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. ❤

Celebrating the Small Stuff

This week I did a series of picture posts on my Facebook page. I’d read somewhere that pictures were more popular than links or straight text on Facebook and based on my small ‘experiment’ it does appear to be true. Pictures do seem to get more attention on my page.

For me, that was good because I spend a lot of time with text, words, concepts and sometimes, a picture really does speak better than any word you can come up with. Or maybe pictures coupled with the right word is the real winning combination.

The picture post that got the most attention is the one I used above.

So, why would that message resonate more?

Getting lost in the big stuff

I think that people get lost in the big stuff. I know I do. Chasing the dream of being a best-selling author, is a good example of the big stuff I want to celebrate. I pray I will be able to celebrate. I fear I won’t ever celebrate. And I doubt there is any author who doesn’t feel that way.

We all have dreams that we chase. Some more realistic than others but important to us, nonetheless. Despite any proximity to reality.

But the problem with getting lost in the big stuff is that we miss all the wonderful little things that happen to us, for us, and around us. The world is a big, beautiful mystical place and there are probably hundreds of moments a day we could celebrate if we chose to.

So, here is the small stuff I’m celebrating this week:

♥ Puppy Lily absconded big dog Emma’s bear (stuffed toy) and guards it with all the ferocity of a bear. Did I mention the bear is bigger than she is?

♥ Dinner with my friend Andy. It was just us barbecuing a couple burgers in my backyard and then later going to Starbucks for coffee. Then hours of talk about anything and everything.

♥ Phone call with Jenny. My best friend who lives in Texas and whom I miss terribly. Quote from her son, “I touche a Guinea pig and now I’m sick.” You just can’t make that kind of stuff up, right?

♥ I finally figured out scene 86 in my book.

♥ The grocery store had daffodils on sale – $1.99 for 10 stems, I got 20. Today they opened. What a beautiful sunny scent!

♠ I discovered tiny little tomatoes on my tomato plants. Six of them. Big news!

♥ I had heavy cream for my coffee this morning. Heaven.

♥ A favorite client contacted me out of the blue yesterday.

♥ Spring is finally here.

Maybe it’s just gratitude

Maybe all I’m really talking about is feeling gratitude in my life. And if I am, that’s fine with me. I want to feel grateful for everything in my life – even the small stuff. Even the bad stuff. Because it’s all part of this mysterious game we call life and you can’t appreciate the good without the bad. The highs without the lows. The exciting without the boring. Right?

How about you, dear reader? What is the small stuff you’re celebrating this week? Did you finally master that cookie recipe? See a beautiful baby? Hug a puppy? See an old friend? Witness an incredible sunrise? Feel free to share any or all of it.

Have a great weekend.

Annie

Out of Sorrow Comes Joy

First, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who expressed sympathies about losing my dog Maggie last week. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me except to say, it meant a lot. So, thank you to everyone.

Going against my natural instincts, I decided to adopt another dog, rather than wait. I think that Maggie would’ve been happy about that. In fact, I am too. Because out of the deep sorrow I felt at losing my dog of 13 years, I am now feeling immense joy from the new puppy. Lily.

I will always have the old memories of Maggie – she was a remarkable dog – a remarkable ‘person’ and can’t be replaced. But Lily is a little white bundle of joy and I look forward to making new memories with her.

If you have lost a beloved pet, I empathize with you. Deeply. It is a profoundly sad experience. But if you are holding off in adopting a new pet, don’t. Please, don’t. There are so many wonderful animals out there just waiting to find a loving family. And you could be that family.

God Bless.

Annie

With your whole heart – Are you all in or all out?

heartRedWhite

I’m one of those people who does things with their whole heart. I can’t be halfway. I’m either all in or all out. It’s just how I’m wired. Some see it as a character flaw because you know, I take things to heart. I take things personally. Because to me, it is personal. I mean anything that is part of my life is personal, isn’t it?

Sure I’ve tried to develop a thick skin and act like things don’t matter. It’s just a job or a crappy review, or some guy I didn’t want to date anyway – whatever it doesn’t matter. But doesn’t it? If it’s part of your life, it is personal. Doesn’t it have to be? I think so.

I once had a friend who told me she puts things in boxes. In her head. Must be a pretty organized head, right. You know? This argument goes in this box. This catastrophe goes in this box. My grocery list goes in another box. Wow, I sit back in wonder of people who can do this. I can’t.

But the truth is, I don’t want to live in a box. I want to live in the waves that threaten to drown me and tap dance in  thunder storms wearing my tin foil hat. Wail like a banshee when something hurts. Laugh like an idiot when something tickles me. I want all the colors in the crayon box. And I don’t want to color inside the lines either. Vivid, bright colors that make you shield your eyes. I want to talk loud when I’m excited, wear red lipstick just because, and paint my nails purple because it’s pretty. Eat the whole loaf of bread I just pulled out of the oven and slather it in butter.

Life is there to live, to experience, to try, to fail, to sometimes succeed. Maybe even to fly. So…with my whole heart I choose to aim for the skies. I’m all in.Always. Come what may.

What about you? Are you all in? All out? Do you feel with your whole heart? Do you hold back because you’re worried what people will think? Do you take one cookie when you want 10?

Speak with your whole heart (or whatever part you care to share) in the comments.

Writer Chick

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

In Honor of Christmas

I’ve always loved Christmas. I collect Christmas movies, ornaments, decorations, jewelry, clothing, toys – just can’t seem to get enough of that stuff.

When I was a little girl I had a mission to prove that Santa was real. Every year I’d sit in the window seat determined to stay there until I saw Santa.  I never did see him, and I always fell asleep, often waking up with my cheek stuck to the freezing window pane and shivering.

But no matter what anyone told me I still believed in Santa because it was somehow right that there was a person who existed in the world to just make people happy. Whose purpose was the joy of others. That had to be real, didn’t it?

And I think that purpose to make others happy in in all of us but really blossoms around Christmas time.  Sure, we love to receive gifts and attention but isn’t the real joy in doing that for others? Aren’t we more excited about how happy our child or spouse or friend is going to be when they open our gift, or eat the cookies we baked or see the tree we decorated?

For me, that was always the pure joy of Christmas – to make others happy.  Nothing makes me happier than to make others happy.

And I think the reason I write is to make others happy too.  I want to give them the joy of reading a story they will love, that will make them feel, or believe, or laugh or cry – or all of it.

So, in honor of Christmas this year I’ve published two Christmas stories to Amazon:

big nick        big sally and gem

I hope you enjoy them and I hope more than anything, they make you happy.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

What’s your Christmas personality?

 

Well my Christmas personality is:

Spirit of the Festivities

Whether it’s stringing cranberries, decorating the tree, or singing Christmas carols, you are in the spirit of Christmas. You aren’t greedy. Even if you’re not religious. Christmas is a great holiday for you.

What’s your Christmas personality? Take the quiz here

Lightning

Sometimes lightning strikes, without warning or premonition.

It streaks the sky with an energy unique and all consuming.

And it carries you away to a world you might never have known.

A wonderful world. A beautiful world that is rare and foreign but feels like home. And you can never be the same once you’ve been there and learned the secrets of lightning.

Once it becomes part of you, your spirit, your soul. And you never want to be the same.

The lightning got me and I’m never going back.

Enchanted – Theme Fridays

It was the oldest tree in town, reaching seventy five feet into the sky and it enchanted Sally. Her first sight of it was when she was eleven, not quite as tall or grand but even then it had an endless reach toward the heavens – this glorious Sycamore. Trees always spoke to Sally and this one spoke in wonder. She longed to climb it and know its secrets and started to but skinned her knee in the attempt. Not because she wasn’t an agile climber of trees for Sally had conquered many but because of the tow-haired boy who surprised her by yelling, “Hey!”

The peeling bark of the old syc was merciless as she slid down its trunk. “Hey what? Look, you made me skin my knee!” She grimaced at the fresh blood and broken skin.

“That’s my tree and you can’t climb it!” The boy’s blue eyes matched the morning sky but there was a little danger there too.

Sally huffed off, feeling those eyes watch her until she disappeared from their view. His tree? He must have been one of those Halligan’s. They owned most of the town and truth be told she was trespassing whenever she visited her tree, the Syc. His tree?

But she could never stay away from it, though always on the look out for the blue-eyed boy, she visited her tree, her tree, every chance she got. That had a heart in its trunk left by a broken and removed bough, that had a dancing man and woman made of twisted branches at the top. And they weathered the seasons together – in Spring Sally sat beneath it and wrote poetry, in Winter she left bread crusts in the heart for the birds and squirrels who refused to go south, in Summer she clung to its shade and in Fall she collected its blazing leaves and pressed them in books. Yes, her tree. Her Syc.

And when Sally left home to discover her own life, she brought the Syc with her and kept it close in mind and heart, longing to feel the rough bark, smell its musky scent, feel its sway with the wind and time. It was a special place Sally could go to when life was cruel and uncaring. Her life had fallen away from the simplicity of home, love refused to oblige her, work refused to fulfill her and the sky was never blue enough, never the color of that boy’s eyes. “Come home,” Mom had written so many times in so many letters. Sally resisted that request for years until the story about her tree.

Mom sent a copy of it in a letter. “Look what they’ve done with your tree, Sally,” was all the letter said. The Halligans had parceled land to the town and a park was now the permanent home of her tree. Her Syc. And she had to go see it again. Go home. Leave the empty place of small city apartments, commuter trains and singles bars.

Sally sat in her car in wonder, parked on Main. The town had changed so much – but the tree never changed. It had only grown higher and stronger and she didn’t have to worry about the blue-eyed boy, the Halligan who once claimed ownership. She could climb it now and she would.

“What are you doing with that ladder?” Dad asked seeming to know what she had in mind.

“Never mind, Dad,” Sally said and pecked his cheek as she grabbed the keys to his truck.

“The town won’t let you climb it either,” he said as she started for the door, “They’re more strict than Will Halligan ever was.”

Sally stopped and turned. “Will Halligan?”

“The boy who made you skin your knee,” Dad said. “He’s still around, loves that damn tree as much as you do.” Dad giggled a little and shook his head. “Have fun, honey.”

The sun had left only traces by the time Sally got into the park and she drove the old pick-up right up to its trunk, next to the heart. She wrangled the ladder from the truck bed and rested it firmly against the Syc. “I will climb you now, my friend,” she said rubbing its bark and feeling giggles rising up from her eleven year old soul. And when she reached the top rung, Sally clung to the Syc’s trunk, still unable to find a foothold into its arms.

“Hey!” the man’s voice startled her and the ladder rattled.

Sally looked down and there he was, that boy, now a man – Will Halligan. And though there was only moonlight to illuminate his face, the eyes were still morning sky. “What?” Sally asked annoyed and embarassed that she couldn’t move without falling.

“You’re going to break your ass trying to do that, darlin’.” Sally heard the smile in Will Halligan’s voice.

“Go away, I’m busy,” she said. “And this isn’t your tree anymore, so just go mind your business.”

Will was already in the truck bed putting his hands on the ladder to steady it. “Okay, I’ve got you, you can come down now.”

Sally looked over her shoulder and down at Will Halligan who seemed to be enjoying the view a little too much. “Who said I want to come down? I’m going to climb this tree,” she insisted.

Will laughed and it was sweet and boyish, his laughter. “Well you’ll be there quite a while. You’re going to need a cherry picker to get up there. You want me to call Bert, I think he has one. Though I don’t know if he’ll come down here at this hour…”

Sally’s arms were aching from trying to keep her embrace on the massive trunk and her pride was slipping too. “You’re an ass,” she said. “Get out of my way, I’m coming down,” and she started her descent, secretly hoping he wouldn’t let go of the ladder.

“Okay darlin’,” Will said, “you’re fine, just keep coming,” and Sally felt his hand on the small of her back to steady her. Sally was thankful for the moonlight because it wouldn’t reveal the blush that rose from her toes and reached to her face.

“I’m fine now,” Sally huffed, “you can let go.” And they stood face to face in the truck bed, in the moonlight and the blue eyes no longer held danger but something else that frightened her more. “What are you looking at?”

Will jumped down from the truck bed and grinned. “Why do you love my old tree so much?” he asked.

“Why do you still call it your tree?” Sally retorted. “It’s not your tree anymore,” she pointed out.

“Darlin’, it will always be my tree,” his grin grew wider and Sally thought she saw a wink. “So, why do you love it? Tell me.

Sally stood in the truck bed looking down at Will and resisted the smile that forced itself on her face. “Because it is perfect, because it is glorious, because I could see everything from the top, if I could get there. Because it enchanted me from the very first time I saw it,” she whispered.

Will reached out his hand to Sally and she took it and came down to solid ground but never let go, and they stood in the moonlight, beneath the Syc, looking at each other for the longest moment. “What?” Sally finally asked.

You enchanted me from the very first time I saw you.” His eyes were liquid sky and mirrored the stars.

PANTHER IS ENCHANTED HERE AND CHRISTINE’S ENCHANTEDNESS WAITS HERE