Some of My Cherished Objects

I’ve been taking some time off from blogging for summer, but I received an invitation from my friend Damyanti to take part in a special blogfest.  The Cherished Blogfest:along with Dan Antion , Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, she invited us to talk about objects we cherish, and why.


For me, many came to mind: the letters my mother wrote me while she was dying, the first photos of me holding my children as newborns, the box of mementos I keep for my deceased daughter, my wedding rings, print copies of books I’ve read over and again, the first printed proof copy of my first novel, the medal from my first marathon, a metal starfish figurine given to me by a friend… I think it’s fair to say that everyone could make a long list.

But when I think of things I’d consider “cherished”, it’s not the objects themselves so much as the emotions and memories they trigger.  Which, I guess is the point.

I cherish the love my mom poured out on paper for posterity when she knew she wouldn’t always be able to tell me in person how she felt. I love having these words in her own handwriting. I want to make sure each of our kids has handwritten letters from us.

cherished 002I cherish the photos of those first moments when my children arrived in this world because they bring me back in time to a place full of wonder and deep relief.

I cherish the footprints and the lock of hair from the child we lost as bittersweet reminders of the saddest and most amazing gifts in this life.

cherished 007

I cherish my wedding rings for all they symbolize, but mostly because they represent that fact that we’re in this together. <3

cherished 008

I cherish the nostalgia that comes from brand new copies of Pillars of the Earth, Outlander, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Pride and Prejudice in my house because I’m always giving away my copies! Notice I don’t even have a copy of each at the moment. ;)

cherished 009

I cherish the sense of achievement and overcoming fear when I hold that first copy of my first printed book.


I cherish my marathon medal as a reminder that most goals take lots of work, are better with good friends, and even then don’t always go as planned (and sometimes go totally of the rails), and that’s ok.

cherished 005

I cherish this little starfish because it came to me as a thank you from a new friend after I helped her out. It was a project I didn’t have time for, and had no business taking on at the time, but it really made a difference to her (and to me, in the end). In the card that accompanied it, she wrote, “How does it feel to be the answer to a prayer?” I keep this starfish on my desk as a reminder that kindness matters and it is always the right time and the right choice to help someone out if you can.

cherished 001


Thanks for reading about my list of cherished things. You can visit the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour here.

Confidence & Owning Your Power #IWSG

I can’t believe it’s already July.

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brain child of the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.  The awesome co-hosts today are Charity Bradford, S.A. Larsen, AJ,Tamara Narayan, Allison Gammons, and Tanya Miranda! 

Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group t-shirt is available now!

Designed by the very talented Jeremy Hawkins, members can now show their support and commitment to the group.

Purchase your IWSG shirt at the NeatOShop.




Today, my mind is on confidence.

A couple of weeks ago I attended my first ever UtopYA conference (now UtopiaCon for 2016 and beyond) in Nashville where I met tons of amazing writers, bloggers, and readers. It was my first time being at a large-scale event as an author with my books, and let me tell you, I had a serious case of impostor syndrome to overcome.

Anyone who has met me in person knows: I am not, by any stretch, an introvert. Meeting new friends, introducing myself to others, and speaking in public are not things I usually struggle with. But that doesn’t mean I am brimming over with confidence all the time, and that was definitely true in Nashville.

From the moment I signed up to attend, and for the months ahead on the facebook group for the event, I found myself deep in doubt.

Why did I get an author table?

Nobody’s heard of my book or the series.

Why am I going to this event at all?

I don’t belong here.

Those are some toxic thoughts, and it was a real mind-game getting myself out of that negative cycle where the result would have been skipping the event altogether.


Me and my books at my signing table!

But I am so super glad I didn’t cancel. This event was probably the best event for me, as a new author, to attend. Talk about community and finding your tribe!

As far as my own fears, they were unfounded. I met people who haven’t published yet who were inspired that I had a book out. I met book bloggers who wanted to read my work. There were people in all stages of writing and blogging who were reaching out and getting connected. I met multi-published authors who were so welcoming and open, many of whom shared their own struggles with confidence and insecurity. I met some people who I hope will become lifelong friends. I met introverts who finally found the courage to open up. And the list goes on. And most of all… I realized that we’re all struggling with something.

While writing this post, I was thinking about what to call it, and “Owning Your Power” hit me. This is interesting, because in the weeks up to the event, this little phrase was literally all around me. I had piles of things with this phrase written on it.

You see… it’s one of the themes of my series, THE EXPATRIATES. It’s the phrase that’s on all of the swag I had made to bring with me to the conference.

Whenever you take on something new, the first thing you need to adjust is your mindset. Funny how I didn’t apply that to my own situation. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do to shift your mindset.

So, perhaps the Universe was trying to tell me something when I wrote this series. Maybe there was a cosmic nudge coming through in this little phrase.

Either way, I’ll take it.