Mindful Mondays – Week 71 – Be Authentic!

Being authentic sounds easy enough. I mean how difficult is it to be the real version of yourself? You, after all, are already perfect for the job of being you. You’ve been training for it your entire life, evolving, growing, shifting. No one can tell you, “you are doing “you” wrong”. Being you, being authentic, is a key element to experiencing your life’s joys, successes, and opportunities.

Can you imagine living your life by way of another person’s expectations? What if your family wants you to be one thing, your boss wants you to be something else, and your best friend expects yet another version? Exhaustion would hit you before you even put your feet on the floor each morning.

Here is the kicker….in the above example, you would be behaving as if you knew precisely how those individuals expect you to be. But, you never truly know another person’s thoughts, you would be making life choices based on what you interpreted someone else wanting from you. To me, that is the epitome of a hamster wheel on high speed.

So, how do you be authentic?

Love yourself first:

Give yourself permission to love yourself. If you do not see fit to love yourself, just think of how much more difficult you are making it for others to love you. When you love yourself, you tell yourself good stories about who you are. You don’t let negative self talk derail the good qualities you carry with you. Nobody is perfect, but we are all worthy of love. Start with you and watch it grow.

For more information on how to love yourself first check out my I Am Love blog post.

Do what you love:

How many people do you know that are living a life that doesn’t resonate with them? Whether it is a job or another area of your life, doing what you love is a direct route to being authentic. Just to be clear, doing what you love doesn’t mean you neglect responsibilities. I don’t exactly enjoy taking out the garbage, but if I didn’t take out the garbage the ramifications most certainly wouldn’t make me feel more authentic.

I have a 70/30 rule (you can check out the blog post here). In a nutshell the rule states if you are enjoying or for our purposes here, are being authentic for 70% of your day to day activities, the other 30% isn’t nearly as distracting. This rule allows you to focus the majority of your life on things that you love and the rest, well, it just kind of takes care of itself as you work your way through your day.

Give of yourself:

Being authentic isn’t a solitary path in life. As humans, we seek out communion with others. To be authentic, it is important to find a way to give of yourself to others. These acts of giving should not come from a place of obligation, but instead from a place of true desire to share with others that which you enjoy.

Random acts of kindness remain at the top of my list for a direct route to feeling fulfilled. If you ever find yourself in a slump, get up immediately and go and do or say something kind to another individual. You will magically change two lives in one moment.

An authentic life:

I do my best to live an authentic life. Seldom does a day go by where I don’t show myself love and kindness. I love what I do and have gratitude for the opportunity to work from home as a writer each and every day. Giving of myself is a natural part of life for me. Sometimes it is through volunteer work other times it is with heartfelt connections with others in all kinds of otherwise mundane situations.

Recently, in anticipation of the release of Stealing Mr. Smith, I offered a giveaway. I had so much fun with the giveaway and it reminded me just how much I enjoy sharing books with others. Seldom does a book remain on my shelf once I’ve read it. I am always excited to give it away to family and friends and share the joy of the story that I found within its pages.

So, starting this October, I am excited to announce that I will be offering a monthly giveaway for books that I have enjoyed. I can’t wait to share them with you. Sign up for my newsletter or follow me on social media to find out how to enter the monthly giveaway.

Don’t forget… Stealing Mr. Smith releases on September 25th.

Stealing Mr. Smith

Mindful Mondays – Week 70 – Stealing Mr. Smith

Stealing Mr. Smith is a mere two weeks away from releasing. The time has whipped by at break neck speed as I attempt to tackle my “to do” list. As you can probably tell by this very tardy blog post, time is slipping away from me. I hope you’ll forgive me the late post as I have a GIVEAWAY to offer you!

I am giving away 3 digital copies of Stealing Mr. Smith. Time is running out though so get yourself over to the link ASAP as the giveaway closes tonight. Seriously, run! Don’t walk. You have 5 hours left to enter.

Good luck and happy reading!


P.S. If you miss the giveaway, you can pick up the new release on September 25, 2018 at Amazon or one of your favorite online retailers.

Stealing Mr. Smith Giveaway

Mindful Mondays – Week 69 – Living Life with Priorities

Priorities are those items in life that we put above others. Priorities should and will shift as we navigate the waters of our life. In the early years when my son was a toddler, he was my priority. He was my focus and I spent my days teaching, playing, and enjoying his young life experiences. Now that he is a young adult (how did that happen?!?!), my priority is not to ensure he gets enough sleep, eats well, and has outside time everyday.

Though my son’s wellbeing continues to be important to me, his day to day choices are out of my scope as they are now his responsibility. Different ages and stages in life elicit a varying list of priorities. I tend to reboot with every change in season. With autumn hot on our heels, I am reminded to update my beliefs on what is important to me in the coming months.

Autumn’s Priorities #1

Meditate daily. I love to meditate. I am well versed in the benefits of meditation and I experience first hand how amazing it feels to begin each day with hope and love in my heart.

In fact, I am delighted with a special mediation I experienced just a couple of days ago. There I was sitting on a cliff above the water’s edge. The ocean waves crashing below me. The wind gently kissing my face. The morning birds calling to one another in song.  With out the rhythm of music or the guidance of thought, just me, my breath, and the sounds of nature, I went deep into a restorative state of meditation.

It would seem likely that with a recent experience such as the one described above, I would leap right out of bed each morning and put meditation first on my to do list every day. Priorities can be challenging. They can argue, cajole, and try to convince you to do them later. I noticed this morning that my priority of mediation tried some of those tricks, listing off all the other important tasks that needed doing.

In order to stay true to my priorities, I need to silence the voice of all other things and focus on taking care of the things that are important to me first. This is one reason why I keep my priority list to a small number. I fully believe I can do anything I want to do in this world, I just can’t do all of them at the same time.

Living Life With Priorities

Autumn’s Priorities #2

Continue reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 68 – A Journey Through Fiction

Fiction, that magical storybook time machine that can have us on the edge of our seats in suspense. Keep us reading late into the night for just one more chapter. Or even transport us to an entirely new world in a few pages. Journeying into fiction is one of my guilty pleasures. It also feels much like a life force that has the ability to sustain me.

On a weekend trip to Portland, Oregon, I found myself in the position of appreciating fiction from three uniquely different vantage points. One as a writer. Another as a reader. Yet more surprising was when I saw a setting through the eyes of a character. You will soon meet Bernice from Stealing Mr. Smith when the title releases in September 2018.

I traveled by train from the quaint little corner of Bellingham, Washington known as Fairhaven to Portland’s Union Station. As a historical fiction author, I have to mention my love of train stations. The architecture, the moldings, the wooden benches, and the actual train itself. All of these inspire stories inside my head. A Journey Through Fiction Continue reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 67 – Brilliance or Insanity???

Brilliance, defined by dictionary.com is excellence or distinction; conspicuous talent, or mental ability. In contrast, insanity is defined as a derangement of the mind. However, as a writer, the two are inextricable. Of course writers prefer to be viewed as brilliant creators, but in reality, insanity seems to lie just below the surface.

The topic of brilliance versus insanity has come up a few times over the past couple of weeks as I discuss the soon to be released, Stealing Mr. Smith with my beta readers. To give you an idea of where things lie among these two contrasting yet entangled words, I want to share with you the logic that has me experiencing both moments of brilliance and glimmers (okay, reams) of insanity.

Stealing Mr. Smith

Continue reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 66 – Remembering Flower

Flower was one of my closest friends. She inserted herself into my life by way of cuteness and persistence. It has been over a year since she passed away, yet lately she has been in my mind and on my heart in a new way. Now, is probably a good time to tell you that Flower was our family dog.

We stumbled upon Flower, some would say by accident, others might say it was serendipity at play. I choose to believe the latter. She had recently arrived in our city, accompanied by her brothers and sisters as part of the English Springer Spaniel Rescue Society. For our son, it was love at first sight. In the end, that is what tugged our hearts to inquire about her. 

In her later years, our once bounding puppy (seriously, if she liked you, there was no keeping her down from enthusiastically saying hello), dealt with blindness and hearing loss. Even these challenges refused to alter her joyful disposition.

Flower navigated the neighborhood from memory. In this video, she knows the curb is coming as this was her beloved lavender bush, the one I occasionally had to pull her out of as she immersed herself in all its glory.

I think of her often and miss her every time. She was my running buddy for years. Then as my life changed, so did hers. She became my constant companion, under the desk as I began the journey of writing, often stretching out to claim every square inch of floor space.

For months after she passed, we avoided neighborhood walking routes that would take us past her favorite spots. Neighbors, so used to seeing her beside us, shared our grief at her passing. Even dogs we encountered knew our heart's loss, for they would stop and wait for us to meet them and sit patiently as we said hello, absorbing their understanding of our loss.

Continue Reading

Mindful Mondays – Week 65 – Pure Joy!

Joy, that effervescent feeling of bliss that has the ability to radiate through our entire being like a lightning bolt. It can be fleeting in a moment, but the memory of a joy filled moment can last a lifetime. 

This past weekend, I was fortunate to find myself in two separate situations where joy was in the works. Neither of these occasions consisted of my own personal accomplishment nor were they the result of my own joyful experience, yet both of them created a sense of well being within me. Joy has the ability to be contagious and it is this magical element of the emotion that continues to inspire me to seek more of it. 

Facial expressions tend to be the first indicator that joy is present. An individual filled with the emotion doesn't simply smile, they beam from every corner of their being. Their body language shows an openness along with a sense of ease. A person feeling this bliss is experiencing one of the sweetest spots in life. 

Joy is often evident on the faces and movements of small children. They delight in the little things in life. The caterpillar wriggling its way down the sidewalk or the puppy that stopped to lick their face. Children do not have the same life oriented distractions as adults, so living in the moment comes naturally to them.

Natural or not, we all need to incorporate joy into our daily lives. So here are a few tips to guide you to a more joyful day.

Joy Tip #1

Take note of what is going on around you. Even if you are not in a current state of joyfulness, chances are someone else may be. So look up, scan the crowd. Seek out images of children, animals, groups of individuals sharing a laugh. Joy is all around us, we just have to invite it into our own awareness to be a part of the experience.

Joy Tip #2

Go back in time. Find a memory of a situation where you felt joy. Sit in quiet contemplation and see it in your mind. Feel the emotion by using all of your senses to immerse yourself into that time where it emanated from within you. A trip down memory lane, can be restorative for the spirit while adding a deep sense of happiness to your day.

Joy Tip #3

Fake it till you make it. Smile! Yes, smiling even when you don't feel like it, boosts your level of joy. Smiling has the ability to change your mood, your outlook on a situation, and quite possibly the path of your day. You have complete control over how you view the world around you. Why not try putting on a smile and add a little joy to any situation.

Wishing you a day filled to the brim with joy!

Mindful Mondays – Week 64 – Early Readers Requested

Readers are the lifeblood of an authors existence. We may start out by writing for ourselves, happy for awhile to entertain our own minds. Then as we branch out, we begin to share our work with our family and friends. When the time comes, we are either pushed or take the leap into the literary world as an author.

Publishing a book is the defining moment when a writer becomes an author. It is also the moment when authors find a kinship with readers. An author is also a reader and thus the coming together of readers and writers is a natural phenomenon. We share a love for great stories and whether we read on a Kindle or a paperback, we are drawn together for the love of a book.

As I prepare to launch my next historical fiction title, Stealing Mr. Smith, I am excited to invite readers, just like you, to join my early reader / review team. You may know it as a street team or a launch team but essentially signing up to be an early reader / reviewer means that you will receive an electronic copy of Stealing Mr. Smith to read and review prior to the publication date. 

I am excited to share this story with you. Space is limited, so to join the TEAM, email me at info@ripplingeffects.ca with your request to join ASAP.

I look forward to getting to know you better.


Mindful Mondays – Week 63 – When Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity exists all around us. How though, do we know when it is knocking just for us? Then there is the question of where does wishful thinking end and true opportunity begin?

To be honest, I am a fairly risk averse individual. However, I am a vivid dreamer and truly believe in the dreaming, doing, achieving process. So how is someone to know when an opportunity is a good match for their skill set, their place in life, and their future? The key is in the questions you ask of both yourself and the opportunity.

Opportunity Knocking Question #1

Is the opportunity in line with both my short term and long term goals?

Our goals, like an onion, have many layers. The first step in evaluating a potential opportunity is to get clear on our goals. Paper and pencil clear! So set aside 15 - 30 minutes and commit your goals to paper. I find it easiest to start with a long term goal or a helicopter view of the end result I am seeking. From there, narrowing the goals down into shorter time frames will help you to map out a plan.

Before evaluating the opportunity against your goals, take a few minutes to center yourself. Clear your head, take a walk, or just breathe to allow your goals to permeate your being and also to put some separation between your desired outcome and the opportunity.

On a fresh sheet of paper ask yourself if the opportunity is in line with your long term goals. Write as much description as you feel is necessary. Keep an open mind for this journey. Just because you want something doesn't mean it is best for you.

Next ask yourself if the opportunity is in line with each short term goal. Go through them one by one and answer with a simple "yes" or "no". If you feel the need to elaborate for your own clarity, then go ahead but try to keep it to a couple of sentences.

Opportunity Knocking Question #2

Does the opportunity fit within my current lifestyle?

In other words, can I fit all the tasks that will come with the opportunity into my daily calendar? Seldom does growth occur without the need to add or change a daily habit. Be honest with yourself. Can you alter your day to day schedule to allow for this new experience? How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to see this through? 

Don't forget about the others in your life and in your household. Can they or are they willing to support this opportunity in terms of time, money, and sacrifice? One person's journey is never solely theirs alone. We are a world of villages and if the opportunity comes with a hefty price tag that will affect the rest of your village, they need to be included in the discussion.

Opportunity Knocking Question #3

Are you as informed as you can be with regards to the opportunity?

With opportunity comes risk. We could waste our time or give up something we love doing. Worse yet, we could spend money like it is going out of style if we do not approach the opportunity with an investigative mindset. 

Create a list of questions that you currently do not know the answer to and go about discovering the answers. If the opportunity involves a third party, ask for references and details. Examine all available options in depth for both your own knowledge and your risk reduction.

Don't drag your feet on a decision but just as importantly, don't rush into anything you do not have solid information on either. Any opportunity worth embracing will allow you at the very least, a small amount of time to consider all your options. 

One last thing to consider...

If at first you don't jump at an opportunity, don't fret. A solid investment of your time and money will withstand the test of time. If you pass it by at first, don't be surprised if you see it again, a little farther down the road.

Let's stay in touch. I send two emails a month to my subscribers. These emails explore my reading and writing life and often contain exclusive content not available anywhere else. I look forward to connecting with you.