It’s just before 8am on a Sunday morning and I’ve been tossing and turning for the better part of an hour, so I though I’d put the coffee and on and sit down to write for a bit.
My mind has been busy as of late and thus my anxiety through the roof.
A dear (and true) friend reminded me that writing was one of my tools and this morning I had to remind myself that I had this corner of the world to put some of it in.
My thoughts started in a really good place this morning, so I wasn’t upset to be awake sooner than usual on a day off, but weight quickly crept in and so I know it’s going to take more than coffee to get me going.
I had originally planned to apologize and speak to why posting has been so sporadic these past few months but then realized I am here to live a real life, with authenticity and transparency…so I won’t be doing either of those things…
What’s on my mind this morning is, in many ways, no different than most other days, the overcast sky and still of the morning are just amplifying it…the Heavy and the Light…
A lot has happened in my mothership market of Charlotte (and it’s surrounding areas) this week, even just this morning…the kind of things that make me want to gather the ones I love and hold them close…the kind of things that make me want to be held.
So much has been shared in our Heart Camp group this week and while we are there for whatever each of us may need, a lot of virtual hugs, love, light and peace for the hurting has been sent this week.
One of my best friends told me last night that she might be moving soon and even my wide eyed wanderer was saddened by that news…
But good things woke me this morning…something that was new a few weeks ago is hitting a comfort level that makes me smile, it’s my Grandmother’s 80th Birthday and she shares it with some pretty amazing people and as I type, the sun is coming out and lighting up my office.
It’s SO easy, almost too easy to let the Heavy things in life be our constant companions… This morning I am grateful for the trenches in which those that love us get in with us until we both find our way to something more hopeful.
We have to hold on to the Light, even if it’s a minute by minute refocusing…we have to fight for those moments that remind us that in all that, frankly, sucks in the world, we are the ones with the power to love, support and lift eachother out of the darkness.
Still do the things that bring you joy, even and perhaps especially in a Heavy season because we MUST continue to offset the balance…we have to.
Writing is one of the things that brings me joy and I am so glad I leaned into it this morning.
“Love is still the most powerful force on the planet” and I am sending it to you all today.
Happy Birthday Momaw Martha!
As I mentioned in the last post of Turn the Page, reading really hit a lull for a few weeks.
I am a true believer in everything that happens is trying to teach me something. February not only came/went too quickly, it had more than it’s fair share of challenges (lessons).
My take away was (as obvious as this may be to most) that no matter how enthusiastic the goal, I have to WANT to read what I am attempting to read.
Choosing an Austen after a memoir probably wasn’t the best choice. Don’t get me wrong, I adore her, but let’s face it, my head & heart have to be in the same place to fully enjoy it.
So, instead of throwing in the towel, I spent two weeks trying to get myself into it…
…it turned out like the photo below…less than stellar…
Needing to save February from a big old goose egg, I turned to one author I knew would get me back in the swing of things…Gail Z. Martin
Gail is one of my favorite authors and with countless (ok, I could count if I wanted to but I don’t 😉 ) books in a half dozen worlds, there is always something from her I can add to my TBR pile!
To save my February reads, I chose…
Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curios shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them and along with her business partners Teag, who has Weaver magic and Sorren, a 600-year-old vampire, they get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.
When zombies rise in Charleston cemeteries, dead men fall from the sky, and the whole city succumbs to the “grouch flu,” Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren suspect a vengeful dark witch who is gunning for Teag and planning to unleash an ancient horror. Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren—and all their supernatural allies—will need magic, cunning, and the help of a Viking demi-goddess to survive the battle with a malicious Weaver-witch and an ancient Norse warlock to keep Charleston—and the whole East Coast—from becoming the prey of the Master of the Hunt.
Tangled Web is the third book in the Deadly Curiosities series and though I can’t pick a favorite just yet, this one is very close to the top. Teag is a character I have grown very fond of. The idea of weaver magic intrigues me and I have been anxious for more of it in a story…Boy did I get it.
The familiarity of setting with this series helps me to really immerse myself in the story and Tangled Web is no different. As the cover suggests, the team has to deal with horses, both living and undead, and the case briefly takes them to Aiken, SC. This was a welcome and pleasant surprise as I have a cousin that lives in Aiken and I have seen how big the area is on all things horses!
One of the things I appreciate most about Gail is her attention to detail when it comes to coming up with both friend and foe in this series. It would take me a while to name every ally/villain but suffice it to say that I have wanted to learn more about the ‘old ways’ of multiple people groups because of her work in Deadly Curiosities.
Tangled Web was indeed the perfect choice to spur me into my March reads and I am so happy I chose it!
About the Author
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel, from Solaris Books. Gail is also the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel and Trifles and Folly 1: A Deadly Curiosities Collection, the latest in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC; Shadow and Flame is the fourth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga; The Shadowed Path (The first Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures collection), as well as Iron and Blood a Steampunk series, and Spells, Salt, & Steel, both co-authored with Larry N. Martin.
She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.
Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.
I don’t know about you but January and February have really gotten away from me.
When I did the math a few months ago, I realized that 8(ish) miles per month would help me reach the #nc100mileschallenge goal with, almost, no issues.
Well, here I am, a few days away from March…looking at only one trail so far…
I am still hopeful I’ll meet the goal and so I want you to see where I started this year.
Lake Norman State Park found me a couple of years ago, when I was first introduced to the challenge and at only about 45min away, it’s quickly become my go to for a morning outdoors.
The Lake Shore Trail provides several miles of hilly terrain, great for a cardio boosts and a multiple views of Lake Norman itself. If you catch it early enough, it’s nice and quiet out there.
I have been blessed to have my Dad along with me for the past three times I’ve come here. We usually start early, with a big breakfast and hope to complete at least half the trail within an hour and some change.
Hiking with my Dad is great because he helps me hike at a good pace which helps me with conditioning for more intense hikes in the future.
I’ve done the entire (almost 7 miles) of Lake Shore in the beginning of June the first time I’d set foot on the trail and totally exhausted myself (I mean calling on angels exhausted) so I am a little scared to go for it all BUT I am working toward it.
Mornings are my favorite time to hike this trail because I can catch it before it gets too warm AND there are these amazing spots where the trail goes, almost, right to the water.
This creates the perfect spot to catch your breath and/or a selfie 😉
Lake Norman State Park is where I decided I’d start adding park pins to my collection and so it holds a near and dear place in my heart and on my trail hat (courtesy of The Trek).
Until the next mileage update, Happy Trails!
By the title of this post you might think I am about to talk about a recent trip to my local Hallmark store.
While I don’t have a moving greeting card purchase to share, I have found a place with just as much warmth, heart, dedication and genuine care at
Percent Tap House is brand new to the neighborhood of Harrisburg, NC and the first of it’s kind in that area (which happens to be close enough to me to make it local 😉 )
I was introduced to PTH via my brother and sister-in-law (regulars since day 1) about 6 weeks ago and the first thing to hit me, after the amazing decor, was the phrase on the back of staff’s shirts (What is done in love, is done well). I hadn’t even tasted a beer yet but I had a good feeling about the place.
I was fortunate to meet the place at a slow moment and 3 out of the 4 owners were there and ready to share the vision with me. By the time I left on my day 1, I knew that this space was going to be more than just a place to grab a tasty beer…it was going to support and grow a community.
The message is a really easy one to get behind. When you love and care about what you do, it shows. These guys were/are looking for a way to support a growing community with a quality product and a business that can serve the area for years to come.
They want to create space where people can gather small and large to discuss everything from the current day to the next phase of life. The only screens are the ones that tell you what is on tap and that is to encourage engagement with the people around you. It’s a fantastic concept that I can appreciate.
On more than one occasion, I have ventured there solo, just to see how one might fair in a setting like the one Percent creates.
From the moment I walk in, I am seen and greeted. Most of the time it’s by Carl, Zach or Neil (though I have met Alec a time or two) and they are ready to share their favorite brews of the week and if not super busy, a conversation or two about life.
Now, I’ve been on slow nights (which are already rare) and busy nights alike and while no two visits are the same, I can tell you that what the motto the company puts on the merchandise is in the air.
Most of my solo visits find me at the bar. I figure that I can at the very least chat with one of the guys while I have a drink.
Two weeks ago, I went in with much the same mindset. I was a few sips into a Brown Ale when I picked up on the conversation going on beside me. The Gilbert’s were tabbing out but I happened to catch that they were going to be hiking for Make-A-Wish over the summer so I decided to find out more of the story. They shared it with me and I found a new Facebook friend.
As they left, I turned back to my seat to find several other customers had come to sit at the bar also and were ready to chat. I began to ping pong, delightfully, between multiple conversations as customers ordered a beverage, chatted for a min and returned to their company. There were many couples sharing a beverage before dinner, many having a beverage after a long shift and others just connecting with friends…just connecting…
One of my favorite connections of the night was with my new pals Stefan and Andy. They moved to the bar beside me well into the night and didn’t hesitate to engage in conversation. I’ll not share their stories (I gotta keep some secrets) BUT I will say that Stefan has one of the coolest tattoo sleeves I have ever seen and my gushing about it led to talking about Ireland, so that was EPIC!!
That night was SO much fun and pretty much the embodiment of what I think the owners are trying to cultivate within Percent Tap House. Community exists where people feel welcome, are encouraged to communicate and feel cared about…a tasty brew (or several) is just a great accompaniment.
What is done in love, IS done well and it is done 7 days a week at Percent.
Go by and check it out if you get the chance and tell them Candice sent you (at least I think I’ve earned regular status by now 😉 )
The above photo was taken almost a week ago. It was the end of a great work day, a rare day when I got to mix my day job world with my geek girl world. I was tired but blissed out. The state of my face is the result of trying to mimic the “I don’t know” emoji and respond to the question “It’s Saturday, what are you getting into?”
I didn’t know it at the time but that blissed out state would begin to go down in flames starting the next morning.
Sunday greeted me with what I thought was over tired, over clenching related jaw pain that escalated in intensity until it ended with my dentist numbing my mouth while saying “that tooth is toast”. I’ve never known such pain and though I’m no stranger to emotion, I’ve never ran the entire gamut in the span of an evening.
BUT it taught me a lot, as discomfort often does…and that is what I want to share.
Stubborn~ dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something
On a trip over the summer, one of my oldest friends called me stubborn. It bothered me, a lot, because it made me think of the other people in my life that I had heard associated with that word and I knew I wasn’t acting the way that they did when labeled in the same way. This was about my unwillingness to let anyone help me with my bags…how could not wanting my things to burden someone else be a bad thing.
I was reminded of this moment when my jaw pain was at it’s worst and I saw very clearly the picture of me being a dozen feet behind the rest of the traveling party hustling to make a train, dropping my bag almost every other step…STUBBORN!
I shed a lot of tears in a very short amount of time as I realized all the ways my stubbornness was showing up in my life…the constant dirty state of my car, the pile of clean clothes on my bed that never makes it to the closet, the pile of books in the floor instead of the shelf and the searing pain shooting through my jaw.
What normally plays out like the shoulder shrug pictured above started to annoy me and I wanted to tidy up everything…my car, my room, my books…my LIFE!!!
It couldn’t be fixed that night but I knew I could start the next morning. So, I got what sleep I could and called my dentist.
There was a treatment plan in place for my dental care and I had an appointment for a repair two weeks later but my tooth had other ideas and abscessed. OUCH!!!!
I could blame the tooth all day long but it’s really all on me…my stubbornness had to take physical form for me to notice it. I wanted to keep the tooth so I wouldn’t be down a tooth not for the sake of my health and wellness. So, for the sake of my health and wellness it had to be removed.
It’s been a hell of a few days but if you think I can’t look at it all and still be grateful, you’d be wrong.
The pain broke me…I was scared, lonely and pissed…at myself. I couldn’t rest so I took a metaphorical light saber and began to hack away at my life….
If you don’t want this pain ~ make a phone call and deal with it
Tired of looking at clothes you’ll never wear ~ donate them and be done with it
Embarrassed for anyone to ride in your car ~ clean it!!
Miss someone ~ reach out!
Tired of watching Netflix on your iPad when you have a perfectly good TV ~ order what you need fix the problem
Tired? ~ Get some sleep
If you want to be debt free ~ pay attention to what you spend you $$ on
Want to be the author answering questions about your book instead of the one asking an author questions? ~ FINISH YOUR BOOK
Countless other thoughts and actions met the chopping block. I’m more guilty than I can convey of falling prey to the bright and shiny, the new, the old, the anything other than what I am doing right now and before I know it, I am doing a WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING…
So, as the pain from the past few days eases (or is at least hiding behind ibuprofen) I have begun trying to erase stubbornness from my life. It’s a slow start, as I am still healing from the procedure but I am working toward letting go, creating space and executing a plan.
While I don’t want a repeat of the pain, I am grateful for the clarity it brought to my corner of the world this week. I will not be the same from now on 🙂
We deserve and owe it to ourselves to take as good care of ourselves as we can. This lesson (and others) I have had to learn the hard way and while I don’t mind sharing them with you here, I really hope we all do a little better at it so that we can keep loving, living and dreaming, in health and happiness 🙂
Take GOOD care,
Before I say anything else, I want to say that if you don’t think there is a place in the world where the title of this post is true, please keep reading, because there is a place/space, I promise.
The running joke of Heart Camp is that it is this incredible thing that no one can really explain…but after my Mom asked me about it today, I didn’t find it that hard at all…and I think she understood. So, I am going to attempt to share it with you as I did her.
The following photos are from the recent Heart Camp Reunion but I will be sharing about the collective experience.
It could be really easy to look at the words of the post title, sigh a little, and maybe even roll eyes at the concept of “your” or “any” heart being collectively and truly welcome. It seems pretty impossible to create a space where all of the uniqueness a heart can bring is greeted warmly and offered a seat at the table. Even more impossible for that space to be full of almost a dozen tables ready to be sat at.
This is Heart Camp.
Still in disbelief, you may find yourself grabbing your things and making your way to your chair only to be stopped on the way there by at least 2-3 bright, smiling faces, mindful enough of your space to greet you according to the way you prefer (be it a hug, handshake or continued smile). You are seen.
This is Heart Camp
Chair after chair begins to fill and though the social interactions very with each new face, the vibration of the room begins to change…it intensifies. You begin to feel a lot of things…the urge to cry, your skin begin to prickle, to laugh and possibly vomit BUT something inside you tells you to hold on for the ride.
This is Heart Camp
I stepped into this Heart Camp thing a year ago (and then again a few weeks ago) and it is one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.
Authentic ~ genuine, real, veritable share the sense of actuality and lack of falsehood or misrepresentation
Vulnerability ~ the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally
I don’t think authenticity and vulnerability are things you can know are missing in your life until you are met with 40+ examples of it. In life, it is so easy to go through the motions and get lost in them…so easy to try and be someone/something you don’t recognize. And let’s face it, vulnerability, by it’s very definition, is scary. I believe there can be so much beauty it it though, because I found it.
Imagine sitting at a table, in a room full of no preconception, no motive…just people wanting to open themselves up to a deeper understanding of collective community and perhaps be inspired by what they find. Meeting people as they as they are, as you are is like a breath of the freshest air you can breathe.
I want people to know ME, really know me AND I want to really know myself.
This is Heart Camp
In addition to Jamie Tworkowski ~ (founder of TWLOHA and creator of Heart Camp, author, public speaker, and all together incredible human (also my hero and friend)) Heart Camp gives you access to some pretty incredible people (Sierra DeMulder, Tonya Ingram, Denny Kolsch, Matt Wertz, Matt Willingham, Stephan Monteserin to name a few, all of them on a mission to live life, heart first.
I has been incredible to see what has happened in the lives of Heart Camp attendees this past year. This kind of connection and community can and will change the world.
It all starts and continues with the decision to attend.
Come join the framily and let’s keep lighting those beacons and making the world a little brighter.
For more information…