Take A Breath

When did you last have a moment for yourself?
A moment to relax; a moment to unwind;
Time put aside to release what’s on your mind.
When did you last have a moment for yourself?

Do you recall last taking a breath of fresh air?
Enjoying your surroundings and smelling the flowers;
Not dwelling on the past or the upcoming hours.
Do you recall last taking a breath of fresh air?

When have you ever really opened your eyes?
Seen the sunrise and then watched it set
No worries at hand and no need to fret.
When have you ever really opened your eyes?

Let’s freeze the clocks and pause the time,
Breathe in then out; enjoy our prime.
Remember you need to often relax,
And cherish each second; before they slip through the cracks.

Overcoming The Word “No”

In life, there will be plenty of instances in which we will be faced with the infamous word “No.” No, you cannot eat dessert before dinner; No, you cannot miss school tomorrow; No, I will not give you extra credit; No, I will not give you extra vacation days; No, I won’t go on a date with you; No, I won’t be your boyfriend/girlfriend; No, you are not the right person for the job; And No, I will not go home with you (thought I’d add that in there for a little more excitement).

At the time, a big “No” stamped on our foreheads may seem like quite the difficult obstacle to overcome, but in actuality, is really isn’t. When faced with the word “No,” we should use that rejection as motivation to continue on with what we’re doing to ultimately achieve our desired goal(s).

Accept the challenge of a “No” and keep on going until you find yourself moving in the right direction. The value of hard work is one in which we have to put in an effort in order to achieve what we want. So don’t expect someone to just ask you out, and don’t expect a great job to just fall in your lap. If you put in some kind of an effort, not only can you achieve all of these things, but you will find what is right for you, regardless of what it is that you desire in life.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

In life, we are given more second chances than we realize. It’s time to wake up and realize just how lucky we truly are and learn to take full advantage of each and every day we have here on earth. If you were given the opportunity of a lifetime, what would you do?

Told by the doctors I have minutes to live,
With my life on the line, I have nothing to give.
Thinking about my past, and the errors of my life,
No children, no family, not even a wife.

If I had a second chance would I change in any way?
My life would be different, I would live every day.
I would constantly laugh and share smiles with all,
Soar to the sky and not let myself fall.

Be spoiled with good food, and of course, wine,
My life would be perfect and also divine.
Celebrate each day by enjoying more sweets.
Have lots of children and bring them home treats.

I would shower in the sun and bathe in the rain,
Make Mother Nature my friend, but never in vain.
Sing out loud, as well as dance,
All this I would do if given the chance.

The doctor comes in and unplugs the machine,
He says to go home; this is all just a dream.
I’m dazed and confused, no doubt you are too,
But I’ll take this second chance and start my life anew.

Spreading The Love

In today’s society, it’s no surprise that we tend to care more about ourselves than those around us. I’m not generalizing our population or criticizing anyone, but let’s get real here. When was the last time you gave back and helped someone else out? Do you recall the most recent time you offered a helping hand to a complete stranger? Some of the simplest acts in life go a longer way than one would think, so why not try to make someone’s day better than it already is? We are only here on earth for a limited amount of time, so to spend it being self-absorbed and self-centered would be a  pretty big waste of time, if you ask me.

The next time you go out, hold the door open for the person behind you. There may be a few people who walk right by you without the slightest feeling of appreciation, but I can guarantee that at least one person will say “thank you.” Those two simple words will leave you knowing that you did a good deed, and you’ll have an instant feeling of gratification. If you want to go above and beyond the usual acts of kindness, volunteering is the next best option, but I’ll save that for a later day so you don’t have a kindness-overload. But one last thing. Smiles are contagious; but so are frowns. Smile at strangers, and if they don’t find you creepy or strange, they might smile back. Try your best to spread joy and kindness wherever you go, because you’d be surprised at how many people will continue to pass them along. I’d like to leave you with this one quote to think about, process, and act upon:

One of the world’s most notable and inspirational figures, Mother Teresa once stated, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” We have the power of making an impact in this world and on those around us, so why not try to make one in a positive manner? Making a difference starts with one person, and guess what? You can be that one person.

Alone and Together

The importance of holding on to the person you care about most…

Alone slumps along,
All by himself.
No one around, not even a sound,
As he walks along, like a stray dog in a pound.
Slouched over, hands deep in his pocket,
His big, gloomy eyes stare down at the ground.
Alone slumps along sluggishly,
Sad, lonely, unwanted.

Together strolls by,
Two; hand in hand.
Not a care in this world can tear them away,
As they stand side by side, on this most gorgeous day.
The world stops in their presence,
While together strolls by, satisfied,
Romantically, passionately, and happily.

Alone slumps along as together strolls by,
And all else seems to fade away.
They stare each other down,
And jealousy tingles up alone’s spine,
While appreciation tingles up together’s.
The moment is up, and the world carries on,
As alone slumps along, while together strolls by.

Wanting The Time To Pass

Often times we find ourselves looking forward to certain upcoming events. Whether it be birthday celebrations, nights out with friends, concerts, shows, etc., in getting excited for the big date slowly approaching, we tend to lose track of what is currently going on around us. We get so caught up in wanting the time to pass so the day or night we have been so anxiously awaiting can finally arrive, and when it does, it goes by quicker than you can imagine. It is at this moment in which we cannot help but anticipate the next big event taking place, and start the whole anxiously awaiting process once more.

We cannot enjoy life if we constantly spend our time wanting it to pass. This world has so much to offer us, and as unfortunate as it is, we sometimes don’t realize this and end up missing out on a lot of great opportunities. If you have a big event coming up sometime in the near future, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be excited and look forward to it. However, don’t let it take you away from this current moment in time, because every day is a miracle, and you don’t want to miss out on life’s miracles.

The poem, The Station by Robert J. Hastings is one of my favorites, as it explains the importance of living in the moment, and truly cherishing all the we have right now.

The Station by Robert J. Hastings

            Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination – for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

“Yes when we reach the station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen…win that promotion…put the last kid through college…buy that 450 SL Mercedes Benz…pay off the mortgage…have a nest egg for retirement.”

From that day on, we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The station is an illusion – it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along.

Copyright © 1986 by Southern Illinois University Press.

Why I Write

I write to unwind, I write to be free,
Scribbling on paper; my pencil and me.
The tone is usually whatever I find,
But I write to let go of all on my mind.

I write to express all that I feel,
My emotions are truthful, and all so real.
Never a dull moment; always a good time,
Think of strong words, and add in a rhyme.

Thoughts flow through my pencil; feelings through my writing,
Grouping the perfect set of words is pretty exciting.
I write from the heart so all can relate,
Maybe this was meant as my own destined fate.

Writing provides a wide open door,
After each poem I write, I can’t wait for more.
Thoughts, never-ending; just reach for the sky,
Once you get an idea, grab it; don’t ask why.

Sending Out Manuscripts

As soon as I woke up this morning and got out of bed, I immediately spotted the seven business cards given to me by each of the literary agents at the writer’s conference this past weekend, all hung up on my wall. I knew there was only one thing to do, and that was to email each of them and send whatever additional information they had requested. I emailed out query letters, proposals, sample chapters, and my completed manuscript, and now there’s only one thing left to do. As much as I hate saying it, all that’s left to do is wait; wait for a response; wait for follow-up questions; wait for a yes; wait for a no. I can’t guarantee any answers from the prospective agents, but seeing as I have spent the last two months querying agents and waiting, this should be nothing new to me. Until I hear back from any of them, I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and begin uploading new blog posts relating to the Happiness and self-help aspect of this blog. As for now, whoever you are out there reading this blog, have a good night. Until tomorrow…

Going Back Home

Today was the last day of the Writer’s Digest 2012 Conference. As bittersweet as it was to leave, I happened to have been excited to take everything I have learned back home with me so that I can jumpstart my writing career. From marketing and publicizing my book to learning the ins and outs of the writing industry, I have definitely come out of this conference as a wiser writer. Besides, the networking this past weekend has been incredible, seeing as I was able to meet so many great fellow-writers who know what its like to get more rejection letters from agents than one could ever believe to be possible. I spoke with agents, editors from major publishing houses, published and unpublished authors, and newly-acquainted friends who all made this weekend as great as it was, leaving me with hopes of coming back to the next conference in 2013.

As a final thought for the evening, the guest speaker earlier today who concluded the conference was Chris Baty, founder of Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. He quoted William Shed and exclaimed, “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” This left each of the remaining attendees in the ballroom yearning to continue writing and working on our manuscripts because our works have no purpose sitting in our drawers at home or saved in some file on our laptops. While everyone loves reading a good book, every writer has the desire for their works to be read and enjoyed. This is why we constantly strive to get our works published. Mr. Baty ended his speech by saying, “There is someone out there who waited all their life to get their hands on your book, and they will get their hands on it.”

Tomorrow I’ll start the next chapter in my writing process, and email the agents who gave me their business cards and expressed interest in my book. Until then, thanks for the hospitality and first snowfall of the new year New York, but it’s good to be back in sunny, not-too-cold Florida.

The Pitch Slam

I woke up this morning, only a few hours after having gone to sleep. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning practicing my pitch slam with my sister who met up with me at my hotel late last night. However, regardless of how hard I had rehearsed, I was still nervous for what today would have in store for me. Later today at the conference, we would be given three hours to meet with as many literary agents as time would permit, and this is what they called, “The Pitch Slam”. We learned yesterday at one of the seminars that the goal for this three-hour long pitch slam is to collect as many business cards from the literary agents as possible. Business cards symbolize their interest in our books and show that they would like to receive more information about our projects. My nerves were multiplying by the hour, and as the day progressed, all I could think of was meeting with the agents. The clock had finally stuck 1:50pm, and when it did, all of the writers rushed out of the seminar we were all in, and ran to whichever ballroom the agents they wanted to meet with were located. Lines flooded the second floor of the hotel, as each writer tried making his or her way to the desired ballroom where the agents they wanted to meet with were located. Imagine going into a recovery center for choc-o-holics and passing out chocolate bars left and right; this was the same thing. Except instead of choc-o-holics, there were writers anxious to be published, and instead of chocolate, there were literary agents.

As soon as 2:00pm came around, the ballroom doors had opened, and the writers were running to their desired literary agents. More lines were forming in front of each table, but these lines were bearable. The pitch slam worked liked this: Each writer had three minutes with whichever agent they wanted to meet with. The first minute and a half was meant to explain your book to the agent, and the second minute and a half was for the agent to provide feedback and say whether or not he or she is interested in receiving more information. If so, they would hand over their business card to you, a huge smile would run across your face, and you would run over to the next agent you wanted to meet with and stand in their line. The pitch slam lasted for only three hours, so you had to make the best with your time and try to meet with as many literary agents and collect as many of their business cards as possible.

My first pitch had gone fairly well. I talked a little too much, stuttered a little too much, and got tongue twisted a little too much, but I still managed to get a business card out of it. Fast-forwarding three hours, by 5:00pm, I had met with ten literary agents, and received seven business cards. Three of the ten agents exclaimed that they don’t represent self-help/inspiration books, but the other seven expressed interest and told me to email them my proposal as well as sample chapters. I couldn’t have been any more excited, so needless to say, I celebrated with dinner provided by room service and am now going to sleep for the night. With tomorrow being the concluding day of the conference, there is still plenty for me to learn, and much more networking to be done. However, for now, it’s time to go to sleep, and as I turn the lights in my hotel room, I proudly take a look, one last time, at the seven business cards recently placed on the night stand next to me.