Photograph, Writing

Wordless Wednesday – #21 (It’s a 2 for 1 Special)

I know, I know it’s ‘Wordless Wednesday’ but I couldn’t resist as this photo has trouble written all over it. So, I am bending my own rules for this one.

The photo is like the beginning of a bad horror movie and I find my mind screaming,

“No, don’t go in!”

🍂🍁🍂

Now, would you go in? 😉

Grief, Stories, Writing

I Did A Thing – Recording A Podcast Interview This Week!

And Then Everything Changed – October 28, 2020

Tap the image to visit the website!

I will be interviewed by Ronit Plank for her podcast ‘And Then Everything Changed’ this Wednesday, October 28th. The episode will be aired at a still to be determined date.

In preparation for my interview with Ronit I have binged listened to many past episodes. I encourage you to take a listen to great stories of resilience, courage and hope. Ronit is a skilled host and interviewer. All past and future episodes, including mine when it becomes available, are available on her website and many podcast platforms including:

The conversations Ronit has with her guests are real and vulnerable. Talking about personal history; those pivotal moments of their childhood and adulthood that defined them and the crucial and sometimes painful decisions they made that forever changed the course of their lives.

After listening to many episodes, my biggest takeaway is the all too often similar feelings and emotions that we all experience in life. Despite our often very different circumstances, beliefs, values and life stories the emotional toil often runs deep. Although, my life may often have little in common with many of the guests I feel a connection.

It is not a competition, and yet we all have or will experience pain in this life. #quote

“The Princess Bride”

The question and the test is what will we do with the pain we experience in this life? Listen to some Ronit’s guests tell their stories and you will be inspired by the strength, courage and the resiliency of the human spirit. Thank you Ronit for creating this platform that allows others to share their stories, reminding us each that we are not alone.

Stay tuned to this site and sign up for email updates for the latest and when my conversation with Ronit will air on her podcast!

#LiveYourDreams

Grief, Stories, Writing

Grief and Loss Changes Us, How Could it Not?

The following is taken from the draft introduction to my upcoming memoir ‘Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry’ to be published in Spring of 2021.

Reconciling the Past

Embracing the Present

 Redeeming the Future

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

~Matthew 5:4

“When we suffer loss, when it finds us in one form or another we must first reconcile our past. Second, we must embrace the present, our circumstances and play the cards life has dealt us. Thirdly, we must redeem our future, a vision with new dreams for a new life where there is no finish line. Forever changed we must move forward, a different person with a different trajectory we carry the past with us every step of the way.” ©Mark W. Schutter

Grief and loss changes us, how could it not?

Grief and loss changes us, how could it not? #Memoir #UpcomingBook #TrueStory

What are your thoughts? How do you move forward following loss and what helps you?

Leave me a comment below and have a great day. Remember, you are the hero of your story, who else could be?

#LiveYourDreams

God, Grief, Life, Writing

Though He Slay Me…

Though he slay me, I will hope in him. ~Job 13:14 #Encouragement #Faith #Motivation

It has been a rough last few weeks. Truth be told it’s been a rough past few months and even the whole year of 2020. I am not even talking about COVID-19, stay at home orders, social distancing, fears of infection from the virus, racial and civil unrest or even the current chaos of our political system.

Simply said my family has watched a beloved member’s health slowly decline. So much so that in the end it is hard to see who they once were. Illness and disease can do that to you.

Yet we can still hold hope, for ourselves and others, of better days ahead. As Job’s faith stayed fast even during his trials, I pray that we can all do the same.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Stay the course, live your dreams, and just believe, hope lives.

Life, Photograph, Writing

Be a Light!

Shine so bright they cannot ignore you!

Shine Bright

You can be and are a light shining in someone’s darkness, never doubt that. You were created to be a light, to shine in the darkness that covers our world and seeps into our hearts. Let your light shine, let it illuminate the darkness.

The world needs people who have come alive and aren’t afraid to shine and share their light. There is enough darkness to go around and you can make a difference. #JustBelieve #HopeLives #BeALight

God, Life, Photograph, Poetry, Writing

Holy Mysteries

You will take me down
Into the depths feeling I might drown
For you know it is there can I truly see
The glorious beauty of your majesty

Into the mystic all around
My pounding heartbeat the only sound
Fly away to where we were meant to be
Revealing to us your holy mysteries

You will take me down
Break these chains that keep me bound
I want to live in shameless freedom
From now until your coming kingdom

Life and glory can be found
Let the false intimacy come unwound
Renouncing the enemy’s bastard accusations
Evil fears its pronounced damnation

You will take me down
Exchanging my ashes for a beautiful crown
For love and mercy linger in a secret place
Freely given is your unveiled grace

~Mark Wayne

#JustBelieve #HopeLives

Spending lots of time lately thinking about ‘holy mysteries’, life and death. Our purpose, destiny and futures if we fully devote yourselves to God’s call on our lives. Yes, it will be scary and overwhelming at time and we might even feel like we are drowning and that is when we might fully come alive and live the life we were created to live chasing the dreams God has given us.

#LiveYourDreams

Adventure, Life, Writing

The REALITY is that…

Those who succeed are the ones who are willing to put in the work. The work, the practice, the showing up is often overwhelming and progress is slow. Yet, if we keep at it and as John Maxwell says pay the price and do it consistently, the final result can be

AMAZING!

If you pay the price and do it consistently, the final result can be AMAZING! ~John Maxwell ‘Leadershift’ @JohnCMaxwell @JohnMaxwellCo @JohnMaxwellTeam #MondayMotivation #LiveYourDreams #Success #MondayBlogs

What price are you willing to pay?

God, Grief, Life, Writing

Memoir Publishing Update – “Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry”

The journey has begun from draft manuscript to published book.

Please Note: This is most likely not the final cover only a draft I created.

The manuscript, about the author bio, back of the book blurb and foreword have all been submitted to the Editing Department. Next steps is comprehensive edit with suggested changes submitted back to me for further editing and approval. It is a little nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time.

The foreword was written by a good friend of mine who I first met through a professional relationship many years ago. The following is a short excerpt from the foreword he wrote for my book, which I absolutely love. He captured the theme, tone and purpose of my story perfectly. He knows my journey intimately and I am honored he would do this for me and very appreciative.

“This book is for people who have had real pain. People who have loved and lost, and are struggling to move on.” #Memoir #Foreword #UpcomingBook > ‘Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry’

I have also submitted ideas to the Cover Design Department to begin the process of creating a book cover. I look forward to the creative ideas from the cover designer. More to come on that progress in a future post.

I will leave you with this – if I can write a book so can you if you want to. It took me over 25 years to finally complete the manuscript. Many years of contemplation, learning, living and healing until I could pull it all together into a whole over the last 3 years. And now I am a mere months away from having a published book in my hands and maybe yours!

You can > Reconcile your Past, Embrace your Present, and Redeem your Future! #LiveYourDreams #JustBelieve #HopeLives #Memoir #Grief

LIVE YOUR DREAMS

God, Life, Writing

A Reckoning, We All Got it Coming

We can read the following scripture in Galatians 3:6 –

Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness ~Galatians 3:6

What are we to make of this? I reckon whether it is righteousness, mercy, justice or punishment we all have it coming. In the film Gladiator, Maximus played by Russell Crowe makes the following statement at the beginning of the film before a big battle scene.

“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”

Whether this is true or not, whether you believe it or not, I do believe there are things we do in this life that will echo in eternity. The biggest of these is the decision where we will spend eternity after we die. Yes, I believe that decision is left to us, via our own God granted free will.

That is the reckoning we all have coming and it is based on our ultimate choice. And each little choice we make each day and each hour can lead us towards this final choice. Either towards blessings or curses, heaven or hell.

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” ~C.S. Lewis ‘The Great Divorce’ #Quote #Choices #HeavenOrHell

What is your choice?

Grief, Stories, Writing

“What Do You See?”

“What do you see?

The blue sky is beginning to darken as night approaches and I watch you lying there. Your head on its side resting on the ground. You stare straight ahead past your nose, eyes wide open.

We both stay in the silence of the moment, only a faint rustle of leaves in the trees. Slowly I watch you lift your head and look around before you stop and stare off into the distance. Your dark nose crinkles as you sniff the evening air.

“What do you see?” I want to ask, I open my mouth to speak and the words catch in my throat. I swallow hard, my heart beating loudly within my chest.

I close my mouth and sit silently conjuring images of the unknown that may be floating through your mind. I sit helpless to ease your pain, wanting to comfort you as each second ticks by.

If you could only speak. To tell me what you see, what you are thinking of. For I would do whatever it is you ask or need. The world around me swirls, a strong breeze rustles the leaves, and a voice in my head from long ago breaks my reverie transporting me back.

“Please shove the pillow down lower, closer to my hip here…”

“Oh God!”

Your shrill voice rings loud in the silence of the late evening. I quickly jerk my hands away coming off the pillow as I back pedal a few steps watching your pained expression.

“I am sorry.” I speak slowly in a trembling voice as I slowly move back closer to the chair. Your head is tilted back resting hard against the back of the chair, your breath deep and labored.

“I know, … it’s okay. It just hurts so bad, ya know. I just can’t ever seem to get comfortable where it doesn’t hurt.”

My mind whirls as I stand swaying on unsteady legs unsure what to do next, not wanting to cause you more pain. I stand staring not knowing what to say waiting until you speak.

“Okay, let’s try this. Put that little pillow down behind my lower back. I will hold this one here at my side and we’ll see if that works.”

Okay I say, tentatively moving forward treating you as a fragile porcelain doll instead of the courageous strong woman that you are despite the circumstances. Inside my helplessness screams at the absurdity of it all.

Several minutes later after many machinations and adjustments you are finally somewhat comfortable for now. Breathing a heavy sigh you sink deeper into the chair closing your eyes.

“Okay that will work, thank you love.”

“Your welcome.”

I fall onto the couch next to your chair my own exhaustion overtaking me. Our eyes meet for a brief second as you open your eyes and you faintly smile. Then you turn away from my gaze to look out the window at the darkening sky. I watch as you sit motionless, your pale arms resting on the arms of the recliner.

Your short dark brown hair barely touches your shoulders now as it hangs framing your face. I can still picture your long locks that used to cascade down your back and over your shoulders. I see your eyes gloss over, focused on something that only you can see. I wonder are you seeing beyond the veil that separates the worlds.

“What do you see my love?” my mind asks as I swallow my words.

My head clears, I come back to the present. You are now on your side, head once again laying on the grass, eyes open staring. The dark brown fur of your coat in sharp contrast to the green grass of late summertime.

You seem at peace with whatever may come and I envy you. My mind again asks “What do you see girl? Do you see the end?” I wonder.

A chorus of memories run through my mind of the years together. The joy, the laughter, the adventures we all shared. You completed our family and made it whole. We watched you and her grow alongside one another becoming best friends. You have always been a loyal companion that shepherded her well into her teenage years.

I know your body is now weak and frail. Age or disease catches up with us all and I hope you know I will continue to try whatever that may mean. I truly will, my mind screams into the silence of the ever darkening sky overhead. To spare you and others from what inevitability will come. My helplessness looms large, again a mountain in front of me that I am once again forced to climb.

Your eyes now closed, I watch you breathing slowly, your chest rising and falling as you sleep. There is life left and I will do whatever I can to ease your days. Although I know that option is sometimes not offered. And so we live with the unanswered question of ‘What do you see?’

“Best Friends”

Sharing a little free write essay that compares the feelings I have watching our older dog as she battles lymphoma and the triggers of memories it evokes from long ago. You will be able to read more about those memories in my upcoming memoir to be published in early 2021. You can read about it here and be sure to sign up for email notifications to get the latest updates.