It’s Only A Few Days ‘Til…

Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here's How. - POLITICO

…a New Beginning! One we deserve! One that should make you feel capable of beginning your own metamorphosis! After all, 2020 has forced us to tear apart and examine our personal and societal belief systems. We wrestled Democracy from the hands of those who would destroy it, fighting back against those who squash all dissent that contradicts their subjective perception.

We battled racism in our streets, people of all ages, genders, and colors of the rainbow coming together to protest for justice. We struggled through political divide, often causing discord in our very own families or circle of friends. We braved an ever-increasing number of natural disasters. All the while, we slogged through a pandemic in which 333,000 Americans perished.

We’ve spiraled down the drain hole of conspiracy theories, with scientists and their families being threatened for speaking the truth about the impact of the plague. Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer was almost killed, the state house overturned, because anti-government protestors disagreed with lock-down measures she’d imposed in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Since COVID-19 began, over 8 million workers have lost jobs with employer-sponsored health insurance, impacting over 7 million dependents. Eviction notices, thankfully, were put on hold. Through it all, healthcare staff, delivery folks, trash collectors, fire fighters, polices, teachers, and grocery store and pharmacy personnel put themselves in harm’s way by continuing to show up, day after day, on our behalf.

Then, on December 14, when life couldn’t get much worse, Pfeizer, BioNTech, and Moderna bestowed upon us the best Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwanza gifts of all! Not just one, but–count them–two vaccines to ward off the worst effects of COVID-19 by teaching our immune system to develop antibodies to the virus. A second stimulus bill has finally been signed into action, just days before the New Year begins.

Life is slowly peeking out from beneath the bed covers. It’s like we collectively crossed the Red Sea, scaled Mt. Everest, and built a space colony on Mars, all in one year! In the nine months since COVID-19, I personally feel like I’ve been reborn. Can you relate? Let’s greet each day as a new page in our respective journal of life. Know that if you’ve lived through the year that was, you are powerful enough to make justice and compassion your guide, not just for 2021 but for decades to come.

Happy New Year!


One Person Helping Another Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime

How many times have you stood at the check out counter, short by 75 cents, yet reluctant to ask the next person in line if they can make up the difference? How many times have you stood behind that person in line and extended that bit of change before being asked?

Whether it be money or another “gift” to share, blessings are reciprocal. Both the receiver and the giver get a blessing in the bargain! Don’t believe me? Here’s what G-d taught me, in one week’s time, about blessings:

Exhibit A: Last week, I, shivering in my shoes, reached out to four renown authors, requesting that they peruse and provide feedback regarding my newest book manuscript. Miracle of miracles, two of them are now doing just that. To be sure, I am grateful for their “gift” of time and expertise, but whether or not they realize it, I have blessed them in return by requesting their help!

Exhibit B: It was my first time baking along with a You Tube teacher. It had been a jam-packed day, and when it came time to pull out the rolling pin and sifter, I realized I was left wanting! No time to shop! Even if I could, it’s the week before Christmas and the stores would be crowded. Was venturing out to buy two items a smart COVID-19 response? No way!

With just minutes to go before the You Tube video was to start, I sucked in my breath, blew out slowly, and texted three neighbors–none of whom were on more than “Hi” or “Bye” status. Seriously, I had no expectations they’d respond, especially not in the Speedy Gonzalez way I required. I hated that they’d think I was vulnerable.

To my surprise, two of the three neighbors I’d texted immediately shot me a reply. The first neighbor had the rolling pin and the sifter, the second only the sifter. I thanked them both and turned on You Tube.

The baker didn’t wind up using these tools to make his Israeli donuts, after all. I returned the items to the first neighbor with a note that said, “Thank you for coming to my aid. Not required after all.” I was surprised to receive a text that said, “Too bad! This rolling pin was handed down to me by my grandmother before she died. I don’t bake. It would have been the first time her rolling pin would be used to make Chanukah goodies.”

We made plans to have baking time one day when we can safely visit face-to-face. But I learned that, had I not been so cavalier about returning my neighbor’s gift, I might have blessed her in a way I would never have guessed!

Exhibit 3: It was the last night of Chanukah and I was two menorah candles shy–not a good sign when eight is the magic number! In sixty minutes, my husband and I were supposed to be lighting those candles on ZOOM, along with my adult kids and grandbaby!

I’d spent the last hour checking Target, Michael’s, and World Market for a last remaining box of candles, all to no avail. I sat in my car, the darkness of night descending, and wondered what to do? The last thing I wanted to do was return home to light my electric menorah. It just wouldn’t be the same.

I wracked my brain for an answer. The answer shot through my mind: Text a friend and ask them if they’ve got two extra candles. There was but one friend in my immediate area who might have a couple of candles to spare, but we were not bosom buddies. The two friends whom I saw more frequently lived twenty minutes away, and I’m not great driving at night. Still, I texted all three, hoping against hope that somebody would see my text and quickly respond.

My friend first to respond with a resounding “yes”–her response included several exclamation points–was the one who lived twenty minutes away. She even invited me to stop in and light candles with her and her husband. Just as I was about to reply, I received another text, this from my friend who lived seven minutes away! I thanked my first friend and sent a quick reply to my non-bosom friend. She was kind enough to run the two candles to my car, and I blessed her for her “gift” right then and there. She told me that I had blessed her for giving her the opportunity to give bestow this gift upon me. Will we, too, become bosom buddies? The odds are in our favor.

So next time you are the one in need of a favor, no need for remorse. Be gracious! You are blessing that person because you are allowing them to help you….

Review of Marye Lobb’s SONG DETOX Life Coaching Presentation

Marye Lobb - Holiday Gift Idea: SONG DETOX Self Paced Study Program |  Facebook

When I clicked on TCC Triad Coaching Connection’s ZOOM life coaching presentation on creativity, I never expected to be drawn in to a peaceful candle lit room with guitars hanging from the walls. Just as I was about to sink into a meditative trance, a guitarist with long hair and a soothing voice met my gaze. Marye Lobb then proceeded to share with me and the other ZOOM participants her SONG DETOX program on how life coaching can be enhanced through using rhythm and song writing with clients.

As a life-long singer and writer, I assumed the 5-minute writing task she gave us: Describe a problem you’ve not yet been able to fix would be a cinch! You know what the first three letters of assume spell. I wracked my brain for one current problem–if you’re like me, you know focusing on only one is the dilemma–but came up empty-handed. Only a few more seconds to go. Then, as the buzzer was about to ring, these words floated into mind:

Always feeling less than

make me feel deadpan.

Afraid to show emotion,

seeking locomotion.

Zipping through the countryside without a single word,

reminding myself that I am really nothing but a bird.

Keep in mind that I write fiction and non-fiction, certainly not poetry. Yet these words floated into my consciousness; alien words as my demeanor is the very opposite of that depicted.

Next, Marye strummed chords on her guitar and asked us, muted though we were, to speak or sing our words along with the rhythm. This time, her request was an easier one to fulfill. Fun, too!

Later, as we all came together through ZOOM to read aloud and discuss our previously unearthed moments, I learned that, no matter how experienced and brilliant the practitioner might be, we all had shards of glass that needed to be plucked from our emotions. With that knowledge, it dawned on me how much more productive we might be with clients and loved ones, alike, if we venture into Marye Lobb’s SONG DETOX program! See if you agree!

A Chanukah Miracle; Author to Author

Miracles Hanukkah Menorah Painting by D Renee Wilson

Last Wednesday, I fell on my literary sword and emailed seven “high on the book chain” authors, requesting their opinion on why Up Close & Personal, the first in my new domestic suspense series, continues to flounder in a sea of literary agents. The next day, a few hours shy of Chanukah, I revisited my computer to find that four of these illustrious authors had agreed to take time from their busy lives to read a portion/the entirety of my newest manuscript!

It was crazy hard for me to silence my judgmental self, clear my mind, and work my query plan. I reminded myself I am not in physical danger; the worst thing these authors can say is no, it’s not good enough. If you’re like me, you’ve heard that phrase flung in your direction more than once in your lifetime, yet are still alive to tell your story!

You might ask how I could be so bold as to have requested the help of these authors. Even more astonishing, why they would have agreed to offer their help in the first place. Prior to COVID-19, I attended/ facilitated/presented on author panels held at writers conferences throughout the country. Over the years, I saved the business cards of authors whom I heard speak at these conferences. Thus, in the first paragraph of my query, I mentioned where and when we’d met. Perhaps this re-introduction motivated them to read further.

After the introduction paragraph, I took a deep breath, cast my fears and doubts aside, and dove in:

It is anathema for me to ask for a boot up, but given that 286,000 Americans to-date have died from COVID-19, fear of rejection shouldn’t be a stumbling block, right? So I ask you: Could you read a portion/the entirety of my newest manuscript Up Close & Personal, then share with me your “big ideas” feedback on how I can catapult the first of my new domestic suspense series into a literary agent’s lap?

(In the next paragraph, I inserted my two-sentence elevator pitch that described my story-line.)

My humility was authentic. These authors meet hundreds of people at writers conferences; odds are they wouldn’t remember little old me. I thought about what I could offer them in return, should they respond in the affirmative. Here’s what I wrote:

Should you accept, all I have to barter is a) acknowledging you when my book comes out, b) choosing one of your books to discuss at my monthly ZOOM book club, c) interviewing you during my ZOOM book club, and d) enabling you to experience a warm, fuzzy feeling that during these sicko times–and I don’t mean physical–you helped a fellow author overcome her feelings of vulnerability.

I finished my query by listing a deadline for feedback, no matter how little or how much they’d read by that time. The rest, as they say, is history. While I know not what the future hold is regarding Up Close & Personal, what I have learned about myself is that I possess the inner strength to work through my fear of rejection.

I hope that you, too, will brave the winds of self-judgment and fear of rejection, and just do it! Go for your goal, no matter what others may say. Sure, the person you’re reaching out to can shut you down, but you’ll never know unless you try. Trust me. It’s worth the effort….