Thankful for You – Finding My Attitude of Gratitude (and a gift)

This year has been hard for everyone. No doubt. Between the Rona, quarantine, politics (which I will not be engaging in discussion about because that’s not my style and everyone’s entitled to their opinion), all the sad and strange happenings that seem to be occurring in everyone’s lives, this world could feel downright oppressive.

If you’re not ok right now, I get it, and I’d like to hear from you because I’d like to show you some love and support (and add you to my prayers–even if it’s not something you believe it it can’t hurt, right?).

But me? I need a different kind of focus…

My Pretty Purple Bling-y Glasses

The reality is most of those things are outside of our control, right?

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you already know “out of my control” is not my bag…so I focused on my controllables.

Like finding pretty purple glasses that make me feel kinda sexy.

Like discovering that the silver in my hair looks hawt enough to embrace growing it out until it’s safe enough to meet with my stylist. (I’m in a state where I could go because we’re not locked down, but she’s the caregiver for her elderly mother and I don’t feel comfortable exposing her to me when I’ve been an “essential worker” and around people this whole time.)

Most of all I’m thankful for YOU–my online family. I’m grateful for the laughter from shared memes, the check-ins, the likes and comments, the messages, the encouragement and feedback.

It meant so much to me that I wanted to do something nice for you, so TODAY and TOMORROW ONLY I’ve made A Way With Words FREE!

I’m spending today at work, but tomorrow both my brother-in-law (the ER doc) and I will be off, so we’ll enjoy our family Thanksgiving then. I can’t wait for all the fabulous food and family time.

What are you thankful for? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? What about your favorite food?

Thankful for Friendships and Feedback

This last year has been a challenge for me. I’ve had a sexy scene written for years, but knew it was incomplete. There was a story marinating around in my brain, but I didn’t feel up to writing it yet.

One thing I’ve learned in my writing journey as that pieces come together when you’re ready. Sometimes this is a mental thing. Sometimes it’s skill development. Either way, I’ve learned to trust my instincts.

With the love and support of my family and critique partners, I finally finished, got my edits completed, and have the book to my awesome Betas….which means….

Release day is COMING SOON! (Like December, soon.)

Several of my author and blogger friends have known what I’ve been up to and have rallied to show their support by offering to share and/or review my book, and I’m so grateful! I could use all the help I can get. So if you’re interested in helping me out, please let me know! I’d be in your debt and thrilled to do what I must in whatever capacity you’d like to help.

Can you tell I’m EXCITED? IT’S MY FIRST FULL SIZED NOVEL!

What are YOU grateful for this year?

Make It Memorable; Love’s Many Faces

Valentine’s Day. The day for lovers, right? Romance, flowers, whatnot…

Yeah, maybe.

But that’s not my most memorable Valentine’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong, there were elements of those things in that day, but that’s not the BIG MOMENT.

My day?

It was supposed to be my day off, but I had to finish making a schedule (and hubby was working anyway) so I stopped in to work for a few hours. I didn’t stay long; was out by noon. No sooner had I left that my office was calling again. Turned out Edible Arrangements had been there and delivered a gift from my guy.

GREAT start to my Day, right? I headed home to start cooking hubby his favorite Filipino dishes…chicken adobo (adobong manok), fried rice, and broccoli.

Hubby walked in to a great smelling house and a hot, tasty meal… There were probably gifts, but I can’t remember now. What I do remember is that he loved the meal, that I went to bed early as I had an early work day & a 14 hour shift the next day….

Right about now you’re scratching your head and wondering what is so memorable, right?

Well, I hadn’t gotten there yet.

Sometime after 11 pm, hubby came in and woke me up. Said he was having pretty severe abdominal pain and wanted to make sure I was ok. Apparently, he was worried it might have been food poisoning except I’d been sleeping like a baby. So then he narrowed the pain to his lower right side.

Googling his symptoms, I realized it could be his appendix. He was scared, but also worried about me and work. So I talked him into going to the ER alone, making him promise to call me if it turned out to be anything serious. At about 1:30 am, I got the call. He sounded a little terrified.

Him: Lovey, they told me I have a necrotic appendix.

Me: Oh no!

Him: Can you come here? They told me I need surgery. I tried to ask if they could write me a prescription to slow it down in the meantime so I could call a doctor and schedule it.

Me: (choking back a chuckle) Yeah. Pretty sure that’s not gonna happen.

Him: Nope, but it was worth a shot. They told me they didn’t think I understood. The ambulance is on the way now to take me to surgery. Can you come, please?

Me: I’m on my way.

Him: I can’t believe you poisoned me for Valentines Day.

Me: I did not. And stop saying that or there may be people who believe you or at least start to wonder. I’m on my way.

And that’s how I found myself in the emergency room on the 15th, calling out from my job, calling friends to walk my dogs during the day, and headed for the hospital to be with my husband.

So, yeah, my most Memorable Moment had everything to do with the ‘For Better or Worse, In Sickness and in Health’ part of our vows. Those moments mean more than any random superficial stereotypes. And that he hadn’t lost his sense of humor, even through his fear and pain? That just shows I married a badass.

So tell me about your most memorable Valentine’s Day. Did it embody any part of the wedding vow? Or are you an non-believer, feeling this only lines Hallmark’s pockets with gold?

And So, It Begins….

December is officially here! The holiday season is upon us. It’s now okay for folks to pull out their colorful decorations, wreaths, and bows to decorate their homes in brightly lit welcome.

Yes, I love this time of year, and as is my tradition on this blog… The daily sharing of holiday music begins.

Do you love or hate this time of year? What drives your feelings? I know this time of year isn’t easy for many, and that’s okay… I’m sending virtual hugs to all of you who struggle. Heck, I’ve got hugs for everyone.

Today I’m also thankful that hubby is okay after getting in a car accident on his way home from work yesterday. Some might focus on the accident, but I’m choosing to focus on the guardian angel that made sure he and the person who hit him were okay.

Thankful and Thoughtful

Today I’m Thankful. For friends. For family. For freedom. For success.

And for heartbreaks. And losses.

Because they gave me a chance to experience the love and friendship that came before.

This last week I lost a close personal friend. It was unexpected. Came out of nowhere. I stood up in her wedding. She was only 30. She was one of those people who asked me for sex advice. Who laughed and flirted with me. Who I Dommed, just a little bit…all for fun. She’d come to my pleasure parties. In fact, I threw her a pleasure party before she got married because she had a dear, adventurous heart and wanted a sex swing. But at the core of it all, we were friends of the heart.

I was a mentor for her professionally. She was a supportive friend. We shared a passion for dogs. Talked about arranging a play date for our girls. Sadly, it never happened, and now it never will. Life happening, and us not spending as much time together as I’d have liked are my big regrets. But she lived big and loved bigger, so I’m thankful for the time I had with her.

I’ll never forget her. And I know she’s smiling down at me as I remember our shared laughter and the irreplaceable moments. We had a friendship that lasted a lifetime.

I’m also thrilled and thankful to announce that I’m sharing a part of myself in one of the coolest projects with one of the most amazing people I have the pleasure of knowing.

Yep! I’m finally announcing my super secret surprise.

August McLaughlin, the host of Girl Boner radio and author of suspense thriller, In Her Shadow, invited me  along with several other authors and experts to contribute to  a project of love.

Embraceable
This book, all about empowerment and strength, will be coming out soon. Isn’t the cover charming? To read more about the book and the various contributors, CLICK HERE! If you’d like to help spread the word and join in the blog tour for the book, click there, too. The way to sign up is there, too.

Finally, I’m also thankful for my newest nephew who, after a scary introduction into the world, is thriving. My sister was due to have her first child this May. He actually arrived much earlier… Like. February. He was in the NICU for a long time as he was a micro premie, born at 1.5 lbs. It was a scary time for our family, and was the beginning of my radio silence. These days, though, he’s a ray of sunshine and a ball of energy…and enjoying his first snowfall. I’m sure my brother is looking down from heaven, enjoying his nephew’s laughter and grins.

So, despite all the craziness and challenges…. I’m both thankful and blessed. God is good, and I have faith that he has a plan. I just don’t know what it is. 😉

What are you grateful for?

Thankful that Variety is the Spice of Life + #Giveaway

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Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. It’s one of the rare times that occurs throughout a year where people stop, reflect, and give thanks for some of the blessings in my life. Sometimes those gratitude moments are a little easier to overlook because of the negative surrounding them.

Today, I’m going to give thanks for 5 things…. Some may be near misses, some are “could be worse” moments, and some are just pure joy….and then I’m going to give something away.

I’m Thankful For….

#5. My first ever car accident was one where damages were minor and no one was hurt.
#4.
That when our car broke down on the side of the interstate the other day in the middle of morning rush hour (the engine is toast), hubby had pulled off to the side of the road before the car died, more than likely saving us from a brutal car accident.
#3. That I pursued my dreams with the support of my friends and family, resulting in two published books so far, with a third in the works.
#2. For my new day job after my old one fell through, and the friend who kept an eye open and me in mind.
#1. For a family who loves me, even when I’m feeling unlovable, for kidneys that saved my cousins, and for the next generation of family members as they grow. May they always feel the love we’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded with….through good times and bad.

Four One Night WEBSITE USE

And on to my giveaway (BTW, I’m not the only one giving stuff away, so make sure to click the link at the bottom of the page)….

I’m giving away a copy of my book, Four One Night. All you have to do for a chance to win is check out the excerpt I share and see if it’s something you might be interested in….. And answer the question following the excerpt! My rules, etc. will be posted following the excerpt as well.

Excerpt:

I nodded my head, an idea taking hold in my mind. “You know, I decided I needed to blow off some steam about three hours ago. You’re coming with me. You need it even more than I do. We’ll call it medicinal.”

“That sounds exactly like the kind of distraction I need,” she said, a smile flitting across her face.

“Good. Because it’s too freaking cold to be standing around. My nipples are pointing all over the place for all the wrong reasons!” We hustled to my car, heels clicking a rapid staccato against the asphalt. “All this pent up energy has me in the mood to play. It’s time to call in reinforcements.”

“Ooh!” She looked at me over the hood, her baby blues full of mischief. “That means Michael’s coming. Think he can handle both of us?”

“We’re about to find out! If not, there’s always you and me.” I laughed and yanked my phone out of my purse pocket.

“Danielle Monroe! You are such a tease.” She tossed her dark gold curls over her shoulder.

“Am I? You’ve never seen my bad girl side.” My eyebrow raised, daring her to take me up on the offer.

“Now that sounds promising.” She said, batting her eyes in the worst parody of exaggerated flirtation I’d seen in a while.

Shaking my head and smiling at our antics, I dialed Michael. With the receiver to my ear, the muted strains of “My Cherie Amour” floated through instead of a ring. The frigid air whipped through the thin cotton of my shirt causing a shudder to ripple through my curvy frame. I grabbed for my key fob and quickly pressed the unlock button.

“Hey babe,” his dark, raspy voice came on the line. “What’s up?”                                       

“Well, that all depends on you,” I purred as my hands motioned Candace to get in the car. “Work was nuts and Candace and I need to blow off some steam. We’re headed over to Club Heat for ladies night. Will you join us or do we need to find some other sexy men to play with?”

“Ooh, someone’s feeling feisty.” I could practically see his smile through the rumble in his voice. “I love it when Miss Dani comes out to play.”

“Then you’re gonna love me tonight.” Grabbing the handle, I tugged my door open. Finally out of the chilled air and in the driver’s seat, I slammed the door shut and shoved my key in the ignition.

“Two wild women looking to unleash themselves after a bad day?” The little beep of his car alarm being released sounded through the receiver followed by the slam of the door. “That may be more than I can handle alone.”

Tipping my head against my shoulder to cradle the phone, I turned the key in the ignition, quickly followed by the heater. “Michael Gallo! Afraid you might need reinforcements?”

Music flared in the background as he started his car. “Afraid is such a strong word. I prefer to think of it as being prepared for any eventuality.”

“Well, you know how I feel. The more, the merrier. Hot men and alcohol make everything better!” With one last look in my rear view mirror, I shifted into drive, leaving our bad day in the dust.

For a chance to win a free ebook copy from Amazon, all you need to do is share one thing you’re thankful for or one thing about the Christmas holiday you’re looking forward to. You have until 11:59pm EST on December 5th to qualify. The winner will be chosen via Random.org!

Also a HUGE thanks to Natasha Blackthorne for hostessing the festivities. If you haven’t met her yet…. check her out via the link posted below, or stalk her at her following hang outs…

#FREE to Celebrate My Birthday With Me

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Today, for those of us in the United States, we honor our Independence Day. It’s a day when we reflect on our freedoms, say thanks to those who came before us who fought for our rights (and those who still battle to uphold those freedoms) and celebrate with cook outs, neighborhood and beach parties, and end with fireworks.

It’s also my birthday!

As a Thank You to all of you who have supported me, either by reading my blog, sharing my posts, friending me on Facebook or following on Twitter, or just for being YOU, I’m giving away my first book, Three For All and have dropped the sequel, Four One Night to $.99 on Amazon Kindle for this holiday weekend. (The links attached in this paragraph lead to excerpts.)

To get your FREE copy, simply click the book cover.

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To take advantage of the discounted offer, click the cover below.

Four One Night WEBSITE USE

So, once again, thanks for helping my writing dream come true by supporting me by words of encouragement, by giving me the opportunity to get to know you on my blog or social media through comments (or laughter), by buying my books, or sharing them….and/or by leaving a review.

And finally, Happy Birthday to ME! 🙂 Thanks for helping me celebrate!

Thankful For YOU!

I'm thankful for all of you and your wonderful support!

I’m thankful for all of you and your wonderful support!

Hey all! I know it’s been a little while since I’ve been on. Life has taken some strange twists this year. Last week hubby lost his job. It’s okay, though. Don’t worry about us. We’re feeling optimistic and have some opportunities on the horizon for both of us. In fact, keep your fingers crossed as there are 3 different companies who have expressed an interest in him. I would really love for him to have options.

As for me? Well, keep your eyes peeled. My first book will be launching shortly, and I’ve been approached with an awesome job opportunity that falls in my wheel house of teaching, training, development and sales! I admit it. There’s something that feeds my inner competitor when I get to wheel and deal. 🙂

I just wanted to take a few minutes to jump on here today and say… Family isn’t always the people tied to you through biology and marriage, but also the people with whom you choose to open your lives and hearts. I’m grateful for the family (biology and otherwise) that I know on sight…and the wonderful family I’ve found here. You guys have embraced me and supported me and cheered me on. Thanks for that!

Ya’ll know my passion for music… There’s no way I could leave it out of today.

And for my more playful friends? Here’s a little Thanksgiving fun!

What are you thankful for? What’s your favorite food on Thanksgiving?

Angels and Accidents

Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know I lost my brother a long time ago in a motor vehicle accident. On his birthday I shared a bit about my him here.

guardian angel

Maybe it’s a bit whimsical of me, but there’s part of me in the last few years that feels like maybe he’s become my guardian angel…or sent someone to watch over me, particularly when I’m on the road. A little while back I told you guys that I’d taken on a new job. It was a temporary gig, but it was one that had me on the road quite a bit.

Toward the end of my first week, I was driving southward on I-75. We’d just passed a bunch of construction and had gotten back to driving at our usual speeds of 70-80 MPH. As I sat, tooling along, singing to the radio, I saw a silver ladder flying through the air. The burgundy Toyota two cars ahead of me tried to swerve and miss it, to no avail. It smacked the rear quarter of his car, sending it careening into the lane next to me, spinning out into a 360 back across traffic to bounce off the guardrail and back into our lane. Thankfully, the black Audi in front of him managed to hit his breaks and skid to a stop mere inches from the car on the side of the road with me close behind.

“Please let me stop in time. Please let me stop in time. Please let me stop in time.” I chanted over and over again in my head as my foot slammed on my brakes.

I missed that Audi by less than a foot. Turning my head to the right, I saw all three lanes of traffic had come to a dead halt and waited to make sure everyone was okay before moving on. My hands were shaking and my stomach was doing cartwheels as I sucked in a deep, calming breath and pulled back onto the road and drove away.

“Thank You.” Those words were said with heartfelt conviction, though there was no one physically there to hear them. There’s no doubt in my mind that there were higher powers at work that day, watching over us.

But there’s more…

My biggest fear is hitting a pedestrian, whether by foot or on bicycle, because I never want anyone to have to go through what my family did. So it stands to reason that the last thing I’d want to see is that kind of incident playing out before my eyes.

Last week, waiting for a red light to change, I noticed a bicyclist heading toward his workplace. He’d crossed the street to our left, and had charged his bike out directly in front of us without watching the lights to see if they’d change. The light had turned green. The older gentleman in the Volvo to my left had been fixated on the light and started to accelerate.

“Oh, God. Please stop!” silently ran through my head, praying I wouldn’t witness what I was afraid I’d see.

As if he’d heard me, he hit his brakes and his horn simultaneously. The old man looked a little shaken up, but okay and began to accelerate. Me? I said another prayer of thanks. The guy on the bike… well, he seemed completely oblivious to the chaos he nearly created.

That was just in the last two weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I know what people say about Florida drivers…and sometimes it’s even true. But this hasn’t only happened to me in Florida!

Our first night at Authors After Dark in Savannah, we decided to go out to dinner. We took my sister’s rental car and went to the Bohemian Hotel and ate at their amazing restaurant called Rocks on the River. We had a great time! In fact, we tried their appetizer variation on Chicken and Waffles and found it to be utterly fabulous! I’d never eaten anything like it before.

Fancy Chicken and Waffles

Fancy Chicken and Waffles

Anyway, it had been raining pretty heavily that evening, so the streets were slick. Fortunately it had stopped. On our way back to the hotel I looked out my window from the back passenger seat to see a guy on a motorcycle driving beside us. Hot, right? Well, not when we were taking a tight turn and we saw him wipe out, spinning within inches of our wheels. Fortunately, there was a short turn lane toward the hotel, so my sister pulled into it. We wanted to make sure the guy was alright! He wasn’t wearing any of the usual protective gear. No heavy jacket. No helmet. A t-shirt and jeans. My sister reminded us that she was a qualified medical professional and that we should stay in the vehicle and dial 911. As she started to get out of the car, the guy stood up, brushed the gravel off himself (I’m sure he had a ton of road rash he’d have to take care of later), got back on his bike and drove away!

We hope he was okay. I said a little prayer of thanks that he didn’t find himself under our wheels…. But it all still makes me wonder sometimes. Was it a coincidence that my brother died in a car accident, but every time one that could potentially be dangerous or traumatic has come my way, something has protected me? Call me whimsical. Call me naïve. Call me silly or a hopeless romantic….but I believe he’s keeping an eye out for his big sister.

Yes, today I’m thankful for Guardian Angels and the power of belief.

What about you guys? Any near misses? Anything that’s made you believe in ghosts or guardian angels? I’d love if you’d share your thoughts and stories.

Badasses and Bullies

Getting up at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning would be considered criminal in some circles. Ah, well, sometimes, when you’ve got something important to do, it’s a necessary evil. Cheering on your peeps counts as one of those good causes. Besides, I have to give respect to anyone who takes on this motto…even if it’s just for a day.

The Tough Mudder Motto

The Tough Mudder Motto

Yup! Once again, hubby and a few friends put their bodies on the line and participated in Tough Mudder. This time I had the opportunity to cheer him on live. It was awesome to see the indomitable human spirit in action. I watched people try obstacles, fail (or fall down), get themselves back together and try again until they overcame their challenges. There was a woman in her late 40’s to early 50’s that tried to run up the ramp they called “Everest” numerous times, only to slide back down. Did she get discouraged? Nope! Instead, she got her mean on and said, “I’m not moving on until I get over this fucking thing!” And she didn’t. On her 5th or 6th try, she finally managed to grab one of the helpers waiting at the top and get pulled over. I couldn’t help but think…”She’s kinda badass!”

Tough Mudder also raises funds for the Wounded Warrior Project; a very admirable cause. As a military brat, I find this to be such an important cause. I’m sure you can imagine how choked up I got when I saw what looked to be a college ROTC group of men and women running the course together, carrying a flag pole with the US flag and the Wounded Warrior flag. Even more awesome was how they picked whomever was best at each obstacle to take the flag through the obstacles. This was especially challenging when watching them run up Everest, but they never faltered and that flag never touched the ground. Tears filled my eyes.

So to kick off this Thanksgiving season, I’m thankful that we arrived to the event safely and that everyone got through the event unharmed.

Before and After (Note the weather change and mud)

Before and After (Note the weather change and mud)

Normally, I’d probably end this post right about now, but not today. I want to share something I heard on Sunday morning that really bothered me and would love you guys to weigh in.

I was watching the NFL Network’s pre-game show when I heard Marshall Faulk say something that really bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, Marshall is such a Cowboy hater that he often bothers me, but this was different. He was talking with the rest of the cast about Jonathan Martin. For those of you who don’t know who he is…he’s the guy from the Miami Dolphins who was being bullied. At that time, the teammate who had been harassing him was not yet known, so it was basic bully talk.

Marshall said something to the effect of having always associated bullying as a child thing. He never thought an adult could be bullied. Don’t get me wrong…I completely understand the misconception…especially amongst professional athletes. Michael Irvin and Warren Sapp pointed out that there’s usually a brotherhood and camaraderie amongst professional athletes who battle in the trenches with you. With those kinds of relationships it can be shocking that someone could betray that trust by bullying.

But you know what? As I’ve been sitting here thinking, I’ve realized… Marshall’s misconception is not that uncommon. Somehow we think adulthood comes with a magic pill that makes the problems of youth disappear. Not true. Think about it….

How many people willingly talk politics these days? Not me. Why? Because you never know when you’ll be subjected to bullying simply for not sharing the same point of view as the person with whom you’re speaking. A close friend of mine was once told “I hope you get AIDS and die” simply because he was a gay man and a republican. So that’s a bit extreme, but how many of you have seen memes that basically say you’re stupid or dumb simply because your political views don’t align with someone else’s political agenda?

What about Westboro Baptist Church? Isn’t what they do bullying? They don’t tack an age limit to their actions or behaviors.

These are just a couple of obvious examples… and I’m sure they’re not the only ones. We need to really sit up and pay attention to what’s going on around us as well as our words and actions. No one deserves to be treated like less than human simply for not sharing your beliefs or point of view.

Have you experienced bullying? Have you seen adult bullying? Were you the victim? Have you had to step in to defend someone else? What was the circumstance?

The only way to overcome this epidemic is to open the lines of communication, get talking, and let folks know that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.

As more of the NFL story breaks, I’ve been glad to hear guys like Ron Jaworski say that there had to be more than the general hazing that comes with rookie-hood. It was great hearing Keyshawn Johnson talking about how racial slander and slurs, regardless of what race they’re pointed at, have no place in this world. I even shocked myself by nearly giving Cris Carter (who I can’t stand) a standing ovation when he pointed out that any death threats made by an NFL player is scary and should be taken seriously….and cited the player who’s currently on trial for murder (possibly more than one).

Yes, there were one or two who said that this player should have confronted his bully head on rather than going to leadership, but overall, he’s been receiving a ton of support. I’ve got a feeling that Jaws is right and there’s a lot more to this story than we’ve found out so far.