Tuesday’s Tales: The Joy of Remembering

15727392_10210578145123688_1486390073001210304_nI recently lost a loved one, and although it’s been hard, I must admit it’s not as hard as it has been. Why? Because I believe that this life isn’t the end. I have hope. Why do I have hope? Because I embrace a belief system that thinks outside of the box.

This post isn’t to indoctrinate you. It’s simply to share a viewpoint and to help you through any losses you’ve had. It’s a way to show you that just because the sun is setting in someone’s life, it doesn’t mean that their light is snuffed out. Every time the person crosses your mind, their light shines. Each time you put on their favorite perfume or see a flower that they loved, you keep that person alive.

For those of us who have “gifts” and can actually commune with those who’ve gone on before, death tends to be a little easier to accept. Still, there is a void. There’s no more opportunity to speak with the loved one on the phone or to hop in the car and see them. So, don’t doubt that there’s grief for those of us who can “see” someone once they’ve passed.

Remembering someone is inspirational, which is why I added this as the very first post for Tuesday’s Tales. My aunt Evelyn would have been 91 on Christmas Eve and we lost her on Friday the 16th. It was difficult seeing her go, but I knew her anxiety and suffering ended when she transformed. That is what gives me joy.

Each of us carry our own cross. We battle our own demons. Therefore, when we die, we can truly be free from the confines of the flesh. Knowing that should be inspirational and encouraging!

I don’t believe in the hell-fire scenario. But no matter how I look at it, I know my aunt lived a very Godly life so if anyone was ready to go, she was.

The last piece of inspiration I want to share for this post is that you can absolutely mourn. Many people think that grief makes them weak. That is false. Take as long as you need. At the same time, find peace in the fact that the person is no longer limited to their body.

As beings of timeless light and energy, we can do whatever we want when we pass away from this particular life’s journey. We are, as I said, FREE. We are no longer held to the standards of this world, but can move far beyond that. So, when I see my aunt, I know she is happy and she is content for the very first time. She is with the folks she remembers and loves. THAT is the most inspirational fact of losing someone we love.

THINGS THAT MATTER… The inspiration for “The Gamer’s Playbook” #IARTG

somedayTonight, join Marsha Casper Cook, Jayme Ronan, and I as we talk about The Gamer’s Playbook. It is a call in show, so if you have an experience you would like to share, pick up the phone!

THINGS THAT MATTER is a featured podcast from World of Ink Network on BlogTalk Radio. This show is going to cover a lot of topics and have a lot of different guests.

I was proud to be a part of The Paranormal Hour with Willow Cross and Kelly D. Abell. When I was asked if I wanted to do my own show, I jumped at the chance, of course. The inspiration for this show comes from many sources. The first is my husband.

1506027_10205311488180556_4025454293281604453_nAs most of you already know, we had a very rough go of it for a very long time. Our relationship has seen some rocky roads and some big challenges. So, when we finally landed on the same page in November of 2014 after divorcing and getting remarried, both of us became extremely protective of the other. As a result of that came new challenges.

As I sat in the booth at Arby’s, I couldn’t see the drive-thru. My husband sat opposite of me. He was shaking his head and threw up his left hand, pointing directly to his wedding ring. I couldn’t see who he was talking to. So, I asked what was happening and he told me the girl in the car was openly flirting with him. Now, mind you, this is not the first time I’ve watched this happen, but for some reason, something inside of me snapped. The games that these women seemed to be playing just overwhelmed me.  So, on April 20th (the day this happened) I posted this on my Facebook profile:

A public service announcement: HE IS TAKEN! He wasn’t 5 months ago, but he is now… I don’t like to show this side of myself, but prepare for a rant. Making googly eyes, smiling, and flirting with my husband is not okay especially when I AM SITTING RIGHT THERE and he has specifically indicated he is faithful, married, not available, and not interested. It is disrespectful, but because I am not a natural felon, I don’t cause bodily harm even though I might like to. It is great to be with someone who is so nice looking but it also hurts especially when you deal with your own demons regarding weight and feeling inadequate. I am amazed by the audacity of some people and I hate being brought to tears. Smh.

From that post came 57 likes and 89 comments. Someone in the comments said that this would make a great show topic, and she was right.

I was outraged by this complete lack of respect toward a marital relationship. Most of all, my psychology background kicked into high gear. The flirtation is a game. It’s about the chase. The hunt. The challenge of destroying a relationship and saying you did it. Thus, the gamer.

A gamer plays on a person’s insecurities and takes advantage of the situation. A gamer usually pounces on the person when he/she is already down. For example, when you are struggling in your relationship or you have broken up and you are talking to someone about your situation, you are letting them see vulnerability in you. If they are a fairly moral person, they will listen, offer advice, and provide support. If they are searching for an inlet, a way to play their game, they will take full advantage of the situation. And there you have the famous one-night-stand or the “rebound” relationship. So, then what? How do you clean that up once you reconcile? Because believe me, there is clean up involved.

And thus the next topic for the premiere was born. I thought about what my husband and I have been through. This last break up between us was especially tough. I was angry. He was devastated. So, coming back together after all of the damage was done took an extreme amount of effort on both of our parts. One of the main things that has kept us both straight is honesty and complete, open communication. I don’t think people count on that either. In other words, the individuals that we were involved with while we were apart didn’t think we would confide all of our deepest darkest in one another when we reconciled. In fact, my thought is that those people counted on the fact that we would build our relationship back up on a false foundation. WRONG!

10416615_10206144677089758_3111752629288677528_nThe fact is that there isn’t anything that hasn’t been shared. That is the only way a relationship can work. You have to talk. I had a very bad habit of repressing my hurt, which then turned to anger. This time, when we hurt, we talked everything out. I don’t hide. The reality is that we both messed up. We both did things we shouldn’t have done. We hurt each other terribly. Even with the months that have passed, more things kept coming to light on both of our parts. Again, both of us were hurt. However, with intense hurt comes growth and healing.

My husband and I possess an intense intuitive gift. So, before either one of us said anything, we already knew. Having that gift can be a mixed blessing. When confirmation is received, it still feels like you have just hit a brick wall. Then, it’s time to do some more healing.

The important thing that I want everyone to take away from the radio show on June 3rd is that healing is possible in any relationship and there are ways to combat The Gamer’s Handbook. I never promote negative and this show will be no different. But, relationships are difficult, so maybe talking about these two situations can help someone else. AND IT IS A CALL IN SHOW, so if you want to share your experiences, check out the phone number and call us!

10 p.m. EST!

DIRECT LINK TO THE SHOW: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2015/06/04/things-that-matter–host-tracee-ford–world-of-ink-network–new-show

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Stop with the Hate! It’s Econ 101!

I wanted to address something that was brought up last night on LinkedIn. I was basically placed on the chopping block because the company I founded (Ozwind) actually charges fees to providing publishing services. Can you imagine? A company that asks for payment in return for services? And entry fees? For a contest? How unreasonable! Right?

WRONG!

This sort of situation is exactly why I left LinkedIn before. The nastiness and disrespect hasn’t changed much it seems. My stay here may be temporary yet again, not that anyone would notice it if I left. I don’t mind discussions and exchanges, but there is no sense in being involved in perpetuating harsh comments and arguments. I won’t. It goes against who I am and what I believe in.

I run my life with a positive outlook (or at least I try). I also use that same concept as a foundation for my business. STRENGTH-BASED approaches to problems, situations, and personnel go much farther than negativity. The old saying, “You attract bees with honey, not vinegar” still holds water.

econ 101Perhaps this will serve as an explanation for why Ozwind asks for fees. AND it may also give you an idea as to why we are charging entry fees for a contest we are running currently:

The fact is that everything in this world COSTS us something, whether it is time or money. When I get a hair cut, I have to pay for it. When I go to Wal-Mart, I have to pay for goods. When I want to be involved in a virtual book tour, I have to pay an entry fee. When I want to set up a booth at an event, I have to pay a set up charge.

Ozwind DOES charge fees because we are PROVIDING A SERVICE. Our authors get 60% of their net royalties. That is much more than a traditional publisher, whether they are large or a small independent press. I have personal experience in that area, so I know I’m speaking the truth.

We are a small business just beginning our journey. To ask for entry fees for a contest IS NOT unreasonable. The PRIZE is that the chosen works are put together with other stories and the winners WILL BE PUBLISHED. I would have jumped at a chance like that when I started out in my writing career. It would have been well worth the $5.00 entry fee.

I know there are “free” services out there, such as GoodReads, but formatting, editing, cover design are NOT free, unless you can take care of all of that yourself. So, as I said, in some form, there is a cost.

From researching our business model, I learned that large traditional publishers usually ask authors to sign over their rights, so essentially you lose the control that you have over your work. Vanity presses simply ask you for the money and then publish the work, whether it is ready for the market or not (that I know from my own experiences).

HYBRID PUBLISHERS, which is what we are, have guidelines that are put in place to ensure quality. The contest we are having right now is aside from all of this. It is to give first time authors a chance to add something to their history. It makes them more marketable. Essentially, we are helping one another by gaining momentum toward the same goal: being published and finding a fan base.

Summary:

First of all, if you can’t be nice, don’t say anything at all. That’s how I was raised. So, if you disagree with our business model or anything I’ve said here, that’s okay. Not everyone is going to agree on everything. Nevertheless, if you’re going to be rude, keep your thoughts to yourself. We don’t mind being challenged, but there is no point in being hateful about it.

Secondly, if you have questions, we welcome those. We don’t mind explaining who we are and why we do what we do. It gives us the opportunity to help.

Thirdly, if you do leave a nasty comment, then we will rise to the challenge gracefully. I don’t believe in responding to hate with hate. That doesn’t solve anything. What I do embrace is professionalism. With that said, I will not tolerate hate filled language or hate filled criticism. So if life on LinkedIn is cut short again, I won’t go back. And if Ozwind “lost” you “at the fees,” then we wish you all of the best in seeking free publishing services, because trust me, you will not find them.

As Indies, and yes, Ozwind is an INDEPENDENT HYBRID PUBLISHER, we need to be helping one another. That is why I hosted three blog tours, devoted myself to countless other activities, and give away more than I need to. I believe we are all trying to reach the same goal and if we don’t give each stepladders to get there, what does that make us? Well, what it makes us is rather ugly, so I won’t get into that. The point is that we need to support one another in this market because it’s overwhelming. The market is flooded and to stand out is a hurdle in itself. So, I hope you read this post with an open mind and heart and leave the negativity in the dark.

Where Have I Been?

I apologize for my absence. Things have been very, very busy here. School started for my son. Me back to work, two part time jobs. A situation with our dog arose. I haven’t been on my blog much. I suppose it’s time I got back to it.

Today we’re going to talk about resolve. If you’ve been keeping up with my YouTube series, Stages of Chaos, you know that this subject was explored on that show. As you also know, if you’ve been following me, I’ve temporary taken a break from my YouTube filming. In fact, I put a call out to my audience for some ideas for shows, but very few people must be reading my blog because I never got any suggestions. Perhaps I’m writing this for myself. I have no idea.

Anyway, when we encounter situations that leave us with our mouth gaping open, the first thing we look for in the fog is the answer or in certain circumstances, answers. We ask ourselves why a situation has happened or what would should be learning from it. Keep in mind that once one thing happens it usually starts a domino effect. That’s why a lot of people who are encountering one trauma find themselves working through several issues.

So, what can we do to help ourselves through such drastic circumstances? The first thing to do is to let yourself feel the pain. Let yourself feel the loss. Denying it at first is very normal. In fact this is the second stage of chaos. But, no matter how hard we try to tell ourselves that it’s all just a dream, it isn’t and we must face the reality of whatever is happening to us.

After we get through all of the major stages we reach a point where we can begin to find resolve. There are many ways we can do this. For those that have experienced the loss of a loved one, finding resolve can take months, even years. Sometimes it’s a matter of just getting up every day, working through the grief on a minute to minute basis, and carrying on. Some days are more difficult than others.

For those that have experienced trauma through abuse, resolve is also a process of day-by-day determination. Often the survivor is stuck in denial, but once they work through that and then shift through the anger, finally coming through depression, they can begin to heal. In situations like this I would highly recommend counseling and therapy. Abuse is not something that will just resolve. In fact, studies have shown that abuse produces chemical changes in the brain. These are life-long changes. It can involve behavior, moral decision making, impulse control response, self esteem, motivation, and a host of other brain functions that are vital to our daily living. Therapy will often provide some resolve and a pathway to overcoming.

For individuals who have been impacted by an accident, leaving him/her disabled, anger can be paramount. Again, I recommend therapy in these situations as well. Sometimes people can go through physical therapy as well as counseling and find some resolve. Other times, this cannot be done. No matter what the situation, support from family, friends, and professionals is a must.

There is a grieving process in this situation as well. The person has just lost a part of themselves and their activities of daily living may be limited. That loss of independence can be devastating on many, many levels. This will surely impact attitude as well as emotional well being. So, finding resolve will take the help of the aforementioned parties. Constant and consistent encouragement is also important.

For someone who is facing loss of income through job loss or the loss of loved one, this can call from some adjustment. The important thing in all of these situation is to never give up and always keep trying. No matter how the cards are stacked against you, there will always be some way of escape. It may not be the way we want, but there is one available if we look hard enough.

It is also important to stay positive. This is one of the hardest things to do in adverse situations. Trust me, I can attest to this. In fact, it is perfectly normal to feel like, at times, you’re losing your grip. It’s also okay to cry. As I said, let yourself feel what is happening, but when you find the resolve, embrace it.

Strength Based Practice

Today’s blog is about what you want to leave behind as well as a strength based approach to every day living. Do you want people to remember you as a sour-puss or do you want them to remember you as a positive-go getter? This doesn’t mean that you have to roller over and be a doormat, so keep that in mind as you read this.

The impact you make is so important. Every day there are people watching you. They listen to what you say and then compare it to what you do. I try so hard to be mindful of this day in and day out, but let me tell you, it’s not always easy.

I used to have a raging bad temper. Friday I had sort of bad evening and that monster reared its ugly head. However, no one was hurt (LOL). Just a lot of yelling and slamming doors. As the years have passed, I’ve learn to control my temper a little better. However, there are some things that will set me off (Like faltering technology). Additionally, if I’m already overloaded, then watch out, which is exactly what happened to me Friday evening.

So, as much as I would like to be positive all of the time, let’s face it; I’m human and can’t always be the bright and shining beacon I want to be. However, I strive for this every day which is what counts. It’s also to recognize when you’ve shown you ass and ask for forgiveness. My son had never seen me that angry and my husband best categorized my tantrum as, “It seemed like you’ve been having some problems this weekend.” I thought this was funny.

In management positions, it is very important to help people better themselves in the work place. By providing positive feedback and supportive props, you can (hopefully) make your employees feel valued even if they are struggling. Strength based practice applies not only to the workplace and everyday life, but also to the world of writing and publishing.

I have had author friends who have received poor reviews. It really hurts them. I have had bad reviews and guess what? I don’t let it get to me. I try to use strength based practices to better my work and I encourage every author to do this. You know how hard you work on your projects. Who cares if someone dislikes your style or the content or the plot? Don’t let it destroy the vision that you have. Take pieces of each negative experience and turn it around to make the end result better.

I became very discouraged when I realized Between Worlds (volume 1) wasn’t doing well. However, my publisher quickly pointed out that it takes up to five years for new authors to become established in the rat race of publishing and authorship. It’s those types of interactions that we need to feed off of. Even when we are faced with dark clouds, try to seek out the silver lining.

Since 2012 I’ve tried to live by the law of attraction: positive equals positive. So, when you are feeling down about yourself or your work or whatever it is in your life that may be challenging you, seek out the strengths and focus on that. See the faults, but work hard to correct them. Strive to be successful, see it in your mind, and then watch it happen.

Dream big… always!!!!

Have a great Tuesday!