Do you know what time it is--without looking at your phone? If not, you need to pay close attention to this post. Don Piece is the culmination of an idea that Jay has had for years. "This is something I have been thinking about doing for a long time," he says. Although he has been interested in watches for a while, Jay took his time to conduct thorough research and develop a high quality product. After almost two years of planning and preparation, Don Piece opened for business at midnight on January 1st of this year. When I asked him about the concept behind his brand focus, Jay had much to say. "My pieces are built around a lifestyle. Everything about Don Piece caters to a boss, even the name. When I say 'boss,' I don't necessarily mean business owners only but also people who have a boss mindset. Being a boss means you are in control of your own destiny and you have your priorities in order," Jay explains of his brand.
When creating the design and face of his time pieces, Jay came up with a unique way to showcase a particular time of day. "To a boss, 5:00 P.M. is the most important time of the day. It signifies that it is time to move away from work and get home to family and the other things you do to enjoy the fruits of your labor. That's why 5:00 P.M. is featured on every time piece," he says of his design.
The Don Piece Collection is currently available in two different styles: the Comare & the Borgata. Each style is available in different colors. Don Piece's most popular item is the Comare in white which is currently sold out. In addition to having a variety of colors, Jay prides himself on creating pieces with versatility. "My time pieces are crafted to suit the workplace and non-work environments alike," he says.
Jay wants fellow entrepreneurs to know that a successful business cannot be built by one person alone. "I've learned that it is okay to ask for help. I'm a very independent person, so that was not easy for me at first," he admits. "The support from my buyers has been beyond what I could imagine," Jay adds. Although Jay has experienced great success in his first few months of business, this is just the beginning for Don Piece. "My long term goal is to become a leader in the wrist watch and accessory industry." Jay explains. Above all, he is passionate about ensuring that customers are the focal point of Don Piece. "My brand is built around my customers and it always will be," he says.
To learn more and purchase from The Don Piece Timeless Collection, visit donpiececollection.com. Also, be sure to follow @donpiececollection on Instagram to keep up with the latest on everything Don Piece. Lastly, Jay wants to know one thing...will you boss up?
If you are anything like me (a person with not just one sweet tooth, but a mouth full of sweet teeth) I must caution you. The contents of this post are extremely delicious and reader discretion is advised. Allie is the brain behind the ridiculously yummy treats of Happy Girl Sweets. A sweet lover herself, she got the idea to create her business when she was disappointed with local offerings while in search of her favorite treats: chocolate covered strawberries and caramel apples. When I asked Allie what inspired her to start her business, she recalled her Valentine's day a few years ago.
"I went to my local grocery store in search for some chocolate covered strawberries. During this time it was Valentine’s Day and pretty much every store was selling them. When I found them, I noticed that they were overpriced and the designs were horrible. I refused to spend my money on a half dozen of strawberries for $12. That’s when it clicked. I knew I could make these berries easily and sell them by the dozen at a lower price. I also knew that I could make better looking designs on the strawberries. During that Valentine’s Day weekend, I sold about 20 dozen strawberries in different flavors and colors. Since then I haven’t stopped making and selling them. That was three years ago."
Since starting Happy Girl Sweets, Allie has expanded her product offering from chocolate covered strawberries to creative candied apples, chocolate covered pretzel sticks, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and a wide variety of chocolate barks. "What sets me apart from competitors is that I don’t offer plain Jane sweets, especially when it comes to my apples. I’m very proud that I offer unique flavors that you can’t find anywhere else! For example my Chocolate Crunch Bar apple, Cookies and Cream apple, and my personal favorite the Strawberry Shortcake Apple. You won't find these flavors anywhere else," Allie says of her cleverly customized confections.
Allie wants current and prospective customers to know that she is truly passionate about what she does and this is evident in every treat that she creates. She also shared that she has learned that starting a business takes lots of time and effort. It is important to her to offer the best ingredients and sometimes, this means increasing prices. "Know your worth and don't be afraid to price up. Also, don't be afraid to say no when people ask for discounts," Allie says. To learn more about Happy Girl Sweets, be sure to follow on Instagram @happygirlsweets. To satisfy your sweet tooth and place an order, email Allie at email@example.com.
Danita and I attended Holy Name School together many years ago; more than I care to admit. I love nothing more than seeing former classmates pursuing their passion. Well actually, I take that back. There is one thing I love more than seeing former classmates pursue their passion. That is seeing former classmates pursue their passion and using the proceeds to further philanthropic efforts. Danita has done this with the creation of GRACE.Empowered.
Inspired by her deeply rooted passion for youth, Danita decided to create a line of t-shirts; the proceeds of which would are donated to organizations that benefit youth who are in need. Her shirts are currently available with one of two sayings 'Be A Nice Human' and 'Saved by Grace.' They are available in grey, maroon, black or white. "I chose the name simply because the grace of God is so amazing. It has changed my life. By the grace of God I can do what I do and work with youth," Danita says of the idea for the name of her business.
In just six months of being in operation, GRACE.Empowered has received over 150 total orders. "Every person that purchases an item from GRACE. is contributing to our cause to help youth," Danita explains. Although she is proud of the progress GRACE. has made thus far, she has much more planned in her future goals. "I plan to expand the shop. I want to add accessories and other products eventually. As a result we will be able to help more organizations and essentially bless more youth," Danita says.
Danita wants other entrepreneurs to know that any venture in business ownership takes time and patience. She also stresses the importance of utilizing your personal network. "Your friends and family will be your biggest cheerleaders, whether that be by purchasing every product or keeping you encouraged. Those are your true supporters, take advantage. Oh, and keep your vision at the forefront of your heart and your mind. When things get difficult, remember why you started," she adds.
To help a youth in need by purchasing a t-shirt and to learn more about GRACE.Empowered, head to the website by clicking here. Also, be sure to follow @_shopgrace and @danitasummers on Instagram and friend Danita Summers on Facebook.
What happens when you upset a funny person? In Ebonie's case, a genius business idea! "It all started when someone drank my coffee creamer at the office. I got so upset that I decided to make my own creamer carafe with an inappropriate label," Ebonie says of the idea for her business. Ebonie and I briefly attended the same school as children and later both relocated from Omaha to Dallas. I was impressed to learn that Ebonie used an unpleasant occurance at work to spark the idea for Petty Labels. Although she has only been in operation for a few weeks, Ebonie's crafty creation has kept her very busy! "Within the first three days, I had over 200 requests and 90 shares on FaceBook. That's when I knew I was on to something," Ebonie said when asked about her first days in business. "Within the first week that my mugs were available for purchase, I had over 100 orders. Purchases doubled in my second and third weeks, she added."
Ebonie has garnered the support of family, friends, colleagues, former classmates and her social media following to help promote Petty Labels. Currently, Petty Labels offers hand painted ceramic mugs which are available in a variety of beautiful colors, fonts and of course, quippy sayings; "Black Girl Magic," "Corporate Humor #NotToday", and "Beard Potion" to name a few.
What is the coolest thing about Ebonie's mugs? "These are some of the most natural things that I say outside of business hours," she said when I asked how she came up with her witty sayings. "These are things that I often think but cannot say at the office because they would be frowned upon," she added.
Ebonie has big long term goals for Petty Labels. "I want to expand my brand content, inspire people to be their own unique selves and to take a leap of faith in an area that fits their personality. I want to have a unique platfom of laughter and motivation intertwined," she included. "I want people to know that this is about God putting me in a position to use my talents," Ebonie explained. She offers these words of wisdom to fellow entrepreneurs or people toying with the idea of starting a business, "Mistakes will always happen. Hold onto your integrity because that is more important than an audience."
I have always felt that the best ideas happen on accident or unexpectedly. We have to learn to seek inspiration from the most mundane daily occurances. Petty Labels embodies this concept completely! To learn more or purchase your mug, follow on Instagram @pettylabels and on FaceBook Petty Labels. Ebonie, cheers to your continued success in the new year!
Brandi and I worked together briefly before I moved to Dallas. We didn't know each other very well but I remember that she was always very sweet, positive and was a devoted mother to her adorable twin boys. She did not use being a busy mother of two as an excuse not to start her business, Bee Kisses, which is a line of all natural lip balms and lip scrubs.
Brandi worked on the launch of her product line for a little over a year before it officially opened for business a couple of months ago. That in and of itself is impressive. When deciding to start a business offering any kind of product, it is extremely important to take the necessary time to research and test the product. Brandi did just that before selling the products of her lip care line. She credits her obsession for cosmetics, specifically lipsticks, scrubs, balms and glosses, as the inspiration for starting Bee Kisses. "Why not create my own?" She thought.
Bee Kisses products are currently hand made and delivered by Brandi but she plans to implement manufacturing and expand her product offering in the near future. "My products will have your lips soft and moisturized with a little shine. They also smell and taste great," Brandi says of her lip balms and scrubs.
Brandi also plans to have her products sold in stores and boutiques nationwide. Bee Kisses lip products are currently available in herbal mint flavor. She is in the process of adding additional flavors that include cherry, vanilla, and peppermint. "The herbal mint lip balm is my top seller but most people buy the scrub as well. I recommend both for the best result," Brandi says of her most popular products.
With 75 orders under her belt in just 60 days, it is obvious that Brandi is on to something with Bee Kisses. Brandi is just getting started with her business but feels that she has already learned many valuable lessons. "It takes time so I have had to be patient because the process is never ending." Brandi says. She offered words of wisdom to others who are interested in starting a business as well. "Whatever you put in is what you will get out and always be true to your own vision." To learn more about Bee Kisses follow on Brandi on Instagram @bee_kisses. Email BeeKisses4U@gmail.com to purchase.
When I chose Entrepreneurial Management as my major during my sophomore year of college, I had no idea what my journey to entrepreneurship would look like. I didn't have a family business to walk into after graduating nor did I have a trust fund to use as seed money for a start up. All I knew was that something about corporate America made me cringe. I also knew that if I wanted my own business, it would not come by osmosis; but how and where would it come from? See, that's the "fun" thing about entrepreneurship, the only certainty about it is uncertainty. A couple of weeks ago I had the idea to start a new blog series featuring others who have decided to take the road less traveled and embrace that uncertainty with arms open wide. Specifically, those who have Nebraska roots just like me. After all, who says great things can't come from small towns? Each entrepreneur has had their own obstacles to face and has learned valuable lessons through deciding to start their own business. I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I enjoyed learning about them!
It's been almost three years since I've touched this blog. It is officially time to blow the dust off. It's 8:00am on the dot. I've been up since 5:30am. Viv is starting to wake up, making those awfully adorable squeaks and squeals that she makes when her wake up is in process. In the time I've been up, I cleaned the kitchen, threw some chicken in the crock pot for fajitas tonight, made her bottles for the day & thought about pumping breast milk but was quickly distracted by this extremely strong notion to finally sit down and blog. I've thought about it about a million times in the last couple of years but something continues to prevent me from doing so. Work, being tired, my very strong desire to keep majority of my personal life very private and more recently, Viv.
First things first -- I want to send a major shout out and thank you to Irving Naxon, the inventor of the crock pot. His invention has been a life saver to wives and mothers like myself for decades now. God that was so annoyingly June Cleaver of me but it's the truth -- what can I say? *Gag* lol. Now on to more important things -- I had a baby almost 3 months ago *gasp* Crazy right? I know! Even when I'm staring at her as she sleeps in her crib, it's hard to believe that she is mine. But she is. All 9 pounds and 22 inches of her came out of my body. MIND. BLOWN.
It is so eerily ironic how my life has continued to come full circle. I continue to find myself in these familiar mental spaces. Four years ago, when I married James and relocated here, I took three months off of work to write. Now, as I sit here typing, everything is different...our address, our family size, our financial situation. Yet, here I am once more -- recently resigned from my full time job, now a work from home wife and mom who is once again writing.
There is so much that I want to share about the last four years of my life. There is also a great deal that I cannot share. For now, I will start with the present. Specifically a few things that I have learned in my 11 weeks of motherhood.
1) I know nothing about motherhood
LOL but seriously. Everything I thought I knew is officially out of the window and deemed irrelevant. I have had this idea of motherhood for what seems like my entire life. Those ideas became a little more solidified during my pregnancy. However, once Viv arrived, all of my thoughts and theories were suddenly null and void. Why? Because there is no greater teacher than experience. For example, I've always heard the most beautiful and encouraging things about breastfeeding. "It felt so natural to me," "It was such a great bonding experience for me and my baby," "I absolutely loved it," "It helped me lose the baby weight like THAT! The weight just fell off!" "It's the best for the baby & it's great for you too!" My personal favorite: "it was very soothing for me." You can imagine my complete and utter shock the first time Viv latched on..."are you kidding me right now?!" I thought to myself. It was excruciatingly painful and uncomfortable. There was nothing beautiful or natural or soothing about it. It was a complete logistical nightmare -- my breasts have always been very large, now that they were preparing to feed a child, they had only become larger and that was a problem, a big one. Pun highly intended. I struggled to find the right position to hold my five pound wonder so that she could latch on properly and more importantly so that she would not be smothered by my newly ridiculously large baby feeders :-(. Couple that with an insensitive and pestering lactation consultant and you've got a nice lovely batch of post. partum. deeeeeepression. That's right folks -- I had it & from time to time still feel like I have it. But motherhood was supposed to be so perfect & magical! Why was I feeling this way?
I will say this, parts of motherhood are magical, but breastfeeding AIN'T ONE OF 'EM! Somewhere between my daily dose of pain meds (to help with incision pain from my surprise C-section) and Viv screaming because she was latching on but getting hardly any milk, I decided that I would no longer nurse her but that I wanted to instead bottle feed her breast milk. I would do so by pumping & continuing to supplement with formula. Words cannot describe the immense guilt I felt for this decision. I agonized for days & only recently (like a couple of weeks ago) became at peace with this decision. As the irony of life would have it, James & I referred to formula as the F word during my pregnancy. We had both decided that I would breast feed and that our daughter would never be formula fed -- again, everything I thought I knew was completely irrelevant once I had her. I'm getting off subject, back to the list
2) I really love being a mom
Only a crazy person would feel this way after the roller coaster ride I've had these past 11 weeks but guess what guys -- I absolutely LOVE it. It's so disgustingly cliche, but I didn't realize how much I could love someone until I met Viv. While I was pregnant I went on and on and on about how I so desperately wanted to meet the little person that was constantly using my uterus as a punching bag. With every kick and punch, the anticipation grew and grew and grew. So did my belly. I remember renting a baby heart monitor so that I could listen to her heart beat whenever I wanted. I also remember finding out that it was a girl. James and I both wanted a boy first and I just "knew" it was a boy before finding out. Obviously, my mother's intuition was still developing because I was wrong. When the sonographer told me it was a girl, I burst into tears. Surprisingly, they were tears of joy. I thought I would be disappointed to find out that it was a girl but I was not. Not even a little. It was almost as exciting as the day I actually found out that I was pregnant (that is a separate blog post).
I was physically miserable for 100% of my pregnancy. Other moms would tell me, "you're going to miss it when it's over so enjoy it while she's in there." Were these women insane?! How could I possibly miss being sick CONSTANTLY, having NO appetite, gaining 30 pounds, obsessing over eating ENOUGH (since I had no appetite) and on top of that eating very healthy (which has never been a strong suit of mine), heartburn, waking up at 3:00am every morning to pee, not being able to get back to sleep until 5:00am and having to be up at 6:30am to make it to work by 8:30am, people constantly asking how I'm feeling or saying the most ridiculous and annoying things ever "God, you look tired." Why thank you for confirming that for me -- as if my lack of make up and messy ponytail (not cute messy, just messy messy) did not already do so. How. in. the. world. could. I. ever. miss. those. things?!?! Well folks, those moms were right. I do miss it. I miss it very very much. So much that I desperately want to get pregnant again. James thinks I am clinically insane for this but it's true. I want another baby. NOW. lol.
3) I am in for a wildly difficult but rewarding and down right ridiculously joyous ride
I can just tell. This little girl makes me feel emotions I never have before. For example, I melt when she stares up at me with those huge brown eyes as I'm feeding her. I can hardly take the cuteness of the way she scrunches up her face when she cries. I cry literally every time she smiles at me. I can't wait until she laughs for the first time, I try to incite laughter from her everyday. Thus far, I've been unsuccessful but I know it's coming soon...stay tuned. I agonize over whether I'm "doing it right." I feel incredibly guilty and solely responsible for the fact that she has acid reflux. I obsess and google every little cough, sneeze or remote spot on her body or slight change in the sound of her cry. James says I am making myself crazy. He's right. I literally jump out of bed and run to her crib and the slightest sound of her coughing or making one of the 8,000 noises that she makes in her sleep. I jump up to make sure she is still ok and I periodically check on her to make sure she is still breathing. So even though she is sleeping through the night these days, I am not. I've never considered myself an anxious person before. In fact I would say that I am quite the opposite, usually. But Viv has changed that for sure. This is getting ridiculously long and Viv is starting to wake up....to be continued!
When I was a child, I used to daydream about being an adult. I used to think it would be so cool to be able to stay up as late as I wanted and watch whatever I wanted on television. I thought "I can't wait to try Cookie Crisp cereal," because my mom would never buy it for me. "You can't eat cookies for breakfast Alex," she would say. I'd always think to myself "when I'm a grown up, I can eat whatever I want for breakfast." Adulthood felt like some distant future location that would take forever for me to reach. This was back when my biggest care was whether or not we'd get a snow day or what Santa was bringing me for Christmas. Would I ever arrive at the the mythical land called adulthood? I wondered what I would be like and look like as an adult. Would my hair finally be down my back? Would I wear pretty clothes? Would I still want to watch Disney movies?
As it turns out, my hair is not down my back (because up until 2 years ago, I did not take very good care of it). I'd like to think that I wear pretty clothes, and yes...I do still want to watch Disney movies. On this day, my 26th birthday, I can't help but laugh at how fast the years have clipped by. It did not take forever for me to be an adult, in fact I now feel like it didn't take long at all. I stay up as late as I want--which is around 10 because I'm usually tired by then. I watch what I want on television--when James isn't watching Basketball or Football. Most importantly, I have tried Cookie Crisp--and it wasn't that great! None of the things that I daydreamed about as a child are nearly as exciting as I thought they would be! Nevertheless, I am grateful to be alive another year.
I once heard someone say that your 20's are when you find yourself. I definitely believe this to be true. I feel that I am on a path of self discovery and I learn a little more each day. I learn while interacting with others at work. I learn while at home enjoying the day-to-day activities of married life. I learn while reflecting on my childhood. I learn while writing and sometimes I learn through crying. I try to appreciate every learning experience as a stepping stone on that path to self discovery . I remind myself that there will be a moment when everything clicks. There will be some proverbial light bulb moment that will cause me to understand every lesson, every experience and every "stop" along the journey to discovering exactly who I am. In the meantime, I plan to create a consistent theme of gratitude in my life. I want to refrain from focusing too much on what is NOT or what I do NOT have and spend more time focusing on what IS and what I DO have. I try to take a few minutes each day to stop what I am doing and count my blessings. I definitely focus on this the most during yoga classes. At the beginning of each class, the instructor always reserves time for everyone to set an "intention" for the class. I have yet to set an intention other than gratitude. This is not only my intention during yoga, it is my intention in LIFE. I intend to be grateful for everything and everyone I have experienced and for each and every moment of each and every day ...
"For we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." - Thornton Wilder
It's one of the most comforting sounds I've ever heard.
It quietly lulls me to sleep each night.
It serves as a constant reminder that I am loved.
Listening to it, I become overwhelmed with gratitude.
I find myself shedding tears of joy and sometimes even disbelief.
I start asking myself what I did to deserve the privilege of listening to this beautiful rhythmic sound.
Lying in his arms and halfway sleep, I love nothing more than the sound of his heartbeat.
Hold On...We're Going Home12/11/2013
It's been months since my last blog post. I've been distracted, disconnected, and to be honest discouraged. I am not always inspired or motivated to push toward my goals. Why? Usually because I allow something or multiple somethings to shift my focus. I don't do this intentionally, it just happens. In October, I got an unexpected promotion on my job. This was definitely a blessing but I have allowed it to cause me to lose sight of things a bit. It's slightly deterred me from my path; my way home.
I'd like to think of my dreams as a type of home. Think about how you feel when you are at home. If you are anything like me (a homebody), you love to be at home. You are usually warm & comfy there, free of any rules or stipulations. Free to wear what you want, do what you want and be completely comfortable. We often hear people say things like "there is nothing like coming home after a long day's work." That is exactly what it feels like to pursue your dreams and do what you love. When you do what you love, you are in control. You dictate your own schedule. After a certain point, you can control how much money you make. More importantly, you are able to actively engage your passion each and every day. Doesn't that sound like a wonderful place to be? Sounds like a place I want to be; it sounds like home.
Today I am officially making more of a conscious effort to keep on my path to get home. I can no longer allow life to get in the way of that journey. Although this will take a great deal of effort, I must commit to it. I must persevere through my feelings and march forward. I am so blessed to have a great example of what it is like to pursue your dreams fiercely in my husband and his brothers. For about a year and a half now, they have been working to further Barlowe Basketball, their business which provides basketball coaching and training for all ages. Specifically, they have been working with a professional basketball player to help him get back to the NBA. Together, James and his brothers have trained this client tirelessly. At one point, they were working out at 1:00AM 2-3 times per week. To be clear, these workouts were sometimes 3-4 hours long. At times, James was very discouraged and wondered if their hard work would ever pay off. Now, just a little more than a year later, their client is signed with the Charlotte Bobcats. I couldn't be more proud of James and his brothers. They wanted to quit plenty of times, but they never did. "It's easier to quit than to keep going," my brother-in-law said when I texted him to congratulate him on the good news. He was right.
My book was supposed to be printed by now, but it is not. Although this frustrates me, I will not give up. I will keep working towards this dream. I will keep pushing and moving forward, ignoring all distractions and not listening to voices of discouragement (even if they are my own). I will not stop and my testimony will reach the masses. I will continue to journey on, all the while reminding myself that it will happen soon. Reminding myself that God's timing is above my timing. To all of my fellow dream pursuers, hold on...we're going home
Don't Forget to Remember Them9/16/2013
About a week ago, I was in the middle of my routine late night swim when something strange happened. An older woman and her daughter were approaching the pool. When I saw the older woman, I squinted to get a better look and I could not believe my eyes. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. I did my best not to stare as the woman's daughter helped her get into the pool. A few minutes later a young boy came out of the locker rooms and joined the woman in the pool. I watched the woman's face light up when she saw the young boy. I figured the boy was her grandson. He swam over to her and she embraced him, kissing his head lovingly and telling him that she loved him. Before I knew it, a tear began to leak slowly out of the corner of my eye; this woman looked exactly like my grandmother. My grandmother passed five years ago but the sting of her absence still brings tears to my eyes. When I saw the older woman at the pool, I was reminded of how much I love and miss my grandmother.
When loved ones leave this life and transition into their next phase, they leave behind many memories and great sadness. Of course we, the ones left to mourn them, do our best not to be selfish in our thinking but it is natural to wonder why they had to go. As time goes on, we learn to live without the ones who have gone before us. We learn to occupy our time so that we don't break down and cry and the very thought of them. We find a way to put our grief in a "safe place," out of sight and especially out of our minds. We reserve a special place for that grief, careful not to let it show at inappropriate times. We may revisit the grief on that loved one's birthday or on the anniversary of their death. For a day or two, we allow ourselves to remember and mourn only to return to business as usual the next day; but what happens when grief resurfaces at an unexpected time? What happens when we are bombarded with memories of that loved one on a day other than their birthday or the anniversary of their death? What happens when we find a tear seeping out at the sight of someone who looks exactly like them? That is exactly where I found myself the other day when I saw the woman who looked like my grandmother. I couldn't pretend as if I didn't see her and I certainly could not ignore how heartwarming it was to see her embrace her grandson, the way my granny used to embrace me.
There I was on a Thursday evening in a pool forced to face my grief head-on; the same grief that I carefully tucked away only for those "designated times." Truth is, sometimes we cannot be strong. Sometimes we cannot stop the tears and sometimes our grief finds a way to sneak out of that "safe place." In those moments we must let our tears flow. We must allow our hearts and minds to be overwhelmed with memories of that loved one. We must let thoughts of them be as vivid as our mind allows them to be. In those moments, we must GRIEVE. It is painful and uncomfortable but it is part of the human experience. As I watched the woman and her grandson playing in the pool, I slid my goggles up, away from my eyes and sat motionless in the water. I sat allowing my tears to flow freely. I remembered baking 7-up cakes with my grandmother. I remembered her warm hugs and her singing voice. I remembered holding her soft but cold hand the day before she died. I remembered doing my best to read her obituary at her funeral in spite of the fact that tears muffled my speech. I remembered all that I possibly could about my granny and allowed myself to mourn her death. Eventually the memories started to fade and my tears began to subside. Oddly, I found myself smiling. It was almost as if I could hear granny saying "keep swimming Alex, don't cry." I was comforted in knowing that my granny doesn't have to suffer anymore. I hoped that she was watching over me and most importantly that she was proud of the woman I've become. I also wanted her to know that I have not forgotten her and that I never will. As you read this, take a second to stop and think about the person/people that you have lost. If you need to cry, cry. If you feel like looking at pictures of them, look at pictures of them. It is okay for us to mourn even if it isn't a lost loved one's birthday. We should remember them as often as possible, even if that means shedding a few tears. Don't ever be so busy that you forget to remember them.
0 CommentsLabor & Delivery9/1/2013
A wise woman (Mrs. Kathy Green, publishing consultant at Kudu Publishing Co.) once told me that writing a book is much like having a baby. The point at which you come up with the idea for the book could be considered the time of conception. As you start to write the story, carefully crafting it into the picture you had in mind at the time of conception, the "baby" is growing. Each phase of your book can be compared to the three trimesters that an expectant mother goes through. There are often pains and discomfort during a pregnancy. Sometimes there are even complications that could pose a threat to the health of the baby. Perhaps the hardest part of a pregnancy is the uncertainty. Am I ready to care for this little person? What will their personality be like? Will my baby be healthy? While it can be exciting to speculate on what will happen once that little person arrives-you have no idea how things will turn out. This is exactly what writing a book feels like. You wonder things like: will people buy my book? Will people be moved by my story?
In February of this year, I decided that I would start writing my book. Many of you may know that I had just wrapped another writing project the month before. I was excited and motivated to get started on my next project immediately! I challenged myself to establish a rigorous writing schedule which usually meant writing sessions of 3-4 hours at a time. I did very well in the beginning but after about a month or so, I hit a rough patch. Mainly because I was starting to write about my first marriage. You could say that this phase was my second trimester and I was experiencing some pain.
One thing you should know is that when I write about something (no matter what it is) I have to place myself in the situation that I'm writing about. That's the only way I can write effectively and capture all of the thoughts and feelings that make a story interesting. In order to tell my story, I had to revisit those dark places that I lived in during my first marriage. I had to delve back into all of the painful emotions I endured during my divorce. I had to relive my "personal hell." This proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I started to have nightmares of arguments I once had with my ex-husband. All of a sudden, I remembered every single detail of my life at that time and I hated it.
During this phase, I remember subconciously finding ways to avoid writing or trying to skip around and start working on other chapters. It was during this time that God spoke to me reminding me that I needed to tell my story in order to help someone else who was going through the same thing. I was also reminded that although reliving those times was very painful, I was delivered from them! I lived to tell about my experiences so I needed to finish the job. I had to press on past the pain and not abort this baby. Somewhere along the way, I fought through and continued on. James was a constant source of encouragement, always pushing me and motivating me to write as much as I could. Without his constant support, I would have never finished this book. He was much like a caring husband to his expectant wife, helping to soothe and comfort the various pains of carrying a child. Now in the third trimester, I can reflect on the effort it has taken to reach this point and smile. I know that the time is nearing to birth this baby. I'm uncertain yet ready. I'm ready to see this project come to fruition. I am ready to touch lives with my story. I am forever grateful to every person who has had a role in helping this to come to pass. The time for labor and delivery is nearing. I can't wait for the world to meet my baby.