April 2019

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

Welcome to our virtual café, where we'll chat about what I've been reading, writing, and doing over the past month. I invite you to have a seat, grab your inspirational beverage of choice, and join me in sharing a leisurely cup of caffeine for the soul.

What I'm Reading

I don't read much nonfiction, but when I do, it's usually because a book captures my attention and won't let go. Enter Brene Brown.

After hovering on my radar for months, I leaped into the wilderness explored between the front and back cover of this book, living the paradox of fitting in and standing alone at the same time.

Brene's perspective is thought-provoking and worthy of everyone's attention given the chaotic world we inhabit today.

Read my full review for Braving the Wilderness on Goodreads.

What I'm Writing

While I try to convey upbeat optimism in everything I share, it's also important to keep things real. Writing has been a struggle lately. We all have those moments in our lives when momentum slows or priorities are redirected to more important endeavors, and that's okay. Life is not a perfect ride, and it is navigating the rocky terrain along the way that helps us appreciate the smooth stretches ahead. Keep the faith, creative ones, and focus on those small meandering steps that move us farther along the path we're meant to follow.

My focus during the last month has been all over thee map. While attempting to establish traction with marketing efforts for my first two novels, I am simultaneously preparing to write my third, Splendid Chaos. And chaos it has been. But serendipity has stepped in to provide a lending hand. Chaos can be splendid if we approach it with the right mindset. While sitting down a few weeks ago to draft a one-page 500 word summary of my next novel, paragraphs turned to pages as 3000+ words spilled from my fingertips. Disjointed pieces of a story came together with unexpected cohesion. Splendid indeed.

There is still much research and fleshing out to do before I can begin the first draft process, but it's those little jolts of inspiration, momentum, and positive encouragement that provide a spark to fan the flicker of a flame burning inside.

What I'm Doing

It's that time of year again, where brushless motors, fabricated sheets of metal, autonomous software code, safety goggles, and crimped wires are the focus of every FRC (First Robotics Competition) team member. Over a span of six weeks, participants on these high school robotics teams become hyper-focused and hyper-productive while designing, building, and testing a robot to enter into regional competitions taking place around the world. All with the hope of reaching the world championship tournament in April.

With this year's theme being Destination Deep Space, it seems written in the stars (lame pun, I know) that a team from the Space Coast and sponsored by NASA would have good fortune on its side. I watched these young men and women devote countless hours toward a creative project that is different from what I'm used to as an author. Coming together as a team, the passion, determination, and most importantly, resilience, was clearly evident and inspiring over their six-week build season.

The first two matches for my son's team during their regional competition in Orlando left them scrambling to fix problems. Their 62nd position (out of 64 teams) could have caused motivation and morale to spiral into a metaphorical black hole. Instead, that all-important word, resilience, resurfaced to inspire everyone in attendance. By the end of the first competition day, their team had ascended to 14th position. And by the end of the tournament on the following day, The Pink Team (FRC Team #233) had claimed the crown as Orlando Regional Winner and secured a trip to Houston, TX for the world championship in April.

It reminds me that things rarely progress smoothly. There will almost always be obstacles in our path. But, given the right mindset and unbridled tenacity, overcoming gravity and launching our dreams into orbit is not only possible, it's highly probable.

Monthly Caffeine

The struggles we face are real and sometimes rather complicated. There's not always an easy answer that will carry us directly along the path we want to travel, but maybe that's not such a bad thing. That adage about embracing the journey has been voiced so many times, but I'd like to do so from a different angle.

Human connection is important. So important. And having a team of like-minded believers to accompany us on our journey can help us move mountains. Together. Whether you're embarking on a 2,200 mile hiking adventure, building a robot in six weeks, trying to write your next novel, or simply finding the most effective way to arrive at the weekend with hope of rejuvenation... having self-confidence, determination, and resilience are all helpful. But so is that quiet whisper coming from those close to you that reminds us... anything is possible.

Stand tall for what you believe and desire in your heart. Walk beside those who feel the same. Brave the wilderness and our shared journey will be one well worth remembering.

Until next month, stay inspired! And, as always, I welcome a short (or long) email to say hi or share your thoughts on this month's final sip...

You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.

~ Brene Brown ~

Best Wishes

Heartwarming Romance for the Soul By Dave

Pigeon Grove Series Fly Away Home Between the Lines

Splendid Chaos

Standalone Second Chance

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