Click cover to watch video
It’s time to hold the drawing for the FIRST TEN book giveaway!
My new books arrived just before Thanksgiving – Lady and Bella Totally different, Totally friends. At this year’s Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas lots of folks signed up to participate in my FIRST TEN giveaway. I planned to do the drawing on December 1st and I had the good fortune to have my sweet great-nephew Nathan with me today to pick the winners.
And my hubby videotaped the grand event! Since wordpress is telling me my video file is too large of a file to upload for this blog, I have uploaded it to YouTube and posted on Facebook.
If you click on the Lady and Bella book cover, you will be linked to the YouTube video and you can listen to see if you are one of the winners. Enjoy! (I admit I stumble a bit with my words. haha I think I write better than I speak “live!”)
I’ll be in touch soon with all drawing participants. I have a special offer for all of you!
By the way, everyone who won – as well as those who buy books on my website – will receive a customized 5-pack of colored pencils. And I also offer a significant discount for those who buy 5+ books.
Many thanks to all who participated in this drawing and for your interest in my books. Lady and Bella Totally different, Totally friends is the first in a trilogy of “Totally ….” books that are part of an Anti-Bullying Campaign. Stay tuned for more information coming in 2014!
Thank you in advance for helping me spread the word about my books to your friends and family!
My books are sold on Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com plus my website!
It was reading a magazine article speaking of home décor that reminded me again to appreciate what I have rather than what I don’t.
The writer said, “I have a back door, for example, that can only be opened or closed if you know the right push, shove, tug, slam, lock-twist technique….My house is full of things that are not as they should be.”
I couldn’t help but feel I was reading a feature story about the house I’ve lived in for over thirty-two years! Considering I’ve spent most of those years looking forward to moving out, it’s hard to believe I am as content and comfortable as I now am. Actually, I’m ready to take on a remodeling project for another house we’ve inherited, but that’s another story.
This story is about how gratitude has the power to broaden our vision and help us see options that are obscured by a limited point of view.
Several years ago an artist friend was visiting our little farmhouse and pointed out various unique features – details that I had never appreciated or valued. I eventually realized that I was too consumed with focusing on what I didn’t like to notice anything that I did or could.
The miracle in this story was how gratitude helped me to see present possibilities and completely altered my view of not only my little farmhouse, but my entire life.
With Thanksgiving in the not-so-distant future, my magazine writer wrote, “So this Thanksgiving, do not fret about the perfect turkey or the perfect table or the perfect house. Instead, give thanks for all the things in your life that are made somehow more interesting by being old, broken, missing, or otherwise slightly off. It’s what makes a house a home.” (Letter from the editor, Coastal Living, November 2013
I can remember times in my childhood when I didn’t have a house to live in. But whether I was living out of a car or old trailer, I always felt I had a home. That’s because home was where ever my mamma was. Or maybe it was because my mamma knew the secret for making any place feel like home.
My mamma approached every situation we were in with certainty, expectancy, and creativity. She confronted each challenge step by step, being grateful for and valuing any progress – whether big or small. She never became daunted by any single task that was required. She never took her eye off the ball – her goal, her destination, her dream. This is because she was certain she could accomplish her goals.
Mamma has always said it was imperative to appreciate every step of progress and to never fail to recognize what is good in your life and what you do have.
Indeed, my mamma taught me that when I view my life through the lens of gratitude, I will be able me to see what is there instead of what is not.
My mamma has always been right!
I begin this message on a somber note and I’m not sure where it’s heading. I have three older brothers. The brother closest to me in age is seven years older. And it’s this dear brother who seems destined to pass on before the rest of us as he now lies in a hospital bed waiting for that moment to arrive.
My sadness of losing this beloved brother is based upon agonizing images in my mind that are crying “what shouldn’t be and what should have been.”
I know that these images and thoughts will serve no good purpose and are some I need to come to grips with eventually. But I’m having great difficulty in doing that today. So I’m writing in an effort to convince myself I guess.
Certainly, there have been other times in my life when I’ve struggled with regrets of what might have been. But those times were usually about my own life and I would come to realize I could still make changes, move forward and do things differently.
It is a whole other story when you’re looking at the end of life for a loved one and you can only see a life story filled with actions and decisions that scream what should have been. “He’s too young,” my heart sobs. “This shouldn’t be,” my heart laments. There was so much potential not reached, talent not utilized, passion not directed in the way it was meant. In the past year or so he spoke to me about new dreams that break my heart to know he can’t fulfill them.
I’m trying to believe his spiritual life will go on. But at the moment, I’m not finding solace in that hope.
What is building in my heart and soul is a growing determination to make the most of my own life. To stop waiting for another day or for tomorrow or for another year to do the things I dream of. I don’t want to reach my end of days and think what should have been or what I should have done. And I really don’t want my loved ones to look at me and think the same.
I’m also becoming more passionate about not missing opportunities to say or do whatever could or should be said or done.
I missed my brother’s last phone call to me. If only I could hear “Hey baby sister!” a few more times. I remember our last normal conversation very well. It was months ago actually and I recall having the feeling that I didn’t want it to end.
Have you ever been on the telephone with a loved one and the whole time you were anxious to get off because you had other things you wanted or needed to do?
My advice to you is to always be present in your time spent with those you love. To not be mentally distracted by what is often inconsequential details of your life. Nothing is probably more valuable to you than the time you spend with someone you love. So relish and cherish those times. It could be your last spent with that someone.
I’m so very grateful now that I didn’t hurry my last long normal conversation with my brother. I know now it was a gift.
Maybe that’s my answer today. I’m going to think about my brother as a gift in my life. And gifts of times spent together can’t be taken away. Their memories remain forever…
My last photo with my brother Gary – Summer 2011
P.S. I’m adding a P.S. note to my previously published post! I am also reminding myself RIGHT NOW that my brother is NOT gone yet and I’m going to STOP grieving for him as if he was! I’m going to focus on his presence in this moment and letting him know how much he is loved!
I’m tacking on a final sad note a few days after my original post to say my dear sweet brother, Walter Gary Moody, passed on this morning, October 5, 2013. Not sure what more I will publish in the future about my brother, but I will tell you here that I’ve began a journal recording my earliest memories of the brother who was seven years old when I was born. And these memories are making me smile!
I heard someone say that Amazon.com boasts more than 20,000 titles on the subject of happiness. Yet with all the reading we’re doing, many of us will still say we haven’t found it yet.
Some say a deep longing for happiness is at the heart of the desire for money, fame, and power. Perhaps the best advice anyone could give us, whether we’re married or single, is to stop waiting for happiness to come galloping over the next horizon.
From my own experience, happiness does not come from trying to be someone different than who we are, nor in running from here to somewhere else. Happiness is not in the things we desire nor is it based on conditions. Happiness is always within our reach, but to have it we must sometimes take a stand and mentally fight for our divine right to be happy.
Abraham Lincoln said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Roman Emperor Marcus Antonius said, “No man is happy who does not think himself so.”
English journalist Roger L’Estrange said, “It is not the place nor the condition, but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable.”
I have proven to myself that a change in attitude and viewpoint leads to a change in perspective and outlook, which inevitably results in improved situations. Living next door to in-laws who, in my early marriage years, often made me feel they weren’t pleased with my husband’s choice in a wife gave me many opportunities for implementing my attitude adjustment.
I believe happiness must be as consciously practiced as gratitude, forgiveness, and kindness. As with everything else, the more we practice it, the better we get at it.
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I wonder how many more stories of untold heroism and compassion comprise the tragic day of September 11, 2001.
Here I am early on the morning of September 11, 2013 taking my morning walk and looking on my iPhone for music or something to listen to when I see this YouTube video.
I had no idea how emotional I would become listening to this 12-minute story. After all, it had been twelve years since that horrific event. But to hear it – a story I never knew or never heard before – was another life-changing moment.
Besides my awe, respect and love for my fellow citizens, I found myself also saying OUT LOUD,
“I never want to say I should have!”
I even gained a new recognition of how our actions and our words matter, are important, make a difference in the lives of others.
One man on this video said, “Even if I only save one person, that will be one person who doesn’t have to suffer or die.”
It made me ashamed to ever believe my life, my actions, my words are meaningless, have no purpose, are not needed – even if only by one person!
I think what was truly amazing to me about this boat story, was a SINGLE call went out for help looking for any boats that could come to the rescue of the millions of citizens who ran away from the falling towers to the water’s edge with no place or way to escape.
ONE SINGLE PLEA FOR HELP!
And a multitude of boats suddenly began arriving within minutes!!! Many were individual boat owners who didn’t think twice, were not part of an organized coalition or planned rescue mission!
They simply responded. They acted. And thank God they did!
Bless each and every one of them and the many others who put the life of someone else before their own without even blinking an eye.
My mamma was right when she said,
“Each of us is somebody’s angel.”
May we never forget that!