Once upon a time in the literary world …

On October 2012, I picked up something that would drastically change the existence of who I would become. I picked up a book. It was one of the first few I had ever truly fallen in love with. It was the very first to spark an interest in something I never knew I could dive into. It was the beginning of a personal romance I never thought possible.

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Reading had never been on the top of my to-do list. As a matter of fact, I loathed it. I dreaded everything that had anything to do with reading. Why? Because I had never been able to focus long enough to experience anything other than misery when following lines of words on paper. Often I re-read paragraphs so many times it discouraged me. I wanted to pull my hair out thinking about reading. How in the world do people actually read for fun? That’s what movies are for. Right?

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Within this story, I found myself teetering on the edge of despair through each heart wrenching plot twist. I felt my heart literally skipping beats at each redeeming quality revealed within the heroine. I wept through the sorrows. I clung to the hope. I ripped through pages so quickly I thought I was dreaming. The ability this author possessed to invoke such strong emotion within my soul, completely baffled me.

Because it had never happened before …

I was gasping for air by the time I finished the book. It rung my bell so significantly, I stared at my reflection in the mirror in shock at the image staring back at me. This couldn’t be the same girl walking inside my body for the 30 years I had been alive. It couldn’t be. Because that girl; she didn’t care about reading. That girl turned her nose away from literature. But, this girl was rejuvenated. She was changed by intensely powerful words of one lone author and her ability to shake the ground I walked on. I became something different. I became more aware, more enriched, more alive.

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So I read it again; taking my time through the bends in the road. I read it slow enough to feel the shifts in the wind reverberating in my pounding chest. I let myself fall hopelessly and helplessly in love with the reckless emotional roller coaster of love imbedded within the pages I turned. I let it infiltrate my system. I let it swirl throughout my veins replacing the stagnant flowing blood with an extreme curiosity recharging my weakly beating heart.

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How in the world can one person put so much commanding emotion, confined in a prison of excruciating angst, formed along the shattered walls of mind blowing tension all to be redeemed by the powerhouse of love …

In words

Forming sentences

Within paragraphs

On pages

Of a book

How. Is. That. Possible?

It more than intrigued me. It blew me out of the water.

The closest thing I could relate it to, were the years of performing I experienced in my own life. I spent so much time learning about my God-given talent of singing. I rehearsed, practiced, and then re-rehearsed. When I was finished; I did it all over again. And, I did this for years. Why? Because. As a musician, it’s my job to effectively relay the emotion I’m singing to the audience. I want people to FEEL the depths of the lyrics from my lips. If I can’t, I’m not doing my job very well. When I sing, “Love Takes Time” by MC, I want you walking away raw from the heartache and the amount of time it takes to recuperate from it. When I sing, “Respect” by AF, I want you walking away with a little soul burning in your own soles; maybe even making you bust out in a little James Brown jig. When I sing, “I Have Nothing” By WH, I want you to know within the deepest parts of your soul, that I have absolutely nothing without you; nor will I ever. I’d like to think I’ve done an okay job of this …

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But, can I do the same thing on paper?

Could I possibly be one of the hundreds of thousands of people that could actually evoke the same emotion through a story on paper?

Could I?

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In a single moment of bravery, I decided to open my laptop and jot down a few thoughts on a trip I took to Florida when I was 16. I became so engrossed in writing over the next 2 months, my simple thoughts turned into a 75,000 word novel.

I HAD TYPED SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WORDS. FROM MY BRAIN CAME SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WORDS!

Seventy

Five

Thousand

Words

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I went from no interest in reading to writing my first novel.

Holy flippin cow.

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I found a new love in life. I clutched this desire so tightly to my chest; it became a part of my being.

I became a writer.

And, not just any writer … But, a writer determined to master my craft; a writer inspired to push myself to greater lengths; a writer on the (hopeful) road to becoming a successful author.

I spent the following year plugging into the reading/writing community. I met some pretty fantastically awesome people. I learned from some of the greats. I paid attention to the failures. I took notes on every aspect of the book world while silently plugging away at my own work. Very few people knew what I was up to. Very few people still know.

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Because I want to earn my spot in the literary world. I don’t want it by association. I don’t want it by begging. I don’t want it by nonchalantly asking for favors. I don’t want it by any other means than earning it of my own accord. I’ve learned there’s payoff in hard work. There’s honor in accomplishment when you fly from your own set of wings, instead of within the shadow of someone else’s success. There’s respect in building relationships based off of honesty instead of “what you can gain”. I understand everyone has their own road. Everyone’s journey is different. I’m slowly learning what exactly mine entails. I might be an ornery mess but, the foundation instilled within me is one of integrity.

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I’ll continue writing and plugging away at this book adventure until I know the time is right to publish. Right now my focus is on perfecting and practicing. Having literary geniuses review from all facets is invaluable. Honest feedback, direction, critiques and edits can only push me into another dimension of greatness. It can only make me better.

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Now … Who is the original inspiration behind my writing, you ask?

What is this book that magically catapulted me into the crazy world of writing?

Even she doesn’t know it’s her.

But she will now.

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Yep.

You’re seeing that right.

It’s none other than Jamie McGuire.

And, the epically fantastical love story is her NY Times Bestselling book, Beautiful Disaster.

If you haven’t read it, GO GET IT NOW!

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Jamie,

Thank you. Thank you for just being you. You’re an insanely talented writer. You have a beautiful spirit as well as an honest and kind heart. I respect you more than you realize. You’re a true inspiration and a wonderful person I call friend. I heart your face to the moon and back.

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Check back next week for my top reads of 2013 and the women behind the stories! You won’t want to miss it.

Life and the Lessons we learn

A look back at 2013 and the things that stuck with me.

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Stop Judging people. It makes you ugly. It makes you grow horns. And, it’s only for immature brats who need to get a life … Said, EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN HISTORY SINCE 1942.

However

It’s false.

Not true, bogus, phony, fictitious, not genuine, F-A-K-E.

And, if you believe you don’t judge, you’ve obviously taken a hiatus from reality by jumping on the delusional train.

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There is absolutely no way to NOT judge. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. It’s human nature. We all do it, every single day, multiple times a day without batting an eye. And, just because you won’t admit it doesn’t make you any better than the Joe-Blow next to you who’s talking trash beneath his breath just loud enough for half the city bus to hear.

You are the same. You’re still thinking it. He just said it out loud.

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“Did she really just say that?”

Yes. As a matter of fact, I did. So, let’s move on.

Instead of focusing on your unattainable goal of “not judging”, how about we focus on something within reach, something within the same realm of our world we call Earth. How about we learn to CATCH our self when we judge, CORRECT our attitude and REDIRECT our focus.

Yeah! Let’s do that!

CATCH – CORRECT – REDIRECT.

Now, that’s achievable. That’s realistic.

See, when we learn to embrace our imperfections, we learn to base our actions on the reality of who we are. Instead of putting so much stock in attempting to be who we aren’t. We aren’t perfect. So, there’s no reason to try and achieve that.

People judge. They do it all the time.

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Is it right?

Nope.

Will it stop?

Nope.

But, if we learn to catch ourselves when we start to judge, when we’re too focused on occupying our thoughts with things that probably aren’t even our business (think about that real long and hard. Most often we judge something that doesn’t even pertain to us or affect us), we can learn to curb that and tell our brains to “hush!”

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After all, what good does feeding into this judgment actually do? What payoff do you get? Aren’t their things in your own life worth the energy and effort you are wasting on the perusal of someone else’s actions, choices, conversations, clothing, home, work, parenting, etc??

::::Cue Jeopardy music::::

Your kids and spouse say “thank you” for returning this past wasted time, energy, effort and focus – back to them.

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Integrity Always wins!

No matter how hard that battle is, stay loyal to your integrity. Because inevitably, that little devil on your shoulder will surface. He’ll somehow show his puny disgusting face to tempt you.

devil-and-angel-cartoonHe’ll offer an appealing deal that’s near impossible to pass up. But, the catch always seems to be laced with dishonesty and dishonorable intentions making your stomach twist into knots. You’re conflicted with taking the deal yet so desperate to free yourself from the heaviness. And, you’re flesh takes over brewing a sense of urgency and fear.

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So, you take it. You swallow the prickly uneasy feeling. And, shut out every troubled emotion racking against the wall of your brain. You argue with yourself, weighing all the strife and anxiety you’ve been facing. You remind yourself how necessary it was to untangle the straightjacket tightly secured around your finances, your job, your marriage, your home, or whatever it is that plagues you. And, you wait for the solace that should come with this solution you’ve just taken. You take the deal even though deep down, you know you should have waited for something else.

And, inevitably it restarts the vicious cycle you attempted to derail yourself from or makes it worse.

::::insert deafening silence::::

When you feel weary, when you’re soul does not seem at ease with a decision … it’s probably because it’s NOT THE RIGHT DECISION.

RethinkAs HARD as life seems to be and as desperate as you may feel …

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Wait for the sunlight to peer through the ominous gray skies. Let it extend its rays like an outstretched helping hand. Let its warmth blanket your desperation with a serenity and peace. Let it offer a paved yellow brick road as a reward for your patience with no strings attached, no dishonesty or dishonorable intentions included.

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Walk in integrity.

Choose honesty.

Make decisions based on peace and not anxiousness or hopelessness.

The reward is a hundred times above and beyond anything that little craptastic devil could give you.

I am living proof of this.

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A baby magically appeared in my belly. Whoa.

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I became a TWO YEAR non smoker. Yes, I smoked for 14 years prior. I am a HUGE advocate of the electronic cigarette.

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I met Jamie McGuire (three times – I need an intervention), Colleen Hoover, Abbi Glines and Tammara Webber! Holy Cowsies! These authors are the greatest thing since sliced bread with peanut butter and grape jam!

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I recorded an oh-so-neato announcement video with my baby daddy broadcasting the way soon arrival of my bun in the oven. This was the greatest “Dancing in the car video” hubs and I have ever done. However, Youtube flagged it for the Beiber song. But, this is almost equally as cool. Gender reveal FTW!

I had lunch with Jamie Mcguire and family. YES! I’m thankful for her. That is all.

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I experienced my first Lake Tenkiller Party cove adventure while PREGNANT. It was – meh. I decided to read instead.

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I had three rockin baby showers thanks to my wonderful besties, close family and work peeps.

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My water broke, labor almost killed me (causing me to almost kill hubs) and BOOM! For unto us a child is born.

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I experienced the worst sports injury I’ve ever had since the beginning of my softball career at age 9! My nose was broken. I looked like a clingon.

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I started this blog! And, people actually read it?!?!

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I had BOTH mom and dad sides of the family TOGETHER in my home when my brother and sis-n-law came to visit from Oh Canada! (eh?)

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I got a rad-tad-tad-tastic new job! Badabing! Badaboom!

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