Stuffed Souls goes digital

If you have been holding out for my latest novel to go digital, your wish just got granted. Stuffed Souls is now available as an ebook. Come join the many readers who have discovered a twisted yet uplifting young adult story about overcoming your past to make a better future. Click on the book below for a direct link to Amazon.com. Please feel free to share the link with your friends.

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An almost daily battleground

Losing is never easy but it is an inescapable part of life. In fact, when all is said and done with whatever life you chose to lead, I can guarantee you’ll experience more losses than wins. But don’t fear this truth. Losses do not—and should not—mean the end of the world. They make our victories that much sweeter.

My youngest son has discovered the sport of tennis this summer. He’s absolutely addicted. I learned to play a little in college so I’ve become his practice partner. He’s almost eleven but I’m such an unpracticed newbie at this sport we’re pretty evenly matched. For the first few mornings, he and I just worked on trying to keep our volley return hits in the court and not over the fence. Between all the laughter and running our game improved. Finally, he told me he wanted to play a real game.

I agreed but needed to review the rules and scoring to refresh my memory. The first full game took all seven sets to decide the victor. He fought hard but I managed to squeak out the win. As his mom I knew better than to gloat, but he still wasn’t happy on the car ride home.

“We should have just stopped at the tie,” he said referring to the situation we had after the sixth set.

“No, there are no ties in tennis. Someone must win and someone must lose. Those are the rules.” I’m a big believer in not glossing over the realities of life, so I wasn’t going to do it here.

He finally sucked up his disappointment and the next morning seemed just as excited to play another game. Again, with our strengths and weaknesses so evenly matched, we ended up tied after the sixth set. The determination in his eyes as he fought to reach every shot I volleyed back was fun to watch.

It was a tight set, but he beat me fair and square in the end. He whooped for joy and jumped around—gloating like a child of almost eleven is prone to do. I didn’t mind, but if this continues, we might have to discuss the importance of being humble. 😉

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A world beyond the box you see yourself in

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the many things I’ve learned to do over the years. Now mind you, I’m not awesome at everything I can do. Okay, I’m not awesome at most things I can do but the point is, I’m more than what I thought I would be when I was a teenager.

I had a very narrow view of my life back then. I played softball and didn’t like overly girly things—like the color pink, posters of boybands, or sewing. “I can’t do that,” is something I said far too often.

I can’t exactly pinpoint when I stopped being that person, maybe because it was such a gradual change, but the words “I can’t” never leave my lips anymore. By removing these words from my life, my enjoyment of sports now goes way beyond just softball. I know my way around a sewing machine. I’ve even discovered I look good in certain shades of pink.  And my love of music, ranges from the downright classical opera to some of the hip-hopiest out there.

You can, and should, do the same. Let go of the preconceived notions you have about yourself. Jump at every opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. Live your life with the courage to truly try everything and you’ll be just as amazed as I am at how much more you can become.

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Not just ogers, people are onions too.

There’s nothing more important than understanding oneself, though it takes courage to truly assess the kind of person you are at your core. Looking honestly at oneself can bring about ugly discoveries about one’s character, but this is why it’s paramount to peel back those layers and look inside. By acknowledging the bad and also the good that make up you, only then can you become master of yourself.

For example, at my core I’m selfish. It’s not a pleasant trait most people would be willing to acknowledge to the world, but I am. By keeping this natural tendency in the forefront of my thoughts helps me recognize quickly when I’ve fallen into my selfish ways. And recognition is key. You can’t fix what you don’t realize you’re doing.

You are so much more than a thing that just reacts to the world around it. It takes time, maybe even a lifetime, to curb the characteristics we don’t like about ourselves, but change is always possible. Yes, it must come from within, but it can be done.

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The importance of a lengthy lunch break

We’ve been in the middle of finishing a basement for more months than I care to think about, but we finally made it to painting. I’m so overjoyed I yanked my kids out of bed early on Saturday to get to work. They came along just fine and actually worked really hard for hours, rolling gallon after gallon of paint on the ceiling and walls.

At noon, my little redhead comes to me holding his stomach like he’s about to die. “Can’t we at least go eat lunch?”

“Fine.” I’m not that mean of a slave driver, though I had no desire to stop and eat myself.

I keep working, oblivious to the passing time. More than two hours later I finish up another room and realize I’m the only one still in the basement. I march upstairs to find my three kids lounging on the couch.

“Guys! What are you doing? Why didn’t you come back down?”

Without missing a beat, my youngest says, “Dad didn’t go back down.”

“Your dad had a meeting to go to,” I said.

“Then…” He looks around at his older siblings but they keep their eyes averted. “…we’re still at lunch.”

I purse my lips. “For more than two hours?”

“Yeah, I might get a tummy ache if it’s not fully digested.”

“What?” I shouldn’t have laughed, but I couldn’t help it. That little boy can come up with some crazy excuses to avoid work. And yet, back to work they always go. 😉

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Does it always have to mean war?

Yes, we humans can be silly, rude, angry, sweet, and many other emotions. It’s part of the human condition. It is also true that even among best friends disagreements will erupt. Most disagreements don’t have to be, and really shouldn’t be, relationship ending catastrophes.

First; remember that it’s okay if you don’t agree with your friends 100% of the time. Personalities and opinions are as vast as the sands on the earth. With all those endless possibilities it’s amazing any two people can agree on anything at all.

Second; don’t fight to be right. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. Nothing kills a friendship faster than always trying to prove the other person wrong. Remember, we’re not talking enemies here, these are your friends. Do you really want to see someone you care about crushed at the bottom of some verbal battle?

Always let your actions and words be guided by love, even if it means you have to walk away for a moment to remember what it was you loved about them. Friends are a precious commodity in life you shouldn’t be willing to let go of easily.

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Who installed these brakes on my train of life?

My body has decided to bring a whole new struggle to my writing, adding a painful dose of Carpal Tunnel to the mix. This recent flare up is the worst I’ve ever experienced. We’re talking never-ending numbness in my hands for the past two weeks, forcing me to do what I hate most—go to a doctor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the doctors, I hate admitting to weaknesses. I prefer to live in a world where I’m a wonder woman who never gets sick. But sadly, I can’t always have things my way. So with braces on my wrists, I’m hen-pecking this post, trying to be a good patient. I can’t go back to my full writing schedule for a month, which is killing me since the second book to my Stuffs Souls series was going so well. Ugh! But this too shall pass.

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