Being Different

it’s okay to be you. it really is. no need to run with the herd and do what everybody else is doing.

if you don’t like that book that everyone else is reading, that’s cool.

if you don’t like broccoli, think starbucks is just overpriced coffee, and wouldn’t know a hair product if it bit you in the foot, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.

just saying…love yourself. be yourself. you’re cool just the way you are. 

happy tuesday. ❤

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All the good things that happen to us every day

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Happy almost New Year, everybody. Hard to believe that another year has passed already, but it has. I look forward to what the new year will bring. In the meantime, I am still struggling with my Christmas cold, which came upon me a couple of days before Christmas and has hung on pretty tightly since.

It’s been a fun fest of cough medicine, tissues and late night coughing. I mean seriously, how much snot can one head hold?

I don’t know about you but I can be a pretty big baby when I’m sick and even I wish I could leave the room when I’m like that. The incessant whining, the sad eyes, the stooped posture. Yikes. And ironically, since it’s one of those bad head colds I can barely talk, so all my complainng comes out in Minnie Mouse like squeaks and squeals. Not a pretty thing, my friends.

However, it’s gotten me thinking. In my quest to beat the cold into submission, to meet it headlong in battle with light saber raised and determination glinting in my somewhat crusty eye, I realized it’s a losing battle. Yes, I can take the meds, get rest, drink fluids, and eat chicken soup but the thing is, the cold will take its course no matter what I do. All my focus on dare I say obsession with it, doesn’t do much to change it.

And from there I thought, it’s kind of how life is. We get slapped around and we fight back and then we get slapped some more. We get up and rattle our light sabers but then somebody kicks us in the head. It’s messy. It’s bloody. There’s lots of drool involved. And our all consuming focus on the problem only makes things seem more futile.

So I wondered if maybe it was a smarter to just let it be. You know what I mean? Just say, “Well, okay, that sucks.” And then move on. In fact, when I have been able to do this, often the problem works itself out.

Okay, what’s my point? Yes, I should definitely get to the point. The point is that what we focus on is what we get. Right? If we focus on problems then problems we get. But what if we focused on the good things that happen to us every day? And I promise you, no matter how bad you may think things are for you, good things do happen to you every day. You may not notice them, but they happen.

So maybe the trick is to start noticing those things. All those tiny little, lovely things that happen to you every day, like:

  • The email you got from an old friend because you sent them a Christmas card
  • The unexpected gift from a friend that arrived just when you were feeling low
  • The wag of your dog’s tail or that special purr from your cat
  • The snow on the mountains that you can see out your bathroom window
  • The guy who let you into to traffic or the lady who let you cut in line at the grocery store
  • You sold a book
  • You got a review
  • People you don’t even know read your blog or make a nice comment
  • Somebody retweets you
  • Starbucks sent you a coupon for a free coffee
  • Sunrises
  • Sunsets
  • The freedom to get on the Internet and bitch and moan about anything and everything
  • A great new book to read

The list goes on and on. Every one is really, truly a tiny little miracle. To be celebrated and appreciated and paid forward.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’m going out to look for the good things. Tiny as they may be, I know they’re out there. And as long as I have tissues to daubs my runny nose and eyes, I think I’ll be able to see them.

How about you? Do you notice all the little good things that happen to you every day? How did it make you feel? Feel free to share.

Annie

Thank you in no particular order

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Today is a day when we all reflect on those things for which we’re thankful and count our blessings (stuffing ourselves senseless, notwithstanding). And reflecting on your blessings is never a bad thing. In fact, whole industries have been built around gratitude. And lots of people keep gratitude journals or meditate daily on the things for which they are grateful.

I was never able to do a gratitude journal – not because there weren’t things to be grateful for or that my life lacked blessings – there were. I think it was something about the wording I was using, “I am grateful for…” To me, it felt egocentric (or something). Anyway…the other day I started my day with a thank you list. It was simple, I just wrote thank you for (fill in the blank) and the list was a long one.

And I realized that saying thank you, instead of I am grateful changed things for me. Because I believe that there is a force greater than myself in the world – you can call it God, the spirit in the sky, the Universe, Mother Nature or whatever you like but it’s something outside myself. Something bigger, smarter, wiser, kinder and more loving than I am. Some source from which (I believe) all things good comes from.

So, today I say thank you in no particular order…

  • Thank you for coffee
  • Thank you for this beautiful, cold, crisp day
  • Thank you for Amazon and KDP and the new opportunities it has created for writers and readers
  • Thank you for writers like Hugh Howey, Anne R. Allen and Joe Konrath who have forged a path that other writers may follow
  • Thank you for my quick mind
  • Thank you for laughter
  • Thank you for puppies, kittens, babies and all things innocent and pure
  • Thank you for words, ideas, thoughts, characters that magically appear in my head
  • Thank you for books and eyes to read them
  • Thank you for computers, pens, paper, pencils, recorders, smart phones and tablets – all the tools through which we can communicate
  • Thank you for the creativity that I take for granted every single day
  • Thank you for the kindness of strangers
  • Thank you for colors, smells, tastes and sounds
  • Thank you for the pain that has driven me to learn where I went wrong
  • Thank you for the will to continue when conventional wisdom says otherwise
  • Thank you for everything I am and am not and the joy of discovering which is which
  • Thank you for the new day and another chance to do better

 

Enjoy your day and thank you for reading, you are a blessing.

Annie

Blessings

blessings and christmasThis time of year it is so easy to get wrapped up in the preparations – the food, the gifts, the parties…

And I don’t know about you but I often go through the ‘it doesn’t feel like Christmas’ syndrome.  For a variety of reasons – but usually because I don’t have enough money to buy gifts, or I have to work up until Christmas Eve, or, or, or…

But all of that stuff is just stuff.  Right?

And I honestly don’t think the stuff is what brings about the absence of that special ‘feeling’ we all want to have.  Because I think the absence has nothing to do with the material world – I think it’s our internal treasures we seek, not all the packages under the tree.

This year instead of worrying about the client checks that are still somewhere in the mail, or whether I’ve bought enough gifts, or even if the meal I have planned is going to turn out right, I think I’ll just try to think about my blessings.

I’ll think about how great it is that I have my own business and I’m writing a blog post at midnight because I don’t get up to an alarm clock.  I’ll spend time with family and friends who love me and I’ll think about those who I can’t be with this year but know I will on another year.  I’ll delight in the fact that people read my books.  I’ll stop and really admire the mountains that I see when I walk out my front door every day.  I’ll watch Christmas movies and be thankful that I have eyes to see them.  I’ll take my dog for a walk and feel blessed that I have legs to walk with.  In other words, all the things I have – my blessings.

Whether you are religious or not.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, or just Santa Claus, I hope you will be celebrating your blessings too.  And that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, that you feel the happiness that your blessings bring you.

See you all after Christmas.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

Thank You for Being a Friend…

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Okay kids, I am dog tired because I have moved, yet again, this weekend (there must be a comedy routine in this somewhere). The good news is that it looks like it will be a permanent address for a while (fingers crossed and praise Jesus) and my back will eventually go back into correct alignment.

So this is the part where I thank everyone who has been truly a blessing to me these past few whacky months. First of all, Zelda – for opening her home to me, her floor, her nine pets and her incredible ability to be there for her friends, no matter what. Despite our consistent disagreements about just about everything under the sun, I thank you for being a true blue friend for 20 years plus. You rawk, and since your short term memory sucks, just think how happy you’ll be every time you read this because each time it will be new.

To my old roomie and chum Leny, for hauling crap, finding chairs, endless lemons and a quiet place I can hide out in when I need it.

To my friend Kelly for her relentless spirit and the inspiration she has been to me in this last year. Your strength, humor and fortitude knocks me out. You are amazing – no matter what life does to your brain. Love you girl.

To my posse, Christine, Jess and Panther for being ever so patient and understanding of the delay of the resurrection of Theme Fridays, the countless emails, laughs, tears and comraderie. You gals are some very special ladies and I have nothing but admiration for you.

To Grit for his friendship, passing on his business acumen (from his usual unreliable sources) and boundless advice whenever I need it and sometimes when I don’t.

And to each and everyone of you for so many things – but especially for your understanding of my crazy fricking life – the good wishes, the comments and just bothering to click on the link and say hey. You mean more to me than you know.

And finally to Will, for bringing love back into my life – no matter how short lived. You never can have too much love in your life. It meant the world to me.

Love,
Annie

The Kindness of Strangers

“Whoever you are…for I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” I’m sure most of us know that is a line from the movie/play A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Wiliams and spoken by character, Blanche Dubois. It has always been one of my all time favorite lines of dialogue for so many reasons. Chief among them is that I believe we all depend on the kindness of strangers so many times in our lives we probably can’t keep track.

The person who stops when you are broken down on the side of the road and inexplicably spends the next two hours helping you get back on the road, for no reason whatsoever, the woman who lets you in line ahead of her because your baby is obviously upset and crying, the IRS agent or government worker who helps you straighten out a mess that would have taken months, the bartender who calls and pays for a cab to take you home when you are stranded in a bar by your angry boyfriend, and so on. I’m sure we all have a thousand or more such incidents that we can name both on the receiving and giving end.

It gives one pause when you stop to think of these small but ever so kind acts. Especially from people who do not know you, whose lives are not connected to yours in any way, who simply have no motivation other than kindness to help you. It touches the heart – at least it touches mine.

I was raised to believe that being kind to others was the way to be. Simply so. No question about it. No argument no pondering. It just made sense, really. And so in my life I do try to always be kind to people, I do not always succeed since I do have an Irish temper, after all. But I try. And the reason I try actually probably isn’t really because I was raised to do it, it is because it is so easy to be kind to another person. So easy to pat them on the back, offer them a hankie or five bucks for a sandwich and coffee. So easy to give someone else a reason to smile and feel just a little bit better about themselves and life in general. So easy that it hard to resist giving that little piece of your time and attention.

There is so much anger, and unkindness in the world. So many examples that you can’t swing a dead cat without finding 200 of them right within arm’s length, that it seems to me that if everyone just did one act of kindness per day, it could truly change things. I know that may sound trite and even ridiculous or laughable to some. There are those who believe that you must change the entire world, the entire pardigm of existence in order to have a real impact on people and the world around you. But I’m not one of them. I am one who believes that every good thing begins with one small act. One small kindness. Something that barely costs anything at all and pays back a thousandfold.

Unlike others, I don’t believe there is any lack of technology, innovation, programs, ideas, resources, etc. We are aswim in those things, I think. More to the point, I think it is what we do with those things, how much we share not of the things but of ourselves that always makes the difference. It’s what we give that matters I think much more than what we get, what we want, what we control.

So, like Blanche Dubois, I will always depend on and be happy for the kindness of strangers, and friends and family and do my best to be one of those strangers, who is kind and knows that we are all just human beings, frail and full of flaws but deserving of the kindness nonetheless.

All Is Calm

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty Christmas-ed out, as far as Christmas posts go.

Tomorrow is the big day and we’ll rip open packages given to us by those we love as they will the ones we have bestowed. We’ll settle in for a big meal, probably too big, but oh so tasty and possibly a Christmas movie or two. If it’s cold enough, maybe we’ll even get a fire going.

But mostly, we’ll give thanks for all the blessings in our lives – family, friends, snow-sprinkled nights, laughter and love. And prayers will go out to those far away who can’t be at our holiday table and whom we keep in our hearts.

I have to say that this year has been the most peaceful Christmas I have ever had in my life. Not because I don’t have a million things to do, because I have, nor because I’m not cooking up a storm, because I am – honestly, I don’t know why I feel as I do. I only know that I don’t have that horrible aniticipation, obsession, gift-craving, joy-forcing, monster wearing my skin this year. And you know what? It feels good.

I hope that every Christmas I have in the future feels just as this one does, calm, peaceful and filled with love and goodwill. And I wish for all of you the very same.

Love,
Annie