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

Embrace Your Journey

My, oh, my…  has 2015 been full of unexpected twists and turns.

First, I rang in the new year with the excitement of working with a publisher.

Second, the hard decision of postponing my publish date.

Third, another hard decision of leaving my publisher. I haven’t written about this or made a huge announcement about it. It was a very personal decision on how I want to go about writing, editing, and publishing my book. I may share more later, but as of right now, I’ll just say I’m looking at my options. No matter what, my goal is a Fall 2016 release.

Fourth, the choice my husband and I made to sell our house in South Carolina and permanently move to Vermont. That moved along faster than we ever thought. Our house sold two weeks after putting it on the market, and as of October, 6th, we’ll be headed to Vermont to start a new chapter in our life.

Fifth, I reached out to my free lance editor, and we’ve made an agreement to move forward as a team. My deadline to have The Christmas Key to her is at the end of October. I’m so happy to be working with her again. I see many wonderful things happening in the future and my plans for this book have been taken to a new level.

Sixth, I’ve made a rough sketch for my NaNoWriMo story and I plan on making a few more so I’ll have a choice of which story I want to write. I’d like to go outside my comfort zone and NaNo is always a perfect time to try something new. It seems that’s what 2015 is all about, so why not embrace it in a new story?

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last eight months, it’s to not fight what life is trying to send my way. The best way to grow, learn, and enjoy life is to seize it in its entirety– the smooth parts, the rough spots, the twists, and turns. The mixture and blending of life experiences is what it’s all about.

Don’t forget to look out the window while on your journey. There might be a fun side street you’d like to explore.  

Until next time…

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Filed under August 2015

A Return to Words

Writing and editing– they’ve been somewhat absent from my life lately. Honestly, they haven’t been a priority. Life has been full of other pressing matters and I’m not one who’s good at being creative when my mind is swarming with large life issues. I wish I was better at that, but there are times when fiction has to take a back seat to real life. I’d hate to sacrifice the quality of my story because I forced the words and/or edited while my mind was a million miles away.

Now that the big decisions have been made (reference my last post), I’m beginning to feel the pull of my characters and they’re demanding I pay them attention. I’ve sporadically been working on The Christmas Key and I’ve been tinkering with a new story– taking notes, jotting down characters, and scenarios– which feels good. I can see the new story growing legs and I think it’ll be my NaNoWriMo project this November.

I’ve had people ask me about the status of The Christmas Key. I’m still shooting for a fall 2016 publish date. As of right now, I don’t see that changing, and I’m dedicated to make it happen. So, stay tuned.

I have a feeling this next week will be full of words and ideas, and I have to say, nothing pleases me more than to feel the need of a pen in my hand.

I’ll keep you posted.

Until next time…

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Filed under July 2015

Cha-cha-cha- changes…

My life has had many ‘bottom of the mountain’ and ‘top of the mountain’ moments– hills, valleys, twists, and turns. Needless to say, I’ve never been scared of change. To me, life isn’t about staying in the same place, doing the same thing, and never switching things up.

Life is meant to be lived fully, experienced completely, and embraced wholeheartedly.

If we crawl under the covers and hide every time life throws us a curve ball, we’d never get out of it what we should. Shifts in life shape us, make us who we are, and give us the stories that make us laugh, cry, smile, and reminiscence when we tell them.

All this being said, yes, I have changes in my near future. For those who are my Facebook friends, you’ve probably already seen it. For others, here it is:

My husband and I are selling our lake house in South Carolina and permanently moving to our home in Vermont. No more going between– no more back and forth. It’s time to downsize. It’s time to simplify. It’s time for a change.

I don’t feel sad. I don’t feel lost. I don’t feel scared. I feel it’s right.

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Chris and I talked about it in great detail, and even though we love the water, and we love our lake house, it’s time to let it go. We built it with love, and we will let go of it with love, knowing another family will create many memories there– just as we have.

Life in Vermont is what we crave. It’s nature, peace, serenity, and simplicity. We look forward to getting down to basics and enjoying life without weight. We’ll be able to get outside and enjoy nature in ways we love– hiking, biking, snowshoeing, etc… We can also get more involved in the community of Stowe like we want to.

From my hike this morning.

From my hike this morning.

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From my hike this morning.

From my hike this morning.

From my hike this morning.

It’s going to be a big change and the process of such a big move won’t come without its obstacles. The sale of our house in SC could take a month or it could take a year– who knows– but, in the end, with a smile on our face, Chris and I will stand on our deck in the woods and cheers each other with a big ole glass of wine, knowing it’s where we want to be.

The lesson here?

Don’t be scared to take a huge leap of faith to get where you want to be. Don’t let the process of the “sale” make you postpone your dreams. Life is all about changing and growing, and it’s not to be feared, it’s to be embraced.

Life is short. Go find your dream. Go places you wan to go. Go get what you want. Don’t let anyone, or anything, stop you.

Life is meant to be lived without reservations.

Until next time…

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Filed under July 2015

Love is love is love… Period.

While holding hands, two people face each other, both with tears in their eyes. One takes a deep breath, then releases it, trying to contain all the emotions inside. Finally, these words are spoken:

I love you with all my heart and all my soul. When you came into my life, my world became a brighter, happier place. With you standing here in front of me, I know what true love feels like. With you standing here– by my side, holding my hand, loving me unconditionally– I am 100% complete. I can’t imagine my life without you. I can’t imagine not having you hold me when I’m sad or upset, telling me everything’s going to be okay. I can’t imagine not having you in my life to share my passions, my happiness, my fears, my goals, and most importantly, my love. I promise to love you, honor you, and be there for you through anything and everything life may bring our way. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life, I love you.

After wiping tears away, the other softly speaks these words, barely keeping it together:

I love you with all my heart and all my soul. What would I do without you? I had all but given up on finding my other half, the one who would accept all my flaws, my broken past, my tattered and torn heart. When you walked into my life, I began to heal. I began to see that true love does exist. Your honest and pure love changed me forever, and for that, I’ll always be grateful. My life is better with you in it. My heart is fuller because you have filled it. Thank you for your true, unconditional love. I promise to  love you, honor you, and be there for you through anything and everything life may bring our way. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life, I love you.

They seal their vows with a kiss and are pronounced married by the officiant.

With huge smiles filling their faces, and as tears of happiness fall down, they turn to their family and friends, and begin their life together.

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When words, vows, and expressions of love are real, true, and unequivocal– the gender of the two people are irrelevant. It’s two souls, hearts, and lives coming together out of a loving place and that’s all that matters. Let’s celebrate those who want to be together. Let’s honor people who want to honor each other. Let’s not deny any two people the right to spend their life together and their right to bind it by the laws of marriage.

Every single person should be with the one they love. Period.

Until next time…

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Filed under June 2015

The Power Within

I bet you’d agree with me when I say:

It seems everyone has an opinion (or lots of opinions) on how others go about their life and how they approach their passions and dreams.

Sometimes, when the journey to our passion is broken, interrupted, messed up, off track, darkened, out of sorts– we look to others to help us, to give advice, to give their opinion. The only problem is, we get so many point of views we lose our own vision and purpose.

How do we weed through all the advice and pick out the right pieces that’ll hopefully lead us to a good decision about our path? I’ll tell you my thoughts on this in a minute. First, let me tell you what has me on this topic to begin with.

Lately I’ve been struggling, like majorly struggling, with my path and journey of writing. I’m not ready to give too many details, but I will say this, it breaks my heart to feel the lack of love for writing. I’ve never experienced it like this before.

At first, I thought I just needed to take a break. So, I took a break. That didn’t help.

Then, I thought I needed to work on a new story to get some fresh writerly blood flowing. That worked for a day or two, but the love faded all too quickly.

I finally reached out to some of my writer/author friends. I got some good advice and I got a lot of it. I also reached out to friends who aren’t on any sort of writing path. I got some good advice and I got a lot of it.

At the end of the day, I was still lost. Still confused. Still out of love.

*** Cue the tears ***

There were lots and lots of tears.

Finally, after too much time, I decided to clear the board and discard all the outside thoughts and opinions. I got down to what *I* felt. Not just the top layer of feelings, but the deep, dark, don’t really want to face it feelings–the ones that linger in the nooks and crannies of my heart and mind.

That’s not easy–AT ALL!

But, there ya have it. That’s my answer to the question I asked above: “How do we weed through all the advice and pick out the right pieces that’ll hopefully lead us to a good decision about our path?” We have to dive into the nooks and crannies of what we truly want from our dreams, goals, and passions.

Of course, there are always exceptions. There are times when we really need to depend on others and reach out. But when we still can’t get to the crux of our heartbreak, pain, and the lost feeling, we have to know it’s time to go deep and reach within ourselves.

I came to the conclusion that my passion deserves 100% of my love, attention, and heart. And when my passion fades, it’s up to me to figure out why. This is my journey and where I end up is completely up to me. Yes, listening to others is good, but sometimes, I have to trust myself, trust my gut, and trust my heart.

I think, sometimes, we tend to rely on other people’s thoughts and advice so if we mess up, or we don’t get things figured out, we won’t feel 100% to blame. Let’s not do that. Let’s learn to take full responsibility and control of our journey, dreams, and goals.

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Take the reins, take hold of your power, and even though the decision may not be easy, know you have all the control of where you go. Sometimes, that means changing your path or maybe even creating a new path all-together. Don’t be scared to do that. Revel in the fact you have the power to do so. Embrace the fact you may make the way for others to follow the new path you build. You never know until you start. Enjoy your journey, and when it gets hard, and you begin to lose your way, look within. You hold the power.

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 June 2015