As the world grows angrier and angrier, and people fight over the smallest of things, this is a reminder that we all need. We don't know what anyone is going through, and it doesn't take an effort to simply be kind.
Ever had that moment in life when you knew something was about to change, something that would literally change your life forever? I'm staring down that road right now. In six weeks, maybe less, I'll know if life as I know it will be irrevocably altered. And I'm hoping, praying, that this change will occur.
I had to make the decision to attempt this change, and along with it, I had to confront the possibility that it might not work out. That's not the part I have control over. Taking the first step forward was. And it's been painful, but a lot of changes can be. Yet, they turn out to be the best things that have ever happened to us.
It's easy to fear change. I do sometimes, but when this opportunity came up, I knew almost immediately that I was going to take a chance. If it doesn't work out, I've lost nothing by trying. And even though the disappointment will be strong, I will at least know that I've tried to change my life for the better.
I am so looking forward to the possibilities this change could afford me. I wanted to write this post today to encourage you to embrace change even if it looks like it will be painful or too difficult. It might not work out, but you will have tried, and that is so much better than wondering if!
Every year, I look back on the goals I accomplished, the joys I've had in life, and the trials. It's empowering to see the successes as well as the obstacles I've overcome, and seeing the joys reminds me that this life is precious! So here we go!
Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I'm sure I've said that here countless times, but it never gets old. I'm one of "those" people that whip out the decorations long before Thanksgiving, and I start Christmas shopping in October. The one thing I do wait for is the music. For some reason, it has to be closer to the actual day before I start listening to it. With Christmas now a little over two weeks away, I'm in the mood! My playlist is ready, although this is just a sample!
I have so many others on my playlist; however, the ones you won't find there are the ones that are more tailored for children like Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Here Comes Santa Claus, etc. I don't focus so much on the Santa aspect of Christmas as I do what it means )except for Baby, It's Cold Outside.) I do admit I listen to that song during the winter months as well. I blame that on the musical comedy Neptune's Daughter with Ricardo Montalban. (Watch that movie if you haven't seen it already!)
So what's on your playlist?
It's that time of the year. Thanksgiving. The day when we're called upon to share what we're thankful for this year. The question gets asked on social media throughout the month, and usually, we can all offer three or more things that we're particularly grateful for. We say we're thankful for the sunshine, but we assume it's going to be there. We're thankful for our jobs, figuring we'll have them until we decide to retire. Usually, we offer our thanks for our family and friends, for love, for our pets, and so much more, but you rarely see one of us post that we're grateful for the money troubles, the flat tires, the days that go from bad to worse.
I think we already know the answer to this question. Isn't it difficult to be thankful for the hardships? Even if we've overcome obstacles, we don't appreciate the obstacles themselves. And if we're still in the middle of a battle, we're certainly not thankful for that. But we should be. Because overcoming obstacles makes us stronger and better people.
Annabella Hagen, a licensed mental health therapist, in an article for Psych Central wrote: Studies regarding oxytocin tell us that this hormone helps us crave for physical contact with our family and friends. It enhances our empathy and helps us support those we care about. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, says that oxytocin also is released when we experience difficulties and stress. She reminds us that oxytocin prompts us to connect with others.
All of us struggle at some point in our lives, but would we really want easy lives where everything went according to plan? Where would the challenge be in that? And if we're not challenged, wouldn't life become boring? Stale? Ken Wert, who runs the website Meant to Be Happy, wrote a wonderful article about being grateful for life's challenges, and in it he said that challenges inspire compassion. Makes sense. If we go through trouble, we'll be better able to understand and sympathize with those who go through something similar.
As a Trekkie, one of my favorite episodes of the original series is when an alien entity wants to provide everything for those on her planet, leaving them nothing to do. Captain Kirk's response, provided by the incredibly talented writer Gene Coon, is perfect.
As the obstacles shape us, give us something to overcome, and provide a sense of accomplishment when we do, why shouldn't we be thankful for them? It's certainly not easy to appreciate hardship, but once we see its necessity, it becomes a little more palatable.
I devour books like they're my favorite ice cream cones. And I don't just read the type of books I write. I explore when I read, whether it's an autobiography, a book of wit and wisdom, a middle grade novel, or science fiction. If a book looks good to me, I'll give it a shot. I think it's important to read, not just the new books that are being released, but the ones from years past that I've managed to overlook. That's where I usually find the gems.
This month, I'm reading a young adult fantasy series, a non-fiction book about a favorite television show, and a non-fiction book about marketing. And you read that correctly. I'm usually reading two or three books at one time, although, I have been known to get so wrapped up in one book that I have to finish it before I move on to the next. Usually, though, I will read on one book one night and another the next.
When I read I'm being entertained, and I'm learning, and science has proven that an active brain is a healthier brain. So what are you reading today?
I'm honored that an article of mine has been accepted by Rooted in Rights which is part of Disability Rights Washington, an organization dedicated to making positive changes in the disabled community.
Disability is something with which I'm more familiar than I want to be as I was disabled in a car accident many years ago. And though I don't talk often about it, it limits my ability to do many things I could do before the accident, things that I took for granted.
So this article that Rooted in Rights accepted is on a topic that is very close to my heart. I'll admit that I had no idea the difficulties the disabled community experienced until I came face to face with them myself. I'm glad that I'm able to share a little of what I've learned and, hopefully, to help educate able-bodied people.
My article won't be available until December, but I'll share a link here when it is. This is the writing I do that stays with me long after I type the final word on the page.
I won't lie. I get in the Christmas spirit early because it's my favorite holiday inside my favorite season. Give me winter and Christmas tunes, and I'm in heaven! While some people say it's too early to be talking about Christmas, I say it's never too early! I start shopping at the beginning of October, decorate my house on November 1st, and begin watching Christmas movies as soon as Hallmark starts showing them!
Today, I went shopping for new decorations as some of mine have gotten a bit old. These aren't the best pictures, but I've never claimed to be a photographer! I think my favorite is the Jingle ladies towel!
If you follow any of my social media accounts, you already know how much of Downton Abbey fan I am. I've seen all six seasons a lot more than once, and so when the details of the movie were released, I could not have been more excited.
The movie opened on September 20th, and I bought advance tickets for the same day. And for two, what seemed like incredibly short hours, I immersed myself in the 1920s again with the familiar characters I've grown to love. And I don't regret a moment of it. In fact, I'll probably see the movie again before it leaves the theaters.
I've written a full review of Downton Abbey that you can read, but I wanted to share with you all here that this is, by far, the best return Julian Fellowes (the creator of Downton Abbey) could have given us. If you're a fan of the show, you don't want to miss the chance to see this on the big screen.
Originally posted in Funds for Writers by C. Hope Clark
This happens at every appearance I make. Someone hears me speak or hold a conversation, then they buy my book, saying, "I don't normally read fiction, but after hearing you talk, I believe I'd like to try one of your books." We then talk about which one to start with, and a sale is made. Hopefully a fan is made as well.
I already know you don't want to appear in public. Most writers don't. Frankly, I'd rather be home in my cutoff sweats and t-shirt with no makeup typing away on a new chapter. I'd rather not put my dogs in a kennel to drive a state away or pack up boxes of books. . . pondering on whether to bring 30 or 130 copies.
But once I am there, I own it. I love someone coming up and saying, "I love your books." or "I've followed you for years." But it doesn't stop there. I ask if they write, or what they read, or where they are from, or what they do for a living. How often do they come to Edisto Beach (I do a lot of signings down there) or come to South Carolina.
Because asking about your readers makes them love you more. Why? Because it shows that you care more about the reader than simply making a sale. People love for others to care about them.
You should care about your readers. These people have offered up to you hours of their finite life, which is a phenomenal gift. A certain number of heartbeats and breaths they'll never get back, all because you were chosen to be a permanent part of their life. . . of their memories.
Y'all, that's what you ought to be thinking when someone picks up your book. So, when they say they've chosen your book, especially if it's a genre they don't normally read, then feel honored and thank them from the bottom of your heart in return.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!