IF I HAD KNOWN

If I had known the year 2020 was going to keep me stuck inside, away from the people I love and going to the store to see empty shelves and being absent from all the things in my life, I would have lived 2019 with a passion that would have set my soul on fire.

In January, I would have left the Christmas tree up a little longer to celebrate the holiday that may be forever different.

In February, I would have reached out to everyone I loved and let them know they had a place in my heart, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.

In March. I would have welcomed Spring by throwing open the doors and inviting my friends and family in to celebrate with a gathering full of fun.

In April, I would have smiled more at the beautiful flowers that brighten the world. I would have picked more blooms, bought more buds, and filled my house with the colors that illuminate the world.

 

This is a photo of cosmos flowers.

In May I would have accepted every invitation to every family event, taken more pictures, and reminisced about old times because I miss them so much now.

In July, I would have celebrated the sunshine, the rain, the warm summer breezes, and the ability to stick my foot in the ocean without wearing a mask and standing six feet away from everyone.

 

Silhouette of couple walking on beach at sunset holding hands. Horizontally framed shot.

In August, I would have enjoyed going shopping at stores with fully stocked shelves and no limits on what I could purchase.

In September, I would have stood outside and waved at the school buses as the students returned to school.

In October, I would have bought more candy and handed it out to the trick or treaters like candy was the medicine that made the world happy.

 

Halloween pumpkin lantern. Trick or treat.

In November, I would have prepared for Thanksgiving with more thankfulness in my heart for every blessing and gift that made my life full and joy filled.

In December, I would have held my family a little tighter and a little longer, and I would have told them and showed them how much I love them.

 

An attractive happy African American, smiling family of mother, father, two daughters eating salad and healthy food at a dining table.

I don’t know what 2021 holds, but after 2020, I will forever look at life differently and know that every day is special and worth a celebration. How has 2020 changed you?

Living During the Coronavirus

During this tough Coronavirus, I’ve had to stop my usual routine—like everyone else in the world—to give some thought about the other things that are important to me. As soon as all the bad news started coming out, I called my family to provide them with my uneducated advice. I encouraged them to stock up on food, water, and gasoline. I hadn’t thought we wouldn’t need gas because we’d be stuck in our homes for several weeks. But at least I was doing everything I could to prepare my family for what looked like an extended rainy day on the horizon. And no matter how much food I buy, I can’t help thinking, it’s not enough. I mean, how am I supposed to know what we’re going to want to eat three weeks from now. I can hardly manage what I want to eat for dinner today.

To maintain my sanity as we enter another week of self-imposed quarantine, I’m wondering what I’m going to do to keep my extroverted self-entertained. I’m writing. I’m painting. I’ve called all my friends to see how they’re making out during this time. I’m even thinking about unraveling a scarf I started to crochet and redoing it over again. I mean, it’s April, I could have it finished by the time winter rolls around back around. But after five weeks, all that stuff has bored me into thinking I want something else to do, somewhere to go.

I know I’m not the only one staring at the walls wondering when this will be over. And in many ways, I’m luckier than most. As bad as I think this current crisis is, many people need our kindness, our help, our consideration. So, I’ll reach out, and do what I can. I’ll do my best to stay optimistic. I hope you will too. And if you have any activities to help occupy the time, please share.

The Year Of Happy

Hello, 2020. I decided to dedicate this year to affirm myself. I’ve sent so much time and energy pointing out all the things I don’t like about myself, or my shortcomings, or my failures, that I’ve decided this year will be different.

 

This year I’m going to be kinder to myself. I’m going to give myself room to make mistakes, to eat too much, to exercise less, to sleep longer or wake up earlier. I’m going to give myself permission to play, and dance and sing out loud and off-key. I’m going to smile at bad hair days, and outfits that don’t fit as good as I’d like and hairs that grow out of my chin (before I pluck them). I’m going to celebrate the good that happens every day no matter how small.

 

I’m going to find quotes and affirmations and opportunities that make me happy. I’m going to laugh when it rains and smile when it snows. Life is good and beautiful and short and a blessing. I can’t waste another day being unhappy at insignificant incidents. That’s just another part of living. How will you be good to yourself this year?

What’s Driving Me Crazy

To celebrate the release of my latest book – In Pursuit of Perfection, I’ve been blogging all month. Now it’s my turn, on my site.

I know this might seem like a nutty topic, but I willing to bet we all have a list of things that drive us crazy. I can even put them into categories because depending on the day it’s a different list. Today, I’m going to talk about the things that drive me crazy about aging.
First, getting older sneaked up on me when I least expected it. One day I was in my twenties and life was good and laid out in front of me like the yellow brick road. The next day I looked in the mirror and saw lines where smooth skin used to be. As soon as I adjusted to the laugh lines that didn’t make me laugh, my bladder started waking up in the middle of the night. When did my bladder get smaller and why didn’t someone tell me that was something that could even happen?

Then one day I was sitting in a darkened restaurant and I couldn’t read the menu. I tilted my head, moved the menu around under the dim light, but nothing worked. Now I need reading glasses. And before long, it wasn’t just for dark restaurants. I need them for everything. Now I have them all over the house, in the kitchen, on the nightstand, beside the television, on my desk. And I don’t dare leave home without them in my purse.

Reading eyeglasses and eye chart

Oh, of course, there are more things I can complain about, but I don’t want to spoil all the fun you might have in finding them out on your own. You see, no one warned me about this stuff, so at least I’ve given you a heads-up.

If you haven’t gotten your copy of In Pursuit of Perfection, the links are below.

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/y67kreb4
Barnes & Noble: https://preview.tinyurl.com/yxfapqsh
iBook: https://tinyurl.com/y2wqjcjr
Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/yym6xbe3

Below is the link to win an Amazon Gift Card. 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3118/

 

YEAR-END RECOLLECTION

At the end of every year, I get anxious and reflective. I look back over the last twelve months and judge how well I’ve accomplished the things that were important to me, how well I’ve treated the people in my life and how well I’ve taken care of myself. No matter how broad my shoulders or how big the “S” is that I think I wear on my chest, that’s a lot of stuff.

 

 

 

Some years, I’m happier with my analysis than others. When I look back at 2018, I’m content with how I handled myself this year. Of course, I could have done some things better and a few items died. I couldn’t resurrect them with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. But 2018 had its successes too. I celebrated another wedding anniversary, which was a joy. I signed a publishing contract for a book it took me over a year to write and I self-published two romantic suspense’s novels which were a new venture for me.

 

As I prepare for 2019, I’m anxious — wondering if I’m doing enough to make myself a better person, to accomplish more. I want to take another step. What can I do better? How can I continue to grow? This year has taught me, that I underestimate how much I can accomplish in 24 hours. In my busy schedule of checking off my to-do list, life gets hectic and can take on a momentum I hadn’t planned. I need to allow time for when things may go amiss and, I need to allow time to cherish what I have and all that I’ve received.

But I’ve learned not to stress out too much about the things I don’t get to check off as having completed. It’s part of the journey. I’ve also learned that the time I spend with family and friends brings me the most joy. When I’m with people who love me, there is no judgment, no reviews to worry about and no cues I have to hit. I need to put more visits like that on my list.
As we close out another year, I wish you and yours peace and happiness.

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The Days Before

 

In a few days, my fourteen single titled book is dropping. It’s entitled Fear of Dating. You’d think after that many books the whole writing and publishing process would be easy for me. That I’d have a formula, a process, or a list of all the items required to ensure I’ve done absolutely everything I can to make this book PERFECT, that I’d walk through this process like the expert, I pretend to be. But, that is so far from reality.

 

 

The moment I push the button to put the book up for pre-order, I begin to get nervous. As if this were my first time writing and publishing a book. I wonder if the writing is good enough, if there is anything else I can do to make it better, if I’ve done enough to promote the book, if readers will receive the book with enthusiasm. My list of doubts goes go on and on. As the release date grows closer, the anxiety increases.

 

I don’t know if this is normal for all authors, but this is my experience. I want to think many writers/authors have questions about the things they’ve written just before they let it loose on the world. Every day I spend time checking and double-checking all the things that I need to do. Making sure I’ve included all the acknowledgments, the proper links, that I’ve placed it on all the available sites and a hundred other small things. I feel like I have a blinking-neon light over my desk warning me of something else I need to do.

Part of the publishing process for me is trusting that I’ve done the best that I can this time. My hands are sweating, my head is swirling, and on October 18th I will wake up nervous that my email is full of messages stating something has gone wrong—like there are no words in the book, just a bunch of blank pages. I’ll run to the computer and double check everything. Then I’ll turn my attention to reviews. It’s a process with no end. But one day, I’ll have to stop thinking about Fear Of Dating and move on to the next book that is awaiting my attention.

 

I could be doing something that is easier, like knitting sweaters for my dog, who doesn’t complain about anything that I do, but it wouldn’t bring me the kind of joy that writing does.

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Standing on the Corner of Zen and Zany

We’ve all been here at some point in our lives when we want a laid-back, peaceful weekend or vacation, but the fast pace of everyday life creeps over the boundaries. Or maybe we want a night of wild and crazy fun, something so different from our routine that we don’t recognize ourselves.

 


The most disappointing thing for me is when I don’t get what I’m expecting when I want it. And, like most things in life, we don’t have the control we imagine.

I realize I need equal amounts of both in my life. I wish I could push a magic button or speak into a drive-through window and order up what I want when I want it.

No matter how much-advanced planning, I do there is no guarantee I’m going to get the zany when I want to cut loose or the Zen when I’m more in need of a mellow mood. On a recent family trip that was supposed to be all about sight-seeing, and partying and shopping, the weather decided not to cooperate and turned what was a trip a year in the making into a rather laid-back vacation. Rain forced us inside—who can party on the beach in a torrential downpour? We ended up adjusting on the fly and still managed to have a reasonably good time.

 

The other weekend I’d plan to spend both days on the sofa, reading a good book, catching up on my saved list of television shows and munching on some good snacks. I decided, working out may not happen if I didn’t feel inclined to expend any energy. Instead, I got a call that several friends were in the neighborhood and getting together for some memory rehashing, shopping and outright rowdiness was called for. I dashed my plans, opted for the new itinerary and was off to something altogether different and just as satisfying.

 

The moral to my story is, expect the unexpected. Too much planning only allows for more disappointment. Life is a grand adventure, learn to wing it.

LETTING GO OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS

As a writer, I sit down every day and write about relationships. The coming together of two people, or the angst they go through when they’re breaking up. And I’m not just talking about the relationship between men and women. I’ve written about mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, best friends and sometimes natural enemies. And no relationship is stagnant. I’ve been married longer than I’ve been single and our relationship has morphed several times over the years. Any good relationship changes with time. Trouble weasels into a relationship if you can’t find a way to grow and change together.

The hardest thing in the world to nurture is the relationships we have with the people in our lives, but they are also the most fulfilling. I’ve had to let go of some associations in the last couple of years. Each one for different reasons and each one was an agonizing choice. I had to make a decision based solely on emotions. Mine. The friendship that didn’t feel too friendly and the sisterhood that faded over time caused me more unhappiness than I was willing to tolerate. But I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t come out of them unscathed. There is still a part of me that wants to rekindle those connections. But sometimes its best leave broken ties behind.

What I had to accept was relationships come and go. Friendships come, and friendships go. If I’m lucky some of the people will be with me for a lifetime, others are passing through on their way to where they need to be. I have to trust that everything happens for a reason and enjoy the people, who are right in front of me now. I have to embrace them, love them and if the time comes when I have to let them go, I have to accept that and let go.

IT’S A NEW YEAR – 2018!

It’s a New Year, and I want to think that the person I was in 2017 is not the same person I will be in 2018. I want to be more of something and less of something else. I’m not sure exactly how that’s supposed to happen. Just because the shorthand on the clock moved passed the number twelve, I’m supposed to change all the bad habits into new, more worthy ones.

 

I haven’t found a way to reset my thoughts that easily. I woke up on January 1st, feeling the same way I did the day before, the week before, the month before. But like the masses, I’m going to be different, better, new and improved.

 

What I do subscribe to is the belief that every day of the year I get an opportunity to improve.  And that’s what I will do in 2018. I will try to be more thoughtful. I’ll try to be more positive. I’ll try to be more present.

I’ll write down those resolutions and some others. But if one month in I walk away from them, that doesn’t make me a dreadful person, a person without purpose or a person without willpower or drive. It makes me human in every sense of the word. What I must remember is that every day I get the opportunity to become a better version of myself. I don’t have to wait for the end of the year or the beginning of a new one.

 

Total Eclipse of The Sun

Today, August 21, 2017 there was a total eclipse of the sun. I hope you were lucky enough to experience this amazing event. If not, you’ll get another chance in seven (7) years. I’ll mark my calendar and be much better prepared the next time.  Join me and prepare early.