Life, Stories, Writing

What Is It to Have Succeeded?

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson #Quote #Success #Life

As I look back over my life, the questions haunt me, ‘have I succeeded?’ and ‘how do you define a successful life?’

Success by the worlds standards might include the following:

  • He who has the most toys wins!
  • Building wealth and showing it off!
  • Amassing a large social media following!
  • Having a perfect relationship and a trophy companion!
  • Launching a billion-dollar business that changes the world!

I am sure you can think of many others things that might apply as well.

If you don’t define success for your life, someone else will define it for you.

  • What mountain are you climbing?
  • How do you know if it is the right one at the right time?
  • When you reach the summit will you see your mountain off in the distance?

For me the idea of a successful life has shrunk over the years. Not in terms of impact but in terms of grandiosity and self-serving vanity. The Emerson quote has been a favorite of mine since the first time I read it.

To laugh often and much to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others to leave the world a little better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.

I have stood at the bedside as a last breath was taken and I have no doubt my presence made that breath a little easier. You can read about this in my memoir to be published in 2021 and an update in a previous post here. I pray that I have also helped others breathe a little easier in times of trouble, strife and pain. For what good is a life that offers nothing of value to other human beings, living things and the world around us?

It’s probably not surprising to paraphrase Emerson this is my definition of success >

Now tell me, what is your definition of success?

Grief, Life, Stories, Writing

Memoir Update – Signed Publishing Agreement!

It’s official!

*Note: Working title and not actual cover.

Exciting news!!! I have signed a publishing and distribution agreement with Christian Faith Publishing for my memoir. I submitted my manuscript to their review board, they accepted the draft and want to publish my book. Woo-hoo! 😁

Signing the agreement with my daughter!
  • It has been a long journey for sure to get to this point, never stop chasing your dreams!
  • Expected publication date is still to be determined, sometime in early 2021.
  • Lots to be done before then – editing, proofing, typesetting, cover design etc.

I have been busy drafting my author bio and the book blurb. That is harder than writing the actual book. Who knew? 😳

Book teaser >

When did we come to believe the best thing you can do with death is ride off from it? In Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry, Mark Wayne tells his story of living a life with grief beginning in his mid-twenties. #Memoir #AmWriting #UpcomingBook #WritersLife

I hope to post some excerpts from the forthcoming book as I go through the editing process as well as other updates here on the blog. So be sure to hit the follow button and sign up for email notifications to get the latest.

*Note: Working title and not actual cover.

I would love to hear your initial impressions or thoughts. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help guide efforts as I move forward in publishing and marketing.

#LiveYourDreams

Life, Photograph, Poetry

3 Steps to Get From Here to There

I hold a vision from here to there
Where I can see things of memory
The path lays before me shining crystal clear
As shadows dance silently on the fringe
Overcome by desires that scamper quickly away
While standing still falls a single rolling tear
One small drop that holds all my fears
A haunting serenade redemptive love infringes
Beckons a safe passage to another world
Where angels play beyond the undiscovered
Grace reaches softly no heart left untouched
The broken places cracks desperately patched
This is where the light shines into the pain
A question wells up within as deep calls to deep
How do I ever get from here to there?

3 Tips

  1. Keep your vision in front of you
  2. Seek healing and restoration for others and yourself
  3. Believe that you have something to do or say that someone needs

#LiveYourDreams #JustBelieve #HopeLives #GraceChangesPeople

What dream or vision are you seeking? What first step can you take? #LiveYourDreams #SaturdayMotivation #YouGotThis

This post is a further exploration of an earlier post for “Monday Motivation offering I hope some practical tips to help us all get “From Here to There.”

I have used these tips as touchstones on my own journey to get from here to there. Stay tuned for some exciting news coming next Saturday! Be sure to check out that blog post!

3 Tips > 1- Keep your vision in front of you. 2- Seek healing and restoration for others and yourself. 3- Believe that you have something to do or say that someone needs. #LiveYourDreams #SaturdayMotivation #YouGotThis #FromHereToThere

Life, Poetry, Writing

‘Wake the Beast’ Poetry Submission – Top 11 Selection!

I recently submitted 7 poems to A.B. Baird Publishing for inclusion in the upcoming anthology “My Still Waters.” The theme of the anthology is poems related to self-hope, self-discovery and healing.

My poem submissions included:

  • Healing is Never Perfect
  • Just What I Need
  • My Black Heart
  • My Broken Mind (honorable mention)
  • New Chapters
  • Wake the Beast (short list)
  • Words I Wanted to Say (honorable mention)

The publishers narrowed the list to 120 poems for inclusion and a couple of weeks ago I received notice that 5 of the 7 had been selected to be published in the anthology. Better yet two received honorable mentions and ‘Wake the Beast‘ made the short list of the top 25.

The first two lines of my poem are:

I tiptoe around afraid to wake the beast – He rests sleeping his power unreleased “Wake the Beast” #poetry #poetrycommunity #amwriting #writerslife

And now I have received another notice that this poem, ‘Wake the Beast‘ was selected for the top 11. I am so honored and excited. There are so many talented poets and writers out there and to be chosen is wonderful. The final 11 pieces now move to the final round of judging for the competition and the winner will be announced on Monday, July 27.

Additionally all 11 poems will be posted on the A.B. Baird Publishing website and Instagram page. There they will compete for your votes and the title of “people’s choice.”

Voting begins next Tuesday, July 28 the day after the competition winner is announced. I encourage you to visit, read the poems and vote for your favorite.

If it happens to be mine ‘Wake the Beast‘ I would be honored and I thank you in advance.

Life, Photograph, Poetry, Writing

The Haunting Of…

Stare into my eyes
And what do you see
Beyond mere physical
The redness and fatigue
Past a tiredness and regret
The HAUNTING of
Whatever this way may come
In uncertainty and chaos
For in times of trouble
Steady on my friends
Hope is still alive

Sometimes we just don’t know, and sometimes we have to move and get off the X.

You have the power to help, power to make the world a little better one ripple at a time. The future is uncertain and our souls need rest. Our hearts are haunted, it is a time of troubles and yet, we must believe that hope is still alive.

Challenge: During this time of uncertainty in which we find ourselves what one thing can you do?

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople #WarriorsNeeded

Adventure, Poetry, Writing

Reflections

Reflections in the waves …

Reflections in the waves spark my memory, Some happy some sad ~Styx “Come Sail Away” #Lyrics #Truth #Music #Memories

Sometimes we need to get away
To disappear and disconnect
Into the wild and unfettered
Away from the responsibility
The chains of obligation
That bind us day to day

What do you do to get away and disconnect?

Life, Writing

A Rare and Curious Phenomenon?

In the midst of the times in which we currently find ourselves, I find this quote from Thomas Wolfe all the more appropriate. As we isolate, self-quarantine and social distance from one another the sense of loneliness can inevitably grow. Leading to heightened anxiety and stress levels, lowering our immune systems even more.

So how do we combat this while maintaining our boundaries to curtail the spread of infection? How do we maintain connection with others? A few tips:

  • Use technology wisely – text messaging, video chats and even the age old phone call. However, be cautious as to what you consume through social media as this can be overwhelming and add to the anxiety.
  • Eat healthy and stay hydrated – cut out as much junk food as you can and avoid large amounts of alcohol.
  • Get moving – even with all the requests and directives to not venture out or shelter in place you can still exercise. Either at home or by going for a walk, jog or bike ride. The fresh air and sunshine can have a good effect on your mood.
  • Take up a hobby virtually – something you have always wanted to learn. There are a plethora of options for on-line learning available to us. Note: see first bullet.
  • Keep your pets close – the unconditional love they give is the best.
  • Keep the faith!

This affects us all and we are all in this together.

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

Life

The World is Full of Wonders

Three Chords and the Truth – the new album from Van Morrison

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

Often it is in the simple things and tonight I am taking my daughter on a date.

We are doubling with friends on a daddy/daughter date. It is the time we spend together with those we love, the experiences and the memories that linger, not the things we accumulate.

So what wonders are right before your eyes?

Grief, Life, Writing

She Comes Out of the Sun – “Hello”

“Hello” it was that simple little word that started it all in the fall of 1984. I remember the girl with long brown hair, tanned skin wearing a summer dress and espadrille sandals approaching the art table where I sat as the lyrics to the Al Stewart song The Year of the Cat rang through my mind.

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations
She’ll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running – Like a watercolor in the rain https://youtu.be/tqW4xIr7nj0 Al Stewart “The Year of the Cat”

My voice trembled and I heard myself say with great effort, “I only want her to not be in pain.”

“That is all I am focused on.” He stated his voice low and measured. He gazed at me with a look of both sadness and resignation before turning and walking away.

Memory flooded back as I stood in the hospital corridor, the lyrics to “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the Eagles chorusing through my mind.

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay
Against your skin so brown
And I want to sleep with you in the desert night
With a billion stars all around

I get this feelin’ I may know you
As a lover and a friend
This voice keeps whisperin’ in my other ear
Tells me I may never see you again

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay Against your skin so brown – And I want to sleep with you in the desert night – With a billion stars all aroundhttps://youtu.be/NjofshOBV5s Eagles “Peaceful Easy Feeling”

This post is excerpted from my upcoming memoir, tentatively titled – There is Always Hope.

My first wife died of breast cancer at the age of 26 after battling over the last three years of our short five year marriage and yes, cancer sucks.

Over twenty-five years have come and gone and still there is not a day that something does not remind me of her. The twinges of memory flit across my mind as a butterfly haunts a flower.

Be sure to click the follow button and subscribe and be one of the first to receive email updates about the forthcoming book and other happenings. I would also love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment. You can connect with me on Twitter @mwschutter, Instagram @mwschutter or Facebook @mwschutter

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople #YouMatter #BeAWarrior