he wanted to put my theory to test (he’s the last one out of bed, to be fair) and let’s just say ever since that things have been even happier than they were before. ;) That said, when this commencement speech crossed my desk, it made me smile. I always say: thoughts are things–and what we put out, shows up in return. And just like is said below, about changing the world, perhaps I won’t get around to that (today)—but maybe, just maybe, someone out there needs to hear this as much as I did. And who knows? Maybe watching it will change their day. If I know anything, I know that by changing one persons day, you create a ripple effect, which has the power to effect a lot of people’s day. And hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? As it turns out, making the bed, just so happens to be not a bad place to do it. :)



They All Said No. And It’s Personal.

“Today if you come up against rejection, remember: This does not mean “no.” It just means “not this way.”

Last Friday, this was a part of what I shared at the BookPeople signing and I wanted to share the story here as well:

I’ve always been an avid reader and for at least the last decade or so every time I’ve read a great book or maybe one not so great I’d make the comment that I was going to write a book of my own someday. After one of these comments my husband looked at me and said  “So why don’t you do it, already?” or something to that effect. I remember deadpanning, stopping whatever I was doing at the time and staring at him, strongly considering slapping him. I mean, couldn’t he see all of these kids running around everywhere? Where was the time? Couldn’t he see how hard I was working at work? But after the initial sting of what I perceived to be his abruptness wore off I realized I knew in my heart that he was right. A few short weeks later, I lost my only sibling, my brother who was sixteen months younger than I am, very unexpectedly. So unexpectedly, that I clearly remember sitting in his dinning room staring at his half-eaten dinner as the coroner photographed his body. Perhaps it was the (literal) shock–but I all I could think about in moment as I sat there was how it could possibly be that one minute you’re here, eating and conversing, and the next you’re just…well, gone. His death really made me evaluate my life, all of the things I was focusing my attention on and where and how I was spending my time. Things and places, it turned out, that would not get me what I ultimately knew I wanted.

Then, five months later, I found myself in a hospital with my Grandmother whom had raised us (so for all intents and purposes she was like my mom) and I had to make the decision to take her off of life support after what we thought would be an in and out hospital stay. Her death and the aftermath only further made me contemplate what we’re here for and what we leave behind. In fact, although I didn’t know it at the time, my last conversation with her was about me publishing my first book. She said she was proud. One thing I know, for sure, is that I will be forever grateful that we had that conversation and that she knew that I was going for what I wanted.

As of May 2nd, it will be a year since I decided to independently publish. Since that time I’ve published three novels and the latest, Somewhere With You, is probably the most personal. In it, both characters lose their parents very young. Amelie, loses her father very unexpectedly in a car accident while Jack loses his mother after she succumbs to a battle with cancer. In the story we see how these losses and the circumstances surrounding them shape the characters. Jack’s mother has the foresight to know that she isn’t going to make it. So, she makes the decision to write letters to her son to be opened at key points in his development. As a mother, this has always been my greatest fear, to die before my children are grown. And so I’ve always had the idea to write them letters in case that were to occur which is where the idea came from for Jack’s mother to write him. At the signing last week, one of those letters (an excerpt from the book) was part of my reading and I’ll share it below.

That said, I’m not writing this to say “woe is me.” Because it’s not. I am actually happier than I’ve ever been and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished within the past (almost) year, even if I’m not where I want to be, yet. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing my books on a Barnes and Noble bookshelf, which is no small feat for an indie author. I hope that changes but either way, it was a dream come true. Also, I am told that Somewhere With You will be featured next week on BookPeople’s Best Seller Shelf in their store.

But my actual point here is that going for what you want, for what you know you’re meant to do, is NOT easy. Every single agent I submitted to told me no. To be fair, my book was already published, so yes, this fact probably played into that. Still, two marketing firms that work with indie authors both turned me down saying that I wasn’t what they are looking for. And…I uh… would’ve been paying them, so that’s kind of really bad, the suckiest of all sucky things. :) Of course, there have also been the bad (and the just plain mean) reviews, in addition to the uphill battle to try and get my work out there in the world. But none of this has stopped me from keeping on, keeping on. Sure, just two days ago I wrote author friend of mine and told her I wanted cry, scream, and punch something. Simultaneously. But that is part of it. I was almost at my wits end when yesterday, a pretty significant opportunity came about, I saw my books on the B&N shelf, and scheduled a conversation to speak with a publicist who is interested in taking me on as a client. So…I write this to share my experience but also in hopes that if you have something you’re going for that you’ll push through. Because sometimes it is the only thing you can do. Sure, from afar it may appear that others have it easier than you do, but that’s only because you don’t know their story. Anything worth having takes work. Rejection and heartache and all the rest just come with it. Keep going. It’s probably worth it. ;)

And the excerpt from Somewhere With You:

My Dearest Jack,

If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably just had your heartbroken for the first time. Or at least it feels that way, anyway. But I want you to remember, son, that this isn’t the first time (nor will it likely be the last) that you’ve felt this way. You’ve been through so much already, and if you’re reading my letter, then obviously, you’ve survived thus far. And while it may not feel like it just now, you’ll survive this, too.

There are so many things I want to tell you about love, Jack. Oh, how I wish I were there to tell you this in person, to hug you, and hold your hand. Though,I’m guessing at this age, you might not like hand holding so much anymore. I try to picture you, what you look like now, where you are as you’re reading this, and it brings me so much joy to think of you all grown up. I looked in on you tonight as I’ve done every night since the day you were born, and as I watched you sleep, I pictured the man you’ll become. It’s hard not to feel a little bit bitter knowing I won’t be there to see it all. Oddly enough, though, it is with that sentiment that I want to tell you about love. If you are reading this and your heart is broken, you are lucky, Jack. I want you to pause a moment and let that really sink in. You are so damned lucky. Feeling this way, it means that you are living and more importantly—that you are loving. You cannot know how lucky you are to love until you’ve felt the immense pain of having to let that love go. It is a part of life. And as I am learning, it is also a part of death. Do not waste it. Do not play small. Lick your wounds, but then get back out there. Love harder next time. Most people don’t do that, you see. They get hurt once, and they hide behind it. They use it to excuse themselves into living guarded lives, never quite feeling the passion, the love that they are capable of. But not you, son. Don’t make that mistake. And I hope that if you consider taking that route, you’ll think of me and you’ll feel my love and know that even though I may have lost my battle, that I didn’t go down without a fight.

Neither will you, my love.

Neither will you.

I love you always,


P.S. Tips for healing a broken heart: time, above all else (don’t worry, you won’t feel this way forever), ice cream, and meaningful work. Now is the time to start a new project, Jack. Try something new, throw yourself into it, and let yourself get lost in it. You’ll come out all right in the end. You always have.

On Editing…books, but more importantly, life.

“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. ” ― C.G. Jung

This week I’m working on edits the editor sent back for Somewhere With You. There’s something both freeing and frightening about seeing your work all covered in red and the realization that on page 144 that you’re still making the same damned mistakes you made on page 14. And then on page 145 you SWEAR to yourself you’ll never make that mistake again, because damn it you’ve just spent two days (or two weeks, or two months) of your life rectifying something so ridiculous.

But here’s the thing, or the lesson for me anyway: we make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them– but that doesn’t mean they all of a sudden stop showing up. Oftentimes, they do so over and over, and for what?  Just to make sure we really got it, this time? :) Your guess is as good as mine. It’s a funny thing, life’s way of testing us.

And while this may sound negative, it’s really not. I figure, if we aren’t messing up, we aren’t trying anything new, and if we aren’t trying anything new, we aren’t learning, and if we aren’t learning…well, in my opinion, we aren’t really living.

Speaking of that, recently, I did a little “spring cleaning.” I wiped my calendar (mostly) clean, removed several things that no longer felt right, in order to make room for those that are a little less “certain.” One of these things happened to be joining an indoor soccer league– which as it turns out, is, um, no joke. The last time I played soccer was 20 years ago and I clearly remember leaving the team due to my inability to take organized sports seriously. It seems not a lot has changed. :) It also turns out there’s a difference between having a competitive nature and a serious one. For me, the two do not appear to be mutually exclusive, :) Always a fun lesson to learn, for sure. So yeah, fail forward, I say. It’s pretty fun, pretty freeing, and pretty fucking scary. But scary trumps boring any day of the week.

“In life, there are no mistakes, only lessons.” ― Vic Johnson

Seek and Ye Shall Find…

“It is my belief that love is mostly about showing up. It’s about showing up in the good times. And especially in the bad. It’s about being there, showing up, and continuing to show up. If you can do these things day in and day out, no matter what life brings you, you’ll find that love is there for the taking. In time you might come to find that while it’s not in the form you may have imagined—or necessarily the way that you thought it would be—it’s there nonetheless.”– Britney King, Breaking Bedrock 

First of all, I finding quoting myself quite odd, it’s the first time I’ve ever done it… and I’ll probably never do it again. :) Still, I couldn’t really think of a better quote for what I wanted to write about today. After my last post, having received so many thoughtful, kind responses I’ve struggled a little with the words; how to say that yes, loss sucks. And yes, there are sad days. But…at the same time there’s still so much joy. In fact, I’m not really sure if it’s possible to know such extreme joy and as much love– without having known loss.

Obviously, we all want to suffer as little as possible in this lifetime so I guess what I’m struggling with is how to say that there’s beauty, joy, and love even in the most devastating of times. That’s it’s not all black and white. And not only that, but the joy, and the love is magnified that much more when you’ve dabbled in the opposite.

Which is why I think it’s important to save up for those times when the pain outweighs the joy. It’s why I believe investing in people, places, hobbies…all the “things”, whatever and whomever bring you joy is so important. I think in our day-to-day lives it can become too easy to focus on “surviving”, on getting ahead, keeping our head above water, that we overlook the people and the “things” which bring us true happiness. We take these things for granted and we become pretty good at saying “someday.” Someday I’ll get to that. Someday, maybe tomorrow, I’ll make that call. Someday… I’ll get around to taking that art class or making that trip. The problem with this, I have found, is that someday, though hopefully not soon, you may need to spend that currency which you’ve put off saving up. It’s unfortunate, but I know a lot of people tend to think of currency solely in terms of money. I’d like to counterpoint that currency is a lot things: energy, love, joy… and not that I know personally;) but I’m guessing that all the money in the world will not buy you what it is you’ll need when you’re at your worst.

Anyway, with the holiday’s approaching, I really wanted to give thanks. I consider myself one of the luckiest girls in the world to be surrounded by so many wonderful people, doing that which brings me joy everyday. So…while, yes, this has been a difficult year in terms of grief, it’s also been one of the best years of my life. I’ve lost a lot. But I’ve gained a lot, too.

P.S. This short (15 minute) film perfectly encapsulates everything (and more) I’m trying to say here. Not only is it incredibly moving but it’s further proof, that if you just look hard enough, amidst the pain, the chaos, and the mess there is beauty. And so much love. You should watch it. Really, you should. Today…not someday. ;) xx

One Year Ago Today…

“Even on my heaviest days, when emotional, financial, or physical responsibilities feel too burdensome to bear, I find lightness in the act of picking up a pen to list the three moments that shined brightly on whatever dismay laid before me.” – Bex Boruki

One year ago today…I started keeping a daily gratitude journal. While I’ve always made practicing gratitude a habit, if I’m being honest I was never really completely consistent with it. Anyway, for some reason (I actually can’t remember what the exact reason was) on this day, exactly a year ago I made the decision to start a writing a DAILY list of three things that happened which I had been grateful for on that particular day. I should mention that this was just shy of two months after my brothers death and at a time when I’d made the decision to leave a job I (mostly) loved in order to pursue what it was I really wanted to do– grow my own business AND write the novel I’d been talking about writing for a very long time. So, to say that my life was in somewhat of a state of upheaval would be a vast understatement.

But I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a day journaling since. Little did I know that this past year would actually get “worse” in the sense that I would lose my grandma too, another person who raised and meant the world to me, all in the span of just a few short months. But the beauty of having kept the journal is that I have a record of things that happened on any given day…things such as “I’m grateful that Nannie did such and such for/with the kids” and “I’m grateful for time spent with Nannie at her doctors appointment.” Now, these entries serve as reminders, providing permanent memories, which at the time may not have seemed like such a big deal. And I promise you…looking back, they weren’t. I remember at one of the doctor appointments her throwing a fit in the waiting room about how much time it was taking, and how terrible their scheduling was. I remember being mortified, even though I was thinking the same thing. Three hours in a waiting room, with someone on oxygen that’s quickly running out, in addition to kids across town that needed to be picked up from school, well, it wasn’t exactly the best of times. Looking back on it now though, I smile when I think of her tantrum, the beauty of being old and saying what’s on your mind, and the fact that at the end of the day, I was (and still am) grateful for that time. It’s a reminder that although sometimes things seem frustrating while you’re going through them they may actually turn out to be blessings in disguise. I swear I’d sit through a thousand more doctor appointments if it meant that I’d get to have one more conversation with her.

I had so many things I wanted to share in this post and post about this week, things like the creative process and how I’ve been struggling a little, experiencing fear (and lots of doubt) as I work on my second book. This time (it seems) the process hasn’t been as “easy.” For one, my characters haven’t been speaking to me in the way they used to. Also, I’ve been confused because Addison’s voice has changed ever so slightly, making it hard to recognize at times. And because what I’m hearing isn’t what I’ve expected I’ve doubted writing what comes to mind. Until yesterday, that is, when I had an “epiphany” of sorts. It dawned on me that maybe her voice has changed because of the experiences she’s faced. She’s not the same person she was last year, in the first book. And that perhaps it’s OK that she doesn’t sound exactly the same…because the story goes on and, well, shouldn’t growth be a part of that process.

Last night after thinking about this post and about gratitude in general I happened to stumble upon a link titled: 5 Steps For Making Your Dreams Come True. You should read it too. Really. Reading what the author had to say was incredibly eerie (you know, the kind of thing where you get chills) because what she wrote, her story, was almost exactly what I’d been planning to say here today. Minus the follow your dreams part. I wasn’t going to write about that. This time…any way. :)

Whomever Bex is, I like her. And I’m thankful. After reading what she wrote, I went to bed, and for the first time, in a long time, dreamt of my characters.

She’s right. Miracles do happen. All is well. Life is good. :)

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