Category Archives: January 2011

2015… What a year!

How can another year be coming to an end?

No doubt, 2015 went by fast and furious. For me, it included many changes and lessons.

One change to my life was the loss of my sweet Nana. It was a difficult time, but one thing I’ve learned about grief and death, the person and memories never leave you. Nana has visited me many times through dreams, smells, and simply wanting her near. Continue to rest in peace, Nana. We miss you dearly.

Another change… I made decisions about my book, which weren’t easy, but necessary. Now, months after deciding to leave my publisher, I see it was most certainly a very, very good decision for many reasons. I’ll spare you the details. Just know, if you’d like to publish a book, you have many avenues to do so. Investigate all your options. Don’t rush the decision. It’s your path, so follow your heart. By the way, I have exciting goals and plans for publishing in 2016. I’ll share those once the new year rolls around.

The biggest (and fastest) change this year was the selling of our house in South Carolina so we could move permanently to Vermont. We made the decision to sell, put the house on the market, and sold it all within a month. Then, sold our stuff and made the transition within two months. Boy, talk about moving fast… literally. If you read my last post, you know it was a good (and happy) decision. The biggest lesson I learned from that experience– a hard, tedious process can bring happiness and peace. You just have to be open to change and welcome it with open arms– no holds barred.

Through this big year of change, I learned who my real friends are– the ones who sat aside their own needs to help me through, to listen, to just be there. I learned there are some who feel if you’re not constantly validating them, always pouring all your energy into them, no matter what’s going on in your life, they just don’t have the wherewith-all to be by your side (or even sit on the sidelines). Sometimes, life requires you to be selfish, and to take care of yourself before others. If “others” can’t understand that, let them go.  When times are rough, hard, and challenging, you need people who truly care and love you. Period. Plain and simple.

Personally, aside from all the outside changes, I’ve made big strides in my inner peace. I’ve learned so much about myself and what it means to be happy. Material things are just that, material. They don’t translate into happiness. For me– friends, family, and simplicity are where I find peace, joy, and happiness.

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Lastly, I want to leave you with a thought for now and for the future…

To each their own. Not one person is the same as the next. We all have different goals, different loves, different points of view, different points of happiness, different tolerance levels, different eyes in which we see the world.  Be sure to listen before you argue. Don’t assume you know what someone else is thinking or feeling. Don’t assume you know what someone else is going through. Reach out to someone before persecuting them with your harsh words and bitterness. Never hate. Always love.

Cheers to a good ending of 2015 and a happy 2016. Many wonderful things are ahead. Stay open. Stay positive. Stay strong.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

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Filed under December 2015, January 2011

Your Happy Spot

YES!!! The whirlwind is over. The move is done.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, you know what we’ve gone through the last three months to downsize and move to Vermont.

All I can say is… Whew!! What a freaking process! Thankfully, it’s over. We’ve closed on the SC house and we’re now getting settled in Stowe.

Some may ask:

“Amy, don’t you miss your lake house? It was so big and beautiful. You had a million dollar view. Your kitchen!! Oh my goodness! You have to miss that kitchen. Your pool, your screened porches, your boat, your wave-runner…”

You want an honest answer?

No. I’ve hardly thought about it at all.

Do I feel bad about that? Nope, not one bit.

It’s proof this move was EXACTLY what we wanted. This place, here, in our small Vermont home, is where we are truly happy.

It doesn’t discount the fact we loved our home in SC. We have MANY, MANY wonderful, fun, loving memories there. It was good for us for the time we were there, but there comes a time when you have to take stock of where you are.

Is your current place in life making you 100% happy? And the question isn’t based on material things; it’s about where your heart is.

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If you’re at a point where you’re ready to ask yourself that question, you have to be ready to answer it honestly. Don’t try to fool yourself so you don’t have to do anything, so you don’t have to go through everything it will take to get to your spot of happiness. If you do that, you’re not ready to find your spot.

However, if you are ready, and you ask, “Am I in my place of happiness”, and you answer, “No”, do something about it. No excuses.

I hear so many people say, “I can’t do anything about where I am. I don’t have enough money. I have family. I have children. I have this. I have that. I don’t have this. I don’t have that.”

Please, trust me, there’s always a way to find your happy spot. Always.

It takes time. It takes a plan. It takes guts. It takes work. It takes heart. It takes getting off your ass and doing something about it. Period.

It doesn’t matter if you want to upgrade or downgrade, IT IS POSSIBLE.

For us, we wanted to sell everything and come to the mountains of Vermont. And, I can’t lie, I’m as happy as I’ve ever been in my life. I’m so happy we took the leap. I’m so happy we went through the whirlwind and let our hearts guide us.

Life has a lot of moving parts, especially as we get older. Take stock. Take control. Find your happy spot. And, no doubt, do it sooner than later. Every day, week, month, year you wait, you’ll miss out on so much of what life has to offer.

If you’re still not sure where your happy spot is, take time to listen to yourself. Take time to pay attention when you get goose bumps. Take time to recognize where and when you laugh the most. Take time to feel your heart skip a beat. Take time to feel yourself exhale and smile, versus the alternative.

It’s not necessarily about physically moving. Sometimes, it’s about making some big, and probably, very difficult decisions. But, guess what? It’s so worth it– so, so worth it. And so are you.

Your happy spot is THE only spot to be.

Until next time…

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Filed under January 2011

The Boys

Today I want to give a shout out to all the fur-babies who bring us so much joy and give us unconditional love.

My boys, Winston and Churchill, make me laugh out loud at least once a day. It’s either Winston who loves to bark until someone gives him the attention he wants or it’s Churchill prancing around, giving a show with his ability to throw and catch his toys all on his own–no need for human help. They both greet us with dances and barks each time we come in the door, even if we’ve only been gone fifteen minutes.

Not only do they make me laugh, but they warm my heart when I need it the most. Their ability to know when I’m not feeling good, sad, or just having an off day never seizes to amaze me. They snuggle up next to me at just the right moments, and make me smile, even when I don’t think it’s possible to do so.

WINSTON

WINSTON

Winston has been by my side for fourteen years and has gotten me through a lot of tough times and sat in the front seat of my car for many moves. But, no doubt, has made all the good times even better. Since he’s older, he doesn’t play all that much, but he sure can race to the door when it’s potty time, giving Churchill a little competition. He sleeps a lot, which includes a lot of snoring. He’s deaf, so communication has turned into doggie sign language, which he understands without issue. He gives sweet sugar, but without fail, always manages to get one lick up the nose. He loves the wind. He’ll stand in the same spot for as long as you let him with his nose in the air, feeling the wind run through his hair. The other thing that brings Winston pure joy and happiness–his daddy! His personality is full-on when Chris walks in the door. He won’t leave his side and whines when he’s not in the room. Winston doesn’t get his feelings hurt too easily. I can point at him for doing something I don’t like, and he’ll stop doing it, but won’t care at all that he got in trouble. He’s always care-free and in his own little world. Because of his age, and Cushing’s disease, he grunts, groans, and pants quite a bit, but still has a lot of feistiness left in him, which makes me happy to see.

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Churchill

We got Churchill right after we got married, so we’ve had him for almost eight years. He’s our show dog. His prance, no doubt, could win a competition. He flings out his paws and sways his backend with precision. He’s a competitive little boy–he has to be the first up the stairs, the first in the door, and the first to the treat bowl. But, strangely, he doesn’t like to be given the first treat. He likes for Winston to get his first, then he likes for me to throw his in the air so he can catch it. If I throw the first one at him, he’ll just stare at it as it hits the floor. The second one, he catches without fail. As I pointed out earlier, he’ll play and play and play and play without much assistance from anyone. He likes for us to throw the ball, but he’ll run around throwing it up in the air and catching it all on his own. Churchill is also our sensitive little boy. If I fuss at him, he’ll tuck his tail, go the bedroom, curl up on the bed, and pout. He shakes at any odd sound. Seriously, it could be a click or a beep on the TV or as strong as thunder–either one will make him shake like a leaf. His best role? He’s a good big brother. Winston uses him as his ears. If Churchill responds to a sound outside or to us asking them if it’s time to go potty, Winston is right at his side. He’s a sweet, sweet boy, who gives the best snuggles.

To sum it up. I love my boys with all my heart. I cherish the joy they bring to my life–the smiles, the laughs, and yes, the tears (when they’re sick and not feeling well). They are gifts who enrich my life.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” — Roger Caras

I think that quote works for any pet, not just dogs.

So, lets give our pets some extra lovin’ and maybe an extra treat or two today. Let’s whisper “thank you” in their little (or big) ears for bringing so much happiness to our lives.

Churchill looking up at Winston

Churchill looking up at Winston

Until next time…

Everyday meditation:

Love life. Be Kind. Be genuine. Eliminate the negative, false, and vain. Peace, love, and happiness to all. 

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Filed under January 2011

Love Your Soul. Grow Your Soul.

As I sit here, sipping my second cup of hot tea, I’m trying my best to pull out of my fuzzy, clouded brain a subject to write about for my #MondayBlogs post. Nothing sounds good, interesting, inspirational, helpful. I was going to write about my next phase of editing, but that wasn’t speaking to me either. Then, I look down at my Yogi tea message, and I found my topic.

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LOVE YOUR SOUL

My first thought is, “What a beautiful inspiration.”

My second thought is, “Do I love my soul?”

That’s a loaded question. I had to have a third cup of tea to think about it.

My soul– The sum of who I am. The complete moral and emotional nature of myself. The totality and deepest part of me.

My answer is, “Yes, I do love my soul.” That being said, there’s always room to improve my soul– who I am.

What makes a beautiful soul?

*Being thoughtful

*Being open

*Being kind

*Being honest

*Being grateful

*Being forgiving

*Being encouraging

*Being loving

Gracious… being all of that, all of the time, is hard– practically impossible. As the saying goes, “NO ONE IS PERFECT”. But having true intent to be, and aspiring to be, those things listed above makes a huge difference.

It’s about being authentic and genuine to others and yourself.

It’s about loving and embracing those things that are the hardest to grasp, those things that may even bring you distress, disappointment, rejection, and pain.

It’s about respecting others even when they’re not on the same side of the fence as you (there all types of fences).

It’s about stepping away from gossip and being disparaging toward others.

It’s about respecting yourself even when you feel you’re not at your best.

It’s about learning and growing from the things that life throws at you, instead of playing the blame game.

It’s about giving yourself and time to others when you don’t feel like it.

It’s about having kind words and a kind heart even when someone provokes your anger.

It’s about loving yourself.

So, I say, not only love your soul, but grow your soul. Alway be open to changing those things that will improve the deepest part of you. Embrace being the best you, you can be. Embrace finding and being your best soul.

Until next time…

Everyday meditation:

Love life. Be Kind. Be genuine. Eliminate the negative, false, and vain. Peace, love, and happiness to all. 

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Filed under January 2011

Bring on the New Year!

2015

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We now have a new year right around the corner.

I’m not one to set resolutions or make a big to-do about a new year, but it is nice to have a fresh beginning. I like to use it as a time to reenergize my positive thinking and get rid of the negatives in my life. I guess if I were to set a resolution for 2015 it would be to clean out my mental trash bin throughout the year and not let it get too full as the months go by.

Having a clear mind, positive mental attitude, and a grateful heart keeps me going in the right direction. Eating clean, meditating, yoga, exercise, and surrounding myself with those I love are all a part of that process. Getting off course is inevitable, but that’s okay. Going astray allows for growth and learning, and hell, it allows for some fun, too– right?

On the writing side of life, I’ll be in my writing/editing cave, and staying there, until I get The Christmas Key edited and sent to my publisher, Oghma Creative Media. My goal is to have it done by the beginning of February. After that, I’ll pick up the manuscript for the second book in the trilogy, The Christmas Belle, and begin what I think will be a long editing process. It needs A LOT of work, but I look forward to getting started.

There’s no doubt 2015 will be a big year. I have the anticipation of my first book being published in the fall and getting my second one ready for 2016. I am so thankful to Oghma for bringing me on and I’m grateful for all the people in my life who’ll be with me for the fun ride!

I hope you all have a Happy New Year. Be sure to love hard and live fully!

Until next time…

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Filed under January 2011

A Bubbly Recluse

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Bubbles… Bubs…

Yep. That’s me.

Most people in my life call me one or the other, and as you can probably guess, I came about this nickname because of my personality. I’m normally a very outgoing, and you guessed it, bubbly person. I’ve always been a people person and talking has been a specialty of mine since I uttered my first word. In fact, beginning as early as elementary school, I got bad marks on my report card for talking too much. I grew up loving to be around people and making new friends, and to be honest (not bragging), it’s always been easy for me.

But here’s what may surprise people who know me:

I’m a homebody, and I’ve found since I’ve been actively writing my novel, I’m more of a homebody than ever. If you gave me the choice of going to a party or staying home, I’d most likely choose to stay home. Being in my own surroundings, writing, is my safe haven. Don’t get me wrong, I love being around friends and family, but my social life isn’t what it used to be.

Being inside my fiction world, spending time with my characters, and manipulating words to tell a story is what I love most. Thankfully, I have a husband who understands that love and respects how serious I am about writing. Finding a balance between my fiction world and reality hasn’t been as hard as you would think. His understanding of my process and what I need to do to get a story written makes all the difference in the world. As for my friends and family, I think most of them understand, but I’m certain some of them shake their head about my lack of going out and being social.

I would definitely make a fabulous recluse. I have no problem staying inside for days on end and I’m completely okay with having no human contact (okay, except for my husband). I absolutely love cloudy, rainy days; they help justify my need  to stay in and write. I know… I know…  this doesn’t seem normal, but I believe for a lot of writers, it is. I feel I’m my truest self when I’m alone with my many pens and notebooks, while stories swirl in my head, begging to get on paper. To some, this may sound sad and pathetic, and maybe a little crazy, but  for me, it’s my normal. 

Do I consider my reclusive tendencies an affliction? No, not at all. However, I do find it interesting. Being an extrovert for most of my life, I feel that’s the face I have to put on. That’s what people in my life are used to, and having the nickname Bubbles, comes with somewhat of a required action. It’s always been the case that “if Amy is quiet, something is wrong”. That was definitely true before I started writing, but now, if I’m quiet and distant or held up in my home, I’m probably working on a story. It’s not easy to explain how characters work inside my head, and all I can say is, being quiet and listening to them is critical to my writing process. And when a chapter isn’t coming together like I want or my characters are being stubborn, it’s pure hell for me, which means even more silence and pulling away until it works itself out.

For me, being solitary is a positive thing and something I crave, but of course, I’ll never be a true recluse. Sharing my life with my loving husband, family, and friends means too much to me. Their support of my writing, and the oddities that come with it, gets me through the tough times when words don’t come easy. They’re also the first to celebrate with me when the words flow like a waterfall or when one tiny idea sparks into a full-on story.

I guess I can kinda be a recluse and a bubbly one at that. That’s possible, isn’t it?

Until next time…

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Filed under January 2011

Going Silent on LONG ROAD HOME

Encouragement and discouragement can come from many places. What we do with encouragement can take us to high places, but once we let discouragement in, we go crashing to the ground. Writing a novel is a roller coaster of emotions. One day, I feel like I love my story and I’m doing a great job. Then the next day, I hate it and feel I’ll never be good enough to be published. Lately, I’ve been on the discouraging end of the writing process.

I’ve been writing, editing, and re-writing Long Road Home for over four years. I’ve spent thousand and thousand of hours writing and working on this story, yet I’m still no where close to being done. It’s not ready to see the world and I question whether it ever will be. The expectation for good writing and a good story is set so high that I definitely question myself and my ability to please the reader. Yes, I like it, but that’s not enough. 

I’m not giving up. I will always work on Long Road Home, but I’ve made a decision to work on it silently. Please don’t take this wrong, but I’m done with sharing the process. I will still write blog posts, but they won’t be about writing my first novel. They’ll be about my simple love of writing, and most definitely, about those things that drive me crazy about writing.

I was about to throw Long Road Home in a drawer and give up on it for good. I was completely frustrated, torn down, and lost… not only about the story itself, but also about my ability to write a good story. Then I got the best, most simple, advice from my husband. He said, “Follow your heart.” And that’s what I’m going to do. My heart is in this story, so I’m going to continue to work on it, but I’m going to do so silently. Not talking about or blogging about my novel is a personal decision, and it’s not a bad thing, but more of an introspective thing.

I hope to one day speak and write about my novel with a loud and proud voice, but until then, I look forward to blogging about many other writerly topics and I hope you’ll still follow and support this progressing writer.

Until next time…

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Filed under January 2011