Monday night, I popped over to women’s fiction author Steena Holmes’ recently revamped site and now I have website envy. You’d think I’d be envious of her success with her bestselling book FINDING EMMA, but I know how hard she’s worked, so I’m thrilled for her success.
But her website … well, that’s a totally different animal.
You see, even though I don’t have a natural eye for design, I love designing websites and logos and images of all kinds. So when I see a gorgeous website design, I fall in love and want to redesign my own site. I love the chocolate hearts on Steena’s main logo and the rounded corners on the banners in her sidebar. Plus, she’s incorporated some pretty cool features into her site.
Like her Secret Society for book readers. Okay, I’m in, all signed up, and ready to go.
So now I have the desire to revamp my website and make it all pretty and cozy and cute, and I’m holding Steena responsible. 🙂
And while I dream about the changes I’m going to make, let me leave you with a little blurb about Steena’s popular book FINDING EMMA.
Megan is the harried but happy stay-at-home mother of three little girls living in a small town. Her life implodes when her youngest daughter, Emma, disappears on her third birthday.
Two years later, Megan is preparing to commemorate Emma’s birthday and the anniversary of her kidnapping, compelled to keep her name alive in the minds of her community and her family. Her commitment to Emma, however, borderlines on obsession as she follows the families of little girls who look like the daughter she lost.
Her obsession with finding Emma has distanced Megan from both friends and family. Her two older daughters are resentful of her relentless and fruitless search for their sister, and her husband pleads with her to accept that Emma is gone so that the family can move on with their lives.
Meanwhile, in the same small town, Jack is beginning to question his wife’s secrecy about their adored granddaughter, Emmie. As Dottie slips into dementia and becomes increasingly protective over Emmie, he can’t help but wonder if there could be a dark secret that Dottie is keeping from him.
Jack and Megan’s worlds finally intersect at the town carnival, when Megan snaps a photograph of a little girl on her grandfather’s shoulders.
Back in high school, I had a crush on a guy. He was cute and funny and a year older than I was. He also had a girlfriend who went to a different school, which meant that as long as she was in the picture, he was off limits.
But I liked this guy and we became friends. Sure, there was some flirting. Mostly we hung around outside of classes and he let me store my books in his locker because my locker was way down at the other end of the school.
Storing my books in his locker was a great way to ensure I would constantly run into him between classes. It was a brilliant plan, one of the best catch-a-guy plans I ever devised. Unfortunately, he still had a girlfriend.
During those first two months of the school year, our friendship blossomed. In late October, with the Sadie Hawkins dance approaching – you know the one where the girl gets to ask the guy to the dance? – I wanted to ask him to be my date. But at fifteen, my experience with dating was minimal. Mostly the guys I had crushes on just wanted to be friends and the guys who had crushes on me … well, I just wanted to be their friend.
I kept hearing that he was still with this other girl, and even though I was pretty sure it was all over between them – all but the final “we’re done” – I kept finding excuses not to ask him to the dance. If you want to know the truth, I was chicken. I was scared of rejection and scared of looking like a fool and scared of losing his friendship.
I lost it anyway.
Deep down, I knew my locker guy liked me, a lot, and was waiting for me to ask him to the dance. Perhaps if he’d broken up with his other girlfriend, I might have been braver. Perhaps if my friends weren’t pressuring me to ask their boyfriends’ buddy to the dance instead, I might have gathered up my courage and made my move.
Instead, I asked the other guy, and the budding relationship between me and my locker guy disintegrated until I finally gave up hope and moved back to my own locker. Other than the occasional nod as we passed in the hallway, he spent the rest of high school ignoring me.
Fortunately, I was young and my heart was resilient. But was his?
He came to the dance alone, and I’m sure he expected me to be solo, too. Immediately after the dance, he changed. Even back then, I wondered if it was my fault. He dropped his girlfriend and began to hang around with a crowd of kids heavy into booze and drugs, and from what I could tell, spent most of his days high or drunk. Years later, I ran into him and we had a polite conversation. He’d never married, lived alone, and worked as an electrician in the oilfield industry.
Shortly afterward, I saw his obituary in the paper. He’d died, either from the drugs or alcohol, or a combination of the two. I still think of him sometimes and wonder if his life would’ve been different if I’d been brave enough to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Or if his life was predestined to end up as it did and had I dated him, would I have been caught up in the murky mess of his life?
Do you ever look back and wonder if your actions could’ve made a difference in someone’s life? Or do you think we’re predestined to live our life a certain way?
My dad was a social butterfly. He liked to get out, visit with people, and have a good time.
My mom is more the hermit type. Content with her own company, she’d happily stay in her house and yard for weeks on end.
I inherited both those qualities from my parents in equal amounts, so I’m half social butterfly, half hermit. Jekyll and Hyde, with the two entities battling for domination. On the one hand, I could bury my head in my work and never come out. But when I look up and remember there’s another world out there, I want to stay and play for hours and forget about all things work related.
In December, I hid in my office and ignored everything and everyone while I finished the final rewrites and edits on the expanded edition of The Valentine Grinch. It was the most work I had accomplished in months. The time away from all things social helped me realize how very little I get done when I slip into butterfly mode.
Being in hermit mode during the month of December helped me realize two things:
1. To accomplish anything, I need be in hermit mode every day from 8:00 till 12:00 noon – longer if the work-in-progress is going well.
2. But sometimes the hermit needs to get out and play.
I’ve always been like this. All the years I worked outside of the home, I was either surrounded by people, helping where I was needed, offering to take the load off their shoulders…anything to be in the middle of other people and their madness. Or I’d hide in my office and work, never stopping for a coffee or lunch break to socialize with others.
There was rarely a middle ground because I was born an all or nothing type of girl.
As I start this New Year and search for ways to improve and reach my objectives, I ask myself, where is the balance? I know it’s within reach and so I’m making more of an effort to stay offline until the work is done, and only afterward can I play nicely with others. J
How about you? Have you found balance in your life between your goals and your fun time? How do you manage? Any tips to share or are you still seeking a solutions, too?
With the events of last week still fresh in my mind, and the Seabrook Christmas preparations in full swing, I decided to take a moment to voice my gratitude.
1. I’m grateful for my husband who always knows what I need, whether it’s a hug, a break from the daily grind or whatever new bit of fascinating technology I’m currently drooling over.
2. I’m grateful for my eldest son who every Wednesday at noon gives me advice on plot holes or social media or computer issues.
3. I’m grateful for my youngest son, who makes my coffee before he heads off to work each morning and ensures there’s enough there to get me through the day.
4. I’m grateful for my family and our 2009 trip to Cuba. Not only was it the first time I’d ever been to a vacation resort, but it was the first time since I was a kid that my parents and siblings got together for a family vacation. I’m also grateful for this trip because it was the last vacation I would ever be able to take with my dad and I still cherish those wonderful moments we shared.
5. I’m grateful for the chance to spend more time with my mom. Having worked all of my adult life, visits with my parents were always rushed and fraught with stressors from a stressful day job. Now that I’m focused on writing full time, I call her every day or two, and manage to slip out of the house at least a couple of times a week to visit her and catch up on all the latest news.
6. I’m grateful for the bountiful table we are fortunate to have this Christmas and pray that others less fortunate have a local food bank in their area to supply their needs, as we have in our small town. If you haven’t yet done so, please donate.
7. I’m grateful for my many online friends, who come into my virtual house every day and share their life with me. It makes this huge world almost tiny and intimate, and I get to experience life through your eyes.
8. I’m grateful for the upcoming year. It always feels like a fresh start with infinite possibilities. May 2013 bring each one of you good health, much happiness, and fulfill your cherished dreams.
From my house to yours, may your holidays be filled with laughter and joy.
Last Saturday night, I started out the holiday season by dragging my Better Half to a local Christmas concert. We listened to a men’s church choir, women playing Christmas bells, and two teenage girls who played violin and sang beautifully. Since I was raised with a mixture of classical music, church hymns, and rock and roll, the entire evening was a joy.
The following morning, I popped over to Chrissy Olinger‘s blog to read her latest post Hard Candy Christmas. Okay, if nothing else, just go over there to see the adorable picture of her puppy. Trust me, you’ll love it. 🙂
Chrissy’s post reminded me that for some, the holiday season is difficult. My Better Half has a love/hate relationship with the season. There are a multitude of reasons why, none of which I’ll go into here, but we have adapted our celebration so we can both enjoy the holiday.
So whether you love or hate the holidays, remember that there are those who feel different than you do. Respect their individuality and be kind to each other. This is, after all, a season for love.