You Should Have a Writing Schedule

Writing Is Work, Too “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle In the days of me working a traditional job, there...

How to Become the Best in the World At What You Do

I’ve decided that I want to become the best writer in the world. This is a goal I’ll never reach. I mean, you have Hemingway, Plath, Bukowski, Rowling, King,...

What Jesus Said About…

I can picture Jesus walking through the countryside teaching his disciples. He gave them short little snippets to help them remember, often repeating himself....

Want to immediately change your life? Fix the basics.

In Ray Dalio’s book Principles, he covers a lot about his personal life, goal setting, and decision making. The second part of the book covers his Work...

Birth Story By Grandma - Part Three

In the last two parts of this story (which you can read here and here,) we see baby Autumn born into a chaotic, vulnerable situation. It’s no surprise she...

Risks Are Meant to Be Scary

Learning to embrace the challenge of moving when standing still is far more comfortable. How boring would life be without a sense of thrill? Even the movies...

To Be Happy Is All That Matters

Life is so much better when you’re happy After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, hundreds of disgruntled people filed lawsuits against the American...

Want To Be More Creative? Try Desperation

Okay first of all, I don’t need you to hang off the edge of a cliff like the picture above to get more creative. Let me tell you a quick story. 18 months ago...

We Make Our Own Truth, So Take Care. What You Believe Can Kill You

It Happened to My Grandfather… “…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” — Shakespeare: “Hamlet” Act 2, Scene 2 The idea that...

Moments Spent Running from Failure Won’t Solve Anything

A Startling Lesson from a One-Year Old Over this past weekend, I got a chance to spend quality time with family. We celebrated my niece’s first birthday. And...

How to Walk Through Transition with Intention

Honor Your Limits. Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing. Celebrate Small Wins. Long ago, settlers were the adventurous ones, trading in their sweat and safety...

The Importance of Mindset - How to Get it Right

What do you think about? Where do your thoughts dwell? What activities are most important to you? The apostle Paul said: “set your minds on things above, not...

How To Stay Positive In A Negative World

feel better without drugs or therapy We see the world, not as it is, but as we are.Stephen Covey When you look at the world around you, what do you see?...

Where Did You Go? Death Comes for Us All, But Love Is With Us Always

Deep down, we know that death is a part of life. However, when the time comes for a loved one that we depend on, it is still surreal.  According to...

How I Stopped Hating Myself

It was the lowest point of my life. I was alone and living in the back bedroom of my coworker’s trailer. Everything I owned was long gone, including my car...

The Most Heartbreaking Gift a Student Ever Gave Me

The $1.00 gift that cost a fortune “A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.”  — Johnathan Huie My dream: Becoming a Teacher Since the...

Why You Are Not Defined by Your Actions

Our neighborhood’s polling place is the local elementary school. When I voted in the last election, I saw a huge banner hanging in the school cafeteria that...

The Art of Mentoring 

Navigating the waters of independence, individuality, and interdependence can be very tricky. As adults, we feel as if we should be able to navigate through...

Relentless Forward Movement

Deciding to Pick Up and Move On There is something about moving forward that can’t be explained any other way than we are getting somewhere. For some reason...

I Doubled My Productivity With One Simple Change

You can too if you’re willing to think differently I like simplicity. I always have. But, there have been a lot of times in my life when I have found myself...

Putting The “I” Second: Listening

How do FBI negotiators manage life and death —  by listening. Our world is all about the “I”.  Reality television populates our networks and it...

Here’s What Happens When You Stop Being Jealous.

Every moment you spend being jealous is a moment wasted. We don’t have much time in this world. The most successful and renowned individuals have often...

What To Do If You Ever Feel Like You’ve Wasted Your Life

5 things that helped me get back on track. First off, my hope for you is that you will never feel this way. I wish you nothing but happiness and pride when...

They Were Searching For Him

He could hear them. They were outside the camouflaged entrance to the bunker, looking for signs of a hidden door. It wasn’t their first attempt. There had...

Learn to Laugh at Your Problems

Everybody else does… Every once in a while, no matter how hard you try to see that tired old glass as half-full, it’s not. It’s completely empty. Nothing to...

Selfishness Nearly Ruined My Life

Examining the relationships we currently have and our own self-centered tendencies. The most amazing thing happened to me last year. I was given a token of...

Is Being Positive Unrealistic?

The alternative is pricey “Why then ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  Hamlet, Act 2 Scene...

Out of the Ashes

Beauty for ashes, gladness instead of mourning Fire! “Sir, Ma’am…fire!” We popped out of bed disoriented and pumped with adrenalin. In the early morning...

How To Banish Your Inner Critic

Liberate yourself from the judge within Do self-critical thoughts keep you trapped or stuck in a rut? If so, you might have something in common with a white...

I Survived this Childhood Trauma with the Help of Kindness

My First School Experience My first experience in a school-like setting was in a combination of a school daycare-like environment which also served children...

 

shannon ashley

 

Author Spotlight: Shannon Ashley

 

See more of Shannon’s work here

Shannon is a top writer in more than 10 topics including Parenting, relationships, and mental health on Medium.com. When she first began writing essays on Medium, she had a vision called Big Feeling in Adulting. It was basically her vision of a community where “anything human is mentionable.” as Fred Rogers once wrote. 

For close to four years, she worked from home as a writer in social media marketing. When that landscape began to change and it quit covering her bills, it felt like the universe was urging her to forge her own path and write about things that matter to her.

Within 8 months of writing on Medium, she quit her job in social media to focus on her own writing full-time.     

Visit Shannon on Medium.

Bring your questions for @SingleMamaComma  to #PubChat on Twitter on Wednesday, April 24th at 8 pm Central.  

 

Stop Giving Fat People Your Free Advice!

Kindness works best, folks. We aren’t allowed to insult disabled people. We aren’t allowed to be racist. We aren’t allowed to dislike people of different faiths. We can’t hate women. Fat people are all we have left to shame! Why do fat folk get shamed? People have no...

5 Steps to Become a Paid Writer in 5 Weeks

In the past year, I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars from my writing. (I made a whopping $40 total in my first 4.5 years). Obviously, I’ve learned a thing or two!).  I discovered you can earn money from your writing very quickly, if you know what to do. ...

Why Writing Is One of the First Things I Do in the Morning

And Why You Should Try It Writing is a time for me to flesh out my thoughts — all the ideas that I’d previously thrown down on some random sheet of paper. There is a sort of relief that I feel once I put these things down on paper. And writing earlier in the morning...

Reaching Cacao

 The Day I Pushed a Taxi up a Mountain in Nicaragua Above the cloud forests in Nicaragua is a tiny village where coffee and chocolate grow wild. It is extremely remote and difficult to access.  I traveled there recently to explore the viability of a future...

How Habit Stacking Works (And How To Start Using It Today)

I’d heard of habit stacking for awhile. Do this one thing and then it leads you into another thing. But I just didn’t get it.  As someone who is in the “productivity writing niche” you’d think I’d get a brochure in the mail. Nope, I didn’t.  So it wasn’t...

Work it Right, Not Work it Hard - The first lesson I learned from my life at a very young age

I was born in the last year of three years of Great Chinese Famine, and when I was still a child, just starting to understand the meaning of a life, my family was impacted by the Great Chinese Culture Revolution, which probably the reason why I was so thin and weak...

The Curative Power Of Face-To-Face Interaction

In the networked world produced by technology evolving at an ever-accelerating rate, we are more interconnected than ever, in ways that give new meaning to the concept of “face time.” We enjoy fantastic scientific advances and conveniences that extend and enhance...

Buddha and the Mountain Bike

The Buddha spoke of moderation in all things. The more years of life experience I gain, the more truth I realize there is to these simple but vastly eloquent words. Most often, when I find myself “off-course,” if I can allow myself to glimpse a reality outside of...

The 1 Thing We Miss about the Fruit of the Spirit

And how it leads to real relationship growth Do you find your spiritual life disappointing? We are promised new life, abundant life, eternal life. But all you’re feeling is the humdrum of ordinary life. All that “love, joy, and peace”, all that spiritual fruit stuff...

Eternally Fallen

The realization that safe spaces do not exist There are no safe spaces and threat forever looms under the surface.  We all know this deep down and have been telling stories about it for a very long time. The awareness that we are eternally vulnerable might, in...

You Should Have a Writing Schedule

Writing Is Work, Too “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle In the days of me working a traditional job, there were times when I absolutely hated it. I had to get up at a specific time to be ready for work. Everything...

read more

How to Become the Best in the World At What You Do

I’ve decided that I want to become the best writer in the world. This is a goal I’ll never reach. I mean, you have Hemingway, Plath, Bukowski, Rowling, King, R.R. Martin, Gladwell, Kafka, Gilbert, and a slew of other writers from ancient to contemporary that are much...

read more

What Jesus Said About…

I can picture Jesus walking through the countryside teaching his disciples. He gave them short little snippets to help them remember, often repeating himself. Today, his words are recorded so we read them repeatedly to remind ourselves of all he taught. Three short...

read more

Want to immediately change your life? Fix the basics.

In Ray Dalio’s book Principles, he covers a lot about his personal life, goal setting, and decision making. The second part of the book covers his Work Principles, but there are a few lines in the first part of the book sums up his quality of life.  Having the...

read more

Birth Story By Grandma - Part Three

In the last two parts of this story (which you can read here and here,) we see baby Autumn born into a chaotic, vulnerable situation. It’s no surprise she found herself in foster care. Social services told Julie it was on a temporary basis. I was visiting my mother...

read more

Risks Are Meant to Be Scary

Learning to embrace the challenge of moving when standing still is far more comfortable. How boring would life be without a sense of thrill? Even the movies we watch portray the idea that in order to do more with the life we have, we have to take chances. Those...

read more

To Be Happy Is All That Matters

Life is so much better when you’re happy After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, hundreds of disgruntled people filed lawsuits against the American government and against other citizens. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the American Declaration of Independence...

read more

Want To Be More Creative? Try Desperation

Okay first of all, I don’t need you to hang off the edge of a cliff like the picture above to get more creative. Let me tell you a quick story. 18 months ago I was a mess financially. I had been writing on Medium for a year already and had more than 10,000 followers,...

read more

Moments Spent Running from Failure Won’t Solve Anything

A Startling Lesson from a One-Year Old Over this past weekend, I got a chance to spend quality time with family. We celebrated my niece’s first birthday. And I’m mostly sure she knew what day it was. Balloons were everywhere. Toys were everywhere. And when it was all...

read more

How to Walk Through Transition with Intention

Honor Your Limits. Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing. Celebrate Small Wins. Long ago, settlers were the adventurous ones, trading in their sweat and safety for the promise of a better life. These days, “settling in” rarely involves danger. But it does still demand...

read more

The Importance of Mindset - How to Get it Right

What do you think about? Where do your thoughts dwell? What activities are most important to you? The apostle Paul said: “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col 3:2) Our mindset governs how we live our life! Our mindset must be right if we are...

read more

How To Stay Positive In A Negative World

feel better without drugs or therapy We see the world, not as it is, but as we are.Stephen Covey When you look at the world around you, what do you see? Do you see beauty, hope, and possibility? Or do you see destruction, despair and delusion? It all depends on...

read more

The Fear and Irony of Independence

I just saw a blog post titled, “6 Figure Blogging: Zero to Passive Income in 30 Days.” The post was filled with useful information, but I’m not sure how I feel about the implications of the title. It’s a theme I’ve been seeing across the internet lately. Open up your...

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Age Does NOT Guarantee Wisdom

How I got along so well with my parents (1) “How do you get along so well with your parents?” “How come you and your daughter are like best friends?” Those were the two questions my mother and I got asked the most by people. (First, mine. Second, hers). Her...

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My Obsessive Personality and “Fat Clubs”

There are many occasions when being obsessive is a good thing, a useful thing. But when it comes to weight, it trips me up every time. Why can’t it work in a useful way for me? He’s why it wrecks my “food journey” every time.  People say, why don’t you do (insert...

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Why Human Interaction Still Matters

What I Learned from a Random Lady at a Cable Store About two months ago, I walked into a cable store to get my new wi-fi and cable services started for my new apartment. I’d just moved, and there was no way I was letting a day pass by without wi-fi. As I walk in, I...

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Breaking Free of ‘Save Me’ Syndrome

What happens when we stop looking for someone to save us, or for someone to save… Save Me Syndrome or the Princess Trap can be attractive — two sides to the same “rescue” coin.  On the one side, the Cinderella side, there’s the idea your handsome prince or...

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Your Transformation - How It Happens

It’s good, pleasing and perfect! Transformation is a powerful reality. Transformation changes everything! The scripture we are looking at is Romans 12:1–2. Remember that Paul is writing to the Christians in Rome. This is a letter to Christians — to those who have...

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How I Stopped Hating Myself

It was the lowest point of my life. I was alone and living in the back bedroom of my coworker’s trailer. Everything I owned was long gone, including my car which the police confiscated for an expired tag and suspended license. This is my penance, I decided, for all...

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The Most Heartbreaking Gift a Student Ever Gave Me

The $1.00 gift that cost a fortune “A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.”  — Johnathan Huie My dream: Becoming a Teacher Since the time I was a small child, I have always dreamed of becoming a teacher.  My plan was to teach and give the...

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Why You Are Not Defined by Your Actions

Our neighborhood’s polling place is the local elementary school. When I voted in the last election, I saw a huge banner hanging in the school cafeteria that read, “You Are Defined by Your Actions.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I get it. The school is...

read more

The Art of Mentoring 

Navigating the waters of independence, individuality, and interdependence can be very tricky. As adults, we feel as if we should be able to navigate through most of life’s storms and trials on our own. When we can not- ego kicks in, tells us that our independence has...

read more

Singleness Does Not Mean Loneliness

Exploring the lies that keep us crying over fake love stories. As a younger version of myself, I assumed that by now I would’ve met my significant other. It’s what I saw everywhere I’d go. People cuddled up and clinging to each other like twinkies. Happy faces...

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Sometimes the Best Wishes Do Unexpectedly Come True

But wishes are only granted in fairy tales. ― Simone Elkeles Close your eyes and make a wish. What did you wish for? Please don’t tell. If you do, your wish won’t come true. That’s usually true, but sometimes fairy tales meet real life. Such was the case tonight....

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If patience is a virtue, what is tolerance?

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle proposed that humans are social, rational animals that seek to “live well.” To that end, he proposed a system of ethics designed to help us reach eudaimonia, a world that means living well or flourishing. Eudaimonia is reached by...

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What happens when tragedy strikes? You become valiant.

As I write this, Norte Dame Cathedral is burning down. My heart pains just at the thought of this. It’s hard to concentrate on anything. And yet, it’s a world away. But not. Because it’s in my head. Not just the image of perhaps the most incredible example of French...

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Don’t Condemn Christianity Because of Christians

“I’m not a Christian because Christians are hypocrites”  “I’m not a Christian because Christians are hypocrites,” the woman said as we tiptoed carefully around the subject of religion.  Although I am a Christian, I’m not a very effective evangelist, so I...

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How To Use Envy To Fuel Your Journey

comparison can show you the way We’re only envious of those already doing what we were made to do. Envy is a giant, flashing arrow pointing us toward our destiny.Glennon Doyle How are you doing on Medium? Are you earning four figures and counting thousands of...

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To My Friend Stan - One Of The Greatest Men I Know

The story of my friend Stan who is one of my biggest inspirations. “Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”  — Roy T....

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Transitions are Hard

Why Accepting This Truth Makes Them Easier “Everything is hard before it is easy.” — Goethe All that’s New is Hard It’s true of walking and talking, eating, and riding a bike. It’s true of printing a sentence, setting a table, and driving a car. They all demand...

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The Magic Of Charm: How To Attract And Influence Others

The Art Of Personal Magnetism Former President Bill Clinton is often described as charming. Associates note that he always focused on the person speaking to him and showed real interest while being oblivious as to whether the person liked him or not. When former...

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8 Keys To Master The Art Of Persuasion

Can you get your peers to see things from your point of view? Do you have great ideas but you are unable to convince your coworkers or your boss, or are you a business owner finding it difficult to get your staff to adjust to new changes? Maybe you need to master the...

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Relentless Forward Movement

Deciding to Pick Up and Move On There is something about moving forward that can’t be explained any other way than we are getting somewhere. For some reason though, so many people are paralyzed with waiting expectantly for something that there is hardly any chance of...

read more

I Doubled My Productivity With One Simple Change

You can too if you’re willing to think differently I like simplicity. I always have. But, there have been a lot of times in my life when I have found myself in the midst of a storm of complexity. I also enjoy getting things done. Even before productivity became the...

read more

Putting The “I” Second: Listening

How do FBI negotiators manage life and death —  by listening. Our world is all about the “I”.  Reality television populates our networks and it revolves around the life of a few characters. It hyper-focuses on the way the world circulates around this narrow...

read more

Here’s What Happens When You Stop Being Jealous.

Every moment you spend being jealous is a moment wasted. We don’t have much time in this world. The most successful and renowned individuals have often commented later in life how surprisingly fast it all went. You don’t have time to be jealous. If you constantly look...

read more

Birth Story As Told By Grandma Part Two

Last time we visited this story, Julie had her baby. Just less than five pounds of perfection. My beautiful granddaughter. You will recall, there were issues around this baby’s birth, with social services involved and very cautious about Julie and her partner keeping...

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The Key to Exponential Growth as a Writer

This one thing will move you toward your goals faster than anything else Do you have a dream burning inside you?  There’s something you want to do, yet you put it off. It’s not the right time. There’s not enough tools. The right people aren’t available.  Yet...

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Sometimes It’s Not Good To Be Kind, Actually

I saw her for the first time in 8 months — my ex. It was a nightmare coming true right before my eyes. I broke up with her months before, and since we lived so far apart, I couldn’t do it in person. But I wanted to do the kind thing and give her closure because quite...

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Are you doing this because you love me?’

My 3-year-old grandson understands what I don’t say I arrived just before 7 on Saturday morning, at my daughter’s request. The house was quiet and dark when I entered. I found the elusive light switch, took a seat, and then waited. My son-in-law was on a business...

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How to Have Superman-like Resilience

I have a couple of solid talents. I can juggle well enough to make a 5-year old clap. I’m fluent in another language (American Sign Language.) I’m good with computers. I can speak in front of crowds. But I’m terrible at resilience. What is resilience? Resilience is...

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How to Turn Your Childhood Memories Into Springboards

Going back in time opens our eyes to what we can experience today, but we shouldn’t stay there. I don’t know about you, but I have some great memories of my younger days. There were some sour bits here and there, of course. But for the most part, life was a swirl of...

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When God Chooses to be Silent

A Modern-day Easter Story “Faith for a miracle is easier to come by than trusting the Lord when no miracle happens.”  - Margaret Graham I began digging my grave just short of two decades ago. The first thrust of the shovel into the ground came on a day that started...

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Don’t Know What to Do With Your Life? Read This

Existential crises are the soup du jour. With the rise of personal development and a generation of people who want more meaning from life, topics like passion and purpose permeate our thinking. The question burns in your mind — you want to figure out what to do with...

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Tough Love Isn’t Punitive

The Gift of Facing Consequences Tough love isn’t punitive. The purpose of tough love is redemption.  This means that the consequences that are being faced by the offender should be something that will lead them back to the place that they should be. What does...

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They Were Searching For Him

He could hear them. They were outside the camouflaged entrance to the bunker, looking for signs of a hidden door. It wasn’t their first attempt. There had been many sweeps of the area over time, some as close as this one. None had been successful. None could be...

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Learn to Laugh at Your Problems

Everybody else does… Every once in a while, no matter how hard you try to see that tired old glass as half-full, it’s not. It’s completely empty. Nothing to do but throw it into the fireplace, excuse yourself from the company, and retire for the night. ...

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Selfishness Nearly Ruined My Life

Examining the relationships we currently have and our own self-centered tendencies. The most amazing thing happened to me last year. I was given a token of appreciation from my older brother and his wife. That may not seem like a big deal to you. But for me, that...

read more

Is Being Positive Unrealistic?

The alternative is pricey “Why then ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  Hamlet, Act 2 Scene 3 — William Shakespeare It has been a while since I read Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, yet so...

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Out of the Ashes

Beauty for ashes, gladness instead of mourning Fire! “Sir, Ma’am…fire!” We popped out of bed disoriented and pumped with adrenalin. In the early morning darkness, somewhere around 4 am, Susan and I ran out of our room and saw the fire’s glow at the other end of the...

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How to Write Great Scenes for Your Short Stories

Setting Up Scenes, Buildup and Payoff “Drama must move forward and upward, or the seats on which the audience is sitting will become very hard and uncomfortable. So, in fact, will the audience. And eventually the audience will become impatient, disappointed, and...

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Stop Giving Fat People Your Free Advice!

Kindness works best, folks. We aren’t allowed to insult disabled people. We aren’t allowed to be racist. We aren’t allowed to dislike people of different faiths. We can’t hate women. Fat people are all we have left to shame! Why do fat folk get shamed? People have no...

read more

The Power Hid In A Leader’s Words

Quite a few years ago I had this knack for telling fictional stories for fun. So I had honed this one story down to a very believable reminiscence of my work experience. This is the story I told. Yes, I did and I told it many times. “When I was young I worked for...

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The Night The Soldiers Ran Away

History Making Decisions We Rarely Hear About Jesus rising from the dead. This is the foundation of Christianity and so much has been written it seems there is hardly anything left to write. Whether you argue for or against it doesn’t really matter. There is one story...

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Sitting Down And Focusing Is The Hardest Part Of Writing

Another excuse I’m not getting away with I stare at lists of thoughts I have written down over the past few weeks. They come to me when I am not expecting them. They can wake me from my sleep, tap me hard on the shoulder when I am driving, tug at me when I am working,...

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The Difference Between Love and Sex

Going beyond the birds and the bees. My mom taught me all about sex when I was a young girl, but it wasn’t because she sat me down for “the talk.” Instead, I heard the noises coming from her bedroom on nights her boyfriend stayed over. My mother was particularly loud,...

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There Might Never Be a Sign From Heaven

On The Courage to Walk Away ‘I don’t like how this makes me feel’ is a good enough reason to stop doing something. You know it when you’re just lazy and could do with some pep talk. You know when you’re lying to yourself. You can pretend and tell the whole world a lie...

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Condemnation and Forgiveness

Without a doubt, the story of the woman caught in adultery is one of the most insightful teachings in the ministry of Jesus. There are lessons in this passage for us and even a couple of warnings if we linger over these words long enough. Here is the story They...

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Chocolate Fried Memories

“Grandpa, these are perfect!” They’re not. The little half-circle pies have imperfection written all over them, from the re-rolled pastry dough right down to the non-symmetrical pleats on the edges. The gooey chocolate filling is nothing more than cocoa, sugar, and...

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Why Believing in Yourself is Overrated

And why you should believe in a purpose instead. If I had a dime for every time I was advised to believe in myself, I’d have enough to buy a double Shackburger at Shake Shack. For you, it might be crinkle cut fries or even a full meal. Heck, I too am guilty of having...

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The Fatal Attraction of Gossip

Five Reasons People Gossip and What You Can Do About It We live in a litigious society and many have made it their mission to sue anyone that may have infringed on their person, property or rights.  Because of this, it is logical that companies have gone overboard to...

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Seven Powerful Steps to Overcome Evil

Do not be overcome by evil… Romans 12:21 (ESV) We live in a world of evil. We see it all around us. Politicians denounce it. Social Activists demonstrate against it. We all wonder if we will be swallowed up by it. It inspires fear and can bring out the worst in...

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What Loving Your Enemies Looks Like!

How did Jesus convert one of His worst enemies? How did He turn a man who was an avowed enemy of the cross and who hated God’s children with a passion executing multitudes of them by stoning into one of His strongest, most faithful followers, and a man who wrote 2/3...

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Why Effective Writing Is Authentic Writing

Going beyond those empty words for the sake of a real story. “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” — Sue Monk Kidd Telling a story is a remarkable thing. It’s almost mystical the way...

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The Ultimate Guide to Staying Motivated and Fresh

Staying motivated is sometimes the hardest thing to maintain. What was once a dream come true soon turns into the worst possible thing that ever happened to you — or so it seems. Comparison kills motivation. In the start, I started feeling terrible about my work. I...

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Truth - Where Did You Go?

It’s still here. We just got lost in lies. Everybody takes a shot at defining Truth (capital T) at one time or another: Philosophers, poets, politicians, pundits, priests, and other people whose names begin with “p”. Also artists, scientists, and bloggers, your auntie...

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What Kind Of A Father Do I Hope To Be Someday?

The kind I never had myself. Learning how to be a good parent was easy in the end because I’d basically had the What Not To Do manual.  — David Cassidy My Dad Wasn’t My Friend I’d like to start off by saying that my Father was exactly the kind of dad a...

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Is Wasting Time Really a Waste of Time?

What would you consider a “waste of time”?  Is it sitting outside, staring off into space? Watching a TV show that you aren’t really into? Or maybe it’s talking with someone who you would rather not associate with?  I have recently found myself on a “time...

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Find Inner Peace in One Step

Finding inner peace can seem as elusive as trying to capture a unicorn. A beautiful idea, but a complete myth. Or maybe you think the only way to achieve it is to join a monastery and meditate for 18 hours a day. Eat. Pray. Love. Right? I have to admit there are some...

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A Practical Guide On The Importance Of Having Role Models

“One of the best ways to elevate your character is to emulate worthy role models.” — Epictetus The best life lessons you’ll ever learn will likely come from your role models. From someone who, through actions, values and behavior shows you what’s possible.  From...

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Why Perfection Should Never Be the Goal

We Are Not Robots for a Reason This life was never designed for us to be perfect. But for some reason, there are lots of people wanting to be perfect. We want all that we do to be spot on — no errors. It’s normal. I get it. At least, that’s what some think. Let’s...

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The Volcano That Took Our Beach House, Also Gave Us Hope

Watching the helicopter footage of slow, massive lava rolling over Kapoho bay in 2018, was beyond shocking. Our house is the one with the red roof. You can see the whole area overtaken in a neighbor’s Youtube video: https://youtu.be/WqL00Mh404E In many ways, I will...

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How To Deal With The Anxiety Problem Called Anchor Block

Many of us suffer from this and don’t know what to do How many times have you made the same decision in different circumstances? That’s what I did. No matter what the situation I wound up making the same choice. Over and over again, I would choose the same partner...

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The Fear of Self-Control

Making changes in your life is a difficult and daunting task.  I recently walked away from a 9-year relationship, where I felt that I had very little control. I have regained a great deal of it back, and it scares the shit out of me.  My therapist refers to my...

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5 Steps to Become a Paid Writer in 5 Weeks

In the past year, I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars from my writing. (I made a whopping $40 total in my first 4.5 years). Obviously, I’ve learned a thing or two!).  I discovered you can earn money from your writing very quickly, if you know what to do. ...

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Poor Choices are NOT Mistakes

Realizing there is a difference will make your life better I have taught middle and high school kids for almost 35 years and have heard just about every excuse for why they did not follow the rules. I forgot. I didn’t know. It’s not my fault. It was only a mistake....

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When Love Becomes a Weapon

Love is a powerful 4 letter word.  It can be almost as powerful as breath, or strength, or hate.  But, what happens when it is used as a weapon? Is it as violent as a gun? Or mightier than a sword?  It can be if you allow it to be.  When Someone Says “I...

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How To Appropriately Handle Relationship Disagreements

“Don’t air your dirty laundry in public.”  When I was married, all of my friends knew what was going on in my marriage. They didn’t know the extent of the abuse going on (because I kept that private, even though I shouldn’t have), but all the small annoyances,...

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Forget ‘Doing,’ Sometimes It’s Best To Wait

Yesterday I ordered a traditional breakfast here in Singapore. It’s made with Kaya toast, coffee, and two half-boiled eggs. When the kindest Chinese man you could think of served it to me, I thought the half-boiled eggs were hard boiled eggs.  Fifteen seconds...

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Confessions Of A Criticize-aholic

Recovering from the need to criticize other people’s writing If such an organization actually existed, I would have been a card-carrying member of Criticize-aholics Anonymous (C.A.), except for two small details. It’s anonymous so there would be no point in carrying a...

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Learning to Write Without My Stone Tablet

Technology for Dinosaurs I always thought I would be a person who stayed on top of trends and technology. It turns out I am not. My family was one of the first to own a microwave oven and an Atari game console. My tech husband would mesmerize people with the magic of...

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The Surprising Way Our Thoughts Are Like Dinosaurs

An oddly accurate analogy Twenty four hours a day, our minds create thoughts. All day every day without ceasing. We might get a little break when we’re sleeping, but if we have dreams, those are the results of our minds still thinking thoughts. Lists, memories of past...

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Stop Living For Your Dreams

I’ve always dreamed of living in a cabin in the mountains. Ideally, my cabin would only be accessible by horseback or running in. I would have trails for running miles and miles throughout God’s beautiful landscape. Of course, along with that dream is the income to...

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You Are The First Responder

“When you live in a place like this — small, by itself — you’re brought up to give help, not wait for it. When your neighbor needs something, he needs you. The person he knows. Not the army. Not the police. You. And if you’re not there, someday you’ll have to look him...

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Questions Never Asked

I’ve talked a lot about my parents. They’ve been gone four years, but it feels like only yesterday that they made their final exit. They flicker in an out of my consciousness like fireflies on a summer night. Random memories of good times and bad. My father, tending...

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Why You Need to Publish Your Originality

Creating: the lost art in a world of conformity. Creativity: the use of unique, imaginative ideas in the capacity of producing something new. With all the sophisticated improvements we see nearly every day, it can become easy to forget the need to use our own...

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The Courage To Be Kind

Why Cinderella’s mother was right. My 12-year-old daughter Vanessa has an arch-nemesis in her middle school. His name is Michael, and he sits next to her in three of her classes. She’s been complaining about him for the last few months. “Michael is so weird,” she...

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Nothing Else

Living a Limitless Life Oh, I’m not here for blessings Jesus, You don’t owe me anything More Than anything that You can do I just want you I just want You Nothing else, nothing else Nothing else will do Nothing Else, Song by Cody Carnes On a recent blue sky Wyoming...

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Stop Sacrificing Yourself on the Altar of Productivity

Why working ourselves to burnout is ruining our lives. In our world of fast-paced, stressful work, many of us think we cannot take a break and must push ourselves to our breaking point. Working ourselves until we want to quit our jobs or have an emotional or mental...

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In My Tragedy, I found Mercy.

Shasta Moran’s reoccurring nightmare: Shasta scanned the frozen snow covered lake. The cold north wind picked up shards of icy snow pelting her face. Ignoring the sting, she squints through the sunlight reflecting off the ice. Watching, waiting, wondering, “Will Bill...

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How To Be The Most Interesting Person In The Room

Stretch yourself a bit You don’t have to look like a model or have the verbal skills of a senator to be a fascinating person.  Everyone you know is fascinating, if only you knew them well enough to see it. With limited time, you have to do a little more than just...

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True Confessions: 10 Life Choices I Wish I Hadn’t Made

Ever think about how different your life would be if you had chosen x instead of y? I do. Often. Inspired by Heather Burton’s Medium article in Publishous, Ten Choices I’m Glad I Made and Ten I Wish I Hadn’t, I recently wrote These 10 Choices are the Best I’ve Ever...

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Is Kindness Outdated?

No act of kindness ever is wasted Several years ago, I had a serious bout with shingles. At first, I thought I had an infected bug bite on my hairline, not unusual in Maine during the summer.  When I awoke the next day, blisters covered the right side of my face...

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Sleep, sweet little one.

A creative nonfiction tale about growing up. an there be anything grander when one is five and a half than to have a proper swing in the yard and to live where eternal summer reigns? The object of my pleasure was a sturdy steel structure, eight-foot-tall (although, at...

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Generosity Doesn’t Have to be Seen

Doing extraordinary things without attention can be more rewarding than you think. “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” — John Holmes In a world where promoting yourself is popular, it’s not hard to figure out...

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Your Story Inspires More Than Any Self-Help Cliché

Let’s not oversimplify human struggle and growth.  The problem with all the self-help cliches is that they simplify something that is not simple at all.  Get up early in the morning, have a meaningful morning routine, have a clear plan and direction to where your...

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How To Decide If It’s Time to Move Home

When is the Right Time to Quit Traveling? Every time we move abroad, it raises a question. How long will we stay? When will we come back? A pro/con list won’t work because it’s not an either/or question. It’s a when question. Is this the year to move back? After the...

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My Muse Is an Old, Fat, Bald Guy

He chain-smokes cigars and hates cats… He looks kinda like Danny DeVito in a turban. And he sounds a lot like George Burns in “Oh, God.” Only not so friendly. And, though I don’t have to rub a magic lamp to get his attention, sometimes I’d like to lock him up in one....

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Your Work is Not Important

your internal peace is Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way. — H. H. The Dalai Lama  Your work isn’t important; your worldly duties aren’t terribly important. And...

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Where to Find the Energy You’ll Need to Become Successful

Work + knowledge + faith = energy Self-improvement is like planting a garden. Growing takes a lot of hard work — consistent energy input — before you get any output. You have to prepare the ground by removing weeds. Tilling comes next, and without the proper tools,...

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The Ivy Bridge

A True Story of Transformation from Brokeness to Joy A young man sat awkwardly on my sofa and explained to me that he had never been in a rich person’s home (we are not even close to being rich) He shared some of his childhood stories with me. He told me how his...

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Sail Into the Deep Waters

Discovering the Capacity for Greatness That Lies Within Who doesn’t want to be their own boss? If we are all honest, there’s something about slaving away for a pittance of a paycheck that seems beneath us and almost suffocating. It’s almost like we are selling...

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Moving Home is Hard. Here’s What You Need to Know.

No amount of reading can fully prepare you. But I’ll try. Forewarned is forearmed. Here are some things you should see coming when you come home. Don’t Underestimate the Effect of Novelty When you go to a new place, it’s NEW. By definition. You see the novel, the...

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Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Thoughts on Traveling the World Congratulations!Today is your day.You’re off to Great Places!You’re off and away! You have brains in your head.You have feet in your shoes.You can steer yourselfAny direction you choose.You’re on your own. And you know what you know.And...

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These 10 Choices are the Best I’ve Ever Made

Reflection on a daily basis — and especially during the moments of our days — is a key to living a fulfilling, contributive life. I am learning this. As a hardwired “do-er,” my life has been more about activity, checklists, and getting things done. I recently...

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What Makes Me Unique And Why You Should Care

I am unique. You are unique. Each of us is a ‘one-of-a-kind’ kind of person. So what makes me unique? Why should you care? Because it only takes a spark to get a fire going. I want to spur you on to greatness. I describe ten sparks describing my uniqueness. Each...

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Can I Really Have an Emotional Affair?

Uhhhh yeah.  I wrote an article about cheating, and a few readers disagreed with whether emotional cheating exists. One went so far as to argue that best friends could be considered as cheating with each other because they have a close bond.  I was flabbergasted by...

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She is Someone’s Daughter

The girl at the rest stop was no woman, and she will haunt me for the rest of my life Blustery May weather. It’s always unpredictable in New England in springtime. The saying goes, “Don’t like the weather? Wait ten minutes.” It could be a scorcher of a day,...

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Finding Truth and Freedom, and a Little More!

Sometimes we get to the teaching of Jesus and wonder what he was saying to us. What is he wanting us to learn? In this passage we find truth, freedom, faith, privilege, and promise. Here is Jesus’ conversation with the crowd. After you have read it, we’ll look at each...

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How “The Gift Of Fear” Changed My Life Forever

The first time I read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker, I was 25 years old and deathly afraid of the world. Watching the news on TV didn’t help. Every day, I saw stories of rape, murder, kidnapping and other things too horrible to comprehend. Although I locked my...

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This is What You Should Pursue Instead of Happiness

“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.” ― Viktor E. Frankl On July 26, 1877, a boy was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Jesse Livermore would begin investing at the ripe age of fourteen growing up to become one of the most celebrated investors of his...

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Lessons Learned From 10 years Of Ghostwriting

Some fun, some struggles, all good I’ve written millions of words for other people to use. It’s fun and can be pretty lucrative. It isn’t the same as creating work for myself, but ghostwriting has been good to me. I created this list of ghostwriting lessons from my...

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Stop Living For The Weekend & Live With Purpose

“The thing about today is…It’s Monday! No other day could get the week off to such a great start.”― Anthony T. Hincks I wish I could say I look forward to Monday but I don’t. The truth is. This. Week. Has. Been. Long. I’m probably not alone when I say my week has...

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How To Know What You Really Want From Life

make the right choices There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.Oscar Wilde Do you know what you want? Our desires vary from the mundane need to scratch an itchy back to the intangible urge for...

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Want To Curb Stress In 2 Minutes? Try Gratitude

“Gratitude is the best stress reliever.” I wrote this down in my iPhone notes yesterday at 2:27 PM as an article idea. On my daily walk to the gym, I couldn’t help but be happy. I was headed to the gym at 2:27 PM in a city thousands of miles from the one I grew up in....

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I Used to Be a Time Lord

Now I’m all, “What just happened?” One trip in a TARDIS and I was hooked.  When I was 12 years old, I made my acting debut as a Lost Boy in a professional regional theatrical production of Peter Pan. I made a very strong showing as Tootles, according to my...

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How to Survive an Office Party and Enjoy It

Everything boils down to good conversation. Office parties are often a crescent of forced fun, where CEOs cheerily greet employees they’d usually just ignore. That said, office parties can be like fruitcake — sure, it seems like a good idea to mix fruit and nuts...

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How to Become an “Overnight Success”

My five-year journey from “nobody” to “somebody.” “Advice is an autobiography and NOTHING else.” — James Altucher People hate advice given by someone who isn’t living what they tell other people. It’s easy enough to write a book or a blog post that regurgitates ideas,...

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What I’ve Learned from 3 Funerals in Less Than a Year

“It takes a village to raise a child” — African proverb I was raised by a village. Not that my parents didn’t play an integral part in my upbringing, we just felt a strong connection with the high-caliber people we lived around. It was those exceptional people that...

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Before you go, make sure you don’t miss these:

Sometimes It’s Not Good To Be Kind, Actually

I saw her for the first time in 8 months — my ex. It was a nightmare coming true right before my eyes. I broke up with her months before, and since we lived so far apart, I couldn’t do it in person. But I wanted to do the kind thing and give her closure because quite...

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Are you doing this because you love me?’

My 3-year-old grandson understands what I don’t say I arrived just before 7 on Saturday morning, at my daughter’s request. The house was quiet and dark when I entered. I found the elusive light switch, took a seat, and then waited. My son-in-law was on a business...

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Why Brainwashing Might Be Good For You

I’ve been where you are. I’ve had the feeling of, “I can’t wait to start the new year with this new habit.” Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s working out. What happens after a month? It tends to drift, that commitment, that memory, that motivation. That motivation...

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How Habit Stacking Works (And How To Start Using It Today)

I’d heard of habit stacking for awhile. Do this one thing and then it leads you into another thing. But I just didn’t get it.  As someone who is in the “productivity writing niche” you’d think I’d get a brochure in the mail. Nope, I didn’t.  So it wasn’t...

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How Can You Hear God? Here’s How!

If we could only hear what God wants us to do all the time, life would be easier! When we follow Jesus, we want to hear God! Do you get frustrated when you don’t hear God? So, how can we hear God? First Things First First, we must believe that God still wants to...

The Invisible Illness

Living with Autoimmune Disease(s) I feel like I’ve been sick my entire life. Not the in-hospital with incurable condition kind of sick — the can’t really do much but stay in bed all day and heal kind of sick. Although my symptoms are rarely deemed “bad enough,” to...

A Recap of My Last 30 Days

And the Lesson I Thought I Knew I took a full month away from posting or writing a single story on Medium. I felt like my life was missing something the entire time, to be honest. I craved the time I used to have writing out my thoughts. And after developing a...

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