Six Lessons I Learned from Riding the Bus

The bus. A major vehicle of transportation in many industrialized cities, but in Arizona, fifteen years ago, it was a nightmare. A tangled web of waiting for hours, mixed with walking for miles. Yet, we were without a car and we needed to get from point A to point B. Try that in 120 degree weather with three children. No thanks.

When I look back on those days, I find I learned more than I realized from the hardship.

1. People are Unique

People come in all different shapes and sizes. This is quite an elementary concept, but, when I was riding the bus I was exposed to all walks of life. Different languages, cultures, backgrounds, and histories. I listened to the stories of different homelands and foods, one day, one of the old women I rode with every day to work, brought some of her homemade bread from Denmark. I really learned to appreciate the differences in human beings by riding the bus, and, yes, there were a few bad apples in the bunch, but that just made it more exciting. I truly learned to appreciate the different types of people and cultures from riding the bus.


2. Love Others

I found myself more compassionate. If an old woman was staggering to get on the bus, I'd help her. If a pregnant woman was standing on a crowded commute, I'd get up and let her sit down. A crying baby, I'd help the mom. I served so many people on my little drive from home to work and at the end of the day, I never remember feeling sorry for myself. I can't say that about myself now. Interesting...

3. Kindness Prevails

As much as I helped others on the bus, others helped me. Probably more. I remember one night I had all three children with me and a large Monsoon ( that's a crazy, rain storm for those that don't live in AZ) hit the Valley. I could barely see through the pouring rain, when a nice, young man helped me load my stroller and children onto the bus. Another time, I was late to catch the LAST bus home. I would've missed it, but a kind older gentleman banged on the side of the bus for me until the bus driver stopped for me. Kindness at its finest.

Looking back...

There are also LOTS of hilarious stories to tell you guys as well (another, post, maybe?), but, I wanted to emphasize that I learned a lot of good lessons from a period in my life that I felt was difficult, harsh, and sometimes unbearable. I had to stand in the rain, in 115 degree heat, sweaty, smelly, grouchy, moody, and with children, nonetheless, but I made it through that season of my life and I am a much better person because of it. A bus. Who knew it would have such an impact on me.

I Don't Match and I Don't Care

I love clothes, honestly, I do. I love putting together the perfect outfit. My makeup highlighted in all the right areas. Fingernails polished nicely (toes, as well). Hair so envious people stop to touch it. I like to smell like fresh roses with a halo hanging just above my head, defining my perfection for the world to admire.

Reality. Is. Much. More. Different.

Instead, I wake up looking like something that crawled out of a hole. My hair looks like I just got off a roller coaster, after riding it two hundred times, and my nails look like I've been clawing my way out of a coffin. My skin, ugh, looks like it's been lashed by some menacing creature who lives under my bed and my makeup, oh no, I can't find it anywhere. My outfits, unfortunately, do not always look like I image them, mainly because I've purchased them on how they look on a model that is a size two, and, I, well, am not.



Yet, here I am. Walking out the door with an old zebra striped skirt, a flowered top, the closest shoes to the door I can find (colorful flip flops), hair in a messy bun (not the cute kind), no makeup on, barely remembered a bra, and I do not smell like sunshine. All because my family needs toilet paper. Right now. (FYI: It's 9:44 pm)

Priorities took precedence over looks.

I get one good look at myself in the mirror on the way out.

I don't match, and I don't care.

Such is my life, sometimes.

Attend a Writing Conference! The Five Do's for Success!

(Photo Credit: Ruth Nickle)

This is my favorite time of the year: The American Night Writer's Association Annual Conference! I know it should be Christmas, but, since I'm being honest here, it's this magical event that is held each year. An annual, three-day spectacular conference that sends my creativity into overdrive. If you've never been to a writing conference, do it. I get lots of questions from people, especially writers, who want to know how to get the most out of these writing conferences.

1. Take Notes

Seems simple enough. But I don't mean mere scribbles, I'm talking about legit, hardcore, notes when you feel inspired about something the speaker is saying. Keep a pen and paper handy the entire time. This year I was inspired when the founder of ANWA spoke about how she created this magnificent group. Often times if I overheard a conversation going on that peaked my interest, out came my notepad. I usually take a 1 subject notebook, college ruled and pack it with relevant, inspiring content.


2. Make Friends

I'm an extrovert 100%. Yet when it comes to my writing I tend to be more subdued and introverted. I'd rather sit in a corner and plot out my next novel. Most writers, or creatives, tend to fall on the introverted side, and that's okay, but you really must overcome the need to stay a recluse during these conferences. Make friends. Lots of them. This year at the conference I made tons of new friends and I'm following them on all of their social media outlets.

3. Homework-Do it.

Anytime a speaker tells you to apply this-or-that to your writing, put a huge star by your notes. You now have homework! When the conference ended (last week) I spent a majority of my free time doing the homework the various speakers, authors, and literary agents mentioned. My writing has improved drastically in just one week, I can't wait to see how it looks in a few months.

4. Speaking of a few months...

Don't let the spark die. Just like any relationship worth having, you've got to nurture your writing by giving it time, quality time. Remember the nifty notebook I take with me to all my conferences? Well, I give myself time to review the notes every week, even if I only read one outline. There are also speakers who provide notes via PowerPoint, make sure you download those and review them every so often.

5. Return the Love

One last thing, make sure you engage with your new friends on social media. Follow their Twitter accounts and retweet items, go show some love to their Instagram and Facebook accounts. Foster these relationships and grow them. Also, make sure you thank the people who have worked behind the scenes to make these writing conferences available to you.

Now, go, write!


Your Power Hour: Morning Rituals with Results


Power Hour Friday

The greatest minds in the world give themselves one hour each morning, to help focus on their talents, gifts, creativity, and more. It is deemed the Hour of Power by many. I live by this belief system because I've seen it work in my own life. Every Friday I have christened my blog post as the "Power Hour Friday." Enjoy these creative ideas from some of the greatest minds.


You've read about it. You've seen it. You're best friend is doing it. No, I'm not talking about the yoga pants debate, I'm talking about meditation. It's a life saver, energy creator, and creativity inducing practice.

No fancy books needed. No crazy equipment. Just you, your body, and breathing. I'm a little bit of a late bloomer to meditation. I started ten years ago and it transformed the way I handled my full blown anxiety attacks (Yes, I get them and they suck). I'm a better friend, mother, business woman, wife, and neighbor--all because of meditation.

I want to focus on guided meditations in this post. My favorite guy (ever!) for meditation is Jason Stephenson. He's kind of the bomb of guided meditations. I found him one day when I Googled "Anxiety attack meditation" and he up popped his YouTube channel. Love him. You can find the link to his YouTube Page HERE I found his Australian voice charming, soothing, and comforting--triple threat kind of guy. I immediately liked his work and so did my husband, Chris. We both use his meditations for a variety of things like insomnia, anxiety, peace, concentration, creativity, and just relaxing. I pop on my headphones, put on one of his YouTube videos and I'm set for the day.

Meditation. Try it. It works.

The 5 Reasons I HATE Fall

Cooler Temps. Beautiful Weather. Autumn Leaves. Sweater Weather. Fall Holidays. All of the splendor of the year falls squarely on Fall (starting today, of course), and I despise all of it, for valid reasons, as you will see.

1. The temps have finally dropped and the weather is gorgeous outside. This is torture for me as I sit inside writing (or working) and stare sadly out my window wishing I was outside enjoying the awesome weather! Help. Me.

2. Fall brings the delicious, tantalizing flavor (and aroma) of pumpkin to life. I am a sucker for all of it--pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin lip balm, pumpkin body cream--Ahh! And, of course, I need ALL of it, spending my money like this isn't going to come around again in twelve months. My diet goes to hell, and so does my waistline.

3. Fall trends bring us clothes that I desperately need (and love), okay, more like want. I try to ignore the callings of the mall, but, it is far too easy to listen to the sirens of the internet. New boots--need. New Sweater--need. New fall blanket with leaves cascading down the front--definite NEED!

4. This is actually an addendum to number #2 because it involves my habit of spending way too much money on Pumpkin-Spice drinks at Starbucks (or any coffee house within the vicinity). In Fall, suddenly the Barista's all know my name, my business, and what I'm doing for the weekend--it's bad.

5. And, lastly, Fall decorations. A necessity at my home. Suddenly every pumpkin themed item at Target MUST be mine, turning my home into a pumpkin-Fall-Halloween mod podge of craziness. All of it totally necessary.

Fall. It's absolutely horrible.

The Healing Properties of Cookies

Yes, I know, there is an essential oil for everything. Toothaches. Bellyaches. Acne. Dandruff. I get it. And, yes, I know the amazing health benefits of fruits and veggies. But, did YOU know there are healing properties in cookies? Let me list them for you (Warning: There is absolutely NO medical literature to back up what I'm saying).

1. Heartbreak

Nothing quite heals a broken heart like a plate of cookies. You can drown your loss with a cup of a milk and--VIOLA!--heartbreak gone. Add a few friends into the mix and then the combined sugar high and laughter will compound into a beautiful mixture of the I-don't-give-a-(enter your preferred curse word) attitude. Problem solved. Repeat as many times, if necessary.

2. Work Problems

Co-worker causing drama. Boss being a freak. Customers acting insane. Project raising your blood pressure. Sales down. Cookies will help like you'd never suspect. Grab a delicious cookie (or two, or fifteen) and a cup of Joe; problem solved. My favorite thing to do is to sit in my car and just dream while I chomp--another job, another life, stabbing the client in the ear, you get my drift. Use this prescription with caution or could result in large rear-end (notice my face is the only thing in the picture).

3. Family Drama

Ugh. Principal called. Kids failing. Husband working late. Sister/Brother being a brat. Aunt gossiping. Grandpa fell, again. My diagnosis--cookie time. These call for special cookies. I often suggest you treat yourself to a local (and delicious) bakery for these moments. No need to bake or shop. Just drop in and eat. My favorite place in Arizona is called Sweet Cakes (Yum!) and thank goodness it's a 40 minute drive from my house.

4. Peace

How do cookies promote peace, you ask? It is National Peace Day today, so I thought I'd add my cookie-saves-the-day theory to this often debated question. Here is my simple answer: Have you ever been mad at anyone who dropped off cookies to you? Have you? No. I've had people I hate drop off cookies to me, and then, suddenly, like magic *POOF* I like them again. See...Peace.

Wow, cookies really are amazing.

6 Motivational Quotes for Success!

Motivational Quotes

We all need a little pick-me-up from time to time. Quotes are my favorite way to get the internal ball rolling. Today I'm sharing just a few quotes from my collection. Often times I will save quotes to my phone so I can reflect back on them. Enjoy!