Monthly Archives: August 2016

Carpe Diem

This week I had intended to write a post about the upcoming HS football game in our area. You see, my alma mater, Peach County High, will be playing against my kid’s school, Houston County High, in one of the local match ups. I intended it to be a somewhat humorous look at the conflict parents face when their kids attend different schools and force a change of school allegiance.

But I cannot write that post. For today, my heart is heavy. Over the weekend, four young men from Peach County were in a terrible traffic accident. As I understand it, they were on the football team. One was killed. One is in very bad shape. The other two should make a full recovery. I don’t know these young men. I wouldn’t have recognized them if I passed them on the street. We never met.

In our area, high school football is not just an entertaining pass time. It’s very much a religion. Even people who aren’t ‘sports people’ keep up with the latest news from the high school grid iron. At most games in the area, you won’t find an empty seat in the house. I’ve been to more than one game where I had to stand the entire time because there simply were no seats to be had. And I loved every minute of it.

Friday’s game between HoCo and PCHS will be that kind of a game. The stands will be packed. The crowd will be enormous.

In a very real sense, those boys on the field are all our kids. We cheer for them. We encourage them. We celebrate their victories and we suffer with their defeats. We all hold our breath when someone is hurt on the field. And we breathe a sigh of relief when the injuries are minor. Friday night I suspect more than one tear will be shed for a young man’s life that was lost too soon. And the tears will come from both sides of the stands.

I mourn for the loss of this young man’s life. I mourn for the hopes and dreams that will never be realized. I pray that the family will find some comfort in the weeks and months to come.

Life is precious. It’s a gift. Each day we have on earth is an opportunity to spread hope and happiness. If we can learn anything from this tragedy, it’s this, we never know what the future will hold or whether we’ll live to see another day. Live each day to the fullest.

Hug your kids. Hug your parents. Love those around you. Today may be your last chance.

Goodbye St. Christopher

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Almost every day for the past 20+ years, I’ve worn a simple gold pendant around my neck. I could probably count the number of times I’ve gone without it. It was a petite, oval (though not elongated) St Christopher that I bought from a small independent jeweler who had studied at the Goldschmidtehaus in Hanau Germany. I don’t remember how much I paid for it at the time, maybe $100 or so but I bought it shortly after my daughter was born and I had them engrave it with the words Carpe Diem on the back. I bit unconventional I know but I always wanted to be reminded of God’s presence and that each day was an opportunity. It wasn’t like the pendants you can buy here in the states. Honestly, I’ve never seen another one like it. It didn’t have the saint’s name emblazoned on the front. Only the image of Christoper holding the baby Christ. Like I said, it was simple.

Those who know me, know I’m not a big jewelry person. The necklace is the only thing I wear on a daily basis. I’d much rather have a few pieces that mean a tremendous amount to me personally than a collection of pieces for the sake of having them. This one little pendant to me was priceless even though it probably wasn’t worth much to anyone else. I had always promised to give it to my daughter when my time comes to pass. I had hoped that one day she could pass it on to her daughter.

This morning the chain broke and the pendant is gone. I’ve lost it forever. The chain can be replaced. The pendant, that’s another story. I’ve searched through Ebay and several online stores, but all of those pendants seem to be cookie cutter images of each other. Quite simply, they aren’t my St Christopher. They’re not even close.

I’m not usually one to get attached to material things. I don’t have to have the latest gadget that comes out or buy the fanciest car but this little pendant had seen me through my entire adult life. It was with me when my son was born and when we traveled to Alaska. It saw me through various career changes and through trails and tribulations I hope to never encounter again. It was a constant soothing reminder that I could keep close to my heart through good days and bad.

And now it’s gone.

Realistically, I know there are many worse things to go through in life. The loss of a simple pendant won’t alter the course I’m on nor will it detract from my successes. It can ultimately be replaced by another pendant that is similar though not quite the same.

I know all these things in my mind yet my heart is saddened at the loss of something so dear. And today, my shoulders feel far heavier without the simple little St Christopher around to shield them.

Any Given Day

If you’ve been watching any of the Olympic coverage, you know that a lot of unexpected things have happened over the past few days. The Williams sisters, unbeaten in the last three Olympic appearances are out in doubles play and both have been eliminated from the singles tournament. Novak Djokovic, the world’s number one ranked men’s tennis player, lost in the first round of competition. And yesterday, the US Women’s Soccer Team played a mediocre match to scrape by with a tie against Colombia.

If I liked to gamble, I would have lost a lot of money on these matches.

You see, these feats weren’t supposed to happen the way they did. These were upsets, major ones at that. The winners should have been easy picks and the losers were supposed to be thankful for the experience of playing greatness.

Welcome to Life 101. At any given time in any given day any given person can rise up above where society tells them to be and achieve greatness. It’s that way on the playing fields. It’s that way in life.

This is one of the main reasons I love sports. Anything can happen. It’s the perfect analogy for life.

You see, I truly believe that each one of us, every day has the opportunity to achieve great things. Perhaps not standing on an Olympic podium or winning the Nobel Prize, but we can achieve greatness. We can chase our dreams, even if those dreams seem unattainable, and we can reach for the stars.

We might not win today. We might not win tomorrow. Yet each day we come closer to attaining the life we desire. Each step, whether it’s met with success or failure, is a step toward ultimate success. Each trial and struggle is a lesson learned that will one day propel us toward our own personal greatness. We just have to keep moving, keep trying, and keep working toward our own unique end goal.

Olympic champions aren’t born. (Although some athletes are clearly more gifted than others.) Champions are made each day in the weight room and on the training field. They practice. They hone their skills. They study their mistakes and learn from their opponents.

And most importantly, they always, ALWAYS get back up when they fail. A gymnast who falls off the balance beam doesn’t wallow in self pity. She picks herself back up again until she gets the routing correct. Michael Phelps didn’t become the most decorated Olympian because of his long arms. He spent months and years in the pool practicing to become better.

These are the lessons we can learn from Olympians. Practice, persistence, and perseverance pays off in the long run. We may not see it today. We may not see it in ourselves tomorrow. But if we keep going, keep moving, keep trying our efforts will pay off and we will become the best examples of who we can be.

On any given day, anything can happen. I hope you make today the most amazing day ever!!

God Bless!

The Olympics and Writing

The Rio Olympics started today. Actually the Opening Ceremony is this coming Friday but they began playing Women’s Soccer today. Team USA is going for their 4th gold medal. Things are kind of epic.

And I need to be writing.

I know I need to write. I have deadlines that I’ve given myself for projects I’m working on. I need to finish these things. I don’t want to fall behind in my schedule.

But the Olympics are on.

As a writer, I face distractions on daily basis. Some I’m better at deflecting than others. I tend to write a good bit with paper and pen to keep from getting too distracted by the lures of Facebook or the internet. Most of the time I am successful. I completely avoid writing on Saturdays during college football season (except during NaNoWriMo!). I know my weaknesses.

Sports are my weakness.

I know this. My ex-husband knew this. My kids know this. Sports draw my in like a moth to the flame. If we go to a restaurant where sports are playing on the TVs, I’m in real trouble. Usually it’s only football, tennis, soccer, and maybe baseball. I don’t really care for basketball, golf, or racing.

And then there’s the Olympics!!

It’s like a smorgasbord of sporting excellence! The buffet of the finest athletes in the world coming together to compete for their countries. National pride is defended on the field of play.

Right now I’m watching a rerun of the 2012 semifinal match between Canada and USA. I’m watching a RERUN of a 4 year old match instead of writing. Why? It’s the Olympics and its Team USA.

The Olympics last for about 2 weeks. And for the next 2 weeks, I’m in serious trouble. It will take every ounce of discipline to stick with my goals and deadlines. Or else there’ll be a good number of sports analogies in my upcoming pieces. Wish me luck!

Oh, and by the way, if you happen to be in the central Georgia area and you hear loud cheering for the USA, don’t worry. (Unless we lose.)

1289926514-Mark TwainI was talking to a gentleman a few weeks ago about my books. (I always talk to anyone who’ll listen about my books!) As inevitably happens during this type of conversation, he began to tell me about his friend who also writes. “But he just self published his book.” He tells me dismissively.

This man didn’t know I’m an independent author.

For many people, it seems that there is a stigma associated with self publishing. Writers who have spent years cultivating a career in the traditional publishing arena cast a wary eye in our direction.  We haven’t slogged it out the way that they have. Readers, as well, often are hesitant of our books. There appears to be this belief that if our books were any good, they would have been picked up by a traditional publisher.

It’s interesting that many people today don’t realize that some of the classics of literature, the pillar stones of required reading were once independently published because the major (traditional) publishers of the day wouldn’t accept their work.

Could you imagine your childhood without The Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter? Perhaps James Joyce should have never published Ulysses. Surely the works of Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Carl Sandburg, and Henry David Thoreau would have been better left on the shelf. And what about the social and political insights of such greats as Benjamin Franklin and W.E.B. DuBois? We certainly don’t need those anymore.

Everyone of these greats published independently despite what the experts said. They believed in their stories. They believed in their ability to write. And more importantly, they believed in their readers. They knew their readers would appreciate their words. All that was needed was an introduction.

The simple truth of the publishing industry is that it is a business. It is designed to make a profit off of every single product it produces. And books are products. If the powers that be decide a book doesn’t meet the required profit potential, it simply isn’t picked up for publication. It’s as much a business decision as it is a creative decision.

And that’s why so many people are now turning to independent publishing. Are all of these books destined to become future classics? No. Many will have limited appeal and may never achieve success.

But for those readers who are adventurous, independent writing can open up an entire new world of writing gems. Independent writers are not bound by industry word counts or genre limitations. We can cross the lines and create wonderful works that traditional publishers don’t know how to market because these works don’t fit into the preconceived ideas of success. And we can write for readers who may feel left out of the modern publishing arena.

You may not find our works on the shelves of your local bookstores. You generally have to order our books or get them in ebook format. Your library may not carry our books although we greatly appreciate you requesting our works from these sources. Most importantly, you may not find the next Twain, Kipling, or Thoreau but you can have a lot of fun while you try.

Happy Reading!