A Near Collision Sparks A Recommitment to Write

on 28 October 2 Comments

Yesterday I missed a head on collision by a couple of seconds. A car was driving in the wrong lane down a two-lane road. I was coming around a corner—not speeding—but still going 55 miles per hour. The car veered off to a road that was about a 130-degree angle from the passenger side of my car at just the right moment, instants before it would have hit me head on

Needless to say, if I would have been coming around that curve a couple moments later, I don’t think I’d be writing this blog post right now.

Wow, God! Thank you for sparing my life! I had absolutely nothing to do with that timing. I could not have slammed on the breaks fast enough to get out of the way.

When you have experiences like this, it makes you question everything.

Why did God spare me?

What else does He want me to do with my life?

In addition to seeking God for direction to make the most out of my time, treasuring those I love and asking for forgiveness from those who I have hurt, my next thought was about writing.

I have felt far more motivated than I did before this incident to get messages out of my head and into a format where others might benefit from what I have learned.

It made me wonder why I haven’t published more sooner. The answer is simple, but difficult to overcome—it’s fear. I am often paralyzed by the thought that my writing isn’t good enough. Good enough for what or for whom? The cyber typo Nazis?

Then, my mindset shifted. Who cares what “some” might think? My writing is good enough and important enough to publish.


Because all of us are unique. None of us processes information in exactly the same way. No one on the planet has ever been—or ever will be—created to have the exact same thoughts as I do. Isn’t that mind-boggling? And, because the way our minds synthesize information is unique, we have no idea who we will influence—or why our words will matter.

Someone who I may never meet may need to read these words tomorrow, but I may never know why they needed to read them.

No matter how simple the message is—if an idea is burning in your heart, there is a purpose for that thought.

So don’t let the fear of not being good enough or the uncertainty of where your words might land stop you from writing—those reasons have stopped me way too often.

I’m learning that I need to check my inhibitions at the door—or they may prevent me from fully fulfilling my God-given purpose before He takes me home.

I still don’t know why that car was driving on the wrong side of the road, but I do know that it lit a fire in my innermost parts to use every moment for purposes beyond myself—even when I don’t understand them.

And, as I’ve said before, words outlast us—especially when they are from the heart—so let’s get ours out.

If you want help to get your message out of your gut and onto the page, but you don’t know where to start, please contact me. I’d love to help.

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13 Common Editing Tips to Clean Up Your Writing

on 18 October 0 Comment
  1. Add commas after subordinate clauses when they start the sentence. Use a comma after a clause beginning with when, after, because, since, etc. The comma is not used when the subordinate clause follows the independent one.
  2. Remove the serial comma. This style seems more common in an article, blog, Website or casual work, and this rule goes along with AP style. The serial comma is required for a more literary, academic work.
  3. Add commas before coordinating conjunctions. When they join two independent clauses, but not anytime a conjunction is used. This was also a judgment call depending on how long the sentence was.
  4. Clear up what you mean bythis” or “that,” if either of those words are not followed by a noun. If there are three or four nouns in the previous sentence, readers may not know which one “this” or “that” is referring to. This error can be even worse when there is no noun in the previous sentence, and the author intends the pronoun to refer to the concept in the entire sentence. It’s just not clear. Rework, please.
  5. Remove repetitive words. Try not to use the same words in the same sentence if possible, even successive sentences—especially words like all. Once is enough.
  6. Use one space after periods. Two is antiquated, according to many sources.
  7. Remove apostrophes when you just need a plural. Often times, only an “s” is necessary. Years are among the worst offender. Before 2015,  the Royals last won the World Series in the 1980s. 
  8. Include thatwhen it is necessary. I add it often in written work. That needs to introduce a restrictive clause when the crucial to the meaning of a sentence. When the information is just descriptive, use which. If you use which, proceed it by a comma. 
  9. Limit use of an “ing” tense. For example, I often read the phrase when graduating. Graduating is an act that lasts for about three hours. Reserve that tense for when an action is ongoing, not a one time event. As I was studying in college (during a four year period), is a more appropriate use of this tense.
  10. Set off states and years in body text with commas if the sentence continues with commas.
  11. Use em dashes. When dashes are used as a pause in a sentence, then need to be “em” dashes, which are longer.
  12. Employ more precise preposition and conjunction use—over is best used in relation to the another item, like I am flying over the city. Otherwise, during is better.Of is often used when about is really what is meant. An example is: “We talked of pets for hours” is really better said as “We talked about pets for hours.”Since is best use with an element of time. Otherwise, if you mean the reason why, because is more precise. Because is also the better choice than due to, which is best reserved for money owed.
  13. Use toward instead of towards, and afterward instead of afterwards (the s is added in British English, but without the s is considered correct in American English).
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Blog Challenge Successes, Opportunities and Next Steps

on 09 August 6 Comments

Today, as we wrap up a 30-day blog challenge, many in our group wrote about lessons learned. I had many of those too, and shared them with one of my mentors, who posted them in her blog. She did a fantastic job synthesizing those lessons. Read her post here.

I am going to put a different spin on the lessons posts I have seen thus far though.

I do need to mention a few successes and opportunities. And, please know there are many more on both sides that I have noted to address at some point. But my focus here is to determine actions I want to take in the next 30 days and make them public.

Why? Because the public declaration and accountability helps me do them!


  1. Intentionally reaching out to people, as I mentioned in my post, Write Notes to Those You Love. And Send Them. I met with several people in my area, since I posted this blog. I have also have sent several notes with the following results: deepening healthy relationships, perhaps making inroads to repair a few that have slipped in the business of life, and letting others go who, for whatever reason, have chosen to be not responsive.

    My related next step: I plan to continue to trying to reach out to 2 people a week to meet with, and to send an encouraging text or Facebook message three days a week.
  1. Sticking to this challenge, despite several obstacles, writing everyday. This theme of writing despite hurdles was mentioned from everyone in the group member who documented their lessons learned! My obstacles were sickness for the first two weeks of the 30-day challenge (Seth had said he had never seen me that bad, and we’ve been married nearly two years), a dramatic increase in freelance writing demands and unchangeable summer plans. My related next step: Spending two hours a day five days a week on my own content, just like I did during this blog challenge.
  1. Producing diversified content. I was so excited when I got to write one of my mentors and colleagues, Kayla Fioravanti, to tell her that I had finally finished the assignment she had given me last November. That assignment was five blogs on my business site. Since the challenge began, I have done 22 here (although I don’t have the right theme to display them all in a way that I am happy wit—ugh). I didn’t neglect writing for our other brands though. I wrote six posts for hikingwithyourhoney.com and two for clivethecat.com, but am going to also post one I wrote for this site there as well. It’s always a bonus if the content in your posts apply to multiple brands!

My next related step: Continue to blog three days a week, at various sites. Get our current sites upgraded to be able to more easily see this newly created content in a list format somewhere!


  1. Putting working on my business first—instead of working in my business. I mostly wrote these blogs, which are to grow my business or sell my own products, at the end of the day—after my paid clients’ work was done. I see this kind of like putting my oxygen mask on first. If I’m doing this work, I’ll do better work for my clients. Although my blogging content from the last month is decent, it could have been better and seen on a wider scale, had I not always published right up at the 11 p.m. deadline. When I posted so late on Twitter, I was mostly getting responses from people in other countries where it was morning. That was great—but I’d like to know how I would have done if I had published when it was morning here in the States. I do know that I got more response on Facebook the one day that I published earlier.My related next step: Spending at least that two hours that I used on the blog challenge at the beginning of the day from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and starting my client workday then. Still using one hour on selected evenings during the week to further my business goals in conjunction with my husband.
  1. Not using Instagram. This lost opportunity for exposure needs no explanation. I just need to pull out all the various Instagram for dummies articles I’ve bookmarked or saved for when I have time.My related next step: Get up and running on at least two accounts by the beginning of November.
  1. Planning my blog content around my writing and business goals. Before this challenge, I’ve been working on a large book and brand, and I had promised myself I would blog to finish it or have a first draft done by my birthday. Well, I didn’t have the Website content written before the challenge started, and I diverted that energy so I didn’t have time to do that. I also haven’t planned out my content to finish my book by rounding out my cat blog.My related next step:  I will make a blogging plan for the fall and get my book and author Website up so they are ready to blog on when the fall blog challenge comes up (assuming it does in October and so that I can be ready for the NanoWriMo in November).
  1. Commenting/liking/retweeting more blogs I read. I realize how encouraging it is to get notes on your blog. I read so much and didn’t like or comment much outside of my blog group—and I didn’t even do that nearly enough.

My related next step: Like or comment on at least three things I read a day (not just a picture with a quote. Tell others I see how much it helps me when they like or comment—and ask them too! 

Those of you who have read or commented along the way, thank you. To the Blog Your Brand organizers, thank you so much for helping all of those grow together as we climb!




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Year in Review

on 27 July 0 Comment

Twice a year, the day before my birthday and the day before the New Year, I take stock of the previous year—for at least an hour or so. I start by remembering my blessings, and see how far I get. Tomorrow, July 28, is my birthday, so it’s that time.

I hope this list helps you assess where you are at, as well.

Above all, I’m grateful that God loves me, continues to mold me and forgives me for my shortcomings. Second to my gratitude to God is the the abundance of thanks I have for my husband, who is an amazing spiritual leader, protector and provider.

But back to what I am grateful for that happened in the last year—July 2015 to July 2016. Here are 10 big things:

  1. A granddaughter! I never dreamed that I would go from single to “nanna” in the span of two years, but I feel so blessed that I did!  I get to love on this little one when we can visit or they come here. But, I love on her mostly through praying for her, since they live out of town and are moving further away :(. I haven’t had the privilege of being a mom since my hubby and I found each other just two years ago (a bit later in life), so I don’t have the baby touch, but I love to pray! I had a praying grandma, and, no matter how far away, my hubby and I are dedicated to praying for her.
  2. An unfrozen shoulder! I suffered with a frozen shoulder for about a year, from May 2015 through May 2016. Most sources say that they don’t know what causes it, but it definitely caught this active girl by surprise. This condition is extremely painful and I couldn’t lift my arm above parallel to the ground. When I was first diagnosed with a frozen shoulder, I went to physical therapy for a while, and a conventional orthopedic doctor wanted me to have surgery. I didn’t want to do that because my husband still has residual issues from shoulder surgery. After much prayer and research, I was led to chiropractic care coupled with myofascial release technique done in massage. My massage therapist told me there is scar tissue on top of my muscles, and either they cut it out or you have it broken up. She breaks it up—so this was no relaxing massage, mind you! She would press into my shoulders, back and neck with her elbows with all her might to break up the tissue! Now I do exercises and avoid gluten to keep the tissue from building up again.
  3. A healed thyroid and other benign lumps. My doctor found a lump on my thyroid and I’ve had lumps in another area, but we prayed over them at church—and the thyroid lump that I could also see and feel was gone! The other lumps were inconsequential. Thank you, God!
  4. A place to live closer to our community! I’ll have to write the details about this on another post—because it is an amazing story, but we traded city apartment life for a country home that is only eight minutes from our church. My husband now commutes, but we love our views and green spaces, as well as our home’s proximity to quaint Franklin, Tennessee.
  5. Visits with family and longtime friends. Since the Nashville area seems to be a desirable place to visit, we’ve had many visitors! I’m so thankful, because I love keeping in touch, and playing tour guide Barbie!
  6. A growing business and this Website! I’m not super technical at first blush, so I traded editing for the initial design of this Website, and I’m so glad I did! It makes it so much easier to point people to something with my work on it!
  7. All of our outdoor adventures! My husband likes to say that we keep the road hot! And, we do! We’ve been to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio (twice), Michigan, Kansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi—and to 13 State Parks in our home state of Tennessee!
  8. My husband’s love of writing! This development just arose last October—and now we can work on our blogs at the same time, which is such a blessing because I don’t have to choose between my calling of writing and being with my man! We brainstorm and support each other! You can read about our adventures and lessons in our relationship at his blog, hikingwithyourhoney.com.

  9. Deeper relationships with our nearby community. Last year we were far away from our community and not really sure where our place in serving as we gave our first year of marriage solely to each other. We have served in a couple ministries during the last year and grown closer to people we do life with. It took so much time moving and we are juggling a side business so this community building has gone in spurts, but we are thankful for it.
  1. My cat and all the animals we get to babysit—15 this week! If you’ve ever read my cat’s blog clivethecat.com, that I help him write, then you know how much I adore my cat! But I also love animals in general. I can’t wait to babysit another kitty and two puppies later this week—oh and 12 chickens!

How is your year going? Do you have at least once or twice—or better yet monthly or weekly to cultivate gratitude?



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Tender Tribute Writing

on 16 July 2 Comments

I had planned to return to general writing techniques today, but Write Notes to Those Your Love. And Send Them touched many of you who reached back to me today.

I hope you stared sending notes and sentiments to people who are important to you today. I know I reached out to a few people, and I will continue to do so each day.

I thought I might try to share some ideas about how I’ve written tributes for gifts, in case you want to take a nice note up a notch to an extra special level.

Some of us don’t need this help…we gush and emote without even trying. We cry at everything and we are always saying we love you in special ways to friends and family.

But for others, it may be more difficult. You may be a bit on the quiet side, or you may not be a wear-your-heart-on-your sleeve person. You may be looking for some inspiration about how to say something in a creative way. The list below is for you!

Before I move on though, I want to give the caveat to please don’t work on something creative so long that you end up holding on to it for an extended period of time. Just send it—and remember, a simple heartfelt note will be treasured—and time is precious and fleeting.

Now, here are a few how-to, tender tribute methods:

  • Write a “tribute list” that corresponds to a certain number. Describe the ways that person is special to you. So, for example, if a friend is 36, a title would be 36 Ways You Are Special to Me. You don’t have to do a number correlating to age, you can pick any number that equals as many that you can think of. For an anniversary, you could match the number that corresponds to your anniversary. For each line, you could write You are (fill in with an adjective), or some other creation.
  • Create a “name tribute.” So, for example, my husband’s name is Seth, so a tribute might be:





You can use a special font, colorful paper or anything you can come up with and put it in an inexpensive frame from a craft store like Michaels.

  • Come up with an “alphabet soup tribute.” This method can be done a couple of different ways.

One way is just calling it “The ABCs of Seth.” And then write adjectives on separate lines that start with every letter of the alphabet. For X, I usually use words like excellent that sound like an X…

A second way is writing a paragraph of narrative and bold the words that start with the letters of the alphabet. Here are the first couple of lines I wrote to my husband, just to give you an idea:

I admire your ability to take action. I believe in you because of your boldness. I chose you because of your courage, creativity and compassion.

  • Develop a “legacy tribute.” Write a poem or narrative that tells them what you have learned from them. This type of tribute is perfect for a parent or grandparent, or anyone who has shared their wisdom with you.
  • Make “a memory tribute. This tribute recalls memories or occasions. It can be one or several. Like to a grandmother, you might walk through all your memories with her. For a graduation or wedding gift, you might share memories of the person growing up. It can also be from a single event. On an anniversary, for example, recall what you were thinking on your wedding day to your spouse.
  • A poetic tribute. These are poems that convey as special message in a rhyming fashion. My amazing husband wrote one of these for our first Christmas together as a marriage couple. It had more than a dozen 4 line stanzas, and it told the story of how he prayed for me, and how he was feeling as we fell in love. You can read more about our story and adventures together since then at his blog, Hiking With Your Honey.

I hope these ideas will help those of you who need it to get your creative juices flowing. If you are tech savvy, you can pair these writing ideas with photos or videos, and make a multimedia tribute.

But just get started! And keep sending everyday notes while you are working on extra special tributes! 

Do you have ideas about how to create tender tributes? Share them in the comments below! If you need help creating tender tributes, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Write Notes to Those You Love. And Send Them.

on 15 July 4 Comments

I had a different blog post idea today.

I was going to write something related to getting punctuation correct—but I can’t do it.

It seems trivial in light of world events. Everyday, I wonder what this world is coming to.

So what can I do, today, to affect the spreading of love with a skill that I love—the skill of writing. I can encourage you to write to those you love. To tell them how important they are to you. To tell them that they are loved. Tell them about the two or three memories that you treasure. Tell them about how they made you laugh. Edit the part out about how they made you cry. Tell them about the good now because tomorrow isn’t promised. And Forgive.

I have told some that I love in gifts through the years, but I haven’t told enough of you. I am starting now. If I put it out there this widely, I pray that it will motivate me to keep my word, even when it’s tough to do. I’m going to write specific notes in private messages, but here’s a start.

To friends I have known—you have blessed me in some way, at some time in my life. Others of you, I don’t know, but, you have blessed a friend in some way. I am thankful for the friend through whom we are connected.

I am grateful for how you have influenced my life, and for your influence in my friends’ lives. I am grateful that God created you. I am grateful for your smiles that give me hope, and for your statements that make me think.

I pray for blessings in your life. I pray that you would know that you are loved. I pray that you will know and experience love from those who love you. I pray that you will feel loved in some way from people who you don’t know—and that you notice that kindness in the midst of the business.

Most of all, I pray you will know that you are loved by God. A God who sent His Son to die for you—even if you don’t believe it, He still loves you.

But convincing you of God’s love isn’t the purpose of this post.  The purpose of this post is to spur you on to tell others that you love by sharing something in writing. Because writing endures. It outlasts us. And it can be a beautiful gift. So why not use it?

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