Here We Go Again…

When it rains, it…well, drizzles? I was planning on being all melodramatic,  but then realized it’s really not all that serious. At least not yet.

I had to make another trip to my favorite place: the emergency room.  I’m so sick of ER’s. But, as my mother reminded me a while ago,  I need to be thankful I have access to one.  So, I will be.

Anyway,  I have pain radiating from my neck all the way down my shoulder to my hand.  I assumed I slept wrong, and that is part of it, but the x-rays showed a lack of a curve in my neck. According to Dr. Google this can be serious and could explain the frequent headaches and migraines I’ve suffered with for years.  According to the ER doctor, whose job is to keep you alive and send you back to your primary doctor, I need to see an orthopedic specialist.

I’m choosing not to worry about it, and doing what I can to get better in the meantime.  Which means that I need to cut down on my computer time, and since I’ve got to use the computer to make a living, that leaves this blog.

It’s not forever, it’s temporary. I’ll still post occasionally, but Inspiration365 is on hold.  I don’t consider this a failure,  although you guys already know how I feel about failure. I consider it a momentary challenge, that I know I’ll overcome.

Until next time,

Faith❤

 

P.S. Please excuse any typos. The doc gave me drugs and I’m typing this on my phone. 😋

 

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When Someone Shows You Who They Are…

I have to admit that I totally forgot about posting a blog today! I fear that my blogger street cred (is that a thing?) is in serious jeopardy. Honestly, I had a lot going on today and, as usual, got a late start. The day got away from me and here it is 10:31 CST on Sunday night and I’m only just now keeping my commitment to bring you daily inspiration. I’ll keep it short and sweet and quote one of my favorites from Dr. Maya Angelou:

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I hope that however you spent your Sunday, whether in relaxation, or worship, or time with friends and family, or preparing for the week ahead, that it was all that you needed it to be. May you be blessed in health, wholeness and joy!

All Up In My E-Reader! #Books

Y’all already know what it is. Time for another peek into my digital library. Well really, it’s my sister’s digital library, ’cause I’m out here like a squirrel just tryna get a nut, feel me? LOL! I’m really on one this perfectly dreary Saturday morning. It’s raining on my end, which is perfect weather for snuggling up with a good book (that’s if you don’t have a man 😉 ). I’m just saying.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the books below!

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Title: The Man of My Schemes

Author: Leslie J. Sherrod

Description: It started at work and then spread to her sister-friends at church: wedding bell fever. For thirty-four-year-old Berry Jenkins, the craze has just begun. Tired of the prying and invasive questions about her lack of a love life, Berry decides to convince everyone she has finally landed the man of her dreams. However, there is one slight problem. Her fantasy man is just that – a complete fantasy and a bold-faced lie. Of course, lies can’t last forever and Berry’s ploy to pretend she’s met the perfect beau quickly spirals out of control.

When her carefully woven web of deception begins to unravel, only a miracle will save her from her fairy-tale romance gone nightmare reality. Facing exposure, Berry fears that the trap she’s created for herself is too messy, too tangled – and maybe even too dangerous – for her chance at love to survive.

Hold on for a wild and zany ride as Berry’s imaginary man takes on a life of his own, for better…and for worse.

My Take: Now, I have to admit, I started this book a long time ago and never finished it. I don’t think it had anything to do with the story or the quality of the writing. Rather, it was just a rough season in my life and nothing was holding my attention for very long. It seems like a good book, great for a fun read, with a nice moral at the end. I recommend it if you’re looking for some light reading. This book used to be available as a digital download, but for some reason Amazon only has the paperback available now. So in the interest of full disclosure, I did not, nor would I, pay $12.99 for this book. Just keepin’ it real.

 

Title: The Good Neighbor

Author: A. J. Banner

Description:

Named by Harper’s Bazaar as a book that could be the next Gone Girl.

From a phenomenal new voice in suspense fiction comes a book that will forever change the way you look at the people closest to you…

Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

My Take: For some reason I enjoyed this book, even though it’s not my usual preference at all. It’s well written, and the story sticks with you. It’s an old fashioned understated suspense novel with an other worldly type feel to it. There are a lot of ‘suspects’ which kept it interesting all the way through. It’s a tad on the slow side as far as the suspense genre goes, so don’t expect it to be a quick read.

 

Title: The Color of Heaven

Author: Julianne MacLean

Description: A deeply emotional tale about Sophie Duncan, a successful columnist whose world falls apart after her daughter’s unexpected illness and her husband’s shocking affair. When it seems nothing else could possibly go wrong, her car skids off an icy road and plunges into a frozen lake. There, in the cold dark depths of the water, a profound and extraordinary experience unlocks the surprising secrets from Sophie’s past, and teaches her what it means to truly live…and love.

Full of surprising twists and turns and a near-death experience that will leave you breathless, this story is not to be missed.

THE COLOR OF HEAVEN is a work of fiction.

My Take: This book gripped me from the beginning and maintained that grip all the way through. I’m a sucker for otherworldly, spiritual journey type books and this delivered on that in spades. It’s sad, yes, but also hopeful. I highly recommend this book and plan on reading others in the series. Julianne MacLean is now one of the authors where I choose to read the book before even reading the description. She’s in my club of If She Wrote It, I’m Reading It. 

 

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Let me know if you check any of these books out, I’d love you hear your take on them! Also, if you have any good book recommendations tell me about them in the comments below. 

 

In Memphis? Let’s Meet Up!

Hey, y’all! This is my first time promoting something like this on my site, but I have to keep you guys in the know about what I’m up to. In the very near future I’ll be co-presenting a writing workshop here in Memphis. My partner for this event is fellow author Indianna Tuggle and we’ll be walking aspiring Christian authors through the process of writing and publishing their first book. So if this sounds like something you’re interested in, check out the flyer below.

Hope to see you there!

P.S. In the future, I’m thinking of hosting a free meet and greet type of event. Stay tuned for deets about that!

The Meeting #JensSecret #ShortStory #Series

Our short story series continues. I hope you’re enjoying Jen’s Secret as much as I am! Don’t forget to read PART 1 and PART 2 before you dive in. Enjoy!

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The quiet unnerves me as I toss and turn, each movement causing the metal springs of the mattress to squeak, which along with the whir of the ceiling fan is the only thing that breaks the silence. I sigh and open my eyes, giving up on the sleep I desperately need and shuffle over to open the patio door. I take a deep breath and let my eyes skim over the shimmering aqua blue pool. A strong breeze rustles the towering palm trees along the back fence of Mrs. Posada’s property and wind chimes create a tinkling melody, relaxing the tension from my shoulders.

These moments of peace seem stolen. Whenever I feel them, guilt swiftly follows. The brief peace I sometimes get is probably far less than that motherless child who’s been haunting me for years ever has. I bite my lip and wrap my arms around myself. I force myself to think of the barbecue we’ll have when the girls get home from church. One of Mrs. Posada’s grandchildren wants a pool party for her birthday. I imagine the squeals and laughter only children in a pool on a hot day can produce. It brings a smile to my face. But it quickly fades as other horrible thoughts enter my mind.

I know sleep won’t find me now. I probably should have gone to church with Mrs. Posada and the girls. I know she took them because she thought she was doing me a favor by giving me time to rest, but time alone is the last thing I need. My plans of sleeping in, taking time to bathe without rushing and actually reading a book dissipate. I know what I need to do. Maybe today I can get one step closer to it.

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Taking an Uber for anything other than grocery shopping feels like an unnecessary luxury to me. But what I want to do today is necessary, so I shake off the guilt and hop in the car. Thankfully, the driver is not a chatter. He asks me what I like to listen to and that’s pretty much the only thing he says. We cruise up PCH listening to a pop station that has an affinity for Taylor Swift. I look out the window, watching the scenery change from electic store fronts to clean modern boutiques, always with glimpses of the sea peeking through between buildings.

Soon, the spaces between buildings get larger and larger, until we’re winding up narrow two lane highways with cliffs on one side, and the wide expanse of the Pacific on the other. The wind from the open car windows whips my hair around. I can almost let myself forget where I’m going; almost let myself get caught up in the spirit of possibility a drive along the ocean brings.

Almost.

It’s not until we pull off the highway that my anxiety returns. The Uber stops at the restaurant I picked as my destination, and I ease out of the car, already feeling out of place on this busy street full of trendy shops, an art gallery, a yoga studio, a community garden. To keep up appearances I head inside a juice bar/bakery, though I doubt if the driver is thinking twice about me. I duck into the restroom and try to pull myself together. I wet my hands and run my fingers through my hair, trying to tame the frizz that the wind created. I smooth the long white t-shirt I’m wearing and pick lint off my black stretch pants. I roll the sleeves of my gray cardigan up and finger the simple gold-plated jewelry at my throat and ears. I spare a glance at the printed gray Nike’s I bought at the thrift store last week. Had some part of me known that I would do this after the breakdown I had at work? Why else would I go out of my way to put together a typical suburban housewife ensemble?

I swallow and close my eyes against the sudden dizziness that overwhelms me. I’m come too far to back down now. Besides, today is not about anything except satisfying my own bizarre need to see who she is, how she lives, what her life is like after…well, just after.

Enough of this.

I stroll out of the restroom with calculated casualty and stop to buy a bottled water. The clerk says it’s $4.99. I wish I would pay that much for 16 ounces of H20! I politely put it back and duck into a 7-11 across the street. My ‘disguise’ complete I walk about a mile into a residential neighborhood lined with an interesting combination of new modern mansions and standard 1950’s stucco houses. Regardless of size, all of the lawns are manicured and well maintained.

There are a lot of things you can learn from internet sleuthing. These days, hoards of people put a play by-play of their every waking moment online. She’s not quite that bad, but she did post a copy of her daughter’s birthday party invitation last year, her address displayed for the world to see. She probably didn’t think twice about it, but I did. When I saw it, I knew I didn’t have any excuse for not doing the right thing. Not that I ever did.

I power walk past the house, moving like I’m out for exercise. But I take in the robin’s egg blue shutters, the large two-story white stucco with bay windows and perennials in the yard. It’s picture perfect, and I know instantly that something like what I did was not ever supposed to happen to someone like her. Someone who lives in a house like that, who’s brave enough to have another child after losing one in such a tragic way, who manages to go on with her life and plant flowers, and plan birthday parties.

Someone who posts a picture of her baby boy every year and vows to find the person who ran him down in cold blood.

I turn the corner, my breath coming in short spurts. It’s not from the walking. I do that everyday. It’s the shock. He should be riding his bike up and down this very street, living the life he was meant to have. I make myself keep moving. What did I expect to accomplish by doing this? Did I think torturing myself by learning the details of her life would make a difference? For three years I’d obsessed over her life on social media, wishing I had the courage to give her the answers she wants so badly. Wishing that I could give her what she deserves, while also giving my daughters what they need.

But I can’t. It’s impossible. Still, I circle the block, go back for more. When I turn the corner, there’s a car pulling into the driveway. Without thinking, I quicken my pace, timing it so that I approach as she exits the SUV and circles around to her trunk. She pushes a button that lifts the hatch and glances up right as my foot turns beneath me. The last thing I see as I hit the ground is the beginning of what promises to be a brilliant smile of neighborly friendliness before her expression changes to horror as she hurries towards me.

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Things happen quickly after that. She’s by my side in an instant, her hands on my arm and my back as she helps me sit up. The concrete burns beneath me, hot from the sun that’s been warming it all day, but her hands are like fire. Through the fabric of my shirt, they scorch my skin and my conscience. She’s helping me. The realization of how absolutely wrong that is propels me to my knees where I awkwardly attempt to stand by putting all of my weight on my good foot.

“Stan!” She booms. For a tiny woman, she’s got a commanding voice. Almost instantly, a large man races out of the house. It’s just like the stereotypes on TV. She’s delicate and petite. He’s big and brawny. “Help me get this poor lady in the house.”

He lifts me to my feet, or really, foot, like it’s nothing as she hurries ahead to hold the door open. His help, I can tolerate. Barely. He supports my weight as I hobble and try to stand.

I dust my clothes off and stammer, “I’m fine. Really. I’ll just head home and put some ice on it.” I say it in a way that makes it seem as though I live down the street.

She stops holding the door. “Well, at least let us give you a ride home. You’re in no shape to make it back the way you came.”

Briefly, I consider letting them drive me to some random house and waving them off before I get to the door. But I can tell that they aren’t the kind of people to drive off until I’m safely inside. And she’d probably come by the next day with some gift, trying to check on me. The thought makes me sick. For her to do anything for me…it just turns my stomach. “Really, I’m fine. See?” I put my bad foot down and grimace through the pain that shoots up my ankle.

“Poor thing, you’re trembling. Come inside and sit down for a few moments. Please.”

And with that one word from her, this women who should never be in a position to plead with me for anything, I lean against her husband and allow him to guide me inside.

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Say whaaattt? What do you think Jen’s motives are in spying on the woman whose child she accidentally killed? Remorse? Guilt? Obsession? All of the above? I promise y’all I’m learning about all of this at the same time you are. I just show up and write! I can’t wait to see where this story takes us next. 

 

©Faith Simone 2018

To Tell the Truth, It’s Really None of Your Business

Every once in while, I come across a quote that brings a smile to my face because it reflects a lesson I learned a long time ago. I used to be the type of person who was absolutely consumed with worrying about what other people thought of me. It started in my teens, as is the norm for most people, but continued well into my twenties. More than simple concern about a good reputation, it became a hard knot of anxiety that  I carried with me everywhere. I finally got over it by the time I was thirty, but still struggled with wanting to please my family. There’s nothing wrong with that, and in fact, I still put a lot of weight in the opinions of my loved ones. But now, I balance it with making sure that I’m true to myself.

Whew! That was a long introduction for a short quote. Y’all know how I do; once I get going, it’s hard for me a cut it off. Anyway, I hope this quote speaks to you as much as is speaks to me.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

–Eleanor Roosevelt

Lady Roosevelt was a wise woman. Remember, what other people think of you is really none of your business.

 

You Got What You Settled For

In between body aches, coughing fits, headaches and all the other joys of the flu, I’ve been watching TV and I came across a line that made me evaluate my life. That’s right, even when I’m jacked up, I still like to get deep. Just excuse any typos, ’cause TheraFlu is messing with my mind.

I decided to wath the ultimate chick flick movie, which is Thelma & Louse. Anyway, Louise told Thelma, “Well, you got what you settled for.” Of course, she was referencing her friend’s choice for a husband, but the sentiment applies to other things as well.

What if we didn’t settle? What if we demanded more out of our lives than the ordinary routine of the mundane, allowing life to carry us along, rather than the other way around? I happen to think that far too many of us settle for an unsatisfactory life because it’s easier than doing what it takes to create the one we really want.

Notice I’m including myself in that category as well. I’ve been known to take the easy way out of things on more than one occasion. But something about that line from a movie almost 30 years ago jolted me out of my routine and made me want to do something different.

I’m done settling. I’m done doing things the same way and expecting things to magically change. I’m making some changes and I think you should join me.

Because the bottom line is, we get exactly what we settle for.

What are you planning to do differently today? This week? This year?