We all need time away, time to process or not to not process, to unplug, unwind and hang with someone who totally gets you.
For my birthday, I loaded up the car, because I always over pack and headed to Holland, Michigan with my friend Marilyn. It was the perfect place to all of the above, and only three hours from home with just enough to keep us busy or not, for four days.
The location was beautiful, along Lake Michigan, with cute little towns, lots of great shopping, outside cafe’s along the lake, a great hiking dune, with a 239 step climb and a –
two-mile trail. And we did it all in my convertible. What’s not to like?
It was the perfect weekend with a great traveling companion. But for me it was something a little more. I’ve been making the most of my summer off from work, partially because I can’t find another job, partially because there’s so many things for me to catch up on and frankly, I’d rather be writing books for a living than anything else. But a weekend away, with a good friend, no kids, no husband, was what I needed. Time to just be me. Not mom, not wife, not pack mule. Just Sheryl.
I’ve been on a journey of sorts, one in which I’ve been taking myself out of my comfort zone, doing things that stress me out a little and it all started with the re-writing of my first book The Day of First Sun. In the five years since I wrote that book, I’ve evolved. I can tell because my evolution is reflected in Annie Pearce journey. She started out, maybe tough as nails, finding it difficult to let someone in and now she’s a loving, confident woman who sometimes isn’t. She changes and grows and is a far more complete character as she discovers who she is. Much like me, like the journey I’ve been on as I try new things, discover who I am and what I want my life to be.
For the first time since I lost my daughter to an undiagnosed neural muscular disease, I finally feel unstuck and in a place where I’m moving forward, and not standing still in the muck. Becoming Lola, my way of shaking myself up and moving out of a comfort zone has been an eye opener. Where once I thought incapable of doing the simplest things I now realize that when my car overheats three hours from home, I’m more than able to buy and use the antifreeze, let alone simply driving there in the first place.
Fear is paralyzing, and it’s in the relearning to do the simplest things, we realize that writing that book is really not so hard. Only the first step is.
For my first steps, check out Introvert to Sales Goddess on Amazon.com
Something happened to me in the last few weeks, I think as a direct result of quitting my job. It’s an unfamiliar feeling but it’s like a drug, I can’t get enough of it.
I quit my job 5 weeks ago. I’m just now finishing up my project, transferring my job duties to a new employee, training other co-works to replace me. I have one week left, and I have for the first time in two years, have a chance to breathe and see myself differently.
The job from the beginning, I believe was a mismatch for my skills. Not a writing position, and not responsibilities that I had a background in, the job was an opportunity to try something new. But the something new was nothing that interested me or anything I liked. It probably from the beginning was the wrong path.
Ending this job freed me. Fortunately I’m able to quit without having something lined up. I can’t take time off and deal with my kids who have been through difficult times and have challenges ahead of them. I can use the time to pursue my dream. And as I end my projects and train and make decisions about my future, I learned something interesting about myself, something I never would have thought before….I’m freaking awesome!
After training two replacements, tested, worked through issues, wrote standard operating procedures, set up the database, prepared the data, I realized I can do anything I set my mind to. I’m smart, I’m capable and as the confidence grows, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and for the first time, I feel smart, sexy, beautiful and most importantly, confident. I made a decision, followed through, and the world opened up for me in a way that hasn’t been in a very long time.
Not everyone can quit a job, (I’ll be applying for contract work in a few weeks), but we can honor who we are by listening to what we need and what we desire.
I won’t be bored. I have 2 books I’d like to have ready by the end of the year, I have my kids I plan to hang out with and a life that I want to make my own.
Here’s to growth and change and learning to love yourself.
See where this journey of self discovery started, when I failed at the job, tried something new and realized what it was that I really want to do.
Introvert to Sales Goddess on Amazon.com
I quit my job. From the beginning the job sat in my gut, the idea that this job and are were a bad for me and my skills and ultimately, it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I kept at it making the most of it, even through the job functions that I really didn’t like, the tedious boring creation of certificates, dealing with members and their money questions, all the while trying to do my job well.
In my heart what I wanted most was to be a writer. If I couldn’t make it as an author at least I would be writing for a living. Nothing in my current job was heading me toward either road. I made the decision to quit.
This was a good decision even though there isn’t another job to go to because what I want is a consulting gig, three to six months writing technical manuals about software. I like the idea of starting and finishing a project and having time off. Time to do what I really want, finish my books. But in order to be submitted for the job, I need to be available immediately, hard to do with a full-time job.
Sometimes we need to put ourselves first, our needs and desires. And sometimes we have to trust in our vision and dreams and put some effort into what we really want. You can’t success in your goals if you don’t put any effort into them. Wishing and hoping doesn’t make it happen, hard word and time does.
On my way to becoming who and what I want to be takes determination and trust in my gut. It’s never let me down.
It’s Nurse Appreciation Week and I’ve been re-tweeting and sharing statements on Facebook and Twitter about how much nurses are super heroes. So I decided to share my personal experience with nurses and why they’re not just empty shares and tweets.
On April 24, 1998 at 10:11 and 10:13 pm I gave birth to two beautiful little girls. My daughter Stephanie was born first, and after fertility issues, a miserable pregnancy and a long labor, Stephanie was delivered. And when my daughter didn’t move or make a sound, my first thought was, “Now What?”
Kayla came into the world two minutes later crying and screaming, healthy and alive. Stephanie, fragile with an unknown disorder, was transferred to a neo natal unit at a different hospital as the doctors and nurses did all they could to keep my daughter alive, where she lived the first three months of her life.
It was heartbreaking, bittersweet and I was scared. And every time I went to the hospital, it was awful, watching the monitors drop and beep and not understand at that time that what was happening.
Unsure and tentative, I remember one day talking to my baby over her crib, she looking up at me best she could as her muscles degenerated, becoming weaker. The nurse saw my apprehension to pick up my child, came over and lifted Stephanie’s head and in a tiny voice, the nurse spoke for my daughter and said, “But mommy, I’m only a baby.”
I will never forget that turning point moment when I realized I could do this. I could care for my child. With the nurses support, I learned the medical and that she was a baby and holding her, kissing her and cuddling, might not be as easy but it was doable and necessary.
I have stories, so many of them; the time the nurse encouraged me to record my voice for my daughter while she was at the hospital, or the nurse who helped me make calls to find my daughter a car seat because there were none that a child could lie down in, or the pediatric hospice nurse, who listened to things I couldn’t tell another soul but that I needed to say to someone, only she understood, who also came to the house when my daughter died even though we no longer had hospice care.
They are angels on earth, give of themselves, supportive to families in the confusing, frustrating world of medicine. I will never forget and I owe them a great deal of gratitude. Thank you to the nurses who are on the front lines. We families in our time of need appreciate the love, care and support you give.
I had everything intention of taking Introvert to Sales Goddess off of Amazon. It hadn’t sold and frankly, with things in my life, there wasn’t time to properly market the book.
Not that I’m not proud of the story, it was deeply personal, there were other things that I needed to accomplish.
On the day I planned to take the book down, I received an email from a reviewer, advising me she just put a review on Amazon, and hoped she wasn’t too early. With a weird twist of fate she received a request sent last August.
It was a nice review, much appreciated, and it made me think maybe I was too hasty to remove it. My goal with the book, share my experiences as an introvert and how difficult it can be to work outside your comfort zone.
All I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer and yet it’s been difficult to find my voice. Introvert to Sales Goddess is a small step as I discover what I’m capable of doing and the voice that’s been buried for years. If it helps anyone find themselves it’s worth the effort.
Sometimes we have to put faith in ourselves and trust that our instincts are good. Good things will come when we do.
Check out this excerpt from #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy’s first book in the Callaway family series…Then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes! Her father stared back at her, his eyes dark and unreadable. “Why are you here, Sara?” “I wanted to be here for your birthday. It’s been a long time since we’ve shared more than an email. We should talk, catch up with each other.” “Why on earth would you want to talk to me?” The confusion in his eyes made her realize just how far apart they’d drifted. “Because you’re my father. You’re my family. We’re the only ones left.” “Do you need money?” “This isn’t about money. Mom would not have wanted us to end up like strangers. We need to improve our relationship.” He stared back at her for a long moment, then said, “There’s nothing left for you here, Sara. I wish you well, but we both need to move on. If you stay, it won’t go well. We’ll only disappoint each other.” Her chest tightened, the finality of his words bringing pain as well as anger. Her father was like a brick wall. She kept throwing herself at him, trying to break through his resistance, but all she ever achieved was a new batch of emotional bruises. “You’re a grown woman now,” he added. “You don’t need a father.” “Not that I ever really had one,” she countered, surprising herself a little with the words. She was used to holding her tongue when it came to her dad, because talking usually made things worse. “I did my best.” “Did you?” A tickle caught at her throat and her eyes blurred with unwanted tears. She had not come here to cry. She sniffed, wondering why the air felt so thick. It took a minute to register that it was not her emotions that were making her eyes water, but smoke. The same awareness flashed in her father’s eyes. “Damn,” he swore. “The kitchen—I was cooking—” He ran out of the room, and she followed him down the stairs, shocked by how thick the smoke was in the entry. She was on her dad’s heels when he entered the kitchen. The scene was unbelievable. Flames shot two feet in the air off a sizzling pot on the stove. The fire had found more fuel in a stack of newspapers on the counter that had been left too close to the burner, those sparks leaping to the nearby curtains. Her father grabbed a towel and tried to beat out some of the flames, but his efforts only seemed to make things worse. Embers flew everywhere, finding new places to burn, the heat growing more and more intense. Moving to the sink, she turned on the faucet and filled up a pitcher, but it was taking too long to get enough water. She threw some of it at the fire, but it made no difference. “Move aside,” her dad shouted, grabbing two hot pads. “What are you doing?” she asked in confusion. He tried to grab the pot and move it to the sink, but she was in the way, and he stumbled, dropping the pot in the garbage. She jumped back from an explosion of new fire. “We have to call 911,” she said frantically. But there was no phone in the kitchen, and her cell phone was in her bag by the entry. “Let’s get out of here.” Her father was still trying to put out the fire, but he was getting nowhere. “Dad, please.” “Get out, Sara,” he said forcefully, then ran into the adjacent laundry room. “Wait! Where are you going?” “I have to get something important,” he yelled back at her. “Dad. We need to get out of the house.” She coughed out the words, but she might as well have remained silent because her dad had vanished through the laundry room and down the back stairs to the basement. She couldn’t imagine what he had to get. There was nothing but gardening tools and cleaning supplies down there. She started to follow him, then jumped back as the fire caught the wallpaper next to her head, sizzling and leaping towards her clothing. “Dad,” she screamed. “We need to get out of the house.” A crash echoed through the house. Then all she could hear was the crackling of the fire. Sara ran through the flames and down the stairs into the basement. A single light bulb dangled from a wire over the stairs, showing her father in a crumpled heap on the cement floor. She dropped to her knees next to his still body. He was unconscious, blood under his head, and his right leg was twisted in an odd position. She put a hand on his chest. His heart was still beating. “Dad,” she said. “Wake up.” He blinked groggily. “Sara?” he asked in confusion. “What are you doing here?” “The kitchen is on fire. We need to get out of the house.” A glance back over her shoulder revealed smoke pouring through the open door at the top of the stairs. There was no way out of the basement without going through the kitchen. Her father tried to sit up, but quickly fell back, groaning with pain. “My leg is broken. You go.” “I can’t leave you here. That’s not an option.” “You can’t carry me. Go. Get help.” “I’ll be right back,” she promised. She ran up the stairs, shocked and terrified when she saw how much worse the fire had gotten in literally minutes. The heat was intense. She could barely breathe, and there was a wall of flames between her and the only way out. She couldn’t afford to be scared. Grabbing a towel off the top of the nearby washing machine, she covered her nose and mouth, and prepared to make a dash for it. Before she could move, a figure appeared on the other side of the flames—a man. A wave of relief swept through her. Help had arrived. He barreled through the fire and smoke, batting away the flames as if they were troublesome bees. When he stopped in front of her, her heart jumped again. “Aiden?” She lowered the towel from her face. He was the last Callaway she wanted to see.
About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!
This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That’s right; we’re celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes. All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win! To Win the Prizes:
- Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
- Visit today’s featured social media event (that’s where the HUGE prizes are)
About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo. About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Learn more on her website, Facebook page, or in her Street Team.
About On A Night Like This, Book #1 of the Callaway Series
From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect.
The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn’t remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember. The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle’s reputation and hurt the people he left behind.
Aiden seeks help from an unlikely ally …
Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister’s best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level. Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she’s no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She’s a woman in search of her own truth.
The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time. Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be.
As teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they ready now?
ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS is the first book in an eight book connected contemporary romance series featuring the intriguing Callaway family. Love, mystery, adventure — the Callaways have it all!
About the Author
Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 40 novels. Traditionally published for many years, in 2011 Barbara began self-publishing her backlist and has sold over 5 million ebooks and as of today she is the bestselling KDP Author of ALL TIME! Nineteen of her titles have appeared on the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Her book SUMMER SECRETS hit #1 on the New York Times and remained on the list for seven weeks.
Barbara writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She is known for writing emotional and compelling stories about love and family, sometimes with a little suspense, sometimes with a little magic.
When you’re in a rut, it’s not so easy to pull yourself out and move onwards, upwards or outwards. I started my big plan with a tweak to my diet and exercise plan. My body is working better, though not as better as I was hoping for. I’ve cut a lot of bad stuff out except for chocolate covered raisins. Those seem to be my downfall.
As I keep working on the eating healthier and exercising less lazily, I’ve also been on a quest to take advantage of opportunities and visit with friends I haven’t seen in a while. There’s something about being with people who have seen you at your best and at your worst, who have a history with you and know you. It’s spending time with Marilyn and watching The Breakfast Club in the theater and laughing at what we once were and the people we’ve become. There’s also that realization that we are now the parents and our kids look at us like we’re complete and total idiots while at the same time, I’m still that know-it-all teen who’s laughing at the principal because he’s still a jerk and I’m not really 46 years old. But it’s also realizing that the last time I saw that movie in the theater, the audience was a whole lot younger.
It’s about sitting in the restaurant and waiting for Jodi for thirty minutes. And when I finally call her, we find out we’re both sitting in the front of the restaurant waiting for each other on the opposite side of a big ass pole. It’s something we would do and it’s something we laugh about. And even though I don’t see her all that often, we always seem to pick up right where we left off. It’s nice to slip back into the old routine without trying hard.
I still have one more friend I’d like to catch up with. Someone I’ve known since I came home from the hospital after my birth. She’s always just been there, and its far too long since we’ve seen each other last. Thankfully there’s Facebook to catch up with her. It can be hard to reconnect and find room in busy lives for a new/old friend, but that connection is always worth it.
Life is not always about thinking things through, or making plans. It’s sometimes simply about being asked and saying yes, because who doesn’t want an unexpected call from someone you like who asks you to see an 80’s cover band, and oh yeah, they’ll pick me up in 5 minutes. You never know what these experiences will bring, maybe a new friend or maybe is as simple as reliving the songs from high school.
There’s still plenty more things I want to do. Things that might challenge or are simply different from what I’ve done before. In the end, I hope to have my friends around me and my mind open and productive, and a few goofy, funny, and nostalgic experiences that I hadn’t expected.
It’s all about openness. Next up, the American Ninja Warrior training gym…Maybe, yes, no, anyone?