Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Spirit in the Game of Life

The strongest people aren't always those who win, but those who don't give up when they lose.

The opening ceremonies of the Olympics are always touching as the world comes together in a spirit of unity ~ if just for a moment. We respectfully watch as athletes proudly carry their country's flag during the parade march. We are educated and entertained as the hosting city brings its culture to life through song, dance, and narration. Then the games begin.

With the Summer Olympics in full throttle, not only are the athletes' abilities on display through competition, but also their sportsmanship. Each one works hard to get where they are, but the truly good athletes will shine with or without medals. They are the ones who will not stay down when they get knocked to their knees. They are the ones who congratulate their winning opponent(s) and encourage their losing opponent(s). They are the ones who take a failed competition and use it as a stepping stone, a learning experience for the next race. They are the ones who stand proud yet humble for their moment of national recognition, then turn around to cheer for their fellow athletes.

We, as a general audience, can learn a lot as we watch these athletes compete. We can adopt their champion attitude of not giving up, working hard to accomplish dreams, and believing in ourselves. These athletes have been taught that the minute you give up, you've already lost. That logic applies to all of us. The strongest people aren't always those who compete in the Olympics and win, but those who don't give up when they lose ~ whether in an Olympic game, on the court/field, or in the game of life.
Olympic Spirit

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Count Your Blessings

Count your blessings and make your blessings count.

Before you leave your house today, tell your family you love them. When you get home from school or work tonight, give your loved ones a hug. Take a minute through a phone call, email, or text to tell your friends and family members how much you appreciate them.

Don't let the moments pass by to tell those closest to you how you feel. Take time to do it now. Today. Time is precious. As tragedies and devastation strike at unexpected moments, we are reminded that life is also fragile and can be too short. Let go of old grudges, bad feelings, and jealousies. Hold on to what matters most.

Don't take the blessings in your life for granted. Recognize them. Be grateful for them. Cherish them.
Count Your Blessings

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

StoryMakers Writers Conference Changed My Perspective

Let other people read what I write? Who does that?! What about criticism and rejection? I've always been a closet writer. Notebooks full of thought-filled articles and computer files safely hiding dozens of children's stories and chapter books. The phrase "one day" was how I described my dreams of ever being published.

That was my writing perspective until a friend introduced me to the StoryMakers Writers Conference.

I attended my first StoryMakers Writers Conference a few years ago in Provo for just one day. This all-day extravaganza where I was surrounded by successful authors and esteemed publishers had me feeling completely out of place. I was pleasantly surprised to find everyone at the conference friendly and inviting. They instantly welcomed me as though I had always been a part of their writing circle.

With a notebook and pen in hand, I took notes and soaked up the information like a sponge. With so many class options to choose from, I found myself wishing I had signed up for two days instead of just one. The talented class instructors held my attention throughout the entire day and left me thirsting for more. They were incredibly knowledgable about their topics and happy to supply us with information that would help further our own literary creations.

As I listened intently and observed the talent surrounding me, my thoughts kept returning to the unread stories that were hiding in my computer and the thoughts I had buried in a notebook. Something changed in me that day. Never before had I felt such a strong desire to get my work out there and make something happen.

I returned home that night and told my husband that I was ready to start submitting stories for publication. The next day, I sent out three different manuscripts to several publishers, all of whom were at the Writers Conference. I knew that the possibility was still present (and probable) for criticism and rejection, but my perspective was different. Nothing would continue happening if I didn't put my work out there. And I was tired of nothing happening.

Many rejection letters later, one of my books has been published with another scheduled for the end of the year. That conference gave me the confidence, tools, and kick in the pants I needed to bring my writing to life. I will be forever grateful to my friend who talked me into going and to the support and collaboration I continue to receive from the new friends I made at the conference.

Sign up for the StoryMakers Midwest Writers Conference