Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Soul Mate author Ryan Jo Summers sharing the events that transformed her idyllic life and propelled her toward a previously unimaginable reinvention.
There are some events that forever alter our lives, propel us forward and leave us changed in ways we never could have imagined. I have a grand little quote on my desk that reads: When life looks like it is falling apart, it may just be falling into place. How simple and how true.
Back in the early 1990’s and 2000’s I was happily married, living my dream life in Michigan. I was a wife, madly in love with my perfect husband. We had two sons. We owned businesses. We worked hard. We accomplished a lot. I had a pet boarding kennel and a non-profit collie rescue organization. I had horses and lots of pets. We competed professionally with our collies and built a reputable kennel name. We had acres to make it all work. We had great friends and family who all loved us. That was Act 1. It was idyllic and challenging and I learned so very much from those years. Looking back, there are only a few things I would have done differently. Things I now know were done through youthful ignorance.
Then the fateful day came when not only did my life fall apart, it suddenly crashed at my feet in a fiery inferno. While out of the country on holiday, I received an email from my perfect hubby saying he was leaving me. I thought I had mistakenly received an email intended for someone other poor soul! The following eleven months might be considered an intermission or an act all unto themselves. They were eleven months of unbelievable events and horrific news sweeping over me in never ending wave upon wave of heartache and injustice.
Not only was I convinced my life had fallen apart, I was stunned just looking at the jagged shards littering my life each day. I truly was clueless what had happened to my idyllic little life. Only later into that period did I learn it stemmed from a mid-life crisis, leading to dissatisfaction, infidelity and guilt. Our friends and family were divided. At then of that act/ intermission, I was forced to take my shattered life and leave the home I had worked so hard for, my dream life and the last of my ‘people’. The premature death of my marriage, my dreams and my long term friendships all led to a door that was now forever shut and sealed.
Now I am ten years into my Act Two. I left Michigan for the quaint charm and beauty of the Appalachian south. I made new friends. I took a job outside the definition of my twenty plus years’ experience. I went from successful business owner with secure finances to a hourly wage worker barely able to make the rent and put gas in the tank. It has been an education on many planes for me. I was starting over all over again, only this time with the experience of twenty plus years packed in my trunk.
At first I felt like I had landed on a foreign planet but it has all fallen into place. And it has continued to gradually fall into place. I still get stuck in the holding patterns while I wait for doors to open or events to unfold, but I don’t worry about it. Eventually the holding pattern ends and I move forward in my life just a little further.
Selling my debut novel in 2012 was a huge leap forward. Having two more coming out this year is another huge jump. Selling short pieces to trade journals and local periodicals has been gratifying. Learning social media and building a platform was initially going back to that foreign planet again, but I know I can survive and learn and, in time, thrive.
That has been my goal in the last eleven years, to not only survive but to also thrive. It has not been easy. Six years ago my body was beset with chronic conditions that left me challenged to continue living a normal appearing life. Yet I had come too far to give up so I became educated with my options and got serious. I am stuck with this body and it is stuck with me, there must be a peaceful co-existence within myself, which will transfer to everyone I encounter in my life.
What has been my grounding force during this second act has been a strong faith in God. I have learned to be happy in the trials, knowing I will emerge stronger and better. I have learned to be patient in the waiting because it will be better on the other side. I have learned we can see both sides better once we have lived through the hell in the middle. I have learned that life is a journey, not a guided tour and it is only when we feel the stress of the storms do we learn the strength of our anchor.
I have learned that to change, we must want something else more than what we have now and that now is not forever. I have learned God always give His best to those who leave the choices with Him and I have learned life is lived forward and understood backward. I have learned to value of thanking God for what I currently have and trusting Him for what I will need. I have learned that the upheaval we sometimes experience as we move from one act to another in our lives proceeds our spiritual progress and it is the action added to the faith that lets the pieces fall into place.
I know I would have never made it through the pain and betrayal of the intermission and come this far through my second act without the Divine help of God at my side. I know I wouldn’t want to go one single step into my next stage in life without Him.
Ten years ago I came to NC, little money, pride beaten and tail between my legs. I used what little cash I had to put a security deposit and rent down on a house and a down payment down on a Jeep. Then ten years of struggle, survive and place one foot in front of the other. Now, ten years later, I am still struggling, though not as much and differently. I am thriving and still placing one foot in front of the other. And I am buying my first ‘My’ house. Waiting to close later this month. What a change in just ten short— and very long—- years. If this is my second act, I wonder what will the third act bring?
The relief of God granting me this humble little house is such a real, palatable thing. I can’t wait to get settled in, write and donate the praises to God above.
Civil War hero turned renegade, Logan Riley, is hanged by the law in 1869. His story should have ended there, except it doesn’t. In 2014, anthropologist Dr. McKenzie Lynne is hired by a team of physicists, protected by the military, to find a missing link to their time travel theories. She finds Logan, in the back of a cave, buried in glittering golden dust, alive and handsome.
When she returns to camp with him, and learns what plans they really have in store for him, she is horrified. Reacting, she grabs his hand and makes a run for it, taking their living treasure, escaping into the mountains and desert of Arizona.
Now pursued by the military, and the obsessed physicists who will stop at nothing to get their living treasure back, Kenzie and Logan must fight to stay alive. Each moment is a challenge to stay free, because getting caught would be very bad.
Meanwhile, Kenzie’s strong Christian faith works on Logan’s bad boy heart, convicting him of his lawless past, something the hangman’s noose could not do. With Kenzie’s help, he works to allow God into his heart while fighting to keep theirs safe. Undeniable feelings bloom between them as tense moments spread into longer periods of developing love. As the hunters close in, their new love must face the toughest test of all– a showdown between the armed military, Kenzie’s Christian character and Logan’s nineteenth century sense of justice.
Darby Adams has a full, happy life with a successful Bed & Breakfast Inn called The Brass Lamplighter, her teen-age son, Matt, and a menagerie of stray pets she oversees. Then a guest is found dead in one of her rooms, murdered, stabbed to death. Suddenly she becomes Driftwood Shores’ number 1 suspect. With her world spiraling out of control, she desperately needs a friend.
The surviving family wants answers so they hire Private Investigator Sam Golden to prove her guilt. Busy with his own rebellious, disobedient teen daughter, Madison, Sam takes the case. He begins in a dual role in the guise of a much needed friend for Darby yet still with plans to investigate and send her to prison.
Then strange things start happening at the B & B, scary things. Darby leans on Sam’s friendship and he has to seriously question her guilt or innocence. Until feelings start to develop between them in the heat of the mysteries. Until the day arrives Sam has to tell her the truth. Until someone kidnaps their children.
Reeling from Sam’s confession, Darby knows she has to trust him to get their kids back. But can she ever trust him with her heart?
Where to find Ryan…
Ryan, I am inspired by the courage and strength you demonstrated throughout the past ten years. Thank you for reminding us that there is a morning after. Best of luck with your books.