Drop by drop

I stumbled in on my teenage daughter and her friends talking about the future. The theme for all of them was fear. How would they ever afford to go to school? How would they ever afford to get married? How would they ever afford to have children or buy a house? I smiled, remembering how these things once worried me.

Over the years, experience has taught me to treat life like raindrops rather big bodies of water. Think about it, oceans and some lakes are so big you can’t take them all in at once, no matter how hard you try. You only end up overwhelming yourself in frustration. But a raindrop is hardly any water at all. In fact, sometimes you don’t notice when one lands on you. Yet, overtime, those raindrops accumulate, becoming something far greater than you could have ever imagined.

Just like in our own lives, big dreams and lofty goals are not a bad thing. But shift your focus to the small steps you need to take to attain those desires. The further you look to the future the more stress you’ll feel. Stay with the little drops of effort you can easily do. I promise, over time, your life will accumulate into something amazing.

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Stuffed Souls insights

I never thought in all my years of writing I would ever have to explain how to pronounce one of my character’s name. I mean, I’m a big fan of simple straightforward names for my characters. At least, I thought that’s what I was doing when I named Claire’s love interest Elam—apparently he’s not so straightforward. I’ve had quite a few people ask about his name. It’s pronounced E-lum, at least, that’s how I hear it whenever he is in a scene.

He’s so fantastically loyal and in love with Claire, even when her body is unconscious and life support, he made the perfect adult to drag into the plot with the other teenagers in my latest novel Stuffed Souls. A story with heart and depth that keeps you turning the page. It’s a read worth sharing. Tell your friends.

If you click on the picture it will give you a direct link.


Posted in Between The Lines | Leave a comment

Excuse me while I pull out my soapbox

Well, folks, I’m alive after this last week—but just barely.

I went to Lake Powell with my family to enjoy a nice vacation full of relaxation and fun. For the most part it was. Lake Powell is beautiful and the water is the perfect temperature for jumping in whenever you feel like it.

The night before we came home, my daughter and I jumped off the back of the houseboat to clean up as best as can be done in lake water. My daughter stood on the ladder washing her hair when this crazy storm rushed through the area in a matter of seconds. I’m trying to be patient, treading water a few feet away while she finished, but the swells had gone from not much, to over two feet. Faster and faster the water came. There was no rhythm to it to gage between breaths. No matter what I did I couldn’t stop it from slapping me in the face, and for the first time in my life, I faced the real possibly of drowning. I’m not a weak swimmer, I’ve lapped for years, but this water had turned into a swirling monster bent on taking me down.

With the last of my strength, I kicked my legs extra hard, drawing myself high enough out of the water to yell, “Move!” at my daughter. I needed the stairs she blocked to save myself.

Without even turning around she said, “Just a minute, I need to put conditioner in my hair first.”

Lucky for me, my older sister heard my yell and came out to the back porch of the houseboat. She saw the situation and chucked at me one of the foam noodles there at her feet. The extra floatation saved me, but ooo….it didn’t save my daughter from a severe tongue lashing.

Teenagers, the gist of what she got, I’m going to give to you. And if you’re thinking why, we weren’t there. I’ve observed you guys for far too long not to recognize you’re all guilty of doing this, so ahem…

I get it, it’s hard to stop being selfish. You see the world around you with a very narrow point of view. I get it, you’re growing up and want to make decisions for yourself. So, an adult telling you to do something is the last thing you want to hear. But, these two traits, being selfish and stubborn, are a deadly combination—and not just physically, emotionally as well. Some of the greatest regrets in life can be avoided if you’ll just turn and consider the situations around you before you react.  Soapbox out!

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Bring on the work

One of the greatest blessings about moving closer to family is my in-law’s ranch. Because of our close proximity, my oldest son goes out every other week during the summer to help his grandparents with the endless upkeep that comes with working such a place.

He came home this week looking especially filthy and exhausted. I couldn’t have been happier. He is learning the key to a successful life—a work ethic. At the moment it’s an extremely taxing work ethic, but if he can do something this difficult day in and day out, there are very few things harder in life.

A work ethic is something we all need. And I would implore you to find it while you’re young. It shouldn’t just be about making money. Finishing a job well, whether it be pulling weeds, cleaning house, or in my son’s case, chucking feed bales, brings a sense of accomplishment and self-worth that can’t be found any other way. You’ll also come to realize that anything in life is possible, but it’s not going to fall in your lap. So, get to work and make your dreams come true.

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Stuffed Souls insights: the grill-o-rific brother

One of my favorite things in my latest novel, Stuffed Souls, is the family dynamic of the Lowell family. They put the fun in dysfunctional, making so many of the scenes in this book colorful and hilarious. The oldest brother, Travis, is really the driving force keeping this family together. He is demanding, gruff, and imperfect in so many ways, yet readers love him. He just wants his teenage sister to straighten up and stop getting into trouble, but even when Megan isn’t exactly Megan anymore she can seem to do this. She even ends up kissing his best friend, which makes for a fantastic explosion. It sounds sadistic, but it’s such a funny scene. Pick up your copy of Stuffed Souls today and find out why. Click on the book below for your direct link.

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Life hardly ever gets the memo about your plans

You know what they say about well-laid plans—they often go wrong. This is as true in my life as I’m sure it is in yours. However, I’ve learned over the years that this isn’t such a bad thing. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about from one of this week’s many plans gone awry…

I needed gas in my vehicle, which happens more often than I wish it would. Anyway, as always, I’m crazy busy. I have one child who insists on a daily tennis match, another child to pick up from their summer athletic training for high school, and, of course, groceries, since my kids refuse to stop eating.

I swing by my usual gas station that’s on my way to the grocery store. I’ve used this plan on many occasions—it helps me kill two birds with one stone, if you know what I mean. As luck would have it—the pumps aren’t working correctly at the moment. If I want to use a credit card I have to run into the store, give the cashier an estimated amount I want to purchase, and then I can finally pump my gas. Nope. Nope. Nope. I see the line inside the store. There’s no way I have that much time, I’ll be late picking up that athletic daughter of mine.

I don’t get mad, it wouldn’t help anyway. I just leave and continue on with the rest of my planned morning. I’d have to find time to deal with the gas issue later.

After picking up my daughter I decide to go to a gas station that’s normally off the beaten path for me, but it’s closer to where I pick her up. I pull in, see the price, and do a fist pump. It’s four cents cheaper than where I planned to fill up in the first place. See, it’s okay when life doesn’t go as planned, especially when you don’t meltdown about it. Life has a way of making up those disappointments, often times with something extra special. So be patient and stay happy.

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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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