Stress Got You by the Throat? Remember This… #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts #stress

stress kc


Has stress got you in a chokehold? 


Remember one important thing —


God will never give you anything you can’t handle so don’t stress.


When I’m faced with a problem or a deadline, I tend to stress. It takes MR N giving me a shake along with some encouraging words to remind me that I can handle whatever is going on. I’ve been to hell and back several times (you’d think I’d be on their frequent flyer miles program) and the one thing I learned is that God gives me an added boost of strength when I need it most.


Listen, life is filled with wave after wave of disappointments, setbacks and obstacles. They’ll knock you on your bum and just when you think you don’t have the strength to handle another wave, it washes over you. Somehow (and who knows where the strength comes from) we get to our feet and face the wave head-on. We’re wobbly on our feet and utterly exhausted but we’re upright. That’s the key to handling stress: when you fall down, get back up. Realize that you have untapped courage and toughness, just waiting to be used. 




ThursdayThoughts: Trust Your Instincts Instead of Your Head #inspiration #motivation



Do you trust your instincts?


I’m a good judge of character (most of the time) and no matter what’s going on, my instincts can tell what’s fake and what’s real. My instincts have gotten me out of some pretty harried situations and showed me the right way to go. Whether I listen to my instincts or not, that’s a whole different story.


When I first met MR N, there was something about him that clicked with me. It wasn’t only his good looks or the fact that he could cook that drew me in. I couldn’t quite put it into words what it was about him that my soul clung to. My instincts whispered, “He’s the one you’ve been looking for.” But then my head started screaming insecurities and doubt filled me. I should’ve listened to my instincts instead of my head and saved myself  over two years of heartache.


Have a big decision to make?


Trust your instincts and they’ll never misguide you.



The Big Moments are Life Changing and a Test of Your Mettle #inspiration #motivation #BtVS



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?


Big moment.


Confronted with a moral dilemma and not sure what to do?


Big moment.


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).



Strive to Always Improve Through Goal-Setting and Perseverance! #inspiration #motivation

work improve


Are you basking in what you’ve accomplished or are you reaching for the stars?


Back in January, I made a group of goals I wanted to accomplish this year. One of the things I wrote down was I wanted to be a Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer. I reached that goal this summer. Did I sit back once I reached it? Heck no! I pushed myself harder and harder.


Yesterday, I got a notification that I’m now a Top 500 Reviewer! I couldn’t believe it. I was speechless, jumping up and down with excitement coursing through my veins. I emailed MR N and told him the great news. He’s just as excited as me.


Will I stop? No way! I’ll keep pushing myself to be the best reviewer I can, growing and persevering through all challenges. 


Just because you’ve reached one goal doesn’t mean you’re done. Life is a constant journey of climbing one mountaintop after another. Some will be easy while others will seem impossible. With each success, we’ll be critiqued by others. Is she as good as she appears? Did she cheat to get to where she is or did she work her bum off? What will she do next? 


The secret to life is to keep growing, keep trying new things, keep setting goals and reaching for the stars. 


How are your yearly goals going? Share in the comments below.

Indulge Once in Awhile… You Deserve It! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts #grateful

indulge SJP


When was the last time you treated yourself? 


I like to treat myself. Not only does it make me feel good for all the hard work I’ve done but it makes me grateful for all the wonderful things life has to offer. Mostly, I treat myself with food (hello chocolate), drink or books.


I’m reading this book called Candyfreak by Steve Almond and in it he talks about his obsession with candy. He says it’s his freakdom and he embraces it with every fiber of his being. He says, “You don’t choose your freak; it chooses you.” I totally agree.


Ever since I was little, I’ve loved chocolate and pop/soda. It’s my freakdom and I’ve learned to embrace it full-force. Luckily, I married a fellow chocolate freak (MR N) so we can covet chocolate together. At all times, we each have a stash of chocolate and every day we indulge in a chocolate bar.


With Halloween just a few weeks away, I hope you can treat yourself. You’ve worked hard and deserve a treat. No matter what it is, indulge yourself. It’ll change your perspective and gratitude for all that life has to offer will radiate from you. 


What’s your freakdom? What do you indulge in? Share in the comments below.



When You Hit a Roadblock, Try a Different Path! #inspiration #motivation #ThursdayThoughts



Are you dealing with roadblocks on your way to achieving your goals? Is frustration making you rethink your goals?


STOP! It’s not your goals that need a readjustment but the plan to get there needs tweaking.


I have certain writing goals that are taking longer than I thought to achieve. Am I feeling frustrated? Sure, but I know it’s a long road to the top and I need to keep trying new things. I keep writing my stories, blogging every day and with each baby step I learn what works and what doesn’t.


When I hit a roadblock, I steer myself around it and try to navigate through on the same path. If I can’t, then it’s back to the drawing board. I redraw a plan and take a different route. There’s more than one way to achieve a goal and most of the time, it take five or ten plans to make it happen.


Don’t get discouraged when your initial plan doesn’t work. Change the plan, not the goal. Stay motivated.



Write Down Your Dreams so They Become Tangible! #inspiration #motivation #ThursdayThoughts

setting goals


Dreams are just dreams until you write them down. Once you write them down, they give birth and become goals.


One of the most important lesson I learned in life was the simple act of writing down my dreams. See, dreams are like air; you can’t see them yet you know they’re there. But when you write down your dreams, they become visible and tangible. Dreams, once written down, become goals and we all know about goal-setting.


Cowboys Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith at the ripe age of 22 wrote down his dreams. He wanted to become the all-time leading rusher in the NFL. He hadn’t played one snap on the field yet he wrote it down. He kept his list with him and used it as inspiration. The result? He achieved his goal and many more.


My advice: write down your dreams and use the list as motivation. You have the power to make your wildest dreams come true. 



Act Without Expectations! #inspiration #motivation #ThursdayThoughts

Act without expectations


You’ve heard the old saying about actions being louder than words but I have a new saying for you to mull over today.


Act without expectations.


Expectations hold us back from going after our dreams, doing something no one has done before and tackling the world. Whether its our own expectations or other people’s expectations of us, it tethers us in place. 


Free yourself from expectations and act. Quit worrying about what people think or that you shouldn’t be concentrating on ___________ . Follow your heart and act. You might be surprised where it takes you.


Have you acted without expectations? What was the result? Share in the comments below.




Anxiety is Love’s Greatest Killer so Stop Panicking #inspiration #motivation #ThursdayThoughts

anxiety anais nin


Did you know that anxiety kills?


Look at any medical journal and you’ll see evidence of how anxiety strips our bodies of health and well-being. Both physically and mentally, anxiety causes us to worry and fret. Love and tranquility can’t penetrate and we’re left with a less than healthy lifestyle.


Last night, I broke down and let anxiety over cigarette smoke leaking into our apartment get the best of me. I started wringing my hands and getting so upset. It didn’t help matters and only caused me to have chest pains. MR N took my hands in his and encouraged me to relax. I took his advice and let is all go. We had the tools to deal with the smoke and it was useless to get so upset.


Like the quote above states, anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It saps the life out of us and the more we worry, the worse off we are. Even our friends and family back away in fear of getting sucked into the anxiety vortex.


So how do we stop anxiety from taking over? 


Breathe, meditate/pray, relax.


Stuff happens to us and we have to deal with it. Know what you can control and let the rest of it handle itself. Do it for your health, for yourself and for your loved ones. 


Don’t let anxiety win!



Remembering #PrincessDiana and Her Legacy of #Kindness! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts

kindness Princess Diana


Today is the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. 


My thoughts are filled with her from her fairy tale wedding to her beautiful smile, from her grace while dealing with the infidelity of Prince Charles to her kindness towards everyone she met. She was a champion for helping those in need and that is her legacy.


No matter how you feel about Princess Diana, her quote about kindness applies to us all. If we all did one act of kindness today, without expecting a reward, what a beautiful tribute to Princess Diana that would be. 



Instead of Hiding Your Mistakes, Own Them and Quickly Fix! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts



What do you do when you make a mistake? Do you fess up and admit it or do try to hide your mistake, blaming others?


Save yourself a lot of trouble and own up to your mistakes, quickly making amends.


One of my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes is titled Amends. In it, Angel is being haunted by an ancient evil. This ancient evil keeps showing Angel all of his past mistakes and evil deeds. Buffy confronts Angel right before dawn outside.


“The world wants me gone,” he replies to her pleas to get inside. 


“What about me?” she whispers. She tells him how everyone makes mistakes. Then she lays the kicker. “Angel, you have the power to do real good, to make amends. But if you die now, then all that you ever were was a monster.”


See, we all make mistakes in life. Some of us are filled with regret, wishing we could take it all back. The truth is that we can’t redo parts of our lives but we can make amends. We can right a wrong, ask for forgiveness, move on and try not to make the same mistake twice.


I have regrets, too. I wish I had stood up to my high school bullies when I had the chance. How do I make amends? I do whatever I can to stop bullying. I make sure kids (and adults, too) understand they are valued and loved.


Don’t hide from your mistakes. Own up to them and quickly fix what you did wrong. While the embarrassment of fessing up might feel awful for a second or two, confessing and making amends far outweigh feeling bad.


Making mistakes is human but fixing them as soon as possible is divine. 



Family: A Prime Example of #Kindness and #Love! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts

family big ben


From the earliest age, we’re influenced by our family. Sometimes it’s a positive example and sometimes it’s a negative example. We’re taught how to act around others and what’s important in life. 


For me, I learned how to respond to others and what mattered most through observing my family. Money, appearances, love, upholding the family name were all important to my family. It wasn’t I got to know other families did I learn that there was more to life than that.


I love this quote by Big Ben because it speaks of kindness and thoughtfulness. Unconditional love comes to mind and that is a trait I share with my chosen family (a group of friends and family I’ve adopted as my own family). 


Like Ben, I try to live my life like my father. He loved me with his whole heart and even though we were torn apart by circumstances beyond our control, our love only grew stronger. He taught me the importance of not judging others and loving your enemies.


So, whether you’re a parent, child or friend, be the example of what it means to be a kind, loving family member. Love your family (whether it’s your birth or chosen family) unconditionally and never judge. 



Forget Searching for Happiness… It’s Within You! #inspiration #grateful #ThursdayThoughts

happiness have


Are you searching externally for happiness? 


Psst, happiness is found within through the simple act of gratitude.


I’ve been told by several people throughout the years that happiness is a journey and you’ll be happy when you do ___________ (fill in the blank). Whether it’s finding the right man/woman, marriage, children, house, career, income threshold, I’ll be successful once I do it. I took their advice and was very unhappy. I could’ve saved myself a lot of trouble if I had taken the following to heart:


“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”


It’s sound advice and a lesson I learned recently. Happiness comes from within and by being grateful for everything (even the bad stuff), peace and contentment flow in my veins. I’m most happy when I’m sitting out on the solarium with my beloved Mr. N, holding hands while watching the trees and birds.


Find your happy place, no matter where it is, and visit it daily. Meditate/Pray over various parts of your life and be grateful. Appreciate everything/everyone in your life and recognize you are truly blessed. Happiness will bloom inside you. I know it sounds corny but it’s true. The simple act of gratitude brings happiness to the forefront of your mind.


Happiness doesn’t come from some adventure (like in Lord of the Rings) but it comes from reminding ourselves what we have already in our lives. 



Never Be Complacent and Relying on What You’ve Accomplished! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts

work improve


Are you complacent, happy to rest on what you’ve already accomplished or are you constantly trying to improve yourself?


When I was single, I was always sitting dormant, not trying new things and feeling like I was living in a rut. All that changed when I married MR N. He’s one of the most competitive, driven people I’ve ever met. He’s a competitor, learning and teaching every day, even when he’s exhausted. He taught me the importance of pushing oneself off the cliff of complacency into the stratosphere of possibility.


As an author, it’s easy to fall back on my accolades and praise. The reality is that successful authors, no matter if they are traditionally published or indie, push themselves to keep writing and keep improving their craft. It’s all about the next book, the next series, not what they’ve already written.


Take my advice and be like a tree, always growing and craning your neck towards the sun. Don’t be satisfied with what you’ve already done but continue to grow and reach for new heights.



Find Your Inner Joy at a Dark Moment and It Will Burn Out the Pain! #inspiration #motivation



What’s your inner joy memory/thought/idea/place? 


When life throws you down a dark vortex where you can’t see what’s in front of you, where you have no idea what to do next, how do you make it through? I focus on my inner joy. It can be a happy memory, a future event that you’re really excited about, a thought you can meditate or a place to go to.


Last October, we started planning our Summer vacation. Last year’s vacation was a nightmare and we were more stressed out when we came back than when we left. We discussed it and decided to go all out for our 2017 vacation. We scrimped and saved everything we could to make it happen. We endured hardships and there were a few times when I doubted we could make it. But here we are, one day and hours from our dream vacation.


How did I deal with the stress and anxiety? 


Simple. I thought about our suite at the resort we’ll be staying at, with its skylight over our bed, the fireplace nook and the exquisite food at the restaurant on-site. This thought, this idea, this place was my inner joy, my secret sanctuary, and it got me through anything that came my way.


What’s your secret sanctuary? 


Whenever you’re in the midst of stress, anxiety or whatever dark cavern you may be stuck in, concentrate on your inner joy and like the quote says, the joy will purge the pain and strife.



Motivate Yourself to Great Heights Like a Bird! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts #motivation

bird motivation


Need some motivation? Be like a bird and fly.


Every day I wake up, thinking about my upcoming vacation. I pine for it, think about it constantly and it’s my motivation right now. No matter how steep my workload is or all that I have to do, I think about the oasis I’m soon to be in and it gives me a jolt of energy.


We all have times throughout the year where we feel stressed, stymied and in need of a break. Our minds don’t wanna work as hard, our bodies are exhausted and we snap at loved ones. It’s time to plan an escape, even if its for a few hours. 


We have a family of hawks in our neighborhood. On the weekends, MR N and I love to watch the hawks soar overhead, looking for its latest meal. They’re so majestic and their wingspan is impressive. Once they’ve eaten, they soar to the tallest evergreen tree to rest.


The hawks are the perfect example for us this morning. They’re motivated by hunger and take flight.  We can do the same. By spreading our wings and concentrating on our goal (for me it’s my vacation), we climb higher and higher into the sky.


If you’re in need of motivation, be like a bird and fly.

Laughing is the Prescribed Medicine for Today! #inspiration #motivation #ThursdayThoughts



Want to feel good? All you have to do is laugh.


The stress and exhaustion is at an all-time high for us. It’s the big countdown to our vacation and we’re busier than ever. How do we release our stress? We laugh.


When we laugh, we release much-needed endorphins and honestly, it just feels good. Whether it’s a television show, movie, book or even a hilarious news story, we find it funny and laugh. Go ahead and laugh; it’s healthy and natural medicine.



“I’m 15 years from 100 But Why Not?” #Inspiration from a Grandfather! #ThursdayThoughts



Think you’re too old to go after a dream or try something new? 


Pshaw! You’re never too old!


I had a lovely conversation with my grandfather yesterday. He just turned 85 and we were catching up. He told me all about his weekly men’s prayer group. He’s the leader of it but when he was asked to lead the group, he wasn’t sure he was right for the job.


“I sat down, made up a list of the reasons not to do it then threw it away. I’m fifteen years away from turning 100. I’m too old,” he said. “But then I thought, why not try it? It’s close by and I love to teach. The men are great and we meet at IHOP. So, it’s good food and good company.”


“You’re never too old, Grandpa. Look at C. S. Lewis. He has this great quote.” Then I quoted the above quote. “Plus, you’ve always been a great teacher. It’s one of your gifts and you’re helping others. Just like you taught me.”


“That’s right! I might live to be 125.” He chuckled.


My grandfather has been an inspiration to me since I can remember. He taught me so much about life, love and working hard. He taught me how important it was to give back, to help those less fortunate. Sure, he wasn’t perfect and had his own flaws but that didn’t matter to me. He was my grandpa, he is my grandpa and when I turn 85, I hope I’m active like him.


Think you’re too old to go back to school, switch careers, travel, explore your dreams or start new ones? Take my grandpa’s advice and go for it. If he can do it, you can too. 



Get Comfortable in Your Own Skin! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts #grateful



Are you comfortable in your own skin?

After more than forty years, I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I look at myself in the mirror and I like what I see. I’m still working on areas but my first thought isn’t to call myself ugly or fat. I’m healthy and so grateful to my body. Without it, I’d be nowhere.

Listen, we all have days when we don’t look or feel our best. But that’s not a reason to put down your body. Your body works hard and you should take care of it. One way to do that is to be kind to it. Give it some love and positive compliments.

Being comfortable in your own skin isn’t selfish or conceited. You’re not boasting; you’re loving yourself. It’s like putting on your favorite pair of jeans… you’re relaxed, cozy and feel good.

Instead of berating yourself for all the things wrong, take comfort in your body and who you are. Self-love is so important to your everyday health and it promotes an inner peace you can’t get anyplace else.


Start Living Your Life Fearlessly! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts #motivation

Have no fear

Start living your life fearlessly.

Every achievement in my life is due to me swallowing my fear and ploughing ahead.

I’m a published bestselling author. My fear of failure got the heave-ho.

I’m married to my soul mate, lover of my dreams. My fear of abandonment burst in flames.

I’m co-owner of a successful author promotions business. My fear of being a talentless hack obliterated.

Fear is a strong motivator but it can also keep us from achieving our goals/dreams. You’ve got to harness your fears, use them to your advantage and go conquer them! 

Like the graphic states, I want you to write down 10 things you’d accomplish if you had no fear. Then after you’ve looked over it, choose one and go after it.

Start living your life fearlessly!


Patience is Nothing More Than Having a Good Attitude While Waiting! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts



Do you hate waiting as much as I do?

I’ve never been good at waiting, especially for something I’ve been wanting to do/see/experience. I remember when I was an early teenager and I got the opportunity to meet my crush, Kirk Cameron. This was the high point of my life, up until then, and I was the biggest Growing Pains fan in my town. My grandmother and I stood in line for what seemed like an eternity, but was only probably three hours. When it was my turn, I nearly fainted.

“What’s your name?” Kirk asked with a smile.

I told him and handed him a picture of him to sign.

He did a double-take. I had an unusual spelling.

“With a N?” he asked.

I felt my cheeks burning. I couldn’t believe I was talking to Kirk Cameron, the boy I had been dreaming about for years. All I could do is nod.

“Wow, what a beautiful name.” He bent down and autographed the Teen Beat picture. When he handed it back to me, he spoke softly, “A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.”

I giggled and lowered my eyes. I was shy and didn’t know what to say. When my grandmother nudged me, I blurted out, “T-t-thank you. You’re my dream…”

He chuckled and I giggled harder.

We left after that and I’ll never forget his kindness. He was a celebrity yet took the time to make a shy teenage girl’s year. His framed autographed picture sat in my room until I graduated high school. It was one of my most prized possessions and it wouldn’t have been possible without patience.

Patience is hard, especially when it’s something you really want. I struggle with patience on a daily basis. It takes a lot of effort for me to silence the inner critic and focus on keeping a positive attitude.  The ironic thing is when you focus on your attitude rather than the waiting, patience becomes a little easier.

What do you do when waiting? Are you patient? Any tips on patience?

Share in the comments below and let’s help each other be more patient.


#ThankfulThursday: I am Thankful for Those Who Said No! #inspiration #ThursdayThoughts



What are you thankful for today?

I’m thankful for those people who told me no.

“You can’t be an artist because you can’t draw.”

“You can’t be beautiful because you’re not model-thin.”

“You can’t be a successful author because you don’t have a literary agent.”

“I’m sorry but we can’t promote you due to your potential to someday go on maternity leave.”

“You can’t be as happy as you seem because that only happens in television sitcoms.”

“We’re sorry to inform you that you haven’t been accepted.”

No. No. No. I’ve been through so many rejections that I could plaster my home with them. For one reason or another, these people thought I was inferior in some way. I wasn’t the right sex, age, talent, look, etc. I could’ve gotten angry but I did the next best thing. I proved them all wrong.

For every door that closed, another one opened. Sure, the journey wasn’t always smooth and I went through my fair share of mistakes, heartache and tears. At the end of the day, I took each No as motivation to turn it into a Yes.

Think back on your life and remember a time when someone told you no. What did you do? Did it motivate you to prove them wrong?

Give thanks for the Nos and celebrate each victory.

I’m so grateful to those people who pushed me to succeed, no matter the odds. Without their road blocks, I never would’ve known true happiness and fulfilling my dreams. 


Winners Imagine Their Dreams First! #inspiration #DraftDay #ThursdayThoughts

winners NFL JM


Do you expect your dreams to come true?

For 256 young men, their NFL dream is about to come true. The NFL Draft starts this evening and I, for one, am inspired. These young men have worked hard to get to this point and their dream of playing in the NFL is so close they can taste it. They’ve had to sacrifice and deal with pain but it’ll all be worth it.

Read the quote above and ask yourself if you’re a winner. Well, are you?

I am! I’ve known since a very young age that I’d be a published author. Sure, it took a lot of detours, hard work and  at times, I wanted to give up. But deep down, I expected to become a published author. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get there, but I held tight to my dream and in 2014, it happened.

Congratulations to all the draftees and I can’t wait to see you in action!

For the rest of us, let’s channel our inner winner and make our dreams come true. It’ll be hard and we’ll run into many obstacles but if we keep going, nothing can stop us!


#ThursdayThoughts: In Stillness, We Find Our Peace #inspiration #meditation #prayer



Are you at peace?

Being still and at peace is something I struggle with daily. My brain is constantly firing thoughts, ideas and criticisms. It’s hard for me to shut it off and quite frankly, it’s exhausting. So, when I saw this quote, it gave me pause.

When we are still, peace comes to us.

I find peace through meditation/prayer. I concentrate on my breathing and words of gratitude flow from my mouth.

Why is stillness important?

No one is the Tasmanian Devil. We can’t keep whirling around nonstop without consequences. We get tired, exhausted even, and need time to refuel/rest/replenish ourselves. Stillness through meditation/prayer allows our mind/body/soul to be refilled.

Today, take time to be still and peace will find you. Now repeat after me,

“I am grateful for…”


Embrace Your Inner Eagle and Fly! #inspiration #motivation #ThursdayThoughts

fall fly


We all have a fear of falling on our butts. Some call it failure but in essence, all falling does is test our mettle. How much do we want it? It’s a life lesson and one we must conquer if we’re ever going to live our dreams.

I remember when I was little and I was learning to ride my big girl’s bike. It had training wheels on it and I fell so many times, I had bandages covering my knees. Did I give up? No way! I kept going and eventually I flew, with no help from anyone.

Take my advice and embrace your inner eagle. Soar high above the trees. Sure, you may fall a couple of times getting your wings to work but before you know it, you’ll be flying.

Note: It’s Easter weekend and we’re taking a long weekend. We need the relaxation and rest. But don’t despair, there’ll be a few book-related posts popping up on the POTL blog while we’re away. The Inspirational Thought will return Monday.