Back to My Writing Group Roots

Back to My Writing Group Roots

It’s Day 52 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I’m thrilled to say last night I went back to my writing group roots. Back in 2010, when my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul, was still a rough draft –– and I do mean rough –– I began attending a small writing group that met near the Kinder Care where I was director. By day I dealt with the Ds ––– challenges women face –– in full force there amongst Middletown’s rust belt’s demographic –– poor women and children living in poverty and despair as accurately depicted in J.D. Vance’s  Hillbilly Elegy.   By night I wrote.. Middletown Area Christian Writers or M.A.C. provided the sounding board and support for me to finally get the story out of my head and heart and onto paper. Then a career move led me to become a life coach but too far away to continue attending the group. I attended another wonderful group for a while and have tried others, but there’s just something about getting back to where you got started. Returning last night felt like the best homecoming. A complete welcome back into the fold that makes me so grateful I finally got back to my writing group roots.

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Front and back cover picturing Lee Edwards, the protagonist and heroine.

Still, the writing reunion was also bittersweet. I’d stayed away  long enough that I missed the chance to see a dear member who passed away a few weeks ago…But I was blessed by those who had read my novel despite not seeing me for years. Critique time offered the opportunity to hear what other writers are working on and revealed how talented and multi-faceted they can be as was demonstrated by an older woman writing a novel in a genre I would never have imagined. Being selected as a beta reader for a successful author, Linore Rose Burkard,  who published a Regency Romance trilogy –– one of my favorite series ––  with a major Christian publisher is an honor and a thrill! I can’t wait to have a sneak peek at her Regency time travel!

And of course, getting to share the prologue of Hold on Her Heart, Book 2 in the Lee’s Legacy series, yielded invaluable feedback and suggestions on what’s right and wrong with what I’ve done thus far. It also motivates me to keep writing –– something I’ve done much too little of since stepping into my role as Women’s Center Director. Having one of our board members as a fellow writing group member, though, and hearing her tell how God has me in the right place confirms the fact that even though I haven’t written as consistently as I’d like, God will use my ministry at the shelter to strengthen me as a writer.

If you’ve never checked out Seasons of Her Soul, I pray you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic and take a moment to learn how Lee Edwards minimizes her barriers –– mostly in the form of domestic violence  –– and maximizes beauty and her best life.  If you do, maybe you’ll want to read Hold on Her Heart which I hope to finish by the end of the yea.  Now that I’m back to my writing group roots.

Be Savvy & Chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

To preview/purchase the print or Kindle version of my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul, please visit Amazon.com at 
 
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Pink Collar Coach’s Positivity Post – August 20, 2019

Pink Collar Coach’s Positivity Post – August 20, 2019

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Swans,

This morning as I pray about many of the Ds –– challenges women face ––– in the form of debt, death, depression, diagnosis, divorce, domestic disputes, domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction, dysfunctional relationships, etc., I’m reminded of a truth from a children’s book –– It could always be worse. That’s not meant to minimize the emotions, pain and suffering these Ds bring, but to bring perspective. No matter how devastating our Ds, if we look for His hand in the situation, we’ll find God’s provision, comfort, care, guidance, deliverance, peace, healing and love for us and will be able to see how we’re blessed in the midst of our mess. And that it could always be worse.

Image credit to author/publisher.

That’s my prayer for you today. That you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic and view your situation from this positive lens. When you do so, even if you’re unable to change or minimize the barrier itself, you’re mindset will be transformed and enable you to minimize the negative impact it has on you so you can maximize beauty and your best life. All to His glory.

Be Savvy & Chic ,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

Life Lesson from Loads of Laundry

Life Lesson from Loads of Laundry

It’s Day 49 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and this busy weekend has taught me a life lesson from my loads of laundry. For many of us, this week was Back to School. As the mother of an 11th and 10th grader who is divorced –– a D or challenge women face –– from their father, I had them this weekend and a lot of the time went into school-related activities and making sure they were set to return for the first full week tomorrow. Between a trip to the library, running my daughter to a birthday sleepover, feeding my ravenous son and keeping him entertained Friday, I did laundry. Same thing Saturday before and after I picked her up, fought construction to make it to Zumba, did the grocery shopping and banking, then made lunch and finally dinner, all while tossing loads in and pulling them out. This morning, as I listened to Joel Osteen –– I folded and put clothes and linens away prior to taking Liv out for last minute school supplies. (What ever happened to getting the list before classes started?). Though there were moments when I felt like I’d either been put through the wringer or the spin cycle –– this is my first time blogging since Thursday! –– there wasn’t one where I didn’t feel blessed to have these tasks to do for my children and home. That’s the life lesson I’ve learned from my loads of  laundry.

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DIY Simply Shabby Chic “Laundry” banner on Shabby Chic bulletin board. For years I looked for a laundry sign. When I came across this board strung with wire and clothes pins, I was able to create my dream sign.                     DIY letters – Target. Bulletin Board –– TJ Maxx.

You see, though sometimes I look at all of the bath towels and face cloths to be washed, at all the bedding and more clothes than I can keep up with, I’m often reminded of a story  I once heard a story about a woman who sat all alone in her immaculate house and longed for it to be cluttered with the chaos of children…Because I don’t have mine all of the time, I can relate. When they’re here, it’s more joy than drudgery doing the mundane things for –– and with –– them. I touch the towels and am thankful they take care of themselves the way I taught them to. I look at the linens and love that they lie in them and sleep luxuriously when living under my roof. And I cuddle the clothes and am conscious of how quickly their time as children will cease. Each time I’m immensely grateful that despite a divorce,  the Lord has –– for now –– blessed me to serve them. Yes, on purpose. Focusing on that allows me to minimize my D and to maximize beauty and my best life.

One day, they’ll be grow up and away and my washer and dryer will get a lot less use. Til then, I’m taking my life lesson from the laundry to heart and am determined to be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and to treasure the loads.

Be Savvy & Chic, 

~Pink Collar Coach

 

Pink Collar Coach’s Positivity Post – August 15, 2019

Pink Collar Coach’s Positivity Post – August 15, 2019

 
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Dear Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Swans,

As my 9th and 10th grader head back to school this morning, I’m reminded of all their firsts and lasts. Though Liv is petite and can fit inside her locker –– with the door closed –– it’s not often I get to hold her or her brother in my arms…May the following poem remind us all to cherish not only our children’s firsts and lasts, but all of life’s.

~Pink Collar Coach

Let Me Hold You Longer

By Karen Kingsbury

Long ago you came to me,

a miracle of firsts:

First smiles and teeth and baby steps,

a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away

and leave to me your past,

And I will be left thinking of

a lifetime of your lasts . . .

The last time that I held a bottle

to your baby lips.

The last time that I lifted you

and held you on my hip.

The last night when you woke up crying,

needing to be walked,

When last you crawled up with your blanket

wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me,

still small enough to hold.

The last time that you said you’d marry

me when you grew old.

Precious, simple moments and

bright flashes from your past –

Would I have held on longer if

I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure to the park,

your final midday nap,

The last time when you wore your favorite

faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten,

those last days of first grade.

Your last at bat in Little League,

last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all

your yesterdays long passed.

So what about tomorrow –

will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog

in that old backyard pond.

The last time that you run barefoot

across our fresh-cut lawn.

Silly, scattered images

will represent your past.

I keep on taking pictures,

never quite sure of your lasts . . .

The last time that I comb your hair

or stop a pillow fight.

The last time that I pray with you

and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle

with a book, just me and you.

The last time you jump in our bed

and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson,

last vacation to the lake.

Your last few weeks of middle school

last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days

that haven’t come to pass.

But as I do, I sometimes miss

today’s sweet, precious lasts . . .

The last time that I help you with

a math or spelling test.

The last time when I shout that yes,

your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for

a ride from here to there.

The last time that you spend the night

with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster,

stealing precious days that pass.

I want to hold on longer –

want to recognize your lasts . . .

The last time that you need my help

with details of a dance.

The last time that you ask me for

advice about romance.

The last time that you talk to me

about your hopes and dreams.

The last time that you wear a jersey

for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed

seasons as they pass.

If I could freeze the hands of time,

I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning,

you’ll be going far away.

College life will beckon

in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye,

one quick and hurried kiss.

One last time to understand

just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast

our time together passed.

Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.

(c) 2004 by Karen Kingsbury, Tyndale House Publishers.

 

Disengaging from Dysfunctional Discourse

Disengaging from Dysfunctional Discourse

It’s Day 44 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and as despite the fact that it very well may signal the end of a relationship, I’m disengaging from dysfunctional discourse with someone. All of my life, I’ve tried to be a person who avoids conflict. Most of time that manifests itself in me not voicing my feelings or opinions because they differed from those of others. And I don’t really mind doing that with an  inconsequential choice or topic.  It really didn’t matter to me what game we cousins played as children, so I let them pick. I like most foods, so I’m usually up for the whatever   restaurant whoever I’m with prefers. More often than not, I don’t have a dog in the fight of the moment. Sometimes, however, when the stakes are high –– when it’s a crucial conversation ––  I’m compelled to have a discussion, debate or even a  mild  disagreement (Though these all start with D, I don’t consider them to be Ds as in the challenges women face). When the stakes are high, I attempt to keep the goal of a crucial conversation –– to preserve the relationship –– in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m perfect at it. But am I intentional about it? I can say Yes with assurance. So when I’m doing my best to use the tools in my belt –– Using “I” Statements, Active Listening, Positive Sentiment Override, etc. and the other individual is aggressive, argumentative and downright argumentative, as I’ve gotten older and hopefully grown in all the life domains, I consistently find myself disengaging from dysfunctional discourse.

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Visual was shared on LinkedIn.                                                       Credit to the creator, though I don’t agree w/where all placed. I”d have to respectfully agree to disagree…RESPECT is key!

The recent pounding I took from an individual about one of the above items  not being an unplanned expense reminded me that not everyone has as many tools in their belt. If they’ve only got a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That’s not a judgment call or superiority on my part. It’s actually pity that even people –– me included –– who love the Lord and may even love the person with whom  they’re embroiled in conflict –– are so intent on making their point that it becomes more important than the person and maintaining the relationship.

For now, I’m choosing to press pause on this one. Prayerfully, the person will be receptive to learning about other tools they can add to their belt. Until that happens, I’m dis-engaging from the dysfunctional discourse and lifting the person up in prayer while I continue working on my own communication skills. By doing so, I’m minimizing the communication barrier and maximizing beauty and my best life. I pray you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about adding communication tools to your repertoire as well. If you do, you can minimize communication barriers and live your best life, too.

Be Savvy & Chic ,

                                                                                                            ~Pink Collar Coach

 

Pink Collar Coach’s Positivity Post – August 14, 2019 – Last Day of Summer Break

Pink Collar Coach’s Positivity Post – August 14, 2019 – Last Day of Summer Break

Little did I know it when one of my most special Swan Soul Sisters, Kibby, and I had our first swim this summer that it might also be our last of the season. Life hit her hard with a family medical emergency while she already splits her time between two states caring for her mother who suffered a stroke last year. Though we normally spend several lazy summer days lounging by the pool, we haven’t made it back since this photo. I didn’t post it originally because of how cooky my hat looks plus the readers on top of my head! Not a good look!. But now that my kiddos head back to school tomorrow and she’ll soon head back to her hometown since the medical emergency is thankfully under control, it makes this moment more memorable ––– cooky hat, glasses and all.

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Kibby & Me. She is lovely in her purple paisley. I’m in my favorite swim suit – pink of course! Calvin Klein hat, suit, towel & flip flops. All from TJ Maxx. 

As summer break winds down for many of us, I pray you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and find ways to mark the meaningful moments. For me it’s posting a pic that I normally may not. Not only as a way to mark the last day of summer break, but to be intentional about expressing gratitude for my many blessings, like time with a special Swan Sister who helps me to minimize my barriers and maximize beauty and my best life.

Be Savvy & Chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Pink Collar Coach’s Positivity Post – August 13, 2019

Pink Collar Coach’s Positivity Post – August 13, 2019

My sweet Sister-in-law, Sue and my Zumba mentor/Swan Sister, Marina, both blessed me with TJ Maxx gift cards for my birthday last month.  I spent them both well and had a few dollars left over, so I snapped up these Rachel Ashwell tumblers from the clearance aisle for $2 a piece. They now serve as Shabby Chic medicine cabinet storage. Shabby Chic Room Spray bottles (also from TJ’s) are too beautiful to be tucked away and line the top. It may sound silly, but my Shabby Chic medicine cabinet made my morning and getting ready for work lovely!

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My Shabby Chic Medicine Cabinet Storage Makes Makes My Morning!

Stylish storage solutions can help minimize disorganization –– a D or challenge women face –– and will help you maximize beauty and your best life! I pray your day is Pink Collar Savvy & Chic, organized and filled with things that make it for you, too!

Be Savvy & Chic,

~ Pink Collar Coach