Thursday, February 28, 2013

Never Waste An Opportunity to Say "I Love You"

I love you image with heart necklace
There are 1,440 minutes in the day. That equals 86,400 seconds. How many seconds does it take to say "I love you"?

Maybe 3, 5?

Look at all the opportunities you have in your day to tell someone that you love them.

There are no "real" second chances. You can't re-wind time. There is no Dr. Who to help you travel between time and dimensions.

Jules Verne is not going to build you a time machine.

Think of all the people who cross your path every day. How many of them would benefit from hearing you say those three simple words? What kind of benefit would you get?

The best kind of benefit ever. The knowledge that you were able to tell someone you love them and mean it with all your heart.

You love your spouse.

You love your children.

You love your parents.

You love your siblings.

You love all members of your extended family.

You love your friends.

You love your neighbor.

You love your Christ family.

You love.

Show how much you love by taking a few seconds every day and telling those around you. You not only will make them happy, but you will be happy as well.

It's reciprocal.

To Love is to be Loved.

"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:"
-- 1 Thessalonians 3:12


Friday, February 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday - What Mama Did

It's time for the "Five Minute Friday" blogging post. The inspiration comes from Lisa Jo Baker

What you do is set your timer for five minutes and write whatever you want according to the prompt Lisa places on her blog every Friday. Then you go back, link your blog and give support to those who posted before you. And, we connect on Twitter with #FiveMinuteFriday.


My mom in bottom center, with me and my sisters and brother
My mom was and is my inspiration. She never told me "no" I couldn't do something. No matter what path I wanted to take, who I wanted to follow, or what I wanted to do, she was always there for me, supporting me. I made some very bad decisions in my life. I chose to follow certain people, I made mistakes with raising my children, and I lost sight of God so many times I can't count.

But, my mom was always there for me. She counseled me and in the end let me make some of my mistakes so I could learn from them. She led me back to God and then turned me over to His guidance.

I think I have it all together now, but I'd be a liar if I said so out loud. I'm an author, a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, neighbor, daughter of Christ, and so much more. Through it all, my mom has always been my number one fan. She adores the books I write, she brags to all her friends. She thinks I walk on the moon.

I want to be the person my mom loves and respects. I want to be worthy of her love and adoration. I want to be truly the person she brags about with all her heart and soul. She's worth it. Because, if you ask me, she is my inspiration.


Click on the Five Minute Friday logo below and see what others have written for their prompt. Have a great day.

Five Minute Friday

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Random Act of Kindness - Here is a blog I'd like to share with you

I thought, for Random Act of Kindness day, I'd share with you a blog that I've found interesting and helpful.

It's Publishing...and Other Forms of Insanity.

Erica Verrillo has written seven books and published five. She doesn't know why anyone with an ounce of self-preservation would ever want to publish. But, if you insist on selling your soul to the devil, learn how to do it right: marketing, literary agents, book contracts, book promotion, editors, rejections, pitching your book, how to get reviews, and ... most important of all ... everything she did wrong.

The above text is straight from the horse's, er, Erica's website. Not only does she give this statement on her blog, she backs it up with helpful information and sites to point you in the right direction to learn how to publish the right way.

For example, her Links list includes Agent Query, Preditors and Editors, Publishers Weekly, and Publishers Marketplace. And so much more.

She has links on her site to her other Blogs and a wealth of information in her blog posts.

I could go on and on about Erica's site, but I'd rather you went and visited it for yourself and take your time, there is a lot to read. So, here is the link again, Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity


Friday, February 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Beloved

It's time for the "Five Minute Friday" blogging post. The inspiration comes from Lisa Jo Baker

What you do is set your timer for five minutes and write whatever you want according to the prompt Lisa places on her blog every Friday. Then you go back, link your blog and give support to those who posted before you. And, we connect on Twitter with #FiveMinuteFriday.


My mom and her dog, Niki
All I can think about at the moment is any minute my mom is going to be wheeled into the operating room in Billings, Montana while I wait helplessly here in Florida. She’s having emergency open-heart surgery to correct a blocked artery. It scares the crap out of me that I have no control of what hospital she is in, if it’s a good one, if the doctor is good or even if she has a choice.

I have to wait. And pray. And plead to God to not take my mom away from me today. We had a rough childhood. She and my dad divorced while I was young, and my dad took us kids and sent my mom away. Back in the 60’s and 70’s things like that were done with the wink of an eye and the handshake of a judge.

I didn’t see my mom again until I had had my first daughter. Amber was six months old and I received a telegram with information on it to call my mom. From that moment on we’ve been inseparable. We call each other constantly, visit as often as we can and are totally a part of each other’s life.

Now, my mom’s life is held in the hands of a surgeon I know nothing about. I have to have faith in God that he will guide the surgeon and give him the skills necessary to have a successful outcome.

I love my mom. She’s my number one fan and I’m her number one daughter. I’ll pray for her with all my might and power. My first beloved - My Mom.


Click on the Five Minute Friday logo below and see what others have written for their prompt. Have a great day.

Five Minute Friday

Addendum 2/16/13:
My mom made it through the surgery but then her pressure dropped and the surgeon had to go back and basically do the entire bypass over again to figure out why her pressure dropped so low. She is in ICU in critical condition. The surgeon had a nurse stay with her all night to monitor her. I’m waiting on word from my sisters who are with her in Montana while I wait and freak out here in Florida.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Tortured Writer's Soul - My Path to becoming an Author

Stress has a way of creeping up and scaring the crap out of you when you least expect it.
Life had been good.

At least I thought so.

I was at the top of my career as a Documentation Manager/Technical Writer for a company that created computer programs that spoke for visually impaired users. I looked great. I felt great, even though I was closing in on forty. My fiancé and I married and we bought a house, although it needed some remodeling work.

That was the up side.

 The down side? My teenage daughter. My middle child. What a handful. Running away. Skipping school. You name it. On top of her issues, there were countless arguments and conflict with my ex husband and his then wife over the best way to handle my daughter’s behavior.

Lots of stress.

The pain came on suddenly; the other signs already significant. Rapid pulse. My chest hurt. Face reddened, flushed. Inability to concentrate.

‘Heart attack’ my mind screamed.

‘Get to the doctor’ I told myself. 

Ignoring offers for help and rides to the emergency room, I rushed from work and crossed the long and busy Howard Frankland Bridge from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa. All the while focused only on praying that I get to the doctor before I collapsed. In those moments of fear, my only goal was to reach my doctor, for in my mind, only he could help me because he knew my medical and personal history.

The crisis passed. What I thought was a heart attack turned out to be a Thyroid Storm determined only after months of a multitude of tests and examinations. My life as I knew it would never be the same again.

The diagnosis: Grave’s Disease. A thyroid disorder.

The treatment: medication and rest.

Weaker than a newborn kitten, on bed rest, and barely able to shuffle from bed to bathroom without exhausting myself, my life came to a screeching halt.

No deadlines.
No home repair issues.
No programs to document.
No arguments.
No stress.
Nothing mattered.

Only my heart, as it jumped to a rapid, irregular beat in my chest; the pain that accompanied it a constant reminder that I held on to my life by a delicate thread. The profound impact of my disease seeping into my consciousness; my mind trying to wrap itself around the immenseness of its affect.

My fragile life.

I grew protective of its vulnerability. Hyper aware of my own mortality, I examined my existence to that point in my life and found myself questioning my actions, motives, decision. All went under the microscope.

I could no longer bring myself to ride my motorcycle. The sheer danger overcoming my desire for adventure. I bid a reluctant goodbye to my beautiful red speed machine.

Once an avid inline skater, always willing to throw on a pair of roller blades and skate for miles, just the thought of skating exhausted me and made my heart race. I could no longer push my body so hard. My heart couldn’t take the physical stress.

I feared being alone.

What would happen if I had another episode?

In and out of the hospital emergency rooms with panic attacks, I struggled to get a grasp on what was happening to me. How my personal and social boundaries shrank to the physical limits of my bedroom. My safe haven. My very existence wrapped up in those four walls.

With months of recovery, I grew stronger, while my mind struggled to understand why I no longer could bring myself to leave my home for a job I used to love. I tried. I lasted half a day. I needed to be back home. My safe haven.

A new idea germinated in my mind. I could work as a technical writing consultant. My own company. I’d work from home. The idea took root. I found clients willing to work within my schedule and I soon found myself in great demand as a technical writer. Forty flew in and I rejoiced. The good life reigned.

Then it happened again.

This time the pain forced me to the emergency room. CAT scans revealed tumors on my ovaries.

‘Cancer’ my mind whispered with anxious trepidation.

The hospital staff kept their opinions to themselves, but I could see the sympathy in their faces as they attended to my medical needs. Was I to be another statistic? I prayed for a chance. A chance to live a life I hadn’t finished with yet. For a chance to see grandchildren not yet conceived.

For any chance.

Opportunity knocked. No cancer. Only surgery to remove the diseased ovaries. Menopause dropped into my life full on with its hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain. I grew old before my time. I stopped coloring my hair and let the gray grow through. I embraced this new transformation of my life and what new changes it would bring for me personally.

Then a new thought snuck in and whispered ‘life is short, you’re running out of time.’

What hadn’t I completed yet in my life? What else did I still want to do before I grew too old to accomplish it? A new idea, an old dream, surfaced from far below my subconscious. I loved to write. I wanted to keep writing. But, my writing dreams turned to fiction. My dream of always becoming an author closed in. "If not now, When" was no longer my slogan. Now. Now. Now.

With a renewed reflection on my life, I sought to fulfill dreams once deemed by others as too unstable and not appropriate.


I wanted to write fiction. A dream I gave up on when I graduated high school and joined the U.S. Marines instead of attending business school as my family planned.

Stability no longer a problem, our financial situation accessed, my husband and I worked out a plan for me to steadily complete projects and drop clients until I could write fiction full time.

My heart soared. 

Naïve and inexperienced in the writing and publishing business I sought out other writers. I joined electronic mail groups and Internet forums, communicating with other people of various levels of knowledge and talent. I learned quickly and found others who had similar dreams to mine. We wanted to organize a group of writers where we could share information about writing and publishing. A new organization was formed. Florida Writers Association. Glenda Ivey, myself and five other women became the founding members of a group of writers helping writers.

The group grew quickly. Word spread about our accomplishment. I poured myself into the development of the organization and put my writing second to the success of FWA. Within a few years, FWA became its own entity. A life onto itself. Self-sufficient, the group no longer needed my continual support. An organization now strong with over a thousand members.

Once again, my dream of writing novels pushed its way to the forefront of my life. This time there was nothing to get in my way. It became NOW again.

Or so I thought.

I started down a new path toward an uncertain future.

I wrote Not Without Anna and began a new novel, Trust in the Wind.  In the meantime, ideas flowed faster than I could write them down. I filled several four inch binders with newspaper clippings, scraps of paper, and the beginnings of stories. Short stories poured from my fingers like flowers bursting forth in springtime. Catch of the Season was born. Eager to come into the world, March Madness soon followed. Ideas tumbled from my mind at all hours of the day and night. More short stories trailed along. Each bloomed from the fruits of my writing fervor. 

Writing became my passion. And my passion soon consumed me. Once again, life was good. With my Grave’s Disease in remission, my energy burned brightly.  

Then blackness submerged my life.


Bleak and without hope, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. My fruitful blooms dried up and withered away. I struggled to find words to complete sentences to complete stories that no longer held any meaning for me. I foundered without direction. I no longer slept. Dangerous thoughts invaded my psyche. My once fragile life became an indirect target for my dark musings. Scared and uncertain, I begged my doctor to help me. The diagnosis: Bipolar I. Undiagnosed for most of my life, I had a name for what tortured me my entire life.

Once again, my life was turned upside down by an illness. This time, it was one I wasn’t sure I could handle as well as the others. I burrowed deeper into my safe haven - my home. I ate to appease my anxiety. I ate to satisfy my emotional needs. I ate. My weight ballooned.

No longer able to write, I sunk deeper into the blackness while I spent hours researching everything I could find on Bipolar Disorder. I joined online therapy groups. I read books. I asked questions. All the while, my body rejecting various medications the doctor prescribed to stabilize my illness. It took more than a year to find the right combination of drugs that helped. All the while my soul suffered. My passion lay dead. I could not write.

Finally, a pinprick of light in the far off distance. Was there a chance for me and my writing after all?
Two years into my illness, I found the courage to start writing again. Slowly at first. Nothing more than a few sentences. Random thoughts written in my journal.

I also found the strength to face the fact that I weighed too much. I started walking with my dog. Every day. My life brightened. I could leave the house for a few moments every day and the world didn’t end. 

Hope flickered.

I crawled my way through my binders full of ideas, looking for a connection. A spark. A long dried up seed of an idea that with tender treatment would bloom once again. 

I found it. A story born from a vivid dream I’d written down long ago, stepped forward, willing to be the first. Tentatively, hope flickered. The flame grew more.

My writing technique changed. No longer struck by inspiration and writing until my back and fingers were numb, I scheduled writing time with myself. I started small. A page. Two hundred and fifty words. Then five hundred. I worked my way up to two thousand words a day. I kept the pace steady. I was writing again.

That spark was now a brilliant fire. It wasn’t so far away anymore. A slow, low-key birth, Out for Justice joined my collection of beautiful blooms.

My weight dropped slowly. As each passing year added another number to my age, more weight fell. Little by little, pound by pound. I grew proud of my appearance, coloring and cutting my hair. 

My struggle with Bipolar and Depression constantly draws energy from my soul. I’m able to function again with minimal adjustments to my medication and minor cycles of mania and depression.

Although, not without sacrifices.

Gone is the burning obsession that spilled idea after idea. The all consuming fire now more like a bed of coals needing constant attending in fear the fire might go out.

I’m grateful for the binders of story ideas I’d gathered. They’ll feed my writing garden for longer than I could dream possible. My pace has slowed. My words more deliberate. But, the passion still burns in my heart. Best of all, I’m fulfilling my dream. I’m writing novels.

So, now there is everything you could possibly want to know about me and more, any questions?

Tax Time - Yikes!

It's that time of year where the holidays are behind us and tax time looms ahead of us. Some of us wait anxiously for our tax paperwork to arrive so that we can hurry, fill it out, and get a return. Others, usually not expecting a return, procrastinate and put off doing their taxes until April 14th. Then they are the poor souls lined up at the post office at midnight waiting to get their return stamped prior to April 15th.

Duh. Duh. Duh. 

Tax Day.

The day we break open our piggy banks and share with Uncle Sam. 

Fortunately for you, and for me, there are a lot of sites available that can help you navigate the new tax laws and help you with filling out the appropriate forms. I've located a few that might help. 

If you know of a tax tip that I haven't uncovered, please post it in the comments section.

I hope you found these useful. And, as I stated before, if you know of a tax tip that isn't covered here, please leave it in the comment section. I'd love to know more.