Welcome to our virtual cafe, 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
My love affair with Jojo Moyes stories began after reading Me Before You. It was one of those books that shifted something elemental inside me. It helped me see the world differently, with a better understanding of life’s complexities and the compassion we so desperately need in today’s society.
Fast forward eleven Moyes books later and we arrive at my reading of The Giver of Stars. While the contemporary landscape has been replaced by a depression-era backdrop and the intricacies of the human condition might be different, those same themes of love and compassion ride steady through the words and characters in this novel.
What I'm Writing
I’ve just recently finished drafting the fourteenth chapter of my current work-in-progress, Splendid Chaos. Approaching the ⅓ point of the novel, that foreboding section of each author’s manuscript is quickly approaching: the muddy middle.
It’s that place where the characters have already been introduced and presented with a problem. They haven’t yet figured out the difference between what’s wanted and needed. And there’s this vast landscape of opportunity to fill with experiences and lessons that lead each toward an eye-opening realization.
Both Drew and Maria continue to battle their inner demons, but the town of Pigeon Grove, like it always does, has a few encouraging nudges ready to help our characters (and one author) keep pushing toward the finish line.
Even amidst the presence of murky mud, beautiful flowers can emerge. It’s a thought worth pondering, while writing a novel, or doing anything else in life.
What I'm Doing
Sometimes I think we put too much stock in a single day.
That sounds rather pessimistic, but I suggest it’s actually the opposite. This is truly the most wonderful time of the year. While we are surrounded by the chaos of holiday preparations and celebrations, the sense of Christmas cheer is wrapped inside that frenetic pace we seem to adopt during the month of December. And it’s beautiful.
Then, we arrive at New Years Day. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start and new beginning. But here’s where my initial thought comes in to dampen (or perhaps brighten) the day. Why do we wait until New Years Day for a new path or an ambitious promise to oneself?
We put so much pressure on ourselves and set such high expectations. We keep our resolutions for a few days, maybe a week, perhaps even a month. And then when we fall short, for even a single day, and there’s this sense of disappointment and failure. Or maybe that’s my perfectionist tendencies rearing their ugly head.
We shouldn’t have to wait until that artificial boundary of January 1st to make a change, to start anew. And neither should we expect to honor them 100% of the time. We’re imperfect beings in a dynamic world. Things come up, more important endeavors deserve our attention from time to time, and it’s okay to set aside our resolutions in order to do what our heart tells us is the right thing in that moment.
To that end, I have made a resolution—before the 1st of the year—and I’ve been faithful to it for about 75% of the time so far. And you know what? I’m okay with that, because when I’ve put that promise to the side, it’s been for a good reason that aligns with my personal values. And sometimes it’s while we’re not holding true to our self-promise that we realize some aspect of it needs to change. That’s called growth. And isn’t that the whole point of a resolution in the first place?
Each day is a new opportunity. Every moment is a blank canvas. Paint with all the colors. Watch how everything blooms.
As another calendar year slips by, there’s so much to reflect upon. There have been misdeeds and wrongdoings in the news, but there have also been joyous and miraculous occasions representing all that’s good in the world surrounding us.
We have the choice to focus our attention where we see best fit. In the grand scheme of things, the days over the previous calendar year may seem like a blip on the radar, ethereal. But where we devote our thoughts create our present and future reality. And that opportunity is truly divine.
To positive thoughts, optimism, hope, and a wave of inertia toward what we desire most in the coming year—starting today—whether it’s January 5 or any other day of the year.
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...
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. ~ Seneca ~