Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Home Again, Home Again

I recently was back to my old stomping grounds for a few weeks. I mean that quite literally because I went for a run in my old neighborhood. I enjoyed putting my legs through their paces on paths well-travelled over the years, but I wasn’t ready for the remarkable thing that happened while I was running. My mind began wandering back to the time when I first began walking then in 2005 running the hills around my home. My old stomping grounds reminded me just how much I loved running those hills and those trails, but I was also reminded of the many things in my life I had left on the trail, so to speak.

  • I recovered from three surgeries eager to find my stride as soon as I could.
  • I pushed myself when I was dealing with anemia or other ravages due to Crohn’s disease.
  • I bounced-back from cracked ribs after a snowboarder careened into me and sent me skyward.
  • I built-up bone strength even with osteoporosis at my side.
  • I healed my heart when it was hurting over my husband’s Cancer journey.
  • I soothed my soul as I mourned the loss of friends or family.
  • I overcame fears I might have had.
  • I strengthened my body and strengthened the peace within.
  • I rejoiced in the changes of the seasons.
  • I discovered and restored my sense of self.
  • I evaluated choice, prepared for change, and surrendered control.
  • I found the words to write and publish my blog and most recently my book, It Is What It Is.

While I can’t remember how many running shoes I've worn out on those old stomping grounds, I do remember the feelings I have worked through, what I left on the trail, and more importantly what I gained. I always felt as if those roads and trails were mine since I saw them in a more physical and intimate way rain, snow, or shine. They will always be my stomping grounds whether I live there or not, and I'll always feel at one with this area - after all, we have a history! One thing that stuck with me as a few of the neighbors drove by during my recent run was that I tried to wave and smile at everyone no matter how I was feeling - just in case they needed the recognition that they mattered, and in those moments, mattered more than what I was going through.


On the trail photo courtesy of DaMClark's

Friday, June 15, 2018

Embracing Imperfection

There are many cultures around the world that purposefully damage their manmade crafts in some small way to symbolize the imperfection of life. It took me a good portion of my life to fully embrace this imperfection idea. That being said, I found out there is a minor error on the cover of my recently released book. The importance of a perfect cover in the publishing world is a big deal as it speaks to the quality of the work, but all I can say is It Is What It Is, and it is an easy fix. That's the beauty of print-on-demand publishing. Although, you may find you are are not able to purchase it for a day or two - but not to worry.

This Just In...
My first book reviews for It Is What It Is, An Inspired Guide to Transforming Your Life are now showing up on Amazon! I have also added them to the Book Buzz page in the tabs above. AND Amazon is currently offering my book at 20% off list price, something they do for new authors from time to time. You should note, I have no idea how long the price drop will be in effect. And who knows, maybe someday that first printed book cover may be more valuable!

On a personal note...
Once It Is What It Is was officially available, I felt a quiet excitement and stillness envelope me that I’m still full of three weeks later. Perhaps it’s a huge universal embrace and an outpouring of the gratitude I feel. All I know is that it is something I physically feel like an extended goosebumps moment While I don’t know where any of this book business is going, I’m satisfied that my gift to the universe is finally available. Even though there is an error on the cover, I still feel the quiet excitement and stillness - that's just how I roll these days.

In the book release post, I mentioned how you can help share the love by becoming part of my marketing team. On that note, there have been a couple suggestions from blog followers and I thought I should pass them along to you:
  • Donate It Is What It Is to local libraries
  • Create a buzz of your own by stopping in at area book stores, show them the book, tell them about it, order copies, see if they might be interested in carrying it.
These are great suggestions and I will follow through on my end as I travel from town to town. If you have any ideas for sharing this book with others, please let me know.

I often feel as if the universe is testing me over and over again. I've come to terms with that by being my best self and not letting things get to me. It's just not worth it - ever! When I initially found out about the cover, I could feel my body letting go of the moment as I let out a big breath. Ironic was the first word that came to mind and I could feel a smile forming as I shook my head and the next words formed - It Is What It Is! I'm going to make sure I keep this edition of the cover to remind me how important embracing imperfection is.


Butterfly at Cloudtop photo courtesy of Glenn Scoffield Williams

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Birth of a Book

This is so exciting! I can finally tell you - the water has broken, and I am pleased to announce the birth of my 12.8-ounce book It Is What It Is - An Inspired Guide to Transforming Your Life. And now it’s up to you! What do I mean by that? Since I'm self-published I don’t have a marketing team working with me, and I can only do so much. I would rather continue to write and advance the next chapter, so to speak. If you enjoy the book it will be up to you to be part of something much larger - my marketing team!

Once you’ve read the book, I would like you to consider how you can share the love. If you felt it would be a good read for someone you know, pass it along or buy them a copy and ask them to pay it forward. I would also appreciate it if you would go back to Amazon and comment on this book as that's how books move up in the rankings which will help get this book seen by more people - my intention from the very start. And just so you know, I'll share the love on my end by donating a portion of the sales of It Is What It Is to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation Research Education and Support Fund, and Seattle Children’s Hospital Uncompensated Care Fund.

I've been updating this website for the book release. Please note my pages have been moved under the header photo and now appear as tabs, and there is an additional page entitled Book Buzz. I've also made it easy for you to buy - just click on the book in the right-hand column.

With the hope of helping others be the best they can be by learning from the circumstances of their lives, I can finally share my very personal journey with you.
A sincere thank you for buying It Is What It Is,

Michelle  💚
3D It Is What It Is photo courtesy of Jim McDavid

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sharing Joy

When I received the proof of my soon to be published first book, It Is What It Is, I didn’t read through it right away. I placed it here and there around the house we were staying at so I could see it wherever I may be. I made sure it was the first thing I saw in the morning and last thing I saw at night. It made me smile from the inside out to see it as a real book - just as I had imagined.

Days later, when I finally held my book in my hands to read, I didn’t get past the first few lines of the preface before tears streamed down my face. As I began reading, missing key loved ones who have died and not being able to share my book with them surfaced and filled me with an instant waterfall of tears. These loved ones were people I always shared my joys with. They were friends and family members that had impacted my life in significant ways as I grew into the person I am today. The tears subsided as quickly as they began the moment I realized what started the waterworks. The brief feeling of melancholy turned to an overwhelming feeling of love. Some may have died years ago, some more recently, but I still feel the love they all had for me. And you know what? I could hear them cheering me on and feel them sharing my joy as I read each word.


Book status: the second proof has been ordered and I will receive it soon. While I’ve read the manuscript many times, seeing and reading the real thing showed me a few things I still needed to take care of. But after the second proof, I’ll let this child of mine out into the world. It's been quite a long birthing process! I know there will always be something for me to catch as if it was an insane puzzle constantly hiding errors - word processing can seem to have a mind of its own!  I just have to remind myself to get over it because it doesn’t need to be perfect - it is what it is. I’ll let you know when I have the release date...

3D It Is What It Is photo courtesy of Jim McDavid

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Shut My Mouth

I’m a very disciplined person. That may come from nearly 8 years of Catholic school. It was there I learned how discipline could work in my favor; because by listening, I was paying closer attention; by paying closer attention, my grades improved, and getting good grades in Catholic school moved me into the “golden child” level – in other words, I could get away with all sorts of things. So,when I embraced the word Listen for my word theme of 2018, it didn’t surprise me how quickly I adapted to shutting my mouth. Interestingly enough, I’m even sitting up straighter! Sister Angela would be proud.

During the first few days of listening, I was surprised by how much quieter I was. When I was by myself, my brain even stopped reeling with a myriad of jumbled thoughts! I like this. I like this a lot. While I try and live a quieter existence in my head, there’s always been a lot going on up there, so the focus of the year on listening will hopefully guide me to a renewed habit and way of being.

So here’s the thing, there’s listening, and there’s intently listening. I’ve been noticing this when engaged in a conversation and other people are oblivious to the fact that I haven’t even finished the answer to their question when they move on and begin talking about something else. Sometimes I’m mid-sentence! Sister Angela would call that interrupting, and you may have to stand in the corner for a time! I used to try and move the conversation back to the rest of my answer to their question, but I’m finding it best to just shut my mouth and see if anyone notices. So far, that hasn’t happened. I find this oddly amusing.

By reminding myself daily to listen, I can see we really don’t listen as much or as well as we think we do. Whether I’m observing, thinking about something, or in conversation - by intently listening, I’m more engaged and paying more attention. I find my mind is less likely to wander away from whatever it is I’m paying attention to. My awareness to listening is guiding me to see and hear things I might otherwise miss. Funny thing, I’m even more likely to shut my mouth. Sister Angela would give me a gold star for that!


Angry Nun photo - I was not able to find a link to credit properly

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