bookshelf · renewal · second chances

Read Free, Inspired Be

I love a good deal, especially a free book! One of mine is currently available as a FREE Kindle Download at Amazon, and I wanted to share.

The Oak Tree holds a special place in my writer heart as it is the first book I finished after my battle with cancer. It is an entirely fictional tale of life, love, and second chances, but more importantly it is a story of celebration and hope. And for a limited time, it is FREE!*

Download. Enjoy. Share.

The Oak Tree


No Kindle? Download the FREE KINDLE APP FOR PC or FOR ANDROID.

*Offer ends February 25, 2017.

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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE

daily life · happiness · home · letting go · renewal

10 Tips To Bloom Where You Are Planted


Over the course of twenty-seven years, my husband and I have moved five times. This number does not include the countless moves across town during our college and early years. These are the big moves – ones to a different city or state.

It has not always been easy digging up roots and planting them in a new spot. There have been definite bumps along the way, yet with each move we are better informed and prepared for the next. More importantly, my little family (son included) is adventurous and despite all of the stress relocation can bring, we enjoy the process and become excited at whatever awaits.

Some things I have learned to manage the craziness of it all:
1) RELY ON – If you move with a spouse, partner, or friend, lean on each other for support whenever the stress or loneliness becomes too much. If you venture out on your own, maintain connection with someone you trust from back home. Despite the distance, they can help you get through the rough patches.

2) DISCOVER – Schedule “explore days.” Take over the role of tourist and visit historical sites, heritage markers, museums, and parks. Finding out about the region where you live will make it feel more like home.

3) BE PATIENT – Do not force things. Friendships. Job. Dating. Home. School. It takes time for everything to come together. Pushing too fast will only lead to frustration and create disappointment, especially if reality does not match expectations. The best things truly do come to those who wait.

4) LEARN – Watch the local news. Read the newspapers. Attend a community meeting or gathering. As a citizen, following the events and people in your area will create a deeper connection.

5) BE OPEN – A new town or city means new experiences. Try different restaurants, visit unique shops, attend a play or musical, find a favorite local hangout, support the school sports program, and if there is an ethnic or cultural fair, go. Seek out places you have never been. Embrace activities you have never done.

6) CONNECT – If you workout, join a gym. Find a welcoming place to worship. Become involved in your child’s school. Have a hobby? Track down a club. If you are a bit introverted or tend to overschedule, be careful of doing too much too soon. Work into these things slowly and do not overcommit.

7) BE GRATEFUL – Many people never get to visit new places, let alone live in them! Gratitude for this remarkable experience is paramount. When you appreciate the special opportunity you have been given, the transition not only becomes easier to bear but amazing.

8) PAUSE – No matter how organized, the chaos of a move is overwhelming. Set aside time to be alone. Enjoy quiet nights. Unpack at your own pace. Settle into the comfort of your surroundings. Take a moment to watch a movie or read a book. Treating yourself will energize you to keep after that long to-do list.

9) REFLECT – If you had a bad experience in your previous town, consider how you can make it better this time around. Job, finances, relationships, or mistakes you have made are lessons in disguise. Analyze what happened, accept your role, and dedicate this as a time of change.

10) REINVENT – This is your chance to do things differently. No one knows you. If there has been something you wanted to change, now is the perfect time. Do not pretend to be someone other than who you are, however. Simply embrace the ability to start fresh and view yourself through new eyes.

Bonus Tip!
11) LIVE – Wherever you are and whatever the moment – that is where you belong and the best place to be! Do not fall into the trap of comparing the past and present. Avoid dwelling on what was left behind. Be wary of overdreaming about what your life could or should be like in the future. Remove the idea things will be better once you do [insert crazy thought here]. Give yourself the gift of living in the now.

I have learned to embrace the challenges of each move and love the journey. Yes, there have been sacrifices but there have also been wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime rewards. Life is what you make it. Home is where you live it.

Nurture the place where you have been planted and it will grow into something quite beautiful.


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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE

celebration · daily life · gratitude · renewal

What My Father Taught Me About Living


Forty seven years. I celebrated forty-seven years of birthdays in December. This is not a milestone. This is not a year designed on any greeting card. This is not a reason to throw a surprise party.

And yet, this birthday is one that mattered. A lot.

My father died just three days after his forty-seventh birthday. I was only eighteen at the time and though his absence has touched every single day of my life, I feel as if I finally grasp the enormity of what he lost.

In those years, he missed so much: meeting my husband, both of my college graduations, my wedding, seeing my son born. He missed my successes, my failures, my ups, my downs, my sarcasm, my depression, my hugs, and my love. He missed my first home. He missed my first real job. He missed my first book. He missed my cancer diagnosis and my battle toward remission. He missed holidays and weddings and parties and the nothingness of ordinary days. And that is just me. There are three other children, grandchildren, countless other family and friends, and of course my amazing mother. He missed so much.

And now, as I become the last of his four children to reach the age of his death, I miss him more than ever. We accomplished what he wanted for himself. We made him proud. We honored his life with our own. We loved and laughed and cried and screwed up and succeeded. We took chances. We tried. We never gave up. And now, we owe it to him to make these years – the ones he did not get – count.

Birthdays serve as so much more than a celebration of the day we were born. They are a reminder we are alive. And number forty-seven is somehow more important and beautiful than all that have come before. I want to live in the everyday as if I might not have another. I want more love and less hate. I want more laughter and less tears. I want more silliness and less seriousness. I want to see the best in people even when they are at their worst. I want to jump outside my comfort zone and possibly fall and rise up with a smile.  I want more of everything that is good in this world.

I want to embrace. I need to let go.

Those desires are nothing new. The need to share and spread positive things – things that make me smile and think and believe and dream? That is definitely new. It is time. And the older I get, everything becomes about time. Living the years my father did not get to enjoy proves time alone will never be enough. It is what we choose to do with those moments that matters.

Let us be inspired. Let us be joyful. Let us choose wisely.



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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE