Updated: Oct 11
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 promised to provide my favorite indie author selection in the last message to you. I never imagined it would be this easy or come so quickly. There is an unwritten ethical code for authors and readers. So, I’ll disclose that I received an advance copy of Abbie Emmon’s debut novel, 100 Days of Sunlight, for free. Just take a peek at my review, though. You’ll see there are no contrived words. There’s no concealing my genuine thoughts and sentiments for this brilliant offering.
Normally, I read exclusively in the realm of adult fiction. So, I was hesitant about how I would receive something from the YA genre. But, a good story is a good story. And Abbie takes that assertion to another level. Her well-developed characters, immersive emotional connection, and nuggets of wisdom are exquisite. Each will remain with me long after turning the final page of this story. This book isn’t even available yet (August 7) and I’m already looking forward to her next one. Are you searching for a little sunlight in your day? This novel promises to provide you with enough for the entire summer and beyond.
Read my complete review for 100 Days of Sunlight on Goodreads.
What I'm Writing
As you lay eyes on these words, the final edits for Fly Away Home are in the hands of my trusted editor. It required weeks of drafting to arrive at the initial version. Since then, a few wonderful critique partners (thank you Natalie and Rachael!) have helped me bring this story to its present state. I’m so excited to share Claire’s journey with you! I hope it’s an enjoyable return to Pigeon Grove for those who have read Between the Lines. And for those of you who haven’t? This novella is a perfect introduction to the beloved small mountain town in north Georgia.
I will send a message to you, my cherished community members, as soon as it’s ready. I’d love to make it available for you before anyone else sees it. Stay tuned and thank you so much for the opportunity to share my stories with you. It means more than you know!
What I'm Doing
That thing they say about habits forming when you stick with something? It’s true. Over the past month, I have established a habit. And it has supplied me with hidden benefits I never planned on experiencing.
It began as a challenge. Become a healthier you. Over the next 100 days, take 1 million steps, an average of 10,000 per day. That was motivation enough. But the allure became stronger when there was a financial incentive tied to it. Achieve this goal and receive a discount on your health insurance premiums. Sold.
So, over the past month, I’ve been exceeding my personal goals, averaging close to 14,000 steps daily. Each morning, I begin my routine with a 3.5 mile walk around 6am. Excessive Florida heat and unpredictable afternoon showers influenced the time choice. But, what started out as a physical endeavor became much more than that.
I become so entranced by the music I listen to while walking. My gait marches in beat to the rhythm. And, in an unexplainable way, I feel the words when I get into this bubble of synchronicity. Some songs I’ve used recently in my Tuesday Tunes social media posts have come from those morning walks. While listening to tunes I’ve heard a 100 times before, something peculiar happened. It’s only while immersed in the moment that I fully recognized those lyrics for the first time. Until.
There’s this length of sidewalk, over a mile long, near the end of my daily route. You can see everyone coming toward or heading away from you. And there was someone ahead of me. My pace changed as I contemplated what to do. Do I speed up and pass the person? Do I hang back and allow them space? The entire mojo associated with my surroundings and the music became disruptive. I was more concerned about what was in front of me instead of remaining present. And the most ironic thing of all? I stumbled upon this realization on the next day, when there was nary a soul in sight along that same stretch.
It’s not always easy to stay in the present. But when we recognize those moments of beautiful serendipity when we are there? It’s a nice reminder that the present is called so because it is, indeed, a gift.
We have a lovely garden space in our backyard that serves as a haven for birds, butterflies, and bees. There are different textures, colors, and plant heights. It transforms our home into something more splendid with each passing day. The intoxicating scents and soothing sounds from the waterfall in our pond adds to it, creating a blissful experience for all the senses.
But there’s more. Watching the birds court each other and mate. Seeing our young avian friends squawk with pleas for food. Experiencing the glorious transformation from caterpillar to a cocoon to flying beauty. Noticing the buzzing bees flit between blooms and spreading seeds of growth. There are signs of harmonious relationships everywhere. There is proof from Mother Nature that there’s a better way to live with each other instead of against one another.
We all have rough days. And we might nudge some of that positivity into a safe place for times when we need it most. But the nectar of life is sweet, when we allow ourselves to become immersed in it with all the senses. Take a moment to breathe in everything around you today. Savor it, and share that splendid feeling with someone close to you.
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...
The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~