Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I'm not sure who first penned those words. The slogan has been around for years. I only wish I had heard it when I was in my teens and early twenties. Back then, I fretted over almost everything: am I tall enough, thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, popular . . . the list was endless.

However, while my early years were challenging, my yearnings were no different from most young females. I wanted to be happy, loved, and respected. I wanted to know that I was worthy, that I mattered.

So, like most humans, I searched for a way to stand out in the crowd. My claim to fame was running. My passion for the sport started in middle school. While my five sisters learned how to care for a home or shop for the latest fashions, I spent my free time practicing sprints and ten mile runs. Nothing was more exhilarating than crossing the finish line in first place. This dedication lead to a spot on both my high school’s cross-country and track & field teams. I was even awarded a college scholarship, which I didn’t accept because of family drama (I’d leave that story for another blog posting). 
I choose another path for my life. I joined the Unites States Army. This surprised everyone who knew me. I was rather shy. But a week into Basic Training at Fort Gordon, I realized I’d made the right decision.  My quest for boldness had paid off. I thrived in this orderly environment. It gave me a sense of control, something my life lacked. When my training to become a Telecommunications Specialist finished, I went to my first duty station. The Army’s philosophy, Be All That You Can Be, really inspired me, so I didn’t waste any time joining the post’s track team. I even set a record in the two hundred meter hurdles. My love for the sport led me to mentoring a local youth track team. This was an experience I still cherish today. The teen girls were considered underprivileged, but boy, did they have heart and spirit. 

Little did I know, sharing my gift changed me forever.  At the time I wasn’t aware of anything grand happening. I was just living by instinct. Going about my day, day after day, hoping for the best like the rest of mankind. But I learned what it felt like to help and inspire other people. And I can honestly tell you it’s as wonderful as crossing a marathon finish line in first place.

Today, thirty years later, my race still continues. Only now that I’m older and much wiser, I look inward for approval. I no longer chase pettiness or doubt my decisions. I trust my instincts and allow a higher power to help and guide me. Even better, I live with an awareness that has taught me how silly it is to obsess about life’s challenges. When things get tough, I stop, take a breath, and remember the shy young woman who boldly left home and entered a world filled with nothing but unknowns. Then, I smile because I’m fine. No, not just fine. I’m thriving, happy, successful, and proud. I’m a mom, a wife, an author, a divine soul doing what she loves.

Every path I’ve taken in life led me to where I am at this moment. There were twists and turns and I had to backtrack and start over a few times, but it was the right path for me to learn and grow.

And just like me, every path you have taken or will take is the right path for you.

What revelations have you experienced along your journey?

 I'm having challenges.

As if ragweed season isn't enough to battle with major allergies and being a 'lifer' on the shots, I got sick on top of this infamous time of year. Came down with sinus, bronchitis, and bronchial spasms, so I'm back on the inhaler and an antibiotic. Herbal remedies failed me. Sigh. Unless I would have been that much worse without them. Like dead.

It's hard to write when you're blowing and coughing your head off. Inspiration fades and there's no snap, crackle, and pop (except in my chest). This is when I long for the writing elves to come and work on my novel while I doze in between bouts of hacking. An insightful dream would be most welcome, but mine are weird, cold med induced hallucinations. Nothing useful. 

I'll just have to make something up, I tell myself. Which probably sounds odd because that's what most people assume authors do. Actually, I don't. I have this deep sense of the story and of being led in its creation. Just making stuff up doesn't happen with me. The characters speak, if I can hear them over the honking.

Meanwhile, I have good news to share. My latest historical romance novel, Traitor's Legacy, is out this month. Published by the Wild Rose Press. A big book signing event is in the works for Historic Halifax, NC in October. The bulk of the story is set in that area. The event coordinator tells me the interview I had with the editor of North Carolina's Eastern Living Magazine is out, and he did a fabulous job with it. I'm waiting for my copies to come in the mail. The story I'm struggling with is the sequel to Traitor's Legacy, entitled Traitor's Curse

I was sailing along. Then my grandbabies found two abandoned kittens for me to care for, which I undertook with exhausting devotion. Resulting in a lack of sleep, which may have led to my hack, sniffle, honk derailment. But the kittens are doing well. I've named the buddy brothers 'Peaches and Cream'. Perhaps they will inspire me. Possibly show up in the novel. I don't know when readers will pick up on this, but I have an orange tabby cat in nearly everyone of my stories, unless the characters are on the run in the frontier and can't take care of a cat. The orange tabby makes an appearance in Traitor's Legacy, in the wonderful old home featured in the story called Thornton Hall.

“A kitten is the delight of a household. All day long a comedy is played out by an incomparable actor.”
― ChampfleuryThe Cat Past and Present

Two kittens, double the delight. And the work.

“A kitten is, in the animal world, what a rosebud is in the garden.”
― Robert Sowthey

Yep, you're getting kitten quotes. Because this is a random post.

“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time.”― Lloyd AlexanderTime Cat

Stray cats? I don't think so...

Posted by debjulienne | 5:36 PM | 7 comments »

Yesterday, a friend sent me a text that included this adorable picture of her new tabby kitten. Friends are always posting the stray pets they've recently acquired.

And there's kids idea of a stray pet as you can see from the pictures below run along the lines of a tad different scale.

My kids love all kinds of animals. We've had chicken, ducks, quail, turkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep.

Now it's time to introduce you to our latest addition.

Meet "Root Beer". "Root Beer Pulled Pork" to be precise, a wild boar.

By far, the most awesome was Buck the Barbados Sheep.

My favorite, however, was the fainting goats: Stinky, June, Jenny, and the twins Tinkerbell as seen with my granddaughter and Tiger Lily as seen with my grandson.

And that's not including the deer, bobcats, and bears that like to wander across our property. We've had a few harrowing incidents in the past, that's for sure.

I love living in the forest, the peace and quiet, the trees, the animals...I guess that's why these strays don't seem to bother me, well all except for the turkey...never about messy!

That said...what's the coolest stray you've ever run across? I'd love to hear about it.

Have a great day.