The Execution that Gave Life

The day had not gone as planned. It was supposed to be an easy execution for a man who had been in prison since he was a youth. No flaws. No hitches. Just another day on Death Row. But the prisoner spoke up at when given the chance to say some last words. Instead of the usual, “I didn’t do it. You’re killing an innocent man,” this man said something that had long been written as a clause in his case, causing a delay. The prison guard called the warden, who called the judge, who reviewed the file and commanded the prisoner be given a stay of execution while he reach out to the family to see what to do. Everyone in the room became angry, shouting protests:

“He is a horrible murderer!”

“He cannot be set free.”

“He will do it again.”

“What are you doing? He surely has not changed.”

Everyone, that is, except for one woman. The prisoner was on death row for horribly mutilating her after brutally torturing and murdering her husband. If anyone within the room had a right to be angry, had a right to scream and yell, it would be her. Yet the woman sat quietly staring at the prisoner through the glass as tears streamed down her face. Amidst the chaos, she seemed completely at peace.

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Interruptions…How Do You Deal With Them?

Have you been dealing with life’s interruptions? We all have been struggling in various ways, even if we’ve been super productive while dealing with this current situation. Tonight, to launch their book Interruptions, Cornieta and Brandon Whitfield, Pastors of The River Church in Danbury, CT asked their friends, including me, to talk about how we have dealt with life’s interruptions. Join us by watching below while the video is still available.

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You Are Exactly Who You Need to Be

I hear so many people talk about all they need to do to become the person they want to be. I’ve been there too! Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps you are EXACTLY who you need to be so you’re positioned for the opportunities that help you become all you’re becoming?

Two years ago, I deeply desired marriage and having a family again. If I had been given the man of my dreams at that time, we’d be divorced by now because I still had a victim mindset and was distrusting and insecure. I didn’t believe anyone could love me or that I had value for anyone. I was only good at work and even that wasn’t going well because I wasn’t fully living out my purpose.

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What She Became…

This was a poem written in response to a prompt on Pen & Pendulum’s IG page. Prompts are a great way to improve your writing skills. I have never responded to a writing prompt online but recently became involved with some writers who are inspiring me to hone my craft.

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Best-Selling Books & Marketing: A Necessary Bond

You wrote a book and you’re watching the Amazon sales with wide-eyed anticipation only to realize sales are slower than a snail stuck in Gorilla Glue. You’re confused because you spent the money to create a great team that included a developmental editor, a line editor, a copy editor, a proofreader, a cover designer, and a graphic designer to ensure your book flowed well and looked great on the shelves and through eReaders. You’re wondering why you spent all that money and whether your book is any good. In fact, you’re quite upset that it isn’t doing well and wonder:

What gives?

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Stories and Audiences…

There are so many stories that make up our lives. Each one has an audience that it will resonate with best. When we’re writing books, we decide which story to tell and which audience we desire to speak to. We don’t try to speak to everyone at once.

In “When I Stopped Remembering Tomorrow”, I share the story of how falling into love led to me meeting myself and falling in love with the woman I am and who I am becoming. That led to me finally truly meeting God, despite believing in Him for decades and serving within the church for years before then.

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Journal Prompts

For those who would like to do some writing this weekend, here are some journal prompts you can use. I find journaling to be really relaxing and to help me when journaling through my story and figuring out what to write next. It works for fiction and non-fiction, as you can journal as though you were your characters to help understand what they are thinking.

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Scripture Affirmations

In case you are having a rough time, here are some scripture affirmations for you to speak over yourself. On my lifestyle blog, I shared some affirmations for those who prefer ones without the scripture. I have been speaking these over myself each morning before I begin my day to ensure my mind can stay in the right zone as I continue with this new routine of working from home AND overseeing my daughter’s schooling since her school closed for the rest of the year. This is an unprecedented time for many of us but I am thankful that we are making it through and continuing to grow as we do. If I can share resources or help you, please let me know what resources I can direct you to so you can use this time (if you gained time) to complete your goals and dreams.

~Shell

Let Yourself Go…

When I was first divorced my world was shattered. I remember looking out of my living room window one morning about six months after my ex-husband left our family and releasing a deep breath. One of those kinds you feel throughout your entire body. Not long after that, I was listening to a country mix on iTunes when I heard the song, “She Let Herself Go” by George Strait. I couldn’t imagine at that time giving myself permission to let go. Fast-forward to today and I am so thankful for songs like that and the power music has to heal. Those words gave me such healing that I now give myself permission to let go often.

I am so thankful for people who don’t hold back and who share their thoughts and emotions through writing and music. For the people who remind us we aren’t alone in our struggles, feelings, concerns. Right now, more than ever, we need to know there are others out there like us. Some of you are scared and truly don’t know what to do. Some of you don’t feel okay. Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe not next month. It’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to share with someone that you aren’t feeling okay. That you are struggling with the changes and that you are scared.

For many who have faced death, we have an interesting way of looking at life. Something within us says, “If I made it through that, I can make it through this.” Not everyone has had that experience. For some of you, this is the scariest thing you’ve faced. I see and hear you. I want you to know that we will get through this together. It’s not really that your kids are too much…it’s that you’ve been working so hard you haven’t had time to truly enjoy them. It’s not that you don’t love your family…it’s that you’re really good at what you do at work but feel less confident about your parenting and marriage. It’s not really that you love being around others…it’s that you don’t you don’t like how much you can hear your own thoughts in the silence. It’s not what is appears…it’s deeper. And that is okay.

If we all do our part and listen to the regulations and follow the guidelines, we will be okay. If we all take a moment to exhale deeply, to reflect on what we can do with the moment we have, and to check in with those around us, we will get through this as a community. If you’re not feeling okay mentally, check in with a trusted friend or therapist who can help you process the emotions you are experiencing. Reach out to share with someone what’s going on inside. If you are in danger, call the national hotline for help please. If you start to feel anxiety at a level you can’t hand, check in within someone.

Give yourself permission today to let go and be where you are, whether that means you are okay or not okay. That is the only way you will get to the place where you are okay.

Trust the Wink

I was working last week while a family member watched “Survivor” and I heard this quote from Sarah. I guess someone had winked at her during a time when the contestants were being placed on lock down by another contestant. I put the quote in my phone and moved on. I had a million thoughts about the application of this quote ton our daily lives and needed to narrow them down to this one I’ll share with you.

In Sarah’s case, she had to believe her vote would be okay since she couldn’t talk to anyone. In our case, we receive winks daily from God, nature, friends, family, that we choose to trust or ignore. We can trust that it’s going to work out, or we can get inside our heads and think of all the reasons it won’t. We can wonder, “What if I fail?” Or we can trust, “This is why I’ll succeed.”

Life can be a scary deal. I get it. But trusting the winks we see daily and allowing them to continue guiding us will help us arrive right where we are supposed to be at the time we should be there. I won’t spoil what happened with Sarah just in case you’re not caught up. I don’t watch the show so I’m not fully aware of how the outcome affects things, but I loved that statement in that moment and the connotation we can take from it if we think of the winks we encounter daily.

As you’re at home unexpectedly this week and next, take some time to finally write that book, work on that song, develop that app. You can accomplish quite a bit in two weeks. People ask for extra time and now the world’s granted it for some folks. Let’s look at the wink not all the negative aspects. And let’s accomplish more than we believe is possible.