Kindness Matters


In a time when the news seems at its worse, we are attempting to grasp and understand how all the tragedy and violence we are facing is happening.

Everything around us almost seems out of control.

I dream of days where people did not hate or take advantage of each other.

I dream of a time where Americans put their differences aside and accepted everyone for who they are.

I dream of days when the world isn’t about ego, power, and money.

I dream of a time when violence subsided and love took over.

While it is common to be attracted to the headlines of violence and drama, it can take a toll on society as a whole. In some ways, we lose our faith in humanity. Besides public policy opinions and political views causing Americans to clash, people are busy in their own worlds, dealing with their everyday stressors, jobs, problems, and families.

It is easy to forget the importance of being kind to each other when life is hurried or there is not enough time in our days to complete all we have to. We teach our children not to talk to strangers and tend to treat strangers as the predators we are trying to keep our children away from.

We are often in a rush and do not realize the lack of consideration we impose on others around us. What would happen if everyone became more considerate, more patient, and kinder?

I have slowed down and now each day I’m cognizant of how I deal with strangers crossing my path. I let people have the right away at a stop sign or to cross a parking lot even when I am running late. I will wait longer than normal if someone is walking up to a door to enter a store so I can hold that door for them. I smile at people while walking down the street. I engage in conversation with people ringing me up or waiting on me at a restaurant. I focus on paying it forward each time someone does something kind to me.

Every act of kindness grows the spirit and strengthens the soul. Where there is kindness, there is goodness.

Human kindness is one of the best things we can see, do, and feel. It brings us together, warms the heart, and creates smiles. Jump on the kindness bandwagon today and take care of those around you each day; do it for your families, your friends, and those strangers who you encounter.

How you ask?

Hold a door. Give someone the right away when driving. Pick some flowers and take them to someone. Write a letter to someone far away. Share the experience with your kids of taking old toys to donate. Volunteer. Take a bag of canned goods to the local food bank. Take old books or magazines to a nursing home. Say ‘hi’ to someone. Thank a veteran or police officer for his service. Pay for the toll for the car behind you crossing a bridge. Teach your children kindness. Donate blood: each donation saves two lives. Give up your spot in line for someone with fewer items to pay for. Put a coin in an expired meter. Place a shopping cart back in its place. Pick up trash. Pass along a great book you have read.

The list is endless for what we can do and it is almost effortless most of the time. Let’s take care of each other and watch out for each other in a way we never have before.

Like poet and playwright Oscar Wilde said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” It is the littlest of things that touch us the most. Make kindness a part of your lifestyle; it will come naturally.

Share the importance of kindness in all those around you.

Live with compassion.

Live kind.

Let’s restore faith in humanity as it is such an incredibly beautiful part of life.


Sue Grafton and I Have Lots in Common

NOTE: This is a re-posting of an old blog. I admired this woman when I wrote it and even more so today.

As social media buzzed with the fresh news this afternoon, I, along with writers and readers everywhere, found out that the extraordinaire crime fiction author Sue Grafton passed away after a two-year cancer battle. Initially as I read her daughter’s statement and learned Sue never completed her alphabet series, I was completely bummed for her. But then quickly my mindset changed. Z for Zero was a title she had for some time; was it one she came up with many years ago or once she realized she did not have the energy to finish the final book through her battle with cancer? It felt ironic in that moment when I realized she did finish. Z for Zero was finished. It was the perfect name for her perfect ending. Sue’s legacy will carry on forever through her words. I write in honor of her life tonight. #amwriting #author #writerslife #lovetowrite #motivated #suegrafton


I cannot believe how similar I am to Sue Grafton.

Okay, so I do not have 30 novels published, I am not a bestselling author, or real far into my writing career.

But really, we are alike!

I had the honor to spend several days learning from her at a writing workshop and writing conference. While I would never wish the challenge of writing on anyone, it felt great being just like Sue Grafton and all other successful writers. I never realized until I heard her and others speak at a workshop about how writing is NEVER easy.

Not even for you? Whew! That means I am normal! And I truly do have a chance to have a book I write in my hands one day!

As Sue spoke, I took notes and wrote down even her littlest of quotes. She is pure blunt. She says it like it is. I love her outlook on life and her career. When she spoke about how writing was not easy and never has been, she mentioned how stressed she can get while writing but she shows up every single day.

Days into the conference, I walked by a huge line of fans waiting, arms with loads of books to be signed.  I glanced to see who was signing and it was Sue. I did not have any books of hers with me but really wanted her autograph.  Not because I have read all her books and have always been a huge fan, but because I was a new fan of her, personally. I wanted a reminder of how she has succeeded no matter her fears or stress or how hard it is to write, which means I can too. I wanted a reminder of her being my motivation in that moment. I wanted something to frame to put where I write.

I stood in line with my journal in hand with over 20 pages of handwritten notes from the workshop and panels I attended thus far. When I reached the front of the line and found myself face-to-face with Sue, I explained how I did not have a book for her to sign, but would love for her to sign my class notes and that I had included her quotes and advice. At first, I could not tell if she thought I was nuts or it was just so out of the norm, but she smiled and was kind and asked me where she should sign.

I quickly fumbled through the pages finding the “Sue” page.  I aggressively pointed and said, “Right here!”  The quote was, “Sit in your room and suffer! referring to even when you are stuck, lock yourself in your room and make it happen. This stood out when she said it a few days before. And to top it all off, she complimented me about MY handwriting!


So, I have learned that Sue Grafton and I have a lot in common: the fear of writing but even more the love and passion for the craft that nothing will keep us from producing our best work.

Thank you, Sue, for opening my eyes to having a chance just like every published author I met or saw this past week.

And best of luck with X.  I know the story will come to you soon… just like mine will to me.

Time for me to go and sit in my room and suffer.


The Power of Self Discovery


Life is an endless process of self discovery.

I find it quite interesting in the times when we most find out about ourselves.  It almost comes as a surprise sometimes.

It did for me just yesterday.

Like the light of a sunrise starting to peek up over the horizon shining in your eyes.  There’s no avoiding the message and in a way, its just as warming as the sun.

It is a combination of revelation and reflection. Reflection and revelation.  We learn our truth.

Comforting, enlightening and revitalizing, you think?  Absolutely.

Like when something happens and we are taught who we really are deep down… and the whys too.

Usually it comes in a moment when you last expect something to happen and as it’s unfolding, you take notice of something eye-opening.

Sometimes it is painful or hard to accept the things we see within ourselves during self discovery, but it should bring empowerment knowing we can construct a new revised better self.

Yesterday I learned a few things about myself.

Did I know myself already? 

Of course I did.  But I saw myself down to the core in the vivid sunlight.

Was I surprised what was revealed?

Yes.  Yes, I was.

I guess I believe things happen to teach us about ourselves and for our very own self discovery.  With this self discovery comes awareness; an awareness of a deeper, more meaningful life.  Life’s experiences teach us purpose and potential lessons to carry on through our journey.

I think of us walking through life with our metal tool box in hand.  When we are born and raised, our parents are incapable of giving us all the tools we need to go through life.

Our tool box is missing something.

As we embark on our journey, we experience life in many different forms.  Traveling along on the road of life, we find, stop and pick up a tool every so often.  We grab it, reach over and drop it into the toolbox we are carrying.

And off we go.

Taking the tools we gather and applying them allows us to continue to work on ourselves to further experience, grow and live more full.

Self discovery and change allows us to illuminate the depths of our soul.  It allows us to become better people.  It allows us to fix the flaws we see.  It allows us desire to work harder.  It allows us to keep moving forward to become who we truly want to be.

After what I have realized, I am so excited about the new me I get to work towards.  Watch out world, here I come!

At the end of the day, when the sun set upon me, I think I learned that the journey of self discovery is one of life’s greatest adventures. sd2



Failing Forward

I have only really failed a few times in my life (not including a plethora Geometry tests back in high school) and those few I can count on one hand.  I live life hard and I work hard to succeed at what I put my mind to.

Success has been a part of my life since an early age.  My folks taught me, you want something, you work hard for it.  And that goes for any avenue in your life.  I carry that message with me every single day.  It is instilled in my soul.

I may not have been the best at everything but being in a top percentage was good enough for me.  I was about being my best me, not focusing on others or my placement or comparison to them.  I knew when I was working hard and when I was benefiting from such.  Some times things came easy, some times things were hard as hell.

Whether sports, my racing career, the start of my professional career or financial planning, I have done well.  I set sight on a goal and stay focused.  In life, I have always had something to focus on.  And with focus and goals, it is known failure is an option.

I remember the first time I really failed….again not counting my dreaded math tests… but something bigger when I was twenty five years old.  It rocked my world because I had never failed to that caliber.

I had failed a test, lost a game, lost a race but kept going back for more. I would try harder.  I would try my hardest. This time, the failure was a pure complete wipeout.  It took me to my knees and unfortunately because of my mindset and negative self-talk (which I did not know at the time), it took me many, many months to recover; to stand up.

But that horrific pain taught me that sometimes in life we fail. I hated that message then, but it was a valuable lesson and that message is not so bad today.

Now being much older, failure is accepted. Failure may come in small or big things but we can define a lot in life as failure.  Usually on a smaller scale, but still failure.  If we let these things take us to our knees like I did, we would never get back up.

If we believe failure can lead us to success and to become even better, we will always get back up.

Understanding this, failure has become a positive thing in my life.  It has caused me to learn, gain resilience, even find personal growth.  Failure is a friend not a foe; it is a learning experience.

No matter the amount of pain associated with a failure, we can always choose to see the positive.  There is always a positive.  There is always a life lesson we can take away.

We know we are learning about life as we go along our journey. Maybe the hardest part of failure may be as we get older, we feel we should know better.  We think this means we should always make the smartest of decisions.  We think this means we should not make mistakes.

Well, life happens.  And mistakes happen.  And it’s all in how we view the mistakes.

Is failure a learning experience?


I saw this week how emotionally resilient I have become.  It’s a powerful topic to study and I love the empowerment it has brought to my life. When I am in sync with the lessons I have learned, I feel taller, I feel more in control, I feel stronger.

Last week and today I learned I made a couple financial investments that are deemed a mistake.  When I made the decision involving these, I researched and felt I was making the right decisions.  They were not rash decisions.  They were slow, calculated thought out processes.

I have learned, unfortunately, they were not good ones.  I hate to use the word regret… I do regret one; the other I do not.  With the one I regret, I flat out failed.

Instead of dwelling on the heavy hit in my life, I have decided to take it as no matter how painful the fail was, I choose to feel good.  While I wish I had learned of the mistake sooner, I have to be at peace regardless.  At least I now know.  I can move forward, fail forward.

I have learned from it.  I have hit reset.  I am about to restart.   And that is what matters.  I will recover.  It may take time but I will recover.  This is what life is.  Moving forward despite failure.

Back during the US Civil War, Army General William T. Sherman determined upon his hard charge strategy after observing losing battles up until that point.  Our soldiers were retreating after losing battles.  General Sherman determined despite the reality of possibly losing more soldiers, they would still be better off advancing harder regardless of previous defeat.

Despite failing to meet our original goals, we realize we have made some progress. Rather than giving up, we take that progress and keep moving ahead.  And in the end, we find we will always advance way further if we do not retreat.

Failing over and over it what will bring success.

And if I face any other failure this week, I already have promised myself I will fail it forward.  ff2


Hope Anchors the Soul


While I think a lot, probably every waking hour of mine, I have realized recently there is one thing I have never put much thought into at all.

And probably one thing I didn’t have much of.  I also learned within the last few months (three times, one right after the other) how important this is to include this in our lives.

What is this thing?

It’s that thing called h-o-p-e.

I have learned over time how important it is to mold our subconscious thoughts just as we do with the positivity of our conscious thoughts.  It is the subconscious where the power lies in how we attract life.  Hope sees the invisible.

While I am a positive person and focus on gratitude and living, I haven’t had much hope ever.  I have been though some really hard times that were forced upon me. I accepted the reality – disappointments – being let down – that life is what it is. I just dealt with whatever it was I had to and kept moving forward. I just pressed on.

After being let down consistently, I think I now realize I gave up on hope.  Why have hope if we will just be let down if things do not happen as desired or in what we work for?  Why put ourselves through the extra grief if our ambitions and dreams do not play out? Why not just accept what is?

Hope was never a part of my equation.  Never needed to be with the mindset of it is what it is.  I learned to make the best of whatever my life existed as.  But back in November, I watched as something unfolded that made me realize I should have had hope.  I had given up long before I should have.

Lesson one in hope. Okay, I got it.  But it was lost again once the message carried on and faded through the weeks.

Fast forward to January.  One little moment while in Hawaii as we were walking down a lit path on a dark warm night. I felt something.  I did not know what it was at the time.  I now know it was a glimpse of hope felt all the way down to my soul.

In my lesson of weakness, where I let hope in, it changed my life. Hope was reintroduced through a tiny little miracle.

God gave me the message loud and clear that night. And that message is still loud and clear.  I received it this time.  Really received it.  Thank you God.

So, I have learned to never lose hope.  Ever.  Always hold on to it even if it’s just a single strand of thread.  Hold on for dear life.

If you don’t have hope or never thought about it before like me, think about it.

Find yours.

Never lose hope, you never know what tomorrow may bring.

It is a life game changer.

I promise you that.

Anchor your soul with all the hope you can gather.

Once you choose hope, anything is possible.shawshank

Unexpected Setback

Tonight surprised the daylights out of me.  Never did I expect for what happened to happen.

While I have heard a thousand times to follow your gut, I do not really recall ever having to make huge decisions or deal with gut reaction in my life before this year.  A few months back, I dealt with it for the first time (twice within weeks) and now, tonight.

I think the Lord is trying to tell me something.  Or teach me a lesson I have never learned before.

Well, I see and hear it clearly.

Tonight : Hit me like a ton of bricks.

Actively working on a project for almost two hours, I was hit with the remarkable unsettling feeling of gut instinct.  I never thought about needing to put this project aside for a later date.

I am almost at my deadline but the sign to postpone was right in my face.

Dangling in my face.

Like a pendulum swinging back and forth.

Or like a child on a swing set in the park.

I did not want to accept what my brain knew.  My gut was telling me what I had to do but my head would not accept it.    It was not going to happen.  It could not happen right now. It was out of my control though, something I was approached with.  It was not like I could not finish the project in time for the deadline or that I changed my mind saying I was not interested. This was different. But still, I was in denial. I did not want to hear it.

Fingers in my ears – la-la-la-la-la!

But, deep down, there was a reason.  And my gut hurt.  I had a stomach ache.  I had a nagging feeling I never get. And I knew what the reason was.

Within ten minutes, I realized I had to accept it or my stomach would not let me move forward.  I literally had to process this within minutes and tell myself that I had to postpone this project whether I liked it or not.

I had to be at peace with something I had worked on for months.  I had to be at peace with a change in my plans.  I had to be at peace with something unexpected like this unexpected setback.

Setbacks suck.  Well, do they?

In minutes, I turned it around and learned one of the biggest life lessons of my year.

I learned tonight: I have a gut.

And that gut is looking out for my best interest.

I think some of the best advice you’ll ever get will come from gut instinct.

With tears in my eyes and an overwhelming disappointment, I began to feel something powerful after I came to terms with reality.  The stomach ache subsided and something very powerful hit me.

It made me realize there is something more to this.  I am not sure what it is or when it will show up, but I realized in that moment that this project is something bigger. I felt in that moment I would be doing it disservice to finish it as planned.

I decided I would continue on working on this project until the time is right to complete it.  I think I know when that is.

I will just wait.

I somehow came to peace with this and knew this was the path I had to take whether I wanted to or not.  No choice.

So off track, so not what I wanted.  Never expected.

But this was something bigger.

And there was a reason.

I initially said I would sleep on it. I then knew I did not need to. It was determined by my gut instinct and would not change in the morning.  That I knew for sure.

While it may take a little longer to process the total disappointment and excitement as my deadline was so near, I feel the message of following our heart and following our gut is something we must do when we are given a message.

We have the permission to walk away from anything that does not feel right.  And that we should trust our instincts. They say when God wants you to grow, he makes you uncomfortable.

God has a plan and you will not know what that plan is.  Just continue and it will all work out.

Steve Harvey said, “Your setback is just a setup for your comeback.”

Bring it on.  Use the setback as a stepping stone to the next project.

Never let a stumble in the road be the end of that journey.

Embrace the journey, right?

And keep going.1113051



Looking Back and Looking Forward

It is said that we should never look back or be stuck in the past as the goal of life is to look forward and move forward.  Sometimes though we may live too much in the forward. How often do we think about what we have to do tomorrow, next week or next month?  How often do we dream of when we are retired or when we gain more success or awaiting our dreams to come true?

It is so refreshing to look back every now and then and realize how far we have come.  We see mistakes and life lessons.  We see pain and strength.  Every day we get the chance to grow a little more, to be a little better and to learn new things.

But what happens when we look a little too far ahead and before we know it, it’s full on overthinking things a little too much?

Me, overthink?  Ugh, yep. 

Maybe it is all about trying to control things a little too much.

Maybe it is all about just relaxing, having some faith and just letting life happen.

Seriously, how often do we do that if we are used to working hard, building success, busting out goals.  When you are a person with these mindsets, it’s not preached to just sit back, but I am here to say I realized this week is important to do so.

Continue doing what you are doing, just breathe, slow down the mind and focus on the now.  Be positive.  Have faith.  Believe.

Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive what could go right.  What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives have not happened yet.

Enjoy the vibe, enjoy the now, live the life and you can feel the peace of it.  Do not overthink things and just live in the here and now. Things will work itself out over time and the crossroads of what path to take will be obvious.

So when the future creeps up a little too much, look back into the present and be right where you should be.