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THE HAPPINESS BLOG

Talk of happiness is everywhere now. Everyone wants it and, yet it’s very elusive. For me the question was why. Happiness is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, it says we all have the right to pursue it, so we do.

I found a way to be happy most of the time. And it wasn’t as hard as I thought. Everyone has an opinion about how find happiness. I’ve found a way that works for me because it was simple, easy and I enjoyed doing it.

 

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One day while having lunch with a very dear friend, she told me every evening she wrote down at least three things that happened to her that she was grateful for. I couldn’t get that idea out of my head. It seemed simple, and a good way to register thanks.

When I settled down for the evening I used to contemplate my day, but I often focused on the negative instead of the positive stuff.

The driver who cut me off in traffic.

The long line at the checkout counter.

The rain that almost ruined my new shoes.

That extra cookie I shouldn’t have eaten and was certain to show up on the scale the next morning.

Everyday something pleasant had happened to me, but I tended to want to focus on the things that were unpleasant. Those events were zapping my joy and my energy.

 

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But I flipped it. Now every night before going to bed I jot down those events that I’m grateful for, that happened to me during the day. In the beginning it was difficult coming up with three things, but then I started paying more attention to small gestures that I tended to overlook.

I even began to smile as I registered them, thinking to myself that’s something I can write about.

Like the dog sleeping an extra hour in the morning instead of waking me up at the crack of dawn.

Or walking during my lunch hour.

Talking to my mother who lives in another state.

All these things brought me joy and if any one of them happened to me in the course of the day I had a better outlook. But, until I started writing them down I tended to ignore these simple joys.

 

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Some people will think this is too insignificant to be of any value. But I had to stop looking for happiness in big demonstrative ways. Even on my worse days, when I wanted to hit the wall, there was something leading me in the opposite direction. Something that I can say I’m grateful for. It could be a call from a friend, seeing a hummingbird at the feeder, or getting in bed early enough to read a few chapters of a good book.

You see, for me it’s all about perspective and I’ve decided to look at my life through a much simpler pair of glasses.

How do you view your life? Could you use a new way of evaluating happiness?

 

SIT STILL AND LISTEN

When I was young my sisters and I spent summers with my grandmother in Virginia. Whenever there was a thunderstorm she would make us sit quietly. It felt like torture to be still, without the sound of television filling the room or running around in the constant motion, which was our norm. I can remember her humming softly while rain pelted the road and lighting lit the sky.

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I didn’t know it then, but she was teaching me an important lesson. Not about thunderstorms-though she was probably right about that, too. But she taught me that sometimes you have to sit in silence to hear what’s right for you, to listen to God whispering in your ear.

 

In my adult life I seldom sit still and allow my mind to soar. There is always something to do, something to that can’t wait, something needling me for attention.

 

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I’d love to have more quiet time like that again. So no matter how loud the outside world becomes I can find my quiet space. If I just wait for those quiet moments to appear, for the pressures of the world fall away and give me what I want, it will never happen. Just like I make time to exercise. Just like I make time to cook. Just like I find time to write. I need to make way for quiet time, to listen, to find my inner peace.

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Have you sat long enough to hear the whisper to hear your soul?

 

GOOD BYE 2014

hELLO 2015

I’m posting my last blog of the year without the fanfare fancy pictures. As 2014 draws to an end I am humbled. I can’t stop time and no matter how hard I try I don’t seem to have enough of it. But I’m not complaining. I’ll play the hand I’m dealt. This year was full of unexpected surprises. Some of them were good, others I’ll understand, by and by.

One of the hardest things for me to do is to exercise patience. In 2015 I’ll try harder to wait longer, listen with earnest and be still long enough to hear the spirit whisper in my ear, to provide the understand and guidance I need to live a more fulfilling life. I need to learn and truly understand that what God has for me is for me. Time can’t take it away. No person can take it away. Nothing can take it away. Just knowing that  is enough for me.

How about you, what will you do different?

WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT

What’s important in life? Getting to work on time? Watching the big game? That new pair of shoes? Lots of money in the bank? Rushing to complete the ‘to-do’ list?

I spend so much of my day focused on some of these activities, at the end of the day, I flop into the nearest chair, exhausted from the exertion. As beautiful summer days fade into the sunset, cold winter months fade into memories and glorious joyous moments slip through my fingers, I wonder if my attention is on the right thing. If where I spend so much time will bring more joy than my heart can hold.

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Sometimes I seem so obsessed with getting stuff done, I forget the reason behind it all. My dogged determination to walk 10,000 steps per day is supposed to ensure I live a long and happy life. But if I don’t enjoy all the beautiful things I see while taking these steps then I’ve wasted a moment. My drive to save money for the future is to ensure I have enough to enjoy that long and happy life I hope to have. Completing the long list of ‘to-do’s’ is meant to allow me time to enjoy that long and happy life. But if I spend all my available time in the doing, I’ve wasted the opportunity to enjoy the moment. The journey. The now.

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Today as I hurried into the office building, I wondered if I had my priorities in order. Am I existing or living? There is a difference. For certain, between all the coming and going, ups and downs, ins and outs, I better know the reason for the activity and treasure, cherish, enjoy, love  and nurture every single moment. Because this is my life.

ADDRESS THE QUESTIONS, ERASE THE DOUBT

 

People often talk about courage as if it were something that everyone has and can draw on when needed. As if the courage used in one situation can be transferred to another situation with equal success.

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When I decided to pursue my writing, I’ll admit I had some doubts. What if I’m not good?  What if nobody offers me a contract? What if nobody buys the books? Even though I was covered in skepticism, I decided to stare down the uncertainty and give it a try.

I realize doubt does not mean fear. Sometimes it only means there are more unanswered questions or unresolved issues to sort out.

Currently I have published seven books and my stomach still churns with apprehension. As I examine the next step in my long-term plan the questions that swarm in my head make my path a little less certain. I wish I could summon the same strength I’ve used before to embark on major tasks, but it’s not working as well as I’d like.

 

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Who knew courage came in so many shapes, sizes and forms? Now that I know this, I’ll sort through the questions and push forward until I feel comfortable. But more than anything, I’ll stop being upset with myself for being indecisive. It doesn’t mean I’m not brave, it only means I haven’t addressed all of my questions yet.

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How about you? Are you courageous enough to take the first step?

SEQUELS AND SERIES

Television and movie moguls have known for some time the value of familiar characters and story lines. From year to year the entertainment industry satisfies the mouth-watering palates of millions by giving them something familiar. The idea of sequels and series is so popular there have been more than twenty James Bond movies and thirteen Star Trek films, just to name a few. Even though I wasn’t crazy about the second Sex in the City movie, I would love to see a third one made.

 

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Right now I am in the midst of writing two romantic series. The first one – The Sweet Road series – contains three full length novels. Two books are available for sale now,  the third one will be available early in 2014. The second series – Dating Just Got Serious – will contain at least five novellas, two of which have already been released the third novella will be available in January 2014. 

 

 

When I began the romantic series ‘Dating Just Got Serious’ I only envisioned one maybe two stories about the single lives of twenty-something individuals, and the obstacles they navigate to find happiness. But, the more I write, the more I like, and identify with these characters. Each story grows richer and more dimensional, just like the casts in my favorite movies, and television shows.

 

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The first year of a television program or the first movie sequel takes a little time to resonate and garner an audience. As I’ve eased into the second and third books I’ve begun to think like the individual on my pages. Responses I receive from readers validate my beliefs. I’ve gotten e-mails from readers asking when the next book in the series is going to available.  Or they’ve asked what happened to a certain character after the story ended. This tells me how much they enjoy the long-term relationship they’re developing with my books.

 How about you, do you have favorite series or characters?

 

 

OH HAPPY DAY

This might seem like a small accomplishment for others, but for me –  I’m celebrating. Thanks to everyone who got  ‘A Single Date’ this far.

 

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DATING JUST GOT SERIOUS

It’s been a long time since I went on a date. My husband and I have what we call date night most Thursdays, but it’s nothing like today’s dating scene.

 

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I won’t bore you with what dating was like back when we first met, but I will say he made me feel pretty special. I’ve heard so many tales about what happens on today’s dating scene, it’s so different it’s hardly recognizable. When did men stop picking women up at the door and actually committing to taking us out? Now days there are more ‘how about we meet at’ instead of ‘I’ll pick you up at’. Did the feminist movement mean we didn’t want men to pull out their wallets and pick up the check?

 

 

 

Group dates are all the rage now, too. I’m sure there is an advantage to several men and women going out together. Safety in numbers and all that stuff, but at the end of the night who do you take home?

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There are advantages to the new dating trend, too. Freedom. If there’s no commitment, there are no restrictions. That means on today’s dating scene everyone gets a test drive, to kick the tires and check out the merchandise before making any decisions and hopefully, before any hearts get broken.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

This year is more than half over and it’s been a busy one. Now, looking back on it, I should have started at a faster pace because I think I’m going to run out of days before I get everything completed on my list.

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In May I was in Milwaukee at the Romance Slam Jam Conference. I met a bunch of romance readers and it’s always fun listening to what the readers like and don’t like. Author, Renee Wynn and I presented a workshop entitled ‘Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover. We wanted to know what makes a reader pick up a book.

In July I traveled to Atlanta for the Romance Writer of America’s National Conference.  I learned so much stuff while I was there my head is still trying to absorb all the information.

Later this year I have two smaller book events on my calendar. The first one is the Baltimore Book Festival in Baltimore, Maryland and the second one is Black Authors & Readers Rock in Bowie, Maryland. I expect they’ll both be very enjoyable.

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I’ve been deep in the writing cave, working on some new material. Between now and December I’m planning to reveal some of my hard work. I want to bring you some fun stories. First out of the computer will be a dating series – Blind Date – Revised, A Single Date and Date Me. Girlfriends trying to navigate today’s dating scene and avoid all the hazards. For Phoebe, Yolanda and Cat , dating just got serious. Pretty soon I’ll be doing the book reveal so stay tuned.