“I dislike the phrase ‘Internet friends,’ because it implies that people you know online aren’t really your friends, that somehow the friendship is less real or meaningful to you because it happens through Skype or text messages. The measure of a friendship is not its physicality but its significance.” ― John Green,
I thank God every day for my online friends. They’re more dependable, caring and loving than my some of my own family and friends.
I have a great circle of online friends. They’re there to support me in times of need and celebrate with me in times of triumph. I know I can depend on them through thick and thin, no matter what. It doesn’t matter that they live thousands of miles away or that they speak a different language.
Friends, whether they are “real” or “online”, are one of life’s greatest joys. We smile when we see a message from them and whatever is happening takes a backseat. We share something funny, sad or meaningful. We ask for advice or give it when needed. We congratulate when something positive happens and offer hugs when something bad happens. Our online friends, through the power of social media, provide love and it’s simply wonderful.
There’s so many amazing people out there who hold a special place in my heart. I thank you all for showing me the power of positive thinking and love. Without you, my life would be miserable. I’m so grateful!
A laugh to make your day: http://www.boredpanda.com/catnip-wine-for-cats-apollo-peak/
Send a message to all your online friends today and tell them how much they mean to you! Share a laugh, like I did above. lol!
“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.” — Jan Schakowsky
If you were on a deserted island and could only bring three things, what would it be?
I would bring MR N, an unlimited supply of chocolate and my full library of books.
I love books. It borderlines on an addiction. I love to read and my love affair with books began when I was still in my mother’s womb. She’s a voracious reader and would read constantly when she was pregnant with me. She passed this love for all things books to me and it was the best gift she’d give me.
Why do I love books?
I love how I can learn new things with a swipe of my finger. I love how I can travel all over the world (and other galaxies) any time of the week. I love how I can connect with someone thousands of miles away, living a life I couldn’t imagine. I love how I can escape my life for a little while. I can time travel without leaving my chair.
There’s a lot of talk about how people are reading less and frankly, that’s not true. Amazon would be out of business if that was the case. People are reading and buying books, not to mention going to libraries to read. They just don’t want to pay high prices.
The world and society are a better place when people read. It brings us closer and enlightens us. It’s a dangerous precipice when we start censoring books and reading.
So, pick up a book and read today. It doesn’t matter what genre or heat level, just read. You’ll be supporting hard-working authors and it’s a great way to take a break.
What’s your favorite book and/or genre? Answer in the box below. I’d love to hear what you’re reading.
When Souls Unite
Two become one
When souls unite
The connection is pure
Such beautiful delight.
Of total devoted love
Proves to us both
That the Lord is above.
It was God’s plan
That two become one
The perfection of two
Is how God wanted it done.
There’s an old saying: A marriage is like a triangle and the three partners are God and two people. You can’t have unconditional love without God and you can’t love each other fully without trusting in God.
When I was single, I prayed to God every day for Him to send me the man I was supposed to be with and for Him to give me the courage to recognize him when he arrived in my life. God upheld His part of the deal but me, not so much. In fact, it took three times for me to recognize MR N as my beloved (thank goodness MR N is a patient man).
The truth is that I loved God first and I believe that’s how it’s supposed to be. In order for me to fully love MR N, I had to have a deep, spiritual love for God. I still do. My spiritual love for God is never-ending and grows deeper every year.
Instead of a triangle, I envision my love relationship with God and MR N as a circle. There is no beginning and no end; it’s continuous. God instills love in our hearts and He fills us with Light every single day.
No matter who you are or what your beliefs are, we are all spiritual beings and we all crave oneness with the Universe. Every connection/relationship we make, our souls rejoice. We’re on a path to enlightenment and sometimes the journey is fraught with obstacles.
Follow your inner light and it will never steer you wrong.
** When I mention God, I’m referring to a Higher Being. He/She goes by many names and feel free to insert His/Her name whenever you read God in this piece. **
“Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.” — James Cromwell
Title: One to Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day
Author: Carole P. Roman (Author), Mateya Arkova (Illustrator)
Genre: Children’s Picture Books, Children’s Books
Squirrel is rushing along a tree limb when she trips, losing all her acorns into the rushing water of the river below. Angry and frustrated, she doesn’t know what to do. Her good friend, Rabbit, lends both a sympathetic ear as well as a solution.
Rather than get angry, Rabbit tells her, rate the problem on a scale of one-to-ten. By identifying and realizing the true importance of the issue, the issue may not seem so overwhelming.
Adorable forest creatures help the sad squirrel put everything into perspective so he does not to get stuck in a rut over something that may not be a big deal after all.
We’ve all had bad days when nothing seems to go right; Squirrel’s no different. After picking acorns, she accidentally trips and all her acorns fall into the river. Distraught, she starts to cry. Her friend, Rabbit, comes along and helps Squirrel gain some perspective.
In the vein of Dr. Seuss, Carole P. Roman takes something everyone can relate to (a bad day) and teaches a valuable lesson: perspective. Rating each problem is an easy and fun way to bring perspective clearly into view.
Readers young and old will find value in this colorful picture book. The whimsical wording makes this a rhyming story while the beautiful, colorful illustrations takes the reader deep into the forest.
I, myself, was having a bad day when I first read it and by the time I finished, I was smiling and the clouds had lifted. An inspiring book and one that I will be re-reading. Best book by Roman to date. I highly recommend this book!
Disclaimer: I received an paperback copy from the author in the hopes I’d review it.
Favorite Quote: “When you have a problem, whether it’s big or small, think of a number to rate it, maybe it won’t bother you at all.”
My Rating: 5+ stars
Buy it now:
Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born. “Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life” has not only been named to Kirkus Best of 2012, it received the Star of Exceptional Merit, and won the Pinnacle Award for 2012. “Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience” Book 2 in the series, received 5 Stars from The ForeWord Review The Clarion Review. Strangers on the High Seas has won second place in the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards 2013. It has followed with six more books to the series. This year, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis was named to Kirkus Best 2015. The entire cultural non-fiction series If You Were Me and Lived in… was named Best Series by Shelf Unbound. She has begun work on two new series that will be released in early 2016.
Motivated by her love of yoga, Roman has written a book that not only teaches four poses, but shows how easy and accessible yoga can be.
Her new non-fiction series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…” combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. The debut book in the series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico” has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children’s Non Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, and Norway. Rebecca’s Reads has given If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway an honorable mention in the 2013 Choice Awards. If You Were Me and lived in …France won second place. ForeWord Review has nominated If You Were Me and Lived in…France for best in children’s non fiction literature 2013. They will be followed with Kenya, Turkey, India, and Australia. She plans to do Portugal, Greece, and Argentina next year.
Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.
Social Media Links:
Reviewed by: Mrs. N
On My Wedding Day (Wedding Vows)
On my wedding day, I’m honored to be here
In front of friends, family and God, with my soul mate by my side.
I often thought I’d walk the long road of life alone.
I was ready to give up on love, then the miracle happened, you can back to me.
Joelle, you’re my beautiful angel.
I’m so lucky and blessed this day, I’m marrying the girl of my dreams.
My heart’s beating so fast, I’m so full of love for you.
You’re my best friend, my soul mate, my life partner, for now and eternity.
I just want to thank you for being mine.
And thank God for letting me have this, my perfect dream come true.
You, Joelle, as my wife.
I love you.
Best friends are one of life’s greatest treasures.
We’ve all had best friends, those people who know all our faults and love us anyway. They’re there for us in time of need, whether it is to hold us when we cry or laugh with us at something amusing.
I remember in high school I had a best friend. Her name was Beth. She and I became best friends in the 11th grade. She was a very popular girl and I … wasn’t. I was shy and more of the quiet, creative, brainy type. But that didn’t matter to her. We didn’t hang out with her friends or mine; we hung out together. I slept over at her house quite a bit and she drove us to school in the morning.
She was having trouble with something (forgive me for not recalling what it was exactly) and I was trying to encourage her. She turned to me on the couch and said, “You know you’re my best friend, right?”
I nodded and smiled.
“You’re mine, too.”
“I’ve never met anyone like you before,” she spoke softly. “You’d love me, even if I confessed to you that I pooped in my bed.”
“Sure,” I began. “Just don’t ask me to clean it up.”
We laughed and went back to the show we were watching.
That’s what best friends do. We love each other, no matter what.
I’m so lucky because when I met MR N, we became friends first. We soon became best friends and then fell in love. MR N is my best friend and even though we’re married, I know I can confess my hidden feelings/thoughts and he won’t judge me. He loves me, warts and all.
Whether your best friend is your mate or someone else, give them a hug and tell them:
❤ MRS N ❤
A Father’s Love
A little girl torn from her daddy,
A daddy blocked at every turn,
An unconditional love that burned bright.
I love you daddy, she whispered into the night air.
I love you too, my angel, he whispers back.
Neither can hear the other but both smile.
Their love transcends the distance.
A woman now, she feels her daddy’s love,
Wrapping around her, protecting her.
She cannot see his ghostly face,
But knows he is with her always.
Nothing can separate them now.
The truth has set them both free.
Free to love each other as was destined.
Free to be her daddy’s angel,
Free to be her daddy, now and forever.
© 2008 N. N. Light, All rights reserved
I continue my tour through love by talking about the love between a father and a daughter. I wrote this poem back in 2008 and in it I delve into the relationship I share with my father.
A father’s love is strong and true. He guides his children to live a purposeful life, full of hard work and integrity. He’s the example of what it means to be a man.
Like yesterday, please take a moment and give your father/dad a call, text, email, etc. Three words is all it takes: I love you. Don’t delay because you never know when you’ll wake up and he’ll be gone forever. Don’t live with the regret that I live with.
The Love of Family
It’s something we both have
We’ve been so lucky
It’s joyous beyond compare.
I saw it in your time with your mom
I know you see it in mine too
When I’m around my mom.
It’s another blessed reason
Why our union is so divine
I love you my angel
I’m so glad you’re mine.
The bond between a mother and her child is strong and this love is like nothing else in the world. It is hard to describe except to say this is one of the examples of unconditional love.
A mother gives everything she has (and then some) to her child. She protects her child with her life and I pity the fool who messes with her child. I liken it to a mama bear protecting her cubs. Motherhood is a daily decision each and every day to love your child unconditionally and to see the best in them. It’s something that should never be taken lightly.
It’s this love that both MR N and I brought to our marriage. Our mothers were so proud of us when we got married because they could see the love we share. It was a special moment to have both of our mums there to witness our wedding and our happiness. Our mothers’ love gave us the strength and confidence to love each other.
Take a moment and call, text, tweet, contact your mum. Say hi and share your gratitude for her love. She helped shape you into the beautiful person you’ve become.
Memories of Coming Home
The excitement of you
At our wedding site
The constant smile
On your pretty face.
The roaring fire
The bright shining stars
Holding you closely
Under the moon’s glowing rays.
Sharing you with my family
With joy in my heart
Sleeping in a tiny bed
Feeling closer than ever
Never to part.
Family love: open, honest, caring and unconditional.
Family love is one of the strongest bonds we have. Whether it’s biological family or people who know us best, families love one another.
I can remember when I was first introduced to MR N’s family. It was the day after Valentine’s Day and I was petrified. I grew up an only child and never had any brothers or sisters. MR N has two brothers and one sister. They took me in as an adoptive sibling and made me feel part of the family. It was a secret dream come true because I’ve always wanted siblings.
I know that families are a challenge and we don’t always get along. My own side of the family is complicated and fraught with issues. But I love each of them, in my own way. Even if they aren’t reflecting unconditional love, I am and that’s all that matters.
Love one another and embrace your family.
I’m Not Beautiful
She says, ‘I’m Not Beautiful’
As she suffers with her cold.
What she doesn’t get is
She’s more beautiful than before.
Joelle’s beauty isn’t fleeting
Or temporary or a guise.
Her beauty is spectacular
The beauty is born of an inner goddess
Her eyes radiate her beauty and character
A glimpse of her angelic soul.
I’m sorry, honey, you are beautiful
It’s impossible for you to be not
I’m marrying a beautiful woman
God’s gracious gift to me.
How’s your self-love meter? Do you look at yourself with love or disdain?
Self-love has always been a difficult thing for me. I could blame it on growing up, being bullied constantly and not living up to Hollywood’s perfect body image. The real reason is much more simpler than that. I believed in other people but not myself.
As many of know, I’m an encourager. It’s a part of my make-up to encourage and uplift others. But turn that gift inward and my inner critic goes into overdrive.
You’re not pretty.
That outfit makes you look fluffy.
No one cares about you.
You’re getting older and it shows.
I have a secret weapon, though. When I hear those ugly words, I think of MR N and how much he loves me. The negative insults fade away and I whisper this mantra:
“I’m beautiful. I see myself the way MR N sees me: a goddess and an angel. I love myself.”
I know this sounds new-age but it really works. You have to love yourself before you can love others. Each of us has an inner god/goddess itching to break free and shine.
Embrace your inner god/goddess and love yourself!
The Value of Love
We both worry about money
About how we will live.
In the end
We should strive
To recognize the value of our love.
We work hard on our budget
Overlooking how our Lord Jesus
Has given us THE gift
The total power of our love.
What’s the value of love?
It’s more precious than all the gold, silver and money in the world.
I’m horrible with numbers, budgets and finances. When I was single, I lived paycheck to paycheck, racking up debt. I tried to save and work within a budget, really I did. But then I’d see a cute pair of shoes and I’d have to have them. Cha-ching, on the credit card.
MR N loves numbers, budgets and finances. His favorite thing to do is figuring out taxes. He digs in, reading up on the new tax laws and is just like a kid at Christmas.
When we got engaged in 2004, we pooled our finances together. Me with my wild spending and him with the tight budget. You’d think we’d be fighting every night. I didn’t want to end up like my married friends and family, always fighting over money. We agreed that he’d be in charge of all the finances and we’d talk about everything money-wise. A great compromise and it allowed me to be free from worrying about money.
The poem above speaks of our working through our money issues before we were married and it speaks to my heart again this morning. It’s tax time and we got hit with a huge tax bill (we did our taxes last night). We owe more money than we thought and it was a panic moment for me. But MR N knows me and calmed me down.
“It’s all going to be okay, my love.”
He came up with a plan and now we’re ready to take it on.
The power of love.
Love is powerful. Love is healing. Love can break through any obstacle and is stronger than anything imaginable.
Love one another without prejudice, ulterior motive or condition. Watch the power of love transform another life.
Has love changed your life? Share in the comments below.
February is Love Month on the POTL Blog. Every Inspiration Thought will be about love (not just romantic either). Be inspired and spread love.
When faced with obstacles, do you pray for shelter or do you put on your armor and conquer them?
Fear is a very real thing and for me, it’s something I struggle with on a daily basis. As a writer, blogger and author, fear and doubt like to camp in my heart.
Am I good enough?
Will people respond in a positive way to what I’m writing?
Why do I even bother?
Throughout history, there’s been a slew of people who, even though they were filled with fear, did what was necessary for the greater good. Armies rose up, heroes stood up for what was right and the world watched in amazement.
Fear freezes us, makes us stagnant and we don’t have a chance to grow.
This year, I’m going to face fear head-on and challenge it to a duel. Sure, there may be set-backs and disappointments but I’m moving forward.
How about you?
Instead of praying for sanctuary from fear and doubt, pray for courage and strength to confront fear and doubt.
Together, we can conquer anything!
Today is my father’s birthday. If he was still alive, he’d be celebrating his 68th birthday. My thoughts are filled with him so I thought I’d talk about the greatest gift he’s ever given me.
From the time I was born, my father has sung me, “Shine On, You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd. It’s our song, so to speak, and he always whispered in my ear:
“You’re my diamond, daughter, the very best the world has ever seen. Shine bright and let the world see your light.”
No matter what was going on in my life, he believed in me. When I messed up or failed miserably, he’d brush me off and tell me to keep moving forward. Even when people tried to keep us apart, my father stuck by and loved me. His last words before he died, I imagine, included me.
The greatest gift my father gave me was his unconditional love and belief in me.
Happy Birthday, Daddy! I know you’re looking down on me in Heaven and singing our song. I miss you so much my heart aches. Nothing can separate us now. I’m carrying on your legacy and keeping your memory alive.
Life is fleeting, people. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you for you never know when they’ll be taken from you. Call, email, send a carrier pigeon, do whatever you can to let them know how much you love them.
Shine On, You Crazy Diamond
Remember when you were young,
You shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes,
Like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire
Of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon,
You cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night,
And exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome
With random precision,
Rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!
We all want to be wise.
But how do we gain wisdom? It’s not like a foreign language where we can take a class.
Wisdom is acquired through experience.
Read the quote above and ask yourself, “Am I able to discern truth from falsehood?”
If so, then you’re wise. If not, then you need to gather the tools to help you discover truth in every situation.
I’m blessed by having a sixth sense, kind of like Spiderman. When something is not truthful, my spidey-sense goes off. Whether I act upon my sense is totally up to me.
The first point of wisdom is to discern that which is false; the second to know that which is true.
Be wise, my friends.
Are you attracting what you want most in your life?
The key to the laws of attraction is gratitude for what you already have.
We all have wants and dreams. But in order to achieve them, we have to show the Universe gratitude for what we’ve been given.
Five years ago, MR N wanted out of the restaurant industry. Burned out and frustrated, he went looking for a new career where he could use his organizational skills as well as his education (Masters in History). He landed in the coin collecting industry and has never looked back.
Today, he has moved up in the company, not to mention his second career as an entrepreneur and author.
How did he get here?
He (and I) are grateful for everything. We thank the Universe every single day for our blessings and each other. We’re humble and help others whenever possible. We spread the Light and purge darkness wherever we go.
It’s all about gratitude.
If you want certain things/dreams, you’ve gotta be grateful for what you have. The Universe won’t heap more blessings on you unless you give thanks for what It’s already given you.
Follow the quote above and watch as the Universe provides.
What are you grateful for? Share in the comments below.
Do you take care of your mental health just as you take care of your dental health?
Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day and up here in Canada, it’s a day devoted to talking freely about mental health. Several celebrities from Howie Mandel to Kevin O’Leary support this event and for every tweet, Bell Media will donate 5 cents to Canadian Mental Health Initiatives.
For those of you who are long-time followers, you know both MR N and myself are big proponents of taking care of ourselves. Life is immensely busy and in order to function properly, we need a break. For us, it’s relaxing out on our Solarium, holding hands and watching the world go by (every weekend and some week days). Trains, birds and other wildlife fly by and I can’t tell you how soothing it is to sit with my feet up, not doing anything.
What do you do to relax?
Whatever it is, do it. Your mental health depends on it. Like Howie says in the quote above, if we took care of our mental health with the same dedication that we take care of our dental health, we’d all be okay.
We all have had a rough patch, where the world appears to be against us and even the simplest tasks take all of our energy. This is your body telling you your mental health is in trouble. You need to pay attention before it gets out of control.
Talk to someone you trust
Speak to a professional
Get the help you need
You’re not alone. You’re not weak if you need help. In fact, the strongest person I know is strong enough to ask for help when he needs it.
Let’s talk mental health. What do you do to take care of yourself? Share in the comments below and together we can end the stigma.
Kindness isn’t like the flu shot; you need to incorporate it into your daily life.
I get asked a lot, “How can you be kind all the time? Isn’t it exhausting?”
The truth of the matter is that kindness is a part of myself, like an arm or leg. Through daily acts of kindness, I’ve made it a habit and it’s something I don’t even think about anymore. But it wasn’t always like that.
I can remember a time when I weighed everything I did by what it would get me in return. I loved to be loved. I did someone a favor expecting a favor in return. I gave money away to get it back in return. Everything I did was calculated into an invisible ledger. Kindness didn’t even factor into my life, and I was an important member of my church.
Then I met Jack. He was a co-worker at the bookstore I was managing. He and I got along great. We hung out all the time after work and one day he invited me to go with him to a “thing”. I wasn’t sure what it was but I said sure. He gave me directions and I met him. I looked up at the sign and it said:
Rainbow Outreach: Free to be Yourself
Hugs Free of Charge
It was a safe haven for LGTB youth and young adults. I had never been to one before and truth be told, I almost bolted.
What am I doing here? Sure, I believe in equal rights and the gay/lesbian lifestyle but what can I do?
Jack waved for me to come in from the window. It was too late to run. So I decided to stay for a few minutes, for Jack’s sake. What harm could it do?
I spent the next few hours there and it totally changed my outlook on life and kindness. These kids were like me and had troubles and insecurities, too. They were looking to be loved but didn’t expect anything in return. The biggest thing they taught me was to be kind, to each other and to perfect strangers. They took me in and made me feel loved without expecting love in return.
From that moment on, I chucked my invisible ledger and tried to incorporate kindness into my routine. I started small, opening doors for people, smiling and saying good morning, that kind of thing. It was hard at first because there are mean-spirited people in the world and they would take advantage of my kindness. I wanted to last out at them but I didn’t. I just poured on more kindness.
Kindness is a good habit to form and the results are impressive. Being kind to others takes getting used to but soon it will come natural to you, like breathing.
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.
Make kindness a habit.
Love, in its purest form, is loving the monster inside just as much as loving the angel.
Mr. N is reading a book right now and has come to a touchy subject: trust and love. The character (we’ll call him Jim) is a conflicted man. He’s had his share of betrayal and loss. He’s in a relationship with a loving, caring woman yet he doesn’t trust her. He goes so far as to hire a private detective to follow her around. He just knows she’s cheating on him. He feels guilty about it and when the report comes in the mail, he refuses to open it. Overcome with guilt, he tells her what he did. His defense: but I didn’t open it.
She’s angry, hurt and leaves him. As she’s walking out the door, she says in so many words:
“Love without trust isn’t love at all; you can’t have one without the other.”
Truer words haven’t been spoken. Trust and Love are interconnected. You can’t love without trust and you can’t trust without love.
When I was in my early twenties, I let my insecurities rule my heart. Jealousy waged war in every single relationship I was in. I needed constant affirmations and when push came to shove, my jealousy drove them away. I simply didn’t trust them.
Trust can be scary but then so is love. It means leaving yourself exposed to rejection, pain, anger and loneliness. But it also opens you up to love, peace, joy and happiness.
I opened myself up to MR N and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Sure, it’s scary but the love we share, the unadulterated joy we feel, is the best thing in the world. We walk hand-in-hand through life letting trust and love guide our path.
Let unconditional love rule your heart and follow this mantra:
I love you. That means I’m not just here for the pretty parts. I’m here no matter what.
Are you ready to be a Kindness Ambassador?
All over the world, there’s people spewing hatred, fear and tyranny. It’s ugly and makes me sad.
Where’s the love, kindness and peace?
The only way to fight darkness is to spread Light. Counter hatred with love. Smack down fear with kindness.
Spread kindness to everyone, especially the unkind ones. They need it most.
Instead of ignoring unkind people, be kind to them. They need it most, anyway. It doesn’t cost you anything and you’ll leave those unkind people scratching their heads in disbelief.
The world is looking for a few good men and women to spread kindness. Who’s with me?
Are you dealing with a life-altering change that came out of nowhere?
I can relate. I’ve been there and so has Buffy.
One of my favorite television shows of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Every episode is filled with scary monsters but also real life. Buffy is a normal teenage girl, except for the fact that she’s a vampire slayer. Every week, she must balance two lives: her teenage life (what, grounded again?) and her slayer life (you couldn’t go suck on some other town?).
The above quote is one of my favorite all-time quotes from Buffy. It talks about something we can all deal with: big moments. Joss nailed it when he said that even if we see it coming, we’re not prepared.
Lose a job, spouse, friend, lover?
Confronted with a moral dilemma and not sure what to do?
It doesn’t matter what the big moment is; what counts is what we do afterwards.
Whether we stand tall or cower in the corner, our actions/motivations show the world who we are.
So the next time a big moment arrives, pause and dig deep in yourself and ask:
What would Buffy do?
No, I’m kidding. That only works for me. 😉
Meditate/Pray/Reflect on who you are and how this big moment can, in the long run, make you a better person. We’re all molded clay and each big moment is the potter’s hands creating a masterpiece (us).
We all want a happy ending in life, like Cinderella and Prince Charming, but sometimes Cinderella has to go through pain/suffering and discover her own path to a happy ending. Tia Shurina, author of Everything and a Happy Ending, is not only a talented writer but an inspiration. She’s got amazing inner strength and is proof-positive that when you spread the Light and Love to others, it comes back to you hundred-fold. Her book moved us so greatly that she won the 2016 N. N. Light Book Award for Nonfiction.
In honor of this award, she agreed to sit down with me for a follow-up interview. Everything and a Happy Ending talks about the three men in her life, her journey to self-discovery and working on her own happy ending. She’s an amazing woman and it’s my pleasure to re-introduce her. Take it away, Tia:
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
I’m a very sentimental woman, & because of that:
I’d cast Brooke Shields as me since she holds very significant meaning to my story.
I would cast Ray Romano as my dad. The physical physique & resemblance is stunning, &, as the 3rd man in the trio, I feel that casting would add an incredible full circle beauty & intimacy to it. Plus, as a gambler, dedicated golfer, softball enthusiast & avid all around sports fan, I feel he would really, & truly, be able to capture the spirit & essence that was my father’s heart & soul.
I would cast Tony Danza as Larry, my ex-husband.
And as Ray I would cast George Clooney, again, because, like Brooke Shields, he has an extraordinary special significance in the book.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My best accomplishment is my 3rd baby, Everything and a Happy Ending. It accomplished the 2 most important things in my life…
feeling I came full circle as a mom to my 2 boys as I gave birth to my memoir. As my boys grew, & my dissatisfaction in my life grew, I hid a sad sorrowful feeling of disappointment that I was short-changing my children by letting my fears push me to settle in my life. My dad’s death was the catalyst & catapult to a transformation & metamorphosis long in the making. As they watched their mom face her fears & follow her heart for the 1st time in her life, I became the example I wanted to be for them. In that experience & thru that process, I am now ecstatic & feeling so proud they are well on their way to happy “everythings” in their lives…relationships, careers, experiences, at least with the things that are within the realm of their own control, of course.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Five years?! Oh my. Seems like a mini-lifetime away! I have to be honest, I’m holding a vision very close & clear in my mind for much sooner than 5 years right now. The last 7+ years that I have spent struggling to turn onto a different course in my life, & change an ending to a story I wrote for myself when I was much younger, much less mature, & certainly much less spiritually strong has been challenging, exhausting, emotionally draining, & very painful at times & I am now eager to finally, fully, turn that corner & step firmly onto that path. But, since 5 is the lucky number you asked about, let me say that in 5 years, I see myself having long climbed completely out of the financial hole that I dug myself into as part of the extraordinary gift of “everything” that I freely, & faithfully gave to another in a spectacular, sacred gift of trust. I see myself long enjoying a blessed, blissfully happy very intimate romantic relationship with excitement & much joy & laughter with a man I am madly, crazily, fantastically in love with. I was blessed with an answered prayer when I was given the opportunity to make some new choices for myself at this certain age in my life. It is the reason I finally faced down my fantastic fears & rose above them by ending my marriage. I will not let that gift be in vain or go unwrapped or unlived & I have full faith that the Universe will deliver us to one another…whomever that someone turns out to be.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I have read each & every review that I’m aware of, so far. Who I am, tho, struggles to NOT let the 1 negative comment out of 100 positive ones eat me alive so, can be draining. In my life, I’m getting better at not engaging, or co-creating with other’s harsh criticisms, so, I keep the faith I will move to that place with the book as well.
In my heart, Ricky Nelson’s song, Garden Party, is my theme song (you can’t please everyone so you gotta please yourself)…but my head sings a different song many days! I won’t plan on responding to the negative. Constructive criticism is one thing…an important valid tool and as an inexperienced, nonprofessional writer I accept they will be a part of the process, but I will do my best to let negative mean-ness “walk on by” (that’s Dionne Warwick…& yes, I love music & find it to be a very powerful inspirational tool!).
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
My least favorite part of the process has been the marketing & publicity aspect. The book was a Plan C for sure (maybe even Plan D). I had no desire or plan to share my own personal story so publicly. When came time to promote that sharing…my book…a lot of old “stuff” seemed to circle their wagons. I went kicking & screaming a bit to go with that flow I was so desperate to swim with finally in my life, instead of bucking that flow for so long in my life. And, I’m so outside my comfort zone in soooo many areas of my life right now as a result. It has brought a happiness & peace of heart I have never felt, yet, I am also exhausted from the journey I chose to take almost 8 years ago at this point. Because I’m so beyond my limits, “running on empty” at this point (with Jackson Browne singing back up for me!), & beyond in some important places, this particular part has hit me especially hard. Ive been incredibly protective & especially particular about making sure the story ripples outward in the same energy & intention it was written in…and that is, of course, the spirit of LOVE, & because of that, I continue to wear many hats as I move along this beautiful journey I embarked on after my dad passed. It has worn me out in some aspects, yet, in some other all important areas it has energized me & gifted me with a re-birth that has been so fulfilling. What a rollercoster ride it has been. Good thing I have always loved them!! And, a good thing indeed I finally accepted the possibility that maybe this was something important I do & face & embrace in my life.
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
The situation I find myself in right now. My ex & I have a very Modern Family kind of living arrangement. He moved out for quite awhile after we split & then became my roommate after his dad passed away over a year later…a gift to my ex, wanting to be kind & help him out, even as I was trying to honor myself 1st & foremost, finally, in my life. That choice was also a gift to Ray, which is all detailed in the book as to the why’s I made them. At the time, I trusted was going to be for a short amount of time & felt certain was a positive healing choice & opportunity for my ex & I…& our 2 boys actually, after they witnessed a bit of tumult between us in the time before we finally split. But, it passed its circle of healing at a certain point & rounded back to an un-healthy situation again, & I’ve been struggling mightily as a result as my circumstances have changed through the years as I tried to do what was best for Larry, best for Ray & honor myself at the same time. I gave everything to Ray, as I promised him I would…and, he accepted my gift, which continues to make me so happy, but, it has also wreaked havoc on my life in many, many ways. And, because I was giving to Larry at same time too, all of our choices have co-created a firestorm that is indeed scorching me now. Its a difficult time, but, I am so devoted to myself…&, as my father’s daughter, am rolling the dice & placing a big bet…on me!
I’m currently in full swing of trying to get myself out, on my own…the book is part of my attempt to gain back some of the financial security I gifted to Ray, part of my offering of trust.
What is your biggest fear?
Well, to piggyback off the last question, I will share that on a difficult, dark day, I will allow the fears to have their moment & take me to my knees in fear & worry that even a tiny remote chance exists that I will be unable to get myself onto a firm financial foothold & start the new life I so desperately wanted for myself when I made the decision to end my marriage is definitely topping the list these days. After I allow myself to be human, however, I am well aware of the importance to get up from my knees & walk away from those fears so that energy does not get to stick around me. It is so unhealthy to wallow in it but I am also aware of the importance of allowing feelings & acknowledging emotions as well, after a long time in my life of kinda stuffing them away. It’s a balance, for sure. There’s a powerful scene in Eat Pray Love where Elizabeth is on her bathroom floor, distraught, praying to her God for help. It’s a beautiful scene of surrender, and faith…& I’ve certainly been there, as I’m sure many have. But, for me, balance is so important…& in my ordinary/extraordinary, divine but very human “story”, there is a scene where it isn’t the quite of night but the bright light & busy-ness of day, in my bedroom, with neighbors downstairs & kids in the next room to hear me, even as I have closed the door to try & maintain some privacy & dignity, screaming to my God, in devastation & despair, feeling betrayed & forsaken. So disappointed in a divine Universe I felt could never be capable of, or allow, such selfishness, such unfairness, such cruelty. That scene is my best way to articulate my biggest fear in a visual, to accompany the words I shared about the state of affairs that my ALL-IN choice & promise to Ray created.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I’d like to be able to become invisible. Sooo much mystery & more than just a little angst too, would no longer exist in my life if I were able to do that.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Giraffe Hotel in Nairobi Kenya
What’s on your bucket list (things to do before you die)?
Besides above, which gets me to Africa, I’d like to visit Alaska & Hawaii, which were places my dad wanted to get to, drive cross country & see the Grand Canyon, a visit to a few other of the Wonders of the World (either classic, new or natural), a Mediterranean cruise, learn to speak a little French (which I find to be a very sexy language), learn to play the drums & piano, mentor…& since I have 2 sons, I’d like to mentor a girl, & lastly, have a book I wrote made into a screenplay!
Title: Everything and a Happy Ending
Author: Tia Shurina
A memoir about 3 interconnected relationships & 3 special men in my life. The fact that youre reading this makes me happy. Maybe youve mistaken this for a how to give a good happy ending sexual self-help book. Maybe youre reading because you have a genuine interest in anothers journey. Either way, Im good. My journey almost destroyed me. Almost. Boy, have I come to like that word. What a pleasurable word almost can be. You may almost be ready to buy my book. You may almost be ready to begin an amazing new journey of your own. You may almost be over that rainbow Judy Garland sings about. What great potential almost can hold, if you can flip your way of thinking. Just imagine controlled pessimism, doubt, and fear flipped into blind optimism, faith, and love.
Grow with the Flow
(of the Current of Your Life)
Come together… at just the right and perfect time
Such wonderful advice, to go (and grow) with the flow. I heard it from my dad, as he encouraged me to swim more with the current of my life, rather than against it, as I’d done for a long, unsatisfying time. It is a great title for a book chapter or TV episode, yet it can be difficult to true-ly live in real life, I think.
There’s an Oscar winning movie, Marty, from 1955. It’s a fictional story of two average people who meet a bit later in life, fall in love, and get a happy ending. Marty, a plain man, meets Clara, an ordinary woman. Both are lonely, and both feel even less than plain and ordinary. It is a beautiful love story about meeting, connecting, trusting, redemption, and second chances arriving later in life. It is extraordinary and ordinary, both at the same time. It is almost unbelievable, yet totally attainable. It is a once in a lifetime story and an everyday possibility—the perfect balance.
Now, imagine the story is not fiction, but real. Imagine there real-ly exists a Marty and Clara, who meet when fate crosses their paths, but not as middle-aged, world weary, lonely adults, but as much younger, scared, lonely adults. Imagine also that this particular Marty and Clara are not plain or ordinary at all on the outside, yet on the inside feel the very same way Marty and Clara felt. It is a difficult challenge for even the older, wiser adult to go with the flow, but for the younger, intimidated, un-wise young adult to ponder the paths that could be taken, instead of the choice to trust, to let it all go, to jump in and let the current flow you to where you are meant to be is much harder. Imagine that this very real and very scared Marty and Clara pair go their separate ways, rather than go all in and take the risk first time around.
But if life is a journey of human choices and divine plans and assistance in mind and soul from the start, consider the possibility that, if their destiny is to come together, they will make their way back around the circle to reunite. Given another chance to simply be together, when the time was right and perfect for them, they’d reconnect like yin connects with yang.
What if the universe has always been watching their backs, moving them along divinely, in just the right and perfect way, to help them get a second chance someday? As Sophie says in Letters to Juliet, “‘What’ and ‘if ’ are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What if? What if? What if?” What if, like in reel life, the real life Marty makes a promise to the real life Clara, to come back to her so that they can have that love affair, finally, to go with the flow, and meet up with her soon? What if the real life Clara devotedly waits as the reel life Clara does—sitting, motionless, on the sofa, just waiting for her Marty to reach out, not moving or budging until he did, because she grew scared that if she did, it meant she didn’t trust him, petrified it meant she didn’t have faith in him? What if?
What if, in a very real life, a very real Marty and Clara can face their fears this time around their circle, and find the courage to actually go with that flow? Maybe, just maybe, they can have that love affair that often exists true-ly in fairytales, but once in a while moves into reality as well, jumping off the pages of a book, leaping out of the TV or off the reel life movie screen—a real and a very true love.
Will Tia Shurina give Ray Romano a “Happy Ending”? New Memoir Reveals Relationship and Unveils Transformation
Feb 01, 2016, 12:11 ET from Everything and a Happy Ending
NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Sometimes a person’s outside public persona isn’t reflective of their inside private life. Everything and a Happy Ending shares her struggle with authenticity between her outer and inner worlds; her real and true lives. It also details how an old friendship turned to secreted emotional love affair and how she helped him flip a not so funny reality into a fantastical new reel life self.
As Tia transitioned through her own real life roles she became the muse for one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.
Her book illuminates her awakening and metamorphosis, committed to embracing the high road of nourishment, while exuding courage and kindness. Her memoir shares her journey to give and receive love without domination, submission, or sublimation. She takes the reader through sorrow and tribulation leading to growth, clarity, peace, release and joy recounting three interwoven circles & love stories. EAAHE chronicles how her childhood relationship with her father set the foundation for her long marriage to her ex-husband; then shares how their adult relationship “set the stage” for a unique love story with the comedian. She details how her faith is strengthened as her own re-birth inspired her old friend to grow and evolve himself. She’s been his shadow muse since a poignant, powerful reconnection became the catalyst for her privately shared personal evolution which became the root and core of Romano’s own journey of “soulwork”. That inspiration allowed him to achieve some of the greatest successes of his career.
Shurina states, “My dad’s advice to his children was, ‘hold your form’. Those bestowed bellwether words were integral to embracing my faith, finding joy within (and without!), allowing ‘true’ love, giving in peace and empowering others to rise to their own best form.”
Her story is a tour de force of emergence into empowerment & the recognition of the interconnected heart, balancing the spiritual and the material, and her selfless, unconditional giving to help liberate another from a life born of a need for adulation and acceptance.
“It’s my prayer another woman of a certain age feeling dissatisfied in her life might take a babystep forward.”
EAAHE combines real and true aspects of Eat Pray Love crossing paths with 50 Shades, Marty, Parenthood and Someday Someday Maybe meeting When the Balls Drop.
Tia Shurina lives in Queens, NYC but still spends time on the Jersey Shore, where she feels safest in the bungalows she spent her childhood summers. She is, most days, really filled with joy. She is, every day, truly filled with peace. She looks forward to a happy ending each new day, however it unfolds, whomever it holds, & however the Universe molds, as she continues to create a new “happily ever after”, staying committed to rising above her fears, moving out of her comfort zones and going with the flow of her life.
I’m a big fan of Kasey Musgraves and a lyric from one of her songs really resonates with me.
“Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.”
In the song, she talks about how people need to do their own thing and not be so concerned about other people’s business.
We can all relate to this, can’t we?
There’s always people in our circle of influence (family, friends, neighbors, etc.) who seem to stick their nose in everyone’s business. They may say they’re only being helpful but in all reality, they’re being nosy.
A simple life motto, this lyric is, isn’t it?
Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.
I’m going to adopt this motto for my own life. I’m minding my own biscuits and life is pretty delicious!
Join me and get ready to savor life!