Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Value of Challenges

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." ~ George Bernard Shaw When my kid went to bed, last night, I finally took a few minutes to reflect on everything that's happened in my life in the last few years. Although I often feel that my existence is a big, boring set of routines, and Spirit could really try a little harder to make blessings roll in a timely manner, last night I finally had to admit that things HAVE happened, and compared to five years ago, my world has changed a great deal. What I think triggered my reflection was a discussion about the state lottery. While we were sitting in the living room after dinner, my daughter asked me what I would do if I won such a staggering amount. My answer surprised her and slighly disappointed her. If I won a jackpot of 500 millions, I would probably set one million aside for each of my three kids, I would put away five to ten millions for retirement, I would take care of family and a few close friends, and then I would have fun with the rest. I don't think I would want to buy houses, yachts or cars, and clothes and shoes have never been at the top of my list of likes. What I would really like to do would be to play anonimous Santa, sharing that wealth anonimously with the unsuspecting needy. I have heard a few sweet stories in the last few years -- one of a woman who walked into a K-Mart close to Christmas and paid off all the toys on layaway in cash, and another of a woman who bought a foreclosed home just to give it back to the original owner who lost it after falling into hard times. How much fun would it be to do something like that?? My daughter didn't seem all that impressed with my choices. "Wow, Mom, you would give all that money away and you would only leave us, your own children, one million each?" I explained to her that life is more fun when you have goals you strive to achieve, and the journey is really what defines you as a person. Individual strengths don't usually come out until one needs to be strong, and one rarely tries hard to learn new strategies until challenges come along. A million would buy each of the kids a home and give them enough money for education and a good start. When everyone went to bed, I thought of how my philosophies apply to my own life, and how much I have learned by having to reinvent myself in the last few years. Writing has truly been the key to not only finding myself, but also to creating a new self. Of course, I wish someone could have come in, touched me with a magic wand and offered a shortcut to success, but if that had happened, I wouldn't have learned half as much. In the last five years, I have learned how to stand on my own two feet, I have learned how to do things I never thought possible, and I have been forced to get out of the safety of my shell and explore the world. Has it been easy? Not at all, but it has been fun and educational. If I look back at the shy person I was just five years ago, and the more confident individual I have become, I know all those efforts were not in vain. Life isn't just about discovering who we are by finding what we enjoy doing, but rather, it is an opportunity to reinvent the wheel if one is needed to travel smoothly. As I thought of all this, I was suddenly happy about the challenges I endured.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Week 23: THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP Author Sandra Carrington-Smith, The Book of Obeah and Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) . “The past few years have been full of high profile reads—50 Shades of Gray, Twilight, and more. Love them or hate them, you have to admit you have at least heard of them. As Independent Authors we all dare to dream we will be next, and well let’s face it, you never know ... right? With some hard work and the right marketing any one of us could be the next most talked about Author. With that thought I jumped on this Hop, what is a blog traffic hop? Well I didn’t know until I asked. Basically, it’s an Independent Authors game of tag. One author posts, and then tags five other authors, who each link back to them. Exponentially it is a marketing gold mine, and you my fair reader have hopefully just increased your to read list. Finding new and exciting authors you may never have found otherwise. Some of us are still writing, others are just being released. Either way, for you Fiction Lovers, a treasure trove awaits and I’d like to thank fellow Author Carol Marvell for tagging me to participate. Please check out Carol's website and books. Website: Buy Slave Trader here: Blog: Click the links to find out about Sandra Carrington-Smith’s books. Paranormal Thriller, The Book of Obeah: Supernatural thriller, Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery): Spiritual self-help, Housekeeping for the Soul: Website: “In this particular hop I and my fellow authors each in their perspective blogs have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current WIP (Works in Progress) as well as some goodies as to our process, from characters and inspirations to photographic/ cinematic eye candy! I hope you enjoy it! If this or any other items pique your interest, please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions.” HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS 1: What is the title of your book? The Book of Obeah 2: Where did the idea come from for the book? I am not too sure. I woke up one morning, back in 2006, with the name of the protagonist in mind. She told me her story and I just wrote it down. 3:What genre does your book fall under? Paranormal Thriller. 4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Morgan Freeman would be perfect for Elegba, the spirit of the Crossroads. Evan Rachel Wood would be wonderful in the role of Melody Bennet, the main protagonist. 5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? An emotional ride, steeped in the secrets of a southern Louisiana bayou. . 6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?. The Book of Obeah was traditionally published by OBooks and represented by the Krista Goering Literary Agency. Killer in Sight, my new novel that released in May 2012, is represented by Natalie Kimber at Sunrae Agency. 7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? A month, approximately. 8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? The Celestine Prophecy, The Skeleton Key. 9: Who or What inspired you to write this book? It was sudden and unexpected inspiration. I never turned back. 10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The Book of Obeah offers a different take on voodoo, quite unparalleled by the traditional Hollywood version. The novel has been optioned for film, and production is scheduled to start in early summer 2012.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Living the Life of a Liberal Conservative

Can a conservative and a liberal peacefully cohabitate the same body? They certainly can -- I am the living proof of it. Before anyone ruffles their feathers, let me explain.

I was raised in a conservative family, and my parents made sure we children understood there was no tolerance, under our roof, for loose morals and teenage rebellion. Both my mother and father held a respectable place within their social circles, and were very clear about their views on life. To them, honor, hard work, faith and respect were huge on their list of priorities. Unbeknownst to me, their loving influence affected me more than I thought possible.

Like my parents, I also believe in solid morals and traditions, I am a fervid believer in the power of Spirit, and live my life according to the Golden Rule. These same values I try to impart to my children. In fact, I made a choice long ago to be a stay-at-home mom, to ensure that my kids would be raised by me, and would not be influenced by questionable views at such young ages. Thankfully, I married a great man who shares the same principals, so it has been fairly smooth sailing the whole twenty years we’ve been together.

Now, to the liberal part…

Although I live my life according to the views that have been passed down to me, I can’t bury my head under the sand and pretend that everybody is as privileged as I have been. I know there are people out there who have not had the advantage of growing up in a solid home; I know there are people that have only experienced hardship in their lives, simply because they were born on the wrong side of the tracks, or in countries ravaged by war and famine. And I know there are people who do rely on others before they can pick themselves up after they have fallen. Those people exist, so I feel that I have to keep my mind open and embrace the fact that if we hope to move forward within the process of human evolution, I have to be a part of accepting the beauty of diversity in the world. I believe wholeheartedly in self-responsibility, but I also believe in helping others out if they are in a position of not being able to help themselves -- at least temporarily.

I believe in preserving our environment, because we only have one Earth; it’s a bit controversial to state we have strong family values, and then not realize that saving our Earth is the very best gift we can give to our children and the generations that will come next, as they will have a healthy, beautiful planet to live on. Saving our planet ensures the survival of our own genes.

My stand on gay marriage? It shouldn’t be my stand, since I am not gay. I believe marriage is a union between two people who love each other, who pledge to support the other and commit to a relationship the rest of their lives. The old Testament might have implied that marriage is between man and woman, but then, Sacred Scriptures also teach that what God unites no man should dissolve; yet, good Christians divorce and get remarried every day, thus sinning in the eyes of God. As far as I am concerned, I prefer to let God make the call of judgment. Furthermore, I don’t believe that Church and State should walk hand in hand, and if a gay couple live together for a number of years, and have common property, they should have the same LEGAL rights as a couple who’s heterosexual. Of course, that’s my two cents, and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, but please don’t throw in the Bible where it doesn’t belong.

Last but not least, I believe in equal freedom. If the government needs to stay out of an issue, then it needs to stay out of all of them – freedoms shouldn’t just be picked at random only because they benefit a selected few. And, if we believe in life at all costs, then we need to come up with a plan to support the life we promote. Being against both abortion and welfare simply cannot work. If children are forced to be born to mothers who can’t take care of them, physically or emotionally, we need a system that will ensure someone WILL take care of those children and they won’t be thrown from one foster home to another until they are of age. Adoption in our country could work, but it often fails because of high costs that force aspiring parents to go abroad to find children. We won’t even go as far as discussing the fact that many couple prefer to adopt babies, not older children who have been in the system for a while and/or might display emotional scars or erratic behavior.

I could go on and on, citing many examples, but I think everyone has pretty much gotten the picture. I am a core conservative who’s liberal at the edges, with no need for extremes. And thanks to that, I am enjoying the best of both worlds.