Tag Archives: hope

The “Love” Garden

21 Apr

The advice that I would like to share with new gardeners, is to have patience.

A garden is quite  forgiving and gives you multiple chances to find what works best for you and it. Immediate  fulfillment can be found in a beautifully landscaped garden designed and planted by a professional. However, you will find that the truly unique gardens, are created of love and tell the story of a lifetime. The “love” garden cannot be created quickly, however it often speaks the loudest to our hearts.  

When you walk in a “love” garden and hear of the memories…  a plant shared by a friend, a tree  planted when a baby was born, perennials grown from seeds and nurtured over time, or the Easter  lilies given as a gift each year, these things bring life and love to a garden.

When you relax, give  yourself grace, laugh at your mistakes and rejoice in your accomplishments, magic happens. My garden really took off after The Year of the Cicadas. I found healing for my soul, and answers for my heart while digging in the dirt that year. Reconnecting with nature is one of the ways that  God reminds us of the circle of life.

My garden has taught me many things about myself and the  world in which we live. Start slow if you are busy with work, family, sports and other events.  Your garden should be a  place that allows you to relax and reconnect with what matters most to you. Your understanding of  plants, growing environments and propagation will grow along with your garden, allowing you to  mature together. Allow your garden of love to evolve just as your life evolves, one event at a time.  

Enjoy,

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

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A Different View Point

24 Jan

Are you having an extremely cold winter? We certainly are. I had the first of two necessary total knee replacements this winter. I have been like a gangly legged new foal these past few months. Walking outside to my car through the ice and snow has been an adventure that I try to do without. My biggest fear at this point is that I will fall on the ice and need to have my new knee replaced. With the memory of the surgery only weeks behind me, I shudder at the thought.

The only time I go outside of my house is for physical therapy. A term from my child hood comes to mind…. shut-in. Our church would do special things for “shut-ins.” My mind would race as a child, what or who were shut-ins? I never imagined that I would for all practical reasons become a shut-in, even if only for a short time. This experience has caused another one-degree shift in my viewpoint.

Having had a brush with a possible knee infection early on and being unable to pin-point what the exact problem is, I have been placed on a wait and pray vigil for months. After several rounds of antibiotics the next step is another surgery. In order to rule things out, I am essentially a shut-in, so I don’t pick up the nasty germs floating around this time of year.

Needless to say, I am looking at the world differently. Without much human interaction and limited abilities I struggle to keep busy. I have time to notice and appreciate the little things. While the snow flies, the wind howls, and the ice freezes, melts, and refreezes on my drive and walkway, I am for the most part watching it happen from the other side of the glass, 150 year old glass to be precise. Many of the windows in our old farmhouse are still the original wavy glass from a by-gone era.

These are not energy efficient windows, but I love them. I can’t stand to part with them. Thick storm windows on the outside offer some protection but the wind howls through them, and the ice forms between the layers. This is a gift left over from a different time. Beautiful ice patterns form on the glass, some small some large, each as individual as a snowflake. They remind me of how individual and diverse each of us as people are.

My ears seem to pick up on every sound. You can hear the pipes and walls creak as they fight against the cold to deliver warm water through the walls. Our ancient boiler is working hard to keep the hot water running through the radiators this winter. So far it has proven up to the task. I appreciate my radiators as they can do double and sometimes triple duty. They make a great place to tuck damp shoes, wet mittens or a jacket to dry quickly. Radiators make a luxurious towel warmer, nothing like the feel of a toasty warm towel, pair of shoes, or jacket.

Sunny days have been far and between, when they happen they are glistening bright, reflecting off of the frozen landscape. On those days I find myself stretched out on the wicker couch on the long indoor porch room (that the mad-woman painted in my book, The Year of the Cicadas) absorbing the sunshine and pretending that I am in sunny Florida. Occasionally I can be found there between the hours of one and three wearing a pair of reading sunglasses while I work away. Aaaah …nothing like using your imagination.

I am unable at this point to lift or bend, making aggressive cleaning impossible. I have exhausted TV and movie watching, reading and Facebook are growing weary. I find myself coming down with a case of cabin fever, as my mother always called it. I believe it is way to early in the season for cabin fever. I still have surgery ahead for my second knee and possibly re-opening my first knee.

I know that my shut-in status is short lived, but it feels like forever. It does bring to mind all of those people who are permanently shut-in. What do they do to keep their minds and bodies sharp? How limited are their lives?

It brings to light the handicapped or elderly, and the insurmountable odds they face trying to get out their door to the car, bus, or train. The difficulty they face manipulating a body that doesn’t work to fit into a space designed for a body that does work. For many people this is a way of life. It is exhausting getting from point A to point B, add snow and ice it’s simply overwhelming.

The next time I am waiting for the parking space closest to the door, I will think of the person for whom this walk seems five times as far.

I needed this shift, to see things from a different viewpoint. Thanks for coming along on my journey of changing my world one-degree at a time.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Forgiveness is a complicated subject…

12 Nov

Forgiveness is a complicated subject, one which I heard a great sermon on last Sunday. I have worked hard on forgiveness most of my life.  It does not come easily to me.  I am often asked if writing the book, The Year of the Cicadas was an immediate cleansing for my soul?

The answer is no, actually quite the opposite.  I realized upon reading my first draft that I was both hurt and angry about a lot of things, with a lot of people, and with myself.  Putting all of my emotions down on paper had allowed me to see that I was nowhere near healed from this experience. I now had all of these written emotions staring me right in the face… and the question, what was I to do with them?

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As I shared my manuscript with each relevant family member they requested changes, additions and heaven forbid… deletions. I was forced to make a shift, a small shift in my perspective and see things from a new vantage point. This was not an easy thing for me to do. I discovered that although we disagreed we both needed to consider the other’s viewpoint. Then the rewrites started, thirteen in all. It was during the rewrites that the magic happened.

Often weeks or even months would go by while I walked the bay, through the woods or over the coastal beaches of Maine giving these new viewpoints time to percolate my bubbling emotions.  Over time I began to see the events through their eyes and wrote and rewrote drafts finding a neutral ground that we could all agree upon. As one thorn was removed from my soul, I naturally went on to the next working it out as best I could.

Fortunately I had excellent support from my husband. He did an amazing job of encouraging our children to allow me to write from my viewpoint, to honor my artistic freedom. He supported our family by bringing their emotions to me for consideration.  It was an amazing balancing act performed by him.  He helped us to reach a healthy compromise and sometimes we simply agreed to disagree.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. We are a close family, our relationship with God was strengthened, and my son is healed.  How could I continue to be hurt or angry with results such as these!

By looking at it from the viewpoint of others I was able to find real forgiveness. The angry woman that wrote the book disappeared. I am embarrassed today by some of the things that I did, or didn’t do. I am also content with many of my actions. I will be eternally grateful for all of the hard work that went into the writing of our story, and even more grateful for the unwanted journey that was forced upon me by the rewrites.  After all, forgiveness is a complicated subject, but so worth the extra steps in the end.

Hugs, Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Our Heavenly Father is just a pocket talk away….

4 Nov

Hard times will find us, for some of us sooner rather than later, but eventually hard times will find you.  I believe that it should be our mission in life to turn a negative into a positive. Turning a tragedy into a triumph has been the catalyst for many causes and foundations that help millions.

As a young girl I was the middle child of a second family for both of my parents. My father walked away from his first family, then he walked away from us as well. I was just a baby and we never saw or heard from him again.  This happened in the late 1950’s when Father Knows Best and the Donna Reed show ruled the airways. Things were different then. Parents stayed together.

We were the only family in our school without a father. I was told in Sunday school that we all have two fathers, an earthly father and a heavenly father. I was ecstatic, I had a father…one that I could tuck in my pocket and take around with me.  I talked with him all the time. But then, I grew up.  I married, and had four children. My husband and I started off madly in love; with our busy lives we hardly saw each other. With a travelling husband, four teenagers, sports, work, and all that comes with life…. I didn’t make the time to speak with my heavenly father. I was not satisfied with life.

Although I had turned away from him, he was patiently waiting for my return. I started talking to my heavenly father again, asking for change. You must be careful when praying for change… it rarely comes in the form you expect!

On May 23rd, 2004 we received the phone call that every parent fears.  We were told that our son had fallen 180 feet while camping at the Gorge.  To hurry, he was being airlifted, and the outcome looked grim.  Twelve hours after his fall, our son was airlifted to the trauma center.

The doctors were amazed, they couldn’t understand it. Our sons insides should have been mush, his bones should have been smashed and yet, he had only fractured one of his vertebrae. No one could explain it! They also informed us that he had dissected his carotid artery causing a stroke and that he was paralyzed on one side.

The blow to his head by a rock he hit on the way down had allowed his spinal fluid to leak out of his ear, relieving the pressure on his brain as it swelled throughout the night. This had saved his life.

The real damage they tell us is to his brain.  His brain had been injured in several different ways. This is our introduction to the world of Traumatic Brain Injury. Each brain injury is as unique as the patient and the circumstances.

We were told there was little chance that our son would live. If he did live he would probably be a vegetable, or low functioning for the rest of his life. We were told that he was not really out of the woods as of yet.

No one could foresee his outcome, nothing to do but to pray and wait.

Our son was a fighter. He fought to stop his descent, he fought to stay conscious to call for help in the canyon, he fought his rescuers, and he was still fighting for his life. Still fighting, he took out his breathing tube, time and time again.  Finally they removed it and he was breathing on his own!

He continued to fight. Fight to learn how to swallow, eat, talk, walk and to remember…whom we were and whom he was. Finally the day came when he was allowed to go home.  He continues to amaze us all.   He was not accepting any limitations from any of us.  He has completely recovered.

God cannot prevent bad things from happening, they will happen but he can show you the way to turn the negative into a positive. By sharing our story we hope to influence others.  Our story has an amazing ending, and I wrote about it in a book entitled: The Year of the Cicadas.

Our heavenly father loves you so much that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for you.  He carried my son down to the floor of the canyon; He restored health and vitality to my son; He renewed my marriage; He returned our family to faith; Just be careful when asking for change, it may not come in the form you expect.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Life Lessons from the Garden

3 Oct

So many lessons about life have been learned in my garden.

A perennial to one person is a weed to another. It is simply a matter of taste.   While moving out an extremely invasive plant I remind myself of this quote, “No flower can prosper in your garden without your permission.” This is so true in life as well.

hollyhocksI harvest seeds from my cottage style garden nearest my kitchen window each fall.  I know it is not necessary to do this, but my garden has become thick over the years. Left to it’s own management the landscape from my window would look quite different than it does today.

I have been a gardener for a long, long time. I understand that I could simply let nature take her course. Knowing that the wind would scatter both the seeds of discontent as well as those of my choice.  Allowing these invaders to choke out the flowers that are important to me is not acceptable. It is best to remove the undesired plants before their seeds can scatter and grow.  I move them to their own spot, far away from my cottage garden.  Giving them space to spread and grow within a safety zone.

The view from our kitchen window changes with the seasons, and I am protective of this view.  I am always excited to watch what pops up next, which flower will bloom where, and depending on the rainfall, the warmth of the weather, and many things beyond my control, it is constantly a new and exciting garden. 

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Mother Nature and I have agreed upon a dance, she can move the seedlings around, with the help of a feathered friend, or a gust of wind. I also harvest seeds to deposit them where I hope they will grow and delight both my grandchildren and my heart.  If I am diligent and remove the unwanted plants before they turn to seed, my job will be easier next spring.

Doing nothing is a choice. Over the years I have been responsible for ignoring invasive species by allowing them time to become a full-blown epidemic. Eventually choking out my most beloved blooms by stealing all of the nutrients and light, some are lost forever.  I raised these beauties from seedlings, fed them, watched over them, and have been overjoyed at their masses, and deflated almost to tears when they were unable to find space to come back next spring. 

The cause most of the time is that I have spread myself to thin.  I have many beds within my garden and only one of me.  I also have many other activities that compete for my time, love and attention.  Almost always, I saw these invaders but simply didn’t have the time to deal with them.

garden1It is so easy to see the chaos and the fight in your garden, but so difficult to detect in our own lives. We each only have so much time, when something new comes into our lives something else must either go or suffer. What unwanted invasive plant has entered into your life?  Are you allowing other “weeds” to crowd out your most beloved?  What seeds are you allowing in, or ignoring that are taking over your time?  Will this invader wreak havoc upon your health, spirituality, and emotional wellbeing by sucking out all of the nutrients and light from the things you love?

Harvesting and spreading the seeds of love every once in a while will make your garden of life a beautiful bouquet.  Don’t let invasive plants, ones that perhaps you may have liked at one time, overpower and overtake your life. Choose well, because what is a perennial to one person is a weed to another.  Happy Harvesting.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Life is like riding a bicycle…

26 Sep

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. ― Albert Einstein

This is the time of year when so many children are heading out the door, to pre-school, kindergarten, high school or college. It is hard to let them go, yet you must. The job of being a parent is to give your children the wings to fly, and the courage to use those wings. The thing to remember is that each child is an individual and reaches this point when they are ready, not when you are. Timing is everything. It can be difficult as parents to know when they are ready.

I believe parenting is similar to teaching your child to ride a bike. First you discuss the process and spend some time teaching them to pedal. After a while you lower those wobbly training wheels until their confidence is built, eventually raising them so things can become a little uncomfortable. They may tumble a few times, but in the long run you know it’s necessary to help them find their center. Later you run along beside them holding onto the back of the bicycle while encouraging them to find their own balance. The day will come when you release them into the world. Before you know it they are flying along without you.

As your child navigates along the bumpy paths of life there will be bruises and a few set backs. We accept that. Sometimes they come back with more than a bump or bruise. We received the phone call that no parent wants to receive. Our son was being airlifted to a trauma center two hours away. We were told to hurry, the outlook was uncertain. After the long grueling trip we discovered that our son had fallen from a 180 foot cliff receiving a severe traumatic brain injury and was paralyzed on one side. The future of our son, our marriage and of our family was hanging in the balance.

How does one receive news like this and find the strength to go on? The ripple effect was put into play that day… our family, our marriage, our spirituality, everything about us changed and will be felt by the generations to come.

Being a care-giver to your injured child can be taxing, yet a deeply fulfilling endeavor. I found it to be a life journey that I would never have chosen. However, it changed not only me, but our entire family for the better. Sometimes in life we are faced with what seems to be an insurmountable challenge. It forces us to dig deep within ourselves to find the strength to go on, not only for us, but for our children. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Our story has a happy ending. Our son’s paralysis was caused by a bleed into his brain when his carotid artery was dissected upon impact. The paralysis miraculously disappeared. Although his left side is weaker, today you would never notice, he keeps that to himself. His brain has slowly healed. He needed time to remember who we were, who he was, and to discover the new him.

After months of therapy and hard-work he knew he had one more obstacle to face. The day he decided to return all his Christmas gifts to purchase a rope to rappel the cliff he fell from just eight short months earlier, was the day I discovered my knees.

We do all we can to protect our children. We buy the protective gear, provide good guidance, but in the end we are not in control. I learned that day to give control to a higher power. When your child returns to the nest broken, you nurture and care for them. However, you must give them the wings and courage to fly once again. This is not easy. My son knew he needed to conquer the cliff that took so much away from him. He knew what I didn’t understand at the time…. that the young man at the top of the cliff holding the rappelling rope was not the same young man that landed triumphantly at the bottom.

We all face “cliffs” in our lives. I have found the quote “the only way out is through” to be true. I as well had to face my greatest fear, and discover that I was not in control. The woman writing this is no longer the same woman who raced to the hospital. My marriage, my health, my viewpoint on life has been forever altered. In a heart-beat I discovered what was important, and all that we can do is love them… and perhaps purchase a good helmet.

– Catie

Follow Catie Hartsfield on Twitter 

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Singing poor, poor, pitiful me…

24 Sep

An icon from my childhood, Linda Ronstadt announced this week that she has Parkinson’s disease and has lost her ability to sing.  One of her songs that I was singing for a long time without realizing it was, “Poor, poor, poor, me, poor, poor, pitiful me.” However, she is doing anything but saying, poor me. She is embracing her accomplishments and bringing enlightenment to the world by sharing her journey. It is wonderful that they are recording her voice via interviews for the generations to come, as she will more than likely loose her ability to speak clearly.  I have enjoyed listening to these interviews. She speaks eloquently about her Mexican heritage, growing up in the desert, and how she always carries a recorder with her to “capture the moments” that nudge her.  Linda states that if you learn to open up to the world around you, it will send you little messages or gifts, a flower, a bird, or a glimpse of something that speaks directly to you. That is how all of her lyrics have come about.  I think that is a beautiful sentiment.

As a young girl, I had dreams about being a journalist one day.  I put those dreams away with reality, along with my writing.  I was singing poor, poor, poor me for a long, long time. Once I changed my song, opened myself up to the world and allowed things to flow my way… I continue to be constantly amazed.

People actually notice what I have to say. Yes, I have found my voice….and I like it!  I am ecstatic each week when over 700 followers of The Year of the Cicadas blog read what I have floating around in my head.  If you are reading this blog, thank you.  It really does matter to me.

Last week I was asked to submit a blog for consideration to the Huffington Post. Do you know they have over 43,240,000 readers every month?!  I have no idea if it will be accepted or not, that is not the point.  The point is that I was asked and they wrote me back and said, “Perfect. Thank you so much for doing the work. It was worth it.”  Wow, this is a big moment for me, and for that young girl who one day long ago dreamed about writing an article that would be published.

I am an author of a book that at this time has eighty-six reviews on Amazon, and a lot more via Facebook and our website, www.TheYearoftheCicadas.com. Most of these reviews are positive, some are not, and that’s okay.  A reader commented that I was really a b*#@* some of the time, during our story.  The answer is yes, that is where I was at the time.  That fortunately is not who I am anymore. It has taken a lot of work for me to go from victim of my own life, singing poor, poor, poor, me…  poor, poor, pitiful me to opening myself up to the possibilities of life. My advice:  Open your heart, follow your dreams, and look for the gifts that the world gives back to you…. People do care what you have to say, and maybe you need to change the song you are singing.

Catie

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

The Bus, the Rowboat, the Helicopter and Seven Million Books

11 Sep

There is an old parable, okay maybe a new parable and it goes like this:

A man is in his home and a flood is coming.  This man is devout and he knows in his heart that God is going to save him.  He prays to God for salvation, and he waits.  Along comes a bus, it stops at his house.  Please get in they say, a flood is coming, you need to evacuate.  I have been praying answers the man, and God is going to save me.

The water starts to rise and the man moves to the second floor, along comes a rowboat.  Please get in they say, the flood is here, you need to evacuate.  I have been praying says the man, and God is going to save me. 

The water gets deeper and the man climbs onto the roof, along comes a helicopter.  Climb the ladder they say, this is your last chance you need to evacuate.  I have been praying says the man, and God is going to save me.

The water gets deeper and the man drowns.

When he arrives in heaven he looks at God and asks, “Why didn’t you save me?”  God answers, “I sent a bus, a rowboat and a helicopter, what more did you want?” 

Sometimes our angels/guides here on earth are hard to recognize.  When something is sent to me in threes or more I always try to look at it as a message.  Perhaps they are my bus, rowboat and helicopter, but how do you recognize your angels and guides amid all of the noise and chaos of everyday life?

I have been sought out by what I have become to think of as three messengers, in the past month, each one a parent that has been knocked to their knees by a tragedy regarding their child. As a result all three of these parents have independently risen to the challenge and started foundations that are doing a lot of good in the world.  For each of them it has become their full time commitment. I have been humbled by their presence.  It started me thinking, “Am I not doing enough?”

I went to dinner the other night with a dear friend, she advised me that my tag line, one book, one person at a time was not big enough.  The universe she says, gives you back what you ask for. Do I really only want one book, one person at a time to read The Year of the Cicadas? Hmmm that got me thinking, am I not thinking big enough?

The next day Steve and I were doing our “local author brownbag Friday” event at the Portland Public Library. It was an honor to be invited and to have The Year of the Cicadas shelved at this library. It was a laid back intimate gathering, a few good friends and a couple of new ones. After listening to us for a few minutes a retired college teacher, turned community activist, breaks in.  (I think this is fair to say since he had bumper stickers cut out and stuck to his shoes so that he could be a walking sandwich board for his causes). He rambles on in an aggressive tone, shouting that we are not doing enough, that we are not thinking big enough! We all look at each other, each one realizing that he is a radical, but perhaps he has a valid point: “Are we all doing enough, are we thinking big enough?”

We shrugged it off and went about our way, a few days later we met with a member of one of the indigenous tribes of Maine, a well-respected story-teller of his people’s history.  He spoke with us and in his quiet gentle tone, told us:  There are so many more people that you need to reach with your story, your message.  The number is 7,000,000.  You need to put that number out there into the universe, put 7,000,000 books sold on your refrigerator.  “We were not thinking big enough!”

I don’t want to pass up any busses, rowboats, or helicopters Sometimes the world seems really simple, but oftentimes it is a bit more complicated.  Seven million seems like a lot of books to me, but I’m heading home to put that  number on my refrigerator.  Wow, seven million, we are going to need a bigger bus, boat and a helicopter too, for the continuation of our “Most Excellent Book Tour Adventure.”  We are going to need a lot of angels to reach that number, please tell a friend or two, or three about our story.   Please help us to spread the word, just maybe you can be the angel/guide that helps your friend, or two or three out of a flood.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

It’s a Wonderful Life….

15 Aug

I had an amazing week this week!  I watched as two dreams I voiced years ago came true.  I put it out there into the universe, spoke it and watched as it came back to me.  One was huge with possibly big consequences, the other was smaller and more of a personal triumph.  Both of these things came about the week of my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me.  Birthday packages come in all shapes and sizes.

Nine years ago while Bryant was still in the ICU and we were given little hope that he would pull out of his coma or live a productive life, we were scheming otherwise.  Steve and I talked and planned that one-day Bryant would overcome and become a motivational speaker.  I know that sounds crazy, but we did, we really did talk and pray about it.  What we didn’t know is that his younger brother would take that walk with him.

This week we received a double blessing, both Bryant and James spoke to a group of athletes at a local high school. They have an unbelievable story and want to tell young people, how your choices today, right now as a teenager could change your entire life, and possibly that of your children.  This is a small beginning to what I believe in my heart will become so much more.  My mind goes back to my favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.  You never really know how your actions may impact another person’s life.  I believe that they have put their feet onto the pathway of changing many outcomes, even though they may never know it. Well done sons, well done. This is a great example of turning victim to victor!  So if you know of a speaking venue for these two young men, please contact me via our web site.

the year of the cicadas picked as readers favorite at joseph-beth booksellers

The other triumph was that my book, The Year of the Cicadas made it to the Summer reading table of Rave & Faves by local readers at Joseph-Beth Bookseller.  I used to walk through that very bookstore and dream about writing a book and one day and having my book placed on that very table. I must admit, I am rather proud.  God has already prepared the hearts and minds of the people who are to receive our message.  In my own way, I too will be changing a life when someone reads our very personal story of truth and redemption. 

I have had years of work and sleepless nights between dreaming those dreams and the reality, but oh the victory is so sweet.

Happy Birthday to me, this has been an amazing week so far!

Catie

 

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or our website www.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen Show, Oprah, The View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Finding and Using your Voice

9 Aug

Sometimes I wonder why I put our personal account out there for the world to read.  Sometimes I wonder what my family, friends and neighbors must think of me.  For those of you who have not had the benefit of having us speak at one of your functions you really don’t know why.

Here is the reason, when I was in the ER with my son, I heard a voice say “This is the story you have been waiting to write.”  When I was a young girl I always wrote, day and night if I wasn’t writing I was reading.  Around the age of thirteen I put my writing away with my childhood things, always knowing that if the right story came along, I may one day pick up my number two pencil once again.  Then the voice said once again, “Pay attention this is the story you have been waiting to write, I gave  you the talent.”  My response was, “Then it better have a good ending or I’m not going to write it.”  Well our story has a phenomenal ending.  I owed a debt and needed to fulfill the promise I made that day standing in the ER praying for a chance for my son’s survival.

It took me a lot of years to complete this journey, but our story is out there.  It is a raw and some times an unkind look at our lives, however it is the unvarnished truth seen through my eyes. I can only hope that my dysfunctions and my reactions and lessons can help just one person and then the journey will all be worth it.

One of the best things about having written my book, The Year of the Cicadas is reading the reviews.  They have been like one great big, wonderful hug.  I have trouble accepting help, accepting compliments and many times I simply gloss over these reviews, and think ohhh, isn’t that nice?  On occasion, I stop, sit down with a cup of steaming tea and actually allow myself to read and absorb these reviews, and let it sink in.  Then I am overwhelmed with emotion. 

Here is an example of one of the so far eighty-two reviews on Amazon:

I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads’ First Read Giveaway.

Every once in a while, if you’re fortunate enough, a book comes along that changes your life forever. I’ve had only a handful in my lifetime, and I am excited to add “The Year of the Cicadas” to the list.

Yes, the story of Bryant’s fall and recovery in themselves were incredible and miraculous. But Catie’s journey as a mother and a wife through all of this, her easy and brutally honest way of speaking through the book, the way she explains how she’s feeling at any given moment about her husband, their children, friends and neighbors – and how those people are feeling about her, how she brings in other family members’ stories about their time during and following the accident, and finally the mountains of emotions Catie has to “travel” alone after Bryant’s recovery … her VOICE is what makes this book spectacular:

“To forgive and to love is really the most important thing of all. To forgive ourselves and to love ourselves is the key to forgiving and loving others.”

“I thought about family and my friends not being there for me, perhaps it was not because of them but because of something in me.”

“I love to paint walls. I am also the artist of the life I am living … I say to you, if you do not like the canvas you have painted, change it.”

I urge you to read this book. I know it will stay with me for a long time.

When I read words like this, I know I have done the right thing, and that voice in the ER that was urging me to tell the story had a plan to use our journey to help others.

 

Thank you to my readers, you have helped to heal our family and to heal me.

Catie

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or our website www.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen Show, Oprah, The View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

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