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Experiencing Gratitude

This week, I’m busy planning an online fiction writing class I’m teaching beginning November 30, Deep Characterization Using the Myers-Briggs Personality Types. So in honor of Thanksgiving Day tomorrow in the U.S., I thought I’d share this mesmerizing video on experiencing gratitude. Enjoy!


Twist on Thanksgiving

Had an interesting Thanksgiving dinner this last week. Not that anything unusual happened, only the way it happened. My family and I drove south this year to spend the holidays with his side of the family. My husband’s sisters and parents live within miles of each other in South Florida and we thought it would be fun to go “tropical.” However, since we didn’t give a whole heck of a lot of notice on our decision (my husband can be very spur of the moment), they didn’t plan on centering their focus on us.

One sister was celebrating with friends, one sister was celebrating with her son’s girlfriend’s family, the nieces (sisters) were working and celebrating together with a fried version of the bird and his parents? Well, let’s just say they bowed out of all invitations for a quiet day at home alone together. They’re eighty-three. Big dinners take a lot of work. Hmph. Now what?

mashed sweets

How about bring the dinner with you? And while you’re at it, add a few chairs, a table–heck, we have a lot of bodies heading into their small home with no place to put them! So that’s what we did. Packed up a turkey and all the fixins’ — including all the ingredients to prepare the entire dinner and dessert — grab a table and chairs and throw them back into the Suburban. We’re going on a road trip!

Not my favorite time of year to be on the roads, mind you, but turns out, our traffic wasn’t bad. Wednesday night we didn’t hit any trouble and for the return, we only hit a couple of snafus. I think the secret is to leave late. By the time we hit the road, everyone was already well on their way home, headed back up north. So all in all, not a bad drive. And what a great dinner! I put the turkey in the oven the night we arrived and it was ready to eat come three o’clock. Easy. Whipped up a few mashed potatoes, plate of stuffing, cranberry, gravy, rolls and poof. Thanksgiving dinner! It was our version of “Meals on Wheels.” For those of you not familiar with the group, Meals on Wheels is an organization dedicated to feeding our seniors by bringing the nutrition straight to the door of those with limited mobility.

All in all it was a great weekend. Good food, good company and even a spot of fishing and tennis. Definitely counting our blessings in the Venetta household!


On gratitude

I have a lot to be grateful for this holiday season. My family. My friends. My health.

And now, my status as a real, live, about-to-be-published author.

GratefulFor those of you who missed it, a couple of weeks ago my agent and I announced the big news, that two of my books have been picked up by Mira, the women’s fiction imprint at Harlequin. My debut, The Truest Lie, will be released Fall of 2014.

I’m not going to lie. There was a lot of squealing and dancing in my house when the offer came in. Any writer, published or not, will tell you the road to publication is long and paved with rejection letters. It took years of study and failure and creativity and perseverance. It took truckloads of tears and gallons of heartburn medicine. It took a fair amount of wine and Xanax.

But right after the celebration came the doubts. What if no one likes my book? What if no one reads it? Or what if everyone loves the first but hates the second? What if I only have one good book in me?

As a pre-published author, getting that first contract feels like the finish line, but really, it’s only the beginning. The stakes only get higher, the pressure to succeed larger, and the internal editor louder and more critical.

So this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m reminding myself to stop and stay in the now. Yes, I worked hard to get here, and yes, I have still have much to do, but this almost-an-author moment only comes once. I want to experience every second of it.

Tomorrow I will worry about edits and marketing and writing the next, bigger, better book. Today I will be thankful for today.

Gratitude Wednesday

Sheila's Christmas SantaWith the events of last week still fresh in my mind, and the Seabrook Christmas preparations in full swing, I decided to take a moment to voice my gratitude.

1. I’m grateful for my husband who always knows what I need, whether it’s a hug, a break from the daily grind or whatever new bit of fascinating technology I’m currently drooling over.

2. I’m grateful for my eldest son who every Wednesday at noon gives me advice on plot holes or social media or computer issues.

3. I’m grateful for my youngest son, who makes my coffee before he heads off to work each morning and ensures there’s enough there to get me through the day.

4. I’m grateful for my family and our 2009 trip to Cuba. Not only was it the first time I’d ever been to a vacation resort, but it was the first time since I was a kid that my parents and siblings got together for a family vacation. I’m also grateful for this trip because it was the last vacation I would ever be able to take with my dad and I still cherish those wonderful moments we shared.

5. I’m grateful for the chance to spend more time with my mom. Having worked all of my adult life, visits with my parents were always rushed and fraught with stressors from a stressful day job. Now that I’m focused on writing full time, I call her every day or two, and manage to slip out of the house at least a couple of times a week to visit her and catch up on all the latest news.

6. I’m grateful for the bountiful table we are fortunate to have this Christmas and pray that others less fortunate have a local food bank in their area to supply their needs, as we have in our small town.  If you haven’t yet done so, please donate.

7. I’m grateful for my many online friends, who come into my virtual house every day and share their life with me. It makes this huge world almost tiny and intimate, and I get to experience life through your eyes.

8. I’m grateful for the upcoming year. It always feels like a fresh start with infinite possibilities. May 2013 bring each one of you good health, much happiness, and fulfill your cherished dreams.

From my house to yours, may your holidays be filled with laughter and joy.

So now tell me, what are you grateful for today?

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