Words of Wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. Whenever that happens, I like to read the following words of wisdom from renowned Zen master and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. Affectionately known as “Thay” by his students, he is the author of more than 100 books on mindfulness and meditation. His key message is that happiness lies in the present moment.



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10 Interesting Facts about Mary Allerton Cushman

I’m happy to welcome author Noelle Granger to the Power of 10 series. Today, Noelle shares interesting facts about Mary Allerton Cushman.

Here’s Noelle!

Many of you know I am writing a historical novel called The Last Pilgrim, about the life of Mary Allerton Cushman. She was the oldest survivor of the passengers on the Mayflower, who became known as the Old Comers. I have become truly lost in the history of the Pilgrims (not given this name until a very late and passing reference in William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647.) The Old Comers and many who followed were Separatists from the Church of England.

So here are some facts, of which there are very few as it turns out, about Mary.

She was born while the Separatists were living in Leiden, in 1616, daughter of Mary Norris and Isaac Allerton.

She sailed on the Mayflower with her parents, a sister named Remember, two years older, and a brother, Barthomew, eight years older.

Mary’s mother was pregnant aboard the Mayflower and gave birth to a stillborn son. She died, still aboard the Mayflower, in January of 1621, before suitable housing was built on the site of chosen for their settlement.

Bartholomew returned to England around 1630 and insofar as is known, Mary never saw him again.

Her father married to Fear Brewster, daughter of Elder Brewster, the religious leader of the colony, in 1627. Her half-sister, Sarah, daughter of Isaac and Fear, died as a child. Her half-brother Isaac graduated from Harvard.

Around 1636, she married Thomas Cushman, who had come to Plymouth in 1621 at the age of thirteen on the ship Fortune with father Robert Cushman. Robert Cushman was a prominent member of the Separatist congregation in Leiden.

Thomas and Mary had a prosperous family; seven of their eight children survived to adulthood and married.

She had at least fifty grandchildren!

Her husband, Thomas, took over the position of Elder of their church when Elder Brewster died.

She lived in the Plymouth Colony until her death in 1699, and was buried on Burial Hill in Plymouth. The site of her grave is unknown, but she is mentioned on the memorial erected to the Cushman family.

Burial Hill, Plymouth, MA

Cushman Memorial

One side of the Cushman Memorial

Side of the Memorial mentioning Mary

This is basically most of what is known of Mary Allerton Cushman, with the exception of the names and dates of births, marriages and deaths of her children. I don’t know what she looked like, because there are only a few portraits, painted largely from imagination, of the colony’s male leaders. Thus I’ve had to create her from whole cloth, but I want her life set against the real background of everything that is known of the Plimoth Plantation history and life there. Much of this comes from Bradford’s book – how much poorer we would be without it, but it is hard to read and understand! I also glean from information provided by the Plimoth Plantation historical recreation in Plymouth. This venue is about four doors down from the house where I grew up and I was a tour guide there when it first opened. I also use records, online sources and other books. The latter two have to be vetted for their veracity, since there is a lot of misinformation floating around!

Statue of Elizabeth Tilley Howland, who came on the Mayflower at age 13. She had 88 grandchildren. The Pilgrim women were prolific. I played her in a Pilgrim’s Progress when I was a teen.

I recognize that women in the early colonial days were basically servants – did you know they were not allowed to speak in church except for singing psalms? – but you know they had thoughts, memories and opinions of their own, and I am trying to give life to them.

Wish me luck!

Noelle’s Books

Where to find Noelle…

Blog | Book Site | Twitter | Facebook


Living Well and Opting for Joy – A Centenarian’s Secrets

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Yoga teacher and competitive ballroom dancer Tao Porchon-Lynch turned 100 on August 13, 2018. Just before her birthday, she shared the following seven secrets for aging gracefully:

Secret No. 1: Wake up before the sun. “I wake up before the sun rises because I like to watch it rise,” says Tao Porchon-Lynch.“ By observing nature, I can feel a life force. I look outside my window to the sky and tell myself that this is going to be the best day of my life. Then I’ll often pick up my journal and write something that comes to my mind that’s in my heart.”

Secret No. 2: Be grateful—and optimistic. Tao Porchon-Lynchsays she learned the importance of embodying both of these traits from the time she was a child. “I was raised by my aunt and uncle, and my uncle started every day with, ‘It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?’ Now I do the same, and I do it with a smile. I believe the key to a long life is positive thinking.”

Secret No. 3: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. When Tao Porchon-Lynch has something to do, she says she does it right away—she never procrastinates. “I don’t want to sit there hoping, wishing, and wasting time,” she says. “I always practice my yoga in the morning and my dancing in the afternoon. This commitment is likely why I’ve received the Guinness World Records for being the oldest yoga teacher and the oldest competitive ballroom dancer.”

Secret No. 4: Remember the true meaning of yoga. “Yoga can be the joy of life, and it’s not just about putting our bodies into specific postures,” she says. “It’s about expressing what comes from inside of you and showing up when you meet other people to create a oneness.”

Secret No. 5: If you see a barrier, try to push past it. Yoga has almost always been a part of Tao Porchon-Lynch’s life. “I was introduced to it when I was seven years old; I wandered to the beach near my childhood home in French India and saw some boys practicing yoga on the sand,” she says. “I followed their movements and I thought that I was learning a new game. That evening I told my aunt about the game, and she explained that it was called yoga and that it was only for boys. This was 1925. I told her that girls can do what boys can do, and by the time I was eight years old, I was on that beach joining the boys during my playtime.”

Secret No. 6: Do what you love. “I became a yoga teacher after friends saw me incorporating yoga into my everyday life and asked to join my practice. What I love most about teaching is seeing a smile come onto someone’s face when they realize that they can do things that they thought were impossible, physically and mentally.”

Secret No. 7: Don’t be afraid to age. “I don’t feel any different now that I’ve turned 100. I’m not even scared. And I’ll never stop practicing yoga—it’s the dance of life! The breath is the breath eternal, which makes all things possible.”

Source: Yoga Journal September 2018



Happy Bodhi Day!

Today, we celebrate the transformation of Siddhartha Gautama into the spiritual leader we know as the Buddha.

A bit of history…

Born a prince in Nepal, Siddhartha lived a comfortable and sheltered life. While he could easily have enjoyed those circumstances, he traveled about the country witnessing the misery of old age, sickness, and suffering. Profoundly affected, he chose to leave his palatial home and seek the meaning of life.

He spent six years living the life of an aesthetic and served six teachers. Still unsatisfied, he tried different disciplines, among them surviving by eating only one grain of rice each day.

Frustrated, he vowed to sit under the Bodhi tree until he had answers. After fasting and meditating for an entire week, he woke up on the morning of the eighth day and experienced enlightenment. Those realizations became the basis of modern-day Buddhism.

Here are ten of my favorite quotes from the Buddha…

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

The mind is everything. What you think you become.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.


Growing Up

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Carly Jordynn sharing the transformational journey she has taken with her daughter and her new release, Forest of the Mist: Guardians.

Here’s Carly!

Growing Up may sound like a weird title for somebody in my age group, but that is how I am looking at my life right now. I am a single mom to a daughter that I adopted fourteen years ago. Back then I was immature for my age. I had freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted. I traveled. I went out on dates or with friends. If I wanted to stay home all weekend and binge watch Harry Potter, I could do that. Then I became a mom.

When my daughter came into my life it became a game changer. Don’t get me wrong, I still had fun, but I had to cut back on traveling and I limited my going out time. When she started school, it was like going through school again with her. My daughter has ADD so I have to help her with homework a lot. On any given day you could hear me say as I left work, “I don’t want to go home and do my homework!” We finally got out of elementary school and entered middle school. Oh my gosh! I hated middle school the first time around and I can assure you I am not enjoying it much this time either.

I hear myself all the time saying, “I can’t wait until we’re in high school.” That’s coming up next year and has opened a whole other can of worms. The questions! The endless questions about boys, dating, college, dances, did I mention boys? I’m beginning to think middle school may not be too bad.

So, how does this change me you ask? In several ways I get to relive the best memories I have of those times. I’m getting a refresher course in all subjects. I’ve discovered some of the classes I detested in my day; I am enjoying now. Maybe it’s because my daughter and I do it together and that makes the difference. I’m sure the fact that I’m not being graded this time around helps too  I am more patient, I find humor in some of the silliest things, I enjoy hearing her talk about her friends. I like watching her grow and mature into a beautiful young lady. We are closer now. We not only have a mother/daughter relationship, but we are also friends. I like this new dynamic to the traditional relationship.

Another way I have changed during this time is I am growing as a person. I am definitely smarter with all the classes I’ve been through…again. I find that my opinions are not as hardcore as they once were. I am more flexible in my outlook on life and towards people. I have been overweight most of my life and now I am on the path to a healthier me. I feel better than I have in a long time. My writing career is starting to really take off and that provides me with deep satisfaction. I keep telling my daughter she can do or be anything she wants to be and now I actually believe that. I have more confidence to chase my dreams as I watch my daughter chase hers.

Reinvention, it can happen at any age and proves it’s never too late to capture your dreams.

Blurb

Davy Kyle is in a ton of trouble. That’s really nothing new for Davy as he has been in trouble his whole life. Davy was born in the alternate realm, Paradise Valley. As a result, he has some freakish powers such as rapid growth in body and intelligence, the ability to create portals to transport to the alternate realms, and the ability to know what others are thinking.

During his last adventure, Davy learned he would one day have a co-ruler in the realms and her name would be Kelly. Through a bit of impromptu eavesdropping, he learned that his friends from Paradise Valley, Connor and Lily O’Brien, would name their young daughter Kelly. Shocked at this coincidence, Davy sets out to determine how Kelly will arrive in Paradise since you have to be in a coma to enter the alternate worlds.

Kelly O’Brien was a spoiled six-year-old when family friend and confidant Davy Kyle kidnapped her through a portal to an alternate reality. While there, Davy aged her to sixteen and explained that one day she would be his co-ruler there. While she understood and looked forward to that day, she asked Davy to return her to six and her parents. He did as she asked, but invoked his powers to start accelerated aging and maturity. The alternate realms recognized Kelly and helped with that aging process.

Now Kelly’s parents have enrolled her in high school in the hope she will meet somebody else, fall in love, and forget about Davy and Paradise Valley. What they don’t know is Kelly’s determination to be with Davy no matter the cost.

What Davy does to ensure Kelly’s arrival in Paradise is sooner rather than later will test the ties of his family and friends in reality and may cost him the love of his life.

buynow

Bio and Links

Carly Jordynn is a writer from Northern Kentucky who loves to weave tales of fantasy, paranormal, and romance. When she isn’t writing a book, she enjoys reading, going out with friends, hanging out with her daughter, and living life to the fullest.

Carly loves to travel. You can find her at various conferences and other author events throughout the year. Her hobbies include: travel, photography, reading, and party planning.

Carly is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog



Today, tomorrow, and Sunday–December 7, 8, and 9–Travelers, Book 1 in the Forest of the Mist series is free on Kindle. Find out more here.

Joanne here!

Carly, Thank you for sharing your reinvention story. All the best to you and your daughter as you continue on this journey. Congrats on your new release.


A Mid-Life Revelation

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have educator and author Jodi Rath sharing her multi-act life and debut novel, Pineapple Upside Down Murder.

Here’s Jodi!

As a five-year-old, I used to “play” magazine by using my stuffed animals and my dolls as my staff while taking my mom’s old magazines and cutting them up and pasting them back together. At seven, I signed up to win a set of encyclopedias and won! I used to randomly pick an encyclopedia and a page and read the article on a topic then write a summary and pretend I was a journalist. I knew back then I wanted to be a writer.

Life happened, and I ended up married at age eighteen to my first husband. I took any jobs I could get to pay the bills at the time while pursuing an undergrad degree in English Literature. I still had dreams to write! Again, life took over, and I went from working in insurance to advertising to a vice president of a credit union. I was never fulfilled. I needed a job that paid money too. So, I pursued my M.A. in education and became a high school English teacher. I’ve been in education for twenty years now. I’ve loved every minute of teaching!

Recently, I moved from teaching high school to entering higher education on more my terms. I work for a university teaching online, self-paced courses to Ohio teachers. I found that left time for writing. I began writing for educational affiliations, and that has turned to write a book on Social and Emotional Learning titled Voices, Ghosts, Residue, Revolution: Using SEL to Breakthrough Trauma with America’s Students.

August of 2017, I began to play around with the thought of starting my own business combining education and mysteries—my two passions. As of February 2018, MYS ED LLC (Mysteries and Education) was formed. I now have the rights to the courses I create and can expand to teach to multiple universities if I’d like to do so. I write for different educational affiliations, blogs, and publishers.

My latest venture has been writing a mystery series. For Christmas in 2017, my grandma gave me her cast iron skillet that was 70-years-old, and she’s only ever made pineapple upside down cake in it. I shared it on Facebook, and it got so many likes and comments. I decided to write the cozy mystery series The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. There will be fourteen books in the series, and book one comes out this November 23, 2018, and is titled Pineapple Upside Down Murder. I’m currently working on two flash fiction pieces to offer as freebies for the book; they are based on the characters as kids and as teenagers leading into book one.

Currently, I’m 45 years old. I’m married to my second husband who is my soul mate, the man of my dreams. We have the most amazing kitty family, with seven cats. I am fulfilled in my personal life and my career. I love my business. I work hard at it, but it is all fun! I’ve heard horror stories about the mid-life crisis at this age. This is not my experience at all. I find myself going through a mid-life revelation.

Blurb

Introducing Jolie Tucker, an introverted yet passionate restaurant co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, who, at her best friend Ava’s request, steps out of her comfort zone which leads her into the shade of a killer in the small, cozy village of Leavensport, Ohio. The victim is the villages beloved Ellie Siler who runs the village sweet spot, Chocolate Capers. Jolie finds her grandma Opal is a prime suspect and goes on a search for answers only to find out that her families secret recipes may not belong to the Tucker family at all. Jolie’s job, family, and livelihood are all on the line. The answers are assuredly lethal.

buynow

Bio

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her seven cats.

Where to find Jodi…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

Joanne here!

Jodi, I love welcoming fellow teachers to this blog. Thanks for sharing your inspiring reinvention story. Best of luck with Pineapple Upside Down Murder.


A Guaranteed Pick-Me-Upper!

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Friday is the last day of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. While some of us have achieved (and maybe even surpassed 50K words), others are in the final stretch, working hard to reach that final goal. A few may have reset their goalposts. Wherever you are on the journey, stop and listen to the following song from David Bowie. It’s a guaranteed pick-me-upper!