In This Life…

August just came and went, and September is off to many unexpected blessings.

My two books, Eight Goodbyes and In This Life, won some awards! Something I had never, ever dreamed of!

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Eight Goodbyes was a Finalist in the International Book Awards. My agent made sure I knew that there was only one winner, which means that being a Finalist is an honor on its own. I don’t doubt it – when I started writing books, I did so to save my heart and my sanity. I didn’t and still don’t have a clue about how many books I’ve sold.

Now, In This Life…man, that one was awarded a Bronze Medal in Women’s Fiction by the Readers’ Favorite 2020 team. I have always loved this book. I wrote it during the most difficult time of my life, when I wanted to convey my hopelessness. This was a time I prayed so hard to change the course of my life. And just as expected, none of those prayers were answered. In its place, a stark realization about accepting what the universe has planned for me, prompted my words and my story. After this book was published, the public’s reaction was astounding. Someone (a friend now) was spurred to make the most of her life because of this book. She then had the seahorse cover tattooed on her ankle. An actor who optioned it for film has become a good friend. People have reached out for advice or just a sympathetic ear.

Why do you think? They’ve asked. Why does life always go the opposite way?

When life takes a different turn, there is much anger and resentment. This book encourages us to let peace lead the way. In letting go of that pain, all the darkness disappears. And when you open the door up to all the possibilities this world has to offer, light begins to filter in. Your life becomes filled with light.

I’ve also been actively participating in passion projects at work and outside of work. I was just asked to join the Board of an organization whose platform speaks to my heart at this very turbulent time in our country. At work, I am continually challenged to ensure the financial viability of our agency despite all the uncertainties that exist. So far, so good. I have the kindest, most generous bosses who recognize my work.

To add to this list, my co-author and I have many announcements to make this month. I have never collaborated with anyone else on a book before, let alone a series of five books. It has been such a natural and surprisingly seamless process. I know nothing about his world and he’s learning to live in mine. The perspective he brings into this partnership is priceless and very much welcomed.  Another new friend has come into my life. Needless to say, I can’t wait to share our stories with you. Check Kristoffer out on his webpage – he’s as genuine and kind as they come. (www.krispolaha.com)

So, now we move to the reason for this post.

For the first time in months, I was able to host a dinner at home with two of my closest allies. We speak almost every day, but haven’t seen each other since March. At this time, it felt like we were ready to see each other, knowing that we have been quarantining separately with our loved ones for the past six months! The reunion was invigorating. It fed parts of me that have slowly died in the months since the pandemic’s onset. Sometime in August, I felt myself slipping away – after finding out that we may not be able to travel or go to the office until June 2021. That killed my psyche, made me feel hopeless once again. To run a business remotely for six months is great. To have a career solely based on remote interaction – could it be done? Besides that, what am I going to do with all the shoes I’ve accumulated since March? That’s where this dinner experience comes in. For the hours that we spent together – with the food, and the wine and the laughter and the stories – I began to understand the meaning of this all. The isolation and the separation do nothing to diminish the relationships in your life. It’s like looking at your portfolio of investments and letting them sit while the market is in a downturn. They don’t go anywhere – everything you’ve invested in them, reaps their returns at a time when you’ll need them the most. You need to be confident in yourself enough to know that those you have given your heart to, will nourish and cherish it until the time you meet again. This also goes for book awards, promotions, board offers and charitable works. They come to you in time. When you least expect them, and when you need them most.

And if this pandemic has taught me anything – it’s that exposing our humanity has been good for the soul. The pajamas we’ve been caught wearing on Zoom; the barking dog with impeccable timing; the fact that dishes don’t wash themselves during the fifteen hour work days;  the eyebrows, the hair and everything else that’s overgrown and messy; the testiness, the snappiness, the exhaustion. We’ve all exhibited them, and we’ve all been forgiven for them.

Don’t let these times scare you into inaction. There is so much to do while we’re home. We can help and inspire those who still need to leave their homes every single day. The essential workers, those who can’t afford to stay home and hide behind their keyboards. They need us.

So whatever you do best, do it. Write for those who can’t see. Speak for those who don’t have a voice. Inspire those who have lost hope, guide those who have lost their way.

Now is the time. The world needs you. Use your superpowers to set things right. In your own way and on your own time.

Let’s keep this September as busy as we can! Don’t let anything pass you by. In this Life, you only get one chance!