‘Spring’ing Forward

Hey y’all.  Spring is in the air for sure here in Central Georgia.  Our Dogwood trees are blossoming, the others are forming their buds, the weather is growing warmer by a couple degrees every day; the weather was so nice last weekend I spent the day outdoors, raking our front and side yard. I should have taken some photos to share, but I didn’t.  I felt it the next day though.  My entire back was stiff, right up the spine. 

There were people in our park last week, power washing the mobile homes.  I didn’t think ours was that dirty until the guy power washed it.  That may or may not have been my reason for wanting to get outside and rake the yard.  Just saying.  That mixed with the long, rather isolated winter we all experienced thanks to Covid quarantining.  Please, keep wearing your masks y’all.  We’re close to the end of this, but not quite.

With spring in the air, I’ve also been moving progressively forward.  One project I have moved forward with is my book.  A couple weeks ago, I received, reviewed, and approved my cover design from my cover design artist.  They did a spectacular job!  Now I’m patiently waiting for my box of 10 copies to come.  Once that happens, again, I receive, review, approve, and then I can finally begin sharing my first published book with y’all.  I can’t wait to be able to share the link with y’all!

I sprung forward with another project as well.  I’ve been creatively working on another personalized piece of artwork, but this piece I created for Bindi Irwin and her husband Chandler, for their baby wildlife warrior coming.  I think I’ve spent over a month sketching it, then another couple weeks, night and day, adding the color, and finally a few weeks ago, I mailed it out priority mail to Australia.  When I learned they were expecting, my creative visioning kicked into high gear.  I hope they like it.  It turned out adorably.

Now I’m moving forward, towards advancing our future.  We want to travel and see the world and share every experience with y’all, whether by blog, vlog, or book.  It could be sooner than hubby and I think, but we don’t know.  We are simply springing forward. 

As always, thanks for reading y’all. Have a great day!

Thinking, Writing, and Reflecting About Chicken Soup for the Soul

Hey y’all!

I am a writer and because I am a writer, I think a lot.  A Lot.  I think about my past and I think about my future and all the things I want to do.  Most of it has to wait until after my daughter graduates from high school which will be in another three years, but at the same time, I can do many of the things I want to do now, in the present time, because I’ve been blessed with the ability to work from home, as an English teacher.

One of the things I want to do is publish.  I want this about as much as I’ve wanted everything else I’ve been blessed with in my life because I love writing so much.  I love sketching to, but writing allows me to bare a piece of my soul that I can’t do in creating artwork.  Yes, I know writing is just another form of artwork, but writing is also different from sketching.  In writing, I can talk about the many obstacles I’ve overcome and what I learned from those obstacles.  When I sketch, I create pictures that make me happy.  Writing also makes me happy, but differently than sketching does.

Someday, I want to see my written short stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul because Chicken Soup for the Soul is the most widely known nonfiction short story compilations book around the world.  I began reading them when I was just 14 years old.  I recommend then to anyone I know and everyone I meet.  I recommended Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul to my daughter’s best friend in gymnastics.  She’s a couple years younger than my daughter, but she loves to read, according to her grandparents.  Not only did I lend them my copy, but after reading the book and returning it to me, her grandmother went out and bought herself a copy of a more recent title, Chicken Soup for the Grandparents Soul.  I don’t know how often this happens to other people, but it was a first for me.

I’ve been writing and submitting short stories to them for the last two years and one thing I can say for sure is my ability to write is improving.  When I first started trying, yes, I wrote crap.  Boring and unacceptable for publication; and obviously not what they were looking for.  Now, two years later, reading my own work chokes me up, but maybe I’m just partial to my own work.  Rather than being my own worst critic, I’m over complimentary to myself.  I used to have my husband simply proofread my material, then I click the submit button and off it went to their inbox.  Now, I’ve improved the writing process, asking him to critique my material, not once, but twice.  The first critique is always for direction.  The second critique is to fix anything which doesn’t sound right, or doesn’t fit.  If and when he gives me an all-clear, I then ask him to proofread it for me to clear my grammatical mistakes.

I know publishing is a hit and miss no matter who you’re trying to publish with.  When it comes to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my single short story entry is only 1 in about 5000.  As of current, the only time I’ve ever received a personal message from Amy Newmark herself, it was to ask for my mailing address to mail me a couple signed books, per winning a book drawing.  It was an incredible experience, but nothing like I imagine it’s going to be when the day comes I receive an email, that my short story has been chosen for publication in a future title.

So far, I’ve submitted a short story to each of these future titles; ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’, ‘Listen to Your Dreams’, ‘Stories About Christmas’, ‘Stories About Self-Care and Me Time’, and ‘You Go, Girl’.  The short story I wrote for ‘You Go, Girl’ is, in my opinion, my personal best.

In closing, I write to clear my head of the most concentrated thought swirling inside.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is my most favorite book series.  I can’t deny that and I won’t deny it.  I know my day will come, and when it does, I’ll laugh, I’ll cry, and I’ll jump up and down like a crazy high school girl finding out that the boy she likes, likes her back.  I’ll probably run to my neighbors and share with them this most exciting news of my life, but I am not going to deny myself the emotion of finally accomplishing what I’ve been working so hard to do since I began my writing journey.  I’ll tell you what else I’m not going to do, when sharing my news with my parents, who don’t completely understand the lengthy time and amount of patience writing a single story can take, regardless of story length, nor the hit and miss of publicating, I am not going to allow their happy-so-so attitude to clash with my over-the-moon-top-of-the-world-basking-in-personal-accomplished-glory attitude.  After all, this isn’t about them, this is about me.  They will be happy for me, supportive, and accepting, and that’s all I really can ask for.

Thank you for reading y’all!


Be Inspired


Being a writer, I’m inspired by things I see or observe, people I meet, and things I learn.  Having said that, I watched a little girl named Beni, absorb the teachings of culinary genius, Gordon Ramsey, throughout the entire season 6 of MasterChef Junior.  I witnessed, through live action news, the joining of two countries in holy matrimony, because an English Prince fell in love with an American–not for her social status, but for who she is.  Finally, I spent a very entertaining evening, seated in a huge auditorium of a high school, watching live performances from students in performing arts.  I watched as a couple hundred students, expressed themselves through interpretive dancing.

The innocence of a child is not something that should be taken advantage of, but something that we, as parents should celebrate.  Their minds haven’t yet been corrupted by the conflicts of peer pressure–downers telling dreamers it can’t be done and so on.

In watching Beni throughout Season 6, I saw her as an open notebook taking it all in.  She faced every cooking challenge with an open mind, she listened intently, taking every remark, tip, and critique from Gordon Ramsey, Christina Tosi, and Joe Bastianich, and going with them.  Every Friday, you could physically see her technique mature.  If I remember hearing correctly, Beni also made the swim team with her school, but she gave it up to be on MasterChef Junior, and then she won!  I’m anxious to see what she does in the coming years!

When watching the royal wedding between Prince Harry of Wales and our ‘American Princess Bride’, I felt the union of America with England, and to marry into the royal family–an honor of it’s own.

I was inspired the most by all the children I watched perform on stage while attending my daughter’s part in the show.  She’s a first year gymnast with Kidz in Step, and she part of a gymnastics routine to “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman.  I’m amazed with how much she’s doing now compared to the common cartwheel and somersault she was doing a year ago.  I taught her the cartwheels and somersaults, Kidz in Step taught her the uneven bars and the balance beam.

Other performances included ballet, tap dancing, Jazz routines, Hip-Hop, a few Contemporary numbers, and a skit in Musical Theater.  I was immediately captivated, nearly to tears,  by the opening of the show because I watched dancers tumble in and tumble out, jump in and jump out, and finally come together in a huge group of talented performers of the arts, filling the stage and surrounding the audience in a choreographed dance number like that of Justin Timberlake’s closing number in his recent Super Bowl half-time appearance.  The owner herself in the act, dancing as seriously as her students.  She’s the owner/director, but her favorite place to be is in the class rooms.  She likes the dance floor.  That night, I also witnessed the owner, as a teacher, investing in the future of her students when she and her husband recognized four senior girls who’ve been dancing with her since she opened her dance studio.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.  It was such a special moment, and so touching.

The point to this post is the inspiration we can get in watching our children, and encouraging them to do the things they like to do.  My daughter wants to be an actress when she grows up.  I can put her on the path to following her dreams through performing arts.  This year and next she’s in gymnastics, next year dance might make the schedule.

Feel the technique and create a new, delicious appetizer, entree, or dessert.  Feel the music and create an entire new dance number.  Set the sky as your limit, and follow your dreams.  Gain confidence from watching our children be confident.